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: TOP JOB OPEN AT TIME OF STRIFE

red bank, nj, ken deroberts, pasquale mennaZiad Shehady, left, and Mayor Pasquale Menna listen as consultant Ken DeRoberts, in foreground, addresses the council in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe resignation of Red Bank’s business administrator after only three years last week was the result of scheming by political enemies, Mayor Pasquale Menna contends.

Now, a prevailing atmosphere of “dysfunction” will “absolutely” make it harder to fill the town’s top unelected position, he told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: SHEHADY RESIGNS TOP BORO JOB

Ziad Shehady in his borough hall office in June, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[This post has been updated since it was first published.]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter only three years on the job, Ziad Shehady is resigning as Red Bank’s top unelected official, he told the borough council behind closed doors 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: SENIOR & REC PLANS REVIEWED

A concept plan showing facilities at the southern entrance to Count Basie Fields includes an indoor basketball court. (Screenshot from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank Redevelopment Agency began sorting through concept plans for possible new senior citizen and recreation facilities Tuesday.

Added to the “fix it now” demand by advocates of a stand-alone Senior Center was a new one: leave the outdoor basketball courts at Count Basie Fields alone.

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RED BANK: CENTER BACKERS RALLY AGAIN

Marian Quinn of Manor Drive speaking at the rally. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njInvoking “demolition by neglect” and the prospect of “apartments” on the site, several dozen Red Bankers rallied Saturday to demand that the mothballed borough Senior Center be repaired.

They also momentarily drowned out the grandson of the center’s founder when he took issue with one of the handmade signs posted on the building.

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RED BANK: SHEHADY SLATES PUBLIC FORUMS

Ziad Shehady at borough event in February, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA week after announcing he was stepping down from a position that had become a “lightning rod” for criticism, Red Bank Borough Administrator Ziad Shehady said he plans to host a pair of public roundtables on a wide range of issues later this month.

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER DEBATE RAGES ON

A view into the mothballed Senior Center through a window in December. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank council members clashed yet again over the borough’s Senior Center Wednesday night.

Among the issues: a petition demanding that the facility, which has been out of commission for almost two years, be repaired and reopened at its riverfront location.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

Among the many events organizers hope to bring back in 2021: the Red Bank Classic 5k, slated for June 19. A list of event dates is up for approval by the council. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s borough council meets with a busy agenda of financing actions, hirings and more Wednesday.

There’s also something missing, though numerous commenters have demanded it: changes to the meeting protocol covering… public comment.

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RED BANK: MORE SPARKS OVER SENIOR CENTER

The Senior Center offers a rare vantage for Red Bankers to view the Navesink and Swimming rivers, speakers said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s elected officials got an earful from the public about the borough’s disabled Senior Center Wednesday night.

But even as the all-Democratic council unanimously approved a new lease on interim space, sparks continued to fly between its members over the center’s near-term future.

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RED BANK: DEMS ERUPT OVER SENIOR CENTER

The Senior Center has been out of commission for most of the past two years following a pipe leak. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTension among Red Bank Democrats over the future of the borough’s Senior Center erupted in public over the weekend.

Joined by Mayor Pasquale Menna, four of the council’s six Democrats lit into the other two, one of whom is the party chairman, as having “placed their own popularity over what’s best for our residents and taxpayers.”

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER STILL ON ICE

The Senior Center has been out of commission for most of the past two years. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Red Bank’s Senior Center is not for sale, Mayor Pasquale Menna insists.

But two years after extensive damage caused by a burst pipe, multiple questions surround the still-closed Shrewsbury Avenue facility. Among them: will it reopen anytime soon, and will it stay where it is?

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RED BANK: HOUSING UPGRADES PROMISED

red bank housing authority evergreen terraceThe Evergreen Terrace senior apartments and the nearby Montgomery Terrace units would get a more reliable source of funding for repairs, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Residents of Red Bank’s two publicly subsidized housing complexes will see improvements to their communities under planned funding changes, an official assured them last week.

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FROM RBR TO SENIORS, A SPECIAL SHOW

Left to right: Shrewsbury Homesteader program chairperson Jerry Viracola and Homesteader president Carolyn Alt are pictured with RBR drama majors Maximum Portman, Erin McEvoy, Dixie O’Connell, Davis Bush, Luke Pearlberg, Lily Pena, Gianna Brockriede, Tamia Waddy, Alanah Ramos, Molly Pair, Anthony Campana,  and RBR drama teacher Reuben Jackson.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

On January 12, an entourage of drama majors from the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Red Bank Regional High School showcased their talents during the monthly meeting of the Shrewsbury Homesteaders.
The members of the senior citizens’ organization were treated to a program of original songs, poetry readings and dramatic soliloquies from the works of William Shakespeare. Several cast members from RBR’s recent production of The Crucible recreated a scene from that classic drama by Arthur Miller.

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RED BANK: SENIORS GET DOWN AND DIRTY

rb seniors garden 071416 2rb seniors garden 071416 1Despite wilting heat and humidity, a group of seniors tended the newly installed raised-bed garden purchased by Councilwoman Cindy Burnham for the borough Red Bank Senior Citizens Center Thursday morning.

At right, 98-year-old Edith Blake checks the aroma on a sage leaf from the planter, where seniors have also planted tomatoes, taragon and basil. The planter is set up beside a picnic table so seniors can garden while seated, said Burnham. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RECKLESS RE-LO FOR SENIOR ‘CAFE’

Wesleyan_Cafe_Art_XpressThe Art Xpress program (above) and regular yoga sessions (below) are among the activities for seniors presented by The Wesleyan Cafe. The public is invited to learn more on June 29, when the resource hub moves into its new base of operations at Red Bank’s historic Reckless Estate.

Wesleyan_Cafe_yogaPress release from United Methodist Communities at The Wesleyan

According to a statistic reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, some 11.3 million Americans — almost 30 percent of them aged 65 and older — live alone. Now more than ever, the nation’s graying population needs opportunities for essential social interaction, physical exercise, meeting new friends, and lifelong learning.

Last spring, United Methodist Communities at The Wesleyan, a senior housing community located at 9 Wall Street in Red Bank, opened The Wesleyan Café, a resource hub for the area’s older adults. To meet its increasing popularity and to further increase access, The Wesleyan Café will relocate to the Reckless Estate at 164 Broad Street (the historic Red Bank Woman’s Club building) in the heart of downtown Red Bank. The public is invited to the opening on Wednesday, June 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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COUNTY CREATES SPECIAL-NEEDS DATABASE

sb sign 033016Sea Bright is among the towns that have already established voluntary registries for residents with special needs. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Press release Wednesday by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office:

A comprehensive and voluntary program dedicated to serving citizens with special needs was launched today.

Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni was joined by Sheriff Shaun Golden and the Monmouth County Chiefs of Police to introduce the Monmouth County Special Needs Registry.

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RBR TEENS SERENADE SHREWSBURY SENIORS

RBR VPA Shrews HomesteadersIn January, the Shrewsbury Homesteaders invited students from Red Bank Regional’s VPA to serenade them at their monthly meeting. Pictured are (back row, left to right) Jalen Willis, Ricci Bigelow, piano teacher Camille Thompson, Pieter Lootsma, Joe Ferguson, Griffin Perry, and (front row, left to right): Shrewsbury Homesteader President Carolyn Alt, Victoria White, Jenna Smith, Danielle Wolf, Homesteaders Program Chairperson Jerry Viracola.

 Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Every month, the senior citizen group known as the Shrewsbury Homesteaders meets at the borough’s historic Presbyterian Church to conduct their business. Sometimes they mix a little pleasure with business — and following a speech by Shrewsbury Mayor Don Burden at their most recent meeting in January, the Homesteaders were treated to the instrumental talents and beautiful voices of Red Bank Regional High School and its Visual and Performing Arts Academy.

The classically trained piano and voice major students performed a variety of their repertoire for the Homesteaders. Griffin Perry performed “The Tempest” by Beethoven; Peter Lootsma played “Sonata N. 14 in C Minor” by Mozart, while Joseph Ferguson offered “Prelude and Fugue N. 17 in Aᵇ Major” by J.S. Bach (all three students are from Little Silver). Pianist Jalen Willis of Neptune City showcased the Jazz genre with “Joes’ Fun Mood Blues” by Joe Utterback.

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RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

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RED BANK: NEW ‘REASON’ FOR OLD FRIENDS

rechnitz stunkel 010616 2Ken Stunkel, left, and Two River Theater founder Bob Rechnitz are first-time, eighty-something playwrights getting the big-time treatment. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)  

By TOM CHESEK

hot-topicWhen the 2015-2016 season resumes at the Two River Theater in Red Bank this weekend, it will find the celebrated company once again departing from familiar Broadway-tested properties like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Seven Guitars to the latest in an ongoing slate of world premiere dramas by relatively “new” playwrights.

This time out, the play is called Lives of Reason, and the rookie playwrights are a couple of eighty-something colleagues named Bob Rechnitz and Ken Stunkel.

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RED BANK: IT GROWS ON TREES, AT ATRIUM

Atrium_Res_Bill_Wheatley_&_AmberBill Wheatley (left), a resident of The Atrium at Navesink Harbor who’s known as one of Santa’s favorite helpers, displays a Santa-sized haul of hats and mittens with Amber Graves (right) of the Riverside Avenue senior community. Inspired by Candace Christianson’s story The Mitten Tree, Bill and fellow resident Barbara Withers coordinated a Mitten Drive that has so far collected over 50 hats and pairs of mittens for Red Bank Primary School kids. As Atrium communications specialist Mary Kelly reports, “Bill spreads the joy of the holidays throughout the year. Bringing cheer, he shares his musical talents on the harmonica performing at holiday parties, birthdays and happy hours. Pitch perfect, he’s a hit with our residents and just a treat to be around.” 

RUMSON KIDS, SENIORS MIX AND MASK

attach.mscCostume contest winner Carolyn Ott (center) meets Forrestdale School sixth-graders Sally Wingertzahn (left) and Brennan Stabler (right) during the Rumson Senior Citizen’s Club Halloween Luncheon, held at the First Presbyterian Church on October 26. The event is one of many student/senior activities offered throughout the school year by the club, information on which (including other activities like a holiday Toys For Tots drive and bus trips) is available by contacting the church.