BROOKDALE PREZ PUT ON UNPAID LEAVE

hot-topic rightBrookdale Community College President Peter Burnham has been put on unpaid leave amid questions about “questionable spending,” the Asbury Park Press reports.

Burham, who has been in the spotlight recently over a pay-and-perks package some elected officials consider exorbitant, was replaced Thursday morning on an interim basis by an acting president “who is both an educator and fraud investigator,” the newspaper says.

Read More »

CURLEY TAKES AIM AT COLLEGE PREXY’S PERKS

curleyMonmouth County Freeholder John Curley, right, has turned his sights on a raft of generous perks being paid to Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham, according to a report in today’s Asbury Park Press.

It turns out that in addition to his annual $216,000 salary, Burnham gets a country club membership, a housing allowance, a car and up to $40,000 a year of tuition coverage for two his children.

Curley, a Republican who served as a Red Bank council member before moving to Middletown and in 2008, calls the package “an extravagance at a time and place when there’s no room for extravagance,” the Press reports.

Read More »

M’TOWN LIBRARY CENTER OF BUDGET BATTLE

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A plan by  Middletown’s governing body to raid the public library’s $1.2 million surplus in a bid to save police jobs  has set off an  imbroglio in which officials are taking hard-line stances on each side.

With the township committee well into its 2011-’12 budget process, the hunt for savings and more revenue is on, and officials have zeroed in on the library for much-needed dollars to save jobs, says Mayor Tony Fiore.

That has pitted elected officials against the library’s manager and some patrons.

On Wednesday night, the two sides will try to hash it out in a public meeting at the library.

Read More »

MAN IN GOGGLES ROBS LINCROFT STATION

just_in1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown police are looking for a man who robbed the BP gas station on Newman Springs Road in the Lincroft section of town before dawn Saturday.

The suspect, described as tall and skinny, and was wearing dark, tinted swimming goggles, displayed a silver-and-black handgun to the station attendant and demanded money, Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger said.

Read More »

M’TOWN COPS NAB THREE IN TWO POT BUSTS

authorities2bMiddletown police arrested three men for marijuana possession in two unrelated cases in recent weeks, the department announced today.

The first of the busts occurred on October 28, when two officers in an unmarked car responded to a report of possible drug dealing on Ironwood Court, according to a press announcement by department spokesman Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger.

The second arrest occurred in the Lincroft section after a car sped away from police on routine patrol through a hotel parking lot, Dollinger said.

Read More »

FAIR HAVENITE BUSTED ON WEAPON CHARGE

hot-topic rightA 19-year-old Fair Haven man was arrested in Middletown on Saturday night on drug and weapon-possession charges, the township police department reported today.

Carl Vonpier was busted in the Lincroft section for holding what police said was a pot pipe and “a metal knuckle with two blades protruding from the top,” police said in a statement.

Township police spokeman Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger was unable to confirm immediately if Vonpier is the same man who caused a stir with a spree of alleged break-ins that triggered a dog-and-helicopter search in Colts Neck and Tinton Falls in July. That 19-year-old suspect was also named Carl Vonpier and reported to be a Fair Haven resident.

Here’s the text of the news release:

Read More »

‘AGREE TO DISAGREE’ ON FIRE PHOTO

COMMENT8

This week’s Comment of the Week was posted last Tuesday by “Pat.”

Pat’s comment was part of an exchange about a photo redbangkreeen ran from the wedding of a couple who are members of the Lincroft fire and first aid squads.

The headline over the photo was “LINCROFT PAIR START A FIRE.” Did they ever.

Read More »

LINCROFT PAIR START A FIRE

kellykissDavid Kelly III gets a smooch from his new bride, Kristin Williams, following their wedding Friday evening at St. James RC Church in Red Bank. He’s a fireman in the Lincroft Fire Company, and president of the First Aid Squad; she’s vice president of the fire company. Lincroft’s Tower 200 truck served as the backdrop for their photos. (Click to enlarge)

FRUSTRATION SURROUNDS M’TOWN BUDGET

mtown-trioThree of the five Middletown committee members Tuesday night at town hall. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After months of delays and near misses, Middletown officials finally passed a budget for 2010 Tuesday night that will result in an increase to property taxes.

Talk of the difficult budget season for 2011 began immediately afterward.

Read More »

MONMOUTH SHINES ON ITS DAY

monmouth-day2

A Monmouth Rugby Football Club player tries to escape a pack of opposing players. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Kate Kelly, a thin-framed woman who’s maybe five-feet six-inches, showed up at Lincroft’s Thompson Park Saturday with a bandaged left hand and waited patiently on the sideline for the men to finish playing the first of two matches.

When asked about her bum hand, Kelly, the Red Bank-based Monmouth Rugby Club‘s 24-year-old vice president, shrugged nonchalantly and pointed out that she dislocated her thumb last week in a match.

“I’m still going to play,” she said.

Read More »

A DAY ON THE PITCH, AND A PARTY TO BOOT

ScrumGettin’ scrummy at Thompson Park. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s time once again for some good old-fashioned mauling, ruckers and scrumming, followed up by merrymaking by a bruised and battered lot of the area’s roughest and toughest rugby players.

The kids and family are welcome, too.

Despite the bone-crushing, lip-bruising nature of the Monmouth Day celebration, where rugby players lay out their bodies on the pitch, Monmouth Rugby Club President Rob Morello says the annual homecoming bash is also a great family activity.

Read More »

A FLUID SITUATION, NO DOUBT

DripWe came across this dripping faucet and sign last Saturday next to the basketball court at M.T. Thompson Park in Lincroft (not part of Monmouth County’s Thompson Park just a few hundred yards west on Newman Springs Road).

The faucet was still dripping Wednesday, so the sign may need to be updated soon.

Email this story

SUMMER IDOLS, HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS

Constantinemaroulis2714015_2Judas Priest! It’s that guy from Idol as Iscariot, with the singer from Almost Queen as Jesus (we kid you not)!

By TOM CHESEK

House is in reruns; the Basie‘s about to go dark til autumn; you’ve got no gas to go any farther than the Arts Center, and the talent there just topped the $500 mark for the first time.

Is that what’s botherin’ ya, bunky? A dearth of entertainment options? Well, it’s time to take stock of the situation — community summer stock, that is, the season for which begins to heat up just about this time each year in the greater Red Bank oRBit.

Rbo_3b

Broadway bus trippers may not bat an eyelash at the prospect of Brooke Shields or Brady Bunch Brothers filling in for two-week runs in their favorite musicals, but when someone tells you that notorious American Idol runner-up Constantine Maroulis will be appearing as Judas in a local community production of Jesus Christ Superstar — with Jesus himself portrayed by the frontman for the tri-state’s pre-eminent Queen tribute act — well, you’ve just gotta spit-take your MiJovi.

It’s all true: veteran producer-director Mark Fleming (fresh off the Van Zandt-Milmore comedy Wrong Window at Brookdale Community College) will open the new summer season of his long-running Premier Theatre Company this Friday, with season-four finalist Maroulis and Freddie Mercury channeler Joe Russo in a new production of the early smash by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

The show, which runs nine performances through June 28, goes up at the Henderson Theatre (on the grounds of Christian Brothers Academy) off Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. As a special treat there will be opening pop/rock sets by such area performers as Rick Barry, Eric Ginsberg and musical director Anthony D’Amato. Tickets ($26 general admission) are sure to be snapped up by curious idolators; they can be reserved at the Henderson website, where you’ll also find info about upcoming Premier revivals of Damn Yankees and The Fantasticks.

Read More »

ART AMONG THE WHOOPEE CUSHIONS

Jasmin_jackson_17_oil_on_canvas_3Anastasia_yakovlena_11_oil_on_can_2Zack_longo_16_pastel_3In the show: an oil on canvas, above left, by Jasmin Jackson, 17; another oil, top right, by Anastasia Yakovlena, 11; and a pastel by Zack Longo, 16. (Click to enlarge.)

Better known as the go-to source for goofball extendable forks and t-shirts for the pierced-navel set, Broad Street retailer Funk and Standard will take on the air of an art gallery Sunday.

Rbo_3b

That’s when two-dimensional works by students at the extracurricular Inspired Minds Fine Art School in Lincroft go on display for a monthlong run.

The exhibit will introduce a bit of contrast to the store’s cigarette-pooping donkey vibe. School co-owner Heather Brown wants it known that Inspired Minds is not one of those programs where a kid is handed a box of pastels and told to go play. Rather, the school is all about the fundamentals of realism: light, shadow, form, color. The basic techniques that artists have been taught across the last millennia, whether or not they remained true to realism.

Who knows? Among its students may be a future Michaelangelo, or Hans Holbein or even (gasp!) John Currin.

“What sets us apart is that students as young as five years old [and as old as 17] are learning, step by step,” says Brown. “It’s knowing how to look at things and convey them in your work.”

Read More »