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TAKING IT TO THE RIVER FOR THREE-DAY FEST

A weekend’s serving of cheek-bulging chow and hip-shaking music take up residence in Red Bank’s Marine Park this weekend. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge.)

By TOM CHESEK

It was the subject of a behind-the-scenes brouhaha that rivaled the most spirited Battle of the Bands: a “take back the weekend” campaign that pitted some of the mainstays of the Red Bank business community against an established event that many locals believed had both outgrown and turned its back on its host community.

When the calendar flipped to the first weekend in June, 2011, however, the consensus was that Riverfest was a refreshing breath of sweet summertime air off the Navesink — a successful revival of a seasonal signature that Lynda Rose, president of the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, calls “a perfect fit for the town, the businesses and anyone who enjoys being in Red Bank.”

Beginning Friday and continuing into Sunday evening, Riverfest returns to the sloping lawns and waterfront walkways of Marine Park with a three-day, rain-or-shine, strolling smorgasbord of culinary creations, “local organic” music and family-friendly activities.

Billed as “New Jersey’s Largest Food and Music Festival with Free Admission,” it’s both a throwback to an earlier small-town vision of Red Bank, and a summer-season keynote to a new chapter in the borough’s ever-evolving history.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Twenty-five of the 27 readers who wrote in to identify the four pastel-colored Adirondack chairs shown in last week’s photo got it right.

The mistaken pair might want to take a seat in what several others refer to as the Four Chairs of Wisdom – which according to Jim Fitzmaurice, replaced the Bench of Knowledge – outside Butler’s Deli in Rumson.

It is there during early morning sessions, that “the problems of the world are discussed and resolved,” Jim writes. “Weather permitting.”

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AGOSTINO, T. BERRY SQUARE PACKING IT IN

Agostino Antique’s home, at 21 Broad, is expected to have a new owner soon. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Downtown Red Bank’s economic recovery is not without its setbacks, as evidenced by two imminent departures from Broad Street.

After months of advertising a clearance sale, Agostino Antiques is planning to pack up its remaining merchandise in the next couple of weeks and shut its doors by the end of June, a principal in the company tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Just two blocks to the south, Jennifer Quinn Payne is winding down her children’s clothing and furnishings store , T. Berry Square, to devote herself to motherhood.

Meanwhile, two doors away from T. Berry, and under the same roof, Hip & Humble Home has a for-lease sign in the window, but they’re not talking.

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RUMSON NABS THREE TEENS FOR 12-PACK

Rumson police, continuing a crackdown on illegal alcohol use by minors, arrested three young adults for possession late Sunday night, according to an announcement by Chief Richard Tobias.

The crackdown, coming on the heels of a survey that found heavier-than-expected use of alcohol and drugs by students at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, also includes a ramped-up effort to publicize such arrests, Tobias tells redbankgreen.

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THREE WOMEN CHARGED WITH PROSTITUTION

The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of May 18 to May 25, 2012. This information is unedited.

Theft occurring at 60 Monmouth Street restaurant on 5-18-12. Victim inadvertently left her I phone on the table in the dining room. She departed and realized that her phone was left, returned and phone was not found. Sgt. Robert Clayton.

Theft and Criminal Mischief occurring at 33 Broad St. on 5-21-12. Report of unknown person(s) cutting padlock off of fenced in area and stole scrap metal. Ptl. Thomas Doremus.

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STOLEN LAPTOP HELD CHERISHED PHOTOS

Shakira Johnson with her son, Jakir, earlier this week. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Unlike most parents, Red Bank resident Shakira Johnson does not have the luxury of flipping through old photographs and looking back on her son’s toddler years.

She cannot hold them in her hands and reminisce about his first Christmas, or his seventh birthday party. That quintessential shot of a smile missing two front teeth is likewise missing from her life.

She is a mother who has lost all her photos – twice. And she is asking for help to get back those that she can.

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LITTLE SILVER MAKES WAY FOR MORE PARKING

Bulldozers razed a house, seen in the distance below, to make way for a new parking lot.  (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Not everyone likes the solution, but parking at Little Silver’s notoriously crowded borough hall/library complex is about to get easier, town officials said last week.

A borough-owned house at 466 Prospect Avenue, located next to Borough Hall, was demolished last Tuesday to make room for a new parking lot.

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KEEPING MIDDLETOWN COPS BUSY

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

call-in-the-authorities• Mark Dorsey, age 25, from Furman Boulevard in Keyport, NJ, arrested on May 21, 2012 by Patrolman Richard Belmonte for Shoplifting from the Sears Store. He was released pending a court date.

• Richard Heid, age 26, from Maida Terrace in Red Bank, NJ, arrested on May 21, 2012 by Patrolman Stephen Keller on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $500.00 bail.

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DUPRÉ PLUGS FEMME IN POST SWAN SONG

A screen grab of Ashley Dupré’s final sex-and-relationship advice column, which ran Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Moving on to what she calls “the next chapter in my life,” Ashley Dupré – the high-priced escort in New York’s 2008 ‘Luv Guv’ scandal –  has pulled the plug on her career as a New York Post sex-and-relationship advice columnist in order to focus on her new Red Bank lingerie and swimwear store, she says.

In her swan-song column, published on Saturday, Dupré thanked readers “for helping me find my path in life” while at the same time plugging her Broad Street boutique, Femme by Ashley.

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FIREFIGHTERS DEDICATE 9/11 MEMORIAL

Red Bank volunteer firefighters and officials dedicated a new 9/11 monument outside borough hall Monday. Beginning and ending in prayer, the Memorial Day ceremony included speeches from those who had lost loved ones to war as well as recognition by Mayor Pasquale Menna of the Red Bank volunteer fire department‘s efforts as related to the 343 New York City firefighters who lost their lives almost 11 years ago.

“This monument is dedicated to every man, woman, and child who gave the ultimate sacrifice on that awful day, September 11,” Menna said. “We remember them, and we remember their heroism.” (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge.)

ACCIDENT DEMO DRIVES HOME SAFETY LESSON

RBR students look on as emergency personnel perform an extrication of a ‘victim’ trapped in a vehicle. Below, Joy Jones displays a portrait of her son Steven as she speaks to students about his death at the hands of his drunk best friend. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

Little Silver police  were the first on the scene Friday morning at Red Bank Regional, where three cars lay smashed on the pavement. Sirens blaring, at least a dozen more emergency vehicles lined up in front of the school minutes later.

No one was hurt. In fact, the entire senior class stood around the “crash” site, struggling to hold back laughter when a drunken driver stumbled dramatically out of the first vehicle.

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TURNING THEIR ATTENTION TO SUMMER…

Not everyone’s thinking about the beach. (Click to enlarge)

Summer rolls in this weekend. “Unofficially,” as they say, though there’s no mistaking the change of gears, outerwear and mindsets that accompanies the arrival of Memorial Day and lasts until the first school bus of summer pulls up in September.

redbankgreen intern Stacie Fanelli hit the streets of the Green this week to gather some thoughts of summer.

What’s your favorite local summer hangout?

“Either here [J. Rooster] or Jamian’s in Red Bank.  It’s nice how’s the door’s wide open to street.”

Jeremy Haney (owner of J. Rooster, a new bakery/cafe in Fair Haven, lives in Old Bridge)

 

What’s your favorite local summer hangout?

“I fish a lot, so I’ll be doing a lot of fishing at Sandy Hook and Island Beach State Park.”

Ken Barker, Middletown

Will you be going to the beach?

“I’m not a big sun person and we have a beautiful deck at home, so why do I have to go to the beach?”

Pat Barker, Middletown

What do you look forward to most this summer?

“I look forward to sitting outside eating. This place (Broad Street) has a tendency to be like live theater. I look forward to seeing more action around here.”

Mike Rovere, Red Bank

What do you look forward to most this summer?

“Everyone was looking forward to the fireworks, but those were canceled, so there goes that. Just a lot of people to town would be nice. I sit on the bench almost daily with a cup of coffee and watch people go by.”

Joe Buonacquista, Red Bank

What do you look forward to most this summer?

“I’m looking forward to swimming in the ocean every single day.”

Jimmy Ryan, Sea Bright

 

 

Will you be at the beach in the next few months?

“I’m staying away from the Jersey Shore. It’s the personality of the shore. I love the beach, but I hate the shore.”

-Joe Lamicela, Middletown

Will you be at the beach in the next few months?

“I’ll be off Sandy Hook [in Sea Bright]. The locals call it Via Ripa. There are no Bennys there, so it’s great.”

-Megan Massa, Middletown

 

What’s your favorite local summer hangout?

“Outside at New Corner Restaurant. I don’t have much of a family. They’re like my family. I’ve adopted them; they’ve adopted me.”

John Hutzley, Red Bank

GAY PRIDE TO PLANT A RED BANK FLAG

The June 20 event, at the Two River Theater, will feature an open mic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths to tell their stories. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Joining the ranks of cities and towns across America, Red Bank is set to hold Two River Pride, its first-ever community event to commemorate the struggles and accomplishments of the gay community.

Ed Zipprich, the borough’s first openly gay elected official, tells redbankgreen that Two River Pride is a response to  inquiries from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals about the absence of events during June, designated as LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan that sparked the gay rights movement.

“For years, we’ve been asked why we don’t do an event, and it’s because no one ever took the initiative to start one,” he said. “So Kathy Horgan and I put our heads together,” he said of his fellow member of the borough council.

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EURASIAN EATERY CLOSING

Owner Joe Kriete says he’s closing for personal, not economic reasons. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s Eurasian Eatery, a mecca for vegetarians and foodies with globe-hopping tastebuds, will close after its final seating on Sunday, owner Joe Kriete tells redbankgreen.

Kriete, who’s owned the 26-year-old restaurant for six years, said he’s in the process of selling the equipment and fixtures to a Peruvian chef from north Jersey, though he’s uncertain if she plans to open a Peruvian restaurant there.

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TEEN GET SIX YEARS FOR AUTO DEATH

A 19-year-old man said to be a resident of Red Bank was sentenced to six years in state prison Thursday following his guilty plea in February to vehicular homicide while driving drunk in Middletown, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced Thursday.

Here’s the full announcement:

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FIREFIGHTERS TO DEDICATE 9/11 MONUMENT

A twisted piece of steel from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, along with a sculpture reminiscent of the twin towers, was installed next to the firefighter memorial outside Red Bank’s borough hall this week. The new work is slated for dedication at a Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. Monday, when deceased volunteer firefighters will also be honored. The borough’s traditional Memorial Day commemoration will be held at 51 Monmouth Street at 11 a.m. (Click to enlarge)

 

DAYS ARE NUMBERED FOR RED BANK METERS

Red Bank’s council introduced an ordinance Wednesday night that will allow it to spend up to $350,000 from a dedicated parking fund on new pay stations. The stations, expected to debut in mid-June, will replace meters in the lots at White Street, English Plaza, Maple Cove and Marine Park, and along Wharf Avenue north of Union Street, according to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels. Meantime, borough workers have begun numbering spots and building concrete pads for the stations. (Click to enlarge)

HELMETCAM VIDEO OF HUDSON AVENUE FIRE

A volunteer Red Bank firefighter shot this video with a camera attached to his helmet during the blaze that destroyed a two-family house on Hudson Avenue in the early morning hours of May 17. All six occupants of the house escaped safely.

The firefighter approached the house through the back yard from Clay Street and found the rear of the structure fully engulfed in flame.

Warning: coarse language.

LITTLE SILVER MEMORIAL SPRINGS TO LIFE

Memorial Park was built on a site where a drive-thru bank was once proposed. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

When the residents of Little Silver conclude their planned Memorial Day parade next Monday, they’ll wind it up at a parcel of land on Prospect Avenue that’s a far cry from the bank that was contemplated for the site more than a dozen years ago.

After more than two years of planning and construction, Little Silver Memorial Park has been transformed into a lush stretch of green, filled with mini Japanese maples and gravel foot paths.

“Residents were pretty adamant about not wanting another commercial, asphalt space,” said Linda Goff, chairperson for the borough Shade Tree Commission of Little Silver. “So that’s where we came in. We really wanted to make it a natural place where people would feel comfortable coming in to walk or sit and relax.”

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AUTO SHOP SET TO ZOOM INTO SHREWSBURY

A long-empty Shrewsbury garage will soon be revving to the sounds of Lamborghinis and other big-ticket cars.  (Photo below by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

For two years, it’s stood empty and forlorn, with tufts of weeds poking through cracked asphalt out front.

But a two-bay garage on Broad Street in Shrewsbury is set to roar back to life with the with the opening of Massimo Motorworks, the second location of a high-end auto repair shop in Long Branch.

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DONE GOOD: HELPING VETS FIND JOBS

Done3Done Good is a periodic rundown of charitable outreach efforts and fundraisers on the The Green. To submit items for consideration, please send an email with the words ‘Done Good’ in the subject line.

TODAY: “Taking Care of Our Own” Open House for Veterans
Red Bank’s Two River Theater hosts a “Taking Care of Our Own” open house Tuesday, May 22 from 5 to 9 p.m. that will focus on helping returning veterans gain employment with non-governmental entities while also serving as an forum for them to meet local business owners.

There will be a number of free resources offered to veterans along with numerous discounted services from the private sector; a great networking opportunity and fundraiser. A food-wine-gift auction is included as well with all proceeds going to Operation Homefront and Lunch Break. No admission charge for veterans, $20 donation for other attendees. For more info, call 973-449-7702.

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FIRE VICTIM RECOUNTS ESCAPE

A worker boards up windows of the burned-out house on Friday. Below, Ryan Howard talks to a policeman during the fire. (Photo above by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

Before dawn last Thursday, Ryan Howard woke to the sounds of his dog barking and children screaming outside his bedroom window.

“Why are the kids out playing at this hour?” his wife, Nicole, asked him. It was 3:15 a.m.

Concerned, Howard peeked outside and saw flames erupting from the adjoining portion of the Red Bank duplex in which they lived, at 46-48 Hudson Avenue.

After getting his wife and two dogs outside to safety, Howard re-entered the house to get his keys so he could move their cars to give firefighters access, he told redbankgreen.

By the time he’d done so, the entire back of the house was engulfed in flames.

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AND THE BASIE GOES TO…

Crew members from the Count Basie Theatre’s Performing Arts Academy prepare the set for Wednesday night’s seventh annual Basie Awards show.

To all those who believe that there are simply Too Many Award Shows — well, we certainly won’t argue the point.

That said, when the red carpet rolls and the paparazzi bulbs pop this Wednesday evening on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, it may just herald the only trophyfest that matters — possibly even a ground-floor investment in the next generation of acting, singing, dancing talent on the greater Green.

The Basie Awards extravaganza that goes up Wednesday night at the Count Basie Theatre will mark the seventh annual edition of the program that recognizes excellence in drama and musical productions among Monmouth County high schools. It’s an event that’s boasted such guest hosts and presenters as E Street busker Max Weinberg and Tony nominee Lou Liberatore, as well as SNL veterans Joe Piscopo and Siobhan Fallon Hogan. But it’s really all about the kids, of course — and when the Basie envelopes are fumbled open on the landmark stage, a collection of young performers from 19 local high schools (including five in the Red Bank area) will be among those hoping that this can be the first milestone item in a glittering trophy case.

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WAYNE’S MARKET OWNER FISLER DIES AT 58

Wayne Fisler, below, could often be seen working in the window of his shop on West Front Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Wayne Fisler, owner of Red Bank wine and food store Wayne’s Market on West Front Street, died Sunday. He was 58 years old.

A fixture of sorts to passersby, Fisler could often be seen on the phone or schmoozing with customers from a stool at the store’s front window.

In fact, borough Administrator Stanley Sickels and Mayor Pasquale Menna, who grew up with Fisler, referred to him as a “Red Bank fixture.”

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