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‘THE WINDOW MAN SEES A LOT’

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Ten quick questions for Eric Auerbach of Clearview Window Cleaners, Long Branch. He’s shown here at Bain’s Hardware, Sea Bright.

How long have you been a window-washer? About 13 years. I started off working for another company and then I went off on my own. I was doing all the work, and he was making all the money, so I just went off on my own.

Do you enjoy your work? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I do enjoy it, for the most part. You do the same thing day in, day out for 13 years, you get a little tired of it. But for the most part, I feel I’m lucky to have what I have. There’s a lot of people who don’t have jobs, or go to a job that they hate. I like what I do. I make all the decisions. There’s no corporate bureaucracy to deal with. I’m the corporate bureaucracy.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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Jenn Woods of Red Bank, who was narrowly edged out by David Prown in the e-mail race of correct answers to ‘Where’ no. 13, is the clear winner of contest no. 14. Having grown up in Little Silver and lived in the area her whole life, Jenn’s probably whistled past the cemetery on Rumson Road thousands of times.

And yes, that’s the answer: the cemetery on Rumson Road, at Conover Lane. According to an entry on the web—and we don’t vouch for the accuracy of this—it’s called the Old Rumson Burying Ground, and there’s a Springsteen somewhere in that spectral tangle of greenery. Daniel, “son of Joseph and Elizabeth, died April 18, 1862, aged 17y 8 m”

We’re not aware of any cemeteries in what is today Red Bank proper. Anybody know if there are or were any? If there weren’t, why not? And if there were, what happened to them? Were the dear departeds disinterred and shipped off to a home for the retired dead in Florida?

The answer box is now open for speculation on this mystery as well as for for entries attempting to solve this week’s ‘Where.’ E-mail ’em if you got ’em.

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CURLEY FRIED

Councilman and mayoral wannabe John P. Curley was booted from his post overseeing the borough’s finance department last night, according to Larry Higgs in today’s Asbury Park Press.

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Mayor Ed McKenna initiated the ouster, repeating his claim that lax oversight of now-departed borough CFO Terence Whalen by Curley forced the council to raise property taxes.

The vote to kick Curley to the curb went along party lines, with the four Democrats, including mayoral contender Pat Menna, voting in favor. Curley and fellow Republican Kaye Ernst voted against it, the Press reports.

“Why don’t you just take me down to Broad Street and hang me?” Curley is reported have said.

He defended his role in monitoring the finance department, saying…

that until the 2005 audit, which was delivered this summer, other reports from the auditor revealed no problems in the finance department.

“I got the reports from the auditor, and the reports were everything was fine,” he said. “I am not the CFO or the auditor. I can only go by the reports.”

Curley also reminded McKenna that he has appointed him to consecutive terms as finance chairman.

McKenna, though, compared Curley’s handling of the assignment to that of his three predecessors, and found Curley’s actions wanting, to say the least. Unlike Curley, the previous overseers of the department met regularly with the CFO and provided updates to the council, McKenna said.

From the story:

“There is nothing personal or political about what I will propose here. This is strictly business,” McKenna told the council. “In any other business, if a department chairman or head had $400,000 in losses, they would be fired.”

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BRUCE: ‘THE BEST 18 YEARS OF MY LIFE’

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Well, Judy Barnaby and the folks at the Antique Center of Red Bank are looking like pretty good judges of character right now, contrary to the cynical intepretations by some regarding events at the store last Friday.

Judy and her colleagues were visited by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa that afternoon, something that’s happened innumerable times over the past two decades. Store employees and antiques dealers chatted with the couple, got a hug or two, and sat ‘enthralled’ with the few customers present while Bruce and Patti put on a scruffy little performance with some old string instruments they found in the stalls.

The dealers even talked with Patti and Bruce about a blind item that appeared the day before in the New York Post, which reported the couple was about to split up because of an alleged affair between Springsteen and an unnamed Sept. 11 widow. The story was ‘ridiculous,’ Scialfa and Springsteen both said.

Afterward, and with evident reluctance, Barnaby and her colleagues broke their usual omerta about their celebrity customers to tell redbankgreen, in an exclusive, that the couple looked as happy as they ever have, no matter what the Post said.

Now, either Scialfa and Springsteen are playing a masterful game of PR manipulation—and doing an impressive acting job—or Judy Barnaby & Co. have pretty good radar.

In a message posted today over his signature at his website, Springsteen writes:

I hesitate to use this website for anything personal believing it should remain a place where fans of my music can come free of the distractions that occasionally arise with the rest of my job.
However, due to the unfounded and ugly rumors that have appeared in the papers over the last few days, I felt they shouldn’t pass without comment. Patti and I have been together for 18 years- the best 18 years of my life. We have built a beautiful family we love and want to protect and our commitment to one another remains as strong as the day we were married.

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WHAT? THE DUCKS DON’T MIND!

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A Trenton lawmaker is proposing a ban on foie gras, the cracker-meat that comes from, well, read for yourself, from the story in the Atlantic City Press:

“To produce the delicacy, poultry farmers force-feed ducks or geese through metal tubes pushed down the birds’ throats, so the birds’ livers expand to several times the normal size.

The result is a duck or goose liver with a rich, buttery taste.”

That’s just “cruel and barbaric,” says Assemblywoman Joan Voss, D-Bergen. “To intentionally induce pain and suffering on these birds just to create a gourmet appetizer is appalling.”

As is often the case, of course, there’s someone to claim a purported commercial interest that should trump any concerns about barbarity. Ariane Daguin, who owns D’Artagnan, a national foie gras distributor based in Newark, tells the Press that prohibiting Garden State farmers from producing foie gras will put them at a competitive disadvantage against other states.

But the Press notes that:

No foie gras farms currently exist in the state. In fact only three such farms operate in the U.S., one in California and two in upstate New York.

Well, that takes care of that non-issue.

Still, D’Artagnan defends the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese as something they tolerate well, and wants to deflect attention to the way other fowl are treated. “Go see how chickens are being raised,” Daguin said. “It’s terrifying. It’s bad. It’s cruel.”

Why, yes, we see your point, Ariane! Let’s start force-feeding chickens, too! It’s the only humane thing to do!

Chicago recently banned the sale of foie-gras, and a California ban will become effective in 2012. Worldwide, 16 countries prohibit the production and/or sale of foie gras, according to a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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JUST THE RIGHT TYPE

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John Six of Mayo Auto Service on Monmouth Street lends an arm at Saturday’s ‘Rock ‘n Roll Up Your Sleeves’ blood drive at the Two River Theater.

The event, which featured live music in the lobby, was held to help the Central Jersey Blood Center address a blood shortage, particularly of types O Negative and O Positive.

Donations are still being sought. Call the center, located on Sycamore Avenue in Shrewsbury, to make an appointment. (732) 842-5750 ext. 264.

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WHAT, NO IMPROMPTU SHOW?

Good god, how did we get sucked into this celebrity coverage all of a sudden? First Kittie, then the Springsteens, and now this. Will it never end?

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Anyway, we feel it is our duty to report that Sheryl Crow just finished a shopping spree at the Antique Center. Yes, the same place where Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa gave a scruffy little concert on Friday, no doubt much to the chagrin of the scribes at the Post’s Page Six.

Crow is performing tonight with John Mayer in Holmdel, at the Arts Center named for a bank. We’re told she bought a lot of stuff for a farmhouse she purchased recently.

Somebody informed Crow about the Springsteen/Scialfa visit on Friday. Her response, according to our highly reliable source: “Oh, I really want to give them a call.”

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BRUCE & PATTI: MEDIA SIEGE BEGINS

You’ve got to feel for the folks at the Antique Center of Red Bank.

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Up until now, the story that Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa were as lovey-dovey as they’ve ever been when they shopped and gave an impromptu concert Friday afternoon has been a redbankgreen exclusive. (See the two items immediately below this one, please.)

Frankly, we’d love for it to stay that way for two reasons. One is to assure a lot of hits to our infant site. The other is to spare store employees from pestering about two of their favorite customers.

But now, the national media appears about to descend, either in person or by telephone, on the West Front Street establishment. We hear that one publication is at the center at this very moment. And it seems logical to assume that others will follow.

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SPRINGSTEEN-SCIALFA UPDATE

Here’s an update to the story below.

redbankgreen spoke tonight with Judy Barnaby, the Antique Center employee who waited on Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa on Friday afternoon.

Barnaby echoes what Guy Johnson told us earlier: that the couple was holding hands, and laughing with dealers and customers as they shopped for about an hour.

They even stopped and picked up a couple of old instruments, which they tuned up and used to give an impromptu concert lasting about five minutes.

“Bruce was strumming an old guitar, and Patti was strumming an old mandolin, and they were singing and cuttin’ up and have a good time,” says Barnaby. Customers in the store at the time were naturally “enthralled,” says Barnaby, and the intruments were immediately snapped up for purchase afterward.

And according to Barnaby, who’s known Springsteen for 20 years, they were not hiding from the rumor that their marriage was on the rocks.

“I got a hug from Patti, and I told her I was very happy to see that they were back together,” says Barnaby. “She said, ‘Isn’t this the pits?’ referring to the coverage. She said, ‘Isn’t it ridiculous? My friends are more upset than I am.’ “

“Several of the dealers said the same thing to them—that they were sorry to see what was in the papers. But (Springsteen and Scialfa) said it was ridiculous.”

“The rumor’s not true, from the horse’s mouth,” says Barnaby. “They were holding hands and kissing and carrying on. They weren’t any different than they have been in the past 20 years. They were their old selves. They enjoyed themselves, and they took their goodies and went home.”

Barnaby declined to discuss what the couple purchased or how much they spent, out of respect for their privacy and fear of dissuading them from returning.

“They bought a lot of nice things,” she says. “They’re nice people and they’re human beings and they like to shop.”

[Note: a photo of a yellow building that ran with an earlier version of this story was included by mistake. It’s not the building where Springsteen and Scialfa were shopping Friday.]

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BRUCE & PATTI: STILL SHOPPING

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By now, everyone in the eight-planet solar system has probably heard some version of the New York Post’s gossip item claiming a Bruce Springsteen-Patti Scialfa split is in the works.

The story, sexed-up with tantalizing hints of another redhead—this one a Sept. 11 widow—hit the wires and got picked up all over the place, including a Romanian publication that had trouble spelling Bruce’s last name. Wikipedia’s entry on Scialfa has already been updated with the gossip (though it was curiously absent from Springsteen’s bio this morning).

But the couple spent more than an hour shopping yesterday at the Antique Center of Red Bank, and appeared to be having a rockin’ good time together, redbankgreen has learned.

Store owner Guy Johnson says he was at home, having just read the rumor in the Asbury Park Press, when one of his employees called to tell him that Scialfa and Springsteen were in the shop.

“I said, ‘Are they fighting?’ She said, ‘No! They’re holding hands and laughing and going up and down the aisles picking stuff out,’ ” Johnson reports.

The couple, who have homes in Rumson and Colts Neck, dropped “at least $3,000” on a sterling silver set and other decorative items, says Johnson. Bruce put the tab on his black MasterCard.

It seems that Springsteen and Scialfa were doing pretty much what they always do. They’ve been customers of the warehouse-like antiques emporium for years, Johnson says. Sometimes they shop together, but Patti also likes to peruse the 30-percent-off tables solo or with her mother, he says.

Bruce has also shown up stag “just before Christmas, picking up stuff for Patti or whatever, every year for the past six or seven years,” says Johnson. “He’s pretty much a regular in the place.”

Was this shopping spree a PR ploy meant to quell the talk of marital discord? Who knows? But as Johnson sees it, if Springsteen and Scialfa were hoping to generate counter-buzz to the gossip, they picked a strange place and time for it, as there were few customers in the store when they dropped in.

Springsteen is aparently fond of the pre-owned markets, by the way. Earlier this month, one of the Princeton Packet newspapers ran a story about an antiques dealer in East Windsor who said Springsteen had “filled his house in Rumson” with items purchased at that shop.

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MORE CURLEY v. McKENNA

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The acrimony between departing Mayor Ed McKenna and mayoral candidate John Curley spilled over into the business of the Monmouth County Freeholders last night.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that Curley and other Republicans were, um, displeased with the Freeholders’ hiring of law firms.

McKenna’s firm—McKenna, Dupont, Higgins & Stone—was named as a special counsel. The Freeholders also re-appointed, by a 3-2 vote, Malcolm V. Carton as county counsel, re-upping Carton in a post he’s held since 1985.

Carton’s lock on the job had appeared in danger amid rising concern about the size of his bills and his naked fundraising for Republican candidates.

But under new rules adopted by the Freeholders, the county counsel will be prohibited from making any political contributions to candidates for county office, and is now barred from hosting fundraisers for the freeholders, sheriff, county clerk or county surrogate.

The Freeholders also brought in six new law firms, including McKenna’s, with both Democratic and Republican affiliations.

Not good enough, according to Curley and other critics who took a throw-the-bums-out approach.

From the story:

“It is a night of shame for the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders,” Curley said. “The county is not moving to clean itself up. They appoint the same cronies…the same old boys club.”

OK, so that was arguably a broad-brush attack not necessarily aimed solely at McKenna. But it makes for a tidy entry in the back-and-forth between McKenna, who ran on the same ticket as Curley in 2002, and Curley, who later switched parties, from Democratic to Republican.

A week ago, McKenna blamed Curley for the 4-cents-per-$100-assessment increase approved by the borough council.

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PARKING DIRECTOR INVESTIGATED

The Hub is reporting today that Red Bank Parking Director Neil Burnip is on leave from his post pending completion of an investigation into a sexual harrassment complaint lodged against him by another Borough Hall employee.

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The name of the accuser and the particulars of the allegation are not given. Borough officials have declined to comment.

Borough Labor Attorney Jamie Plosia is conducting the probe, and a police official told the Hub’s Layli White that the department is not involved in the investigation.

The Hub reports that neither Burnip nor his attorney, Todd Wallman, could be reached for comment.

Burnip was the accuser in a 2005 tort claim in which he contended that Councilman John Curley and then-councilwoman Jennifer Beck had created a hostile work environment by citing his nationality in campaign literature that challenged the necessity of Burnip’s hiring.

Burnip is a native of England and came to the U.S. from Scotland to take the parking director job in 2002.

Plosia, who also investigated that complaint, found one instance of a “stray remark” about Burnip’s nationality, but that neither Curley nor Beck, who is now a member of the state Assembly, had violated Burnip’s rights. Curley, though, was required to attend sensitivity training. The Borough Council accepted Plosia’s report last April.

The Hub reports that Burnip has not foreclosed the possibility of a civil lawsuit against Curley and Beck.

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KITTIE PURRS IN RED BANK

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Kittie, an all-female heavy metal band from Canada that has sold more than 1.2 million records, is wrapping up a month of recording at RetroMedia Studios in Red Bank this week.

Though redbankgreen is eternally stupefied by heavy metal—and not in a good way—we were intrigued to learn that Kittie had chosen a studio upstairs from the placid Eurasian Eatery to record songs described on the band’s website as being about “death of one kind or another, be it literally, figuratively, or emotionally.”

Of course, they mean “literal, figurative or emotional,” but never mind that. It turns out that the Monmouth Street studio, owned by John Noll, was selected by Jack Ponti, a former bandmate of the guy who now calls himself Jon Bon Jovi. Ponti lives in the area and is producing Kittie’s fourth album. The as-yet-untitled record is due out next March.

Still, knowing what brought the band here wasn’t enough. We wanted to meet this Kittie. It is, after all, our job.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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David Prown, who is as deserving of the title of Mr. Red Bank as anyone in this town (see Tom Chesek’s profile of him in the current issue of Red Bank Red Hot, if you need more info), is the winner of last week’s Where. He was the first to correctly identify the footprints-in-concrete as being at the intersection of West and Wall streets. Jenn Woods got it, too, but David was there first, so he gets the big attaboy.

Hey, whose footprints are those, anyway?

Now, to this week’s Where. You know you know where this is. Let’s hear your thoughts via e-mail, please.

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BORN TO ROW?

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Maybe Red Bank-based Navesink River Rowing, which is always looking for a good strong back, should give Bruce Springsteen a call.

The Star-Ledger’s MaryAnn Spoto has a story on Springsteen taking a stab at rowing a lifeguard boat in the ocean off the Manasquan Inlet on Tuesday.

Springsteen was at the ‘Squan beach to help the town celebrate the 75th anniversary of the re-opening of the inlet. Why? Because, well, what else is there to do on a Tuesday in August when both the Seeger Sessions tour and the Monmouth County Horse Show are over?

Anyway, from the article:

Janet Carbin, assistant chief guard for Manasquan beaches, said Springsteen took her up on her offer to try rowing a surfboat in the ocean off Manasquan Inlet beach.

“He thought it was hysterical,” Carbin said after the row. “I talked about my kids, he talked about a couple of things.”

But mostly in the 10-minute ocean venture, she gave him instructions on how to row, telling him to put more of his back into the effort rather than using his arms, she said.

After the row, he wandered around the crowds on the esplanade along the inlet. Wearing a white T-shirt, maroon Birdwell boardshorts and a baseball cap, Springsteen shook hands with those who recognized him and posed for photographs.

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SHREWSBURY JEWELER JAIL-BOUND

The owner of a jewelry store in The Grove was sentenced to federal prison earlier this week for tax evasion that a judge called an example of “appalling” greed.

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The Asbury Park Press has the story about Lincinio Neves, owner of Neves Jewelers. He also owns a second store in Woodbridge.

Neves, a 60-year-old Spring Lake resident, was sentenced to serve six and a half months in prison for failing to report cash purchases at his stores. Then he’ll be confined to his home for another six and a half months.

Neves pleaded guilty in 2001 to hiding $150,000 in sales. No reason is given in the story for the five-year gap between Neves’ plea and his sentencing.

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RAW DATA: RB SCHOOLS FALL SHORT

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Red Bank Middle School and Red Bank Regional High School were among the 643 schools statewide that failed to make “adequate yearly progress” under the federal No Child Left Behind law, the state Department of Education disclosed today. The results were based on preliminary data.

The Red Bank Charter School and the elementary school were each classified as having made adequate progress.

At the high school, where 79 percent of the students must demonstrate language arts literacy, the shortcomings showed up among Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. In math, which requires 64 percent of students to pass a test, Hispanics, African-Americans and students with disabilities came up short of the law’s targets.

The high school is classified as a “school in need of improvement” for failing to meet the law’s standards for 4 years in a row. According to the Asbury Park Press,

Schools not meeting standards in the same content area for four consecutive years are deemed to be in need of corrective action. The actions can include instituting a new curriculum, extending the school day or school year, or replacing staff who are deemed relevant to the school not making adequate progress.

Here’s what Edward Westervelt, Red Bank Regional superintendent, told the Press last October:

“We’ve improved scores, but we didn’t improve enough to prevent from being identified as needing improvement,” Westervelt said. “There are no excuses. We will remediate. I’m convinced we’ll be off the list next year.”

At the middle school, the sole shortcoming was the failure to meet a required 95-percent “participation rate” of Hispanic and economically disadvantaged kids in language arts and literature, according to the report.

Schools in Rumson, Fair haven, Little Silver, Shrewsbury and Tinton Falls all made the grade. In Middletown, all schools met the standards except Thorne Middle School.

From the Department of Education announcement:

A total of 643 schools—26.5 percent of New Jersey’s total 2,422 schools and 29 percent of the tested schools—did not make AYP. In 2004-05, 822 schools—34 percent of the total public schools in the state last year and 37.8 percent of the tested schools—did not meet the AYP benchmarks.

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MOWERS, LEAF BLOWERS AND MORNING COFFEE

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For anyone who’s ever craved a few minutes more peace and quiet before the anal leaf-blower next door starts his weekly lawn scour, Middletown is offering a modicum of relief.

Under an ordinance approved by the town council last night, the screech of leaf blowers, mowers and other motorized tools would be prohibited after 9p and before 7a on weekdays and from 9p to 8a on weekends, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.

Previously, the town’s laws addressed only noise levels, not hours of operation.

From the story:

The ordinance was adopted in a 4-1 vote, which followed a public hearing where one resident spoke. Committeewoman Rosemarie Peters cast the dissenting vote.

Peters said she is in favor of regulating noise but thinks the hours could be altered.

“I think 7 a.m. is really too early to allow the kind of noise that this ordinance covers,” she said. “I think 8 a.m. is a little bit more reasonable.”

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WET JUMPER WAS WANTED

Turns out one of the two women who jumped off the Oceanic Bridge earlier this month was wanted on drug charges in Broward, County, Florida, and had outstanding warrants in Hazlet and Middletown, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

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Yvonne R. Dura, 23, also gave the Rumson police a fake name when they issued summonses to her and another woman for jumping off the bridge into the Navesink on Aug. 6, according to updated charges

Dura is being held in the Monmouth County Jail in lieu of $205,000 bail, the Press reports.

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PARKWAY DEATH TOLL RISING

Fatalities on New Jersey’s major raodways are up this year by 18 percent, reversing a general trend of increasing roadway safety, today’s Bergen Record reports.

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The article comes less than a week after two accidents on a short stretch of Route 95 claimed five lives, including three members of a Queens family. The Record reports the highway had been relatively safe in recent years.

From the story:

In contrast, the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike and Route 80 claim many more lives. In 2004, there were 40 fatal accidents on the parkway, which is by far the state’s busiest roadway. There were 25 fatal accidents on the turnpike and 18 on Route 80.

Joe Orlando, a spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, said the number of fatal accidents on the parkway has grown in spite of police enforcement.

“State police on the turnpike and parkway are at the highest complement of troopers they have been at in years,” he said.

Orlando said a high number of fatalities on the parkway occurred late at night, and involved a single vehicle. He said the geometry of the parkway may also present more problems for distracted motorists.

“The turnpike is very straight,” he said. “The parkway has more bends in it, and keep in mind there are a lot of sections of the parkway that are without guardrail.”

State highway and police officials are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss what’s behind the recent spurt in fatalities and what to do about it, the Record reports.

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PET RESCUE PLANS NOW LAW

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Disaster planners in New Jersey will have to come up with strategies for saving pets in an emergency under a law signed by Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday.

The law was inspired by numerous reports of pet owners forced by circumstance to abandon their animals during Hurricane Katrina last year.

According to the Star-Ledger (lower portion of story), emergency management offices at the state, county and local levels are now required to make the rescue and safeguarding of pets a priority in an emergency.

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ROCK, BLOOD & THE GORES

Upstage magazine reports that the Two River Theater will be the site of a rock ‘n roll blood drive this Saturday from 10a to 4p.

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Chris Morrisy, Maybe Pete and A.R.D. will perform at the event for the Central Jersey Blood Center, which is hoping to collect 150 pints of blood to bolster its supplies by Labor Day.

A lack of donations over the past two months threatens the blood supply, Upstage reports. “Inventory levels have dropped well below an adequate supply. Types O Negative and O Positive are urgently needed.” Potential donors are asked to call (732) 842-5750 ext. 264 to make an appointment.

Speaking of rock and doing good, the Asbury Park Press tells us that Al and Tipper Gore will join Bon Jovi at a fundraiser on Sept. 16 for 180 Turning Lives Around, a non-profit that provides support services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Bon Jovi will host a reception at his home in Navesink to donors who contribute $10,000 or more. Afterward, he’ll be honored for his work on behalf of 180. A $500-per-seat dinner will follow at the home of Philip and Tammy Murphy, also of Navesink.

Tipper Gore will be honored for her work as an advocate for mental health, homelessness and anti-violence causes. Bobby Bandiera will perform.

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