HIDDEN IN RED BANK, A CHEF’S PARADISE

Jimmy DiBartolo, below, orients his business toward the restaurant trade, but has draws the occasional individual shopper, too. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

In terms of kitchen provisions, it may be Red Bank’s best-kept secret.

Tucked behind the Colorest art supply store on Newman Springs Road, its odd name all but lost on the sign out front, DiBartolo’s Quick Stop Food & Paper sometimes elicits audible gasps when first-timers stumble into its parking lot. Not because of the menacing-looking electrical substation it faces, that is, but the unexpected bins of brightly colored fresh fruits and vegetables on display.

redbankgreen was present recently when a woman entered DiBartolo’s warehouse store through the wind curtain that covers the front door and cooed, to no one in particular, “I had no idea this place was back here.”

“We get that a lot,” says owner Jimmy DiBartolo.

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RUNNERS ON A MISSION

Curious about those hordes of runners streaming in and out of Red Bank-area stores and bars after work this summer? It’s highly likely they’re participants in an “adventure run,” held on the second Thursday of each month to promote local businesses. Runners visit as many specified checkpoints as they can in an hour in order to rack up points for a post-race raffle of donated goodies.

The free event starts at Road Runner Sports in Shrewsbury tonight at 6:30 p.m. (Click to enlarge)

‘AS LONG AS WE’RE ALIVE’

Red Bank and Shrewsbury honored the victims of the 9/11 attacks Tuesday night, particularly four of their own. (Video and photos by Stacie Fanelli.)

In Riverside Gardens Park, the Red Bank Elks Lodge #233 hosted a ceremony for the 11th year straight at which at which a rose-laying atop the park’s memorial garden followed Mayor Pat Menna’s words about American courage. The Red Bank area chapter of the Chorus of the Atlantic laid down a memorable version of ‘God Bless America.’

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TWO INJURED IN LITTLE SILVER CRASH

Two drivers were injured and traffic around the Little Silver train station was tied up for about an hour after two cars collided at rush hour Monday morning, police said.

The crash, at about 7:44 a.m., involved a 2002 Mercedes-Benz that was heading north on Branch Avenue and attempting to make a left turn onto Sycamore Avenue, and a 2010 Hyundai that was headed south on Branch, said police Chief Dan Shaffery.

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IN SHREWSBURY, CULTIVATING COMMUNITY

Della Benevides stakes a tomato plant in one of the “Plant a Row” plots designated for the needy. Below, a hot chili pepper. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Fair Haven’s had one for decades. Tinton Falls has had one since 2009, and Red Bank, after much baring of teeth, appears about to finally get one.

Community gardens have become widespread as places where neighbors can kneel side-by side in the dirt and cultivate homegrown veggies together. Now, Shrewsbury has joined  the trend with a month-old mini-farm that is already yielding eggplant, peppers and more.

“This was our whole point, that it improves the quality of life in the community,” said Maureen Collins, President of the Shrewsbury Garden Club.

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SHREWSBURY CAT COLONY HEADING TO COURT


The feral cat colony is tucked away in the woods behind a day care center and businesses on Avenue of the Commons. (Photo by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Lurking in the woods adjacent to a day care center on Shrewsbury’s Avenue of the Commons is a group of wild animals that may seem out of place in this suburban enclave better known for its burgeoning deer population.

It’s a colony of feral cats that have claimed the wilderness as their own personal scavenging ground – abetted, authorities contend, by two women who feed them at an improvised encampment built several hundred feet into the woods.

Jeanette Petti of Oceanport and Ruth Rapkin of Tinton Falls are scheduled to appear in municipal court Tuesday on charges that they’re illegally harboring the colony in the woods adjacent to the school.

The pair face misdemeanor allegations they failed to obtain vaccinations and licenses for the felines, and that they are maintaining a nuisance on public and private property, according to summonses issued May 8.

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GUITAR MAN SOLOS IN SHREWSBURY

Chris Szczerbienski checks in a Gibson Les Paul owned by Paul Bland of the Pearl Jam tribute band No Code. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Chris Szczerbienski was planning to move to Connecticut a few months back to take a job as a technician with a major guitar retailing chain when he stopped in at Heritage Body & Towing in Shrewsbury with his father.

His dad was there to get his truck fixed, but what fixed the younger man’s attention was the vacant storefront out front.

Forget Connecticut! Szczerbienski decided to open his own shop right there, on East Newman Springs Road, in the former Chelsea Home Furnishings space.

“I figured the money I would spend moving and getting set up in Connecticut I could spend starting my own business,” he said.

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AUTO SHOP SET TO ZOOM INTO SHREWSBURY

A long-empty Shrewsbury garage will soon be revving to the sounds of Lamborghinis and other big-ticket cars.  (Photo below by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

For two years, it’s stood empty and forlorn, with tufts of weeds poking through cracked asphalt out front.

But a two-bay garage on Broad Street in Shrewsbury is set to roar back to life with the with the opening of Massimo Motorworks, the second location of a high-end auto repair shop in Long Branch.

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WALKING OVERNIGHT AGAINST CANCER

Hundreds of walkers took to the track at Red Bank Regional from Friday afternoon until Saturday morning in support of finding a cure for cancer. Social studies teacher April Chichelo led a luminaria ceremony, famously the most solemn and often emotional part of the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life. (Photos and video by Stacie Fanelli)

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THEY GOT GAME, AND SO NOW YOU GOT GAME

Corey Wagner, left, and Patrick Finan are taking on the uncertainty of pickup games with a new web-based scheduling tool. (Click to enlarge)

By MARY ANN BOURBEAU

Looking to form a pickup hoops or softball game, but don’t have enough friends? Try Joinagame, a new social network for pickup sports based right here on the Green.

Launching today, Joinagame was built by Corey Wagner of Rumson and Patrick Finan of Fair Haven to handle all the pesky details, such as finding and reserving an available field or court.

But it also addresses a bigger hurdle: not knowing enough people who might be game for a game.

“Once you leave college, you lose your sports network,” said Wagner.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Here’s the real story behind this week’s Where: Yes, you’ve seen this iconic sign someplace, but don’t go submitting Wallace Street as your answer.

If you can ID the location, please send us an email.

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PRESS: RED BANK DROPS LOCAL COURT IDEA

Red Bank won’t pursue a proposal floated by Mayor Pasquale Menna to form a regional municipal court with four nearby towns, the Asbury Park Press reports Wednesday.

The reason? The borough’s court is pretty efficient all by itself, bringing in nearly $175,000 more than it spends on salaries and operating costs each year, town Administrator Stanley Sickels tells the Press.

Also, Red Bank “never heard back” from Fair Haven, Little Silver, Rumson and Shrewsbury about the proposal, Sickels said.

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SHREWSBURY WOMAN STRUCK BY CAR

A 67-year-old Shrewsbury woman was seriously injured Friday after she was hit by a car while walking in or near the parking lot of the Trader Joe’s supermarket, police report.

Detective Sergeant Bobby Turner tells redbankgreen that the victim appeared to have been struck in the north end of the store’s parking lot near Avenue of the Commons at about 11:15 a.m.

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WOMAN FACES CHARGES IN THREE TOWNS

A 27-year-old Highlands woman faces a slew of charges arising from an  string of car burglaries in Rumson and Little Silver, police reported Wednesday.

She’s also in trouble in Shrewsbury.

After Highlands police picked her up on a warrant Wednesday, Rumson police charged Kimberly A. Campo with crimes arising from an early-morning car break-in last Thurday, police Chief Rich Tobias tells redbankgreen.

Two days later, Campo is alleged to have broken into five cars in the Sunnycrest and Silverwhite Road neighborhoods of Little Silver last Saturday, said Little Silver Detective Greg Oliva of that town.

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HISTORIC PRESERVATION GRANTS DOLED OUT

The Broad Street home of the Woman’s Club of Red Bank is in line for some spruce-up funds from Freehold. (Click to enlarge)

The Woman’s Club of Red Bank and three historic structures in Shrewsbury are among the local nonprofits set to share in $71,200 in grants awarded by the Monmouth County Historical Commission, the county government announced Friday.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Last week’s photo was of a scruffy sign that read “QUAKER PARKING” with a bent arrow painted on it.

“Too obvious,” wrote Sandra Talarico, who along with 15 other readers identified its location as the Quaker Meeting House at the historic Four Corners in Shrewsbury – the intersection of Broad Street (Route 35) and Sycamore Avenue. (We had one incorrect answer: Hudson Street in Red Bank.)

“Thank you for an easy one that brings to an end our dry spell,” wrote Wheregulars Carl, Kathy Lou, Bob and Debbie Colmorgen, aka the Colmorgen Kids.

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URBAN OUTFITTERS POSTS SALES GAINS

urban-outfitters-logoUrban Outfitters, a national clothing chain with a presence in downtown Red Bank and Shrewsbury, reported strong revenue gains in its fourth fiscal quarter.

The Philadelphia-based company’s Urban Outfitters brand, which has a store at Broad and West Front streets in Red Bank, saw a 10-percent jump in sales from the comparable period of a year ago, to $356 million, it reported.

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MOTORIST, 90, OK AFTER ACCIDENT

A minivan ended up on its side and at least one person had to be mechanically extricated after an accident on Newman Springs Road near Henry Street in Shrewsbury around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

An official account of events was not immediately available, but the vehicle appeared to have struck a fire hydrant, which was knocked off a concrete pad despite being surrounded by steel columns.  (Click to enlarge)

[Update, 11 a.m, December 21: Red Bank police say they have a report of an accident at 5:12 a.m, but that it was handled by Shrewsbury PD. But Shrewsbury Police Chief John Wilson III says his department has no record of the accident.] [Update to the update, 1:21 p.m.: Sergeant Michael Gallagher of the Shrewsbury PD tells redbankgreen that because of miscommunication, we were mistakenly informed that there was no record of this accident. In fact, he says, the Shrewsbury PD did respond and found a single-vehicle accident in which a 90-year-old Tinton Falls man was briefly trapped in his minivan, which had rolled after he swerved to avoid an animal in the road and struck the fire hydrant. The victim, whose identity was not immediately given, was extricated by Shrewsbury fire volunteers and transported to Riverview Medical Center with “very minor injuries,” Gallagher said. No charges were filed and the matter is under investigation, he said.]