30° Overcast

COPS PROBE POSSIBLE ROBBERY NEXT DOOR

ls-wells-fargoLittle Silver police and Monmouth County officials on the scene of a possible robbery attempt at the Wells Fargo on Prospect Avenue. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Little Silver police and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating a possible robbery attempt at the Wells Fargo bank on Prospect Avenue Tuesday afternoon.

As of 5:30 p.m., authorities were still on the scene — next door to the Little Silver Police Department — trying to sort out the details of differing reports in a late-afternoon incident at the bank.

Read More »

THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET

sidewalk-sunShannon Langbein, right, and a fellow hairdresser at Red Bank’s Chelsea Morning take advantage of an opening in the appointment book to lie in the sun on the sidewalk of White Street Tuesday. “Can’t miss a day of sun,” Langbein said. (photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

AUTHORITIES SEARCHING RIVER AGAIN

searchcopterA helicopter, above, and a State Police boat searched the upper Navesink River near Hubbards Bridge late Tuesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

search-boat

For the second time in 11 days, law enforcement officers used a helicopter and police boat in a search of the Navesink River between Red Bank and Middletown Tuesday morning.

A spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office was not immediately available to comment on whether the search, like the prior one, was related to the disappearance of 26-year-old Viridiana Beltran-Gomez.

Read More »

SCREAMING AT COP GETS PASSENGER CUFFS

mtown-police-badge1Recent activity involving Middletown police. This report, from the township police department, appears here unedited.

• On May 21, 2011 at approximately 1:25 am Patrolman Richard Fulham was on patrol in the area of Thorne School when he observed a suspicious vehicle parked in the parking lot and a package of Budweiser beer sitting on the ground near the driver’s side door.

Officer Fulham approached the vehicle and conducted an investigation which resulted in Matthew Griffith, age 19, from Pacific Boulevard in Cliffwood Beach, NJ, being arrested for Possession of Alcohol Underage. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

Read More »

RAISES APPROVED FOR RED BANK EMPLOYEES

money-full-column

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Raises are going out at Red Bank Borough Hall, but stopping at the dais.

After two years of austerity, the borough council approved two-percent raises across the board for non-unionized employees last week. But the governing body kept its own pay flat.

Read More »

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

rumson-paradeRumson’s Memorial Day parade on East River Road Monday morning. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

COPS MUM ON LITTLE SILVER CRIME SCENE

greenfield-ctPolice from Little Silver and Fair Haven established a crime scene at a Greenfield Court home Saturday morning. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

[UPDATE: The Monmouth County Prosecutor is treating the incident reported on below as a suicide, officials said.]

Police are conducting a crime investigation at a home in an upscale community in Little Silver.

Police would not offer any details on why they are at the home, at 84 Greenfield Court in the Alderbrook condominium and townhouse complex off Harding Road. An officer who had just cordoned off the home’s yard with yellow police tape said only that it was an active crime scene.

Read More »

SPRING IS IN THE HUMID AIR

smoochA young couple enjoy an early taste of  summer at Red Bank’s Marine Park Friday afternoon, as temperatures soared to nearly 85 degrees and humidity counts neared 60 percent. The Memorial Day weekend will be pretty hot, too, according to the National Weather Service. (Click to enlarge)

MEMORIAL DAY ROUNDUP

american-flagsA home on Bingham Avenue in Rumson displays a row of miniature American flags in recognition of Memorial Day, which is Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Memorial Day is this Monday, signifying not just a long weekend and the unofficial start to the summer season, but most importantly a holiday to pay tribute to the American soldiers who’ve died in service to the country.

Here’s a roundup of Decoration Day events around the redbankgreen.

Read More »

‘CRASH’ SENDS MESSAGE IN GORY DETAIL

rbr-mock2Local volunteers ready a mock patient to be removed from a staged car crash and transported via a helicopter. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

With red lights flashing, power tools humming, glass shattered into crystal rocks on the pavement and twisted metal — what just minutes prior had been car roofs and doors —  tossed to the side, the jaws slowly lowered and the cell phones were pointed in ‘capture’ mode.

After firefighters muscled the jaws of life to tear aluminum and carbon fiber from two cars that had become cages to its passengers, EMS volunteers broke out the neck braces and popped the stretchers into position, ready to take away the victims of a head-on collision Friday morning.

Then the hearse arrived, and somebody was being zipped into a white body bag.

This high school tradition, a morbid mise en scene intended to spring the neck hair of prom-going seniors, couldn’t get more real short of somebody’s heart actually stopping.

Read More »

RIVERCENTER PLANS DOWNTOWN KIOSKS

rivercenter-sandwichRiverCenter’s first kiosk is slated for installation in English Plaza to let visitors know its new location. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Not that it was so easy to find when it was sequestered in a second-story space above Broad Street, but with Red Bank RiverCenter‘s move three months ago, the agency compromised what little visibility it had, taking up residence in an all-but-hidden office in English Plaza.

And if you’re a tourist looking for the Red Bank Visitors Center, which shares space with RiverCenter, well, good luck trying to find it.

But the move presented a fresh reason for RiverCenter, which promotes the downtown and portions of the West Side businesses, to put into action an idea executive director Nancy Adams has harbored since she stepped into her role more than three years ago, she said.

On Wednesday night, Adams presented the borough council with a plan to install information kiosks in English Plaza to alert visitors to the new RiverCenter and the Visitors Center digs.

It would be the first of a handful of kiosks downtown to offer maps and pertinent borough info to people coming into town, Adams said.

Read More »

FIREWORKS FEE AMENDED FOR KIDS

kaboom-muralThe Red Bank council amended the entry fee for the Kaboom fireworks Wednesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s council had a collective palm-to-forehead moment Wednesday night.

Apparently caught up earlier this month in the haste of getting the entry charge for the KaBoom fireworks show formally passed so the organizers could go to print on advertising material, the council flubbed the fee structure for the show at its last meeting.

This, even after a pretty lengthy discourse on what qualifies as a child – and a mid-meeting text exchange with KaBoom committee Chairman Charles Moran.

“In confirming and calls and text, we probably missed something,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER MAYOR’S HUSBAND DIES

d-castleman1A sign outside Little Silver Borough Hall recognizes the death of Donald Castleman, husband of Mayor Suzanne Castleman. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Donald Castleman, the husband of Little Silver Mayor Suzanne Castleman, passed away at his home Tuesday, according to an obituary in the Asbury Park Press.

The cause of his death was not reported in the obituary.

At 82 years old, Castleman’s death came just two months before the couple would have celebrated their 55th anniversary.

Read More »

TWO CRASHES IN RED BANK

mclaren-crashA Nissan crashed into a utility pole on McLaren Street in Red Bank Thursday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two car crashes occurred within minutes of each other in Red Bank Thursday morning.

mclaren-crash1

One was reported on McLaren Street, right, sending two women away in an ambulance. Another, appearing to be minor, was on Branch Avenue.

Immediate details on the two accidents, which occurred at around 11 a.m., were not immediately available.

Read More »

IT’S LIGHTS OUT ON RIVER ROAD, EVENTUALLY

river-road-lightsOlder lights on River Road in Fair Haven will come down on an as-needed basis. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

River Road in Fair Haven is lit up like a runway now that new streetlights have been installed on both sides of the thoroughfare.

You may have noticed, as well, that still stationed on the stretch through downtown are the old lights, casting pallid halogen beams down over the new, old-look fixtures.

Those aren’t coming down any time soon, although they will be shut off, making for a uniform glow down the renovated streetscape of the busy road, officials say.

Read More »

COUNCIL DIGS IN AGAINST PROPOSED GARDEN

rbpl-garden-siteAdvocates are pushing the council to allow a community garden on borough-owned property to the right of the library, above. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The green thumbs had their rakes and hoes out in force Wednesday night.

An already lengthy Red Bank council meeting carried on about 45 minutes more as elected officials and proponents of a community garden clashed on the proposed location for the first of what the group hopes will to be up to four community-tended gardens throughout town.

Advocates want the start-up site at borough-owned property adjoining the public library site. But officials say it’s the last available piece of public land on the Navesink River, and don’t want to exclude people by turning it into an area of specific interest.

And so a back-and-forth that started in March continued Wednesday, with still no place to plant a seed decided upon.

Read More »

DEVELOPER WANTS TO DROP AGE RESTRICTION

eastviewThe Little Silver planning office is reviewing a development application at Eastview Avenue. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A planned multi-unit housing plan that brought Little Silver neighbors out in objection four years ago is back in the works, with a minor tweak.

The borough planning office is reviewing the previously approved plan, called Carriage Park at Little Silver, for completeness.

Read More »

CHURNING ITALIAN ON BROAD AND WEST SIDE

racioppisAfter 15 years in Red Bank, Racioppi’s Kitchen locked its doors Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The last two years were tough for Joe Racioppi (no relation to this reporter). The last six to eight months in particular, he said, became impossible to weather. rcsm2_0105081

“It got to the point where I just couldn’t make the payments at home,” said Racioppi, who lives in the Navesink section of Middletown. “So it was at the point where I either found another job or got kicked out of my house.”

He chose the former, and on Sunday, months before the 16th anniversary of Racioppi’s Kitchen, Racioppi turned off the lights and locked the doors of his Italian deli and restaurant for the last time.

“It sucks,” he said. “It’s kind of depressing, but on the other hand, it’s kind of relieving.”

Racioppi’s is just one of a handful of businesses making an exit from Red Bank in recent weeks.

Read More »

SPOT-HOGGING AN ISSUE IN FAIR HAVEN

fh-parkingBusinesses say owners and employees are going over the two-hour parking limit on River and Fair Haven roads, taking precious spots away from shoppers. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

park_it_021Fair Haven’s police department is reluctant to go on a ticketing blitz downtown. But if business owners and employees keep camping at prime parking spaces, that’ll be the next course of action.

“It’s become an issue,” said Michele Berger, president of the borough’s business association, which has received complaints the last three months about owners and employees parking on River and Fair Haven roads all day. “People are asking: what are we going to do about it?”

Read More »

JAZZ & BLUES FEST BUSTS ITSELF IN THREE

stage2The 2009 edition of the festival was the last at Red Bank’s Marine Park, and there are no signs of a return. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival, once a summer staple in Red Bank that was unceremoniously scratched off the calendar and has since been on a wayward journey for a permanent home, is taking the show on the road this year.

After a stint on the pavement at Monmouth Park, the festival’s foundation announced it’s taking a totally different direction — three, actually — making one-day stops over three months in as many towns.

“It is what it is right now,” festival organizer Dennis Eschbach told redbankgreen. “We’re going in a different direction this year.”

Read More »

A LEANER, MEANER CUT OF RIBEYE

slim-tim-cronin21Alone in an idealized Red Bank of the mind, Tim Cronin models a new look and readies a new edition of The Ribeye Brothers for a Memorial Weekend wingding at The Dub.

By TOM CHESEK

It’s the first question on the mind of anyone who happens into the English Plaza entrance of Jack’s Music Shoppe, where Tim Cronin “steers the back of the firetruck” from his perch near the posters, the listening kiosk and the certified pre-owned vinyl.

The answer, of course, is NO — as in “no, this is NOT a register.” But if there’s time for a followup, the answer might be YES — as in why YES, I did lose a couple of DJ milk crates’ worth of weight, or as he puts it, “I’ve gone from morbidly obese, to not so morbid.”

Fans of the Ribeye Brothers will be relieved to know that the beloved frontman for the Red Bank-based swamp/ stomp/ “detached garage” band hasn’t shed more than 60 pounds out of any sickness, addiction to Enerjets or ill-advised hunger strike keyed to the Mets closing above .500 this season. Rather, it’s as simple and as effective as a dietary regimen that says nix to the butter, bacon and salt — with a big boost from “sugarless gum, black coffee and tons of hot sauce.”

This is all pertinent because, when the latest edition of the Brothers Ribeye returns to The Dublin House for a holiday-weekend hullabaloo on Sunday evening, May 29, the band will be serving up a sound and a set that’s as meaty and beaty as ever, while arguably just a healthy bit less big and bouncy.

Read More »

A LITTLE ITALY, LITERALLY, IN RUMSON

ristorante-giorgiaRistorante Giorgia is set to open in Rumson within the first two weeks of June in the space last occupied by The Barn. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Bacon’s out. Pancetta’s in.

A little more than a year after ex-Wall Streeter Carl LaGrassa opened The Barn doors on Avenue of Two Rivers in Rumson, he’s handed the keys to the hangar over to a local chef with international specialties.

Francesco Panucci, a native of Italy who lives in Long Branch, is in the middle of overhauling the bantam eatery into an authentic Italian restaurant, Ristorante Giorgia.

Read More »

TREE LAW SPLITS FAIR HAVEN COUNCIL

tree-chopWorkers cut down a tree in front of a Third Street home in Fair Haven Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Months of discussion and a handful of proposed revisions to Fair Haven’s tree preservation ordinance still haven’t gotten the six-member council in agreement on just what to do with the contentious law.

Half want to keep it as is. The other half, in the name of preserving property rights, want it updated.

When the latest would-be updates, proposed by Councilman Bob Marchese, came up for an introduction vote Monday night, the motion passed with a tie-breaking ‘yes’ by Mayor Mike Halfacre.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll will go into effect when a final vote comes.

“I will tell you gentlemen, if this same ordinance comes before me again, on a 3-3 tie I will vote no,” Halfacre said.

Read More »