Cimg6909The temporary deck of the bridge was erected in 2004.


Four years after its deck was replaced with a temporary metal structure, the West Front Street Bridge is again facing shutdown — this time so a permanent replacement can be built.

The Monmouth County Engineering Department, headed by Joe Ettore, has scheduled two public information meetings this week to discuss “the improvement alternatives” of the bridge, also known as Hubbard’s Bridge, which links Red Bank to the River Plaza section of Middletown. It crosses the headwaters of the Navesink River where it is fed by the Swimming River.

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Curley_fire_truckCouncilman John Curley tosses candy from a fire truck during the 2006 Halloween parade.

Citing a “major budget crisis,” Red Bank Councilman John Curley last night raised, and then backed away from, a suggestion that the borough hold off on the purchase of a new $90,000 fire police truck for six months.

“I know I’m going to lose votes over this, but it’s a conscience thing,” Curley said by way of introducing his request that the council impose a moratorium on any new spending until the final 2008-’09 budget is passed.

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A string of fatal car crashes involving teens on provisional licenses has given rise to a test program: requiring those drivers to display a golden decal on the rear windows or bumpers of their cars.


Students wishing to park their cars at the two public high schools in Middletown will be required to have the stickers starting in September, according to news accounts.

The main thrust, says Assemblywoman Amy Handlin of Lincroft, is to help police identify provisional licenseholders.

From a story in today’s Asbury Park Press:

“What law enforcement told us loud and clear was that they had one very severe problem — the problem for the police is that they have no way of iden-tifying someone as a provisional license holder,” Handlin said. “So they see someone who looks young driving on the road at 3 o’clock in the morning with five other young people in their car, but they don’t know for sure that that person is on a provisional license. So the police need some way to identify” them.

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It’s not as bad as it looks. Jared Pienkos of Fair Haven, playing an insurance pitchman, took an extremely slow-mo hood spill as part of spoof video he and some friends filmed Sunday in the parking lot of Red Bank Regional.

At the wheel was Joe Griesbach of Rumson; behind he camera were Rebecca Cramer of Fair Haven and Aly Honsa of Rumson.

“We don’t know if we’re funny yet,” Pienkos told redbankgreen. Readers will be able to judge for themselves, if and when the video makes it to You Tube, as the foursome plans. Stay tuned.

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Those two new electric cars we told you about last week, the ones Red Bank planned to buy to replace the three-wheeled Cushmans used by parking enforcement?

It turns out they can’t meet the state requirement that they be able to go at least 20 miles per hour.

The cars, which are essentially golf carts, do more like 17, though they can be tweaked to go just above 19 mph, says Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels.

Last night, at Sickels’ urging, the borough council rescinded the resolution authorizing the purchase from golf-cart seller Vic Gerard Golf Cars of two vehicles for $13,750 each.

The request for bids will be tightened up and reopened, borough officials said.

“We’d be breaking the state law by driving them around on borough streets,” said borough attorney Tom Hall.

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Say goodbye to those Cushmans.

Last month, the Red Bank Borough Council authorized the purchase of two Club Car Carryall 2 electric vehicles from golf-cart seller Vic Gerard Golf Cars. They’ll replace a pair of gas-powered Cushman three-wheelers used by Parking Utility enforcers. Price: $13,750 each.

The purchase is part of an effort by elected officials — including last year’s mayoralty rivals Pasquale Menna (who won) and John Curley (who didn’t, but remains on the council) — to begin paring the borough fleet of gas guzzlers and replacing them with energy-efficient vehicles.

While small-scale, it’s a move that reflects what appears to be a big change in the public’s thinking about the environment. In fact, we may be living in history’s ‘greenest’ moment since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

So here’s a question or two inspired in part by the borough’s purchase: would electric cars make sense on the consumer side as well? Is it too soon to dream of the day that our compact, 1.8-square-mile burg might buzz with quiet, compact, no-emissions cars that their owners plug in at night to recharge?

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A curious figure was seen heading stiffly down the driveway to Jim Frechette’s woodworking shop off Shrewsbury Avenue Monday afternoon.

Pale and dressed in white shirt and shorts, his ghostly form was accented by the dark trim of orthopedic restraint: a neck brace, a wrist splint and a knee brace. The black line of an eye patch angled across the back of his head.

This turned out to be Jim Frechette himself, the proprietor and sole employee of the business. And he was visiting his dormant shop for the first time since a motorcycle accident April 30 in Marlboro nearly killed him.

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Ah, the poor, misunderstood Hummer H2.

OK, so it gets 10 mpg in the city, and can’t quite fit into a parking space. But it does have "water fording" capabilities. According to the official Hummer website, "The H2 can ford an impressive 20 inches of water with the throttle in 4LO locked."

So what a shame that this little piggy was confined to a tight space at the corner of Broad and Front on a recent afternoon without a puddle in sight. Then again, the Navesink is just a block or so away. That couldn’t be more than 20 inches deep, right?