CITING RISKS, MEGO QUITS CROSSING GUARDS

j-megoJohn Mego’s last day as a crossing guard is today. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He’s in line to be Red Bank’s next fire chief, but a rainstorm last week convinced John Mego that the risk associated with being a crossing guard in town isn’t for him anymore.

Saying he’s “tired of being a hood ornament,” Mego’s last day directing traffic is today.

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TRIATHLON SUNDAY IN RED BANK

marine-parkAthletes will take off from Marine Park in Sunday’s first Sandy Hookers Triathlon. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For some people, there’s nothing like a little half-mile swim, a 21-mile bike ride and a 5-mile run to start the day.

If you’re one of those people, Sunday is your day.

The Sandy Hookers Triathlon Club, the oldest and largest triathlon club in New Jersey, is coming to town to host the first Red Bank Triathlon.

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FILM REGS PAUSED; TAXI TALK RETURNS

film-makingA film crew tied up the Broad Street sidewalk earlier this month to shoot a commercial. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A proposal to implement a permit system to film in Red Bank may fall flat before it goes to a vote. In putting that idea on the shelf, the borough council pulled a controversial taxi ordinance back to the forefront after a brief summer hiatus.

As far as the film ordinance goes, some council members object to its purpose, to require film crews to apply for a permit, which would come with a fee. The idea was introduced last month to keep tabs on video activity in town and ensure production crews are following local laws.

It’s a little too Big Brother for councilmen Michael DuPont and Art Murphy.

“To me, it’s just too much government over a single thing,” Murphy said.

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CROSSING GUARD STRUCK; INJURIES MINOR

crossing-guard-092310Andy DePonti speaks to the motorist who struck him seconds after the accident. (Click to enlarge)

A Red Bank crossing guard suffered minor injuries when he was struck by a vehicle that backed up into him in a crosswalk Thursday afternoon.

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STIMULATING FAIR HAVEN

fh-stimulusFair Haven’s River Road Streetscape project, funded by $886,000 from President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, got started Wednesday.

New streetlights, benches and traffic lights are included in the project. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

PARKING TICKETS? NOT ON TUESDAYS

meter-cartNo parking meter tickets have been written all summer on a Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Since July, Sunday has been the only day of the week you could park in downtown Red Bank without feeding money into the borough’s parking meters between 9a and 6p.

Or so we’ve thought.

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ANOTHER PITCHED POLE

west-front-leanerAnother leaning pole in Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

We’ve got another leaner.

This angled utility pole was spotted on West Front Street, just outside Trinity Church.

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BIKERS’ BONANZA: A TRIO FOR TWO-WHEELERS

tourdefhRiders assemble for the start of last year’s Tour de Fair Haven.

The straightaways and sidestreets of the greater Green have been thinned — just barely — of peak-season traffic. The late summer sun starts inching for the door before the check arrives, just a little earlier each day.

For hundreds of year-round residents and frequent flyers, however, this little corner of eastern Monmouth County is just coming into its own in the weeks past Labor Day — and one guy’s “good sleeping weather” is another’s prime pedal time.

This Sunday brings the first in a trio of high profile fundraising events powered purely by gears and chains and the people who make them work. A sequel to 2009’s inaugural competition, the second annual Tour de Fair Haven Bicycle Racing Event traces a circuit through a “welcoming and cheering” crowd. Like the two local biking tours that follow on September 25 and 26, it’s a recently minted tradition that’s fast becoming a season-extending attraction — with each turn of the wheel bringing in bucks for worthy causes.

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MEGO READY FOR A YEAR IN TRAFFIC

megoJohn Mego, back in action. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

mego1It’s a school day, in the afternoon, and there’s traffic in Red Bank. For the most part drivers are quickly readjusting to the stop-and-go routine that comes with trying to get through town shortly after the last bell rings.

Most drivers are, but some aren’t. These people get John Mego’s hackles up.

“If people would just concentrate,” he says, then pauses to jump into the street to stop traffic so a group of girls can cross safely, then returns to the sidewalk, “I wouldn’t have gotten hit.”

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HOW D’YA SPELL THAT?

pickney-rd1A redbankgreen reader, who goes by the name redbankcharlie, found a spelling error on one of the traffic signs at the entrance to town. (Photo contributed by redbankcharlie; Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Shall we call traffic sign vigilante Jeff Deck in to Red Bank?

Probably not, but this is the type of spelling error that would have qualified for his 2 1/2-month U.S. tour with a ‘typo correction kit’ fixing spelling and grammatical errors on traffic signs.

In Red Bank, it’s not a glaring gaffe, but it was enough to get the attention of one reader.

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POLES APART

bentpoleA power company crew was on the scene at midday Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

Three days after redbankgreen reported that a jury-rigged utility pole was again leaning precariously over Broad Street in Red Bank, a Jersey Central Power & Light/First Energy crew arrived on the scene earlier today to begin fixing it.

Coincidence? We don’t think so.

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LEAN TWO?

bent-poleIs it us, or is this thing leaning again? (Click to enlarge)

A leaning utility pole that caused a brief shutdown of Broad Street traffic two months again appears to be atilt again.

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SEA BRIGHT TO DPW: YOU’RE SAFE, FOR NOW

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

hot-topic right

Officials in Sea Bright hope to quell a rumor that the borough intends to outsource its public works operations at the beginning of next year.

Yet members of the borough’s council — who approved a shared service agreement with Rumson to perform mechanical repairs for its DPW and police vehicles — don’t deny its validity.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, resident Cristine Sinnott confronted the governing body about a confidential email that she received — and, she says, has been seen by many others in town — saying that Rumson will take over the seaside town’s public works responsibilities on January 1. The source of the email is unclear.

It’s a move that, if it happens,  wouldn’t sit well with her. If she’s paying taxes in Sea Bright, she wants to keep the money flowing in Sea Bright, she told the council.

“I have an issue with that,” she said of the possible shared service. “The taxpayers should know.”

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ON THE HUNT FOR MOVIE RICHES

parker-altinoActress Mary Kate Costa is framed in a window at Stokaboka on Monmouth Street last Friday during the shooting of a scene by Mike Altino, right, and Connor Hughes. Below, crewmember Jon Altino holds the clapper. (Click to enlarge)

parkerclap2

Downtown Red Bank served as a film set last week, when a small cast and production crew shot scenes for an indie film to be called Parker and the Box.

Screenwriter and director Mike Altino, of Middletown, tells redbankgreen the film is an adventure/mystery story involving lots of cryptography as characters hunt for millions of dollars embezzled by a “Dr. James Parker.”

Um, that name sounds familiar…

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SYCAMORE AVENUE DETOUR

sycamore_080110A message board outside Shrewsbury’s municipal complex on Sunday.

Motorists who use a busy stretch of Sycamore Avenue in Shrewsbury may encounter a detour Monday.

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PEDESTRIAN UPGRADES DUE ON FRONT STREET

monmouth-bumpout-072610Traffic-calming bumpouts on Monmouth Street. Similar configurations may be in store for Front Street. (Click to enlarge)

A stretch of Front Street in Red Bank is slated for design changes aimed at improving pedestrian and biker safety, according to a planning group that doles out federal funds for transportation projects.

The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority says it plans to spend about $500,000 to make the “Front Street/River Road corridor” safer through the installation of new sidewalk and crosswalk configurations and other devices.

An announcement by the NJTPA, which serves as a metropolitan planning authority for 13 New Jersey counties, including Monmouth County, does not specify where along the corridor the improvements will take place, or when. A call to an agency spokesman was not immediately returned Tuesday morning.

But Monmouth County Freeholder John D’Amico is quoted in the announcement as calling out the stretch in the area of Riverview Medical Center.

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CABBIES OPPOSE LICENSE CHANGES

taxiCab drivers in Red Bank are opposed to a proposal to raise fees and increase the number of cars allowed to operate in the borough. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A proposal to increase the number of taxis allowed to operate in town and to hike the license fees has Red Bank hacks riled up.

About a dozen taxi drivers and dispatchers who believe the current rules work just fine came to take up a few rows in the council chambers Monday night, when the ordinance change was introduced.

The council had decided to amend the ordinance to curb what it sees as a hording problem in which larger companies buy and sit on licenses without using them, thereby squeezing out competition.

That just isn’t the case, says Gary Damanti, who represents Red Bank Yellow Car Company.

“I think a lot of the steps in this ordinance really address problems that don’t exist,” he said.

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WHILE INLAND WILTS, SEA BRIGHT SPARKLES

Remember the summer of 2009? When it rained the entire month of June?

Or how about the repeated snowstorms that got dumped on us this past winter?

Well, it may be hot now, but for beach lovers and boaters, the summer of 2010 is shaping up as a smactacular bonanza. That was in full evidence in the tiny burg of Sea Bright this weekend.

Photographer Peter Linder wandered the streets and strands of Sea Bright for redbankgreen on Saturday, and this is what he saw. And we get to enjoy it all over again!

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.

FED MONEY FLOWS FOR CROSSWALK OPS

cops-in-crosswalks2Sgt. Michael Furlong demonstrated the new “Cops in Crosswalks” program that will take place in Red Bank throughout the year. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Chief Steve McCarthy wasn’t just in a good mood or having a better-than-usual day on Thursday.

“I’m ecstatic,” Red Bank’s top cop said.

The reason for his cheer was one that he thinks will have a lasting effect on the borough, because it has a problem, he says: in the last five years, McCarthy says more people have died crossing the street than in homicides.

“That’s why one accident is too much,” he said.

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CAR CRASHES INTO TREE IN FAIR HAVEN

fh-crashA woman driving a charcoal gray Nissan crashed into a tree on River Road opposite Fair Haven’s around 1p Thursday. She received medical attention at the scene.

No other details on the accident were immediately available.

Fair Haven Fire Chief Jim Cerruti said, “Nobody’s too seriously hurt. That’s the good thing.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

KA-CHING: SATURDAY TICKETING RETURNS

dscf3005A parking enforcement officer writes a ticket in the White Street parking lot on Wednesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The first ticket was written up at 9:24a. The last was 3:42p.

In that six-hour period this past Saturday, one parking enforcement officer  — wrist still intact —  wrote up 203 tickets for parking meter violations. That’s 34 tickets per hour.

Make no mistake: the grace period is undoubtedly over.

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BAND ON THE RUN

buskers-071210Members of The Stolen steal some time in Riverside Gardens Park, above, and on Monmouth Street, below. (Top photo by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)

buskers2-071210

While visitors to downtown Red Bank may be used to seeing alfresca StreetLife musicians in the summer, some may have done a double- or triple-take Monday night, thanks to one combo that was seemingly everywhere.

The Old Bridge-based foursome, featuring four guys aged 14 to 17, made a handful of stops, playing a couple of tunes at each location — including Riverside Gardens Park, top, and Monmouth Street, right — before rushing off to the next spot for a few minutes of stolen fame. In fact, when not busking, all four are members of a band called The Stolen.

KABOOM: AUTHORITIES REVIEW SECURITY

kaboom-njt3-070310Hundreds of visitors packed a waiting area at the Red Bank station for a northbound train after the fireworks, and transit personnel directed them into double-decker railcars, below. (Click to enlarge)

kaboom-njt-070310

Though numerous fights and other incidents broke out downtown, authorities assessing last Saturday’s KaBoomfest say things went particularly smoothly at the Red Bank train station, thanks to the addition of trains and security personnel.

That’s in contrast to a year ago, when the station was the site of a crowd surge, long waits and numerous arrests for disorderly behavior.

And considering the number of people in town, estimated at more than 120,000, the violence that broke out elsewhere was quelled rapidly without any injuries to bystanders or police, according to Red Bank Police Captain Darren McConnell.

“There were many incidents, but they were isolated, and they were put down pretty quickly” by cops or civilians, he said.

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