RED BANK BOUTIQUE PLANS FASHION SHOW

bella-mystique-2-042210Some of the women who will be modeling clothes from Bella Mystique gathered at the store recently. Store own Rosa Davis is at center in the tall boots. (Photos by Anthony Trufolo; click to enlarge)

Downtown Red Bank will be the scene of its first open-air fashion show in recent memory next Tuesday evening.

This one is shaping up as an all-local affair, featuring the clothing of a Broad Street boutique (Bella Mystique), amateur models recruited from the store’s customers, a runway set up at a Monmouth Street bar/restaurant (the Dublin House) and other in-town touches.

Read More »

A HANDS-ON EARTH DAY

rbcs-earth-day-042210

Among the commemorations of the fortieth Earth Day Thursday was a day of cleanup, planting and distributing flowers to neighbors by students at the Red Bank Charter School, above.

An Earth Day fair was held at the Red Bank Primary School, where children made recycled paper and cut-out butterflies, below. (Click to enlarge)

rbps-earth-day-042210

SUNNY FRIDAY FORECAST

umc-flowers-042210Flowers in bloom at the United Methodist Church on Broad Street in Red Bank yesterday. (Click to enlarge)

We’ll have lots of sunshine, a bit of a breeze and temperatures reaching into the mid-60s today, according to the National Weather Service.

The weekend outlook is a bit mixed.

Here’s the forecast:

Read More »

CHRISTIE: NO TO LNG & DRILLING PROJECTS

sb-christie-2-042210Governor Chris Christie at Surfrider Beach Club in Sea Bright Thursday, flanked by his daughter Brigit, former Gov. Tom Kean and DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. (Photo by Tim Larsen; click to enlarge)

There will be no oil rigs visible from New Jersey’s beaches, and no man-made islands or floating pipelines to transfer liquefied natural gas from ship to shore under his watch, Governor Chris Christie vowed Thursday.

At an oceanfront beach club in Sea Bright to mark the fortieth Earth Day, Christie said that while natural gas is a critical piece of the state’s energy future, “for as long as I am governor, this administration will oppose any application for liquefied natural gas,” according to the Asbury Park Press.

Read More »

SNEAKING INTO THE MOVIES, IN RED BANK

keenerplattpleasegive

Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt in a scene from PLEASE GIVE, screening tonight at Clearview Cinemas in a sneak-preview benefit for the Monmouth County Arts Council.

By TOM CHESEK

It happens without red carpets and velvet ropes; without spotlight trucks or popping paparazzi flashbulbs. It happens without high-end goodie bags and the celebrity guests they lure — but when it happens, as it does several times each year, Red Bank becomes the setting for some of the most intriguing screening events this side of the festival circuit.

With not one but two advance previews of boutique studio releases sneaking into town in coming days, there’s much of interest to film buffs framed within borough borders — and it begins this evening with a first look at the new comedy Please Give at Clearview Cinemas on White Street. Things continue on Monday, April 26 with a special preview showing of the dramatic ensemble piece Mother and Child, on the big screen of the Count Basie Theatre.

Both films come to the public eye courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, the autonomous arm of Sony Pictures that produces and distributes leading indie and foreign films to markets both domestic and international — films like Capote, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Howards End, to name just a few of their Academy Award winners. They come to Red Bank thanks to a crucial local connection with a major industry player — Sony Classics co-president and Middletown resident Tom Bernard.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN WEBSITE GETTING MAKEOVER

fh-website-1Fair Haven’s website will get some upgrades. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven’s virtual borough hall is getting a little makeover.

The changes won’t necessarily jump off the screen, but the town will soon roll out a more robust, redesigned website with some new features designed to make life easier for users.

Mayor Mike Halfacre says the updated site will be easier to navigate.

“We had a lot of people who couldn’t find things on our website that we know how to find because we’re always on the website,” he said.

Read More »

FAIR HAVENITES MIFFED OVER RB H20 RATES

toiletBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You can add about 200 homeowners to the list of those perturbed by Red Bank’s recent water rate increase. And they don’t even live in town.

Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre said he’s tried, unsuccessfully, to get Red Bank officials to answers questions and concerns expressed by some of the 200 or so Fair Haven property owners whose homes are served by the Red Bank water utility.

And?

“Not a thing,” Halfacre said.

Read More »

KNOCKING OUT KNOCKING

no-knock2

If Red Bank passes a ‘No Knock’ ordinance, signs like this, on Broad Street, won’t be needed. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s a scenario almost any homeowner or renter has been through at least once: The doorbell rings, you answer and there’s a smarmy stranger on the porch trying to sell you a magazine subscription or convert you to a new religion.

These visits tend to be unwanted, and Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna intends to do something about them.

At his urging, the borough council is considering an ordinance that would prohibit peddlers, solicitors and any other group or organization that can be constitutionally included from making visits to homes that are on a “do not knock” list.

Read More »

GROUPS PREPARE EARTH DAY EVENTS

earthA close-up view of planet Earth. (Click to enlarge)

Done2Here are some announcements of Earth Day activities scheduled for the next few days:

Earth Day Celebration at Red Bank Primary School

Got Earth Day plans? If not, please check out the Earth Day Exposition at the Red Bank Primary School on April 22nd.

Organized by Primary School teacher Christina Vlahos, with support from the Red Bank Green Team (of which Christina is a member), the event showcases student projects and demonstrations, educational opportunities, and local businesses and organizations.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN TEACHERS AGREE TO PAY FREEZE

hot-topic right

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Answering the call of Gov. Chris Christie, Fair Haven teachers agreed to a one-year pay freeze on the same day voters hit the booths and approved the borough’s education budget.

The deal was made at 3p Tuesday, said Mayor Mike Halfacre.

Details of the negotiations won’t be available until the contract is ratified, which should be in the next day or two, said Fair Haven Board of Education member Katy Frissora.

“We worked pretty hard over the last 24 hours to get this done,” she said. “We’re really excited about this.”

Read More »

HOV HIT WITH $1 MILLION IN FINES

hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian’s headquarters, at the foot of Maple Avenue in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises has agreed to pay $1 million for violations of federal Clean Water Act rules at 591 construction sites across the country, according to a federal Justice Department announcement.

The payment settles civil accusations that the company failed to obtain necessary permits before beginning construction or not getting them at all in 18 states and in Washington, D.C.

Read More »

BOROUGH SCHOOLS BUDGET SQUEAKS OUT OK

boe-voter2A voter arrives at the third- and seventh-district polling station on Broad Street in Red Bank Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

Voters rejected school budgets for the Red Bank Regional, Little Silver and Middletown school districts Tuesday, but approved the Red Bank local district spending plan by a 10-vote margin, according to unofficial data from Monmouth County election officials.

The budget for the two-school Red Bank local district pulled in 411 votes in favor and 401 votes against, figures indicate.

Read More »

SENKELESKI READY FOR SUMMIT OF SORTS

CodecarAmong the suggestions: share vehicles among departments. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

On Monday, Red Bank’s borough council plans to roll out its 2010-11 budget.

Two days later, the public will have its first chance to kick the tires and ask how it was designed and built.

Kim Senkeleski will be there. But the one-time GOP council candidate will be armed with some blueprints of her own, in the form of several dozen specific suggestions she’s gathered from taxpayers about how to cut costs and bring taxes down.

Though in format the event isn’t exactly the taxpayer summit she had sought, Senkeleski suggests you make the meeting, too.

“We want as many people as possible,” she said.

The more people involved, she says, the better the chances at making a difference to the digits on your tax bill.

Read More »

CORNER TALK WITH CROSSON

crosson1

Russ Crosson has submitted early plans to build a small strip mall at the corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Russ Crosson had reasons to give up on Red Bank’s West Side a long time ago.

Growing up on Chapin Avenue in the ’60s, a period of racial tension and civil unrest, his childhood wasn’t entirely the stuff of warm, fuzzy feelings.

“I used to get beat up almost every day,” he said. “I’d get held against the fence and get my lights punched out. I’d get snowballs shoved down my mouth.”

But some 40 years later, Crosson is still hanging around the West Side, and with plenty of fond memories of the area he grew up in. And it doesn’t appear he’s going anywhere soon.

The 52-year-old building contractor is on track to infuse some life into on one of the most underutilized corners in town: a grassy lot at the intersection of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, not far from where Crosson was force-fed snowballs as a kid.

Read More »

UNION TAKES FREEZE, AND GUV HAS PRAISE

hot-topic right[Update: This article replaces an earlier version, which cited contract terms that Superintendent Laura Morana says were reported incorrectly in both the Asbury Park Press and the Star-Ledger.]

Gov. Chris Christie has offered pointed praise for a pact, finalized late last week, under which Red Bank teachers agreed to a three-year wage freeze.

Christie’s called out the deal was in an opinion piece under his byline in the Star-Ledger Sunday. That followed Thursday night’s ratification by both the teachers’ union and the Red Bank Board of Ed of a contract that will bump each of the district’s 130 teachers up to the next pay grade in two of the three years, Superintendent Laura Morana tells redbankgreen.

Read More »

POLICE BLOTTER: ARMED ROBBERY REPORTED

rbpd5 patrolcarCrime reports provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of April 9 to April 16, 2010. This information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 4-9-10 at River St. Victim reported that unknown person(s) smashed windshield on parked vehicle. Ptl. Patrick Kennedy.

Theft occurring at the corner of Ambassador Drive between 4-8-10 and 4-9-10. Unknown person(s) stole two signs from corner which was a white sign with bronze raised letters reading “Elkridge” and one black sign with raised bronze letters reading “Elkridge” Ptl. Robert Campanella.

Read More »

APARTMENT FIRE QUICKLY DOUSED

leroy-fire-041810A firefighter breaks a window to the damaged apartment. Below, passersby and neighbors take in the scene. (Click to enlarge)

leroy-fire2-041810

A fire damaged at least one apartment in downtown Red Bank late Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters from the borough’s volunteer firefighting squad responded to the alarm at 19 Leroy Place about 4:45p and appeared to have extinguished it by 5:15.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT EXPLORES BEACH REPAIR OPTIONS

donovansA view of the aftermath from last month’s northeaster at Donovan’s Reef. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The website of Donovan’s Reef urges visitors to check out the bar’s trove of pictures of its tiki bar, outdoor deck and volleyball court to see what they look like before the crowd gets there. It also features a brief video panning across the deck and, beyond the volleyball court and tiki bar, the Atlantic Ocean.

The ocean is about the only thing left of it these days.

A series of winter storms, devastatingly punctuated by a March northeaster, has left many Sea Bright beaches in disarray, and the uprooted palm trees, blown-away chairs and knocked over lifeguard stands at Donovan’s Reef are among the most glaring examples of that.

In other places, like the Tradewinds and Fountains beach club areas, access stairs are up to six feet above the sand, says Borough Administrator Maryann Smeltzer.

Read More »

MARINE PARK: RESERVED SEATING AVAILABLE

marine-park-benchThe benches at Marine Park, like the one shown above, are being replaced and the borough is opening up the donation lines to pay for them. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Looking for a way to spend that tax return? Out of Mother’s Day gift ideas?

Red Bank’s got an offer that may be up your alley.

As the bulkhead reconstruction at Marine Park starts winding down, borough officials announced they’re taking donations for new park benches at the park overlooking the Navesink River.

The $1,500 price tag will cover the cost and installation of the bench, plus a plaque — be it in memoriam, a dedication or other note that will fit on the seat back.

Read More »

LONGTIME LEGISLATOR JOE AZZOLINA, 84

joe-azzolinaJoe Azzolina at Red Bank’s centennial picnic in May, 2008. (Click to enlarge)

Middletown’s Joe Azzolina, a supermarket executive who who served in Trenton as both a state Senator and Assembly member and was instrumental in bringing the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey to berth in the state, died Thursday at the age of 84, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Azzolina, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, died at 6:10p at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, where he had been for several months, his son, Joseph Azzolina Jr., told the newspaper.

He had served three separate stints as an Assemblyman, totaling 22 years in that chamber, as well as a two-year term in the state Senate, according to a Wikipedia entry.

Among the stores under the umbrella of the family-owned Food Circus company, which he ran for decades, was the Super Foodtown in Red Bank.

Read More »

FORMER MISS NJ SASHAYS INTO ‘CINDERELLA’

cinderellapolumbo

Looking a bit pressed for time in the title role of Phoenix Productions’ CINDERELLA, Amy Polumbo (with Matt Walsh as her Prince) seems right at home in a tiara during her reign as Miss New Jersey 2007.

By TOM CHESEK

It’s a Cinderella story in itself; the stranger-than-fiction tale of how a hard-working troupe from the “community theater” side of the tracks became the belle of the ball — and earned a residency at that shining castle on the hill.

Cinderella in this case is Red Bank’s own Phoenix Productions, longtime purveyor of musical entertainments for appreciative local audiences, and a nonprofessional company that’s been known to spin a little night magic from a mice-and-pumpkins budget. The castle, of course, is the remade and remodeled Count Basie Theatre — the jewel in the county’s cultural crown, and a nationally notable stage whose boards have supported some of the biggest names in show business. It’s a venue that’s definitely a quantum leap from an all-purpose room or church basement — and one that’s made its mark on the quality of the offerings from the ever-ascendant Phoenix.

When executive producer Tom Martini and company inaugurate their 2010 season of shows this weekend, they’ll be dealing in some pretty timeless stuff — the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II version of Cinderella, a musical that made its debut as a TV special long before its Broadway bow (and which takes much of its present shape from a network revival that starred Brandy and Whitney Houston). It’s a staging that features some familiar Phoenix faces — including in the title role a locally celeb who’s apparently right at home in a tiara, former Miss New Jersey Amy Polumbo.

Read More »

COMING TO BROAD: WOMEN’S CLOTHING SHOP

chelsea-homeDor L’Dor’s owner hopes to open in mid-May. (Click to enlarge)

Rcsm2_010508A Manhattan-based clothing store catering to women aged 16 to 36 has signed a lease in downtown Red Bank, redbankgreen has learned.

Dor L’Dor, a financial-district casualwear shop that also has stores in Brooklyn and Hoboken, will take over the space last occupied by Chelsea Home furnishings at the corner of Broad and Mechanic streets, real estate agent Karen Gagliano confirms.

A person affiliated with the store — whose name means “from generation to generation” in Hebrew — said the family-owned business expects to fit in well with fashion-oriented emporiums downtown, including its largest new magnet retailer, Urban Outfitters, which opened less than a block away in November.

Read More »

JACK’S PLAYS THE LIVE CARD ON SATURDAY

dargismonzo

Chris Dargis and Laura Monzo are among the well known locals (and mysterious guests) appearing at Jack’s Music Shoppe during Record Store Day this Saturday.

By TOM CHESEK

April 17 is National Record Store Day — a name that, contrary to what you might have heard, is not designed to remind you of some charitable cause, nor to serve as a solemn remembrance of such fallen giants as Tower and Virgin.

Rather, it’s a joyous occasion — one in which hundreds of indie businesses from coast to coast work to celebrate “the culture, and the unique place that they occupy in their local communities.”

In this particular community, that cultural touchstone is of course Jack’s Music Shoppe — and that unique place is the store’s savvy straddling of Broad Street and the English Plaza municipal parking lot.

But before you blow in one end and out the other like a bag of WOW Chips on a prune-juice chaser, consider that with such attractions as a sought-after instrument room, a choice video department, a locally unique sheet music loft and a renewed commitment to polyvinyl platters, Jack Anderson’s duplex diskerie has continued to hold a kingly hand — even as most other indies have folded ‘em, walked away, or even run.

Read More »

KaPOP

kaboom-041410Wednesday night’s mini fireworks show at the Monmouth Boat Club, as seen from the Molly Pitcher Inn. (Click to enlarge)

No, they weren’t testing the fireworks, as one out-of-towner speculated from the parking lot of the Moly Pitcher Inn Wednesday night.

That brief, and aerially contained mini-fireworks show put on last night at the Monmouth Boat Club in Red Bank was the coda to the eighth annual spring fundraiser for the KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink.

Read More »