RED BANK: A WEEKEND IN THE COUNTRY

Maggie Rose headlines the first-ever Red Bank Rockin’ Country Music Festival, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Marine Park and continues Sunday. Hosted by Red Bank RiverCenter, the event will spotlight the culinary creations of borough restaurants. Profits will benefit the Red Bank Public Library Foundation, the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, Red Bank Charter School Library, and RiverCenter. Admission is $5 for anyone over 10 years old. Here’s the full entertainment schedule. (Click to enlarge)

 

SEA BRIGHT: DONOVAN’S COMEBACK DELAYED

sb donovan's 040214The site of Donovan’s Reef in April. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An ambitious plan to reopen a prominent Sea Bright bar by July 4 won’t meet its goal, the Star-Ledger’s website reports.

Bob Phillips, an owner of Donovan’s Reef, tells nj.com that the effort has been frustrated by his inability to obtain a loan from the federal government.

Still, the business, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012, will reopen in scaled-down form this summer, with completion of a permanent new structure as early as November, Phillips tells the news organization.

Read More »

RED BANK: STORES REOPEN DAY AFTER FIRE

RB FIRE 060814 5rb fire 060914Stores, at right, were back in business as usual Monday, one day after a fire damaged a second-floor apartment at 43 Monmouth Street in Red Bank Sunday. Because customer furs are stored offsite, none were affected at Winters Furs, just below the location of the fire, said manager Rebecca Angello, and the Broadway Diner, next door, was reopened shortly after the blaze without any impact, a manager told redbankgreen. Fire Chief Tommy Welsh could not be reached for comment on the cause of the blaze, which displaced several tenants. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: FIRE RIPS DOWNTOWN APARTMENT

rb fire 060814 3Firefighters used the roof of the Broadway Diner to access the burning building next door until aerial truck ladders were deployed. Below, Matt Tasche, center, escaped the burning apartment unharmed. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb fire 060814 2A Red Bank man escaped safely when fire swept through his second-floor downtown apartment as he slept early Sunday afternoon.

Matt Tasche, 29, told redbankgreen he awoke at noon to the sound of his window air conditioner shutting off to find the apartment, above Winter Furs at 43 Monmouth Street, filling with smoke.

Read More »

RED BANK: MINTON RESIGNS, HANLON BAILS

burnham di somma 110513Sean Di Somma, above at lower right, on election night last November. Below, Jack Minton, center, with candidate Joe Mizzi and then-Councilwoman Grace Cangemi in 2010. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

minton 110210Once again, a Red Bank Republican council candidate is in the market for a running mate.

This time, though, Sean Di Somma will also have the title of local party chairman as he goes about finding a replacement.

Fellow candidate Brian Hanlon has dropped out of this year’s race against Democratic incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, he told redbankgreen Wednesday, because his employer, Oppenheimer, objected.

And party chair Jack Minton is stepping down, in all likelihood to be succeeded by Di Somma when the the party faithful meet for their annual reorganization meeting this weekend.

Read More »

RED BANK: TWO SAFE AFTER KITCHEN FIRE

rb fire 051414A fire in the second-floor apartment at 218 Mechanic Street in Red Bank drove its two tenants out into the street shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday. The blaze, which was quickly doused by volunteer firefighters, originated in the oven, apartment occupant Chris Beattys told redbankgreen. The first-floor unit was unoccupied at the time, he said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

SHREWSBURY: TWO SAFE AFTER HOUSE FIRE

shrews fire 1 051314The scene at 165 Spruce Drive shortly before dawn. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Update: Homeowner Lori Blahut tells us there were four people in the house at the time of the fire: two adults and two children, all of whom got out safely.]

By JOHN T. WARD

shrews fire 2 051314Two Shrewsbury residents were safe after an early-morning fire in the basement of their Spruce Drive home Tuesday.

Volunteer firefighters executed a “phenomenal” stop to the fire, which was reported at 4:50 a.m., Chief Pete Gibson told redbankgreen.

Read More »

RED BANK: Di SOMMA TRIES AGAIN

di somma 2 102413Sean Di Somma has paired up with electoral politics newcomer Brian Hanlon for his second council try. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Republican Sean Di Somma is going to try again.

A political novice who last year found himself accused of being a fugitive over a traffic ticket, Di Somma tells redbankgreen he’s running for council again this year.

He’s pairing up with Brian Hanlon to try to take out Democratic incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich in November’s election.

The Di Somma/Hanlon ticket, though, won’t have a mayoral candidate to oppose Mayor Pasquale Menna, who tells redbankgreen he’s going for a third four-year term.

Read More »

COUNTRY MUSIC FEST COMING TO RED BANK

marine park stage 053113The mainstage-and-second-stage setup of RiverFest and other events at Marine Park will be replaced by two equal-sized stages for the Red Bank Country Music Festival, featuring Maggie Rose, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

maggie roseGet out the pointy leather boots and brush up on yer twang: Red Bank’s goin’ country in June.

A new event called the Red Bank Country Music Festival will set up camp in Marine Park for two days in late June, taking over a slot on an outdoor events calendar filled last year by Sippin’ on the River.

While Sippin’ won’t be back this year, its pioneering wet-your-whistle spirit will live on, as the country-themed food-and-music event will feature wine and beer sales, only the second such event in recent history to allow alcohol consumption in a borough park.

Read More »

RED BANK: LIBRARY LAYOFFS SPARK OUTRAGE

sira williams 031214Laid-off children’s librarian Sira Williams embraces colleague Jane Eigenrauch after Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Hours after more than half the staff of the Red Bank Public Library was laid off, supporters packed a borough council meeting Wednesday night demanding a financial fix that would maintain the 77-year-old institution’s hours, programming and jobs.

Taking turns at a microphone to recall their own childhood days at the library or of watching their children learn to read there, a string of speakers pressed the council on how the library could find itself facing an estimated $131,000 operating deficit this year, and what the governing body planned to do about it.

“I can’t believe a town as wonderful as ours is facing this crisis,” said Sally Gordon or Windward Way, noting that Red Bank’s cultural assets led to its selection by Smithsonian Magazine as the third-best town in America in 2012. “I urge you, because you have the knowledge and the power, to figure out how we can get past this crisis.”

Read More »

RED BANK: LIBRARY PUTS STAFF ON NOTICE

rbpl board 022714 2A meeting of the Red Bank library board in the former living room of the Eisner family last month. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rbpl 2 102113The Red Bank Public Library has put its entire staff on notice of possible layoffs in the face of a looming budget shortfall.

Library director Virginia Papandrea confirmed to redbankgreen Tuesday morning that all 10 staffers, including three part-timers, were advised by letter dated Friday that they could be laid off unless the facility can fill an operating budget shortfall estimated at $131,000.

The move comes as the library faces a whopping payout of more than $70,000 in unused sick time to a retiring employee and a drop in the sum that the borough is obligated under state statute to pay into the facility from property tax collections.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: COP GETS FIVE YEARS

lspd-1Solari was found guilty of assaulting an arrestee in the borough police station. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_01Suspended Little Silver police officer Steven Solari was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday in a case in which he was alleged to have attacked a handcuffed man in the borough police station.

Solari, 40, also was ordered to forfeit his $91,000-a-year job and any future prospect for public employment under the sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Francis J. Vernoia, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: DONOVAN’S TO REBUILD

donovan's 2 110312Donovan’s Reef as seen five days after Hurricane Sandy, above, and in better days, below. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Donovan's 10-07 2Smashed to splinters by Hurricane Sandy, Sea Bright’s venerated beachfront bar, Donovan’s Reef, will make it’s return this summer, an  owner tells redbankgreen.

The comeback, approved earlier this week by the borough planning board in a unanimous 8-0 vote, could begin with an the opening of tiki bar as soon as May 15, said Bob Phillips, who co-owns the business with two partners.

“Their mentality is, ‘We need you more than you need us,'” Phillips said of the board’s members.

Read More »

RED BANK: NOT MUCH LEFT OF BOAT TO PROBE

navesink ice 012614 18“Not much of evidentiary value” remains of the icebound boat that burned on the Navesink off Red Bank early Wednesday, State Police spokeswoman Trooper Irina Spies said Thursday. “It burned to the water line.” Still, an investigation continues, and the agency’s marine unit will look into claims reported by redbankgreen that the Fiddler was the scene of a prior fire after the river froze in late January, she said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: WAS THE FIDDLER TORCHED?

fiddler 012614 2The Fiddler last month, above, and during Wednesday’s fire, below, as seen from Maple Cove. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb boat fire 021214 3Did one or more vandals walk several hundred yards out onto the frozen Navesink River in the dead of night – in bitter cold – to torch an icebound boat early Wednesday? Or did the fire start without human assistance?

In the aftermath the predawn blaze that destroyed a vessel dubbed the Fiddler off Red Bank, some redbankgreen readers don’t find the arson scenario such a stretch – because there was another fire on the vessel in the past two weeks, they claim.

Read More »

RED BANK: BOAT FIRE VIDEO

The fire that destroyed the Fiddler, at anchor and enclosed in ice on the Navesink River, early Wednesday morning, as seen from Riverside Gardens Park, the Cooper Bridge and Marine Park in Red Bank. As of 9 a.m. the vessel was still smoldering. (Cheesy video by John T. Ward. )

RED BANK: LOBSTER BOAT BURNS ON ICE

rb boat fire 021214 1The Fidder seen from the Cooper Bridge as it burned early Wednesday morning. Below, the icebound vessel on January 26. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

navesink ice 012614 2The Fiddler, a mysteriously anchored boat that drew curious skaters, iceboaters and walkers out onto the frozen Navesink River in recent weeks, seemed to defy nature.

How long, people wondered, could it avoid getting crushed in the grip of ice between Red Bank and Middletown?

Well, if the so-called ‘lobster boat’ was doomed, few might have foreseen that it would meet its demise this way.

Read More »

RED BANK: PARTYING IN THE NEW YEAR

The bubbly flowed, hips shook and lips locked as Red Bank bars welcomed the start of 2014 Tuesday night, as captured in these photos by redbankgreen‘s Peter Lindner. Police responded to a number of slip-and-falls, and there was one DWI arrest – but overall, New Year’s Eve was a routine night for the RBPD, according to Chief Darren McConnell. (Photos by Peter Lindner.)

RED BANK: WOMAN SURVIVES SUICIDE TRY

AUTHORITIES_RB2An 18-year-old woman survived a leap in front of a North Jersey Coast Line train at the Red Bank station on New Year’s Day, authorities tell redbankgreen.

Citing privacy restrictions, New Jersey Transit spokesman John Durso did not release the name and hometown of the victim, whose age was obtained by redbankgreen from other authorities.

Read More »

RED BANK: FIXX SETTLEMENT EXPECTED

fixx-ext-082411A tentative deal to settle allegations arising from recent melees has tentative agreement, the mayor says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fixx, the troubled Red Bank nightclub that was facing a license suspension hearing this week, has negotiated a tentative settlement with the borough, redbankgreen has learned.

Mayor Pasquale Menna confirmed on Monday that the deal has led to the cancellation of a trial-like hearing by the borough council that was scheduled for Tuesday evening.

Read More »

RED BANK FIRE HERO IN MORE HOT WATER

robert womble 122111Robert Womble Jr. at Red Bank borough hall in December, 2011, when he was honored for heroism. (Click to enlarge)

just_in1A Red Bank man who was lauded for heroism in a 2011 fire is in legal trouble again.

Robert Womble Jr., 53, of Evergreen Terrace, was arrested by Asbury Park police Saturday and charged with trying to steal a $40 item from a Rite Aid store in that city, according to a police report.

Police said Womble scratched the hands and arms of two employees who tried to stop him.

Read More »

RED BANK: STEEPLE STABLE, WEDDING’S ON

tower hill 110713Quick work by contractors and inspectors led to the reopening of the church Friday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The landmark First Presbyterian Church at Tower Hill in Red Bank was back to doing the Lord’s work Friday morning following a 10-day shutdown triggered by a dicey steeple.

That means Sunday services will be held, dozens of students will return to their school and – most pressing – a wedding will go off as planned Friday evening.

The bride-and-groom-to-be, whose names were not disclosed, held a rehearsal Thursday night at their fallback sanctuary, the United Methodist Church on Broad Street, “but tonight they’ll be having their wedding here,” Tower Hill spokeswoman Karen Gyimesi tells redbankgreen.

Read More »