CRABBER FOUND DROWNED OFF RUMSON

The body of a 51-year-old Howell man was found in waters off Rumson Saturday after he’s believed to have drowned while crabbing.

Elek Szalay’s body was located by the U.S. Coast Guard at 10:14 a.m. at the confluence of the Navensink and Shrewsbury rivers, according to New Jersey State Police Sergeant Adam Grossman.

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RBR STUDENTS REPORT CELLPHONE THEFTS

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

call-in-the-authoritiesDecember 1– Michael Gavan, 27, of Shrewsbury, NJ, was arrested following a field interview on Branch Ave. for an active Contempt of Court warrant out of the Red Bank Municipal Court. P.O. Eric Van Schaack made the arrest.

December 1– Maria Torres, 31, of Long Branch, NJ, was arrested following a motor vehicle stop on Silverside Ave. for Driving While Intoxicated. P.O. Eric Van Schaack made the arrest.

December 1– A resident from Rumson Rd. reported a Burglary/Theft after discovering that an unknown subject(s) entered an unsecured, detached garage and removed a gas powered backpack blower. Sgt. Martin Scherzinger and Det. Greg Oliva investigated.

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YMCA ADDS THREE TEEN-FOCUSED PROGRAMS

The Y Teen Achievers program, one of the new programs at the Red Bank location, helps prepare local high school students for college and employment, and includes a spring college tour, pictured above. Below, Bryanna Reevey of Fair Haven, right, with Jo Ann Rountree.

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Red Bank’s Community YMCA has a full slate of programs to kick off 2013, including three that are completely new to the location: Y Leaders Club, Girls Circle, Y Teen Achievers. Registration is now open and ongoing for the following three programs:

Y Leaders Club: A national Y program that teaches kids in grades 6  to 9 to become role models and leaders by participating in volunteering and marketing.

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WEEKENDER: HOME SHOW, RECOVERY, SATIRE

The Daily Show political correspondent John Oliver brings his mordant wit to the Basie, and former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand is at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional to to discuss his book, below. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, January 11

LINCROFT: The Robert J. Collins Arena at Brookdale Community College hosts the 23rd annual expo of home improvement contractors, vendors and manufacturers, a three-day event showcasing everything from spas to sponges, and every helpful/healthful thing between. Hours are from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 to 8 Saturday, 11 to 5 Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 kids 12-17, under 12 are free. Newman Springs Road/Route 520.

RUMSON: Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, paralyzed in a game, talks about his effort to recover, as described in his book, ‘Believe: My Faith and the Tackle That Changed My Life’ (available at River Road Books). 7 to 10 p.m. 74 Ridge Hill Road.

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FAIR HAVEN STARTS SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH

Community and school board members assembled at Knollwood School Thursday night regarding the search for a new superintendent to replace Kathi Cronin, below. (Photo above by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Fair Haven residents gathered Thursday night to kick around ideas about filling the shoes of school district Superintendent Kathleen Cronin, who is set to retire on June 30.

Much of the discussion, however, turned on the question of whether the two-school district should be consolidated with a neighboring district or two.

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RED BANK: SIPPIN’ AND CHOWIN’ EVENT OK’D

The logo for next summer’s Sippin’ on the River two-day food-and-drink fest, to be held in Marine Park. The event joins a seasonal roster that also includes the International Flavour Fest, held in the White Street municipal lot, as seen below. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Red Bank is about to get its fourth outdoor food fest, one that allows, for the first time, the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in a public park.

Sponsored by the culinary alliance Red Bank Flavour, the two-day ‘Sippin’ on the River’ chowdown won clearance from the borough council Wednesday night to set up its tents in Marine Park on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30, in Marine Park.

“In addition to the charity aspect, which all our festivals have,” said Flavour founder and restaurateur George Lyristis, “this festival is designed to give people a great reason to come down to Red Bank to try out some of the best local food around, and have some wine or beer.”

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LAYING DOWN SOME RUBBER AT BASIE FIELDS

A spreader scatters crumb rubber on one of the new artificial-turf ballfields at Count Basie Fields in Red Bank as part of a $2.1 million makeover of the facility Wednesday.

At right, tons of the product, made from recycled tires, were lined up for distribution on the fields. Below, a sweeper works the crumbs into the carpet, where it provides cushioning and stabilizes blades of faux grass.

The project is expected to be completed in time for the start of spring sports in early April, says borough Engineer Christine Ballard. (Click to enlarge)
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SCHOOL ARTS TO GET INSTRUCTOR BOOST

Count Basie CEO Adam Philipson and director of education Yvonne Lamb Scudiery meet the press on Tuesday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Red Bank’s youngest students can expect an extra-dose of performance-art based teaching in their upcoming curriculum, thanks in part to the hometown Count Basie Theatre and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

Borough schools Superintendent Laura Morana was joined by new Basie CEO Adam Philipson and director of education Yvonne Lamb Scudiery during her monthly press meeting at middle school Tuesday to help detail the Kennedy Center’s upcoming workshops for teachers, designed to help them understand the importance of performing arts as a part of overall education.

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WALK, SWIM, WHATEVER YOU LIKE

The temperature was 48 degrees, but a lingering skin of ice on Red Bank’s Mohawk Pond gave a flock of Canada Geese the choice between standing and swimming Wednesday afternoon. Today’s forecast is for sunny skies and high temperature of about 48, according to the Weather Channel. (Click to enlarge)

BANK TO DEPOSIT ITSELF ON BROAD STREET

OceanFirst Bank will take space in a building that’s been a supermarket, a five-and-dime and home to a number of financial services companies over its 92-year history. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Rcsm2_010508In recent decades, the white stone building at 73 Broad Street has been a home to many financial service companies: Provident Savings Bank, Prudential Securities, then Wachovia Securities, and most recently, Wells Fargo Bank.

The pattern resumes this spring with the expected arrival of OceanFirst Bank.

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7-ELEVEN SETTLEMENT GETS QUICK CHECKOUT

A lawyer for the planned 7-Eleven said signage lighting would be turned off, and other lighting would be reduced to the minimum needed for security, during the hours when the store is closed. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Ending months of wrangling and litigation in just 35 minutes, Red Bank’s planning board approved the conversion of the Welsh Farms convenience store on East Front Street to a 7-Eleven Monday night.

Not your typical 7-Eleven, though. While the parent corporation usually insists its franchisees keep their stores open 24 hours a day, it’s making an exception in this case, agreeing to limit the shop’s hours of operation to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. That’s unusual, said lawyer Philip San Filippo, representing Welsh Farms owner Dina Enterprises.

“In my experience, 7-Eleven will not agree to anything less than 24 hours,” but was allowing it at this location out of a desire to be “a good neighbor” and comply with local laws, he told redbankgreen after the hearing.

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MIDDLETOWN POLICE BLOTTER

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

call-in-the-authorities• Michael Sesta, age 51, from Morningside Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on December 31, 2012 by Patrolman Keith Hirschbein for Simple Assault. He was released pending a court date.

• Michael Ngai, age 18, from Glenn Boulevard in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, arrested on December 31, 2012 by Patrolman Richard Belmonte on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $500.00 bail.

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AMID WRECKAGE, SEA BRIGHT STARTS ANEW

Mayor Dina Long at the annual reorganization of borough government Saturday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Though it was an eventful, tumultuous year in this small beachside community, Sea Bright’s 2013 mayor-and-council reorganization meeting brought no major shakeups Saturday.

“We thought it was important at this time to keep things consistent,” Mayor Dina Long told redbankgreen shortly after she began her second year at the helm of local government.

“We definitely didn’t want to create new obstacles at this time,” she said. “We just wanted to help everyone and everything return to normal, or the ‘new normal’ as it should be called, because things will never be quite the same after Sandy.”

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RED BANK COPS CHARGE MAN FOR DRUGS, GUN

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of December 28, 2012 to January 4, 2013. This information is unedited.

Theft occurring between 12-27-12 and 12-28- at South Street. Victim reported that unknown person(s) entered parked vehicle and stole cash. Sgt. Michael Furlong.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 12-29-12 at Monmouth St—Grocery store. Victim reported that unidentified male subject slammed front door several times causing glass to shatter. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

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RUMSON HONORS R-FH RUNNERS, COACHES

Coaches Tim McLoone, in gray cap, and Henry Mercer, at center, mingle with supporters at Meadowridge Park before Friday’s dedication of a plaque, below, honoring the 2011 Rumson-Fair Haven girls’ cross-country team. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

On chilly afternoon in January – a month when many runners head for the nearest indoor treadmill – Meadowridge Park in Rumson honored some hardy cross-country runners and their coaches.

A bronze plaque was dedicated Friday to memorialize the 2011 NJSIAA Meet of Champions win by the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional girls’ cross-country team and its coaches, Tim McLoone and Henry Mercer.

McLoone, a well-known local business owner and philanthropist, called the occasion a celebration of the sport itself.

“Cross-country is such a tough, demanding sport,” he said. “And it’s really still under the radar. We really don’t get a lot of press for what we do. So it’s nice to have this monument up for everyone to see. And personally, it’s a little overwhelming.”

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SAILING ON THROUGH WINTER

The calendar might say winter, but some sailors from the Monmouth Boat Club decided that sunshine, temperatures in the mid-40s and an ice-free Navesink River made for fine racing conditions Sunday. The outlook for Monday and the rest of the week is much the same or warmer, according to the Weather Channel. (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT RISING, ONE GIFT CARD AT A TIME

Ilene Winters and Chris Wood reviewing requests for help from Sea Bright Rising in Wood’s office Thursday. Below, a mudline shows the height of the water that inundated homes and businesses in town during Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Nearly 70 days after Hurricane Sandy washed the Atlantic Ocean into his Sea Bright restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood hunkered down with Ilene Winters in his loft office, sifting through aid requests from residents whose homes were flooded or destroyed in the storm.

The two executives of Sea Bright Rising were prioritizing applications for help with repair and replacement expenses from their neighbors as part of an effort to dole out nearly $500,000 in donations collected in the aftermath of the October 29 storm.

“We need two things from those reaching out to us: specificity and priority,” Wood said. “We don’t give out direct personal checks, cash or Visa cards, but we are more than happy to write checks to contractors, landlords or electricians for a portion –usually around 25 percent, of their bill, for example. We can’t write a check for ‘help’.”

Among the charitable organizations that arose in the wake of Sandy, the one Sea Bright residents have been able to lean on perhaps more than any other is a home-grown effort dedicated to the town’s return from the wreckage.

In terms of community outreach, involvement, and most importantly, results, it’s doing the job, its founders say. And in a period in which many Sandy-related charities are losing steam, Wood and Winters insist theirs is just getting started.

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WEEKENDER: SHAPING BODY, SOUND AND ART

Josh Zuckerman is at Red Bank’s Walt Street Pub tonight. (Click to enlarge)

For the first weekend of 2013, here are some fun ways to keep busy on the Green …

Friday, January 4

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

RED BANK: The Josh Zuckerman Band, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, returns to the Wall Street Pub for a free set of original rockers and favorites at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: World class championship blues guitarist Matt O’Ree will visit Jamian’s Food & Drink for a free Friday night set starting at 8 p.m. 79 Monmouth Street.

NOTE: The Holiday Express fundraiser at Sickles Market, which was postponed by Hurricane Sandy until tonight, has again been postponed out of respect for the Sickles family, which lost its matriarch, Adelaide Sickles, at age 81 earlier this week. A new date for the event has not yet been announced.

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HERE’S A JOB: ‘POLICE MATRON’

Kim Ambrose, center, shares a laugh at the Fair Haven Firehouse Tuesday, shortly after she was re-appointed a police matron in Fair Haven and Rumson. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Kim Ambrose has a lot of titles, but only one she gets teased about.

Mother of three, EMT at Monmouth Park Racetrack, volunteer with the Little Silver and Fair Haven First Aid squads, founder of the Little Silver EMS Cadets program (featured in a redbankgreen story last July), part-time police dispatcher in Rumson, class 1 special police officer in Rumson, police matron in Fair Haven and Rumson: guess which one of those makes her cringe a little.

“It sounds old and stodgy, right?” she says of the ‘matron’ moniker. “It sounds like Helga’s going to come after you.”

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JERSEY OFFICIALS BLAST SANDY FUND CUTOFF

Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long with Governor Chris Christie in Sea Bright on November 9. Both have joined in on bipartisan condemnation of inaction by the GOP-controlled House. (Click to enlarge)

State and local officials, including Republicans, are expressing outrage Wednesday over Congressional inaction, attributed to the GOP majority, on a $60.4 billion aid package for communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

From the Star-Ledger’s NJ.com:

Gov. Chris Christie ripped into House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today for delaying a vote on billions in federal aid for recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

“There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: The House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” said Christie at a press conference this afternoon.

Christie, who gave the keynote address at the Republican National Convention last summer, said Congress traditionally puts politics aside for disaster relief but that House Republican leadership had put politics “before our oaths to serve our citizens.”

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RED BANK: NEW YEAR, FAMILIAR FACES

The young son of new fire department Chief TD Doremus makes a beeline for his dad at Tuesday’s swearing-in. Below, Councilman Mike DuPont takes the oath of office, administered by former mayor Ben Nicosia, left, and joined by his mom, one of his children and former mayor Ed McKenna. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An air of status quo dominated as Red Bank officials completed their annual reorganization of the borough government on New Year’s Day.

“Art and I ran to continue the progress you’re seeing,” Councilman Mike DuPont told a packed council chambers, referring to fellow council member and 2012 running mate Art Murphy, after each was sworn into office.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, too, spoke of continuing to build on what he characterized as improvements in the town’s economic foundation, arts profile, recreation facilities and more.

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RUMSON HAILS NEW UNIFORMED LEADERS

Mayor John Ekdahl, center, calls the annual reorganization meeting to order at Bingham Hall. Below, Ekdahl swears in Scott Paterson as police chief while Paterson’s wife, Stephanie, and children look on. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The start of the new year signaled changes in command of Rumson’s emergency services Tuesday.

Scott Paterson, a 19-year veteran of the police department, was sworn in as police chief, succeeding Rick Tobias. And Jymm Fenn moved up the ladder at the fire department for a one-year term as fire chief.

The calendar change also saw the departure of the borough’s longtime recreation department head, John Hird.

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