RAISING TEENS: THE SEQUEL

Rogers & Lloyd
RBR Source program director Gilda Rogers and parent Karen Lloyd discuss plans for last year’s ‘Surviving the Teen Years’ event, which will be reprised next week.

By LAURA KOSS

Teens can deplete medicine cabinets just a pill or two at a time. To parents, it often goes unnoticed, much like the booze-filled water bottles and fruit smoothies kids might be drinking.

Teens drive around with friends stuffed in the trunks of their cars to bypass a law that limits the number of passengers they’re allowed to have in their cars. It’s called “trunking.”

And as if texting secrecy doesn’t worry parents enough, now “sexting” is making life miserable for teenage girls who send nude photos via camera phone to their boyfriends. After the breakup, everyone gets a copy. Then they end up on the Internet. And stay there.

These pitfalls of teenage life have parents scrambling for ways to help their vulnerable kids navigate away from potential risks. Problem is, many parents just don’t know what where to turn for guidance.

To help, Karen Lloyd, parent of two teenage sons and chairperson of the Shrewsbury Alliance, helped organize a panel of area professionals for an “evening of frank discussion on the most important and enigmatic people in your life — your teenagers.”

‘Surviving the Teen Years: Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Teen… But Were Afraid to Ask,’ returns to Red Bank Regional High School for its second year next Thursday, March 26, from 7-9p.

The event is free and all parents are invited to attend, whether or not they live in the school district.

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NO FREEBIE WEBSITE AFTER ALL

BoroughwebsiteThe website Red Bank officials want to replace.

Looks like Red Bankers will be stuck with the borough’s clunky website for a while longer.

Two weeks ago, Mayor Pasquale Menna announced that the borough would be getting a new website within days, gratis.

The site, he said, had been built by C3 Citizen Communication Center on the expectation by the firm that it was a lock to get a contract to build and maintain such a site for $2,000 a month.

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MENNA DERAILS WEB DEAL

BoroughwebsiteThe homepage of the soon-to-be-replaced borough website.

Score one for public pushback.

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna anounced last night that he won’t sign a contract that would have paid C3 Citizen Communication Center $2,000 a month to build and maintain a new borough website.

He cited issues raised at a recent council meeting, as well as “rather spirited” comments posted on an unnamed news website (ahem) among his reasons for putting the brakes on a deal that appeared to be a fait accompli when it was unveiled last month.

Even though the council had authorized that the borough sign up with C3, “We will not be signing the contract,” Menna said at Monday night’s bimonthly meeting of the governing body.

Still, the borough will get at least temporary benefits from its dance with C3. Menna said the Nutley firm had gone ahead and developed the new site, and has now volunteered to launch and maintain it, at no charge, while borough officials continue the process of determining just what they want the site to do, and who to create it.

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COUNCIL WEB DEAL ‘STILL IN DISCUSSION’

BoroughwebsiteThe homepage of the borough website.

The Red Bank government's plan to hire web design and management firm C3 Citizen Communication Center for $2,000 a month appears to be in slow-download mode following a second round of criticism.

At the borough council's bimonthly meeting last night, information technology specialist Jim Willis of Harrison Avenue characterized the model used by C3 as a "roach motel for data," in which information such as council agendas is entered but can't be shared across new technologies, such as Google calendar and news sources such as redbankgreen.

[Disclosure: Willis provides tech services to redbankgreen and its companion site, Red Bank oRBit.]

Willis said the deal would also shackle the borough to a vendor for the term of a contract and force it to build its website anew if the contract isn't extended.

"Proprietary software is synonymous with vendor lock-in," Willis said. Under the proposed deal, the borough wouldn't own the software but have a license to use it, and "if the borough wants to change vendors in the future, we will be right back where we are today, except we'll be tens of thousands of dollars poorer."

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CANGEMI BLASTS CLOSED-DOOR DECISIONS

CangemiGrace Cangemi at her final appearance as a council member last night.

Republican Grace Cangemi closed out her 21-month tenure on the Red Bank Council last night with pointed attacks on Democratics for “behind the curtain” decision-making.

In her final appearance before the council goes all-Democrat on January 1, Cangemi criticized the majority for pulling from the December 8 agenda an ordinance she wanted to introduce. The measure — which she did not describe in detail but said might have saved the town $36,000 — was yanked, she says she was told, because it had not been discussed in the “workshop” portion of any prior meeting.

The requirement that a bill be workshopped, or discussed informally, “apparently was not the case when our water rates were raised 10 percent” last March, she said. She added that an ordinance to increase the number of taxi licenses in the borough was also introduced without a word of mention in any workshop sessions.

In fact, no member of the governing body has publicly taken responsibility for sponsoring the taxi bill, which was withdrawn after an outcry by taxi owners. Officials claimed the bill had been drafted by borough Attorney Tom Hall at the request of borough Clerk Carol Vivona.

“I am greatly disturbed when an elected council person” can’t get a bill posted for vote “because they’re in the wrong party,” yet an unelected official can, Cangemi said.

“I’m sorry — it’s my last meeting — that I have anything negative to say here,” she said.

But her wrath was redoubled a short while later when Councilwoman Kathleen Horgan reported that the council’s education and technology committee was recommending a vendor to build the borough’s new website. Cangemi, a member of the committee, said she had neither been consulted about the choice nor told the of any committee meetings on the topic for the past year.

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VERIZON DISCONNECTING ON LOCAL TAXES

VerizonredbankVerizon’s facility at 183 Broad Street.

Citing a 1940 law, phone services giant Verizon is telling New Jersey municipalities it is not liable for taxes on utility lines and other equipment because of its shrinking share of the telecom market, the Bergen Record reports today.

The company has a significant presence on Broad Street in Red Bank, where it maintains a large switching station. While the specific impact on Red Bank is unclear, towns with switching stations are among those that “could lose the most,” the Record says.

The Record says the move by Verizon could force cash-strapped towns to shift millions of dollars in tax liability to other property owners.

From the article:

The company is using a provision of a 1940 state law to argue that utility poles, wires and other landline equipment should no longer be on tax rolls. They claim traditional usage has slipped significantly as more people turn to cable and the Internet for telephone service.

So far, five towns, including Dover and Victory Gardens in Morris County, have been informed that they will not receive their 2009 equipment taxes.

Verizon officials say that 150 towns will lose the tax by 2011, and the company predicts this number will continue to increase.

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COOL SCHOOL VID ON RED BANK HISTORY

Lest we forget, Red Bank is still in its centennial year, and reminders of that milestone continue to pop up now and again.

The latest is the above video, shot and produced by four students, aged 14 to 17, who enrolled in the Count Basie Theatre’s Cool School this summer.

The kids, who did all the shooting, are Dylan Smart, Jenn Lewis, Mike Hagberg Jr. and Jack Calabro, says Yvonne Scudiery, the Basie’s director of education.

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RBMS VIDEO REACHES CONTEST FINALS

An original music video made by and starring students at the Red Bank Middle School has reached the finals of a contest promising $25,000 worth of educational technology to the winner, redbankgreen has learned.

Just_in

From photo/art/culture teacher Chris Ippolito:

We are very excited! (the kids are cheering right now at the news).

The entry is one of 15 that viewers will be able to vote on via the web. The contest website says the finalists will be posted for voting on by the public today. They weren’t yet up at midmorning, so we suggest readers check back periodically until that site is updated.

Update: viewers can vote until 11:59a Friday, Nov. 14 here.

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YO, STUFF THE BALLOT BOX — AGAIN

RbmsrapvidEighth-graders Michelle Reyes, in white, and Anisa Abella watch the RBMS video at Monday night’s council meeting.

This time last year, the kids at the Red Bank Middle School were jamming on a video entry for a contest that might put $15,000 worth of new learning technology into the grades six-through-eight facility.

Teachers had heard about the contest only days before the deadline. But with an all-out effort by the students, the school put together a video titled “Use Ya Tech,” a parody of Eminem‘s “Lose Yourself,” that served as its entry.

The school finished sixth among 66 schools nationwide — out of the money, but jazzed at the potential for doing better next time in the competition, sponsored by Interwrite Technology, a maker of classroom electronics.

Well, next time is here, the top prize is now $25,000 in gear, and RBMS is back with another high-energy, must-see piece of work.

And this time, even the superintendent gets down.

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TINTON FALLS DEBUTS NEW ‘INFO NUCLEUS’

Tf_website

Longtime redbankgreen readers may recall our feature some 17 months ago about Tinton Falls Councilman Mike Skudera’s push for better use of the web by municipal governments.

First of all, he wanted those that weren’t on the Internet to build websites. And then he wanted all towns to provide public access to the same categories of information, such as budgets and audits; public notices; permits and licenses; comprehensive information about planning and zoning applications; the master plan; calendars; water quality reports; borough job openings and more.

His aims: throw more sunshine onto the workings of government while reducing its costs.

Now, borough residents and good-gub advocates can see how well Tinton Falls has taken Skudera’s advice. Earlier this month, the township rolled out a new website that Mayor Peter Maclearie describes as “the information nucleus” for borough government, community organizations and events. Download Website_Announcement.pdf

How does it measure up? Readers, of course, will make their own judgments, and we hope they’ll weigh in with comments here.

Meantime, we had some Qs for Skudera. His email replies are below.

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PADDLE, PONY OR JUST PULL UP A CHAIR

2008seapaddleAndrew Mencinsky and a brigade of sea paddlers head down the Hudson River last year. They’ll be doing the same next week.

In May, 2007, a two-mile-wide tornado tore through the town of Greensburg, Kansas, destroying 95 percent of its homes and businesses. In the aftermath, citizens decided to resurrect their town, but with a modern twist: everything’s being done “green.” Public buildings are being constructed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. Cars are being replaced with alternative fuel or hybrid ones. Farms are replanting organic.

Done1

Red Bank retailer Hobbymasters — which plans to install the largest solar energy array in Red Bank and whose owner, Arlene Placer, is an avid tornado chaster — is helping out the Greensburg Greentown effort. The store has set up a page on its website through which visitors can donate solar science projects, hydroponics, fuel cell vehicle models and related materials to students at Greensburg High School, where there’s a new Green Club.

“At the end of August, we will be shipping all of the products to Greensburg,” says Arlene’s son, Alan Placer. “In addition, we will be providing the Greensburg school system with our wholesale pricing on future purchases for their science department.”

Customers can buy items for the schools and have them shipped free; for those who simply wish to donate a dollar to the Greenburg rebuilding effort, there’s that option as well on the Hobbymasters site.

Here’s a rundown of some Done Good events happening closer to home in coming weeks:

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redbankgreen LAUNCHES SECOND WEBSITE

Noworbiting_icon

You’ve seen the teaser logos for about eight months. Well, the countdown is finally over.

Today, redbankgreen marks its first significant expansion with the launch of Red Bank oRBit, a new website dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the local arts, food, entertainment and amusements sceneS.

What’s driving this move? The wealth of events, eateries, artists, interesting shops and other distractions in the Red Bank area. Trying to fit it all into redbankgreen would overwhelm the general-interest news and features focus here.

So it’s time to start that second site.

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SLEDGER, ‘ON LIFE SUPPORT,’ MAY BE SOLD

Img_5587New Jersey’s largest daily is “losing a battle to survive,” its publisher says.

The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper, has to shrink its payroll by 200 jobs and retool two union contracts by October 1 or it will have to be sold, the Newark-based paper reports its publisher told staffers today.

Amid an historic disruption in the newspaper industry as advertisers and readers flock to the web and cable TV for information, the newspaper is “on life support,” publisher George Arwady is reported to have told a stunned meeting of employees this morning.

The paper, he said, is “losing a battle to survive.”

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RAISING TEENS: HELP IN PERILOUS TIMES

RaisingteensStacey Liss, right, clinical supervisor at RBR’s the Source, discusses plans for “Surviving the Teen Years” with Source coordinator Gilda Rogers, left, and parent Karen Lloyd, center.

They’ll go on the Internet, where they may unwittingly subject themselves to the predations of adults, or to cyber-assailants from their own school who trade in gossip and embarassing photos.

They’ll sample whatever you’ve got in your medicine cabinet for the fun of it. They’ll pile into cars driven by kids their own age.

While some of the risks that kids face today are as old as the combustion engine, others didn’t exist when their parents were teenagers. Modern parenting means, in part, sorting through potential menaces, old and new, that seem to await teenagers at every turn.

That’s not to mention the more mundane challenges kids face, such as how to balance school and extracurricular life, or how to cope with the stress of competing for coveted college openings. It can easily overwhelm even the most conscientious parent.

“Some parents feel really lost,” says Gilda Rogers, coordinator at the Source, Red Bank Regional High‘s guidance and counseling service. “They’re reaching out to us to help them. Others are just in denial until they have to face reality, when their kid is being carted off to the hospital or does something impulsive.”

Next week, an event jointly organized by district parents and RBR administrators will attempt to bring into focus some of the key hazards of teen life for the adults responsible for helping teens navigate them. “Surviving the Teen Years: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Your Teen… But Were Afraid to Ask” is an adults-only forum scheduled for Thursday, April 17, beginning at 7p in the high school’s commons area.

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EMBLEMATIC OF HER DEEP ROOTS

Img_3671Centennial logo design winner Alexis Holiday is a fourth-generation Red Banker.

The winner of a contest for a logo to commemorate Red Bank’s first hundred years is a 14-year-old Charter School student who only recently began dabbling in Adobe Photoshop, the computer application in which she created her design.

Her entry was the unanimous choice of a panel of judges from among 30 or so designs by professional and amateur illustrators, “from very tender-aged people to those who are not-so-tender-aged,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said in a ceremony at Borough Hall last night.

But Alexis Holiday’s logo seems all the more fitting given how closely her own heritage is tied to that of her hometown.

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EX-FAIR HAVEN COP PLEADS TO CHILD PORN

A retired Fair Haven policeman and former borough official has taken a plea of endangering he welfare of a child after he was alleged to have used a Borough Hall computer to view child pornography, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

From the article:

William Acker, 52, resigned his posts as deputy borough clerk and assistant tax collector in March 2006 amid allegations that he had used his office computer to surf Internet porn sites.

Following his resignation, borough police received allegations that he had downloaded child pornography and lurid sex stories on his computer, the Monmouth County Prosecutor”s Office said.

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INTERNET CAFÉ: CONNECTION TERMINATED

Cullity1_08

By TOM CHESEK

The news has at least two generations of local residents disappointed and disgusted, but the Internet Café is “throwing in the towel,” says owner Joe Cullity.

In the wake of an incident that saw a recent show shut down by Red Bank inspectors, things had been touch-and-go at the all-ages club and coffeehouse that’s spotlighted everything from hardcore mini-megafests to Christian open mic nights.

But a sign posted at the venue’s alleyway entrance yesterday spelled out in no uncertain terms that iCafé has closed. Ditto for the venue’s website, on which the dates “1995 – 2008” loom like a headstone inscription.

According to the notice credited to the iCafé’s management, “the rents, loss of customer base on the North side of town and rules artificially limiting the number of patrons that could attend our shows have finally taken their toll and made it impossible for us to continue.”

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CHECK IT OUT: LIBRARY REOPENS NEXT WEEK

Img_1745A refurbished room on the second floor of the library. The room was once a bedroom in the Eisner family home.

Months overdue but not over budget, the renovated Red Bank Public Library will reopen at 1p next Tuesday, Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said last night.

He confirmed that, as reported yesterday, the new elevator passed a state inspection Friday, and he’d signed a temporary certificate of occupancy for the facility yesterday. Only minor details need to be cleared up for the final CO to be issued, Sickels said.

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PRESS: LIBRARY ELEVATOR OK’D

Img_1742Colorful chairs for little people await the reopening of the children’s room at the renovated Red Bank Public Library last week.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that the elevator at the Red Bank Public Library passed a state inspection Friday, clearing the way for borough officials to finally set a reopening date for the facility after a troublesome 15-month renovation.

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels tells the newspaper that the date will likely be set today. The Borough Council meets tonight at 5:30p, and the status of the $1.6 million facelift is sure to come up for discussion.

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BOWLING ON THE EAST SIDE, SORT OF

Jim_willisJim Willis in East Side Park.

Jim Willis rolled into town three months ago eager to do some community building.

It’s what he does. A self-employed 36-year-old techie, Willis spends his workdays knocking down perceived barriers between people and information. His weapon of choice is software, which he uses to open issues up for discussion and to bring people together.

It’s what he did in his job as director of eGovernment services in the Rhode Island secretary of state’s office, where he went on a four-year tear putting previously hard-to-access information at the public’s fingertips via the web.

Now, working as a consultant to nonprofits, Willis focuses on helping activists capitalize on the universe of data that’s available to them online.

But that’s his professional side. On the personal side, Willis is equally passionate about what he calls “social capital” and what most of us think of as family relationships and friendships. (Yes, Willis acknowledges, he tends to get a little caught up in the jargon of social science.)

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VERIZON TAX PACT TABLED, FOR NOW

Img_0200File photo of the Verizon building at 183 Broad Street.

A measure that would have settled a tax appeal by Verizon Inc. on its Broad Street switching station was tabled by the borough council last night after a debate that saw some unusual political splits.

The matter appeared to put the Democratic majority in an uneasy alliance with Republican John Curley and at odds with the attorneys they’d appointed.

At issue was a resolution to approve a negotiated settlement of a tax appeal by Verizon on its four-story building at 183 Broad Street. The deal would reduce the assessment on the property from $3.25 million to $2.8 million.

Annual taxes on the property would drop from about $122,00 a year to about $107,000. Of the difference, about $4,000 goes into Red Bank’s coffers.

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TINTON FALLS: CHECK OUT THOSE PIXELS!

Tf_website1

Tinton Falls is holding an online beauty contest, and the contestants are two new websites.

Or more accurately, they’re two versions of the the same site. The more popular of the two will become the new municipal site, replacing the unwieldy one the borough has used for several years.

For the past few days and continuing through October 31, borough residents have been invited to check the designs out, weigh in on what they’d like to see included on them, and vote for their favorite.

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