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KABOOM READIES FOR THREE-DAY SPECTACLE

kaboom-rides-062910A Ferris wheel and other rides were set up Tuesday in a vacant lot opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Click to enlarge)

Now taking shape on West Front Street in Red Bank: a carnival of sorts.

Six rides, five games and chance and booths offering midway fare such as cotton candy began setting up in a vacant lot opposite Riverside Gardens Park yesterday, giving shape to an expanded KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink that this year runs for three days instead the traditional single day.

Also on the bolstered agenda: a free concert in Marine Park featuring four acts, including “Crossing Jordan” star Jill Hennessy, now moonlighting as a singer-songwriter.

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RED BANK’S FIRST LADY OF LANDSCAPING

karen-siciliano2Karen Siciliano, seen at Riverside Gardens Park, is celebrating her company’s 75th year in business. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Something isn’t quite right inside Karen Siciliano’s Park Street office.

It isn’t the collection of framed awards and flattering magazine and newspaper stories tacked on the wall. It’s not the picture of her cockapoo, Geli, on her desk. Nor is it the scent of gasoline that funnels in from a stable of lawnmowers in the attached garage.

Ah, must be the black potbelly stove in the middle of the room.

“My father thought it was a good luck charm,” Siciliano, 49, said. “It wasn’t my good luck charm. It was his.”

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ROAD REOPENS IN TIME FOR KABOOM SURGE

nrrd-062910A man checked out the newly rebuilt roadway over the earthen dam shortly after it reopened Tuesday night. (Click to enlarge)

A stretch of Navesink River Road in Middletown was reopened Tuesday night, 13 weeks after a culvert collapse that Monmouth County officials thought would take four weeks to fix.

The reopening eliminates one potential source of trouble in keeping huge numbers of cars moving into and out of Red Bank for the KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink Saturday night. The event is typically watched by a crowd estimated at about 150,000 people.

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DRAWING A PLAN FOR A WATERFRONT FUTURE

fh-williams-house-061610Unclaimed boats and kayaks will be removed next month from the beach at the former Charles Williams estate, Fair Haven officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

By this time next year, Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre anticipates that the borough’s prized beachfront property at 78 DeNormandie Ave. will be open for public use.

First, though, a few things need to happen — including the demolition of the house that’s been on the property for 150 years, for one.

A formal naming, too, although the working title is “Robards Park,” in honor of the last resident of the house, Winifred Julia Decatur Robards.

Town officials also hope to answer the abiding question of what exactly to do with the property.

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AFTER TWO DROPS, RUMSON TAX RISES

rumson-councilThe Rumson Borough Council met at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to finalize the budget. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Unlike its neighbors to the west, Little Silver and Fair Haven, Rumson won’t be able to pull off one of those improbable shrinking New Jersey budgets in 2010.

After two years of holding the line on taxes, Rumson officials, faced with declines in revenues and increased costs, moved forward on passing a $15.2 million budget that includes a 6.9-percent spike in property tax bills.

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SKATING, PUTT-PUTT OUT IN MIDDLETOWN

skate-park1A skateboarder uses the township’s closed skate park despite the padlocks on the gates. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Shawn Sharkey is trying to balance his dejection and confusion these days.

Last summer, he and his friends would head to Middletown’s municipal skate park, in the Port Monmouth section of town, and skateboard all day, almost every day, he said. It was their place, where they’d be free of hassle from the police that they’d normally face skateboarding through town.

This summer, though, their safe haven is beyond at risk of becoming a vacant, useless patch of asphalt decorated with ramps and rails. The padlocks on the park’s gates haven’t even come off since they were strapped on last winter, Sharkey says.

“I think it’s stupid. Public places, we can’t go,” says Sharkey, 16. “Cops say this what skate parks are for, but when the skate park is closed, that leaves us with nothing.”

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GRIEVANCE FILED, AND OTHER COUNCIL NEWS

kevin-tauro-grievanceKevin Tauro, right, delivered a formal grievance to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels Monday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Upset with the unilateral implementation of a blanket furlough program, a representative from one of Red Bank’s two government employee unions delivered a formal grievance to the borough council Monday night, and vowed there’d be more to come.

Kevin Tauro, who represents the blue-collar Communications Workers of America union local, filed a policy grievance with the borough, saying that it violated terms of its collective bargaining agreement. He also said he’ll file an unfair labor practice lawsuit with the state.

“I’m very disappointed in the mayor and council. I thought you’d have a little bit more respect for your workers,” he said.

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FH COUNCIL TAKES FLAK ON TWO ISSUES

fh-overlay-meeting2

More than 50 residents filled the borough council chambers Monday night for a chance to be heard on two separate hot-button issues in town. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven officials got a double helping of discontent Monday night when a riled crowd pushed back on two issues residents say threaten the borough’s way of life: tree chopping and senior housing.

Following the recent decimation of trees on Poplar Avenue, neighbors laced into the council for not giving them notice that the 12 trees would be cut down and for allowing the property owner to take an ax to Fair Haven’s cherished scenery.

They disputed the effectiveness of the borough’s tree ordinance, yelled that the council was wrong to allow the trees to be cut down against the advice of the shade tree commission.

But an increasingly contentious plan to create an overlay district so a local developer might build age-restricted homes generated even more bile.

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DING! KA-CHING!

ferrari-hitA Red Bank patrol car had a fender-bender with a Ferrari 599 GTB (starting price: around $310,000) that was passing behind it on Broad Street during the third annual ‘Raduo D’Eleganza (Event of Elegance)’ Ferrari rally held downtown Sunday. Details of the accident were not immediately available from the police department Monday. (Click to enlarge)

Alan Placer shot video of the Ferraris arriving in town. Vroom, vroom.

TAXES DOWN, PAYCHECKS UP IN LITTLE SILVER

little-silver-boro-hallLittle Silver Borough Hall. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In Little Silver, spending is down. Revenues are down. The workforce, too, is down.

Now the tax rate is following suit.

“Everything is down,” said Administrator Michael Biehl.

Everything, that is, except for paychecks.

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REPORT: MAN USES PIT BULL IN ROBBERY

rbpd-patrolcarThe crime reports appearing here were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of June 18 to June 24, 2010. This information appears here unedited.

Robbery occurring on 6-18-10 in the area of Catherine Street. Victim reported that an unknown black male subject, light complexion, approx. 5’8″ walking a pit bull approached him while walking and demanded the victim empty his pockets and if not the dog (pit bull) would attack. Victim gave the accused approx. $30.00 and the subject fled with the cash. Ptl. Robert Campanella. Det. Joey Fields.

Assault occurring on 6-17-10 but reported on 6-20-10 at Oakland St. and Shrewsbury Ave. Victim reported that two unknown black male subjects struck him in the face from behind, knocking him to the ground while he was walking. Victim reported that one of the subjects asked him for money, however they did not take anything and fled the area. Ptl. Thomas Doremus.

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HABCORE SUPPORTERS BEAT THE HEAT

habcore-062610A brownout curtailed the live jazz (and the air conditioning), but guests at Ed and Laurie McNamee’s home in Rumson had a cool time nonetheless Saturday evening. They also raised funds for Red Bank-based HABcore, which provides temporary and permanent housing to unemployed and disabled persons.

We’ve got more pix from the event, courtesy of Peter Lindner, in a Flickr file.

PADDLIN’ WITH PASQUALE

menna-burnham1Cindy Burnham and her newest water mate, Mayor Pasquale Menna, who spent Saturday morning kayaking on the Navesink. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna is not what you would call a water-sports kind of guy. In fact, he’s nautically challenged, never having learned to swim.

Which is why his arrival Saturday morning at Maple Cove, decked out in a bathing suit and life vest, was so unusual. To then see him take off in a kayak  and skim along the water seemed about as likely as Nessie craning out of the Navesink River.

But Menna, keeping a promise to Maple Cove preservationist and kayaking advocate Cindy Burnham that he’d come down and get a first-hand experience of Maple Cove, did just that, Cindy Burnham-style.

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DRIVER ESCAPES BURNING CAR

car-fire-062610An unidentified woman escaped from the car she was driving on Branch Avenue in Red Bank when it caught fire Saturday. Firefighters responding to the call at about 2:30p found the vehicle pulled over on East Bergen Place and fully engaged in fire. There were no passengers in the car at the time.  Heat from the fire melted some siding on the house in the background. (Click to enlarge)

MORE COPS & TRAINS SLATED FOR KABOOM

kaboom-711Part of the crowd overtook the parking lot of the 7-11 at Maple Avenue and West Front Street at last year’s KaBoom show. (Click to enlarge)

In the wake of rowdiness following last year’s KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink show, Red Bank and New Jersey Transit police are finalizing details for securing the borough train station for this year’s edition of the event, officials say.

Many of the 20 arrests made at last year’s show occurred after the event in the train station vicinity, where pushing and shoving flared up as revelers attempting to leave town by rail encountered a long boarding lines, officials say.

Police Chief Steve McCarthy tells redbankgreen that the train station will “absolutely” be an area of special attention, with more cops under the command of both the borough and NJT’s police department assigned to cover it.

In addition, the rail utility is putting on extra trains to address demand, and selling $6 day passes to speed boardings after the fireworks, says NJT spokesman Dan Stessel.

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DWI CHARGED AFTER CAR LANDS IN NAVESINK

car-in-river-062510A member of the Red Bank Fire Department’s scuba and dive team inspects the vehicle after it smashed through a fence at the foot of Maple Avenue. (Photo by Carl Colmorgen; click to enlarge)

A Staten Island man was arrested on a drunk-driving charge after he drove his car into the Navesink River in Red Bank early Friday morning.

Steve Barranca, 52, was the lone occupant of the 2008 Lexus when it smashed through a boardwalk fence at the northern end of Maple Avenue and fell about 10 feet into the river, says Captain Darren McConnell.

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DAM SITE REPAIR OFFICIAL: ‘WE’LL MAKE IT’

nrr-062410David Yegelwel, in brown pants at center, watches preparations for the installation of storm drain Wednesday. (Click to enlarge)

The mishap-plagued replacement of an earthen dam on Navesink River Road in Middletown will be completed in time to provide traffic relief for the July 3 KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink, a Monmouth County official tells redbankgreen.

That’s assuming, of course, that there are no more bursting water lines and other calamities of the kind that have beset the 12-week-old effort, says county bridge department supervisor David Yegelwel. His outlook also assumes no significant rain.

“We’ll make it,” Yegelwel said. “Our target is June 30.”

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COPS IN TWO TOWNS PROBE BURGLARIES

bennett-lane-1Little Silver police, aided by a police dog, investigated a burglary at a home on Bennett Lane last Thursday. (Photo by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)

Little Silver and Red Bank police are investigating a pair of similar residential burglaries committed less than half a mile apart on the same day last week, authorities in the adjacent towns say.

In the Little Silver break-in, reported last Thursday at 1:48p on Bennett Lane, police collected physical evidence they hope will lead them to the perp or perps. They also brought in a tracking dog from Atlantic Highlands in an unsuccessful effort to find the burglars, who forced their way into a house through a locked front door and made off with a stash of jewelry, says Sergeant Dan Shaffrey.

The same day, at an unspecified time between 8:30a and 5:03p, a burglary was committed at a home on Silverwhite Avenue in Red Bank, police reported. There, the burglar tore an alarm off the wall and made off with cash and jewelry.

“We don’t have any evidence at this point that links the two, but we’re certainly looking at that possibility,” Red Bank Chief Steve McCarthy tells redbankgreen.

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TEMPS IN MID-NINETIES FORECAST

mbc-spinnakers-062210Members of the Monmouth Boat Club, including Taugh Lynch of Little Silver, below, got in a couple of races on the Navesink River before threatening skies ended the fun Tuesday night. The storms didn’t materialize. (Click to enlarge)

mbc-sailor-062210It’s going to be nasty hot in the Red Bank area today, the National Weather Service says.

There’s also a slight chance of thunderstorms, the agency forecasts.  More likely, though, are “damaging” wind gusts.

Here’s the look-ahead:

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FURLOUGH FRIDAYS IN RED BANK

furlough-signBorough hall visitors are being notified by a sign taped to the door that offices will be closed while workers are furloughed. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Now that the borough’s budget is in effect, Red Bank employees will, beginning Friday, find out the full meaning of the f-word.

That is to say, they’re getting their workweeks trimmed three times this summer, part of a borough-wide furlough program dictated by the $19.2 million budget, which was approved at a special meeting on Friday.

The temporary layoffs get started this Friday, and all borough offices, except for the police department, will be closed.

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ART: SUMMER EXPOSURES W/ RIVER VIEWS

eyehumlargeChicago artist Jay Ryan’s print promoting HUM AT MILLENNIUM PARK is among the new breed of gig posters on view at Red Bank Frameworks, in a show by the name of EYE + EAR.

• Thursday: LIVE WITH ART, at Butterfly Fine Arts. Natalia Bedaya’s all-new gallery at 116 Broad Street in Red Bank hosts a special reception for interior designers on Thursday evening between 6 and 9p. It’s part of a quarterly “Live With Art” event aimed at bringing fine art to the business environment, and there’s still time to register by emailing designers@butterflyfinearts.com.

• Friday: SUMMER EXPOSURES at the Art Alliance. Officially closed for the summer as of June 23, the Art Alliance of Monmouth County gallery at 33 Monmouth Street will nevertheless play host to a special warm-weather display of nature images by two area photographers — Stephan Lowy of Oceanport and Eric Sambol of Brick — beginning Friday afternoon. Proceeds of sales from the show benefit the nonprofit Move For Hunger, an initiative that encourages people who are selling their homes and relocating to donate unopened food that they will not take to their new destination, arranging for the items to be delivered to local food banks throughout the country. The exhibit continues through July 13 between the hours of noon and 10p, Wednesdays through Sundays.

• Saturday: RIVER VIEWS Cocktail Gala, Exhibition and Sale. Since one never knows where they’ll be setting up easel next, the Plein Air Painters of the Jersey Coast tend to show up in the most unexpected places. On the evening of Saturday the 26th, they’ll be showing up at an uncharacteristically great-indoors setting on the picturesque banks of the Navesink, as Riverview Medical Center Auxiliary hosts a special 6-9p reception, art show and sale featuring the works of the PAPJC. Spotlighting “paintings of views from some of the most beautiful homes on the Jersey Shore,” the event takes place in the Blaisdell Lobby at RMC, with proceeds from the sale dedicated to the hospital’s Jane H. and John Marshall Booker Cancer Center. Attendees are encouraged to make reservations ($50) at (732)530-2480 or (732)431-1986.

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MORE WOES IN ROAD FIX AS KABOOM LOOMS

A culvert collapse at Poricy Pond, marked by the blue bubble, has closed Navesink River Road between Hubbard Avenue and Poricy Lane for the past 12 weeks.

Monmouth County officials now say they are “hopeful” that a trouble-plagued repair of a collapsed portion of Navesink River Road in Middletown will be completed in time for the Independence Day weekend after a water line broke and flooded the worksite earlier this week.

And once again, they’re blaming New Jersey-American Water Co. for a mishap.

The latest delay threatens to add to traffic woes for Red Bank visitors traveling by car to and from the July 3 KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink show. The event is estimated to attract some 150,000 spectators and customarily results in post-show traffic jams lasting 90 minutes or more.

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BUDGET INCREASES, BUT BY HOW MUCH?

mtown-budgetMiddletown resident Tom Stokes offers input on the 2010 budget in Middletown Monday night as committeeman Sean Byrnes looks on. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As it appears now, the total tax bill for Middletown Township property owners for the current year will be 2.8 percent larger than last year’s.

But that hardly matters to those keeping an eye on municipal spending, according to committeeman Sean Byrnes.

As the township committee Monday night introduced a $65 million spending plan that will raise the average tax bill by $211 annually, the body’s lone Democrat pressed chief financial officer Nick Trasente on details to make a point: That the presentation Trasente gave was more smoke and mirrors than government transparency, and something needs to change with how the budget is put together.

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