The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.
Retired librarian Jane Eigenrauch gets a goodbye hug, above, and Councilwoman Juanita Lewis reacts to a tribute at her final meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
At its final scheduled meeting of 2014, the Red Bank council killed a $2.2 million bond ordinance to pay for new water meters amid warnings that a shortage of existing devices could delay new construction in 2015.
The council also:
• approved a new labor agreement covering nearly half the municipal workforce
• extended a moratorium on fees some developers have to pay for parking deficiencies.
• bid adieu to one of its own members
• and honored a newly-retired librarian who had been the borough government’s longest-serving employee.
Councilmembers Ed Zipprich, center, and Juanita Lewis with former Councilman Ivan Polonsky, right, at Democratic HQ Tuesday night. Linda Schwabenbauer, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Linda Schwabenbauer only got into the Red Bank council race in August, and didn’t start campaigning until mid-September.
Though she’s lived in town for 10 years, the Republican also had the handicap of being an unknown political entity.
“I’d never heard of her,” said former mayor and local Democratic party sage Ed McKenna, “and I don’t know anyone who had.”
And yet, even as her opponents – and perhaps some supporters – struggled to pronounce her name, Schwabenbauer came away as the leading vote-getter in Tuesday’s election, edging incumbent Ed Zipprich by nine votes and knocking out incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis, according to the GOP.
Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, left, with state Senator Jennifer Beck and running mate Sean Di Somma, far right, as returns were tallied Tuesday night. Below, Ed Zipprich, seen at right through a ladder at Democratic headquarters with his husband, J.P. Nicolaides and former Mayor Ed McKenna, at left. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
One year after narrowly regaining a toehold on Red Bank government, Republicans will soon have a second representative on the six-member council.
Or so it appeared late Tuesday night.
GOP newcomer Linda Schwabenbauer and Democratic incumbent Ed Zipprich were neck-and-neck in the race for two council seats. And though the two parties differed on vote totals, both candidates appeared to have outpolled Zipprich running mate Juanita Lewis by about two dozen votes.
The clear loser, for the second year in a row, was Republican Sean Di Somma, who conceded defeat early in the evening.
Mayor Pasquale Menna, a Democrat, was elected to a third four-year term. He was unopposed on the ballot.
Beginning shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, NJ Spotlight and NJ News Commons will begin posting results for congressional races across the state. For up-to-the minute results, click on a district; you can zoom in and move the map around.
These results are preliminary as precincts report. The colors on the map indicate which party is leading by district: red for Republicans and blue for Democrats. An asterisk (*) indicates an incumbent.
Republican council candidate Sean Di Somma. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Di Somma’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Sean Patrick Di Somma
Where did you grow up? Bergen County, NJ
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Almost 3 years
Democrat Juanita Lewis has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Lewis’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Juanita Lewis
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Red Bank.
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? All of my life, except when I went to college, graduate school and when I worked overseas for one year.
Republican council candidate Linda Schwabenbauer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Schwabenbauer’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Linda Schwabenbauer
Where did you grow up? Downingtown, PA
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since May of 2005 – just shy of 10 years
Democrat Ed Zipprich has been on the council since 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Zipprich’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Edward Zipprich
Where did you grow up? In a small town similar to Red Bank in Staten Island, NY
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? 17.5 years
Republicans Linda Schwabenbauer and Sean Di Somma had a full-house audience at River Street Commons to themselves Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The two Red Bank council candidates challenged the Democratic incumbents to a debate Wednesday, one day after a meet-the-candidates event at which the Dems were no-shows.
GOP contender Sean Di Somma called the absence of Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich “sad and shameful,” adding that they’d “pulled a fast one on Red Bank residents” by canceling at the last minute.
Zipprich told redbankgreen earlier on Tuesday that he was attending to a family medical issue, and Lewis told the Westside Community Group that she couldn’t make their Tuesday event because she was “pulled away on business,” said event moderator Amy Goldsmith.
The River Street Commons had a full house for the event, hosted by the Westside Community Group. Alecia Wilkerson, below, asked a question from the audience. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The two Republican candidates for Red Bank council in next week’s election had an open field as neither of their opponents showed up for a debate Tuesday night.
Incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich was out of town on a family medical issue, and fellow incumbent Democrat Juanita Lewis was “called away on business,” Westside Community Group president and event moderator Amy Goldsmith said the candidates told her.
That gave Republican challengers Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer control of the floor at the 18th annual candidates’ night, held as always at the River Street Commons. Di Somma made frequent reference to the absences, and at one point gave away their chairs to audience members who had packed the former school gym.
Legos with legs were among the parade participants who accepted GOP balloons from candidate Linda Schwabenbauer, below. (Photo above by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A Menna Administration official and a Republican council candidate clashed at Sunday’s Red Bank Halloween Parade over campaign balloons.
GOP contender Linda Schwabenbauer said she believed she was exercising a First Amendment right and had borough authorization when she gave away about 200 balloons bearing her name and that of running mate Sean Di Somma to children and adults before the start of the parade.
But Parks and Recrecreation department director Memone Crystian told her to stop, threatening to call the police if she continued, she said.
Administration officials dispute the claim that they’d OK’d a balloon distribution, and contend they have the law on their side in asking Schwabenbauer to stop.
Listen up, citizens of Gotham: the Red Bank Halloween Parade hits the street this Sunday for its 67th annual edition, filled with witches and goblins of all ages, and some spectacular floats, too. (Photos by John T.Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By TOM CHESEK
The year was 1948, and the place was Red Bank, New Jersey — where just a couple of months earlier, “Auld Lang Syne” bandleader Guy Lombardo’s speedboat took the trophy race in the National Sweepstakes Regatta on the Navesink. As the summer heat turned to October chill, thoughts were turning to the looming Dewey-vs.-Truman Presidential election; to a World Series that entered a fortunate few homes for the first time by the miracle of television; and to an altogether different hometown event: the Red Bank Halloween Carnival.
The Borough of Red Bank — and several local individuals — were acknowledged for their long-time support of The Community YMCA, when the organization celebrated its 140th anniversary on September 27.
During the gala event at Camp Arrowhead in Marlboro, CYMCA president and CEO Rhonda Anderson gave homage to Red Bank, longtime host site of the organization’s Maple Avenue facility, by presenting the Community Partner Award to Mayor Pasquale Menna and the members of the Borough Council. Ms. Anderson is pictured at center, with (left to right in photo) Councilman Ed Zipprich, Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, Mayor Menna, and Councilwomen Juanita Lewis and Kathleen Horgan.
More than 200 people attended the annual benefit, which raised over $150,000 to support the Y’s mission to ensure that everyone — regardless of age, income or background — has access to life-changing YMCA programs and services.
“Pied Piper of Jazz” Keith Marks keynoted a new slate of free outdoor jazz concerts on August 22 — a Count Basie 365 Cultural Series that continues Friday evening with vocalist Valarie Adams and showband.
Like a lot of institutions in the town that birthed the great “Count” Basie, it honors the “Kid from Red Bank” who became one of the pivotal bandleaders of jazz’s golden age — a living link that’s rooted in a place where the likes of Al Wright and Joe Muccioli continue to uphold the tradition.
Continuing for the next three Fridays at West Side Park (aka “the pocket park”) on the corner of Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Shrewsbury Avenue (aka DJ2 ‘n Shrew), the third annual Count Basie 365 Cultural Series also pays tribute to a real unsung hero of the art form — Ralph Gatta, longtime proprietor of Johnny’s Jazz Market, and an aficionado whose exuberant passion and expertise on all things jazz were second to no one’s.
A project of the mayor-appointed Red Bank Borough’s Vision Committee, the series kicked off on August 22 with a concert by a frequent summer-season guest performer — jazz flautist Keith Marks. The music resumes on September 5 with the return of another staple of summer concert stages, Valarie Adams and the Dimensions, with the dynamic showband bringing their encyclopedic setlist of soul/ Motown/ funk favorites beneath the stars at 6:45 pm.
Sean Di Somma, above at lower right, on election night last November. Below, Jack Minton, center, with candidate Joe Mizzi and then-Councilwoman Grace Cangemi in 2010. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Once again, a Red Bank Republican council candidate is in the market for a running mate.
This time, though, Sean Di Somma will also have the title of local party chairman as he goes about finding a replacement.
Fellow candidate Brian Hanlon has dropped out of this year’s race against Democratic incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, he told redbankgreen Wednesday, because his employer, Oppenheimer, objected.
And party chair Jack Minton is stepping down, in all likelihood to be succeeded by Di Somma when the the party faithful meet for their annual reorganization meeting this weekend.
District 2 voters entering the Independent Engine Company house on Mechanic Street Tuesday morning. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
[SEE CORRECTION BELOW]
Red Bank’s Democrats maintained their lock on the borough’s governing body with two decisive wins for council Tuesday.
Juanita Lewis and local party chairman Ed Zipprich defeated Republicans Grace Cangemi and Joe Mizzi, whose campaign lite strategy had opponents and some voters scratching their heads about their whereabouts in the race.
Below is where the responses to questionnaires sent to the four council candidates (for two available seats) on the November 8 ballot in Red Bank would appear, if any of them had responded. None did. But we welcome their thoughts on the issues, and encourage them to comment.
Westside Community Group president Amy Goldsmith, right, discusses the debate format with candidates Juanita Lewis, Joe Mizzi, Grace Cangemi and Ed Zipprich. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank’s Republican contenders for borough council were on the defensive Wednesday night as their opponents, and some voters, pressed them on their perceived sudden re-emergence as election day looms.
Resident David Prown asked GOP candidates Grace Cangemi and Joe Mizzi how confident taxpayers should feel in their representation, given what he characterized as their low profile between last spring’s candidacy announcement and now. Several questioners pressed them on the point of view that the pair say is missing from the current all-Democrat council.
In the evening’s most heated moment, incumbent Ed Zipprich called his opponent’s criticisms of the current council “absolutely ridiculous,” and said Cangemi, a former council member, hadn’t appeared at a session of the governing body since she lost a re-election bid in 2008, though she had pledged to serve as a watchdog.
“What have you done for the town in the three years since you walked out the door?” he asked.
A bench at Riverside Gardens Park, where vandalism and littering have been growing problems. Debris in the pole-vault box at Count Basie Fields, below. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
In response to a surge in vandalism on borough property this summer, Red Bank officials are looking into video surveillance as a way to fill gaps in already heightened police presence and serve as a deterrent to would-be scofflaws.
Video could be just one part of a multiprong effort by the borough to curb public defacement and all-around mistreatment of public property, police Captain Darren McConnell said.
Police have stepped up their presence at Riverside Gardens Park in recent weeks, he said. They’re also cracking down on curfew laws for teenagers. And because the council earlier this week called out littering at Count Basie Fields as a growing issue, cops will make rounds there more often.
“The regular patrols will be stepped up quite a bit,” McConnell said. “It’s really only Riverside Gardens Park and Count Basie Fields that are having the issues, and they’re not even the same groups hanging out there, but they get the most use.”
The last time redbankgreen talked to Joe Mizzi, on election night last November, he’d just acknowledged his loss in the race for a seat on the Red Bank borough council and said he was going to begin work on his next campaign.
“My last quote was, ‘I’m not going anywhere,'” said Mizzi, a 35-year-old financial analyst and adjunct professor of economics at Brookdale Community College. “And I meant it.”
On Friday, Mizzi, a Republican, announced he’s making a second run to break the Democratic lock on all six council seats, and this time he’s enlisted a familiar name to run with him: former Councilwoman Grace Cangemi.