32° Partly Cloudy

WOMAN HURT IN HIT & RUN

Shrewsbury police are seeking the public’s help in solving a hit-and-run involving a pedestrian from Red Bank earlier this week.

Police_blotter_1

Angelica Serrano, 23, suffered a broken pelvis and leg and facial injuries when she was struck by a vehicle shortly after leaving her job at a pizzeria on the Tinton Falls side of Shrewsbury Avenue, according to a story in today’s Asbury Park Press. Serrano remains at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

The incident, on the northbound side of Shrewsbury Avenue, near Patterson Avenue, is believed to have occurred between 9p and 9:50p Tuesday night.

Police believe the vehicle that struck Serrano is a Toyota Corolla, model year between 2004 to 2007. It has damage to the right-front grill, and possibly to the hood.

Anyone with information about the is asked to call Sgt. Allan Morris or Patrolman Adam Cerminaro at (732) 741-2500.

E-mail this story

A MAGAZINE MIGHT HAVE HAVE HELPED

The Holmdel Independent has a story about last weekend’s cow-pie bingo fundraiser at a farm in Middletown, which we advanced last week.

Bingo_mary1

Turns out the cow, named Mary, was in no rush to drop a load. A DJ tried playing “Moon River” and some golden oldies over the PA system, which probably says as much about the DJ’s habits as the cow’s, because Mary took her sweet-ass time. Vendors started packing up their wares and the crowd thinned out.

From the report:

Finally, after two and a half hours, Mary made her mark. The lucky winner was from Red Bank.

“She was a little bit shy,” (farm owner Bill) Potter said afterward, “with all that pressure she was under.”

He meant the cow, we presume.

E-mail this story

CUTS GRASS WITH SICKLE, OWNS HAMMER

Strasburger

“I’m pretty far to the left,” Al Strasburger told us with a note of caution over the phone the other day, before we met him at his Oakland Street home for an interview.

Looking back, we now see what a considerate gesture this was. Clearly the man has a sense of his own toxicity, as measured by today’s political standards. He was gently trying to spare us from… well, a shock, no doubt.

Of course, the warning only whetted our interest. What passes for the ideological “spectrum” in America today is actually a range from the barely-left-of-center to the far right. We thought it would be refreshing to meet a real hairshirt liberal, the kind who might actually resemble the bogeymen that far-right radio screechers have gotten rich warning us about.

So we eagerly made our way past the cartoonishly overgrown yard—which, swear to Allah, Strasburger maintains with a sickle, because he doesn’t own a lawnmower—and into his musty, poster-lined living room, where a two-foot-high stack of Cuban art magazines stood in a corner.

A couple of hours later we departed, having met perhaps the most charming, erudite, Chevy-driving, Phillies-loving defender of Stalin we are ever likely to encounter in these parts.

And yeah, the hair was standing up on the backs of our necks.

Read More »

WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Where09_28

Guy Johnson of the Antique Center of Red Bank steamrolled the competition and was the first to identify last week’s ‘Where‘ as the railroad trestle that crosses West Front Street near Bridge Avenue.

But the most compelling reply came from ‘Where’ regular Jenn Woods, who told us she recognized the location because…

“I sit under that bridge every day on my way home from work.”

Um, OK

Read More »

A PRIMA FACIE CASE OF HAVING A BLAST

We stumbled upon a terrific event Wednesday at The Woman’s Club of Red Bank. It was the kind of gathering that sharply underscores the borough’s appeal as a cultural hub, one that can compete with the best of them.

Reed Smith, a law firm in Princeton, put together a networking day for its female attorneys and the women at their corporate clients. Fifty women participated. The idea was to give them a chance to get out of their routines, relax and connect on a personal level, says Judy Cristella, an office administrator for the firm.

Lawyers_ir3

Now of course, this big-bucks, high-powered crowd could have headed off to Philly, New York or a hundred other places, but “We decided to do a mini-retreat here in Red Bank,” says Cristella.

Why? Well, just look at Exhibit A—their itinerary.

Read More »

RESIDENTS DEMAND RELIEF ON TAXES

The Southies got the crowd they wanted—and the startled attention of Red Bank’s governing body—as an overflow throng descended on the Borough Council Monday night to demand a halt to rising property taxes.

Townmeeting1_2

Responding to a recent leafletting campaign launched by South Street homeowners, residents packed the council chambers, catching elected officials off guard both with their numbers and with their calls for an end to tax hikes.

“I obviously didn’t know we were going to have this many people here,” Mayor Ed McKenna said near the outset of the meeting, a remark that was echoed by two council members.

“We’re here to tell you we’re hurting,” rally organizer Marta Rambaud told the council. “We need to change the trend. We’re hurting and we need help. That help has to come from you, or we’ll have to move away.”

By the end of the nearly two-hour session, the audience had been treated to an emotional call by McKenna for respect he said was due him for “over one thousand nights of my life” spent attending public meetings; yet another volatile exchange between McKenna, who is not seeking re-election, and mayoral candidate John Curley; and a Leighton Avenue resident’s Vaudevillian re-enactment of his encounter with a topless prostitute as he retrieved his morning newspaper recently.

Read More »

STATE LANDS ON SEA BRIGHT & CLUBS

The state of New Jersey has apparently had it with Sea Bright beach club owners—and the borough, too—over the question of just who owns the beach.

Beach2_1

Using a pair of court rulings as leverage, acting Attorney General Anne Milgram today sued Sea Bright and nine private beach clubs for failing to provide unrestricted public access to shorefront that state claims was “almost entirely built through a publicly funded shore protection project in 1995.”

The multifaceted suit also accuses Sea Bright of breaching an agreement to convert the former site of the Peninsula House hotel to a public beach. Instead, the state claims, the borough has left the parcel in disrepair and even tried to barter it away for landlocked property for the site of a new municipal building.

And Sea Bright hasn’t paid a dime of the more than $556,000 it owes the state for its share of a 2003 beach replenishment, the state claims. It demands payment.

Read More »

THE RIGHT WAY TO DO ADDITION

There’s never a blade of grass out of place, it seems, at the Mac Testing & Consulting facility on the corner of Maple Avenue and Reckless Place.

Mac

The green-shuttered white building, the verdant lawn and the flowerbeds surrounding the educational services company are always impeccably groomed. The only incongruity there is the Georgia Bulldogs flag hanging out front.

What’s amazing to us is that this uber-put-togetherness remained the case all summer, as the building went through major renovations, including the addition of new rooms upstairs.

From what we could see, not a flower stem was broken in the process. There wasn’t a scrap of busted sheetrock or clump of sawdust left in the grass. That cantilevered portion you see in the picture? That’s new, and we never saw a bit of debis in the bushes beneath it.

To any homeowner who’s ever endured the daily hell of gypsum dust everywhere, tire-gouged lawns and the mud, mud, mud that goes with remodeling work, the Mac site is the unattainable ideal, the Martha Stewart of makeovers.

Read More »

MAKING MOVIES ON PAPER FIRST

It’s about to start raining celluloid hereabouts, metaphorically speaking, with the return of the Red Bank International Film Festival next month. And for any movie fan with an itch to write, this can be a season of exquisite torment.

Clapboard

Who among movie lovers hasn’t walked out of a theater thinking they could have written something better? Or been so enriched by a great film that they wanted to try to write one herself?

OK, so maybe this isn’t a universal longing. But for those afflicted, here’s a chance to get in touch with your inner Charlie Kaufman or Nicole Holofcener.

As part of its New Professional Series at the Cool School, the Count Basie Theatre is hosting an eight-week workshop for aspiring screenwriters, from teens through adulthood.

Read More »

BOSTON TEA PARTY ON SOUTH STREET

Rambaud_1

At this point, it’s a far cry from Proposition 13, the landmark 1970s effort that resulted in constitutional limits on property-tax increases in California.

And it’s barely a whisper compared to the noise made by the toilet-paper flaunting brigades who turned out in Trenton after Gov. Jim Florio raised the New Jersey sales tax in 1990.

Still, there may be a tax rebellion developing in Red Bank. And it will face its first test of strength next week.

A group of South Street homeowners has been leafletting the borough in recent days in an effort to pack next Monday night’s Borough Council meeting with residents and business owners.

Their message: do something to stop tax increases.

Their aim is to draw a crowd—ideally, one as large as the unexpected throng that jammed the council chambers in July 2005, when the council’s Democratic majority hoped to resurrect dormant plans for a White Street parking garage that would be financed with public funds. That night, a standing-room crowd spilled out of the chambers into the first-floor hallway of the municipal building—and the parking lot plan got shelved.

Read More »

REPORT: ZAZZALI TO GET CENTER CHAIR

Zazzali

As predicted by the Star-Ledger’s Josh Margolin in June, Rumson resident James R. Zazzali, Associate Justice on the state Supreme Court, is Gov. Jon Corzine’s choice to succeed Chief Justice Deborah Poritz upon her expected retirement next month, according to the Associated Press.

Citing an unnamed source, the AP also reports that Corzine will nominate Appellate Court Judge Helen E. Hoens as an associate high court justice. Corzine is expected to make a formal announcement this morning.

Zazzali, a Democrat, was appointed to the high court by by then-Gov. Christie Whitman, a Republican, in 2000.

If confirmed, he’s unlikely to hold the job for long, because the state Constitution requires that justices retire at age 70, a milestone Zazzali will reach in a year. Poritz turns 70 in October.

E-mail this story

GLIDING TO A TITLE

Soucheck1a_ir_1

Something surprising happened when we photographed John Soucheck showing off his championship race walking form at Red Bank Regional High School recently: every series of pictures we took caught Soucheck moving in nearly perfect sync with the motor-driven camera shutter.

The result was the appearance of Soucheck gliding across the pavement—and always with one foot on the ground.

Read More »

WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Where20

A man’s home is his castle, but if he’s got a jones for medieval architecture and a lot of ironstone lying around, who’s to say he can’t fill his yard with castles, too?

Last week’s ‘Where‘ featured a pair of stone pylons resembling castle turrets. To our surprise, none of our readers identified them or their location, which is in front of the house at 80 Church Street in Little Silver.

Read More »

‘BREATHING ROOM’ FOR CHARTER SCHOOL

Only a few months ago, the Red Bank Charter School appeared to be on the brink of financial disaster. Now it’s on a hot streak of fiscal good fortune, one that continued yesterday.

Charter2

Last month, the state Department of Education slashed a pending fine against the school from $1 million to $55,000 following an appeal. The fine had been imposed in May, 2005 for what state officials ruled were violations of bidding laws in conection with the Oakland Street school’s renovations.

Yesterday, according to the Asbury Park Press, the state agreed to allow the school to pay the fine over five years.

Read More »

TAX-DODGE TO QUIT TAXATION POST

Jack Westlake, the Monouth Couty Board of Taxation president who last week pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges, will quit his part-time county post, the Asbury Park Press reports, citing Westlake’s lawyer.

Just_in_8

Westlake, whom the Press says is a Red Bank resident, is expected to step down by Friday, his lawyer, John C. Whipple, told the Press. Westlake is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 19 to between 10 and 16 months in prison, under the terms of a plea deal.

Read More »

RUMSON EXEC FACING CHILD SEX CHARGES

Police_blotter

A Rumson man has been charged with trying to lure a person he’d been told was a 6-year-old girl for a sexual encounter in a Bergen County hotel, according to the Star-Ledger.

Lee Devinsky, a 35-year-old advertising executive, was arrested at the hotel in Park Ridge on Saturday. He was arraigned yesterday on one count each of attempted aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, the Ledger reported, citing Bergen County prosecutors.

Read More »

HOLY CRAP!

Bingo1_2

Here’s an event the kids won’t be able to stop talking about for hours afterward: the Middletown Reformed Church is holding a cow pie bingo fundraiser this weekend.

That’s right, cow pies. Whichever numbered square in a 500-square-foot grid Elsie drops her excrement into first is the winning box, and the holder of the $20 ticket assigned to that box claims a $5,000 prize. The church gets the other half of the $10,000 pot.

The event is scheduled for 1p on Saturday at Potter’s Farm on Red Hill Road, at the intersection of Garden State Parkway exit 114.

Read More »

WALL STREETERS IN RUMSON BORDER CLASH

Here’s a feud that must make for some chilly encounters on the SeaStreak Ferry gangplank.

The Asbury Park Press has a story today on an escalating four-year battle between a couple of Wall Street bigs with adjoining estates on West River Road in Rumson.

Gookins

On one side is Pete Dawkins, vice chairman of a unit of Citigroup, former Heisman trophy winner and onetime U.S. Senate candidate who has built one lavish monument to himself in the form of a Navesink River mansion, and another in the form of a website.

On the other is Mickey Gooch, majority owner of an obscure yet soaring Wall Street firm and author of a rambling, exclamation-filled first-person column in the weekly Two River Times, which he owns with his wife, Diane.

Combined size of their Navesink River properties: 19 acres. Combined assessments: $15.8 million. Pettiness level of their dispute: pretty high.

Read More »

MILLION-DOLLAR HOMES GROWING PART OF THE GLUT

Million-dollar homes are a growing factor in the glut of properties for sale in Monmouth County, according to today’s Asbury Park Press.

Millions1

The Press reports that the number of Monmouth County homes for sale priced at or above the $1 million mark soared more than 39 percent in August from the year-prior level.

And in a second article, the Press reports that 6,884 Monmouth County homes sat unsold in the second quarter of this year, a 57 percent increase from the same period last year.

Read More »

WARNING: SCORECARDS MAY BE AUDITED

Pity the poor Certified Public Accountant. Wonkishly dull, they say. Obsessed with arcana. Underdeveloped sense of humor.

And whatever you do, don’t mess with a CPA’s workspace, because everything is exactly where it belongs.

Yeah, well, the folks at the accounting firm Curchin Group LLC hope to take a divot out of the stereotype next week.

Calculator3

Next Thursday, Sept. 21, they’ll put their green eyeshades to new use when they host what they’re calling the first annual Curchin Open, an indoor miniature golf tournament for charity.

That’s right, indoors. In their offices. With holes laid out to look like dollar signs and calculators stuck between the desks. Not to mention the best amenities of a clubhouse. Namely, food and booze.

Read More »

WORKING OUT THE KINKS

Yogo1

Elizabeth Harper, left, leads a “gentle yoga” class for women at the historic Woman’s Club of Red Bank on Broad Street every Thursday from 9 to 10:15a. The fee is $12 for those who buy a month in advance and $16 for drop-ins.

Co-ed Monday evening classes begin Oct. 2, with sessions from 6 to 7:15; those observing the Jewish Holiday may start the following week with no penalty. The fees are the same as above.

For those who might be new to yoga, Harper has scheduled a co-ed introductory class for Monday, Sept. 18, from 6 to 7:15p. The fee is $12.

E-mail this item

REPORTS: LYNCH, WESTLAKE TO COP PLEAS

Former state Senate President and Democratic powerbroker John E. Lynch Jr. will plead guilty to federal charges in Newark today, according to stories moved late yesterday by the Asbury Park Press, the Star-Ledger and the New York Times.

Just_in_6
In addition, the Times report says that Jack Westlake, a partner with Lynch in a Tinton Falls-based consulting firm, will plead guilty to failing to pay income taxes on $350,000 in earnings from a business deal with Lynch.

As it has in the past, the Ledger refers to Westlake as a “Red Bank developer,” though other reports identify him as a Highlands resident. No Monmouth County phone listing or property record under Westlake’s name could immediately be found last night.

Read More »

AND NO, DESSERT ISN’T INCLUDED

True_cost4_1

If a $50 bag of groceries gives you sticker shock, wait until you hear what Bonnie Lane Webber says about the actual cost of raising and transporting the food that ends up in your refrigerator every few days.

The way the part-time Rumson resident sees it, if the “hidden” costs of pesticide and herbicide impacts, soil decimation and ozone depletion weren’t dispersed across society—or deferred to future generations—you’d be ringing up charges totaling thousands of dollars every time you visited the supermarket.

That pound of steak you pay $10 for now? That would cost you $815. The tomato on your salad? Well, if it’s not of local origin, that little baby not only won’t taste as good as a Jersey, but it might cost $374. A typical load of groceries could set you back $32,000.

Try using your FoodTown bonus points to trim that bill.

Webber acknowledges that there’s a lot of “poetic license” in the figures, which aren’t derived from any particular study. But they’re meant to get consumers thinking beyond the health issues that usually frame the debate over modern versus organic farming techniques, and to focus attention on the pocketbook as well.

Read More »

WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

‘Sue from Fair Haven’ lassoed last week’s ‘Where,’ which turned out to be a bucking bronc that threw a number of readers.

The idyllic image of cows and other livestock in a pasture is from a mural painted on the side of What’s Your Beef restaurant on River Road in Rumson.

“Nice mural, though I don’t necessarily need to be reminded of where my meal comes from right before I eat,” Sue writes. “I also steer (no pun intended) away from restaurants with big steer on the rooftops or comical chickens in their ads.”

Where19

We see your point, Sue. But how do you feel about Charlie the Tuna? See, he wanted to get caught by StarKist, but StarKist wasn’t looking for a hepcat tuna with good taste; they wanted tuna that tasted good. So he was a symbol for what you wouldn’t find in a can of StarKist…

Anyway. Recognize this week’s entry? E-mail your answers, please.

E-mail this story