SEA BRIGHT NAMES NEW ADMINISTRATOR

sea-bright-boro-hallStepping into borough hall as Sea Bright’s new administrator is Plumsted’s former top official. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just a couple weeks before Maryann Smeltzer says sayonara to Sea Bright, the borough council has hired a replacement for the retiring administrator.

Next in line for the top administrative slot — and clerk duties, too — is Richard Kachmar, a 59-year-old Howell resident who last served as Plumsted’s administrator for 13 years before the budget ax loomed.

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OFFICIALS COUNTER MAPLE COVE CHATTER

sickles-m-coveStanley Sickels gave a brief history of the parking lot at Maple Cove Wednesday night in response to comments posted on redbankgreen. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

park_it_021Responding to “drama” in the redbankgreen comments section last week in which readers weighed in with speculation, history — or their version of it — and assorted posits about the repaving of the parking lot at Maple Cove, Red Bank officials took a break from Wednesday night’s regular order of business to clear the air. Fact check. Dispel the bloggy bosh.

To “try and shed some factual light,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna, “instead of just hypothetical speculation and gossip.”

Read on. Comment if you dare.

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SOMETHING TO WALK AND WINE ABOUT

rb-restaurants-052711Citing last year’s success, downtown Red Bank restaurants will reprise Food & Wine Walk this summer, beginning Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As if last weekend’s Riverfest wasn’t enough to show off Red Bank restaurants, downtown promoter RiverCenter is cueing up a post-park foodfest of its own — an entrée into summer, if you will — reinstating a biannual tradition sprung last spring that brought the crowds into and sent them all about downtown Red Bank.

So, if you haven’t fully digested the lobster, filets and burgers of last week, RiverCenter’s got a suggestion: walk it off. And grab a glass of vino while you’re at it.

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COUNCIL STILL DUG IN AGAINST GARDEN SPOT

cg-sickelsCommunity garden proponents talk to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels about their proposal after Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The borough council Wednesday night unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a community garden in Red Bank.

Great, some said.

But when it came down to where the council might allow that garden to sprout, the council maintained a hard position that while it supports a community garden, it doesn’t support one where a group at least 40 strong want it: at a piece of borough property next to the library.

The clash between impassioned members of a community garden group and the council continued Wednesday night, without agreement, and none in sight, on its location.

It was more like a talking-to than a talking-with, as the council offered little feedback to a long line of speakers serving up suggestions, implicating political motives and asking questions that they feel still haven’t been answered.

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BOAT RUNS AGROUND AT SANDY HOOK

beached-boatThe National Park Service reports no injuries as a boat ran aground on the ocean beach at Sandy Hook after losing power late Wednesday afternoon. Details about the incident were not immediately available, a spokesman said. (Click to enlarge)

BOATHOUSE STALLED BY HYDRANT ISSUE

foundationGeoff Johnson’s unfinished Boathouse at Red Bank, and a rendering of what it’s to look like, below. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

boathouse-elev060711

While the Red Bank government is working to show that the town is “open for business,” a West Side property owner is among those who say the door still isn’t open wide enough.

“I would have to agree with everyone who’s ever said Red Bank is difficult to do business with,” said Geoff Johnson, who has approved plans to build a kayak and canoe rental and boat club on the banks of the Swimming River, at the north end of Shrewsbury Avenue.

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MIDDLETOWN COP ALLEGES RACIAL BIAS

mtown-police-badge1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A veteran Middletown police officer has filed a lawsuit against the department claiming racial discrimination at work and is calling for removal of the chief of police and another township officer.

The complaint, filed in state Superior Court in Freehold last month by an attorney for Patrolman Darrin Simon, an African-American originally from Trinidad, says Simon was subject to “egregious discriminatory misconduct,” and cited instances of receiving racial slurs and being called “boy” and “coon.”

Simon, who was made a full-time officer in 1997, names Police Chief Robert Oches and range master James Griffin. Simon’s attorney, Clifford Van Syoc, said Oches and Griffin are related and that Oches may have tried to cover up Griffin’s actions.

This is the second time Simon has alleged bias incidents in 2009. The first suit was not filed, township Attorney Brian Nelson told the Asbury Park Press.

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MORE RED INK FOR RED BANK HOMEBUILDER

Hov_hq_81206Hovnanian’s Red Bank HQ, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Hovnanian Enterprise reported a $72.7 million loss as revenue fell in latest fiscal quarter. The deficit was worse than Wall Street analysts had anticipated, according to a Bloomberg News report in the New York Times.

The Red Bank-headquartered national homebuilding company reported that revenue fell 20 percent, to $255.1 million, from $318.6 million a year earlier, in the quarter ended April 30. Net orders dropped 17 percent.

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LICENSE MOVE RILES BEACH CLUB NEIGHBORS

james-paul-lobiondoJames and Paul LoBiondo, owners of Surfrider Beach Club, flank attorney Thomas Hirsch Tuesday night as the council deliberates approving a liquor license transfer to the club. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A liquor license transfer from a defunct restaurant to a Sea Bright councilman’s family business reignited a long-simmering feud Tuesday night as the two sides exchanged barbs about greed and hatemongering.

In the end, Surfrider Beach Club, owned by Councilman James LoBiondo’s family, walked away with approval by the council — minus his own vote — to transfer the liquor license from Gaiters restaurant to the beach club. But the move raised fears among neighbors that it will cause an increase in traffic and, as one business owner and nearby resident said, “opens some very nasty doors.”

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TEMPS IN MID-90S EXPECTED TODAY

hot-topic rightA “very hot and humid air mass” is expected to drive temperatures in the greater Red Bank area to the mid-90s Wednesday, prompting government agencies to issue health advisories to sensitive populations.

A heat advisory alert from the National Weather Service warns of particularly hot and humid conditions between noon and 8 p.m.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is advising the elderly, infirm and pet owners of the need to stay indoors as ozone rises and outdoor conditions become unhealthy for sensitive groups.

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ATRIUM ADDITION HITS GROUND RUNNING

atrium-lotA makeover of the vacant lot in the foreground is slated to begin shortly after the start of construction of six-story structure between the two Riverside Avenue high-rises in the distance. (Click to enlarge)

[See corrections at the bottom of this article]

Construction of an addition to the upscale Atrium at Navesink Harbor senior-citizens residence in Red Bank is expected to start next week with nearly all 60 units spoken for, according to officials at Springpoint Senior Living.

Long before the build-out is complete, however, an eyesore lot at the fork of West Front Street and Riverside Avenue will be transformed into a green-trimmed parking area for use by Atrium residents – and attended by valets, says company chief financial administrative officer Chuck Mooney.

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FULL OF VODKA, COVERED IN BLOOD

mtown-cop-carsBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Drugs and alcohol dominate the Middletown police blotter this week, which includes at least two drunken driving arrests in which the drivers are alleged to have had open bottles of liquor in their cars and several arrests for possession of illegal meds and marijuana.

The reports from Middletown Detective Sergeant Steve Dollinger appear unedited below.

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MIDDLETOWN TEENS PAY IT FORWARD

bffCousins Mike Ruane and Erika Rech are gearing up for a round of heavy fundraising for Breast Friends Forever, the non-profit they created as high school freshmen. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

donegoodlogoOctober, 2006 was the start of a rough stretch for the families of Mike Ruane and Erika Rech of Middletown.

Rech’s mother was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. Six months later, two more women in the family were diagnosed with the disease.

“We were surrounded by chemo and radiation,” Rech said.

In response, the two raised $1,000 in a local Relay For Life fundraiser, but wanted to do more. So they did some research and a lot of legwork and, by 2007, were founders of a non-profit, Breast Friends Forever.

Perhaps even harder to fathom than the odds of three family members being diagnosed with breast cancer in such a short timeframe: Rech and Ruane were both only 15 years old when they founded the non-profit.

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DONE GOOD: ALL THIS AND BROWNIE MOO

brownie-mooOrphaned street dog (turned guest of honor) Brownie Moo joins Project Animal Worldwide in welcoming you to a Doggie Date Island Style night this Friday, at D’Jeet? in The Grove. (Photo by Kim Levin)

Done2The attire ranges from black tie and tails to, well, tails — and admission ranges from a raising of the auction paddle, to simply raising your paw and volunteering. This week’s DONE GOOD roundup presents a typically eclectic smorgasbord of ways in which to help, and have a Done Good Time doing it.

For Alan Fisher of A.H. Fisher Diamonds — a native Red Banker who’s “enjoyed watching the fireworks for over 50 years” — doing a decent for the community can mean plastering his Broad Street storefront with signage that decrees a Cash for Gold (and silver, platinum, diamonds) event, proceeds from which will be donated to the presentation of this year’s Kaboomfest Fireworks on the Navesink event. As Fisher points out, the three-day extravaganza (scheduled for July 1-3) utilizes no taxpayer money, and has relied upon ever more innovative fundraising vehicles in an era when event costs have skyrocketed in sync with the fest’s centerpiece display. Fisher’s cash-on-spot KaBoom KaChing runs from this Friday, June 10 through July 9 — just in time for the KaMittee to get busy planning next year’s skysplash.

There’s more Done Good under the June moon, and it’s on view with the flip of a paperless page.

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WE GOT US ANOTHER LEANER

meter-leanerA parking meter on Globe Court in Red Bank appeared Monday to have had a rough weekend. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

BIKE AND PED SAFETY PLAN ROLLS ON

willis-rossanoJenny Rossano reviews the soon-to-be-adopted bike and pedestrian plan in Red Bank, while Jim Willis, in the background, views it on an iPad. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When a group of residents banded together almost two years ago to make Red Bank’s streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, there were never any notions it’d be a fast-moving process. Compiling data, analyzing studies and working with local and state government simply don’t lend themselves to timeliness.

But in the long-distance course to effect change, a grassroots group made a leap forward Monday night when it all but secured adoption from the borough planning board of a 100-plus page report on bike and walker safety, including a multitude of recommendations on how to improve the way of life of those on two legs and two wheels.

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LITTLE SILVER BRAWL SENDS ONE TO E.R.

authorities2bBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An early-morning brawl involving eight to 10 teens Saturday in a residential section of Little Silver sent one man to the hospital and led to another being charged with assault, Little Silver police said.

The altercation, which occurred outside a party at a Lippincott Road home at about 1:35 a.m. Saturday and required assistance from neighboring towns, also left others with minor injuries, Police Chief Dan Shaffery said.

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A TWO RIVER ‘CROSSING’ ON BRIDGE AVE

wetFormer Two River Theater associate artistic director KJ Sanchez returns to perform her autobiographical solo HIGHWAY 47 — part of the free CROSSING BORDERS festival of works by Mexican-American playwrights.

By TOM CHESEK

Now that the final curtain has down on Jacques Brel at Two River Theater, you’d reckon that the folks at the Bridge Avenue artspace would take a bit of a beach-blanket breather prior to prepping for the September start of the new season.

Well, you’d be wrong, as artistic director John Dias and his TRTC team retire the English-Français phrasebook in favor of an ambitious, four-day, free-of-charge bilingual project that brings them to summer’s doorstep.

Produced with a nod to New Jersey’s fast-growing Mexican population, Crossing Borders showcases a set of new works for the stage by young Mexi-merican playwrights. They form the heart of a festival that also comes equipped with live music, discussion, dance, food and — among other surprises — the return of a familiar face from TRTC seasons past. And did we mention that it’s all free?

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FEEDING THE BRIDE & GROOM

bridengroom4bridengroom3Kaitlin & Joe Baiata of Point Pleasant Beach took the streets of downtown Red Bank Friday night for some photos before their wedding that night at the Molly Pitcher Inn, and found themselves enjoying a movable feast of champagne, courtesy of a waiter at red, and sweets provided by a passing employee of Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe, right. (Click to enlarge)

THIEF TAKES CASH DROPPED ON SHOP FLOOR

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of May 27 to June 3, 2011. This information  is unedited.

Burglary, Theft and Criminal Mischief occurring on 5-30-11 at Molly Pitcher Village apartment complex. Victim reported that unknown person(s)broke window in parked vehicle and stole a lap top computer. Sgt. Michael Furlong.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 5-30-11 at Monmouth Street. Unknown person(s) dumped contents of garbage can in front of business. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

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CHOWDOWN BY THE RIVER

After a decade on the shelf, Red Bank’s RiverFest returned to Marine Park this weekend with a boatload of people — literally — and food and music. Above, some shots from the action Saturday, snapped 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.

PARKING PERMITS MAY BE NEEDED AT COVE

maple-cove-lot1Workers had installed curbs at the Maple Cove parking area by midday Friday, and plan to repave it. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

park_it_021Free parking may soon be a thing of the past at Maple Cove, Red Bank’s popular free launch for kayaks, canoes and rowing shells.

The borough, which is repaving a parking area at the site, may reinstate permit parking there, borough Administrator Stanley Sickels tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK POLICE BLOTTER

rbpd-carsThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of  May 20 to May 27, 2011. This information  is unedited.

Theft occurring between 5-20-11 to 5-22-11 at Newman Springs Road. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole a storm glass door from front porch. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

Theft occurring at Bodman Place on 5-22-11. Victim reported that a yellow bicycle with an electric motor was stolen from garage. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

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