FAIR HAVEN DOORS OPEN FOR SANDY VICTIMS

Among the homes on Friday’s tour is this one on Harvard Road. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

A holiday tradition and one of the key fundraisers for the Fair Haven School District, the Fair Haven PTA’s biennial house tour typically draws some 300 community members, with proceeds supporting the educational programs in the borough school system.

This year’s edition, though, is focused on Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Attendees at the event, which takes place Friday, are encouraged to donate new kitchen and household items, as well as gift cards to housewares stores, for those who lost their essentials in the storm.

“We thought it would be a unique way of supporting the hundreds of two-river area home owners who lost or sustained severe damage to their homes,” said tour co-chair Lauren Steets. “Most of us know at least one local family who is suffering now as a result of the storm, and we all want to help in some way.”

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TIM McLOONE, ENGINEER OF A NONSTOP TRAIN

At the keyboards, on the radio, coaching runners or in the back room of one of his nine restaurants, Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone is a marvel of achievement.  (Photo by Suzy Graham. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Tim McLoone is a man with a dozen hands, all tackling a dozen sizable tasks at once.

He owns McLoone’s Running Store, his first business, at the Grove in Shrewsbury. He owns nine restaurants, including the Rum Runner in Sea Bright and the recently acquired former CJ Montana in Tinton Falls, rebranded as CJ McLoone’s. He’s a sports announcer for the collegiate basketball games at Newark’s Prudential Center. He just launched his own radio show on December 1. He coaches the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls’ cross-country team.  And at the heart of it all is his philanthropic brain child, an idea that blossomed from a one-time gig into a full-scale traveling circus: Holiday Express.

The non-profit organization is its own Christmas miracle: a massive effort on behalf of roughly 300 adult volunteers, 700 child and teenage volunteers, 100 musicians, and one man who brought together their desires to bring smiles to those in need of a little comfort and joy.

Tonight, Holiday Express makes its much-anticipated annual station stop at the grand Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

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RED BANK: HOLIDAY PARKING FREE IN LOTS

Shoppers can ignore those pay stations and meters in Red Bank’s downtown lots through Christmas day, as the borough’s customary parking-fee moratorium is in effect for the holiday shopping season. No so for the street meters, though. Those, you’ve still got to feed – or risk getting a chunk of coal in your stocking in the form of a $38 ticket. (Click to enlarge)

WEDDING PHOTOGS SNAP UP MORE SPACE

John Arcara in the reception area of his spacious new photo studio. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508In retailing, where rents are steep and space is priced by the square foot, every one of them has to count toward the top line.

Or so goes one school of thinking. Another says there needs to be room for atmosphere and mood to stir and stoke the consumerist impulse. For that matter, not every retail tenant has to be selling something tangible.

Wedding and boudoir photographers John and Lovina Arcara have joined a recent resurgence in Red Bank: tenants of primo storefront space selling nothing more than memories.

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TALKING TOADS AND KID LIT, AT TWO RIVER

 Tituss Burgess as Mr. Toad (center) with Tom Deckman as Mole (left) and Nick Choksi as Water Rat (right, in car) in A WIND IN THE WILLOWS CHRISTMAS at Two River Theater. (Photos by T. Charles Erickson)

By TOM CHESEK

He’s the impulsive, fad-conscious, spendthrift, anthropomorphized amphibian at the heart of the classic children’s book The Wind in the Willows — and even for those who’ve never gotten round to reading Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 volume of stories, the image of a gleeful Mr. Toad racing through the countryside in his open roadster is one of the most iconic in all of Kid Lit.

The timeless tales of Toad and his animal friends have been variously Disneyfied, Pythonized, and even showtuned in a Broadway bomb with Nathan Lane. Here in Red Bank — where many old-timers still recall the 1970’s watering hole Toad Hall — audiences are now being treated to the world premiere of an all new musical spinoff (commissioned and developed by Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias), entitled A Wind in the Willows Christmas.

The annual holiday-season family show reunites the TRTC team with the partnership of Grammy winning singer-songwriter (plus 1970’s-era All-Pro defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals) Mike Reid and lyricist Sarah Schlesinger — the composers of the “chamber musical” In This House that premiered at Two River’s branded Bridge Avenue artspace last season.

Working with book writer Mindi Dickstein (Broadway’s Little Women and Toy Story: The Musical) and director Amanda Dehnert, the songsmiths have shaped the character of Mr. Toad to the talents of Tituss Burgess, an acclaimed creature of Broadway (he originated the show-stealing part of Sebastian in The Little Mermaid) and network TV (a recurring role on 30 Rock) whose trademark high tenor marks a departure from traditionally froggy-voiced conceptions of Toad. He’ll be starring alongside fellow woodland pals Nick Choksi as Water Rat, Tom Deckman (Spamalot) as Mole, John Jellison (Memphis) as Badger, and Farah Alvin (Nine) as a distaff Mrs. Otter.

In separate interviews, the Drama Desk at redbankgreen spoke to Burgess and Reid during rehearsals at Two River — and Q&As follow forthwith, with a flip of the pixelated page.

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FAIR HAVEN: LINEMEN BACK FROM ‘BAMA

TJ Pruitt of Alabama Power chats with admirers in Fair Haven Monday night. Below, a gingerbread utility truck make by resident Elizabeth Drummond. (Photo above by Wil Fulton; below by Larry Quigley. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

It was a homecoming of sorts for Alabama Power workers on Monday night when they made their long-awaited return to what they now can safely refer to as their “home away from home” – Fair Haven, New Jersey.

At Knollwood School, the Alabama Power workers were honored for their storm relief efforts with an official proclamation, gifts and tokens from residents and local business owners, and an audience with enough enthusiasm to match a Springsteen concert.

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SHREWSBURY: FASHION TOUCHES ON WHEELS

A customer checks out the merchandize at Call Me Leon’s event at the Lambs and Wolves Salon last month. Below, Lori Lane. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

If you don’t feel like braving the stores this holiday season, Lori Lane of CallMeLeon will bring the store to you.

Lane’s mobile boutique offers clients an opportunity to host parties at their home or business and invite their friends over for any occasion – whether it’s a holiday party, a girl’s night out, or a birthday party. She brings the merchandise to your doorstep, sets it up and cleans up afterward.

Lane also always has showroom set up at her home in Shrewsbury for those who wish to stop by and browse.

On Black Friday, Lane set up her merchandise at Glen Goldbaum’s Lambs and Wolves Salon on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank for an event complete with sandwiches, snacks, and bottled water for her guests. Salon manager Heather Lubischer said that when Lane contacted them to host a party for her business, she didn’t hesitate to accept. “Lori has been our client for years and has become like family,” she said.

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FOR SEA BRIGHT, A NOT-SO-SECRET SANTA

Jersey Shore barband legend Brian Kirk (above, at the 2001 Oysterfest in Red Bank) and his band of partystarting Jirks come to the Count Basie on December 20 for a sold-out Sea Bright Rising benefit. Below, actress-musician Jill Hennessey is also slated to appear. (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

The way Brian Kirk tells it, the slender “city” of Sea Bright has been his home in more ways than one. “It’s where I met my wife, where I spent my youth and is the home base for my cover band, Brian Kirk & the Jirks,” he says.

While the long-running combo continues to gig regularly around the region’s wedding halls, outdoor stages and nitespots, the Red Bank resident’s legacy as an entertainer is entwined with Donovan’s Reef, the landmark beach bar  where the Jirks held down a Sunday night stand that outlived nearly all the original anchors of 60 Minutes.

With Hurricane Sandy having (at least temporarily) consigned Donovan’s Reef to Davy Jones’ Locker, Kirk looks homeward on Thursday, December 20, when he and the Jirks team up with the seagrass-roots organization Sea Bright Rising for a benefit show from which all proceeds will go directly to Sea Bright “residents, businesses and the community as a whole.”

Occurring in the wake of the December 5 concert that brought San Francisco-based band Train to the edge of the battered borough’s tent city, the special Santa for Sea Bright extravaganza – officially sold out as of this posting – takes place at the Count Basie Theatre, the elegant setting for one of the displaced town’s council meetings in recent weeks. Kirk & the Jirks will be joined for the 7:30 p.m. show by a fellow stalwart of the Shore barscape, championship bluesmaster Matt O’Ree, as well as a promised set of “special guests” that includes TV series star (Crossing Jordan, Law & Order) turned singer and songwriter Jill Hennessy.

redbankgreen caught up with a beyond-busy Kirk for a conversation about good times, hard choices, and the big challenges facing the little town that so many of us feel a connection to.

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FOG ON THE NAVESINK

As though poured from a decanter, a thick fog filled the air over our beautiful Navesink River shortly before 4 p.m. Monday, as seen here from Riverside Gardens Park. (Click to enlarge)

FIFTH-GENERATION FIREMAN ELECTED CHIEF

Chief-elect TD Doremus, facing camera, with his father, Tom, center, and Chief Josh Sanders at the fire department election party. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

There’s a new fire chief-elect in Red Bank, and though he’s heading into his first term at the helm of the all-volunteer squad, it’s certainly not a new title in his family.

A fifth-generation firefighter and third-generation chief, 29-year-old Thomas Doremus, known as “TD,” will begin his one-year command with the traditional New Year’s Day swearing-in at borough hall, succeeding current chief Josh Sanders.

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RED BANK BUSTS SIX FOR SKATEBOARDING

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of November 30 to December 7, 2012. This information is unedited.

Theft reported on 11-30-12 at Spring Street—apartment complex. Employee of landscaping company reported that gas powered hedge clipper was stolen from property. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

Criminal Mischief occurring at West Front St.—Riverside Gardens Park. Report of smashed slate tiles in park by unknown person(s). Ptl. George Travostino.

Criminal Mischief occurring on Broad St. office building on 12-3-12. Report of glass window to office suite shattered by unknown person. Nothing reported missing. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

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MIDDLETOWN NABS MAN FOR HEROIN

From the Middletown PD Monday morning:

On December 7, 2012 the Middletown Police Detective Bureau and Quality of Life Unit arrested Bartlett Lentini, age 24, from Carpenter Street located in the River Plaza section of Middletown after they executed a search warrant at his residence.

Lentini was charged with Possession of Heroin, Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute, Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute within 500 feet of a Public Park, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Hypodermic Syringes.

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SECOND ‘MOUNTAIN’ PILES UP MEMORIES

A passerby eyes debris in the Anchorage Beach parking lot, above, while a mountain of it dominates the former Peninsula House lot, below. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Mount Sandy, meet Mount Refuse.

Though smaller in stature, the mountain of debris occupying in Sea Bright’s old Peninsula House parking lot on Ocean Avenue is just as scene-stealing and ominous as its sand counterpart, located just a stone’s throw away. This ever-growing pile, however, won’t have onlookers climbing it or posing for closeups anytime soon.

The refuse is the accumulated result of curbside trash pickups in this Hurricane Sandy-smashed town, where residents and business owners are early on in a restoration effort.

It stands, however briefly, as a jarring, visceral reminder of the storm’s reach over porches, through doors and windows, and into rooms and closets.

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SEA BRIGHT: AMID TEARS, GUARD ROLLS OUT

Sea Bright’s tent city was largely dismantled by Friday afternoon. Below, Governor Chris Christie speaking with National Guardsmen at the site on November 9. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After six weeks of assisting displaced residents and first responders with everything from hot meals to extra clothes, Sea Bright’s tent city – created by the US National Guard – is leaving town.

Following a final community meal on Thursday,  National Guardsmen made their move out of the municipal parking lot around 10:30 a.m. Friday, according to Onofrio Moscato, head chef at neighboring restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille, Emotions were running high for the Guard as well as volunteers and residents, he said.

“The National Guard was escorted out by the Sea Bright firemen,” Moscato told redbankgreen. “They were hanging out of the windows and waving. It was a special send-off for them. Before they left, they all stood in line and made a final salute, kind of a sign that their mission here was over.”

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MIDDLETOWN POLICE BLOTTER

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

call-in-the-authorities• Michael Meeker, age 55, from Passaic Street in Middletown, NJ, arrested on December 1, 2012 by Patrolman Adam Colfer for Disorderly Conduct. He was released pending a court date.

• Dyllann Reed, age 19, from Port Monmouth Road in Middletown, NJ, arrested on November 30, 2012 by Sergeant First Class William Colangelo for Possession of Molly, a designer club drug, and Possession of Alcohol by a Minor. He was released pending a court date.

• Thomas Arner, age 20, from Campbell Avenue in Port Monmouth, NJ, arrested on November 30, 2012 by Corporal Patricia Colangelo for Possession of Molly, a designer club drug, and Possession of Alcohol by a Minor. He was released pending a court date.

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FAIR HAVEN CHARGES TWO WITH BURGLARY

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Fair Haven Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• 10/1/12 Det. Schneider signed complaints against Rufus Monroe of 92 Peach St. Tinton Falls.  Mr. Monroe was charged with Burglary, Theft and Credit Card Theft.   This was in reference to an incident that happen on 8/28/12 at a Poplar Ave. address.  Mr. Monroe was remanded to the custody of the Monmouth County Correctional Institute.  Bail was put at $30,000 no 10%.

• 10/13/12 Ptl. Lagrotteria and S.O. Murray responded to a Fair Haven Rd. address for a report of an intoxicated Juvenile the juvenile was released to a family guardian.

• 10/14/12 Ptl. Lagrotteria, S.O. Murray and Det. Schneider responded to a 2nd St. Address for a report of a House Burglary.  The victims reported that items taken value around $4,000.  Det. Schneider investigating.

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AREA TOY DRIVES NEED YOUR HELP

The Red Bank PBA is running its annual toy drive at the police station. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Calling all wannabe Santas – there’s no need to don a red suit to make a difference in a child’s life this holiday season. Just check out one of the many local toy drives that local businesses, legislators, and non-profits are pulling together to make sure that every child has a happy Chanukah or Christmas – especially those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Among them: Margaret Spicer, owner of Distinctive Toys in Fair Haven, knows the holiday season may not be a great one for her business, so she is channeling her efforts to help those in need. She’s banded together with the Knights of Columbus, Life Guard Ecumenical Foundation (LGEF), and Rebuild/Recover  to create “Sandy’s Toy Shoppe,” where affected parents can come and select new toys for their children.

The event comes together beginning Saturday in Eatontown.

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RED BANK: AFFORDABLE GIFTS AND GOODIES

What, she doesn’t have a wine purse? We can fix that. Read on. (Photos by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Unsure of what gifts to buy this holiday season? Don’t fret. redbankgreen has been window-shopping downtown Red Bank in search of the perfect gift ideas for everyone on your list.

For example: your fashion-forward wine aficionado? Help her arrive at her next BYOB in style. At Red Ginger Home at 48 Broad Street, the wine purse shown above sells for $39 and includes a corkscrew for on-the-go bottle opening action.

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LITTLE SILVER: GAS, RAILROAD TIES STOLEN

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Little Silver Police Department.

call-in-the-authoritiesNovember 1– A resident reported Terroristic Threats following a verbal dispute about juveniles trespassing on another’s property on Birch Ave. P.O. Amanda Arnold and Sgt. Martin Scherzinger investigated.

November 2– Christopher Vega, 21, of Long Branch, NJ, was arrested following a suspicious person complaint on Silverside Ave. for a Contempt of Court warrant out of the New Brunswick Municipal Court. P.O. Amanda Arnold made the arrest.

November 3– A resident from Little Silver Point Rd. reported Theft after discovering that an unknown subject siphoned gas from his vehicle during the evening hours. S.O. John McGuire investigated.

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WEEKEND: BLUES, BOOKS AND SO MUCH MORE

Heavy-chops bluesman Matt O’Ree plugs in at Jamian’s in Red Bank tonight, and author Karen Schnitzspahn autographs her new book on the history of food at the Shore, below.

Friday, December 7
MIDDLETOWN: Each year, Poricy Park Nature Conservancy hosts a seasonal shop with the help of a volunteer staff. Entering its 25th season, the handcrafted holiday craft shop runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through December 2. Items for sale include all homemade quilts, jewelry, ornaments, jams and jellies and more. Kids can also get their picture taken with Santa for a small fee. 345 Oak Hill Road.

SHREWSBURY: At 11 a.m.m the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County library will host a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day observance featuring Tom Minton, who will discuss the activities that took place at Fort Hancock and around the Sandy Hook peninsula during World War II. Free admission. 1001 Rt. 35 North.

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.

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TWO YEARS LATER, KAYAKER’S REMAINS ID’D

Rumson firefighters shine floodlights on the Shrewsbury River from the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge during the November, 2010 search for kayaker David Civile. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The remains of a Tinton Falls man who disappeared while kayaking in the Shrewsbury River two years ago have been found in Little Silver, New Jersey State Police announced Thursday.

David Civile, 26, vanished after launching on a solo excursion on November 17, 2010, a blustery day. He was reported missing that night, when his kayak was found near the uninhabited Sedge Island, which lies between Sea Bright and Rumson on the Shrewsbury River.

The report triggered an extensive, multi-day search that involved state and local police as well as the Coast Guard.

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TRAIN DELIVERS CHEER TO SEA BRIGHT

Hundreds of residents and volunteers crowded in front of the firehouse for Train’s show Wednesday night. Below, Rumson’s Charlotte Nagy with lead singer Pat Monahan earlier in the day. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Nagy never thought the short video documentary she made of Hurricane Sandy walloping Sea Bright and Rumson would draw much attention, let alone that of her favorite rock band.

“I thought it would get maybe a thousand views, and even that was wishful thinking,” she told redbankgreen.

Instead, Charlotte’s 33-minute video has gotten almost 34,000 clicks from views all over the country and beyond. But just as satisfying to the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional junior is that it inspired San Francisco-based band Train to take the the stage on a chilly December night in front of Sea Bright’s makeshift tent city for an “intimate performance” for several hundred residents, first-responders and armed forces personnel.

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AFTER 61 YEARS, PHARMACY TO CLOSE

The store’s pharmacy accounts will be transferred to a nearby Rite Aid, and the gift shop will be closed, the owner says. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Professional Pharmacy, a Red Bank fixture for more than six decades, is closing.

Owner Michael Yura tells redbankgreen that the store’s pharmacy accounts have been sold to Rite Aid and will be transferred to the chain’s Red Bank store on Water Street.

Meantime, the store’s extensive gift and greeting card business will be closed, he said

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