RED BANK POLICE STALLED ON STAB PROBE

just_in1A 10-day old stabbing has left a New York City woman hospitalized and Red Bank police short of information, a department spokesman says.

The Queens woman, whose name police are not identifying, is at Riverview Medical Center recovering from a single stab wound to the stomach and emergency surgery, says Captain Darren McConnell.

But who stabbed her, and where, remain mysteries.

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RED BANK POLICE BLOTTER

rbpd-patch- rightThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of April 15 to April 22, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Theft occurring on 4-15-11 at White Street business. Owner reported that unknown person(s) stole cash and three pairs of sneakers from store after business hours. Ptl. Gary Watson.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 4-17-11 at East Sunset Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) flattened two tires on parked vehicle. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

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HOME-GOODS TOUR STARS ‘UNSUNG HEROES’

queen-vaccum_9John and Rachel Decker of Queen Vacuum are leading the charge to highlight Red Bank’s daytime attractions this Saturday. (Photo courtesy Fran Waldmann)

By TOM CHESEK

“Red Bank is really diverse — but it sometimes gets pegged as a nightlife town,” says Rachel Decker of Queen Vacuum and Sewing Machine, the long-running Monmouth Street business (formerly Graman’s) that she and her husband John have operated for the better part of the past decade.

“While the restaurants and theaters are really wonderful, as a ‘daytime’ sort of business we felt a little left out, in that what we do didn’t fit in with a lot of RiverCenter’s events and promotions,” she says.

As the young, stylish and energetic NextGen owners of the 50-year-old appliance retailer and servicer (John, a former employee of founder Gene Graman, bought the business in 2003; Rachel came on board full time in 2006), the thirtysomething Tinton Falls couple admits to having been a bit jealous of the parade of dining, shopping and recreational happenings that passed by their shop like trains from the nearby NJ Transit platform.

As a member of the marketing committee for Red Bank RiverCenter, however, Rachel “knew that other businesses in town felt the way we did.” Acknowledging that the way to address the problem was to “be constructive rather than complain,” the former graphic designer took the liberty of “pitching a few ideas at ’em” — and when the dust cleared, she found herself appointed chair of the first-ever Only One Red Bank Home Event, a promotion designed to prepare the home-oriented “unsung retail heroes and service businesses” of Red Bank for their long overdue close-up.

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MIDDLETOWN POLICE BLOTTER

mtown-cruiserThe crime reports below were provided by the Middletown Police Department and are unedited.

On April 20, 2011 at approximately 2:00 pm the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force Bayshore Unit and the Middletown Township Police Department executed a search warrant at the basement apartment of # 813 Main Street in Belford. The warrant execution was a result of an ongoing investigation into the sale of illegal narcotics from the apartment.

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SOMEWHERE, OVER THE NAVESINK

rainbow2Thanks to reader Tom Scriven of Sea Bright for sending us this shot, taken from Marine Park in Red Bank on Sunday at 6 p.m. (Click to enlarge)

THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

c-murphy-backSea Bright Fire Chief Chad Murphy looks at a mock vehicle accident just before his and two other volunteer departments started extrication drills last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Tragedy hit Middletown twice last week, with a man dying in a motorcycle crash and a family perishing in a six-alarm fire.

A roundup of all of last week’s news below.

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SPRING 2011: HELLO YELLOW

flowers1A field of daffodils spotted on an embankment off Navesink River Road in Middletown last week. April showers dominate the weather forecast for the coming week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

SAY HELLO TO BASIE’S LITTLE FRIEND

al-pacino-photoIconic stage and screen great Al Pacino takes the stage in a June 1 benefit for the Count Basie Theatre, with tickets on sale now.

He’s taken the big screen by storm (adding a handful of timeless phrases to the pop lexicon in the process) in The Godfather saga, Scarface and Dog Day Afternoon — and his Bronx-bred rasp (in Merchant of Venice and Richard III) proved that Shakespeare’s still shaking up the here and now.

On the evening of Wednesday, June 1, Al Pacino comes to Red Bank, for an exclusive area appearance on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre.

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READY TO HATCH IN RUMSON

easter-eggs1Residents of a home on River Road in Rumson home are either ready for Easter or have a serious a hankering for omelettes. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

ON THE GO: CIGARS, SUBS, WINE & PLUSHIES

carminesJust a year after opening, Carmine’s Sub Shop has changed owners. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Another Red Bank business bites the dust — or in this case, has been stubbed out — over rent in Red Bank. rcsm2_010508

Cigars Plus, one of the last, if not the last, places to enjoy a smoke indoors in Red Bank, is heading out of town.

Owner Frank Toscano tells redbankgreen his landlord, John Bowers, of Philip Bowers Realty, didn’t want the space filled with smoke anymore and was squeezing him on rent. Toscano will maintain his original Cigars Plus shop in Brick.

“We lost our lease,” he said. “The landlord is kicking us out. He didn’t want smoking in the shop, so I have to leave.”

More details on what’s churning in Red Bank’s downtown after the ‘Read More.’

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BILLY GETS HIS EVENING, FOR M’TOWN ARTS

billy_016Playwright Billy Van Zandt is in the hot seat for an April 30 fundraiser for the Middletown Cultural and Arts Center.

By TOM CHESEK

No, Billy Van Zandt — to quote the late great Red Buttons and his signature shtick on countless Dean Martin roasts — “never got a dinner.” But on the night of Saturday, April 30, he’ll be getting his very own Evening.

Unlike other Monmouth County folks who went Hollywood in a big way, the comic playwright, producer and performer has, with his longtime collaborator Jane Milmore, maintained a pretty dynamic profile on the area’s artscape — particularly over at the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College, where the Van Zandt-Milmore tagteam has taught, established a scholarship and regularly premiered such new works for the stage as You’ve Got Hate Mail, currently enjoying a hit Off Broadway run at The Triad in Manhattan.

As one half of a bicoastal stage/screen writing partnership, the half brother of Steve Van Zandt spends about half his time here on the greater Red Bank Green — often with his sons and his better half, actress and author Adrienne Barbeau. None of which is to suggest that Billy Van Zandt ever does anything halfway, however.

Scheduled for 7:30p on April 30, An Evening with Billy Van Zandt (it even rhymes with An Evening with Cary Grant) presents the 1975 graduate of the old split-session Middletown High School in an “up close and personal” forum, in which he’s expected to offer advice to aspiring actors and writers — and to share some pretty priceless stories from his travels as a young actor in major motion pictures, and an Emmy nominated writer-producer for sitcoms both legendary (Newhart) and look-it-up (Bless This House).

Moderated by actor Jeff Babey (who, as a member in good standing of the Van Zandt-Milmore stock company, is similarly not known to do things in moderation), it’s a circus that manages to involve everyone from Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, and Tom Cruise, to Wiliam Shatner, the Wayans Brothers and Andrew Dice Clay — and that’s just for appetizers. It’s also a benefit for the educational programs of the Middletown Township Cultural & Arts Council, hosted at their spacious (and criminally under-utilized) Middletown Arts Center, located just seconds from Red Bank and steps from the township’s NJ Transit train platform. The redbankgreen Drama Desk met up with BVZ at the Broadway Diner recently, to kvetch and ketchup on current events.

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SEA BRIGHT TAB FOR SRHS: $90K PER STUDENT

taxesBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If voters approve school budgets next week, Sea Bright, which sends students to two different districts and has no schools of its own, will see both increases and decreases to the education portions of tax bills.

But borough property owners will still be saddled with an outsized tab for the 17 students it sends to Shore Regional High in West Long Branch: $90,000 per kid, almost three times as much as any other sending district pays.

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IT’S MAYOR v. EX-MAYOR OVER ‘MONSTROSITY’

dilapidatedMayor Maria Fernandes wants to see dilapidated buildings, like this one owned by ex-Mayor JoAnn Kalaka-Adams, cleaned up and in better shape in Sea Bright. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Sea Bright Mayor Maria Fernandes is setting her sights on a number of eyesore properties in town, and plans to go after their “slumlords,” one of them being a former nemesis who’s running for her post later this year.

Fernandes, who recently received an official report highlighting dilapidated buildings in town, is resurrecting withered discussions — and perhaps a political fray — to put an enforcement ordinance in place to get unsightly buildings into shape.

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FIVE YEARS IN BLACK AND WHITE AND DENIM

alex-rosenAlex Rosen has kept an illustrated log of each day for five years. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For a 22-year-old, there’s something a little unusual about ending each day by opening a notebook and writing “Dear Diary.” Logging one’s daily activities in comic strips is even odder, admits Alex Rosen — though he does just that, in spite of an aversion to the form.

“I never read comics,” said Rosen, of Little Silver. “No matter what, comics are never cool.”

Still, Rosen puts his day-to-day life down in black-and-white ink in small square frames because, he says, “I’d like to make them be cool.”

That’s a simple explanation, but for Rosen, who’s documented his daily life the last five years in comics, the circadian exercise lends itself to personal reflection, shame, growth and an excuse to wear the same outfit every day.

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BOOM TOWN BASH IS A BIG-TENT TICKET

kaboom-preview-2008The annual KaBoom!  fundraiser culminated in a fireworks preview outside the Monmouth Boat Club in 2008. This year’s edition will be at Hovnanian HQ.

Whether you love it — or leave town for the day because of it — the annual KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink event is one of “the fabulous events that make Red Bank and the Navesink River community the special place that it is,” says KaBoom! Committee chairman Tim Hogan.

As an attraction that draws some 150,000 gawkers and revelers to multiple sites along the riverfront, the July 3 sky-splash is surely the single biggest happening of the borough’s calendar year — one in which all of the more than $200,000 needed to produce KaBoomFest comes from private donations.

While the KaMittee’s underwriting vehicles have ranged from big-league corporate sponsorships to the less sophisticated (but no less effective) “Kick In for KaBoom Bucket,” it’s the annual springtime cocktail party that has traditionally fired the first signal flare in the Countdown to KaBoomsday — and on the evening of Thursday, April 28, the fuse will be lit for an intensive interlude of pyrotechnics, preparations, promotion, and the soliciting of those crucial private donations.

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RUMSON DPW GETS SOME LOVE AT WORK

mark-wellner1Privacy and mobility have not been at a premium at the public works building, but that’s going to change, says director Mark Wellner. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

There isn’t much to Rumson’s Department of Public Works building — a narrow, bland concrete stretch of garage bays with a couple of offices behind borough hall.

One of those offices belongs to director Mark Wellner, where warmth is generated by a space heater next to his desk. When he steps out, he’s in the department’s conference room, which also happens to be the kitchen — consisting of a microwave and small counter — and, during snow emergencies, a bedroom for a dozen or so on-call employees who try to catch z’s on one of a few used couches picked up curbside over the years.

“Sometimes, you’ve got a guy laying on the table with a blanket trying to get some sleep,” he said.

Attached to the conference room is a closet of a bathroom, with one toilet and a sink behind a rickety door.

“No room for the guys to even wash their hands,” Wellner said.

There’s not much in the way of comfort and privacy for the DPW guys, that’s for sure. So it must’ve been frustrating to watch last year when the borough built its pristine, $5.77 million government offices building right in front of the public works structure that went untouched in the 56 years since it was built.

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SPRING 2011: DAMP DAY

fogFog enshrouds the Bluffs housing complex in Red Bank, as seen Wednesday morning from the promenade at Marine Park. The weather outlook for the day includes rain and a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. (Click to enlarge)

PUMPS BACK ON IN RED BANK

gas-station1The former Raceway gas station on Riverside Avenue is back in business under another name. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Seems so long ago — at least in terms of soaring fuel costs — that the Raceway gas station at the north end of Red Bank pulled its pumps and shut down.

But that was only last December, when gas, you could say, was cheap: somewhere just below the $3 a gallon mark.

Now, five months and about 75 cents a gallon to the upside later, the longtime filling station is ready to get its nozzle back in your tank.

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PROSECUTOR: FIRE STARTED IN WASTEBASKET

house-fire-041911Tuesday morning’s blaze is believed to have been caused by a cigarette or match. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A poorly discarded cigarette or match is believed to have started a fire that killed three family members and a fourth person Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Sheridan Banovich, 63;  her daughter, Deidre, 23; Deidre’s boyfriend, Anthony Cadalzo, 25; and Banovich’s sister, Denise DuSold, 60, all died in the early-morning fire, Christopher Gramiccioni, of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, said.

The fifth person in the house and lone survivor of the blaze was identified as Stephen Banovich, 63, Sheridan Banovich’s husband.

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FAKE WRECK FOR TRAINING IN SEA BRIGHT

sbfd-drill2Local firefighters trained in Sea Bright yesterday using extrication tools and methods. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

One car t-boned another. A third car was tumbled on its side. And a fourth was flipped onto its roof.

No injuries reported.

The scene was not, in fact, a gnarly multi-car wreck, but a dummy set-up for firefighters from Rumson, Sea Bright and Sandy Hook to sharpen their vehicle rescue skills.

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PROBE INTO DEADLY FIRE CONTINUES

135-statesir-2The scene at 135 Statesir Place Tuesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office continues to investigate the deadly fire that ripped through a Statesir Place home early this morning, First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.

The names of the four people who were killed in the blaze have not been released, pending notification of family members, he said.

“My people are out there doing their due diligence,” Gramiccioni said.

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RUMSON MAN ARRESTED FOR CHILD PORN

By DUSTIN RACIOPPIauthorities2b

A Rumson man was arrested Friday on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday.

Matthew Marass, 23, of Forrest Avenue, was charged with two counts of child pornography — one count for possession, and another for distribution, First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.

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GAS LINE DUG UP AT MIDDLETOWN FIRE SCENE

135-statesireFour people are reported to have died in a fire that destroyed the house at 135 Statesir Place. Below, a gas meter removed by a crew from New Jersey Natural Gas. (Click to enlarge)

meterFire investigators and a crew from New Jersey Natural Gas were on the scene following a fire that was reported to have killed four people in Middletown early Tuesday morning.

Scant information about the blaze had been released by authorities by mid-morning as officials sought to contact relatives of the dead, said to be four adults.

A neighbor said the fire, at 135 Statesir Place, happened at about 3a.

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