RED BANK: MARKET REOPENS AS DRIVE-THRU

red bank farmers market red bank farmers marketThe Red Bank Farmer’s Market reopened Sunday, with some changes to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The foremost modification: the market is now temporarily a drive-thru only, with customers encouraged to pre-order their purchases.

Kurt Poehler, above, and his crew from Spring House Farms were ready with arrays of colorful fruits and vegetables.

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LITTLE SILVER: ROBERT SICKLES SR. DIES

bob sickles sr. 042208Robert Sickles Sr. riding his cherished 1948 John Deere MT tractor in 2008. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Robert Sickles Sr., the patriarch of a family farm in Little Silver that traces its agricultural roots back more than three centuries, died “peacefully at his home” Monday, according to an obituary posted by Thompson Funeral Home in Red Bank Wednesday.

He was 92 years old.

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RED BANK: CRISIS DELAYS FARMERS’ MARKET

Mother’s Day is still five weeks away, but this year’s edition won’t be accompanied by the customary opening of the Red Bank Farmer’s Market.

George Sourlis, whose family-owned Galleria of Red Bank hosts the popular Sunday market, tells redbankgreen that this year’s start has been indefinitely postponed by the COVID-19 crisis. It will open once the pandemic has passed, he said.

The seasonal farmstand typically runs through November.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WATCH YOUR VEGGIES GROW


A two-level cluster of shipping containers is planned for the triangular center of the parking lot at the newly remodeled Anderson Building. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njShoppers at the food market planned for Red Bank’s Anderson Building will soon be able to watch some of their produce growing in a shipping container in the parking lot, its owner says.

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RED BANK: CONCERNS AIRED OVER LEAD TESTS

red bank community garden 081219Caution tape signaled the closing of the Marion Street garden in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njUsers of Red Bank’s community garden questioned the borough government’s sense of urgency Wednesday night about the presence of lead in soil at the town’s only community garden.

 

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RED BANK: CONTAMINATION SHUTS GARDEN

red bank community garden 081219Caution tape and notices at the entrance to the community garden on Marion Street Monday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank has shut down its sole community garden out of “an abundance of caution” over possible lead contamination, the borough government announced Monday.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP CLEARS FIRST HURDLE

sposaro-121516Developer Ray Rapcavage, seated at right, and his attorney, Armen McOmber, listen as Hudson Avenue resident Anthony Sposaro endorses the Azalea Gardens project. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A year after his last try was shot down, real estate developer Ray Rapcavage won a key approval Thursday night for a new plan to rebuild a shabby half-block on the southeast edge of downtown Red Bank.

On a unanimous vote, the zoning board granted Rapcavage variances for 18 homes fronted by an English garden on Harding Road between Clay Street and Hudson Avenue.

But he’s not yet clear to start work.

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RED BANK: LATEST RAYRAP PLAN IN SPOTLIGHT

RayRap site 121015 2The project calls for 16 townhouses along Clay Street, seen at left above, that would face east into an English garden with two freestanding homes. (Photo from Google Maps. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Will RayRap have better luck this time?

A year after his last plan was shot down, real estate developer Ray Rapcavage returns to the Red Bank zoning board this week hoping to obtain approval for new plans to build homes on half a block’s worth of properties the edge of downtown.

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LITTLE SILVER: A BARNYARD CELEBRATION

ls-barns-101616-10About 100 Little Silver residents, joined by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagnols-barns-101616-4, celebrated the completion of restoration work on the three barns at the Parker Homestead Sunday.

The structures, the oldest of which is believed to have been built in the 1790s, and the Parker farm site on which they sit are “as important as Jamestown” in the history of America, Mayor Bob Neff told the crowd.

The restoration, funded with a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant, was completed after a dispute with a contractor was resolved and a second contractor, Drill Construction, came on board in January, said Keith Wells, a trustee for the nonprofit Parker Homestead 1665 Inc., the nonprofit that oversaw the project. Two carpenters, Joe Rubel and Mike Cerniglia, were credited for work.

Click the “read more” for additional photos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: RAYRAP SEEKS ‘REHAB’ SITE LABEL

rapcavage 082714Ray Rapcavage, center above, with his wife, Suzanne, and Hudson Street resident Scott Broschart at the Five Corners site in 2014. Below, a detail of the latest proposal for the site. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rayrap 061316 1Having been thwarted by the zoning board, developer Ray Rapcavage plans to ask the Red Bank council to designate his assembled properties on the edge of downtown as an “area in need of rehabilitation,” redbankgreen has learned.

If granted, the controversial label would enable Rapcavage to avoid a return trip to the zoning board with his revised plan, though he denies that’s his intent.

Rather, it would create a more “expeditious” route to possible construction on the half-block of properties he’s assembled on Harding Road between Clay Street and Hudson Avenue, Rapcavage said Monday.

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MIDDLETOWN: SHARING SUMMER’S BOUNTY

fresh start 081016donegoodlogoChildren of five families from the River Plaza section of Middletown have been using their summer vacation to grow, and collect from neighbors, produce that they donate weekly to Red Bank’s Lunch Break.

Dubbing their effort “Fresh Start,” the members of the Brett, Carson, Passo, Pipercic and Grissom families have delivered more than 270 pounds of fresh produce to the 33-year-old free kitchen.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RUMSON MAN SENTENCED FOR MARKET CRIMES

A Rumson commodities trader who owned and managed a Red Bank firm was sentenced to three years in federal prison last month for market manipulation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Friday.

Michael Coscia, owner of Panther Energy Trading, was convicted in Chicago last November in the first-ever federal prosecution for “spoofing” under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the FBI said.

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LITTLE SILVER: BENEVEDIS HOUSE RAZED


ls benevidis 071916 2benevedis 070915 2As part of a plan to create more parking at Sickles Park in Little Silver, the borough-owned Benevedis house at the park’s entrance on Rumson Road was demolished this week.

Unlike the National Historic Landmark Parker Homestead next door, the 113-year old house was not considered historically significant, and became unusable after a radiator burst during a cold snap in February 2015, causing water damage throughout, official have said.

As reported by redbankgreena cache of rare old baseball cards was salvaged from the home among other items associated with the Parker farm, which dates to the early 1665(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: SENIORS GET DOWN AND DIRTY

rb seniors garden 071416 2rb seniors garden 071416 1Despite wilting heat and humidity, a group of seniors tended the newly installed raised-bed garden purchased by Councilwoman Cindy Burnham for the borough Red Bank Senior Citizens Center Thursday morning.

At right, 98-year-old Edith Blake checks the aroma on a sage leaf from the planter, where seniors have also planted tomatoes, taragon and basil. The planter is set up beside a picnic table so seniors can garden while seated, said Burnham. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RAYRAP TO PUSH FOR LAW CHANGE

rapcavage tumia 061316Ray Rapcavage, seen last month with Harding Road neighbor Kenny Tumia, above. Below, a detail of Rapcavage’s plan. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rayrap 061316 1Hoping to pave the way for his latest plan for a troubled site on the edge of downtown, developer Ray Rapcavage intends to ask the Red Bank council to amend the borough zoning law.

Rapcavage tells redbankgreen he’ll appear at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council session to ask for a change to allow builders to construct units with up to three bedrooms without having to seek a use variance.

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RED BANK: BON JOVI THANKS BIZ OWNERS

jovi martino fadell 062216donegoodlogoRock star Jon Bon Jovi chats with Red Bank merchants Linda Martino, center, of Lux Beauty Store, and Dorothy Ferlanti, of Pinot’s Palette, at the JBJ Soul Kitchen Wednesday evening.

Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea Bongiovi, part-time Middletown residents, hosted a reception for business owners who donated a portion of their receipts on June 16 to a fundraiser for the nonprofit restaurant, which the couple opened in 2011 to fight food insecurity.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: RAYRAP RETURNS WITH NEW PLAN

Rayrap Site Plan 061316Ray Rapcavage, seen below on Hudson Avenue opposite his properties, including a house destroyed by fire in May, 2012. Above, a rendering of the proposed project, with an English garden fronting on Hudson and 16 condos backing up against Clay Street. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rapcavage 061316 1Seven months after his proposal for homes at the Five Corners site in Red Bank was shot down by the zoning board, developer Ray Rapcavage has filed completely overhauled plans with borough hall.

The new plan reduces the number of proposed homes on the site — fronting on Harding Road, Clay Street and Hudson Avenue — to 18, from 22. It includes a large English garden of winding paths out front, whereas the last plan had no open space.

And most critically for Rapcavage, the plan doesn’t need any variances, he tells redbankgreen.
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RED BANK: EATING ‘CLEAN’ TO SAVE HER LIFE

Amie Valpone returns Monday to Red Bank’s Front St. Trattoria, where she once waited tables, to promote “Eating Clean,” her memoir and cookbook. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Valpone_EatingCleanAmie Valpone was a healthy woman in her early 20’s when a cascade of ailments began, taking her to the brink of death.

Battling numerous diseases and beyond the help of conventional medicine, Valpone said she spent most of the following decade curing herself through better eating — and clearing her body of toxins.

Now 33, she’s chronicled her journey in a new book, titled “Eating Clean,” which tells the the story of “how food saved my life,” Valpone told PieHole last week. Read More »

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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SHREWSBURY: BOROUGH’S ‘STORY’ UPDATED

burden gefken 112315 3Mayor Don Burden and co-author Rick Geffken at the Shrewsbury Municipal Complex. The Bonanno Farm on Sycamore Avenue, preserved under an easement, is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

story of shrewsbury 112315 2The 350-year history of Shrewsbury Borough, a vestige of a vast township that once extended from Raritan Bay to Little Egg Harbor, has a new chapter.

With the tiny borough getting ready to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its incorporation in 2016, two avid amateur historians — Rick Geffken and Mayor Don Burden — last month debuted a new edition to the definitive history of the town, adding in information on the past half-century of rapid transformation.

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