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RED BANK: COUNCIL CANDIDATE STURDIVANT

On the ballot November 2: Red Bank council candidate Jacqueline Sturdivant. (Photo provided by candidate. Click to enlarge.)

Red Bank voters will have three candidates to choose from when they elect two council members November 2.

Here’s what candidate Jacqueline Sturdivant had to say in response to a questionnaire sent to the three by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: KEEPING FORTUNE’S VOICE ALIVE

Suubi Mondesir with Fortune Foundation co-chair Gilda Rogers last month. Below, Mondesir, second from right, on a 2016 tour of the Fortune house led by builder Roger Mumford. (Photos by Chris Ern, above, and John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By CHRIS ERN

In the summer of 2016, Suubi Mondesir was a rising junior at Red Bank Regional High School when she participated in a tour of a crumbling Red Bank house.

At the time, preservationists envisioned the building on Drs. James Parker Boulevard as a cultural center in honor of its onetime owner, the civil rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune, and Mondesir was present as a participant in the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop at Rutgers University.

Flash forward to 2021: The house has been fully restored as the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, and Suubi (pronounced SOO-vee) manages its media outreach efforts as an intern. But it’s not just a job. Her work at the center aligns with a personal passion for social justice, inspired by Fortune’s work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, she told redbankgreen in an interview last month.

“What he did is what I am hoping to do as well: to inspire people with my writing, and to speak truth to power,” Mondesir said.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE TO HOST PARKER ROOM

Press release by the the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center

On the heels of Juneteenth, the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center announces its partnership with Monmouth Medical Center, a part of RWJ Barnabas Health, as the exclusive sponsor of the Parker Family Legacy Room – a permanent exhibit of the history of the family of prominent Red Bank black doctors, who served their community for over 80 years.

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RED BANK: MARCH INAUGURATES JUNETEENTH

Juneteenth marchers on Shrewsbury Avenue, above, and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bankers commemorated the new federal and New Jersey state holiday of Juneteenth with a march Saturday.

The hike on a humid last day of spring was bookended by gatherings at Pilgrim Baptist Church on Shrewsbury Avenue and the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

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RED BANK: PROJECT GETS NO BOARD SUPPORT

Twenty apartments would be built above stores at 234-240 Shrewsbury Avenue under a revised plan by developer Roger Mumford. (Rendering by Thomas J. Brennan Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA plan for 20 apartments and new retail space on Shrewsbury Avenue found no support from the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night.

It’s too tall, too dense, and too out of step with where things should be going, board members told developer Roger Mumford after three hours of testimony.

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RED BANK: VIEWS SPLIT ON MUMFORD PLAN

A rendering of the building, dubbed The Parker, proposed for Shrewsbury Avenue at River Street. (Image by Thomas J. Brennan Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal for four stories of new retail and apartments on Shrewsbury Avenue got mixed reviews at Thursday’s meeting of the Red Bank zoning board.

It’s “huge,” said a board member and one resident. It’s a welcome replacement to the two vacant homes now on the site, said two other commenters.

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RED BANK: APARTMENTS & STORES PROPOSED

Two houses on Shrewsbury Avenue at River Street would be demolished to make way for the project, dubbed The Parker at Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal for new stores topped by three floors of apartments is slated for review by the Red Bank zoning board this week.

Developer Roger Mumford‘s plan would transform half a block of Shrewsbury Avenue, but first needs multiple variances.

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RED BANK: BASIE TOUR & MORE ON AN APP

An app-in-development reported on by redbankgreen last September is now available, offering users its first history tour of Red Bank.

The tour spotlights significant places in the early life of William ‘Count’ Basie, the world-renowned bandleader who grew up in a Mechanic Street house on the site of the one shown above.

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RED BANK: DEMOCRATS FORM BLACK CAUCUS

Fortune Cultural Center co-founder Gilda Rogers, left, and Councilman Michael Ballard. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Red Bank’s Democrats have formed a Black caucus to “bring forward future civic leaders.”

The party announced the group’s formation on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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RED BANK: ILLUMINATING THE TOWN’S PAST

Marjorie Cavalier in Red Bank with the replacement Port of Red Bank sign she championed. The old sign  was already in bad shape in 2011, as seen at right in the photo below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A weather-beaten historical marker in Red Bank’s Marine Park was replaced last month, after some gentle lobbying by a recently retired teacher and history buff.

But Marjorie Cavalier, who pushed for replacement of the illegible ‘Port of Red Bank’ sign, isn’t finished. She’s now turned her attention to development of an app to help illuminate borough’s past. Read More »

RED BANK: BALLARD & ZIPPRICH TO RUN AGAIN

Ed Zipprich, left, won a fourth term, and Michael Ballard, right, won his first in the 2017 election. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two incumbent Democrats will defend their seats on the Red Bank council in the November election, the party announced Monday.

In an unsurprising move, the municipal and county Democratic committees unanimously endorsed Councilman Ed Zipprich‘s pursuit of a fifth three-year term, and Michael Ballard‘s quest for a second.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE SETS ‘BASIE 2020’ SKED

william count basie postersImages of William ‘Count’ Basie on display at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center last week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, built to honor a pioneering African-American journalist with Red Bank ties, plans to spotlight the borough-born musical giant William ‘Count’ Basie through 2020.

The occasion is the 85th anniversary of the formation of the Count Basie Orchestra, which is still touring 36 years after its founder’s death.

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RED BANK: RETHINKING SHREWSBURY AVENUE

RU shrewsbury avenue 100619 Student planners from Rutgers led the information-gathering session at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. Below, a map on display at the event. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Worries about gentrification and pedestrian safety were at the fore as Red Bank residents gathered for a brainstorming session about the future of Shrewsbury Avenue Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: ‘MAGIC WAND’ IDEAS SOUGHT

RED BANK SHREWSBURY AVE 032819Student planners from Rutgers will solicit ideas for improving neighborhoods along Shrewsbury Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njHere’s a ‘magic wand’ question for you: if you could instantly transform Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank, what would it become?

Ditto for creating direct access to the Navesink River from Broad Street: what’s your dream?

Borough residents and other interested parties will get to weigh in on those questions and more Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: TENTH OYSTERFEST ROCKS THE LOT

red bank oysterfest 2019red bank oysterfest 2019 Sunshine and feels-like temperatures around 80 degrees put thousands of visitors in a dancing, eating and drinking mood at the 10th annual Guinness Oyster Festival in Red Bank Sunday.

This year’s event, held as always in the White Street parking lot, raised funds for three Red Bank-based benefactors: Monmouth Day Care Center, T. Thomas Fortune House, and Red Bank RiverCenter, the event sponsor.

Were you there? Look for yourself and your friends in redbankgreen‘s photos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: FORTUNE CULTURAL CENTER OPENS

red bank fortune house Dozens of supporters gathered on the front lawn for the opening of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. Below, a view of the ceremony from inside the restored house. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank fortune houseMore than a century after the departure of its most famous resident, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank reopened Thursday as a cultural center dedicated to his mission of advancing civil and human rights.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE ‘MIRACLE’ COMPLETED

red bank nj t. thomas fortune cultural centerThe restored T. Thomas Fortune House on Drs. James Parker Boulevard plans to formally open as a cultural center in May. Below, restoration supervisor Spencer Foxworth and foundation member Robin Blair examine a chandelier to be installed. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank nj t. thomas fortune cultural center

An against-the-odds, decade-long effort to save a Red Bank house that was once the home of a pioneering civil rights journalist has reached its improbable conclusion, people involved in the effort say.

This weekend, local history lovers will get their first-ever chance to tour the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Register structure that not long ago was about to be razed.

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RED BANK: WORDS AND MUSIC IN THE PARK


Five thousand strong, music lovers found a few hours of respite from everyday noise when the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra played an open-air concert in Red Bank’s Marine Park last summer.

This Sunday, the NJSO returns to the park with another free show, where those in attendance will also get a chance to connect to the borough’s history via the written word.

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RED BANK: VAPE SHOP, GROCERY OPEN

 Smoke Theory features display cases filled with water pipes and other smoking products, as well as a walk-in cigar humidor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallTwo new retail shops opened in Red Bank this week: a neighborhood grocery on the West Side and a smoke shop downtown.

Read all about them in this winter-doldrums edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: UNITY RALLY DRAWS A MURPHY

Tammy Murphy reacts as her husband, Governor-elect Phil Murphy, calls her while she’s delivering a speech at Saturday’s Unity Rally in Red Bank. The event drew a full house to Pilgrim Baptist Church, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Ignoring biting cold, dozens of Red Bank-area residents participated in a “unity” march and rally Saturday in honor of two civil rights champions: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

Anchored at Pilgrim Baptist Church, the event featured a cameo appearance by the spouse of Governor-elect Phil Murphy as part of a whirlwind, pre-inaugural tour of New Jersey.

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RED BANK: NEW HISTORY IN FORTUNE HOUSE

Restoration work on the T. Thomas Fortune house is underway in conjunction with the construction of 31 apartments behind it, where an elevator tower is visible. Below, builder Roger Mumford shows off an original decorative corbel removed from just below the roof line of the house, and, in his left hand, a replica made from mahogany. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a decade-long effort to save it from the wrecking ball, Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune house is in the midst of a restoration that has served up some additional history.

Part of the Second Empire-style mansion on Drs. James Parker Boulevard may be much older than previously believed, says developer Roger Mumford, who is racing to conserve what he can of the structure even as it crumbles before his eyes.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE LAUDS VOLUNTEER

Red Bank resident Suubi Mondesir was honored earlier this month at a fundraiser for the T. Thomas Fortune House for significant contributions to save the historic home of the 19th-century journalist and civil rights activist.

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RED BANK: BROWNSTONES PROJECT APPROVED

Mumford’s plan calls for the demolition of six existing structures, including the blocklong factory building at 9 Catherine Street, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank real estate developer Roger Mumford won plaudits Thursday night from neighbors — along with zoning board approval — for a 22-unit townhouse project on a West Side industrial tract.

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