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RED BANK: POKU CLAIMS RACIAL PREJUDICE

An undated drone shot shows the collection of vehicles and trash in Poku’s backyard. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The owner of a Red Bank residential property packed with rusting vehicles and other junk told a TV news program on Tuesday that he’s a victim of racial prejudice.

William Poku, whose property was the subject of a report by redbankgreen earlier in the day, also denied that he’s hoarding junk.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY DIRECTOR CHECKS OUT

Red Bank library staff and patrons held a sendoff party last week for the retirement of director Elizabeth McDermott, seen above speaking with public utilities director Cliff Keen.

Monmouth County Freeholder John  Curley, a former Red Bank councilman, presented McDermott with a county proclamation recognizing her for, among other accomplishments, leading the library through the most turbulent period in its 81-year history.

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RED BANK: BASIE NOW ‘CENTER FOR THE ARTS’

The rollout of the new name will begin immediately, theater officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Marking the start of a new chapter — and the end of that whole ‘theater or theatre?’ conundrum — Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre has been rebranded the Count Basie Center for the Arts, officials said Monday.

The name reflects the 92-year-old venue’s present and future as a “campus,” where performance art is learned, developed and staged, said Basie chief executive officer Adam Philipson. Read More »

RED BANK: LIBRARY DIRECTOR TO RETIRE

Elizabeth McDeromott, center, at the 2015 Red Bank Mayor’s Ball. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Elizabeth McDermott, who guided the Red Bank Public Library through perhaps the most turbulent chapter of its 81-year history, will retire at the end of June.

An ex-software industry consultant who changed careers well into adulthood, McDermott announced her retirement in the spring issue of the library’s newsletter, out this week.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from redbankgreen! (Photos by John T. Ward. GIF by Trish Russoniello.)

RED BANK: NEW HISTORY IN FORTUNE HOUSE

Restoration work on the T. Thomas Fortune house is underway in conjunction with the construction of 31 apartments behind it, where an elevator tower is visible. Below, builder Roger Mumford shows off an original decorative corbel removed from just below the roof line of the house, and, in his left hand, a replica made from mahogany. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a decade-long effort to save it from the wrecking ball, Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune house is in the midst of a restoration that has served up some additional history.

Part of the Second Empire-style mansion on Drs. James Parker Boulevard may be much older than previously believed, says developer Roger Mumford, who is racing to conserve what he can of the structure even as it crumbles before his eyes.

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SHREWSBURY: BILL O’REILLY SUES PANTER

Bill O’Reilly has filed a lawsuit against former New Jersey Assembly member Michael Panter, who claimed in a Facebook post earlier this week that the former Fox New star sexually harassed Panter’s ex-girlfriend, according to Bloomberg News.

Panter, of Shrewsbury, told redbankgreen by email early Saturday that he had not read the Bloomberg report, and referred to a statement posted Friday on his Facebook page, in which he said he was “speaking the truth,” and expects his account to be “fully corroborated.”

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PUBLISHER’S APOLOGY

Dear redbankgreen reader:

In haste and without consideration about how it would affect those named, I posted a news article on Sunday that contained information I should have known would cause great pain across the community I cover, and in particular, to a family already suffering an unspeakable shock.

I apologize.

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RBR TEACHER NOTED FOR LITERARY BLOG

Gretna Wilkinson. (Click to enlarge)

Press release from Red Bank Regional High

Gretna Wilkinson, Red Bank Regional’s (RBR) acclaimed creative writing  teacher, was recently notified that her website and literary blog, the Raven’s Perch, was selected as one of the top 100 literary blogs on the web by Feedspot.com, a website aggregator.

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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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redbankgreen now has 10,000 readers liking its Facebook page. Are you among them? Sure, not everyone a Facebook fan, but if you’re using it, it’s a great way to keep abreast of the latest posts on your favorite local new source, and even to get some breaking news that you might not see here.

And while we’re on the topic of social media, we’ve also got a new share tool on the right side of this page. It offers a quick way to repost news and features to your Facebook page or Twitter account, or email them to your friends.

Thank you to all who follow this site, advertise, send us news and comment. We’d be zero without you!

LITTLE SILVER: STUDENT FILM A PRIZEWINNER

‘Parallax Dreams,’ directed by and starring Red Bank Regional’s John Tuohy, seen below at the awards ceremony.

An enigmatic short film by a Red Bank Regional sophomore, shot in and around Red Bank, was a double prize winner at a student film festival last month.

John Tuohy, a 16-year-old rising junior from Little Silver took the top prize in the Big Dreams and Silver Screens Festival held in Rahway on June 3.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY MARKS PAST, EYES FUTURE

The heirs of manufacturer Sigmund Eisner donated his West Front Street mansion to the library, which opened there on April 15, 1937. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Continuing its comeback from a period of drastic retrenchment, the Red Bank Public Library plans a celebration of the borough’s past Saturday with the reopening of the Local History Room, which was put off-limits due to staff cuts three years ago.

The second-floor room’s return to part-time action is one piece of a daylong schedule of events to mark the institution’s 80th year in its home overlooking our beautiful Navesink River.

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LITTLE SILVER: A REAL FORUM ON FAKE NEWS

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

“(Is it) hoax, conspiracy, propaganda, or just a moneymaker for Macedonian teenagers?” asked Joseph Amditis (pictured), as he addressed some 250 students at  Red Bank Regional High School recently.

“The definition of fake news has been debated since the election. But that debate has mostly referred to one thing: the spread of inaccurate, misleading, otherwise invented articles passed on as real news.”

Amditis, the associate director for the Montclair State Center for Cooperative Media (affiliated with Montclair University), was invited by the Student Public Policy Group at RBR (partnering with the Network for Responsible Public Policy) to speak at the school, for an audience that included many of the students in the AP English and Journalism classes. During his presentation, Amditis gave the students some examples of fake news — that is, articles that are completely fabricated for the purpose of profit or political persuasion.

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RED BANK: PRESSED, ATTORNEY APOLOGIZES

Borough Attorney Greg Cannon at Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s borough attorney apologized Wednesday night for a bizarre episode last month in which he redirected a video camera belonging to former Councilwoman Cindy Burnham.

Attorney Greg Cannon offered the mea culpa after being pressed for it by Locust Avenue resident Ben Forest.
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RED BANK: ATTORNEY MAKES ISSUE OF CAMERA

Borough Attorney Greg Cannon at Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Former Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham blasted borough Attorney Greg Cannon after he redirected a video camera she was using to record the governing body’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday night.

Mid-meeting, while others on the dais were speaking about unrelated matters, Cannon walked from his seat beside Mayor Pasquale Menna to the front row of the audience and re-aimed Burnham’s tripod-mounted camera before returning to his seat.

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RED BANK: BASIE PIMPS STAGE TO PRESS

Signage touting the Asbury Park Press brand will be installed in front of the stage and projected elsewhere in the venue before and after shows. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After some 90 years as a lights-down sanctuary from the outside world, visitors to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre will be greeted by heavy pre- and post-show branding by the Asbury Park Press starting Tuesday.

According to an “exclusive” report about itself Monday, the Neptune-based Press will have its name in lights throughout the entertainment space: in front of the stage, on a drop-down screen, and on the walls before and after performances and during intermissions.

“You will be seeing an act that is performing on the Asbury Park Press Stage,” Basie CEO Adam Philipson is quoted as saying.

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RED BANK: FORMER STAIR FACTORY REFRAMED

The former B&C Stair factory is in the midst of a top-to-bottom renovation.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Having worked his magic in creating a dazzling new gallery downtown last year, art collector Kenny Schwartz has now turned his attention to a factory on Red Bank’s West Side.

There, in the former home of B&C Custom Wood Stairs and Rail, at the corner of Drs. James Parker Boulevard and South Bridge Avenue, the auto dealer is creating a custom-frame shop to serve walk-in customers, major museums and galleries, including his own Detour Gallery, on Clay Street.

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RED BANK: ADD SOME LOVE TO ‘EPIC’ POEM

For the past week, a team from Red Bank’s Project Write Now, a nonprofit dedicated to helping community members tap into their creativity through writing, has been handing out forms around town, inviting recipients to share a few words about what they love, and then pass the form to someone else: a friend, a family member or even a complete stranger.

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