DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF RED BANK

Img_6707Bruce Springsteen meets with fans shortly before his May 7, 2008 show at the Basie. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Loyal Bruce fans, pack rats or both: The Count Basie Theatre would like to reward you.

If you dig through your dresser drawers and find a ticket stub from a Bruce Springsteen concert, the Basie is giving you a special price — five bucks — for entry to a special night for any fan of The Boss.

For just $5, stubholders will get to see the only screening in New Jersey of the latest installment of Bruuuuuuuce adulation, “The Promise,” a documentary about the making of 1978’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

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SHREWSBURY MULLS BOW HUNT FOR DEER

shrewsburydeerDeer on the lawn of an Elm Lane residence earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Most mornings, Brian Hall wakes up to find the motion sensor outside his home flashing. He’s gotten accustomed to it, much as his wife, Suzanne, has gotten used to her flower garden doubling as a feeding trough.

In the year-and-a-half that the couple have lived off Sycamore Avenue in Shrewsbury, deer have been as much a part of their neighborhood as the people who live next door.

“There definitely is a lot of deer,” Brian Hall said.

Now, as the ubiquitous artiodactyls appear to be causing a larger threat to public health and safety, the borough council is looking to residents for input on how to bring the increasing deer population under control.

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BLUE WATER SWIMS TO BROAD STREET OK

9-broadBlue Water Seafood won approval from the planning board to move into Red Bank Monday night. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Jimmy Vastardis says he’s always wanted to own a business in Red Bank, and, in fact, made an attempt in 2008 to move into the space once home to Ashes Cigar Club.

Looks like he’s finally coming to town.

Vastardis, of Holmdel, breezed through a hearing before the planning board for a list of variances Monday night, clearing the way for him to open Blue Water Seafood restaurant in the heart of downtown.

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GUILTY PLEA IN STABBING AT SCHOOL

hot-topic rightA Red Bank man admitted Monday that he intended to kill his former girlfriend when he stabbed her at the borough primary school in December, 2008, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Twenty-four-year-old Jorge Vargas-Mancilla of West Bergen Place, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and aggravated assault. He faces a possible 15-year prison term when he is sentenced in state Superior Court in Freehold in December, the newspaper says.

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RETURN OF RBMS SPORTS HINGES ON VOTES

rbmsThe middle school is looking for votes to win a grant that would bring back its sports programs. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If there’s any chance of sports returning to Red Bank Middle School, it’s got something like lottery ticket odds.

That’s why the school needs your help.

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POT BUST IN MIDDLETOWN

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Middletown police arrested an 18-year-old Keansburg man and a 16-year-old juvenile on intent-to-distrubute charges after finding more than five ounces of pot in the car in which they were traveling Sunday afternoon, according to a department press release.

Here’s the full text:

On October 17, 2010 at approximately 1:40pm Patrolman Christopher Clark of the Middletown Township Police Department was on patrol in the area of Woodland Drive when he observed a vehicle fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Ptl. Clark conducted a motor vehicle stop of the vehicle at which point the car pulled over and the driver and passenger immediately exited the car.

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CHARTER SCHOOL GOES INTERNATIONAL

tableHungry guests line up at the Red Bank Charter School’s annual Spanish Heritage Dinner held Friday night to raise funds for school programs. (Click photos to enlarge)

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On Thursday, the K-through-8 school will host its annual International Day, when students transform classrooms into showcases for the cultures, religious practices, and languages of countries around the globe.

Visits may be arranged by calling the school at 732-936-1923.

DAL PRA: I’M STAYING

Del Pra2Louis Dal Pra won’t be leaving his job as RBR’s athletic director after all.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When redbankgreen called Louis ‘Del’ Dal Pra‘s office late Friday morning, he didn’t have to wait for the question to be asked. He knew the reason for the call, and got right to it.

“I’m back,” he said, confirming the rumors that he decided to stay put as Red Bank Regional‘s athletic director. “It’s official.”

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FROM THE POLICE BLOTTER…

rbpd4 windowThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of October 08 to October 15, 2010. The information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 10-9-10 at Chestnut Street. Victim reported that unknown person(s) keyed the passenger side of vehicle while it was parked. Ptl. John Camarca.

Theft occurring on 10-10-10 at Leighton Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole a brown leather wallet from parked vehicle, which contained credit cards and I.D. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

Theft occurring on 10-11-10 at South St. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole bicycle described as girls tan and black Huffy beach cruiser from front porch. Ptl. James DePonte.

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RESIDENTS GIVE THEIR TWO CENTS ON SAFETY

mary-lou-burdenMary Lou Burden, right, shows transportation consultant Dave Cox a problem spot on a map. Below, comments compiled on a street map. (Click to enlarge)

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Mary Lou Burden knows the challenges of trying to cross Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank.

A resident of the Bellhaven Commons condos on Locust Avenue, she’s used to standing in the crosswalk at Chestnut or Oakland street just waiting for passing motorists to take notice, slow to a stop and let her cross.

“If we had citizen’s arrest, I could make a lot of money for Red Bank,” she says. Drivers are “on the phone, rushing, texting, putting on makeup. They don’t even see you.”

Burden was among some 35 borough residents — including bicyclists, walkers, motorists and crossing guards — who  showed up at borough hall Thursday night to offer input on how to improve pedestrian and biker safety in town.

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RED BANK’S A GHOST TOWN FRIDAY NIGHTS

billnormyleShroud of tourin’: Lantern and staff in hand, Red Bank Ghost Tours guide Bill Normyle leads his group through the streets of downtown.

By TOM CHESEK

The packed and popular public house on Monmouth Street hosts an apparently eternal tenant by the name of Mrs. Patterson. The dark waters of the Navesink have reportedly seen the nocturnal navigations of Captain Cooper and his spectral sloop. The business blocks of West Front Street are said to be home to pet-shop poltergeists, murderous maids and the occasional caught-on-camera “orb.” Even the local surf and skate emporium can boast its own free-spirit at unrest.

The way Tabitha Bradley tells it and sells it, the sidewalks, storefronts and second-story suites of Red Bank’s downtown represent a whole other city that never sleeps, nor rests in peace. From Lenape tribespeople to Revolution-era figures and Civil War infantrymen, the denizens of “Dead Bank” jostle for attention with the Friday night throngs of barhoppers, theatergoers, park-hanging teens, emergency vehicles and Escalades.

Every Friday from August through Halloweekend, Bradley’s team of experienced spirit guides from Jersey Shore Ghost Tours shines a LED lamplight on some largely forgotten fragments of local lore. With multiple tours departing from 8:30p in front of  The Dublin House (where an upstairs room is kept dark and quiet, as to Mrs. Patterson’s preference), the sepulchral safaris are a way to gain an altogether different perspective on some familiar scenery, an activity with which “you’ll have a good time and even learn something without realizing it,” she says.

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WELCOME TO _____ HAVEN

fh-welcomeFair Haven police suspect vandalism is the cause of its cracked sign. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A welcome-to-Fair Haven sign on River Road was smashed in half last weekend in what Police Chief Darryl Breckenridge says was an act of vandalism.

The remains of the sign, which features the borough’s seal depicting the steamship Albertina, were removed Wednesday. A police report was filed with the department, but there are no suspects just yet, he said.

“It looks like somebody took an object and beat it up,” Breckenridge said. “Hopefully we can catch them and make them pay to fix it, or we’ll have to replace it real soon.”

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R-FH CONFRONTS HARASSMENT OF GAYS

gsa_think_b4_youR-FH students have been proactive in educating people about tolerance and GLBTI issues. (Photo courtesy of Kate Okeson; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A rash of suicides by gay teens, and its spotlight in the national media, is simultaneously a tragedy and opportunity, said Kate Okeson, who heads Rumson-Fair Haven regional high’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

So when journalist and author Beth Greenfield, a native of Eatontown, comes to the school Friday night to speak about living as an out journalist and memoirist, the event takes on a little more importance than usual, Okeson said.

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PHONE PRANKER DIALS UP THE BASIE

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Standup comedian, radio personality and phone-prank specialist Roy Wood Jr. keeps up with the latest tech, as the Last Comic Standing Live! tour brings him to New Jersey for the first time. (Photo by Mykeon Smith)

By TOM CHESEK

As a practitioner of the lively, all-American art of the prank phone call, Roy Wood Jr. has driven people of all backgrounds to equal-opportunity apoplexy — pranking and posing as bureaucratic blowhards, nosy neighbors, unwelcome exes, crabby customers and a certain Dr. Azibo. It’s a skill set that’s landed him major exposure on nationwide shows with Tom Joyner and Jamie Foxx.

The question isn’t just who Wood is at any given moment, but where — as the busy standup, comedy writer and broadcaster can appear at any moment to be anywhere on the TV comedy circuit (Def Comedy Jam, Chelsea Lately, Letterman, Ferguson), to his native Birmingham, Alabama (where he somehow manages to deliver a daily radio show), to any of 60 cities on the current tour of Last Comic Standing Live!

When the traveling version of the hit NBC series Last Comic Standing makes its annual jaunt to the Count Basie Theatre Friday night for an 8p show, Wood will be present, in person, accompanied by a busload of his fellow finalists from the Season Seven comedy competition. In  advance, we got on the phone with Wood — not the safest thing to do under normal circumstances.

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SEAFOOD RESTAURANT EYES BROAD STREET

zaksonsBlue Water Seafood hopes to open in the space being vacated by Zakon’s Fine Furniture. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

just_in1Three days after the Red Bank borough council initiated plans to make it easier for parking-deficient businesses to open in town, an East Brunswick-based seafood restaurant has landed on the planning board agenda with a proposal to open on Broad Street.

Blue Water Seafood, which had previously hoped to take over the space occupied by Ashes Cigar Club before a deal fell apart earlier this year, is now hoping to open at 9 Broad, according to plans filed with the borough planning office.

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CERUTTI: COUNTY DISPATCH LAGS TOO MUCH

hot-topic rightFair Haven Fire Chief Jim Cerutti is pressing town officials to end an emergency dispatch arrangement with Monmouth County because of what he says are chronic delays in relaying service calls, according to the Asbury Park Press.

One year after starting the arrangement with the county Sheriff’s office, Cerutti says that lags in patching calls through to borough fire and fire aid average three minutes, and some have taken as long as 11 minutes.

“A lot can happen in three minutes,” Cerutti is quoted as saying.

Police Chief Darryl Breckenridge, however, says that there have been “no problems” with delays in the relay of calls to his department.

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ROOM FOR DEBATE, AND A COUPLE OF LAUGHS

debate3The Westside Community Group held its fourteenth annual council candidates’ debate Wednesday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It was a tame affair, one that started and ended with smiles and handshakes, with serious debate and a few zingers in between.

The crowd of a couple dozen at Wednesday night’s debate of Red Bank’s council candidates was also a bit subdued, but asked about all the hot topics in town: taxes, pedestrian safety and the local economy.

It opened up with quips from Mayor Pasquale Menna, who thanked the crowd for coming to Sharon Lee’s birthday party — she turned 55 yesterday — and said Republican candidate Joe Mizzi, who sports a shaved pate and spontaneously threw out the opening remarks he prepared a month ago, had a full head of hair before he finished writing his beginning statement.

Then it got serious.

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LOOKING FOR SAVINGS IN GARBAGE

fh-trash-canFair Haven and Rumson are looking into privatizing its garbage pickup. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven and Rumson are looking at ways to save money, starting with the trash.

And in one town, the savings would cost jobs.

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OUT WITH THE OLD

rb-booksRed Bank library is getting rid of old books and replacing them with updated editions. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Deborah Griffin-Sadel pulled a book from a shelf of the Red Bank Public Library, as she and her staff have been doing the last couple months, and surveyed it.

It was a French language book, she said, and “the pictures in it were really dated. The lady was dressed up like Jackie Kennedy. Y’know, men walking around in 1950s-era suits.”

The library is scattered with these kinds of artifacts: books copyrighted in the ’60s, reference materials that pre-date Google and tattered classics that deserve better than to be bound with masking tape.

The library’s latest effort to avert its own  obsolescence is to replace those outdated and damaged books with new ones, a move that’s long overdue, said Griffin-Sadel, the library director.

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MORE LICENSES, HIGHER FARES IN TAXI LAW

black-taxiRed Bank is expected to adopt changes made to its taxi licensing ordinance. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After hashing out concerns with local cabbies over proposed changes to Red Bank’s taxi licensing ordinance, the borough council is poised to adopt a new version of regulations that features more licenses and “substantially reduces fees.”

But a person hopping into a cab will pay more.

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ART AND ABOUT: SOME GRIEF, SOME JOY

riverviewmckay

Works in multiple media — created by anonymous young participants in the Children’s Art Therapy Program at Riverview Medical Center — are spotlighted for one week only at McKay Imaging Gallery.

By TOM CHESEK

For more than a generation now, the Children’s Art Therapy Program at Riverview Medical Center has been helping the youngest members of families impacted by death and serious illness, by providing a beneficial and creative way to channel and express their feelings — using a daub of paint, a glob of clay or a tub of crayons.

Initiated in 1980 by veteran nurse Helen Riegelman, the program was actually one of the first of its kind in the Northeast. And 30 years on, the CAT program has quietly helped more than 2,500 kids whose lives have been touched by sudden loss, chronic or terminal illness. Here in the 30th anniversary month of October, program coordinator Jane Weinheimer has made things a little less quiet — with several public exhibits drawn from the CAT’s private files, including a display that briefly takes over the walls of one of Red Bank’s most eclectic galleries.

It’s one of nearly a dozen art events happening in and around the greater ‘green in October, and we’ve got the full rundown.

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AREA WHERE TEEN FELL WAS HANGOUT SPOT

hance-rd-houseThe vacant home on Hance Road where a Middletown teenager died Friday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Authorities have confirmed the death of a Middletown teenager who fell off the roof of a vacant Fair Haven house Friday night.

But few details are available because the incident remains under investigation, according to Peter Warshaw, of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, which is handling the case.

Zachary Buttler, of the Belford section of Middletown, died at 10:31p Friday, about two hours after the fall from the roof, Warshaw said.

Warshaw said Buttler, who was with a group of teenagers at the time, climbed onto the roof of 1 Hance Road, and Fair Haven police responded to the scene after the fall.

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CANDIDATES’ FORUM RETURNS

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Will this year’s sleepy election contest for Red Bank mayor and two council seats finally stir to life?

It will get its best chance Wednesday night, when the West Side Community Group holds its fourteenth annual candidates’ night at River Street Commons.

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