31° Mostly Cloudy

PAPERWORK PUTS FAIR HAVEN PLANS ON HOLD

rvr-rd-westThe River Road west streetscape is holding up a line of other projects in the borough. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Mike Halfacre, Fair Haven’s mayor, one-time Congressional hopeful and triathlete may add another exploit to his list: author.

No, not really. But, more than a year after pulling in big bucks – under a stimulus program whose existence he opposed – from the federal government for a major facelift to the west side of River Road, Halfacre says he’s got plenty of material for one.

“I will write a book someday about shovel-ready projects,” he said.

Perhaps it can be a Bildungsroman on working with the federal government, one that Halfacre said has produced small mountains of paperwork – and a backlog of other projects “all being held up by trying to do River Road west.”

“I cannot tell you how frustrating it is,” Halfacre said. “It’s a mess. I mean, even our president laughed at the shovel-ready projects a couple weeks ago.”

Read More »

AUTOPSY: MURDER VICTIM WAS ASPHYXIATED

siena-grillViridiana Beltran-Gomez was last seen at her job at Siena Grill before her body was found last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A missing Red Bank mother whose body was discovered last week died by asphyxiation, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said.

The results of 26-year-old Viridiana Beltran-Gomez‘s autopsy, conducted Sunday, were made available yesterday, four days after her body was discovered off the Garden State Parkway in Aberdeen, First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN TO RETAIN ZONING BOARD

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

b-lucarelliFair Haven’s zoning board will stay intact, despite a councilman’s call to disband the body last month.

Following lengthy discussions with council, planning and zoning board members, the council decided Monday to maintain the current zoning board, which it acknowledged has a “public relations/perception” problem.

Instead, the bodies will work together to better informing the public of the board’s role, responsibilities and basic processes for those appearing before it, said Councilman Ben Lucarelli, above, who last month asked that it be dissolved because of “unacceptable” behavior he witnessed at a meeting.

Read More »

VANDALS HIT MULTIPLE MIDDLETOWN PARKS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAConcrete steps at Tindall Park in Middletown were among targets of vandalism the last week, police said. (Photo courtesy of Middletown police; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Joy rides on newly sodded fields. Smashed steps. Portable bathrooms knocked over.

Middletown’s park system took some destructive and costly hits this past week as targets of vandalism, police said.

They aren’t sure who’s behind the thrashings yet, but they’re offering a cash reward for anybody who can lead to an arrest and conviction.

Read More »

RED BANK CFO TAKES A BETTER OFFER

frank-mason-010111Frank Mason, seen here with borough Engineer Christine Ballard, will become CFO in Montclair. (Click to enlarge)

The keeper of Red Bank’s checkbook is leaving the borough government to take a similar job in Essex County.

Frank Mason, who has served as the borough’s chief financial officer since 2006, will become CFO for Montclair in late July, according to Red Bank Administrator Stanley Sickels.

“Montclair offered him a $25,000 increase, and it’s a big opportunity for him,” Sickels tells redbankgreen. “We love him dearly, but we can’t afford to match that.”

Read More »

HOMEOWNER GRABS ALLEGED CAR BURGLAR

call-in-the-authoritiesWell, in this case, the authorities were called… but only after a homeowner found himself in a tussle with an alleged car burglar.

Middletown police report that they arrested a Lincroft man early Wednesday morning after a report of an alercation between a purported thief and a resident of a nearby home.

Read More »

M’TOWN: BEGGING FOR SMOKES… AT A GYM?

hot-topic rightThe police activity reports below were provided by the Middletown Township Police Department and are unedited.

• On June 27, 2011 at approximately 7:30 pm Patrolman Richard Fulham was on patrol in the area of Chanceville Park when he observed a suspicious vehicle parked in the parking area. The officer approached the vehicle and detected an odor of raw Marijuana coming from inside the car.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER BRACES FOR DETOUR JAMS

ls-stnOrange you glad they alerted you? (Click to enlarge)

Already a nettlesome fact of life for local commuters, travel between Shrewsbury and Little Silver is about to get downright ugly.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Read More »

KABOOM CLOSING IN ON FUNDRAISING GOAL

kaboom-firecrackerFirecracker says the Kaboom Committee is half-way to its $275,000 funding goal. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In a big change from this time a year ago, the KaBoom Committee is brimming with confidence as it readies the giant July 3 fireworks extravaganza in Red Bank.

Despite a still-sagging economy, sponsorships for this year’s three-day celebration have skyrocketed, and fundraising efforts have put the committee back in the black far earlier than last year, chairman Charles Moran has said.

With two days to go until the festival kicks off, the committee is making a final push to bring in more dollars to cover the $275,000 price tag — up from the normal $250,000 because of additional police presence — for the largest fireworks show in New Jersey, and one of the largest in the U.S.

“The committee is confident the fundraising goal will be met,” member Judy Musa said in an email.

Read More »

SPILL PROMPTS LITTLE SILVER DETOURS

ls-spillWorkers on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver spread absorbent material to soak up hydraulic oil spilled earlier this morning. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A hydraulic oil spill from a garbage truck has shutdown some of Little Silver’s heavily traveled roads and prompted multiple detours throughout the borough.

The spill, reported at about 11:10 a.m. Tuesday, came from an M&S Waste Services garbage truck, which was traveling from Fair Haven. It leaked oil through the heart of the business district, all the way from Church Street, onto Prospect Avenue and just past Sycamore Avenue to Hickory Lane, Police Chief Dan Shaffery told redbankgreen.

Those roads are partially closed while local and Monmouth County workers lay down absorbents to dry out the roadways, he said.

“It’s like an ice rink out there,” Shaffery said.

Read More »

DISPATCH FIXES PLANNED FOR FAIR HAVEN

fhpd-vehicleBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Responding to long-standing concerns from Fair Haven’s first responders about emergency dispatch service, Monmouth County officials have put in place short- and long-term measures to fix lag times and clarity in 911 calls, borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande said.

The actions, she said in a memo to the council, “will provide the borough with quality dispatch services now and in the future.”

Read More »

DRUGS AND BOOZE FILL MIDDLETOWN COP LOG

call-in-the-authoritiesThe police activity reports below were provided by the Middletown Township Police Department and are unedited.

• On June 20, 2011 at approximately 11:50 am Patrolman Thomas Meckier was on patrol in the area of Main Street in Port Monmouth when he observed a vehicle driving on Main Street that fit the description of a suspicious vehicle that was seen in the area earlier in the day. Officer Meckier attempted to stop the vehicle in the area of Main Street when the driver, identified as Richard Stavola, age 23, from Kings Highway East fled from the vehicle and ran into a house on Main Street.

Read More »

HALL RESTORATION GETS A BIG BOOST

bicentennial-hallA cash infusion means Bicentennial Hall should be ready for a 2012 opening. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Restoration work on Fair Haven’s Bicentennial Hall, a nationally recognized historic landmark, got an $80,000 boost Monday.

A donation by the borough’s historical society elevates the project from piecemeal to shovel-ready, town officials said.

“It has been advancing in fits and spurts over the years, and now we have a plan in place,” said Mayor Mike Halfacre.

The donation means the building will open to the public in time for Fair Haven’s bicentennial celebration next year.

Read More »

ORGANIST ADMITS TO CHILD-SEX CHARGE

hot-topic rightA Red Bank man who worked as an organist for a Shrewsbury church faces up to five years in jail for his admission that he sexually assaulted a minor, according to a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor.

Kenneth Clayton, 66, pleaded guilty to third-degree child endangerment May 31 in state Superior Court in Freehold. The plea came to light after an inquiry Monday by redbankgreen.

According to assistant prosecutor Christopher Gambiccioni, Clayton admitted that he touched a seven-year-old boy’s penis while the child was asleep in Red Bank last September 9.

Read More »

CANDIDATE TO RESIGN AFTER DRUG BUST

just_in1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A Middletown Township Committee candidate in this year’s election will resign after being charged with possession of crack cocaine in a Holmdel motel last weekend, the town’s Democrat committee chairman said.

A replacement on the Democrat ticket to take Alex DeSevo‘s slot could be named as soon as Monday night, Joe Caliendo told redbankgreen.

DeSevo, 43, was charged with possession of crack and drug paraphernalia on June 18 after he rented two rooms at the Holmdel Motor Inn and was accused of chasing one of two women with him at the motel, according to the Asbury Park Press.

“Alex is going to resign,” Caliendo said. “Actually, he was going to resign before this took place. I don’t know what his problems were.”

Read More »

MIDDLETOWN-CHARGED INMATE HANGS SELF

zachary-sullivan-arrestBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An Oklahoma man who was arrested for hiding outside a Port Monmouth home with an explosive device last year committed suicide while being held in Monmouth County jail, the Associated Press reports.

Zachary Sullivan — who the AP reported as 18 years old, but was 28, according to Middletown police — apparently hanged himself Friday morning in the shower area of the Monmouth County jail, where he was being held for crimes he was accused of committing in Middletown.

Authorities will conduct an autopsy, although the news service said the death was not ruled as suspicious.

Read More »

TEENS BUSTED FOR ROOFTOP GRAFFITI

authorities2bBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two local teenagers were arrested in Red Bank Thursday after being caught spray-painting a downtown building, police said.

Thomas Ley, 18, of Rumson, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing, Captain Darren McConnell said. A 17-year-old male from Red Bank was also arrested and charged with the same crimes, McConnell said.

Police are also looking into whether the two may be involved in increased graffiti incidents within the borough the last two months.

Read More »

BLOTTER: VANDALISM AT RIVERSIDE GARDENS

rbpd2 spotlightThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of June 20 to June 24, 2011. This information is unedited.

Theft reported on 6-20-11 at Windward Way -residence. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole several pieces of expensive jewelry while she was in the process of moving and had employees of a moving company packing boxes. Sgt. Robert Gannon.

Theft occurring at Monmouth St. Restaurant/Bar on 6-20-11. Victim reported that a bracelet was lost or stolen while at the restaurant. Sgt. Robert Gannon.

Read More »

EX CHARGED AS RED BANK WOMAN’S KILLER

viridiana-beltran-gomezThe estranged husband of a Red Bank woman missing since mid-May has been charged with her murder following the discovery of a body buried near the Garden State Parkway in Aberdeen, according to news reports over the weekend.

Oscar Prior-Ramirez, 31, or Eatontown, was charged in the death of Viridiana Beltran-Gomez, above, according to a report that first appeared in the Asbury Park Press Saturday night. Bail was set at $1.5 million.

Read More »

ROOM FOR PINTS, PASTA, JAVA AND SUSHI

dubThe Dublin House is adding a second-story room to its Monmouth Street location. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Dublin House on Monmouth Street is making a little more elbow room for its customers. rcsm2_0105081

Red Bank’s authentically Irish pub grub spot won approval earlier this week to knock down a wall next to the upstairs bar and extend the area with additional seating and a stairway to the northeast end of the Victorian structure, Dub co-owner Euegne Devlin said.

“It’s just going to be like a little lounge room,” he said. “It’s basically only for the convenience of my customers.”

The addition of 20 to 25 seats in a 400-square-foot room — to be done in the same style and colors of the public house’s update four years ago — plus a staircase leading directly to it, will eliminate the slightly awkward walk through the upstairs dining area to get to the second-floor bar, Devlin said.

“People were complaining about going through the dining room,” he said. “When you come upstairs, (now you can) walk right into the bar.”

More business news from Red Bank after the jump.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT BASH GOES NATIONAL

skimboarder1A contestant hits the water in last year’s Skimbash event in Sea Bright. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In its eight years of wave-hopping, Skimbash has gone from family fun in the suburban seascape of Sea Bright to full-swell national attraction, drawing hundreds of participants and spectators from beyond the state.

This year, the borough is hosting, in addition to its usual end-of-summer contest, a portion of the traveling Skim U.S.A. Pro Tour, which had been held on Long Beach Island for years, said Felecia Stratton, one of the founders of Sea Bright’s Skimbash.

“They said, ‘we love it in Sea Bright. Can we do it there?'” Stratton said of the tour’s organizers. “We were thrilled.”

Read More »

PAY POSTS COMING TO MAPLE COVE

m-cove-lotThe borough will install pay stations at the recently rebuilt parking lot at the north end of Maple Avenue. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Be sure to pack a change purse with your kayaks and canoes, river-goers.

Red Bank’s council, as it hinted in recent weeks, plans to reinstitute a pay-to-park policy at the recently repaved 12-spot lot at Maple Cove.

Read More »