SEA BRIGHT: COUNCIL WAIVES PERMIT FEES

Members of the borough council at Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Amid complaints by residents about unresolved insurance claims and other rebuilding delays, the Sea Bright borough council rolled out several measures aimed at getting them back into their homes with less hassle and cost Tuesday night.

Among the moves: a moratorium on construction permit fees for all work related to Hurricane Sandy-related rebuilding and repairs.

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JON STEWART AND BRIAN WILLIAMS SLING IT

News anchor Brian Williams, left, and comedian Jon Stewart traded barbs on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Long on sarcasm, feigned eye-rolling and Jersey love, the hosts of the nation’s top-rated television shows in their respective categories traded zingers in a conversation about the media, politics and growing up in the Garden State before a packed Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank Sunday night.

In a sparring mood that might have been a continuation of their pre-show dinner at the nearby Broadway Diner, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams traded insights into their jobs and flashing wit for two hours and 20 minutes, including a Q&A session with the audience.

“Thank you for dropping the F bomb 41 seconds into this,” Williams said to Stewart, who sniped that Williams’ job entailed his being removed from a “vegetable crisper” just in time for each night’s news broadcast.

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SHREWSBURY SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON JCP&L

By: REBECCA DESFOSSE

In case it wasn’t already getting the message, JCP&L will now hear it from the Borough of Shrewsbury: get your act together.

At Monday night’s town council meeting, a resolution that resulted from a recent “Snow Summit” of Monmouth County town officials  won approval. It includes 10 recommendations aimed at getting the power utility to improve communications in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

One council member voted against the measure.

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SEA BRIGHT: ON TOP OF MOUNT SANDY

Rachel Pedersen and Carolyn Rigby on the Sea Bright sandpile, which attracts dog-walkers and other sightseers. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The beach clubs and bars may be temporarily gone, but Sea Bright appears to have a new, if temporary attraction: ‘Mount Sandy.’

Rising perhaps 40 feet above the ocean beach on which it was built, a giant pile of sand reclaimed from the storm-tossed borough’s streets has been luring sightseers willing to climb its soft face, rewarding them with a bird’s-eye view of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.

Just yards away, in fact, is a another mountain rising, this one made of discarded appliances, furniture and building materials.

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RED BANK: SEX, POWER AND GENERATORS

The Red Bank council wants JCP&L to send company representatives to any town with more than five percent of its customers experiencing outages. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Electrical utility JCP&L and sexually oriented businesses were foremost on the agenda at Red Bank’s bimonthly council meeting Tuesday night.

Mayor Pasquale Menna and council members began the meeting by putting forth a resolution that will urge the state Board of Public Utilities to look into JCP&L’s handling of Hurricane Sandy-induced power outages. The resolution also seeks to persuade legislators in Trenton to pass measures that will force the power giant to provide each municipality with direct, in-person company representatives in emergency situations.

“During the storm, we effectively became employees of JCP&L.” Mayor Menna said. “We were the only real connection between the people and the company, and that needs to change.”

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RED BANK: DRIVER ESCAPES DOWNED WIRES

Electrical wire burned on the ground and on the lip of a raised dumptruck bin after an accident at Red Bank Recycling on Central Avenue in Red Bank that took down a utility pole around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The driver of the truck, whose identity was not immediately known, did not appear to be seriously injured, but was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Power was knocked out locally. (Click to enlarge)

AREA OFFICIALS ZAP JCP&L OVER STORM FIXES

Howell Mayor Robert Walsh addresses attendees at Monday’s ‘Snow Summit’ to discuss JCP&L’s response to Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Confusion, anger and frustration, tinged by a bit of hope, permeated the Tinton Falls Municipal Building early Monday afternoon at the third annual ‘Snow Summit’ called to address the region’s relationship with JCP&L and how to improve it.

Co-hosted by Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera and Middletown Mayor Anthony Fiore, the meeting was attended by mayors from across Monmouth County, freeholders, state legislators, as well as members of the media and public. Few were impressed by the electric utility’s handling

“If they gave a damn, they would have already done something about” their outreach to localities following catastrophes, Mayor Adam Schneider of Long Branch said of company officials. Read More »

RUMSON GAS STATION RUNS ON HAND PUMP

CBS News ran this story Monday about Richie Dodd, owner of the Rumson Exxon station. Still without electricity following Hurricane Sandy eight days ago, Dodd and his employees have been pumping gasoline from the West River Road station’s underground tanks by hand-cranked pump into canisters his customers have lined up with.

“You have to do it for the people,” Dodd says. “People have to get their generators going.”

A SIX-WHEEL SOLUTION

Spotted heading north on Broad Street (Route 35) in Shrewsbury during Tuesday’s morning commute: a burly New Jersey Transit bus carrying a somewhat simpler machine for getting around. (Click to enlarge)

SWEATING AND STRETCHING ON A CRAWL

Participants bent to 105-degree heat at Synergy Hot Yoga, one of five stops on Sunday’s fitness crawl. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

The Green’s first recorded “fitness crawl” was deemed a sweaty success Sunday as local residentss eager to try new forms of exercise packed five stops throughout a moveable workout cycle.

“How awesome is this?” asked Jen Portman, who has run Synergy Hot Yoga in Fair Haven for the past five years. “There’s a hotbed of different things around here that aren’t well-known. It’s the perfect way to discover what works for you,” she said.

Some newcomers were shocked to discover the sweltering temperature in her studio, but luckily no one fainted.

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FAIR HAVEN GEARS UP FOR EARLIER BIKE RACE

A scene from the 2011 edition of the Tour de Fair Haven, above. Below, members of the New Jersey Wheelmen will show-off century-old big-wheel bikes. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

While bicycling is a casual hobby to some and a childhood pastime to others, there are those who hunger for the wind-in-their-hair feeling and the thrill of participating in a high-exertion race.

For the fourth year in a row, Fair Haven is preparing to host dozens of such enthusiasts with this Sunday’s Tour de Fair Haven. Michel Berger – Frenchman, casual cyclist, organizer and head of the Fair Haven Business Association– said a number of changes this year, including a seasonal switch.

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FAIR HAVEN TO DIM ‘RUNWAY’ WATTAGE

fh-riv-rd-lamps-112911Alternating lamps along the River Road streetscape will be shut off after 11 p.m., officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna says it looks like “an airport runway,” and he’s not the only one who marvels at the candlepower along River Road in neighboring Fair Haven.

Resident Ruth Blaser wonders, “Did the town engineer go to a closeout sale for streetlamps and say, ‘I’ll take them all?'”

The sarcasm, however, may be in for a dial-back soon – at least as it regards late-night travel along the road.

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FAIR HAVEN SUNOCO CLOSES

The River Road station will be boarded up until Sunoco can find another tenant, says the departing gasoline dealer. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After 20 years, Rich Bercaw has pulled down the bay doors for the last time at his Sunoco gasoline and service station on River Road in Fair Haven.

Unable to keep up with steep rent and what he described as steadily dropping demand for both fuel and repairs, Bercaw pink-slipped five employees and shut off the lights last Thursday, he tells redbankgreen.

“Sunoco will come in and board it up until they find someone to rent it,” he said, as he loaded equipment into a pickup truck Tuesday. And with a deeply discounted first-year’s rent, “eventually, they’ll get someone,” he said.

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M’TOWN SOLAR PROJECTED TO SAVE MILLIONS

By DUSTIN RACIOPPIhot-topic right

Middletown has wrapped up a months-long town-wide study pinpointing locations ideal for solar panels, and may soon bring on a contractor to start the process of getting off the grid.

If it does, the town could save taxpayers $6.6 million over the next 15 years — and perhaps double that, if the town board of education gets on board, officials said.

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ENOUGH TO GIVE ONE GAS

sb-gasAmid a national spike in gasoline prices, Sea Bright Service Station is the apparent winner in the race to $4-a-gallon gas in the greater Green. On Tuesday, the Ocean Avenue filling station advertised regular at $4.03 a gallon. Lukoil on Newman Springs Road in Shrewsbury hovered at $3.99 a gallon, according to gasbuddy.com. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

hyde-pierce-geoffrey-owensActors David Hyde Pierce (of TV’s ‘Frazier’ fame) and Geoffrey Owens (‘The Cosby Show’) ran into one another at the March 26 opening of ‘Candida’ at the Red Bank’s Two River Theater. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Good morning, readers.

Before you dig into the day’s news, here’s a rundown of last week’s happenings on redbankgreen, an easily digestible compendium of the week that was.

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CHURCH, CAR WASH & DELI SWITCH ON SOLAR

butchs-solarThe roof at Butch’s Lube ‘N Wash. (Photo courtesy of Garden State Solar; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It wasn’t long after Paul Stout snapped on the lights at his Rumson business for the first time using solar power that he realized he’d made the right move installing the 48 panels on his roof.

“The first day it was turned on, I saw savings,” said the owner of Butler’s Deli. “It’s immediate.”

Three years, thousands of dollars and 55,000 pounds of unused carbon later, Stout scoffs at the notion that installing solar panels is too expensive or labor intensive.

“It’s the greatest thing in the world,” he said, watching his electric meter dial backwards as the system fed electricity back into the power grid one recent sunny afternoon. “I’m happy with it.”

Stout may have racked up years of savings in the pocket and reduced his carbon input drastically, but others in the area are just discovering the advantages solar energy can bring.

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LOCATION AN ISSUE FOR COMMUNITY GARDEN

sharon-lee-031611Councilwoman Sharon Lee details her objections to a request to create a community garden at the Red Bank Public Library. (Click to enlarge)

A push for the creation of a community garden at the Red Bank Public Library ran into some mud Wednesday.

Big question: whether that’s the best place for it.

Smaller question: how much will it cost to install a dedicated water line, and who will pick up the tab in these cash-starved times?

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FORECAST: LOTS OF FLOWER POWER

solarflower‘Heliotropis,’ Anthony Castronovo’s sun-powered sculpture kinetic sculpture, should get a workout today and tomorrow. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

Arts patrons Beth Deutch and her husband, Larry Rubin, unveiled a new solar-powered sculpture at their Rumson home last weekend. It should be pretty busy today and tomorrow, if the weatherbot is right.

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RED BANK SCRAPS FOUR-DAY WORKWEEK

boro-hall-hoursAfter a year of shortened weeks that yielded only about $5,000 in energy savings, borough hall will revert to a Monday-through-Friday schedule next month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Layoffs and furloughs are looming, but Red Bank government employees are getting their regular weekends back.

The borough council formally recognized its year-long experiment with a four-day workweek hasn’t really been the energy-saver it was cracked up to be, and is resuming the regular schedule for workers at 90 Monmouth Street.

The normal workweek will run from 9a to 5p, Monday through Friday, instead of 8a to 6p, Monday through Thursday.

It takes effect June 1 — a Tuesday — meaning employees can soak in a workweek-long Memorial Day weekend at the end of this month before getting back to the 9-to-5.

But it comes at a time that officials are pressing the town government’s two collective bargaining units — the Policeman’s Benevolent Association and Communications Workers of America — for concessions that will enable furloughs. Otherwise, there will be layoffs, they say.

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CHRISTIE: NO TO LNG & DRILLING PROJECTS

sb-christie-2-042210Governor Chris Christie at Surfrider Beach Club in Sea Bright Thursday, flanked by his daughter Brigit, former Gov. Tom Kean and DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. (Photo by Tim Larsen; click to enlarge)

There will be no oil rigs visible from New Jersey’s beaches, and no man-made islands or floating pipelines to transfer liquefied natural gas from ship to shore under his watch, Governor Chris Christie vowed Thursday.

At an oceanfront beach club in Sea Bright to mark the fortieth Earth Day, Christie said that while natural gas is a critical piece of the state’s energy future, “for as long as I am governor, this administration will oppose any application for liquefied natural gas,” according to the Asbury Park Press.

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GROUPS PREPARE EARTH DAY EVENTS

earthA close-up view of planet Earth. (Click to enlarge)

Done2Here are some announcements of Earth Day activities scheduled for the next few days:

Earth Day Celebration at Red Bank Primary School

Got Earth Day plans? If not, please check out the Earth Day Exposition at the Red Bank Primary School on April 22nd.

Organized by Primary School teacher Christina Vlahos, with support from the Red Bank Green Team (of which Christina is a member), the event showcases student projects and demonstrations, educational opportunities, and local businesses and organizations.

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A DOWNED LINE, AND A LOVING SPOUSE

gary-bernstein“I’d be toast,” says Gary Bernstein of Atlantic Glass, as he looks at the live power line that landed just feet from the building’s gas supply line, below. (Click to enlarge)

power-white

A truck that took down a power line on White Street in Red Bank this morning did more than just knock out electricity to a bunch of stores and offices.

It gave Gary Bernstein, manager of the Atlantic Glass store, a reason to call his wife with what he thought was good news.

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