NEW LOOK FOR PRIMAS, CIGARS ON WALLACE

new-primasThe new-look Primas features bright colors and luxurious merchandise at affordable prices, the owners say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rcsm2_0105081

Primas Home on Broad Street in Red Bank reopened last Friday, unveiling a new, bright space laid out with a lot of the eye-catching stuff it had before. Except this time, the price tags won’t make your eyes roll into the back of your head.

Back in April, the upscale furniture and accessory shop closed for renovations, part of its revamping of the business model to keep up with the economy.

After a makeover of the open-plan, vaulted ceiling space – built as the Merchants Trust Company, and later the longtime home of Carrolls Stationers – all the high-end merchandise, including the Althorp line, was sequestered to the loft space, and the 4,000-square-foot ground floor was filled with furniture, lamps and decorations with a palatable price tag.

“It’s affordable luxury. It’s like the look for less,” co-owner Valeria Ribeiro said. “We felt we needed to adjust.”

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NO DECISION ON MEXICAN MARKET PLAN

juan-torresJuan Torres, owner of Juanito’s restaurant, testifies about his proposal for a large grocery on Red Bank’s West Side Thursday night. (Click to enlarge)

A plan for a supersized bodega on Shrewsbury Avenue didn’t make it to the checkout register Thursday night.

A hearing by Red Bank’s zoning board ended with more testimony, and objections, expected when the matter resumes on August 4.

Juan Torres, who owns Juanito’s restaurant, Juanito’s Bakery and El Guero grocery – all on the borough’s West Side – is seeking board approval for what would be the borough’s largest ethnic food store.

But first he’s got to clear hurdles related to the store’s size, parking issues and pedestrian safety, as well as the resistance of at least one other bodega owner.

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WEINBERG DRUMS FOR NEW SUBDIVISION

weinberg-drivewayThe entrance to E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg’s estate on McClees Road in Middletown. Below, Weinberg at this week’s planning board hearing. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

max-weinberg2Eight years after getting his knuckles rapped by Middletown’s foremost land conservationist over a plan to subdivide his estate, drummer Max Weinberg was back before township officials this week, asking for an OK to further slice up land that they once said should never be split again.

The timekeeper for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and former Conan O’Brien sidekick is hoping to subdivide the 16.2-acre parcel on which his home sits so he can sell nearly half for development.

So Weinberg returned to the planning board Wednesday for a bit of déjà vu, asking the board to lift a deed restriction placed on his McClees Road property in 2003, when he and his wife, Becky, subdivided their 37-acre property into four lots.

“Times change. Economics change. Conan’s come and gone,” said his attorney, Michael Steib. “One of the decisions is to market this property. And they’ve learned a 16.2-acre parcel of property is hard to market.”

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STUDY: AVAYA TRAFFIC WON’T BE THAT BAD

avaya-t-shirtFour Ponds development opponents were well-represented at Wednesday’s planning board meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Even in a worst-case scenario, traffic in and out of the proposed Four Ponds development in Lincroft won’t have as big an impact on the area as neighbors fear, according to a traffic study presented to the Middletown Planning Board Wednesday night.

The 342-unit development, if approved, would be better— traffic-wise — for the town than a return to professional use of the 68-acre property on Middletown-Lincroft Road, said traffic consultant John Rea, of McDonough & Rea Associates in Manasquan. The site is the former home of business technology giant Avaya, where a vacant 352,000-square-foot building once housed a bustling tech industry until it was closed a few years ago.

“It has been used in the past, and it has generated higher traffic volumes than what is proposed today,” he said.

Members of the board, though, pushed back against a number of statistics Rea offered, saying traffic in that section of town can slow to a crawl and prompts travelers to seek shortcuts.

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POLICE SCANNER ALERT BACKFIRES ON TEEN

call-in-the-authoritiesBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In a roundup of police activity in Fair Haven, authorities report a case of vandalism, not-so-crafty teens trying to avoid capture by carrying a police scanner and a car fire last week.

Fair Haven’s cop blotter for the month of June appears unedited below.

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ROUND TWO FOR FORTUNE HOUSE

fortune-house1A ‘for sale’ was planted out front of the T. Thomas Fortune House on Drs. James Parker Boulevard last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Four years after a historic Red Bank house was spared a possible meeting with the steel maw of a bulldozer, the T. Thomas Fortune house is back on the market at a sharply reduced price.

Though the house and acre of land it sits on have been available to buyers on and off for years, vandalism prompted the owners to plant a ‘for sale’ sign on the lawn last week, reigniting worries of preservationists. They fear the the three-story, Second Empire-style home to post-Civil War black newspaperman and activist T. Thomas Fortune might be razed.

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FURNITURE STORE BIDS A HASTY ADIEU

pierre-deux-070611Despite the failure of Pierre Deux, neighbors Tiffany & Co. and Garmany are doing well, says landlord Larry Garmany. (Click to enlarge)

Rcsm2_010508French provincial furniture retailer Pierre Deux has closed its Red Bank store as part of a shutdown prompted by a bankruptcy filing for the 23-store chain.

The 2,400-square-foot Broad Street store, which opened next door to Tiffany & Co. three years ago, appears fully stocked. But a bright green notice taped to the door alerts visitors that the store is under the control of a court-appointed trustee.

The notice apparently went up Wednesday, though the closing occurred more than a week ago, said building landord Larry Garmany.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “But the good thing is that they didn’t leave because of Red Bank. They left because they were doing lousy” across America.

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DAD, SONS BUSTED IN M’TOWN DRUG STING

middletown-pdBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A father and two sons were arrested after a lengthy undercover investigation by Middletown police and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, police said.

The three-month investigation led to the arrests of Dean, Christopher and Peter Sadecki, all of 12 Walada Avenue, said Detective Sergeant Steve Dollinger. Authorities seized cash, a variety of drugs and a sport utility vehicle at the family’s Port Monmouth home.

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FAIR HAVEN SIGN WHACKED… AGAIN

fh-sign-missingVandals have apparently hit the Welcome to Fair Haven again. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just a couple months after it was replaced, Fair Haven’s welcome sign on River Road was again a target of vandalism.

This time, though, somebody ripped the whole thing off its tall white stanchions, leaving bent metal and a hard-to-miss hole where the borough’s seal, the steamship Albertina, had stood as the official greeter to the borough.

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COPS: PAIR FOUND WITH WEAPONS, HEROIN

fhpd-carFair Haven police arrested a man with a dagger, stun gun and heroin Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A routine traffic stop early Sunday morning led to the arrest of a man with a dagger, stun gun and heroin in Fair Haven, police said.

Police also brought other charges against Bruce Thompson II, of Red Bank, and his passenger, Todd Gunderson, of Middletown.

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MEXICAN MARKET PLANNED ON SHREWSBURY

197-shrewsbury-ave

Juan Torres is looking to move his Juanito’s brand to Shrewsbury Avenue, formerly the home of Red Bank Furniture Emporium. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI rcsm2_010508

There’s an appetizing item on the Red Bank Zoning Board‘s plate tomorrow night: Mexican.

The mini-empire of authentically Mexican eateries and retail food outlets, Juanito’s, is looking to spread into a space at a recently shuttered Shrewsbury Avenue furniture store.

Juan Torres, who owns Juanito’s Restaurant, Juanito’s Grocery and El Guero Grocery, is seeking the board’s approval for a short list of variances to open up Juanito’s Market at 197 Shrewsbury Avenue.

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KABOOM ARREST NUMBERS MATCH LAST YEAR’S

A YouTube upload of a fight in Red Bank Sunday. It appears to be outside the 7-11, in which case police arrested four people for disorderly conduct. Below, police made a strong show of force, bring in an armored vehicle from the Monmouth County fleet. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

kaboom-cops-1Red Bank police made one fewer arrest during the KaBoom Fireworks Sunday than last year, showing, statistically at least, that the festival organizers’ push to bring the popular fireworks show back to a family focused event missed the mark.

However, police say they noticed a difference in the mood this year, and said there are a couple factors to consider when looking at the numbers.

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M’TOWN: MAN HIT IN HEAD WITH BOTTLE

hot-topic rightMore police activity reports from the Middletown Township Police Department. Entries appear here are unedited.

• On July 3, 2011 at approximately 10:25 pm police responded to a residence on Northover Place in reference to a report of an assault that had taken place during a party at the residence. Upon arrival witnesses informed police that the actor, identified as Parker Fitzpatrick, age 20, from Clover Court in Freehold, NJ, had struck the victim, identified as Philip Curry, age 29, from Toms River, NJ, in the head with a beer bottle and then fled the scene prior to police arrival.

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STEAMY AND SPECTACULAR IN SEA BRIGHT

On a steamy July 4 with a clear view of New York City’s skyline in the background, Sea Bright put on a dazzling display for thousands on the beach Monday night. While kids danced at the water’s edge and adults sat on blankets staring at the sky, Dustin Racioppi was grabbing the photos.

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

ARREST LEADS DEMS TO REPLACE CANDIDATE

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Middletown Democratic Committee named a replacement for former township committee candidate Alex DeSevo Friday, just hours after he tendered his resignation from the race under a cloud of scandal.

Taking DeSevo’s spot is Carol Fowler, of Lincroft, said Joe Caliendo, the party’s chairman.

“We were after her for quite a while,” Caliendo said. “She’s a good-speaking woman, good personality. She sounds like she’s laid back but she’s not.”

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CHILDREN’S VEGETABLE GARDEN BURGLARIZED

authorities3The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of June 24 to July 1, 2011. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring between 6-27-11 and 6-28-11 at Monmouth Street-business. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke window in business. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

Theft occurring at West Bergen Place between 6-28-11 and 6-29-11. For the past several months’ young children of the Head Start Program have been planting vegetables and maintaining them in an enclosed pad locked area behind the building.

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BUSY WEEK FOR MIDDLETOWN COPS

mtown-cruiserThe police activity reports below were provided by the Middletown Township Police Department and are unedited.

• On June 29, 2011 at approximately 11:15 am Patrolman Keith Hirschbein was on patrol in the area of Highway 36 when he stopped a vehicle for having an invalid inspection sticker. Officer Hirschbein approached the driver and asked him for his driving credentials. The driver provided the officer with a fake name.

Officer Hirschbein conducted an investigation which resulted in the identification of the driver as Allen Stenquist, age 37, from Leonardville Road in Belford, NJ. Stenquist was placed under arrest and was transported to police headquarters where he was charged with Hindering Apprehension and Driving While Revoked. He was processed and released pending a court date.

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SKIES CLEAR AND LIGHT UP OVER THE RIVER

Thunderstorms and rain made the Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink an iffy proposition all day Sunday. But by sunset, the skies had cleared for another terrific pyrotechnics display over our beautiful river.

Pix were taken Saturday and Sunday in Red Bank. To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit the escape key.

And be sure to check out all our photo albums at Flickr.

RUMSON, IN A FLASH AND RUMBLE

Shots of Rumson’s 2011 edition of the Independence Day Fireworks, as seen from Victory Park, the Oceanic Bridge and surrounding areas.

As is the custom, the show, by Garden State Fireworks, was synched up with, and identical to (except in the size of the shells) the show upriver, between Red Bank and Middletown.

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 the escape key.

And be sure to check out all our photo albums at Flickr.

KABOOMERS TOUT RETURN TO ‘FAMILY’ SHOW

kaboom-wfront-2010Spectators watching the  2010 fireworks from outside the Red Bank Public Library. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The weekend extravaganza that is Kaboomfest kicks off Friday night, a three-day indulgence on the banks of our beautiful Navesink that includes rides, amusements, live music and one breathtaking pyrotechnics show that qualifies as one of the country’s largest.

There’s a lot to soak in of the borough’s lauded tradition, from parking to security, to where to catch the show and how to beat out after it’s done.

Your friends at redbankgreen have got you covered, and the articles below touch on all the facets of the show. Below is a shrunken version of those stories, providing a snapshot of what this weekend is all about.

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MIDDLETOWN SEEKS KABOOM COMPENSATION

cooper-bridgeA view of the Navesink River from Cooper’s Bridge, where Middletown officials are concerned more people will gather this year to see the fireworks. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While the sky lights up and music blasts across the Navesink River Sunday, and Red Bank’s north end is bursting with crowds and pre- and post-show traffic, Middletown, too, will have its share of it all.

But unlike Red Bank, the neighboring township is footing the bill for the police overtime the event necessitates.

Not fair, say Middletown’s leaders, who share concerns that, with a new fee this year to watch the Kaboom fireworks show at Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank, more people are apt to catch the view from the north side of the river, making more work for its police force.

“It’s gotten worse every year,” said Middletown Committeeman Gerry Scharfenberger, who called Middletown the fireworks’ “incidental victims.” “It’s not an event that we sanction, but we’re left having to deal with the police and crowd control.”

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A GUIDE TO KABOOM, COMING & GOING

LargemapDowntown will be closed to traffic beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The train is the easiest way in and out of town the night of the fireworks, coordinators say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rb-trainIn addition to a powerhouse fireworks show, one guarantee for Sunday’s KaBoom event in Red Bank is the logjam of crowds and traffic that comes with it.

Tens of thousands of visitors stream into town by car, rail, on foot and by bike. Gridlock on the periphery of the central business district is likely before the show. Your “secret” path out of town afterward? Forget about it. It’s taillight city everywhere.

Below is a comprehensive rundown on what to expect, where to go and how to get in and out of town with the same amount of hair you came with.

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FIREWORKS PREVIEW: RUMSON

rumson-fireworks-signRumson’s fireworks will take place same time as Red Bank’s on July 3. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While hundreds of thousands rub elbows to get a view of the Independence Day fireworks in Red Bank Sunday, just a few miles east, there’ll be a more subdued, but pyrotechnically identical, affair going on in Rumson.

For the fourth straight year, the borough will host Rumson’s Fireworks on the Navesink, a duplication of Red Bank’s Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink that draws between 12,000 and 14,000 visitors along the eastern banks of the Navesink River.

The borough has put out information to all businesses and residents in advance of the show, warning of parking and traffic expectations, and where to catch the action.

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