mareheadshotThe multi-dimensional works of Mare Akana are on display at the county library’s Eastern Branch, starting with a meet-the-artist reception on Thursday evening.

Depending on where and when you might have made her acquaintance, you’d recognize Mare Akana as, variously, a painter, a sculptor, a wearble-art or ceramics artisan. Perhaps as a card-carrying stage, screen and voice actor — a founding member of New Jersey Repertory Company, an occasional choreographer, a trained hula dancer in her Honolulu hometown. Given that the Long Branch resident is equally adept at canoeing and equestrian pursuits, you might say that her bailiwick is both the surf and the turf — and all this month at the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch, the artist is the focus of a solo exhibit that could only be called “Surf and Turf.”

On view right now during regular library hours, the exhibit encompasses textured abstract paintings that evoke the bright colors and shapes of the Pacific Rim (“I crave those colors the way another person would seek out comfort food”); sculpted figures of life forms “from the sea or from other worlds;” hand-formed ceramics (often incorporating equine imagery), and sculptural jewelry items in clay and silver. There’s a lot of the artist on display already, and this Thursday evening, Akana herself will be there in person — as will “Laughing Pony” — for an opening reception meet-and-greet.

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christine diiorio 070114Christina Di Iorio outside her Ocean Avenue bar and restaurant, which reopens Wednesday afternoon. Below, her husband, Steven Graniero. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


steven graniero 070114To be honest, Christina Di Iorio says, she got to the point where she didn’t want to reopen Dive, the Sea Bright restaurant and bar that she and then-fiancé Steven Graniero saw nearly wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.

Their insurance company hadn’t lived up to its obligations, she said. A vendor was suing them, and they weren’t able to get any traction with the government or private lenders to restart the Ocean Avenue business. And then there’s the hard reality of two bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean and the Shrewsbury River – just yards away, all too ready to combine forces to once again smash the town as they did on October 29, 2012.

And yet there Di Iorio was on Tuesday, putting the final touches on a completely revamped Dive for a low-key opening at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“I agree with you: I think we’re nuts,” she told redbankgreen. “But our clients, our families, our fan base – they all embraced us. I’m doing it for them.”

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healthy habitsRob Bianchini gives PieHole the rundown on Healthy Habits’ smoothie and juice menu. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)


morsels mediumWith Healthy Habits Natural Foods setting up shop right next door to Smoothie King and advertising a smoothie and juice bar of its own, PieHole stopped in both shops to suss out the smoothie landscape in downtown Red Bank.

Rob Bianchini, who mans the juicer machines at Healthy Habits, said a defining feature of the juices and shakes he serves is that they’re all made with 100-percent organic fruits and vegetables, including the celery that he tells PieHole is key to staying hydrated on a hot day.

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cuddihyCheryl Cuddihy has been appointed Principal of Viola L. Sickles School in Fair Haven.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

Fair Haven Superintendent of Schools Nelson Ribon has announced the selection of Cheryl Cuddihy, M.Ed, M.A. as Principal of Viola L. Sickles School. Cuddihy’s appointment was approved at a scheduled meeting of the Fair Haven Board of Education held at Knollwood School on the evening of June 25, 2014.

A resident of Middletown, Cuddihy most recently served as Vice Principal of Red Bank Primary School. Prior to joining the Red Bank Borough School district in August 2013, Cuddihy taught Kindergarten, first, second and fourth grade at Leonardo Grade School and Nut Swamp Elementary School in Middletown Township. In 2005, during her first year of teaching at Leonardo Grade School, she was the recipient of the “Teacher of the Year” Award.

“I am very excited to be joining a progressive educational community which embraces the achievement of literacy skills through the workshop model,” said Cuddihy, who was selected after an extensive search process, and who plans to become a familiar face at Sickles School well before her official start date of August 1.

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rb basie 070114 2kelsey milne 070114 2Red Bank-area soccer fans half-filled the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday afternoon for a free live screening of the World Cup match between the United States and Belgium, won in extra time by the Belgians, 2-1.  Many fans showed their colors, including Kelsey Milne, right, and three soldiers from the Army recruiting office at Fort Monmouth, below.

Though they could have watched the game at home, Carlos Saucedo and his wife, Aide, drove to Red Bank from Howell for the game. “I said, ‘we just have to be where people are gathering,” Carlos told redbankgreen (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
rb basie 070114


sb fish co 063014The impressive comeback of the hurricane-damaged three-story building at 1054 Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright continues with the soft opening of last Thursday of Sea Bright Fish Company, a restaurant and fish market owned by four members of the Diomede family. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


Recent crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2-2014Michael Smith, age 54, from Thomas Avenue in Little Egg Harbor, NJ, arrested on June 17, 2014 by Patrolman Christopher Dee on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $500.00 bail.

Levys Sotomayor, age 31, from Monmouth Parkway in Middletown, NJ, arrested on June 17, 2014 by Patrolman James Beirne on a Non-Support warrant issued by the Ocean County Superior Court. He was held pending a court date.

Michael Sorrentino, age 32, from Ridgeway Boulevard in Manchester, NJ, arrested on June 17, 2014 by Patrolman Savvas Roumeliotis for Simple Assault. He was released after posting $500.00 bail.

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indepDown in front: Shore Flicks rolls into Riverside Gardens for the first in the free summer film series, as INDEPENDENCE DAY brings the sci-fi fireworks to the banks of the Navesink.

It’s got Will Smith one-punching an alien Squidward! Bill Pullman as a Mission-Accomplished president! Randy Quaid as an airborne Cousin Eddie, plus Harvey Fierstein, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Robert Loggia, and the glory that is Brent Spiner as Dr. Okun. The space invaders realistically never stood a chance against that cast of scenery-devouring terrestrials — but the 1996 sci-fi epic Independence Day also ate up tons of discretionary dollars at the box office, and tonight you’ll be able to relive every exploding landmark (and every fallen punchline) for free, as Shore Flicks returns to Riverside Gardens for the first in a slate of Summer 2014 movies under the setting sun and stars.

The longest-running of the many outdoor screening series presented by T.J. Brustowicz all over Monmouth and Ocean counties, the Red Bank showings take place just after sundown over the Navesink — and attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items (for Lunch Break and other local charities) along with the folding chairs and beach towels.

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062214 fh garden RaevisFair Haven resident Jim Raevis demonstrates his spider-like irrigation system in the community garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


062214 FH garden Raevis By far the strangest thing to sprout at the Fair Haven Community Garden this season is a plot-spanning, Rube Goldbergesque contraption that resembles a spider.

It’s an irrigation system built by Jim and Chris Raevis, a father-and-son team. Why?

“It is an effective way to conserve water” as they grow loofa gourds and white pumpkins, said the elder. “Oh – and a rice paddy.”

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Crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of June 20 to June 27, 2014.

AUTHORITIES_SBURY1-2014Report of Burglary and Criminal Mischief in the area of Broad Street on 6/25/14. Victim reports vehicle vandalized and items taken by unknown subject(s). Damages totaling $600.00. Ptl. Tracy Polk investigating.

Report of Credit Card Theft in the area of Regent Drive on 6/27/14. Victim reports unknown subject(s) attempted to purchase items without consent. Ptl. Tracy Polk investigating.


Michael S. Rawlings, male age 42 of Red Bank was arrested on 6/21/14 for Contempt of Court in the area of Broad Street by Ptl. Matthew Clark.

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sb mural 063014jim kovics 063014Near the north end of downtown Sea Bright, muralist Jim Kovic, right, is transforming a building wall along Peninsula Avenue into a giant, old-style postcard. “Every great city deserves great art,” said Kovic, of Highlands.

The mural, scheduled for completion in about a week, is part of a downtown makeover donated by paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


parker-homestead-2007-500x375The historic Parker Homestead in Little Silver will be the setting for two Community Blackberry Picking events, scheduled for July 19 and 26.

Press release from Parker Homestead 1665

One of New Jersey’s oldest standing dwellings invites local families to put down the smartphones and pick up some blackberries  — during a First-Ever Community Blackberry Pick at Little Silver’s Parker Homestead.

Up to 50 families will be able to participate on a first come first come basis, during each of two sessions scheduled for Saturday, July 19 and Saturday, July 26. Picking times are between 8 am and 12 pm each day, and rain dates for both events are scheduled for the following Sundays (July 20 and 27).

Little Silver residents will be provided priority registration, starting now through Saturday, July 12. Space permitting, non-residents may register beginning Sunday, July 13.  Parker Homestead trustees and volunteers will provide containers or “pickers” can bring their own. Comfortable working clothes and shoes and a broad brimmed hat are recommended. Ice chilled bottled water and favorite Sickles and Parker family recipes will be available to families.

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