ON THE GREEN: FILM TRACKS SANDY RECOVERY

Here’s the trailer to “After Sandy,” a new film made over the past three years by Middetown resident Joe Minnella to document the rebuilding efforts at the Jersey shore in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Minnella and Anthony Jude Setaro of Red Bank, who produced the film, are alumni of Red Bank Catholic High School.

To view the full  100-minute film, click “like” at the “After Sandy” Facebook page and you’ll receive a link to the film page at 8 p.m. on Thursday. The film will be available for viewing until 8 p.m Friday. (Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: BASIE PLANS MASSIVE EXPANSION

Basie expansion 1 102615An architect’s rendering of the expanded Count Basie Theatre includes additions on the east and west sides of the existing structure. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Red Bank’s Vaudeville-era Count Basie Theatre is in for a massive, $20 milion expansion that will turn it into a “creative campus” dedicated to the performing arts in coming years, officials said Monday.

Incorporating adjoining properties acquired in recent years, theater officials plan to “move toward our longtime vision of an entire city block dedicated to the performing arts,” Tom Widener, chairman of the theater’s board of trustees, said in an announcement released Monday morning.
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RED BANK: A RED-CARPET, NAME-DROP NIGHT

Drummer_Carmine_Appice_(right)_works_with_Basie_Rockit!_students_in_advance_of_their_Vanguard_Awards_performance_on_August_29th.Legendary rock drummer Carmine Appice, above at right works with members of the Rockit! band in preparation for Saturday’s show, which also honors local music legend Bobby Bandiera, below.

bandieraA lieutenant governor, a captain of industry and a rock ‘n roll field marshal are the honorees — with some music royalty in the house — when the Count Basie Theatre presents its 2015 Vanguard awards in Red Bank Saturday night.

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RED BANK: BASIE NAMES 2015 HONOREES

KimBandieraLt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Shore music legend Bobby Bandiera are among the luminaries to be honored by the Count Basie Theatre on August 29, with the second annual Vanguard Awards.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

The Count Basie Theatre has announced honorees for the 2015 Vanguard awards, honoring lifelong devotion to the arts in New Jersey. Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, musician Bobby Bandiera, and Investors Bank’s Richard Spengler will be recognized as Vanguards on Saturday, August 29, with tickets going on sale at noon this Friday, July 24 through TheBASIE.org, phone charge at (732)842-9000, and – at the Count Basie Theatre box office.

Also on August 29, Rockit! At The Basie will present its annual summer concert, The Who’s TOMMY In Its Entirety and Other Sounds of ‘69. The show will feature curation, guidance and performances from Bandiera, 2014 Vanguard winner Maureen Van Zandt and very special guests, and monies raised from the concert will go towards partnership program scholarships and other initiatives that fall within the Basie’s mission of providing arts education and outreach programs.

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THANKSGIVING: TWO PLACES TO EAT FOR FREE

lunch-breakVolunteers will once again serve a traditional spread at Lunch Break, above, while Surf Taco is offering food from its menu of Mexican dishes. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

110914 surf tacoAt least two Red Bank institutions are going out of their way to make Thanksgiving inclusive for all, even those who can’t pay.

Details are below…

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RED BANK: LUNCH BREAK GETS $1 MILLION

lunch break 092914The donation will ensure completion of a major expansion of the soup kitchen now underway, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Red Bank’s Lunch Break soup kitchen has landed a $1 million donation from a philanthropist who asked not to be publicly identified, the organization announced Monday.

The donation, already in the bank, pushed Lunch Break to 80 percent of its $5 million capital campaign to pay for a sizable expansion of its facility on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS HYBRID BULKHEAD

elijah nishiura 072314Red Bank Regional sophomore Elijah Nishiura, center, chats with Environmental Commission chairwoman Laura Bagwell, left, and Carl Alderson, a marine resources specialist at NOAA, after the council voted to restore the rotting library bulkhead, below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb lib bulkhead 2 071013A hotly opposed proposal to rebuild the bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library won approval from the borough council Wednesday night, though the new structure may now incorporate elements of a so-called living shoreline favored by environmentalists.

Then again, the matter could be headed to court if the hybrid approach fails appease the library’s next-door neighbors, whose lawyer continued to imply that he’d sue if anything less than an abrupt wall along the library’s Navesink River frontage is constructed.

“The merits of the living shoreline are neither here nor there,” Michael Vitiello, the attorney for the Corinthian Cove condos, told the council before it voted on the issue. “My clients feel that if you remove the bulkhead… we are no longer going to have lateral support for our earth.”

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RED BANK: BULKHEAD REBUILD ON AGENDA

rb lib bulkhead 4 071013Borough residents are on the hook for replacing the library bulkhead, at right, where environmentalists argue a natural shoreline should be restored.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Its scientists and policy experts may be thought leaders on issues of global warming and ways to head it off. But on the matter of the Navesink River bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library, Harvard University can’t be bothered to speak, it appears.

Harvard’s continued silence almost a year after Mayor Pasquale Menna reached out to the university for help on a legal issue is about to cost Red Bank taxpayers and, environmentalists contend, result in a wrongheaded fix along the shoreline.

A controversial plan to rebuild the crumbling bulkhead, rather than allow for the restoration of a natural shoreline, is expected to move ahead Wednesday night.

It’s time for “finality” on the issue, which involves insurance and liability issues as well as environmental ones, Menna told redbankgreen Monday.

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RED BANK: TRUSTEES PAN BOROUGH BUDGET

barbara withers 032714Barbara Withers, a resident of the Atrium at Navesink senior complex, implores the board to preserve a book-delivery service for its residents. Below, board president John Grandits, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna outside the library meeting room. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

grandits menna 032714A plan by the Menna administration to rewrite the proposed Red Bank Public Library budget and undo the recent layoff of half its staff got a cold reception from the library trustees Thursday night.

One or two of the suggested changes, such as leaving the soon-to-be-vacated job of the library director unfunded, appear to be “illegal,” trustee Brigid McCarthy told a packed meeting of library supporters.

Still, Mayor Pasquale Menna, displaying obvious frustration with what he called “drama” surrounding the borough’s recommendations, said the standoff can and will be quickly resolved, even if he has to take unilateral action.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY LAYOFFS MAY BE REVERSED

rbpl sale 2 020213The fate of jobs for three full-time librarians is still up in the air. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials said they are working toward a budget fix that might undo the layoff of half the staff at the borough library two weeks ago.

At Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, administrator Stanley Sickels said he and borough CFO Eugenia Poulos had developed an alternative to the library’s budget that might “maintain the full-time staff.”

Now, attention turns to the eight-member library board of trustees, which gathers Thursday night in what may be its best-attended meeting in history.

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RED BANK: BOARD DEFENDS LIBRARY LAYOFFS

rbpl board 022714 1The library board of the trustees at a meeting in February. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Responding to “misinformation” and “half-truths… stretched beyond their limits” surrounding layoffs of half the staff at the Red Bank Public Library last week, the library’s board of trustees is pushing back.

In a question-and-answer document prepared by six of eight board members and obtained by redbankgreen, the trustees say that personnel costs accounted for 95 percent of the library budget before the layoffs, which affected six of the 11 staff members.

The layoffs were part of a library “reorganization” that “eliminates our deficit, allows us to right-size the Library for the budget, and sustains the Library for the future,” the trustees say in the Q&A. “The solution implemented [at a board meeting following the layoffs] on March 13 was just one step in a much larger process that began in 2013 when it became clear that even with stringent cuts in expenditures last year, the Library was living beyond its means.”

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SEA BRIGHT LIGHTS UP NEW WEBSITE

mark pappas 013014Mark Pappas volunteered his company’s resources to build a new website for the borough. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sea Bright residents and business owners have a new source for information about civic life, and it didn’t cost the town a nickel.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY LAUNCHES FUND DRIVE

grandits primavera 111213audrey oldoerp 111213 3Dozens of supporters of the Red Bank Public Library – including children’s authors John Grandits and Elise Primavera, above turned out Tuesday night for a wine-and-cheeser to launch the Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library, an initiative to secure big-dollar support for the facility, which was once the home of uniform manufacturer Sigmund Eisner.

“The Eisners must have entertained a lot here,” said library board member Audrey Oldoerp, at right, “because this place was made for partying.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: EDGY, SEXY LIT FOR VIXENS

literary vixens 1‘Literary Vixens’ Jacqueline Tobacco (left) and Melissa Bartolone flank author Suzanne Palmieri during her reading at Red Bank’s Lambs and Wolves salon earlier this month. (Photos by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

literary vixens 2Author Suzanne Palmieri believes in magic.

Not the “pull a rabbit out of a hat” kind of magic. The kind, she told an audience on a recent Friday night in Red Bank, that happened when she learned, while trying to budget her daughter’s college tuition. that an Italian company had bought the foreign rights to her book, ‘The Witch of Little Italy.’ The kind that happens when a fan, who happens to live five minutes away, turns into a close friend.

“I’ve made a lot of friends like that,” she said. “I didn’t know when I wrote the book that it would tap into something bigger.”

Hoping to create that kind of magic for other writers of edgy, sexy fiction is Literary Vixens, a publishing concern that began when friends Jacqueline Tobacco of Middletown and Melissa Bartolone of Red Bank reunited through social media over their love of books.

With Lauren DeVito, Literary Vixens promote, as their tagline says, “smart books for passionate readers.” What started out as a book blog is transforming into a publishing agency, and the ladies hope to hand pick a few marketable authors to work with.

“We knew we wanted [the name] to be a combination of smart and daring,” said Tobacco. “‘Vixen’ means we’re a little bit more edgy in our reading, a little bit more sophisticated.”

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BASIE OK’s CHORALE PROGRAM FOR AREA KIDS

basie-marquee-3-090213-500x375The Count Basie Theatre and the Red Bank Borough School District are thrilled to announce a new, free children’s choral program, The Central Jersey Youth Chorale, beginning in the Fall of 2013.This free program, open to all Monmouth County students grades 4-8 as of 2013, is scheduled to run from October through June, and will be under the musical direction of Kristopher Zook, local conductor, composer and vocal music educator from Red Bank Regional High School. Rehearsals will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5-6 pm at the Red Bank Middle School, 101 Harding Road, Red Bank.

Students wishing to audition for the performing ensemble should prepare a song that reflects their vocal strengths for one of the two audition days, Monday, October 7, or Wednesday, October 9 at 5:00 PM in the Red Bank Middle School Auditorium.

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INTRODUCING: CLASS ACT

CLASS-ACT_MIDDLETOWNToday, redbankgreen introduces a new occasional feature called Class Act.

Class Act reports news about local young people who’ve moved on to college and beyond to continue their education. We’ll be grouping them by town of residence and posting periodically. The first one is about Middletown residents who recently graduated from college, and one who’s still there, doing some esoteric research.

The feature is one of several new ones we’ll be rolling out on our all-new All Good page, which is dedicated to “news from a brighter future,” with special emphasis on the achievements and good works of kids, volunteers, charitable organizations and others who embody the spirit of a better world for all of us.

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THE COUNT ADDS UP TWO GRANTS

basie marquee 3 090213One grant will help the Basie’s outreach to Red Bank’s public schools. (Click to enlarge)

Press release from The Count Basie Theatre

The Count Basie Theatre was the recipient of two recently awarded grants, including $15,000 from the OceanFirst Foundation. The grant, which completes a two year grant cycle for arts and cultural institutions, will be used for theatre operations and necessary renovations. Since 2009, the Foundation has granted $60,000 to the Count Basie Theatre.

The Basie also received an $8,000 grant from the Mary Owen Borden Foundation for its support of mission-driven programming; in particular the Outreach program within Red Bank Borough’s Public Schools. In the past three years, the Borden Foundation has granted the Basie in excess of $36,000.

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NEW LOOK, NEW FEATURES, RIGHT HERE…

PieHole All Good headers

Welcome to redbankgreen 3.0.

The newest version of this seven-year-old authentically local news and information site comes with changes both cosmetic – as you’ve probably already noticed – and substantive.

The cosmetic is self-evident. The substance is hinted at above: PieHole and All Good are the names of new pages that we hope will satisfy particular needs in your life. And there’s some new fun stuff, too.

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RED BANK: MUSICAL BROTHERS BIKE FOR KIDS

Brothers Roberto and Angelo Giambra pass through Red Bank Monday morning en route to New York City from their home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Italian natives who moved to the United States in 1996, they embarked on June 5 to raise awareness of the charity Save the Children, distributing several thousand flyers along the way.

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RED BANK: DONORS GIVE RIVERVIEW $5M

The gift is the latest in a series of million-dollar donations to the Red Bank hospital’s foundation. (Click to enlarge)

Spotlight-avoiding donors have dropped $5 million into the coffers of Riverview Medical Center‘s foundation, the latest in a recent series of big-dollar contributions to the Red Bank facility.

Here’s the announcement, issued late Monday afternoon:

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RED BANK: STOCKING LUNCH BREAK’S PANTRY

With kids from the Rockit Youth Music Program providing a soundtrack, volunteers sorted donations at the Red Bank Middle School for a Lunch Break food drive Saturday. The event, marking the organization’s 30th anniversary, targeted a goal of  30,000 pounds of food. (Photos by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

STORM CHARITY DIGS IN FOR THE LONG HAUL

RebuildRecover co-founder Mike Hernandez surrounded by donated materiel in the organization’s initial home: his Sounds to Go DJ office on East Front Street in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Eight weeks after the hurricane, a grassroots effort to provide necessities to residents of neighborhoods damaged by Sandy is still going strong, and plans to morph into a permanent relief operation, its founders say.

Created by six twentysomething friends who wanted to provide aid on their own terms, Red Bank-based RebuildRecover quickly became one of the Shore area’s most visible and influential nonprofit charities, attracting the attention of The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who lives in town, and hundreds of lesser-known donors.

“After three days of working with another, really well-known charity organization that will not be named, my co-founders and I decided to take matters in our own hands,” said vice president David Cruse. The idea, he said, was to “create an organization that would provide those in need with direct, immediate help.”

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CHRISTMAS IN SEA BRIGHT

Heartwarming update on Sea Bright’s effort to recover from Hurricane Sandy. The video is  by Montclair State student Noah Smith, who also produced one last month on the challenges faced by business owners in town. (Thanks to Debbie Galant of the New Jersey News Commons for passing this along.) (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: EATING, REFLECTING AND RISING

Chris Wood, as seen in a video, above, and Mayor Dina Long, below, at Saturday night’s event, which raised $130,000 for Sea Bright Rising. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

A hotel in Long Branch was transformed into a showcase of the area’s best culinary talents Saturday night, courtesy of the charity organization Sea Bright Rising and the generosity of local vendors and restaurant owners.

Complete with a live band, charity auction and a video showcasing the relief effort, the sold-out gala, dubbed “The Big Beach Bash,” raised almost $130,000 for Sea Bright’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy, according to the charity group’s Facebook page.

But the real story of the event was perhaps best told by the restaurateurs and merchants whose tables lined the walls of the ballroom of the Ocean Place Resort and Spa. Many were Sea Bright business owners trying to help rebuild their broken beach community joined by owners from neighboring towns looking to lend a hand to friends in need.

Over the lively the noise and, redbankgreen spoke with some of these participating businesses, and here’s what they had to say:

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FOOD FOR… SPORTS GEAR AND FIELD LIGHTS

Done3

Upcoming: Thursday, August 16

Red Bank Flavour, a culinary campaign driven by the borough’s restaurants and food stores, presents “A Night on the Navesink: A Flavour Summer Soiree” at the Molly Pitcher Inn on Thursday, August 16.

Held at Red Bank’s newly renovated riverfront hotel, the evening, co-sponsored by hotel owner J.P. Barry Hospitality, will offer guests culinary samplings from more than 20 borough eateries, as well as wine samplings, libations and craft beer selections from New Jersey breweries.

A portion of proceeds from “A Night on the Navesink” will benefit Lunch Break and the Red Bank Middle School Athletics Foundation.

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