RED BANK: LOFTS LAND WEST ELM AS TENANT

west elm 120414The furniture retailer will occupy the ground-floor corner at West Front Street and Bridge Avenue, as shown in this rendering. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank’s West Side Lofts project now under construction has landed upscale furniture retailer West Elm as an anchor tenant.

The pending arrival of the store, slated for next August, was at the center of a handful of changes to the massive project the borough zoning board approved Thursday night.

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RED BANK: GAS LEAK SLOWS THE FLOW

rb traffic 111814rb traffic 111814 2Repair work on a leaking natural gas line on Riverside Avenue in Red Bank had northbound traffic on Route 35 backed up nearly to Waverly Place early Tuesday afternoon as vehicles encountered a one-lane bottleneck just past West Front Street. Both southbound lanes were closed for the length of Riverside, though Middletown police report no significant backups from detours. Red Bank police say they’ve been told the work should be completed by about 4 p.m.

Update, 2:45 p.m.: as seen in the photo at right, traffic is backing up onto Cooper Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: EV SPACE? HOLD THAT THOUGHT

RB EV CHARGER 110614 2The public charging station, located outside borough hall, remained under wraps Thursday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

park itIt seems somebody at Red Bank borough hall was a little premature in telling redbankgreen that the town’s first and only public electric vehicle charging station would go live Thursday.

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RED BANK: EV CHARGING SET AT $2 PER HOUR

rb ev charger 100614park itRed Bank’s first and only electric vehicle charging station, installed on Monmouth Street outside borough hall, will cost users $2 per hour for both a recharge and the use of the parking space under and ordinance approved by the council Wednesday night. That compares to $1 per hour for street parking and $.50 per hour in the lot, both without the juice.

The station was scheduled to be activated Thursday morning. Who will be the first to charge up? (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: CLOSING IN ON WEST SIDE LOFTS

wb ws lofts 100814 1A fifth-floor view of the  “mews” between two buildings at the West Side Lofts, looking toward the Two River Theater. Below, developer Chris Cole. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

chris cole 100814After years on the drawing board, one of the biggest – and architecturally boldest – residential projects ever conceived for Red Bank is nearing completion.

While area merchants and restaurateurs anxiously await their arrival, West Side Lofts developer Chris Cole said he’s planning on having the first tenants move in as early as February.

Designed by David Baker Architects in San Francisco, the project features 92 rental units in a Rubik’s-cube-like amalgam of bold color and jutting facades that dominates the corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue, in what’s sometimes referred to as the Arts and Antiques District of town.

But “it’s not trying to make a statement,” Cole  told redbankgreen on a recent tour. “It’s more trying to embrace the arty side of town.”

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RED BANK: CHARGING STATION TO GO LIVE

rb charging 092614The charging station, the borough’s first, has been bagged since completion of the Monmouth Street reconstruction project last year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

park itA long-completed but never activated electric vehicle charging station on Monmouth Street outside Red Bank’s borough hall won’t be idle much longer, town officials said Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: MAJOR ENERGY SAVE FOR RMC

riverview-100409Press release from Riverview Medical Center
In an innovative and proactive approach to providing exceptional care, Riverview Medical Center has successfully completed an energy conservation plan improving patient comfort. This program greatly reduces the hospital’s annual energy consumption and carbon footprint while also ensuring the reliability of vital hospital equipment for years to come.

Through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, Riverview Medical Center enrolled in the Pay for Performance (P4P) plan which grants financial incentives to large buildings for reducing their energy consumption by 20 percent. After partnering with Tozour Energy Systems, Riverview implemented a number of energy conservation measures to achieve this goal.
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RED BANK: COPS WARN OF PHONE SCAM

AUTHORITIES_RB2-2014The Red Bank Police Department issued this notice early Wednesday afternoon:

WARNING: GREEN DOT PHONE SCAM

In the recent weeks, Red Bank Police Department has received a large number of reports from victims of a telephone fraud operation. These frauds have been documented on the news and are occurring throughout the nation.

In the scam, the victim is contacted by a person representing themselves as an employee of a business. In many of the scams, the callers have been identifying themselves as representatives of JCP&L (power company) however other business names and agencies have been used as well. The caller tells the person that they are late on paying their power bill and their power will be shut off if they do not pay immediately. The caller then directs the victim to purchase Green Dot MoneyPak cards.

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RED BANK: ECOTOUR FEATURES GREEN IDEAS

092714 ecowalk5Michael Paul Raspanti in his garden. Below, Judy Marlow’s clothes dryer was good for laughs. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092714 ecowalk7Energy efficiency, organic gardening and rain barrels were the talk of the town on Red Bank’s Green Home Tour Saturday, but composting was the star.

Every home on the four-mile, walkable tour practiced some form of composting, though each with a different method.  Michael Paul Raspanti has a unique underground compost area in his yard on Brown Place, for example, while Lou Di Mento of Alston Court uses an Earth Machine system for his.

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RED BANK: GOING GREEN? TRY ‘GOING FREE’

ptak 2 101513Peter Ptak gasses up his gasless car with free power supplied by his solar energy system. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

By all outward appearances, Pete Ptak may be the greenest guy on the Green.

The Red Bank resident has racked up his West Westside Avenue home with solar panels, just as he did with two houses across the street when he owned them and another he still owns.

In fact, he recently went through a major upgrade, replacing his panels with newer ones that suck up tons more power from the sun than the older ones, and adding others to his backyard shed.

Now, having cut his household utility bills to less than zero, he’s putting that free juice to work when he’s on the move. He claims to have the only Toyota Rav4 EV all-electric car in New Jersey. And thanks to the hardware on the roof of his house and shed, it costs him nothing to fuel.

But to Ptak, it’s not about saving the planet. It’s about saving money.

“I don’t care about being green,” Ptak tells redbankgreen. “The green I care about is the green that comes out of my wallet.”

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RED BANK: ZONERS REJECT SHELL 7-ELEVEN

By SARAH KLEPNER

The likelihood of Red Bank getting a third 7-Eleven anytime soon melted like a Slurpee left on a dashboard Thursday night.

After 10 months, extensive testimony and textbook-quality legal briefs on zoning law, the borough zoning board unanimously denied an application for a 7-Eleven to replace an inactive car wash at the Shell gasoline station on Newman Springs Road at Shrewsbury Avenue.

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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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RED BANK: NO VOTE YET ON SHELL 7-ELEVEN

Red Bank resident Tracy Khonstam implores the zoning board to reject the planned convenience store on Newman Springs Road. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

All the evidence is finally before the Red Bank zoning board in the matter of a proposed 7-Eleven that would replace a self-serve car wash at Wasseem Chaudhary’s Shell gas station at Shrewsbury Avenue and Newman Springs Road.

But after eight months of hearings, including one Thursday night, there’s been no up-or-down vote on whether to allow the store. The full board is expected to consider the application on August 1.
In the interim, two board members who were not present for concluding testimony and comments are expected to listen to a recording of Thursday’s hearing, said board chair Lauren Nicosia.

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SEA BRIGHT: CHILLY RECEPTION FOR LNG PLAN

Attendees at the event, held in a tent on the municipal beach, viewed information displays about the project. Below, a rendering of the transfer system. (Photo above by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

An all-too familiar storm is brewing on the Jersey Shore, as local environmentalists are turning up the heat on Governor Chris Christie to block a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port from being built just miles away from Sea Bright.

Dozens took their frustrations to the Sea Bright beach Thursday night at a “citizen public hearing” held by Sandy Hook-based Clean Ocean Action. At issue: an LNG ocean-transfer terminal, dubbed Port Ambrose. An applicant called Liberty Natural Gas applied last month for federal permits to build the deepwater port 24 miles east of Long Branch in 103 feet of water.

The terminal, handling gas chilled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, would be in different location than one proposed in 2010 and later nixed a year later by Christie.

“Make no mistake, it is déjà vu. You were here before, and this was happening before,” said Clean Ocean Action executive director Cindy Zipf.

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SHREWSBURY: SOLAR RECHARGES CHURCH

20130430-130451.jpgReverend Antonio Parenti, right, and congregant Ken Walsh with the church’s new money-saving solar power system. (Photo above by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

First Assembly of God Church in Shrewsbury describes itself as a “multi-cultural congregation who welcomes and values people from all walks of life.”

Now, thanks to some significant environmentally friendly upgrades, the church can claim to be stewards of the earth, decreasing its environmental footprint and in the process blazing a “green” trail that they hope others will follow, according to Reverend Antonio Parenti, senior pastor.

ho first proposed the idea to install photovoltaic solar panels, which convert the sun’s rays into usable electricity, on the roof of the church and it’s office building.

“We’ve definitely become more environmentally conscious in the past few years,” Parenti, who is in his ninth year at the First Assembly, told redbankgreen in his office, adjacent to the Sycamore Avenue church. “Number one, the panels will serve to make the buildings more environmentally friendly, and number two, over time they will save us money – allowing us to use our funds for God more efficiently and effectively.”

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STATION OWNER TO PAY $3M IN WAGE CLAIMS

The owner of Red Bank’s Shell gasoline station has agreed to pay current and former employees of 72 New Jersey filling stations $3 million in overtime back wages, the federal Labor Department reported Thursday.

Waseem Chaudhary was also fined $91,000 in civil penalties “because of the repeat and willful nature of the violations,” the agency said in a news release.

Investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour division found that attendants at Chaudhary’s stations “often worked up to 84 hours per week, but did not receive earned overtime pay. Instead, many employees were paid partly on the payroll and partly off the books, sometimes in cash, to disguise the improper payment of overtime.”

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SEA BRIGHT DOUSES SECOND FIRE OF DAY

Sea Bright firefighters on the scene of a vacant-house fire at the Carriage House Marina. (Click to enlarge)

A portion of Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright was closed to traffic at midday as firefighters attacked their second blaze of the day Thursday.

A fire at a vacant house on the property of Carriage House Marina, at 1202 Ocean Avenue, was quickly doused following a noontime alarm, said Councilman Read Murphy, a member of the volunteer fire squad.

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RED BANK MAY MANDATE GAS-PUMP BACKUPS

By JOE FISHER

With long lines of motorists and generator owners searching for gasoline in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy still a fresh memory, Red Bank officials are taking steps to require filling stations in the borough be equipped with a backup energy source for the next big blackout.

At Wednesday’s borough council meeting, Mayor Pat Menna recommended amending  licensing requirements to mandate that stations have a backup power source by January 1, 2016.

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SEA BRIGHT: KNITTING AS SANDY THERAPY

Megan Heath Gilhool first picked up her needles in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when she was in “full panic mode,” she said. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Move over, yarn spinning and yarn bombing. A new knitting-based activity has entered the region’s post-Sandy lexicon: Yarn Therapy

“I think the whole activity of knitting in itself is extremely therapeutic,” said Megan Heath Gilhool, an artist and prime force behind the newly instated weekly knitting sessions taking place inside Sea Bright’s community center Thursday nights.

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RED BANK: MOTHER & SON’S NEW AGE ENERGY

Joycelyn and Christopher Midose at Earth Spirit, where the merchandise includes “energy-infused” candles, below.  (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

If while strolling Monmouth Street in Red Bank you catch a titillating whiff of patchouli incense and sandalwood, let your curious nose guide you into Earth Spirit New Age Center, a shopping experience that for some is a form of  sensory overload.

Feathered dream catchers and tinkling wind chimes hang from the ceiling; brightly colored gemstones – pink rose quartz, purple amethyst, and orange citrine – sit loose in dishes with small signs that describe their spiritual meanings; tiny bottles of aromatherapy oil are displayed next to figurines of Gothic gargoyles and mermaids; bookcases line the walls with volumes that run the gamut from Buddhism and Hinduism to astrology and healing.

And that’s before things get deep: the Midoses can also put you in touch with loved ones who have passed on – for a fee, of course. Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: SERVICE STATION WON’T RETURN

Dunkin’ Donuts is back in business, at right, but the adjoining Sea Bright Service Station won’t be coming back to town, its owner says. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Amid optimistic declarations that storm-battered Sea Bright will rise from the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy, one of its more visible businesses has quietly thrown in the towel – or the grease rag, in this case.

Sea Bright Service Station owner Rick Hennessey, who’s been operating in recent weeks out of temporary quarters in Atlantic Highlands, has decided not to return to town, he tells redbankgreen.

“The owner of the building doesn’t really want any gas sales there anymore, which is the first problem,” Hennessey said. “We also have the issues of rebuilding after the storm and this looming bridge construction.” Read More »

RED BANK: EXXON V. SHELL ON 7-ELEVEN PLAN

The plan calls for a the convenience store to be built in the northwest corner of the property. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

It’s Shell v. Exxon in Red Bank, and not just over the price of gas.

A proposal by the owner of the Shell station at Newman Springs Road and Shrewsbury Avenue to build a 7-Eleven store where it now has a self-serve car wash has drawn opposition from the Exxon station at the same intersection as well as nearby residents.

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