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GET READY TO KEEL OVER IN THE KITCHEN

rumson-kitchenThis Rumson kitchen is one of five stops on the tour.

Admit it: Two-story foyers, sweeping stairways and high-end family entertainment suites just don’t do it for you.

No, You’re you’re one of those people who enters a home for the first time tuned to the sound of water splashing in a stainless steel sink, of utensil drawers being dug through, and the soft kiss of a refrigerator door opening.

That’s right, you’re a kitchen design junkie.

Well, the parents at Holy Cross School in Rumson have got your number.

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HANDLIN HANDLIN’ PROBLEMS ON THE RAILS

amy-h-handlinBy TOM HESTER

Are you up to dealing with the state government first thing in the morning?

Well, if you need its help, 13th-district Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and her aides will try to provide it at the Middletown train station next Tuesday morning.

Handlin, a Middletown Republican, says her on-site ‘Help Desks’ are for residents having difficulty with state agencies or with questions regarding state government.

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CENTURY-OLD EDISON FOOTAGE TO BE SHOWN

rsz_img_69622Thomas Alva Edison‘s links to New Jersey  are well-documented. But it’s unlikely that many Garden Staters know about his interest in ice boating on what’s now called the Navesink River.

Edison’s American Vitascope Co. shot footage of ice boaters on what was then called the North Shrewsbury River between 1901 and 1904, according to historical accounts.

Your chance to learn all about it and see Edison’s actual footage is next week.

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MAPLE AVENUE LIGHTS TO BE TWEAKED

hot-topic rightRed Bank police will roll out a portable flashing sign warning motorists not to block intersections at the north end of Route 35/Maple Avenue, Captain Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

But fixing traffic tie-ups in the vicinity of new traffic lights at West Front Street and the West Street/White Street intersection “is less a matter of enforcement than it is about the timing of the lights,” McConnell says.

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OCEANIC TO KEEP THREE-TON LIMIT

oceanic-bridgeThe Oceanic Bridge will maintain its vehicle weight limit until at least Labor Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The weight limit for the Oceanic Bridge will remain at three tons for the foreseeable future, county officials announced Tuesday.

The decision to maintain the weight limit came after about six weeks of testing conducted on the bridge, which ended last week. Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl said the limit will stay in effect until at least Labor Day.

Testing “indicated that they can keep the three-ton limit in place and make through the summer,” he said. “That’s going to get them through to the fall when they will close the bridge for some period of time. We’re not sure how long.”

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OIL LEAK PROMPTS HOUSE-RAISING

169-river-rdThe Red Bank home of the late Florence Forgotson has become a remediation site due to oil contamination. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s not an illusion: the house is not floating in mid-air.

Hard as it is to tell by casual glance from River Road, the home of the late Florence Forgotson Adams, who made her name as the county’s first female attorney, has been unexpectedly uprooted and placed on blocks a few feet above ground to clean up an oil leak discovered in December.

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IN oRBit: THIS ISN’T ‘NAM, THIS IS BOWLING

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“It’s great to see it on the big screen with a lot of people,” Jeff “The Dude” Dowd told Red Bank oRBit back in 2008, as he prepared to host a screening of The Big Lebowski at the Count Basie Theatre. “Plus they have a bar!”

The Coen Brothers‘ cult film that used the real-life Dude as inspiration for its underachieving protagonist (a phenomenon that’s spawned dozens of Lebowski Fests, books, social “not-works” and downmarket merch opportunities) is back — not in your living room, but in the entirely appropriate setting of the Asbury Lanes, the retro rec center turned atom-age alley of the alternative arts.

It’s both a bowling tourney and a benefit for the nonprofit ArtsCAP organization, and we’ve got the details  you’ll need — but that’s not all. Order in the next ten minutes and we’ll throw in absolutely FREE a new series of no-charge classic movies on the big screen of the Count Basie Theatre — a schedule that starts Thursday night with 1984’s  Amadeus and continues with eight more events, including two (The Goonies and The Magnificent Seven) this very weekend. These coming attractions have been approved for all audiences, and you’ll find ’em right here in Red Bank oRBit!

NEW LIGHTS CAUSING HEAVY PROBLEMS

Rt35 fixNorthbound Maple Avenue traffic backed up during work at the West Street/White Street intersection last May. The completion of the job hasn’t alleviated the problem.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Those shiny new traffic lights on the north end of Maple Avenue seem to be having and unintended effect: rather than ease the flow of traffic, the lights are actually impeding it, according to resident Carl Colmorgen, or anybody who gets stuck in the daily a.m. logjam on nearby Monmouth Street.

Colmorgen brought up the issue at Monday night’s bimonthly Red Bank council meeting, saying that a study, or enforcement, or something needs to be done to get the issue fixed.

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COUNCIL WANTS ITS FAIR SHARE OF AID

mennaMayor Pasquale Menna ponders the borough’s future on Monday night as he discussed possible cuts in state aid. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Pairing the word ‘doomsday’ with ‘budget’ doesn’t exactly evoke a warm fuzzy feeling, but Red Bank officials are prepared to put them together if the state’s new governor, Chris Christie, runs a scythe through state aid this budget season, as he’s all but promised.

Because about 16 percent, or roughly $320 million, of Red Bank’s assessed value consists of non-profits — meaning the borough doesn’t collect taxes from those groups but still has to provide necessary services to them — a major loss, like 25 percent as Christie has proposed, would be crippling, said councilman Michael DuPont.

That’s why he asked the council to get on board with a message to Trenton urging state officials to recognize Red Bank’s unique situation and be kind with its cuts.

“I think the state needs to understand this is a hardship,” DuPont said.

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IN oRBit: RE-STOCKING THE WOODSTOCK

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Sure, the 40th anniversary of Woodstock was last summer — but over at  Monmouth University, there’s no better time to mark those Three Days of Peace and Music than January 2010, and in today’s Red Bank oRBit, we take a look at some special events going on at the Pollak Theatre on the MU campus.

The indisputable highlight of Woodstock Week is Friday night’s concert by Richie Havens (left), the wand’ring ambassador of Woodstock Nation and an artist who continues to personify for many the spirit of that epochal cultural event. He’s preceded by the return of Pete Fornatale, the New York radio legend whose oral-history book Back to the Garden is essential reading at your muddy tent-city bedside.

Also on tap: a free screening of Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock and the fundraiser auction of a guitar autographed by a season’s worth of guest artists at the Pollak — including several stars who we’ve interviewed in our pixelated pages. We’ve got the details, along with words from Fornatale, Billy Bragg, George Winston, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Roger McGuinn and bluegrass family patriarch Jere Cherryholmes, right here in Red Bank oRBit!

BLOTTER: A CUPFUL OF WHAT??? OH, YUCK!

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Crime reports provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of January 15 to January 22, 2010. This information appears here unedited.

Theft occurring on 1-15-10 at Broad St.-Hair Salon. Owner reported that former employee stole large sum of cash, and hair products during the course of employment in Aug 2009 and Sept. 2009. Ptl. Dawn Shields.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 1-17-10 in the area of Mechanic St. Unknown subject threw a beer bottle through store front window shattering glass and damaging a piano inside where glass caused scratches on same. Ptl. Gary Watson.

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SALON PLANNED AT FORMER EATERY

img_5928Kim Johnson plans to set up a hair styling business in the former Itri’s Luncheonette space.

Looks like the griddle at the long-dormant Itri’s Luncheonette won’t be getting fired up again after all.

Guy Johnson’s dream of reviving the tiny, beloved hash house died late last week when he won approval from the Red Bank zoning board to convert the West Front Street space to retail.

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IN oRBit: A WINTRY MIX FOR MIDWEEK

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Granted, it’s still the darkest days of the cultural offseason, but in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, we’ll remind you that there’s never nothing happening here in our prime-cut filet of the Shore — where the dreariest weeks of midwinter still manage to kick the crap out of much of the rest of the map.

There’s a chance, for example, to make some noise with the pots and pans alongside one of the Shore’s favorite chefs. High-profile appearances by a Nobel Prize nominee, a real live TV medium, and one of the great voices of New York rock radio. Opportunities for artists and media types to network (or not-work, as the case may be). Free (or wee-fee) screenings of recent motion pictures.

So, whether you’re getting up early to catch a big and free BCC appearance by author and activist Greg Mortenson (pictured), or heading out at night to catch psychic psensation Lisa Williams at the Basie or support your neighbor’s band, we’ve got the alternative to the umpteenth Office marathon — with a weeklong forecast of heavy participation — right here in Red Bank oRBit!

A HOTEL TAKE ON HOSPITAL CARE

riverview-100409Riverview Medical Center officials hope to bring a touch of the suite life to hospital stays.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You can get so much accomplished at Riverview Medical Center these days that a patient might be hard pressed to find a reason to go home.

The hospital launched a pilot program last month called Concierge Care, a comprehensive service designed to pamper patients and their visitors. Hospital brass say they spent 18 months investigating and designing the service with people from five-star hotels and resorts. Through a third party, the hospital has worked out deals with local businesses and vendors to offer what it calls hotel perks.

Need to get your car fixed? Want to get tickets to see a show at the Two River Theater? Rather order takeout from one of those pizza places in town than eat in the hospital commisary? The service will get it done for you.

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SEA BRIGHT TAKING CONTROL OVER PARKING

sea-bright-parkingSea Bright officials are finally getting started on an ordinance that will give residents permits to park on the street in the summer months. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Sea Bright officials are ready to respond to a clarion call for parking freedom in town.

Although it’s been on ice for a couple years, Sea Bright Mayor Maria Fernandes says she hopes an ordinance allowing residents to park on the street during the summer months will be introduced at the Borough Council’s next meeting on February 4 . It’s a step that’s been needed for a long time, she said, considering parking is at a premium when the beaches get crashed by out-of-towners.

“A lot of residents feel like they’re prisoners in their own home. This will alleviate it somewhat,” Fernandes said. “The residents have been asking for this for a long time.”

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BOROUGH GETS STIMULUS GRANT FOR TREES

hot-topic rightA small leaf fallen from the massive federal stimulus package passed by Congress last year will result in tender loving care for some Red Bank trees.

Borough officials say they’ve gotten $7,000 Business Stimulus Fund grant via the state to provide for pruning and other services.

The grant, via the state, “will let us hire a local business to do much-needed tree maintenance,” Shade Tree Committee member Boris Kofman tells redbankgreen.

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MIDDLETOWN COPS BUST BURGLARY RING

joeys-cruz2Police in Middletown say they have arrested an illegal immigrant from Honduras who used at least one juvenile to help him pull off a yearlong string of burglaries in that town and others.

Here’s the full text of a news release from Lieutenant Joe Capriotti:

The Middletown Township Police Department has arrested a Middlesex County man who was employing juveniles in a burglary ring that operated in Monmouth County, Union County and Somerset County.

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STAVOLA, PLANNERS SPAR OVER PARKING LOT

img_6982012120It seems the Maple Avenue lot across from Borough Hall, at left, is going to remain a parking facility for at least another couple of years.  (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Going into Wednesday night’s Red Bank Planning Board meeting, it appeared that a few questions might finally be answered concerning the gas station-turned-private-parking lot across the street from borough hall, the biggest being: when might an approved store and apartment project be built there?

Not anytime soon, was the answer. 

At issue though, was the matter of whether to allow the property owner, Stavola Leasing, to operate a parking lot on the site in the interim. And the matter turned into a subject of a heated exchange between board members and Stavola representatives.

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BOOK SALE IS FOR LOVERS

rb-library-book-sale-2009Shoppers browsing the bargain bins at the Red Bank Public Library’s “yard sale” last September.

The Red Bank Public Library is looking for a few new lovers. Be it of books, music or the library itself, a group called the Friends of Red Bank Public Library is pulling out all its tricks to garner a little TLC.

In celebration of the Valentine-ish creation Library Lovers Month, the library is hosting its second annual book sale, but it’s more of a three-day party than anything else. The sale is slated for Saturday, February 6, but there will be a preview and reception at the library the night before. This shindig offers guests a chance to catch live music from Jim Crawford, sip wine, nosh on cheese and, perhaps most importantly, get the first shot at the books on sale.

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POLICE ISSUE ALERT

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Red Bank Police issued the following alert this afternoon:

Red Bank Police are investigating a suspicious incident that occurred at approximately 1 PM on Prospect Avenue.

Two male subjects claiming to be utility company employees approached a residence and attempted to gain access for the purpose of installing water equipment.  The resident became suspicious and did not admit the subjects to the home.

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IN MIDDLETOWN, MAYOR’S DOOR IS OPEN

scharfenbergerGerard Scharfenberger returned last month to a familiar place: the Middletown mayor’s office. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Gerard Scharfenberger has what you’d call an open door policy — even if the name on the door isn’t his.

After a year taking a seat on the Middletown Township Committee, Scharfenberger is back in a familiar place, as mayor. And while the sign on the door still shows the name of his successor/predecessor, Pamela Brightbill, anybody with the time and inclination can find Scharfenberger just as they could before, including Saturdays.

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BEACHGOERS PLEASED WITH SEA BRIGHT DEAL

sea-bright-beach-1More beaches in Sea Bright will be open to the public thanks to a lawsuit settlement reached last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

More than three years of legal battling against the borough and private beach clubs has resulted in a win for the public, say local beachgoers.

They will be able to use more space in front of six private Sea Bright clubs as a result of a settlement in the state Superior Court last Wednesday. According to a prior agreement, the average visitor was only allowed to lay down a towel or chair within a 15-stretch along the waterline in front of the clubs. Now the space is 150 feet.

It may be hard to find anyone from the public who’s going to complain about that, considering the issue has long been a bone of contention within the borough.

“I’m all in favor for it,” said Maryanne Maletto, of Red Bank.

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EDUCATION FORUM TACKLES CHRISTIE CUTS

hot-topic rightIt’s official: Chris Christie is the governor of New Jersey and, more than likely, education funding changes are afoot. You want an idea of what to expect? The Shrewsbury Parent-Teacher Group has you covered.

The group will host a presentation on changes that are expected under the Christie regime at 7p, January 27, at the Shrewsbury Boro School. Lynne Strickland, the executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, will be the speaker. The public is invited to the forum, said Meg Gerth, a parent.

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