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COUNTY CREATES SPECIAL-NEEDS DATABASE

sb sign 033016Sea Bright is among the towns that have already established voluntary registries for residents with special needs. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Press release Wednesday by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office:

A comprehensive and voluntary program dedicated to serving citizens with special needs was launched today.

Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni was joined by Sheriff Shaun Golden and the Monmouth County Chiefs of Police to introduce the Monmouth County Special Needs Registry.

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LINCROFT: BURNHAM COPS TO ‘ARROGANCE’

HOT-TOPIC_01Former Brookdale Community College president Peter Burnham, who went to prison for defrauding the Lincroft institution, is out and talking about what led him there, NJ.com Tuesday.

“There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and I crossed that line,” 71-year-old Burnham told an audience at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges in Chicago last week, NJ.com reported, citing and earlier account by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN SPLASH PAD SPUTTERS

bellhaven 110915An entrance to Bellhaven Natural Area on Locust Avenue. A proposed playground would be sited within the of loop the path shown above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A controversial plan for a spray park in Red Bank’s Bellhaven Natural Area has all but officially sputtered out.

The borough-owned riverfront lot at the western end of Locust Avenue is still envisioned as the site of a much-needed West Side playground, according to Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, the governing body’s liaison to the parks and recreation department.

But a spray park or a splash pad that shoots jets of water skyward? That’s done, she tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: MENNA WANTS OUT OF REVAL

menna 010114Mayor Pasquale Menna called the Press findings “disturbing” and “somewhat surreal.” (File photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02

The Red Bank council took steps to put the borough’s switch to a new property assessment method on hold Wednesday night, two days after an Asbury Park Press investigation found questionable dealings in the Monmouth County program.

Mayor Pasquale Menna told a small audience at borough hall that the Press article raised “troubling” questions about “unholy alliances” at the county level in the creation of the Assessment Demonstration Program.

At the same time, the program “removes a lot of protections” for taxpayers who want to challenge their assessments, Menna said.

“It’s very disturbing,” Menna said at a council hearing, adding later in an interview with redbankgreen that the tangle of relationships uncovered by the Press was “somewhat surreal.”

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VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS NIGH

Election 2015 graphicThe deadline to register to vote in the November 3 General Election is fast approaching. Registration must be completed by Tuesday, October 13.

Residents of the Greater Red Bank Green may register at their respective town halls during regular business hours or at the Monmouth County Voter Registration Office, 300 Halls Mills Road, Freehold Township, from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

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RUMSON, FAIR HAVEN: THEFT SPREE ALLEGED

HOT-TOPIC_01A Red Bank man was indicted Friday for a spending spree financed by credit cards stolen from cars in Rumson and Fair Haven, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office said.

Carl W. Bergen, 53, of 59 William Street, broke into four vehicles in the two towns over the course of a year, beginning in May, 2014, according to the 16-count indictment.

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RED BANK: HERE’S WHY YOU’RE STUCK, AGAIN

rb traffic 081215 4Traffic was heavy on Bridge Avenue and other roads surrounding Hubbard’s Bridge during Wednesday’s morning rush. Below, an unidentified worker carries a granite block, one of many such paving stones and old red bricks unearthed during the first day of work on the intersection on the Red Bank side of the span.  (Photo below by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb hubbard 081215 5Message to motorists stuck in the somewhat-suddenly-worse-again traffic surrounding Hubbard’s Bridge between Middletown and Red Bank: think of the kids.

That’s one spin that officials put on a two-to-three-week closure of the span that was announced late last Friday and took effect Wednesday morning.

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RED BANK: BOE MEMBER SLAMS TAX NOTICE

rb schools 081115Board of ed member Sue Viscomi, left, criticized the borough’s handling of the tax adjustment notice. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesAfter an adjustment by borough officials that nearly doubled an expected increase in the local school tax last month, a member of the Red Bank Board of Education fired back Tuesday night.

Sue Viscomi, who heads the board’s finance committee, said borough taxpayers may have been misled into believing the board approved a 12.74-percent spike in the local school portion of the tax, when in fact it adopted a budget reflecting a 6.95-percent increase in April.

“I personally think it’s irresponsible, what the town did with our tax bill,” she said at a board workshop meeting Tuesday night at the middle school. “We did not vote for a 12-percent increase.”

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RED BANK: TAX BILLS SOAR ON ADJUSTMENT

rb tax 080115 2Though the Red Bank board of ed adopted a budget with a 6.95-percent tax increase, a recalculation based on new data boosted that to 12.7 percent. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA drop in aggregate Red Bank property values as a result of appeals has sent the local school tax soaring, redbankgreen has learned.

Borough homeowners and other property owners found out about the 12.74-percent spike in the local school portion of the tax when they received their bills late last week, more than three months after the board of education adopted a budget indicating a 6.95-percent increase.

Included with the bills, and posted on the borough website,, was a “message to Red Bank taxpayers” that did not explain why the increase was so much higher than previously reported.

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RED BANK: DEADLINE ON TAXES EXTENDED

taxesRed Bank property owners will have until August 25 to pay their third-quarter tax bills without incurring a penalty, under a resolution past by the borough council Wednesday night.

The grace period usually ends on the 10th day of the month quarterly taxes are due. But because the tax rate for the new budget year was not certified by Monmouth County until July 17, bills won’t be mailed until July 31 – and the law requires a 25-day payment period, according to tax collector Ashlesha Deshplande. Still, for those who pay later than August 25, the interest applies to the full 25-day interim, she cautioned. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: BEFORE THE NEW BRIDGE, A DIG

rumson dig 070715 2Rumson-sb bridge 012313A crew from Richard Grubb & Associates, under contract to Monmouth County, was out doing archaeological work just east of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge Tuesday morning. The property, which will be used in the approach to a replacement bridge across the Shrewsbury River, was once the site of a mansion, built in 1890 by Mrs. John G. Neeser, that was later owned by longtime Mayor and United States Senator and William Warren Barbour. According to county spokeswoman Laura Kirkpatrick, the aim of the monthlong dig is to determine if any artifacts from the late 19th century or prior might be buried there, with a number of five-foot-by-five-foot holes dug and refilled by the end of each day.

Construction of of the new span – seen in white in the concept plan above right  may begin by 2018, Kirkpatrick said.  (Photo above by John T. Ward, at right by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK & LITTLE SILVER: COMMUTER ALERT

branch ave 062615just_in[Update: This post has been updated to reflect a change in the dates of the closure.] Monmouth County plans closings of Branch Avenue between Hudson Avenue in Red Bank and White Road in Little Silver for two nights beginning Tuesday, local officials said.

The closures, to allow for milling and paving of the road, are to be in effect from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Parking on Branch will be prohibited during the closings. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

MIDDLETOWN COPS TO TEST BODY CAMERAS

The Middletown police department is one of three in Monmouth County that will test the feasibility of video cameras worn on the uniforms of patrol officers, county Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni announced Thursday.

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2The test, coming amid rising public attention to cases of actual and alleged police abuse, may lead to countywide deployment of body cameras, Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE: CLOSURE BEGINS

oceanic 052515Boaters and kayakers shared the Navesink River with a construction barge at the Oceanic Bridge on Monday, Memorial Day. The 75-year-old span, which links Rumson and Middletown, was scheduled to close to all but marine traffic starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday for repairs to the steel bascule.

During repairs in April, deterioration was discovered in two areas of the bascule not previously accessible, Monmouth County officials said last month. The latest repairs are expected to wrap up with a reopening of the bridge on Saturday, June 13. In the meantime, seasonal rules and scheduling will be in effect for marine traffic. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)