RED BANK: BUDGET INTRO ON AGENDA

The mayor and council meet at borough hall for their first in-person session in 26 months Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A budget for 2022 is on the agenda when the Red Bank mayor and council hold their first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday night.

The session is also the first to simultaneously employ technology allowing participation from home.

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RED BANK: CLERK BRINGS TINY-TOWN FOCUS

Laura Reinertsen in her office at Red Bank borough hall last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Having begun her career in a town so small that she sometimes had to fill in as a bus driver, Red Bank’s new borough clerk, Laura Reinertsen knows what it means to wear multiple hats.

It’s an experience that informs her approach to her job, she told redbankgreen last week.

“I kind of veer out of my lane just to keep things moving,” she said.

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RED BANK: COP LEADS FAMILIES TO SAFETY

A Red Bank police officer helped two families  escape from a fire in their attached homes in Middletown last week.

Sergeant Heather Kovar (right) was driving in the township on police business shortly after noon Friday when she noticed gray smoke rising behind a fence alongside what appeared to be a single-family house at 81 Twin Brooks Avenue.

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RED BANK: PLAQUE HONORS A ‘FIGHTER’

Freddie Boynton, in blue shirt, looks on as Mayor Pasquale Menna unveils a plaque honoring him at Johnny Jazz Park. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A two-time Golden Gloves champ, Freddie Boynton didn’t quit fighting after his professional boxing career ended in the 1980s.

Instead, he got into a truck, and found ways to fight for his neighbors on Red Bank’s West Side.

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RED BANK: SPARKS FLY YET AGAIN

A screen grab from Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s mayor and the so-far only contender for his job squared off Wednesday night at yet another contentious borough council meeting.

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RED BANK: HIRING DELAYED BY SALARY ISSUE

Mayor Pasquale Menna, left, and Councilman Michael Ballard, right, squared off over the proposed clerk’s salary. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s council put off hiring a new borough clerk over salary issues Wednesday night.

During the governing body’s monthly workshop session, Councilman Michael Ballard, a contender to displace Pasquale Menna as mayor, accused Menna of playing “Monday night quarterback” for raising concerns late in the process.

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RED BANK: NEW CLERK ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council wants Monmouth County to improve pedestrian safety at Broad Street and Pinckney Road. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council is scheduled to appoint a new borough clerk this week.

Here are some highlights from the agendas as the council holds back-to-back workshop and regular meetings Wednesday night:

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RED BANK: YASSIN EVICTED

Hazim Yassin at a council meeting in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith just days left on his term, former Red Bank councilman Hazim Yassin was ordered evicted from his apartment last month, court records show.

The action came less than two months after Yassin agreed to pay his landlord more than $32,000 in overdue rent.

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RED BANK: YASSIN SETTLES RENT CASE

Councilman Hazim Yassin, lower right, listens as Judge Kerry Higgins, upper left, reviews the settlement. (Screengrab from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicLame duck Councilman Hazim Yassin dodged possible eviction from his Red Bank apartment with an agreement to pay his landlord more than $32,000 in back rent Friday.

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FAIR HAVEN: TWOFER KISS FOR NEW CAPTAIN

With his daughters and Fair Haven police Chief Joe McGovern looking on, newly-promoted Captain Robert Townshend got a congratulatory kiss from his wife, Jackie, at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The kiss had a dual significance.

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RED BANK: JON STEWART SELLS SECOND HOME

Jon Stewart’s former homes on Alston Court, left, and Fisher Place, right, as seen from the Navesink River in 2010. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

Comedian Jon Stewart appears to have ended his time as a Red Bank dual homeowner.

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ON THE GREEN: IN MEMORY

September 11 2001 memorial gif

Dozens of residents of the Greater Red Bank Green were among the 147 Monmouth County residents, and 2,996 overall, who died in the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

Information about commemorations in Red Bank and Atlantic Highlands can be found here.

RED BANK: STEWART SELLS ONE MANSION

jon stewart at count basie theatre red bank njJon Stewart serving lunch to construction workers from a food truck at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Political commentator and comedian Jon Stewart is selling one of the two side-by-side riverfront mansions he owns in Red Bank, according to a recent filing.

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RED BANK: YASSIN FACES BACK-RENT LAWSUIT

Hazim Yassin at his first meeting as a council member in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

UPDATE: September 9, 2021: See Yassin’s response to this article below.

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Hazim Yassin hasn’t paid the rent on his apartment in 18 months and owes more than $29,000, his landlord alleges in a lawsuit.

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RED BANK: TREES BOOST TAB FOR ROADWORK

The work to preserve trees on Hudson Avenue included bumping out curbs and extending driveway aprons. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Mid-project changes to preserve trees helped boost the tab for road work in Red Bank by more than $227,000 to this summer, officials said.

And the added expenses came in one penny below the threshold at which the entire $1.14 million project would have had to be re-bid.

RED BANK: LABOR SETTLEMENT ON AGENDA

red bank recycling center 051420The agenda includes settlements with Robert Greene, left, and John Cain, who were laid off from their recycling center jobs in May, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Memorials to living persons would be permitted on borough property under a policy up for possible adoption by the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

Also on the agenda: a settlement with two laid-off workers; curtailing private fireworks and awarding a contract for a Broad Street makeover project.

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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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RED BANK: MEMORIAL POLICY DEBATED

red bank mckenna alley 081519A 2019 plan to name a dead-end lane off Boat Club Court for former mayor Ed McKenna was dropped at McKenna’s request. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council divided Wednesday night over a proposed policy regarding official memorials.

At least two council members voiced support for allowing streets, parks and structures for honorees who are still among the living; one spoke against it; another suggested erecting omnibus memorials.

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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: DALPRA TO HEAD PARKS & REC

Louis ‘Del’ DalPra at Red Bank Regional in 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFormer Red Bank Regional High athletic director and coach Louis ‘Del’ DalPra was named director of the borough’s parks and recreation department Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: HOFFMANN LEAVING REC JOB

Charlie Hoffmann with parks attendant Celestine Woods at Riverside Gardens Park in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Charlie Hoffmann, who has directed Red Bank’s parks and recreation department for the past five years, is leaving town.

The announcement of his departure at the council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday sparked a “pile-on” of praise for Hoffmann’s work, which included organizing everything from sports and cultural offerings to this weekend’s Spring Egg Hunt.

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RED BANK: VISCOMI REBUTS RACISM CHARGE

Sue Viscomi at a school board meeting in March, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThree Red Bank council members were silent Wednesday in the face of accusations that one of them had smeared a resident by accusing her of using “racist” language last month.

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