Search Results for: "Red Bank Public Library

LIBRARY CLOSES IN ON REOPENING. REALLY.

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The books are out of storage, free of dust and are being returned to their shelves.

Now, all that remains is a short punchlist of renovation items, plus the logistics of getting the phones re-installed and the return of books from the temporary lending library set up a couple of doors away.

By this time next month, barring unforeseen catastrophe (and there have been one or two), the long-awaited reopening of the Red Bank Public Library will have happened, director Debbie Griffin-Sadel tells redbankgreen.

Though she remains reluctant to give a specific date for the reopening, she says it will likely be sometime between Dec. 1 and 15. It all depends on when the place is ready, she says.

“The last thing I want is to say to someone, ‘You want what book? I have no idea where that is,'” she says.

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CURLEY: ‘NO’ ON LIBRARY COST CHANGES

It’s not often that firebrand Republican Councilman John Curley makes much headway against the tide of the Democratic majority.

But for a fleeting moment last night, Curley seemed to have raised concerns that just might bring the Dems around to his point of view.

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In the end, though, uh-uh.

The issue was a series of invoices, known as change orders, that would increase the cost of the ongoing $1.6 million renovation of the Red Bank Public Library by $8,350.

Curley raised questions about the particulars, and — to his evident surprise — found his concerns echoed and expanded on by Democrat Art Murphy III and even his main adversary in the post-McKenna era, Michael DuPont.

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LIBRARY FIRE CAUSES NO INSIDE DAMAGE

An early-morning fire today at the Red Bank Public Library was quickly extinguished and left no adverse effects on the extensive $1.2 million remodeling job now nearing completion, borough officials say.

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Fire Marshal Stanley Sickels tells redbankgreen that the fire had clearly smoldered “for hours” before it was spotted at 1:53a by police Sgt. Michael Frazee, who smelled smoke in the vicinity of the historic West Front Street structure.

About 15 firefighters from all six volunteer companies in town responded and found a fire confined to a two-foot-square area of the roof atop the single-story 1960s wing of the library, according to deputy borough clerk Pamela Hughes Borghi.

The fire was extinguished in under an hour. There was no resulting damage to the interior of the building, Sickels says.

“It was on a part of the roof near the metal canopy at the entrance, so if you were under the canopy, you were right under it,” Sickels says.

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DEWEY DECIMAL’S NEW DIGS

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From beneath layers of paint and grime, a century-and-a-half-old mansion is emerging, soon to be open to the public for the first time in a generation.

OK, the ‘soon’ part is relative, given that the project is a couple of months behind schedule. But Debbie Griffin-Sadel, director of the Red Bank Public Library, believes that the restoration and update of the facility will be completed by October at the latest, and will be worth the wait.

redbankgreen got an exclusive preview recently, and it certainly raised our expectations.

Among the highlights: the ornately trimmed former Eisner family living room that spans the first floor on the West Front Street side of the building. Lushly finished in Victorian paneling and trim, plaster ceiling cartouches and bold wood flooring, the room is a trip back in time, albeit in this case only to the 1920s, when it was added to the circa 1850s mansion.

Slated to become the ‘Eisner New Jersey Room,’ housing a collection of materials about the state and the borough, it’s a space that hasn’t been open to the general public since the late 1960s, said Griffin-Sadel.

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LIBRARY REOPENING? TWO DOORS DOWN

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Last time we checked, the overdue Red Bank Public Library renovations were expected to be completed this month or next, following weather-related delays over the winter.

Last night, the borough council approved the opening of a temporary storefront two doors away, at the corner of West Front Street and Maple Avenue, where library patrons will be able to pick up books they’ve arranged to borrow and ask research questions.

The space is being donated by Hovnanian Enterprises and is expected to be up and running “certainly by a week from tonight,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

No mention was made during the council’s session of when the library itself would reopen. It turns out the expectation is now that will occur in July.

And the reason for the delay? It’s what happens when you renovate old buildings, Menna and Council President Sharon Lee said after the meeting.

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FROZEN OUT OF THE STACKS

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A partial reopening of the Red Bank Public Library — initially planned for December and then postponed until this month — probably won’t happen at all, library officials say now.

The upshot: library users will have to wait until May or June, when the entire renovation project is completed, to access the facility, said library director Debbie Griffin-Sadel.

The latest holdup: making up for weeks of work lost to the February cold snap, which brought the installation of a new sprinkler system to a halt. For the duration of the delay, a trench exposing a water line between the building and the supply line under West Front Street lay open, as contractors waited for a break in the Arctic freeze to fix a leak.

The trench was has now been refilled, and work has been resumed. But the partial re-opening? “Doesn’t look like it’s going to happen,” said Griffin-Sadel, who called the delays “extremely frustrating.

“We’re hoping not to become the Eastern Branch,” she said, referring to the Monmouth County Library branch in Shrewsbury that has been under reconstruction for almost four years.

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COP SOUGHT IN DUI DEATH SURRENDERS

A Jersey City police officer who lives in Middletown, already facing DUI charges arising from a car crash on the Pulaski Skyway, surrendered to police this morning in connection with the death of 2 1/2-year-old boy as result of the wreck.

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From an Associated Press dispatch posted at the Star-Ledger online:

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A Jersey City police officer, charged last week with driving drunk after an off-duty crash, surrendered Monday to face an aggravated manslaughter charge following the death of a toddler who was in the other vehicle.

Officer Kevin Freibott and his lawyer arrived shortly before 9 a.m. at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Prosecutor Edward J. DeFazio said.

The manslaughter charge, which carries up to 30 years in prison, was filed Sunday, just hours after 2-year-old Juan Carlos Zelaya died from injuries suffered in the crash last Tuesday. The child’s mother, Ruth Zelaya, 37, remained in critical condition at Jersey City Medical Center.

Police had attempted to arrest Freibott Sunday, but his whereabouts was not immediately known.

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ADVICE FOR THE NEW GUY FROM THE EXES

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So, after 18 years riding the bench as a member of the borough council, what kind of mayor will Pasquale Menna be?

At his New Year’s Day swearing-in, Menna said his vision “is to continue the progress” of the McKenna era. He reached out to John Curley, his Republican opponent in the mayoral race—and McKenna’s nemesis—saying, “We’re going to work together.” He rolled out a number of initiatives, from public meetings during budget deliberations to online bill-paying for taxes and water fees.

In sum, he gave every indication that he knows what he wants to do, and how.

Still, it’s nice to have the benefit of others’ experience. So redbankgreen asked Red Bank’s four living ex-mayors for any advice they might have for the new guy.

Read on for their replies, followed by a complete list of Red Bank chief executives from the time the borough was carved out of Shrewsbury 99 years ago.

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LIBRARY UPGRADES BEHIND SCHEDULE

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The remodeling of the Red Bank Public Library will take up to three months longer than planned, in part because of the discovery of asbestos in a chimney, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

From the story:

The West Front Street borough library is now not expected to reopen until March because of asbestos removal and a utility’s delay in installation of new electrical service, library officials said.

“That (electrical work) has been done, but it took a while to get done,” said Jane Eigenrauch, adult services librarian. “The asbestos is in an old chimney area and has to be properly removed, and the schedule is to do it next Thursday or Friday.”

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DATABASE PLUG: 100 YEARS AGO TODAY

The Red Bank Public Library is closing for up to four weeks starting Monday as part of its $1.6 million renovation project.

That means no book-borrowing, of course—and a break for anyone with books due for return during the closing. Members, though, will still have accces to the library’s electronic databases from their home computers. And on good-weather days, for those laptoppers who really miss the place, there are some nice benches outside from which you’ll still be able to get wireless access to the Internet via the library’s link.

If you haven’t explored the databases, you’re missing out on a treasure trove of information, including some interesting history. For example, in the New York Times archive, which reaches back to 1851, we recently stumbled on this gem, which was published, it so happens, 100 years ago today:

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ATTACK OF THE DUBIOUS EXCERPTS

“JOHN CURLEY… ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL,” declares a recent campaign mailer sent out by Red Bank Democrats in one of the first attack ads of this year’s mayoral race.

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Bearing an image of a pillow on a steering wheel, the mailer takes Republican Councilman and mayoral candidate John Curley to task for his purported responsibilty in the recent Finance Department mess. That’s the one in which former CFO Terence Whalen was replaced following the discovery of lax fiscal controls, and property owners got stuck with a tax increase to cover associated costs.

But the folks involved in writing and editing the mailer may have been asleep at the wheel, too. Or were they perhaps doing some aggressive driving?

The mailer includes anti-Curley excerpts from newspaper articles or editorials that apparently don’t exist.

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NOW MOVING IN: THE OTHER HALF

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One buyer sent a deposit check from Ohio before he’d even laid eyes on Corinthian Cove, the six-unit deluxe condo spread on West Front Street, between the Bluffs and the Red Bank Public Library.

Now, construction is wrapping up and buyers are moving in. All but one unit has been sold, says Susan McLaughlin, the Realtor handling sales.

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Prices have ranged from $1.3 million for a unit on the street (the one with the 800-square-foot deck atop the porte-cochere entryway to the project) to $2.3 million for a 3,423-square-foot waterfront unit. The one that remains is in the middle section, with an asking price of $2.1 million.

In addition to scads of windows, ample decks and other amenities, each unit has an elevator customized to the buyer’s taste. Because really, who wants an elevator right out of the catalog?

Architects Jay Anderson and Felicia Campanella of Anderson/Campanella in Rumson designed the project.

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DIBS ON THE BENCH

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Things are about to get rather messy at the Red Bank Public Library. A $1.6 million renovation that could take up to a year is set to begin as soon as next week.

But here’s a possible consolation for some patrons: the library has entered the Wi-Fi era.

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