PLANNERS DEEP-SIX EAST SIDE 7-ELEVEN

The Welsh Farms store, which now closes at 10 p.m., would have become an all-day 7-Eleven if the plan had gone through. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s planning board shot down a proposal to convert the East Front Street Welsh Farms convenience store to a 7-Eleven Monday night.

The 6-o vote on a motion by borough Administrator Stanley Sickels was driven by one issue: the plan by the operator, Dina Enterprises, to keep the store that now closes at 10 p.m. open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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TRI DRAWS 400 COMPETITORS

Nearly 400 athletes gathered in Marine Park bright and early Sunday for the Red Bank Triathlon, a swim-bike-run competition of Olympic and sprint distances that took them down a coned-off West Front Street, up Riverside Avenue and into Middletown and Holmdel.

Jonathan Winter of Highland Park took first place overall, finishing the Olympic race – a 1.5k swim in the Navesink River, a 40k bike ride and a 10k run – in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 13 seconds. Full results are here.

redbankgreen photographer Stacie Fanelli was there.

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MIDDLETOWN MAN BUSTED FOR HEROIN

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

call-in-the-authorities• Arthur Bossert, age 30, from Woodsend Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on May 14, 2012 by Corporal James Keenan on Contempt of Court warrants issued by the Middletown and Old Bridge Municipal Courts. He was released after posting $1701.00 bail.

• Milo Kane, age 29, from Beacon Boulevard in Keansburg, NJ, arrested May 14, 2012 by Patrolman Adam Vendetti on a Contempt of Court warrant issued Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $250.00 bail.

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A WILDE TIME FOR RED BANK RUGGERS

The Monmouth Renegades women’s rugby football team took on the Village Lions of NYC Saturday at the annual Monmouth Day event, a day of youth, women’s and men’s rugby at Thompson Park in Lincroft.

After a long match of thrashing and shoving, the local women came out winners, 58-0, and made their way to the Wilde Rover, the Monmouth Football Rugby Club‘s headquarters on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank for an end-of-the-season gala.

Stacie Fanelli took these photos for redbankgreen.

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WALKING OVERNIGHT AGAINST CANCER

Hundreds of walkers took to the track at Red Bank Regional from Friday afternoon until Saturday morning in support of finding a cure for cancer. Social studies teacher April Chichelo led a luminaria ceremony, famously the most solemn and often emotional part of the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life. (Photos and video by Stacie Fanelli)

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RED BANK: THE WEEK IN CRIME

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of May 11 to May 18, 2012. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 5-14-12 at 121 W. Bergen Place. Report of several shrubs in front of business had been pulled out and thrown into roadway by unknown person(s). Ptl. George Travostino.

Theft occurring at 136 Montgomery Terrace between May 15, 2012 and May 16, 2012. Victim reported that cash and a diamond engagement ring were stolen from his glove compartment in parked vehicle. Ptl. Stan Balmer

Theft occurring at 2 Broad Street clothing store on 5-17-12. Unknown person(s) shoplifted several items of clothing. Ptl. David Hicks.

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FARM MARKET BACK IN BIZ

One of Red Bank’s culinary gems, the Farmers’ Market at the Galleria at Red Bank, returns for its second outing of the season this Sunday with more vendors than at any time in the past: 45, according to George Sourlis, whose family owns the Galleria.

“We’re packing them in tighter, with some new vendors we hope will be successful, and just hoping for good weather,” Sourlis tells redbankgreen. And no, he says, the market won’t be displaced this season by the family’s plans to erect a parking garage on the site, on West Front Street at Shrewsbury Avenue.

The market is open every Sunday from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. into mid-November and features locally grown produce and flowers. (Click to enlarge)

OCEANIC BRIDGE SAILS TO COMPLETION

After a seven-month shutdown, the Oceanic Bridge linking Rumson and Middletown was to open for vehicle traffic sometime around noon Friday, having been opened for pedestrians and bikers at mid-morning.

Fair Haven resident Ben Hamilton, right, noting that “there are more dignitaries here than audience,” said he knows business owners who have been “suffering in silence” over the duration of the closure and will be glad to have it back in service. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

HALL CLAIMS WIN IN LOCAL BANK STAKES

The Fair Haven office is one of just five for the locally focused bank. (Click to enlarge)

By MIKE BARON

The shareholders of Rumson-Fair Haven Bank & Trust have spoken, and they apparently aren’t all that worried that hedge fund honcho George Hall is going to turn the their well-heeled area into a Pottersville.

Hall is the founder of investment firm Clinton Group, which has more than $2.5 billion in assets under management, according to its website. On May 11, he won his battle to remove William Barrett as chairman of of the five-branch bank after an independent judge finalized the results of the bank’s annual shareholder vote. Hall is replacing Barrett on the board, and a new chairman is set to be chosen when the bank’s directors meet on Monday.

While the area is undoubtedly a far cry from Bedford Falls, the fictional setting of the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Barrett had reportedly likened Hall to Henry Potter, the film’s villain, amid criticism by Hall that the bank wasn’t doing enough local lending.

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NEW PRINCIPAL NAMED AT RED BANK PRIMARY

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Primary School will have a new principal in September, and she’s a tweeter.

The district board of ed approved the selection of Erin Mulligan-Pierre, right, Tuesday night to replace Rick Cohen, said Superintendent Laura Morana.

The two-school district will also have a new business administrator, replacing Annie Darrow, who recently took a job with the Howell school district.

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ZONING BOARD RULES HOTEL TOO TALL

The board found the proposed hotel exceeds the height limits of the waterfront development zone along the Navesink River.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Adding yet another twist to what’s already the most convoluted building request in recent Red Bank history, the borough zoning board ruled Thursday night that a proposed 72-room hotel on the Navesink River exceeds height limitations.

In a trial-like case that turned on questions of property frontage and where streets begin and end, the board rejected the contention by Hampton Hotel developer RBank Capital LLC that the hotel site fronts on Route 35, rather than Rector Place, and should be subject to a height limit of 85 feet above mean high tide, rather than 60 feet.

The board’s 6-1 rejection of those arguments appear to mean that Rbank will have to either shear off several floors of the six-story structure or start its application all over again, abandoning a series of hearings now on hold at the planning board.

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RED BANK RAID NETS DRUGS, LOADED GUN

call-in-the-authoritiesRed Bank police arrested five adults on narcotics and other charges in a raid on Spring Street apartment Wednesday evening, the department announced Thursday.

A loaded handgun, drugs and cash were confiscated in the execution of a search warrant at the apartment, said Captain Darren McConnell.

The raid was the was the culmination of an investigation conducted by Sergeatnt Robert Clayton into narcotic distribution at the residence, McConnell sai.

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ALL OK AS FIRE GUTS RED BANK TWO-FAMILY

Firefighters found the blaze strongest at the northwest corner of the house, as seen from a neighboring backyard, above, and from Hudson Avenue, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two Red Bank families escaped safely as a predawn fire tore through a Hudson Avenue house Thursday.

One half of the structure, at 46-48 Hudson, was fully involved in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after 3 a.m., said fire Chief Josh Sanders.

Police patrol units, which were already there, reported that the occupants had escaped safely, he said.

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RBC STUDENT DOTH GIVE GOOD REPORT

Olivia Mullen ducked into a Red Bank store to get out of the wind so she could recite a bit of the Bard for redbankgreen earlier this week.

By DANIELLE TEPPER

As Olivia Mullen knows, the works of William Shakespeare are a fundamental component of any acting student’s growth as a performer. The Red Bank Catholic junior has shared passions for drama and music, and to her ear, Shakespeare embodies both.

“Shakespeare’s work is beautiful,” she told redbankgreen this week. “It comes to me almost like a song. I’m not nervous performing it.”

Mullen’s heartfelt appreciation of the Bard of Avon won her a spot in the 29th annual English-Speaking Union‘s National Shakespeare Competition held in New York last month.

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FAIR HAVEN TREE LAW MAY BE TRANSPLANTED

After months of arguing that Fair Haven’s tree ordinance is unconstitutional and needs to be put through a chipper, borough Councilman Bob Marchese is now proposing that it be dug up, balled and relocated.

That, he said, would at least begin to address the law’s most problematic elements, as demonstrated by a recent brouhaha over a 100-foot tulip poplar.

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SO MUCH FOR GRAFFITI-PROOFING

20120515-130611.jpgThe installation of Red Bank RiverCenter’s first new ‘grafitti-proof’ information kiosk on English Plaza isn’t even finished and it’s already had an unauthorized poster pasted over it.

RiverCenter executive director Nancy Adams, who was unaware of the poster, said a notice would be included in the kiosk letting event organizers know their Red Bank events could be advertised inside the glass, and that all other attachments would be removed “just like the countless other stickers and posters we have to take off poles and signs every day.” (Click to enlarge)

A BOOZY WEEK IN MIDDLETOWN

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

call-in-the-authorities• Frane Pesa, age 20, from Sunset Avenue in Port Monmouth, NJ, arrested on May 8, 2012 by Patrolman Greg Buhowski on Contempt of Court warrants issued by the Middletown and Holmdel Municipal Courts. He was held on $1,750.00 bail.

• Nicole Welch, age 27, from Bergen Place in Middletown, NJ, arrested on May 8, 2012 by Patrolman Brian McGrogan and Patrolman Keith Hirschbein of the Quality of Life Unit on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. She was held on $1,000.00 bail.

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ASHLEY DUPRÉ SETS UP SHOP AND MOVES ON

Ashley DuPré embarked on a new life Monday with the opening of Femme by Ashley, her Red Bank swimwear and lingerie boutique, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Can a Jersey Girl whose work as a 22-year-old prostitute helped derail a political career in spectacular fashion return home and remake herself as a small-town retailer?

Four years after her high-priced hotel romps with Eliot Spitzer dynamited his tenure as governor of New York and made her infamous, Ashley Dupré says she turned a page Monday with the opening of Femme by Ashley, a lingerie and swimwear boutique on the choicest block in downtown Red Bank.

The shop, Dupré told redbankgreen in an exclusive interview, “is almost like the beginning of the rest of my life.

“I made a bunch of mistakes when I was younger, and I feel like, for the first time in my life, I’m growing into an adult, and I’m really excited about that,” she said.

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RED BANKER INDICTED IN HEROIN & GUN CASE

A Red Bank man arrested last August as an alleged member of guns and heroin distribution ring has been indicted by a Monmouth County grand jury, the county prosecutor announced Monday morning.

Russell Vann, 54, right, was one of 20 defendants named as alleged members of “a criminal enterprise responsible for the distribution significant quantities of heroin and the trafficking of firearms,” Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw, Jr. said in a prepared announcement.

Two other men arrested in the sweep and previously identified as Red Bank residents were not named in the indictment. They are Charles Dixon, 54, and Raymond Jackson, 41.

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TESTING THE WATERS

Navesink River Rowing member Katya Hanson, above, gives some guidance on oar handling to Susan Skeans at the Red Bank club’s annual open house on the Navesink Saturday. At right, Ann Marie Carton of Middletown, a college rower who joined NRR for summer, tunes up. (Click to enlarge)

BATTER UP! BUT WHERE ARE THE GIRLS?

Lucas Sileno, 8, played catch with his dad, Phil, below, as Red Bank fifth- and sixth-graders faced off in an opening-day game Saturday. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Red Bank’s Parks and Recreation department held its second annual baseball/softball day at Count Basie Fields Saturday to promote the town’s sports programs and to entice kids to sign up.

After several years of rebuilding, the department was able to field a seventh- and eighth-grade boys team for the first time in decade, parks & rec director Memone Crystian tells redbankgreen.

“Our objective is to get Red Bank kids playing through to the high school level,” she said, to the background sounds of hardballs landing in leather mitts. “To do that, we need to get them interested, which is why we’re having a day like today.”

Next challenge: getting girls out on the diamond.

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MAKING PET FOOD SHOPPING EASY AGAIN

Kathleen Fox-Smith chats with a customer on opening day of her Little Silver shop last Friday. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Home Depot, Costco, PetSmart: With their enormous inventories, the big-box-stores that transformed American retailing in the 1990s destroyed innumerable small, local businesses along the way. They also forced customers to travel farther for the privilege of finding what they need at unbeatable prices.

Kathleen Fox-Smith has chafed against the tradeoff for years.

“I have three dogs, and the nearest major pet store is PetSmart on Route 36″ in Eatontown, says the Little Silver resident. “It’s not that far, but it’s just a nuisance to go over there.”

So, answering a deep desire to own an animal-related business and her belief that area pet owners are ready to again shop locally, Fox-Smith has decided to take on the giants in her own, small way.

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RED BANK: DENTS AND SHOEPRINTS ON CAR

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of May 4 to May 11, 2012. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 5-5-12 at Spring St. parking lot. Victim reported that unknown person(s) dented parked vehicle and shoe prints were visible on the car. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

Theft occurring on 4-29-12 at Riverview Plaza. Report that unknown person(s) stole a
diamond and sapphire ring from patient while in the hospital. Sgt. Robert Gannon.

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