Memone Crystian with Red Bank Little Leaguers in 2010. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
A former director of Red Bank’s parks and rec department is suing the borough and former officials, alleging she was forced out of the job by racism and gender discrimination.
Memone Crystian quit the position in May, 2015, “after years of being subjected to a hostile work environment” that included discrimination by then-borough Administrator Stanley Sickels and then-councilman Art Murphy, the suit alleges.
Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.
In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.
The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Five months after three proposals were submitted, the Red Bank council has yet to receive a recommendation on the future of the hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts, and may not get one before election day.
That has Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham — who redbankgreen has learned was chastised behind closed doors by her colleagues for saying too much about the issue — ramping up her complaints that there’s something “fishy” going on.
Legos with legs were among the parade participants who accepted GOP balloons from candidate Linda Schwabenbauer, below. (Photo above by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A Menna Administration official and a Republican council candidate clashed at Sunday’s Red Bank Halloween Parade over campaign balloons.
GOP contender Linda Schwabenbauer said she believed she was exercising a First Amendment right and had borough authorization when she gave away about 200 balloons bearing her name and that of running mate Sean Di Somma to children and adults before the start of the parade.
But Parks and Recrecreation department director Memone Crystian told her to stop, threatening to call the police if she continued, she said.
Administration officials dispute the claim that they’d OK’d a balloon distribution, and contend they have the law on their side in asking Schwabenbauer to stop.
Kathleen Gasienica, an environmentalist and next-door neighbor to the nature area, brought a boatload of visuals to bolster her critique of the plan. Borough Engineer Christine Ballard showed a photo of a similar sprayground in Middlesex County. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A steady stream of critics blasted a plan for a sprayground at Red Bank’s Bellhaven Nature Area Wednesday night, citing environmental, economic and safety issues.
The controversial project, in the works for nearly three years, divided backers and opponents along familiar lines at a bimonthly borough council meeting, where Engineer Christine Ballard unveiled the most detailed plan yet for the Locust Avenue facility.
A full slate of movies, music and workouts is scheduled for Riverside Gardens Park, but minus a songwriters’ series. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)
By WIL FULTON
Despite the loss of a perennial favorite, Red Banks Summer Series in Riverside Park is still poised to draw plenty of fanfare with a busy schedule, packed with plenty of movies, music and fitness events over the next couple months.
After nearly a decade, Brookdale Raidos Songwriters in the Park series will move from Red Bank to Belmar, according to Parks and Recreation Director Memone Crystian.
Belmar was able to offer the program full funding, which we, unfortunately, could not, Crystian told redbankgreen. Basically, it was an offer they just couldnt refuse.
Installers laid down rubber pellets as the base for the new artificial turf at Count Basie Fields in January. (Click to enlarge)
By WIL FULTON
With the first day of spring less than a month away, Memone Crystian, director of Red Banks Parks and Recreation department, knows the throes of winter will soon be replaced by… other types of throws.
Her department has crafted a packed schedule of recreational sports for kids in Kindergarten through 8th grade to enjoy on brand new turf in coming months at Count Basie Fields. And in addition to the traditional baseball, softball and soccer offerings, lacrosse will be on the agenda.
LAST COMIC STANDING semifinalist Erin Jackson, top, headlines Red Bank’s first-ever Comedy in the Park event, while (L-R) Tim Belford, emcee Chris Covert and Matt Perkins set the stage for the free show Wednesday night.
By TOM CHESEK
Like somewhat more ornery (and somewhat less romantic) cousins to the vampires of legend, stand-up comics are true creatures of the night or, more to the point, creatures of the nightclub. Which is why, day or night, it’s unusual to find them doing their thing in the Great Outdoors, breathing in the fresh atmosphere, swatting away junebugs and skeeters like so many Chuckle Hut hecklers.
On Wednesday night, however, Red Bank Parks and Rec offers up something that few if any have attempted here in the season of beach chairs and blanket bleachers: an open-air Comedy in the Park event that lets loose its crack-up Krakens in the pleasant waterfront setting of Riverside Gardens Park.
As “free-range” as it is free of charge, the 8 pm program is headlined by Erin Jackson, a season six semifinalist on NBCs Last Comic Standing and a frequent sighting on Comedy Central, BET and TV Guide Channel. The daughter of Washington, DC will be joined on the bill by a contingent of Jersey Jokers among them a familiar figure who’s fast becoming an impresario in local laugh-maker circles.
Lucas Sileno, 8, played catch with his dad, Phil, below, as Red Bank fifth- and sixth-graders faced off in an opening-day game Saturday. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)
By DANIELLE TEPPER
Red Banks Parks and Recreation department held its second annual baseball/softball day at Count Basie Fields Saturday to promote the towns sports programs and to entice kids to sign up.
After several years of rebuilding, the department was able to field a seventh- and eighth-grade boys team for the first time in decade, parks & rec director Memone Crystian tells redbankgreen.
Our objective is to get Red Bank kids playing through to the high school level,” she said, to the background sounds of hardballs landing in leather mitts. “To do that, we need to get them interested, which is why were having a day like today.
A proposal for a water-shooting playground at Red Bank’s little-used Bellhaven Nature Area has raised hackles among environmentalists. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Wednesday night’s meeting of the Red Bank Council could be a water-balloon fight of sorts.
Members of the Environmental Commission, an advisory group, say they were alarmed to learn recently that the borough Parks & Rec department is considering Bellhaven Nature Area, a wetland preserve created just eight years ago, as a possible location for a ‘sprayground,’ a play area that enables kids to get deliriously soaked by nozzles built into fixed apparatus.
Lou DiMento the lone remaining commission member who was involved in the original preservation effort and others say they were shocked to learn that the town might pursue a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant, which it would have to match, in order to build the sprayground.
“That stunned us,” especially after the borough government told the commission that it couldn’t come up with a few hundred dollars for a sign to designate the nature area, nestled against the Swimming River at the western end of Locust Avenue, DiMento said.
Taylor Crystian, center, joins her teammates for the last huddle of the season after a game under the lights at Count Basie Field Monday night.
Even though he’d caught a pass for a nice gain, one kid was near tears because, he said, a defensive player had held him.
Another decided that the interval between plays was a good time to meander over to the far sideline, kneel down and play in a patch of dirt.
And every break in the action was an occasion for players to break into dances they might perform just as though they were alone in front of a TV, instead of on the field, under the lights of Count Basie Field.
Welcome to pee wee flag football, and the season finale for Red Bank Pop Warner’s littlest squad.
The volunteer outfit on Drs. Parker Boulevard in Red Bank that provides a hot meal a day to anyone who wants one, no questions asked, has chosen Gwendolyn O. Love of Howell for the job, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.
“Gwen has over 20 years of experience dealing with the public, including recruiting and organizing community volunteers, which will be vital as she leads Lunch Break on its mission to give support to those in need,” said Memone Crystian, vice president of Lunch Break’s board of trustees.
Love has her work cut out for her, as more people are turning to Lunch Break for help and as a resource in the current economic crisis, Crystian said.
Two River Little League president Chris Kelly (second from left, with t-shirt) is pictured in a file photo with TRLL board member John Caruso, Red Bank Regional athletic director Del Dal Pra, TRLL vice president Memone P. Crystian, and TRLL board member Bob Oakes.
From press materials furnished by Red Bank Recreation
Winter may still have the greater Red Bank green in its icy clutches — but for the organizers of the Two River Little League, it’s “put me in, coach…there’s new grass on the field.”
There’s still time for boys and girls to sign up for the newly created league, with the deadline for registration on January 31 — and a special public information session for Red Bank kids and parents scheduled for 7:30 pm this Friday, January 24, at Borough Hall on Monmouth Street.
Several of the people who were instrumental in establishing the Two River Little League (TRLL) — a new chapter of Little League International encompassing Fair Haven, Little Silver, Red Bank, Rumson and Shrewsbury — are (left to right): TRLL Board Member John Caruso; TRLL President Chris Kelly; Del Dal Pra, Athletic Director Red Bank Regional High School; TRLL Vice President/Softball Memone P. Crystian, and TRLL Board Member Bob Oakes. (click to enlarge)
From press materials furnished by Marianne Kligman
The towns of Fair Haven, Little Silver, Red Bank, Rumson and Shrewsbury have formed a new charter as part of Little League International. Known as the Two River Little League, boys and girls ages 9 to 16 can begin signing up January 1 to play baseball and softball this spring. The registration period extends through February 1, and can be accessed at each town’s website. or by visiting the recreational department for each town for registration forms. Younger children ages 5 to 8 will continue to play with their town’s recreational leagues in the existing Peninsula League.