KEEP IT LOCAL FOR LAST-MINUTE FOOD GIFTS

121914 sickles xmasChocolate-covered pretzels dressed up and party-ready happen to be hyperlocal. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels smallLooking for a last-minute Christmas gift with some culinary influence? Something for the foodie on your list?

PieHole has a handful of hyperlocal ideas to share with you.

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RED BANK: COPS WERE NEAR SHOOTING SCENE

rb shooting 122314A view east along West Westside Avenue, the scene of Tuesday night’s shooting, in which a parked car was struck by two bullets and at least eight shots were fired. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Off-duty Red Bank police officers out delivering Christmas presents for the PBA heard the gunfire in Monday night’s shooting on the West Side, police Chief Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

“They were literally a block and half away” and immediately responded to the scene, on West Westside Avenue just a few doors east of Leighton Avenue, arriving even before nearby residents had called in the 8:39 p.m. shots, he said.

By the time they got there, however, the shooter or shooters, and any intended targets, were gone, McConnell said.

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RED BANK: FREE CHRISTMAS EATS

church dinner Continuing a tradition of nearly 30 years, the First Baptist Church, above, offers a Christmas Day dinner. JR’s Burgers, below, will offer free meals on Christmas Eve. (Click to enlarge)

jrs burgersAt least two Red Bank operations will be feeding those in need of a hot meal for Christmas.

On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, from 6 to 8 p.m., JR’s Burgers on West Front Street will be giving out free burgers, sodas and fries.

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RED BANK: SHOTS FIRED AGAIN ON WEST SIDE

AUTHORITIES_RB2-2014By JOHN T. WARD

A vehicle was struck but no one was injured when shots were fired on Red Bank’s West Side Monday night, NJ.com reported.

The shooting occurred within the same three-block area of a November shooting that left two people critically injured and another shooting in which a parked car was shot up in broad daylight two days later.

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LINCROFT: A BOOK SIGNING FOR PETE’S SAKE

121814 caruso2Frank Caruso signs a copy of ‘Outlaw Pete,’ which he illustrated. Below, Caruso added an on-the-spot illustration to each book he autographed. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121814 caruso3Jerry Ferrara had heard the ballad ‘Outlaw Pete’ at a Bruce Springsteen concert, but he had “never heard of Frank Caruso” until Caruso illustrated the song’s tale in book form.

But there Ferrara was Thursday night, standing in line at Brookdale Community College’s Pen and Quill Bookstore, to meet the illustrator and have his books signed.

“If Springsteen shows up, well, that would be a bonus,” he told redbankgreen.

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HOOPS: RBC CLOBBERS TOMS RIVER SOUTH

Red Bank Catholic’s girls’ basketball squad trounced Toms River South in the opening round of the WOBM Christmas Classic at Toms River North High School Saturday. The tourney resumes for the Caseys on Friday afternoon. Shore Sports Zone has the video highlights.

CHURN: ROOK, GOTHAM, PLATYPUS, NO APPLE

rook 122214 1 Kate Henderson brews one of the first cups at Rook Coffee Roasters Monday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallClosing out a busy year, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn delivers news of a coffee place and an art-filled nightspot, both in downtown Red Bank, and some churnings in the groves of Shrewsbury, where the perennial rumor of an Apple Computer store is again in the air.

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LINCROFT: FASHIONABLY, FESTIVELY LATE

MM galleryThe Holiday Gift Gallery at Monmouth Museum returns on Tuesday — and continues through January 11 — for the benefit of late-blooming gifters.

For something that seems to start as early as Back to School Days, the holiday shopping season never seems to have enough hours and days loaded up on the back end. It’s not so much that “we need a little Christmas, right this very moment” — it’s that we need a lot more moments, right now and on into the new calendar year.

It’s for straggling souls that one of the Red Bank area’s unsung treasures, the Monmouth Museum, maintains an annual Holiday Gift Gallery that offers up eleventh-hour shopportunities beginning Tuesday.

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RED BANK: SERVING UP ‘HAPPY MEALS’ TO ALL

Dec_2009_031Press release from First Baptist Church Red Bank

Want to know where to find a genuinely Happy Meal this December 25? Each Christmas Day for nearly 30 years, the sounds of plates clanking and happy banter echo in the hallways of Red Bank’s First Baptist Church. Starting at noon, many of the First Baptist family gather together to serve, and enjoy a full Christmas Day Turkey dinner with all the fixings — and without charge.

Our church, neighbors, friends and just folks, who need a friend for the day or lifetime, join together for this special sit down experience. Of course, all of the planning and much of the cooking takes place much earlier. Many people in the community spend time preparing, and joining in this act of providing a lift of laughter and the gift of caring for all guests.

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KICK KIDS DANCE FOR DISNEY XMAS TV SHOW

Kick dancePress release from Kick Dance Studios

Dancers from Kick Dance Studios of Rumson and Fair Haven recently had the exciting honor of performing in Disney’s Frozen Christmas Celebration, which was taped on December 4-8 and will air on ABC TV on Christmas Day, December 25 at 10 am EST.

More than 300 dancers from 40 studios from across the U.S. and Canada performed. The event opens with a performance by Ariana Grande, who sings “Santa Tell Me” and “Last Christmas”.

Kick’s students, ages 9-13 from Fair Haven, Rumson, Navesink, Little Silver and Shrewsbury, were selected by Disney Parks to perform in the highly-anticipated annual televised event after reviewing their taped auditions. The students appear, front and center, during two “Frozen” Celebration performances, “Let it Snow” and “In Summer”.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A HEFTY ITALIAN

red bank sub shop sandwichThe #5 from Red Bank Sub Shop is the classic Italian sub that other sandwiches want to be. The shop has an impressive soda selection as well, below. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

red bank sub shop sodaPieHole popped in at the Red Bank Sub Shop on Monmouth Street to grab a couple of sandwiches for takeout. We ordered up a half a #5 – your classic Jersey “Italian” sub with ham, capicola, prosciuttini and provolone ($6.95) – and a half a turkey sub ($6.95).

As in any respectable sub shop, the sandwiches are made to order. While waiting for the meat to be sliced and the sandwiches made up, we noticed a few things that set owner Canio Paradiso’s place apart from other sub shops in town. The menu, for starters, features a couple of combinations that we were glad to see.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM WINS ZONING CASE

cindy burnham 121814Cindy Burnham with her attorney, Ron Gasiorowski, at Thursday night’s zoning board hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The fix wasn’t in – not this time at least.

Cindy Burnham, the lone Republican on the Red Bank council who often lambastes the Democratic majority for what she contends are back-room  development deals, went before the zoning board Thursday night seeking an OK for a new garage and back porch for her home at 71 Wallace Street.

She came loaded for bear.

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RED BANK: COLORFUL SHAPE-SHIFTERS @TRT

th-vhc-orangesTHE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR and other stories by Eric Carle are brought to colorful life on the stage of Two River Theater by the puppeteers of Mermaid Theatre. (Photo by Margo Ellen Gesser)

It represents a departure from past Holiday Family Show productions at Two River Theater, in that it’s not a homegrown production in the spirit of 2012-2013’s A Wind in the Willows Christmas. It’s also a limited engagement that offers just three days of public performances — nearly all of which are sold out at this point.

That said, the touring production known as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites fits in nicely with the pro-literacy theme of past Two River offerings, being based upon a trio of works by the prolific children’s book creator whose vividly illustrated fables have delighted “kids of all ages” for nearly 50 years.

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LITTLE SILVER: A LINK TO A GIVING TRADITION

LinkagesRed Bank Regional English teacher Cassandra Dorn displays just a fraction of the donated gifts collected by RBR staff and students to benefit Linkages, an organization that houses homeless mothers and their children. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Every December, the English office at Red Bank Regional High School moves aside piles of books to make room for piles of holiday presents. For over ten years, teachers, staff and students at RBR have played Santa for residents of Linkages, an organization in Tinton Falls that houses homeless mothers and their children.

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RUMSON: MENORAH LIGHTS THE NIGHT

121714 menorah11121714 menorah2Congregation B’nai Israel’s menorah lit up the second night of Hanukkah in Rumson Wednesday evening. Rabbi Jeff Sultar led the group of more than a hundred congregants in two prayers, one for each candle. Many of the children took part by holding signs reminding everyone of the different parts of the prayers. They then proceeded inside to a symbolic meal of fried potato latkes,  jelly donuts and spinning dreidels while Rabbbi Sultar made his way to the Red Bank train station to light the menorah there.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: GO TELL IT ON THE HILLTOP

ChristmasConcert-960x300Matthew Van Dyke directs the 50-voice Tower Hill Choir in a free, public-welcome performance of traditional Christmas choral music, Saturday evening at First Presbyterian Church. 

From the sacred to the secularly sophisticated, lovers of classical music — which is to say, music other than the classic rock sounds that permeate the Count Basie Theatre in the nights to come — can find comfort and joy in a pair of back-to-back events that are offered free of charge this Saturday, at two of Red Bank borough’s most musically minded institutions.

The music begins at 4 pm on the afternoon of December 20, at a venue that remains one of the community’s best kept secrets — the Monmouth Conservatory Of Music, host for the latest in an acclaimed series of public-welcome guest artist concerts. December’s spotlight falls on a special program of Baroque era chamber music, as composed by J. S. Bach, Diego Ortiz, Frescobaldi, Mayone, Scarlatti and Graupner — and performed by a pair of Russian-born specialists: violist Elena Kraineva, and pianist Raisa Isaacs. The international touring artists and educators perform in the casual and quite convenient setting of the MCM’s downtown White Street all-purpose room — just steps from the hustle/bustle of that last shopping-season Saturday in Red Bank, but a world and an ocean of time away from the Yule Log’s slow-burn, high-pressure smolder and spark. Best of all, admission’s by free-will donation exclusively, and the hour-long program leaves plenty of time to catch a bite, maybe do a bit of shop, and head up the hill to the next must-see event.

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LITTLE SILVER: TASTES OF (LITTLE) ITALY

121614 ferruccis2Sandy and Paolo D’Amico behind the counter of Ferrucci’s Gourmet Delicatessen. Below, buffalo milk butter from Parma, Italy.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121614 ferruccisShopping at Ferrucci’s Gourmet Delicatessen in the Prospect Plaza strip mall in Little Silver is like stepping into a classic Italian grocery store, according to a customer who stopped in to pick up pizza dough brought in from Brooklyn. It’s as good as Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, he said.

Mixed New York boroughs aside, there is something about New York city tap water that makes pizza dough and bread taste better. And the bread at Ferrucci’s is delivered daily from Brooklyn along with the dough. It’s also a consistent daily sellout, says owner Sandy D’Amico.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL BUSILY CLOSES OUT YEAR

jane eigenrauch 121714Retired librarian Jane Eigenrauch gets a goodbye hug, above, and Councilwoman Juanita Lewis reacts to a tribute at her final meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

juanita lewis 121714At its final scheduled meeting of 2014, the Red Bank council killed a $2.2 million bond ordinance to pay for new water meters amid warnings that a shortage of existing devices could delay new construction in 2015.

The council also:

• approved a new labor agreement covering nearly half the municipal workforce

• extended a moratorium on fees some developers have to pay for parking deficiencies.

• bid adieu to one of its own members

• and honored a newly-retired librarian who had been the borough government’s longest-serving employee.

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HOCKEY: RBC DROPS ONE TO SJV AT ARMORY

Saint John Vianney sophomore James O’Keefe scored the game-winner with 3:47 left in the third to cap off three unanswered as the Lancers notched a 4-3 win over Red Bank Catholic at the Red Bank Armory Wednesday. Shore Sports Zone has the video highlights.

RED BANK: EV CHARGER SWITCHED ON

rb ev space 121614 1park itAfter a false start involving an enabling ordinance, Red Bank’s first  public charging station for electric vehicles is now legally approved and switched on, borough officials said.

Located outside borough hall at 90 Monmouth Street, the station doubles as a parking space for plugged-in cars, at $2 per hour, juice included. As elsewhere in town, however, the parking fee is waived through December 25. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: CUTTING RIBBON, COLLECTING CANS

Classic CutsPress release from Belfer Communications

The grand opening celebration for Classic Cuts & Color, located at 15A Wikoff Place in Red Bank, was held on Friday, December 5th. The ribbon cutting ceremony was conducted by Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna.

In honor of the celebration, salon owner Denise Pandure of West Long Branch, included a canned goods drive for a month-long campaign to benefit the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

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RED BANK: TROY DELIVERS A BIG DONATION

Press release from Troy Container Line  

Red Bank-based Troy Container Line, one of the largest, American-owned NVOCCs, today announced the continuation of its holiday giving tradition with a monetary donation to the borough-based nonprofit Lunch Break that will be used to purchase more than 2,650 meals for local community residents.

Having celebrated its 31st anniversary in 2014, Lunch Break continues to provide food, clothing and fellowship to community members in need. While in the midst of a major renovation and expansion, the non-profit organization serves more than 4,000 free meals a month at its Drs. James Parker Boulevard location in addition to making deliveries to home-bound individuals.  Every month hundreds of families are provided with emergency food packages and clothing.  It is this demand from the community and dedication by Lunch Break staff and volunteers that inspired Troy Container Line to commemorate its 30th anniversary earlier in 2014 with a $50,000 donation to the non-profit organization and its “Step Up to the Plate” capital campaign.

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RBC’S CELLA SCORES TD RUN OF THE YEAR

Nick Cella’s “pinball” scoring run for Red Bank Catholic against Manalapan on October 24 was the best TD run of the year in Monmouth and Ocean counties, according to viewers of Shore Sports Zone, the all-video online channel that debuted this year. And Cella’s honor was one of many at the first-ever SSZ All-Zone Banquet at IPlay America in Freehold Tuesday night.

Take it to Shore Sports Zone for full coverage of the event, which also included awards for top football player overall, scholar-athlete, plays in championship games and more. (Video courtesy of Shore Sports Zone)

RFH: BRIGGS WINS TOP SSZ SCHOLAR-ATHLETE

Rumson-Fair Haven’s Tucker Briggs had 102 tackles in his senior season, finishing his career with 212 and a role in back-to-back state championships. Even more impressive: his grade point average (4.7) and SAT score (2380, which puts him in the 99.95 percentile of the test’s takers). Those numbers and more earned Briggs the Shore Sports Zone trophy for Scholar-Athlete of the Year at a banquet dinner at IPlay America in Freehold Tuesday night.

Shore Sports Zone has all the video highlights from the season-capping event, including Nick Cella’s touchdown run of the year for Red Bank Catholic and RFH’s championship game defensive player of the year, Sam Eisenstadt. (Video courtesy of Shore Sports Zone.)