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LITTLE SILVER MAYOR CASTLEMAN DIES

castlemanLittle Silver Mayor Suzanne Castleman passed away Friday at 76. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Suzanne Castleman, Little Silver’s mayor and a lifelong resident of the borough, passed away at her home Friday night.

Known widely in town as “Mayor Suzie,” Castleman had been ill since the death of her husband in May, said Linda Goff, a friend of the family.

Her death came less than a week before her 77th birthday.

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TEEN BICYCLIST HIT BY CAR IN LITTLE SILVER

just_in1A 16-year-old Little Silver boy was seriously injured late Friday morning when he was struck by a car while crossing Seven Bridges Road on a bike, police say.

The unidentified teen was transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune by the borough volunteer squad with MONOC paramedics on board following the 11:48 a.m. accident, said police Chief Dan Shaffery.

The boy’s condition was not immediately available late in the afternoon.

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FAKE COP BUSTED IN ROAD RAGE

mtown-police-carBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It was a tense situation for one Garden State Parkway driver earlier this week who was being chased by a man claiming to be a State Police officer.

Beginning on the Parkway and continuing to Monmouth Avenue, a victim was chased in a road rage incident by a Manasquan man who continually flashed his lights trying to get the car ahead of him to pull over. Police said the man, Michael Keller, pulled out an I.D. and threatened the unnamed victim. Keller has no affiliation with the State Police, Middletown Detective Sergeant Steve Dollinger said.

He was placed under arrest for a handful of offenses.

Dollinger’s unedited reports of other criminal activity appear below.

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IT’S ALL A MATTER OF TASTE IN CUPCAKE CITY

Photos by Stacie Fanelli. To enlarge the slideshow, click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Late in 2009 and into 2010, a sign in a window on West Front Street indicated a new specialty shop, Cake Red Bank, would be moving in soon, teasing the palates of passersby.

It never came.

But then, amid a series of pounding snowstorms that buried the area, a couple from Manhattan brought baked batter to the table in a nook on East Front called Sugarush, offering an array of cupcakes and confectionaries. It appeared  that Chris Paseka and Jesse Bello-Paseka had firmly staked their frosting knives in the ground.

Little did they know that two prospective cupcake merchants were greasing mini foils in preparation for their own cupcake outlets within blocks of Sugarush. Within a matter months, Red Bank, a town of 1.7 square miles, has become home to three cupcake shops — the Pasekas’ Sugarush, Cupcake Magician and Mr. Cupcakes — setting the stage for a turf war.

But several months in, the rivalry has shaped up as plain vanilla, with owners playing nice and customers, apparently welcome to options, having largely formed their own opinions and allegiances, showing that even in a small market, it’s possible to find a niche within a niche.

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JULY 29, 1961: RED BANK’S WETTEST DAY

canal-street-flood-2Pedestrians fording floodwaters in downtown Red Bank during the storm of July 29, 1961. The view is north along Broad Street from the corner of Canal Street. Below, a teen dives off car into the water. (Photo courtesy of Dorn’s Classic Images)

By EVAN SOLTAS

fender-diveFifty years ago today, Red Bank was hit with the worst flood in borough history.

Over the course of several hours that Saturday morning and afternoon in 1961, 5.48 inches of rain fell, triggering the sort of flash flood that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says occurs, on average, once every 100 to  to 200 years in the area.

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EXTRA EYES, PATROLS SET FOR RED BANK

rgp-trash13A bench at Riverside Gardens Park, where vandalism and littering have been growing problems. Debris in the pole-vault box at Count Basie Fields, below. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

basie-litter1In response to a surge in vandalism on borough property this summer, Red Bank officials are looking into video surveillance as a way to fill gaps in already heightened police presence and serve as a deterrent to would-be scofflaws.

Video could be just one part of a multiprong effort by the borough to curb public defacement and all-around mistreatment of public property, police Captain Darren McConnell said.

Police have stepped up their presence at Riverside Gardens Park in recent weeks, he said. They’re also cracking down on curfew laws for teenagers. And because the council earlier this week called out littering at Count Basie Fields as a growing issue, cops will make rounds there more often.

“The regular patrols will be stepped up quite a bit,” McConnell said. “It’s really only Riverside Gardens Park and Count Basie Fields that are having the issues, and they’re not even the same groups hanging out there, but they get the most use.”

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CURB ALERT: HOT DEALS IN RED BANK

rb-sidewalk-sale-2008-1On the lookout for bargains at Mustillo’s in 2008. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You don’t have to be a meteorologist to know that Red Bank’s Sidewalk Sale is more about rummage-type deals and unexpected finds on a folding table.

The annual tradition, now in its 57th year, has other certainties.

“It’s brutally hot every year and it always rains one day,” said Jayme Seldin, owner of Seldin’s Trinkets, on West Front Street.

But for retailers, there’s an upside for enduring the mid-summer’s stifle: increased exposure to customers. And the customers, Seldin said, are plenty.

“It does bring people into town. That’s a great thing in the summer,” Seldin said.

Beginning Friday and running through the weekend, the borough’s Baby Boomer of a tradition takes its place on clothes racks, in shoe boxes and just about every inch of sidewalk available, rain or shine, hot or hotter.

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WAIT: THERE’S A PATIO IN THERE?

8-monmouth-subs-2An architect’s rendering of the facades of the sub shop and barbershop planned for 8 Monmouth. An “exterior dining patio” would be hidden behind the stairwell accessed by the double doors at left. (Click to enlarge)

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The prospective tenant of a prominent Red Bank storefront wants to build a sub shop with an open-air patio for customers.

Hidden behind a stairwell. Accessible from the sub shop only. Just seven feet wide. Surrounded by walls three stories high.

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FOR LIFEGUARDS, A DAY AT THE BEACH

The sand, and ponytails, went flying at the 27th annual All-Women Lifeguard Tournament at Sandy Hook on Wednesday.

Hosted by Gateway National Recreation Area, the tourney – billed as the oldest in the United States – pits female lifeguards from oceanfront, river, bay, lake and pool lifeguard squads against one another in 10 events designed to highlight fitness, skills, strength and endurance.

Photo intern Stacie Fanelli caught the action for redbankgreen.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

WATER MAIN FIX SLATED FOR SEPTEMBER

sbury-hydrantWork on an old water main below Shrewsbury Avenue is expected to begin after Labor Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An overdue upgrade to boost water pressure to homes and businesses along Shrewsbury Avenue is expected to start in September, says Red Bank Engineer Christine Ballard.

On Wednesday, the borough council awarded a $524,206 contract to a Long Branch company to replace the outdated four-inch water main beneath the bustling corridor with an eight-inch line.

“We’ll start work probably after Labor Day,” Ballard said.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

where_072811

We’re back with a wide shot this week. Do you know where it was taken?

If you’d like to guess, send us an email with the words ‘Where Have I Seen This?’ in the subject line, please.

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RED BANK CHARGES CAR BURGLARY SUSPECT

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

just_in1

A Farmingdale man already in jail on charges of breaking into unlocked cars all over the redbankgreen coverage area and beyond now faces additional charges for the same crimes in Red Bank, police said.

Rodney Tyler, 19, was charged with five counts of burglary and theft on Thursday, closing the book on a round of break-ins that occurred on the East Side of town, police Captain Darren McConnell said Wednesday.

“It was back when we had a slew of them, back in March,” McConnell said.

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OFFICIALS TOUT BAMM HOLLOW OPEN SPACE

bamm-hollow-gspA view of Bamm Hollow from the Garden State Parkway. Middetown officials say the view won’t change. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If and when developers ever get to work on building 190 homes on the sprawling property of Bamm Hollow Country Club, its impact on the Lincroft area of Middletown, would be minimal, says township Attorney Brian Nelson.

Traffic would increase from present levels, and the local school system would take on new students. But when driving by the property, it’d be hard to notice any major impact, Nelson said.

That would not be the case had the township pursued, and lost, a two-year-old lawsuit opposing plans for up to 1,200 units on the site, Nelson maintains. Instead, the municipality reached a deal with the property owners.

“You can drive down West Front Street, and you won’t even know this development is there,” Nelson said in an interview shortly after the township committee announced an end to the lawsuit. “You won’t even see it from the Parkway. It’ll look the same as it is now.”

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WELL, SHUCKS, IT’S NOT FAIR – YET

dsc_0005dsc_0078There’s still a month to go before the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair kicks off its annual eight-day swirl of food and rides, but preparation of more than 150 gallons of homemade clam chowder for the event got underway at the firehouse Monday night.

Shucking and chopping completed, a crew of volunteers gets down to cooking the chowder Tuesday night, after which it will be frozen until the fair, which starts August 26.

More pix after the jump. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

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COPS: CLERK POCKETED CASH

mtpd-badgeBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An employee at the Target on Route 35 was taken from the store in cuffs last week after police say she pocketed cash that was supposed to go into the register for sales.

The Keansburg woman allegedly rang transactions on the cash register, then voided them and took the cash, Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger said in a roundup of police activity.

Details and more reports from Middletown police appear unedited below.

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COPS: WHALER ‘RODE OVER’ VICTIM’S BOAT

buoy-20Saturday night’s fatal boat collision occurred near Buoy 20, seen here from Rich Stavola’s Navesink River Road home, where authorities based their rescue operations. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A combination of alcohol and speed led to the death of a 50-year-old Keansburg man in a late-night boating accident on the Navesink River Saturday, authorities said Monday.

George Harrington, 39, of Atlantic Highlands, was “operating at a fairly high rate of speed” at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when his 20-foot Boston Whaler, carrying five passengers, hit a Stingray operated by Christopher Plante in the area of Buoy 20 in the Middletown section of the river, State Police Sergeant Stephen Jones tells redbankgreen.

Harrington’s boat “rode over the stern of Plante’s vessel,” Jones said.

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JAZZ & BLUES TOO HOT TO HANDLE

jazzblues-2011-1jazzblues-2011-2Torrid heat and humidity, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, made the early hours of the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival at the Middletown Arts Center a hard sell Saturday afternoon.

Formerly held in Marine Park in Red Bank, the festival this year splits its venues between Middletown, Long Branch and Asbury Park over three months. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

A DATE IN RED BANK, MTV CAMERAS IN TOW

mtv-shoot1mtv-showCrews from MTV have been seen trailing an unidentified young couple around downtown Red Bank recently, shooting on White Street earlier this month, above, and at Funk and Standard on Broad Street last week.

What’s up? Crew members say they’re sworn to secrecy, but sources tell redbankgreen they’re gathering footage for a reality dating show called ‘Perfect Date’ to be aired later this year. An MTV spokesman did not respond to a request for confirmation. (Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: SCENES FROM A WELCOME HOME

sean-randy-2neighborsTwenty-two-year-old Sean MacDonald, a lance corporal in the U.S. Marines, returned home on leave after a seven-month tour in Afghanistan to a bustling welcome on Blackpoint Horseshoe Street in Rumson Friday night. A parade of firetrucks and ambulances from Fair Haven and Rumson escorted him the last few miles of his journey into the arms of his father, Randy, above, and a swarm of relatives and friends who had lined the darkening block in anticipation. (Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK BLOTTER: CAR HOODS SCRATCHED

The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of July 15 to July 22, 2011. This information is unedited.

rbpd-patchAuto Theft occurring on 7-18-11 E. Front St. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole her vehicle described as a 2006 Nissan Altima, NJ Reg. WMN45L from parking lot. Ptl. Dawn Shields.

Criminal mischief occurring between 7-17-11 and 7-18-11 at West Bergen Place. Victim reported that unknown subject(s) damaged the hood of her parked vehicle by making circular scratches on same with a rock. Sgt. Frank Bitsko.

Criminal Mischief occurring between 7-18-11 and 7-19-11 at W. Bergen Place. Victim reported that unknown subject(s) scratched parked vehicle on hood and front and rear passenger doors. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

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COPS: BODY FOUND, BOAT DRIVER WAS DRUNK

northoverThe command center in front of the mansion at 36 Northover Place in Middletown, where the victims of the boating accident came ashore, as seen at about 5 a.m. Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

An Atlantic Highlands man was charged with drunk driving in the Navesink River accident that killed the lone passenger of the boat he was operating and sent all five occupants of a second boat into the water Saturday night, State Police said Sunday morning.

The body of the victim, which had been missing after the 11:30 p.m. crash, was recovered from the river almost nine hours later, after being spotted by a State Police helicopter between Middletown and Fair Haven, said Sergeant Brian Polite.

An eyewitness gave redbankgreen a different account of the body’s recovery.

The name of the victim has not been released pending notification of next of kin, he said. [Update, 2:50 p.m.: NJ.com reports the victim was Christopher Plant, 50, from Keansburg.]

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BOATER MISSING, MAN ARRESTED AFTER LATE-NIGHT BOAT CRASH ON NAVESINK

nav-river-arrestA State Police officer frisks an unidentified man early Sunday morning while another shines a flashlight on him. Below, a woman who had been on one of the boats sits in an ambulance. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

rb-ambulanceA boater was missing and an unidentified man was in custody after a two-boat collision on the Navesink River between Middletown and Fair Haven late Saturday night.

More than two hours after the 11:30 p.m. crash, a massive rescue operation involving two helicopters and boats from numerous jurisdictions turned into a search for a body in the darkened river.

At dawn, however, the search boats appeared to end their task, and a phalanx of emergency vehicles parked on land departed without word about whether the missing boater had been found.

Eleven people were believed to have survived the crash, and soon came ashore at the residence of Richard Stavola on Northover Place, a loop off Navesink River Road in Middletown. According to an unconfirmed report, the missing boater was a man about 50 years old.

At about 1:45 a.m., State Police officers on the scene walked a handcuffed man in a white collared shirt and checkered shorts up the property’s long brick driveway, frisked him, and put him in a State Police truck.

Authorities were mum, however, on the reason for the arrest, as well as whatever they knew of the accident. Middletown police referred all inquiries to the State Police, which had assumed command of the operation. A State Trooper told reporters on the scene that that matter was under investigation and that they should “call headquarters Monday morning.”

A aural witness to the accident told redbankgreen what she heard and saw immediately afterward.

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SEA BRIGHT FIREFIGHTERS GUILTY IN SCUFFLE

sbfd-engineA Sea Bright Fire Department engine truck on display at the department’s wet-down celebration, shortly before three firefighters got into a scuffle that led to charges. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two brothers accused of assaulting a fellow volunteer firefighter last year were found guilty of all related charges Thursday, according to court documents obtained by redbankgreen.

But their act of violence upon Justin Hughes at a wet-down celebration October 9 wasn’t unprovoked, the judge said. Hughes was also found guilty of harassment and disorderly conduct.

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UNEASY PEACE LIVES ON IN OLD GRAVEYARD

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

By EVAN SOLTAS

While it gets attention from a few devoted visitors, there’s a distinct sense that the Rumson Burying Ground has been largely forgotten by the public.

Cars whip by on Rumson Road, but time here isn’t measured in minutes and seconds. One sees its passage in the dark stains on headstones, in the termite tubes that have slowly consumed one of the site’s remaining wood grave markers, and in the haunting inscriptions that date back to 1722.

Captain Hartshorne Price, died 1849.

Eleazer Parmly, died 1842.

Huldah Borden, died 1883.

For all its stillness, however, the graveyard at the corner of Conover Lane has been dragged – not for the first time – into the modern world by a dispute over its maintenance.

Dead men may tell no tales, but here, they are not entirely silent.

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