VIRUS UPDATE: COVID-19 CARNAGE CONTINUES

little silver surgical mask Surgical masks and improvised face coverings were a common sight Friday, as here on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

Flags across New Jersey were ordered lowered “immediately and indefinitely” as the carnage of COVID-19 claimed another 113 state residents, Governor Phil Murphy said Friday.

The symbolic gesture will serve as a “constant memorial” during “one of the greatest tragedies” in the state’s history, Murphy said at his daily briefing on the crisis.

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RED BANK: BASIE FILM FEST GOES VIRTUAL

Wondering how to fill the hours while housebound by the COVID-19 pandemic? You might binge on the 27 bitesized movies in the Count Base Center for the Arts Teen & College Film Fest, which this year is a virtual affair.

Here are three entries, one from each category: middle school (above), high school and college (below).

After you’ve watched these, hop over to the festival page, watch the 24 others, and cast your vote for the your favorites.

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LITTLE SILVER: ROBERT SICKLES SR. DIES

bob sickles sr. 042208Robert Sickles Sr. riding his cherished 1948 John Deere MT tractor in 2008. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Robert Sickles Sr., the patriarch of a family farm in Little Silver that traces its agricultural roots back more than three centuries, died “peacefully at his home” Monday, according to an obituary posted by Thompson Funeral Home in Red Bank Wednesday.

He was 92 years old.

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VIRUS UPDATE: NEW JERSEY DEATHS HIT 537

red bank navesink boat 040220A socially-distanced boat heads out onto our beautiful Navesink River off Red Bank Thursday. (Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

New Jersey added 182 more deaths to the COVID-19 toll as the number of state residents known to be infected blew past 25,000, Governor Phil Murphy said Thursday.

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RED BANK: YASSIN GETS POLS TO PONY UP

Councilman Hazim Yassin in February, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Councilman Hazim Yassin tells redbankgreen he has assembled a bipartisan coalition of elected officials from across New Jersey to donate funds from their campaign warchests to the fight against the coronavirus.

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RED BANK: BAGPIPER CLOSES THE DISTANCE

Maintaining a safe distance from passersby, bagpiper Doc Saphire plays a bit of ‘Danny Boy’ outside his Red Bank home Wednesday evening. 

Because they can’t get together to perform and practice under COVID-19 directives, Saphire and his fellow members of the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch have embarked on a 100-day campaign of playing a song each night through the Fourth of July, he said. Wednesday night’s performance was his first from his Prospect Avenue porch.

“Once the crisis is over, anybody who wants to learn, we’re giving free lessons,” Saphire said. “If I can do it, anybody can.”  (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

VIRUS UPDATE: COVID-19 DEATH TOLL SPIKES

red bank navesink river 040120A new month begins with a lovely sunrise over our beautiful Navesink River, as seen from the Route 35 bridge Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

With COVID-19-related death and infection rates rising faster than ever, “we’re beginning to feel the real strain on the critical care” segment of the healthcare system in the northern part of New Jersey, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said Wednesday.

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RED BANK: CRISIS DELAYS FARMERS’ MARKET

Mother’s Day is still five weeks away, but this year’s edition won’t be accompanied by the customary opening of the Red Bank Farmer’s Market.

George Sourlis, whose family-owned Galleria of Red Bank hosts the popular Sunday market, tells redbankgreen that this year’s start has been indefinitely postponed by the COVID-19 crisis. It will open once the pandemic has passed, he said.

The seasonal farmstand typically runs through November.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: DUNKIN’ COMMENTS LESS HEATED

red bank what's going on herefair haven dunkin This time a year ago, Fair Haven was a town divided. The issue? Whether to allow a Dunkin’ coffee shop to fill a vacancy in the River Road strip mall anchored by an Acme supermarket. The back-and-forth on the Fair Haven, NJ Facebook page got so nasty that the moderator shut down commenting on the issue.

Well this week, seven months after the planning board approved the shop, the still-empty retail space got its Dunkin’ sign, and the moderator allowed a resumption of comments. So how’d that go?

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VIRUS UPDATE: STATE DEATH TOLL UP SHARPLY

IHME NJ COVID-19 forecast 033120A hospital use projection for New Jersey by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows an anticipated surge in the first half of April. Projections assume continued social distancing and other protective measures. To view the methods used to produce the projection, click here. (Graphic by IHME. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

Sixty-nine New Jerseyans died Monday as the global COVID-19 contagion continued its tear through the state, Governor Phil Murphy said Tuesday.

Of 267 resident deaths so far in the crisis, 223 have occurred in the last seven days, with the toll accelerating sharply from Monday’s report of 37 deaths.

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VIRUS UPDATE: NEW JERSEY TOLL SOARS

murphy covid projections 033020Charts used by the Murphy administration Monday show the surge in cases with no social distancing, left, and partial compliance, right. (Graphs by NJ.gov. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicNew Jersey’s daily death toll and COVID-19 caseload had soared since Sunday, Governor Phil Murphy reported Monday.

With 37 more fatalities and 3,347 more patients testing positive for the coronavirus, Murphy continued to hammer home his message that residents need to “stay home” until the crisis eases.

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RED BANK: MENNA BLASTS HEALTH ‘RUMORS’

pasquale menna 031120Mayor Pasquale Menna speaks with school board President Fred Stone at a March 11 ceremony opening the new primary school emergency access road. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Menna tells redbankgreen he has been released from the hospital after treatment as a presumed-positive patient, according to he chart, though he has not received test results yet. He is home and expects to remain self-isolated for the next two weeks, he said. Meantime, the council workshop meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, who said he is hospitalized “as a precaution” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, blasted former councilwoman Cindy Burnham and an online publication Monday for spreading “rumors” about his health in recent days.

Separately, borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told redbankgreen that Burnham “should be brought up on charges” for what he called her “blatant lies” about him.

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ON THE GREEN: QUIET STREETS

red bank broad street 032720One week into New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s “stay-at-home” order, imposed to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, downtown Red Bank was a well-lit ghost burg Friday night. 

In fact, the Greater Red Bank Green maintained a near-empty calm through much of the weekend. See additional photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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VIRUS UPDATE: DEATH TOLL EASES

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicAfter a weeklong climb, New Jersey’s daily death toll from the COVID-19 virus eased Saturday, Governor Phil Murphy’s administration reported Sunday.

At the same time, more than 2,300 state residents tested positive for the virus. Read More »

VIRUS UPDATE: ILLNESS, DEATH COUNTS SOAR

Normally bustling, downtown Red Bank was people-free and quiet at 9 p.m. Friday under the governor’s week-old “stay-home” order. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicThirty-two more New Jersey residents died as the the COVID-19 contagion tightened its grip on the state, Governor Phil Murphy said Saturday.

With the state’s death toll now at 140, the pandemic “is a pass/fail test,” Murphy said at his daily pandemic briefing on the crisis. “This is life or death.”

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ON THE GREEN: ESCAPING INTO FRESH AIR

red bank maple avenue joggerIt’s a bit incongruous: beautiful spring weather amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has the Greater Red Bank Green, and parts of the world, on near-lockdown.

Of course, Governor Phil Murphy’s “stay-at-home” order issued Saturday allows for socially-distanced outdoor exercise. And a redbankgreen swing through the Greater Green Thursday found plenty of residents taking in the fresh air, including a jogger on Maple Avenue in Red Bank, above. 

Check out more photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: MARQUEE TOUTS OPTIMISM

red-bank-basie-marqueeIts lineup of shows canceled under the near-lockdown we’re living with to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank has repurposed its marquee.

The marquee now displays messages of “optimism from our local heroes,” the Basie said in a press release. They include quotes from part-time borough resident Jon Stewart and other New Jersey stars.

More below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: IS SCHOOL REOPENING IN SIGHT?

red bank middle school 032220Red Bank’s schools have been closed since March 16. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Are Red Bank’s schools going to reopen April 20?

A district posting Thursday afternoon appeared to suggest they might, just an hour or so after Governor Phil Murphy threw cold water on talk that an end to his indefinite school shutdown order might be in sight.

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VIRUS UPDATE: PANDEMIC TOLL CLIMBS

red bank ymca blood drive 032620 2With blood supplies running low because of the pandemic’s impact on regular drives, about 50 people made appointments for well-spaced donations at Red Bank’s YMCA Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicCOVID-19 continued to ravage New Jersey, with 19 more deaths from the global pandemic reported Thursday.

The number of state residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus soared to 6,876, an increase of 2,492 from Wednesday, Governor Phil Murphy said in his daily briefing.

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VIRUS UPDATE: DEATH TOLL & CASELOAD RISE

Flowers in bloom alongside a nearly vehicle-free Harding Road in Fair Haven Wednesday morning. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The COVID-19 pandemic toll continue to rise, as Governor Phil Murphy announced 18 new deaths in New Jersey Wednesday.

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VIRUS UPDATES: BLOOD, FOOD DRIVES SLATED

red bank ymca blood drive 032420No walk-ins will be allowed at the blood drive. Below, an American Red Cross letter addresses safety concerns. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

American Red Cross COVID-19.jpgA blood drive employing “extreme precautions” is scheduled for Thursday in Red Bank to help address a shortage worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A ‘drop & go” food drive will be held at the same time.

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VIRUS UPDATE: MONMOUTH SEEKS GEAR

red bank cooper bridge 032420 1Joggers crossing the relatively quiet Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge between Red Bank and Middletown Tuesday evening. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicContrary to an anti-COVID-19 directive by Governor Phil Murphy, Monmouth County officials said Wednesday that they are “starting to see” signs of non-residents relocating to vacation homes.

They also issued an appeal for medical supplies to help protect front-line testers and healthcare providers.

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VIRUS UPDATE: SCHOOL IMPACTS REVIEWED

red bank regional rbrRed Bank Regional has been closed by the pandemic since March 10. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

This story was written and produced by NJ Spotlight. It is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. To read more, visit njspotlight.com.

By JOHN MOONEY

Gov. Phil Murphy settled one question Tuesday for New Jersey’s 2,500 public schools and 1.4 million students in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic — but left plenty unanswered.

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VIRUS UPDATE: COVID-19 DEATHS UP AGAIN

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith the deaths of 17 more New Jersey residents over 24 hours, Governor Phil Murphy “can now give you 44 reasons” in support of unprecedented and wide-ranging restrictions he’s imposed in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, he said Tuesday.

That was the highest single-day statewide tally of fatalities in the global coronavirus pandemic, he said.

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