A CHAT WITH THE CANDIDATE: LEWIS

Lewis_juanitaJuanita Lewis at home on Shrewsbury Avenue.

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.

Politics2

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 yesterday, and we’ll wrap up with Cangemi on Thursday.

Today, we spotlight Democrat Juanita Lewis.

Juanita Lewis, now in her second term on the Red Bank Board of Education, also serves on the newly re-started Red Bank Borough Education Foundation. She’s been active in Red Bank Pop Warner. She’s also president of the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance, Inc.

Clearly, education and opportunity are passions in the life of Lewis, an unmarried, childless Red Bank native with an MBA. And they form a centerpiece of her first campaign for council.

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IN oRBit: IS THERE AN ECHO IN THERE?

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Jamian LaViola has seen the future, and it does not only happen at night.

Amian

He’s overhauling the look, name and business strategy of Echo, the nightspot he owns on Monmouth Street that he now thinks may have veered a little too close to becoming “some stereotype of super-high-end nightlife.”

So now, he’s in the process of giving the former old-men’s bar a new look — complete with roll-up garage doors for open-air dining in nice weather — a new, lunchtime menu, and a new moniker, Jamian’s Food & Drink.

One stalwart of the past will remain, though: the weekly gig by reggae masters Random Test.

Get the bass-heavy reverb, if not the echo, only at Red Bank oRBit

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HANGING UP THEIR CLEATS, FOR NOW

LasthuddleTaylor Crystian, center, joins her teammates for the last huddle of the season after a game under the lights at Count Basie Field Monday night.

Even though he’d caught a pass for a nice gain, one kid was near tears because, he said, a defensive player had held him.

Another decided that the interval between plays was a good time to meander over to the far sideline, kneel down and play in a patch of dirt.

And every break in the action was an occasion for players to break into dances they might perform just as though they were alone in front of a TV, instead of on the field, under the lights of Count Basie Field.

Welcome to pee wee flag football, and the season finale for Red Bank Pop Warner’s littlest squad.

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THEFTS IRK FAIR HAVEN OBAMA BACKERS

AyalacrockettAyala Naphtali, with neighbor Andrew Crockett, had a spare Obama sign to replace the one stolen from her yard. Below, Yvonne Grayson’s sign is anchored in concrete after vandals ripped it out of the ground.

A rash of campaign-sign thefts and a case of repeated vandalism in Fair Haven have backers of Sen. Barack Obama wondering if someone in the town’s majority party can’t tolerate a different point of view.

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In the last 10 days, at least five residents from various parts of town have reported thefts of national campaign signs, says police Chief Darryl Breckenridge. From what he can tell from records, at least four of those were Obama signs; he was unsure about the fifth.

And another resident has come forward with an account of someone pulling a 50-pound custom sign out of the ground earlier this year after three lightweight signs were taken from her front lawn.

Breckenridge says reports of sign theft and vandalism are not uncommon during election season. But supporters of the Democratic presidential candidate can’t help but think that they’re being targeted in a town that tilts Republican.

Andrew Crockett, whose sign was stolen early Saturday, tells redbankgreen he can understand a little juvenile vandalism, but doesn’t think that’s what is going on, not with his sign being stolen shortly before dawn last Saturday.

“If this is a McCain person doing this, please — my reaction is unprintable,” he says.

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AN EXTRAMARRITAL AFFAIR IN oRBit

Noworbiting_icon

In Chicago, they sexed it up from the original script. In Poland, they added a scene in which the husband beats his wife, apparently thinking that’s what the audience would demand.

In Long Branch, though, NJ Rep shoots for a more zenlike contemplation of marital infidelity in APPLE, the drama by Vern Thiessen that starts previews Thursday.

Today, we’ve got an interview with NJ Rep co-founder SuzAnne Barabas, who directs this production, about the script’s language, how the cast was chosen and more.

Only in Red Bank oRBIT, your unflinching guide to what’s going on in this corner of Monmouth County.

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A CHAT WITH THE CANDIDATE: TYLER

TylerJohn Tyler Jr. at home on Leighton Avenue with the family dog, Goldie.

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.

Politics2

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, his running mate, Juanita Lewis, will be featured tomorrow, and we’ll wrap up with Cangemi on Thursday.

Today, we spotlight Republican John S. Tyler Jr.

To the extent that John Tyler has a public profile in Red Bank, it is as one of several Leighton Avenue residents who for more than two years have been tying to get Best Liquors shut down as a public nuisance. Frustrated by what he sees as foot-dragging by the governing body, Tyler is a regular at council meetings, where he presses for updates on the case. (A ruling is still pending at the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division.)

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HOSPITAL TO SMOKERS: TAKE IT OFFSITE

RiverviewsmokingYou can hold it. Just don’t light it up on hospital property.

The last refuge of the workday smoker — the sidewalk of shame, where the nicotine-addicted get their fixes under the baleful watch of passersby — is about to vanish at Red Bank’s largest employer, Riverview Medical Center.

Riverview’s parent, Meridian Health, has decreed that as of November 20 — the date of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout — it will no longer allow anyone to smoke anywhere on any of its properties. They include Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune and Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township.

The ban applies to patients, visitors and employees, who could be fired for repeated offenses, such as smoking in cars parked on hospital properties, admits Wendy Edelson, Meridian’s head of human resources. But she says a four-step disciplinary process and programs to help wean smokers off the weed should make terminations rare in the 8,500-employee system.

The hospital started educating workers and offering stepped-up efforts to help smokers quit a year ago, Edelson says, and “you’d be surprised how many people have taken us up on this.”

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IN oRBIT: A RED BANK SCREEN SCREAM

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Readers with cinemaphotographic memories will recall our tongue-in-cheek lineup of films that the Count Basie Theatre might have pulled together to commemorate the old Carlton’s 80th birthday this year — a whacky assemblage of mostly forgotten movies that have in common at least one explicit spoken or visual reference to the sweet little burg called Red Bank, New Jersey.

Well, it seems the folks over at the Clearview Cinemas on White Street heard us. Next week, they’ll be screening one of our suggestions: The Tingler, a trippy 1959 screamer by William Castle (below) and starring Vincent Price.

That’s just one of a truckload of movies coming to town in the approaching weeks that we’ve got the inside dope on. Another is a biodoc about New York saloonkeeper extraordinaire Bernard “Toots” Shor by his granddaughter, Rumson native Kristi Jacobson.

Want more? Get your fiber fill of celluloid only in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, back in service after technical glitch knocked us out all day Sunday…

Castle

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A CHAT WITH THE CANDIDATE: ZIPPRICH

Zipprich_edEd Zipprich at home on River Road.

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.

Politics2

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.

Today through Thursday, redbankgreen will post an interview a day 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’ll go in reverse alphabetical order, starting with Democrat Ed Zipprich today, Republican John Tyler Jr. tomorrow, Democrat Juanita Lewis on Wednesday and ending with Cangemi on Thursday.

After losing his first bid for elective office last November to Grace Cangemi by just 59 votes out of nearly 2,200 cast, Ed Zipprich made it clear to supporters that, undaunted, he wasn’t going anywhere.

And in fact, he continued his work on the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission, helping shepherd through the council a plan to designate the Washington Street area as an historic district; serving on the planning board as an alternate and on the master plan review committee; and getting involved in the newly revived Red Bank Borough Education Foundation, which seeks to upgrade and preserve the 17-acre Primary School property as an environmental teaching center.

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DID YOU LOSE THIS CAT?

Foundkitty

Well, Andres Simonson of William Street in Red Bank found it. Or rather, it found him.

He writes to redbankgreen:

This darling cat showed up on our front stoop a couple of days ago. We have been feeding it and bringing it inside during the chilly nights. I have not witnessed any claws, so it is probably someone’s indoor pet.

Male or female?

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FROM LAST WEEK’S RED BANK POLICE LOG

Entries from the Red Bank police logs for the week of October 10 to 17, unedited.

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Criminal Mischief occurring at Monmouth St. on 10-10-08. Unknown person(s) spray painted graffiti on side of building. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

Theft occurring at Shrewsbury Ave. on 10-10-08. Victim reported that unknown female shoplifted a pack of baby diapers and fled the store. Ptl. Michael Campanella.

Criminal Mischief occurring at East Front St. on 10-12-08. Owner of the building reported that unknown person(s) were breaking beer bottles in basement of building and littering exterior of property with same. Ptl. Robert Kennedy.

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OVERNIGHT FREEZE WARNING ISSUED

FrozannavesinkOK, maybe we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves and won’t be seeing any Shiba Inus walking on the Navesink anytime soon. Still…

Attention gardeners hoping to extend the last of this year’s tomato and eggplant crops: the National Weather Service is issuing somewhat conflicting signals in a series of alerts, but all of them point to a sharp drop in temperatures overnight.

Here’s one, which we received at 3:28p:

HIGH PRESSURE OVER THE REGION WILL ALLOW FOR A CLEAR SKY AND
LIGHT WIND TONIGHT INTO MONDAY. TEMPS ARE EXPECTED TO DROP
INTO THE LOW 30S BY EARLY MON MORNING. A HARD FREEZE IS
ANTICIPATED IN THESE LOCATIONS AS A RESULT.

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CAR PLUMMETS INTO TOWER HILL RAVINE

HardingcrashEmergency personnel behind Greentree Apartments on Spring Street.

Police, fire and first aid workers were on the scene early Sunday morning after a car heading west on Harding Road in Red Bank went off the road and down into a wooded ravine next to the First Presbyterian Church.

The crash happened shortly before midnight Saturday.

After failing to navigate a hard bend in the road at the top of Tower Hill, the car crossed the the apron of the church driveway, flattened a guard rail and clipped numerous trees before ending up on the driver’s side some 35 to 50 feet below street level.

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IT’S GETTING TO BE SWEATER WEATHER

Salon31Salon 31 owner Bu Kapelewski, right, and employee Maria Berrocal carry armloads of shrimp, crudités and other refreshments in for a grand opening of the Monmouth Street hairdresser Friday afternoon.

It’s going to be a cool and sunny weekend, the National Weather Service says:

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 58. North wind between 14 and 16 mph.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 43. North wind between 11 and 13 mph.

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DOLPHIN EVICTION NEARS

NoaaNOAA officials on dolphin watch in the Shrewsbury River in late June.

Federal marine authorities say they are one week closer to implementing an effort to lure or drive visiting dolphins out of the Navesink River and toward the Atlantic Ocean.

We received this update late Friday afternoon from Teri Frady, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

NOAA’s ID and observation team surveyed the Navesink-Shrewsbury estuary
October 16 and 17, locating 10 dolphins in two groups that stayed mostly
in the vicinity of the Oceanic Bridge. The dolphins were observed
feeding and socializing, and so far 5 individuals have been positively
identified from the group monitored earlier in the summer.

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GADFLY WANTS PROBE INTO 2000 DEAL

Cultural2Bill Meyer says the borough shouldn’t negotiate over the former borough hall until it’s investigated the sale to Kids Bridge eight years ago. Below right: a copy of a business entity status report he says raises questions about the deal. (Click to enlarge)

Borough officials remained mum this week on the status of negotiations begun earlier this year over the former borough hall at 51 Monmouth Street, which the Community YMCA is trying to sell for $2.55 million.

But local attorney and gadfly Bill Meyer is calling on the mayor and council to suspend the negotiations and embark on a comprehensive investigation into the one-dollar deal that led to the the Y taking possesion of the now 116-year-old structure, which is home to the organization’s Children’s Cultural Center.

Ccc_report

Among the elements of the transaction he wants probed, Meyer tells redbankgreen, is whether then-Mayor Ed McKenna had a conflict of interest in the transaction. At this week’s bimonthly council meeting, Meyer gave out copies of a nonprofit corporation status report from the New Jersey Secretary of State’s office showing that McKenna was the vice president of the Children’s Cultural Center at the time three ordinances enabling the transaction were passed by the council.

Pressed on whether he was accusing McKenna of a conflict, Meyer replied, “I’ not saying anything about that. But I will say this: I don’t like the appearance of it.”

McKenna, in response, called Meyer a politically motivated “destructive individual” who hadn’t done his homework. The records will show, McKenna says, that he recused himself from discussions about the sale because of his widely known ties to the buyer.

“There was never any secret that I helped found the Children’s Cultural Center,” he told us. “That was on the front pages of the newspapers. All he had to have done was two minutes worth of research and he would have found that out.”

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AN EX-MONKEE IN oRBit

Noworbiting_iconPetertorka493x303

Yes, folks, that’s him: Peter Tork, the manically cute Monkee grown older and wiser.

Forty years later, he’s still at the music game, and tonight steers some variant of the Monkeemobile into the lot at Long Branch’s Brighton Bar.

That’s just one of several slightly off-kilterish offerings on the entertainment front in these parts. Read all about what’s going on, and choose a restaurant from our oRBites sorter, only in Red Bank oRBit, your guide to what’s going on in northern Monmouth County.

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IN oRBit: BARKING MAN IN GOOD BOOTS

Noworbiting_iconSnf29billy_280_444292a

Inspired in seemingly equal parts by Karl Marx, Woody Guthrie and the Clash, singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has cut a singular path through the world of popular music.

On Sunday, the iconoclastic guitar slinger from Barking, England brings his axe and distinctive voice to Monmouth University for a solo performance that’s bound to include commentary, both spoken and sung, on world events.

We caught up with Bragg by phone earlier this week as he was packing his bags to come to America; in that conversation, he talks about driving himself to parts unknown, the global credit crisis, and the value of boots that don’t leak.

Interested parties can read all about it only in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit.

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A NEARLY DEBATE-FREE DEBATE

AudienceThe scene at the River Street Commons auditorium last night.

The candidates rarely differed on policy or outlook, and when they did, not by much. The only raised voices were those of audience members calling for the candidates to speak up loudly enough to be heard.

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Last night’s annual Red Bank candidates forum, sponsored for the twelfth year in a row by the West Side Community Group, was a bloodless affair. Looming over it was the question of whether the two council seats on the Nov. 4 ballot, now held by the governing body’s only two Republicans, should stay that way.

LewisDemocrat Juanita Lewis, left, is making her first running for council.

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CHURCH & STATE

PilgrimdebateSeveral dozen citizens turned out at the Pilgrim Baptist Church on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank last night to watch the final presidential debate between senators Barack Obama and John McCain on a projection screen suspended above the altar.

The event followed pot-luck dessert gathering in the church basement.

Pews

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FINAL INNING AT FAMEABILIA

JuliebaronYogi said it ain’t over ’til it’s over, but after seven years on Monmouth Street, Julie Baron and husband Bruce are signing off at their memorabilia showcase store.

By TOM CHESEK

RETIREMENT SALE. EVERYTHING MUST GO. 50% OFF.

The signs went up on Monday morning across the windows of the downtown Red Bank storefront, pretty much taking all who saw them by surprise.

Rcsm2_010508

Even owner Julie Baron admitted to some mixed feelings when she first viewed the new signage from across Monmouth Street. But then, it was Julie’s decision, finalized just this past Sunday night, to close the doors of Fameabilia, the high-profile memorabilia and collectibles business that she and her husband Bruce have operated at 42 Monmouth for nearly seven and a half years.

Bittersweet as the decision may have been, it represents a clean break for the Rumson residents, who have no plans to seek a buyer for the established business, or to continue as an online entity. The owners are committed to staying open through Christmas Eve — “even if there’s just one thing left hanging on the wall,” in Baron’s words — and the store’s regular seven-day schedule is expected to be observed for the duration.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Where_101608redo

The traffic jam of answers to last week’s Where that we expected did not come. An indicator, perhaps, that the image was too familiar?

For those readers still puzzled, the photo shows those decorative steel sphere thingies that line both sides of the Route 35 Coopers Bridge between Red Bank and Middletown.

Mark Molzon, Kathy Lou Colmorgen, Raeanne Marie Guzzi and Cathy Swett all wrote in to correctly ID it. Thanks, folks.

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BRIDGE WORK QUIETED FOR DOLPHINS

HighlandsseabrightbridgeThe Highlands-Sea Bright (Route 36) Bridge, as seen yesterday from the deck at Gaiter’s Restaurant in Sea Bright.

Pile driving and other loud work on the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge now under reconstruction has been quieted to enhance the possibility that two dolphins seen just south of the structure earlier today might make a dash for Sandy Hook Bay, according to a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Just_in

Teri Frady, in an email update to reporters and others, writes:

This morning observers from NOAA and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center
confirmed two bottlenose dolphins in the Shrewsbury, nearing the
Highlands Bridge and five west of the Oceanic Bridge. Later, between 10
and about 11:30 AM, two were confirmed within 500 m of the Route 36
Highlands Bridge–possibly the same two from the Shrewsbury. [Update: later in the day, three more were confirmed in the Navesink, bringing the total believed to be in that river to eight.]

DOT is using a NOAA-approved observer from the Marine Mammal Stranding
Center when dolphins may be in the area. That observer has been
monitoring dolphins near the bridge today and reports that all
construction using pile driving and other high vibration operations is
being stopped while the dolphins are within a 500 m buffer zone around
the bridge.

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DOLPHINS: WHERE ARE THEY?

Jackson_rayRay Jackson points to the area in the Shrewsbury where he saw eight to ten dolphins feeding all day Monday.

Pete Pawlikowski saw a couple of them Monday morning as he headed over the Oceanic Bridge to work at the Oceanic Marine, the business he owns near the Rumson anchorage of the bridge. The Navesink River was at high tide.

A couple of hours later, Ray Jackson saw what he estimates were eight to ten of them back in the Shrewsbury River off McLoone’s Rum Runner in Sea Bright. They stuck around for a least six hours, says Jackson, who called the cops to let them know the dolphins were back in feeding grounds they first visited back in mid-June.

That report and others had marine experts mulling the possibility that what remains of a pod once pegged at 16 strong was finally getting ready to leave the inland rivers and head back out to sea before they get frozen in.

Or have they already?

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