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ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK

A parking gate in Red Bank goes a little nutty Tuesday morning. The gate is at a 23-car parking lot at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Linden Place that’s owned by the borough but leased to Downtown Investors for use by employees of the nearby Smith Barney complex. (Click to enlarge)

CHURN CLAIMS TWO DOWNTOWN STORES

Nobody home at Prima’s Home Café on Tuesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The start of each New Year brings another round of retail culling to downtown Red Bank.

True to form, 2012 begins with two longtime Broad Street tenants closing their doors: furniture retailer Primas Home Café and Red Bank Art Gallery, which specializes in mass-produced wall decorations.

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LITTLE SILVER TO VOTE ON ALL-DAY-K FUNDS

Two classrooms would be added to the Point Road School to accommodate the program. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After almost four years of study and discussion, a proposed full-day kindergarten program goes before Little Silver voters next month in the form of a funding referendum.

On the ballot: a $750,000 bond to pay for a two-classroom addition to the pre-k-to-fourth-grade Point Road School.

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FROM THE MIDDLETOWN POLICE BLOTTER

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

• Brian Brehm, age 36, from Walnut Street in Frostburg, MD, arrested on January 28, 2012 by Patrolman Anthony Dellatacoma on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Woodbridge Municipal Court. He was held on $500.00 bail.

• Luis Velez, age 53, from Park Avenue in Belford, NJ, arrested on January 28, 2012 by Corporal Patricia Colangelo on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Monmouth County Superior Court. He was released after posting bail.

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WILD BOAR ON THE LOOSE IN RUMSON

Scene of the crime: Murray MacGregor’s, above, and the pilfered Mr. Oinkers, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Call it the case of the pilfered pig.

Sometime last week, someone climbed up on a dining room chair at Murray MacGregor’s Publik House in Rumson and removed a mounted wild boar’s head from a wall.

And out the door it went, wee wee wee wee all the way home, apparently.

Never to be seen again? Time will tell. At the moment, the restaurant’s new owners, Kathy and Mike Maguire, are more amused, not angry, Kathy tells redbankgreen. They haven’t even bothered calling the cops.

But there is a surveillance system in the restaurant that may have caught the pignapping on videotape. And if they feel inclined to hunt down the poacher, they may take the time to review it, she says.

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COUNTY: OCEANIC REPAIRS ON SCHEDULE

The Oceanic Bridge as seen from Victory Park in Rumson earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fingers crossed, but so far, the repair job on the Oceanic Bridge over the Navesink River between Middletown and Rumson is going like clockwork, thanks to relatively mild winter weather.

Monmouth County officials said the bridge, closed since October, is on schedule to reopen in time for the start of the summer season Memorial Day weekend.

“They’ve been fortunate with the weather,” said Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl.

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PEDESTRIAN REPORTS GUNPOINT ROBBERY

The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of January 20 to January 27, 2012. This information is unedited.

Theft occurring between 1-16-12 and 1-21-12 at  East Bergen Place.  Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole his IBIS Mountain Bike, color shiny copper.  Ptl. John Camarca.

Theft occurring at  Dr. James Parker Blvd. Parking lot on 1-21-12.  A cab driver reported that he picked up four person(s) in Middletown and transported them to above address.  One of the subject’s asked cab driver for change of a $20.00 bill.  Cab driver pulled bills out of his pocket and at this point the subject grabbed money from cab driver’s hand and fled.  Sgt. Robert Clayton.

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MIDDLETOWN ARREST REPORTS

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• Alexander Haegney, age 18, from Clay Court in Navesink, NJ, arrested on January 24, 2012 by Patrolman Brian McGrogan for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana. He was released pending a court date.

• Justin Grover, age 19, from Washington Avenue in Leonardo, NJ, arrested on January 24, 2012 by Patrolman Adam Vendetti on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $250.00 bail.

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PRESS: DWI CHARGED IN MIDDLETOWN CRASH

An Ocean County resident is facing drunken driving and other charges, as well as possible deportation, following a three-vehicle crash that seriously injured another man in Middletown Tuesday night, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Meanwhile, Robert H. Reimann, 54, of Atlantic Highlands, remains hospitalized at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Npetune, where he was flown by helicopter after being trapped in his car for an hour following the 6 p.m. collision on Navesink River Road, the Press reports.

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SEA BRIGHT MAYOR DIVES INTO WORK

Mayor Dina Long up to her ankles after a rainstorm flooded the street outside her home earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Right off the bat, the above photo hints at what new Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long is up against.

Long is far from the first of the town’s top elected officials to confront flooding issues. Pinched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Shrewsbury River, the three-mile-long spit of sand can always count on seeing water slosh onto residential streets abutting the downtown business district during storms.

But a fix is finally in the works, says Long, who hopes to check off flood control, beachfront redevelopment, cellular service quality and one or two other longstanding projects from her to-do list in her term.

“I refuse to see things as problems,” Long told redbankgreen in a recent interview over coffee at Steve’s Breakfast & Lunch on Ocean Avenue. “Otherwise, you’re just stuck all the time.”

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A ‘JITNEY’ TO THE BIG TIME FOR TRTC

Ruben Santiago-Hudson announces JITNEY at the Two River Theater last spring, as Greg Brown and Rona Figueroa (of TRTC’s production of JACQUES BREL) look on. (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

The scene is the storefront dispatch office of an unlicensed gypsy cab service in Pittsburgh’s Hill District — a neighborhood unserved by the city’s major taxi companies, and an unlikely setting for one of the truly game-changing works of the modern theater.

When he wrote Jitney in the late 1970s, August Wilson was a largely self-educated impresario who came from far outside the theatrical and academic establishments to found his own shoestring stage troupe in the Hill District. What he didn’t yet realize was that this short-on-plot, long-on-vivid-characters ensemble drama would develop into the cornerstone of a project that would see its author hailed by many as the greatest American playwright of the last 50 years.

Before his 2005 death from liver cancer, Wilson managed to complete the ambitious work that would serve as his legacy: the Pittsburgh Cycle, a set of ten plays — each one set in a different decade — that encapsulate the African-American experience in the 20th century in ways that are tragic, comic, mystical, musical, realistic, hardbitten, hopeful and, in the case of Jitney, maybe all of the above.

Beginning with a just-added matinee preview on Sunday, January 29, Two River Theater Company makes its first foray into Wilson’s world as Jitney takes the stage for a three-week run. Heading a heavyweight ensemble of nine professional players is Tony winner (for The Life) Chuck Cooper as Becker, boss of the dispatch depot and a man whose relationship with his recently paroled son Booster (J. Bernard Calloway of Broadway’s Memphis) boils over into violence. Anthony Chisholm, who won an Obie as Fielding in the play’s original Off Broadway production, reprises the role of the alcoholic ex-tailor here — and the frankly awesome cast is rounded out by Harvy Blanks, Brandon J. Dirden, Roslyn Ruff, Ray Anthony Thomas, James A. Williams and Allie Woods Jr.

Most exciting of all is the identity of the director attached to this project — Ruben Santiago-Hudson, a longtime friend and professional associate of August Wilson who won a Tony for his acting in Wilson’s Seven Guitars (and who went on to co-star in Gem of the Ocean as well as direct numerous Wilson revivals). The busy stage and screen pro, who turned playwright for his autobiographical Lackawanna Blues (and who’s also familiar from three seasons of Castle, a TV series in which his character was rather disconcertingly bumped off), has been busily overseeing rehearsals in Red Bank even as he continues his current Broadway stint in the Alicia Keys-produced Stick Fly.

The Drama Desk at redbankgreen managed to get in a few minutes with Santiago-Hudson as he jitney’d his way between two high profile projects.

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SICKLES PLANS FOODIE JUNKET TO SICILY


By JOHN T. WARD

After more than 350 years of rather quiet contentment in Little Silver, Sickles Market is taking it to the old country.

The market, whose roots on the same Rumson Road property date back to a farm started in 1660, is organizing an October tour of gardens, cheese-making shops, olive pressers and other artisanal food producers on the Italian island.

For $6,000 per person, up to 12 travelers will get to indulge in “an exclusive insider’s culinary and cultural view of Italy,” says says Kirsty Dougherty, who was hired recently as Sickles’ director of tourism training..

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ON MONMOUTH: SUBS, SNIPS AND CLIPS

The Red Bank Sub Shop and House of Fades barbershop are setting up side-by-side at 8 Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Time for a couple of Retail Churn updates from Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

Sandwich man Canio Paradiso is sprucing up at his soon-to open sub shop, the one with what has to be the borough’s oddest patio…

And a spacious new nail salon has opened its door, bring its owner full circle.

 

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FAIR HAVEN TO DIM ‘RUNWAY’ WATTAGE

fh-riv-rd-lamps-112911Alternating lamps along the River Road streetscape will be shut off after 11 p.m., officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna says it looks like “an airport runway,” and he’s not the only one who marvels at the candlepower along River Road in neighboring Fair Haven.

Resident Ruth Blaser wonders, “Did the town engineer go to a closeout sale for streetlamps and say, ‘I’ll take them all?'”

The sarcasm, however, may be in for a dial-back soon – at least as it regards late-night travel along the road.

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BIDDING THE MAYOR FAREWELL

It’s official, apparently, if the sign outside Fair Haven Borough Hall has the weight of officialdom. The expected resignation of Mike Halfacre as the borough’s mayor, that is, to take a job in the Christie Administration. But neither the borough administrator nor the clerk was available Wednesday morning to say if Halfacre had submitted a formal resignation, and Halfacre did not immediately respond to a request for comment. [Update, 10:35 a.m.: Borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande confirms that Halfacre submitted his resignation letter Tuesday, effective immediately.] (Click to enlarge)

THREE INJURED IN MIDDLETOWN HEAD-ON


Three motorists were injured, and one was airlifted to a hospital, following a head-on collision that closed a stretch of Navesink River Road in Middletown Tuesday night, according to news reports.

According to the NJ.com, the Star-Ledger’s website, crash occurred near the at a curve in the road near the Navesink Country Club and closed the roadway for several hours.

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MIDDLETOWN POLICE BLOTTER

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• Thomas Burgos, age 24, from Piave Avenue in Staten Island, NY, arrested on January 20, 2012 by Patrolman Richard Fulham on Contempt of Court warrants issued by the Middletown and Parsippany Municipal Courts. He was held on $1,215.00 bail.

• Christopher Hartman, age 26, from Fairview Drive in Middletown, NJ, arrested on January 20, 2012 by Patrolman Adam Colfer for Driving While Intoxicated on Cherry Tree Farm Road. He was released pending a court date.

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WOMAN BUSTED FOR HEROIN IN HER BRA

Little Silver police say a shoplifting suspect’s cups runneth over Sunday afternoon when they found her to be wearing a bra filled with suspected heroin packets, they reported Tuesday morning.

Here’s the full text of the report on the arrest of Dana Labriola (right):

On January 22, 1012, at 4:10 p.m., patrols responded to the CVS located at 510 Prospect Avenue after the store manager recognized a woman from a January 18, 2012 incident where she had exited the store with a basket of cosmetics without paying.

P.O. Salerno determined that the woman identified as Dana Labriola, 30 yoa of Monmouth Beach had shoplifted this evening and made the arrest.

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PRESS: HALFACRE NOW HAS CHRISTIE NOD

The mayor, seen below in his biking gear, was a no-show Monday night and his nameplate sat on a shelf behind the council dais. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

He’s yet to resign, but the Asbury Park Press says Fair Haven’s Mayor Mike Halfacre now has been formally named to a post in the Christie Administration that will require him to step down from his elected post.

Halfacre, who apparently jumped the gun last week by announcing his new job as head of the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control on Facebook before his appointment was made official by the governor’s office, did not appear at Monday night’s meeting of the borough council.

Borough officials who appeared not to know of the latest Press report told redbankgreen on the condition of anonymity that Trenton had asked Halfacre to “lie low and not do anything mayoral” while his appointment was being finalized.

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SEA BRIGHT TESTS THE WATER ON BEACH PLAN

A concept plan for the pool club that’s envisioned for part of the beachfront, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Years in the talking, the transformation of Sea Bright’s dowdy oceanfront into a moneymaker complete with a pool club and restaurant could begin early next year, officials say.

But first, the borough council is awaiting the results of an analysis aimed at gauging  the appeal of the project to businesses its meant to lure.

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BRUISING HIPS FOR A CLASS TRIP

The Red Bank Roller Vixens put on an action-packed show for a full house at the the Red Bank Middle School in a fundraiser for the eighth-grade class trip Friday night.

The event also featured a bit of hardwood action by the Red Bank Riot Girls, a junior league squad for girls ages 12 to 18; some nasal silliness by the Pretty Things Peep Show; and a raffle based on a storm of ping-pong balls.

redbankgreen was there, natch.

 

RED BANK CRIME & ARREST REPORTS

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of January 13 to January 20, 2012. This information is unedited.

Subject identified as Jake Evans age 24 male of Brick was charged with stealing bag of assorted breads and rolls from outside of bakery on 1-15-12 in the area of Monmouth Street.  Ptl. Nicholas Maletto

Criminal Mischief occurring at Morford Place—apartment building on 1-16-12. Manager reported that unknown person(s) broke two entry doors to building by breaking glass in same.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 1-17-12 at Monmouth St. business. Victim reported that window in business had glass smashed. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

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SLUSHY START TO THE WEEK

The snow left a filigree of ice along a railing at Maple Cove in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

The Green’s first snowfall of 2012 on Saturday becomes workaday slush Monday, as temperatures climb into the low 50s and rain begins to fall Monday afternoon.

Here’s the forecast by the National Weather Service:

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UNDRESSING IN THE CHURCHYARD

On the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank, atop Tower Hill, is a wonder of a nature: a paper-bark birch throwing off its clothes in paper-thin layers to reveal something purer underneath.

Red Bank arborist Bill Brooks tells redbankgreen that the exfoliation process occurs “pretty much year-round” for the trees, also known as white birch and canoe birch, because Native Americans used the detritus to waterproof their vessels.

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