LITTLE SILVER: COP GUILTY ON SIX COUNTS

HOT-TOPIC_02Suspended Little Silver police officer Steven Solari was guilty of six counts, but not guilty of aggravated assault on a arrestee at the borough police station almost four years ago, NJ.com reported Thursday afternoon.

From the report:

A jury found Little Silver police officer Steven Solari, accused of punching a handcuffed man in 2009, guilty on four counts of official misconduct, one count of simple assault and one count of hindering his own apprehension on Thursday.

The jury found him not guilty on two counts of aggravated assault, one count of tampering with a witness and one count of obstructing the administration of the law.

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RED BANK: TRIAL ON FIXX LICENSE SLATED

fixx-ext-082411Fixx faces a possible 40-day suspension for two recent brawls. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s governing body is scheduled to decide next month whether to suspend the liquor license of the nightclub Fixx for up to 40 days for two recent closing-time melees, Mayor Pasquale Menna announced Wednesday night.

In addition, the borough was planning to notify the West Front Street bar’s owners on Thursday that they owe the town $33,000 for a tardy response to a fire code violation earlier this year, Administrator Stanley Sickels told redbankgreen.

Because the council will act as the equivalent of a jury at a hearing on alleged violations of state Alcohol and Beverage Control laws relating to brawls on September 22 and October 6, Menna and borough Attorney Dan O’Hern advised council members not to comment on the case.

But that didn’t stop neighbor Tony Busch Sr. from teeing up the bar, which has been the scene of two wide-ranging brawls in the past month. The most recent, early Sunday morning, required 25 cops from towns as far away as Keyport and  Long Branch, as well as eight Red Bank cops, to quell.

“What’s going on here is tantamount to a terrorist attack,” said Busch, one of five homeowners living above the Work Out World gym next door to Fixx. “This is getting worse by the day. And it’s very tough for the town, because we’re not set up for a terrorist attack.”

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MENNA: FIXX OWNERS ‘THUMBING THEIR NOSE’ AT RED BANK, WILL FACE SWIFT LEGAL ACTION

dogs-of-pavlov-fixxA 2009 view of the interior at Fixx. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Legal action against Red Bank nightclub Fixx could come as early as Wednesday in the aftermath of the second closing-time melee in two weeks early Sunday morning, Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen.

Menna said he had ordered borough departments to report on “all incidents and violations” involving the West Front Street club since January 1, with an eye toward a possible announcement of legal action at Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting of the mayor and council.

“I’m prepared to take action to ending this completely unacceptable business model,” Menna said Monday. Unruly behavior by bar patrons “is obviously being condoned” its owners, he added.

“The owners have been thumbing their noses at the municipality,” he said. “They can’t control their business. It’s time for the state to step in and control their business.”

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RED BANK: CAKE BOSS TO ENTER DESSERT FRAY

cake boss 091813Carlo’s Bakery of ‘Cake Boss’ fame plans to open in time for the Christmas holidays at 84 Broad Street, a company official said. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Make room on the oven rack: Cake Boss is moving in on Red Bank’s sweet tooth.

Carlo’s Bakery, the Hoboken pastry shop that gave rise to cable-TV phenom ‘Cake Boss’ Buddy Valastro and his growing empire of  retail bake shops, has rented the former Ricky’s Candy Cones and Chaos space at 84 Broad Street, a company official confirmed to redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: MARKET, HOMES EYED AT FIVE-WAY

Developer Ray Rapcavage envisions a greengrocer flanked by condos and townhomes at Red Bank’s five corners. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of Red Bank’s long-forsaken properties may be in for a major overhaul.

Owner and developer Ray Rapcavage plans to convert nearly a whole block at the five corners confluence of Harding Road and Branch and Hudson avenues into a three-building complex anchored by an old-fashioned fruit and vegetable market and 20 residences.

If approved and built, the project would transform the acre-sized site of four existing homes and a former gasoline station into a vibrant, eastward expansion of the downtown business district, said Rapcavage, who gave redbankgreen a sneak peek at his plans Monday.

“When you come into that intersection, you’re going to see a lot of green,” he said of produce displays he has plans along a the Harding Road facade of the market.

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RED BANK FIRM SMACKED FOR TRICKERY

A Rumson commodities trader and his Red Bank firm have been slapped with nearly $6 million in fines and paybacks orders by United States and British regulators for an alleged scheme to manipulate prices for oil, agricultural products and more, according to various media reports Monday.

According to a report by Bloomberg News carried on the Star-Ledger website, NJ.com, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission charged Michael Coscia and his firm, Panther Energy Trading, with market ‘spoofing,’ in which bids and offers in futures contracts for crude oil, metals and other commodities were made anD quickly withdrawn to create the illusion of market demand.

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SEA BRIGHT: FAST AUCTION FOR FORMER GYM

Bidders arriving, above, and inspecting the interior of the Ocean Avenue building. (Photo by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

Things are looking up for Sea Bright. The hurricane-ravaged town isn’t merely rebuilding what was wiped out by the storm – it’s moving forward and attracting investors willing to bet on its future.

Case in point: the former home of Adrenaline Fitness.

On Wednesday morning, a dozen prospective buyers showed up to place bids on the three-story multi-use building at 1054 Ocean Avenue. Within a few minutes, five of them bid up to the property from an opening $500,000 to $700,000.

Rumson resident Christina Galinos walked away with the prize, for $720,000.

“I love the location, and I just think that Sea Bright is a great town that has so much potential,“ Galinos told redbankgreen afterward. “It’s going to come back even stronger. I’d love to be a part of that.”

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FAIR HAVEN: COFFEE’S FRESH AT BOOSKERDOO

“I feel like I should sign the wall or something,” said Josh Epstein of Rumson, the first customer in the door when Booskerdoo opened Friday morning. Below, owner Jim Caverly shining up the equipment. (Photos by Jim Willis.)

By JIM WILLIS

Like riding a fixie or putting a bird on it, “micro-roasting coffee beans” sounds like a possible merit badge requirement out of the hipster handbook. So it’s a bit surprising that James Caverly, owner of newly opened Fair Haven micro-roastery Booskerdoo, sports none of the trappings of hipsterism: no tattoo, no handlebar mustache.

“No way,” says Caverly, “that’s not what we’re about. Our logo says, ‘Fresh Roasted Coffee For All.'”

Caverly goes for inclusivity, and gets excited helping coffee drinkers discover how much better the experience can be by drinking coffee brewed with fresh-roasted beans.

“We use the term micro-roaster like you would use the term micro-brewer for beer,” says Caverly. “It’s the same concept. If you mass produce in any business, what ends up happening is efficiency is your number one priority, and quality becomes second. In micro-roasting, you’re working on quality with small batches. We don’t do a ton, we don’t have a warehouse. We roast it and ship it.”

Caverly, 31, is originally from Princeton but after graduating from Rutgers and living in New York City, he’s decided he wants to “live and die in Monmouth County.” He and his wife, Amelia, and their four-month-old daughter, Claire, live in Interlaken.

During pre-opening preparations at the River Road shop – formerly the home to the Java Stop – redbankgreen took the opportunity to talk with Caverly about beans, siphon brews and why there’s no Booskerdoo in Red Bank.

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SHREWSBURY: MAN TICKETED FOR DOG-IN-CAR

Police questioning Ralph Prisco after several shoppers reported he’d left his dog in a hot car Monday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

A Bronx man was issued a summons for leaving a dog in his car outside the Shrewsbury Trader Joe’s store Monday, when temperature approached 90 degrees, authorities tell redbankgreen.

Ralph Prisco, 80, was cited for animal cruelty, an offense carrying a potential $1,000 fine and six-month jail sentence, according to Monmouth County ASPCA Detective Sergeant William Hyer.

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THREE LOCALS ARRESTED IN GAMBLING BUST

Men from Little Silver, Sea Bright and Shrewsbury Township were among 22 arrested in recent days as part of “a well-organized gambling enterprise” that grossed $1 million a week, authorities said Tuesday morning.

An 18-month investigation dubbed “Operation Shore Bet” culminated Monday with the arrest of 22 suspects, the seizure of a dozen vehicles, more than $500,000 in cash, and the freezing of financial accounts used to facilitate the illegal activity, according to an announcement by Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

The enterprise, allegedly run by men in Monmouth Beach and Hillsborough, extended from Monmouth County into New York State, and allegedly used “sophisticated electronic resources – including websites to track illegal wagering and record profits and losses,” as well as money-laundering schemes, Gramiccioni said.

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RED BANK: DONORS GIVE RIVERVIEW $5M

The gift is the latest in a series of million-dollar donations to the Red Bank hospital’s foundation. (Click to enlarge)

Spotlight-avoiding donors have dropped $5 million into the coffers of Riverview Medical Center‘s foundation, the latest in a recent series of big-dollar contributions to the Red Bank facility.

Here’s the announcement, issued late Monday afternoon:

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RUMSON: AU REVOIR, V-ZONE

A home on Warren Street in Rumson undergoing elevation in February. (Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

All homes in storm-battered Rumson have been moved out of the most vulnerable flood zone under new flood-elevation maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Monday.

Mayor John Ekdahl says the revised maps are significantly different than the advisory maps released back in December.

“One of the things that becomes apparent as it effects Rumson is that we virtually lost all “V” zones,” Ekdahl said. “Even Barley Point [Island}, where we lost four homes, was removed.”

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SEA BRIGHT: NEW FEMA MAPS OFFER ANSWERS

A pair of homes undergoing elevation on Center Street in Sea Bright earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

Changes to the federal government’s flood risk maps are out, and the revisions are providing relief to anxious homeowners in Sea Bright and elsewhere along New Jersey’s coastline.

The new maps, officially unveiled Monday, show that the Federal Emergency Management Agency greatly reduced the scope of areas in the dreaded zone V, in which homes are said to be imperiled not only by flooding but wave action.

On Monday, Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long told redbankgreen the latest maps showed a “V” zone shift, and that it was good news for residents in her town.

“Nearly all of the homes west of Ocean Avenue were moved back to AE zones,” she said.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S EYES RASSAS LOT

The plan calls for access from Broad Street in both directions, as well as from Garfield Place. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Just a month after ending its long run as a car dealership, a gateway property to Red Bank could become a Walgreen’s drugstore.

The former home of Rassas Pontiac/Buick, which closed in April after 83 years in Red Bank, and 64 years at the southernmost address on Broad Street, would become a giant personal-care products emporium, complete with a drive-thru window, according to documents filed with the borough planning office Wednesday.

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RUMSON: ONE HURT AS TOUR VAN HITS TRUCK

Emergency personnel place the victim in a MONOC helicopter that landed at Rumson-Fair Haven regional to transport her to Jersey Shore Medical Center. The damaged van, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Visiting Nurse Association van carrying “multiple” sightseers on an annual tour of grand homes smashed into a dump truck in Rumson early Thursday afternoon, seriously injuring one passenger.

The victim, who was not immediately identified, was transported by MONOC helicopter to the trauma center at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, said police Chief Scott Paterson.

Two other passengers may have also been taken to a hospital lesser injuries, said Paterson, who added that information was still being gathered by investigators shortly before 3 p.m.

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SHREWSBURY: ILL FAWN FOUND AT SCHOOL

The male, just a few days old, checks out healthwise, according to the Humane Society. (Click to enlarge)

[See correction below]

An ailing baby deer was found in the playground of the Shrewsbury School Creative Learning Center in Shrewsbury Wednesday morning, borough animal control officer Henry Perez tells redbankgreen.

The fawn, “just a few days old,” was lethargic and undernourished, Perez said.

The deer’s mother was nowhere to be seen, he said.

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RED BANK: VISCOMI DISPUTES SHE QUIT RACE

Suzanne Viscomi during her 2012 council run. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE: See Cindy Burham comments below]

Red Bank borough council candidate Suzanne Viscomi had not in fact dropped out of the race last week, as reported by the Asbury Park Press, she says in a web posting that tees up her former running mate, Cindy Burnham, for running on a “a personal vendetta and to appease her ego.”

But whether Viscomi is still running, well, you’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out, she tells redbankgreen.

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BOWLING SITE EYED FOR RESTAURANT, STORES

An architect’s rendering shows spaces for three yet-to-be identified stores and a restaurant on the former site of Memory Bowling in Shrewsbury, which was destroyed in a June, 2009 fire, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Four years after a devastating fire reduced the Memory Bowling alley to ashes, Shrewsbury may be getting new businesses on the rubble-strewn site.

Metrovation, the Seattle-based owner of the Grove and the Grove West shopping centers nearby on Broad Street/Route 35, is seeking approval to build three stores and a restaurant on the one-acre property, at 89 Newman Springs Road.

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ONE ARRESTED IN BRAWL AT RBR v. R-FH GAME

A Rumson man was arrested following a melee during a baseball game at Red Bank Regional High in Little Silver Saturday afternoon, police said.

Patrick Maisto, 49, is alleged to have assaulted a player during a bench-clearing brawl, Little Silver police Lieutenant Bob Frank tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: NEW RESTAURANT PLANNED

Plans filed with the borough call for the creation of a restaurant at the long-vacant former home of Fameabilia. A deal to sell the property is in the works. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Idle for more than four years, a prominent storefront in downtown Red Bank would be converted to a 162-seat restaurant under plans on file at borough hall.

Who would own and operate the nameless restaurant at 42 Monmouth Street – the former home of the Fameabilia sports memorabilia shop – is not disclosed. But the property is under contract and expected to change hands as early as next week, redbankgreen has learned.

The conversion plan filed by owners Bruce and Julie Baron is consistent with the prospective buyer’s plans for the site, we’re told.

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REVENUE & PROFIT UP AT URBAN OUTFITTERS

urban-outfitters-logoUrban Outfitters, the owner of national clothing chains with a presence in downtown Red Bank and Shrewsbury, reported strong revenue gains in its fourth fiscal quarter, even as stores that had been open more than a year struggled to match last year’s performance.

The Philadelphia-based company’s Urban Outfitters brand, which includes a store at Broad and West Front streets in Red Bank, saw a 16-percent jump in sales from the comparable period of a year ago, to $415 million, it reported.

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SEA BRIGHT DROPS ‘UNWORKABLE’ FEMA FIX

Flip-flops over coverage of homeowner repair costs prompted town officials to withdraw from a pilot program, they said. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Frustrated by bureaucratic waffling, Sea Bright officials pulled the borough out of a federal program aimed at quickly getting residents back into their Hurricane Sandy-damaged homes Tuesday night.

Town officials cited indecision and flip-flops over what would be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s Sheltering and Temporary Electric and Power, or STEP, program as the main the reasons for the withdrawal.

“The goal was to get the residents home,” said Mayor Dina Long. “We thought the STEP program would be very helpful in achieving that goal, but ultimately it turned out to be unworkable.”

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SEA BRIGHT: CHRISTIE WINS DEM’S BACKING

Governor Chris Christie poses with Boondocks Fishery owner Kelly Ryan wearing lobster-claw headgear given out at the Red Bank restaurant. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Governor Chris Christie returned to Sea Bright Thursday to pick up an early re-election endorsement from Mayor Dina Long, who crossed party lines and called him a “hero to Sea Bright and all across the Jersey shore.”

Long  – a Democrat who once volunteered worked as a paid campaign staffer for governors Jim Florio and Jim McGreevey, presidential candidate Bill Bradley and then-Senator Jon Corzine – said her backing of the Republican incumbent had “nothing to do with” the qualifications, or gender, of presumptive Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Senator Barbara Buono.

“It’s about humanity,” she said.

Christie eagerly accepted the endorsement, calling it, “a powerful symbol of people crossing party lines and working together to get things fixed.”

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FAIR HAVEN: CLOSINGS ROCK RIVER ROAD

Nature’s Emporoium is closing after 40 years in the same location, and will be replaced by a women’s clothing boutique displaced from Sea Bright. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

As though hit by an economic hurricane, Fair Haven’s historic downtown is reeling from the abrupt loss of four well-established River Road retailers.

• Eclectic gift and clothing shop Nature’s Emporium is closing after 40 years. A women’s clothing boutique is expected to take over its space by early spring.

• Gourmet Picnic closed on Monday after a sale, according to a notice posted on the 10-year-old bakery’s front door.

• Eight-year-old Java Stop closed two weeks ago, and its cozy space will be taken over by two-year-old coffee roaster Booskerdoo, in its first expansion from Monmouth Beach.

• Write Impressions, a custom stationery and wedding invitation shop, packed it in after 32 years this weekend and downsized to a corner of a florist shop in Middletown.

Owners of three of the outgoing businesses cited the effects of a seven-month closing of the Oceanic Bridge, ending last May, among the reasons for shutting out the lights.

“There’s just no traffic,” said Write Impressions owner Christine Ancona.

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RED BANK: PHARMACY CLOSING TODAY

Tom McGrath wishes Mary Respol well on her final day of 26 years working for the Yura family. A passerby checks out the window display, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sad day at Red Bank’s Professional Pharmacy.

A mainstay for late-night-prescriptions and other medical needs for 61 years, the Broad Street apothecary and gift shop is closing down Tuesday at 10 p.m., and a stream damp-eyed well-wishers and bargain hunters have been flowing through the store to say goodbye to old friends, staffers said.

“We have customers who’ve moved out out town but still come back,” said Mary Respol, the store’s most veteran employee. “It’s family.”

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