SEA BRIGHT MOVES MEETING TO THE BASIE

The mayor and council of Sea Bright took to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank Monday night to accommodate a crowd that would not have fit into the town’s borough hall. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

It was anything but business as usual for Sea Bright residents as they gathered for their borough council’s bimonthly  meeting Monday night.

Stoked by concerns that their homes and businesses might not be rebuilt in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s extensive damage, dozens filled seats near the stage at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre to pepper elected officials with questions about everything from stray transformers to the fate of their town.

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ARTIST HEADS DOWNTOWN

Jim McKenzie with some of his work at David Banegas Studio in Red Bank earlier this year. (Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

The busiest bar night of the year for Red Bank’s Downtown club features a small display of works by an up-and-coming visual artist.

Jim Mckenzie, a 23-year-old from Hazlet, brings his wildly colorful, mystical, and quirky imagination in the form of digital prints and sculptures to the West Front Street watering hole Wednesday night while Brian Kirk & the Jirks put on their customary Thanksgiving Eve show, says Downtown music director Chris Masi.

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MIDDLETOWN ARRESTS THREE FOR HEROIN

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

call-in-the-authorities• Jai Singh, age 18, from Deepdale Drive in Middletown, NJ, arrested on November 9, 2012 by Patrolman Donald Coates for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was released pending a court date.

• Andrew Schacht, age 20, from Frances Place in Keansburg, NJ, arrested on November 10, 2012 by Patrolman Michael Reuter for Theft and Burglary.

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RED BANK: DRIVER ESCAPES DOWNED WIRES

Electrical wire burned on the ground and on the lip of a raised dumptruck bin after an accident at Red Bank Recycling on Central Avenue in Red Bank that took down a utility pole around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The driver of the truck, whose identity was not immediately known, did not appear to be seriously injured, but was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Power was knocked out locally. (Click to enlarge)

SHREWSBURY COUNCIL MEETING RECAP

By: REBECCA DESFOSSE

Monday night’s council meeting, convening at 7:30 p.m., was adjourned in time for  attendees to be home to watch the 49ers take on the Bears at 8:30 p.m. – or “Dancing with the Stars” if that’s more your taste.

Louis Ferraro’s contract as police chief was approved unanimously. The specifics of the contract were not discussed at the meeting and were not included in the resolution passed at the meeting.

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AREA OFFICIALS ZAP JCP&L OVER STORM FIXES

Howell Mayor Robert Walsh addresses attendees at Monday’s ‘Snow Summit’ to discuss JCP&L’s response to Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Confusion, anger and frustration, tinged by a bit of hope, permeated the Tinton Falls Municipal Building early Monday afternoon at the third annual ‘Snow Summit’ called to address the region’s relationship with JCP&L and how to improve it.

Co-hosted by Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera and Middletown Mayor Anthony Fiore, the meeting was attended by mayors from across Monmouth County, freeholders, state legislators, as well as members of the media and public. Few were impressed by the electric utility’s handling

“If they gave a damn, they would have already done something about” their outreach to localities following catastrophes, Mayor Adam Schneider of Long Branch said of company officials. Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: HOT COFFEE TO GO, OR STAY

Commuters will be able to text in their coffee orders for quick pickup at Rook Coffee Roasters in the borough rail station. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Since late 2010, the concession pavilion at the Little Silver Train Station has been vacant, forcing NJ Transit riders to dash to neighboring stores for coffee, only to rush back to make their train in time.

The mad scramble for a caffeine fix is over. Rook Coffee Roasters officially opened for business Saturday at the station concession stand, filling a void for commuters and passersby alike.

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RED BUS IN RED BANK

A 1930’s-era White Motor Company tour bus made its way along Front Street in Red Bank on the back of a flatbed truck last Friday. According to the website of hotelier Glacier Park Inc., which has some interesting background on the vehicles here, 33 of the classic red buses are operated in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in Montana and Alberta, Canada. This one, though, belongs to a family in Rumson, and was being moved into storage, we’re told. (Click to enlarge)

BARELY DRESSED FOR CANCER PREVENTION

Supporters packed Teak Restaurant for the second edition of Go Naked & Check Yourself on Sunday. (Photos by Rebecca Desfosse.)

By: REBECCA DESFOSSE

Sugarush cupcakes and Sweetest Sin have done it again. Teak Restaurant was nearly busting at the seams for the second sold-out Go Naked and Check Yourself cancer fundraiser and awareness raiser Sunday night.

Waitresses passed around food, cocktails, and minicupcakes. Lingerie and underwear models, in various states of undress, sold raffle tickets. But partiers weren’t there for the models, of course: they were there to learn how to check themselves for detectable cancers of the skin, testicles and breasts.

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SEA BRIGHT: MERCHANTS PLAN NEW STARTS

Cono Trezza in his newly built pizzeria last February, and as it appeared five days after the storm, below. (Photo below by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

For owners of Sea Bright businesses damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the rebuilding process has just begun. As they assess the damages and take steps toward the recovery of their livelihoods, each has his or her own distinct post-Sandy tale to tell. redbankgreen spoke to four of them this week about their plans in the aftermath of the cataclysmic events that ravaged through their beach community. Here are their stories.

Sea Bright Pizza:
Cono Trezza faces an uphill battle, like most property owners in Sea Bright, though he is meeting it with spirit and vigor that some might find surprising, given the state of his business.

“I want to get back as soon as possible,” Trezza said. “If my ovens were working right now I’d start cooking pizzas for everyone that’s out here.”

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WEEKEND: FARM FRESH AND NEARLY NAKED

The Red Bank Farmer’s Market winds down its season at the Galleria, and not-quite-naked models mingle with guests at Go Naked and Check Yourself, both this Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, November 16

RED BANK: Free yoga session at the Red Bank Public Library by Amy Richardson  at 1 p.m. No registration required, bring your own mat. 84 West Front Street.

MIDDLETOWN: The main library invites children ages 5 through 9 for arts and crafts time at 4 p.m.. Kids will create their own “Thankful Tree” to use in their holiday celebrations. Cost is free but online registration is required. 55 New Monmouth Road.

RED BANK: Jersey Shore musicians Joel Krauss and Harry Filkin will play several sets at Basil T’s at 7 p.m.. 183 Riverside Avenue.

MIDDLETOWN: To coincide with the Middletown Arts Center‘s hosting of An Exhibition and Sale Celebrating the 85th Anniversary of the duCret School of Art, painter Michael Donato will present a lecture and demonstration at 7 p.m. that highlights ‘a monochromatic underpainting technique that is the first stage of a painting process used during the Renaissance period.’ The exhibit will remain on display at the MAC gallery through November 26. Free admission. 36 Church Street.

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A FALL BOUNTY OF GALLERY SHOWS

The Red Bank Holiday Art Walk takes to the streets once more on November 24. Norman Rockwell protege Peter Caras, right, joins some formidable colleagues this Saturday at Middletown Arts Center.

When Hurricane Sandy threw the entire Jersey Shore into a Dark Ages interlude of blackouts, curfews, detours, closings and major transportation issues, nearly every scheduled event this side of Thanksgiving was forced to take a step back.

But according to gallery curator Robert Langdon, rumors of the postponement of this month’s Red Bank Art Walk have been greatly exaggerated. In fact the November 24 re-appearance of the pavement-pounding promenade represents a resource that can help the borough “recapture its vibrance, especially after the recent devastation Monmouth County suffered from Hurricane Sandy,” he said in an email to redbankgreen.

Taking place on from 5 to 9 pm onNational Small Business Day, the holiday edition of the recently revived art walk brings together some 20 borough-based galleries, upscale retailers, restaurants and places of worship for a four hour, self-guided walking tour organized under the theme “A Gift of Art is a Gift of the Heart.” Langdon’s Gallery U (where the group show Cornucopia opens with a 6 to 9 pm reception on Friday, November 23) joins with such traditional (and non-traditional) artspaces as the Art Alliance of Monmouth County, Beacon Fine Arts Gallery, Frame to Please, Studio 25, Gallery 135 at the Red Bank Community Church (the second-story “storefront” house of worship in the Prown’s building on Monmouth Street), Jamian’s Food and Drink, as well as Garmany, Amy Manor Interior Design and several other art-friendly venues. Street maps (featuring the participating Art Walk locations plus recommended places to dine) will be made available to those who stroll and/or roll — and there’s even a trolley shuttle service running between the various locations.

The virtual art walk continues in and around the greater Red Bank Green this weekend, with a special event in Middletown (rescheduled from the bleak beginning days of November), as well as ongoing exhibits in Shrewsbury, Lincroft, Little Silver and downtown Red Bank…

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SEA BRIGHT: MOVING ‘MOUNT SANDY’

Bulldozers redistributing sand recovered from the streets of Sea Bright on the borough beach Wednesday morning. Below, contractor Mike Stavola with Governor Chris Christie last week. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s been dubbed ‘Mount Sandy,’ and in its enormity, it looms as one of many reminders of the woes inflicted on Sea Bright by Hurricane Sandy on October 29.

We’re talking about a pile of sand so wide and tall – upwards of 60 feet, says the contractor who built it – that it blocks the view of the ocean from nearly any spot in the municipal beach parking lot.

But the sandpile also stands as a gritty reminder of the rapid progress being made in restoring out the town, while prompting questions about the future of the beaches.

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RED BANK: JR.’S SIZZLES AFTER HOURS

The after-hours crowd packs Jr.’s on a recent Saturday night.  (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

Without fanfare, but with a fair amount of merriment, a new late-night eatery debuted on the Red Bank scene last month and has been packing them in on weekends.

Jrs., the first expansion of the popular Jr.’s West End burger place owned by Mike DeSimone, opened a few days before Hurricane Sandy hit, becoming the fourth downtown eatery  to keep late hours, staying open until 4 a.m. every day.

With a number of bars just steps away, the tiny West Front Street restaurant immediately attracted a colorful crowd at closing time.

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RUMSON: MARINA RESURFACING AFTER STORM

Life was returning to normal at the Rumson marina on Tuesday, though a new $3 million Viking that was swept from the lot remained half-sunk on the Middletown side of the Navesink, below. (Photo above by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

More than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, Oceanic Marina owner Pete Pawlikowski is still trying to restore his ravaged Rumson business. redbankgreen was on the scene day the morning after the storm hit, and returned on Tuesday to check in on the rebuilding process.

“Its mind-boggling, really,” said Pawlikowski, sitting in his once-again operational office and store, which was submerged in over four and half feet of water just two weeks ago. “I’ve never seen so much devastation.”

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FAIR HAVEN RATES STORM COMMUNICATIONS

A hard hat signed by Alabama Power line workers was donated to Fair Haven as thanks for the town’s hospitality at Tuesday night’s council meeting. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

In a meeting predictably dominated by issues related to Hurricane Sandy, Fair Haven’s borough council and a concerned public agreed on Monday night: though the local government did well, better communication is needed.

Council members and residents said the town’s officials did a good job of damage control and post-storm recovery efforts, but a lack of effective communications from the borough was the one lingering negative at the governing body’s bimonthly meeting.

“I think the main thing is we need to do a better job communicating,” said borough AdministratorTheresa Casagrande.

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SEA BRIGHT REOPENS TO OUTSIDERS

As seen in two views along Ocean Avenue Wednesday morning, passenger vehicles must share the road with earth movers, backhoes and dumptrucks. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After more than two weeks in lockdown to everyone but residents and restoration workers, Sea Bright took down the barricades Wednesday morning.

With the opening of checkpoints at the Rumson Road entry to town and the northern and southern borders on Ocean Avenue, traffic was trickling through the narrow sandbar borough shortly after dawn.

The Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge drawbridge was also back in service, having had its electricity shut off as a precautionary measure in advance of Hurricane Sandy.

Now, officials are bracing for a possible influx of gawkers eager to eyeball the destroyed beach clubs and downtown up close.

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RED BANK: FATAL SHOOTING CONFIRMED

Investigators on the scene at 97 West Sunset Avenue in Red Bank at 9 a.m. Wednesday, where police confirm a fatal shooting took place overnight.

Officials have not yet released details, but a relative of the victim said he was a 34-year-old man who did not live in town.  (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: MURAL MAKEOVER

Jim Fitzmaurice working on the mural at Juanito’s last month. Below, a detail. (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

An outdoor mural near the Red Bank train station has been getting a wholesale freshening-up in recent weeks. And it’s not the first time.

Painter Jim Fitzmaurice of Rumson has been restoring the mural on the side of Juanito’s Mexican Grill, located at the corner of Monmouth and West streets.

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RED BANK: THIS TIME, ELECT TO GO NAKED

Models make their way through the crowds at the inaugural Go Naked and Check Yourself awareness-raiser in 2011. This year’s edition takes place Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

The presidential race may be over, but there’s still one more election this month: Elect to Check, the theme for this year’s Go Naked and Check Yourself cancer fundraiser and awareness raiser.

Red Bank’s Sugarush cupcakes and Sweetest Sin lingerie have teamed up again for the second edition of this popular and slightly risqué event that helps build awareness about detectable cancers.

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RED BANK: PRIMARY SCHOOL STILL UP IN AIR

A dumpster loaded with discarded carpeting and other material sits outside the Red Bank Primary School, which remained closed Monday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After two weeks, Red Bank Primary School students were able to finally make their return to school Monday – just not their own school.

Displaced students attended a morning session at the middle school, before the middle school students arrived for an afternoon session.

The primary school, adjoining the Swimming River, was built on marshland, and suffered major flood damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy two weeks ago. According to Superintendent Laura Morana, over two-thirds of the school’s flooring and carpeting were rendered unusable in Sandy’s wake.

“The school has been in existence for over 40 years,” Morana told redbankgreen, “and this by far the worst damage we’ve faced as a result of weather.”

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