IN ANTICIPATION OF A MARINE’S RETURN

digler-101111The neighborhood around the Rumson Place, Little Silver home of Lance Corporal Brian Dilger of the U.S. Marines is suddenly abloom in yellow ribbons. Dilger’s mom, Janine Talbot, tells redbankgreen that the 22-year-old Red Bank Catholic graduate – who’s with the 2nd Marine Division’s Combat Engineering Battalion out of Camp Lejuene, North Carolina – is expected home shortly before Thanksgiving for some R&R after a six-month’s deployment in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, where he’s been involved in heavy combat. (Click to enlarge)

JUDGE WON’T BAR FIREFIGHTER BROTHERS

hughes-100611A municipal court judge found that Justin Hughes, above, provoked the assault by Peter and Steven Lang, below, by saying that Steven Lang should have died in Iraq. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

langs-100611The Lang brothers of Sea Bright won’t be barred from serving as officers of the volunteer fire department as a result of their convictions for assaulting a third firefighter during a wetdown celebration in the firehouse bar a year ago, a judge ruled Wednesday afternoon.

Instead, the Langs and the man they were convicted of attacking all came away with the same sentence: $500 in penalties, as well as a requirement to perform 100 hours of community service.

That service, said Little Silver Judge James Berube, could come in the form volunteer fire or first aid work, duties all three have performed for years.

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REDUCED TO SAWDUST

20111005-111952.jpgA crew from a tree-trimming company under contract with Jersey Central Power & Light was out on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver for the third consecutive day Wednesday cutting down several trees that a crew member said had grown too close to utility lines. (Click to enlarge)

MENNA SEEKS FOUR-TOWN COURTROOM

rb-council-chambersThe location of the proposed court is up in the air, says Mayor Pasquale Menna. (Click to enlarge)

By MOLLY MULSHINE

Taking a cue from three other Monmouth County towns, Red Bank’s mayor has invited leaders of neighboring boroughs to consider forming a joint court system to cut costs.

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RESIDENT STUMPS FOR SLIGHTED MAYOR

elk-ridge-092611Ambassador Drive, serving the Elkridge condominium complex off Spring Street, is the only public tribute to late Red Bank Mayor Katharine Elkus White, seen below in 1948. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

katherine-elkus-white-1948She was Red Bank’s first, and only, female mayor. She also served four years as America’s ambassador to Denmark, was a champion of civil rights and women’s equality, and once frosted political opponents who wanted a peek into her bedroom.

But driving around town, you would hardly know Katharine Elkus White had existed, says Oakland Street resident Carl Colmorgen.

He hopes to change that.

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NO INJURIES IN LITTLE SILVER CAR V. POLE

branch-crash-092311Strange physics appear to have been at work as an SUV smacked a utility pole in Little Silver and ended up wedged between the pole and a street sign at around 3:40 p.m. Friday. There were no injuries in the one-vehicle crash, which occurred on Branch Avenue at Bennett Lane. (Click to enlarge)

WOMAN HAS A BONE TO PICK OVER DOG LAW

delynn-mehrlanderDelynn Mehrlander with Henry, the yellow lab pup she got after the death of her last dog. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

When Little Silver resident Delynn Mehrlander got a notice in the mail earlier this year reminding her to re-license her dog, Jode, she tossed it away.

Jode, a 10-year-old yellow lab, had been put down with cancer five months earlier, so there was no dog to license, she reasoned.

About a month ago came a summons, telling her she’d violated the local animal licensing law.

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NEW MAYOR JUST CLOSING OUT ‘SUZY’S TERM’

bob-neff-liz-halpin-091011Liz Castleman-Halpin, the late mayor’s daughter, with her own daughter, Noelle, looking on, expressed appreciation to Mayor Bob Neff at Felicia’s Kitchen last Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Bob Neff does not burn with political desire, which seems about right, temperature-wise, for the quiet little Mayberry burg of Little Silver.

A lawyer specializing in insurance defense, he’d been toiling away on the side for more than a decade in the all-but-invisible, and volunteer, state Tidelands Resources Council, which administers riparian leases and sales, when he was asked five years ago to run as a Republican for borough council in his longtime hometown of 6,000 residents.

He did. He was unopposed, and of course, won. Then he ran again, a year ago, and no one challenged him, again.

Now, though, he’s the mayor, having been sworn in earlier this month to complete the term of Suzanne Castleman, who died in July. And he’s running for a full term as mayor, with an opponent – independent Council President Dan Levine.

But Neff, a gee-shucks kind of guy who had to resign his council seat in order to serve as mayor, said if he loses the November race, well, that’s fine, too.

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LITTLE SILVER HIT BY FLOODING & OUTAGES

just_in1By JOHN T. WARD

Several major roadways were out of commission and an estimated 1,600 homes remained without electrical power in Little Silver Sunday evening.

There’s no firm estimate on when the juice will be back on, or when Jersey Central Power & Light will be available to address several downed power lines that, in conjunction with roadway flooding, have forced street closings, Lieutenant Joe Mazza tells redbankgreen.

Meanwhile, tonight’s high tide, following the ground-saturating downpour of Tropical Storm Irene (formerly Hurricane Irene), is expected to prolong the discomfort for residents and business owners.

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CONDO PLAN CHANGE APPEARS ON FAST TRACK

carriage-park-hearingRosemary Brewer, above, voiced frustration at Tuesday night’s planning board hearing over a townhouse development proposed in Little Silver. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A previously approved but unbuilt townhouse development near the railroad tracks in Little Silver that local opponents had hoped to get a second shot at derailing is all but a done deal thanks to two-year-old state legislation, town officials say.

At Tuesday night’s planning board hearing, borough planner Richard Coppola said the 39-unit Carriage Park project on Eastview Avenue does not fall under the municipal land use law — the state’s usual planning guide — but rather, a newer one commonly referred to as the conversion law, which board Attorney Michael Leckstein said handcuffs the board and reduces its power.

“What this statute has done,” Coppola said, “is taken the rug from under the planning boards, or under the towns, and just pulled it.”

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PROSECUTOR: BAN TWO FIREFIGHTERS

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The prosecutor in the case of three firefighters convicted of charges in a firehouse scuffle last year wants at least two of them barred from their line officer positions within the department.

“The state believes they should not be allowed back into their positions,” said Little Silver Prosecutor Mike Halfacre, who is also the mayor of neighboring Fair Haven. “Forfeiture (of their positions) in my eyes, and in the state’s eyes, is automatic.”

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LITTLE SILVER MAYOR CASTLEMAN DIES

castlemanLittle Silver Mayor Suzanne Castleman passed away Friday at 76. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Suzanne Castleman, Little Silver’s mayor and a lifelong resident of the borough, passed away at her home Friday night.

Known widely in town as “Mayor Suzie,” Castleman had been ill since the death of her husband in May, said Linda Goff, a friend of the family.

Her death came less than a week before her 77th birthday.

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TEEN BICYCLIST HIT BY CAR IN LITTLE SILVER

just_in1A 16-year-old Little Silver boy was seriously injured late Friday morning when he was struck by a car while crossing Seven Bridges Road on a bike, police say.

The unidentified teen was transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune by the borough volunteer squad with MONOC paramedics on board following the 11:48 a.m. accident, said police Chief Dan Shaffery.

The boy’s condition was not immediately available late in the afternoon.

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SEA BRIGHT FIREFIGHTERS GUILTY IN SCUFFLE

sbfd-engineA Sea Bright Fire Department engine truck on display at the department’s wet-down celebration, shortly before three firefighters got into a scuffle that led to charges. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two brothers accused of assaulting a fellow volunteer firefighter last year were found guilty of all related charges Thursday, according to court documents obtained by redbankgreen.

But their act of violence upon Justin Hughes at a wet-down celebration October 9 wasn’t unprovoked, the judge said. Hughes was also found guilty of harassment and disorderly conduct.

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SIDEWALK AND YARD DEALS IN LITTLE SILVER

ls-sidewalk-saleIt’s sale central in Little Silver later this week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Noticing her neighbors in Fair Haven and Red Bank were finding success with bargain-based weekends, Lori Saybolt decided it was time for business and home owners in Little Silver to unify and get in on the action.

“Other towns have done it and I thought it’d be a great thing to model,” said Saybolt, who helps run the non-profit gift shop The Woman’s Exchange on Church Street  and is president of the borough’s business association. “It just creates a much more of a community experience, so we’re hoping to see a lot more people coming into town.”

Rather than having  the usual sidewalk and yard sales scattered on the calendar, Saybolt went to work pulling them all together for what’s to be the first borough-wide sale, a three-day affair chock full of deals and one ‘Done Good‘ cause. Read More »

BASEMENT FIRE DOUSED IN LITTLE SILVER

just_in1Volunteer firefighters in Little Silver made quick work of a residential basement fire Monday night.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, reported at about 11 p.m., at 31 Little Silver Point Road, said Fire Chief James Jiminaro.

Contrary to a report on a commercial pager alert system that firefighters were attempting to rescue someone from the unfinished cellar, no one was in the basement at the time, Jiminaro tells redbankgreen.

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RAIL CROSSING REOPENS AHEAD OF SKED

ls-rrAn anticipated two-week closure of the railroad crossing at Sycamore Avenue in Little Silver wrapped up after just nine days over the weekend. Work on the North Jersey Coast Line of the NJ Transit rail system began July 7, prompting traffic jams that spread to Shrewsbury. By 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the barricades were lifted, Little Silver police Lieutenant Joe Mazza said. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

PIE HOLES FILLED, SANS UTENSILS

pie71pie61Young fans of New Jersey’s state fruit tucked in with gusto at the annual blueberry festival at Sickles Market in Little Silver Saturday. For the 12th straight year, pie-eating competitions were on the agenda.

Among the contestants was James Culbert, of Fair Haven, at right, who said, after his 60-second bout, “I want to eat the rest with a fork.”

(Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)pie4

THREE CHARGED IN RBR DANCER’S BEATING

sean-montgomery-rbrRed Bank police have charged two recent Red Bank Regional High graduates and a third man in the vicious attack that left a classmate with injuries last month.

Police identified Sean Montgomery, left, of Little Silver and Shrewsbury, as the instigator of  the June 19 beating at a party on Spring Street that left Julliard dance scholar Anthony Tiedeman with a broken jaw that required surgery.

Montgomery, 18, turned himself in last week after police issued a complaint charging him with aggravated assault, said Captain Darren McConnell.

Another classmate, Perry Campanella, whose town of residence McConnell did not have immediately available, and Jahmer Bunch, of Neptune, are expected to appear for arraignment in borough court with Montgomery on Thursday. They, too, are charged with aggravated assault. Each is 18 or 19 years old, McConnell said.

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STATE AID BOOST COMES WITH QUESTIONS

c-christieGovernor Chris Christie at a Middletown town hall meeting in January. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Governor Chris Christie’s announcement Wednesday of how he’s apportioning $850 million in aid to school districts was welcome news to superintendents, who last year took axes and scalpels to their budgets when Christie froze funding.

But while any additional funds are welcome, local school leaders say they’re still in the dark over one big question: how are they going to be able to use it?

“We’re still, right now, sort of waiting for additional guidance from the Department of Education how they would like us to proceed with additional funding,” said Jim Stefankiewicz, superintendent of Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver. His school got a whopping 147-percent boost in state aid. “Information from the governor’s office said that they would really like it to be earmaked more for property tax relief, which we are very open to and considering.”

But until official word comes down what the money can be used for, Stefankiewicz, like other leaders, is in a holding pattern.

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