RED BANK: BIG BAND HOSTS BIG TROMBONE

Conductor Joe “Mooche” Muccioli with the “freight train” that is the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, which takes to the Count Basie Theatre boards for the first in a new series of themed concert events Sunday.

By TOM CHESEK

Red Bank doesn’t have riverboat casino gambling. There’s no year-round Santa Claus Village no go-kart track. You’ll need to head way out of town to take a winery tour, or find a decent shad festival.

What the town does have is its very own Red Bank Jazz Orchestra — a 17-piece organization of “first call” cats that’s a source of some pride for the borough that birthed the great William “Count” Basie, and the envy of pretty much anyplace this side of Lincoln Center.

Conducted by Red Bank’s own Joe Muccioli — globe-trotting jazz scholar/arranger/bandleader, and artistic director of the borough-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project — the RBJO is identified most closely with the Sinatra Birthday Bash, the annual event that commandeers the Count Basie Theatre for a tribute to the Chairman of the Board. The momentum generated by those Sinatra salutes over the course of the past six years (and the collective itch by the assembled players to do this more than once or twice a year) spurred the man they call “Mooche” to look into starting up a series of showcase concerts starring the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra — a slate of events that would team the RBJO with special guest performers, and spotlight great composers or classic musicians.

This Sunday afternoon, February 24, the first of two scheduled Jazz Orchestra events at the Basie gets underway, when intrepid trombonist Wycliffe Gordon joins maestro Mooche and the gang for a happening that’s being called nothing less than “a soulful journey through jazz history.”

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WANDERING TODDLER FOUND UNINJURED

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

call-in-the-authoritiesReport of Motor Vehicle Accident 2/11/13 in the area of Rt. 35 & Silverbrook Rd. Pole and wires pulled down. Driver suffered minor injuries and was transported to Riverview Medical Center. Accident still under investigation by Ptl. Adam Cerminaro.

Report of Credit Card Fraud in the area of Rt. 35 on 2/12/13. 37 year old female of Union City reports her debit card being used at multiple locations in Shrewsbury while the card was still in her possession. Damages totaling $544.29. Detective Sergeant RobertTurner investigating.

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RBR: HOW NOT TO DROP OFF YOUR KID

Red Bank Regional graphics students Damian DeSena and Jessica Olivera produced this video – for parents who “have never gotten that memo” – on morning drop-off no-nos at the Little Silver school. According to the school handbook, students should be dropped off at either the main entrance or the student parking lot near the media center entrances. (Click to enlarge)

SICKLES ART SHOW WARMS THE WEEKEND

Lorna Weber working on a pastel in the greenhouse. Below, woodturner Bruce Perlmutter at his lathe. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

On a chilly weekend in mid-February, Sickles Market in Little Silver opened its greenhouse to local artists, giving them a lush, open – and perhaps most importantly, warm  – space to showcase their work.

redbankgreen caught up with some the area’s painters, sculptors and photographers Sunday to get their views on why the yearly event is so important to local artists.

Bruce Perlmutter, a woodturner from Red Bank, specializes in intricate wooden bowls and other pieces he cuts exclusively out of wood he salvages. Many of the wooden sculptures on display were made from wood he picked up in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

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LITTLE SILVER: CHARGES AGAINST PSYCHOLOGIST DISMISSED

Criminal charges not related to her work in the district earned a Little Silver school psychologist a suspension, officials said. (Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE: On May 22, 2013 a Monmouth County grand jury determined that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain an indictment in this case and dismissed the charges against Michele Thompson. On October 17, 2013, Superior Court Judge John T. Mullaney Jr. ordered that all law enforcement and court records in the matter be expunged.]

By WIL FULTON

Little Silver’’s school psychologist is in hot water with the district following a January 19 arrest for alleged marijuana distribution and child endangerment charges.

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MENNA DROPS SUPPORT FOR MENU CALORIES

Less than two days after endorsing a nascent plan to require Red Bank restaurants to list calorie totals for menu items, Mayor Pasquale Menna has withdrawn his support.

In a press release issued late Friday afternoon, Menna cited resistance by restaurateurs as the reason he no longer favors the idea.

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RED BANK: CHAR TO OPEN THIS MONTH

A view from Char’s second-floor dining room of the new two-story windows overlooking Broad Street. Below, the restaurant features a waveform awning with heating elements underneath for outdoor dining in cool weather. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After an extensive overhaul of a 19th-century Red Bank building, Char Steakhouse plans to open in the former Ashes Cigar Bar space on Broad Street  later this month, redbankgreen has learned.

The widely anticipated debut marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year vacancy in a prominent building as the downtown has struggled to recover from the recession that began in 2007.

It also caps what is believed to have been one of the largest investments in a downtown restaurant in years.

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RED BANK: SCAFFOLD TO THE HEAVENS

A workman adjusts the protective netting on a scaffold surrounding the steeple of Saint James Church on Broad Street in Red Bank Wednesday.

He and his colleagues from Arthur Vincent & Sons Contracting have been at work on the steeple since early January. Among their aims: replacing the cross, which was blown off in an August windstorm, a church official says.  (Photos right and below by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

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SEA BRIGHT: KNITTING AS SANDY THERAPY

Megan Heath Gilhool first picked up her needles in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when she was in “full panic mode,” she said. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Move over, yarn spinning and yarn bombing. A new knitting-based activity has entered the region’s post-Sandy lexicon: Yarn Therapy

“I think the whole activity of knitting in itself is extremely therapeutic,” said Megan Heath Gilhool, an artist and prime force behind the newly instated weekly knitting sessions taking place inside Sea Bright’s community center Thursday nights.

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WEEKEND: BIG BAND, ‘TWO TRAINS’ & ART

Thomas Lauderdale, who appears with his band, Pink Martini, at the Count Basie tonight, discusses his music. Below, Owiso Odera and Roslyn Ruff in ‘Two Trains Running,’ at the Two River Theater. (Photo by Michal Daniel. Click to enlarge)

Friday, February 15
RED BANK: Two River Theater continues its presentation of August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running,” with performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $24 to $42 and are available online. 21 Bridge Avenue.

RED BANK: Pink Martini, “a rollicking around-the-world musical adventure” in the words of bandleader Thomas Lauderdale, sets up its tent at the Count Basie Theatre. Up to a dozen musicians create the Cosmopolitan World Music project, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $75 and are available online. A portion of ticket sales supports breast cancer awareness. 99 Monmouth Street.

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MIDDLETOWN POLICE BLOTTER

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

call-in-the-authorities• Thomas Henry, age 41, from Harmony Road in Middletown, NJ, arrested on February 6, 2013 by Patrolman Michael Allen on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Municipal Court. He was released after posting $750.00 bail.

• Daniel Cafaro, age 46, from Nutswamp Road in Red Bank, NJ, arrested on February 6, 2013 by Patrolman Christopher Dee on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Hazlet Municipal Court. He was released after posting $79.00.

• Michael Story, age 20, from Manor Parkway in Lincroft, NJ, arrested on February 6, 2013 by Patrolman Kent Thornton on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $1,000.00 bail.

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RED BANK SEALS BLUE COLLAR PACT

The contract applies to public utilities workers, seen here clearing snow on Broad Street last Saturday, as well as some clerical staffers at borough hall. (Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

A revised contract between Red Bank and borough employees represented by the Communications Workers of America ends a request for mediation sought by the union.

Salary “steps” will be adjusted for both 2012 and 2013, meaning some of the borough’s 71 CWA Local 1038 employees will receive pay raises retroactive to January of last year.

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ON RED BANK’S MENU: SMOKING AND EATING

Red, above, and all other Red Bank restaurants may soon be required by ordinance to inform diners of the caloric heft of their meals. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Health was on the minds of Red Bank officials Wednesday night, when the borough council agreed to develop measures that would ban smoking in municipal parks and require restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus.

With restaurants in the RiverCenter business zone said to be on board with the calorie-count concept, Mayor Pasquale Menna said the council should consider making it a borough-wide requirement.

“If McDonald’s can do it, we can do it,’’ Menna said, adding that if the borough chooses to move forward, restaurants would be given ample time – perhaps a year – to comply. “We know it would cost them money,’’ he said.

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RED BANK: STORE VACANCY ENDS IN STYLE

Salon Concrete celebrated its first business day after a move Wednesday. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Red Bank’s Salon Concrete reopened for business Wednesday at a new Broad Street location, a move owner Christine Zilinski says had been a “long time coming.”

The process of occupying the 2,500-square-foot location at 123 Broad – formerly home of Surray Luggage – began almost a full year ago. After signing the lease, it took until October to start renovation work on a space that had been an eyesore vacancy for almost six years.

“Then Sandy hit, and that of course put us back a little bit,” said Zilinski.

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RUMSON: SANDY SHIFTS TAX BURDEN INLAND

Homes like these on 1st Street could see their taxes rise as a result of falling home values closer to the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers.  (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Owners of Rumson properties spared damage by Hurricane Sandy will likely see increased  tax bills next year, according to Mayor John Ekdahl.

With a borough-wide property reassessment underway, the mayor said a drop in the value of storm-damaged homes close to the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers will require increased taxes on undamaged properties to pay for municipal services.

“Waterfront homes typically get a higher assessment,’’ Ekdahl said. “But this time it’s going to be different.  Homes that were flooded will pay less, and some homes out of the flood zone could expect to see higher taxes.’’

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TRAIN ACCIDENT VICTIM CHARGED AS THIEF

By JOHN T. WARD

A Middlesex County man who injured his leg when he was struck by a moving train in Red Bank on Sunday has been charged with a theft that occurred earlier that day at the Little Silver train station, police said Wednesday.

Oluwatomiwa Adewusi, 19, of the Avenel section of Woodbridge, is alleged to have been caught on surveillance tape stealing a laptop computer from the Little Silver station, said police Chief Dan Shaffery.

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FAIR HAVEN FACING REASSESSMENT

A townwide reassessment will be the first in 10 years. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Fair Haven residents can expect a visit later this year from an examiner who will help determine the value of their home and land for property tax bills.

“Field work and analysis will take place this year,” said borough Tax Assessor Steve Walters. “It calls for an interior-exterior inspection of all properties,’’ as well as an analysis of recent home sales, he said.

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RED BANK: REFLOATING A LOBSTER SHACK

Kelly Ryan at her storm-damaged Red Bank restaurant on Tuesday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

“When people think of Sandy’s impact on Red Bank, most will say that the town didn’t get it so bad,” says Kelly Ryan, owner of the Boondocks Fishery, a summer-only, open-air eatery that’s been serving lobsters and scallops adjacent to the Navesink River and Marine Park for the past four years. “But I guess they haven’t seen this place.”

“We came back here the day after the storm, and my first reaction was ‘Oh my God, the building is still standing,'” she said. “But once we looked inside, we understood that even though the structure was still up, the insides were completely devastated.”

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FAIR HAVEN DOCK REPAIRS SET

Part of the dock was washed up onto a neighboring yard in the hurricane. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Fair Haven’s municipal dock, washed away by Hurricane Sandy, is expected to reopen by Memorial Day weekend, borough officials said Monday night.

The repair job is expected to cost $90,000, borough Engineer Richard Gardella reported to the borough council.

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RED BANK: CHIEF OK WITH INTERNAL PROBES

Police Chief Steve McCarthy says his department reviews training on the handling of citizen complaints “almost on a yearly basis.” (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank police have been the subject of 11 allegations of excessive force in the last three years, according to information published Tuesday.

The figure, which includes 10 citizen complaints and one “agency” investigation initiated by department leadership, is included in a roundup of internal affairs reports submitted by local police departments statewide to the state Attorney General’s office. The data was released by New Jersey Public Radio and is searchable on the website of radio station WNYC.

The release was one of two reports on police self-investigation in New Jersey issued Tuesday. The other, by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, found “persistent problems” in the handling of internal affairs inquiries.

Red Bank is not identified as a town with problems in either report.

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FAIR HAVEN: A COP WHO’S RIGHT AT HOME

By JOE FISHER

“Being a cop in the town you grew up in can be complicated sometimes,’’ says Fair Haven Patrolman William Lagrotteria. “But it’s the best feeling in the world.’’

The seven-year department veteran and juvenile officer was honored Monday night as Patrolman of the Year by the borough council.

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FAIR HAVEN STORE BURGLARIZED

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

call-in-the-authorities• 01/05/13 Cpl. Waltz and S.O. Albert arrested Vincent P. Delisa, 50, of Long Branch for D.W.I. and Obtaining CDS not prescribed by a Practitioner or under valid prescription. This arrest came subsequent to a motor vehicle accident. Mr. Delisa was released pending court.

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LITTLE SILVER POLICE BLOTTER FOR JANUARY

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

call-in-the-authorities• January 1– A resident from Sherwood Rd. reported Credit Card Fraud when he discovered that an unknown subject was making unauthorized purchases on his credit card. P.O. Eric Van Schaack and Det. Greg Oliva investigated.

• January 3– Mark Drzewiecki, 18, of Shrewsbury, NJ, was arrested following a motor vehicle stop on Branch Ave. for Possession of a Fraudulent Drivers License. P.O. Eric Van Schaack made the arrest.

• January 3– A Theft was reported after a cell phone had been stolen from a location on Ridge Rd. P.O. Robert Chenoweth investigated.

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RED BANK: DESIGNER BABIES ON DARWIN DAY

Monmouth University’s Michael Palladino discusses the ethical issues of reproductive technologies at the Red Bank Charter School. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

In honor of legendary English naturalist Charles Darwin’s birthday, the Red Bank Humanists held a crash course  in “designer babies” Sunday.

New technology involved in creating designer babies through assisted reproductive technology, or ART, can literally change how humans evolve, Michael Palladino, dean of the School of Science at Monmouth University, told a packed conference room at Red Bank Charter School.

“Everyone who is a little bit older will definitely remember Louise, the first test tube baby in the world,” said Palladino, an expert in molecular reproductive biology. “Since then, over four million babies worldwide have been born using in vitro alone, and that’s only one kind of ART.”

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