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SIMS ADMITS SHOOTING

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The attempted murder trial of Anthony Sims took a turn yesterday when the defendant admitted firing shots that hit two brothers and missed a third man, according to today’s Asbury Park Press.

The November, 2008 shooting at Montgomery Terrace apartments in Red Bank occurred after an argument over drug money between Sims’ mother and one of the victims, an alleged member of the Bloods gang, Sims testified.

According to the Press, Sims admitted he fired the shots, but said he had no intention of going outside of the apartment where he overheard the dispute to confront the three men until “they threatened to come inside the house.”

The victims “were armed and pulling their guns out when he shot them,” the newspaper reports of Sims’ account.

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‘RETIRED’ PARKER CLINIC DOC WINS HONOR

zavenDr. Zaven Ayanian is scheduled to receive a prestigious award for his volunteerism at the Parker Family Health Center in Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Dr. Zaven Ayanian has been around a long time. He started practicing as a physician in 1959, the same year Buddy Holly died and Alaska was granted statehood. In that time he’s seen a lot of patients and racked up a lot of awards.

Now, even though he’s retired, he’s getting another award.

Ayanian, 79, will spend the weekend in Washington D.C., where he’ll be feted for his volunteer efforts at the Parker Family Medical Center. During the three-day American Medical Association extravaganza, Ayanian, along with one other physician from Virginia, will receive the Jack B. McConnell, M.D. Award for Excellence In Volunteerism.

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FEW SIGNS OF LIFE ON BROAD

shovelingA man tackled the heavy snow at the corner of Harding Road…

Red Bank’s main business thoroughfare was all but shut down by midafternoon Thursday by the third major storm to hit the region this month.

But as always, there were signs of life. Click ahead for some more pix of what redbankgreen saw on a walk down Broad Street.

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CHARGES FILED IN ACCIDENT

copter-12Red Bank and Riverview Medical Center emergency workers transfer Alla Tsiring to a helicopter for transport to Neptune Monday. (Click to enlarge)

The driver in the accident that left a pedestrian pinned beneath an SUV on Broad Street on Monday has been charged with motor vehicle violations, Red Bank police say.

Meanwhile, the victim remains hospitalized in Neptune.

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SPACE HOGS FACE EXTINCTION

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Back in June 2006, on the very first day of redbankgreen‘s humble existence, we couldn’t resist taking a dig at the prevalence of Hummers on the streets of the borough that gives this hyperlocal news site its name.

Everywhere, it seemed, were ginormous H2s sticking out of parking spots like blivits.

Well, that was before the recession hit. And today comes word that the whole Hummer line is now facing extinction.

From the Los Angeles Times:

General Motors Co. said Wednesday that it was unable to complete a deal to sell its Hummer line to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., a Chinese industrial company.

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O’SCANLON: PAY HIKE ‘SIMPLY ISN’T PRUDENT’

Oscanlon_declan_2Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon.

A war of words between state legislators and Red Bank officials over recent pay raises for borough employees continued yesterday.

Twelfth-district Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, a Little Silver Republican, fired back at the all-Democrat Red Bank Council with a letter that challenged the fiscal sense of granting annualized 3-percent salary and wage increases to non-unionized workers.

“We understand that Red Bank municipal employees are hard-working individuals and it would be wonderful if they could all get raises,” O’Scanlon writes in the letter, which was shared with redbankgreen late Wednesday. “But that simply isn’t prudent – and sends the wrong message to our constituents – when the people paying the bills are making less, or losing their jobs all together.”

So far, the GOP three have made no public mention of the two-year, 6-percent increases the borough previously granted to the two unions it bargains with: the Policemen’s Benevolent Association and the Communication Workers of America.

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IN oRBit: WHAT BROWN CAN DO

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We deal with a lot of hyphens in this business, and in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, we’ll introduce you to an actor-playwright-director-impresario who’s made it a mission to “navigate the hyphen” in ‘African-American’ — as in, how much of me is African, and how much American?

In his play The Fula from America — a one-man show that will be making a one-weekend stand in Red Bank — Carlyle Brown addresses that question, as he portrays the real-life characters that he encountered on a soul-searching trip through western Africa. As the founder of Minneapolis-based Carlyle Brown & Company suggests, it was a trek in which many of the most surprising discoveries were about himself.

The Fula from America comes to the Marion Huber performance space at Two River Theater for four performances beginning Friday — and we’ve got an interview with this dynamic stage talent, right here in Red Bank oRBit!

HELP WANTED: CFO FOR MIDDLETOWN

middletown-town-hallMiddletown officials hope there’ll be a new addition at Town Hall soon: a chief financial officer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger says he has a to-do list with three items on it.

First, hire a chief financial officer. Second, hire a chief financial officer. And the third? Yes, hire a chief financial officer. Soon.

“We have to get one before the budget,” he told redbankgreen. “We need one yesterday.”

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MORE SNOW FORECAST

rb-station-021010Snow blankets the Red Bank station during the February 10 blizzard, the second in four days. (Click to enlarge)

Guess we’re in for another round of supermarket frenzy.

The National Weather Service says the Red Bank area may get four or more inches of snow from a storm that’s expected to begin late tonight and last into Friday.

And now, we go to the nation’s weatherbot, which obviously has its caps lock key on:

A WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
FRIDAY MORNING.

YET ANOTHER COASTAL STORM IS FORECAST TO AFFECT OUR AREA LATER
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND INTO FRIDAY. AT THIS TIME SNOW AMOUNTS MAY
AVERAGE AT LEAST 4 INCHES OVER THE NORTHEAST MARYLAND
SHORE…DELAWARE…SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY…AND EXTREME SOUTHEAST
PENNSYLVANIA…AND 6 INCHES OVER EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA AND CENTRAL
NEW JERSEY. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE WITH THIS POTENTIAL
STORM…SO DRIFTING AND BLOWING SNOW ARE POSSIBLE AS WELL.

Here’s the extended forecast:

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IN oRBit: JUST CAN’T STOP IT

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To two or even three generations of bands and their fans in and around the Jersey Shore, the partystarting sonic bounce of reggae’s hypercaffeinated little cousin SKA continues to score new fans each year. But ask the ska-punk band next door and you might hear how they were inspired to step up the beat by a wave of 1970s-80s British bands that included The Specials, Madness, and, maybe especially, The English Beat.

Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit has an exclusive interview with Dave Wakeling (right), co-founder and longtime frontman of the band that gave us such alternative radio and club classics as  “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Save It For Later” and some tantalizing takes on Smokey Robinson and even Andy Williams. The California transplant — whose resume also includes serious stints as a kids’ soccer coach and a Greenpeace advocate — now fronts a US-based Beat lineup that’s complemented by a UK version, led by former bandmate Ranking Roger (with whom Wakeling also tried a little “Tenderness” in General Public).

It’s that American edition of The English Beat that returns to the Stone Pony on Thursday night, topping a Spring Skaward Tour that also includes the great 80s band Fishbone. We’ve got Wakeling, full stop, here today in Red Bank oRBit!

RED BANK PASSES PARKING-FEE HIKES

broad-metersCome April, on-street parking will cost twice as much downtown. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank officials formally put a higher premium on downtown parking Monday night, passing an ordinance that will double on-street parking fees and raise the cost of parking permits by 33 percent.

The changes, boosting street meter rates to $1 an hour and permit costs to $800 a year, will take effect April 1. At a projected $203,000 increase in revenue for the borough, the meter and permit hike is expected to more than make up for a painful shortfall of about $10,000 a month resulting from the borough’s indefinite moratorium on charging for Saturday parking.

Despite its potentially fractious nature, the council faced virtually no pushback from the public.

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WAR OF WORDS: RED BANK DEMS v. BECK & CO.

beck-010310-41dupont-election2009-2State Senator Jennifer Beck’s refusal to back Red Bank’s request for special treatment in Trenton has drawn fire from local Democrats led by Councilman Mike Dupont.

Red Bank’s all-Democrat council wanted local legislators in their corner recently when they appealed to new Governor Chris Christie for special consideration as he sharpened his budget-cutting knives.

But state Senator Jennifer Beck and her two 12th-district Assembly colleagues, Caroline Casagrande and Declan O’Scanlon, all Republicans like Christie, said quite publicly that borough officials haven’t done enough to merit special treatment in Trenton.

That did not sit well at borough hall. Yesterday, the council Dems (not including Mayor Pasquale Menna) went on the offensive with a letter sent to the GOP three and circulated to reporters.

“You refuse to advocate for the residents of Red Bank with the newly elected Governor to mitigate the hardship Red Bank is experiencing due to the high number of non-profit and tax exempt organizations in our Borough,” says the letter, signed by Councilman Mike DuPont, with apparent endorsement (but no signatures) of councilmembers Art Murphy, Sharon Lee, Kathy Horgan, Juania Lewis and Ed Zipprich.

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ACCIDENT VICTIM IN CRITICAL CONDITION

copter-22A medical emergency helicopter lifts off from the parking lot at Count Basie Fields late Monday afternoon en route to Neptune. (Click to enlarge)

A 44-year-old office worker is reported by Red Bank police to be in critical condition after being run over by an SUV on Broad Street Monday afternoon.

Alla Tsiring, a borough Staten Island resident, was helicoptered to Jersey Shore Medical Center shortly before 5p after having first been transported by local first-aiders to Riverview Medical Center. The transfer took place in the parking lot at Count Basie Fields.

The accident left Tsiring trapped beneath the vehicle, which was driven by a borough resident, 37-year-old Diana Palma, police Captain Darren McConnell said in a prepared statement issued this morning.

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LONGEVITY PAY STAYS… FOR NOW

longevity-pay-crowdBorough employees turned out Monday night to voice their concerns over the council’s proposal to freeze longevity pay. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just when it appeared that the Red Bank Council was set to pass an ordinance freezing an incentive program for borough employees, those same employees banded together Monday night to try and get the council to buckle.

It worked.

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IN oRBit: A TIGGA, BY THE TALE

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We here at Red Bank oRBit do what we can to create a trustworthy source for timely tips on how and where to spend your discretionary dollars and idle-hour attentions — but who do we turn to for recommendations? People like Lorraine Stone and Rock Wilk — each of them profiled previously in our pixelated pages, and both of them champions of a young poet and spoken word artist named Tylik “TIGGA” Railey.

Born in bred in Asbury Park (and heard in venues ranging from The Inkwell to Brookdale Community College to Nuyorican Poets Cafe to national poetry-slam competitions), Tigga (left) has a lot to say about life in the city where his family has made its home for generations — and this Thursday, he’ll be saying it at The Showroom in an autobiographical multimedia performance piece entitled Photographic Memory.

Equipped with live musical accompaniment by a talented student of Asbury Park High School — and preceded by a special free “warm-up” show — the presentation (sponsored by ArtsCAP and rescheduled from this past December) represents the most ambitious move yet for the self-described “starving artist” of another stripe — and we’ve got the “sabertooth trooth” in an exclusive interview with Tigga, ONLY in Red Bank oRBit!

PEDESTRIAN RUN OVER BY SUV

accident-022210Emergency personnel work to free the victim, who was trapped beneath the vehicle that struck her.

An unidentified pedestrian was struck by an SUV at Broad Street and East Bergen Place in Red Bank at about 2:30p today.

After being struck, the victim, a woman was trapped underneath the vehicle.  She was extricated by emergency personnel and transported by ambulance to a hospital.

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GRAFFITI ATTACKS REPORTED

authorities2aCrime reports provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of February 5 to February 12, 2010. This information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 2-6-10 at Mechanic St. Parking lot. Report of parked vehicle with smashed in windshield by unknown subject(s). Ptl. David Hicks.

Graffiti reported on 2-12-10 on Monmouth St. Door to building had been spray painted with graffiti by unknown subject(s). Ptl. Beau Broadley.

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IN oRBit: HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY TALK

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The pursuit of happiness can be a pretty serious undertaking for anyone to whom it was ever promised in writing — and, as you’ll learn in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, one seriously happy writer has managed to cut through the static of the self-helpers and the life-coachers with a book that’s making a lot of people rethink some of the most cherished myths regarding that smiley state of being. For example, money can buy happiness. And not only can you not “have it all,” you never really wanted it in the first place.

The Happiness Project is an account by Gretchen Rubin (left) of “the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier.” It’s a popular book (with accompanying blog) that’s taken the former US Supreme Court clerk to some interesting places — like the Today show and the top of the NY Times bestseller list. On Thursday, the author comes to Red Bank for a reading and signing appearance at Kim Widener‘s new NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts on Bridge Avenue.

Unfortunately for happy-come-latelys, that event is now sold out, but we’ve got an exclusive interview (well, we’re sharing her with Ann Curry) with the woman who’s brought a whole new “app” to “happy,” and there’s a lot to learn — including the meaning of the mystery word “shticklet” — right here in Red Bank oRBit!

QUESTIONS HAMPER DRAFT SCHOOL BUDGET

laura-moranaRed Bank Schools Superintendent Laura Morana talks to the local press Thursday about the district’s bleak budget outlook . (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The waiting, as Tom Petty sings, is the hardest part. Only, he wasn’t working on a multimillion dollar school budget when he penned that tune.

Laura Morana, like so many school administrators in New Jersey who must have drafts of next year’s budgets turned in soon, is playing the waiting game, left in the dark by Gov. Chris Christie’s somewhat nebulous pledge to freeze state aid to school districts in order to make up for a huge budget gap.

When she sat down on Thursday to talk with the local press, the Red Bank schools superintendent was bouncing between budget meetings, just a couple of the many she’s had in the last couple weeks.

She’s already reconciled with the fact that the state is in a financial hurt locker. She’s even OK with dipping into the district’s $701,000 surplus to compensate for the reduction in aid, albeit begrudgingly. But considering she has to have a draft 2010-11 budget turned into the county prior to Christie’s state budget presentation on March 16, Morana would like to know what to expect.

“Right now we’re dealing with a million questions and nothing else. No answers,” she said. “You just don’t even know.”

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SEA BRIGHT MIFFED BY SEWER RATE HIKE

read-murphyCouncilman Read Murphy announced to the council Tuesday night that the borough’s sewer rate is increasing by 23 percent. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Sea Bright Borough Council was anticipating a four- or five-percent increase in this year’s sewer bill. Turns out they should’ve multiplied that estimate by four or five.

Councilman Read Murphy reported at Tuesday night’s meeting that the borough had just received a letter from The Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority stating that the municipal sewer bill would increase by 23 percent for the year.

“It’s unconscionable, but it’s also the most inexplicable,” Murphy said.”That’s a heck of an increase.”

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FAIR HAVEN MODEL ROCKS SPRING RUNWAYS

jacquelyn-jablonskiLess than a year out of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High, model Jacqueline Jablonski is the “queen” of the spring fashion shows underway in New York’s Bryant Park.

So proclaims today’s New York Daily News, which reports that the drinking-straw-thin, 5-foot-9 Jablonski

walked an astounding 31 shows this past week, beating out other strutters for the most shows walked, and surpassing her record of 21 shows last season.

“I was constantly running from place to place, and I had to have my fittings and castings at night because there was no time during the day with all the shows I was doing,” she says.

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SUCCESS STORY FOR Y’S HEALTHY HEART DAY

jim-boothYou’d be smiling, too, if a group of employees saved your life, as the staff at the YMCA did for Jim Booth back in December. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

On December 24, Jim Booth of Red Bank was feeling swell. He’d recently been a little more tired than usual and was experiencing some indigestion, but aside from that, he said nothing was out of the ordinary.

“I considered myself in good shape for my age,” Booth, 59, said. “I could run and bike for miles.”

He competed in triathlons with his children several times a year, ate well and regularly exercised at Red Bank’s Community YMCA, as he has for the last 25 years.

That’s where he was when he collapsed from a heart attack en route to the showers and, for several moments, was dead.

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SNOW-JAMMED? TELL THESE FOLKS

hot-topic rightMore than a week after the second of two blizzards walloped the Red Bank area, pedestrian access to many crosswalks remains blocked by deep piles of snow left by plows.

The folks from Safe Routes to School want to help.

A handful of them took to intersections around Red Bank last night to clear paths through bulwarks of snow, ice and slush that seem to be going nowhere for a while, even with yesterday’s temperature in the high 30s.

“The warmth has made it easier to crack through to the bottom ice, but it’s still a slushy mess,” says organizer Marc Dostie.

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