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RED BANK: IT’S BEEN A PEACH OF A SEASON

Caitlyn Hickey and Catherine Lovallo of Hauser Hill Farms in Old Bridge are off to college now, but Farmer John Hauser will be at the table this weekend. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Labor day weekend is a high point for Jersey produce, and the Red Bank Farmer’s Market this Sunday will be a sure-fire place to get every last bit of flavor a Garden State summer has to offer.

Farmer John Hauser of Hauser Hill Farms in Old Bridge tells redbankgreen it will be a peak weekend for peaches, tomatoes and squash.

“If you haven’t gotten any peaches yet this summer, or if you haven’t gotten any to put away in the freezer, this is the time to do it,” says Hauser. “Don’t wait until September 15th, when they’re scarce and the price is high.”

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WEEKEND: A RIPE, JUICY SUMMER CLOSEOUT

The final weekend of the fair plays out in Fair Haven, and giant-tomato growers weigh in at Sickles Market. (Photo below by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

Friday, August 30:

RED BANK: Halloween returns to Red Bank a little early for the Jersey Shore Ghost Tour season. Take a guided, lantern-lit stroll through the hauntingly historic sites of Red Bank, the perfect event for any paranormal fan. The tour meets in front of the Dublin House and runs every Friday through Halloween, rain or shine. Tickets are $12 ($10 for kids) and reservations are recommended. 30 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: Original rock cover band Backbeat puts a modern spin on the old ’60s classics you know and love at the Walt Street Pub. The music begins at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: The Black River Band brings its original music and lyrics to Molly Maguire’s Black Point Inn. The show begins at 9 p.m. 132 East River Road.

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RED BANK: SPARKS FLY OVER PAYOUTS

By JOHN T. WARD

The 2013 race for Red Bank council went from lukewarm to hot and humid Wednesday night, when the two Republican challengers teed up the all-Democratic council over cash-outs for five retiring borough employees.

Cindy Burham and Sean Di Somma pressed the governing body over what they called a failure to plan for the exits of employees added to the town payroll before 1994, when a borough ordinance capped cash-outs for accrued “sick” days and vacation for new hires at $15,000 per employee.

Their comments came after the council approved, in a 5-0 vote, an emergency bond for $362,000 to cover payouts to five recent retirees who were exempt from the ordinance. And the heated exchanges between Di Somma and the council continued after the meeting concluded.

“I don’t think it’s right to borrow to make these payouts, and I don’t think people do, either,” Burham told Council President Art Murphy, who led the meeting in the absence of Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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SEA BRIGHT: CHRISTIE STORMS THE TOWN

Governor Chris Christie, accompanied by Mayor Dina Long, heads into Northshore Men’s Wear, above, and meets with Jake O’Donnell of Jake’s Surf Shop, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The rain that he said with certainty was following him from Cape May held off, long enough at least for Governor Chris Christie to make a whirlwind tour of Sea Bright’s downtown Wednesday.

The latest in a handful of visits to the borough since Hurricane Sandy knocked out every one of its commercial establishments, the 90-minute tour gave Christie a chance to tout his administration’s storm recovery efforts, slam a couple of federal agencies, and glad-hand supporters as he runs for a second term.

Though “not everything is perfect by a longshot” with the Shore’s recovery and efforts to attract tourists this summer, “we’re laying the groundwork for next summer, when I know things are going to be significantly better here in Sea Bright and all up and down the Jersey Shore,” Christie said.

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SHREWSBURY: DYFS GETS CHILD-IN-CAR CASE

Activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of August 17 to August 23, 2013.

call-in-the-authoritiesReport of Illegal Dumping in the area of Sunnybank Drive on 8/19/13. Victim reports debris from multiple large trees deposited onto property by unknown subject(s). Ptl. Jessica Boyd investigating.

Report of Bad Checks on 8/21/13. Naylors Auto Shrewsbury Avenue reports subject knowingly passed bad check for services rendered. Damages totaling $1,143.61. Ptl. Derek Myers investigating.

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SHREWSBURY: CUPOLA PAINTERS AT WORK

Rebecca Pruitt and Jorge Hernandez reinstalling one of the louvers for the cupola of Christ Church Episcopal in Shrewsbury.

By SARAH KLEPNER

Shrewsbury’s Christ Church Episcopal, one of the oldest buildings in Monmouth County, got a fresh coat of paint from top to bottom this month.

It took 15 people working six days a week for two weeks, and 30 gallons of paint, to freshen up the historic structure, which was built between 1769 and 1774.

The church, located at the southeast corner of Broad Street (Route 35) and Sycamore Avenue, has withstood abuse at the hands of man and weather from the days of American Revolution.

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LITTLE SILVER: DRUG THEFT CHARGED

call-in-the-authoritiesA Locust man who worked at the CVS pharmacy in Little Silver has been charged with stealing painkillers from the store, borough police said Wednesday.

Stephen Matthews 2nd, 23, was arrested Tuesday and charged with stealing 1,614 tablets of the narcotics hydrocodone and oxycodone, with an estimated street value exceeding $20,000, according to an announcement by Detective Gregory Oliva, who made the arrest with Patrolman Andrew Smith.

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BRIDGE REPLACEMENT WORK BEGINS

Pedestrians passed, above, as prep work and equipment staging for the replacement of the West Front Street Hubbard’s Bridge between Red Bank and the River Plaza section of Middletown got underway this week.

The $12 million, 18-to-24-month project will replace the existing steel bridge with a permanent structure that bows slightly to the north, as shown above right in red. The job will require a shutdown of all traffic across the existing bridge for up to four months when the new span is tied into the approaches at either end, officials at the Monmouth County engineer’s office have said.

The “temporary” steel bridge installed in 2004 it will be reused elsewhere, officials  said. (Photo above by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RETIREE PAYOUTS REQUIRE DEBT

Red Bank’s elected officials are expected to vote Wednesday on a measure to borrow $326,000 to pay five retiring employees for unused “sick” and vacation days, the Asbury Park Press reported Tuesday.

It’s the second time in three years that the town has had to borrow to meet its obligations to employees punching out for the final time, writes Press reporter Larry Higgs.

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RED BANK: LIMOS, BAGPIPES &… ACE VENTURA

Robert Gavin, left, a driver for V.E.I. Limousine, and Rod MacLeod, of Great Highland Bagpipes, pass the time talking about Jim Carrey films while a wedding was underway inside of St. James Church in Red Bank last Friday. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: IT’S MORE THAN JUST A FAIR

Lori Ersolmaz, below, and her new video on the place of the Fair Haven Fire Department in the community it serves. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

For filmmaker Lori Ersolmaz, it’s all about civic engagement.

Through a growing series of short videos clustered online under the umbrella of Engaging People, Ersolmaz is on a mission to spotlight individuals and groups who volunteer to make the world a better place.

Case in point: the above video, which views the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair – underway now through Saturday – in the rich context of volunteerism and tradition.

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RED BANK: BROADWAY GRILLE’S CURTAIN CALL

John Copeland at his Red Bank restaurant on Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508After two decades, Red Bank’s Broadway Grille is closing this week, a victim of rising rent and declining receipts, owner John Copeland tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

“Expenses are just getting too high,” Copeland said, citing among other costs his rent, which is set to surpass $10,000 a month starting September 1.

“It seems like for the last two years, I’ve been working for the state of New Jersey and the landlord,” he said.

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ENGINE STOLEN FROM BOAT AT MARINE PARK

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of August 15 to August 22, 2013. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 8-15-13 at Tower Hill Residence. Victim reported that unknown person(s) damaged door handle on front door of residence. Ptl. Heather Pubylski.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 8-16-13 at English Plaza Lot. Victim reported that unknown person(s) damaged parked vehicle by putting a dent into drivers side rear quarter panel. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

Theft occurring on 8-16-13 at Buena Place residence. Victim reported that unknown subject(s) stole an I Pod from parked vehicle. Sgt. Robert Gannon.

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SMASHING WEEKEND AS SUMMER FADES

With less than two weeks to go before returning to school, Christian Brothers Academy students Matt Smith, 15, right, and Sean Kane, 16, enjoy a round of tennis on the borough courts in their hometown of Little Silver under brilliant blue skies Saturday.

The forecast for Labor Day weekend is encouraging, but the five days until then look somewhat spottier, going by the National Weather Service outlook. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: BEACH BLANKET NO-GO

Beach-goers and other visitors had an unexpected layover in chilly Red Bank Saturday night when the 10:16 p.m. northbound train lost power. They boarded the next scheduled train, which was brought in on the southbound tracks, around 11:45 p.m.. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: NO RETURN ADDRESS FOR P.O.

Sea Bright’s post office hasn’t reopened since Hurricane Sandy, and probably won’t, postal officials say. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

Sea Bright’s post office, shuttered since Hurricane Sandy, doesn’t look like it’s coming back, Postal Service officials told borough residents Thursday night, according to a report by the Star-Ledger’s NJ.com.

The postal service is planning to relocate all of the borough’s postal operations to neighboring Rumson. The Sea Bright facility was a longtime satellite of the Rumson office, spokesman Ray Daiutolo told a gathering of residents at borough hall Thursday night.

From the Sledger:

“If Superstorm Sandy didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be standing here having this conversation at this time. That was the trigger that said to the district, you must consider all these options, including a discontinuance,” Daituolo said. “So they didn’t single you out, Superstorm Sandy did this to a lot of places.”

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FAIR HAVEN HOME HIT FOR $28K IN JEWELRY

Activity reports for the month of July, 2013, unedited, as provided by the Fair Haven Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• Marcella Mazzucca was arrested by Det. Stephen Schneider after turning herself in on an active traffic warrant out of New Brunswick. Subject posted bail and was released.

• Patrols took a report for a missing person on Poplar Ave, subject was later located at their residence.

• Patrolman Eric Patton and Ptl. John Koetzner took a report of a jewelry theft worth a reported $28,000.00 from a Forrest Ave resident. Det. Stephen Schneider is investigating.

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WRINGING EVERY LAST DROP OUT OF SUMMER

It’s time for that week-plus-long slice of Americana known as the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, still billed as the largest firemen’s fair in New Jersey. And how about them tomatoes, below, at the Red Bank Farmers Market? (Photo above by Stacie Fanelli; below, by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

Friday, August 23:

RED BANK: It’s the last chance to get your hands dirty at the “Dig Into Reading Wrap-Up Party” at the Red Bank Library. The children of the Summer Reading Club get to create some deliciously earthy treats such as pudding “dirt” and pretzels sticks “in mud.” Featuring games, crafts and more, the party starts at 3 p.m. 84 West Front Street.

MIDDLETOWN: Catch up on “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, a thrilling science fiction novel about an alien attack on planet Earth. “Ender’s Game” is the book of the month for the Middletown Main Library Teen Book Club. The discussion begins at 3 p.m. 55 New Monmouth Road.

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SEA BRIGHT BRINGS ITS FUTURE INTO FOCUS

Frank Lawrence addresses the audience of Sea Bright residents at the Holy Cross gym. Below, Sea Bright resident Louise Golda, left, with Marie Banich, whose mother lives in town. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

“Ask and ye shall receive,” a prophet once famously said. That’s also what the Federal Emergency Management Agency is telling residents of Sea Bright as the town continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

About 140 Sea Bright residents gathered Wednesday night at the Holy Cross School gymnasium, in Rumson, along with about 40 FEMA workers, representatives of several non-profit organizations, and Rutgers University planning experts, with the goal of deciding what to ask for.

The Sea Bright 2020 Community Recovery Workshop kicked off a series of meetings between now and November through which residents can contribute to long-term planning for the borough’s turn toward the century’s third decade.

SHREWSBURY: JUVENILES BUSTED FOR BOOZE

Activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of August 9 to August 16, 2013.

call-in-the-authoritiesReport of Underage Drinking Party in the area of Borden Street on 8/9/13. Five juveniles taken into short term police custody. All subjects later released to guardians. Ptl. Jessica Boyd investigating.

Report of Theft at Meridian Behavioral Health Center, Shrewsbury Avenue on 8/13/13. Victim reports iPad taken by unknown subjects(s). Property valued at $800.00. Ptl. Tracy Polk investigating.

Report of Credit Card Fraud at Chase Bank, Broad Street on 8/10/13. Victim reports unknown subject(s) removed cash from owners credit card without consent. Damages totaling $1,000.00. Ptl. Myers investigating.

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SEA BRIGHT: SPIKING SUMMER OF 2013

Six teams wrapped up the beach volleyball season in Sea Bright with a tournament Wednesday night. Though the league had half as many teams as last year, Chris Schoonhoven, 32, of Long Branch, right, said that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, “it’s good to come back and support the town, go to a local restaurant afterward.”

Schoonhoven credits Corey Wagner, 27, of Rumson, who was on the winning team in Lunch Break’s Softball Classic last weekend, with making the league happen this year. “He’s the godfather,” said Schoonhoven. Check out the Sea Bright Beach Volleyball League Facebook page for more info. (Photos by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RATTLING AND ROLLING TO TOWN

A man who calls himself Black Ivory, right, with a ’67 Chevy Nova, one of his four classic muscle cars, at a car show hosted by Buona Sera restaurant in its lot at Monmouth Street and Maple Avenue in Red Bank last month. Note the presence of a roll bar: “Because she shakes, rattles and rolls,” said Ivory, a DJ. The monthly show returns tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. (Photos by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)