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WATER EMERGENCY CONTINUES

A view of the damaged pipes from Swimming River Road in Lincroft Saturday morning, and the map showing the towns included in the boil-water advisory. (Photo by Bill Heine. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An outdoor water-use ban remained in effect throughout Monmouth County Saturday, even as officials limited a boil-water advisory to 22 towns in the aftermath of Friday’s supply failure at the New Jersey American Water plant.

The boil-water advisory remains in effect for all towns on the Green except Red Bank, which obtains water this time of year from its own wells. Tens of thousands of homes, and hundreds of restaurants and other businesses dependent on large volumes of water are affected.

NJAW customers and even those in Red Bank are asked to restrict indoor water use, while outdoor uses such as watering of lawns and car washing are prohibited.

As of noon Saturday, NJAW had given no indication of when service might be restored to normal.

Meantime, local fire officials are on heightened alert with provisions for backup support in the event of a fire.

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NJNG TO REPLACE ALL SIDEWALK VALVES

The disputed gas pressure regulators are beneath steel covers like this one outside 12 Broad Street. The utility contends they should be above ground for safety, like the one outside Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

New Jersey Natural Gas, locked in a lawsuit with Red Bank over unsightly gas valves, plans to replace 88 such devices in their existing sidewalk pits downtown beginning Monday, the company announced Friday afternoon.

Citing the “potential threat of harm” posed by corroded and leaking gas pressure regulators, the company said it would take unilateral action to temporarily replace the equipment in a way that does not require borough permits – the sticking point in the pending litigation.

Mayor Pasquale Menna called the action a publicity stunt.

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RUMSON WOMAN TO FOCUS BASIE ON FUNDING

Justine Robertson, who revived a family-owned theater in her native Hartford, Connecticut, is the new interim CEO of the newly restructured Basie. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Elbowing aside its CEO of the past decade, the board of the Count Basie Theatre has decided to merge the operation of the Red Bank stage with the theater’s fundraising counterpart, and has hired a Rumson woman to run the restructured entity on an interim basis, the theater announced Thursday.

Justine Robertson, a 27-year Rumson resident, replaces Numa Saisselin, who was widely credited for having steered the Monmouth Street theater from leaky-roofed money pit to a refurbished and financially stable cultural gem.

Saisselin, a onetime stagehand who colleagues say is more comfortable directing a load-in and negotiating band contracts than schmoozing potential donors, assumes the title of chief operating officer of the not-for-profit enterprise, answering to Robertson, who starts work on Monday.

With its choice, the theater signaled a shift in emphasis the nuts-and-bolts booking acts and theater upkeep to winning contributions from deep-pocketed individuals, Robertson said in an interview with redbankgreen.

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MENNA: GIVE PARKING WAIVER MORE TIME

A fee moratorium has helped fill vacant spaces downtown, and should remain in effect through the rest of the year, the mayor says. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Four months after proclaiming that a waiver on fees for new businesses with parking shortfalls had done its job and should be allowed to expire, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale says he has changed his mind.

Menna led a move at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting to extend the moratorium by six more months, through December 31. The motion passed on a unanimous vote.

“I’m not infallible,” Menna said afterward, when asked about his changed view. “I’ve listened to people who are trying to come in and genuinely improve our business climate.”

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BELLHEADS PICK UP A SIGNAL FROM THE PAST

It was an evening of I-thought-I’d-see-you-heres as an overflow crowd of more than 100 attendees – a preponderance of them white-haired, and many once employed by Bell Labs – turned out in Little Silver Thursday night to hear author Jon Gertner discuss his book, “The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.”

The unexpectedly strong turnout necessitated the relocation of the event from the borough library to the nearby municipal courtroom, where it was still SRO. (Photos by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

SKIMBOARDERS ENJOY WAVE OF POPULARITY

Some of the onshore action at SkimBash in Sea Bright last weekend. (Photo by Connor Soltas. Click to enlarge)

By CONNOR SOLTAS

When semi-pro skimboarder Colton Wallace, 19, throws down his board in a headlong sprint, the crowd knows it’s in for something good. Cameras turn and the announcers fall silent. The clapping pauses.

What follows looks a lot like skateboarding: leaping onto the moving board, Wallace spins it below him with a flick of the ankle and lands the trick, still moving in the same direction.

Though Wallace, who traveled from Gulf Shores, Alabama to compete, took first place in his division, he was far from alone in pulling off impressive feats. Despite lackluster wave conditions, “A-plus” talent marked Sea Bright’s SkimBash 2012, announcer Brett Mahon said of the weekend contest.

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CUPCAKES GO GLUTEN-FREE AT POSH POP

A passerby checks out the desserts at Posh Pop. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

His high school sweethearts Krizha Bayacbacao and Matthew Pytel had always dreamed of becoming entrepreneurs. Now, just a year out of college, they’ve already taken an online business to the street.

Their story, culminating with last week’s launch of Posh Pop Bakeshop on Broad Street in Red Bank, begins with a birthday cake.

Pytel, 22, has Celiac disease, which is a gluten intolerance – distinct from an allergy – that prevents him from being able to enjoy most sweet treats. To address this, Bayacbacao started experimenting with recipes while she and Pytel were students at Kean University, and made him a gluten-free cannoli cake.

“She was so proud of it,” said Pytel. “It was one of the first things she made. I love cannoli, so it was chocolate cake with cannoli filling and strawberries on top. It was delicious. That night, we sat down and she was like, ‘Why don’t we just throw something together and see what happens?’”

What they threw together was a website touting gluten-free baked goods, and as luck would have it, it became a little website that could.

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RED BANK MOVES TO LIMIT BUILDING HEIGHTS

Under the proposal, structures as tall as the Atrium, left and Riverside Towers on Riverside Avenue, seen above last September, would no longer be permitted. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fresh off a prolonged tangle over a proposed and ultimately rejected Hampton Inn hotel on the Navesink River, Red Bank officials are taking an editing pen to land use laws – and a chainsaw to building heights.

Under an amendment floated for adoption at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, new buildings in the town’s waterfront development zone would be limited to 75 feet above mean sea level. Currently, structures in the zone are allowed to be as tall as 140 feet.

The changes could clear the way for Rbank Capital LLC, owner of  former filling station property at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge, to return with a slightly modified hotel plan, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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IN LITTLE SILVER, REDIALING OLD BELL LABS

Award winning tech and business journalist Jon Gertner visits the Little Silver Public Library Thursday to discuss his book THE IDEA FACTORY: BELL LABS AND THE GREAT AGE OF AMERICAN INNOVATION. (Photo by Leslie de la Vega/ Penguin Books)

By TOM CHESEK

It’s not at all hyperbole to suggest that in its heyday, Bell Labs was where The Future took shape.

The list of accomplishments claimed by the Murray Hill-based research and development arm of AT&T included some of the genuine building blocks of modern life (transistors, lasers), game-changing milestones of the Computer Age (the UNIX system, C programming language, Information Theory) and a whole lot of landmark work in the fields of radio astronomy, fiber optics, solar cells and satellite communications.

Close to home, its local connection — both via the company’s major presence in Monmouth County, and the caliber of people it attracted to this once relatively sleepy corner of New Jersey — impacts our lives in ways that are as here-and-now as the handheld mobile device that you may be reading this on, and as shrouded in wonder as the very origins of the universe.

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JUANITO’S OPENS MEGABODEGA ON WEST SIDE

Juanito’s International Marqueta is the latest in a line of food-related businesses owner Juan Torres has created in town. Below, the store’s placeta-style checkout station. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Leading a visitor through the aisles of his new supermarket on Red Bank’s West Side, Juan Torres wended his way past employees busily stocking shelves and freezers just hours before he unceremoniously opened the store to shoppers Tuesday.

Reminiscent of midsized neighborhood markets long ago displaced by supermarkets, Juanito’s International Marqueta features four short aisles and two longer aisles stocked with dry goods, many of them grouped together by nation of origin: Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and elsewhere, Torres said.

Likewise, along a wall of freezers, food is also grouped by nation of origin, including Salvadoran corn tamales known as pupusas.

The groupings, Torres said, were done to make shopping easier for Latino immigrants – as well as non-Hispanic shoppers – looking for beans, sardines and other products they used in their home countries, he said.

“People here take taxis to Long Branch to get ingredients,” he said. “Now, they can walk here.”

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MIDDLETOWN COPS CITE SIX FOR DWI

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

call-in-the-authorities• Brian Seward, age 49, from Shore Boulevard in Keansburg, NJ, arrested on June 20, 2012 by Patrolman Adam Vendetti for Theft. He was released pending a court date.

• Patricia Bulinsky, age 40, from Oregon Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on June 19, 2012 by Patrolman Albert Scott for Simple Assault. She was released pending a court date.

• Lynn Moretti, age 40, from Jersey Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on June 19, 2012 by Patrolman Keith Hirschbein for Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine with the intent to Distribute, Unlawful Possession of Oxycodone and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She was held on bail.

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MOTORCYCLIST SAYS HELMET WAS STOLEN

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of June 8 to June 22, 2012. This information is unedited.

Theft occurring in the area of Monmouth St. on 6-8-12. Victim reported that she lost her wallet and when the wallet was returned it was missing several hundred-dollar bills. Sgt. Frank Bitsko.

Theft occurring at Broad Street—Bank on 6-9-12. Victim withdrew cash from account, placed the envelope with cash on table in bank. Victim walked away leaving envelope on table momentarily and when returned cash was gone. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

Theft occurring at Shrewsbury Ave. on 6-10-12. Contractor doing work on property advised that unknown person(s) stole power cables containing copper from the telephone pole in front of residence. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

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PARKING KIOSKS PROMPT GRUMBLES, TWEAKS

Parking director Gary Watson, left, guides Lou Gaspari of Lakewood through his first encounter with Red Bank’s new parking meter system in the English Plaza lot. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Day One of Red Bank’s new system of collecting parking fees was a learning and, sometimes, patience-burning experience.

Visitors to some of the five locations where centralized pay stations replaced traditional meters queued up while waiting for those ahead of them to follow computer-screen prompts leading them through the payment process Monday.

“Well, first of all, there’s a line,” one woman quipped when redbankgreen showed up to solicit feedback.

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COW PUT DOWN AFTER RIVER PLAZA ACCIDENT

One of the two cows that got loose in lower Middletown early Tuesday. Her half-sister was destroyed by police after she was struck by a car. (Photo courtesy of Mary McGrath. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One cow was struck by a car and had to be euthanized after she and her half-sister wandered away from a farm in the River Plaza section of Middletown early Tuesday morning, police said.

The accident occurred at about 12:20 a.m. on West Front Street near Chris’ Deli, police said.

The sight of the second cow on the loose in a residential development near the Navesink River caused a stir among neighbors.

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SUMMER 2012: FALLING RAIN, RISING STEAM

A day of on-and-off summer storms Monday wound down with steam rising from the asphalt of North Ward Avenue in Rumson, below, and a colorful sunset over the Navesink River in Red Bank, above. Tuesday’s forecast includes clouds, afternoon sprinkles and temperatures in the high 70s. (Photo above by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

ELECTRICAL FAILURE SMOKES OUT FEMME

A cleaning crew and electricians were at work at Femme By Ashley Monday afternoon after all the merchandise and drapery had been removed. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After just five weeks in business, Femme by Ashley, the Red Bank lingerie and swimwear store owned by former tabloid queen Ashley DuPre, was closed this weekend as a result of a small electrical fire.

A transformer connected to the lighting system malfunctioned last Thursday morning, Dupré’s boyfriend, T.J. Earle, tells redbankgreen.

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SPICING UP RED BANK, MEDITERRANEAN STYLE

Mohamed Elbery shows his son, Karim, how to chop parsley finely enough to make tabouli, a salad featuring onion and garlic. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI and DANIELLE TEPPER

If you’ve never tried baba ghanoush, Mohamed Elbery will hook you up. If you don’t like it, don’t worry – there won’t be any hard feelings. He’ll just be pleased to have been able to offer you a bite of his culture.

Mediterranean food is an acquired taste, Elbery admits, but Café28, on White Street in Red Bank, has enough loyal regulars to keep him in business and able to afford to give out the occasional free sample. He said it’s the unequalled, exotic dishes that keep people coming back – and keep him fearless in the face of Red Bank’s reputation for quick turnarounds in business.

“You are now in my house. You are most welcome to try it,” he said.

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TWO RIVER AGAIN SHOWCASES LATINO WORKS

Director and curator Jerry Ruiz, playwright Tanya Saracho and actor-writer Carlo Albán return to Red Bank for the second annual CROSSING BORDERS festival Thursday through Sunday at Two River Theater.

When the event known as Crossing Borders makes its second annual stand at Red Bank’s Two River Theater this week, it will do more than roll into town with a precious cargo of four new works by Latino playwrights. It will cross between matters of cultural curiosity and personal identity — and it will cross over into some surprising settings that range from chilly Wisconsin to some of the lesser known stretches of Sesame Street.

A follow-up to last year’s successful series, Crossing Borders takes over the black-box Marion Huber space at the Bridge Avenue arts center for four days between Thursday, June 28 and Sunday, July 1 — a four-day interval in which audiences will be treated to “bare bones” readings of acclaimed new plays, bookended by public-welcome parties, and all presented free of charge.

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QUICK STORM SOAKS REGION

A brief summer deluge, accompanied by lightning and thunder, drenched the Green Monday morning. The rainstorm caused flooding at backed-up sewer drains and set off a number of false fire alarms and limited driver visibility, as on Bellevue Avenue in Rumson, above.

The National Weather Service says more rain is possible throughout the day. (Click to enlarge)

LIGHTS ON IN LITTLE SILVER

New flashing amber and red lights at White Road and Branch Avenue in Little Silver joined a pair at Rumson Road and Branch, in foreground above, over the weekend.

The new signals are to remain in place for the duration of a bridge rebuilding project on Seven Bridges Road and resulting detour, at right, which are expected to begin after July 4 and last at least six months, Monmouth County officials say.  (Click to enlarge)

NEW PARKING PAY SYSTEM PULLS IN MONDAY

A borough employee working on the installation of a new parking kiosk at Maple Cove Friday. (Photo below by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

Green-vested greeters were expected to be on hand at a half-dozen locations in downtown Red Bank Monday, when newly installed parking pay stations were set to replace standard meters, officials said.

The old coin–and-Smart Card-activated meters will be covered with a red bag instructing people to go to the nearest pay station, said Parking Director Gary Watson.

The new machines will accept Smart Cards, debit and credit cards, one-dollar bills and all coins except pennies. Credit card can “feed the meter” from anywhere via cellphone.

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