RED BANK: FIRST LESSONS OF NEW YEAR

Day one of the new school year at Red Bank Middle School began with several lessons before students even reached their classrooms Monday.

Among them: stand six feet apart while waiting your turn to enter the building. Then, stand on the red dot while a touchless scanner takes your temperature.

With in-person instruction at 50-percent capacity, four days a week, “we feel confident we can provide a safe environment” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Jared Rumage said at a board of ed meeting last month. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: FOOD FESTS OUT, CONCERTS IN

weeklings red bank njThe Weeklings, who’ve performed at past food festivals in town, will get a starring slot at a concert in Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe sun has set on the possibility that downtown Red Bank will host one or maybe even two food festivals this autumn.

Instead, business promotion agency RiverCenter has put six outdoor concerts on the district’s dance card – but you’ll have to pay to attend.

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RED BANK: CLUB OFFERS LEARNING SPACE

red bank boys girls club 031220The Boys &  Girls Club on Drs. James Parker Boulevard in Red Bank. (Photo by  John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[Press release]

With area school districts offering partial- and full-remote schedules this fall, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (BGCM) has opened Remote Learning Centers during the school day at its Asbury Park and Red Bank locations to assist children with their remote education.

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LITTLE SILVER: RBR REOPENING DELAYED

Work on an expansion of the school as seen in July. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

this just in redbankgreenRed Bank Regional High has had to postpone its partial reopening, set for Thursday, over a lack walk-thru body temperature sensors, the school said in an announcement Tuesday evening.

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RED BANK: SCHOOLS ‘READY TO ROLL’

The traffic flow at the middle school will be reversed to enhance social distancing during student drop-off and pick-up, Rumage said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWhile some 180 school districts throughout New Jersey are pursuing plans for all-virtual instruction, Red Bank’s is on track to open September 14 under a plan that puts students into classrooms two days a week, Superintendent Jared Rumage said Tuesday.

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RED BANK: BUDGET Q&A SLATED AFTER ALL

red bank, nj, ed zipprich, michael ballard, ziad shehadyCouncilman Michael Ballard, center, with Councilman Ed Zipprich, left, and Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in December, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Almost two months later than promised, Red Bank residents will get a detailed explanation next week of a borough budget that would increase property taxes by 2.8 percent.

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RED BANK: SCHOOL REOPENING PLANS AIRED

red bank middle school 032220Students would receive in-school instruction just two days a week under the plan unveiled Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank school officials have begun nailing down a COVID-19-era reopening plan while “standing on shifting ground,” in the words of a board of education member.

On Wednesday, the district unveiled “the most likely scenario for September” in the form of a plan that calls for a mix of classroom and at-home learning.

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VIRUS UPDATE: MONMOUTH TOPS 10K CASES

Case growth in Red Bank, Fair Haven and Little Silver. (Monmouth County data. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njMonmouth County has now surpassed 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the freeholder board announced Thursday.

But four months into the pandemic, the county’s caseload and fatalities have slowed dramatically from the worst of the crisis in early April.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE AT 2.8 PERCENT

A screengrab from Wednesday’s virtual meeting, with Councilman Michael Ballard at top center and Business Administrator Ziad Shehady at center right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Red Bank property owners would pay 2.8 percent more in municipal taxes this year, under a budget advanced by the borough council Wednesday night.

The still-evolving $22.4 million spending plan was the centerpiece of a nearly three-hour online council meeting that left viewers with a lot to unpack.

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RED BANK: FREE COVID-19 TESTS SLATED

Pilgrim Baptist Church is one of six sites in Monmouth County that will offer the tests. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)hot topic

[UPDATE: The COVID-19 testing scheduled for August 7  has been cancelled due to weather.]

Red Bank-area residents will be able to get free, no-appointment COVID-19 tests starting next month under a program co-funded by Monmouth County and a philanthropic organization.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE ON AGENDA

michael ballard 051320Councilman Michael Ballard during an online meeting in May. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesDelayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s proposed budget for 2020 would boost the amount to be raised from local property owners by 5.4 percent.

But heading into the final stretch, it’s not clear that the chairman of the finance committee will support the spending plan if it goes to a vote Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: PLAZA LIMITS IRK OUTSIDERS

red bank broad street plazaAbutting restaurant setups at the north end of Broad Street have created an atmosphere that’s drawing customers away from other restaurants, some owners say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See CORRECTION below]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njIs a north-south divide developing on Broad Street in Red Bank?

Owners of some businesses located just south of the month-old Broadwalk street plaza say they’re being unfairly cut out of a boom in downtown visitors.

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LITTLE SILVER: RBR SCRAPS GRADUATION PLAN

Superintendent Lou Moore with Sophie Wright during a “senior day” event held in June. (Photo courtesy of Ciara Kelly. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

this just in redbankgreenRed Bank Regional High has scrapped its planned in-person graduation ceremony after a senior tested positive for COVID-19, school officials announced Tuesday.

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RED BANK: PLAZA PLANS REWORKED

princeton parklet 2018 2.jpegA public parklet on Witherspoon Street in Princeton. Red Bank officials plan to allow parklets for designated restaurant use. (Photo courtesy of Planet Princeton. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAmong a series of adjustments, Red Bank’s economic reopening committee has scrapped the Sunday pedestrian plaza on Monmouth Street.

Instead, the Broad Street plaza, which has drawn large turnouts three nights a week since debuting June 18, will become a four-day affair with the addition of Sunday operations starting this weekend, Red Bank RiverCenter executive director Laura Kirkpatrick tells redbankgreen.

At the same time, plans are in the works for “parklets,” or temporary seating structures, to be built in parking spots outside a handful of downtown restaurants, including three that participated in the aborted Monmouth Street plaza effort.

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RED BANK: LION IN WAIT… FOR A VACCINE?

A homeowner on River Road in Red Bank found an opportunity for humor in the increasingly politicized debate over masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Unlike the similarly masked lions guarding the New York Public Library’s main branch, these porch lions appear to be less than six feet apart, and thus in compliance with Governor Phil Murphy’s order, issued Wednesday, that masks be worn when social distancing is “not practicable.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

VIRUS UPDATE: ‘MASK UP,’ MURPHY ORDERS

red bank BROAD STREET PHIL TAMMY JOSH MURPHY 061820Governor Phil Murphy donned a mask while dining with his wife, Tammy, and son, Josh, at Char in Red Bank last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njNew Jerseyans must wear face coverings outdoors when social distancing is not practicable, Governor Phil Murphy ordered Wednesday.

The mandate marked the latest sign of concern about that Murphy labeled “backsliding” from earlier progress against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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ON THE GREEN: ONE POLLING PLACE PER TOWN

red bank, nj, voting boothTowns on the Greater Red Bank Green and beyond won’t see much in the way of traditional voting Tuesday.

With the Democratic and Republican primaries occurring during a pandemic, voters have been encouraged by election officials to cast ballots by mail.

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RED BANK: MURPHY ‘PAUSES’ INDOOR DINING

Patrons of the Dublin House in Red Bank gather at its outdoor Temple Bar on June 20. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Tapping the brakes on his economic restart effort, Governor Phil Murphy indefinitely postponed a planned resumption of indoor restaurant dining Monday.

The move is “prudent” in the face of rising COVID-19 infection rates in other states, Murphy said at his daily briefing on the pandemic.

He also cited “overcrowding, a complete disregard for social distancing, [and] very few if any face coverings” at some New Jersey bars that he did not name.

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RED BANK: PLAZAS RETURN FOR WEEK TWO

red bank broad street plazared bank broad street plazaAfter a widely praised start last week, pedestrian plaza dining and shopping on Broad Street in Red Bank returns for week two starting Thursday night.

Under the economic restart effort, Broad Street between West Front and Wallace streets is closed to vehicles from 3 p.m to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday evenings, and Monmouth Street between Broad and Maple Avenue is closed all day Sunday.

But after daytime sunshine, the weather forecast for Thursday evening is iffy, with evening showers possible, according to the National Weather Service.

What happens if it rains? Does the street reopen to vehicular traffic? No, and merchants make the call for themselves whether open, close or resume operations when passing summer showers threaten, as detailed by redbankgreen here.

Here’s the extended forecast for the Greater Red Bank Green.

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VIRUS UPDATE: MONMOUTH DEATH TOLL AT 700

Monmouth County COVID-19 Fatalities 062320.pngOne hundred of Monmouth County’s fatalities have been reported since June 1. Below, a map shows the number of COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 population by county; the statewide figure is 147. (New Jersey Health Department data. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

COVID death rate per 100,000 by county 062324.pngOne hundred days after its first reported death from COVID-19, Monmouth County has now seen 700 fatalities in the pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy’s administration reported Tuesday.

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