‘MINDFUL OF WHAT THESE BOYS GAVE’

World War II veteran Ray Taylor listens as Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli speaks at the borough’s annual Veterans Day celebration at Victory Park Sunday. Taylor, 90, also took a turn in front of the park’s doughboy statue, telling several dozen onlookers, “I’m glad to see so many of you here, mindful of what these boys gave.” (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: ARMED ROBBERY REPORTED

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of October 19 and November 9, 2012. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 10-20-12 at Bridge Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) damaged his vehicle by slashing driver side front tire and breaking mirror of vehicle. Lt. Richard Mangold.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 10-30-12 at following locations: Clifford Place, Carmen Place and West Westside Ave. Unknown subjects damaged several vehicles. Food and condiment items were thrown at parked vehicles. Ptl. Garrett Falco.

Robbery occurring on 10-31-12 in the area of Oakland Street. Victim reported that two unknown males were involved. One of the subjects approached the victim while walking home and pointed a gun at him demanding money. The other subject stood behind the first subject. The victim gave the accused his wallet, which contained cash and a debit card. Also stolen was victim’s cell phone. Accused fled. Lt. Eliot Ramos

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CHRISTIE SHINES A SPOTLIGHT ON SEA BRIGHT

Prompted by a request from Mayor Dina Long and Councilman Read Murphy to keep Ocean Avenue closed to through traffic, Governor Chris Christie summons his transportation secretary during a visit to the borough Friday. Below, Christie tours a National Guard galley set up as part of a relief camp. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

On the first day since Hurricane Sandy that building contractors were allowed into town, Governor Christie Christie visited Sea Bright Friday to call attention to the lingering devastation along New Jersey’s coastline as the rest of the state staggers back toward normalcy.

Touring an encampment of National Guard tents erected in the municipal parking lot to serve emergency volunteers, utility contractors and, soon, residents, Christie said there’s a lot of work to do at the Shore, and no one should expect it all to be completed by Memorial Day.

“By Monday, I think, things are going to be, for most people in the state, back to normal,” he told borough Engineer Jaclyn Flor in an impromptu chat. But for hard-hit places like Sea Bright, “first we have to sit down and talk about what we want normal to be, and what you want it to look like, and then we have to go to the federal government and say to them we need some money to get it that way.”

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DEER DIES AFTER BEING CHASED INTO ROAD

Two passersby try to corral a loose dog that chased a deer into Ridge Road in Fair Haven late Friday morning, causing the deer to be struck by a passing car. The deer had to be euthanized and the dog was returned to its owner in Rumson, animal control officer Henry Perez tells redbankgreen. (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT READIES FOR RESIDENTS’ RETURN

Aided by the Army, volunteers have built an encampment of tents to serve food and provide other necessities to Sea Brighters when they’re allowed back into town. Restaurateur Chris Wood, below, unloads supplies. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Outside a mobile kitchen, a National Guardsman chows down a hot dog before helping young volunteers unload boxes of supplies from a tractor trailer in the heart of a newly erected tent city that’s taken shape in the heart of Sea Bright.

With regulation Army tents, Humvees, makeshift kitchens and grills, the parking lot next door to the borough firehouse is looking more like a refugee camp than the slice of summer heaven that draws thousands of visitors each summer.

But the camp has been built in anticipation of an influx not of tourists but of exiled Sea Brighters, who’ve been shut out of their town since leaving under a mandatory evacuation order in advance of Hurricane Sandy.

Chris Wood, owner of Woody’s Ocean Grille, who has spearheaded an effort to feed first responders, relief workers and volunteers, plans to expand the effort exponentially when residents and contractors begin moving back to town, perhaps as early as Monday.

“We’re going to have it all,” Wood said Thursday, while unloading some boxes himself, “three hot meals a day to anyone who needs them, and a veritable Wal-Mart of supplies and clothing, available to anyone and everyone that needs them.”

Beginning Friday, residents and business owners were to be allowed into the sequestered town on a day basis only, accompanied by contractors, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Mayor Dina Long. Also on Friday, Governor Chris Christie was expected to make an 11 a.m. stop in town “to thank the heroes on the ground,” she said.

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SEA BRIGHT SHAKES OFF NORTHEASTER

U.S. Army soldiers setting up mess tents in Sea Bright next to the firehouse Thursday to serve work crews and, starting next week, returning residents.  (Photo by Chris Wood. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sea Bright experienced nothing more than “typical street flooding” from the Shrewsbury River during Wednesday night’s northeaster, Mayor Dina Long tells redbankgreen.

“It was a quiet night in Sea Bright” with no additional damage to homes and businesses in the hurricane-shattered town, Long said Thursday. Heavy-duty work on streets and utilities aimed at bringing the sandbar municipality back to life has resumed, she said.

That work is now expected to be advanced enough to allow residents to return to their homes next Monday – assuming that Governor Chris Christie first lifts the mandatory evacuation order he issued in advance of Hurricane Sandy, Long said.

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ABOUT THAT ‘NO ACCUMULATION’ FORECAST…

Uh-oh: It has a name – ‘Athena’ – and contrary to National Weather Service forecasts earlier Wednesday, she has already dumped more than an inch of slushy snow on the tri-state region. Above, a snowplow gassed up at the Exxon station on Newman Springs Road in Red Bank. At right, a fender-bender involving a Cluck U Chicken delivery guy and a second driver opposite the Armory Ice Complex on Chestnut Street, also in Red Bank.

The Weather Channel says we’re in for a couple of inches overnight. (Click to enlarge)

NORTHEASTER MOVES INTO REGION

A cold, wet storm quaintly referred to in some quarters as a ‘nor’easter’ moved into the hurricane-battered tri-state region Wednesday afternoon, though this bicyclist on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank appeared undaunted by the rain and snow. The National Weather Service forecasts the mix will continue into early morning Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT BRACES FOR MORE, ONLY LESS

A comfort tent has been set up for personnel manning the blockade on the Rumson side of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

It looked like Sandy Redux on the west side of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge in Rumson early Wednesday afternoon, as police and National Guard blockaded the already battered ocean community of Sea Bright with a mixture of snow and sleet already falling steadily.

Though the power of an approaching northeaster isn’t expected to carry anything near the destructive force of Hurricane Sandy, the resulting damage could be worse than usual because of its proximity to last weeks’ superstorm, particularly in ravaged communities like Sea Bright trying to pick up the pieces, officials there worry.

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SEA BRIGHT: SHOCK AND DISMAY AT DAMAGE

A home on the Shrewsbury River side of Sea Bright showed the height of the flooding on Saturday. Below, a resident leaves a shuttle bus with recovered belongings on Monday, assisted by Councilman James LoBiondo. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

One resident fled with nothing but his paycheck. A young couple stayed, fleeing with their two-year-old child only after watching a hurricane tear their town apart.

This week, they and other Sea Brighters began getting their first glimpses of the destructive power of Hurricane Sandy, which many of them had anticipated would blow past this sandbar town much as another storm did nearly 14 months earlier.

“I thought it would be a situation like Irene, where it turned out to be not much of a big deal,” Jim Paustian said Tuesday, as he and his family took photos outside their East New Street home, which is now uninhabitable.  “I even almost decided to stay. Now, I’m sure glad I didn’t.”

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FAIR HAVEN GOES FOR INCUMBENTS

Poll workers at Fair Haven’s Youth Center on election day 2012. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Voters in storm-darkened Fair Haven returned two incumbents to the borough council for new terms Tuesday.

Republicans Bob Marchese and Eric Jaeger outpolled a pair of Democratic challengers, Dorothy Neceda and Susan O’Brien.

Mayor Ben Lucarelli was uncontested in his race to serve out the remaining two years of his predecessor, Mike Halfacre.

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SHREWSBURY RE-ELECTS INCUMBENTS

By JOHN T. WARD

Incumbent Republicans Jeffrey DeSalvo and Anthony Pellegrino sailed to new three-year terms on the borough council Tuesday, holding off a challenge from Democrat Donald Sena.

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AS USUAL, RUMSON STICKS WITH THE GOP

By JOHN T. WARD

Continuing longheld tradition, Rumson voters stuck with the Grand Old Party in electing council members Tuesday.

Democrat Philip Wagner won less than 16 percent of the 5,103 votes cast, vastly outpolled by incumbent Republicans Mark Rubin and Frank Shanley.

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LITTLE SILVER VOTERS ELECT GILMOUR, SCOTT

Voters coming and going at Little Silver Borough Hall Tuesday morning. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

With 87 percent of the votes counted, Republicans David Gilmour and Richard Scott held off a challenge by former council member Dan Levine in Tuesday’s borough council election.

Scott, who was recruited to fill the vacancy created in September by the death of Councilman Jonathan Bitman, and Gilmour handily won three-year terms.

Donald Galante ran uncontested for a one-year unexpired term.

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RED BANK DEMS MAINTAIN LOCK ON POWER

Councilman Mike DuPont referred to his wife’s battle with cancer in his victory speech, with running mate Art Murphy at his side.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD & DAN NATALE

Incumbent Red Bank council members Mike DuPont and Art Murphy drubbed their sole Republican challenger Tuesday, ensuring a continued Democratic lock on power at borough hall.

Political newcomer Suzanne Viscomi polled just 1,476 votes, barely two-thirds the totals racked up DuPont, with 2,266 votes, and Murphy, 2,155.

“I think the voters like what we do, and we need to continue,” DuPont told a group of supporters gathered in the vacant former Ballew’s jewelry store on Broad Street.

Viscomi, though, went down swinging.

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RED BANK POWER RESTORATION CONTINUES

A map issued by the Red Bank Office of Emergency Management late Tuesday afternoon shows, in yellow, areas of town that have been restored to full electrical service.

At right, Verizon workers replace one of two fallen utility pole on Washington Street that have inhibited the return of electrical service to Red Bank’s East Side, officials said. At 4 p.m., a Verizon worker said the second pole would be up and ready for JCP&L to do its thing within the hour. (Photo at right by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)


FAIR HAVEN MAKES ROOM FOR SEA BRIGHTERS

Fair Haven voters chatting outside the Youth Center, where all local balloting was moved to accommodate Sea Bright residents at the Fair Haven firehouse. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Sea Bright residents and other voters displaced by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy were able to exercise their right to vote in Fair Haven this Election Day. Grateful that they were able to vote despite the devastation in their hometowns, voters piled into two polling locations in Fair Haven from all over the state.

Sea Bright residents were instructed to vote at the Fair Haven firehouse, while all Fair Haven residents were rerouted to the Youth Center behind the police station.

Sea Bright resident Kristin Thatcher said she wasn’t inconvenienced at all by the change in polling locations – she was just glad she was still able to vote. Read More »

RUMSON GAS STATION RUNS ON HAND PUMP

CBS News ran this story Monday about Richie Dodd, owner of the Rumson Exxon station. Still without electricity following Hurricane Sandy eight days ago, Dodd and his employees have been pumping gasoline from the West River Road station’s underground tanks by hand-cranked pump into canisters his customers have lined up with.

“You have to do it for the people,” Dodd says. “People have to get their generators going.”

MIXED AFTERMATH AMONG SEA BRIGHT HOMES

Wine lover Kevin Corbett recovered all his wine, as well as his golf clubs, from his riverside house, which is slated for demolition. Two doors away, the year-old home of Beatrix and Paul Patton saw little damage.  Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

With a backhoe in his front yard and an orange “5” spray-painted across the face of his house, Kevin Corbett hustled out from his rear deck, a bottle of ’82 Petrus in hand, attempting to use the little time he had to save the things he values most: wine, golf clubs and clothes.

As the backhoe’s claw yanked at a wire strung from what’s left of his Ocean Avenue house, Corbett seemed surprisingly unfazed about entering a precarious structure Monday afternoon.

“It’s beat up out front,” he said with a laugh, “but it’s fine in the back.”

Hundreds of Sea Bright Residents made a brief return home on Monday afternoon to find varying levels of damage inflicted on their households. In some instances, houses that made it out of the storm relatively unscathed were juxtaposed against a neighbor’s residence lying in ruins.

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UPSTAIRS? NADA. DOWNSTAIRS? UTILITY POLE

It sounded a bit like an urban myth, but redbankgreen can now confirm it: Hurricane Sandy tossed a telephone pole into one of the units at the Anchorage Apartments in Sea Bright last week.

Upstairs tenants Melissa Enna and John Summonte, right, visited their unit Monday morning and found “not even a cracked window,” said Enna. Other than the fact that the lower part of their staircase is gone, “it looks like nothing ever happened,” she said.

Downstairs, not so lucky. Where the pole came from wasn’t yet known, but the apartment, which overlooks the Shrewsbury River, had been badly flooded. (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT RESIDENTS TO GET ACCESS TODAY

For the second time in four days, Sea Bright residents gathered in a stadium, this time in West Long Branch, to get updates on the storm cleanup Sunday. Below, Mayor Dina Long and Councilman James LoBiondo. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sea Bright residents were to begin getting greater access to their homes Monday morning, town officials told them at another packed-grandstand meeting Sunday.

Though a massive cleanup and repair of public works infrastructure is proceeding more quickly than initially anticipated, “Sea Bright is not ready to be reoccupied,” Mayor Dina Long said at a townwide meeting held at Shore Regional High’s football field in West Long Branch.

Still, officials hope to allow unimpeded access to residents as early as Friday, said Councilman James LoBiondo, who has headed up the effort to cap leaking natural gas lines and remove hundreds of tons of sand from roadways.

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SEA BRIGHT: FEEDING THE LIFESAVERS

Local restaurateurs banded together on short notice Sunday to provide some gourmet chow to the firefighters, cops, first aiders, other volunteers and contractors who’ve been keeping Sea Bright safe and hustling to get it back in shape in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Contractors dig into considerable sirloin burgers at the borough firehouse, above. At right, Ama Ristorante owner Pat Trama enjoys a laugh with David Burke of David Burke Fromagerie. Below, Chis Wood of Woody’s Ocean Grille grills up some beef.

A relief tent has now been erected next to the firehouse to give the workers a place to eat in inclement weather, Wood reports. (Click to enlarge)