FOG GIVES WAY TO RAIN

sycamore-fog-120511Headlights cut the fog on Sycamore Avenue in Shrewsbury Monday night. (Click to enlarge)

A daylong Monday fog – the literal kind, not the ‘I forgot how to do routine tasks after a relaxing weekend’ kind – gives way to periodic rain in the greater Red Bank Green Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the weatherbots at the National Weather Service.

Here’s the outlook through the weekend:

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DEER-HUNT LAWS SPUR SHREWSBURY PROTEST

sbury-deerA deer crosses a Shrewsbury street in 2010. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

Local and state laws that allow deer hunting closer to housing than in the past drew protesters to Shrewsbury on Sunday, the Asbury Park Press reports Monday.

Led by Sycamore Avenue resident Dede Lichtig, about a dozen protesters from Shrewsbury, Fair Haven, Middletown and elsewhere voiced concern about a shrinking of the deer hunting safety zone passed earlier this year by the state Legislature, as well the borough government’s decision to maintain its hunting law, the Press reports.

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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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MUNICOURT MERGER PLAN GAINS A BACKER

hot-topic rightBy MOLLY MULSHINE

A proposal to establish a regional municipal court in the Red Bank area has some early momentum, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.

Menna recently invited his counterparts in Fair Haven, Little Silver, Rumson and Shrewsbury to consider merging their court systems to cut costs. One town’s elected officials have reacted favorably to the plan, though Menna wouldn’t say which one.

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AFTER 40 YEARS, BUSTING OUT OF SCHOOL

mastro-classStudents at the Mastro Montessori Academy during a class with elementary directress Sasha Cherniavsky last week. Below, an architect’s drawing of the new school, to be built on White Road in Shrewsbury. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mastro-renderingA little-known private school in Little Silver that’s called a modified Cape Cod its home for the past 40 years is getting ready to double in size.

Tucked in between a dry cleaning operation and a string of industrial buildings off Branch Avenue, the Mastro Montessori Academy plans to start construction soon on a two-story, 8,100-square-foot schoolhouse on White Road in neighboring Shrewsbury.

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RAIL, WATER JOBS PROMPT DETOURS

nsrd-detour-091811A water-line installation along Shrewsbury Avenue, below, may add to driver woes after regular business hours, while Newman Springs Road users are in for a new route for 24 hours. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

shrewsbury-ave-091311Never easy, navigating the intersection of Shrewsbury Avenue/Rector Place at West Front Street in Red Bank is about to be more irksome five nights a week.

And commuters who normally travel the stretch of Newman Springs Road that separates Red Bank and Shrewsbury are in for at least 24 hours of disruption this week, Red Bank police say.

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SEEKING SOLACE A DECADE LATER

In Fair Haven, Shrewsbury and Middletown on Sunday, they honored residents and all who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Photographer Peter Lindner visited each for redbankgreen. Here’s some of what he saw.

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.

NUDES IN SHREWSBURY!

nudes-shrewsburyForgive us the sensational headline, but come on: how often do we get to pair nakedness with the sleepy little burg of Shrewsbury?

Thanks for the big giggle to reader Kim Widener, who snapped this shot outside the Talbot’s store at the Grove at Shrewsbury Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

PREDAWN FIRE DAMAGES SHREWSBURY HOME

211-williamsburgThe fire was underway in the room at far left, said a neighbor who alerted the occupants. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Three members of a Shrewsbury family safely escaped their burning home early Saturday morning after being awakened by a neighbor.

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PATIENCE & GROANS AS OUTAGES PERSIST

1st-ave-rumson-083011A downed tree and electrical lines had First Street in Rumson blocked off 48 hours after the storm. Below, a sign on the locked doors of Trader Joe’s in Shrewsbury. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

trader-joes-0830111Electrical power was restored at Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre’s home late Monday night, about 12 hours after he bought a mobile generator.

But he’s still still in the dark about when the lights will be on in the parts of his town that still don’t have power, he said.

Progress that had been made over the last two years in repairing strained relations between the town and First Energy subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light “seems to have been completely undone,” as the utility company has failed to keep officials informed about efforts to restore power in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, Halfacre said.

“I have found it incredibly frustrating dealing with JCP&L,” Halfacre tells redbankgreen. “There’s been a complete lack of substantive information.”

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QUAKE SHAKES AREA; NO DAMAGE FOUND

quakeEmployees of Smith Barney mill outside their Broad Street office as emergency personnel compare notes on alarm report. (Click to enlarge)

A rare earthquake, reported to have been centered on Virginia, swept the Red Bank area early Tuesday afternoon, rattling doors and nerves, but apparently causing no damage.

Red Bank fire marshal Stanley Sickels reported fire and police responded to a number of fire alarms tripped either by panicked building occupants or set off by the tremors, but found no damage or injuries.

What was initially described as a partial ceiling collapse at the Sears store on Route 35 in Middletown proved to be just a few tiles from a drop ceiling coming down, a township police spokesman said.

Phone lines were said to be jammed as shoppers, restaurant patrons and office workers swept out into Broad Street by the dozens to compare notes as it became clear that an earthquake was happening.

The event brought on an atmosphere of awe and levity.

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RED BANK CHARGES CAR BURGLARY SUSPECT

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

just_in1

A Farmingdale man already in jail on charges of breaking into unlocked cars all over the redbankgreen coverage area and beyond now faces additional charges for the same crimes in Red Bank, police said.

Rodney Tyler, 19, was charged with five counts of burglary and theft on Thursday, closing the book on a round of break-ins that occurred on the East Side of town, police Captain Darren McConnell said Wednesday.

“It was back when we had a slew of them, back in March,” McConnell said.

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IN DETAIL: ‘BLOWN AWAY’ BY A SHINY CAR

shawn-gattaShawn Gatta applies some elbow grease to a car at Detail Doctor in Shrewsbury. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By EVAN SOLTAS

Bites2_SmallShawn Gatta has spent more than half of his life in the auto-detailing business. The owner and manager of the Detail Doctor on Broad Street in Shrewsbury, Gatta, 42, has been bringing out the best in the cars of his customers since he was a teenager in Neptune.

Since then, it’s kept him so busy that when he’s tried to pursue other fields — real estate, for one — he’s found himself lured back by the “first love” he found in detailing.

“There are other things I would like to do,” said Gatta, “but I’m so consumed by this business.” He’s had a real estate license since he was 19, but he’s never found a spare moment to make a single sale or listing.

Earlier this week, redbankgreen stole some time with Gatta’s lunch break – he works 66 hours a week, by his count – for some insights into the life of a clean-car obsessive.

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THREE CHARGED IN RBR DANCER’S BEATING

sean-montgomery-rbrRed Bank police have charged two recent Red Bank Regional High graduates and a third man in the vicious attack that left a classmate with injuries last month.

Police identified Sean Montgomery, left, of Little Silver and Shrewsbury, as the instigator of  the June 19 beating at a party on Spring Street that left Julliard dance scholar Anthony Tiedeman with a broken jaw that required surgery.

Montgomery, 18, turned himself in last week after police issued a complaint charging him with aggravated assault, said Captain Darren McConnell.

Another classmate, Perry Campanella, whose town of residence McConnell did not have immediately available, and Jahmer Bunch, of Neptune, are expected to appear for arraignment in borough court with Montgomery on Thursday. They, too, are charged with aggravated assault. Each is 18 or 19 years old, McConnell said.

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STATE AID BOOST COMES WITH QUESTIONS

c-christieGovernor Chris Christie at a Middletown town hall meeting in January. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Governor Chris Christie’s announcement Wednesday of how he’s apportioning $850 million in aid to school districts was welcome news to superintendents, who last year took axes and scalpels to their budgets when Christie froze funding.

But while any additional funds are welcome, local school leaders say they’re still in the dark over one big question: how are they going to be able to use it?

“We’re still, right now, sort of waiting for additional guidance from the Department of Education how they would like us to proceed with additional funding,” said Jim Stefankiewicz, superintendent of Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver. His school got a whopping 147-percent boost in state aid. “Information from the governor’s office said that they would really like it to be earmaked more for property tax relief, which we are very open to and considering.”

But until official word comes down what the money can be used for, Stefankiewicz, like other leaders, is in a holding pattern.

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OH DEER, THEY’RE EVERYWHERE…

dsc_4059A deer crosses a street in Shrewsbury at dusk last year. Fair Haven officials say they’re watching Shrewsbury’s effort to curtail its deer population. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Last year they were eating tree seedlings out of Stephen Knowlton’s yard on Church Street in Fair Haven. This year he’s having a hard time keeping a patch of lilies.

Elizabeth Lilleston, Fair Haven’s code enforcement officer and a resident of Woodland Drive, says she sees them daily roaming the street.

And Mayor Mike Halfacre, who also lives on Church, snapped a picture on his cell phone last week of one chomping on his neighbor’s grass.

If Fair Haven’s deer population isn’t controlled, Knowlton warned, “they’re going to be sleeping on our front lawns.”

Like towns across New Jersey, the borough is now facing a tricky problem: an apparent rise in deer wandering into the residential areas of town, and few options to thin the herds.

“I don’t know what we can do short of a hunt,” Halfacre said.

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MOTORISTS SWEATING DETOUR IN STRIDE

ls-trafficTraffic at Rumson Road and Branch Avenue in Little Silver was stop and go Friday morning. Below, a detour map from New Jersey Transit. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

ls-detour-mapIt’s the first full day of Little Silver’s traffic shuffle, as work on the New Jersey Transit crossing at the borough train station begins an estimated two-week blockage of a main artery through town and into Shrewsbury.

Amid the vexing backups on area roads in sweltering heat, commuter tempers seem to be cool for now.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought, which is surprising,” said Elena Acuna, who commutes by rail to New York City three times a week. “We’ll see. It’s just kind of annoying.”

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NEW LOOK FOR PRIMAS, CIGARS ON WALLACE

new-primasThe new-look Primas features bright colors and luxurious merchandise at affordable prices, the owners say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rcsm2_0105081

Primas Home on Broad Street in Red Bank reopened last Friday, unveiling a new, bright space laid out with a lot of the eye-catching stuff it had before. Except this time, the price tags won’t make your eyes roll into the back of your head.

Back in April, the upscale furniture and accessory shop closed for renovations, part of its revamping of the business model to keep up with the economy.

After a makeover of the open-plan, vaulted ceiling space – built as the Merchants Trust Company, and later the longtime home of Carrolls Stationers – all the high-end merchandise, including the Althorp line, was sequestered to the loft space, and the 4,000-square-foot ground floor was filled with furniture, lamps and decorations with a palatable price tag.

“It’s affordable luxury. It’s like the look for less,” co-owner Valeria Ribeiro said. “We felt we needed to adjust.”

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LITTLE SILVER BRACES FOR DETOUR JAMS

ls-stnOrange you glad they alerted you? (Click to enlarge)

Already a nettlesome fact of life for local commuters, travel between Shrewsbury and Little Silver is about to get downright ugly.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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ORGANIST ADMITS TO CHILD-SEX CHARGE

hot-topic rightA Red Bank man who worked as an organist for a Shrewsbury church faces up to five years in jail for his admission that he sexually assaulted a minor, according to a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor.

Kenneth Clayton, 66, pleaded guilty to third-degree child endangerment May 31 in state Superior Court in Freehold. The plea came to light after an inquiry Monday by redbankgreen.

According to assistant prosecutor Christopher Gambiccioni, Clayton admitted that he touched a seven-year-old boy’s penis while the child was asleep in Red Bank last September 9.

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IN SHREWSBURY’S QUIVER, A DEER SOLUTION?

deer-libraryA deer on the lawn of the Monmouth County Library’s Eastern Branch on Route 35 last October. (Photo by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)

Not a word of objection was uttered Monday night as the governing body of the fed-up-with-deer borough of Shrewsbury gave the nod to the use of bows and arrows to thin burgeoning herds.

Then again, the move was a formality, as the council simply accepted the findings of a report that recommended that frustrated property owners do what they’ve been allowed to do for the past five years: kill the animals with arrows, provided they do so within New Jersey Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife regulations.

Now, the only question is how many residents take the suggestion.

“A few people in town are so fed up, they’re going to do it,” said Mayor Donald Burden, who this year tore out his own vegetable garden in surrender to the white-tailed creatures.

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BREAK-IN SUSPECT CHARGED IN TWO TOWNS

tf-cruiserTinton Falls and Rumson police charged a man in car break-ins that occurred over months. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Tinton Falls and Rumson police have brought close to 75 charges against a Farmingdale teenager for his alleged role in car break-ins that occurred over the course of four months in each town.

Charges from surrounding towns and others in eastern Monmouth County may soon follow, officials said Monday.

The departments made the charges following the arrest of Rodney Tyler, 19, in Wall last Friday.

“It was a good catch for us,” Lieutenant David Scrivanic, of Tinton Falls police, said.

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