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About Chris Ern

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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: COFFEE SHOP JAZZES UP CORNER

A customer checks her email at one of the new seating areas at Coffee Corral. (Photo by Chris Ern. Click to enlarge.)

By CHRIS ERN

It’s a warm summer night as Jessica Olszewski relaxes in an Adirondack chair while her wife and young daughter dance to live jazz under glimmering lights outside the Coffee Corral in in Red Bank.

A new, post-pandemic vibe has captured the attention of locals at the busy corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard. There, owners Courtlyn Crosson and Erich Reulbach have developed their business into what Reulbach said is now “more than just a coffee shop on the corner.”

“It’s family-friendly. I have my wife and daughter here, and she’s able to run around and enjoy the live music,” says Olszewski, of Tinton Falls. “It’s a lot of what we couldn’t do for so long.”

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RED BANK: RAIL PROJECT NEARS COMPLETION

red bank what's going on hereA view of the Rail project from Chestnut Street, with the existing office building at right and the new residential portion at left. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By CHRIS ERN

For nearly four years, it’s been slowly emerging from the ground alongside the Red Bank train station. Now, most of the block bounded by Bridge Avenue, Chestnut and Oakland streets is a teeming site of construction activity.

So What’s Going On Here? Here’s the latest.

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