REPORTS INCLUDE STOLEN ELECTRICITY METER

rbpd2 spotlightCrime reports provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of December 4 to December 11, 2009. This information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 12-3-09 at East Front St. parking lot. Unknown subject(s) ripped three signs out of ground and left same on ground. Ptl. David Smith.

Burglary occurring at Leonard St. residence on 12-3-09. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke into residence by forcing the back door open and breaking the doorframe. Drawers in residence were ransacked. Stolen was a 42″ Emerson Plaza T.V. and Verizon Touch Screen Storm cell phone. Ptl. John Camarca. Sgt. Michael Frazee.

Theft occurring at Maple Ave. on 12-4-09. Victim reported that black leather purse was stolen from parked vehicle. Purse contained I.D., Credit Cards, and prescription medicine. Ptl. George Travostino.
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TOMMY’S GETS READY TO FIRE UP THE COAL

tommy-logoOwners of Tommy’s Coal Fired Pizza say it’s likely the restaurant will be open in a week or two. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It looks like we have a leader in the race to bring coal-fired pizza to Red Bank.

Within a week or two, Tommy’s Coal Fired Pizza owner Tommy Bonfiglio says his family-style restaurant, located in the Galleria where 2Senza held residence for 15 years, will be ready to open its doors before the holidays, as promised.

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IN oRBit: CHRISTMAS @ THE COUNT’S CRIB

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Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit runs down a particularly action-packed week of Christmas-themed music at the Count Basie Theatre — with Santa Basie workshopping a six-day schedule that begins with a Tuesday/Wednesday stand by Tim McLoone (right) and the wondrous wall of sound that is Holiday Express.

It’s an engagement that’s followed in short order by a Christmas gift from Ronnie Spector and Darlene Love (Thursday), the fourth annual Christmas concert by Middletown’s globe-trotting Christian artist Nancy Scharff (Friday), the nineteenth Xmas Xtravaganza starring Glen Burtnik (Saturday), and a tradition without which it just wouldn’t be Christmas in Red Bank — the  Monmouth Civic Chorus performing Handel’s Messiah in concert on Sunday.

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But that’s not all. Order in the next ten minutes and we’ll throw in the details on the return of art dealer Emily Asher Neiman (left) to the banks of the Navesink, as Emily and some well-known artist friends set up shop at the Front Street space formerly occupied by DesignFront. It’s a limited-time run that’s keyonoted on Thursday evening with a reception and benefit for the borough-based nonprofit Where Peace Lives.

It’s all here, as we help you sort out a hectic week of frantic fundraising, holiday heck-raising and maybe even a bluesy barn-raising, right here in Red Bank oRBit!

LIGHTS UP FOR HOME DECORATING CONTEST

holiday-lightsA house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard done up for the holidays. Below, a Hudson Avenue residence.

For Red Bank homeowners with a taste for holiday season displays, it’s time. Gotta to get out those ladders and tangled strands of twinklers from the cellar this weekend.

The second annual borough-hosted home decorating contest goes into the judge phase starting Monday.

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PLEASE DO NOT EAT THE EXHIBITS

rb-gingerbreadA gingerbread house made by employees of Foodtown of Red Bank on display at Monmouth Street Emporium. (Click to enlarge)

Here’s a nice little addition to the holiday atmosphere in downtown Red Bank: gingerbread houses.

Fourteen businesses throughout the business district have locally made gingerbread creations on display through December 23.

At each stop, visitors can sign up for a chance to win some nifty prizes, described below. They can also make donations to Holiday Express, the charity-minded, cheer-spreading musical ensemble.

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A BIT OF FROSTY ON THE WINDOW

harry-scanlonDressed-for-the-weather sign painter Harry Scanlon of Fair Haven dresses up the windows at the New Corner Restaurant in Red Bank on Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

Whoa! Temperatures in the twenties! It’s beginning to feel a lot like Hanukkah (or, if you prefer, Chanukah)— which begins at sundown tonight.

Temps fell below 30 this morning, and will do so overnight tonight and Saturday night. Daytime temperatures will get just above freezing today and hover in the mid-30s tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Here’s the full seven-day forecast for our area:

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NJT PLANS REPAIRS, NEW LOOK FOR STATION

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NJTransit’s plan includes removal of gingerbread trimming, which historians say is inauthentic. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It looks as though the Red Bank train station will finally get those long-awaited repairs Historic Preservation Commission members have been clamoring for, and then some.

Commission members, along with Mayor Pasquale Menna, met with New Jersey Transit officials Thursday to go over a multiphased plan that will overhaul the deteriorating Victorian-style station and restore it to its former glory.

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BOROUGH SALARIES MAY RISE BY 3 PERCENT

sickels-borghi-mennaBorough administrator Stanley Sickels at a council meeting last month, with deputy clerk Pam Borghi and Mayor Pasquale Menna.

hot-topic rightSalaries for non-unionized managers at Red Bank’s borough hall would get an annualized three-percent bump under the terms of an ordinance introduced by the town council earlier this week.

The proposal, which is expected to be up for public comment and a vote at the council’s December 22 meeting, shows no change in the $3,600 yearly pay for council members and the $7,301 salary of Mayor Pasquale Menna.

Among those who’d get the increase, which is slated to be retroactive to July 1 of this year, are the multi-hatted Stanley Sickels, who serves as borough administrator, purchasing agent, deputy clerk and fire marshal in the construction code enforcement office.

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MANHOLE WORK MAY SHUT BUSY STREET

just_in1A stretch of Red Bank’s Monmouth Street, which was closed Wednesday evening for a sewer repair job, is open again today. But borough officials plan to shut it again Friday for further work.

Public utilities acting director Gary Watson tells redbankgreen that the collapse of a manhole opposite the Dublin House Pub could result in the street being closed between Broad Street and Drummond Place for up to half a day.

The timing of the shutdown all depends on a contractor’s ability to quickly obtain a precast manhole liner, Watson says.

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SMOKIN’ HOT AT SMOKE-FREE ASHES

sweetest-sin-lingerie-09A bustier-clad model gets an appreciative welcome to kick off the show. (Click to enlarge)

Aficionados of sexy women’s undergarments packed the second floor of the soon-to-be-renamed (and already smoke-free) Ashes Cigar Club Wednesday night for what may have been Red Bank’s first-ever lingerie fashion show.

The free event, hosted by Sweetest Sin Boutique on White Street, saw a handful of models in g-strings and little else strutting to throbbing music along a velvet-roped catwalk.

Want to see more? Of course you do. Read on.

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IN oRBit: THE MEENAN OF CHRISTMAS

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luke-bonnenfantIt had to happen: Ebenezer Scrooge is back, pretty much everywhere on local stages for the next couple of weekends (including one portrayal by ever-boyish classic TV personality John Davidson), and if you’ve been doing your best to avoid the old cuss, you just might be missing out on something special over at Monmouth U.

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit has an interview with Red Bank’s David J.V. Meenan, adapter and director of A Christmas Carol, going up Friday at the Pollak Theatre. Veteran theater-weirders might recall the semi-retired Meenan from his spectacular productions at the Basie (and at his own short-lived Royale Theatre) back around a decade ago; he’s rested and ready to wrangle a cast of dozens (including the always precocious Tiny Tim, pictured) for a one-weekend revival of a show that was last seen in 2001.

Then stay tuned to redbankgreen‘s satellite site for another wintry weekend’s worth of stuff, including Bad Santas and Good Samaritans; beached poets and blues paragons; Angry Drunks and other Cracked Nuts, right here in Red Bank oRBit!

LITLLE SILVER PARK OK’D FOR FACELIFT

santelle-park1The Dominick F. Santelle Park and Boat Ramp is slated for what Borough Council members say are much-needed renovations. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

There’ll be reason to visit Santelle Park again come spring time, if not just to use it, but to soak in its new look.

Now a forlorn place of cracked asphalt basketball courts, sagging tennis nets and rickety swing sets, the facility will be getting a $298,000 upgrade. The Borough Council gave the approval at its meeting Monday night, and the work will be done by Precise Construction, of Freehold.

“That’s good. It’s a long time coming,” Councilman Jonathan Bittman said, after the council unanimously approved the expenditure, which was allotted in last year’s budget.

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REPAIR FORCES MONMOUTH STREET CLOSING

just_in1Red Bank police have closed Monmouth Street between Broad Street and Drummond Place to address a sewer issue, according to a notice issued by the town this afternoon.

The closing is in effect until further notice.

MEGO’S CONDITION “NOT LIFE THREATENING”

john-megoFirst deputy fire chief John Mego, who is slated to head the department in 2011, was struck by a car this morning.

Deputy fire chief John Mego is in critical but stable condition with a concussion and other injuries after being struck by a car while working as a crossing guard in this morning’s downpour.

Sources tell redbankgreen that Mego’s condition is not life-threatening.

A person who asked not to be named and was with Mego at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune this morning says he has a concussion, a broken arm, a spleen injury and facial cuts.

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CROSSING GUARD STRUCK BY VEHICLE

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This just in from the Red Bank Police Department:

On December 9, 2009 a Red Bank Police crossing guard sustained
serious injuries after being struck by a vehicle while crossing school
children at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Peters Place.

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NEW TRUCK SUCKS BETTER THAN THE OLD ONE

ls-truckThis pale blue beauty has seen its last days on Little Silver streets. Public Works is getting a brand new one to tend to all the gutter and basin cleaning needed this time of year. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

All the signs were there and Little Silver’s decisionmakers knew that the public works department’s powder blue, rust-spotted baby’s days were numbered in town.

It was old, from 1985, and the problems, most recently a ruptured hose, were becoming more frequent. It was only a question of how much longer the jet and vacuum truck could continue sucking leaves and debris from drains and catch basins throughout town.

Following a thoroughly argued discourse on the topic and a split vote that caused the mayor to tip the scales, the answer has come, as borough finally pulled the trigger to buy a new jet and vacuum truck for its DPW.

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FAKE CRASH PHOTO HITS THE STANDS

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Hey, remember that faux accident that tied up Broad Street in Red Bank for most of a day back in August?

With local government clearance, a photo crew used the intersection of Broad and West Bergen Place to stage what looked like the aftermath of a car crash.

They brought in a couple of banged-up vehicles, positioning one against the base of traffic light and the other across the intersection with fake steam coming out from under the hood.

All this for a print ad for Liberty Mutual Insurance.

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ON THE DOCKET: TINY TOWN’S CASELOAD

img_5919120809By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s municipal court will be adding to its caseload, albeit lightly, beginning next month.

Under a deal finalized by the Red Bank council last night, the borough court will handle all cases for Shrewsbury Township — a landlocked three-street residential development  originally established in support of Fort Monmouth, Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said.

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STREET METER RATES COULD DOUBLE

Meter1_1 A plan to extend enforcement of Red Bank’s parking meter laws by two hours on weekdays appears to be dead on arrival.

Moving in to take its place, though, is a proposal by downtown merchants for a possible doubling of street meter rates, to $1 an hour.

It sounds, at first blush, contrary to the interests of business owners, admits Tom Fishkin, owner of Readies Fine Foods on Monmouth Street. But he says merchants and restaurateurs are getting behind the idea because it does what many of them have not been able to do: force their employees to park in the municipal lots, where meter rates would remain at 50 cents per hour.

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IN oRBit: SINATRAS SING, THE BASIE SWINGS

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It’s December in Red Bank, a time when we gather to celebrate a certain birthday in song and sense of community — we’re talking of course about Frank Sinatra, the Jersey-bred Chairman to the Boss, a cultural icon who’d be turning 94 years young this weekend had his career not been cut prematurely short at age 82.

This Friday sees the third annual Sinatra Birthday Bash at the Count Basie Theatre, a recently minted tradition that assembles a pretty wild variety of vocal talent to honor the lasting legacy of the Kid from Hoboken (as well as his collaborations with our own Kid From Red Bank). They’ll perform in front of the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece organization arranged and conducted by borough-based bandleader and globetrotting jazz scholar Joe Muccioli.

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit offers up an exclusive interview with the man called Mooch, on this thing called Jazz and what it takes to stage a swingin’ session under the (hopefully not so swingin’) chandelier of the Count’s crib. Read all about it, in Red Bank oRBit — and tell ’em Joe sent ya.

RED BANK POLICE BLOTTER

rbpd6 doorCrime reports provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of November 27 to December 4, 2009. This information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring at Broad St. business on 11-28-09. Report of a broken glass store window by unknown subject(s). Lt. Richard Mangold.

Criminal Mischief occurring between 11-27-09 and 11-28-09 at White St. clothing store. Report of an unknown subject(s) breaking store window. Ptl. James DePonte.

Theft reported on 11-29-09 and occurring at Rector Place residence. Victim reported that on 11-22-09 subject(s) stole cash from bedroom. Ptl. David Smith.

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RED BANK RABBI INJECTS FUN INTO CUSTOMS

dscf2023Congregation Beth Shalom Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro is in his second year heading the congregation, where the membership has doubled. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Yerachmiel Shapiro really tried hard to break away from the Jewish faith at one point in his life. After growing up in a Chicago-area Jewish community and attending Jewish schools, he’d had enough.

“It was very insular,” he said. “I had some friends that weren’t Jewish. It made me think, ‘Why live just in the Jewish world?’ And I wanted to have fun.”

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