RED BANK: GRANT BOOSTS LIBRARY WIFI

Scenes from the recent installation of enhanced wifi at the library. (Click to enlarge.)

Press release from the Red Bank Public Library

The Red Bank Public Library has been selected as one of 27 libraries and was recently awarded $10,000 of grant funding by The NJ State Library to
support the CARES ACT Mini-Grant for Public Libraries.

The grant award supplemented the cost of an improved WiFi system that is now strong enough to provide service to anyone on the library grounds, inside or outside the building.

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RED BANK: KEEPING FORTUNE’S VOICE ALIVE

Suubi Mondesir with Fortune Foundation co-chair Gilda Rogers last month. Below, Mondesir, second from right, on a 2016 tour of the Fortune house led by builder Roger Mumford. (Photos by Chris Ern, above, and John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By CHRIS ERN

In the summer of 2016, Suubi Mondesir was a rising junior at Red Bank Regional High School when she participated in a tour of a crumbling Red Bank house.

At the time, preservationists envisioned the building on Drs. James Parker Boulevard as a cultural center in honor of its onetime owner, the civil rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune, and Mondesir was present as a participant in the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop at Rutgers University.

Flash forward to 2021: The house has been fully restored as the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, and Suubi (pronounced SOO-vee) manages its media outreach efforts as an intern. But it’s not just a job. Her work at the center aligns with a personal passion for social justice, inspired by Fortune’s work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, she told redbankgreen in an interview last month.

“What he did is what I am hoping to do as well: to inspire people with my writing, and to speak truth to power,” Mondesir said.

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LITTLE SILVER: O’SCANLON DEMANDS APOLOGY

State Senator Declan O’Scanlon in Red Bank in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03New Jersey state Senator Declan O’Scanlon accused Twitter of “Orwellian” behavior after the social media giant banned him over a three-week-old tweet Saturday.

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RED BANK: FOOD WRITER SUSAN ERICSON DIES

Susan Ericson, notepad in hand, at New Corner Pizza in Red Bank in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Food writer Susan Ericson of Red Bank died Friday at home under hospice care after a lengthy illness. She was 66 years old.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY REOPENS, WITH LIMITS

Make an appointment, show up and ring the doorbell for admission. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Easing its way out of the pandemic of 2020-2021, the Red Bank Public Library began allowing visitors into the West Front Street institution for the first time in more than a year Monday.

The new reality, however, requires appointments, masks, limits on usage and self-checkouts, among other limitations.

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SANDY HOOK: SPRINGSTEEN BUSTED FOR DWI

Bruce Springsteen outside the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njCould Bruce Springsteen be in need of a presidential pardon soon?

The rock star was arrested for DWI and other charges at Sandy Hook in November, federal officials confirmed Wednesday.

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RED BANK: JOURNALIST JOHN F. BURTON DIES

John F. Burton at the Red Bank Mayor’s Ball in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

John F. Burton, a longtime chronicler of Red Bank-area people, government and more, died Sunday.

The senior reporter for the weekly Two River Times had battled illness for the past three years.

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RED BANK: RAPES UP, OVERALL CRIME DOWN

An increase in violent crime in 2020 mirrors a national trend, said Chief Darren McConnell. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s crime rates continued a long trend of gradual decline in 2020, police Chief Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

One glaring exception: an increase in reported rapes.

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

hot topicDear redbankgreen reader:

You are no doubt aware that the local-news industry is collapsing, and understand what that might mean for the future of an informed public and for democracy itself.

And yet, redbankgreen has somehow managed to provide original and intensely local coverage of the Red Bank area for 14 years, at no charge.

Yeah, so how’s that work?

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RED BANK: LIBRARY PLANS PUBLIC SURVEY

The library, which opened in the onetime home of manufacturer Sigmund Eisner in 1937, is now looking ahead to 2026. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank Public Library plans to solicit public input as it develops a new five-year strategic plan, its board of trustees announced Thursday. Read More »

RED BANK: CRIME RATE DROPPED IN 2019

red bank darren mcconnellFor the sixth straight year, no Red Bank police officer was found to have used unwarranted force in 2019, said Chief Darren McConnell. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank policeRed Bank’s crime rate saw a sharp drop in 2019, police Chief Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

In addition, incidents in which officers used some degree of force in dealing with the public were at an “all-time low,” and none were found unwarranted, he said.

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RED BANK: ALTERNATE-SIDE PLAN REVISED

red bank spring street parkingBorough officials say streets with one-side-only parking, including Spring Street, above, will allow parking on the other side during street sweeping.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter a number of complaints were raised, a proposed alternate-side parking ordinance for Red Bank will be revised to make the system monthly rather than weekly.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE CULTURAL CENTER OPENS

red bank fortune house Dozens of supporters gathered on the front lawn for the opening of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. Below, a view of the ceremony from inside the restored house. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank fortune houseMore than a century after the departure of its most famous resident, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank reopened Thursday as a cultural center dedicated to his mission of advancing civil and human rights.

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RED BANK: PARKING, NEWS RACKS AND MORE

red bank news racksNews boxes outside the Post Office on Broad Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s borough council is expected to introduce an ordinance Wednesday requiring alternate-side parking throughout town.

Also on the agenda: a law to regulate news racks, and honors for an educator who is retiring.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE ‘MIRACLE’ COMPLETED

red bank nj t. thomas fortune cultural centerThe restored T. Thomas Fortune House on Drs. James Parker Boulevard plans to formally open as a cultural center in May. Below, restoration supervisor Spencer Foxworth and foundation member Robin Blair examine a chandelier to be installed. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank nj t. thomas fortune cultural center

An against-the-odds, decade-long effort to save a Red Bank house that was once the home of a pioneering civil rights journalist has reached its improbable conclusion, people involved in the effort say.

This weekend, local history lovers will get their first-ever chance to tour the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Register structure that not long ago was about to be razed.

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RED BANK: CHIEF ADDRESSES USE OF FORCE

red bank nj policeRed Bank’s police chief hasn’t seen a single case of unwarranted force during an arrest in five years, he tells redbankgreen. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s police chief says he reviews every report of force used by members of his department during arrests, and hasn’t found any in the past five years that appear improper.

Chief Darren McConnell’s observation followed the release by NJ Advance Media last week of data on every arrest in which police used force in New Jersey over four years.

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SHREWSBURY: PANTER CLAIMS WIN v. O’REILLY

By JOHN T. WARD

shrewsbury, nj, mike panter, michael panterA Shrewsbury man claimed victory Tuesday in a yearlong legal standoff with former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly.

Former New Jersey Assemblyman Mike Panter, right, said O’Reilly dropped a $5 million defamation suit he’d filed over a Facebook post in which Panter recounted an ex-girlfriend’s allegations of sexual harassment by the combative TV host.

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