An original music video made by and starring students at the Red Bank Middle School has reached the finals of a contest promising $25,000 worth of educational technology to the winner, redbankgreen has learned.


From photo/art/culture teacher Chris Ippolito:

We are very excited! (the kids are cheering right now at the news).

The entry is one of 15 that viewers will be able to vote on via the web. The contest website says the finalists will be posted for voting on by the public today. They weren’t yet up at midmorning, so we suggest readers check back periodically until that site is updated.

Update: viewers can vote until 11:59a Friday, Nov. 14 here.

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The Red Bank Regional High School board of ed is closing in on a new set of rules governing student conduct following a discipline controversy that erupted last winter.

Proposed revisions to what is now an athletic code of conduct, scheduled for discussion at the board’s Nov. 5 meeting, are not yet known, except that the policy will be expanded to apply not only to athletes but all students involved in extracuriuclar activities, says school spokeswoman Marianne Kligman.


In a prepared statement, the school says the changes “represents the culmination of a process initiated last spring to involve all stakeholders — parents, students, staff, administration and community leaders — in redefining a fair, consistent and community supported code of conduct that will hold all our students engaged in athletic and co-curricular activities to the same high standard of conduct.”

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All costumed up and wondering where Halloween revelers will be mingling tonight? Check out Red Bank oRBit for guidance.


The lineup includes a Halloween Extravaganza/metal tribute to the Bee Gees (those are the culprits, called Tragedy, at right); costume parties at Ross’ Dockside and Elements in Sea Bright; and a parade in Asbury Park featuring one of the Village People.

And the eerie vibe continues Saturday with a reading of Orson Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’ at Brookdale.

Full details only at Red Bank oRBit, you Jersey Devils, you.

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In conjunction with tonight’s reopening of the Count Basie Theatre after four months in mothballs, today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit contains a two-fer:

• We’ve got an interview with a Mark Eaton, a 15-year Capitol Steps veteran (and former lobbyist) who dishes on the comedy troupe’s Friday-night show and what happens after the Nov. 4 bubble deflates…

• And, if you’re wondering how acts like the Capitol Steps, Rufus Wainwright, the B-52s and Patton Oswalt wind up on the Basie’s boards, check out our interview with Numa Saisselin, who not only runs the theater as its CEO, but personally books every act.

We’re oRBit, and we approve this message…

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The state Council on Affordable Housing has temporarily barred Red Bank from granting any new multifamily housing approvals until a dispute over the borough’s fair share of below-market housing can be addressed, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.


No such projects are currently up for approval by the borough planning or zoning boards. But Borough Attorney Tom Hall tells the Press’ Larry Higgs that he’s “disappointed” that the Fair Share Housing of Cherry Hill won a temporary freeze Wednesday on approvals pending oral arguments by the borough and center attorneys on Nov. 12.

According to the Press, Fair Share Housing Center attorney Adam Green

argued that the borough has approved hundreds of units of luxury housing units, while not setting aside 20 percent of those units as affordable housing under COAH requirements. Those approvals have affected existing affordable housing by increasing property values and forcing low- and moderate-income families out of the borough, he said.

“The town can’t say “We don’t have land to develop (affordable housing on)’ and grant variances to developers of luxury apartments without affordable housing,” Gordon said afterward.

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BasiechandelierThere was a lot of neck-craning as several hundred visitors took tours of the newly resplendent Count Basie Theatre Wednesday night.

A security guard recalled bits of dried plaster sprinkling his hair during a concert by the rock band Kansas.

A former stage manager spoke of road crews cutting random holes in ceiling grates to hang their light rigging.

Others recalled shutdowns by safety inspectors, and collapsed seats hastily patched back together with duct tape.

And they spoke, too, of the growing sense of futility at their attempts to fix things — how year after year, donors would pony up tens of thousands of dollars that would yield little more than a new coat of paint in the lobby, a new net to catch the plaster, and maybe a new car for whomever was running things.

Like a populace that had endured a prolonged siege, they came together last night to share war stories, yes, but even more to celebrate a resurrection.

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Babitt_lee_2Contractor Lee Babitt found he wanted to make a mark when he turned 50 — and the Basie fit the bill.

Lee Babitt tells the story of a woman walking past the Count Basie Theatre three Sundays ago trying to get a peek at what was going on inside the entertainment palace she’d patronized for years.

As the general contractor on the Red Bank theater’s $8 million renovation, Babitt was well prepared to answer her questions. But instead, he offered to show her, and asked her to close her eyes as he led her inside by the hand.

“Then she opened her eyes, looked around, and she just started crying,” he says.

For Babitt, that made the months of long, hectic days worth the effort — way more than any amount of money.

Babitt doesn’t live anywhere near the Basie. In fact, before earlier this year, he had never set foot inside the theater born in 1926 as the Carlton. So he had neither the nostalgia for great shows of the past nor the disappointment of those who endured years of musty smells and raining bits of plaster.

But Babitt had this: fifty years under his belt. And as just about anyone who reaches that milestone will understand, it brought with it an indescribable desire to create something significant and lasting and personal before the big candle gets blown out.

Which is about all Babitt has by way of explanation for why, when he stood to make beaucoup bucks by restoring the theater’s interior, he decided to do it gratis.

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Basierow_9Basietheatre_7The aisle stanchion on row U, left; a view of the hall from the balcony, right. (Photos by Jim Willis)

After four months in dry dock, it’s back to the high seas of entertainment for the Count Basie Theatre Thursday night, with a concert by Bobby Bandiera and the Jersey Shore Rock ‘n Soul Revue, a show that kicks off a string of 40 shows in 40 nights.

Wednesday night, though, no tickets are required to get a close look at what $8 million in plaster, paint and other materials can do for a dowdy old rustbucket.

If you live in the 07701 zip code, you should have received a postcard two weeks ago inviting you to a reception Wednesday night. But if you didn’t get it or did but misplaced it, you can still get in, Basie officials tell us.

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In a reprise of one of his nastiest fights as a member of the Red Bank Council, John Curley says that “scumbags” and “vermin” associated with former Mayor Ed McKenna are trying to undermine his candidacy for Monmouth County Freeholder with misrepresentations.

In a story on PolitickerNJ.com, Curley says a flier sent to voters in recent days that blames him for a $400,000 increase in taxes in 2006 is the work of a McKenna-led political action committee.

From the report:

“Some people believe what they read in a political flyer, but this only goes to show what kind of scumbags we’re dealing with when it comes to (former Red Bank Mayor) Ed McKenna and his Monmouth County Mayors Leadership PAC.

“They are vermin,” Curley added of the former mayor’s fundraising arm. “They are a bunch of dirtbag skeeves, and you can quote me on that.”

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SpringsteensThe Springsteens go goo-goo over an infant outside the Count Basie Theatre in May.

The wonder of it is that they kept it up as long as they did.

The Star-Ledger reports this afternoon that Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa Springsteen, are putting the kibosh on their annual Halloween tradition of letting trick-or-treaters onto their Rumson estate.

From the Sledger’s Stan Goldstein:

In the past, Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa have had an elaborate Halloween display at the gates of their home in Rumson.

On Halloween, the Springsteens would allow people to walk up a bit on their main driveway and see some of the decorations. Candy was then given out to the “trick or treaters.”

There were some masked characters around and it was rumored that Bruce or Patti were sometimes behind the masks.

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Here’s a recap of Monday night’s Red Bank Borough Council meeting. (Follow along with the agenda, if you like.)

• Mayor Pasquale Menna accepted a $162,975 dividend payment to the borough from the Central Jersey Health Insurance Fund, the shared-services operation comprised of 20 Monmouth and Ocean county towns and authorities.


The dividend has more than doubled from the $79,000 of just two years ago, and represents improved claims experience, Menna said. It is also the equivalent of a six-percent return on the borough’s annual health insurance premium, he said.

• Menna also accepted a $5,000 donation to the borough in lieu of taxes from the nonprofit Monmouth Boat Club.

• The council gave final and unanimous approval to two ordinances.

One will result in the creation of a four-way stop at the intersection of Bridge Avenue and Chestnut Street.

The other, a planning amendment, permits the use of professional offices by physical, speech and other licensed therapists and real estate brokerages with five or fewer employees. Previously, the list of authorized uses was limited to doctors and dentists, architects, musicians and ministers, among others.

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RbmsrapvidEighth-graders Michelle Reyes, in white, and Anisa Abella watch the RBMS video at Monday night’s council meeting.

This time last year, the kids at the Red Bank Middle School were jamming on a video entry for a contest that might put $15,000 worth of new learning technology into the grades six-through-eight facility.

Teachers had heard about the contest only days before the deadline. But with an all-out effort by the students, the school put together a video titled “Use Ya Tech,” a parody of Eminem‘s “Lose Yourself,” that served as its entry.

The school finished sixth among 66 schools nationwide — out of the money, but jazzed at the potential for doing better next time in the competition, sponsored by Interwrite Technology, a maker of classroom electronics.

Well, next time is here, the top prize is now $25,000 in gear, and RBMS is back with another high-energy, must-see piece of work.

And this time, even the superintendent gets down.

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Red Bank’s annual Halloween Parade, pulled together as usual by the Parks & Rec department, filled Broad Street with a whole lotta cute and scary under a brilliant autumn sky Sunday afternoon.

As is the custom, the event wrapped up in the White Street municipal parking lot for distribution of treats and judging of costumes and floats. But not before a bunch of guys in monkey suits heading to a wedding found themselves mistaken for parade participants (see below).

The photos enlarge when you click on them. If you see a friend or neighbor’s pic, be sure to let them know.




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Entries from the Red Bank Police Department logbook for the week of October 17 to 24.

Burglary reported on 10-17-08 at W. Bergen Place vacant residence within the last two weeks. Owner reported that unknown person(s) gained entry into the vacant house and stole the following items: a black marble replica fireplace and a white marble replica fireplace, a large crystal chandelier and a wooden mahogany combination mirror shelf. Ptl. James DePonte.


Burglary occurring on 10-18-08 at DeForrest Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) entered residence and stole cash and several pieces of jewelry form bedroom. Ptl. John Camarca.

Robbery occurring on 10-19-08 at approx. 1328 hours at River St. Victim reported that black male on a bicycle approached him while walking, demanded money and pointed a knife at the victim. Victim gave him cash and prepetrator fled. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich, Ptl. James DePonte and Sgt. Frazee.

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Dolphins_rumson_oceanic2Dolphins on the west side of the Oceanic Bridge in mid-July. (Photo courtesy of Mary Fenton)

A team of experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has decided that the dolphins in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers are just doing what dolphins have done for millions of years and there’s no urgent reason to try to get them to leave.

Still, acoustical measurements and other forms of observation are being stepped up to determine if construction work on the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge might serve as an obstacle to the dolphins’ exit if and when the animals decide to leave, they said.

Otherwise, the marine specialists have concluded that two intervention plans discussed in recent weeks are unlikely to work. One involved luring the dolphins out to Sandy Hook Bay by playing back recordings of prey or other dolphins socializing; the other contemplated driving them downriver using harsh noises.

NOAA now believes that the dolphins would probably ignore never-tried luring sounds, given that they’re still enjoying plentiful stocks of menhaden in their present habitat. The herding approach is considered high risk, likely to result in fragmenting of the pod, strandings and deaths.

“We are saying the wisest thing to do is let the dolphins stay there,” said Teri Rowles, lead veterinarian for NOAA Fisheries Service and leader of the National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.

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Rumson_dolphinsSome of the dolphins off Rumson in July, shortly after they moved upriver from the Shrewsbury to the Navesink.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has jurisdiction over the pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that has been in local inland waters since June, has decided not to try luring or driving the animals out to sea, the agency says in a press release issued this morning.


From the announcement:

Monitoring by NOAA dolphin researchers over the past week revealed no indications of stress, illness, or feeding problems. They identified 12 individuals moving easily from the Navesink to the Shrewsbury in two groups.

“These animals are in typical habitat, food is present, and we have no reason to believe they are stressed,” said Teri Rowles, director of NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Program. “We’re not going to interfere in what appears to be a completely natural phenomenon, especially when doing so carries a high risk of harming healthy animals.”

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Aficionados of gore, this is your season. And up in Keyport, brothers Mike and Tom Borelli — the unspattered brains behind the long-running Weeping Willow Cemetery installation in Jackson Township — have teamed with an expert in splatterific horror FX to create Macabre Manor, an enclosed attraction that’s sure to scare the bejesus, and perhaps some other fluids, out of you.

We’ve got a sneak peek at the Torture Room, the Autopsy Room and the Cemetery Room, as well as word on an other scary and not-so scary fun stuff to do this pre-Halloween weekend…

Only in Red Bank oRBit

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Sheep1_irSheep grazing recently on a farm at the corner of Nut Swamp and Middletown-Lincroft roads in Middletown. Today’s weather forecast is lamby-mild, but showers are expected tomorrow.

Here’s the outlook as the National Weather Service sees it:

Today: Areas of frost before 9am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 60. Calm wind becoming south between 4 and 7 mph.

Tonight: Increasing clouds, with a low around 46. South wind between 6 and 8 mph.

Saturday: A chance of showers, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 11am. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 61. Breezy, with a southeast wind between 13 and 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

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CurleyburryIn the driver’s seat: John Curley and his running mate, as seen at Red Bank’s Centennial Parade in May.

The Asbury Park Press editorial page has thrown its weight behind former Red Bank Councilman John Curley in his race for Freeholder.

Along with his Republican running mate, incumbent Freeholder Director Lillian Burry, Curley hopes to halt gains by Democrats, long the minority party on the board. A dual win by the Democrats would give them a 4-1 majority.

Today’s editorial says “voters would be better served by retaining the 3-2 Republican majority.”

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Sunny Sharma has lost his appeal of Red Bank’s revocation of his license to sell booze through his problem-plagued Best Liquors store on Leighton Avenue, the Asbury Park Press reports this evening.


From the Press:

A decision released today [by Administrative Law] Judge Joseph F. Martone agreed with the borough’s arguments made at a hearing last March.

“It is a victory,” said Mayor Pasquale “Pat “” Menna. “It is not just a west side issue, it is complete town issue. Quality of life is what it’s about.”

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BasiebalconyA new chandelier will hang from a skyscape-painted dome that was crumbling before the latest renovations at the Count Basie Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Jim Willis)

In less than a week, the Count Basie Theatre gets back to the business of putting fannies in the seats following $8 million in upgrades.

Today, we’ve got the first of a handful of features on the theater planned between now and October 30, when the grand old venue opens as a spectacular new showcase, complete with something new: a chandelier suspended from the center dome.

Read all about the fixture and some of the acts who’ll be lighting up the joint in coming months.

Only in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit


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CangemigGrace Cangemi at home on Rector Place.

On Nov. 4, Red Bank voters will have four ballot choices for two seats on the borough council, now composed of four Democrats and two Republicans.


Both open seats, by happenstance, are held by Republicans: Grace Cangemi, who is running for re-election, and James Giannell, who is not running; he’s serving out the tail end of the term from which freeholder candidate John Curley resigned in July.

This week, redbankgreen is posting interviews with each of the candidates. Instead of transcripts, we’ve got the complete audio. The interviews are between 22 and 33 minutes in length. [See the editor’s note at bottom of story.]

The interviews are not meant to be literal head-to-head comparisons. Rather, they cover some common issues — including taxes, a community center and healthcare coverage for the mayor and council — while exploring each candidate’s own experiences a bit in order to shed some light on who they are and how they think.

We’re running them in reverse alphabetical order; Democrat Ed Zipprich’s interview ran Monday; Republican John Tyler Jr. was featured Tuesday, and Democrat Juanita Lewis was spotlighted Wednesday.

Today, in our final installment, we spotlight Cangemi.

Mary Grace Cangemi is the only incumbent in this year’s Red Bank council race, but also the only one now wrapping up her third campaign for the governing body in three years.

“Apparently, I love to run,” she says with a laugh.

A mortgage broker by day, Cangemi says without sarcasm that she loves the business of the council — interacting with residents and borough hall employees, trying to solve problems. And the coming year, she believes, will bring a slew of problems in the form of financial challenges that haven’t been experienced in a long time.

“I think we are looking at a year when we’re going to have to make some very hard decisions,” she says. That means, she says, looking public employees in the eye and telling them that even though they may deserve a raise, taxpayers can’t take on any more costs, so they’ll have to wait.

“Otherwise, we have to look our residents in the face and tell them, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to afford to live here,'” she says.

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Dolphins4Dolphins in the upper Shrewsbury in late June.

Federal marine experts say they have an answer to slippery question: How may dolphins are there in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers?

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