COPS: DRUNK DRIVER CRASHES IN WORK ZONE

authorities2aBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown police made several arrests over the weekend, including one of a man accused of drunkenly smashing a vehicle into the back of a paint truck and another police said caused a noisy ruckus outside a home in the Belford section of town.

Details of the police reports are below.

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SPRING 2011: A PLEIN DAY

painterArtist Julie Fornaci made a trip from her Bergen County home to the waterfront at Victory Park in Rumson Monday for some plein air painting on our beautiful Navesink. Fornaci is one of ten New Jersey artists taking part in a workshop put on by Fair Haven’s Lauren Andreach, who does three week-long workshops a year through the Middletown Arts Center. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

HOMICIDE CHARGED IN M’TOWN AUTO DEATH

just_inAn 18-year-old Red Bank man has been charged with vehicular homicide following an automobile crash in Middletown that killed a passenger in his car two months ago.

Adam Sofio was already facing drunk driving, speeding and other charges in the aftermath of the crash that killed Middletown’s Paul Bradley, also 18, in the early morning hours of February 27, the prosecutor’s office says in a press release issued Monday.

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MIDDLETOWN POLICE BLOTTER

The crime reports below were provided by the Middletown Township Police Department for the week of April 29 to May 6, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

mtown-cruiser• On May 5, 2011 at approximately 3:45 pm police responded to Normandy Park in reference to a report of a person who had found a baggie containing Marijuana and wished to turn it into the police. Upon arrival Patrolman Nicholas Fenezia retrieved the Marijuana from the caller and began an investigation.

Officer Fenezia was able to determine that the Marijuana belonged to a 15 year old male juvenile who was playing in the park. Patrolman Fenezia arrested the juvenile and transported him to police headquarters where he was charged with Possession of under 50 grams of Marijuana. The juvenile was processed and released to his father pending a court date.

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COPS: BEER BOTTLES THROWN FROM BALCONY

rbpd-carsThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of April 29 to May 6, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief reported on 4-29-11 at West Front St. Victim reported that over the past three days there have been several incident of graffiti spray painted on his wooden stockade fence by unknown subject(s). Ptl. Michael Campanella.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 4-30-11 at White Street. Victim reported that unknown person(s) scratched glass of storefront window. Ptl. Heather Pubylski.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 5-1-11 at Bodman Place-Hotel. Report of subjects throwing beer bottles off of balcony into parking lot of hotel. Parked vehicle was struck with a bottle breaking the rear window. Ptl. John Camarca.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

11-wreathA wreath was placed at Piping Rock Park in Rumson, where a plaque honors borough residents who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It was a week that started fraught with emotion, as news broke in a national address by President Obama late Sunday night that a commando team had wiped the face of evil in the Western world, Osama bin Laden, off the earth.

For those around The Green, it was a bittersweet measure of justice, as scores of residents in our area lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks masterminded by bin Laden.

It hit particularly close to Middletown, which lost 37 people in the attacks. We were out Monday morning talking to those who paid their respects at Middletown’s serene 9/11 memorial garden, near the train station.

And the week went on from there.

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SUNDAY: MARKET ON YOUR CALENDAR

farmers-market1Red Bank’s popular farmers market makes its traditional Mother’s Day debut Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s time to polish momma’s apple, locavores.

Red Bank’s ever-popular, always-growing open-air emporium, the Red Bank Farmers’ Market, returns to the blacktop of The Galleria on Mother’s Day for its 12th season of dishing out homegrown fruits, vegetables and miscellaneous wares.

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TWO-CAR CRASH ON RUMSON ROAD

rumson-crash1Two cars collided on Rumson Road and Avenue of Two Rivers this morning. At least one minor injury was reported. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

At least one minor injury was reported in a late-morning accident in Rumson Friday, causing a brief shutdown of a section of one of the borough’s main roads.

The accident, involving a silver Chrysler Sebring convertible and a white Honda Pilot, occurred at the intersection of Rumson Road and Avenue of Two Rivers at about 11:30 a.m.

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RED BANK RESTAURANTS PLAN PUSHBACK

rb-restaurantsTom Fishkin of Readies Fine Foods, Valerie Aufiero of Front Street Trattoria, Dan Lynch of red and the Downtown, George Lyristis of the Bistro at Red Bank and Anthony Ferrando of Dish are among the restaurateurs planning a new marketing effort. Click to enlarge)

Asbury Park and Pier Village in Long Branch have been eating off Red Bank’s plate for too long.

That’s the message from a group of borough restaurant owners who have banded together in an effort to recapture a bigger piece of the Monmouth County dining-out pie.

After three years of slow build-up, the no-name group is ready to bust out of the Red Bank RiverCenter crib with its own marketing effort aimed at bringing some sizzle back to the downtown.

“Red Bank has really fallen behind,” says red and the Downtown owner Dan Lynch. “We have a really great grouping of restaurants that needs to be showcased.”

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FOR RBR PHOTOGS, MAJOR EXPOSURE

margotfosterAmong the photos featured in the Red Bank Regional VPA Senior Art Show are THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME by Margot Foster of Middletown and DOUBLE TAKE by Amanda Sullivan of Little Silver, below. (Click to enlarge)

According to Red Bank Regional High School faculty member Dawn Lisko, the senior photography majors in her Visual and Performing Art Academy program “have worked rigorously over the past four years.”

amanda-sullivanHow rigorously? In an age when even the most accomplished professional photographers have abandoned film, scrapped their developer equipment and turned their darkrooms back into half-baths and wine cellars, the VPA students learned how to develop and print film negatives the old fashioned way — this in addition to training in the most hypercurrent digital shooting and Photoshopping techniques.

On the evening of Thursday, May 12, the rigors of the shutterbug lifestyle will pay dividends for nine of the RBR photography majors, when the VPA Senior Art Show spotlights the best of the students’ work in an exhibit that opens at Borough Hall in Little Silver.

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FIREHOUSE SCUFFLE CAUGHT ON TAPE

Video of the October 9 firetruck wetdown in Sea Bright that preceded the alleged assault of a firefighter by two others.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A dramatic seven-minute video was the centerpiece of opening day in court as two Sea Bright volunteer firefighters went on trial Thursday for an alleged assault on a third.

Courtroom onlookers also heard testimony from two witnesses – one of them a Monmouth Beach cop – who filled in dialogue on the silent video and gave blow-by-blow accounts of the fight that followed a wet-down celebration for a new firetruck last October 9.

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BAIT SHOP LANDS OK; HOTEL PLAN TABLED

pride-bait-tackleThe former Harper’s Copy Center on East Front Street won approval for conversion to a bait and tackle shop. (Click to enlarge)

Neighbors raised a stink about the prospect of rancid fish waste, but a proposal for a bait and tackle shop sailed through the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night.

In other board business, a plan for a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn hotel at the foot of the Cooper Bridge was tabled for two weeks, and a dentist won approval for an extensive remodeling of a home on Maple Avenue provided he install a sidewalk along one side of his property.

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MORE HEARINGS EXPECTED ON AVAYA PLAN

avayaThe Avaya property hearing saw more than 200 people in attendance, but no decision was made by the planning board. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

More than 200 people, some wearing t-shirts with a red slash through the number 342,  turned out for Wednesday’s planning board meeting on a proposal to build 342 housing units at a disused Avaya office complex, the Asbury Park Press reports.

It was the first of many expected meetings that will take place over the course of months, Township Planner Jason Greenspan told the newspaper.

The proposal to build 342 units on the 68-acre property on Middletown-Lincroft Road has residents concerned about its impact on the sewer system. Rick Brodsky, attorney for developer Four Ponds Associates, said his client “will certainly pay its fair share” should a new pump station for the system should one be needed.

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MIDDLETOWN MULLING TRAFFIC CAMS

mtown-red-lightThe town intends to install three to five red light cameras. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Drivers in Middletown might start thinking twice before speeding up to catch the yellow light before it goes red.

After receiving proposals from several vendors, the township is considering installing traffic light cameras to nab drivers running red lights.

The cameras could be installed by the end of this year, Administrator Anthony Mercantante said. The question is where?

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

where_050511

Last week’s Where, featuring a bridal-gown wearing mannequin seen from below, turned out to be as intriguing to readers as it was to redbankgreen.

What on earth was it doing there on an upper floor of an office building? Was there a bridal shop up there? Perhaps a mannequin company?

No, just a securities trading office run by a guy with a quirky sense of humor, apparently.

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CLUB AWASH IN PINK ON GIRLS NIGHT OUT

It was Girls Night Out at Red Bank’s Downtown nightclub Wednesday, one of a series of events in the annual Paint the Town Pink celebration to raise awareness about, and funds for treatment of, breast cancer. Proceeds from the $60 tickets went straight into the Pink Fund, which provides free mammography for uninsured women at the Jane H. Booker Women’s Center at Riverview Medical Center.

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GOOD TASTE IS A TROLLEY HOP AWAY

Toeknee Bianchi created this video document of the 2010 Taste of Sea Bright tour, which returns Saturday.

Think of it as a buffet — a great, big, sumptuous, surprising, eclectic, indoor/outdoor, three-mile-long buffet. The kind where you need a trolley to get from one end to the other.

When the event known as Taste of Sea Bright returns for the latest in a successful series of culinary tours on Saturday,  it will serve as a reminder that Monmouth County’s most stylishly slender borough knows how to eat very well indeed — and that, in the words of Sea Bright Business Alliance director Joan Osgoodby, “this town is not just a summer romance.”

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TONY SMILES ON TRTC’s ‘BREL’ TROUPE

forrest-mcclendon-1Actor (and newly minted Tony nominee) Forrest McClendon joins already-Tony’d director Dan Ostling when Two River Theater Company begins its engagement of JACQUES BREL on May 17.

Just hours after Monday night’s announcement of the upcoming 2011-2012 schedule at Two River Theater Company, the Red Bank-based company had some additional, equally exciting news to share — an alert that added luster to the forthcoming final production of the current season, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.

On Tuesday, the American Theatre Wing made public the nominees for the 2011 Tony Awards — and among the candidates for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical was Forrest McClendon, whose work in the tragicomic Kander-Ebb opus The Scottsboro Boys was one of 11 nominations garnered by the show.

With Boys having closed its initial Broadway run, McClendon is now deep into rehearsals in Red Bank as a member of the ensemble charged with bringing the revue of sharply written cabaret classics by the Belgian Brel to the Red Bank area audience for the first time.

But any hopes that the actor entertained of enjoying sole bragging rights on Bridge Avenue were short-lived, however, when it was announced that the (noncompetitive category) Regional Theatre Tony went this year to Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company — a troupe founded by Dan Ostling, the director and scenic designer of TRTC’s Brel.

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SEA BRIGHT FIREFIGHTERS HEAD TO COURT

sb-fire-truck1Three Sea Bright firefighters will face charges stemming from an altercation during the wet-down party for this new fire truck in October. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Sea Bright’s government held its annual reorganization meeting at the beginning of the year, notably missing from the appointments were two slots for line officers on the fire department.

Five months later, the assistant chief and second lieutenant roles have yet to be filled.

That’s because the two volunteers in line for those positions, a pair of brothers, are awaiting a court hearing for an alleged assault – against a fellow firefighter, who also has charges against him.

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REGATTA OPENS SAILING SEASON

The Monmouth Boat Club opened its 2011 season last weekend by hosting the the 50th Annual Long John Regatta for Lightning Class sailboats.

redbankgreen lensman Peter Lindner was out on our beautiful Navesink River on Saturday to capture the color and excitement.

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ENOUGH TO GIVE ONE GAS

sb-gasAmid a national spike in gasoline prices, Sea Bright Service Station is the apparent winner in the race to $4-a-gallon gas in the greater Green. On Tuesday, the Ocean Avenue filling station advertised regular at $4.03 a gallon. Lukoil on Newman Springs Road in Shrewsbury hovered at $3.99 a gallon, according to gasbuddy.com. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

CONTROVERSIAL AVAYA HEARING TONIGHT

avaya1Residents and Middletown officials are strongly opposed to a 342-unit housing plan at the former Avaya property in Lincroft. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown’s planning board will meet Wednesday to hear a proposal that’s got neighbors up in arms and township officials grinding their teeth.

The proposed project, submitted by Four Ponds Associates, calls for the demolition of a large office building vacated by telecom giant Avaya and the construction of 342 residential units on 68  acres on Middletown-Lincroft Road.

For locals, the prospect of adding hundreds of homes to the tract is an unwelcome one, as traffic and safety top the concerns, not to mention a serious disruption to the Lincroft section’s quality of life, they say.

For township officials, the proposal represents “archaic and ridiculous” affordable housing laws imposed by the state. But until changes are made in Trenton, they’re handcuffed, they say.

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FAIR HAVENITE REPORTS $70K BULLION THEFT

fhpd-vehicle

The crime reports below were provided by the Fair Haven Police Department for the month of April 2011. The information appears here unedited.

4/1/11

2 intoxicated juvenile males; 1 from Rumson and the other from Fair Haven were arrest for disorderly conduct by S.O. Reevey.

4/4/11

A report was taken for vandalism to a bench at a baseball field in the Borough. Sgt. Lambert took the report.

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CUPCAKE CRUSH IN RED BANK

mrMr. Cupcakes is one of two new cupcake purveyors in Red Bank, making three in total. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The batter’s going to start flying in Red Bank.

Just months after Chris Paseka and Jesse Bello-Paseka opened cupcake-centric Sugarush on Front Street, two new niche bakeries plan to open in town, waging, if nothing else, a serious cupcake competition in town.

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TEAK CHANGES HANDS

teak-042111Restaurateur George Lyristis, below, says he and others bought the restaurant to keep it from going under. (Click to enlarge)

An investment group led by Bistro at Red Bank owner Lyristis_george_2George Lyristis has acquired the Monmouth Street “Asian fusion” restaurant Teak.

The restaurateur, who with his brothers Taso and Charlie also owns Zoe in Little Silver, said he and two partners bought Teak because they were concerned that the restaurant would fail, leaving another gaping hole in the downtown streetscape in the way Ashes Cigar Bar did on Broad Street with its collapse under the weight of litigation did last summer.

“I didn’t want to see another domino fall,” Lyristis tells redbankgreen.

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