WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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You can live in a place for years and years and still occasionally experience a moment of discovery that’s small but feels big at the time.

That’s what happened to redbankgreen in stumbling on the site of last week‘s photo.

Monmouth911, Cheryl Ameika, Wendy Spencer and Pete DeFazio all knew this little spot. The picture shows a retaining wall at a parking lot across Shrewsbury Avenue from the Galleria and near, several readers pointed out, the G&G Hot Dogs truck.

“Great spot to sit and eat your dogs from G&G, and has a good view of the river,” says Cheryl.

Make ours a chili dog, please.

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RESTAURATEUR CONVICTED IN POT CASE

A man reported to have been an owner or co-owner of Teak restaurant on Monmouth Street and other upscale eateries was convicted Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan of conspiracy to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana.

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Marc Munson, a former Holmdel resident whose age and current address were not disclosed, was the “head of the New York operation” in an elaborate smuggling scheme that involved the use of ‘decoy’ cars to deflect attention away from others used to haul the pot, federal authorities contend.

From 1997 into 2004, the alleged conspiracy generated huge profits, enabling Munson to become an owner or co-owner of Teak; of Rice, in Highlands; and Thai Elephant in Short Hills, the Asbury Park Press reports, citing court documents and trial evidence.

Munson’s current relationship to Teak could not be learned last night; a call to the general manager was not returned.

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ARMED ROBBERY LANDS PAIR IN PRISON

Img_9850Ponceno Records, scene of the December robbery and stabbing.

Two young Bronx men have been sentenced to prison terms for their roles in last December’s robbery of Ponceno Records on Shrewsbury Avenue, which left the store’s owner bound and bleeding from a stab wound.

Following guilty pleas to armed robbery charges in March, Jermaine Williams, 19, was sentenced to eight years in state prison, and Ramone Newman, 18, was sentenced to ten years by Superior Court Judge Francis DeStefano last Thursday in Freehold.

Williams, it turns out, is a nephew of store owner and stab victim Charlie Williams. He’d also previously worked in the store.

“The brazenness of the defendants in committing this violent midmorning robbery was exceeded only by the fact that the victim’s own nephew chose to actively participate in inflicting terror on his family member,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin said in a press release.

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ROBBERY INVESTIGATION CONTINUES

Investigators now have doubts that a one-armed man taken into custody as a suspect in a Middletown bank robbery late this morning is the guy they’re looking for.

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“We had a car pulled over, but we’re not sure if the person in the car was involved” in the robbery of the Bank America branch on Route 35 at Navesink River Road, Middletown Police Lt. Joe Capriotti tells redbankgreen.

The man taken into custody in Eatontown is being held in Middletown on an unrelated warrant, Capriotti says. And the investigation is continuing, he says.

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DAY ONE: 20 MILES, SANS MAP

Img_0571Elmer and Jeff Jackson at the fog-wrapped Golden Gate Bridge as they prepared to start their ride yesterday. (Photos by Tim Hathaway.)

The father-and-son pair Elmer and Jeff Jackson completed the first 20 miles yesterday of what we’re now told will be a 4,244-mile bike ride.

Looks like they did some sightseeing at San Francisco’s Presidio before they got very far. Advance man and sag driver Tim Hathaway reports on his blog:

There is a veterans cemetery with thousands of headstones dating back through the mid 1800s. Over 450 of them are that of Buffalo Soldiers, an appellation native American Indians gave black regiments during the Indian Wars.

Then the Jacksons ferried north to Vallejo, where they started their fundraising trek in earnest.

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ONE-ARMED BANDIT? SUSPECT NABBED

Img_9568The suspect vehicle on Route 36 in Eatontown at about noon.

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Red Bank police apparently had a hand in the arrest of man suspected of robbing a Bank of America branch on Route 35 in Middletown late this morning.

No official word is yet available, but the suspect was reported on police radio transmissions to be — no joke — a one-armed man.

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HOVNANIAN SLAMMED AGAIN

Img_9341The company’s headquarters overlooking the Navesink River.

Red Bank-based national homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises saw its second-quarter losses increase elevenfold from last year as land valuations and revenues plunged again amid what Dow Jones calls “the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression.”

Still, as the company reported its seventh consecutive net loss, chairman and CEO Ara Hovnanian said the business has “ample liquidity to weather the current downturn,” thanks to a recent refinancing and other measures.

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PARKWAY TO SAY ‘TA-TA’ TO TOKENS

The days are numbered for Garden State Parkway tokens, today’s Star-Ledger reports.

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The board of commissioners of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which operates the parkway, is expected to vote today to stop accepting the quarter-size nickle and brass tokens at parkway toll booths at the end of this year. That would leave motorists with just seven months to use ’em or lose ’em, the Sledger’s Tom Feeney writes.

This chapter in the 54-year history of the Parkway was not supposed to come to such an abrupt end. Officials once believed the tokens would fade gently away.

The last roll of them was sold to the motoring public on Jan. 1, 2002, as a way to nudge drivers toward E-ZPass.

Since then, tokens collected at the toll booths have been immediately removed from circulation. Officials at the New Jersey Highway Authority — the agency that operated the Parkway before it was merged with the Turnpike Authority — believed the stream of tokens at its toll booths would eventually slow to a trickle.

But the tokens have continued to flow.

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BIKING HOME FROM THE REAL WEST SIDE

Img_0559Ups_arrivesElmer Jackson poses at left with Kevin the UPS guy and the bikes that finally arrived in San Francisco Monday.

In photo above, that’s Jeff Jackson in foreground with, from left, Ron (no last name available), Elmer, Elmer’s sister, Joyce Tanaka, and brother Rudy, a former Oakland Raiders lineman. (Photos by Tim Hathaway)

Just over four months ago, redbankgreen told you about Elmer and Jeff Jackson, the father-son pair who run the West Side Christian Academy, and their plan to bike across the U.S.

Well, they’re finally on the road. After a UPS mixup delayed the arrival of their bikes by a couple of days, the Jacksons were at the Golden Gate Bridge just about to shove off when redbankgreen reached them by phone this afternoon.

And what’s on Jeff’s mind as he stands with his bike beneath that glorious piece of engineering? Mountains, he says.

“Mountains, mountains, and more mountains,” he says. “It’s exhilarating, but it’s also just a huge endeavor.”

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BRIEFCASE STIRS CONCERN IN LITTLE SILVER

A briefcase left next to a dumpster prompted the use of a bomb-sniffing dog at 200 White Road in Little Silver this morning, the Asbury Park Press is reporting.

The presence of the unattended briefcase was reported to police at about 7:30a, and after an investigation, the bag was deemed safe and the scene was cleared at about 8:45, the Press says.

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WORKING BLUE IN RED BANK

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By TOM CHESEK

On a weekend in which the Count Basie Theatre is scheduled to host a couple of local-kid dance recitals, the ever-eclectic auditorium also will be sounding a blue note or three, as a trio of standup guys jack the stage for a program that could only be called Comedy on the Edge.

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You’re gonna need a 64-ounce bag of V-chips to shield yourself from the vitriolic vibes Friday, when Patrice O’Neal, Robert Kelly and Mike DeStefano appear in this three-headed monster of a bill, presented by AM Productions and featured under the banner of this weekend’s TriCity Arts Tour.

Call it “art” if you must, but those of us who recall Comedy Central’s long-defunct Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn remember O’Neal and Kelly as just two of the opinionated lugs who made that refreshingly loose roundtable into something like the McLaughlin Group, minus the decorum. Collectively, the comics have logged considerable man-hours on the late-late talkfests, premium cable specials and Opie and Anthony shows. To say nothing of quickie cameos in movies that star their bigger, scarier friends — a sore point, one would have to reckon.

Calling from the L.A. home of his pal Dane Cook — with whom he was about to embark on a road trip that would take them (plus Al Del Bene) from Caesars Las Vegas to the sands of Iraq — Boston-bred Bob Kelly filled redbankoRBit in on the pet peeves of the road-warrior wiseass, and life trouping for the troops in a world without (Bob) Hope.

Warning: F-bombs ahead.

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CONVENIENCE, SERVICE, AND PAINT

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Today’s Asbury Park Press pops in at Fair Haven Hardware for a look at what keeps the 55-year-old business going in an era when Home Depot, Lowe’s and and other big-box chains have all but eliminated stores its size.

Owner Harvey Schooman, who was two years old when his parents started the business, tells Press reporter Larry Higgs how the store thrives.

“We’re the 7-Eleven of the hardware industry,” Schooman said. “It’s having what people want when they want it and providing, not good, but superior service.”

In this case, that means no lumber and other large items, but lots small stuff — and paint. Paint sales make up 40 percent of the store’s total, Schooman tells the Press.

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JAZZ & BLUES FEST: YOU CALL THAT RAIN?

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For a while there Saturday, it looked like here-we-go-again time at the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival, which has wrung itself out from late spring downpours more than once in the past.

But an early afternoon rain lasted less than 45 minutes, and when it was over, the shows went on, without further interruption. On the whole, the three-day event drew big, well-behaved crowds under ideal atmospheric conditions.

Today, redbankgreen looks back at the event with 22 photos from the festival’s 22nd edition. Click to enlarge, and enjoy.

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RIVERFRONT CLEANUP

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A Red Bank-owned lot at the foot of Maple Avenue got a sprucing up by about dozen volunteers who cleared a path between a small parking lot and the water’s edge Sunday.

Out came chunks of broken concrete, an old bicycle and even a sink. And there’s still lots more in there, hidden among the vegetation, they say.

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SWIM SWUM

Img_9142Swimmers emerge from the Navesink River, heading right to finish the 1.2-mile race and left to continue on for the second lap in the 2.4-mile challenge.

Dozens of competitive swimmers took to the Navesink River at Victory Park in Rumson Sunday morning for the third annual ‘Nav-E-Sink or Swim’ distance races to raise awareness of the dangers of melanoma.

Results are to be posted here.

Click images to enlarge.

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FOOD & DANCE PEPPER CULTURES FEST

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The Red Bank Primary School was the colorful setting Friday night for the annual International Night, and this year’s food-and-culturefest was another sellout, with 320 tickets sold, organizers tell redbankgreen.

Click images to enlarge.

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HARRY’S LOBSTER HOUSE IN HOT WATER

Img_3508Harry’s, in a photo taken in February.

Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright is in bankruptcy, trying to stave off a sale of its assets by state tax officials, and a story in Sunday’s Asbury Park Press business section attempts to explain how the 75-year-old eatery wound up in the jam.

When the results of the New Jersey Division of Taxation’s audit arrived by certified mail on May 12, 2003, J. Louis Jacoubs, the owner of Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright, had to do a double take.

After reviewing his books and operations, the auditors concluded that he owed more than $600,000 in taxes from 1997 through 2001 — an amount that left Jacoubs incredulous.

“I said, “Oh my God. What the (heck) am I going to do?’ ” Jacoubs recalled.

Five years later, Harry’s Lobster House is in bankruptcy in a last-ditch attempt to keep the state from taking it over and auctioning it off.

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NY TIMES FOODIE: RED ‘WORTH REVISITING’

Img_9053Red, at 3 Broad Street.

Restaurant reviewer Karla Cook of the New York Times New Jersey section in found a lot to like, as well as some shortcomings, in a review of Red that ran in yesterday’s edition.

Getting right to it:

As the price of food continues to rise, it’s a comfort to find a restaurant that serves good, well-priced meals in pleasant surroundings. It’s even better when the chef is ambitious, with an instinct for delicious combinations.

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RED BANK POLICE BLOTTER

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Entries from the week of May 23 through May 30. Items are unedited.

Theft occurring between 5-16-08 and 5-23-08 at West Front Street business. Victim reported that several pieces of sterling silver were stolen from case. Ptl. George Travostino.

Theft occurring on 5-24-08 at Shrewsbury Ave. Victim reported that a package delivered by mail was stolen from front porch of residence. Package contained a T-Mobil Blackberry Cell phone. Sgt. Daniel Bannon.

Criminal Mischief occurring between 5-24-08 and 5-25-08 at Monmouth St. Victim reported damaged to his parked vehicle whereby the side view mirror was broken off by unknown person(s). Ptl. Patrick Kennedy.

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MAN ARRESTED FOR ILLEGAL ALIEN STATUS

Lakehurst police arrested a Red Bank man on charges that he is an undocumented alien, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

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The arrest of Alfredo Hernandez-Perez, 18, followed a minor motor vehicle collision on Saturday afternoon, the newspaper says.

During an investigation, Officer Matthew Kline found Hernandez-Perez in possession of multiple summonses issued by Red Bank Municipal Court. Initially, Hernandez-Perez provided Kline with a false name, Heinzman said, but the summonses and a fraudulent Social Security card provided police with the driver’s correct name.

Hernandez-Perez was taken to the Ocean County Jail and charged with possessing a fraudulent document and hindering apprehension. He was issued motor vehicle summonses on charges of careless driving and operating a motor vehicle without a license.

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