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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A TASTE OF NEW ENGLAND

032216navesinkfishery5A fried shrimp platter with coleslaw and crispy french fries. The corn chowder, below, was filled with bits of crab. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

032216navesinkfishery1Casting its net a bit beyond the usual limits of the Greater Red Bank Green, PieHole finds lots of fresh fish choices at the Navesink Fishery in Navesink.

With 40-plus years of fishmongering and cooking, 20 of which have been spent at this restaurant, owner Ruddy Field is serious about bringing his customers simple cuisine from briny depths and fresh water lakes. Landlubbers need not apply.

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RED BANK: MARINE SANCTUARY BLASTED

rb nms 031616 1With the basement meeting room already full, an overflow crowd gathered on the library’s main floor hoping to be allowed in Wednesday night. Below, the sanctuary would include Sandy Hook Bay, the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers and their tributaries. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD 

Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2The main proponent of a “marine sanctuary” that would include some 12,500 acres of northeastern Monmouth County waters found himself pounded by wave after wave of criticism Wednesday night.

With 75 or so commercial and recreational fishermen, clammers, hunters and others packed into a basement meeting room at the Red Bank Public Library, and a comparable number turned away due to crowding, maritime historian Rik Van Hemmen got a cold reception for his proposal for a Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which he hopes will win federal approval.

“We’ve got enough layers of bureaucracy,” Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, told Van Hemmen. “This is going down. We’re going to fight it.”

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ON THE GREEN: MARINE SANCTUARY PROPOSED

Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2An effort to create a “water-based equivalent of a National Park” covering Sandy Hook Bay, the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers and their tributaries is the subject of upcoming informational sessions, one of which is scheduled for Monday night.

If enacted by federal authorities, the Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary would  add more than 12,500 acres of public-use parkland to eastern Monmouth County, according to proponents. Among them are the Navesink Marine Heritage Association, whose website has extensive information on the proposal.

Tonight’s presentation is slated for 7 p.m. at Crawford House at Tinton Falls. The Red Bank Public Library plans to host another on March 16 at 7 p.m. (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: SO LONG, SUMMER THRONGS

sh beaches 090114 2sb surfer 090114 1Beachgoers thronged the sands of Sandy Hook, above, and Sea Bright, right, on a hot, muggy Labor Day that marked the unofficial end of summer Monday. For locals, of course, a new season of free access to wide-open beaches begins.

More photos after the jump… (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: PUTTING TEDx INTO PLAY AGAIN

sheehanThe wisdom of the late Red Bank physician and international running philosopher Dr. George Sheehan is channeled by his son Timothy Sheehan (inset), in a TEDx Navesink presentation Saturday at Two River Theater.    

What is TEDx Navesink? Among other things, it’s “nonfiction theater” in which “every talk is a dramatic arc about ideas.”

Or so said Rumson-native, software entrepeneur, actor and venture capitalist Brian Smiga speaking to redbankgreen last year about the inaugural version of the event, which he organized.

The concept of nonfiction theater again takes center stage this Saturday, as the second annual TEDx Navesink event commandeers Red Bank’s Two River Theater for a full day of live talks, performances and art exhibitions built around the theme of “play” — “a facilitator of greater openness, tolerance, creativity and curiosity” that can act as “a positive and resourceful force at any age,” says Smiga.

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SANDY HOOK: FAT, HAPPY SEALS ON THE BEACH

harbor seals 2 030914Reader William Healey spied this pod of seals sunning on the bay side of Sandy Hook Sunday afternoon. Joe Reynolds of the environmental blog Shore11.org reports they’ve been there since December, and will begin migrating north this month. With any luck, lightly clothed human beings will soon replace them.

Meantime, this week looks like we’ll all enjoy moderate pre-spring temperatures during the day and wintry cold at night, according to the National Weather Service. (Photo by William Healey. Click to enlarge)

TEDx NAVESINK: A NEW WAVE BREAKS AT BCC

kaki-king_detail_feature1-530x281Next-gen guitar god Kaki King is the special musical guest at the first-ever TEDx Navesink: The Next Wave conference coming to Brookdale on Friday.

By TOM CHESEK

The way that Brian Smiga sees things, it’s an idea whose time had come — even before the arrival of a thing called Sandy.

“All of us here on the Shore recently experienced a big event that disrupted our lives,” says the native Rumsonite, software entrepeneur, actor and venture capitalist. “There’s really no time like that, no moment like this one, to plan for the next 20 years and beyond.”

The future of what Smiga calls “the country Shore” — in particular the Bayshore, Atlantic coastline and “Two River” areas of Monmouth County — is the primary topic this Friday, when the first-ever TEDx Navesink event comes to the Performing Arts Center at Brookdale Community College. The daylong ideafest features more than two dozen short lectures by innovators in education, technology, science, sustainability and the arts, who “will give the talks of their lives during 5-to 18 minute presentations that focus on their contributions, thoughts and vision for the future of the New Jersey Shore,” according to the promo lit.

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SEA BRIGHT GIRDS FOR EXTRA BEACHGOERS

With only three of its six beaches, including the clothing-optional Gunnison, below, slated to open, Sandy Hook could end up diverting more traffic to Sea Bright.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Even as it rebuilds, Sea Bright is bracing for an aftereffect of Hurricane Sandy this summer.

Officials at the Sandy Hook unit of Gateway National Recreation Area plan to reopen only three of six ocean beaches for Memorial Day weekend, and to cap parking on the storm-socked peninsula at 2,500 vehicles, half the normal capacity.

That could mean earlier-than-usual visitor cutoffs well into summer, resulting in more beach-seekers than usual heading to the next available patches of sand – in Sea Bright.

“Even before (Hurricane) Sandy, on a nice summer weekend, Sandy Hook would always be filled up by 11 a.m. or noon, and we would get the overflow traffic,” said Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long. “So when you’re looking at cutting Sandy Hook’s parking in half, then it would make sense to expect double the amount of overflow that we’re accustomed to at an earlier time of day.”

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APOLOGY ENDS HARASSMENT ALLEGATION

Perry Feigenbaum, above in Red Bank’s courtroom, dropped his citizen’s complaint against Sea Bright Councilman Read Murphy. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An apology by Sea Bright Councilman Read Murphy ended  an Asbury Park man’s pursuit of a harassment allegation Tuesday morning.

Perry Feigenbaum agreed to drop his citizen’s complaint  alleging Murphy accosted and threatened him on a Sea Bright sidewalk last June after Murphy apologized for what Murphy characterized as a “misunderstanding.”

Feigenbaum told redbankgreen before a scheduled special-session trial in Red Bank municipal court that he offered to drop the case because of “what’s going on in Sea Bright” in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and Murphy’s role in getting the town back on its feet.

“Obviously, that’s a bigger issue,” he said, and the residents of Sea Bright “shouldn’t suffer because he made a mistake.”

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DOWNTOWN SEA BRIGHT UNDERWATER

redbankgreen photographer Peter Lindner snapped this shot on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright at about 10:30 a.m.

Water was at mid-thigh, Lindner reports. Wind is howling there, too. Still, a few sightseers were out. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: AMA TAKES IT TO THE BEACH


Chef Chuck Lesbirel (left) gets some assistance from Pat Trama prepping artichokes and baby beets for Friday night’s opening of Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

By STACIE FANELLI

Pat Trama wasn’t surprised to see one of his regulars, pregnant and craving his signature mussels, standing at the bottom of the stairs to his new, yet-to-open restaurant with a pan, begging him to get cooking.

He’s been getting a lot of demand since Ama Ristorante Tuscana closed its doors in Atlantic Highlands three months ago to relocate to a bigger, better version at the Driftwood Cabana Club in Sea Bright.

The new location will open for dinner Friday after a summerlong wait for loyal customers.

“There’s probably 90 of those people out there saying, ‘I’m dying for the mussels. I jonesing for it’,” said Trama, Ama’s chef and co-owner.

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ACUPUNCTURIST EASES INTO RED BANK SPACE

Heather Poole Smith prepares Rosemary Levine of Manalapan for treatment. Below, a needle goes into another patient’s back. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

In a college lecture hall several years ago, Heather Poole Smith’s professor pulled up a picture of a lightning storm on a slideshow. “This is what people think acupuncture feels like,” he said. The next slide showed a serene beach. “This is what it actually is,” he said.

After a decade practicing the traditional Chinese medicine in Middletown, Smith has relocated Ancient Arts Acupuncture to 91 East Front Street in Red Bank, a building she calls a “hidden gem” of Red Bank for its scenic river view.

That’s helpful for her patients, most of whom benefit from a sense of tranquility, she said.

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BUY-IN ON NEW SEA BRIGHT BRIDGE ELUSIVE

Below, dozens of local residents turned out in Sea Bright Monday for a midday presentation of options for dealing with the “serious” condition of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. (Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

Sixty years old, the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge over the Shrewsbury River is rapidly corroding, inadequate for today’s traffic loads and behind the times on accident safety. Its electrical system is the same one installed in 1952. It’s not up to snuff in terms of earthquake resistance, either.

In a word, Monmouth County engineering officials say, the bridge’s condition is “serious.”

Whether to spend an estimated $10 million to rehabilitate the bridge or some $50 million to replace it was the core question at a pair of public hearings held Monday in Sea Bright and Rumson. More than a dozen county officials and consultants were present at each to kick off a series of discussions aimed, they said, at “building consensus” on a solution.

But some residents of the two towns voiced skepticism that their concerns – which include the impacts of a new span on property values on the Rumson side and on the business district in Sea Bright – would be given much weight in the process.

“They seem to have it in mind to build a new bridge, and I just don’t want it destroying the neighborhood in the process,” said Tom Calvanico, who lives near the Rumson anchorage.

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COPS: WHALER ‘RODE OVER’ VICTIM’S BOAT

buoy-20Saturday night’s fatal boat collision occurred near Buoy 20, seen here from Rich Stavola’s Navesink River Road home, where authorities based their rescue operations. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A combination of alcohol and speed led to the death of a 50-year-old Keansburg man in a late-night boating accident on the Navesink River Saturday, authorities said Monday.

George Harrington, 39, of Atlantic Highlands, was “operating at a fairly high rate of speed” at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when his 20-foot Boston Whaler, carrying five passengers, hit a Stingray operated by Christopher Plante in the area of Buoy 20 in the Middletown section of the river, State Police Sergeant Stephen Jones tells redbankgreen.

Harrington’s boat “rode over the stern of Plante’s vessel,” Jones said.

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COPS: BODY FOUND, BOAT DRIVER WAS DRUNK

northoverThe command center in front of the mansion at 36 Northover Place in Middletown, where the victims of the boating accident came ashore, as seen at about 5 a.m. Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

An Atlantic Highlands man was charged with drunk driving in the Navesink River accident that killed the lone passenger of the boat he was operating and sent all five occupants of a second boat into the water Saturday night, State Police said Sunday morning.

The body of the victim, which had been missing after the 11:30 p.m. crash, was recovered from the river almost nine hours later, after being spotted by a State Police helicopter between Middletown and Fair Haven, said Sergeant Brian Polite.

An eyewitness gave redbankgreen a different account of the body’s recovery.

The name of the victim has not been released pending notification of next of kin, he said. [Update, 2:50 p.m.: NJ.com reports the victim was Christopher Plant, 50, from Keansburg.]

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FULL OF VODKA, COVERED IN BLOOD

mtown-cop-carsBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Drugs and alcohol dominate the Middletown police blotter this week, which includes at least two drunken driving arrests in which the drivers are alleged to have had open bottles of liquor in their cars and several arrests for possession of illegal meds and marijuana.

The reports from Middletown Detective Sergeant Steve Dollinger appear unedited below.

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SHREWSBURY POLICE OFFICER DIES AT 58

sbury-crepeShrewsbury Borough Hall has funeral bunting displayed in various locations after the loss of veteran officer Alan Morris. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Sergeant Allan Morris, a 25-year veteran of the Shrewsbury Police Department who was transitioning into retirement, passed away suddenly Friday.

The cause is suspected to be of natural conditions, Council President and Police Commissioner Thomas Menapace said. Morris, a sergeant in the department, was 58.

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GUN WAVER AMONG M’TOWN ARRESTEES

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

mtown-cop-carsOne man was arrested for waving a gun and threatening to use it, another was arrested for stealing from a food store and two were cuffed after a fight on Middletown Avenue.

They’re all part of this week’s crime roundup provided by Middletown police.

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M’TOWN POLICE MAKE 5 WEEKEND ARRESTS

mtown-cruiser

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown police made five arrests over the weekend, with incidents including two failed burglary attempts and somebody allegedly trying to lift candy, socks and lawn care products from a food store.

Two others were picked up on active arrest warrants, police said.

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LOANS TARGETED TO BUYERS WHO WORK HERE

live-rb1Tony Marchetta, executive director of the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, introduced the Live Where You Work Program in Red Bank Friday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna says all too often people hear that residents that are fleeing New Jersey for cheaper places to live. He doesn’t necessarily buy it, and suggests those reports be taken with a grain of salt.

At the same time, though, he said he understands the state needs to move on a different, more sustainable course, particularly in the housing market, which has been shaky at best the last few years.

“Municipalities need to change. Red Bank needs to change,” Menna said.

Part of that change began Friday, he said, when the borough became the fifth municipality in Monmouth County, and the 34th in the state, to join a statewide program to help make employees residents of the towns they work in.

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SO LONG, SUMMER OF 2010

beachThe scene at Sea Bright public beach earlier this summer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge) By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

With the astronomical phenomenon known as the autumn equinox occurring at 11:09p EDT tonight, fall begins, displacing the summer of 2010 into the archives of history.

Around the Green, this summer was a hot one, with a couple of power outages and a short-lived water emergency. But it was a fun one, too, say local residents and visitors who were asked by redbankgreen: How was your summer, and do you have a favorite memory? See what they had to say below. Read More »

BIKERS’ BONANZA: A TRIO FOR TWO-WHEELERS

tourdefhRiders assemble for the start of last year’s Tour de Fair Haven.

The straightaways and sidestreets of the greater Green have been thinned — just barely — of peak-season traffic. The late summer sun starts inching for the door before the check arrives, just a little earlier each day.

For hundreds of year-round residents and frequent flyers, however, this little corner of eastern Monmouth County is just coming into its own in the weeks past Labor Day — and one guy’s “good sleeping weather” is another’s prime pedal time.

This Sunday brings the first in a trio of high profile fundraising events powered purely by gears and chains and the people who make them work. A sequel to 2009’s inaugural competition, the second annual Tour de Fair Haven Bicycle Racing Event traces a circuit through a “welcoming and cheering” crowd. Like the two local biking tours that follow on September 25 and 26, it’s a recently minted tradition that’s fast becoming a season-extending attraction — with each turn of the wheel bringing in bucks for worthy causes.

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LOCALS ARRESTED IN SEASTREAK TIX SCHEME

[SEE UPDATE BELOW]

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Four men were arrested Wednesday for selling fake boarding tickets for the SeaStreak commuter ferry, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said.just_in1

Three of the men are locals, and all were charged with second-degree theft by deception, second-degree conspiracy, fourth-degree forgery and fourth-degree uttering a forged instrument.

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IN oRBit: FORNATALE’S ON FIRST

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fornatalesmall

For the past four decades, Pete Fornatale has offered one of the most distinctive voices on New York radio as a disc jockey, interviewer and well-nigh legendary collector of oral history and creator of Mixed Bag Radio.

Few observers of rock and roll history have written about the topic with as much passion and clarity. And here in the 40th anniversary season of Woodstock, the longtime WNEW-FM DJ  brings his skills as a latter-day folklorist to bear with a highly anticipated new book called Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock, and a multimedia presentation on the subject that he’ll be bringing to a somewhat surprising venue, Bellas Seafood Bistro in the bayshore borough of Atlantic Highlands.

As the first in a special series of Artists’ Lectures arranged by the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, Fornatale visits Sunday. We talked to the broadcasting great (now happily ensconced at WFUV out of Fordham U) about the Mud People and the Hand People; about the Santanas and the Porta-Sans, the Rockefellers and the storytellers.

It’s all here, as a way of easing into a brilliantly busy September weekend, in Red Bank oRBit.