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RUMSON OUTSOURCING SCRAPPED FOR NOW

trashTrash collection will remain a borough operation in 2011. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rumson officials have canned the idea of outsourcing trash collection in 2011.

That doesn’t necessarily mean jobs are safe in future years, though.

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YMCA SCALES BACK EXPANSION PLAN

cymcaTalks between Community YMCA officials and Red Bank’s zoning board led the Y to shave 15,000 square feet off a proposed expansion at the Maple Avenue health facility. (Click to enlarge)

Almost 10 months after a protracted hearing process that led to a rejection and lawsuit, the Community YMCA will return to the Red Bank zoning board this week with a dramatically scaled-back proposal to expand its Maple Avenue health facility, redbankgreen has learned.

Andrea Plaza, the Y’s vice president for family health, said closed-door settlement negotiations with the board resulted in the nonprofit making significant changes to the scope and appearance of the proposed expansion.

The talks resulted in “a better plan,” Plaza said.

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CHINESE, VIETNAMESE AND TATS ON TAP

temple1Temple, a Chinese restaurant, is expected to open in the former home of Torcello by the end of December. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Tired of Italian and pizza yet?

Soon enough, if plans hold, culinary options will broaden in Red Bank, with Chinese and Vietnamese eateries competing for customers on opposite sides of Broad Street.

And after dinner, if you’re up to it, maybe you can skip dessert and head across town for a tattoo.

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‘TIS THE SEASON

As in years past, Tim McLoone’s rolling, feel-good music extravaganza, Holiday Express, kicked off the Christmas season in Red Bank Friday night with a concert for several thousand visitors who braved a post-Thanksgiving chill.

redbankgreen was all over Broad Street to capture it in pixels, as per usual. Here’s a hundred angles on the merriment.

(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.)

MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING M’TOWN COP

melchionnaA predawn line-cutting incident at a Middletown Target store on Black Friday led to the arrest of a Belford man on charges of assaulting a township police officer, according to authorities.

Here’s the announcement issued Monday by Middletown police:

On November 26, 2010 at approximately 3:10am police officers, working a special duty assignment at the Target store in Middletown, arrested Christopher Melchionna, age 28, from Orchard Avenue in Belford for Disorderly Conduct, Terroristic Threats, Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest.

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BACK IN THE GAME

interceptionGeorge Heidelberger heads crossfield on an interception return during Sunday’s flag football game at Red Bank’s Eastside Park. The weekly pickup game returned a week after town officials shut it down over insurance and other issues. (Click to enlarge)

HEARING AID/EYEGLASS DROP BOX STOLEN

authorities2bThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of November 5 to November 18, 2010. The information appears here unedited.

Theft occurring on 11-6-10 at Riverview Plaza. Victim reported that a cell phone was stolen from her room. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

Theft occurring on 11-6-10 at Mechanic St. Victim reported that her cell phone a white Motorola “Cliq” was stolen from her residence. Ptl. Robert Talerico.

Criminal mischief occurring on 11-6-10 at River Road. Victim reported that unknown subject(s) pulled out two lights on front lawn, which were attached to stone pillars. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

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IN R-FH CREW DEAL, R-FH IS OUT

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Rumson-Fair Haven sports triplet is back intact.

Two weeks after locking up a deal with Fair Haven to keep lacrosse and flag football as part of Rumson recreation, the Rumson council decided last week that crew, the third sport that was on the chopping block, will stay as well.

Keeping the alliance alive, though, means Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School‘s crew program will be dropped.

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A VIEW WITH A ROOM

riverbargeOver the weekend, a crane-carrying barge anchored in the Navesink River opposite the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, at right. Anybody know what it’s there for? (Click to enlarge)

SECOND FIRE DISPLACES TWO FAMILIES

linden-pl-fire-112610Smoke pours from the windows at 97 Linden Place Friday evening. (Click to enlarge)

A second house fire in Red Bank in less than six hours displaced two families early Friday night.

The blaze tore through 97 Linden Place, causing extensive fire damage and resulting in smoke and water damage to an attached home at 95 Linden.

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HOT SEAT: MAN ESCAPES BURNING HOUSE

bank-st-fire-2The fire was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene. (Photos supplied by a redbankgreen reader. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The timing of Friday afternoon’s two-alarm house fire on Bank Street in Red Bank couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time for James Green.

He was, um, on the commode.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Green, who has been staying with his friend at 13 Bank Street since May. “I’m in the bathroom, the alarm goes off and the house is burning down.”

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BLAZE DESTROYS RED BANK HOME

bank-st-fire-112610Firefighters in the rear of the Bank Street resident shortly after the blaze was brought under control. (Click to enlarge)

A fast-moving fire tore through a Red Bank house early Friday afternoon.

No injuries were reported in connection with the fire, at a two-story wood-framed house on Bank Street, just a few doors west of Shrewsbury Avenue.

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FARMERS’ MARKET RELOCATES TO RIVER PLAZA

applesVendors of apples, fresh bread and other goodies packed up their movable feast at the Galleria and took it across the Navesink to Chris’ Landing in Middletown three weeks ago. (Click to enlarge)

breadWhen the clock ran out on the annual fresh-everything extravaganza known as the Red Bank Farmers’ Market three weeks ago, some of the vendors wondered why it had to end.

The market traditionally runs from Mother’s Day to mid-November in the parking lot of at the Galleria Red Bank shopping center. But there’s still a cornucopia of vegetables, fruits, baked goods and crafts to sell.

“We said, as this comes to an end, there will be no place for us to go,” said Laura Dardi of Red Bank, an employee of E.R. & Son Farm, a Colts Neck grower of certified organic produce. “To be cut off two weeks before Thanksgiving is at the worst possible time.”

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RETAIL SURVIVOR LOOKS BACK TO THE FUTURE

burtnikfinkatkinsJersey music juggernauts Glen Burtnik, Rick Fink and Nicole Atkins put down those guitars and pick up the polyvinyl platters as guest DJs in a special birthday bash for Backward Glances.

By TOM CHESEK

Regular observers of the Red Bank streetscape have certainly seen them come and go over the years — everything from longtime local landmarks to fly-by-nighters; poorly planned purveyors of luxury goods and over-conceptualized convenience stores; Mom ‘n Pops that stayed for generations and mega-brands that threw in the towel after mere months.

All just curds and whey for what we here at redbankgreen call the Retail Churn — and all so many missing teeth in downtown’s smile.

Peer closer into the maw, however, and you’re sure to spot more than one piece of original equipment that is still as strongly rooted and cutting-edge as Kanye’s carbon-crystal canines.

On Sunday, November 28, one of downtown’s genuine survivors — a merchant establishment that’s quietly (if colorfully) ridden the retail rollercoaster for countless economic-cycle loop de loops — throws itself a party. And some big scary friends will be bringing the tunes.

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A THANKSGIVING BREAK

lunch-breakLunch Break fed more than 125 people on Thanksgiving. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just a half a mile from the railroad track, you can get anything you want at Lunch Break.

Food, a football game, a smile.

On Thanksgiving, it was all of the above at Red Bank’s charitable mainstay.

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CASEYS TOP DAWGS IN ANNUAL RIVALRY

rbc-rfhRBC topped R-FH 40- 14 in their annual Thanksgiving matchup. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s an annual tradition that’s getting a little lopsided: Red Bank Catholic posts a “w” in its annual rivalry matchup with Rumson-Fair Haven.

In front of a typically huge crowd at R-FH’s Borden Field, the Caseys topped the Bulldogs 40-14, notching their eighth straight Thanksgiving game win.

“The Thanksgiving turkey might taste a little sour today, but that’s alright,” said Billy Crow, a former R-FH outside linebacker and a 1987 graduate.

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THE EXPRESS TRACK TO HOLIDAY TIME

img_5665112709As usual, several thousand people are expected to pack Red Bank’s Broad Street for a Holiday Express concert and overall merriment Friday night. These pix are from 2009. (Click to enlarge)

img_5353112709

Even hardcore humbugs and web-shopping wetblankets can agree that there’s no better time for a bit of light therapy than Black Friday.

This Friday evening, for the 17th consecutive year, Holiday Express — the all-volunteer force of musical goodwill — pulls into station stop Red Bank to perform a free outdoor concert that sounds the keynote to the annual Town Lighting ceremony.

If you’ve spent at least a year of your life in the area, you’ll know the event as the “real” kickoff to the holidays — not just in Red Bank but all around the greater ‘green. And it’s just the tip of the icicle for a sleighload slate of activities that begins in earnest this weekend.

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EJECTED FOOTBALLERS FLAG PARKS & REC

eastside-parkOfficials say Red Bank’s parks & rec commission will revisit the field-use ordinance after a group of residents was abruptly kicked out of Eastside Park Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two months ago Red Bank’s recreation commission started talking about revising its ordinance regulating the use of borough parks. It didn’t get far.

But when a public works employee punted a group of residents who were playing a pickup flag football in Eastside Park last Sunday, the incident raised questions about the borough’s field-use regulations and public works’ maintenance practices. And the backlash may have moved the previous talks to the top of a to-do list.

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RUMSON NEARS POLICE CONTRACT THRU 2013

rumson-pdThe borough and its police union are poised to finalize a seven-year contract, ending a three-year deadlock in negotiations. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rumson officials and police are expected to finally come to a new contract agreement, ending a three-year impasse while avoiding a potentially budget-crushing decision by a state arbitrator, Mayor John Ekdahl said.

“As far as we’re concerned it’s a done deal,” he said.

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MINOR INJURIES IN RUMSON ROAD CRASH

rumson-crashOne person was injured in a head-on collision on Rumson Road Tuesday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An unidentified driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries after a head-on collision at a busy intersection in Rumson Tuesday night.

The crash occurred around 9:15p at the corner of Ward Avenue and Rumson Road, opposite Holy Cross School — a problematic and sometimes tricky area to navigate, neighbors said.

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BYRNES STILL PUSHING THE TV BUTTONS

mtowntv3_ir

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When the New Year rolls in, Sean Byrnes will no longer sit behind the dais of Middletown’s governing body. So if he wants to know in detail what happens at its meetings, he’s got one option: to sit in the audience.

But while the Democrat’s days as a township committee member are winding down, Byrnes continues to push to have meetings televised, despite resistance.

At the committee’s next meeting, in December, Byrnes — who lost his bid for re-election earlier this month — said he intends to introduce a resolution to videorecord the meetings and put them online.

And if the past is any indicator, his will be the only vote in favor of it.

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SECOND TIME A CHARM FOR FREE PARKING

metersThe Red Bank council approved a request from RiverCenter to offer free holiday parking, but not at curbside meters like these on Monmouth Street. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two weeks after narrowly shooting down a perfunctory request from RiverCenter to offer free holiday parking downtown, the Red Bank borough council reversed its position Monday night.

“What’s changed?” Branch Avenue’s Stephen Hecht asked.

In addition to a minor tweak to RiverCenter’s request, Councilman Michael DuPont’s thinking, apparently.

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