The Sixth Annual Friends oft he Red Bank Public Library Bookmark Contest has announced this year’s winners! At a well-attended party on May 20, the Friends presented the winners with certificates and gift cards to local businesses.
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By JOHN T. WARD
Continuing its comeback from a period of drastic retrenchment, the Red Bank Public Library plans a celebration of the borough’s past Saturday with the reopening of the Local History Room, which was put off-limits due to staff cuts three years ago.
The second-floor room’s return to part-time action is one piece of a daylong schedule of events to mark the institution’s 80th year in its home overlooking our beautiful Navesink River.
By SUSAN ERICSON
“It’s like comfort food to me,” says McDermott, whose previous job as a software consultant for Oracle took her all over the globe.
The second-floor reading room at the Red Bank Public Library (above) is the setting for this Saturday’s monthly River Read event, featuring Hungarian-born poet, theater producer and translator Dr. Gabor Barabas (below).
Audience regulars at the Long Branch professional playhouse New Jersey Repertory Company have come to appreciate the pre-show remarks given by the theater’s co-founder Dr. Gabor Barabas — introductions that are often illuminated by the retired neurologist’s recollections of his youth in his native Hungary, his fascination with the mythic popular culture of his adopted country, and his signature exhortation to “enjoy, enjoy the show” (to say nothing of those “deal of the century” subscription pitches).
An author, published poet and dramatist in “his own write” (he narrates his own poem “The Spider” in this animated short inspired by the late artist Louise Bourgeois) the NJ Rep executive producer has also garnered acclaim as a translator, with a specialty in the particularly challenging transition between English and Hungarian. On Saturday morning, March 11, the good doctor visits Red Bank Public Library as guest speaker on the topic of “Poetry in Translation.”
Meantime, the Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library is in the midst of a drive aiming to raise $20,000 for the pursuit of five specific goals. Donations may be made in person at the library, by mail, or online here. (Click to enlarge)
This week, Red Bank residents will be finding an envelope from their library amongst all the holiday cards in their mailbox. The Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library has recently sent out its third annual appeal in order to build financial support for the Red Bank Public Library’s many programs and collections. During this season of giving, the Foundation hopes to continue the strong tradition of support shown by the Red Bank community.
While the Red Bank Library receives mandated funding, it relies on the generosity of library supporters to strengthen its financial position, allowing the Library to expand its offerings and better serve the community.
During the relatively brief time that Red Bank Public Library has been hosting its regular monthly series of “Author Talks,” attendees have been been given the opportunity to meet a fairly eclectic collection of scribes expounding on an equally eclectic range of topics — the subjects of books that the guest speakers have been more than happy to summarize, sign, and sell.
When the series resumes on Wednesday evening, however, it will represent a slight deviation from the norm, as the visiting writer — veteran sports journalist and former Olympian Elliott Denman — will lead an in-depth discussion of someone else’s book.
While the community-forum series that she’s moderated at Red Bank Public Library just observed its one-year anniversary, Gilda Rogers is scarcely the first Red Banker to issue the invitation “Let’s Talk About Race.” That distinction may go to T. Thomas Fortune (1856-1928), the onetime slave turned pioneer black editor-publisher and crusading journalist — and this Wednesday evening, September 28, Fortune’s former home (on what’s now Drs. James Parker Boulevard) is the focus of a special discussion on the man named Fortune, and the ongoing efforts to recognize and represent his life’s work to the community.
Regular readers of redbankgreen‘s paperless pages have no doubt followed the story of the T. Thomas Fortune House, the National Historic Site that has fallen into a serious state of disrepair in recent years — along with a newly floated proposal to rehabilitate the deteriorating structure as a public-welcome community center, and centerpiece of a residential apartment development. During Wednesday’s 7 p.m. presentation in the library’s downstairs meeting room, attendees will be brought up to speed on the details of the plan, and how such a resource can best honor the legacy of the activist who was credited as “being the bridge to the modern day Civil Rights Movement.”
Bounce houses are part of the evening’s activities, as police departments in three local boroughs (Red Bank, Fair Haven, Little Silver) invite families to take part in the National Night Out initiative on Tuesday.
It began 32 years ago as a simple promotion in which police departments across the nation encouraged residents to keep their porch lights burning as a show of solidarity against crime. It evolved in many communities into a public-welcome event that mixed family-fun activities with a serious message of safe streets (and made a celebrity out of a trenchcoat-wearing dog named McGruff).
Here in the charged election-year atmosphere of 2016 — where statistical declines in violent crime are countered by news stories involving the horrifically high-profile deaths of police officers and civilians — the annual occurrence known as National Night Out takes on a newfound significance, as an opportunity for police departments, public officials and community members to meet and maintain the dialogue.
On the evening of Tuesday, August 2, both Red Bank and Fair Haven continue their now-traditional participation in the nationwide initiative — and this year, they’ll be joined by a third municipality on the greater Red Bank green: the bordering borough of Little Silver.
Red Bank regulars know her from many different settings, and wearing many figurative hats — from faculty member at Red Bank Regional and coordinator of special community outreach initiatives for Two River Theater, to local talk show host, and onetime proprietor of Frank Talk Art Bistro, a much-missed Shrewsbury Avenue storefront that was as delightfully difficult to summarize as the woman who put her stamp on it.
Writer, activist and producer Gilda Rogers remains very visible around Red Bank in the coming days, beginning with an appearance at the Red Bank Public Library on Wednesday, July 13. Scheduled for 7 p.m., it’s the latest event in the library’s monthly Author Talk series; a session that finds the author of “Arrested Development: The State of Black Achievement and Education in Hip Hop America” discussing her debut as a dramatist, with a work entitled “Supernatural: The Play.”
The new Navesink River bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library, as seen from the natural shoreline at Maple Cove. Below, a June, 1906 Red Bank Register article reported on Sigmund Eisner’s plans for the property, including the installation of a bulkhead. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
This month 110 years ago, the Navesink River site that would later become the home of the Red Bank Public Library was about to get its first bulkhead.
Over the ensuing century, such hard-stop bulkheads came to be regarded as a flawed means of protecting shorelines: less effective at blunting storm ravages than natural shores, and unfriendly to marine life. So when it authorized a controversial new bulkhead two years ago, the borough council relented to public pressure and asked that the replacement incorporate whatever elements possible to make it more like a so-called living shoreline.
In the end, however, the new bulkhead, completed this month. is pretty much the same as the old one.
By JOHN T. WARD
Eighteen months after the the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection suspended shellfish harvesting in 566 acres of the Navesink River because of unacceptably high levels of fecal coliform, Clean Ocean Action plans to host a public meeting on the issue.
The Rumson event will offer an overview of the DEP’s rationale for the January, 2015 downgrade, attributed in park to stormwater runoff, and mark the release of a Clean Ocean Action report on bacterial pollution in the river, according to a press release by the Sandy Hook-based nonprofit. Read More
Like so many of us, Gilda Rogers had a large collection of family photographs — a chronicle of her family’s history that cried out for something more than being shut away in albums or hidden on hard drives. The solution, according to the writer, educator and cultural preservationist, was to create “Backward Glances,” a line of greeting cards that spotlights her own generational history, sharing her family’s story through some (often artful and compelling) images that have something to offer people of all backgrounds.
On Saturday, June 11, Rogers visits the Red Bank Public Library for a free workshop entitled “Making Memories: Create a Keepsake Placemat from Family Photos.” A tie-in to the current Two River Theater production of I Remember Mama and its themes of family unity, the crafting session offers participants a chance to win two tickets to the play, which continues its engagement through June 26.
Artworks sculpted by Lisa Bagwell from discarded plastic items (such as PIZZA, above) are on display now at the Red Bank Library, along with digitally modified images by Lynne Kennedy (whose scene of Middletown’s Mt. Olivet Cemetery is pictured below).
It’s everywhere at once and all around you, once you choose to notice it — the non-biodegradable detritus that Lisa Bagwell calls “the masses of cartons, cups, plastics and cutlery that passes through the hands of myself and the people around me.”
A resident of Red Bank, and a Long Branch employee in charge of that city’s public gardens, Bagwell can seem to be many places at once herself — as a naturalist for the county Park System, a farm worker, a vegetarian cook, and a volunteer with the nonprofit Clean Ocean Action. In her “spare” time, the Rutgers grad is an artist; one whose sculpture work has been exhibited in spaces that have included the Monmouth Museum, Newark’s Aljira Center — and the Red Bank Public Library, where a collection of her pointedly playful creations is on display now through the month of June.
Trustees of the library say local taxpayers would still have to foot the cost of the borough facility on West Front Street, above, with access to fewer resources from Monmouth County. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The question pops up periodically, and did so several times last year in a user survey: would Red Bankers be better off if their library was part of the Monmouth County library system?
According to the Red Bank Public Library’s trustees, the answer is “no,” and it’s not a close call.
A press release from the Friends of the Red Bank Public Library:
The Friends of the Red Bank Public Library are organizing the 9th Annual Red Bank Townwide Yard Sale for Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Registration is open and will continue until 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 5.
From guided tours of the great restaurants, landmark buildings and vivid VIPs in our local communities, to the resting places of the most storied European monarchs, the month of April is a Book Fair of opportunity for anyone interested in a cracking-good nonfiction read — and the days and nights ahead offer readers numerous opportunities to meet and chat with the people who bring you the books, at locations all around the greater Green.
It’s a slate of events that kicks off this Thursday, April 7, in the surprising setting of Sea Bright’s Ama Ristorante — a venue that comes into sharper focus with the revelation that the 6 p.m. event is a cocktail-hour reception for The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond. Author (and founder of Jerseybites.com) Deborah Smith will be on hand to sign preview copies of the soon-to-be-released volume, a collection of recipes from some of the Shore’s most popular restaurants and eateries (Ama included). Also featured is an insider’s guide to navigating the local foodscape, as well as “the effects of Superstorm Sandy on nearly every establishment in the book and what it took to come back after the devastation.” Attendees at the two-hour reception will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary beverage, a demo by Ama Executive Chef Charles Lesbirel, plus a $15 gift card — and tickets ($50 per person; $75 per couple) can be reserved at (732)530-9760.
Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee
Mayor Pasquale Menna will be the host — and former Mayor Edward J. McKenna Jr. will serve as master of ceremonies — when the Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball returns to The Oyster Point Hotel for its second annual edition on Friday, May 6.
The event, which begins at 7 p.m., will honor retired public works supervisor and zoning board member Jesse Garrison (Humanitarian Award), the Count Basie Theatre (Cultural and Arts Award), the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department (Historical Legacy Award), Philip J. Bowers & Co. (Urban Development Award), and Riverview Medical Center (Manufacturing and Technology Award). Red Bank RiverCenter, the Special Improvement District founded in 1991, will be recognized as it marks its 25th Anniversary.
With the basement meeting room already full, an overflow crowd gathered on the library’s main floor hoping to be allowed in Wednesday night. Below, the sanctuary would include Sandy Hook Bay, the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers and their tributaries. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
With 75 or so commercial and recreational fishermen, clammers, hunters and others packed into a basement meeting room at the Red Bank Public Library, and a comparable number turned away due to crowding, maritime historian Rik Van Hemmen got a cold reception for his proposal for a Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which he hopes will win federal approval.
“We’ve got enough layers of bureaucracy,” Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, told Van Hemmen. “This is going down. We’re going to fight it.”
Back during the summer of 2014, in a controversial decision reported here on redbankgreen, the Red Bank council opted to rebuild a bulkhead along the Navesink River-fronting property of the borough public library — a move that disappointed proponents of the more environmentally friendly “living shoreline” approach.
How’s this for irony? Nearly two years later, the historic library building on West Front Street plays host this Saturday to representatives of the American Littoral Society, who’ll make a presentation on the many benefits of living shorelines in an age of climate change and increased erosion risk.
An effort to create a “water-based equivalent of a National Park” covering Sandy Hook Bay, the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers and their tributaries is the subject of upcoming informational sessions, one of which is scheduled for Monday night.
If enacted by federal authorities, the Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary would add more than 12,500 acres of public-use parkland to eastern Monmouth County, according to proponents. Among them are the Navesink Marine Heritage Association, whose website has extensive information on the proposal.