BaselineA player for Holy Cross, in Rumson, goes baseline, and below, Coach Kevin Lydon instructs his players from the Knollwood School, Fair Haven, in strategy during a Saturday morning game.

Lydon, who coaches both the girls’ and boy’s teams, led each to victory in the fourth annual Red Kettle Classic tournament held at the Salvation Army in Red Bank.

In Friday-night matchups between hometown rivals, the Red Bank Middle School girls beat the Red Bank Charter School girls, and the charter school boys defeated the middle school boys before a SRO crown of some 325.

The event, sponsored by United Teletech Financial, raised about $2,000 for the Salvation Army.


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Unedited entries from the Red Bank Police desk log for the period of November 21 to December 5.

Theft occurring on 11-21-08 at Bridge Ave. Victim reported that upon returning to residence after work discovered that cash and clothes had been taken from his room. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

Theft occurring on 11-21-08 at Harding Rd. Two victims reported that money was stolen from locker room. Ptl. Patrick Kennedy.

Theft occurring at W. Front St.—Antique Center on 11-23-08. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole 3 silver demitasse pieces and a glass jar with tortoise shell top from locked case by breaking lock on same. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

Shoplifting occurring on 11-23-08 at Monmouth St. Three female actors shoplifted a gold box with mother of pearl from store and fled. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

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Scenes from the Westside Community Group’s annual tree-lighting ceremony at Westside Park (the triangular park at the corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard) in Red Bank Saturday evening.

Just look at those faces, huh? And how about Jimmy Greene’s red fedora? He works at an elementary school in Howell and gets to play Santa there every year, but for this event he was in Santa civvies.

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Noworbiting_iconRbappreciationdayOh, and the parking is free all day, even if the meters aren’t bagged.

Economic conditions, to be sure, are not favorable, and they’re markedly worse than when store owners and restaurateurs dreamed up ‘Red Bank Residents’ Appreciation Day’ earlier this year.

But to be a small business owner is to be the embodiment of optimism. So Red Bank merchants and eateries are forging ahead tomorrow with a need-it-more-than-ever promotional push aimed at bringing townies into the marketplace — their marketplace.

The hope is that Red Bankers will do some holiday shopping, grab a bite, and perhaps come away with a fresh warm-and-fuzzy about the downtown that gets high marks statewide as a dining, shopping and arts destination.

Check out the RiverCenter website for the names of participating businesses, and then tab over to today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit for details about what you’ll find in the way of live street entertainment.

Also in oRBit: a comedy festival, the American Boychoir, and what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Madonna‘s directorial debut, ‘Filth and Wisdom,’ on the big screen.

Hey, who appreciates you, kiddo?

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Cohenmorana_2Primary school Principal Rick Cohen and Superintendent Laura Morana at a 2007 event.

The Asbury Park Press has a dramatic account today of the previously unreported role of the principal and a guidance counselor at the Red Bank Primary School in subduing a knife-wielding man as he stabbed a woman at the school entrance Wednesday.

Shortly before 9a that morning, Principal Rick Cohen “heard one of his staffers screaming that someone needed to call the police” and ran outside, the Press reports. There, about 25 feet from the entrance to the school courtyard…

“This man was on top of this woman, stabbing her,” 34-year-old Cohen told the Press. “I really felt, at that moment, if I didn’t do something, she was going to die.”

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Details about the roles of Primary School Principal Rick Cohen and guidance counselor Karl Parker in subduing a man as he stabbed his former girlfriend at the school entrance Wednesday morning emerged a day after Superintendent Laura Morana told reporters that no faculty or staff members at the school were “involved in” the incident.

The school also sent students home that afternoon with a letter informing parents that the incident “did not affect any of our faculty/staff or students.”

Both statements were made after Morana spoke to Cohen about his actions and those of guidance counselor Karl Parker in subduing the assailant, Morana told redbankgreen last night.

She defended the statements as accurate and not misleading, and added that “at no point were [Cohen and Parker] in any danger.

“They wanted to help and take some action, but no, they were not in any danger, not at all,” she said. “No one was in danger of any kind at all — no, no.

“Mr. Parker and Mr. Cohen clearly felt that this was the most appropriate action that they needed to take at that moment until the police officers arrived, and that happened very quickly, from what I understand.”

“They themselves did not view themselves to be in any danger at all,” Morana said.

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SicilianoEmployees of Siciliano Landscape prepare the Maple Avenue lot for grass seed Wednesday.

Just nine months ago, a quarter-acre parcel of Red Bank-owned land on the Navesink River appeared headed toward the auction block to provide cash for tax relief.

Cindy Burnham of Fair Haven led a protest movement that stopped the effort cold, arguing that the lot, at the foot of Maple Avenue, was the only place in town where someone could easily touch the water.

Then she set out to preserve the property from future development and have it turned into a launch area for canoeists and kayakers, as well as a nature area.

The problem, though, was that several decades worth of building debris had been dumped on the site, leaving a large mound that blocked the view of the river to anyone standing in the disused municipal parking lot on the parcel.

One might have been forgiven for thinking that Burnham had just embarked on a long, bureaucratic journey, one requiring a slog through the arcane wilds of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

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Getting an early jump on a packed calendar of weekend events, today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit brings you these holiday season nuggets:

• A steaming slab ‘o Meat Loaf

• Tree lightings here and there in our corner of the world

• Doo-wop, doo wop at the Basie

• The Duke Spirit, in from England to check on its growing stateside fief

• A bit of community theater

All gathered into a unified oRBit. Launch yourself in that direction by pushing this button.

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Officials in Fair Haven are weighing whether to route all emergency calls from the borough to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s office as a cost-saving measure, the Asbury Park Press reports today.


Under the proposal, all police, fire and first aid calls originating in the borough would go through the dispatcher’s desk at the sheriff’s office. At present, only calls dialed to 911 go through the county, which relays information to Fair Haven dispatchers, according to Mayor Mike Halfacre.

The possible change is being pitched as a cost-saving measure — one with a deadline. The sheriff’s office handles all dispatch duties for seven towns and can only take on two more. If Fair Haven wants in on the service, it will have to act soon, Undersheriff Shaun Golden, who runs the communications center, told the borough council last month.

But in a faint echo of the highly contentious last summer’s exploration of a limited merger of the police departments in Fair Haven, Little Silver an Rumson — an idea eventually shot down by all three — a police union representative has raised questions about the impact on jobs and service.

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Red Bank Regional appears ready to join the ranks of other high schools that permit their students to apply for colleges without reporting their class ranking levels, according to today’s Asbury Park Press.

From the story:

The board is close to allowing parents and students the option to report class rank on college applications for the 2009-10 school year. Red Bank Catholic High School and Middletown High Schools North and South offer the choice, said Edward Westervelt, Red Bank Regional superintendent of schools.

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3churchResidents shot the idea full of holes. This week, the council killed it.

Two weeks after an outpouring of criticism of a possible purchase of a building to house borough government operations, the Sea Bright council has dropped the idea, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

But the town is still under a December 31 Superior Court deadline to come up with a plan to move its municipal court office out of a trailer, or face the loss of a revenue stream that this year is expected to exceed $200,000.

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Sorry this image doesn’t enlarge, folks. But if you lean in close, you should be able to generally make out the scene it captures — and maybe even identify the location.

If you know it, we’d enjoy hearing from you. Just shoot an email to Read More »


Bank Street’s Brian Donohue videotaped a recent encounter with a Chapin Avenue condo owner over public access to the Navesink River and posted it on YouTube.

On the agenda for tonight’s Red Bank zoning board meeting are the terms and conditions that the proposed builder of the 11-unit RW @ River’s Edge condo project must agree to and fulfill before it can be built.

Among them: public access to the Navesink River. The project spans three residential properties that sit on a bluff above the river at the western ends of Bank Street and Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

Brian Donohue, a resident of Bank Street, challenged the board to make sure that the public is allowed to both see and access the river after the homes are built. And he shot the above video to examine the question of whether similar guarantees offered when condos were built nearby on Chapin Avenue earlier this decade were met.

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Today’s Asbury Park Press describes a bloody scene as a 22-year-old Red Bank man stabbed his former girlfriend outside the Red Bank Primary School shortly before 9a Wednesday.


Being held on attempted murder and weapons charges is Jorge Vargas Mancilla, who he Press says resides at West Bergen Street (perhaps it meant West Bergen Place). His bail was set at $750,000, the Press says.

The victim is the 21-year-old mother of Mancilla’s child, a student at the school, but was not identified by police. The attack occurred as she was dropping the child off at school.

The woman was in stable condition last night at Riverview Medical Center recovering from multiple wounds from a kitchen knife, according to the report, which does not specify her injuries.

From the Press:

One grandmother, who said she witnessed the incident, but declined to be identified, said she initially thought two children were squabbling, but then she realized that the man had stabbed the woman.

“He wasn’t saying anything,” said the witness, who was at the school to drop her grandson off. “He was just cutting her. I looked in his hand and blood was everywhere.”

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Red Bank Schools Superintendent Laura Morana tells redbankgreen that the primary school is functioning normally this morning following a domestic dispute on the school grounds but outside the building.


No staff members or children were involved in the incident, which Morana said involved at least one parent of a student and another adult. One of them was injured, but Morana said she did not know the extent of the victim’s injuries.

[11:45a update: The Asbury Park Press reports that the victim, a woman, was stabbed shortly before 9a and taken to Riverview Medical Center for treatment. No word on her condition. The man suspected of assaulting her is in custody, the Press reports, citing Police Chief Mark Fitzgerald as the source of its information.]

“We’re fine,” Morana said. “Everything is fine.”

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RbpsPolice had the entry road to the school blocked at 9:45a.

The Red Bank Primary School was in a state described by one parent as a “lockdown” at midmorning today as authorities dealt with what sources said was a domestic dispute that erupted at the school.

Two police cars have barricaded River Street, the sole entry to the school, but at least one parent was allowed past.

Officers told redbankgreen they can’t discuss what’s going on inside, but one confirmed that there was a security incident that appears to be rooted in a domestic dispute.

Another source told us emphatically that no children are involved.

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The axe has fallen in an expected third round of job cuts this year at the Asbury Park Press, with unconfirmed reports that the entire Trenton bureau was fired and the department that produces art & graphics for the news pages was “decimated.”

Those reports come from other media. Press parent Gannett Co. is reporting only a statewide job reduction for its New Jersey holdings.

Here’s what’s in today’s Press:

Gannett Co. Inc. has eliminated 206 positions at its six newspapers in New Jersey due to declining advertising revenues and the severe economic downturn afflicting the state and the nation.

The company began notifying the affected employees Tuesday at the Asbury Park Press in Neptune, the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, the Home News Tribune in East Brunswick, the Courier News in Bridgewater, the Daily Record in Parsippany and the Daily Journal in Vineland.

“The economic downturn we are facing is severe and is expected to last throughout next year,” said Thomas M. Donovan, president and publisher of the Asbury Park Press and vice president of Gannett’s East Newspaper Group. “We have reduced expenses significantly throughout this year. But, unfortunately, as we looked ahead to economic forecasts for 2009, it became clear that we needed to make further reductions.”

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It’s Japanese for “empty orchestra,” and for some devotees, karaoke remains a hollow version of their real dream: fronting a live band and bringing a crowded room under their sway.

Well, sayonara, second-best. The Downtown, one of Red Bank’s few remaining live-music venues, now features an entire rock band trucked in from New York every Thursday night to play behind would-be Pat Benatars and Billy Idols. No more lame instrumental tracks: this is full-on rock — though do-overs are allowed for some flubs.

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit pops in for a sound check.

Also on today’s radar screen: it takes balls to get up on stage dressed as Barbra Streisand and put on an entire show from her songbook. Steven Brinberg would seem to qualify.

Only in Red Bank oRBit, your simulacrum of art and entertainment, if only for today…

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Img_456872Tad Emptage and MelissaMarie Wilhelm dazzled students with a sampling of flips, spins and slides from their aerial show Monday. The kids also got into the act.

A pair of performers from a show called Circurious rolled into the gym at the Shrewsbury Borough School yesterday, giving kids aged five to fourteen a taste of the aerial life.

The show features Tad Emptage, founder of Cirquetacular Entertainment, and MelissaMarie Wilhelm, who attended the school until third-grade, when her family moved to Chicago.

Now a 26-year-old Brooklyn resident, Wilhelm fondly recalls her first-ever stage role: as the ringmaster in Sally Bond’s first-grade circus.

The full Circurious troupe of 15 to 20 performers takes to the air above the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on December 27. Click for tix, and click pix to enlarge.


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The Welsh Farms convenience store on East Front Street in Red Bank was robbed at gunpoint Sunday evening, the Asbury Park Press reports.

From the report:

Police were called to the store about 5 p.m. A clerk told officers that two men entered the store at separate times. One man brandished a handgun and pointed it at the clerk’s head, while demanding money, police said.

The clerk gave him an undisclosed amount of money and was then instructed to hand over the money from the lottery machine. The clerk then handed over another undisclosed amount of money to the second suspect, who was also armed with a handgun, police said.

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Mary Randolph Carter is a collector who loves old objects. But not just aged items; things that wear their age proudly, like a door with paint flaking off its surfaces.

It’s an aesthetic born of biography: Carter grew up on a 17th-century farm in Virginia with a father who instilled in her “a tremendous respect for old things,” she says. “An old squeaky hinge. Old books; tattered, rusty, peeling things.”

These days, in her free time from her job as vice president of advertising for Polo Ralph Lauren, Carter’s the author of a series of books on collecting what she calls “junk.” And this Saturday, she’ll be in Red Bank to talk about old stuff and sign copies of her latest book, ‘For the Love of Old.’

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit features an interview with Carter. So pull up a rocking chair near the hearth, folks…

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RiverviewtwinsA string of mutiple births kept hospital staffers busy recently.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that Riverview Medical Center had a streak going this autumn: a spate of twin births.

From the article:

In an eight-week period from September to late October, 11 sets of twins were delivered at the Red Bank hospital.

As chairwoman of obstetrics and gynecology at Riverview, Dr. Marilyn Loh-Collado oversaw the arrival of these multiple bundles of joy into this world.

“There was no rhyme or reason to it,” Loh-Collado said. “It was just kind of strange.”

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Grandville_towersOwner PRC Group is seeking permission to convert the 91 rental units at Grandville Towers to condos.

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna tells today’s Asbury Park Press that senior-citizen tenants of Grandville Towers won’t be forced to move if the building’s owner succeeds in its effort to convert the building to condos.

“Anyone who applies for it will receive protected senior citizen status, they would not be forced to move,” Menna tells Press reporter Larry Higgs, adding that owner/developer PRC Group of West Long Branch told officials if the conversion is approved, they would follow borough rent leveling board guidelines.

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To be sure, his annual arrival on the cultural scene is as reliable as the post-Thanksgiving markdown. But rarely have we seen old Ebenezer Scrooge quite so ubiquitous.

The next few days will see not one, not two, but three different theatrical takes on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — each radically different from the others, and all of them in Asbury Park.

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit drops in for a peek at each, including a one-man effort starring Greg Oliver Bodine, above, and the ReVision Theatre Company’s ‘Scooge in Rouge,’ which features co-authored by a seven-foot-tall drag performer who goes by the name Varla Jean Merman.

You can’t make this stuff up, and you’ll find it only at Red Bank oRBit.

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Thousands of Red Bankers and visitors packed Broad Street on Friday night for the annual night-after-Thanksgiving gleefest that kicks off the holiday season hereabouts.

Bagpipers led a parade into town from the train station. Holiday Express laid down its R&B-flavored Christmas soundtrack from a stage awash in red. Mayor Pasquale Menna croaked his way through a song verse (“I’m an opera guy,” he said afterward). Santa and the Grinch were caught in a cinch.

And everywhere were kids with their eyes wide and mouths agape at the high-energy spectacle.

redbankgreen has the pix; just click to enlarge ’em.


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