PRISONER BUSTED IN 2008 BURGLARY

mtown-cop-carsBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In this week’s recap of Middletown police activity, a high school girl was assaulted  at school, a teen was busted trying to buy whiskey and a prisoner was charged for a gas station burglary that occurred three years ago.

Details, provided by Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger, are below and appear unedited.

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CUT THE ENGINE OR PAY, COUNCIL SAYS

bud-truckThe Red Bank council will direct police to crack down on delivery trucks idling in town. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

park_it_021At four bucks a gallon — and more for diesel — the economics of leaving the engine running on a delivery makes little sense. There’s the environmental-damage factor, too.

But members of the Red Bank council, after receiving complaints from tenants downtown, say the fumes from idling delivery trucks are wafting into the above-business dwellings and spoiling sweet spring breezes.

So the governing body, in hope of clearing the air, is directing police to enforce a state law against idling in town, specifically targeting delivery trucks, which Mayor Pasquale Menna said are the main offenders.

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GIVING IT A TRY, OR THREE

Dozens of multitalented athletes took to the water and roads Sunday morning for the Red Bank Triathlon, run by the Sandy Hookers Tri Club to benefit the Riverview Medical Center Foundation and the KaBoom Fireworks.

The challenge consisted of a 1.5k swim in the Navesink River, followed by a 40k bike ride and a 10k run.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

SIX INJURED IN LITTLE SILVER COLLISION

ls-crash-051511The occupants of the Honda Civic, at left, both in their 80’s, required extrication following the crash on Seven Bridges Road. (Click to enlarge)

Six people, including two women in their 80s, were taken to area hospitals following a two-car collision that closed a key intersection in Little Silver for two hours Sunday night, police reported.

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BRINGING ‘BREL’ ALIVE AND KICKING TO TRTC

fabd6d4aJacques Brel, the one-of-a-kind songsmith whose works were adapted, translated and brought to a whole new audience with the revue JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS.

By TOM CHESEK

Long before you probably heard a note of his music, you might have noticed that the Belgian-born singer, songwriter and sometime actor Jacques Brel had an effortless knack for seducing the camera. Coffeehouse cool in the 50s and early 60s, suitably seedy in the 70s, his was a face that seemingly lived every lyric he ever wrote — and he was seldom snapped without one of the Gitanes that would silence him at the age of 49.

Most of us here who’ve heard anything composed by Brel (other than this mellow tune, turned into a 1974 chart-topper by Terry Jacks) know him through the Off Broadway revue Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, a surprise success when it opened on the modest stage of downtown’s Village Gate in 1968. Co-starring (and with new English lyrics contributed by) Mort Shuman — one half of the great popsong partnership that brought us this and this and this — the collection of some two dozen Brel cabaret classics broke onto Broadway, became a film in 1975, and has played to audiences around the world ever since. Beginning Tuesday night, it comes to the stage of the Two River Theater as the final mainstage offering of the 2010-2011 season.

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THE BEEB TAKES RUMSON’S ECONOMIC PULSE

bbc-rumsonJerry St-Cyr of Rumson Market Place is spotlighted in a BBC report on the state of the U.S. economy. (Click to enlarge)

Britain’s BBC News turned its lens toward Rumson last week for a report on the American business landscape, and finds that soaring prices for fuel and food have slowed the economic recovery in recent months.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW: MAY 8-14, 2011

dinerA painter finishes off a welcome sign in the window of Broadway Diner. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A roundup of articles appearing last week here on redbankgreen is below.

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SAYING GOODBYE TO HER TOWN

m-smeltzerSea Bright Administrator Maryann Smeltzer will retire at the end of June. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Maryann Smeltzer was born in Long Branch, and for the last dozen or so, has lived with her husband of 39 years in West Long Branch.

Her allegiance, by logic, would be to one of those towns.

Not so for Smeltzer, who’s spent the last 31 years, with a break, making a daily trip up Ocean Avenue to Sea Bright Borough Hall, working her way up from a part-time secretary to borough administrator.

“Whenever I talk about my town, [husband Richard] thinks I’m talking about West Long Branch, but I’m talking about Sea Bright,” she said. “Sea Bright will always be my town.”

Smeltzer, who turns 60 on June 2, will retire from her town at the end of June.

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KEEPING IT REAL BY KEEPING IT LOCAL

And now, an important message from the home office. Literally.

Authentically Localredbankgreen has joined with some 30 hyperlocal news sites across America in an effort to remind readers and advertisers of the community-enhancing role that independent news sites play.

Dubbed Authentically Local and including sites from Seattle to Tucson to New Haven, the group’s aim is “to remind readers and advertisers of the value that local ownership and local perspective brings to coverage,” says redbankgreen publisher John T. Ward.

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SLEDGER: SHORE TOWN POPULATIONS SHRANK

sb-ocean-aveThe Census Bureau reports that Sea Bright lost 22 percent of its population from 2000 to 2010. No way, says the mayor. (Click to enlarge)

Municipalities along the length of New Jersey’s Atlantic Coast saw dramatic declines in year-round populations. the Star-Ledger reports, citing new Census Bureau data.

Among them: Sea Bright. Though the mayor there, like her counterparts elsewhere along the Shore, isn’t buying it.

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NOVELTEAS BEGINS A NEW CHAPTER

rotondas-1The future of NovelTeas will be written by the Rotonda family, including siblings Vic Jr. and Nicole. (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

novelteas1The news traveled fast — Facebook fast. As NovelTeas founder Kim Widener posted last Friday: “NovelTeas has a new owner and will be re-opening tomorrow.”

Sure enough, come Saturday afternoon, the book salon/ tea room/ gift boutique — established by Rumson resident Widener in 2009 on the “Left Bank” of Red Bank, and closed in recent weeks — was abuzz with activity, with new proprietors welcoming customers in search of a last-minute MomsDay notion or sundry.

Taking over the shop at 78 Bridge Avenue are two generations of the Rotonda family of Toms River; dad Vic, mom Teri, son Vic Junior, and daughter Nicole — a lecture agent by trade, and a media pro that Widener praised as “extremely energetic and creative” and “very connected.”

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SPRING 2011: PATCHING THE MUSHROOM ROOF

mushroom-rooferA roofer who identified himself only as Jack hams it up on the roof of an office building at Broad Street and Wikoff Place in Red Bank Thursday afternoon. Popularly known as the “mushroom house,” the place was built by actor Charles K. Champlin in 1925. (Click to enlarge)

VALET, ROOFTOP DINING ON SUMMER MENU

park_it_021By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Sticking to their “open for business” push, Red Bank officials are working to roll out the red carpet for diners and drivers this summer season.

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, Mayor Pasquale Menna introduced two proposals to separate Red Bank from its primary Shore competitors, Asbury Park and Pier Village in Long Branch, and align itself more closely with places like Georgetown and New York City: valet parking and rooftop dining.

“It’s another step we’ve taken to indicate that Red Bank is open for business,”said Councilman Mike DuPont, who is leading a “red tape review” committee to make it easier for businesses to move into town.

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MORE TURF MAY COME TO BASIE FIELDS

scan-22An engineer’s rendering of the proposed upgrades to Count Basie Fields. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank is hoping to go grassless at Count Basie Fields.

Borough Engineer Christine Ballard is submitting a $500,000 state grant application to help pay for a $2.2 million turf renovation to two fields plus a half-mile gravel path along portions of the park’s perimeter.

If the borough can pull in funding for the project, Basie fields would be completely composed of the synthetic grass. Six months ago, the borough opened up its near $900,000 turf football and soccer field.

Unlike that project, the scope and price tag for this project is twice as large. But the borough intends to fund it in a similar way, Ballard said.

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BLACK BOX DEBATE: ARE THEY DANGERS?

black-boxLarge black power boxes for traffic lights, like this one at Prospect Avenue and Harding Road at the Little Silver/Red Bank border, have some Fair Haven residents concerned about visibility. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A push to upgrade traffic lights in Monmouth County has some Fair Haven residents switched on against the hulking black boxes being installed at the corner of River Road and Hance Road.

The boxes, which already have been installed at two other locations in Little Silver and Red Bank, might be fit for somewhere on the Turnpike, but not in a residential neighborhood where school children walk and ride bikes, they say.

In Fair Haven, though, a satisfying solution doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.

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KABOOM: TEN BUCKS AT RIVERSIDE GARDENS

riverside-gardens-crowd1Fireworks watchers at Riverside Gardens Park will have to pay; viewing from other public properties will remain free. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Primo pyrotechnics views will cost you at one public location in Red Bank this July 3.

The Kaboom Fireworks Committee, apparently back on its feet through a revamped fundraising model, is backing off a previous plan to charge for views of the annual Independence Day fireworks show at three waterfront properties, and has decided on just one: Riverside Gardens Park.

The other two riverside locations, at the borough library and Marine Park, will remain free.

“They are on very, very sound financial footing,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said of the fireworks.

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DONE GOOD: HOP, BOP, BIKE, SWIM ‘N CRAWL

womans-clubThe Womans Club of Red Bank will host a “no junk” flea market on Sunday to raise funds for its weekly jazz shows. (Click to enlarge)

donegoodlogoThe name Fair Trade Town Crawl suggests that they’ve slowed things down a bit, coming off last year’s Shop Hop. But when the Fair Trade Red Bank organization celebrates World Fair Trade Day this Saturday, May 14, it’ll hit the ground running with new products, new participating merchants, and new shopping incentives centered around the retail reveille call of “Fair Trade Your Breakfast.”

From 11a to 4p, a group of downtown business that includes returning FT’ers  Ten Thousand Villages (scene of a breakfast pastry bake-off), soapmarket (where customers can make their own own sugar scrub from fair trade products) and No Joe’s (spotlighting a fair trade coffee of the day) will join with newcomers The Cheese Cave (hosting a coffee cupping demonstration), P.S. Poppyseeds and Good Karma Cafe for an afternoon of discounted merchandise, raffle prizes and other activities. Fair trade food products from vendors like Papa Ganache and The Cinnamon Snail can also be purchased at Red Ginger Home and Yummy Yummy Good Stuff @ Funk & Standard.

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FEDS CHARGE LOCAL DOC IN DRUG RING BUST

lopresti-officeJacqueline LoPresti, who has an office on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver, is one of two doctors indicted for allegedly writing illegal prescriptions. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

A Little Silver osteopath is among 21 people facing federal drug distribution charges for her alleged role in a massive scheme to peddle the painkiller oxycodone, the Associated Press reports.

Jacqueline LoPresti, 50, who lives in Fair Haven and practices in an office on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver, is one of two doctors arrested Wednesday for “illegally writing more than 6,000 prescriptions for more than 500,000 oxycodone tablets between January 2009 and December 2010,” the AP reports.

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey scheduled a noontime press conference in Newark on the case.

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RUMSON BIZ OWNERS TRASH GARBAGE PLAN

dumpsterStarting in July, Rumson will no longer collect trash from Dumpsters, leaving some businesses to hire outside contractors to do the job. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After howling from residents and business owners last year over a plan to lay off a handful of employees and  privatize trash collection in Rumson, the borough council scrapped the idea — for this year, at least — and instead came up with cost-saving measures within the public works department.

Now, as the borough prepares to implement one of those measures, some local merchants are bristling at the plan that they say digs further into their pockets.

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BOYNTON JABS OFFICIALS AT WEST SIDE MEET

celstial-meet1

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Freddie Boynton might as well have laced up his old boxing gloves for this face-off.

The former boxer, who’s taken a role in retirement as a voice of Red Bank’s West Side, didn’t pull any punches when borough and elected officials made a trip to the Celestial Lodge Tuesday afternoon to address a grab bag of concerns from residents. But nearly an hour was dominated by one topic — access to Count Basie Fields — and Boynton and other residents, on the way to a compromise on extending the park’s hours, used Administrator Stanley Sickels and elected officials as punching bags for criticism.

“Our children are being locked out,” Boynton, a former borough employee, said. “We’re being treated like we’re animals over here.”

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FROM SURROGACY ‘EXPERIENCE,’ TWO BIRTHS

chloeThe arrival of Blair Sullivan Cuje’s daughter Chloe, who was carried to term by another woman, gave rise to a new Red Bank business. (Click to enlarge)

Because of longstanding health issues, the advice doctors gave Blair Sullivan Cuje four years ago after the birth of her first daughter, Sophie, was firm: don’t try having another child.

Neither, Cuje (pronounced ‘koo-jay’) nor her husband, George, had a fertility issue: the problem lay in the childbearing process itself, which caused her serious medical complications. Still, the Little Silver couple wanted a larger family.

After considering their options, including adoption, the Cujes took the surrogacy route, in which another woman carried their fertilized egg to term. The process resulted in the birth of their second daughter a year and a half ago, when, by prior arrangement, a maternity nurse in a Wisconsin hospital handed the newborn Chloe directly to Cuje, not the surrogate mother.

And in that emotionally weighty moment, it might be said, was also born the idea for a new business, one that caters not only to couples like the Cujes, but to women like Tina Dettlaff, the Milwaukee woman who bore Chloe.

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MENNA PLANS RESIDENT MEETINGS

pasquale-menna-2-102110Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Red Bank council members take the dais for their regular meeting tomorrow night, they’ll likely start out discussing a potential new law banning vehicle-idling and expanding private contracts for water and sewer connections.

Snooze, right?

But what’s notable about these topics is not necessarily their substance, but their source. They wouldn’t have made it onto the council’s dance card had it not been for taxpayers’ input, be it by way of stopping an elected official on the street or sitting through a council meeting waiting for the regular order of business to wrap up and get to the public comment portion — an often intimidating forum typically taken advantage of by meeting regulars.

So sticking with a credo of an open government with an open door, Mayor Pasquale Menna said he wants more input and more ideas from the borough’s stakeholders. On Saturday, he plans to launch a series of informal meetings aimed at generating just that.

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OCEAN AVENUE WORK NEAR COMPLETION

sb-roadworkThe state Department of Transportation is expected to wrap up a months-long roadwork project on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright this week. The work, which got started in early March, includes resurfacing the roadway between the bridges that connect the borough to Rumson and Highlands, and installing new curbing, borough Administrator Maryann Smeltzer said. Targeted completion date is Wednesday, she said. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

DISBAND ZONING BOARD, COUNCILMAN SAYS

b-lucarelliBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven Councilman Ben Lucarelli (right) has been in the construction and real estate business more than 20 years, and in that time has appeared before countless zoning board all over the state.

None has treated applicants as badly as Fair Haven’s, he said.

So after attending last week’s zoning meeting, and being completely appalled by its members’ actions, Lucarelli has made a bold proposal: disband the board and fold its duties into the planning board’s authority.

“I was appalled at the arrogant, condescending, mean-spirited nature of the zoning board,” he said. “This was just a very bad example of how the residents of Fair Haven are being treated.”

And nobody on the council, which at least once before tried to disband the nine-member board, disagreed.

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