RED BANK: BASIE FILM FEST GOES VIRTUAL

Wondering how to fill the hours while housebound by the COVID-19 pandemic? You might binge on the 27 bitesized movies in the Count Base Center for the Arts Teen & College Film Fest, which this year is a virtual affair.

Here are three entries, one from each category: middle school (above), high school and college (below).

After you’ve watched these, hop over to the festival page, watch the 24 others, and cast your vote for the your favorites.

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LITTLE SILVER: ROBERT SICKLES SR. DIES

bob sickles sr. 042208Robert Sickles Sr. riding his cherished 1948 John Deere MT tractor in 2008. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Robert Sickles Sr., the patriarch of a family farm in Little Silver that traces its agricultural roots back more than three centuries, died “peacefully at his home” Monday, according to an obituary posted by Thompson Funeral Home in Red Bank Wednesday.

He was 92 years old.

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RED BANK: YASSIN GETS POLS TO PONY UP

Councilman Hazim Yassin in February, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Councilman Hazim Yassin tells redbankgreen he has assembled a bipartisan coalition of elected officials from across New Jersey to donate funds from their campaign warchests to the fight against the coronavirus.

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RED BANK: BAGPIPER CLOSES THE DISTANCE

Maintaining a safe distance from passersby, bagpiper Doc Saphire plays a bit of ‘Danny Boy’ outside his Red Bank home Wednesday evening. 

Because they can’t get together to perform and practice under COVID-19 directives, Saphire and his fellow members of the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch have embarked on a 100-day campaign of playing a song each night through the Fourth of July, he said. Wednesday night’s performance was his first from his Prospect Avenue porch.

“Once the crisis is over, anybody who wants to learn, we’re giving free lessons,” Saphire said. “If I can do it, anybody can.”  (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: CRISIS DELAYS FARMERS’ MARKET

Mother’s Day is still five weeks away, but this year’s edition won’t be accompanied by the customary opening of the Red Bank Farmer’s Market.

George Sourlis, whose family-owned Galleria of Red Bank hosts the popular Sunday market, tells redbankgreen that this year’s start has been indefinitely postponed by the COVID-19 crisis. It will open once the pandemic has passed, he said.

The seasonal farmstand typically runs through November.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: MENNA BLASTS HEALTH ‘RUMORS’

pasquale menna 031120Mayor Pasquale Menna speaks with school board President Fred Stone at a March 11 ceremony opening the new primary school emergency access road. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Menna tells redbankgreen he has been released from the hospital after treatment as a presumed-positive patient, according to he chart, though he has not received test results yet. He is home and expects to remain self-isolated for the next two weeks, he said. Meantime, the council workshop meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, who said he is hospitalized “as a precaution” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, blasted former councilwoman Cindy Burnham and an online publication Monday for spreading “rumors” about his health in recent days.

Separately, borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told redbankgreen that Burnham “should be brought up on charges” for what he called her “blatant lies” about him.

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ON THE GREEN: QUIET STREETS

red bank broad street 032720One week into New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s “stay-at-home” order, imposed to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, downtown Red Bank was a well-lit ghost burg Friday night. 

In fact, the Greater Red Bank Green maintained a near-empty calm through much of the weekend. See additional photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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ON THE GREEN: ESCAPING INTO FRESH AIR

red bank maple avenue joggerIt’s a bit incongruous: beautiful spring weather amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has the Greater Red Bank Green, and parts of the world, on near-lockdown.

Of course, Governor Phil Murphy’s “stay-at-home” order issued Saturday allows for socially-distanced outdoor exercise. And a redbankgreen swing through the Greater Green Thursday found plenty of residents taking in the fresh air, including a jogger on Maple Avenue in Red Bank, above. 

Check out more photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: MARQUEE TOUTS OPTIMISM

red-bank-basie-marqueeIts lineup of shows canceled under the near-lockdown we’re living with to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank has repurposed its marquee.

The marquee now displays messages of “optimism from our local heroes,” the Basie said in a press release. They include quotes from part-time borough resident Jon Stewart and other New Jersey stars.

More below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: IS SCHOOL REOPENING IN SIGHT?

red bank middle school 032220Red Bank’s schools have been closed since March 16. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Are Red Bank’s schools going to reopen April 20?

A district posting Thursday afternoon appeared to suggest they might, just an hour or so after Governor Phil Murphy threw cold water on talk that an end to his indefinite school shutdown order might be in sight.

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VIRUS UPDATES: BLOOD, FOOD DRIVES SLATED

red bank ymca blood drive 032420No walk-ins will be allowed at the blood drive. Below, an American Red Cross letter addresses safety concerns. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

American Red Cross COVID-19.jpgA blood drive employing “extreme precautions” is scheduled for Thursday in Red Bank to help address a shortage worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A ‘drop & go” food drive will be held at the same time.

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ON THE GREEN: MEETINGS MOVE ONLINE

Fair Haven Board of Ed members sat well-spaced at a meeting carried live on YouTube last week. (YouTube screen grab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven’s board of ed held its first-ever virtual meeting last Wednesday.

With five members seated well apart from one another in the Knollwood School gym to minimize the possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the board had a quorum. Four other members participated via the Zoom conferencing app. And the public, barred from appearing in person, chimed in via the chat function on YouTube, where the meeting was live-streamed.

Among the most frequent comments: “we can’t hear you.”

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ON THE GREEN: SCENES FROM THE PANDEMIC

red bank breezeway 032120red bank jack's music 032120Panic? What panic? In the hours before and after Governor Phil Murphy’s “stay-at-home” order issued Saturday, redbankgreen‘s wandering lens found few outward signs of the anxiety that has certainly gripped the Greater Red Bank Green and much of the planet. In fact, an air of serenity pervaded the streets.

Above, a couple passed through the breezeway on East Front Street heading toward Marine Park in Red Bank, while a notice on the door of Jack’s Music Shop announced its closing, as mandated by Murphy’s order.

Check out more photos taken Friday, Saturday and Sunday below. (Photos by John T. Ward and Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: HOPEFUL MESSAGES IN CHALK

Their activities limited by the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Phil Murphy’s “stay-at-home” order issued Saturday, neighbors on John Street in Red Bank decorated their walks and driveways with art and encouraging messages Sunday.

“A chalk walk is a perfect, socially-distanced way to get out of your house, and gives the kids something fun to do and see,” says resident Kate Mills.

More photos below. (Reader photos. Click to enlarge.)

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LITTLE SILVER: SOCIAL DISTANCING WEATHER

What was Elmo the Muppet doing on Rumson Road in Little Silver Sunday? Giving passersby a chuckle while airing out his fur and social-distancing, it appears.

With lots of rain in the forecast, Monday will be a good day for keeping one’s fur dry indoors at home, where most of us are expected to be anyway, under Governor Phil Murphy’s “stay-at-home” order issued Saturday.

See the extended weather outlook for the Greater Red Bank Green below, courtesy of the National Weather Service. (Photo by Jim Bruno. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: COVID-19 CASELOAD GROWS

[See UPDATES below]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

One day after Governor Phil Murphy issued a wide-raging executive order requiring all New Jersey residents to “stay at home,” his administration reported Sunday that the known number of statewide COVID-19 patients rose by 590, to 1,914.

Four new deaths from the coronavirus within the Garden State were also reported.

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VIRUS UPDATE: MURPHY ORDERS ‘STAY HOME’

[See UPDATES below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to climb, Governor Phil Murphy on Saturday ordered all New Jersey residents to “stay at home.”

He also asked those who might be looking to the shore area as a refuge not to head there.

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VIRUS UPDATE: HOLMDEL TEST SITE TO OPEN

Phil Murphy in Red Bank in 2017 during his run for governor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to climb, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a plan to open drive-thru test site in Holmdel Monday.

Speaking at Bergen County Community College following the opening of the state’s first drive-thru test center on Friday, Murphy said the state’s caseload rose by 155 from Thursday, to 890, with two additional deaths.

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ON THE GREEN: VIRUS UPDATES

The pandemic has impacted train schedules and operations at the Little Silver Train Station. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Here’s a quick look at some impacts of the COVID-19 virus on the Greater Red Bank Green.

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ON THE GREEN: SPRING ARRIVES EARLY

With spring in the air, a couple took a stroll down Markham Place in Little Silver Sunday.

The vernal equinox occured at 11:50 p.m. Thursday, marking the earliest start to spring in 124 years, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. And it debuts with summer-like conditions on the Greater Red Bank Green Friday, with temperatures peaking near 76 degrees, according to the National Weather Service

Check out the extended forecast below. (Click to enlarge.) Read More »

RED BANK: TAKEOUT, ANYONE?

red bank good karma 031520Good Karma Café on East Front Street doing takeout-only business Sunday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

You need to eat, and restaurants, facing dire prospects during the COVID-19 pandemic, need customers more than ever before.

Downtown promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter has compiled a list of borough eateries showing which are open for takeout business and which offer delivery.

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VIRUS UPDATE: CASE NUMBER RISES

red bank mulholland 031820.jpgThe view through a patient’s windshield outside Integrated Medicine Alliance in Red Bank Wednesday. (Reader photo. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Four more New Jersey residents have died as the statewide number of COVID-19 cases soared in the last 24 hours, state health officials reported Thursday.

Governor Phil Murphy said at a press briefing in Trenton that the number of cases rose to 742, up from 427 Wednesday, including 11 additional cases in Monmouth County, which had 43.

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