MALLET TOPS CURLEY, SAYS PRESS

Amy Mallet beat former Red Bank Councilman John Curley by 328 votes to give Democrats their first Monmouth County Freeholder majority since 1985, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

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The results won’t be official until Thursday, when the county Board of Canvassers memorializes the tallies and certifies other statistics from the Nov. 4 election, according to the newspaper.

From the Press:

County Democratic organization spokesman Mike Mangan said, “Voters have spoken and want Democrats in control,” and he cautioned the lame-duck Republican majority in the final six weeks of its control against enabling their administration appointees to “burrow in,” the term for moving into permanent government jobs.

Most of the county government’s approximately 3,500 jobs have civil service protections, but the controlling party has direct hiring authority over department heads, positions that typically carry annual salaries in the $100,000 range.

“It’s important that the Republicans don’t try to extend professional contracts, institute tenure for some employees or hand out salary increases in the coming weeks before the transition is complete,” Mangan said. “I think all of those things would undermine what voters want.”

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BLASTERED INTO oRBit

Noworbiting_iconBlasterslp

Few rock bands of the 1980s put as much guitar, bass, drum and vocal muscle into their music as the Blasters, a crisp foursome outta Downey, California.

On Friday, three-fourths of the original Blasters come to Asbury Park with their deep songbook of rockabilly, blues and railroad songs in tow (Keith Wyatt takes the place long owned by Dave Alvin on guitar.)

In today’s edition of oRBit, Dave’s brother, lead singer Phil Alvin, expounds on burger-chain mascots, mathematics and country singers in stupid cowboy hats.

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PRESS: MALLET LEADS IN BALLOT COUNT

Monmouth County Freeholder candidate Amy Mallet had a 141-vote edge over Republican rival John Curley after a partial count of provisional ballots from the the election two weeks ago, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

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About 1,500 additional provisional ballots remain to be counted in a process that’s expected to conclude today, the Press reports.

Before the inclusion of provisional ballots, Mallet, a Democrat from Fair Haven, led Curley, of Middletown, by just 18 votes out of more than 271,000 cast in the Nov. 4 race, the outcome of which will determine which party has the majority on the five-member freeholder board. A Mallet win would give Democrats control for the first time in 23 years.

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SIGN ATTACKS SPUR A ‘TEACHING MOMENT’

SignfixGrace Scott, left and Cionna Rosenthal of the Rumson Country Day School help homeowner Yvonne Grayson repaint her repeatedly vandalized Obama sign Sunday morning.

Late last month, redbankgreen reported on a rash of Obama campaign signs being stolen and vandalized in Fair Haven, including one with heavy wooden posts that had been yanked out of the ground.

Homeowners Yvonne and Mark Grayson recovered their homemade sign and put it back in a prominent place in front of the Ridge Road house they’ve occupied for 15 years — this time anchoring the posts in concrete.

But the vandalism continued: the sign was pelted with eggs, and somebody left a big bootprint in the center of it. Then, last Monday, six days after the election, Yvonne Grayson awoke to see that someone had poured dark brown paint over the sign.

An act of racial intimidation? The Graysons are African-American, and Yvonne Grayson says she’s angry that her property was vandalized. But she refuses to frame her response in terms of race.

“I’m not going there,” she says. “These are just some folks who aren’t happy their will didn’t win out. That’s the way it works, and they don’t like it.”

But the attack upset students and faculty at the Rumson Country Day School less than a mile east of the Grayson house. Unaware of who lived in the house, they saw it as an assault on free speech.

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FORECAST: A FREEZE, MAYBE SOME SNOW

AutumriverThe water was slate gray, but nature provided a moving swath of autumn gold along the shore of the Navesink River in front of the Salt Creek Grille in Rumson yesterday. (Click to enlarge)

We may be seeing a slight accumulation of snow by Tuesday morning. So says the National Weather Service, in this forecast:

Today: Partly sunny, with a high near 47. West wind between 10 and 14 mph.

Tonight: A chance of snow showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. North wind between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

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POLICE REPORTS: A WEEK OF MISCHIEF

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Unedited entries from the Red Bank Police Department activity log for the week of November 7 to 14.

Criminal Mischief occurring at Globe Court between 11-6-08 and 11-7-08. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke two window in the business. Ptl. Paul Perez.

Theft occurring on 11-7-08 at Maple Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole a wallet containing credit cards and I.D. from locker. Ptl. George Travostino.

Theft occurring on 11-7-08 at West Front St. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole a Verizon LG Cellular telephone. Lt. Daniel Bannon.

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DEAD DOLPHIN NOT FROM LOCAL POD

The Asbury Park Press, quoting a marine mammal expert, says the dolphin found floating in the Shrewsbury River this morning was not from the pod that’s been in the river and the nearby Navesink since early summer.

And a separate report says there’s now a harbor seal in the southern part of the Shrewsbury near Monmouth Beach.

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From the article:

The dead mammal was a common dolphin, an offshore species, said Robert C. Schoelkopf, founding director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.

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REPORT: THIRD DOLPHIN FOUND DEAD

Dolphinleap

A dead dolphin has been found in the Shrewsbury River near the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has confirmed.

From a media alert sent out by NOAA spokeswoman Teri Frady this morning:

A dead dolphin was discovered floating near the Route 36 Highlands Bridge in New Jersey during an incoming tide, before 8AM this morning. NJ DOT workers on the bridge sighted the animal and immediately reported the incident to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ. The animal has been preliminarily identified by the stranding center as a common dolphin. Twelve bottlenose dolphins constitute the group currently residing in the Shrewsbury/Navesink estuary. The carcass discovered today has been recovered and NOAA is arranging for species confirmation and a necropsy. No further details at this time.

The Associated Press reports that the dolphin appears to be one of the 12 that remained recently after 16 Atlantic bottlenose took up residence in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers this summer and autumn.

It is also the first to have died since the NOAA, which has jurisdiction over the animals, announced three weeks ago that it would not try to shepherd the pod beneath the bridge, which is the gateway to Sandy Hook Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

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GALLERY PLANS CENTENNIAL EXHIBIT

Stairsshadows_5x_7Cheerleader5x7“Stairs and Shadows,” above, by Warner White of Fair Haven, might have made a good ‘Where Have I Seen This?’ (See below for location.) At right, a shot by an unknown photographer; the young woman is believed to be June Evans of South Street, whom the McKay Gallery is trying to locate.

Weather-permitting, the heart of downtown Red Bank will be thronged on November 28, as it is the night following every Thanksgiving, for the annual tree lighting and Holiday Express concert.

Now, Bob & Liz McKay, owners of a photo studio and art gallery upstairs at 12 Monmouth Street, have decided to throw an additional attraction into the festive mix: the opening of an exhibit of photos and paintings to celebrate the borough’s centennial.

The display will offer a range of viewpoints, from decades-old photos from the Dorn’s Classic Images collection to shots taken in recent weeks expressly for this show.

Artists include “people who have never shown in their lives all the way up to George Tice, an internationally famous fine art photographer,” Bob McKay tells redbankgreen.

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VERIZON DISCONNECTING ON LOCAL TAXES

VerizonredbankVerizon’s facility at 183 Broad Street.

Citing a 1940 law, phone services giant Verizon is telling New Jersey municipalities it is not liable for taxes on utility lines and other equipment because of its shrinking share of the telecom market, the Bergen Record reports today.

The company has a significant presence on Broad Street in Red Bank, where it maintains a large switching station. While the specific impact on Red Bank is unclear, towns with switching stations are among those that “could lose the most,” the Record says.

The Record says the move by Verizon could force cash-strapped towns to shift millions of dollars in tax liability to other property owners.

From the article:

The company is using a provision of a 1940 state law to argue that utility poles, wires and other landline equipment should no longer be on tax rolls. They claim traditional usage has slipped significantly as more people turn to cable and the Internet for telephone service.

So far, five towns, including Dover and Victory Gardens in Morris County, have been informed that they will not receive their 2009 equipment taxes.

Verizon officials say that 150 towns will lose the tax by 2011, and the company predicts this number will continue to increase.

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RAIN, FOG, MORE RAIN

RedbankrainBroad Street, Red Bank, late Thursday afternoon.

Yesterday’s rain gave way to this morning’s dense fog, which will last until about 10a, according to the National Weather Service forecast for our area.

Later today, expect cloudy skies, with a high near 61.

Looking ahead to the weekend and beyond:

Tonight: Periods of rain, mainly after 11pm. Patchy fog. Low around 56. South wind between 6 and 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.

Saturday: Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 10am. High near 64. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 13 mph increasing to between 18 and 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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You’d have thought it was a sweltering week in the dead of summer instead of the crisp, Thanksgiving-tinged days of autumn.

Last week’s Where, showing a blue and white striped fence, attracted 23 responses, which may be a record for this feature (we really ought to start keeping track of such critical data). And what brought most of them out was, of all things, Italian ice served by a business that’s closed for the season.

Which is to say the great majority of those who wrote in recognized the fence as the one behind Strollo’s Lighthouse, the landmark Italian ice joint at junction of Route 35, Rector Place and Bridge Avenue in Red Bank.

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BOATS, GOATS AND A ‘CIRCUS TENT’ OF SALT

DrivewaydockDriveway docking of boats would be prohibited in winter months in Fair Haven.

By SUE MORGAN

Peter and Patricia O’Such say that what they see as over-regulation in Fair Haven is leaving the town’s residents feeling disaffected, alienated, and bullied.

“They’re micromanaging the residents,” said Patricia, who with her husband has resided on Parker Avenue for seven years. “It’s unreasonable.”

Her comment was prompted by proposed revisions to boat storage ordinance that would force the couple to store their 14-foot long vessel and its trailer not in their side yard, but in a small backyard between November and April.

But it reflected a general sense among attendees at Monday night’s bimonthly council meeting that residents are feeling put-upon.

Other complaints centered on a summons issued to a 4-H member for the goat he tends in his family’s yard and the construction of a dome to store road salt opposite homes near the public works yard.

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GILMOUR LEAVING FAIR HAVEN COUNCIL

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By SUE MORGAN

Fair Haven Borough Council President Tom Gilmour is stepping down after nine years, he announced Monday night.

Gilmour submitted his resignation effective Dec. 31 in a letter to Mayor Mike Halfacre and his council colleagues. He cited the demands of his day job as director of commerce for the City of Asbury Park.

“The current economic downturn requires additional demands on my time in Asbury Park,” Gilmour wrote in the letter. “I have always been able to balance work and serving Fair Haven, but that is no longer the case.”

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WELL-ORDERED GARDENS, RANDOMLY LOVED

RandomgardensThe Red Bank yards of, from left, Ruben Gomez, Anne Davis and J.P. Nicolaides and Ed Zipprich, were among those cited by the Navesink Garden Club. (Click to enlarge)

They’re called “random sightings of beauty,” and the idea is to drive around looking for wonderful displays of horticulture.

The searches are conducted by members of the Civic Beautification Committee of the Navesink Garden Club, who travel throughout 12 towns in the greater Red Bank area taking pictures of yards with attractive, well-maintained landscaping and colorful flowers visible to the public.

On Monday night, at the Red Bank Council’s bimonthly meeting, officers of the club doled out awards to owners of three borough residences for their displays. They were:

• Ruben Gomez, of 83 West Sunset Avenue

• Anne Davis, of 153 East Front Street

• J.P. Nicholaides & Ed Zipprich, of 229 River Road

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SPRINGSTEENS HORSING AROUND IN FLA.

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They’ve long had dual residences just a dozen miles apart, in Rumson and Colts Neck. Now, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa have added the keys to a place in Florida to their key rings.

Since June, Monmouth County’s most famous couple has spent $7.7 million on side-by-side properties in a gated community about 15 miles inland from West Palm Beach, Florida, according to a report in the Daily Business Review.

Through a trust, the couple bought the properties for $3.1 million and $4.6 million. The latter sum, dropped in late September, got them a furnished, five-bedroom house on three-quarters of an acre, according to the report.

The properties are in the Equestrian Club Estates development, home to the annual Winter Equestrian Festival.

According to the report:

The purchase will benefit Springsteen’s 15-year-old daughter, Jessica, who is an equestrian. Springsteen normally visits the area with his wife, musician Patti Scialfa, to see his daughter compete in the festival. But he usually rents a house.

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COUNCIL NEWS

CodecarGoing mobile, data-wise.

Here are highlights from Monday night’s bimonthly meeting of the Red Bank Council:

• Mayor Pasquale Menna announced a settlement between the borough and the Fair Share Housing Center of Cherry Hill over how many affordable housing units the borough has been getting out of builders of new multifamily projects.

The state Council on Affordable Housing had temporarily barred Red Bank from granting final approval to any new projects until a hearing, scheduled for tomorrow in Trenton, over whether the borough was living up to its “fair-share” requirements.

Now, a consent agreement between the borough and the housing center will allow Red Bank to resume zoning and planning board hearings as long as it adheres to whatever COAH requirements are in effect at the time it grants an approval, Menna said.

Today’s Asbury Park Press has more background on the matter.

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OH, JOY

AlreadyForty-four days to go until Christmas and the decorations are already up at Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank.

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STATE: HOSPITAL CAN JOIN HEART STUDY

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Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center is one of three hospitals in New Jersey eligible to join a controversial nationwide study of artery-clearing angioplasty despite their lack of dedicated cardiac surgery facilities, today’s Star-Ledger reports.

State Health Commissioner Heather Howard cleared the continuation and expansion of the program over the objections of hospitals with heart surgery units.

From the Sledger:

The state’s highly competitive and cash-strapped hospital industry had anxiously awaited the decision. The study, led by Johns Hopkins University, seeks to determine whether elective angioplasty can be performed safely in hospitals that are not licensed for heart surgery.

Heart-hospital executives have vigorously opposed the study, arguing it puts patients at risk unnecessarily. They say it also threatens the fiscal viability of facilities with heart surgery programs by allowing patients to go elsewhere for non-emergency angioplasty.

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BAG BAN TREED — AGAIN

DupontbagCouncilman Mike DuPont takes his lumps at Monday’s meeting.

Is the ordinance that wouldn’t die finally dead?

As he has repeatedly over the past ten months or so, Councilman Mike DuPont tried getting his ban on plastic bags passed by Red Bank’s governing body last night.

This time, even his fellow majority Democrats sat in deafening silence when called upon to second the proposal so it could be voted on.

The rebuke followed a PowerPoint presentation by DuPont that several food and plastics industry representatives ripped as factually inaccurate; a critique by a Broad Street merchant who claimed she’d been misled about the scope of the ordinance; and a scolding by a resident that the council was wasting its time on something so “petty.”

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RIVERCENTER PLANS ECONOMIC SUMMIT

VacancyAn empty storefront on West Front Street.

Spurred by surging unemployment and dwindling consumer sales, Red Bank officials are organizing an an economic “summit” of sorts for business owners and residents to brainstorm ideas to help the borough buck the tide.

No date has been set for the event, though it will likely be in January, says Nancy Adams, Executive Director of Red Bank RiverCenter, the downtown promotion entity.

“Basically, it’s a tough economy,” says Adams. “We’re trying to think of ways to help, to be proactive, to try to under the tools that businesses can use, and that we can use” to mitigate the impacts of the national economic downturn.

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PLASTIC BAG BAN BLOWS BACK INTO TOWN

BagA stray bag flutters along Monmouth Street in September.

Six weeks after it was tabled amid concerns about its financial impacts on stores, a proposed ban on plastic shopping bags is back before the Red Bank Council tonight.

The law, the wording of which appears unchanged since it was derailed in September, would ban store distribution of plastic checkout bags starting July 1, 2009, and carry fines of up to $500 for multiple violations. Here’s the text: Download 200820_111008.pdf

Councilman Mike DuPont, the law’s sponsor, says the ban is accommodating to business owners in that “it gives them until next July” to restructure their systems to encourage greater use of sturdier reusable bags.

But Phil Scaduto, vice president of Food Circus, owner of the SuperFoodtown store on Broad Street, is feeling sandbagged.

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