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CRASH KILLS TEEN, INJURES TWO MORE

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

[Editor’s Note: this story contains updated information from the Prosecutor’s Office]

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One teenager was killed and two others were seriously injured in an early-morning crash in Middletown Sunday, authorities said.

The crash, in which a 1992 Honda Accord hit a tree on Cooper Road, claimed the life of 18-year-old Paul Bradley.

The car’s driver, Adam Sofio, of Red Bank, and another passenger, John Vogel, were airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune with “serious, but non-life threatening injuries,” Administrative Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cunningham said.

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RED BANK: DELAYED SPRING SPORTS POSSIBLE

basie-snowSnow mounds in the parking lot at Count Basie Field, among other athletic fields in Red Bank, may cause a delay in the start of spring sports programs. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A little over a week ago, the problem was snow and ice. Now, it’s what happens when snow and ice melt.

The unusually large amount of snow that fell this winter, plus freezing temperatures, could delay the opening of spring sports in Red Bank, officials said in an announcement on February 18.

Now?

“The fields are all snow-less at this point,” Councilman Ed Zipprich, who is liaison to the public works department, said. “The problem right now is the rain.”

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SPRING SO CLOSE YOU CAN SMELL IT

dogsJoan and Bill Zacher of Middletown take Arden, left, and Zadar on a walk through downtown Red Bank Saturday. Arden is a Seeing Eye trainee who this week goes back to the program after spending a year and a half with the Zachers; Zadar is a Seeing Eye flunk-out. (Click to enlarge)

A warm and sunny taste of spring over the weekend yields to rain and relatively warm temperatures  as we close out February today.

The National Weather Service says the temperature will reach as high as 60 degrees in the Red Bank area, though opportunities to enjoy it will be limited by heavy rain, thunderstorms and maybe even some hail.

Sunny skies return for a few days beginning Tuesday, but temps will fluctuate quite a bit over the next few days as winter and spring begin their tug-of-war.

Here’s the forecast:

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WOMAN ARRESTED FOR SWIPING CREDIT CARD

just_in1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An Oceanport woman was arrested for credit card theft and making fraudulent purchases at local stores, Little Silver police said.

On Wednesday, police arrested Ursula Pappas, 36, for her alleged crimes as an employee at a Little Silver business.

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CURLEY TAKES AIM AT COLLEGE PREXY’S PERKS

curleyMonmouth County Freeholder John Curley, right, has turned his sights on a raft of generous perks being paid to Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham, according to a report in today’s Asbury Park Press.

It turns out that in addition to his annual $216,000 salary, Burnham gets a country club membership, a housing allowance, a car and up to $40,000 a year of tuition coverage for two his children.

Curley, a Republican who served as a Red Bank council member before moving to Middletown and in 2008, calls the package “an extravagance at a time and place when there’s no room for extravagance,” the Press reports.

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HAMPTON INN EYES RED BANK EYESORE

hampton-innPlans for a Hampton Inn at the site of a former gas station on Route 35 in Red Bank call for a six-story, 76-room hotel at the foot of the Navesink River. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A major name in the hotel industry is looking to develop on a long-vacant eyesore property on the Navesink in Red Bank.

A franchisee has filed plans to build a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn at the southwestern foot of Cooper’s Bridge, on the 1.2-acre former home to an Exxon station.

In order to move forward, though, the developer has asked the borough council to first make a change to its zoning law.

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MAKING HISTORY SING… AND DANCE

jamesbrowndrjpRed Bank families packed the middle school auditorium Thursday night for a Black History Month celebration that included a performance by “James Brown,” above; hip-hop dancers, below, and a reading in the voice of Dr. James Parker Sr. one of the “past and present heroes of Red Bank.” Supper followed in the cafeteria. (Click to enlarge)hiphop

MIDDLETOWN INVENTOR EYES THE FUTURE

Andrei Provini explains one of his hundreds of inventions: headlamp spectacles. (Video by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Christmastime at the Provini household in Middletown is full of tradition, one of them being the line of questioning Liz Provini delivers to her son, Andrei.

“Every single year, we can’t find the bolts for the (tree) stand because Andrei’s got them in one of his inventions,” she said.

Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood off Navesink River Road, Liz Provini’s home is as much, if not more, a laboratory for her 19-year-old son who, since the age of five, has tinkered with everything from bolts to strainers to stumbled-upon Volkswagens to create hundreds of inventions.

“He’s very creative,” she said. “His mind is going a million miles an hour. If he doesn’t have an invention in the works, he gets very frustrated.”

Provini, his mother said, was born to create. More specifically, he was born to change the world, he said, and doesn’t see himself settling for any less.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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Ok, all you pillars of the community we call Whereopolis: Where is this one?

If you know or want to hazard a guess, drop us a line here, with the words ‘Where Have I Seen This?” in the subject line, please.

A number of readers roared in instant recognition last week, when we featured a large, sculpted lion’s head.

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RBR KIDS TO SHOWCASE WITH THE SHIRLS

sundayshowcaseThe Performing Art Students at Red Bank Regional High School join special guests Tim McLoone and the Shirleys this Sunday for an afternoon of singing, dancing and laughs.

When Red Bank Regional High School presents its Sunday Showcase concert on February 27, the spotlighted performers will include Sarah Trufolo of Little Silver, who along with her fellow dancers will be “performing in the audience, rallying the crowd to boogie with them.”

They’ll include senior Reid Henderson of Avon (who will deliver a comic monologue), and junior Ari Bellar of Little Silver (who will join the RBR choral students for a medley of songs by Journey). And they’ll include another favorite son of Little Silver — one Tim McLoone.

Did someone say Tim McLoone? The sixtysomething rennaissance guy, running entrepeneur, restaurateur and on-time conductor of the Holiday Express? Surely they can’t be serious.

Well, they are serious — and yes, you may call him Shirley.

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WOMAN CHARGED IN LITTLE SILVER THEFT

just_in1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A Red Bank woman was arrested last week for stealing jewelry from a Little Silver home, police said.

Melynda Wilson, 28, of Madison Avenue, was arrested on February 18 and charged with theft.

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M’TOWN: ANOTHER TENSE ONE OVER SURPLUS

mtown-libLibrary officials will meet with the town today to try and hammer out an agreement to help balance Middletown’s budget. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Officials from both sides of Middletown’s Great Library Debate will get going on discussions today aimed at possibly allowing the township to balance its budget with a chunk of the library’s $1.2 million surplus.

Elected officials and library representatives, in somewhat clenched-teeth fashion, said Tuesday night they hope to come to an amicable solution to an impasse that last week descended into personal attacks.

Just a week removed from a painstaking public meeting at the library last week, where lines were drawn between the two entities with accusations and factual disputes, the topic was still bubbling Tuesday night, as residents took their turns at a township committee meeting to get their comments on the record and ask more questions about the committee’s request for the library board to hand over nearly $900,000 of its surplus to avert another wave of layoffs.

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TROUBLED WATER LINE SET FOR UPGRADE

shrews-hydrantThe replacement of the Shrewsbury Avenue main is to be timed with the replacement of Hubbards Bridge on West Front Street. (Click to enlarge)

Homes and businesses serviced by an antiquated water supply line on Red Bank’s West Side are finally going to get the water pressure they’ve been demanding for years, borough officials say.

A replacement of the existing four-inch main running beneath Shrewsbury Avenue with an eight-incher is on the drawing board and about to get financing.

The completion of the project, however, is months away.

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ANOTHER FAIR HAVEN TAX DROP EXPECTED

fh-boro-hallFair Haven is expected to reduce taxes for the fourth straight year. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While Governor Chris Christie laid out a state’s budget Tuesday that included a plan to keep state aid to cities and towns flat, Fair Haven, in anticipation of such a move, outlined its own spending plan for the year.

As it’s become custom under Mayor Mike Halfacre, local taxes are going down.

But don’t make dinner reservations just yet. The savings might only get you a half-tank of gas.

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DUCKS MAKE A PIT STOP IN NAVESINK

scaups-2scaups-1Hundreds of ducks took refuge recently in the Navesink, on the northeastern side of the Oceanic Bridge, forming long, snaking lines of bobbers. Blogger Joe Reynolds says they’re mostly Greater Scaups. He’s got more pix, and a fair amount of detail about the birds, at Shore911.org. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RUGBY TOO ROUGH FOR BASIE

scrum2Monmouth Rugby of Red Bank, in blue, and Monmouth Rugby of Wales, in stripes, in a scrum at Thompson Park in Lincroft in May, 2008. (Click to enlarge)

Its home, the Wilde Rover, is in town, on Shrewsbury Avenue, and it contributes nicely to the community, one Red Bank council member says of the Monmouth Football Rugby Club.

But sorry, ruggers, you can’t practice here, the governing body told the club last week. You just play too rough.

It’s not a call that’s sitting well with the 38-year-old club.

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BIKE & PED PLAN HITS THE STREETS

bike-route-networkA “bike route network” map in the report details suggested locations for bike lanes, shared lanes, bike parking and more. Below, the cover page of the report. (Click to enlarge)

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Attention Red Bank pedestrians and bicyclists: your wish list is in.

A much-anticipated report on ways to improve biking and walking safety, titled “Red Bank Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Project,” has been delivered to borough officials and is now available here at redbankgreen (see below).

Based in part on suggestions from dozens of borough residents who attended input sessions and completed questionnaires,  it contains a cornucopia of recommendations, ranging from simple upgrades to signage and traffic signals to the creation of bike lanes and roundabouts.

The comprehensive report is “exactly what we wanted, and then some,” says Jenny Rossano, speaking on behalf of Safe Routes Red Bank, a grassroots organization that promotes walking buses and other alternatives to car use.

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DuPONT’S NEW GIG CAUSES CLASH

dupontRed Bank Councilman Mike DuPont at a council meeting last month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While Councilman Mike DuPont’s appointment as attorney for another town was the unmentioned reason behind his request last Monday that Red Bank change its bimonthtly meeting schedule, up in Sayreville, the appointment was an occasion for political theater.

In a dramatic council meeting in the Middlesex County town that same night, DuPont’s appointment prompted the mayor and two Republican council members to storm out because, according to local paper The Suburban, they wanted a different law firm representing the governing body and argued that the appointment circumvented the mayor’s authority.

That left the remaining four on the council to vote on whether to hire DuPont, who is a partner on Broad Street with former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna in the McKenna, DuPont, Higgins and Stone firm. Which they did, handing.

Can you say awkward?

“Yes it was,” DuPont told redbankgreen.

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‘DOG WHISPERER’ TRAINS HIS AUDIENCE WELL

cesar2Don’t tell Fido: The Dog Whisperer is back in town, as Cesar Millan returns to the Count Basie for February 25 event that’s strictly for humans only.

Not so very long ago it was an accepted, if unwritten, law of show business that said audiences seldom pay to see something “live” that they can get at home, for free, on the teevee.

Of course, that old showbiz playbook hit the shredder some time ago — right about the time that the Count Basie Theatre and other similarly sized venues discovered that TV stars — specifically, stars of realiTV — had become some of the most dependable draws on the entertainment circuit, regularly packing houses with relatively inexpensive, logistically uncomplicated presentations that were powered by the undeniable appeal of their newly minted celebrity centerpieces.

Within the past handful of months, the Basie stage has accommodated well-received shows starring a Cake Boss, a Real Housewife, a couple of Paranormal Staters and a No Reservations “bad boy of cuisine.” And on Friday, February 25, the Count’s crib welcomes back a personality who sold out the auditorium in his last Red Bank appearance: Cesar Millan, host of the National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer.

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A WEEK OF BURGLARY AND THIEVERY

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The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of February 11 to February 18, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 2-11-11 at Reckless Place. Victim reported that unknown person(s) keyed his parked vehicle on the driver’s side. Ptl. George Travostino.

Theft occurring on 2-11-11 at South St. parking lot. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole purse from vehicle, which contained wallet with cash and debit card. Lt. Daniel Bannon.

Theft occurring on 2-13-11 at Broad St. restaurant. Victim reported that unknown person(s) removed camera from on top of counter. Ptl. Thomas Doremus.

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CHEF OPENS CHEESE ‘CAVE’ ON MONMOUTH

stephen-cataniaStephen Catania will open the doors to The Cheese Cave Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Stephen Catania says it’s a wide world of cheeses out there, and every cheese has a story: where it came from, the family or company that produced it, how it was made.

His job, as he sees it, is to introduce you to that world and tell you those stories.

Catania will do that through his latest venture, The Cheese Cave, set to open its doors in Red Bank Saturday morning.

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DRESSED TO HEAL AT HEART HEALTH EVENT

heart_truth1Designer creations from the Red Dress Collection at NYC’s Fashion Week will be on display at Buona Sera on February 24, as part of Meridian’s Heart Month fundraiser.

It’s an evening out on the town, at one of the hottest nightspots on the greater Green, and it’s strictly ladies only — but this is one event for which that little black dress is going to have to stay home on the hanger.

When the third annual Red Dress Event returns to Red Bank next Thursday, February 24, the guests of honor will be a selection of six top-designer crimson creations from the Red Dress Collection, seen during Fashion Week  2011 in NYC.

Still, while the evening promises to set any fashionista’s pulse racing, at the heart of the festivities is a serious subject — as serious as the disease that’s been branded the Number One killer of women.

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EX-BOROUGH ATTORNEY CAROTENUTO DIES

carotenutoSam Carotenuto, a lifelong Red Bank resident and lawyer who served many years as borough attorney, has died at age 90.

An obituary on the Asbury Park Press website reports that Carotenuto — who also served on the board of ed and did its legal work, and advised the planning and zoning boards in Red bank and other towns  — died on Monday at Riverview Medical Center.

Here’s an excerpt from the obit:

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DRUG COMPANY FOCUSES ON FAIR HAVEN

gourmet-picnicPhotographers from New York made a trip to Fair Haven Thursday afternoon for a photo shoot at Gourmet Picnic on River Road. A representative from the company said they came  for a “lifestyle” shot that may be used to publicize a new medication from a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company. Store owner Suzette O’Brien was flattered her shop was chosen for the shoot. “It’s probably something you’d never see in Fair Haven,” she said. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)