IN TRTC’S LINEUP: SHAW, BREL & A SPIDER

charlottes-web1Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris (as Charlotte the spider) and Owen Doherty (as Wilbur the pig) perform a scene from CHARLOTTE’S WEB, scheduled to go up in December at Two River Theater. (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

There’s a classic work by the most formidable scribe this side of Mr. Shakespeare. A reimagining of one of the most timeless tales in children’s literature. Some long-overdue encores for a couple of New York favorites from the 1960s — and a pair of exciting new items that you may not have heard of.

It’s all on the agenda beginning next September as Red Bank’s resident professional stage troupe, Two River Theater Company, announced its 2010-2011 season of shows with a full-house reception last night at its Bridge Avenue auditorium.

Here’s the lineup:

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AXES AND OTHER ACTS AIM FOR STREETLIFE

streetlife_02Musicians and other performers lined up at the Count Basie Theatre last week for auditions for  the 2010 StreetLife series. (Photos by Anthony Trufolo; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s probably safe to say there’ll be no shortage of guitar players on Saturday nights in Red Bank this summer.

Crowding the narrow hallway of the Count Basie Theatre‘s rehearsal space last Wednesday night was a long line of axe-strapped singers and songwriters, all vying for a summer-long gig entertaining the public as part of the borough’s StreetLife series.

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RBR ALUM LOVE

people-in-the-newsYou’ve got a former scholar-athlete, a top environmental lawyer, a local councilwoman and a scientist — just a few Red Bank Regional grads to be feted at an alumni dinner this month.

For its ninth annual Distinguished Alumni Dinner on Friday, on April 16, the high school will honor ten former students who graduated between 1950 and 1987. The public is encouraged to attend to celebrate its “local heroes,” said Maryanne Kligman, information coordinator for the high school.

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ITALIAN EATERY TO SET UP AT GATEWAY SITE

myitalian032410A take-out and sit down restaurant called My Italian Kitchen will set up shop in the former Key Motors garage at Broad Street and Maple Avenue.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Looks like a new restaurant is coming to Red Bank. And, no, it’s not a pizza place.

Still, by this time next year, foodies should be able to add My Italian Kitchen to the list of Italian joints saturating Red Bank.

To members of the planning board, which gladly approved the restaurant’s application Monday night, the transformation of one of the most prominent pieces of real estate in town — at its southern gateway, at the corner of Broad Street and Maple Avenue — is a positive move.

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M’TOWN BUDGET TO GET ‘DECISIVE ACTION’

taxesBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In the wake of what Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger calls a “perfect storm” of financial woes, he’s proposing 12, and maybe more, “decisive actions” to make up for the town’s large revenue shortfall.

After checking to see if the ideas were feasible and legal, Scharfenberger delivered a communique Monday afternoon outlining his plan to mitigate a heavy burden on taxpayers.

Although “everything’s on the table,” his 12-step program calls for outsourcing, salary freezes, mandatory furloughs and a 10- to 15-percent decrease in operations and expenditures for all departments, including layoffs, he said.

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FEDS: SHARMA TO BE DEPORTED

best-grocerySunny Sharma’s Leighton Avenue business, Best Deli & Food Market, was open Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

Federal immigration officials say Red Bank retailer Sunny Sharma remains in their custody and will be deported, but they’re mum on why — and so is his fiancé, who now appears to be running his Leighton Avenue grocery.

Sharma was arrested at his store as a fugitive last Thursday afternoon and  “will be removed from the country,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Harold Ort tells redbankgreen.

Agency privacy rules prohibit the disclosure of any additional information regarding Sharma’s whereabouts or the particulars of his case, Ort says. “Fugitive” can mean several things, including ignoring an immigration court order or illegal re-entry into the U.S., Ort says.

Sharma, who lived in Middletown, is a native of India.

Sharma’s business, Best Deli & Food Market, was open its usual hours on Monday, leaving some neighbors wondering what the scene Thursday was about, when Sharma was reportedly taken out of his store in handcuffs.

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DuPONT: TAX NON-PROFITS

dupontRed Bank Councilman Mike DuPont says it may be time to end tax-exemptions for most non-profits.

In the latest round of verbal sparring between Red Bank officials and the town’s representatives in Trenton, Councilman Mike DuPont has floated what he hopes is a solution to the borough’s fiscal woes that all can embrace:

Tax non-profits.

It’s done elsewhere, and is under consideration in additional locales, DuPont says in a March 18 letter he sent to state Senator Jennifer Beck.

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MAKING WHOOPEE BEFORE THE SHOW AT TRT

newlywed-gameEd Marmut, 18, and his girlfriend, Colleen Roberts, 19, winners of Two River Theater’s “Newlywed Game,” one of the theater’s pre-show events. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Ed Marmut and his girlfriend, Colleen Roberts, didn’t have much doubt as they walked into the Two River Theater last month that they were going to leave as winners. Their confidence bordered on hubris.

“So, how long have you two been together?” redbankgreen asked the couple, of Tinton Falls, before a round of “The Newlywed Game” was staged in the theater lobby.

“One year, two months and nine days,” Marmut, 18, said with confidence and a starry gaze into Roberts’ eyes that could make you want to cry or gag.

The abbreviated version of the old TV game show was the most recent pre-theater entertainment offering at TRT, in this case for the run of  “Barefoot In The Park.” But it’s just one of a number of enticements by the the venue to draw in theatergoers, says Sean Murphy, the theater’s marketing manager.

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FORECAST: JUST BEACHY

sb-sand-pileKelly and James Rossano of Red Bank play on a sand pile in Sea Bright as Lily Rusis of Rumson pets the Rossano family dog, Darla, last Friday. (Click to enlarge)

Sunny, sunny, sunny and oh-so-unseasonably warm.

That’s the forecast for the next three days, as temperatures are expected to reach into the high 60s today and peak in the low 80s Wednesday before partial cloudiness moves in Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Here’s the outlook for the coming week:

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BLOTTER: PEDESTRIAN ROBBED OF COMPUTER

rbpd2 spotlight

Crime reports provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of March 26 to April 1, 2010. This information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 3-27-10 at Spring St. apartment. Report of noise in vacant apartment from upstairs tenant. Police responded and found glass window in the front door broken. Located inside was subject who was arrested for criminal mischief.. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

Criminal Mischief occurring between 3-26-10 and 3-27-10 at Mechanic Street. Victim reported that unknown subject(s) broken window in front of the building. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

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FIRE RIPS THROUGH WEST SIDE RENTAL

stmarysfire-040310A volunteer firefighter crouches on the porch roof to avoid a spray of water from inside. (Click to enlarge)

The occupants of a rental on Red Bank’s West Side safely escaped a predawn fire that tore through their home Saturday.

The blaze was reported at 4:42a at 19 St. Mary’s Place, a narrow dead-end off Shrewsbury Avenue, between Drs. Parker Boulvevard and Sunset Avenue.

Volunteer firefighters had the fire out within 45 minutes of arrival, Fire Chief Alan Soden tells redbankgreen.

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DATING AGAINST THE CLOCK

speed-dating1Thursday night’s speed daters at Red sitting down for a lightning-fast marathon of acclimation. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Speed dating, at first, is much like a middle school dance, but with a bar. Boys on one end, girls on the other, and somewhere in between, an invisible cloud full of shared thoughts, fears and intentions.

But when the bell rings, the only choices are either to get down to brass tacks or scurry out the door.

From there it’s a sped-up Saturday night on the bar scene: What do you do? Where are you from? Do you come here often? Rinse. Lather. Repeat — for about an hour, with a break in between.

Such was the scene at Red Thursday night, where speed dating made a return to Red Bank.

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A GREAT BUNCH OF NIGHTS ON MONMOUTH

joemuccioliconduct

Red Bank-based jazz maestro and historian Joe Muccioli conducts a new series of ‘Talkin’ Jazz’ events at the Count Basie’s Carlton Lounge, beginning Monday with the documentary film A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM.

By TOM CHESEK

Last time we looked in on Joe Muccioli, the Red Bank resident was assembling his annual Sinatra Birthday Bash at the Count Basie Theatre — a big-band blast that’s arguably the most visible, and audible, offering put forth each year by Jazz Arts Project, the nonprofit arts entity that Muccioli co-founded a few years back here in the Basie-birthing borough.

In a previous interview, the internationally renowned jazz conductor-arranger-scholar praised the “democratic” underpinnings of his favorite music, noting that “if you can play — if you can show me something, whoever you are — I’m listening.”

As it turns out, the man called Mooch is not simply a good listener — he’s been known to talk a great game on the subject of the American musical art form known as jazz.” Here in National Jazz Appreciation Month, he’ll be backing it up with his third annual series of Talkin’ Jazz events, presented for the next four Monday evenings at the Carlton Lounge — the cool and comfortable “VIP” room on the ground floor of the Count’s crib.

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NEW CROSSWALK LAW DRAWS MIXED REAX

crosswalkerA woman crosses Mechanic Street at the interesection of Broad in downtown Red Bank Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A new, statewide vehicle-related law went into effect Thursday, with the aim of improving pedestrian safety. But will it?

Drivers must now completely “stop and stay stopped” when someone is in a crosswalk, according to a campaign launched by the state Attorney General’s office. Prior law said yielding would do, but officials cited increased fatality rates as the cause to tighten down on drivers. Violating the law carries a fine of $200. (Pedestrians may also be cited and fined $54 for failing to use due care when crossing.)

redbankgreen spent a good part of the sun-splashed day posing a question to folks in Red Bank and the surrounding area: Do you think this law will actually make your town safer?

We got a mixed bag of responses.

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SUN. WARMTH. WEEKEND. PEEPS.

jamie-juarezRed Banker Jamie Juarez and her six-month-old son Anthony enjoy the sunshine in Marine Park yesterday. (Click to enlarge)

The sky was blue, temperatures eased into the mid-60s, and there was no need for galoshes or buckets in the Red Bank area Thursday.

Today should be a particularly good Good Friday, weatherwise, according to the National Weather Service. And Easter Sunday looks to be fair-to-spectacular.

Here’s the forecast:

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ROAD CLOSURE COULD LAST A MONTH

nav-riv-rd-collapse-2Runoff from Poricy Brook Pond undermined a culvert, causing the road to collapse, officials said. (Click to enlarge)

A portion of Navesink River Road in Middletown could remain closed to traffic for up to a month following a partial collapse earlier this week, Monmouth County officials say.

A culvert carrying water from Poricy Brook Pond beneath the county-owned road failed late Wednesday, forcing a shutdown between Route 35 and Hubbard Avenue.

Officials tied the failure, which has forced traffic detours in both Middletown and Red Bank, to recent heavy rains.

“Navesink River Road adjacent to Poricy Brook Pond is essentially an earthen dam with two pipes running underneath,” Freeholder John Curley, liaison to the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering, ” said in a prepared statement issued by the county PR office. “As the height of the pond rose, it put added pressure and velocity on the water passing underneath the road. The supporting soil was undermined and the road to settled.”

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SHARMA BUSTED ON IMMIGRATION WARRANT

Sunny1

Sunny Sharma, a onetime Red Bank liquor retailer who was stripped of his license for selling booze to minors, has been arrested on an alleged immigration violation, redbankgreen has learned.

Red Bank police confirmed that Sharma was taken into custody at his Leighton Avenue grocery store Thursday afternoon on a warrant by officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Police had no additional information. A spokesman for ICE could not immediately be reached for comment on the reason for the arrest and Sharma’s status.

A witness tells redbankgreen that Sharma was led out of his store in handcuffs.

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BASIE GOES BOOM WITH INDOOR FIREWORKS

basie-fireworks2The guys at Garden State Fireworks, who put on the annual KaBoom! fireworks, set off some sparks Wednesday night at Count Basie Theatre. (Click to enlarge. Photo by Anthony Trufolo)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Setting off fireworks in an 85-year-old building sounds nothing short of disastrous, right?

You’d think so, but Chris and Augie Santore are masters of pyrotechnics and, besides, a little showing off for their eager crowd was expected.

The owners of Garden State Fireworks made a visit to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Wednesday night to give a few hundred people a glimpse into all the work that goes into the annual Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink show. The literally flashy live action of indoor fireworks was part of a presentation on how the display is coordinated with music.

You could tell by facial reactions that most, if not all, of the people in the crowd were surprised to see just how labor intensive setting up a fireworks show is.

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COLLAPSE SHUTS PART OF NAVESINK RIV. RD.

nav-riv-rd-collapse-040110A view west along Navesink River Road Thursday morning. (Click to enlarge)

Police in Middletown and Red Bank are asking motorists to plan alternate travel routes following a “partial collapse” of Navesink River Road in Middletown.

The collapse occurred between the North Jersey Coast Line railroad tracks and Hubbard Avenue, according to an alert issued by Middletown spokeswoman Cindy Herrschaft.

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