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TIFFANY, MEET PIERRE… AND PIERRE…

Img_8344First robin’s-egg-blue nest on the left: the future home of Pierre Deux.

The Red Bank-area home furnishings market is about to get a touch of provincial France — and landlord Larry Garmany is about to make a sweetheart match for his primo tenant, Tiffany & Co.

redbankgreen has learned that Pierre Deux, a rapidly growing 19-store chain, has taken one of the two vacant spaces flanking Tiffany at its six-month-old Broad Street address.

A new Pierre Deux store will be up and running by early September, a company official confirms.

While the news is unlikely to be cheered by those who lament, or even vilify, downtown Red Bank’s continuing climb up the socioeconomic ladder, it stands out as only the latest in a series of gravity-defying feats pulled off by Garmany, a Cuban immigrant who bootstrapped a small haberdashery into an upscale men’s and women’s clothier occupying the district’s largest retail space.

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THE FORECAST: SCATTERED JAZZ & BLUES

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Rosen_iraFestival spokesman Ira Rosen, left, arrives at Marine Park this morning to take the wraps off the 22nd edition of the Red Bank Jazz & Blues blast in Red Bank.

OK, so what about the weather?

As previously noted, the annual Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival seems always to unpack some meteororlogic drama from its valise on arriving.

Well, the satchel’s on the motel bed, and this year, festival spokesman Ira Rosen has a good vibe about its contents.

Yesterday’s stage setups went as smooth as sable, he told redbankgreen as he arrived at the Marine Park shortly before 7a today to start the preparations for tonight’s unveiling. And to a 30-year veteran of outdoor shows, there’s gotta be some karma in that.

“Today and Sunday look great,” Rosen says, referring to forecasts of abundant sunshine on days one and three of the event.

“Tomorrow, they’re saying scattered showers to thunderstorms. I’m going with scattered showers.”

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GANNETT CUTS JOBS AT PRESS, 3 OTHERS

The Asbury Park Press is among four Gannett Co. newspapers in New Jersey that laid off a total of 55 employees yesterday, the Press itself reports.

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The axe fell after half of 166 workers offered early retirement three weeks ago accepted the packages, the paper reports.

In addition to the Press, the affected newspapers are Home News & Tribune in East Brunswick, the Courier-News in Bridgewater and the Daily Record in Parsippany.

No breakdown of layoffs at each paper was given. Gannett describes the Press, which is still the dominant daily in Monmouth and Ocean counties, as the ‘flagship’ among its six New Jersey papers.

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ALGAE TURN RIVERS & SURF BROWN

The Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers are among New Jersey waterways now experiencing algae blooms that are turning them brown, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

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The bloom phenomenon is also affecting Raritan and Sandy Hook bays as well as ocean surf along most of the New Jersey coast, state Department of Environmental Protection officials said after a flyover yesterday.

And things could get “scummy” if there’s a major die-off of the algae, creating the appearance of sewage, Monmouth County environmental health coordinator William Simmons tells the paper.

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RADIANT WORLD COLORS AT ASHER NEIMAN

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There’s a fluidity in the photos of Stewart Halperin that’s akin to the surface tension you see when water has ever-so-slightly overfilled a drinking glass: they seem about to pour forth out of their own skins.

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And what they threaten to let loose more than anything else is color. Rich, bold earthy color.

Halperin, who operates out of St. Louis but has been traveling the world almost constantly for the past 35 years (he’s been to more than 80 countries), brings his pictures to Red Bank starting Saturday with his first-ever East Coast exhibition at Asher Neiman Gallery on Monmouth Street.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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Last week’s ‘Where‘ had respondents divided, though they were all in the same realm.

Les Hathaway saw it as the exhaust stack on a Red Bank DPW truck. Bob Colmorgen said our photo was shot at the former Red Bank dump site at the western end of West Sunset Avenue; his brother Carl saw it as a piece of equipment from Red Bank Recycling, a private company, on South Central Avenue. More particularly, Pete DeFazio and Monmouth911 identified it as a car crusher at that location.

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IN MIDDLETOWN, A BRIDGE FINDS ITS VOICE

Img_9794_2Members of the Monmouth Civic Chorus during a 2007 rehearsal.

By TOM CHESEK

“The idea came to me back in 1987, during the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge,” says composer Richard Pearson Thomas on the origins of Golden Gate, the musical that makes its world premiere this Saturday at the Middletown Arts Center.

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“According to people who were at the ceremony, at some point the wind in the bay changed direction, and ‘the bridge began to sing.’ That became, for me, the pivotal dramatic moment.”

That a musical called Golden Gate is receiving its first public performance at the site of a former moving and storage warehouse in Middletown, NJ is a bit of a puzzler. Last time we looked, the San Francisco Opera doesn’t appear to have commissioned a cantata about Cooper’s Bridge.

But the landmark Northern California span is, after all, a signpost from an era when massive and sleekly modern public works projects reflected the nation’s bold aspirations and a deep-seated yearning to tame the frontier during some uncertain times. So it makes sense when you consider that the prolific Thomas is an ambitious artist who’s always seeking a new outlet for his original work — and that, under director Mark Shapiro, the Red Bank-based Monmouth Civic Chorus is a “small town” organization with some big notions about homesteading new turf for the human instrument.

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ART AMONG THE WHOOPEE CUSHIONS

Jasmin_jackson_17_oil_on_canvas_3Anastasia_yakovlena_11_oil_on_can_2Zack_longo_16_pastel_3In the show: an oil on canvas, above left, by Jasmin Jackson, 17; another oil, top right, by Anastasia Yakovlena, 11; and a pastel by Zack Longo, 16. (Click to enlarge.)

Better known as the go-to source for goofball extendable forks and t-shirts for the pierced-navel set, Broad Street retailer Funk and Standard will take on the air of an art gallery Sunday.

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That’s when two-dimensional works by students at the extracurricular Inspired Minds Fine Art School in Lincroft go on display for a monthlong run.

The exhibit will introduce a bit of contrast to the store’s cigarette-pooping donkey vibe. School co-owner Heather Brown wants it known that Inspired Minds is not one of those programs where a kid is handed a box of pastels and told to go play. Rather, the school is all about the fundamentals of realism: light, shadow, form, color. The basic techniques that artists have been taught across the last millennia, whether or not they remained true to realism.

Who knows? Among its students may be a future Michaelangelo, or Hans Holbein or even (gasp!) John Currin.

“What sets us apart is that students as young as five years old [and as old as 17] are learning, step by step,” says Brown. “It’s knowing how to look at things and convey them in your work.”

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NOT QUITE THE FIRST MOONWALK, BUT…

Img_8586Rare species sighted: Rumson Dems Michael Steinhorn, left, and Fred Blumberg march in the town’s Memorial Day parade.

“This is history being made here,” Michael Steinhorn was shouting from the middle of West River Road Monday.

He was referring to his participation, with running mate Fred Blumberg, in Rumson’s Memorial Day parade — a presence he says was the result of a “settlement” with the borough.

As previously noted, the council candidacies of Democrats Blumberg and Steinhorn constitute a political anomaly in Rumson, where Republican domination would appear to be all but complete.

No non-Republican is believed to have won elective office in the town’s 101-year history, and nobody can recall a Democrat having run for mayor or council since at least as far back as 1972.

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COUNCIL RUNDOWN: BOATS, AWNINGS…

Img_8646Councilwoman Grace Cangemi says residents should have warnings before nearby hydrants are flushed, resulting in discolored water flowing through taps.

Some highlights from last night’s bimonthly meeting of the Red Bank council:

TEACHERS OF THE YEAR: In addition to primary school teacher Pat Moss, who was spotlighted here yesterday, this year’s honorees were middle school third-grade teacher Stacy Curcio; third-grade teacher Matt Strippoli of the Red Bank Charter School, and social studies teacher (and Red Bank native) Steve Johnson of Red Bank Regional.

AUDIT: Independent auditor Dave Kaplan gave his annual assessment of the borough’s finances and record-keeping, both of which he finds in good shape, though with four “relatively minor” cautions, one of which centers on the timely approval of council minutes. (Until last night, the borough clerk’s office was more than a year behind in getting the minutes of meetings together; now, the most recent minutes approved are from the July 9, 2007 session.)

Kaplan noted also that tax collections last year slipped a tad, to 97.09 percent from 97.99 percent, which he attributed to economic conditions. “People are just a little slower in paying their taxes,” he said.

BOATS AND CARS: There was a discussion of a request regarding parking on Union Street from the Monmouth Boat Club. As is somewhat common at council meetings, the agenda gave no hint of what the boat club had asked for, and nobody on the council bothered to fill the audience in, but it seemed to involve the removal of or deactivation of parking meters.

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JAZZ & BLUES 2008: BRING THE SUNSHINE

Img_1678The view from behind the drum kit as Big Bill Morganfield performs at the 2007 festival.

By TOM CHESEK

There was the year the heavens opened up and harpist Rod Piazza, faced with a potential washout of his headline set, led a flotilla of fanatics over to the former Oakland House restaurant for a spontaneous bluesblast.

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Then there was that year that legendary Howlin’ Wolf sideman Hubert Sumlin and an all-star band of heavies (among them Levon Helm and David Johansen) marched up the hill and entered the (also now defunct) Olde Union House for an impromptu drizzly-night jam that got almost three songs in before borough fire marshals de-funked the premises.

There have been days when the sloping natural amphitheatre of Marine Park recalled Woodstock’s mud-people nation. Nights called on account o’ fog. Out-of-nowhere dust devils that turned funnel cakes into powder-sugar funnelclouds and saw butterfly fries spread their wings and soar.

Proud as the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation has been to present what’s often been called “the largest free music festival on the East Coast,” there’s always been an understanding that, while this is a chance for nightclub cats to strut their stuffs under the sun, it’s still Big Mama Nature who reserves the right to blow the most showstopping solos.

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BODY IN RIVER; NO CRIME SUSPECTED

State Police investigators don’t suspect foul play in connection with the death of a man whose body was found in the Navesink River Sunday, the Asbury Park Press is reporting.

The corpse of 71-year-old James Roffler of Little Silver was discovered on a sandbar behind the Rumson police station by kayakers. The case was turned over to the State Police because of the location of the body.

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SCHOOL HONORS A HOMEGROWN TEACHER

PmossA product of Red Bank schools herself, Pat Moss is this year’s teacher of the year at the primary school. (Photos by Jim Willis)

Ask Pat Moss what she enjoys about teaching, and there’s no hesitation on her end.

“I like the fact that I can go to work knowing that I’m going to laugh that day,” says Moss. “Deep belly laughs.”

Another is having a front-row seat on the flowering of her students. They arrive at the Red Bank Primary School in September as four-year-olds — some of whom “can’t say boo,” she says — and leave in June as five-year-olds who “can’t stop talking.”

It’s work that, in a word, she loves. So to be chosen as the school’s teacher of the year is “icing on the cake,” says Moss, who joined the district as a volunteer in 2000 after raising three children, now aged 29 to 23.

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RED BANK POLICE LOG

Entries in the borough police logs from May 16 to May 23. Items are unedited.

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Criminal Mischief occurring at Catherine St. on 5-16-08—Victim reported that unknown person(s) shattered car window. Ptl. Gary Watson.

Criminal Mischief occurring at West Sunset Residence between 5-17-08 and 5-18-08. Victim reported that unknown person(s) entered unoccupied residence and threw paint on walls and floors of upstairs bedroom. Ptl. Paul Perez.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 5-18-08 at Water Street business. Owner reported that unknown subject(s) shattered front door window to the business. Ptl. Robert Kennedy.

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RED BANK BICYCLIST KILLED

A 75-year-old Red Bank man died after being struck by a car while riding a bicycle on Branch Avenue shortly before noon yesterday, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Ernest Grewe of Ambassador Drive was pronounced dead at 2:27p at Jersey Shore Medical Center, the Press reports.

The accident occurred on the Little Silver side of the Red Bank border near Spring Street.

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ARTIST GETS EMULSIFIED AT McKAY GALLERY

33_57300_2Reflection #33, above, and #26, below, by Rande Johnson.

Who is Rande Johnson, and is he an artist?

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The McKay Gallery, which is showing his photos in an exhibition that begins tonight, says that Johnson is a tradesman; that would explain the battered red van with Johnson’s name spelled out in awkwardly applied stick-on letters that we saw parked on Monmouth Street earlier this week.

But gallery owners Liz & Bob McKay go farther, asking in a press release whether Johnson is even a photographer, given that he had to borrow a camera to do the work at hand.

Well, we know the answer, or what the McKays think the answer is. Their gallery specializes in photo art, and they’re not only giving Johnson his first-ever show: they’re showing works that Johnson has apparently never shown to anyone, even his friends.

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BORO HOTFOOTS BOARDWALK EXTENSION

Img_4565The on-surface boardwalk, at lower left, will connect with a stretch to run parallel to the ocean.

By SUE MORGAN

Tenderfooted beachgoers will appreciate this: Sea Bright plans to extend its modest boardwalk, bringing salvation that much closer to sunbathers who dread the trek across scalding summer sands at the end of the day.

It turns out the borough has about $6,000 left over from from a six-year-old federal grant. It further seems that the deadline for spending it is nearing. Unspent, the money reverts to the Monmouth County Planning Board.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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‘Where’ readers had two chances to get last week’s image, which showed the word ‘Oh!’ scrawled on a guardrail.

As nearly all of our respondents pointed out, its on the Hubbard’s Bridge on West Street, visible as you’re leaving Red Bank into River Plaza. Heading west, in other words.

But we’d have accepted eastbound, also, as the same grafitti appears on the opposite end of the same guardrail.

Oh, my.

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FOOTBALL, MATE

Img_8027It may have been the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, in the middle of Red Bank. But English accents — and universal gestures — ? were in abundance Wednesday at the Dublin House as soccer fans gathered to watch the European championship game between Manchester United and Chelsea in Moscow.

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RED BANK MEASURES SCHOOL UNIFORMS

Img_7414Students at the Red Bank Charter School wear uniforms, and not just once a century.

The notion of requiring students at Red Bank’s primary and middle schools is under consideration by the school board, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

After a brief discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, the board decided to send the idea to its community relations committee — again.

“This comes up periodically and we refer it to the community relations committee and it says they’ll question the PTO (parent-teacher organization) on it and it never goes further than that,” said Rosemarie Kopka, veteran board member. “Again, I’d like to refer it to the community relations committee and to the PTO.”

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