26° Clear

ADDING LUNCH TO THE SONIC SMORGASBORD

lunchmusic

From left: Matt Wade, A Cool Blues Duo (featuring Chuck Lambert and Susan Haugenes), Kati Beddow Brower and  Virago pack the Tunes-To-Go, as Red Bank RiverCenter inaugurates a new LunchMusic series at Riverside Gardens.

By TOM CHESEK

If you’re a music fan of eclectic disposition, you’ve come to the right place. In fact, on summertime Saturday nights, a carelessly distracted connoisseur could literally stumble over the next big thing on the streets of Red Bank.

Beginning June 5 and continuing Saturday nights through August (save for July 3’s KaBoom fireworks night), the outdoor mini-concert series known as Red Bank StreetLife returns to the the sidewalks and storefronts of the Basie-birthing borough — an open-air musical bazaar produced and presented (as it’s been each year since 2001) by the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter.

It’s a regular sonic smorgasbord of jazz stylers and blues howlers, folk strummers and world drummers, bell choirs and barbershoppers and more, spotlighting performers who’ve competed for the coveted StreetLife slots in a series of judged auditions, as redbankgreen detailed here in April.

Before all that, however, RiverCenter is serving up an exciting appetizer to the season’s musical menu — an all-new Wednesday lunchtime entertainment series that begins June 2 at noon in Riverside Gardens Park and continues through the month under the name LunchMusic.

Read More »

THE BRIDGE TO SUMMER SUCCESS?

highlands-bridge1The state DOT has plans to ease traffic jams at the Sea Bright-Highlands bridge construction site this summer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In 34 years doing business on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright, Steve Garelli says he’s learned one thing when it comes to preparing for the summer rush, which is unofficially upon us this Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s all about the weather,” said Garelli, owner of Steve’s Breakfast & Lunch.

But in recent summers, Garelli, like many other business owners in the seaside hamlet, has learned one more thing: cranes and dump trucks can wipe out abundant sunshine rather quickly.

The construction of the Route 36 Highlands bridge, which connects Highlands to the Sea Bright/Sandy Hook peninsula and funnels traffic into the Gateway National Recreation Area, plagued local businesses last summer and wreaked havoc on motorists.

Now that the 65-foot high bridge is near completion — two lanes are operational, and two more are being added — local merchants are hopeful, but skeptical, that traffic will flow better, both on the road and in their stores this summer.

Read More »

NEW IDEA IN FAIR HAVEN: SENIOR HOUSING

fh-colonial-courtThe project would extend from the cul-de-sac at Colonial Court west to Hance Avenue. Below, a suggested floor plan for a “cottage” envisioned on the site. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

senior-housing-fhFair Haven may get its first senior housing community if a local builder can convince borough leaders to change current zoning laws.

Little Silver-based home builder Kevin Hughes, of K.M. Hughes, has been testing the idea of building age-restricted homes on little more than an acre spanning Hance Avenue and Colonial Court, a cul-de-sac off Smith Street.

Hughes wants borough officials to create an overlay zone — which allows for higher densities — in the residential area. And so far, they’ve been receptive.

Read More »

INSIDE DIRT: BASIE FIELD GETTING MAKEOVER

basie-field1-051110Heavy equipment regraded the soil inside the running track recently in preparation for artificial turf. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If you haven’t noticed, Count Basie Field is looking a lot more like the old Yankee Stadium and a lot less like the friendly home of Red Bank’s slew of sports teams.

“It’s a big dirt pile,” said Christine Ballard, borough engineer.

The good news is that it won’t be that way for too long, Ballard tells redbankgreen. And, unlike the Yankees’ replacement ballpark, Red Bank’s upgrade isn’t going to cost upwards of $1 billion.

Getting the artificial turf laid down at the borough’s biggest park is costing a pretty penny, though.

Read More »

FOOD FESTIVAL MAY RETURN TO MARINE PARK

marine-park1Marine Park will play host to some sort of summer event next year, officials say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Business owners and Red Bank officials are in talks to bring back large-scale summer entertainment to Marine Park, the site of a nearly completed sprucing-up job that drove out the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival for this year’s edition, redbankgreen has learned.

At the top of the wish list: reviving the music expo’s predecessor, a food-oriented event called Riverfest, says George Lyristis, owner of The Bistro at Red Bank.

“We’re in the talking phase,” Lyristis said. “It’s my intention to do anything to make it local again.”

Read More »

COAL & FEED BUILDING DEMOLISHED

26_shrewsburyThe former Hance Coal & Feed building on Shrewsbury Avenue, seen above in 2008, was razed earlier this week, below. (Click to enlarge)

galleria-coal

A landmark barnlike structure on Red Bank’s West Side is no more.

The former Hance Coal & Feed building on Shrewsbury Avenue was taken down earlier this week by Sourlis International, owner of the Galleria at Red Bank, which plans to expand a surrounding parking lot on the site.

Read More »

THE WHEELS ON THE WALKING BUS GO ‘HMM’

walking-bus1Transportation planner Mike Dannemiller leads a group through the West Side for the Red Bank Safe Routes initiative. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Mike Dannemiller, a cheery, bespectacled transportation planner from north Jersey, led a group up the sidewalk from Red Bank Primary School, along the north side of River Street to Leighton Avenue Tuesday night, stopping at random intervals to quiz the adults walking two-abreast behind him.

“How’s that feel for you?” he’d ask.

The responses were mixed; some said it was OK, one said “it feels different now,” and another mentioned how he narrowly avoided stepping on a chicken bone.

On the return trip, he asked again, and got the kind of response he seemed to be looking for.

“It was a little claustrophobic,” said Jim Willis (redbankgreen‘s tech guy, for disclosure), referring to a few trees along the east side of Leighton Avenue that were starting to take up some sidewalk space.

“That’s really why you need  to go out and walk the streets,” Dannemiller said, “and not just plan the paths from satellites in outer space.”

The subtleties of a simple walk may seem petty, but really, these are important things to guys like Dannemiller.

Read More »

HIGH TEMPS FORECAST

rivctr-flowers-1Employees of Guaranteed Plants & Florists of Locust distributed flower pots throughout downtown last Friday under contract with Red Bank RiverCenter, the business promotion agency. (Click to enlarge)

After Tuesday’s smactacular mix of sun, temperatures and light breezes, heavy-duty summer announces its intentions today.

The National Weather Service forecasts a high near 83 degrees; weatherforyou.com says it’ll be more like 90.

Here’s the NWS outlook through the Memorial Day weekend:

Read More »

UNION FURLOUGHS, SATURDAY PARKING OK’D

tauroKevin Tauro, who represents borough employees, gives the Red Bank council an earful Monday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

[Editor’s note: This article was updated at 12:50p to include a comment from the PBA and a copy of the PBA press release, below]

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

On a night that the borough’s budget was to be adopted, Red Bank officials instead made other financial news by announcing that free Saturday parking will become a thing of the past and police will take furlough days in order to fill a wide budget gap.

And despite the borough’s other union refusing to accept furlough days, the council will impose them anyway in order to avoid laying workers off, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

In all, the borough will see a savings of $33,000 a day by furloughing its 178 or so employees for three days each, said Councilman Michael DuPont.

Read More »

BASIES HOSTLESS AFTER PROTEST THREAT

bigjoeteennj

Jersey 101.5 radio personality Big Joe Henry (pictured here at a past Miss Teen NJ pageant) has confirmed that he’s stepped down as host of the fifth annual Basie Awards for high school stage performers, an event scheduled for Wednesday night at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre.

To the organizers, sponsors and featured guests of the yearly event, it’s “all about the kids” — a chance for talented young performing artists from Monmouth County high schools to be treated like red-carpet royalty for an evening.

But with the fifth annual Count Basie Theatre Awards scheduled for Wednesday night, a simmering controversy has boiled over from the politicial arena, resulting in the eleventh-hour withdrawal of the event’s master of ceremonies, and threatening to cast a plus-size shadow over the proceedings.

On Monday, the Count Basie Theatre announced that the 2010 edition of the program commonly known as “The Basies” will proceed as planned, but without the formidable figure of Big Joe Henry, the Garden State radio personality who was scheduled to serve as guest host.

Described on the venue’s website as a mutual agreement made “so the event can remain focused on the students,” the parting of ways was the culmination of an increasingly public argument that pitted supporters of the New Jersey Education Association against both Basie management and Big Joe’s employer, Trenton-based WKXW-FM (Jersey 101.5). It’s also a fracas that’s continued to snowball from e-mail campaigns and Facebook forums to the region’s major print and broadcast media.

Read More »

NEW RBR PRINCIPAL ROSE THROUGH RANKS

risa-clayRBR veteran Risa Clay took over as principal on May 5. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Risa Clay entered the world of education 17 years ago, she never gave a thought to climbing the administrative ladder.

Busting through a glass ceiling wasn’t on her mind, either.

But as if she hadn’t already cemented a lauded reputation for helping bring the highly popular student assistance program, The Source, to Red Bank Regional, Clay has one-upped herself.

The private sector counselor-turned-educator is now the first female principal in the high school’s history — a distinction she said is surprising, yet one she bears with honor.

“It’s important, and it’s something that, to me, is kind of amazing,” Clay said.

Read More »

BURGLARS BUSY LAST WEEK

authorities3The crime reports appearing here were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of May 14 to May 21, 2010. This information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief, Theft occurring at Manor Dr. on 5-14-10. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke into the side window of jeep and removed items from glove box. All items were recovered at later time from another location on the property. Ptl. David Smith.

Thefts occurring at Linden Place on 5-14-10. Report of three vehicles that were entered and glove boxes ransacked. Stolen were car registrations and insurance papers, plus small amount of cash. Items were recovered in various outdoor locations surrounding 79 Linden Place, minus the cash. Ptl. David Smith.

Read More »

FOUR ARRESTED IN RED BANK HEROIN RAID

just_in1A raid on a River Street house that followed an “extensive” investigation” resulted in the arrest of four men on heroin possession and other charges Friday night, Red Bank police reported this morning.

Here’s the press release issued on the case issued early Saturday morning:

Read More »

PUMP IT UP FOR A GOOD CAUSE

f2f_charityIn the redbankgreen inbox this week: a fat-burning, muscle-toning, butt-whipping way to help out a charitable effort.

Tomorrow and Sunday, personal trainers from Fat2Fire Bootcamp are donating their time and use of their facility in Tinton Falls for a daylong series of workouts.

All the proceeds of the event, which costs a minimum (tax deductible) donation of $20 to attend, are slated for the American Cancer Society.

Read More »

GONNA UKE THIS TOWN

fiona-crawford-2What is it about a ukulele that tickles us so?

“It’s the sound,” says Fiona Crawford (right; click to enlarge), a singer and uke player.”Even when you’re doing slow songs or sad songs, it’s kind of bright and cheery. It’s got a brightness to it.”

A Red Bank gal of sorts — she lives in Manhattan, but her parents reside on Leroy Place — Fiona is the first part of a double bill of live music at the Red Bank Public Library tomorrow afternoon, wrapping up its Acoustic Saturdays spring series.

Read More »

A SIMPLE TWIST OF PAT FOR BOBSDAY

patguadagnobobfestaStuck inside of Red Bank with those Bobfest blues again: Pat Guadagno, seen here in a previous Bobfest at Two River Theater, musters his Tired Horses for the 2010 edition of the annual tribute concert. (Photos by Scott D. Longfield)

By TOM CHESEK

Before he was picked up by a Long Branch cop on suspicion of snooping around people’s windows last summer, Bob Dylan was beginning to display a certain curiosity about the Jersey Shore and his loyal local fanbase.

With two Shore area concerts in as many summers (at Asbury’s Convention Hall and Lakewood’s FirstEnergy Park), the old master also took part, in a remote way, in a local/national food drive promotion last December, through sales of his most recent disc (the epochal Christmas In The Heart).

But if Dylan’s presence seems to hover over our home turf almost as much as the Boss and the Bonj’, it’s due in large part to the efforts of another local musical linchpin —  Pat Guadagno — and a Red Bank-based tradition that practically begs for the Bard of Hibbing, MN to come peeping in.

Read More »

GALLERY DEBUTS WITH FOUND FOTOS

fieldofdreamsFIELD OF DREAMS, from the exhibit at Red Bank Frameworks; below BUS STOP. (Click to enlarge)

busstopA Lost Lens,” the photography exhibit now underway at Red Bank Frameworks, is modest in scale — just 11 pictures — and completely lacking in star power, given that the images on display were taken by unknown photographers and found  in trash bins and at rummage sales.

They’re not even particularly good from a technical standpoint, says Steve McMillion, owner of the six-month old framing shop at the corner of Monmouth and West Streets. But as so-called vernacular art, the monochrome prints “capture the feeling and soul of a moment lost in time,” he says.

What’s perhaps most compelling about the show though, is that it is the inaugural exhibit for what McMillion has dubbed the Frameworks Gallery within his shop, and what that may portend for an intersection best known for a Mexican restaurant, a vacuum-cleaner store and a vacant lot that’s been a magnet for failed development plans.

Read More »

RUMSON’S NEWEST EATERY DISHES AN EYEFUL

the-barnCarl LaGrassa, owner of The Barn in Rumson. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Stepping through the door of 102 Avenue of Two Rivers these days feels more like walking into a garage sale than a spot for pancakes and coffee.

It’s a bit of a cluttered cranny. The windowsills are lined with antiques and tchotchkes. An old Ferris wheel chair looms over the dining room. A large model airplane hangs from a high ceiling amid a wall tacked with old games, toys and artwork, including a blown-up Playboy poster featuring a Born to Run-era Bruce Springsteen. No two chairs match. It’s a dose of colorful cultural clutter with a side of bacon.

But it’s also much more than a trip down memory lane. Nowadays it’s called The Barn, Rumson’s newest eatery.

Read More »

RED BANK GIVES LAST OK ON RBR CUTS

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A week after delaying a vote on reductions to Red Bank Regional‘s failed $24 million budget, the borough council gave the green light on $270,500 in recommended cuts at a special meeting Tuesday night.

Sports, clubs and programs are spared in the new spending plan, but eight positions will be eliminated, Superintendent Howard Lucks tells redbankgreen.

“It did include eliminating positions. It included a wage freeze [for Lucks]. It included a reduction in force,” Councilman Michael DuPont said.

Read More »

MENNA TAKES ON STICKER SHOCK

rb-signs2Signs downtown have been plastered with stickers, particularly those touting Red Bank businesses, Mayor Pasquale Menna says. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Mayor Pasquale Menna has a message for certain businesses in town: Your days of free advertising on Red Bank property are numbered.

He says borough-owned signs — particularly parking signs downtown — have become inundated with stickers, many of them touting local businesses.

“It’s becoming increasingly prevalent,” he said. “It’s not fair, it’s unsightly, it’s an environmental issue and it’s a quality of life issue.”

Menna wants to do something about. At last week’s council meeting, he suggested that the borough create an ordinance that requires whatever entity that can be traced to the “graffiti” remove it in a timely fashion or face a penalty of some sort.

Read More »

TWO WEEKS OF POLICE BLOTTER ENTRIES

rbpd1 double patchThe crime reports appearing here were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the two weeks of April 30 to May 14, 2010. This information appears here unedited.

Auto Theft occurring on 4-30-10 at Bridge Ave. – Victim reported that his parked vehicle was stolen. Description of vehicle: 2006 Infiniti SUV. Ptl. Michael Campanella.

Criminal Mischief occurring at Throckmorton Ave. on 5-1-10. Victim reported that unknown person(s) damaged parked vehicle on passenger side of vehicle with a long deep scratch running the entire length of the vehicle. Ptl. Michael Campanella.

Read More »