FARMERS’ MARKET RELOCATES TO RIVER PLAZA

applesVendors of apples, fresh bread and other goodies packed up their movable feast at the Galleria and took it across the Navesink to Chris’ Landing in Middletown three weeks ago. (Click to enlarge)

breadWhen the clock ran out on the annual fresh-everything extravaganza known as the Red Bank Farmers’ Market three weeks ago, some of the vendors wondered why it had to end.

The market traditionally runs from Mother’s Day to mid-November in the parking lot of at the Galleria Red Bank shopping center. But there’s still a cornucopia of vegetables, fruits, baked goods and crafts to sell.

“We said, as this comes to an end, there will be no place for us to go,” said Laura Dardi of Red Bank, an employee of E.R. & Son Farm, a Colts Neck grower of certified organic produce. “To be cut off two weeks before Thanksgiving is at the worst possible time.”

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FARMERS MARKET THE SUNDAY SPOT

farmers-market2Stacey Gentile, of Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville, hands out cheese samples to visitors of Red Bank’s farmers market. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Cherry Grove Farm has been at the Red Bank Farmers Market for two weeks, and it’s one of the first such open-air markets the Lawrencville-based farm has decided to take part in. Employee Stacey Gentile says Red Bank was at the top of the list of places for the business to try and branch out.

Schnitzie Snacks, a homemade dog-treat business from Long Branch, doesn’t take part in other farmers markets, just Red Bank.

And for the last six years, the owner of Bohemians Panes, out of Tinton Falls, has made the parking lot at The Galleria her No. 1 spot to sell an array of arts and crafts.

These three businesses could set up shop at markets elsewhere, but they choose not to.

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DAD VAIL DUMPS RUMSON; EKDAHL MIFFED

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Dad Vail Regatta won’t be coming to Rumson next year after all, officials announced Thursday, much to the shock and disappointment of Rumson leaders who were assured the popular intercollegiate race would be taking place on the Navesink River.

“That is unfortunately true,” Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl said, just a half-hour after he received the news via telephone from Dad Vail committee member Jim Hanna. “I’m not sure what happened.”

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PLEASE DO NOT EAT THE EXHIBITS

rb-gingerbreadA gingerbread house made by employees of Foodtown of Red Bank on display at Monmouth Street Emporium. (Click to enlarge)

Here’s a nice little addition to the holiday atmosphere in downtown Red Bank: gingerbread houses.

Fourteen businesses throughout the business district have locally made gingerbread creations on display through December 23.

At each stop, visitors can sign up for a chance to win some nifty prizes, described below. They can also make donations to Holiday Express, the charity-minded, cheer-spreading musical ensemble.

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RED BANK SUMMER CAMP GAINS MOMENTUM

play-ballChildren chasing a ball during summer camp at the Red Bank Middle School last month. (Click to enlarge)

After two years of tweaking, an initiative to keep Red Bank kids active and mentally engaged hit its stride this summer, parents and officials say.

For parents, the Summer Enrichment and Recreational Program that ended August 14 had an added benefit: the price, which dropped this year to $75 per child, from up to $300 last year.

That included a half-day of classwork, recreation, field trips and, for some students, two meals a day. And thanks to the juggling of grant monies, Superintendent Laura Morana says the program, based at the middle school, had zero direct impact on taxpayers.

“It was a matter of being quite creative” with funds from several streams, including the federal No Child Left Behind effort and state 21st Century Community Service grants, she said.

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LOVE, PEACE & TIE DYE AT LITTLE SILVER REC

Little Silver’s summer recreation program closed out today with a celebration of love and peace in recognition of the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock.

The event concluded with a ‘tug of peace’ in which, like, a million kids took on a vastly outnumbered crew of adults and counselors. The kids won, winding up in a heap on the lawn behind the Markham Place School.

To enlarge the slideshow, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back here, hit your escape key.

THROWING MUD ON MONMOUTH

tito-twoThe one-named artisan Tito brings his fourth-generation skills to Red Bank and Long Branch this weekend. (Click to enlarge)

In from Spain this weekend is a potter best known simply as Tito, who’s making a return engagement at a Red Bank store that features his earthenware.

Juan Pablo ‘Tito’ Martinez is a third-generation maker of bowls, pitchers and more from the Andalucia region of Spain who won his country’s National Artisan Award in 2008 for keeping alive skills that date back to the Renaissance.

He’ll be at Carter & Cavero, a business specializing in olive oils and vinegars, churning out vases and bowls while fielding questions from anyone interested in his craft.
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STORE GOES SOLAR, BATTERIES INCLUDED

Solar_hobbymasters_red_bankThe view north from Hobbymasters’ roof, which gets unimpeded exposure to the sun.

In what’s being billed as the largest installation of its kind in the Red Bank area, game & toy retailer Hobbymasters plans to cover the roof of its White Street building in electricity-generating solar panels next month.

Alan Placer, whose family owns Hobbymasters and the two-story building that houses it, calls its 9,600-square-foot roof “a perfect platform” for the project because it’s flat and gets full sun exposure.

When completed, the $180,000 system is expected to throw off 23 kilowatts of power, saving the store an estimated $500 a month in electricity costs, says Placer.

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SLINGING MUD ON MONMOUTH

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Spanish mudslinger extraordinaire Juan Pablo ‘Tito’ Martinez will bring a load of Andalucian clay and a borrowed potter’s wheel to downtown Red Bank this weekend.

Martinez, like his father and grandfather — both also called ‘Tito’ — before him, is a well-known potter in Ubeda, Spain. He’ll be setting up a mini-atelier at Carter & Cavero, the olive oil and vinegar boutique on Monmouth Street that is the exclusive U.S. retailer of his work.

Martinez is scheduled to give three days of demonstrations in how he makes his bowls, pitchers and other objects, which range from shallow, delicate dipping plates to vessels that look as though they could withstand a nuclear blast. They’re also quite colorful, often glazed in a rich green that’s a hallmark of Ubeda.

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CARVING OUT A PIECE OF THE LOST PAST

Img_0783Img_0745Rik van Hemmen, above, rough-hews a tulip tree log with a chain saw while Boris Kofman, left, begins shaping one end of what will become a canoe.

A giant tulip tree log that’s been lying on the ground outside the Red Bank Primary School for more than a year has begun its transformation into what local boating enthusiasts and historians hope will become a dugout canoe.

Rik van Hemmen of the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is leading an effort to build the vessel the way Native Americans are believed to have made theirs in the days of pre-colonial America: by using controlled burning to create a lightweight but sturdy shell.

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BRIDGE PAINTERS

Img_6987_2Grace O’Connor of Shadow Lake, above and below right with Penny Ticehurst of Shrewsbury, tries her artistic hand at capturing the Sea Bright-Highlands Bridge from the deck behind Gaiters restaurant in Sea Bright Wednesday morning.

Both women left the heavy equipment that’s about to dismantle the bridge off their canvases. “I don’t think people want cranes,” Ticehurst said. “They don’t want the bridge to change.”Img_6994_3

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GET FRESH ON MOTHER’S DAY

Img_1166Flowers, asparagus, cheesecake, pickles and more: the Farmers Market passes the sniff test with flying colors.

A longtime Red Bank institution kicks off another run through summer and into fall with Sunday’s return of the Farmers Market at the Galleria.

Yep, Mother’s Day, the market’s traditional opening day — and a fine opportunity to pick up some great cut flowers, unbeatable Jersey Fresh vegetables, artisanal creations and homemade cheeses on your way over to Mom’s.

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BACK AT THE WHEEL

Picture10Jim Frechette in his Shrewsbury Avenue workshop. (Photos by Jim Willis)

Longtime readers of redbankgreen — or those who’ve discovered the pleasure of exploring our archive — may recognize the name Jim Frechette.

When we first encountered him, Frechette was trapped in a broken body, unsure how he’d gotten that way, and facing an uncertain future as a result of a motorcycle accident.

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‘SHOW-UP-WITH-HEART’ IN RED BANK

Porter3Rev. Terrence K. Porter of Pilgrim Baptist Church.

In one of the more multifaceted volunteer efforts seen in these parts recently, Pilgrim Baptist Church is organizing a Community Work Day this Saturday that will tackle everything from street cleaning to house painting to the creation of accessories for wheelchair users.

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Focused on Red Bank’s West Side, the daylong effort includes landscaping work at the Evergreen Terrace public housing apartments; the painting of a senior citizen’s home; a car wash in the church parking lot; a sewing klatch to make convenience pouches for use with wheelchairs; and teams of volunteers picking up trash along the lengths of Shrewsbury and Leighton avenues.

Rev. Terrence Porter of Pilgrim Baptist says the response to his call for volunteers has been gratifying, drawing in volunteers from AT&T’s Pioneers Club and kids from the Red Bank Middle School Avid group. So far, he’s got 90 people signed up, and room for more participants, particularly to help with the street sweeps.

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ON THE BLOCK: Y’S CULTURAL CENTER

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After five years and a massive infusion of capital, the Community YMCA has put the Children’s Cultural Center at 51 Monmouth Street up for sale, redbankgreen has learned.

Asking price: $2.55 million. That’s $145,000 less than the non-profit sank into renovations after acquiring the former Red Bank Borough Hall and police station for $1 in 2002.

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The move appears to signal a surrender in the Y’s efforts to establish a thriving, education-oriented arts and entertainment hub for kids in the heart of the downtown.

“We’re not even close to covering costs on that building,” said Sean Byrnes, former Y chairman and current board member. “It’s not panning out as we thought it would.”

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MONMOUTH PLAYERS IN A SPIRITED REVIVAL

Lori_renick2Actor-director-administrator-set decorator-artistic director Lori Renick readies the detail-intensive set of ‘Blithe Spirit’ for Saturday’s opening at Monmouth Players. (Photos courtesy of Diana Moore)

By TOM CHESEK

It’s a busy Monday evening at Middletown’s Navesink Library, and Lori and Paul Renick are putting the finishing touches to another of their typically labor-intensive set designs even as they begin the crucial final week of rehearsals for their latest show.

At the moment, they’re trying to rig up a plate so that it will fall off the wall on cue.

“Actors like to make things as complicated as they can,” says director-stage manager-set designer and sometime actor Paul. “I try to make things as fail-safe as possible.”


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Carpenters and remodelers by trade, the Highlands couple are charged with reinforcing the physical and spiritual foundations of Monmouth Players, the area’s longest continuously operating theatrical company. And as workaholic visionaries and creative perfectionists, the Renicks have recently added a whole new experimental wing to the venerable institution, rewiring the Players to compete on a slicker, more sophisticated level here in the 21st century.

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GIFTING AGAINST THE CLOCK

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It’s crunch time, fellow proscrastinators.

But if the thought of Christmas shopping this weekend leaves you looking a little like Tootsie and Twinkle here, don’t despair. A quick spin through downtown Red Bank is all it takes to start you checking names off your holiday gift lists.

redbankgreen was able to assemble this assortment of affordable gifts in less than hour; the last suggestion below didn’t even require us to step away from our keyboard. All it takes is a little hustle, an open mind, and a little bit of green.

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FAIR HAVEN RETAILER INDICTED

William Neumann, the Fair Haven wicker-furniture dealer who was arrested in March for defrauding 83 customers out of $290,000, has been indicted, the Asbury Park Press reports.

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The indictment, handed up by a Monmouth County grand jury on Monday, reduced the number of alleged victims to 81.

Neumann, 61, who lives in the Leonardo section of Middletown, owns Cabbage Rose LLC, a furniture store in Fair Haven, and Chelsea Manor Unlimited, a company that sells furniture over the Internet, according to a news release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

From the story:

After authorities received numerous complaints, they launched an investigation and determined Neumann received more than $350,000 in payments from customers between January 2004 and January 2007, but failed to deliver merchandise or issue refunds to them, according to the news release.

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CULTURAL CENTER GOES UP-DEMO, AGEWISE

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Starting next month, Diney’s Place/The Children’s Cultural Center won’t be just for kids anymore.

Turns out that investing a ton of money to transform the former Red Bank municipal building and police station into a learning center full of digital technology for kids 11 and under hasn’t paid off as well as the folks at the Community YMCA expected.

Even with art and dance classes for Red Bank Catholic students, the grand old red-brick building with the awesome arched portico is “pretty quiet” most of the day, someone who works there tells redbankgreen.

And after school â?? well, ditto. With Mom and Dad both at work, who’s going to transport little Johnny or Jasmine to the downtown center in the middle of the afternoon and then pick him or her up a couple of hours later?

“For working families, it’s just tough to get them here,” says Gary Laermer, president and chief executive of the Y, parent of the cultural center.

One result? “Participation hasn’t been as good as we would have liked,” says Sean Byrnes, a member of the Y’s board of directors and its former chairman.

Another? Well, even though the nonprofit Y got the Monmouth Street building from the borough for just $1 in 2002, it’s got a $1 million mortgage on it, according to Monmouth County records. That’s got be met.

So it’s time for Plan B, which calls for bringing in some culture-hungry geezers, relatively speaking.

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HARDWARE, WITH LESS TESTOSTERONE

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By LINDA G. RASTELLI

From “hardcore hardware” (no, it’s not as kinky as it sounds) to tchotchkes, just about all the minor necessities of householding can be found at Bain’s Hardware in Sea Bright, says owner Frank Bain.

The aisles overflow with beach chairs and towels, fishing gear, gardening supplies and plumbing pipe. The business includes a full-fledged paint store.

Here, the affable, seemingly unflappable Bain helps customers — prying open a stubborn battery compartment on a Gameboy, fixing a window screen — while graciously answering redbankgreen’s sometimes silly queries about his shop. Middletown resident Bain and his wife, Pat, bought the nearly 100 year-old business 15 years ago, and have expanded it twice.

Why did you open a hardware store?

It was my dream. I always wanted a hardware store forever. I worked in corporate America, and didn’t like it. I was 40 years old when we bought this, and raising a family. My wife was never even in a hardware store, and then she owned one. We’ve been married 32 years. She’s my first wife. (Pat shakes her head).

It was either hardware or rock and roll, and I can only play the radio. I grew up working in a boatyard, taking bicycles apart. I was a sailor. I was a shipfitter. God gave me a machinery gift. I can fix a lot of things.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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The Apparently Unstoppable Colmorgen Kids once again nailed it, being first to identify last week’s image as the gate at 140 Rumson Road, at the corner of Buena Vista.

Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre also recognized it.

A rumor we heard was that actress/rapper Queen Latifah contemplated buying that property some time back, but for whatever reason decided she’d rather live in Colts Neck.

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MINGLING AMID THE BLING

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Taking a lesson from art gallery openings, a Broad Street jewelry store is planning to bring a party atmosphere to nighttime shopping this summer with the addition of in-store live music, food and special events.

Hamilton Jewelers is hosting a series of Thursday-night events over the next four weeks with focus on wine, cognac and fine fashion. Two of them, including this week’s, are open to the public; the others are invite-only.

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NOT THE USUAL GOING, GOING, GONE

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By LINDA G. RASTELLI

Amid the scraps of one retailer’s failed dream, an astonishing leap of trust took place took place on Monmouth Street Thursday, and a new business venture appears to have been born.

Two women bidding for the inventory at Margaret’s Jewelry, which was shut down by the state in April for unpaid taxes, became instant business partners, though they’d never before met.

“We didn’t even know each other’s names,” said Lorraine Shaheen, of Little Silver, who purchased all the store’s jewelry and watches in auction Lot 1 for $8,000.

The minimum bid for Lot 1 had been advertised by the Division of Taxation as $30,000, but the auctioneer, Steve Kelleher, received no bids at that price, and was forced to drop down to $5,000 before receiving an opening bid from Shaheen.

Monica de Guzman, a Lincroft resident, paid $1,500 for the rest of the store’s merchandise, including clothing, mirrors, glassware, rugs, ceramic items and artwork, plus another $500 for all the store’s furnishings, or Lots 2 and 3.

But within the details of how those second and third lots were sold lies a story of instant capitalism.

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