Ls fireAn elderly patient evacuated from the building is led to a car as firefighters investigate the alarm.

Smoke from a outdoor trash fire briefly routed a two-story medical office building at 200 White Road in Little Silver this morning.

The fire appears to have been started by a cigarette or match thrown into a trash can by someone using the informal smoking area on the back, or south, side of the building, Fire Chief Frank Salerno tells redbankgreen.

Smoke from the burning trash was drawn into the building and filled the first floor, triggering an alarm at 10:44a and forcing the evacuation of patients and medical personnel, Salerno says.

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Sable Gary 2
‘That Hot Dog Man’ Gary Sable sweats another day’s soup production in his tiny Monmouth Street takeout joint.

Let’s get our bias right out on the crumb-littered table: nobody writing about food for large New Jersey audiences is more in tune with his readership than ‘Eat With Pete’ columnist (and Munchmobile maven) Pete Genovese of the Star-Ledger.

Genovese, who’s logged several million odometer miles for columns and books about the oddities and backroads of his home state (and has probably eaten in every one of its diners), brings an average-person approach to approachable food.

Unlike too many food writers, he doesn’t set unattainable ideals of perfection just to knock down a dish or a restaurant for failing to live up to them. He looks for, and often finds, well-made food that satisfies the gut, the brain, and — if this is physiologically possible — the heart.

He’s also a friend of redbankgreen, so we’re doubly biased, having previously worked at two newspapers with him. But readers who know his byline are, we suspect, willing to forgive our somewhat over-the-top intro to this piece because they know he’s on their side in the never-ending search for good eats.

The point of the foregoing is that when Genovese comes to town to check out the local fare, we take notice.

Today’s installment of ‘Eat with Pete’ does a roundup of great soup joints, and includes Gary Sable’s 175-square-foot takeout spot in downtown Red Bank called That Hot Dog Man.

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Mute swansThe animal was of the same species as these two beauties seen in the Navesink River off the Rumson boat launch in November.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that a mute swan was found decapitated in Little Silver six weeks ago, and that the Monmouth County SPCA is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the culprit.

From the story:

The swan was found at a dock on the Little Silver Creek on Dec. 16.

Ursula Goetz, executive director of the county’s SPCA, said her agency is offering the reward and handling the investigation, while an ad placed in today’s Asbury Park Press about the case was paid for by a Rumson woman, Betty Butler, 69, who is known for her work with rescued waterfowl.

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Ice wingJim Roberts of Wall tries out his kite wing on the Navesink yesterday.

Conditions were iffy on the Navesink River yesterday, with just a few small iceboats and skaters venturing out from Red Bank. The ice was said to be too thin for larger craft.

Today, “We’re hoping to possibly sail some DN stern steerers and Buffalo DNs in front of the club if the ice firms up,” says the voice on the prerecorded North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club‘s ice hotline (732.747.5665). “We need some colder temperatures.”

We’ll get them, tonight, according to the National Weather Service forecast for our area.

And for Sunday, forget Tampa. Conditions should be perfect for the Super Bowl XLIII Pre-Game Tailgate Party in the parking lot of the Siena Grille on Shrewsbury Avenue that afternoon. (Forty bucks gets you an all-you-can-eat BBQ, beer, wine & soda, and the satisfaction of helping raise money for the New Jersey Law Enforcement Torch Run.)

Today: A slight chance of showers after 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with
a high near 36. West wind between 7 and 11 mph. Chance of precipitation
is 20%.

Tonight: A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly
cloudy, with a low around 20. West wind between 13 and 15 mph. Chance
of precipitation is 20%.

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BurnhamCindy Burnham on the between-names property last year.

Having safeguarded a borough-owned riverfront property from sale and possible development last year, Cindy Burnham went to the Red Bank Council earlier this week hoping to get quick approval for a name for the parcel:

River Cove Waterfront Path.

Burnham says the site was identified as ‘River Cove’ on deeds she uncovered as part of her research into the history of the site. The ‘path’ part connotes the walkway Burnham and other volunteers hacked out of the weeds at the site to the bank of the Navesink River — the only place in the borough where someone can get direct and easy access to the waterway.

Her aim was to get a quick OK for the name and clearance to erect a sign and two benches on the property in time for a self-imposed April deadline — an opening ceremony at the start of the kayaking and canoeing season.

But Burnham’s efforts turned to evident exasperation, and later embarrassment, when the question was kicked over to the Parks & Rec committee for discussion and Councilwoman Juanita Lewis — the liaison to the committee — suggested letting the children of Red Bank take a crack at coming up with a name.

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Following previews, 'ReEntry' is now fully underway at at Red Bank’s Two River Theater, and today's Red Bank oRBit salutes it with an admiring review.

The play, by Emily Ackerman and KJ Sanchez, weighs the costs of war through the words and voices of a variety of returning combat veterans from Iraq. The narrative puts a spotlight on one family in particular, providing "real structure and genuine heart to what
otherwise might have been a powerful but shapeless series of
monologues," oRBit editor editor Tom Chesek writes.

He adds:

Missing in action here is any sense of blame-game politics, or of any
overtly preachy point of view. These people, Corps to the core, are
neither victims or villains; neither wavers of flags nor whackers of
Bush. They have their bad days — in some cases really bad
days — but they have each other’s backs, and they present a sense that
they, and us, are going to come through this thing all right.

If you happen to be a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, there's a free ticket with your name on it at the box office.

And whether you've worn the uniform or not, we've got all the full details at Red Bank oRBit.

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Ben Lucarelli in his office above Broad Street in Red Bank.

By Sue Morgan

Ben Lucarelli is one of those people who volunteers for seemingly everything.

He's coached kids' soccer, lacrosse and hockey in Fair Haven, his hometown of 17 years. He's served on the board of the Two River Theatre (and oversaw the construction of its breathtaking home on Bridge Avenue a few years back). He was president of the Monmouth Day Care Center. The list goes on.

That list also includes stints as the auctioneer at fundraisers for many of the charities he's associated with.

"When you grow up on the mean streets of Rumson with red hair and a name like Lucarelli, you learn to talk fast," he tells redbankgreen with a laugh.

But in his newest role, Lucarelli says, he plans to slow down, listen and absorb.

Lucarelli took his seat on the Fair Haven Council Monday night after his fellow Republicans unanimously selected him to complete the remaining 10 months of former councilman Tom Gilmour’s unexpired term.

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FogFog piled in Wednesday afternoon after muck piled up earlier in the day on Broad Street, Red Bank.

The sun returns today after yesterday's nasty snow-sleet-gunkpuddle precipitation and fog, says the National Weather Service, though the agency doesn't actually use the word 'gunkpuddle.' Yet.

Temps will nudge their way above freezing, peaking at about 36.

And what about the Navesink River ice?

"In Red Bank, everything was slushed out to a frozen mush, or a wet mush," says the voice on the prerecorded North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club's ice hotline (732.747.5665). "So let's hope for that refreeze."

Here's the forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 36. West wind between 10 and 15 mph.

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MennaMayor Pasquale Menna speaks as RiverCenter executive director Nancy Adams looks on.

Through all the reports that things are worse elsewhere and exhortations that merchants find “opportunity” in the current recession, the topic that the 300 or so people who attended Tuesday night’s ‘economic summit‘ on Red Bank’s commercial woes most wanted addressed, apparently, was parking.

Mayor Pasquale Menna came through, first with an announcement that parking at metered spaces would be free on Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of 2009, and then with hints that the parking garage many merchants have clamored for may move back onto the town’s agenda after several years’ absence.

His past opposition to a parking deck at the site of the White Street municipal lot, he says, has always been based on this insistence that it not be paid for by taxpayers, and that it be “self sustaining.”

Now, he says, “I believe we’re pretty darn close to a number of different scenarios which will alleviate those concerns,” he said to applause near the end of the two-hour event at the Count Basie Theatre.

Menna’s comments followed an emphatic “yes” from Jerry Zaro, chief of the state Office of Economic Growth,  when asked if such a garage might qualify for federal or state stimulus funds.

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Hot Topic

Jerry Wojciehowski says he feels safer knowing that a child who is approached by a stranger while playing basketball on Fisk Street can just walk inside the nearby borough police station, talk to a dispatcher, and have an officer called out to the scene.

Wojciehowski, of Maple Avenue, is not the only Fair Haven resident who enjoys the security and he and other residents speaking at Monday’s borough council meeting described as the “small town feeling” of knowing a dispatcher sits inside police headquarters round the clock.

The threat of losing that feeling, as well as a dispatcher who knows the officers personally and the layout of borough streets, motivated about 40 residents to speak out against a council proposal to join Monmouth County’s emergency dispatch system this year as a cost-cutting measure.

“It’s an instant relief to be able to walk into that police station,” Wojciehowski told Mayor Mike Halfacre and the council during the hearing, the first of three scheduled on the topic. “That is why I choose to live in Fair Haven.”

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Ledger Live, the Star-Ledger’s charmingly slapdash video newscast, was in Red Bank last night to see if there was any hint of Springsteen fever on the debut of the rocker’s new album, ‘Working on a Dream.’

Show host Brian Donohue popped in at Jack’s Music Shoppe at midnight, and found a good-sized line of customers picking up the record.

But Springsteen, the Rumsonite-slash-Colts-Necker who has crashed these record launch events at Jack’s before, was a no-show.

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The state Alcoholic Beverage Control division has affirmed the Red Bank Borough Council's order to shut down Best Liquors, moving the case of the troubled package goods retailer significantly closer to possible finality.

Mayor Pasquale Menna released the following statement shortly after noon today:


In a written opinion released today, and by Order dated January 27, 2009, Jerry Fischer, the Director of the State’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, affirmed the Council’s revocation of the liquor license issued to Best Liquors of Red Bank, Inc.

The Director’s decision affirms the findings of fact and conclusions of law set forth in the decision rendered by the Hon. Joseph F. Martone, ALJ, which decision supported the revocation of the license by the Borough Council.

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Marineparkbulkhead2The Marine Park bulkhead as seen Sunday from the frozen Navesink. Skaters (and sledders) used a makeshift ladder to access the ice.

We’ve heard this before, but the state of New Jersey is moving forward with plans to rebuild the waterfront promenade at Red Bank’s Marine Park this year, town engineer Christine Ballard told the borough council last night.

The job will be 75-percent funded by the state. Another 10 percent or so of the cost will be picked up by the county, leaving Red Bank to finance the balance.

redbankgreen was unable to get a dollar estimate on the project’s cost, but will post it here when we get it.

The biggest park of the job, which will shut down access to the riverfront during construction, calls for the replacement of the bulkhead.

The project also includes installation of a new walkway and lighting.

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IMG_1659 Big Bill Morganfield performs at the 2007 Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival. Which is hipper, jazz or blues? Or is it the festival itself that’s ‘hip?’

Parking shortages. Exorbitant parking fines. Red tape at borough hall. Greedy landlords.

Among the many peeves, public floggings and constructive suggestions we expect to hear aired at tonight’s “economic summit” on how to revive Red Bank’s sagging commercial fortunes, one topic is unlikely to get much attention:

What to do about the relentless use of the word ‘hip’ to describe our little burg.

‘Hip City.’ ‘Hip Town.’ They’re the go-to phrases for phoned-in yet earnest descriptions of Red Bank like this one, and this one. And a thousand others, it seems.

Then there’s the TriCity News out of Asbury Park, which puts ‘Hip City’ in sardonic quotation marks — yet is as boosterish about Red Bank as any chamber of commerce shill, suggesting that, deep down, it kinda likes the label.

Now, to be sure, with the national economy spiraling drainward and Red Bank showing no sign of bucking the tide, there are bigger and more substantive issues at stake here than semantics. No argument there.

But as long as we’re talking about a possible repositioning of downtown Red Bank in the public imagination, can somebody please come up with something better? How do we put an end to this plague of purported hipposity?

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A proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) transfer facility that backers see as a fix to energy woes and opponents call “Insanity Island” gets its first public airing tonight.

The showdown pits dozens of environmental groups against Atlantic Sea Island Group, a company that bills its project as a “safe energy harbor” to be built in the Atlantic about 19 miles due east of Sea Bright, in 65 feet of water.

The venue for the showdown: a hearing on the proposed deepwater port held jointly by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration at the Sheraton of Eatontown. An open house starting at 4:30p is to be followed by the hearing, from 6 to 8p.

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BoroughwebsiteThe homepage of the soon-to-be-replaced borough website.

Score one for public pushback.

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna anounced last night that he won’t sign a contract that would have paid C3 Citizen Communication Center $2,000 a month to build and maintain a new borough website.

He cited issues raised at a recent council meeting, as well as “rather spirited” comments posted on an unnamed news website (ahem) among his reasons for putting the brakes on a deal that appeared to be a fait accompli when it was unveiled last month.

Even though the council had authorized that the borough sign up with C3, “We will not be signing the contract,” Menna said at Monday night’s bimonthly meeting of the governing body.

Still, the borough will get at least temporary benefits from its dance with C3. Menna said the Nutley firm had gone ahead and developed the new site, and has now volunteered to launch and maintain it, at no charge, while borough officials continue the process of determining just what they want the site to do, and who to create it.

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Sea Bright beach Priced to sell, but you must buy now.


It’s not only stores and restaurants using markdowns to attract scarce consumer dollars.

Trying to get a jump on the competition from private beach clubs and other municipalities while priming its revenue pump, Sea Bright officials last night unveiled what Councilwoman Dina Long called the town’s “beach stimulus package:” full-summer badges at half price.

The catch: you’ve got to pony up while the weather is still cold. Buy ’em by March 2, and you’ll save a bundle.

“Residents had approached the borough for discounts on beach badges and we decided it would be a way to give reduced rates for local residents and maybe even sell more badges,” says Long.

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Ambrose, kim

Kim Ambrose says local dispatchers provide a sense of comfort to seniors that might not be available from the county system.

On the agenda at tonight’s meeting of the Fair Haven Council: discussion of a proposal to hand off to Monmouth County Sheriff’s office dispatchers responsibility for fielding all emergency calls originating from the borough.

Actually, it’s not literally on the agenda, and wasn’t expected to come up for a vote until next month. But part-time dispatcher and First Aid Squad volunteer Kim Ambrose of Harrison Avenue has been leading a campaign to put a spotlight on the issue. She’s planning to be there tonight, with supporters. A representative of the local PBA is expected to attend also.

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In today's edition of Red Bank oRBit, editor Tom Chesek reports on how an Asbury Park restaurateur wound up going toe-to-toe with professional skinflint Suze Orman on a webcast edition of the Oprah Show recently.

Jeff Haveson of Restaurant Plan B was incensed after Orman suggested to Oprah viewers that they not eat out at a restaurant for a month as a belt-tightening measure. So Haveson wrote to the show, and was chosen to rebut Orman.

"How can I support my family, have my employees support their families,
if nobody’s coming in to eat?" he asked Orman. "There’s got to be better ways for people
to save money… like, don’t go to a sporting event."

We've got Orman's rather belittling response, and Haveson's view of the flap.

Also in today's edition: details on a trio of art exhibits. Only at Red Bank oRBit.


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Call in the authorities
The Asbury Park Press had a story over the weekend about an alleged theft that, if true, involved a pretty nervy thief.

The article, which ran Saturday, reports that 29-year-old Rodney Beharry of Long Branch was arrested Friday after he stole a diagnostic computer from Contemporary Motor Cars, the Mercedes dealer on Branch Avenue in Long Branch.

But there’s a bit of backstory to the alleged crime, according to the Press:

Sometime between June 6, 2005 and Oct. 22, one of the company’s $20,000 automotive diagnostic computers went missing, police said. It was reported stolen, but police said they could not question Beharry because he went to Trinidad after leaving his position in Little Silver.

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RB police car 2
Entries from the Red Bank Police Department activity log for the week of January 16 to 23. This report is unedited.

Burglary occurring between 1-15-09 and 1-16-09 at Monmouth St.—Grocery Store. Unknown subject(s) broke window in rear of building and gained entry. Stolen from business were 10 cell phones and 150 to 200 calling cards. Ptl. John Camarca Det. Robert Clayton

Burglary, Criminal Mischief occurring on 1-17-09 at Wallace St. residence. Subject, Daniel Poncie-Cuatecatl was arrested for burglary and criminal mischief. Bathroom window was broken and damage was done to exterior door by the accused. Nothing stolen. Sgt. Robert Gannon.

Theft occurring in Red Bank on 1-17-09 Victim stated that she either lost or had her wallet stolen while in Red Bank. Black leather Coach wallet which contained credit cards, ATM card and I.D. Attempts to use the ATM card were made by unknown subject(s). Lt. Richard Mangold.

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Icedog Every few years, Red Bank's summer playground — the Navesink River — comes out of dormancy to play the same role for a few precious winter days or weeks.

On Sunday, a day after temperatures climbed into the mid-40s, winter returned, delivering an icy platform for skaters, strollers and iceboaters, as well as at least one fast-moving and apparently gleeful golden retriever.

According to the National Weather Service, the current freeze will continue through the early part of this week, bringing, in order of appearance, flurries today and tonight; light snow tomorrow changing to snow and sleet at night; and then a hash of snow, freezing rain and sleet on Wednesday.

Check the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club iceline (732.747.5665) for ice conditions before heading out on the river.

Meantime, redbankgreen has pix galore taken Sunday. (Click to enlarge)


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Prospective buyers packed a ballroom at the Molly Pitcher Inn, but few bid.

An auction of units at the nearly completed Metropolitan condo project on Red Bank's Wallace Street was halted early Saturday afternoon after just two were sold.

ScorecardOfficials cited the reluctance of prospective buyers to meet the seller's price expectations.

 "I'm a little shocked — I thought the property was adequately priced,"
emcee Jon Chipps told the audience of about 200 that packed a ballroom
at the Molly Pitcher Inn
before declaring the event over.

"Obviously, the prices that have
been brought forth are much, much lower than the developer had

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Did the remaining five Atlantic bottlenose dolphins make it out to Sandy Hook Bay before their temporary home in the Shrewsbury River froze over?

Two weekly newspapers have accounts in their current issues from witnesses who say they saw the animals swimming from the river into the bay on January 15, before the river froze.

Hot Topic

The Monmouth Journal and the Two River Times have similar accounts quoting Jay Cosgrove, co-owner of Bahrs Landing Seafood and Marina in Highlands, and restaurant employees who said the dolphins were leaping and diving as they headed into open waters late that morning.

The dolphins were “jumping right out of the water, like SeaWorld,” Cosgrove tells the Journal.

Employee Maryann Crinigan tells the TRT: 

“They were actually doing flips in the water as they were leaving,” Crinigan said. “They looked happy and were very entertaining.”

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