M’TOWN: ALLEGED COP-WHACKER BUSTED

The crime reports below were provided by the Middletown Township Police Department. The information appears here unedited.

pujols• On April 22, 2011 Detective Daniel Sullivan received information from Detective Jason Lopez of the Keansburg Police Department that he had arrested two juveniles for committing car burglaries in the Keansburg area and had recovered items that had been stolen in similar type burglaries in Middletown. Detective Lopez also identified the suspects in the Middletown incidents.

Detective Sullivan and Detective Lopez conducted a joint investigation which resulted in the arrests of three subjects for the Middletown burglaries. Middletown police arrested Raymond Pujols [above, right], age 19, and Jonathan Pujols [above, left], age 18, both from Raritan Avenue in Keansburg and a seventeen year old juvenile from Main Street in Keansburg.

Read More »

M’TOWN COPS REACH DEAL TO SAVE JOBS

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown’s police department will stay intact, after the second and last remaining police union in contract negotiations with the township came to an agreement on a four-year deal over the weekend.

Policeman’s Benevolent Association Local 124, following the lead of the department’s other union, Superior Officers Association, struck a deal with the township that will save six jobs that were on the chopping block.

Read More »

TRTC’s NEXT SEASON: 8 SHOWS, NO WAITING

trt-extArtistic director John Dias, below, and the Two River Theater announced the lineup of shows for the 2011-’12 season Monday night. (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

john-dias-2

The onstage ensemble included a formidable British-born actor who won an Obie award, for playing no less a role than Hamlet. An actor-director-playwright (and cast member of TV’s Castle) with a Tony to call his own. A young actress and singer who’s co-starred on Broadway in Les Miz and Miss Saigon.

Even with all that collected charisma, however, all eyes were on the soft-spoken guy at the podium — John Dias, artistic director of Two River Theater Company, and the man at the center of attention as the borough-based stage troupe announced its 2011-2012 season of shows Monday night.

As presented to an audience of invited guests at TRTC’s branded Bridge Avenue artspace, it’s an expanded slate of eight shows that makes use of the building’s mainstage auditorium as well as its companion “black box” space, the Marion J. Huber Theater. Adding to the buzz, of course, was the fact that the upcoming season represents the first full schedule of offerings selected by Dias, who joined TRTC in August of last year.

Read More »

SCHOOL’S IN AT FAIR HAVEN LODGE

smart-startGene and Debbie Trotta outside the former Masonic lodge on River Road in Fair Haven, which is now home to their pre-school, Smart Start. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Its prominent brick frame rising to a spire, it had once been home to a church and later a Masonic lodge, but for the last two decades it was little more than a shell of Fair Haven’s past.

To Gene Trotta and Debbie Trotta, the River Road landmark was crying out for something.

“I looked at it for 20 years, and I always said it was meant to be a school,” said Gene.

The Trottas admired the century-old building while they went to work down the street, to the Cedar Avenue preschool they started in their late 20s, a one-floor spot with just a couple classrooms and not a hint of the history or distinct architecture they coveted on River Road.

Then, as Debbie tells it, a little bit of fate interceded, and by the time the school year started, the Colts Neck couple was busting out boarded-up windows, spreading spackle and applying a finish to original chestnut wood floors.

“Everything’s original in here,” Gene said.

Except for the owners, who have fulfilled their vision to run Smart Start Preschool within the historic walls of 786 River Road.

Read More »

NO LONGER JUST THINKING PINK

Actual pinking got underway in downtown Red Bank Saturday with the start of the 2011 Pink Week breast cancer awareness effort. Some photos by Dustin Racioppi.

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.

LOCALS MOURN BIN LADEN’S VICTIMS

11-memorialToms River resident and Jersey City firefighter Mark Lee visited the memorial stone of his lifelong friend Paul Nimbley at Middletown’s September 11 memorial garden Monday, fresh off the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. armed forces. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Paul Nimbley and Mark Lee were like brothers. They grew up together, went to school together in Jersey City. Lee was Nimbley’s best man at his wedding.

Nearly 10 years ago, Nimbley was one of nearly 3,000 killed at the World Trade Center and two other locations in attacks orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, the elusive-yet-ubiquitous face of 21st century terror who finally met his demise at the hands of U.S. special forces Sunday.

On the heels of that bittersweet news, Lee, a Jersey City firefighter, made a reflective, heart-wrenching trip to pay respects at his friend’s memorial stone at Middletown’s September 11 memorial garden Monday morning.

While there is no true closure in knowing that bin Laden’s reign as a mastermind of terror is over, it lifts a weight of uncertainty that bin Laden would ever face retribution for his horrors against humanity, Lee said.

“It still hurts. I lost my best friend,” Lee, of Toms River, said. “The world’s been changed by this, and now I think it’s better off.”

Read More »

IN THE CAN: FAIR HAVEN GOES PRIVATE TODAY

ms-trashMonday was the first day that Fair Haven’s new trash collection contractor, M&S Waste Services, made the rounds picking up garbage. Privatization is expected to save the borough about $100,000 this year and $200,000 in the next two years, borough officials say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

PARKS AND REC JOBS LOST; TOP COPS SPARED

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In a last-minute deal Friday, one of the Middletown’s two police unions came to an agreement that will save four department jobs, while the other got an extension through the weekend to decide whether to accept a deal to preserve six positions.

Meanwhile, a handful of parks and recreation employees retired and nine others were laid off after their bargaining unit failed to strike an agreement with the township, said Mayor Tony Fiore.

Read More »

THEFTS REPORTED AT RED BANK EATERIES

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of April 22 to April 29, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Theft occurring on 4-23-11 at West Front Street-restaurant. Victim reported that her cell phone a Blackberry Torch was stolen while at this establishment. Sgt. Errico Vescio.

Theft reported on 4-23-11 but occurring on 4-16-11 at Monmouth St. restaurant. Victim reported that her jacket was stolen from back of chair. Jacket contained a cell phone and a camera. Sgt Robert Kennedy.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 4-24-11 at Bridge Ave. Victim reported that parked vehicle was damaged and a windowpane was broken on a building near by. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

Read More »

THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

pink-linePink striping down River Road in Fair Haven in celebration of Pink Week, which continues this week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You’ll notice the redbankgreen masthead’s looking a more on the red side than green these days. That’s because last week kicked off Pink Week, Riverview Medical Center and Red Bank RiverCenter’s annual push for breast cancer awareness, detection and treatment.

We’re not here just for supportive graphics, but on this Monday morning to keep you abreast (couldn’t help it) of what that’s all about, and other news from the end of April. Click on.

Read More »

SPRING 2011: BARGAIN BEVERAGE

lemonadeThe first day of May was perfect for catching some sun and a few bucks. Kristina Taylor, 11, set up a lemonade stand outside her home on Ward Avenue in Rumson Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)