TRANSFORMER BLOWS IN LITTLE SILVER

white-rd-2

white-rd-062311-1A brief, strong storm that blew through the Green prompted an emergency response on White Road in Little Silver Thursday afternoon. Though fire officials were not immediately available for comment, a neighbor said it appeared that lightning sheared a tree, above, and struck nearby wires, causing a transformer on White to explode, sending debris up to fifty yards away. No injuries were reported, and the road was reopened after a brief shutdown. (Photos courtesy of Eric Flaherty; click to enlarge)

RBR DANCE STUDENT INJURED IN BEATING

anthonytiedeman3By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A recent Red Bank Regional graduate who was accepted to Julliard‘s prestigious dance program was badly injured in an assault Sunday night, Red Bank police said.

Police are still pursuing the assailants who beat up Anthony Tiedeman, right, and sent him to the hospital with a broken jaw and eye, mouth and nose injuries, said Captain Darren McConnell.

The assault occurred after a party on Spring Street Sunday. RBR students graduated Friday, and McConnell said the party had “something to do with kids,” but wasn’t sure if it was a graduation party.

“I don’t know if it was all RBR kids, but primarily RBR kids,” involved in the beating, he said.

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BOMB THREAT CLOSES ROAD IN RUMSON

97eriverPolice Chief Richard Tobias, left, coordinating Rumson’s response to a report of a bomb at 97 East River Road. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; Click to enlarge)

just_in1Rumson police were on the scene of a reported bomb threat Thursday morning.

Police have shut down East River Road between Bruce Place and Black Point Road, with their attention on 97 East River.

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FIXX NEEDS A FIX TO KEEP LIQUOR LICENSE

fixxFixx must go to the state if it wants to keep serving booze, Red Bank officials have decided. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just like its predecessor, Fixx on West Front Street is in hot water with the borough government.

The council, citing “problems” and “public safety” issues, tabled a rubber-stamp resolution Wednesday night to renew the night club’s liquor license, which expires at the end of the month.

If Fixx wants to keep serving, it has to get a temporary license from the state Alcohol Beverage Control division, Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

Beyond that, the club, which more often than not draws a college-age crowd for live music and drinks in plastic Silo cups, must prove to the borough that it will operate at a more acceptable level.

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RENTER COMPLAINTS FILL BOARD’S AGENDA

rb-terraceRed Bank Terrace is one of two apartment complexes with complaints pending before the borough’s Rent Leveling Board. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The meetings of Red Bank’s Rent Leveling Board tend to fly under the radar, given the often sleepy agendas. But Thursday night’s meeting looks like an exception.

Lined up for the board’s consideration are three tenant complaints, making for a potentially packed evening for the five-member body.

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McCARTHY AND RBPD GET CONTRACTS

s-mccarthyRed Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy at a West Side Community Group meeting in November. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Steve McCarthy just got himself some job security.

For the first time in borough history, the Red Bank council entered into a contract with its police chief, locking up McCarthy for the next five years.

“It protects the individual. It protects the municipality, and it alleviates guesswork out of what you’re supposed to do,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said. “We want him to stay for five years. Or more.”

The council also endorsed an agreement good through 2013 with the union for the 38-member police force.

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B-BALL TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL

v-park-bballA couple of Rumson teenagers inspect the newly installed plexiglass backboard and basketball hoop at Victory Park. The borough also repainted the court, from black to green and purple, to reflect local school colors. The court was done in time for the annual summer hoops series “Thursday Night Lights,” an adult basketball recreation program that gets started July 7. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

TEEN BUSTED FOR NAVESINK BURGLARY

mtown-police-carA Middletown police cruiser. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In this week’s roundup of police activity, Middletown police made a burglary bust at a home off Navesink River Road. An 18-year-old is accused of breaking into the home while the owners were on vacation, stealing jewelry and electronics worth about $16,000, and then using the homeowners’ car to deliver the stolen items to be pawned.

More police activity, provided by Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger, appears unedited below.

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STREAK ENDS WITH A SMILE IN SEA BRIGHT

m-smeltzerMaryann Smeltzer ended 30 years of attending municipal meetings Tuesday night, sitting in on her last Sea Bright council session — a brief, 30-minute one — before she retires next week. Council members gave her a farewell bouquet and showered her with praise. “It’s been quite a journey,” Smeltzer, 60, said. “One I’ll never forget.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

CLEMONS RECALLED AS A TRUE ‘BIG MAN’

clarenceClarence Clemons, right, backs up Stormin’ Norman Seldin, behind the piano, at the Lock, Stock and Barrel in Fair Haven sometime in the late ’70s. (Photo courtesy of Norman Seldin; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He’d already soared into the music industry stratosphere alongside Bruce Springsteen when Clarence Clemons bumped into an old friend, the guy who helped get him his start in the Jersey Shore music scene, and asked if he could sit in, like old times, playing the saxophone.

The late-1970s encounter took place in Sea Bright, where Clemons had a home and was known for towing local kids around with fishing poles for some post-tour R&R.

And earlier this year, to celebrate his 69th birthday, Clemons bought a plane ticket for a longtime friend and former bandmate to fly down to Florida to sing at the party.

Clemons, who passed away Saturday from complications of a stroke, invested as much of himself in his friends and community as he did in his music, friends told redbankgreen in interviews this week, following the Big Man’s death.

Flags will be flown at half-staff throughout New Jersey in Clemons’ honor Thursday. A funeral service was held Tuesday in Palm Beach, Florida.

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M’TOWN SOLAR PROJECTED TO SAVE MILLIONS

By DUSTIN RACIOPPIhot-topic right

Middletown has wrapped up a months-long town-wide study pinpointing locations ideal for solar panels, and may soon bring on a contractor to start the process of getting off the grid.

If it does, the town could save taxpayers $6.6 million over the next 15 years — and perhaps double that, if the town board of education gets on board, officials said.

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CLINIC STRIKES FEAR IN NEIGHBORHOOD

methadone-crowdA crowd packed Middletown’s meeting room Monday night rallying against a recently opened medical center that dispenses methadone. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The tiny community near Apple Farm Road, off Route 35, was a place where kids could roam free, homeowners could decide not to lock their front doors without worry and every face you saw was somebody you knew.

That was until Middletown Medical opened up and changed everything, neighbors say.

Because at the only entrance and exit to that community sits the medical center, which is not the place to go for a check-up or to look into a nagging cough. Middletown Medical is a methadone clinic, dispensing the synthetic pill just a stone’s throw from a bundle of homes and school bus stops. Methadone, in addition to treating chronic pain, is a popular and controversial drug used to treat opiate addicts to help wean them off drugs like heroin and morphine.

And nobody’s happy about the new dispensary opening its doors — to the town’s surprise — so close to the residential neighborhood. Neighbors share fears that the business will open up the neighborhood to a seedy cohort prone to stealing, robbing or getting a fix or drug money by any means necessary. One woman who said she goes walking through the neighborhood each morning fears she could be mugged, thrown in a ditch and left unnoticed for hours.

Within the law, though, there nothing anybody can do about the clinic, town officials maintain.

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STOLEN: WEED WHACKER, TIRE, INVOICES

authorities3The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of June 3 to June 20, 2011. This information  is unedited.

Theft occurring on 6-3-11 at West Front St.-Park-Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole his T Mobil Android Cell Phone. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

Theft occurring on 6-5-11 at Rector Place. Victim reported that unidentified white male stole a weed whacker from back yard of residence. Kenneth Persico of Keansburg was arrested later that day for the theft. Ptl. Nicholas Maletto

Theft occurring between 6-3-11 and 6-5-11 at Locust Ave. Victim reported that unknown subject(s) stole front and rear license plates from parked vehicle. NJ Reg. ZDA49L. Ptl. Patrick Kennedy.

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IN SHREWSBURY’S QUIVER, A DEER SOLUTION?

deer-libraryA deer on the lawn of the Monmouth County Library’s Eastern Branch on Route 35 last October. (Photo by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)

Not a word of objection was uttered Monday night as the governing body of the fed-up-with-deer borough of Shrewsbury gave the nod to the use of bows and arrows to thin burgeoning herds.

Then again, the move was a formality, as the council simply accepted the findings of a report that recommended that frustrated property owners do what they’ve been allowed to do for the past five years: kill the animals with arrows, provided they do so within New Jersey Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife regulations.

Now, the only question is how many residents take the suggestion.

“A few people in town are so fed up, they’re going to do it,” said Mayor Donald Burden, who this year tore out his own vegetable garden in surrender to the white-tailed creatures.

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‘MAGIC WAS HAPPENING’ AT BIG MAN’S WEST

clemons-big-mans-westClarence Clemons playing at Big Man’s West in Red Bank in an undated photo courtesy of Lewis Bloom Photo. The Monmouth Street space is now home to a gym. (Click to enlarge)

big-mans-westHe’s best known, of course, for his blaring, evocative saxophone solos as a member the E Street Band behind Bruce Springsteen.

But Clarence Clemons, who died of complications from a stroke at age 69 Saturday, also staked out a bit of turf as an impressario of sorts, right here in Red Bank.

Clemons’ club, Big Man’s West, at 129 Monmouth Street, managed to pack a lot of musical history into just a few years of operation in the early 1980s before it succumbed to financial pressures, says George McMorrow, a Red Bank business owner who managed the club through its final months.

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JAZZFEST SETS SUMMER ON A COOL SIMMER

nikki-parrottLes Paul’s Trio, featuring bass ace and songbird Nicki Parrott, returns to Two River Theater for Summer JazzFest.

You won’t find a sign over the door. In fact, you won’t even find a door, at least not anything you’ll spot from the street. Inside, you’ll find a sophisticated crowd and the finest top-shelf jazz sounds this side of a classic film noir. You’ll even find a guy named Joe, sizing up your chances of getting in.

But procrastinate just a little bit too long before you check this place out, and you’ll find no trace of its ever having been there. Like, how cool is that?

The coming of summer means the return of the Summer JazzFest series (formerly Summer Jazz Café) to the Marion Huber room inside Red Bank’s Two River Theater — an annual offering via which jazz impresario Joe “Mooch” Muccioli and the borough-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project transform the “black box” performance space into an environment that boasts big-city tableside seating, subdued lighting, great coffee and desserts (including Mooch’s own berry vinaigrette), and some breathtaking talent hand-picked from his formidable black book of friends.

The new, expanded 2011 series kicks off on the weekend of July 1 and 2, with a never-before-on-the-Shore act so intriguing, you’ll either be pinching yourself to confirm that it’s actually happening — or kicking yourself because you missed it when you had the chance.

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A THREE-TOWN TROT

The 18th annual running of the George Sheehan Classic swept through Red Bank, Little Silver and Fair Haven, NJ, under blue skies Saturday. More than 1,400 runners completed the five-mile race in humid conditions. Searchable results are here.

redbankgreen’s Dustin Racioppi and Trish Russoniello were on the ground to freeze the action in pixels.

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.

CURLEY: OCEANIC DETOUR WILL HIT HARD

oceanic-bridgeThe Oceanic Bridge will be closed for months for repair work this fall. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Long-awaited repairs to the Oceanic Bridge are expected to get started this fall, but the extent of the repairs will cause the bridge, which connects Rumson and Middletown over the Navesink River, to be closed for months, sending a blow to Rumson’s business district.

“It’s going to be devastating to the businesses,” said Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley. “Literally devastating.”

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FAIR HAVEN’S PETERS QUESTIONS WATER TIPS

fh-sprinklerA sprinkler system outside a River Road home in Fair Haven. New Jersey American Water has asked residents to consider voluntary water restrictions in anticipation of a hot, dry summer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Following the brief blast of heat and dry weather in the area nearly two weeks ago, and in preparation for more of it this summer, New Jersey American Water sent a letter to local mayors suggesting residents consider voluntary water restrictions at home.

On its face, it’s a move by the water company to help prevent what happened last year, and all of a sudden: a mandatory restriction that confounded locals at the height of a holiday weekend.

But at least one Fair Haven official is calling the water company out, and questions whether it has made the necessary improvements to its treatment and distribution system to handle growing demand in Monmouth County.

“We’re starting pretty early in the year to be asking to (reduce) our consumption,” Council President Jon Peters said. “We were told last year this was anomalous. We’re going to be watching very closely.”

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HISTORIC MIDDLETOWN HOUSE UP FOR SALE

nathaniel-smith-houseBuilt in Massachusetts in the early 1700s and relocated to Middletown in 1962, the former Nathaniel Smith House features exposed-rafter ceilings, as in the library, below. (Click to enlarge)

library

It took historic preservationist Mary Lou Strong more than a week to get back to redbankgreen after we called recently to inquire about her Middletown home going on the market.

She apologized for the delay, and said she simply wanted to be sure she could talk about it without crying.

It’s not just that the house – located on a tongue-tip of land bound by Navesink River Road and the anchorage to the Oceanic Bridge – is where Strong and her husband, George, raised three kids. Or that it’s filled with cherished antiques collected over a lifetime.

It’s that the house, built in Massachusetts before the United States was born, is itself the manifestation of the couple’s shared values when it comes to keeping history alive. And who knows if the next owner will want to bulldoze it into oblivion?

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DEFENSE SAYS COMMENTS LED TO SBFD FIGHT

sb-truckThursday’s docket, below, for the case of three Sea Bright firefighters involved in a fight at the borough firehouse last year. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

sbfd-docketTwo Sea Bright firefighters accused of roughing up a fellow volunteer last year were provoked by insults hurled by the victim, who said one of the assailants should have been killed in Iraq, their defense attorney said Thursday.

In a drawn-out day of testimony at Little Silver municipal court, the two sides offered conflicting accounts of what started the scuffle, which sent 28-year-old firefighter Justin Hughes to the hospital.

And although it was the second day of testimony, this time a marathon five hours’ worth continued from May 5, the presiding judge reserved decision on the case.

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“BATTER UP” AT BASIE FIELDS

batter-up-2010-cA challenger in last year’s Batter Up home run derby. (Photo courtesy of Laurie Barrett Dalton; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

There are two reasons baseballs will be flying all over Count Basie Field this Saturday.

One, the Red Bank Elks Lodge 233, which already has a successful basketball free-throw competition for borough children in the winter, wants to expand its offerings. Two, Kevin Blaine has an itch.

“I’m a grandfather now,” said Blaine, a lifelong Red Bank resident and Elks member. “I’ve got this free time and I’ve still got this itch to go out and do things with kids in the community.”

Hence, the Elks’ “Batter Up” contest, a home run derby this Saturday open to kids between 5 and 15 years old.

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RED BANK AUTHOR DEBUTS NEW RULEBOOK

j-granditsJohn Grandits and his new children’s book, which hits shelves next month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

John Grandits, the accomplished children’s author and member of the Red Bank library board, is in an especially cheery mood these days.

That’s saying a lot for the ruddy and avuncular 61-year-old, who’s often fueled up on equal amounts of No Joe’s coffee and zest for speaking with schoolkids all over the country.

Earning a star in the Kirkus Book Review and an order for a second edition of your book, which hasn’t even hit bookstore shelves yet, can do that.

“I’m bullish on John Grandits this week,” he said.

After 10 years working on his second children’s book (he’s also published two children’s poetry books), Grandits is ready to hit the self-promotion circuit in advance of the July 4 release of Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want To Survive The School Bus.

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911 DISPATCH STILL AN ISSUE IN FAIR HAVEN

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s been close to two years since Fair Haven jobbed out its emergency dispatching services to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s 911 Communication Center, and so far, not so good. Still.

“We’re no more satisfied than we were last year,” said former fire chief Jim Cerruti.

Councilman Rowland Wilhelm said Monday that it comes down to clarity of the calls and delays in the calls being relayed to fire and first aiders.

Wilhelm, along with police and fire representatives, is scheduled to meet with county officials today (Thursday) “to try and allay these issues or straighten them out the best we can.”

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