42° Overcast

FOUR SHOOTING INCIDENTS DISCLOSED

Police_blotter

Red Bank Police are investigating four suspected shootings over little more than three weeks that were not previously disclosed to the public, Capt. Steven McCarthy confirmed to redbankgreen this afternoon.

No one was injured in any of the four incidents between July 31 and August 22, and slight property damage resulted in two of the cases. All the shootings occurred on the West Side, and no arrests have been made.

Bullets were recovered in two incidents, and shell casings in the other two. That physical evidence has been sent to he State Police for analysis, and borough investigators are awaiting the results.

McCarthy declined comment when asked why the shootings had not previously been reported to local media. The department periodically issues press releases in connection with noteworthy matters, and fields phone calls on a nearly daily basis from reporters making routine blotter checks.

Late this afternoon, Mayor Pasquale Menna said he, too, had not been told about the shootings by either Police Chief Mark Fitzgerald or Councilman Art Murphy, the governing body’s liaison to the police department. But he vowed to fix that right away.

“If someone doesn’t think it’s important to report a low-impact shooting, that’s got to change, and it will change immediately,” Menna said.

Read More »

AUTHENTICITY, AND A PINT OR TWO

DubOut front, the open-air courtyard.

By LINDSAY SAKRAIDA

Early one morning a while back, Dublin House co-owner Sean Dunne walked into the “eerie” empty bar to check on construction work underway on the second floor. But when he went to open a locked door to let in more light, he realized he’d left his keys downstairs.

After retrieving them, Dunne returned to find the door mysteriously now open. The puckish work of an old tenant, he says — no matter that this former tenant has been dead for decades.

“Mrs. Patterson’s ghost is still in the house, and it has been proven by a clairvoyant,” Dunne declares. “They have confirmed her presence.

“Now when I come into the house in the morn, I say ‘Good morning Mrs. Patterson.’ The construction ruffled her feathers a little bit.”

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT SORTS MAKEOVER OPTIONS

Dsc01053A concept plan shows a boardwalk running from the former Peninsula House site down to Donovan’s Reef.

By LINDA G. RASTELLI

The Sea Bright borough council hopes to make the town a magnet on the Jersey shore “second to none,” no longer the “Jersey Turnpike” of the shore, Councilman Thomas Scriven said last night.

Upgrading its municipal facilities, opening a beach club and finding ways to share services with other towns are among the priorities, two council members told a group of residents who turned out to hear a Smart Growth update.

Read More »

DROWNING VICTIM IDENTIFIED

Police have identified the Red Bank man who died yesterday while cleaning a residential pool in Rumson as Luis Javier Rojas, of Lexington Avenue, according to the Asbury Park Press. He was 25 years old.

From the story:

Rojas, who is from Mexico City, had been dropped off Wednesday morning at the Somerset Drive residence to clean the pool, according to police. The residents were not home at the time.

Two other employees of the Edgewater Pool Company in Little Silver returned to pick up Rojas later in the morning and found him unresponsive in the pool and called 911, police said. The Rumson First Aid Squad attempted unsuccessfully to revive him.

Email this story

Read More »

A ROUNDABOUT MEANING OF ‘SAFER?’

Dsc01029
A westbound car, at left, heads into oncoming traffic in the new roundabout outside Brookdale Community College this morning.

By LINDA G. RASTELLI

Just moments after Monmouth County and Middletown officials packed up their press conference to tout a “safer” new traffic configuration in Lincroft this morning, a motorist drove into oncoming traffic in the $1.2 million ‘roundabout‘.

Yep, redbankgreen saw it with its own digital eyes. And there’s the proof, above.

As near-misses go, this one was pretty slow speed. No accident ensued.

Still, was it an anomaly, or a harbinger of problems for users of the reconfigured entrance to Brookdale Community College on Newman Springs Road?

We’re still waiting to hear back from the experts. So watch this space.

Read More »

BECK: STATE TOO SLOW ON BEST LIQUORS

Jbeck1

Twelfth-district state Assemblywoman and Red Bank resident Jennifer Beck has asked Attorney General Anne Milgram to speed up the scheduled hearing on whether the borough can shut down Best Liquors over a series of sales infractions.

“March of 2008 is entirely too long for the Borough of Red Bank to wait to see if the revocation of Best Liquors’ liquor license is upheld,” Beck says in a press release that announces a letter she sent to the AG. “Red Bank’s quality of life continues to suffer as Best Liquors has been permitted to stay open pending the outcome of their appeal.”

Here’s the letter: Download BeckMilgram83007.

It’s also addressed to Jerry Fischer, director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division, the agency that this week set a March 5, 2008 hearing date on the appeal by Best Liquors to halt the shutdown.

Read More »

WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Where082907

The late auto-parts sculptor Jim Gary had his fans.

Several respondents to last week’s ‘Where’ not only knew the location of the distinctive piece shown — it’s in front of a house on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright, just south of McLoone’s Riverside restaurant — but named Gary as its creator.

(We haven’t verified this, but it sure looks like Gary’s distinctive handiwork). [UPDATE: It’s now been verified. See the bottom of this story.]

Among those who mentioned the artist was our first answerer: Fran Waldmann of Red Bank.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT FACILITIES IN SPOTLIGHT

Img_4686What to do about the cramped Borough Hall is among tonight’s topics in Sea Bright.

By LINDA G. RASTELLI

If you want to read Sea Bright’s Smart Growth report, a copy of the document will set you back $40 at the borough hall.

But if that’s a little rich for your blood, you can attend a special council meeting tonight, where an update of the plan will be presented in PowerPoint form.

“It’ll be an informational session, with a Q&A afterward, to present four or five options” for upgrading municipal facilities, says Councilwoman Maria Fernandes.

Read More »

CLEANER FOUND DEAD IN RUMSON POOL

A 25-year-old employee of a Red Bank pool cleaning service was found dead in a Rumson pool this morning when co-workers returned to pick him up after dropping him off earlier, the Asbury Park Press is reporting.

Just_in

The victim, not yet publicly identified, was an employee of Edgewater Pool Co. and was from Mexico City, according to the story, which says the man drowned.

The pool is at a home on Somerset Drive, the paper reports on its website.

Read More »

FORECAST: METEOR SHOWERS POSSIBLE

Lunareclipse1

That’s a picture of the full lunar eclipse — full in some parts of the world, that is, but not this part — taken early Tuesday morning from an undisclosed bedroom in Red Bank.

But you knew it was Red Bank, right? What would a photo on redbankgreen be without the Red Bank angle?

Anyway, whether or not you caught that astronomical treat, there’s another one coming Saturday: a meteor shower.

Maybe.

Read More »

COP FROM MIDDLETOWN INDICTED

A Jersey City policeman who lives in Middletown and has a record spotted with drunk-driving allegations was indicted in Hudson County yesterday in the DWI death of a two-year-old boy in January.

Police_blotter_small

The indictment charges Officer Kevin Freibott with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and two counts of aggravated assault.

Carlos Zelaya died four days after Freibott, while off duty, crashed his Jeep Cherokee into a car in which the boy was a passenger. The crash occurred on the Pulaski Skyway.

From the Associated Press, via the Asbury Park Press:

The boy’s mother, Ruth Zelaya, 38, also suffered severe head injuries and remains hospitalized. She has never regained consciousness, according to the family’s lawyer, Sam Davis of Teaneck.

Read More »

IS McLOONE ‘THE VOICE OF NEW JERSEY?’

Timmcc1

Musician, sports commentator, restaurateur and marathon man Tim McLoone is featured in today’s New York Times, which calls him “the voice of New Jersey.”

Now, before any Sinatra, Springsteen and Jon Bovi fans blow an artery, it’s not meant to be a serious claim. Instead, the story is a riff on McLoone’s near-ubiquity, whether playing with either of his two bands — Holiday Express and the Shirleys — some 150 nights a year, or working as an announcer at basketball games and marathons.

From the story:

You can hear his dulcet tones in venues as cavernous as the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford and as cozy as a bar at the Jersey Shore. Or outdoors at a band shell at the beach or on the grass at Monmouth Park, between horse races.

The Eastern goldfinch might be the state bird, but Mr. McLoone, who lives in Little Silver with his wife and four children, is doing much of the singing in the Garden State.

Read More »

SHARMA CASE PUT OFF UNTIL MARCH

Liquor1

Red Bank’s effort to shut down Best Liquors on Leighton Avenue won’t go before an administrative law judge until March 5, nine months after the Borough Council voted to yank the store’s license.

Borough Attorney Tom Hall got word of the scheduling from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division by letter yesterday, he tells redbankgreen.

Read More »

RED BANK BUDGET: TOO TIRED TO ARGUE?

Taxes

A year after Democrats predicted Red Bank taxes would go down in 2007, the Borough Council last night finalized this year’s budget.

Taxes went up.

As the Borough Council majority sees it, though, the local bite was made as painless as possible. The average homeowner’s local-purposes tax bill — the first installment of which is due today — is up $57 for the year. Last year, it was up $87, according to CFO Frank Mason.

To Republican Councilman John Curley, the $20.23 million spending plan, which includes $8.6 million to be raised locally, would have benefited from a tougher budgeting process, outsourcing of some services and other approaches he said the majority had rejected.

To River Street resident Gary Morris, the plan was tainted by a “shameful” continuation of free healthcare insurance coverage for elected officials.

All of those arguments, though, have been made many times this year by those same parties. So by last night, with the budget’s adoption a mere formality, the combatants went a it with all the vigor of football players in the fourth quarter of a pro-bowl rout.

Read More »

HALFACRE ON RIVER ROAD: SLOW THE CARS

Mhalfacre1

By LINDA G. RASTELLI

Fourteen months ago, the Municipal Land Use Center, a federally-funded, anti-sprawl think tank based at the College of New Jersey in Ewing, chose eight central New Jersey towns to share in $300,000 to come up with ways to make their communities more livable. Fair Haven was among them.

Using its $40,000 grant, the borough is now in the midst of a “visioning” process to determine, among other goals, how to make its bifurcated business district — half old-fashioned downtown, half a hodgepodge of strip malls and car-centric stores — more appealing to pedestrians and bicyclists. The Project for Public Spaces, a not-for-profit planning group from New York, has been leading a series of public forums, seeking input.

Mike Halfacre, a lifelong Fair Haven resident and avid bicyclist (he’s competed in numerous triathalons), is in his first year as mayor. He spoke to redbankgreen about the visioning effort last week at his office in Little Silver, where he practices real estate law.

What’s so special about Fair Haven that it was selected for the grant program?

Fair Haven has some unique challenges. The other recipients of the grant were all predominantly cities with downtowns that are much more developed than Fair Haven’s. We’ve a blank slate, in a way.

Our main street is a very busy road and we want to sort of reverse engineer it and make it a more pedestrian friendly place. I think that’s what attracted [the Municipal Land Use Center] — the opportunity to effect some pedestrian-oriented advancements.

Read More »

DWI CRACKDOWN INCLUDES CHECK TONIGHT

Call_in_the_authorities

Red Bank Police will man a DWI spot-check on Newman Springs Road beginning at 11p tonight, the department says in a press release.

The sobriety checkpoint will stay up until 3a.

Extra patrols will also be on the lookout for drunk drivers as part of an end-of-summer two-week crackdown announced last week by state Attorney General Anne Milgram.

The effort is part of a national push dubbed “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” in which the state provided $5,000 grants to 186 New Jersey municipalities to be on the lookout for any driver who might have a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher.

Read More »

DONOVAN’S DEAL DEAD IN THE WATER

Donovans1

By LINDA G. RASTELLI

Just two weeks after a controversial go-ahead for Sea Bright officials to try to buy Donovan’s Reef, negotiations have come to a halt.

Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka-Adams tells redbankgreen today that the sellers have rejected the borough’s offer for the beachfront property.

Though she declined to immediately disclose how much the borough offered, she says the sum matched an appraised value for the property, which has 82 parking spaces the borough covets, among other assets.

The sellers, members of the Bowler family, are asking $4.5 million.

“It was much ado about nothing,” Kalaka-Adams says. “We offered them the appraisal price, not the asking price, and they turned down our offer.”

Chris Bowler, a co-owner who also owns Brannigan’s Bar & Grill in Red Bank, confirmed that the deal talks are over.

“We’ve received offers above that,” Bowler says of the asking price.

Read More »

WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Where082207

Last week’s ‘Where’ brought a stampede of responses from readers hoping to be the first to identify a business that must be near and dear to their hearts.

Yes, it’s the Little Silver Family Pharmacy, a Church Street emporium that’s as much general store as it is a dispensary.

Peg Riley of Shrewsbury beat the rush. Go Peg!

Also getting it right was a host of familiar Whereites (Whereians? Whereists?): Alex Turoczi, Vera Hough, the Colmorgen Clan, Jenn Woods, Jesse Taylor Feldmus, Dylan Barlett and Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre.

Two respondents thought the picture was taken at the Parker Family Health Center on Shrewsbury Avenue.

Read More »

FAIR MARKS SUMMER’S BITTERSWEET END

Fairhavenfair_ir

By LINDA G. RASTELLI

The end of summer, when the season is in its final flush of glory, is like no other time. And the Firemen’s Fair in Fair Haven celebrates it with gusto.

On a typical warm night, fairgoers savor the late August air, the whir of excitement at games of chance, the delighted screams of children on garishly painted rides, the canned music punctuated by fire sirens, and — transfats be damned — sizzling, artery-clogging treats redolent of fryer grease.

Read More »

PERMIT CREEP SQUEEZES POSTAL WORKERS

Ebergen1

Most weekdays during the school year, parking gets pretty tight along East Bergen Place between Broad and South streets.

The return of autumn means that Broad Street Post Office employees who find refuge for their cars at the Red Bank Middle School during the summer are forced to go on the hunt again.

And that means competing with car-loving, space-hungry seniors from Red Bank Catholic High School for precious spots. In recent months, East Bergen has been the answer for a number of motorists.

Well, next month, the pickins’ may get significantly slimmer. A proposed ordinance up for adoption by the Borough Council Monday night would put the entirety of East Bergen Place, from Maple Avenue to Branch Avenue, off-limits to everyone but residents.

The change is welcome by East Bergen residents Tim Zebo and Kathy Fitzgerald. But postal employees, already without a workplace parking lot, will now have to wander even farther in search of spaces.

News of the plan caught Postmaster Scott Rosenberg completely off guard.

“This is the first I’m hearing about it,” Rosenberg told redbankgreen this morning. “You’re talking more permits — that ain’t promising at all.”

Read More »

REEL CHANGE: ALTER OUT AS FESTIVAL HEAD

Ralter1

By LINDA G. RASTELLI

Disagreements over a monthly film series have led to the resignation of Richard Alter as chairman of the Freedom Film Society, the nonprofit group that puts on the widely acclaimed Red Bank International Film Festival each year.

Alter and his wife, Amy, quit the society’s board of trustees last month after what Alter calls “philosophical differences” with president Marc Leckstein over the role of the monthly series in the society’s offerings.

Leckstein, a Little Silver attorney, says the departures won’t have any impact on plans for this year’s festival, scheduled for Oct. 5-7.

Alter, pharmacy manager for Meridian Health, has been replaced as chairman by Rumson resident Andrew Malecki, an aspiring filmmaker and assistant manager at Clearview Cinemas on White Street, one of three venues used by the festival.

Read More »

DUDE! WINGMEN IN THE NEW YORKER!

Ddriver2

The Wingmen Driving Service, introduced to the world by redbankgreen back in June, is the subject of a ‘Talk of the Town’ piece in this week’s New Yorker magazine.

The business, started by four college-aged Rumson men not old enough to buy beer, is a kind of tag-team taxi service that gets revelers who’ve had one too many pops home in their own cars.

Writer Ben McGrath follows the Wingmen through one night of operation, beginning with a 10:25p pickup of a tipsy commuter coming off the SeaStreak ferry in Atlantic Highlands.

This being the New Yorker, with its anthropological bent, the piece includes this sentence:

You can learn a lot about the social dynamics of a community from driving its drunks home in their own automobiles.

Read More »