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RED BANK: TRAILER MYSTERY SOLVED

A trailer parked along the Navesink River bulkhead in Marine Park has drawn some attention (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

In a town known for its stinging $38-per-violation parking citations, some locals have been wondering: why has a recreational vehicle been allowed to remain in Red Bank’s Marine Park for several weeks, apparently without being ticketed?

Prompted by a reader inquiry, redbankgreen knocked on the door of the trailer. Getting no answer, we put in a call to Bill Wilk of the borough parking department.

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RETURN TO WINTER

A woman and her dog enjoyed the warm temperatures on Grange Avenue overlooking the Navesink in Fair Haven Wednesday.

After a day in which temperatures rose into the 60s, and blustery winds blew overnight, temps are expected to drop to about 40 degrees by sunset Thursday. Meantime, a wind advisory is in effect through most of the morning. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: MOTHER & SON’S NEW AGE ENERGY

Joycelyn and Christopher Midose at Earth Spirit, where the merchandise includes “energy-infused” candles, below.  (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

If while strolling Monmouth Street in Red Bank you catch a titillating whiff of patchouli incense and sandalwood, let your curious nose guide you into Earth Spirit New Age Center, a shopping experience that for some is a form of  sensory overload.

Feathered dream catchers and tinkling wind chimes hang from the ceiling; brightly colored gemstones – pink rose quartz, purple amethyst, and orange citrine – sit loose in dishes with small signs that describe their spiritual meanings; tiny bottles of aromatherapy oil are displayed next to figurines of Gothic gargoyles and mermaids; bookcases line the walls with volumes that run the gamut from Buddhism and Hinduism to astrology and healing.

And that’s before things get deep: the Midoses can also put you in touch with loved ones who have passed on – for a fee, of course. Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: CLOSINGS ROCK RIVER ROAD

Nature’s Emporoium is closing after 40 years in the same location, and will be replaced by a women’s clothing boutique displaced from Sea Bright. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

As though hit by an economic hurricane, Fair Haven’s historic downtown is reeling from the abrupt loss of four well-established River Road retailers.

• Eclectic gift and clothing shop Nature’s Emporium is closing after 40 years. A women’s clothing boutique is expected to take over its space by early spring.

• Gourmet Picnic closed on Monday after a sale, according to a notice posted on the 10-year-old bakery’s front door.

• Eight-year-old Java Stop closed two weeks ago, and its cozy space will be taken over by two-year-old coffee roaster Booskerdoo, in its first expansion from Monmouth Beach.

• Write Impressions, a custom stationery and wedding invitation shop, packed it in after 32 years this weekend and downsized to a corner of a florist shop in Middletown.

Owners of three of the outgoing businesses cited the effects of a seven-month closing of the Oceanic Bridge, ending last May, among the reasons for shutting out the lights.

“There’s just no traffic,” said Write Impressions owner Christine Ancona.

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SEA BRIGHT: SERVICE STATION WON’T RETURN

Dunkin’ Donuts is back in business, at right, but the adjoining Sea Bright Service Station won’t be coming back to town, its owner says. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Amid optimistic declarations that storm-battered Sea Bright will rise from the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy, one of its more visible businesses has quietly thrown in the towel – or the grease rag, in this case.

Sea Bright Service Station owner Rick Hennessey, who’s been operating in recent weeks out of temporary quarters in Atlantic Highlands, has decided not to return to town, he tells redbankgreen.

“The owner of the building doesn’t really want any gas sales there anymore, which is the first problem,” Hennessey said. “We also have the issues of rebuilding after the storm and this looming bridge construction.” Read More »

FOUR-MONTH PROBE YIELDS POT BUST

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

call-in-the-authorities• On January 25, 2013 the Middletown Police Detective Bureau and Quality of Life Units executed a search warrant at a Birchwood Lane residence. The warrant was the result of a four month investigation into the sale of illegal narcotics from the residence. The investigation was conducted by Detective Kevin Gardiner and Officers Richard Fulham and Raymond Sofield of the Quality of Life Unit.

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RED BANK: FLYING THEIR COLORS IN THE PEWS

Congregants wore their team colors at Sunday’s ‘Jerseys for Jesus’ celebration at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Red Bank.  (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

“You can have fun and worship Jesus at the same time,” says Reverend Terrence Porter, of Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Church. And for the third year running, Porter and his flock demonstrated that belief once again Sunday with their annual ‘Jerseys for Jesus’ pre-Super Bowl celebration of faith and football.

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ANOTHER CATHERINE ST. BURGLARY REPORTED

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of January 18 through January 25, 2013. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 1-20-13 at 14 West Front Street. Victim reported that bottom of glass door to apartment had been shattered by unknown subject(s). Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

Burglary occurring at 151 Catherine Street residence on 1-23-13. Victim reported that unknown perpetrator(s) entered residence by prying off storm window. Once inside stole cash from residence. Sgt. Michael Frazee.

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UGLY DUCKLING WEATHER

Love snow and ice? You’ll find things just ducky Monday, when the Green could get up to half an inch of accumulated snow, sleet and rain, according to the Weather Channel. Our photos were taken Sunday on East Front Street in Red Bank, above, and from the bridge under reconstruction on Seven Bridge Road in Little Silver on Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

DUI CHARGED IN RED BANK HEAD-ON CRASH

A 22-year-old Middletown woman was charged with driving under the influence after a head-on collision that slowed noontime traffic in a corner of Red Bank Friday, police said.

Kristi Lepard was driving nortbound on Riverside Avenue at about 12:40 p.m. when her vehicle crossed the center line and smashed into a car driven by Lorraine Damore, 45, of Lincroft opposite the Molly Pitcher Inn, said Captain Darren McConnell.

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SPEAKING OF DE ICE…

Salt brine laid down in a wavy pattern on Brown Place, near Branch Avenue, above, and bending around the corner at Hudson Avenue and Harding Road, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

In anticipation of the season’s second “snow event,” Red Bank is trying out a new road de-icer, which has left the town’s streets marked with what appears to be parallel chalk lines.

“I’m exposing my new, artistic side,” quips public works department director Gary Watson.

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A WAGGING, PLANTING, ROCKING WEEKEND

Is veganism “like being a nun at an orgy”? “Vegucated,” a documentary screening in Lincroft Sunday, explores that question and others. The Wag, below, is at the Red Bank Public Library Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, January 25

RED BANK: Aaron Lewis, formerly of Staind, is on tour solo for the first time and will stop at Count Basie for a set of new tunes and old favorites. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50, $39.50, or $55. 99 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: Bob Burger, New Jersey singer-songwriter, returns to the Walt Street Pub for an 8 p.m. set. 180 Monmouth Street. 

RUMSON: Pat Roddy, singer-songwriter from Belmar, will be performing a free set at Molly Maguire’s Black Point Inn at 10 p.m. 132 East River Road.

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NAPA-BASED WINERY PLANTS RED BANK SEED

Faustini Wines, a tasting experience and retail shop in one, is set to open on Broad Street in March. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Rcsm2_010508Red Bank-area oenophiles will have a new downtown destination to check out in coming months.

With Faustini Wines, Michelle Faustini and her husband, Anthony, hope to offer a service not found anywhere else in town: a place where diners on their way to a BYOB restaurant can taste wine before they buy it.

“We’re looking to create a true Napa Valley tasting experience,” said Faustini. “I think the town needs something like this to bring people together.”

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COUNCIL NEWS: PARKING, LIBRARIAN, BUDGET

The valet station on Broad Street in October. Under an approval granted by local officials, another will be added outside the soon-to-open Char Steakhouse. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Items from Wednesday night’s meeting of the Red Bank Mayor and Council:

More downtown parking spaces are being set aside for valet service with the anticipated arrival of Char Steakhouse.

The town has a new head librarian.

And the cost of providing health insurance to borough employees is rising, but at a slower pace than last year.

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RUMSON-SEA BRIGHT SPAN INCHES FORWARD

A concept plan discussed by Monmouth County Engineer Joe Ettore, in Sea Bright below, shows a proposed new alignment for the bridge and approach. The existing bridge, in white, would be torn down. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Sea Bright residents will face yet another extended bridge closure after the one that’s scheduled to begin next week, but there’s no reason to freak out just yet – it’s still at least eight years away.

Representatives of the Monmouth County Engineering Department were in town Wednesday afternoon to host a public information session designed to offer updates and receive feedback on plans to replace the current Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge over the Shrewsbury River.

According to county Engineer Joseph Ettore, the project is still in it’s first stage, what the department refers to as “concept development,” and it will still be roughly 8 to 10 years at least before ground is broken on the new span.

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ASHLEY DUPRÉ BACK IN SEX ADVICE BUSINESS

Ashley DuPre near her Red Bank boutique last summer. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank lingerie merchant Ashley Dupré may have moved on, but a book publisher is clearly hoping her notoriety as the prostitute who abruptly ended Eliot Spitzer’s run as governor of New York has legs.

HarperCollins has just published an e-book titled ‘Tricks of the Trade,’ a collection of sex-and-relationship advice columns Dupré wrote for the New York Post until last year, when she opened Femme By Ashley, an underwear and swimwear shop on Broad Street.

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SEA BRIGHT ON THE RISE, HEIGHTWISE

Ed Wheeler’s house on Ocean Avenue is the first to have been raised since the hurricane. Many more are expected to be lifted under pending changes. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Sea Bright homeowners will have some wiggle room under new building codes hashed out at back-to-back council and planning board meetings Tuesday night.

The pending changes, expected to be adopted by the council February 5, are aimed at eliminating red tape for property owners whose houses might exceed overall height restrictions after they’ve been lifted to comply with the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s advisory base flood elevation levels, town officials said.

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RED BANK: NEW CAKE SHOP PLANS TO POP UP

Melanie Pomerico creates custom-designed cake pops for many occasions, such as weddings (above), holidays, themed birthday parties, and more. (Photo provided by Lil’ Cutie Pops. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Rcsm2_010508Melanie Pomerico of Tinton Falls grew up spending a lot of her time in Red Bank’s shops and restaurants, but didn’t expect she’d one day become part of the downtown’s booming business community.

After graduating from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 2003 with a B.A. in photography, she turned her creativity toward baked goods. Thus Lil’ Cutie Pops, a collection of custom-made cake pops, was born in 2010, as a sideline to Pomerico’s work in the photo industry.

Little more than two years later though, she’s preparing to open a retail store, at 16 Monmouth Street, and jump into the brisk competition for local dessert dollars.

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SEA BRIGHT: NO BRIDGE WORK ON WEEKENDS

Repairs on the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge may take up to two weeks longer to complete than previously anticipated, but will allow for traffic flows on weekends. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A compromise to a widely criticized plan to shut down the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge for three weeks starting this weekend January 28 was reached Tuesday, town officials said.

Under the compromise, repair work on the bridge will be halted on Friday afternoons and resume on Monday mornings, with the Shrewsbury River span remaining open to traffic throughout the weekends.

“It’s a win-win-win,” said an ecstatic Chris Wood, whose restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille, is scheduled to reopen for business Wednesday for the first time since Hurricane Sandy slammed into the shore, wiping out every business in town.

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SEA BRIGHT: A WARM, POST-SANDY EMBRACE

One of three wraparound radiators now gets post-Sandy prominence at Bain’s Hardware. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

When the Atlantic Ocean and Shrewsbury River decided to throw a raucous party in Sea Bright, it was bad news for Bain’s Hardware. Every piece of merchandise, including 1,500 gallons of paint and an inventory that ran to 65,000 individual items, was lost.

But that was then, and owner Frank Bain has put Hurricane Sandy behind him. He’s even found a number of upsides to the storm, what he calls “Sandy’s sand dollars.” The biggest, he says, is the generosity of the dozens of customers, friends and strangers, not to mention a paint supplier, who chipped to help him rapidly reopen the paint side of the operation. He cheerfully painted that room a color he calls ‘Sandy Beige.’

Here’s another sand dollar, said Bain: the opportunity to show off a rare, eye-catching radiator.

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FINDING MR. WRIGHT, ON A STEAMY NIGHT

Blues and reggae specialist Gary Wright comes to the historic Woman’s Club of Red Bank for the latest in a series of Reckless Steamy Nights. (Photo by Terri GO Seminoles Walliczek)

By TOM CHESEK

It was no less an old bluesman than John Lennon who said, “the blues is a chair, not a design for a chair or a better chair… it is a chair for sitting on, not for looking at. You sit on that music.”

Of course, when the person in the chair is someone with the skills and savvy of Gary Wright, that functional piece of furniture can be a throne of kings. The Red Bank-based singer and guitarist (who, just to clear things up, is not this Gary Wright) shares a passion for the blues with a great many other veteran performers on the Shore soundscape — but in the hands of this southpaw stringbender, the legacy of the earliest blues recording artists comes alive. You hear the wise cat’s instinctive sizing up of the room and the audience, the troubador’s sense of social justice, and the crossroads at which the scholar’s pure research transmutes into joyous poetry.

A Red Banker for the past 28 years, the Long Island native would become known as co-fronter (with ex-wife Jennifer Wright on vocals) of Terraplane Blues, a band that released two CDs, played several major blues festivals, opened for some pretty legendary acts, and even made it to the finals of the 2000 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

In the years since the Terraplane was permanently garaged, Wright has gigged extensively with reggae unit Predator Dub Assassins; sat in with his friend Chuck Lambert; produced the forthcoming CD by Richie Havens Band veteran Poppa John “Bug”; taken part in multi-artist benefits (such as a recent event in Asbury Park organized by the nonprofit Musicians on a Mission), and even showed up at the odd house party sort of affair — including, in the interest of full disclosure, a 2011 happening that took place at this correspondent’s digs inside the Stephen Crane House.

This Friday night,Wright becomes the latest guest performer to join in the Shore’s longest-running house party — the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation’s renewed series of Reckless Steamy Nights at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank. It’s a rescheduling of a November 2012 date that was postponed due to structural damage to the venerable venue — and if you’ve yet to attend one of these unique and intimate events inside the historic Anthony Reckless estate on Broad Street, you owe it to yourself to take in some fine and fascinating sounds, take a tour of the landmark house, and take a break for conversation and refreshment with likeminded music fans.

The Blues Desk at redbankgreen went looking for Mr. Wright, in advance of what promises to be his first (and, hopefully, far from his last) full-band solo showcase.

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RED BANK: KING DAY, IN SONG AND STRIDE

A commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Pilgrim Baptist Church featured musical performances and readings by students from local schools. Below, Red Bank Charter School students went on a silent march downtown in honor of King’s message of peace.  (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Monday was a day of celebrations as students from Red Bank area schools offered tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 84th anniversary of his birth.

Pilgrim Baptist Church on Shrewsbury Avenue hosted a Community Commemorative Celebration with an open-ended an invitation extended to anyone wishing to join in the event.

Due to a large number of performances, “it was a little on the longer side” said Pastor Terrence Porter. “Because we wanted to make sure we included all the kids.” Read More »