COUNCIL WANTS MORE INFO ON RBR CUTS

rbr-signRBR will likely have more layoffs and program cuts since its budget failed last month, officials warn. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Red Bank Borough Council wants more specifics before it votes on a resolution that would call for additional layoffs and program cuts at Red Bank Regional.

Voter rejection last month of the high school’s $24 million budget has already resulted in layoff notices to 70 employees, according to one report. But faced with approving an additional $270,500 in reductions on Monday night, the council held off, members said, because there wasn’t enough information from school officials on how that figure was reached.

“Where’s the $270,000 from? What number is that?” a visibly peeved Council President Art Murphy asked Councilman Michael DuPont, who heads the borough finance committee. “That’s what I want to know.”

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MIXED REACTIONS FOR NEW METER RATES

meterfeeder11Matthew Shubitz thumbs through a handful of change Friday to round up enough to satisfy Red Bank’s new meter rates. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s been a little more than a month since Red Bank doubled curbside parking meter rates downtown, jacking the fees from 50 cents and hour to a dollar.

Borough officials made the move, which also included a 33-percent increase to permit fees, in part to put a tourniquet on a $10,000-a-month bleed from town coffers that began when free Saturday parking took effect in early 2009.

So how has it been working out?

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ACCIDENTAL PHOTOGRAPHER: WEED WHACKER

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Just north of Point Road Elementary School on Seven Bridges Road in Little Silver, the weeds needed a trim. Enter Wayne Elsbree (aka Mohawk Wayne), who struck a pose for redbankgreen’s Accidental Photographer Friday morning as he tamed the roadside overgrowth.

Could Monmouth County have sent a more apt stylist for the job?

MAN ARRESTED FOR FIRING ON CAR

just_in1A 25-year-old Red Bank man is in custody after firing at least three shots at a vehicle on the West Side early Saturday morning, borough police say.

Though the car was hit by one bullet, neither of the two persons in the car when it was stopped by police shortly afterward was injured in the encounter, which occurred at 2:42 a near the corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, also known as West Bergen Place.

The motive for the shooting remains unknown.

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DEATH RUMORS: WAY-OUTSVILLE, MAN

johnny-jazz-042710Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Gatta at Riverview Medical Center on April 27. (Click to enlarge)

Johnny Jazz is not dead. Repeat: JOHNNY JAZZ IS NOT DEAD.

In fact, for a guy with throat cancer, he’s actually doing pretty well, family members tell us.

But according to a persistent rumor, repeated in laudatory comments posted here on redbankgreen, the beloved West Side grocer/jazz aficionado Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Gatta passed away.

One comment, which was deleted by our moderator after it was discredited, even gave a specific date of his purported passing to the great bandstand in the sky. “Sadly, he lost his battle with cancer yesterday,” the author wrote Friday night.

Wrong. But family members are finding themselves awash in premature condolences.

“It’s bizarre,” says niece Mary Gatta, who compares the rumor to those of Elvis sightings.

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PLAN TO TRANSFORM WEST SIDE BLOCK OK’D

lincoln-sq-050610Roger Mumford discusses his plan at Thursday’s zoning board hearing. Below, a view of the homes to be built along the east side of Bridge Avenue; the current site of a bodega on the corner of Drs. Parker Boulevard is at right. (Click to enlarge)

A sweeping plan to overhaul one of Red Bank’s most dilapidated blocks won approval from the borough zoning board Thursday night.

Builder Roger Mumford’s plan calls for bulldozing four run-down houses on Bridge Avenue between Cedar Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, plus a corner bodega.

In their place, and stretching east along Parker to the existing Bergen Square condo complex, will come five spanking-new luxury residences — and a new corner storefront that may house the same bodega, assuming the tenant wants to return, Mumford says.

“Bridge Avenue is a great place,” he tells redbankgreen, noting the presence of the Two River Theater, the Galleria at Red Bank and other attractions nearby. “Now, more of Bridge Avenue is going to be part of that excitement.”

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RED BANK GOES TWEET, TWEET, TWEET

preston-twitterPreston Porter is the “social media chef” for Basil T’s and Undici restaurants. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Chicago may be a toddlin‘ town, but Red Bank is tweetin.’

A new study shows that the borough has one of the highest densities of Twitter users in New Jersey, coming in ninth overall among its towns and cities. According to the independent study, conducted by the communications and publications firm Jaffe Communications, Red Bank has 17.61 users per 1,000 people.

Twitter’s 140-character message limit fits a broad spectrum of users, and you can tell by a simple search who in town is taking advantage of it — store owners, professionals, bands, students. redbankgreen, for example, touts each new article under @redbankgreenman.

“It’s become part of the everyday language,” said Tom Sullivan, a web developer who lives in Middletown and works on Broad Street. Read More »

PLAYING IT BROAD AND FOR LAFFS

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Friday night lights: Standup guy “Soul Joel” Richardson (left) hosts another COMEDY ON THE EDGE extravaganza in Red Bank, this one starring Reese Waters (right).

By TOM CHESEK

They used to blanket the map of this great land from coast to coast — places with names like The Chuckle Hut, the Guffaw Garage and the Heh-Heh Hovel. Comedy clubs, they called them, back in the days of the Comedy Explosion, and just like a video rental or a Fotomat, you could be sure to find one in any town you happened into.

Yes, even Red Bank — though we’ll leave it to you to guess which Monmouth Street storefront once housed a short-lived spot for live laffs about 20 years ago.

Here in 2010, the laughs are back within borough borders — and on Broad, no less, as River’s Edge Café plays host to a weekly session of standup (comedy) and sitdown (dinner) produced by Staten Island-based Soul Joel Productions.

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SAFE ROUTES MOVES AHEAD IN RED BANK

safe-routesMarc Dostie, Jim Willis and Jenny Rossano of the Safe Routes initiative.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A grassroots group focused on making it safer to walk or ride a bike in Red Bank is getting a little closer to fulfilling its mission.

Safe Routes Red Bank recently secured a non-financial grant of engineering help from the state Department of Transportation to raise awareness and implement new ways to make for safer, easier modes of getting around without a car.

Now that the grant is secured, it’s up to the DOT and borough officials, with some help from the Safe Routes group, to see the program through.

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RETAILER REPORTS STRONG QUARTER

urban-outfitters-nov-2009Urban Outfitters opened a store in Red Bank last November.

The parent company of the Urban Outfitters store in downtown Red Bank says first fiscal quarter sales at the chain rose nine percent from the year-prior period.

Philly-based Urban Outfitters Inc. doesn’t break out sales by location, but said sales at the 157-store chain rose to $174.2 million.

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SPLASHES OF PINK ALL OVER THE DOWNTOWN

Several hundred women indulged in a gals-only cocktail party at Red Bank’s Downtown club Wednesday night, part of the annual breast cancer awareness effort known as Pink Bank. Need we say redbankgreen was there?

The weeklong Pink Bank festivities, put together by Riverview Medical Center and Red Bank RiverCenter, wrap up with a cocktail party and dinner dance at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

HALFACRE: NOBODY TOLD US

hanceriver-050510Detours will be in effect for most of this month at Hance and River roads in Fair Haven, borough officials say. (Click to enlarge)

Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre is miffed again.

Two weeks after complaining that borough residents served by the Red Bank water utility had no advance notice of a rate increase, he says the borough was caught off guard with road construction work that Monmouth County started Tuesday “without any notice to the Borough of Fair Haven, and without our input.”

The work, it seems, will require sporadic detours at the busy intersection of River Road and Hance Road over most of the month, he says in a post on his blog.

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IN THE ARTY, ARTY MONTH OF MAY

berlingeri2

And they said print was dead: Paper sculptor Riccardo Berlingeri gives new life to yesterday’s news in an ongoing exhibit at the Monmouth Museum.

Grab your plastic tumbler of merlot, and one of those little cellophane-tipped toothpicks of cheese —  today we’re going on an informally structured, yet informatively guided, “ArtWalk” in and around the storefront galleries and public spaces of the Green.

Following are two events to look into this evening — with much more where that came from, right after the break.

• THURSDAY: Paintings by Maxine Snow at Jamian’s. Along with the local-organic music, Jamian LaViola has augmented the cool cuisine at his eponymous Monmouth Street bistro with a featured artshow (curated by the Hopperesque Red Bank painter Travis Radcliffe) that changes monthly. Beginning with a catered reception this evening at 6p, the paintings of “renaissance woman” Maxine Snow are on the walls and above the booths, in an exhibit that continues through June 2.

• THURSDAY: Artists’ Workshop at the Red Bank Public Library. The West Front Street institution hosts a free and informal monthly gathering, at which artists can “find inspiration and motivation” in a space for creative people to draw and paint with others. No registration necessary; bring acrylics, pastels, watercolors, charcoal or pencils (no oils, please) and show up between 7 and 8:30p.
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SEA BRIGHT’S CRACKIN’ DOWN ON CATS

sb-cat

Felines like the one shown here, near the popular cat club of the Shrewsbury River, are to be rounded up, fixed and tagged in an effort to control the cat population in Sea Bright. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Monmouth County SPCA is rolling out a new program to bring feral cat populations under control. And is there a better place to start it than Sea Bright, where at times it seems like the number of wild cats rivals the number of residents?

The borough, which got serious about cracking down on its cat problem when it formed a “cat committee” last year, will be the subject of a pilot “trap-neuter-release” program administered by the county SPCA.

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ROWERS RESCUED AFTER SQUALL FLIPS SHELLS

rowing-3-050310One of two shells manned by teen rowers arrives at a residential dock on Fisher Place after flipping in the Navesink. Below, a distraught woman, said to be a coach, recounts the incident for police. (Click to enlarge)

rowing-1-0503101A sudden wind storm that blew through the Red Bank area turned into an ordeal for eight teenaged rowers as two shells flipped in the Navesink River late Tuesday afternoon.

All the rowers, said to be female members of the Ranney School‘s crewing club, were plucked from the water safely, though all were taken by ambulance to Riverview Medical Center for checkups.

“They were all cold and wet,” said Captain Darren McConnell, spokesman for the Red Bank Police Department. He said the girls were roughly 15 years old.

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TWO BROAD STREET BUSINESSES CLOSE

eside-cafe-050310Passersby peer through the window of the newly-closed East Side Café Diner Monday afternoon. Below, a sign taped to the door of the Häagen-Dazs. (Click to enlarge)

daz-all-folks

A pair of longtime Red Bank food establishments failed to reopen Monday.

One was the East Side Cafe Diner at 179 Broad Street, next door to the Verizon building. A “Gone out of business” sign was hung on the door of the eatery.

Best known for breakfasts and lunches, it had tried introducing dinners a few years ago, but its booths remained unused at the supper hour.

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M’TOWN TEACHERS REJECT FREEZE REQUEST

mtown-workshopMiddletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger discusses the “jousting” between the town and district teachers’ union at Monday night’s committee workshop. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

At the eleventh hour, Middletown’s teachers’ union responded to Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger’s request that teachers accept a one-year wage freeze.

Nope.

Scharfenberger said the Middletown Township Education Association rebuffed his request for the freeze, which he estimates would save about $3 million in the failed $140.3 million education budget.

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MAN IN SERIOUS CONDITION AFTER ASSAULT

just_in1A 47-year-old man was hospitalized with serious injuries after being attacked by two, or possibly three youths who robbed him on Red Bank’s West Side early Sunday, borough police say.

The man, who police did not identify, was walking alone in the area of West Sunset and Leighton avenues shortly after midnight when he was accosted by at least two men, all said to be black teens.

The assailants attacked the victim and stole his wallet, containing money and identification, according to department spokesman, Captain Darren McConnell.

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CARMINE’S CLAIMS GROUND ON SUB FRONT

carmines

Sandy Marino, left, co-owner of Carmine’s Sub Shop, with two of her employees. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rcsm2_010508Carmine Marino, a hoagie hound who had worked at an insurance agency in Red Bank for the last five years, had himself a lunchtime dilemma.

“I love subs, and within the town, trying to find what I love, I found myself traveling outside,” he said.

Normally that’s a pretty serviceable solution. Not for Marino.

With a vacancy on White Street left by K.C.’s Closet, Marino, of Lincroft, saw an opportunity to fill his victual void. Thus, there’s now Carmine’s Sub Shop, planted between Cigars Plus and Toymasters.

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A SPOT OF SUNDAY TEA

chorney1Linda Chorney professed her love for Tea Party tweaker Jon Stewart Sunday during the making of a music video for her tune, “The Teabag Party.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank had a tea party of its own on Sunday, although it was far from the pot-banging, Palin-esque affairs of recent vintage.

This one was a retort to the Tea Party movement, and leading the party was Linda Chorney, a politically involved Bostonian who assembled some of her closest friends and strangers to shoot a video for her song, “The Teabag Party,” at NovelTeas on Bridge Avenue Sunday.

Rather than scathing political criticism, this party took a lighthearted tone, with song lyrics such as, “Socialist/Communist/ We’re gonna teabag you while we do the twist.” Read More »

BLOTTER: DELIVERYMAN STRUCK & ROBBED

rbpd-patrol-webCrime reports provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of April 23 to April 30, 2010. This information appears here unedited.

Criminal mischief occurring on 4-23 at Catherine St. Victim reported that unknown person(s) scratched side of parked vehicle with sharp object. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

Criminal Mischief occurring at East Front St. apartment building between 4-22-10 and 4-24-10. Victim reported that unknown person damaged an auto sprinkler standpipe and nozzle on side of building. Also report of damage in parking lot located at East Front and Wharf Ave. belonging to the same victim. Damage reported was a metal post and cement base ripped out of ground. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

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