Tim Kirk Love BobClockwise from top left: Jinglebell fundraiser concerts featuring Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express (December 18), Brian Kirk and the Jirks (December 20), Darlene Love (December 21) and Bobby Bandiera (December 22) provide the driving soundtrack to the holiday homestretch in the nights ahead.

The countdown to Christmas 2015 represents anything but a wind-down at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, where a fast-moving flurry of high-profile benefit concerts promises to keep the place buzzing like Santa’s workshop-slash-fulfillment center during the holiday homestretch.

From the most big-hearted of local music mainstays, to the vintage hitmakers whose records landed on many a Boomer-era wish list — and on into the next generation of Shore scene stalwarts — the Basie boards will resound with a Wall of seasonal Sound, every note of it dedicated to a great cause and an all-’round generosity of spirit.

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DSC01285_-_CopyStudents from Red Bank Regional High School joyfully participated in a school-wide event recently, helping to spread some season’s cheer to the children of St. Judes Hospital in handcrafting holiday cards during their lunch break. Smiling behind some of their creations are (standing, left to right) Allison LaRochelle, Middletown; Brianna Napoli, Interlaken; Sophie Halpern, Shrewsbury; Jeannette McKenna, Red Bank; Emme Scharmann, Little Silver; Eli McCarthy, Shrewsbury, and (seated, left to right) Mackensie Clark, Shrewsbury; Julia Sullivan, Little Silver; Mia Nelson, Shrewsbury, and Eliana Swartz, Little Silver. The activity was sponsored by the RBR International Baccalaureate program and National Honor Society.


Video of Jeffrey Michel’s arrest on the Brookdale campus last month. (Video by Vincent Cordero)


HOT-TOPIC_03The viral-video pepper-spray arrest of a Brookdale Community College student last month was done in “full compliance” with law enforcement guidelines, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office has concluded.

In fact, the officers involved might have been more aggressive in their arrest of Jeffrey Michel without overstepping guidelines established by the state Attorney General, an official in the professional responsibility unit of the prosecutor’s office wrote in a December 8 letter to Brookdale’s dean.

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rb rapcavage 081614A proposed market and 20 homes at Red Bank’s five corners, above, returns to the zoning board Thursday night. Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, below, also has an application on the agenda. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


burnham 3 010114A proposed greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank returns to the zoning board this week, four months after it was pulled back by the developer for revisions.

Also on Thursday night’s agenda: a request by borough Councilwoman Cindy Burnham to build a garage behind her home on Wallace Street.

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RBR fatherhoodGuest speaker Matthew P. Stevens conducted several interactive exercises with RBR fathers and their sons during the “Fatherhood Initiative” program at Red Bank Regional.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

What happens when fathers are not at home?  That phenomenon accounts for 90 percent of the homeless and runaway children; 71 percent of high school dropouts, 75 percent of youth with chemical dependence, 70 percent of the incarcerated juveniles; and a five-fold increase in the suicide rate.

To mitigate these dire statistics, a group of Red Bank Regional High School fathers were invited to come to their son’s school earlier this month, to take part in “The Fatherhood Initiative” — an evening of activities and discussion  to explore ways in which they can play a more active role in their child’s education.

“You are the secret weapon,” Matthew P. Stevens told his audience of more than thirty fathers at the event, which was sponsored by the Boys 2 Men group at the school-based SOURCE program. An educator and consultant on the subject of youth and family development, Stevens is the author of several books, including Raising Him Alone: Things Black Women Can Do to Raise Boys to be Men.

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Outlaw Pete Caruso“Outlaw Pete” illustrator Frank Caruso, at right with Bruce Springsteen in a recent “Daily Show” appearance, brings their book to the Brookdale Community College campus Thursday.

Its author flat-out declares that it’s not technically a child’s bedtime story, even if its many inspirations include the “Brave Cowboy Bill” tales he used to hear as a young child. He’s also forthcoming about the notion that he “didn’t have much to do with it,” although he’s dutifully promoted the project in venues that range from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show to the Times Book Review.

Still, the fact remains that the new book Outlaw Pete takes its title and its text from Bruce Springsteen’s song of that name, a gunslinger epic that opened his 2009 long-player Working on a Dream. As illuminated by artist Frank Caruso, the eight-minute song becomes an illustrated fable of what Springsteen describes as “a man trying to outlive and outlast his sins.” And on Thursday, December 18, the artist comes to the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College for a signing event at the school’s Student Life Center building.

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IMG_0833Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

Christine Berg, a French teacher at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, has achieved National Board Certification in the area of Early Adolescence though Young Adulthood/World Languages – French.  Berg, who received her National Board Certification in November 2014, is one of more than 4,000 teachers across the nation who achieved the honor this year.

A teacher at RFH since 2012, Berg currently instructs students in multiple levels of French, from French I to AP French. She is Advisor to the RFH French National Honor Society.

The recipient of two letters of commendation from former President Bill Clinton for projects related to the Republic of Haiti, she also received a mini-grant from the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey for the classroom use of iPad minis. Her published works on the subject of teaching French include “A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Building a Language Program”, which appeared in the French Review, Volume 86 in 2013.

“Christine is the quintessential lifelong learner,” said RFH Principal Tracy Handerhan. “Despite being very accomplished in her field, she continually seeks opportunities to grow as a French educator.”

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just_in1A Little Silver police officer was charged with simple assault Friday following an alleged domestic violence incident in Sea Bright a day earlier, authorities tell redbankgreen.

Joseph Glynn, Jr., 26, was issued a summons in his hometown of Middletown for a disorderly persons violation after the purported victim reported the matter to police there, according to Charlie Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

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Scrooge John WatersScrooge scowls again, as Nebraska Theater Caravan rolls into Red Bank for its annual staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL — but not before filmmaker and Bad Tastemaker John Waters X-plains why he LOVES Christmas. (Waters photo by Greg Gorman)

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear here, to all who fear that the Count Basie Theatre has momentarily joined the perceived War on all that jingles and jollifies: John Waters absolutely LOVES Christmas — the “compulsive desire to give and receive perverted gifts;” his “religious fanaticism for Santa Claus, and an unhealthy love of true crime holiday horror stories.”

With a track record of forty-plus years as an author, lecturer, sometime actor, Bad Tastemaker authority and director of game-changing underground/ indie films (from Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble to the happy crossover of the original Hairspray) — and fresh off a modern-day odyssey that spawned the book Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America — the man in the pencil mustache makes his Basie debut on the night of Tuesday, December 16.

Succinctly entitled A John Waters Christmas, the 8 pm show finds the Baltimore-born raconteur riding into Red Bank “on his sleigh full of smut” with a one-man show that “puts the X in Xmas” — and for which tickets ($29 – $129) can be reserved right here. It so happens that Waters’ Bad-Santa sleigh will be sliding in fast on the ice-tracks of Junie B in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells — a playfully titled but family-friendly touring stage show (adapted by Allison Gregory from the children’s book series by Barbara Park) in which “sassy first-grader Junie B. Jones and her classmates embark on a hilarious adventure that packs a message about the joy of giving.” Take it here for tickets ($20 – $25) to that 4 pm performance — and around the corner for more holiday humbug.

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hubbard 2 041812The path of the new Hubbards Bridge between Middletown, on the left, and Red Bank is marked in yellow. (Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_03Commuters who use the bridge connecting Red Bank and Middletown via West Front Street may want to come up with alternate plans.

Starting today, Monday, Monmouth County plans to subject Hubbard Avenue “and other roads on the Middletown side” of the span to intermittent lane closures between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the county said in an announcement Monday morning.

The closures are part of the prep work for a four-month closure of the bridge that begins on January 2.

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AUTHORITIES_RB2-2014The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of December 4 to December 11, 2014. This information is unedited.


Burglary, Theft occurring on 12-5-14 at Drummond Avenue residence. Victim reported that unknown person(s) gained entry into house through window, ransacked contents. Stolen was a Samsung TV and two pair of sneakers. Ptl. Gary Watson.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 12-6-14 at Chapin Avenue. Taxi cab driver reported that after dropping off three unknown males at above location, discovered the back of driver’s seat had been cut with what appeared to be a knife. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

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Crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of December 6 to December 12, 2014.


Report of Burglary in the area of White Street on 12/11/14. Victim reports unknown subject(s) forcefully entered residence and removed property. Damages totaling $10,000.00. Ptl. Joseph Barnicle investigating.

Report of Theft by Deception in the area of 457 Broad Street on 12/12/14. Victim reports unknown subject(s) Attempted to deprive business of money by posing as electric company. Ptl. Angel Marrero investigating.

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121214 St Anthony19121214 St Anthony15Hundreds of Saint Anthony’s Church parishioners held their annual procession on Red Bank’s West Side Friday night, carrying statues of Our Lady Of Guadalupe and the Virgin Mary, baskets containing the baby Jesus, and flags representing Mexico, the United States and Central and South American countries. At Saint Anthony’s, on Bridge Avenue, hundreds more waited for a mass to begin followed by a Mexican feast. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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Christ ChurchPress release from Christ Episcopal Church

The historic Christ Episcopal Church in Shrewsbury has been awarded two Sandy Disaster Relief Grants. These grants are to fund the preservation, stabilization, rehabilitation, and repair of historic properties damaged by the storm. The full list of 37 such awards was announced recently by the Christie administration.

For Christ Church, one grant is for the church building and surrounding graveyard while the other is for the Rectory. Christ Church was founded in 1702 and the church building was erected in 1769. The oldest gravestone in the graveyard is 1719. The church building, situated at the corner of Broad and Sycamore in Shrewsbury, is on the Federal and State Registers of Historic Places. Built in 1824, the Rectory is on Sycamore Avenue about one quarter mile from the church, and is in the Four Corners Historic district. The Rectory was built in 1824.

The award figure for the church is $150,650; the Rectory amount is $122,930. These awards will enable the parish to repair these structures, and to ensure their greater resilience against future such storms. The applications for the grant were greatly aided by Margaret Westfield of Westfield Associates.

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Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven High School Foundation

Rumson-Fair Haven High School Foundation, a non-profit organization of parents and faculty which supports educational programs at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, announced that it will hold a winter fundraiser on Saturday, January 24, 2015.

Scheduled for the hours of 7 to 10 pm at Knights of Columbus Council 3187 on Fair Haven Road, the “Apres Ski” themed event is described by R-FH Foundation president Judi Tavill as “a great way for parents to connect with other parents and meet the R-FH staff in a fun, relaxed setting while at the same time supporting some fabulous programs which will benefit our children.”

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Vienna Boys CODAThe touring company of the venerable Vienna Boys Choir takes the Count Basie stage on Monday, December 15 — following a weekend of NUTCRACKER performances presented by Company of Dance Arts, and choreographed by Peter Anastos. 

The notion of Red Bank as the area’s unofficial Capital of Christmas Entertainment — and the landmark Count Basie Theatre as a veritable Santa’s Workshop of seasonal diversions that range from the sacred to the silly (and, in one upcoming instance, even the playfully profane) — is reinforced big-time over the course of the next week-and-change. Keep it tuned to redbankgreen for the details as they unfold — and keep it glued to the Basie seats for a ten-day sleighride that begins this very afternoon, December 13.

Like the Monmouth Civic Chorus presentation of Handel’s Messiah that preceded it on the Basie boards, the annual staging of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker by the borough-based Company of Dance Arts is one of those hometown traditions without which it simply “wouldn’t be Chrismas” —  a staple signifier of the holiday season in Red Bank for 29 years and counting, and an institution that’s employed the talents of generations of performers (in addition to drawing multi-generational audiences to its performances). Choreographed by the nationally renowned Peter Anastos — and mixing guest soloists from New York dance companies with local professionals and the young students of the CoDA company — the colorfully costumed production inaugurated its 2014 schedule with a special Friday morning school show on December 12, and returns for four public performances (1 pm and 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday). Despite ever-changing casts — and the often significant ways in which both the Count Basie Theatre and Red Bank have changed over the past 30 years — the ballet remains a direct link to a simpler “small town” era of community life, and a great generator of memories, regardless of whether you’re seeing it for the first time or the 29th.

Tickets to any of the four performances of The Nutcracker ($20 – $40) can be reserved here.

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rb water meter 120414 1The project would replace more than 3,800 residential water meters by the end of 2015, officials have said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials have responded to a demand for transparency into a proposed $2.2 million water meter replacement program by posting a list of frequently-asked-questions on the borough website.

At the December 3 meeting of the council, Mayor Pasquale Menna instructed Administrator Stanley Sickels to post “whatever information” he had on the topic by noon Friday after complaints that the borough was rushing the matter through to a vote.

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UUCMC Amahl and the Night VisitorsIt starts with the appearance of an unusually large star in the desert night sky — and for a young boy named Amahl, it heralds the appearance of three kings at his family’s humble home, seeking shelter for the night as they make their way to a place called Bethlehem.

First performed as a live TV special in 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors quickly took its rightful place among the Yuletide season’s best-loved musical masterworks — and continuing a local tradition, the contemporary opera will be staged at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street this Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14.

Presented at 7 pm on Saturday, and encoring at 6 pm Sunday, the family-friendly favorite is the second in a four-part Performing Arts Series at UUCMC; directed by Elaine Held (with co-musical direction by Louise Chernosky), and starring not one but two young local actresses as Amahl: Tara Lieneck of Middletown (at right in photo) featured on December 13, and Clara Randel of Aberdeen (left) taking over the role on December 14.

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ralph johnny jazz gatta 2006


rb jazz 082214 1 He presided over what had to qualify as one of the quirkiest neighborhood grocery stores in the history of retailing, let alone Red Bank.

Now, four years after his death, the beloved jazz-enthralled butcher known to all as “Johnny Jazz” is to about to get a neverending solo.

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121014 zoe4The tender short rib sandwich comes with a mountain of made in-house potato chips. Below, the delicious crispy chicken sandwich.   (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


121014 zoe2Strip mall restaurants, especially those with a closed facade, can sometimes surprise. Expectations dictate fast food and plastic seating, but at Zoe Bistro in the Markham Street Plaza in Little Silver, our assumptions were incorrect.

The large, modern dining room with its back-wall-spanning banquette, rustic farmhouse-style touches, and easy-on-the-eyes creamy beige color scheme sets an elegant tone.

The lunch menu offers a mix of Mediterranean specialties such as hummus, feta, and grilled octopus, as well as and more filling burgers, sandwiches, and entrees. All come with a gourmet touch.

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Brian KirkThe Jersey Shore’s premier cover band Brian Kirk & the Jirks will return to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Saturday, December 20, for a concert benefitting Lunch Break of Red Bank. The 8 pm show marks the third annual edition of a “Santa For…” event that began at the Basie in 2012, with a successful Santa for Sea Bright fundraiser presented after Superstorm Sandy.

In 2013, Brian Kirk told redbankgreen that he and the Jirks would like to make the “Santa for somebody or something” concert a December tradition in Red Bank. They did, and they’re back this year. All net proceeds from the performance will benefit Lunch Break, and generous anonymous donors are underwriting the concert.

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120414 Alices3The Gaelic omelet at Alice’s Kitchen contains a little bit of this and that, just like those Alice Gaffney, below, remembers from her native Ireland. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


120414 Alices2When Arlo Guthrie penned his famous “Alice’s Restaurant,” he didn’t have Alice Gaffney in mind: she was an ocean away from the scene of the Thanksgiving Day “massacree.” But that line, “you can get anything you want…” pretty much applies to Alice’s Kitchen, Gaffney’s restaurant in Sea Bright.

In addition to enjoying her varied breakfast and lunch offerings at the Ocean Avenue eatery, you can now take a book home with you for free.

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dunlap 121014The successor to a knife-sharpening business that began in 1928, Dunlap Locksmith has called it quits. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)


retail churn smallDunlap Locksmith, an 86-year-old Red Bank stalwart, has closed.

A notice posted on the White Street shop’s Facebook page says the store “locked its doors for the last time” on Saturday.

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RBJOConductor and arranger Joe Muccioli takes the baton once again as the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presents its eighth annual Sinatra Birthday Bash this Saturday, at Count Basie’s place — a set of swingin’ standards that features Red Bank’s Vance Villastrigo (right) among many others.

VANCE_VILLASTRIGODon’t look now, but this Friday marks the 99th anniversary of the birth of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. As a cause for song and festivity, it’s only the second most celebrated birthday in December — but for thousands of fans in the Chairman of the Board’s onetime Jersey stomping grounds, it’s an occasion in which Red Bank plays a significant role.

Count Joe Muccioli among the music-biz pros who’ve got their work cut out for them in the Sinatra Centennial year of 2015 — but that’s all down the road, as the man called Mooche has a big current project on his plate: the Sinatra Birthday Bash, the eighth annual edition of which arrives at the Count Basie Theatre on Friday night.

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catch 121014 3catch 121014 2Continuing the rapid transformation of Red Bank into a dining mecca, the paper comes off the windows at 9 Broad Street as the seafood restaurant Catch opens Thursday night. At right: a calamari appetizer prepared in the kitchen of chef and partner Domenick Rizzo for a friends-and-family run-through Wednesday night.

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