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‘I’M VERY LUCKY’

Grace_dGrace Dilger in what remains of her bedroom.

Red Bank Regional freshman Grace Dilger awoke early this morning to find her bed on fire.

She’d gone to sleep with a heating pad to ease a sore back from playing lacrosse. But the pad overheated and caught fire. As she slept, the fire spread to a nightstand and lamp.

“I woke up because I felt flames next to me,” the 15-year-old tells redbankgreen, pointing to her now-bandaged left forearm.

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GIRL INJURED IN LITTLE SILVER FIRE

A 15-year-old girl suffered second-degree burns in an early-morning fire on Rumson Place in Little Silver, the Asbury Park Press reports.

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The girl, whose name was not reported, incurred burns on her arms and legs that are not considered life-threatening, the Press says, quoting Assistant Little Silver Fire Chief Frank Salerno.

The victim was taken to Riverview Medical Center, he said.

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BACK AT THE WHEEL

Picture10Jim Frechette in his Shrewsbury Avenue workshop. (Photos by Jim Willis)

Longtime readers of redbankgreen — or those who’ve discovered the pleasure of exploring our archive — may recognize the name Jim Frechette.

When we first encountered him, Frechette was trapped in a broken body, unsure how he’d gotten that way, and facing an uncertain future as a result of a motorcycle accident.

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GOOD FOR ONE FREE SYNTH-DRENCHED HUG

Err2E Rick Rinaldi

By TOM CHESEK

Who is E Rick Rinaldi?

Regular followers of events at the Count Basie Theatre might be forgiven for asking precisely that question, given the fact that the Monmouth Street landmark generally showcases entertainers who’ve achieved a certain landmark status themselves — including, on May 7, Bruce Springsteen.

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As it turns out, E Rick — the dot after the E was apparently jettisoned to conserve fuel sometime around the release of his first CD — is a Jersey-fresh product of the Garden State himself; a resident of Blue Anchor in Camden County and a man who left a successful family business in real estate to devote himself to his passionate pursuit of making music for America; a nation that, the composer asserts, Needs a Hug.

It’s a mission that brings the Philly-born Rinaldi and his six-piece band to Red Bank this Saturday night for a special concert presentation entitled Where Rivers Run. Dedicated to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, the 90-minute program uses the maestro’s original songs and video projections to “take the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride through time” — a decade-by-decade voyage through “the major events of the last hundred years,” delivered by Rinaldi and company via “his new genre of music called Classical Rock Symphonic.”

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FUGBY, ANYONE?

Img_6061 Or maybe we should call it ‘rutball?’ The ball would be familiar to rugby enthusiasts, while the format was touch football during a game at Riverside Gardens Park yesterday afternoon. Here, Ryan de Brigard of Fair Haven returns a kickoff for a touchdown.

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SPORTS AGENT SETTLES WITH R-FH PLAYER

GlassKeith Glass

NBA agent Keith Glass of Rumson has settled liigation dating back five years to his time as the coach of the Rumson-Fair Haven regional boy’s basketball team, according to an Associated Press report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to the AP, the litigation began when Glass “engaged in a verbal dispute with one of his players during a game in February 2003.”

The dispute continued after the game and the player eventually was escorted from the team’s locker room, though there was no physical contact, according to Fred Klatsky, an attorney representing Glass.

The player’s mother, Nancy Davis, later signed a criminal complaint against Glass that charged him with harassment and assault. However, a grand jury declined to indict Glass on those charges, and Davis eventually sued Glass in civil court. That suit was dismissed last December, and a trial was scheduled for last week to consider Glass’ countersuit against the mother and son for defamation and malicious prosecution.

Instead, the sides agree to a settlement, the terms of which were reached last week but were not disclosed.

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POINTING FINGERS & LOOKING FOR A PENNY

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Agita continued to flow from Red Bank’s proposed 21-percent budget increase last night as one resident lashed out at the borough council, another sought details on where purported spending cuts had been made, and elected officials blamed Trenton and Freehold for many of the town’s fiscal woes.

“You people aren’t in the same world as the rest of us,” Arthur Parent railed at Mayor Pasquale Menna and the six-member council.

Noting that taxes on his Alston Court home are already up 50 percent since since 2001, he added: “You guys have to get real. This is not even close to reality.”

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MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL INDICTED IN AUTO ARSON, FACES TEN YEAR SENTENCE

WilkinsPrincipal Terence Wilkins

Red Bank Middle School Principal Terence Wilkins has been indicted by an Essex County grand jury in connection with a scheme to have his leased car stolen and torched, the Asbury Park Press is reporting.

From the story:

Wilkins, 34, of Neptune, is scheduled to surrender to authorities and appear in court on Friday, said Paul Loriquet, prosecutor’s office spokesman.

The car, a 2004 Acura TL, was found ablaze in the Barringer High School parking lot in Newark shortly before midnight on April 19, 2006, by Newark firefighters, said Michael Morris, assistant Essex County prosecutor. Wilkins had reported the car stolen in Neptune on April 20, 2006.

The car was on a three-year lease and had six payments remaining, however, Morris said that Wilkins was facing a $9,000 charge for excess mileage. The scheme was allegedly concocted with Kenyatta O’Bryant, 36, of North Plainfield, who is believed to be a childhood friend of Wilkins, Loriquet said.

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LIVE AT THE BASIE, WITHOUT A NET

MousetrapsColin Mochrie, left, and Brad Sherwood accessorized in mousetraps.

By TOM CHESEK

There’s Standing, Sitting, Bending. Scenes from a Hat, always a favorite. There’s Helping Hands — although you’ll need at least three participants for that one — and, of course, the climactic Hoedown.

A bunch of back-of-the-book maneuvers from the Kama Sutra? Actually, they’re some of the more popular and enduring “games” from the improv-comedy TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, a franchise that spawned long-running editions in both the UK and the States — at one point visible daily on networks ranging from ABC to BBC America and Comedy Central.

While you’re never too far from a rerun on ABC Family at any given time, these days the Whose Line legacy is being carried on largely through the efforts of two men, each of whom has played a major part in the history of the show — and each of whom apparently has nothing better to do than, among other things, walk around barefoot and blindfolded on a stage full of mousetraps while performing the always compelling Alphabet Game.

Described as a “full time, part time gig” starring a couple of “gypsies and vagabonds,” An Evening with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood returns to Count Basie Theatre Friday night for a fifth visit to the Monmouth Street auditorium. In fact, only Milwaukee has hosted the touring show as many times as Red Bank — and while the stars are at a loss to explain the phenomenon, there’s no denying that the low-budget, high-yield laff-fest has become an annual attraction for Hip City habitues; often selling out the house all the way back to the balcony nosebleed seats.

Checking in with redbankgreen by phone, Mochrie and Sherwood took a few moments to detail the things that make their interactive improvs click with audiences, acknowledging the challenges of working “without a net,” or, in this case, a network.

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EARTH DAY EMCEE

JorgeSurrounded by classmates from the Red Bank Middle School and watched by a standing-room audience, fifth-grader Jorge Banavides introduces a slide show about the threats of global warming at last night’s borough council meeting.

Eighth-grader Samantha Riordan also made a presentation on the topic.

The council also acknowledged the kindergarten class at the Red Bank Charter School for coming up with a slogan — ‘When You Pack, Use a Sack’ — to promote a new borough law regarding plastic shopping bags.

The motto will appear on doorknob hangtags that borough children will distribute to every home and business in town during the week of May 19 to encourage the replacement of disposable bags with reusable ones. Katelyn Guarino, a charter school eighth-grader, created a logo for the hangers that shows the planet Earth snuggled in a reusable cloth shopping bag.

‘RELENTLESS SERIAL BURGLAR’ INDICTED

A “relentless serial burglar” who authorities say targeted the homes of women and photographed them while they slept has been indicted by a Monmouth County Grand Jury, according to reports in today’s Asbury Park Press and Star-Ledger.

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Mauro Vasquez-Galvan, 27, of Red Bank is accused of seven residential break-ins and 19 car burglaries over a nine-month span. The charges are included in a 57-count indictment.

From the Press, quoting Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valetin:

Vasquez-Galvan targeted women for his break-ins, prosecutors said, even creating photo albums of his victims, Valentin said.

The charges stem from two attempted and five completed residential burglaries that occurred in May and June 2007 in the area of Mechanic Street, east of Broad Street, in Red Bank, Valentin said.

The 19 auto burglaries and related theft charges follow a string of car break-ins that occurred from October 2006 through June 2007 in the same area, prosecutors said.

“During the months of May and June, 2007, numerous residential burglaries and attempted residential burglaries were reported to the Red Bank police department. Each of these burglaries and attempted burglaries occurred within four blocks of Mechanic Street. All of the victims were female,” Valentin said.

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RED BANK POLICE ACTIVITY

From the borough police logs for the wek of April 18 through April 25. Entries are unedited.

Theft occurring at W. Front St.—Riverside Gardens on 4-19-08. Victim reported that she inadvertently left her purse hanging on the fence and left the park. Upon returning shortly thereafter, purse was located but the wallet had been stolen. Wallet contained cash, debit card and various I.D. Ptl. Robert Kennedy.

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Theft occurring on 4-20-08 at Oakland St. Victim reported that stolen from the trunk of his parked vehicle was various pieces of umpire equipment. Ptl. Gary Watson, Jr.

Theft occurring on 4-24-08 at West Bergen Place. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole her bicycle from rear of apartment. Bike described as grey in color, Gary Fisher—Marlin 21 speed mountain bike. Ptl. James DePonte.

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SPRING 2008, BROAD STREET

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Today’s weather forecast, courtesy of the National Weather Service:

Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. High near 62. East wind 15 to 18 mph becoming south. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New rainfall amounts between a half and three-quarters of an inch possible.

Tonight: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 1a, then a chance of showers. Low around 50. South wind 10 to 14 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half an inch possible.

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PICKING UP ON THE WEST SIDE

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Jean Mondesir of Red Bank, at right, picks up litter as part of cleanup crew working the length of Leighton Avenue during Saturday’s mutifaceted day of volunteerism organized by the Pilgrim Baptist Church.

“I just wish that the community would do more of this,” Mondesir told redbankgreen.

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DRAMATIC RESCUE ON RR TRACKS

Saturday’s Asbury Park Press had a gripping report of the rescue of 27-year-old motorist Jennifer Saavedra after her car became stuck on the North Jersey Coast line rail tracks at Broad Street Friday night.

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Mary Houghtaling of Brick said she was driving by on Newman Springs Road when she saw Saavedra’s car turn to cross the tracks.

“I knew the train was coming, and I saw her wheels spinning and thought to myself, my God, there’s somone in that car,” said Houghtaling. She said she pulled over and tried to get Saavedra to get out of her car, which was parallel to the tracks with the wheels below the rails.

“The door was stuck on the tracks, and I couldn’t get her to get out,” Houghtaling said. “That’s when the gates came down and the bells started ringing.”

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HORGAN: MAPLE AVE. LOT ‘WON’T BE SOLD’

Img_4243The parking lot in the foreground and adjacent river access are no longer under consideration for sale, Red Bank officials have confirmed.

A combination of public opposition and anemic support have forced Red Bank officials to drop a proposal to sell a riverside lot at the north end of Maple Avenue, Councilwoman Kathy Horgan tells redbankgreen.

“There will be no appraisal, and nobody’s getting paid for an appraisal,” Horgan says. “The property won’t be sold. It’s not going to happen.”

She says she conferred with Mayor Pasquale Menna on the matter today, and he agrees the issue is a dead one.

As first reported by redbankgreen, the sale idea was floated in a closed session of council as a possible way to plug a budget hole that threatens to drive up the local portion of property taxes by 20 percent later this year.

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WEST SIDE BUILDER BACK AFTER LAWSUIT

Drsparkeryellow_2Bank_st_red_2Bank_st_white_2Vacant houses on, Drs. Parker Boulevard (left) and opposite sides of Bank Street (center and right) would be razed and replaced with 11 townhouse condos under the newest plan. Click images to enlarge.

A West Side townhouse plan with a somewhat tortured history is back.

Little Silver homebuilder George Whelan is scheduled to go before the Red Bank zoning board May 15 with a proposal to build 11 townhouses on three lots overlooking a deep bend in the Navesink River at the ends of Bank Street and Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

The return of the project, dubbed RW @ River’s Edge, marks the latest chapter in a tug-of-war that has seen a Whelan request that the borough abandon a portion of Bank Street for the project get shot down by the council; the rejection of a second proposal by the planning board; two lawsuits by Whelan against the borough; a zoning change; and the effective undoing of the zoning change by the a state court decision in an unrelated case.

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SUSPECT SOUGHT IN TEEN’S ASSAULT

Red Bank police are investigating a report of an assault on a 15-year-old boy on Marion Street Monday evening.

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According to Chief Mark Fitzgerald, the victim, who had been rollerblading on the basketball court at East Side Park, was skating home when he was approached by a car that had previously driven by.

A passenger, described as an Hispanic male of about 18, approached the victim, “apparently under the impression that the victim had made an obscene gesture” at the car’s occupants as they drove by the first time, Fitzgerald said.

“There was some pushing and shoving, and the kid on rollerblades was struck and knocked down,” Fitzgerald said.

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GO AHEAD AND HUG ONE, BUT GENTLY

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In recognition of Arbor Day, redbankgreen today presents eight baby trees installed along borough streets as part of a tree-planting blitz by the Red Bank Shade Tree Commission last fall.

Heck, we can even consider this a special edition of ‘Where Have I Seen This?” Match each tree to the correct address shown in this list: Download 100_new_trees.doc.

If you think you’ve got all eight, shoot your answers to us via email. (Please don’t post your answers in a comment.)

The first three readers who match the trees to their locations will get a redbankgreen t-shirt.

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BOROUGH GOES TO THE DOGS FOR REVENUE

Fran_pRed Bank Court Clerk Fran Pastoriza at last night’s budget Q&A at borough hall.

A dog-and-pony show last night on the proposed 2008-’09 Red Bank budget included a plea for higher municipal court penalties for violations such as drinking in public and letting a dog bark continuously.

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Municipal court clerk Fran Pastoriza said heftier fines are needed for second and subsequent offenses to put teeth into quality-of-life ordinances.

Increases would also bring Red Bank’s schedule of penalties more in line with nearby towns, some of which take a bigger bite out of the wallets of first offenders than Red Bank does to repeat violators, she said. [Click on comparative data, above, prepared by Pastoriza.]

She recommended minimum fines of $50 for unlicensed dogs, dogs at large and dog barking, up from the minimum $25. She also called for minimum fines of $250 for convictions in cases of public drinking or public urination, up from the present $203.

“It’s very frustrating if you have someone with a fourth violation,” she said.

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HOUSE FIRE ON ELM

Elm_fireFlames shoot out the window of house at 37 Elm Place this afternoon. (Thanks to Robert Wainwright for this photo.)

A fast-moving fire did extensive damage to a Red Bank house this afternoon. Firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control.

The blaze, reported at about 3:20p, swept the second floor and attic of the single-family structure at 37 Elm Place.

Doug Muckley, whose mother, Janice, owns the house, said he was headed upstairs to take a shower when he saw smoke. “I tried to go in there, but I got the top of my head singed,” he told redbankgreen.

Witnesses said firefighters were on the scene in about four minutes, just as flames were shooting above the peak of the roof and rapidly burning through vinyl siding on the structure.

There was no immediate report on the cause of the blaze.

Img_5874Second Lieutenant Diana DeFazio of the Relief Engine Company peers from a second-floor window of the burning house.

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40 IS THE NEW FUNNY, TO LOCAL STAND-UP

Img_5736Eric McMahon’s over-40 mug.

By TOM CHESEK

One’s a newlywed who’s apparently still in that somewhat sick-making “public displays of affection” mode. One’s a salt-‘n-pepper suburban dad to three growing daughters. One’s a lifelong lothario whose “single” schtick is starting to wear as thin as his locks. And one’s the product of a bitter divorce; only, you know, funny.

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Together they’re teaming up to “fight forty,” or rather to examine all the ways in which the onset of one’s fifth decade can impact your outlook on life, love, and libido. A traveling show featuring a quartet of headline-caliber New York area stand-up comics, Four Sides of Forty hits the stage of the Two River Theater this Saturday at 8p (the same time that 79-years young Pat Cooper takes his ageless brand of bottled agita to the boards of the Count Basie Theatre).

Fervent followers of the regional comedy circuit will recognize Patty Rosborough (the divorcée), Lenny Marcus (the single) and Al Ducharme (the newlywed) from countless cable TV appearances and many hours logged against the brick-wall backdrops of our nation’s Chuckle Huts. But it’s Eric McMahon — the married guy of this fantastic foursome — who should be most familiar to the local contingent. The Middletown resident is a hardworking payer of dues (and tolls), visible from Caroline’s in NYC to Uncle Vinnie’s in Point Beach; he’s also, somewhat incredibly, the former baseball coach at Red Bank Catholic High School, where he led the mighty Caseys to the state championship in 1997.

These days it’s the pursuit of the punchline that motivates McMahon, who, as conceptualizer of the show, has sort of assumed the role of coach to his all-star roster of franchise talents. Sitting down with redbankgreen at No Joe’s one recent afternoon, the funnyman explained the balancing act between the Biz and the Burbs, the origins of Forty and the factors that brought him from delivering pep-talks to poop-jokes.

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BENNETT BAILS, BLAMING PRESS SPOTLIGHT

As suddenly as he was back in, he’s out again.

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Former state Senator John Bennett III, who stunned GOP party locals two weeks ago when he threw his name in as a candidate for local committeeman from Red Bank, has withdrawn from the contest, according to the Asbury Park Press.

His rationale? Inordinate attention from the Press.

From the story:

When interviewed Wednesday, Bennett was very clear why he dropped out and blamed the Asbury Park Press for the decision.

“Of all the 600 county committee spots in Monmouth County, the only one with a big headline and story was mine,” Bennett said. “It demonstrates the paper wanted to do their own thing with John Bennett.”

…”I wanted to get involved in the local level and help them,” he said. “It’s obvious that cannot be done without having the focus be on me instead of the party.”

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