BIKE TREK: MOUNTAIN MEN, FINALLY

Img_0694A milestone passed enroute to Nevada. (Photo by Tim Hathaway)

After a two-day layover forced by illness, father and son Elmer and Jeff Jackson were back in the saddle this week, topping their first mountain and crossing their first state border.

Tuesday saw the Red Bank educators climb 3,000 feet while traveling 33.5 miles from Cook’s Station, Calif. to Carson Pass, a leg sagman/journalist/blogger Tim Hathaway called “the most brutal climb of their lives.”

Heat exhaustion got the better of Jeff last week, leading to the tourist-interruptus. But after Tuesday’s leg, he was clearly feeling better. From Tim’s blog:

After conquering their first mountain, I pointed my camera at them, and instead of exulting in the pride of accomplishment, Jeff, the head teacher of the boys’ classroom at [West Side Christian Academy], used the moment to speak to his students.

“If we can climb a mountain, you can do whatever is in front of you,” he said hunched over his handled bars, searching for breath. “If we can climb a mountain, whatever mountain you have in your life, climb it.”

Read More »

BUSY NIGHT FOR FH EMERGENCY WORKERS

Img_9666Firefighters and other rescue personnel on the scene of a fire at Rumson Road and Buena Vista Place in Rumson last night.

Wow, who needs reporters when there’s blogging Mayor Mike Halfacre?

In a post on his site today, Halfacre gives the rundown on a busy night for his town’s police, fire and rescue squads. They had a hand in dealing yet more power outages (for the third day in a row) as well as a house fire in Rumson and a possible DWI in which a two people were nearly hit by a car.

The post is headlined “Oh, What a Night,” and begins:

Last night at about 8:00 p.m. the Fair Haven Fire Department, First Aid and Fire Police responded to a “mutual aid” request from Rumson due to a house fire in that town. Immediately after clearing from that fire at approximately 9:40 p.m., another call came in, for a fire on a telephone pole at the corner of Hance and River Road. The electric wires had separated, causing the power outage that most of town suffered from.

Read More »

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE KING

Img_2316Runners in the 2007 race take the first turn, at Broad Street and East Bergen Place. Below, a runner celebrates a mighty finish.

Upon his passing in 1993, Dr. George Sheehan was eulogized by President Bill Clinton as “the Philosopher King of running.” He was, for a while there, the most famous person in Red Bank; a remarkable chap whose accomplishments as a physician, philanthropist and father (of twelve!) were trumped on a nationwide scale by his having authored Running and Being — a seminal work of running strategy and philosophy that’s been credited with creating the populist sport as we know it today.

While no trace exists these days of the Doc’s old West Front Street office, his legacy lives on throughout the streets of Red Bank, thanks in large part to an annual two-day happening named in his honor. And it happens again this weekend when the downtown business district and and streets in adjoining Little Silver and Fair Haven become the scene for a competition of the internationally famous and merely passionate — while the waterfront walkways of Marine Park host an expanded set of activities for runners, fans and families.

Read More »

MATAWAN DEMS SLAM MENNA’S LAWYERING

After giving him the boot as borough attorney in April, Matawan Democrats are now explaining their action by claiming that Pasquale Menna charged too much and gave the borough a “lack of adequate representation,” according to a report in this week’s Bayshore Courier.

Newmenna2

Menna, of course, is also the Mayor of Red Bank and a Democrat.

Citing a press release issued June 5 by the Democratic majority on the Matawan council as its source, the Courier reports that the group argued Menna that charged the town $35 an hour more than his replacement, James Aaron of the Ocean Township firm of Ansell, Zaro, Grimm & Aaron.

They also cited “Aaron’s 39 years of legal experience, which included municipal work, as well as his firm’s reputation,” the Courier says.

But the newspaper also has this eye-opener:

The release outlined concerns about a “lack of adequate representation” received by the former borough attorney. The group also questioned the timely and proper nature of his work.

Finally, the group questioned Menna’s ability to drop his rates in March. The Democrats said that he had been overcharging them before if Menna could have done the work for that amount the entire time.

“Overcharging?” “Lack of adequate representation?” Anybody know a good libel lawyer?

Read More »

FAIR HAVENITES DEMAND POWER FIX

Img_7604Mayor Mike Halfacre

The power’s back on in Fair Haven today after two consecutive days of sporadic outages in the midst of record temperatures.

And while Mayor Mike Halfacre and some residents say they can understand the effect of unusually hot or cold weather on a utility company’s ability to deliver electricity, well, they’ve had just about enough, thanks.

In a posting on his blog today, Halfacre says he and borough administrator Mary Howell met yesterday with the local representative for Jersey Central Power & Light, and spoke with him

about not only the immediate need to get power back on, but the longer-term issue of reliability. It seems that there is no season when Fair Haven has reliable power: Hot, Cold, Windy, we lose power.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT MAYORAL FIGHT MAY CONTINUE

Seabright1a

Former mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka-Adams’ challenge to the the outcome of Sea Bright’s 2007 mayoral election can continue, a Superior Court judge has ruled, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The fact that Kalaka-Adams failed to post a $500 bond to cover court costs shouldn’t impede “the will of the people as expressed through an election,” Judge Robert Coogan, sitting in Freehold, wrote in a May 27 opinion, the Press says. To dismiss the case on that basis would be “draconian,” he wrote.

Kalaka-Adams, a Republican completing her first term, initially appeared to have lost, 272 votes to 269, to then-council president Maria Fernandes in Novermber’s vote. A recount put the vote at 273 to 270, again in Fernandes’ favor, and she was sworn into the office in January.

Read More »

COPS: GUN DEATH AT SCHOOL WAS SUICIDE

A 22-year-old River Street man shot and killed himself at the Red Bank Primary School after calling police to say he was suicidal last night, authorities say.

Peter Warshaw, first assistant Monmouth County prosecutor, tells the Asbury Park Press that Russell Jackson shot himself at about 11p as police officers approached him.

Read More »

SPORADIC POWER OUTAGES CONTINUE

Some homes and businesses served by the Jersey Central Power & Light substation on Ridge Road in Fair Haven are again without power after enduring a more than five hours without juice yesterday.

Hot_topic_2

We don’t know the number affected, or the geographic extent of the outages. But Mayor Mike Halfacre tells redbankgreen:

There are sporadic power outages. Not the whole town, there are also wires down at Hance and River, JCP&L is investigating.

Read More »

PLAN TO SAVE RIVERFRONT LOT ADVANCES

Img_9268Volunteers cleared a path to the river on the borough-owned parcel earlier this month.

Three months ago, Red Bank officials were mulling the possible sale of a small piece of riverfront property to help offset a budget shortfall.

Last night, with the idea of sale apparently dead, they turned toward keeping it from ever falling into private ownership.

What changed? Pushback by canoers, kayakers, environmentalists and people who simply like the idea of having a place where they can dip their toes into the Navesink River without having to join a club.

Read More »

LAST WEEK’S RED BANK POLICE ACTIVITY

From the police log, May 30 to June 6. Entries are unedited.

Call_in_the_authorities

Theft occurring at Leighton Ave. on 6-1-08. Victim reported that while unloading trays of food from vehicle and carrying them into the house, four juvenile subject(s) unknown stole one tray of food and fled. Ptl. Beau Broadley.

Criminal Mischief reported on 6-3-08 in the area of Peters Place. Report of a school bus being damaged by unknown person(s), front windshield was smashed by throwing rocks. Ptl. David Smith.

Theft occurring on 6-3-08 at Chestnut Street parking lot. Victim reported that the driver’s side left window on parked vehicle had been broken by unknown person(s). Stolen from vehicle was a GPS unit, make Magellan. Ptl. James DePonte.

Read More »

BANK ROBBERY SUSPECT CAUGHT IN PA.

An Eatontown man was arrested in Long Pond, Pa. on Saturday in connection with last week’s robbery of a Bank of America branch on Route 35 in Middletown, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Hot_topic

Authorities are now waiting to see if Glenn Greenfield, 45, fights his extradition back to New Jersey. He’s scheduled to appear in district court in nearby Snydersville today, the Press says.

Meantime, they’re not saying what led them to the Poconos to arrest Greenfield, who was founded with 13 bags of heroin and charged with drug possession, the Press reports.

Investigators said Greenfield entered the bank shortly before noon Wednesday and showed a teller a note demanding money. No weapon was shown during the robbery, police said at the time. The bandit was initially reported to have escaped on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

Witnesses were later able to describe a car the robber was alleged to have escaped in, prosecutors said.

Read More »

EAST SIDE STILL WITHOUT POWER

Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen that the Red Bank First Aid Squad on Spring Street has opened its air conditioned facilities to the public while crews from JCP&L attempt to get the power back on as a result of the substation failure in Fair Haven.

“It’s spacious, it’s cool and they have water” for residents who find themselves sweltering at home, Menna says.

The northeast corner of Red Bank is affected by the outage, roughly from Prospect Avenue east, he says. That includes Menna’s home, on River Road.

Read More »

POWER OUTAGE HITS AREA

Just_in

A power outage — or outages, perhaps — have has hit the east side of Red Bank as well as Little Silver, Fair Haven, Rumson and Sea Bright.

There are no details on the specific cause or extent of the outage other than “substation down.” That’s according to an alert sent out by the Fair Haven police.

Mayor Mike Halfacre tells redbankgreen that the substation on Ridge Road next to Fair Haven Fields appears to be the culprit in his town and Rumson. The facility went down, was repaired and crashed again shortly thereafter.

A resident of Harrison Avenue in Red Bank tells us power was back for about 30 minutes after being restored earlier this afternoon, but went down again and it still off.

Read More »

SUMMER IDOLS, HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS

Constantinemaroulis2714015_2Judas Priest! It’s that guy from Idol as Iscariot, with the singer from Almost Queen as Jesus (we kid you not)!

By TOM CHESEK

House is in reruns; the Basie‘s about to go dark til autumn; you’ve got no gas to go any farther than the Arts Center, and the talent there just topped the $500 mark for the first time.

Is that what’s botherin’ ya, bunky? A dearth of entertainment options? Well, it’s time to take stock of the situation — community summer stock, that is, the season for which begins to heat up just about this time each year in the greater Red Bank oRBit.

Rbo_3b

Broadway bus trippers may not bat an eyelash at the prospect of Brooke Shields or Brady Bunch Brothers filling in for two-week runs in their favorite musicals, but when someone tells you that notorious American Idol runner-up Constantine Maroulis will be appearing as Judas in a local community production of Jesus Christ Superstar — with Jesus himself portrayed by the frontman for the tri-state’s pre-eminent Queen tribute act — well, you’ve just gotta spit-take your MiJovi.

It’s all true: veteran producer-director Mark Fleming (fresh off the Van Zandt-Milmore comedy Wrong Window at Brookdale Community College) will open the new summer season of his long-running Premier Theatre Company this Friday, with season-four finalist Maroulis and Freddie Mercury channeler Joe Russo in a new production of the early smash by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

The show, which runs nine performances through June 28, goes up at the Henderson Theatre (on the grounds of Christian Brothers Academy) off Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. As a special treat there will be opening pop/rock sets by such area performers as Rick Barry, Eric Ginsberg and musical director Anthony D’Amato. Tickets ($26 general admission) are sure to be snapped up by curious idolators; they can be reserved at the Henderson website, where you’ll also find info about upcoming Premier revivals of Damn Yankees and The Fantasticks.

Read More »

BIKE TOUR: HEAT SLOWS PAIR’S PROGRESS

Img_0612Img_0615Steep elevations and heat proved to be major challenges in the first week of Elmer and Jeff Jackson’s cross-country bike ride. At left, Jeff copes with fatigue.

Elmer and Jeff Jackson’s ‘No Regrets’ fundraising bike ride across America was slowed late last week when Jeff suffered heat exhaustion on day three and couldn’t shake it over the next two days, leading to a couple of days rest for him and his father back in San Francisco.

Beset by “dizziness, nausea, and terrible pain. I wanted to quit,” Jeff writes in his tour blog. “But my dad got me through it. He kept talking to me, encouraging me, pushing me to keep going on.”

That was Thursday, day three of the tour. The Jacksons, raising money for Red Bank’s West Side Christian Academy, completed just 46.5 miles of a planned 75-mile jaunt (most of it uphill) that day. Jeff walked the last mile, but “then it got worse. I started cramping in both calves and my right thigh.”

Read More »

VERIZON TAX APPEAL BACK ON AGENDA

Img_9639File photo of the Verizon building at 183 Broad Street, Red Bank.

A proposed settlement of a tax appeal on Verizon New Jersey’s Broad Street switching station — a deal that got derailed last December amid questions about an apparent conflict of interest between the borough attorney and the telecom — is back on the Red Bank council’s agenda for tonight.

The latest terms appear to be identical to those proposed earlier.

Read More »

QUIZZICAL WELCOME FOR ‘WELCOME’ SIGN?

Img_9577The new sign, visible from Route 35/Riverside Avenue heading south across West Front Street.

A welcome sign that the Red Bank Human Relations Committee bought got for free earlier this year to promote community togetherness has been posted at Veteran’s Park, the triangle at Riverside Avenue and West Front Street.

We’re not sure if this is a sign of widespread weirded-outness, but two redbankgreen readers who wrote in last week to tell us the sign was up both sensed something odd about it.

Said Alicia Woods:

It sounds like an ad for a gated community…or an apartment complex……anybody else think it is strange, or am I the only one?

Well, no, in fact. When told what Alicia had said, Jim Willis (who had also written in to tell us he’s just noticed it) replied:

It did feel a little like I was entering some weird kind of government-sponsored ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’ zone.

Read More »

ARTS TOUR IS A BIG-TENT TICKET

Arts_tour_logo

Back in March, redbankgreen was the first to tell you about a nascent project called the Tri-City Arts Tour, a big-tent sort of event under which the artizens of Red Bank, Asbury Park and Long Branch would join forces for a three-day celebration of all that’s innovative, interactive and infotaining here in our corner of America’s artland.

Call it the Axis of Ego if you will, but there’s no denying that the “TriCities” of Monmouth County remain the area’s magnets for anything remotely interesting in the realms of art, music, film, theater and special events. There are occasional exceptions to that rule, but you get the feeling that without this troika, we’d all be logging a lot more hours at the local stripmall (not that we haven’t spent a pleasant Saturday or three sipping coffee and reading magazines for free at Borders).

In recent years, the fertile triangle defined by the TriCities has offered up scenes such as a singing Russell Crowe; Bruce Springsteen jamming with Brian Wilson; and a murderous Macbeth devised by mischievous magic man Teller.

We’ve seen Stephen Colbert performing a dramatic play reading; Joe Piscopo singing for his supper at a downtown restaurant; and Crispin Glover commandeering a mothballed movie house for an evening of weirdness. There was lesbian guerrilla theater in the living room; chamber recitals at a car dealership; variety burlesque and stag films at a bowling alley. All that, plus the return of roller derby.

Anyone who tells you there’s nothing to do hereabouts might as well be saying there’s no place to park in Red Bank. You simply have to look.

This weekend, the lookin’s easier.

Read More »

SHOW, DESSERT AND CUP O’ JOE

SimonelliJoe Simonelli

By TOM CHESEK

Chicago has the profanely profound David Mamet; Pittsburgh the late great August Wilson. New York? Well, at least as the rest of the country sees it, there’s no playwright more attuned to Manhattan than the beloved Neil “Doc” Simon.

Rbo_3b

Here in the great metropolis that is Monmouth County, the boards of our local stages are getting Simonized in style by our own comical Bard of the Bayshore, a scribe who was once branded by a correspondent for the Asbury Park Press (not me) as the Next Neil Simon.

Digging around in the basement of the First Avenue Playhouse for a stray prop or suitable stick of furniture, Joe Simonelli doesn’t come across as a self-important peer of Mamet or Albee or, for that matter, even Dan “Nunsense” Goggin. While none of those gentlemen of letters would rightly be expected to decorate their own sets, the regular-joe Simonelli can often be spotted around the Atlantic Highlands dessert theatre doing whatever needs to be done — painting flats, providing musical accompaniment, even serving coffee to faithful patrons.

This summer, lucky local audiences will get a chance to catch two offerings from the Simonelli playbook, beginning with Roommates, a comedy of relationships that kicks off a month-long engagement at First Avenue this Friday, with the author himself in the lead.

Read More »

DISHAD AND KUMAR GO TO MIDDLETOWN

VivalibertyDishad Husain directs and stars in Viva Liberty, one of four shorts in the New Jersey Independent South Asian Cinefest at Middletown Township Public Library.

By TOM CHESEK

A couple of evenings a week at Neelam Exotic Indian Cuisine — located in the otherwise nondescript Village Mall on southbound Route 35 in Middletown — patrons turn out for a buffet night that’s proven to be a popular draw for folks throughout the greater Red Bank oRBit. Whether they’re just getting acquainted with an unfamiliar culinary experience or all-you-can-eat chowhounds looking for a recession-busting deal, they find the eclectic spread put out by Mr. Malhi and family a delightful introduction to the flavors of South Asia.

Rbo_3b

Not much more than a quarter-mile away, at the cool community resource that is the Middletown Township Public Library, a group of DIY directors and cinephiles with an indie jones have assembled the celluloid equivalent of a splendid buffet for the benefit of those who’ve heard good things about a new generation of South Asian filmmakers — but don’t particularly want to wade through hundreds of hours of Bollywood blockbusters to find a gem.

Presented under the banner of the New Jersey Independent South Asian Cinefest, the Monday evening menu of short films — each under thirty minutes long — is the second in a series hosted at the library’s Community Room. Organized by the Monmouth County-based Asian American Film and Theater Project, it’s a traveling sampler of fare from a larger annual event that unspools in September at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, and it begins at 6p with a selection of food and beverages catered by the nearby Neelam.

Read More »

DONOVAN’S: GOING NOWHERE, GLADLY

Img_3525Img_3512

By SUE MORGAN

Never mind that ‘farewell forever’ send-off held last year at Donovan’s Reef. The legendary Sea Bright landmark is sticking around and kicking up sand a bit longer.

Rbo_3b

Today’s lackluster real estate market has benefited regulars of the combined bar and beach club. They had all but said their final, sloppy goodbyes to the Ocean Avenue entertainment spot last autumn.

But a presumed buyer backed out of a deal in February, and no others came forward to match the reported $5 million that Bob Philips and his two partners were said to be asking.

Then Philips, who’s 71 years old and has been a co-owner for more than 30 years, realized he wasn’t ready to let go, anyway. His desire to continue working at the Jersey Shore-themed establishment, he says, led him to decide to keep Donovan’s going year-round at least through the summer of 2009.

If nothing else, Phillips says, he wants Donovan’s to provide a place for patrons from a wide range of backgrounds to come together, despite soaring gas and food prices and an overall sour economy.

“People always get a few bucks so they can go out,” Phillips said in a telephone interview. “We’re Americans. It’s what we’re about.”

Read More »

PREPARE TO KVETCH: SEVERE HEAT ALERT

100_1

Yeah, we did a double-take, too.

But the Associated Press, citing the National Weather Service, is reporting that a heat wave is about to roll in for the weekend and then stick around.

Forecasters say temperatures could reach near 100 degrees, fueled by a Bermuda high. The humidity will also increase.

The weather service says heat index values will easily make it into the upper 90s and possibly even reach 100 degrees or higher.

The first heat wave of the season is expected to last into the early part of next week.

Locally, though, it’s not looking that bad. Cooler by the shore and all that.

Still, redbankgreen is forecasting that we’ll all be pretty much sick of it by Tuesday at the latest.

Read More »