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RED BANK: POSTMASTER’S POSTS DRAW FIRE

An status update on the Facebook page of postmaster Michael Angelo Ciano, below, showed an assault rifle with the comment, “Anti-muslim vaccinations.” (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s postmaster has attracted the attention of human rights activists over what they call “vile” Facebook posts promoting racism, misogyny and apparent endorsements of violence against liberals and other groups, redbankgreen has learned.

A United States Postal Service spokesman confirmed that the agency is looking into complaints about photos and comments posted by postmaster Michael Angelo Ciano on his personal page.

“Imagine the work environment in that post office for any employees that are other than white men,” one woman wrote.

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RED BANK: BECK BLASTS TRUMP

“There are no ‘very fine’ Nazis or members of the KKK,” said state Senator Jen Beck, seen here at the Mayor’s Ball in 2015. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Republican State Senator Jen Beck on Wednesday joined a chorus of lawmakers condemning President Trump for blaming “both sides” in violent clashes between white-supremacist marchers and their opponents in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

Beck blasted Trump’s comments as “outrageous,” and called on him to retract and apologize for them.

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RED BANK: Q&A ON ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, center, with Councilman Mike Whelan and borough Clerk Pam Borghi last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

With the planned retirement of Stanley Sickels, Red Bank officials are on the hunt for a successor to fill the top unelected position in borough government: borough administrator.

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RED BANK: CATCH TO TAKE GOTHAM SPACE

Catch will relocate from its present spot at 9 Broad Street to the home of Gotham, five doors away, and will be replaced by a Mexican restaurant. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has a plateful of news from the Red Bank food scene, with two food-related businesses closing, one moving and another opening.

Also: pet acupuncture.

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RED BANK: NO MOVEMENT ON PARKING

The 2.3-acre White Street lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Nearly two months after five builders presented concept plans for a parking solution on White Street, Red Bank officials have yet to schedule a promised public comment session on the proposals.

That appeared to contribute to frustration voiced during the public comment portion of the council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP HOME PLAN WINS FINAL OK

A yellow border outlines the site of developer Ray Rapcavage’s Azalea Gardens project, with Harding Road at the bottom, Clay Street to the left and Hudson Avenue at right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Demolition of a house destroyed by fire five years ago could begin as early as this month as the first step toward the creation of a new 18-home community at Red Bank’s Five Corners, developer Ray Rapcavage told redbankgreen last week.

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RED BANK: CHARTER SCHOOL WINS GYM OK

A rendering of the proposed charter school gym, which wouldn’t have room for bleachers, an architect said. (Rendering by Erick Wagner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank Charter School won approval Thursday night to create a gym in part of a commercial building it plans to buy on Monmouth Street.

In the process, the zoning board hearing on the plan re-exposed some long-simmering resentments harbored by parents who contend the charter school’s existence is a drain on the local school district.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER TAKES STANCE ON LOT

 RiverCenter took no position on the relative merits of five developers’ concept plans for the White Street lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s 500 or nothing, says Red Bank RiverCenter.

The downtown promotion agency says in an “open letter” to elected officials that it “cannot and will not” support a plan for a parking garage on White Street that doesn’t yield a net gain of 500 parking spaces on the 2.3-acre site — and none of the five plans submitted by would-be developers currently meets that target, it claims.

Mike Whelan, the councilmember who leads the parking committee, called the organization’s statement a “flip-flop” and a “disservice” to the downtown.

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RED BANK: CRAFT BREWERY LEASES FIREHOUSE

John Cocozza and partners plan to open a craft brewery called Ross Brewing Company in the former Liberty Hose Company firehouse on White Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

In another sign of a possible tsunami of craft beer coming to downtown Red Bank, the former Liberty Hose Company firehouse on White Street has been leased to a startup brewery, the principals said Thursday.

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RED BANK: CHARTER, RAYRAP ON AGENDA

A view of 135-137 Monmouth Street as seen through windows at the Red Bank Charter School, its prospective next owner. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank zoning board this week takes up two projects that have generated heat in the past, one involving the Red Bank Charter School and the other a townhouse plan by builder Ray Rapcavage.

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RED BANK: SECOND-METER ISSUE RETURNS

 Action has been delayed on water meters that would allow Red Bankers to avoid sewerage charges for watering lawns and washing cars, according to the borough administrator. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Where are the water meters that would let Red Bank homeowners irrigate their lawns without incurring sewer charges?

The secondary meters were a hot topic leading up to the borough council’s approval 18 months ago of $3.7 million in bonds to install new primary meters in every home and business, and to cover other upgrades to the municipal water utility.

Since then, though, there’s been little said about the meters — until last week, when the issue sputtered back to life.

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RED BANK: CHARTER DATA RELEASE ORDERED

Judy DeHaven, below, claims the Red Bank Charter School “continues to operate without transparency or accountability.” (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The New Jersey Government Records Council earlier this week ordered the Red Bank Charter School to release demographic data it failed to provide to a borough resident under an Open Public Records Act request.

The state agency, acting on a complaint filed by Judy DeHaven, found on Tuesday that the school had unlawfully withheld data showing the breakdown of the student population by grade, gender, race, ethnicity and other factors.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL PROMOTES FIVE OFFICERS

Newly sworn Red Bank police Captain Mike Frazee receives congratulations from Administrator Stanley Sickels Wednesday night, when the borough council promoted five officers and hired a new patrolman.

Click ‘read more’ for photos from the packed-room swearing-in ceremonies.

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RED BANK: STATION APARTMENTS OK’D

Architect Nelson Benavides discussing plans for 170 Monmouth Street, seen in in two renderings from the west. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A plan to turn a five-story office building opposite the Red Bank train station into rental apartments cleared its first hurdle at the borough zoning board Thursday night.

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RED BANK: EXTRA CASH FUNDS TEACHER HIRES

An increase in state aid enabled the district to add two teachers Tuesday night, with more coming, says the superintendent. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank Board of Education approved the hiring Tuesday of two teachers whose jobs were made possible by an increase of $512,682 in additional state aid.

Up to six more teachers and instructional aides are expected to be added to the district’s payroll for the coming school year under what Superintendent Jared Rumage called a “gigantic” cash infusion from Trenton into the still-underfunded district.

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RED BANK: RETAIL RETURNING TO EMPTY SPACE

The former shoe store space at 18 Broad Street is expected to house a new women’s clothing store in September. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallTo the relief of downtown restaurateurs, a large vacant space is the heart of downtown will resume life as a retail business instead of joining the competition for diners, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.

 

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RED BANK: NO CONSENSUS AT PARKING FORUM

Architect Mike Simpson led the business group’s forum at the Red Bank Middle School Thursday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Only 17 or so Red Bank residents turned out on a rainy night for a forum on downtown parking Thursday.

And to the chagrin of the merchant group that sponsored it, few of them seemed to agree that the need for a new parking garage, let alone massive new development to go along with it, has been proven.

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RED BANK: NEW STINK OVER BELLHAVEN COSTS

A 2012 image outlines the extent of wetlands at Bellhaven Natural Area at the western terminus of Locust Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after abandoning a controversial “sprayground” proposed for the Bellhaven Natural Area, the Red Bank borough council is moving ahead with plans for a playground at the site.

At its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, the council approved nearly $20,000 in additional engineering costs for the site, a move that prompted fresh objections.

“This is deja vu all over again,” said Bill Meyer, owner of a downtown commercial building. The borough has already spent $73,000  engineering fees on the site, and “that money was burned and wasted,” he said. Read More »

RED BANK: STATION APARTMENTS PLANNED

A builder’s proposal calls for converting four floors of the five-story building to apartments, plus an addition with 16 more units, directly across Monmouth Street from the borough train station. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of Red Bank’s more prominent office buildings would be converted to apartments — and get new ones out back — under a proposal by a Jersey City-based developer, redbankgreen has learned.

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LITTLE SILVER: TOWN HIRES TOWER LAWYER

The tower looms over homes on Prospect Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Little Silver council hired an attorney Monday night to help it determine if it’s stuck with a new a cell tower that’s dialed up widespread anger in the borough.

As special counsel, Kevin Starkey is expected to start out by reviewing some two years worth of correspondence and other records for guidance on how the governing body might proceed in dealing with the tower’s sole user so far: Verizon Wireless.

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RED BANK: TWO PARKING FORUMS PLANNED

Two public forums are in the works on the question of what to do about parking in downtown Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Residents, merchants and visitors could get two chances to weigh in on downtown Red Bank’s parking crisis — or whether one even exists — at two public events in coming weeks.

Both events were characterized at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting as next-steps responses to five plans presented by would-be developers of the borough-owned parking lot on White Street.

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RED BANK: DEMS BACK ‘PURE’ GARAGE

Councilman and party chairman Ed Zipprich, flanked by fellow Democrats Erik Yngstrom and Kathy Horgan in January. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The three Democrats on the Red Bank council — and a candidate to join them there — endorsed a downtown parking solution that calls for a new White Street garage without additional development Tuesday.

The announcement set the course for a possible head-on collision with the governing body’s three Republicans, who have championed an approach that welcomed the possibility of hundreds of new housing units as well as a parking deck.

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