RED BANK: BOARD VOWS CHARTER PLAN FIGHT

135 MONMOUTH 121515 1The charter school recently leased space at 135 Monmouth Street, the former home of Prown’s Home Improvements, and hopes to acquire the building for its planned expansion. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A proposal to double enrollment at the Red Bank Charter School proved fighting words to the borough district Tuesday night.

If allowed, the expansion of the 200-student charter school “will almost certainly lead to a significant tax increase, as well as a multitude of cuts” in services at the borough schools, a visibly riled Superintendent Jared Rumage told a small audience at a board of education meeting held at the middle school.

“I cannot and will not allow our children to be left behind,” he said.

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RED BANK: POSITIVE CHANGE 1 CENT AT A TIME

penny-arcadeThe West Front Street branch of TD Bank invites customers to help Kick Cancer Overboard this Friday, by donating to a community fundraising initiative through its Penny Arcade coin-counter machine. (TD Bank photo; location pictured is not specified)

From press materials furnished by TD Bank

When it comes to people whose lives have been affected by cancer, there’s no such thing as nickel-and-diming our way to solutions that provide much-needed relief to patients and their families. Every little bit helps — and with that in mind, TD Bank has established a company-wide “Bring Change” campaign, designed to convert loose coins into agents of positive action.

This Friday, December 18, the TD branch at 89 West Front Street in Red Bank joins the campaign, with an invitation to all members of the community to put in their “two cents’ worth” and then some — and with the Penny Arcade coin counter machine serving as designated hub for a fundraising effort to which the bank will match up to $2,000 in coins counted, and donate it to the nonprofit organization known as Kick Cancer Overboard.

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SHREWSBURY: A PLEA FOR LESS-HARSH TALK

planned-parenthoodIn the aftermath of a violent assault on the Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs that left three people shot dead and nine wounded last month, local faith leaders and elected officials plan to gather in support of the organization outside its health facility on Newman Springs Road in Shrewsbury on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. 

In keeping with similar events being held nationwide this week, supporters “are calling for an end to the violent rhetoric that fuels this toxic environment” of anti-Planned Parenthood extremism, said area spokeswoman Casey Olesko. (Archive photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: CHARTER SCHOOL SEEKS TO DOUBLE

rbcs 3 090313Principal Meredith Pennotti with a Red Bank Charter School student in 2013. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03In an audacious bid to educate more borough children, the Red Bank Charter School has asked the New Jersey Department of Education for permission to double its enrollment over the next three years.

The move is likely to provoke “public discord” and impose “financial hardship” on the district from which the charter school sprang in 1998, charter school Principal Meredith Pennotti acknowledged in a letter to the DOE dated December 1. But it’s needed to address disparities in achievement between students in the two systems, she wrote.

Red Bank schools Superintendent Jared Rumage blasted the proposal as reflecting nearly 20-year-old attitudes about the district, and said its implementation would be “devastating.”

“That perception of who we were 20 years ago is irrelevant,” he told redbankgreen Tuesday morning.

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RED BANK: CHRISTMAS BASIE, C’MON HOME

Tim mcloone 2011Tim McLoone and Holiday Express (above) make their annual fundraising whistle-stop on the Count Basie stage this Thursday, followed on Friday by the “Souled Out” (but still very much on sale) return of Christmas Baby Darlene Love (below).  

darlene-loveNo matter how many times Darlene Love appeared on David Letterman’s show to deliver her soaring signature “Christmas (Baby please come home),” it somehow stayed fresh across four decades, five presidential administrations and countless hairstyles.

Likewise, Holiday Express manages to keep it fresh despite spending most of the year in a crisper, only to be taken out for a blizzard of seasonal performances.

And somehow, the Count Basie Theatre does it up in style every December with crowd-pleasing sets by both acts, which roll into Red Bank in the nights ahead.

Read on for details…

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RBR VOICES RING OUT THE YEAR ON HIGH NOTE

AllshorechorusofficialFifteen choral students from Red Bank Regional made the prestigious All Shore Honor Chorus this year, and will perform in February at the regional function hosted in the RBR auditorium. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

The year 2015 was a banner one for vocal majors from the Visual and Performing Arts program at Red Bank Regional High School, who were named to several honors programs, and took part in several prestigious regional programs this year. The new year promises to begin on a high note as well, as RBR sends its talented students to perform in several other honor programs.

Fifteen Red Bank Regional students will be part of the prestigious New Jersey All Shore Chorus, when RBR once again hosts the honors ensemble’s annual performance in February 2016. Pictured in the photo above, they are (back row, left to right) Devin Barry, Belmar; Jack Faccone, Rumson; Brian Healey, Union Beach; Dannielle Wolf, Shrewsbury; Lauren O’Brien, Middletown, Mara Campolattaro, Rumson; Ricci Bigelow, Ocean Township; and (front row, left to right) Shea Grant, Little Silver; Erin Ostrowski, Little Silver; Lea Fanizzi, Shrewsbury; Asha Clarke, Red Bank; Alexa DeAnna, Keansburg; Maddie Stout, Neptune City; Gianna Pallante, Millstone, and Victoria White, Union Beach.

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RED BANK: A SNOOZING SANTA?

rb santa 121415Santa Claus appeared to be saving his energy for later this month as an unidentified woman carried him in her arms on Rector Place in Red Bank Monday afternoon. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

 

 

RED BANK: 10TH AVE. BARMAN SMOKES ‘EM

dudley delhagen 080515 2Dudley Delhagen, bar manager at 10th Ave. Burrito Company in Red Bank, was named the winner of a national contest to come up with a new cocktail using DeKuyper’s-brand cordials Monday.

Launched in September, the contest invited bartenders across America to craft a signature cocktail; fans were then asked to vote for their favorite creation online. Delhagen’s employed the company’s JDK & Son Fleur Elderflower Liqueur. A press release announcing Delhagen as DeKuyper’s first-ever “cocktail master” described his concoction as “the perfect balance of sweet and smoky.”

The recipe for Delhagen’s creation, called the Smoked Blossom, is below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: A CHRISTMASSY TRIO AT BASIE

Nebraska XmasThe forecast calls for indoor snow, timely spirits and much music, as A CHRISTMAS CAROL heralds a week of holiday entertainments on the Count Basie stage.

frozen-sing-alongThe dizzyingly jam-packed days of December continue apace at the Count Basie Theatre, where the stage of the area’s most Christmassy performing arts center receives visitations by holiday-themed entertainments hailing from points near and far.

Here are three, one each for the next trio of nights.

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RED BANK: LAST CALL FOR ‘ARTS FOR ALL’

Art4AllA seventh grade drum-circle jam, and a hip hop how-to for fifth graders, are just two of the many arts instruction classes brought to Red Bank Middle School by the Count Basie Theatre’s “Arts for All” program, which presents its final session of the year this Tuesday. (Photos by Mary Wyman/ Red Bank Public Schools)

Press release from Red Bank Middle School

As schools across the country are working to integrate arts into their curriculum, Red Bank Middle School has developed an innovative way of bringing a comprehensive arts program to its students—thanks to the Count Basie Theatre.

Called “Arts for All,” the program has brought different arts instruction to each grade at the middle school every Tuesday. Fourth graders are learning cultural dance, while fifth graders are doing hip hop. Sixth grade students are taking theater classes, while the seventh grade is learning percussion. And eighth graders are taking part in a Rwandan Literacy Arts project, in which students create a chapter and illustrations for a book that will be used to teach English to students at the Kampanga and Bisate schools in Rwanda. The drawings that the students create will also be printed onto tiles that will be installed at the schools.

The program is being administered and funded in part by the Count Basie Theatre, which is raising money by donating $10 from every ticket sold for the Bobby Bandiera and Friends Hope Concert 8 events on December 23. In addition, the Basie asked attendees to donate a minimum of $3 for tickets sold to other shows through October 31. So far Count Basie has raised $10,000 toward the costs of the Arts for All program, which presents its final session of 2015 tomorrow, December 15.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S NEXT FOR RAYRAP SITE?

RayRap site 121015 2The zoning board shot down a plan to build 22 townhouses and condos on a parcel bound by Clay Street, Harding Road and Hudson Avenue, throwing the future of the site into uncertainty. (Google Earth image courtesy of Ray Rapcavage. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It’s hard to avoid the use of the word “eyesore” when talking about the RayRap site at the Five Corners in Red Bank.

With a vacant lot that was once home to a gas station; the burned husk of a house destroyed by fire; and another notorious for having once been spray-painted black — windows, shingles and all — it’s easily one of the borough’s least visually gratifying parcels. The fact that it sits on a heavily traveled street bordering the downtown and a residential area only heightens the effect.

So now that the zoning board has shot down a plan to develop the site with 22 new homes, what happens? Are we stuck with an eyesore forever?

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? OLD-SCHOOL SPOT-HITTER

120915thespot1The grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup combo at The Spot, seen below with a window looking out on Broad Street. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120915thespot4Those who seek simplicity in all things are going to love The Spot in Red Bank.

Rustic brick walls and industrial-modern decor beckon in the Broad Street space that’s been home in recent succession to  Zebu Forno, Boardwalk Burgers and, most recently Mac Attack. But trendiness in decor doesn’t mean the menu follows suit. Dining options here are strictly old-school.

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RED BANK/MIDDLETOWN: BRIDGE TO NOWHERE



hubbard's bridge 121015hubbard 091615 1
After serving as the “temporary” Hubbard’s Bridge on West Front Street between Red Bank and Middletown for 11 years, the modular structure had been completely dismantled Thursday. The span, seen during deconstruction in September above right, was replaced earlier this year by a new one at a cost of $21.9 million. 

Monmouth County officials have previously said the modular structure may be reassembled elsewhere. (Photos by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

SHREWSBURY: GUILDED GIFTS OF THE SEASON

Angelica._Colored_pencils.Anzhelika Doliba’s pencil portrait “Angelica” (above) and Bob O’Keefe’s stained glass piece “Poe” (below) are among the works on display during the Guild of Creative Art’s Holiday Show 2015. 

Bob O'Keefe's Stained Glass

Bob O’Keefe’s Stained Glass

Long before our neck of Monmouth County could boast its own wine-and-cheese gallery scene or paint-and-sip studio, there was the Guild of Creative Art, the creative collective that’s watched the contemporary landscape of the greater Red Bank area take shape over the past 55 years, from the window of its ever-fascinating house on Shrewsbury’s Route 35 main drag.

This Sunday, December 13, the evergreen local treasure welcomes the public to a yearly happening that stands as a complement to the hustle and bustle of the surrounding stores and stripmalls: the annual All-Member Holiday Show.

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SHORE SPORTS ZONE CAPS FOOTBALL ’15

Red Bank Regional’s Sadiq Palmer was among the three finalists for Zoneman of the Year as Shore Sports Zone marked the close of the 2015 high school football season with a banquet in Eatontown Thursday night. Who won? Check out the highlight reel. (Video by Shore Sports Zone.)

RED BANK CRIME & ARREST REPORTS

AUTHORITIES_RB3The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of December 3 to December 10, 2015. This information is unedited.

CRIMES

Criminal Mischief occurring on 12-5-15 at Drummond Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) cracked the front and rear driver’s side window and punctured a tire on a parked vehicle. Ptl. Shane Dengel.

Shoplifting occurring on 12-7-15 at Shrewsbury Ave.—Deli. Owner reported that unknown male subject shoplifted food items and tobacco and left without paying for same. Ptl. Tanner Shea

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RED BANK: ‘NUTCRACKER’ TURNS 30

nutcrackerThe Company of Dance Arts brings its production of Tchaikovsky’s ballet THE NUTCRACKER back to the Basie boards for four performances this weekend, in a 30th anniversary milestone staging.  

As frequenters of our Count Basie Theatre can attest, there are December traditions (like Bobby Bandiera’s Hope Concerts, Dunbar’s Black Nativity, the Holiday Express fundraisers, and Southside Johnny’s New Year’s toast, to name but a handful), and then there are traditions — the kind that families on the greater Green have grown up with; the kind of event without which it “simply wouldn’t be Christmas in Red Bank.”

One such event returns this Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13, when the borough-based Company of Dance Arts returns to the Basie boards with its annual production of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker — a milestone 30th staging of the holiday confection that’s employed the talents of generations of performers, in addition to drawing multi-generational audiences to its performances.

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FAIR HAVEN: OLD BUILDINGS TO BE JOINED

810 River Road elevation 120915 2Architect Matt Cronin’s design would link the two River Road buildings shown below with a new glass-filled central section. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh 810 812-14 riv rd 120815A plan to connect a pair of 150-year-old structures in Fair Haven with a window-filled central addition elicited unanimous praise from the planning board Wednesday night.

ForeFront Incorporated, a web tech firm headquartered in a stately Victorian two doors away, intends to use the conjoined buildings as expansion office space, company principal Michel Berger told the board.

With a patio, yoga space and “mom’s room,” it’s designed to attract millenial coders and developers to his company, where the average employee is 24 years old, Berger said.

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RUMSON: MORNING MIST ON THE GREENS

rumson fog 121015 1Fog blanketed the greens and fairways of Rumson Country Club in Rumson Thursday morning.

In the weather outlook for Thursday: partly cloudy skies and temperatures peaking at about 59 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

BIG NEA AWARDS TO TWO RED BANK VENUES

Louis Prima JrNext-generation swing-music wildman Louis Prima Jr. and his Witnesses will perform at the Count Basie Theatre in spring 2016, as part of an enhanced Jazz at the Basie slate funded by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Two River Theater also received an NEA grant, toward the development of a new musical. (Photo by Mitchell Glotzer)

From press materials issued by The Count Basie Theatre and Sen. Bob Menendez

Two major nonprofit arts entities in Red Bank have been named as recipients of a National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Art Works award for 2015. The Count Basie Theatre and Two River Theater were among 15 New Jersey-based organizations awarded a total of $290,000 toward the development of original arts programming; part of a 51st annual slate of NEA grants totaling $27.7 million and supporting more than 1,100 projects in 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The NEA’s Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields. Two River Theater Company was recipient of $20,000 to support the development and funding of The Ballad of Little Jo, an original musical featuring lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger and music by Mike Reid (A Wind in the Willows Christmas), as well as supplementary education programming (discussions, student matinees, classroom teachers’ guides) that focuses on the women of Frontier America.

In celebrating its namesake, the Basie will use its $15,000 NEA grant to help produce a series of programs and activities celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month, with jazz-related lectures, films and biopics scheduled to take place throughout April 2016. On May 19 the celebration will continue with a jazz-centric edition of the Count Basie Theatre’s “No Shush!” kid’s concert series, starring Louis Prima Jr and the Witnesses, as well as the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra under the direction of conductor Joe “Mooche” Muccioli, artistic director of the Jazz Arts Project at the Basie’s Performing Arts Academy. Proceeds from that performance — and a donation from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, named for Prima’s late mother — will match the NEA gift.

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RED BANK: SUBWAY DEPARTS WITHOUT A STOP

b subway 091715 2The sandwich shop has sat ready for months, said the landlord. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallMore than four years after it was approved, a never-opened Subway sandwich shop has been evicted from its prospective home on Broad Street in Red Bank, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.

The action puts a period, if not a satisfying answer, on one of the downtown’s persistent mysteries: whatever happened to the Subway?

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RED BANK: SMALL KITCHEN YIELDS BIG FLAVOR

112415jamians1Mixed green salad on the specials menu at Jamian’s Food and Drink is available for lunch or dinner. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

112415jamians3PieHole dipped a spoon into a bowl of black bean soup at Jamian’s Food and Drink in Red Bank while waiting for a recent weekly trivia game to begin, and swooned. Jalapeno heat and cumin-infused flavor told us that someone new was working in the kitchen.

Owner Jamian LaViola hired 46-year-old chef Andy Doelger to run the three-person kitchen two months ago, and customers are starting to notice the difference. We’ve been asked by more than one satisfied diner if we’ve tasted the braised short rib grilled cheese yet. Yes, we have and it’s seriously good.

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ON THE GREEN: LIGHTS STILL ON

12 broad 120815 1Tuesday’s sunset framed the top two floors of 12 Broad Street in Red Bank in a wash of color, as seen from the Globe Street parking garage.

The weather outlook for Wednesday included partly cloudy skies and temperatures peaking at about 52 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: FUNNY THINGS KEEP HAPPENING

A Funny Thing...Forum TRTC 11-15 175 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim choreography by Denis Jones directed by Jessica Stone Two River Theatre Company 11/13/15 Scenic Design | Alexander Dodge Costume Design | Clint Ramos Lighting Design | Jeff Croiter and Jake DeGroot Hair and Makeup: David Bova Sound Design | Drew Levy © T Charles Erickson Photography tcepix@comcast.netDavid Josefsburg, Michael Urie, Christopher Fitzgerald and Kevin Isola keep the toga party going for one more weekend, as “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ wraps its run at Two River Theater. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By TOM CHESEK

Red Bank’s Two River Theater offers one more long weekend of happy-humbug harbor to all of us who may feel caught between a Dickens and a Nutcracker this time of year.

Directed by Jessica Stone — and boasting an all-male cast of Tony nominees, TV personalities, Two River returnees and toga-clad Broadway babies — the TRT’s naughty and bawdy production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum reclaims the Stephen Sondheim musical comedy (based on the farcical works of ancient Roman playwright Plautus) from the community church basements and school auditoriums it’s long been consigned to. And it uses the novelty of its “stag” staging to mine maximum gold from its broad burlesque belly-laughs.

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