WEEKEND: EAT, DRINK, SING, SAIL, AND MORE

A promo video for ‘Eat! Drink! Italy!,’ Red Bank restaurateur Victor Rallo’s new TV show, which gets a launch at the Basie Saturday night. Below, a rousing night of patriotic songs fills the First Presbyterian Church at Tower Hill Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Friday, July 5:

RED BANK: The Josh Zuckerman Band stops by the Walt Street Pub for an energetic Friday night set. The show beings at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: Blues rock  guitarist Matt O’Ree and band perform at Jamians Food & Drink.  The show begins at 8 p.m. 79 Monmouth Street.

SHREWSBURY: Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library hosts a discussion on Treasures of the Monmouth County Parks, including an update on the status of the park system post-Hurricane Sandy for this edition of First Friday for Seniors. The discussion begins at 11 a.m. 1001 Route 35 North.

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OH, BABY, ANOTHER TODDLIN’ WEEKEND

A video promo for ‘The Electric Baby,’ which opens tonight at the Two River Theater. Author and motivational speaker Selwyn Collins, below, makes an appearance at the Red Bank Public Library on Saturday.

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Friday, April 19:

LINCROFT:  Presented by Make it Better for Youth and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, “Breaking the Silence, Celebrating Our Voices” concludes the “Day of Silence,” a national student-led action in honor of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and their families and friends taking a stand against bullying, harassment, abuse and more. Performances by Kailynn Barbour, poet, blogger and 2012 recipient of the Lionel Cuffie Award for Activism and Excellence, and the New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus begin at 7 p.m. 1475 West Front Street.

RED BANK:  “The Electric Baby” births at Two River Theatre.  The drama follows three different pairs – a middle-aged couple, ahopelessly devoted lover and the apple of her eye, and a Romanian mother and Nigerian father caring for their child – who discover the ways in which their lives are connected.  The play, by Stefanie Zadravec, runs through May 5. Tickets are $24-$42 and the show begins at 8 p.m. 21 Bridge Avenue.

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RED BANK: SCAFFOLD TO THE HEAVENS

A workman adjusts the protective netting on a scaffold surrounding the steeple of Saint James Church on Broad Street in Red Bank Wednesday.

He and his colleagues from Arthur Vincent & Sons Contracting have been at work on the steeple since early January. Among their aims: replacing the cross, which was blown off in an August windstorm, a church official says.  (Photos right and below by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: DESIGNER BABIES ON DARWIN DAY

Monmouth University’s Michael Palladino discusses the ethical issues of reproductive technologies at the Red Bank Charter School. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

In honor of legendary English naturalist Charles Darwin’s birthday, the Red Bank Humanists held a crash course  in “designer babies” Sunday.

New technology involved in creating designer babies through assisted reproductive technology, or ART, can literally change how humans evolve, Michael Palladino, dean of the School of Science at Monmouth University, told a packed conference room at Red Bank Charter School.

“Everyone who is a little bit older will definitely remember Louise, the first test tube baby in the world,” said Palladino, an expert in molecular reproductive biology. “Since then, over four million babies worldwide have been born using in vitro alone, and that’s only one kind of ART.”

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RED BANK: MOTHER & SON’S NEW AGE ENERGY

Joycelyn and Christopher Midose at Earth Spirit, where the merchandise includes “energy-infused” candles, below.  (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

If while strolling Monmouth Street in Red Bank you catch a titillating whiff of patchouli incense and sandalwood, let your curious nose guide you into Earth Spirit New Age Center, a shopping experience that for some is a form of  sensory overload.

Feathered dream catchers and tinkling wind chimes hang from the ceiling; brightly colored gemstones – pink rose quartz, purple amethyst, and orange citrine – sit loose in dishes with small signs that describe their spiritual meanings; tiny bottles of aromatherapy oil are displayed next to figurines of Gothic gargoyles and mermaids; bookcases line the walls with volumes that run the gamut from Buddhism and Hinduism to astrology and healing.

And that’s before things get deep: the Midoses can also put you in touch with loved ones who have passed on – for a fee, of course. Read More »

RED BANK: KING DAY, IN SONG AND STRIDE

A commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Pilgrim Baptist Church featured musical performances and readings by students from local schools. Below, Red Bank Charter School students went on a silent march downtown in honor of King’s message of peace.  (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Monday was a day of celebrations as students from Red Bank area schools offered tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 84th anniversary of his birth.

Pilgrim Baptist Church on Shrewsbury Avenue hosted a Community Commemorative Celebration with an open-ended an invitation extended to anyone wishing to join in the event.

Due to a large number of performances, “it was a little on the longer side” said Pastor Terrence Porter. “Because we wanted to make sure we included all the kids.” Read More »

TODDLERS OUT OF EARSHOT, MOMS JUST TALK

Young moms assemble at a recent meeting of Mothers of Preschoolers in Red Bank. Jenni Keatts, below, says she appreciates the chance to chat “hands-free.”  (Photos by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Twice a month, swarms of weary moms march across the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church of Red Bank at Tower Hill, preschoolers in one hand and diaper bags in the other.

They corral their kids into classrooms upstairs, and after wiping a few tears, offer a smile of thanks to the volunteers who will watch their little ones for the next two hours. They then hurry downstairs to the St. Andrews room, where they’re warmly greeted with a “so nice to see you” from nearly everyone they see.

They’ve come for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), a twice-monthly support group for moms of little ones, and this is their refuge.

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CASH STOLEN FROM CHURCH POOR BOXES

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of August 10 to August 17, 2012. This information is unedited.

Theft of Services occurring on 8-10-12 at Catherine St. Cab driver reported that passenger fled cab without paying fare. Ptl. James DePonte.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 8-11-12 at Riverside Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) threw a rock through rear windshield of parked vehicle breaking the glass. Also ripped both side mirrors off and one windshield wiper. Ptl. Jhonatan Quispe.

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RUMSON PARENTS TEE UP PRIEST OVER FIRING

Tearful students gather around dismissed teacher Bernadette Davis, above. Father Michael Manning taunted sign-waving protesters, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Long-simmering tensions at Rumson’s Holy Cross parish boiled over into public Thursday as dozens of parents and children rallied to denounce the dismissal of a beloved teacher and to label their pastor an unchecked “tyrant.”

“He’s cold, he’s heartless,” Locust resident Pat Gross, a 30-year parishoner, said of Father Michael Manning, who has led the church for six years. “He thinks he’s a dictator. He doesn’t like to be challenged or confronted.”

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PRO-LIFERS MARCH THROUGH RED BANK

The Diocese of Trenton and St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church held their annual pro-life march through Red Bank Saturday morning, ending with a prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood facility on Newman Springs Road in Shrewsbury.

Council members Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich opposed a permit application for the event last month, with Zipprich citing a Virginia law that would require most women seeking abortions to undergo an invasive ultrasound procedure. “I believe religious organizations have funded this attack on women’s rights,” Zipprich said. The permit was approved by a 3-to-2 vote. (Click to enlarge)

UNDRESSING IN THE CHURCHYARD

On the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank, atop Tower Hill, is a wonder of a nature: a paper-bark birch throwing off its clothes in paper-thin layers to reveal something purer underneath.

Red Bank arborist Bill Brooks tells redbankgreen that the exfoliation process occurs “pretty much year-round” for the trees, also known as white birch and canoe birch, because Native Americans used the detritus to waterproof their vessels.

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AT THE BASIE: A MULTITUDE OF VOICES

nancyscharff-493x319Middletown’s Nancy Scharff — and a heavenly host of helpers — present their annual celebration of Christmas in words and music Friday at the Count Basie Theatre.

As the founder of Nancy Scharff Ministries, Middletown-based Christian music artist Nancy Scharff is a globe-trotting singer-songwriter, choirmaster, music educator, producer, conductor, facilitator and a shepherdess tending her flock — so there’s no question she can be a one-woman show when the situation warrants.

But when the curtain goes up on the Count Basie stage this Friday night, December 16, the celebration entitled Nancy Scharff: Christmas — The Gift of Love teams the diminutive dynamo with an orchestra of 16 players, a six-piece contemporary Christian pop band, an ecumenical choir (featuring, in past performances, some 65 voices), an all-star gospel ensemble, a children’s choir that’s numbered as many as 80 kids — plus “Three Tenors” tenoring, and some two dozen bell choir ringers ringing.

Do the math and it tallies up to nearly 200 performers — a total that doesn’t even take into consideration the expected opportunities for the audience to get into the act.

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YOUNG SHOPPERS PRIME DOWNTOWN PUMP

shoppers-3Is it just us, or are more young people shopping in downtown Red Bank than in recent years? Below, Leanne Navarette of Backward Glances. (Click to enlarge)

By MOLLY MULSHINE

leanne-nAutumn Byrd, 14, may not have a driver’s license, but the Colts Neck resident  still finds a way to shop, eat and hang out in Red Bank whenever she can.

“My daughter is always like, ‘Let’s go to Red Bank, let’s go to Urban Outfitters, let’s go to Funk & Standard,'” Autumn’s dad, Avery Byrd, said as he paid for a purchase at Backward Glances recently.

Autumn eschews the mall in favor of Red Bank because of the town’s artsy feel, she said. “A lot of the styles I’m into, I can find here,” she said. “And I feel safe in this town.”

If any trend is apparent in downtown Red Bank this summer, it’s the return of teens and young adults, lured to modest-priced clothing stores and eateries, including relative newcomers Urban Outfitters, women’s clothing boutique Dor L’Dor and Mexi-Cali chow purveyor Surf Taco, as well as staples like Funk and Standard.

Merchants see the influx of teens as a rebuke to the idea that the town is becoming too upmarket and squeezing out younger shoppers and others with moderate incomes.

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DIVERSITY PLEDGE MAKES ROOM FOR ATHEISM

inclusive-signRed Bank has adopted a diversity statement as a “tremendous strength and asset to the community.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Red Bank Human Relations Committee must’ve thought it had all its bases covered when it drafted a diversity statement and sent it along to the borough council for adoption last week.

But even though it was a “wonderful gesture,” said resident Stephen Mitchell, the statement, which highlights the borough’s acceptance of diversity, was missing one contingent to make it fully embracing: non-believers.

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HUNDREDS MARCH IN ABORTION PROTEST

protestAn anti-abortion march sponsored by the Diocese of Trenton starting at St. Anthony of Padua in Red Bank ended in a peaceful protest outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Newman Springs Road in Shrewsbury Saturday. Hundreds participated, and despite concerns expressed by Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich that it could attract violence, the event was peaceful. Red Bank police reported no problems. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

JERSEYS FOR JESUS

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altarSunday was ‘Jerseys for Jesus’ day at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Red Bank, where congregants were encouraged to sport their team colors. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

TRIPLE DIP FOR THE EPIPHANY

orthodox-2orthodox-3Congregants of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church held their annual celebration of the Epiphany Wednesday, when three of them jumped into the Navesink River at Oyster Point. The event was moved from its customary site at Maple Cove because of an excess of goose droppings, a church official said. (Click to enlarge)

MARKING CHANUKAH, OUTDOORS AND IN

menorah

congregation-2More than a dozen of the faithful marked the Jewish celebration of Chanukah with a menorah lighting and songs Saturday night at the Red Bank train station.

On Sunday, members of Congregation Beth Shalom on Maple Avenue gathered for a Chanukah celebration with a menorah lighting, kids’ crafts and activities, including Dreidel spinning games, and traditional holiday fare such as latkes and chocolate coins. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

congregation

YMCA GETS OK FOR SHRUNKEN PLAN

harrisonCongregation Beth Shalom, led by Rabbi Dovid Harrison, won concessions from the Community YMCA. An architectural plan, below, shows the south face of the proposed remodeling (top) and east facade along Maple Avenue. (Click to enlarge.)

elevationsAfter months of contentious hearings that prompted a lawsuit against the Borough of Red Bank, the Community YMCA finally won approval to increase the size of its 40-year-old Maple Avenue health facility.

After a four-and-a-half hour hearing that was light on objections from the public, all seven members of the zoning board voted to approve the plan, which would increase the size of the facility by 56 percent, to 86,000 square feet.

It would also, for the first time, allow traffic to exit the facility directly onto busy Maple Avenue, which doubles as state Highway 35.

But not on the Sabbath.

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FAIR HAVEN CHURCH HITS THE MARKET

fh-churchA year after closing its doors, Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion has finally hit the real estate market. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

One year removed from the unexpected closing of The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, which had operated in Fair Haven for 125 years, the church and its adjoining buildings hit the real estate market last week.

Realtor Jerry Rosa, whose agency, the Diamond Agency, lists the property, would not say what the asking price is for the property. Records show it’s on the market for $1.5 million.

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KNOCKING OUT KNOCKING

no-knock2

If Red Bank passes a ‘No Knock’ ordinance, signs like this, on Broad Street, won’t be needed. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s a scenario almost any homeowner or renter has been through at least once: The doorbell rings, you answer and there’s a smarmy stranger on the porch trying to sell you a magazine subscription or convert you to a new religion.

These visits tend to be unwanted, and Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna intends to do something about them.

At his urging, the borough council is considering an ordinance that would prohibit peddlers, solicitors and any other group or organization that can be constitutionally included from making visits to homes that are on a “do not knock” list.

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RED BANK USING SOLE MUSIC TO HELP HAITI

soles4soulsDonation bins like this one can be found at all Red Bank schools in a campaign to collect shoes for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Face it, you’ve been staring at that cluster of shoes in the closet for a long time now. You’ve only worn them a couple times since you bought them and you need to make space.

Red Bank’s students have a place to put them that’s a lot better than chucking them in the garbage.

They’ve also put their ideas for a couple of concerts in motion to do the same thing they hope to do with old shoes: help out the victims of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

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RED BANK RABBI INJECTS FUN INTO CUSTOMS

dscf2023Congregation Beth Shalom Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro is in his second year heading the congregation, where the membership has doubled. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Yerachmiel Shapiro really tried hard to break away from the Jewish faith at one point in his life. After growing up in a Chicago-area Jewish community and attending Jewish schools, he’d had enough.

“It was very insular,” he said. “I had some friends that weren’t Jewish. It made me think, ‘Why live just in the Jewish world?’ And I wanted to have fun.”

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