Hot Topic
Tinton Falls resident David Goldman‘s four-year battle to win the return of his now 8-year-old son, Sean, after an international parental kidnapping moved to the spotlight in Washington yesterday.

The House of Representatives voted 418-0 in favor of a resolution, HR 125, calling on Brazil to honor an international custody convention “as a matter of extreme urgency” and immediately return Sean to his father.

Goldman supporters now hope the case will be a topic of discussion on March 14, when President Obama meets with Brazil’s president, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, at the White House.

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Breaking on the crest of today’s news in Red Bank oRbit….

We’ve got an exclusive on a new series of summertime surf movie nights to be presented by Michael Boylan of Red Bank’s own Stokaboka outdoors in the parking lot behind his surf/skate shop on Monmouth Street.

Today’s oRBit also looks in on the Snakes, a hardworking Irish-American folkpunk band whose hectic month o’ March is soundtracked by an anthem for St. Paddy’s Day on the Jersey Shore — recorded right here in Red Bank, and available for free publick download.

All this, plus our roundup of recommended activities for the coming days
(weeks) of St. Pat’s.

Only in oRBit — your one-stop source for all things diverting.

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Rubenstein, howardDr. Howard Rubinstein at the nursing station of the new ground-floor facility, which opens its doors March 17.

Howard Rubinstein remembers a childhood trip to a hospital emergency room in Rahway in the 1960s. He’d broken his arm and sat in pain while waiting for long delayed attention. But layered on top of the physical trauma was confusion at what was going on around him in that urban crucible of illness and injury.

“It really scared me,” he says.

A Tinton Falls resident and physician, Rubinstein now heads up emergency care at Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center, where next week he’ll help unveil the latest in care for kids: a dedicated emergency room, complete with Gameboy setups near every gurney.

The new pediatric care center is, to be sure, the product of many forces, including a precipitous drop in childhood hospital admissions in recent decades and the need for hospitals to compete as never before. But it’s also about a desire to make emergency care as pleasant an experience as possible for kids, Rubinstein says.

“We don’t want them in the ER with a code going on in one room and a drunk screaming in the next room,” he says.

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Hov_hq_81206Hovnanian’s head office, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Red Bank-headquartered Hovnanian Enterprises, one of the nation’s largest homebuilding companies, saw its losses accelerate in the most recent quarter.

The company posted a net loss of $178.4. million in its second fiscal quarter, up from $130.9 million a year ago.

On a per-share basis, the most recent shortfall equated to $2.29, versus last year’s $2.07. Polled analysts had expected a loss of $1.47 per share, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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A fine art exhibit of “Spraypaint SurrealiZm

and a concert featuring Israel’s hottest reggae/klezmer/jam band?

It’s just another day of illuminating finds at Red Bank oRBit, redbankgreen‘s companion site for arts and entertainment.

Today’s edition takes you to McKay Imaging Gallery on Monmouth Street, where the normally photo-oriented exhibit space is about to open a solo show dedicated to the
work of local dude Doug Z — whose artistry in spraypaint and stencils will be on view starting Friday evening.

Among the works featured: ‘ChiaGuevara,’ above.

Before that, however, the borough’s own Congregation Beth Shalom upholds its tradition of service, charity and coolness with its first-ever Red Bank Jewish Reggae Festival, an event spotlighting the international sensations Aharit HaYamim.

It happens tomorrow night, and the details are here today, only at Red Bank oRBit.

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VNA HQ 100208The borough-based Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey may feel the pinch.

For the second time in recent months, the Red Bank Council has contracted services to Monmouth County in an effort to cut costs.

The governing body last night approved a plan to consolidate its restaurant inspections, healthcare for shut-ins and other health-related services under a single contract with the Monmouth County Health Department.

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels says the change will save Red Bank $90,000 a year.

The deal would impact the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, which has its headquarters in town and now provides nursing services to the elderly and indigent under a contract that was to have cost the borough $33,000 this year. Under the change, the VNA would continue to provide those services, but under a contract negotiated by the county, Sickels says.

"These are desperate times, and we're looking to save money any way we can," he tells redbankgreen.

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FHPD HQThe dispatcher’s desk at police headquarters won’t be staffed nights and weekends, officials acknowledge.

A late-entry proposal from Little Silver to take over police dispatching duties won approval by Fair Haven’s council Monday night, the Asbury Park Press reports.

From the Press:

six-member council voted for a contract in which Fair Haven will pay
about $42,000 annually for Little Silver dispatchers to handle police,
fire and first aid calls now answered by the borough’s own dispatchers.
The switch will happen July 1.

members said the issue came down to trying to save money for taxpayers
in one of the few areas of the budget where they control the costs.

see a lot of long faces on first responders here. We don’t take this
lightly. We relied on the experts,” said Councilman Benjamin Lucarelli,
referring to Fair Haven and Little Silver police chiefs, who were asked
to research the change.

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Menna july 2008With the disclosure, Menna delivered on a pledge he made January 1, 2008.

Without fanfare, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna last night released two lists he’d promised to disclose fourteen months ago: the names residential landlords with the worst records in terms of compliance with safety and overcrowding laws.

Menna read the lists aloud during Monday night’s borough council discussion of a proposed ordinance that would create a ‘deferred prosecution’ path for landlords who comply with all recordkeeping rules and act swiftly to correct situations that would otherwise lead to summonses.

The ordinance passed unanimously.

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Red Bank Police were searching Monday night for two suspects who posed as coin sellers in an afternoon holdup of a Shrewsbury Avenue jewelry store.

Hot Topic
According to police Capt. Steve McCarthy, one of the suspects — two black males in their 40s —  had arranged to meet with the owner of the Little Diamond store to sell some gold coins.

During the course of 2p meeting, the shop owner told the seller that he would have to test the coins for purity.

The customer objected, pulled a handgun, and insisted he be paid a previously discussed sum, McCarthy says.

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Jackie When
Jackie Martling enters an establishment of mixology, the scatology hits the fans, as the Joke Man breaks down all resistance with his patented blend of good cheer and appalling taste.

The longtime Howard Stern sidekick comes to Monmouth
County’s venerable alternative music club the Brighton Bar this week, and
Red Bank oRBit arrived early to scoop up an interview.

Want to know Jackie’s favorite New York kiddie TV host? The topic that even he thinks is off-limits to joke about? The most disgusting joke he’s ever
heard on the radio?

Well, actually, we opted not to print that one — but the
rest of it is here today, only in today’s oRBit.

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Little diamond jewelryOne of two robbers showed a gun, an employee said.

A Red Bank jewelry store was held up at gunpoint Monday afternoon.


There’s no official word on the crime yet from police, who were just leaving the scene on Shrewsbury Avenue as redbankgreen arrived shortly after 3p.

But an employee of Little Diamond Jewelry, a few doors south of the Westboro Post Office, confirmed that two men — one brandishing a gun — had robbed the store a short while before.

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Call in the authorities
Red Bank Police Department logbook entries from February 27 to March 06, 2009. This information is unedited.

Criminal mischief occurring Linden Place on 2-27-09. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke out one window each on two parked vehicles. Ptl Ashon Lovick.

Criminal Mischief occurring at Oldfield Place between 2-26-09 and 2-27-09. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke out three windows on parked pickup truck. Ptl. Robert Campanella.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 2-27-09 at Shrewsbury Ave. Report of graffiti spray-painted on side of building by unknown subject(s). Ptl. Robert Campanella.

Attempted Burglary occurring on 2-27-09 at Branch Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) had broken out glass in bottom portion of window of apartment. Nothing reported missing. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

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179-181 ShrewsburyThe law is aimed at heading off conditions that last year led to the imposition of $36,000 in fines on the owners of 179-181 Shrewsbury Avenue.

More than a year after Mayor Pasquale Menna pledged to shame landlords by publishing the names of repeat violators of safety regulations, the owners of only one property have been tagged with the scarlet S.

Instead, having withheld the threat, the borough government is now planning to offer landlords a carrot.

Tonight, the Red Bank Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would create a system of ‘deferred prosecution agreements,’ under which landlords facing possible summonses would agree to quickly correct problems or face increased fines.

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Bob Sickles 2Bob Sickles Jr.

Sickles Farm Market in Little Silver got some lovin’ this weekend as one of four specialty grocers called out in an article in the New Jersey section of Sunday’s New York Times.

Dovetailing off the opening of a Fairway store in Paramus later this month, the Times pops in on that Manhattan refugee and three others: Eden Gourmet in South Orange (which opened last May); Zeytinia in Oakland; and Sickles, now early in its second century of operation as a market.

Sickles, says author Kelly Feeney, has a “country chic feel” under the
stewardship of third-generation owner Bob Sickles, Jr., who began
offering obscure goodies like Marcona almonds from Spain and Madagascar
dark chocolate in the 1990s in response to a growing exurban clientele

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Luis Cortez hand-rolls some 250 cigars a day, using techniques and equipment much like generations of women in his family used. (Photos by Laura Koss)


There's nothing fancy about Cortez Cigars. Occupying a former home on Broad Street (Route 35) in Shrewsbury, it has no novelty gadgets or souvenirs on display, no teddy bears in undersized t-shirts smoking oversized cigars.

No, this place is not just a store, it's a workshop, each half of the business sharing a singular purpose. Here, 27-year-old proprietor Luis Cortez makes traditional, hand-rolled Cuban cigars, and that's all he sells.

"We focus just on cigars, and only sell cigars we make," he says. "We enjoy what we do and have a passion for it."

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Money (half column)
Fair Haven’s first-ever trip to the Wall Street debt markets yesterday resulted in a bond sale at a better-than-expected interest rate, borough officials tell the Asbury Park Press.

From the Press:

The 10-year bonds sold for an interest rate of 3.08 percent, much lower than rates in the mid-3 percent range that officials expected to get, which will save taxpayers $40,000 annually, said Mayor Michael Halfacre. Last month, the borough received a Double A rating from Standard & Poor’s, making it one of 26 towns in the state to be rated Double or Triple A.

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Noworbiting_iconPhoebe Holiday RyanPhoebe Ryan‘s much-anticipated — at least in the hallways of Red Bank Regional High, where she’s a senior — pass through the American Idol machinery may not have proved as Tivo-worthy as her admirers wished.

The 17-year-old Rumson resident’s Idol dreams got Simonized before anyone knew what happened.

Undaunted, though, Ryan wasted no time in moving on, and quite impressively. She’s landed the title role in ‘Melissa Arctic,’ acclaimed director Aaron Posner‘s new professional mainstage production at Two River Theater Company.

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit has a sneak peek behind the scenes of the show, due to open in two weeks.

And as long as you’re in oRBit, don’t neglect to audition our reports on a prizewinning author‘s visit, some free film action, and why cats and fish make for such a fascinating combo.

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Hot Topic

Two Howell men have been arrested in connection with a fracas last month outside Chubby's Waterside Café that left a Middletown man with a stab wound to one leg, Red Bank police are reporting this afternoon.

Eighteen-year-old Travis LaFalce was arrested last Friday at his home by borough police, with an assist from the Howell PD, and charged with aggravated assault, weapons possession and related charges, according to Capt. Steve McCarthy.

Yesterday, borough police returned to Howell to arrest Steven Donoghue, 21, in connection with the February 20 incident. He was also charged with aggravated assault, weapons and other violations.

Borough court Judge William Himelman set bail at $32,000 for LaFalce and $31,000 for Donoghue. Each was released on bail the day of his arrest.

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Call in the authorities

The Asbury Park Press today has a feature article about new security systems installed at the Red Bank primary and middle schools.

The high-tech system uses swipe cards to control access to the buildings and video cameras that enable borough police station to get a live look at what’s going on as needed.

From the article:

A new high-tech security system went live in January, and it allows police to access live camera feeds remotely from the schools. It also allows staff to gain access to the building using swipe cards, which can be set individually by the day, time and person to grant or limit entry, said Ann Darrow, business administrator.

The security system has a total of 51 cameras at the Middle School and 16 at the primary school, said Tom Berger, director of facilities.

“It has live feeds. If the police get an alarm (in the school) on the weekend, they can dial in,” Berger said.

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LSPDUnder Little Silver’s proposal, a dispatcher in Little Silver would direct patrol responses to calls from Fair Haven.

Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre has published on his blog a head-to-head analysis of the competing offers from Monmouth County and Little Silver to take over the borough’s emergency police dispatching operations.

Here’s the document, which includes cost breakdowns as well as Q&As about the nuts and bolts of the two proposals: Download Shared Dispatch Comparisons

In terms of annual costs to Fair Haven, Little Silver’s pitch has the edge, coming in at $42,720 — less than two-thirds the $66,084 the county would charge.

But capital equipment outlays would set Fair Haven back $117,858 if it contracts with Little Silver, twice the sum a deal with the Monmouth County 911 Communications Center would cost.

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John Belushi, Bill Murray, John Candy, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert — and Shad Kunkle?

Well, why not? Today, Red Bank oRBit, talks to one of the
rising stars of Second City, the legendary comedy troupe that spawned all of
those titans of titter and more.

Kunkle joins the rest of the Second City Touring Company for an
evening of sketch, satire and script-free improv, tomorrow night at the Count Basie Theatre.

It’s a regular Shad Fest, and it’s catchable only in oRBit.

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Hot Topic
Work on a $1.54 million state Department of Transportation project to improve traffic flow and  safety conditions at a key Red Bank intersection is now scheduled to begin March 16, a week later than previously announced.

The job, which is expected to be completed in July, could mean irksome lane closures, and more traffic backups, for motorists heading north on Maple Avenue (Route 35) in the vicinity of West Front Street.

The project calls for the installation of a traffic signal at Maple where it meets Water and White streets, just a block south of West Front.

Here’s more 411, from a DOT ’14-day notice’ that borough officials forwarded to us this afternoon:

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