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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SHREWSBURY: Y OFFERS WATER SAFETY TIPS

Lifeguards play a key role in ensuring a safe environment for swimmers at pools and public beaches, says the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County. (Photo by Joshua Reed.)

[Press release from the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County]

It’s now the busy season at beaches, pools, and lakes, and the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County is reminding parents, caregivers, and everyone in our community to make water safety a priority.

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RED BANK: YMCA PIVOTS TO HELP IN CRISIS

Crystal Rubins, membership director at the Red Bank Family YMCA, helps staff a food drive to support area residents served by Lunch Break in Red Bank. (Photo by Joshua Reed.)

[Press release from the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County]

The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County pivoted immediately when its facilities shut down in March as the COVID crisis started. The gym floors, exercise spaces and pools were vacant, but employees and volunteers jumped into action to respond to critical community needs.

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RED BANK: GIRL SCOUTS OFFER COOKIE RELIEF

Lunch Break clients will enjoy tasty Girl Scout cookies donated by Investors Bank. (Photos by Andrea Plaza.)

[Press release by Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore]

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore delivered a mountain of Thin Mints, Samoas and other flavors of beloved Girl Scout cookies donated by Investors Bank to Lunch Break in Red Bank as part of an initiative to thank local heroes and share comfort with the community during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

Lunch Break team members help unload 1,000 ‘boxes of love’ for Lunch Break clients.

One thousand boxes of the tasty treats were dropped off at Lunch Break on Friday, June 26 and will be shared with families served by the nonprofit, which provides food, clothing, life skills and fellowship to those in need in Monmouth County and beyond. Another 9,000 boxes of cookies donated by Investors Bank are being delivered to five other organizations in support of the Girl Scout Cookie Relief Fund.

The fund was launched to encourage local businesses and other supporters to donate cookies for Girl Scouts to distribute to essential workers, volunteers, and other local causes. So far, more than 90,000 Girl Scout Cookies have been delivered, and with Investors Bank’s donation, the fund will top 100,000 cookies.

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore is grateful for the $50,000 donation from Investors Bank to share 10,000 “boxes of love with everyday heroes on the front lines of the pandemic caring for our community,” said CEO Eileen Higgins.

“Support for the Girl Scout Cookie Program enables Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore to provide leadership programs and experiences to girls in both Monmouth and Ocean counties,” Higgins noted, adding that Girl Scouts were in the midst of their annual cookie program when the health crisis hit, halting community cookie booths and in-person sales, resulting in a large inventory of cookies.

Gwen Love, executive director of Lunch Break, said the organization appreciates the generous donation of delicious cookies that will be enjoyed by individuals and families.

Five other organization receiving the remaining 9,000 boxes of cookies donated by Investors Bank are:

• Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of New Jersey, based in New Brunswick. CASA of NJ is part of a national network of nonprofit programs that advocate for children removed from their families because of abuse or neglect.

• Disabled American Veterans Department of New Jersey has 34 chapters and is dedicated to helping create better lives for veterans. They work alongside other nonprofits and advocacy organizations to fulfill their promises to all the men and women who have served.

• HomeFront of New Jersey in Lawrenceville, whose mission is to end homelessness in Central New Jersey by harnessing the caring resources and expertise of the community.

• Ocean Mental Health Services, Toms River, which offers a comprehensive continuum of mental health services that promote full participation in community life.

• RWJ – Barnabas – Community Medical Center Campus in Toms River, which is working to advance innovative strategies in high quality patient care, education, and research to address both the clinical and social determinants of health.
Anyone interested in supporting the Girl Scout Cookie Relief Fund can visit, GSFun.org/CookieRelief.

About Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore
Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore serves more than 10,000 girls ages 5-18 in Monmouth and Ocean counties, providing a time-tested leadership experience that inspires and motivates them to take action for themselves and their communities. For 108 years, Girl Scouts has helped girls become women of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. For information on how to join, volunteer, partner, or donate, visit gsfun.org or call (800) 785-2090.

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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RED BANK: SALONS REOPEN

With the restoration of some personal-care services after three months, hair growers and stylists in Red Bank were eager to get back together Monday.

Gus Carter, owner of Gus’ Barber Shop on Shrewsbury Avenue, took it down to the scalp for customer Jimmy (last name withheld), above, and Tiffany Colelli at Hair & Co. on Monmouth Street, freshened up the color of Tricia Nelson’s locks.

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RED BANK: PREPPING FOR PLAZAS

With the first of two unprecedented pedestrian plazas set to debut in downtown Red Bank Thursday night, prep work was underway on Broad Street earlier this week.

Above, a crew from Powerhouse Signs, under contract with Red Bank RiverCenter, installed in-tree uplighting that owner Jim Bruno said he hoped will create a “Greenwich Village vibe” for outdoor diners and shoppers. At right, code enforcement official Frank Woods checked  a sidewalk café for its distance from the curb.  

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RED BANK: COPS SAY SESTITO INTERFERED

Red Bank police dashcam video from the June 3 incident on East Bergen Place. (Red Bank Police Department video. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s police chief has asked the Monmouth County prosecutor to review an incident involving Councilman Michael Ballard earlier this month.

The incident, which Ballard reported as it occurred outside his home during a council meeting on Zoom, led to his wife, Rose Sestito, briefly in handcuffs for allegedly interfering with a police investigation, though no charges were filed.

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RED BANK: BACK IN BUSINESS, OUT FRONT

red bank bistro 061520Reopening after almost three months to the day after they were ordered shut down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank restaurants drew numerous diners to their outdoor tables Monday night.

“It’s like normal – almost,” said Charlie Lyristis, co-owner of Bistro, on Broad Street, above. At right: a note left at tables for customers of Pazzo, on West Front Street.

See additional photos as restaurants resumed with sit-down, outdoor-only service under order of Governor Phil Murphy below.

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ON THE GREEN: RESTAURANTS REOPEN

little silver edie's 061520After a nearly three-month shutdown except for takeout, restaurants on the Greater Red Bank Green began reopening as sit-down, outdoor-only eateries Monday.

Even with the weather a bit on the cool side, “it’s nice to get of the hospital,” said a Riverview Medical Center employee sharing lunch with colleagues at Robinson Ale House in Red Bank, above. Read More »

RED BANK: YMCA OFFERS COVID-19 TESTING

VNA Certified Medical Assistant Ali Robles provides a COVID-19 test kit to a local resident at the Red Bank Family YMCA. (Photo by Joshua Reed. Click to enlarge.)

[Press release from the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County]

 
YMCA of Greater Monmouth County has joined forces with the Visiting Nurse Association of Central New Jersey’s Community Health Centers (VNACJ CHC) to offer COVID-19 testing at the Red Bank Family YMCA.

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RED BANK: RESTAURANTS HUSTLE TO REOPEN

red bank danny murphy 061120Danny Murphy, owner of Danny’s Steakhouse, with the safety guide he prepared for his employees. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Their industry battered over the past three months by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s restaurateurs are now scrambling for a toehold on recovery.

With partial reopenings slated to begin Monday, they’re training staff in a host of new hygiene procedures. At the same time, some are also racing to shift operations into two new shopping and dining plazas being created downtown.

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RED BANK: HUNDREDS RALLY FOR JUSTICE

red bank rally 060920 Protesters march down Broad Street, above, and observe a moment of silence on Newman Springs Road, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

red bank rally 060920 By JOHN T. WARD

Angry but peaceful, hundreds of protesters marched through Red Bank Tuesday afternoon.

With temperatures nearing 90 degrees, a “Justice for George Floyd” march and rally at Count Basie Fields coincided with the Houston funeral of the man killed by Minneapolis police May 25.

Check out redbankgreen’s photos from the event below.

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RED BANK: RACIAL JUSTICE MARCH SLATED

Hundreds marched through town to protest a racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK PROTESTA “Justice for George” march and rally to protest the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis is slated to be held in Red Bank Tuesday afternoon.

According to police Chief Darren McConnell, the event is being organized by Calvary Baptist Church of Red Bank and an organization called Count the Children.

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VIRUS UPDATE: STATE’S DEATH TOLL AT 12,049

The trajectory of new cases has shown gradual flattening in Monmouth County. (Monmouth County data. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03With new COVID-19 illness totals showing continued abatement, New Jersey passed another grim milestone as the number of deaths in the pandemic topped 12,000, Governor Phil Murphy said Friday.

At the same time, Murphy lauded state residents for working to “beat the crap out of this virus,” with key indicators down 70 percent or more from peak spread as the state nears “stage two” of an economic reopening.

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RED BANK: BALLARD DUBS COPS ‘AGGRESSIVE’

michael ballardRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church Thursday night. (Screenshot from Facebook Live. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard on Thursday teed up borough cops for what he called “overagressive” treatment of his wife during an incident 24 hours earlier.

Speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church for an online forum on systemic racism, Ballard, an African-American, also appeared to suggest he’d been treated unfairly by unnamed officials at borough hall in his role as finance chairman.

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RED BANK: BALLARD REPORTS WIFE’S ‘ARREST’

red bank council zoom 060320 Red Bank Councilman Michael Ballard, highlighted at upper right during Wednesday’s council meeting via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

To the growing list of embarrassing videoconferencing moments in the COVID-19 era – energetic children running through home offices, cats on keyboards, spilled coffee – a Red Bank councilman added another: a report of spousal arrest in progress.

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