A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY, A LITTLE BIT MOBILE

A mobile language lab at RBR will be stocked with iPads when it opens in September, thanks to a donation from the school’s fundraising foundation.  (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

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Come September, Red Bank Regional High School will have a fully operational Apple Mobile classroom for the 2012-2013 school year for its world language classes.

The RBR Education Foundation recently presented the Board of Education with a check for $28,000 to purchase an iPad cart equipped with 35 iPads and three MacBooks with a two-year protection program, as well as a voucher for applications available to “foster the acquisition of foreign language.”

“This level of accessibility into other cultures and languages is completely unprecedented,” said assistant principal Will Smith.

 

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GROCERY SCION DONATES $1M TO RIVERVIEW

The gift puts Riverview’s campaign to pay for a new day-stay surgery center past its $15 million goal. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Navesink couple is the latest in a string of wealthy donors to write a whopping check to help pay for a new surgical center at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, the hospital announced late Tuesday.

Richard Saker, the third-generation CEO of the Saker ShopRite chain, and his wife, Laura, have donated $1 million to the cause through the business, the hospital reports.

The commitment pushes the hospital’s campaign for the 22,000-square-foor surgery center “well past” its $15 million goal, the nonprofit said in its announcement.

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LIBRARY TO FETE LIFE OF SIGMUND EISNER

Local-history librarian Elizabeth McDermott, below, with a custom-branded Eisner lightbulb in the second-floor New Jersey Room of the Red Bank Public Library, once the home of industrialist Sigmund Eisner. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

On April 15, 1937, the Red Bank Public Library – for decades an itinerant but growing collection of books and archival material – finally found a permanent home, relocating from a downtown storefront to a mansion at 84 West Front Street.

Three months earlier, the heirs of Sigmund Eisner – mass-manufacturer of uniforms for the Army, the Boy Scouts and other organizations  – had donated their late father’s mansion overlooking the Navesink River to the library.

The shared hope of H. Raymond, Monroe and J. Lester Eisner was that the house would provide a warm and dry place for reading, but also that it would function “as a bit of a museum, too,” says local-history librarian Elizabeth McDermott.

Next month, the library will celebrate its 75th anniversary in the house with museum-like displays that highlight Eisner and his transformative impact on Red Bank as an industrialist and philanthropist.

The event, says McDermott, “is completely about” Eisner.

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SHELTER GIVES RED BANK A HANDOUT

[UPDATE: Please see clarification at the bottom of this article]

By JOHN T. WARD

Heeding the sound of Red Bank’s rattling tin cup, a fifth nonprofit has made a cash contribution to the town lieu of taxes.

Habcore Inc., which provides shelter and other services to the homeless and disabled  on South Pearl Street, has cut a check for $9,900, Mayor Pasquale Menna said Wednesday.

In addition, a comparable sum has been pledged by another charity that he could not yet publicly identify, Menna said.

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MENNA: GROWING NONPROFITS HURT TOWN

Mayor Pasquale Menna says the loss of taxable property to nonprofits is an unfair burden on taxpayers in regional centers like Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s become a familiar refrain of Red Bank officials: the borough is choking on nonprofits that provide services to a wide swath of Monmouth County’s citizenry but return nothing to the town’s coffers.

For all the societal good they do, a sprawling medical center, various churches and other do-good institutions occupy land that might otherwise generate tax revenue – and they increase the load carried by borough taxpayers each time they expand, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.

“Our residents have to pay for the deficiency,” he said. “That societal good is borne by those who are the least able to pay for it.”

Menna says that this year, he’ll be dialing up efforts to address what he considers a fundamental unfairness. But having gotten nowhere with earlier efforts, he’s retooled, and is now pitching a provocative idea: Make nonprofits pay when they acquire property now on the tax rolls.

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PASTA, POULTRY & GOOD DEEDS ON THE SIDE

DSC_0128The most eagerly anticipated touch football event of the season takes place on November 26, when the annual Turkey Bowl raises funds for Jason’s Dream for Kids, at Thompson Middle School in Middletown.

donegoodlogoMaintaining the available blood supply here in the most densely populated state of the union is serious business — which is not to say that the dedicated staff at  Central Jersey Blood Center doesn’t get to have a little fun at certain times of the year.

Following a Halloween interval in which they helped Phoenix Productions preview the bloody operetta Sweeney Todd and solicited donations from the thousands who marched and shambled in Asbury Park’s NJ Zombie Walk, the CJBC van returns to Red Bank today, November 11, for a Veterans Day blood drive hosted at the Pearl Street location of Arrow Limousine.

Scheduled for 9am to 2pm, the blood drive offers an additional incentive to registered donors: a chance to win a “Dare to Dream” prize package that includes a chauffered Thanksgiving family excursion for up to six people, with tickets to see Disney On Ice at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford.

Donors can register or obtain additional information at 732-747-4844 — and we’re serving up five more full courses of Done Good right around the corner.

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A PORTION-CONTROLLED SIDE OF ZEET

zeet-peabody-1Zeet Peabody, executive chef at the new JBJ Soul Kitchen, which features crisp design inside and a vegetable and herb garden out front. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

soul-kitchen1The star power at Wednesday’s opening of the JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank belonged, of course, to the restaurant’s main sponsor, Jon Bon Jovi.

But while the the telegenic pop star may continue to volunteer his time washing dishes at the Monmouth Street pay-what-you-can eatery, patrons will be on intimate terms with Zeet Peabody, the restaurant’s executive chef.

Along with his kitchen crew and wait staff, he’s the one who’ll be there most of the time. More importantly, he’s be the one who’ll decide what goes onto the plates, and how those dishes will elevate the eatery to destination status.

After all, this is “not a soup kitchen,” Bon Jovi said at the opening. With its knife-sharp appearance, it doesn’t look like one. And the people behind it don’t want it to function as a dole for the down-and-out. The goal, they emphasized, is to make it a restaurant for all, no matter what’s in the customer’s wallet.

So amid the hubbub of the opening, redbankgreen isolated Peabody – who’s been a personal chef and consultant since closing his Bistro Zeeto in Atlantic Highlands a decade ago – for a few minutes to get his input. Here’s our quickie interview.

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COMMUNITY COMMITMENT CELEBRATED

pilgrim-bc-101311Congregants of Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Church came together in their warmly lit yellow sanctuary for the second annual Festival of Love service Thursday night.

The celebration, which called out the work of volunteers at the Lunch Break soup kitchen, featured song and dance as two preachers stressed the importance of giving to others as a means of strengthening a community. (Photo by Elyssa Clement. Click to enlarge)

POP STAR TOUTS ADVIL FOR SOUL KITCHEN

soul-kitchen-092611A production crew swarmed the Jon Bon Jovi-supported Soul Kitchen on Monmouth Street in Red Bank Monday morning as the pop star prepared to shoot a commercial for pain-reliever Advil that will tout the not-yet-officially-open pay-what-you-can restaurant.

Plans for an official opening of the eatery have not yet been finalized, a Soul Foundation spokeswoman tells redbankgreen. (Click to enlarge)

SWEET RIDES, AND PAULIE WALNUTS, TOO

Foam-mattress maven Michael Fux (pronounced ‘fyooks’) pulled off his hurricane-delayed exotic car show in downtown Red Bank Saturday afternoon, showcasing 52 cars from his collection of 114 top-end Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis and Ferraris in a bid to raise money for two of his favorite charities.

Owners of another 25 or so exotics supplemented the event, which also featured actor Tony Sirico (‘Paulie Walnuts’ of ‘Sopranos’ fame) posing for photos with anyone who asked. The borough government closed off the north end of Broad Street for six hours for the event.

redbankgreen was there, and grabbed these 25 shots.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

EXOTIC CAR SHOW SET FOR SATURDAY

exotic-cars2A taste of vrooms to come, as seen outside Blue Water Seafood Company last Friday night. (Click to enlarge)

michael-fux-2-0812111Foam-mattress maven Michael Fux, right, has been making the rounds in downtown Red Bank in recent days.

A car collector with tastes so lavish that Rolls Royce named a paint for him, Fux (pronounced ‘fyooks’) has been visiting merchants to drum up support for a charity event he’s bankrolling this Saturday afternoon: an exotic car show and entertainment extravaganza that will close a portion of Broad Street for five hours. [UPDATE: Event rescheduled for Saturday, September 10, because of Tropical Storm Irene]

But he’s also been trying to quash what he says is a mistaken impression: that the event is a grand opening event for two-month-old Blue Water Seafood Company, in which he’s an investor, and outside which some of his favorite toys are often lined up on Friday and Saturday nights.

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TWO HOUSES DONATED TO LUNCH BREAK

housesThe two properties adjoining Lunch Break, at right above, will be used to provide social services and clothing to the needy, if plans are approved. (Click to enlarge)

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Space is tight at Lunch Break, the Red Bank soup kitchen.

Because of soaring demand for hot meals and canned goods, the need for pantry space has soared, too. Volunteers handling administrative duties share dining tables with clients who come for the meals. Every Saturday, bundles of clothing stored in the basement of the 25-year-old facility named for co-founder Norma Todd must be carted upstairs, out through a parking lot and back into the ground-floor dining room for distribution to clients in need.  When winter approaches, executive director Gwen Love has to clear out of her cramped office so clients can get flu shots in private.

The space shortage is more than just an inconvenience. It impinges on Lunch Break’s mission, says Love: to deliver services to those in need with a measure of dignity and respect.

So the recent donation of two houses adjoining Lunch Break’s home at 121 on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, just as the organization was about to embark on a search for additional space, was something of a “miracle,” says Love.

“Every now and then, it rains down blessings,” she tells redbankgreen.

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RIVERVIEW NETS ANOTHER $1M FROM DONORS

RiverviewmedctrThe hospital has raised $6 million of its $15 million capital campaign from two Middletown couples. (File photo. Click to enlarge)

Little more than a week after disclosing it had received a $5 million donation toward a planned $15 million revamping of its operating rooms, Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center announced Monday that another $1 million contribution had come in.

The donation, by George and Vita Kolber, of the Locust section of Middletown, will go toward the construction of a new 22,000-square foot “center for surgical excellence” within the exisiting footprint of the Red Bank hospital, officials said.

A $5 million donation by Kolber neighbors Bob & Joan Rechnitz, founders of the Two River Theater Company, is to be used for the same purpose.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

hyde-pierce-geoffrey-owensActors David Hyde Pierce (of TV’s ‘Frazier’ fame) and Geoffrey Owens (‘The Cosby Show’) ran into one another at the March 26 opening of ‘Candida’ at the Red Bank’s Two River Theater. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Good morning, readers.

Before you dig into the day’s news, here’s a rundown of last week’s happenings on redbankgreen, an easily digestible compendium of the week that was.

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A DOGGONE GOOD MONTH

jax1“Jax” the Rescue Dog is on tour to local schools this month in a series of speaking/barking engagements for the Purr’n Pooch Foundation. (Photo by Maryann Small)

donegoodlogoThe causes range from humanitarian aid for the countless lives affected by the recent disasters in Japan — to the rescue of a single dog or cat in need of a home. The funds raised can support the good works of our area’s charitable, cultural and educational entities — and the means of “Done Good” support can be as simple as a trip to the library, store or hair salon.

When last we looked in on Small Factory Productions in the paperless pages of redbankgreen, the kid-centric animation studio in Fair Haven (located, in a bit of kartoon-land kismet, at the Acme shopping plaza) had just received an Emmy nomination for its Brooklyn-based public access TV show. This month, Chris Dudick and company have teamed with Monmouth County’s own  Purr’n Pooch Foundation in an endeavor designed to teach young children about the humane treatment of animals.

From now through April 14, Monmouth County kids ages 5 to 10 are invited to submit their “creative, original stories and/or drawings” about their favorite animal friend to the Tails of Love Contest — and on April 15th, a panel of judges will select eight contest winners, each of whom will receive the chance to create an original animated short film based on their entry. Each winner will also get a DVD copy of the film and appear as special guests during a special movie premiere event at the Purr’n Pooch Foundation’s upcoming “Paws for a Cause Day” at Pier Village in Long Branch (date to be announced).

Take it here for details on how to enter the Tails of Love contest — and read more for an April’s worth of Done Good doings.

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THEATER FOUNDERS GIVE RIVERVIEW $5M

rechnitzes-032611Bob Rechnitz, right, with wife Joan and Two River Theater board member Paul Kaylor at Saturday night’s opening of ‘Candida.’ (Click to enlarge)

donegoodlogo rightA planned $15 million revamping of the operating rooms at Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center has gotten a big boost from a Middletown couple.

Joan and Bob Rechnitz, founders of the nonprofit Two River Theater Company, have donated $5 million to the effort, the hospital announced Monday morning.

Riverview officials called it one of the largest single gifts in the hospital’s history, and said a portion of the funds would be used to construct a conference and educational center designed to attract “superior surgeons with niche specialties” to lectures and symposiums.

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RED BANK: RUGBY TOO ROUGH FOR BASIE

scrum2Monmouth Rugby of Red Bank, in blue, and Monmouth Rugby of Wales, in stripes, in a scrum at Thompson Park in Lincroft in May, 2008. (Click to enlarge)

Its home, the Wilde Rover, is in town, on Shrewsbury Avenue, and it contributes nicely to the community, one Red Bank council member says of the Monmouth Football Rugby Club.

But sorry, ruggers, you can’t practice here, the governing body told the club last week. You just play too rough.

It’s not a call that’s sitting well with the 38-year-old club.

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FUNDRAISERS BRING WARMTH TO AREA

toy-story-3-disney-pixarBuzz, Woody and the gang are back for one more big-screen adventure, when TOY STORY 3 returns for a special showing at Clearview Cinemas to benefit Bridge of Books.

Done2While wobbling and shivering across the frozen tundra of what can only be called Red Bank Greenland, you’d do good to bear in mind that in the Caribbean, the sun is shining and the thermometer is expected to hit the low to mid 80s. And you’ll have Done Good to bear in mind that in Haiti, the hard-hit victims of last year’s earthquake are still in need of a helping hand.

One is being extended to the beleaguered nation from Red Bank’s own Pilgrim Baptist Church. From now until Wednesday, February 16, the Haiti Relief, Recovery and Restoration Initiative of Red Bank (in partnership with Aslan Youth Ministries) is seeking donations of school supplies — everything from pencils, erasers, crayons and rulers to composition books and solar calculators — for distribution to elementary school students in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. The small northeastern city will be the site of a groundbreaking for a new community medical clinic, and a Mission Work Team from the Initiative will be delivering the school supplies when they travel to Ouanaminthe on the week of February 21-27.

You can drop off donated items at Pilgrim Baptist (172 Shrewsbury Avenue); you can learn more about the Mission Work Team trip by calling Bernadette Marshall or Pastor Terrence Porter at (732)747-2348 — and you can brace yourself for another seasonal blast of Done Good action, right around the corner.

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DOIN’ GOOD, IN DOLDRUM DAYS

beatlemania1Alan LeBouef (at right, as Paul) leads the Stars of BEATLEMANIA in a fab fundraiser for the Red Bank Rotary Club, at Two River Theater.

Done2In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the January Doldrums for sure. And with most of us variously tapped out, snowed in or plowed under, the conventional wisdom holds that you  simply don’t schedule much of anything in the way of fundraiser events here in the season of slush.

That said, a handful of brave businesspeople and nonprofits are apparently ignoring the memo, offering a variety of constructive reasons to venture gingerly down the sidewalk and out of the house — and maybe just maybe do a little bit of the Done Good deed in the process.

A roundup of suggested January jaunts follows forthwith.

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A HEAPING HARVEST OF GOOD DEEDS

roseharrystevenshoganClockwise from top left: Village People chief Felipe Rose, Blondie bombshell Debbie Harry, funk bassmaster TM Stevens and  actress Siobhan Fallon Hogan are the honorees at the Monmouth County Arts Council’s annual Celebration of Excellence on October 29.

There’s a school Halloween party in which the parents are the ones who get to dress up and have all the fun. A gala affair in which the solid-citizen guests of honor are, to put it mildly, NOT the usual old rich guys with their checkbooks. And a hot-ticket sporting event that not only takes place indoors — it barely loses sight of the office water cooler.

Done1Just because something’s Done Good by the community doesn’t mean it has to be done by the stodgy playbook of gowns, tuxes, and hundred-dollar plates of cordon bleu balanced on bony laps. Here in the season of merry mischief, we’re pleased to bring you a roundup of do-gooder public events with an ever so slightly playful bent — a list that begins this Friday, and continues on into the next few eek-ends.

FRIDAY: Oktoberfest at Ye Olde Allen House. The old Allen place, that historic (circa 1710) house on the corner of Broad Street and Sycamore Avenue in Shrewsbury, becomes a Publick House for one night only, in a benefit for  The Monmouth County Historical Association that offers an evening of “beer tasting and tavern fare” in the spirit of the season. Reserve tickets ($50) at (732)462-1466.

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OVER A DOZEN FUN WAYS TO HELP OTHERS

fallonmanzomulheren

Hollywood’s Siobhan Fallon Hogan, TV’s Real Housewife Caroline Manzo and Broadway’s Michael Mulheren appear at local fundraisers in the coming days.

There’s a gala for the neediest of our neighbors that’s studded with familiar faces from movie screens and Broadway stages. A sneak-preview of a film from a major studio, raising funds for the arts right in our backyard. There’s even a benefit dog walk, graced by a reality TV star who’d be able to tell us a thing or three about catfights.

donegoodlogoYou don’t need to boast of any showbiz connections to have Done Good for your community — sometimes all you need to do is come on out, take in some lovely early-autumn weather or enjoy some of the best of local cuisine. Cheer on a committed competitor from the crowd, or pound some pavement for a charitable cause. Donate a used book, buy a used book — or bring back those library books, no questions asked.

In this edition of Done Good, redbankgreen pulls together more than a dozen ways that you can be part of something big in the days and nights to come. It’s an opportunity that begins this weekend and continues on through the first half of October — with benefits that will be felt locally (class trips, school sports, food banks, animal rescues, holiday traditions, clean streets) as well as globally (clean oceans).

The Done Good rundown continues, right around the corner.

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SUCCESS COMES WITH STRUGGLES AT PARKER

parker-clinicJoseph Aochoa, of Keansburg, has been visiting the Parker Family Medical Center since its start in Red Bank 10 years ago. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Joseph Aochoa wasn’t sure what to make of the trailer on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank that he pulled up to 10 years ago looking for a medical check-up. It didn’t matter. The care he was about to get was free.

As he is today, Aochoa was then struggling to keep employment long enough to qualify for health benefits, and he needed treatment for diverticulitis. The volunteer doctors inside the trailer could do it for him gratis.

“I thought it was just a bunch of people trying to be nice to others,” Aochoa said. “So I try to the same thing when I’m out, so I can help people.”

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IN oRBit: A WINTRY MIX FOR MIDWEEK

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mortensonsmall

Granted, it’s still the darkest days of the cultural offseason, but in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, we’ll remind you that there’s never nothing happening here in our prime-cut filet of the Shore — where the dreariest weeks of midwinter still manage to kick the crap out of much of the rest of the map.

There’s a chance, for example, to make some noise with the pots and pans alongside one of the Shore’s favorite chefs. High-profile appearances by a Nobel Prize nominee, a real live TV medium, and one of the great voices of New York rock radio. Opportunities for artists and media types to network (or not-work, as the case may be). Free (or wee-fee) screenings of recent motion pictures.

So, whether you’re getting up early to catch a big and free BCC appearance by author and activist Greg Mortenson (pictured), or heading out at night to catch psychic psensation Lisa Williams at the Basie or support your neighbor’s band, we’ve got the alternative to the umpteenth Office marathon — with a weeklong forecast of heavy participation — right here in Red Bank oRBit!