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MENNA PUSHES EXTENDED METER HOURS

meters_irMeters would have to be fed for two additional hours on weekdays under the plan.

With the clock running down on his decree of free Saturday parking downtown, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna is proposing to add two additional hours of meter enforcement from Monday to Friday.

The move, which comes even as Menna is also urging retailers to keep their doors open later, is prompted by a sharp drop in parking revenue, he tells redbankgreen.

“We’ve eliminated revenues on Saturday and Sunday, and there’s a shortfall,” Menna says. “We have to equalize it by extending hours into the evening.”

The idea, like many proposed tinkerings with parking rates here, is likely to engender heated debate as a public hearing on the matter scheduled for next Monday approaches. Many downtown merchants blame $38 overtime parking fines for driving away customers.

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ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP PICKETS FUR STORE

img_5675112809Protesters displayed posters and a carcass depicting animal abuse.

A handful of animal rights activists affiliated with a group called Caring Activists Against Fur demonstrated outside Winters Furs on Monmouth Street Saturday afternoon.

Protest organizer Anthony Botti, of Atlantic Highlands, said Winters Furs was targeted “because it’s a visible location in the central Jersey area.”

He said Saturday was selected “because it’s when the big shopping frenzy starts. This is when the animal torturers try to maximize their profits.”

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SIGHTS & SOUNDS FROM HOLIDAY LIGHT-UP

Here’s a video of the Holiday Express concert and downtown lighting event in Red Bank Friday night.

Thanks to Jeff Linkous of Art-Linked Letters, who shot and edited this baby for redbankgreen.

If you haven’t seen our photo slideshow from the event, that’s right here.

IN oRBit: WEISSGUYS AND GOOD NEIGHBORS

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Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit looks in on a couple of our favorite restaurants — not so coincidentally run by a couple of our favorite restaurateurs, both of them avid surfers — with an eye toward some special events that they’ll be presenting in the nights to come.

First, we’ll head over to musician-friendly Jamian’s Food and Drink in Red Bank, where some pretty famous faces are expected to be hanging around throughout the month of December. It’s all thanks to another of proprietor Jamian LaViola‘s monthly art exhibits; this one a display of photographs by Mark Weiss (above), the local-dude-made-good who’s long specialized in shooting such stars of arena-scale rock as Jon Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith and Kiss.

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Then we take it down to Langosta Lounge on the Asbury boards, scene of a hugely successful Holiday Soup Kitchen event this Thanksgiving past — where owner and tireless driving force Marilyn Schlossbach (right, with niece) plans to celebrate her popular spot’s first birthday this week by giving back to the community once again, in the form of a “fundraiser fiesta” for the Hispanic Affairs and Resource Center. We’ve got pix from Thanx plus the story on Chef Marilyn’s many irons in the fire; served up with a side of the freshest and tastiest events from the coming week — only in Red Bank oRBit.

A NIGHT ILLUMINATED BY SMILES… AND HATS

Yes, the traditional Holiday Express concert and illumination of downtown Red Bank combined once again to make for a great-sounding and dazzling extravaganza Friday night.

But it might be said that the real scene-stealers were the hats. With the wind whipping and temperatures dropping to the low 40s, Riverview Medical employees were out there giving away free pairs of knit gloves. But what about the all-important noggin? If you couldn’t have a kid sitting on your shoulders, the second-best way to keep your head warm was a stylish chapeau, perhaps with a trim of fur or a sprout of antlers.

As always, redbankgreen was there to thoroughly document the event, and culled this grouping of 75 shots from the hundreds taken. Enjoy, folks. And please let your friends know you saw them here.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

GIVING THANKS AND ENJOYING A HOT MEAL

img_5338112609The kitchen staff from Branches kicks into high gear at Lunch Break. (Click photos to enlarge)

Dominique Watson, seated next to her husband of six weeks, Roy Watson, had much to be grateful for yesterday.

“I’m thankful for my brand-new grandbabies, and my new husband,” the Red Bank resident said as she prepared to tuck into a turkey dinner at the Lunch Break on the borough’s West Side. “I’m thankful that the lord let me wake up this morning so I can share in this fellowship.”

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DOWNTOWN READY FOR ITS CLOSE-UP

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Unadorned, but not for long, this year’s holiday tree awaits its big moment in the courtyard of the Dublin House restaurant on Monmouth Street earlier this week.

One of the biggest, and certainly the jolliest, events of the year returns to Red Bank for its 16th edition Friday evening.

We’re talking about the hard-to-name series of mini-spectacles that begin with a Santa Claus-accompanied train ride into town, gather steam with a parade down Monmouth Street, go all sparkly with downtown tree lighting and culminate with the chummiest R&B-inflected outdoor holiday singalong money can buy.

And it’s all free.

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RED BANK TO BIZ OWNERS: STAY OPEN LATER

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Some merchants think too many downtown stores are closed at night. This photo was taken late Tuesday morning. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna has ramped up his campaign get downtown business owners to stay open later.

He says the effort did not begin with last week’s Broad Street debut of Urban Outfitters — a clothing and housewares store that’s open from 11a to 9p Monday through Saturday and 11a to 8p on Sundays. But Urban is doing business the right way, Menna says, and he’d like to see more merchants follow suit.

“Retailing has changed, our society has changed and Red Bank is changing,” he said.

Given Red Bank’s amenities, with its bevy of late-night hot spots like bars and entertainment venues, it has always made more sense that many businesses, especially retailers, keep the lights on and the doors open after dark and on Sundays, Menna says.

But examples of missed opportunities to hook visitors are plentiful, he says citing two from last summer, when the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival, and later the Taste of Red Bank, drew thousands of visitors who found limited shopping options because stores weren’t open later or on Sunday.

“The businesses that succeed are the ones who are available when people are on the street,” Menna said. “We don’t have the luxury of shoppers out at nine in the morning. It’s a change in our society and sometimes we have to change our business model to keep our competitive edge.”

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IN oRBit: LIGHT THERAPY FOR BLACK FRIDAY

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Here at the Red Bank oRBit desk, we’ve never been known for taking anything resembling a vacation from reporting on the many diversions and delights coming our way at any given moment of the year. That’s probably why, as we slip away for a quick Thanky Thursday break, we’re hitting you with our annual roundup of holiday-oriented events — enough information to make the healthcare bill and the last Harry Potter look as featherweight as Monday’s Asbury Park Press.

This Black Friday in downtown Red Bank, Holiday Express flips the switch on the 2009 season of goings-on in this jinglebell borough — and we’re bringing you the deep details on everything the town  has to offer, from Holiday Harmonies to Buggy Rides, from Live Mannequins to Gingerbread Walks, from Menorah lightings to a Kwanzaa visitor or two. And we’ll remind you once more why Tim McLoone (pictured above at last year’s Town Lighting concert) and his Express are the way to go, this and every year.

We’ve also got a pretty comprehensive rundown of the coming weeks’ holidaze — the tree lightings and the traditions, the chorales and concert events, the Scrooges and Nutcrackers, the parties and puppet shows — not just in Red Bank but all around the orbit, and all drawn from the all-knowing sno-globe that is The Orb listings database.

All this, plus plenty of happenings for Wacky Wednesday and Thanky Thursday — with lots to digest in the next few days. We’ll be back with much more where that came from, so keep it here for the holidays — at Red Bank oRBit!

BOROUGH TOUTS HEALTH PLAN SAVINGS

taxesRed Bank officials earlier this week approved a plan to stick with a municipality-based health insurance plan for 2010 after other insurers said they could not compete on the rates.

The Central Jersey Health Insurance Fund plan will cost the borough $2.7 million next year, after accounting for an expected dividend of $209,000, according to borough CFO Frank Mason,

That’s a 2.9 percent increase over the $2.62 million premium paid this year, after an identical dividend.

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PRESS: FOLEY RESIGNS, FACES DUI CHARGE

shaun-foley2-010108Shaun Foley has quit his post as Fair Haven’s fire chief following a bizarre series of incidents Sunday night that began with a car crash and ended with a massive effort to rescue him from the Navesink River, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The 27-year-old Foley has also retained a lawyer and plans to plead not guilty to charges of drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident and reckless driving in Rumson, where he was a police dispatcher and special police officer —jobs that he also resigned Tuesday, the Press reports.

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FIREFIGHTERS MUM ON CHIEF’S PAST, FUTURE

img_5216112209Emergency vehicles on the Oceanic Bridge during the rescue of Fair Haven Fire Chief Shaun Foley Sunday night.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Yesterday had the feel of Black Monday at the Fair Haven firehouse.

Twenty-four hours after borough Fire Chief Shaun Foley plunged from the Oceanic Bridge into the the Navesink River, department members were visibly shaken and reluctant to discuss his drastic actions Sunday night. Only two people within the department, Deputy Chief Jim Cerruti and President Jim Butler, spoke with reporters at Monday night’s Fair Haven Borough Council meeting. But they didn’t say much.

“One of our top concerns is his well being,” Butler said.

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JAM THAT BALLOT BOX, FOLKS

img_5270112309Sixth-grader Theodore Mitchell addresses the Red Bank mayor and council as classmate and photojournalist Tyriik Murad documents the event.

Stumping for votes like seasoned pols, a handful of students from Red Bank Middle School last night screened their latest video at the borough council’s bimonthly meeting Monday night.

The musical production, entitled “e-Instruction Is The Key,” is the school’s entry in the third annual e-Instruction Interactive Classroom Makeover Competition, which draws talent from all over the world to compete for instructional technology worth $30,000.

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IN oRBit: WACKY WEDNESDAY, THANKY THURS

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His t-shirt, hat and hoodie designs are among the hottest items of the moment — sold in stores worldwide, spotted on all the right bands, on celebs from Seth Green to Ashlee Simpson, and even the odd fourth-grader. And to think it all started with a can of spray paint.

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit looks in on Jonny Smith (left), owner and spiritual leader of Kill Brand, the locally based clothing company that not so long ago was being run out of a van and a bunch of cardboard boxes. Nowadays the label’s a force to be reckoned with; one that stays hypercurrent with the help of people like 17-year old Red Bank area “prodigy” Brandon Gallagher.

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Kill Brand rolls out its latest lines this Thursday at a Thanksgiving Night Midnight Vultures Dance Party at the Brighton Bar, during which Smith will take the stage with his new band Gentleman Wolf. But before Thanky Thursday comes Wacky Wednesday, and we’re highlighting our personal picks and pet causes (including perennial site favorite Nicole Atkins, right) for that no-school night before TurksDay.

After that comes Freaky Friday and the frantic season beyond — and we’ve got your map to that merriest of minefields, ONLY in Red Bank oRBit.

CHIEF TO FACE CHARGES FOR ACCIDENT

img_5243112209A Fair Haven Rescue Squad ambulance carries Fire Chief Shaun Foley  from the scene of his  apparent suicide attempt in Rumson Sunday night. Below, Foley in early 2008.

shaun-foley2-010108No charges have yet been filed against Fair Haven Fire Chief Shaun Foley following an accident and apparent suicide attempt that brought a phalanx of rescuers to the Oceanic Bridge in Rumson Sunday evening, according to Rumson Police Chief Ricky Tobias.

A search-and-rescue operation that entailed three helicopters and a team of divers resulted in Foley being fished safely out of the dark waters of the Navesink River after about 45 minutes, Tobias tells redbankgreen.

Foley, who is also a police dispatcher and special officer in the Rumson police department, is reported to be in fair condition at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune and is expected to be released this afternoon, Tobias says.

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IN oRBit: A NEW ELISE ON LIFE

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Her characters breeze through some often outlandish situations with spunk and spirit and a take-charge creativity that you’ve got to figure are part of their creator’s makeup as well. But even if children’s book writer and illustrator Elise Primavera doesn’t normally cavort through the sort of colorful adventures experienced by the likes of Santa’s sister Auntie Claus or Louise the Big Cheese, her travels to bookshops big and small regularly excite the imaginations of young fans across the country.

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit drops in on the sunny Red Bank home studio of the award-winning author, a place she shares with a dachshund named Lulu and a hundred works in progress. Primavera visits two area bookstores this weekend — Fair Haven’s River Road Books and the new B&N at Monmouth Mall — for a pair of signing events keyed to her most recent titles, including the new Auntie Claus Home for the Holidays.

It’s all here, with more to come (including Turkey Eve go-out options and our big yearly roundup of holiday-oriented events), in the pixelated precincts of Red Bank oRBit.

POLICE ACTIVITY REPORT

call-in-the-authoritiesCrime reports provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the weeks of  November 13 to November 20, 2009. This information appears here unedited.

Theft occurring at Riverview Plaza on 11-13-09. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole purse which was placed on shelf which contained cash and credit cards. Ptl. Michael Campanella.

Theft reported on 11-14-09 at West Front St. Victim reported that between the dates of June 2009 and 11-14-09 unknown person(s) stole a kayak from marina. Ptl. John Camarca.

Criminal Mischief occurring at West Front St. business on 11-14-09. Owner reported that unknown person(s) broke storefront window. Ptl. John Camarca.

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JUMPER WAS FAIR HAVEN FIRE CHIEF

just_in1The man who jumped into the Navesink River from the Oceanic Bridge in an apparent suicide attempt Sunday night was Shaun Foley, chief of the volunteer fire department in neighboring Fair Haven, that town’s mayor tells redbankgreen.

Mayor Mike Halfacre confirmed the identity after repeated anonymous postings on this site said that the victim was the fire chief.

“This is hard,” Halfacre said. Foley is “a good kid. He’s got some issues. He’s got the town’s full support.”

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RESCUE EFFORT SHUTS OCEANIC BRIDGE

oceanic-rescueEmergency workers hustled the victim along a dock at Salt Creek Grille to a waiting ambulance.

A possible suicide attempt led to a massive rescue effort near the Oceanic Bridge in Rumson Sunday evening.

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HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GUY?

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Red Bank police today issued this sketch of a man wanted in connection with a Branch Avenue burglary committed earlier this week. (Click photo to enlarge)

A 20-year-old resident of the house had his hands tied with clothing shortly after encountering the burglar in the break-in, which occurred at 7:40a on Tuesday. The resident managed to get free and scuffled with the burglar, who fled when the victim’s mother returned home and screamed, according to police.

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SHOPPERS SAY URBAN’S GOOD FOR RED BANK

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A trio of Urban Outfitters fans, led by Middletown resident Amie Falk, walk out of the store happy on its opening day Thursday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

They  pulled the hulking glass door and trickled into Red Bank’s most anticipated business. They were greeted by a cadre of upbeat employees and set loose into a few thousand square-feet of the area’s newest hip retail wonderland.

And for those customers who hit Urban Outfitters in its first couple hours on Thursday, the experience didn’t disappoint.

“It was great,” said Amie Falk, of Middletown, summing up her shopping experience.

Falk arranged to meet with friends at the store for a morning of shopping, and by the time the group was finished, they came to a conclusion that will sound like music to local merchants.

“This store will definitely bring me to Red Bank more often,” said Darlene Weltman, of Atlantic Highlands.

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GROWTH DRIVES T. BERRY SQUARE’S BIG MOVE

jennifer-quinn-payneT. Berry Square owner Jennifer Quinn Payne in her store’s new consignment section. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It wasn’t long after Jennifer Quinn Payne added a consignment section to her boutique children’s store, T. Berry Square, that she realized floor space had become a precious commodity. She kicked off the new operation in June with about 30 pieces of lightly used children’s clothing, and quickly, the Broad Street shop started getting smaller.

“It was kind of taking over,” Quinn Payne said of the consignment section. “We needed to expand.”

So expand she did. With Courtney Medd, brought in as a partner to help oversee the resale portion of the store, Quinn Payne packed up and headed south to a bigger space — next door, to 64 Broad, to be exact.

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