SHREWSBURY: MUGGING REPORTED

A Red Bank man was taken for cash and a cellphone in a daylight scam attempt that turned into a strong-arm robbery in Shrewsbury Friday morning, police said.

The unidentified victim appeared to have been the target of a ‘pigeon drop‘ scam, in which a con man pretends to have found a large sum of money, said Detective Sergeant Bobby Turner.

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RED BANK: MEDIUM HOT THAI JUST LIKE MOM’S

muang thai 081613A planned expansion of Muang Thai into an adjoining flower shop will provide direct access to the outdoor seating area, below, that now requires a walk around the corner. (Photo below courtesy of Muang Thai. Click to enlarge)

By ROBERT KERN

Muang Thai 4The mark of a Thai cuisine master goes beyond knowing which ingredients to use. Herbs and spices like lemongrass, ginger, chilies and lime leaves – also known as kaffir – need to be handled and selected so they deliver the most flavor.

“Make sure the lime leaves are mature,” said Chanarong ‘Jack’ Pongnoo, owner and chef at Red Bank’s Muang Thai restaurant. “The older leaves have much more flavor.”

Expertise like that is not gotten from books or watching cooking shows, but from long years learning and mastering techniques. Like so many other master chefs, Pongnoo attended the traditional school: his mother’s stove.

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RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN BANK TO BE ACQUIRED

The bank’s five branches, including the one on Broad Street in Shrewsbury, above, will be rebranded as 1st Constitution. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Little more than a year after an internal power struggle, five-branch banking indie Rumson-Fair Haven Bank & Trust has agreed to be acquired by a Middlesex County lender, the two companies announced Friday.

The buyer is 1st Constitution Bancorp, a Nasdaq-traded entity that will pay RFHBT shareholders $7.50 per share, or 0.7772 of a share of 1st Constitution common stock, in a deal valued at $24.3 million, the two company’s said in a press release.

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FAIR HAVEN: GRANNY-GEARING, DUTCH STYLE

Jeanne-Marie Van Hemmen of Fair Haven rides home  from her law office on Bodman Place in Red Bank Thursday. She rides a Dutch bike called an ‘omafiets‘, which she said translates to ‘grandma bike.’

“Commuting in Red Bank is excellent because it’s not hilly,” she says. “It’s totally doable. More people should do it.” (Photos by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: BREAKFAST AND LUNCH, TO GO

Former Sea Bright restaurateur Joanne Garelli leads a food truck in a cross-country reality TV race that plays out this season on the Food Network, starting Sunday.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Wednesday’s Star-Ledger has a feature story about Joanne Garelli, the former co-owner of a Sea Bright luncheonette who’s turned the misfortune of Hurricane Sandy into opportunity.

Having lost Steve’s Breakfast & Lunch to the October 29, 2012 storm, Garelli recently headed up a three-person food truck that made its way across the United States as part of “The Great Food Truck Race,” a reality television series that starts its third season on the Food Network this Sunday night.

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RED BANK: OLD-TIMERS RETURN FOR PARTY

The third annual Red Bank Community Block Party attracted over 500 present and former  residents to Drs. James Parker Boulevard  Saturday. Music, handicrafts, food, children’s rides and information booths greeted the all-ages crowd.

“I think we were actually closer to a thousand,” said party committee president Eddie Russell. Attendees came from Virginia, the Carolinas, Maryland and as far away as California, as well as nearby towns. (Photos by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

SENATE PRIMARY A YAWNER ON THE GREEN

Marjorie and Howard Fox after voting in Little Silver, above. Barbara Crowton, below, voted at the United Methodist Church in Red Bank. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

As Newark Mayor Cory Booker coasted to victory in Tuesday’s special primary voting for the open United States Senate seat from New Jersey, widespread electoral lethargy surrounding the occasion was also evident on the Green Tuesday.

A visit to four polling sites – three in Red Bank and one in Little Silver – over the course of two hours after the heavy rain stopped found fewer than 10 voters in all. Most were glad to share thoughts about Governor Chris Christie’s decision to hold an October election to replace late Senator Frank Lautenberg apart from the November general election, at a cost of $24 million.

Several, all from the 40 and under set, said they were unaware that Tuesday’s primary was specially scheduled.

At the Woman’s Club of Little Silver, Howard Fox and his daughter Marjorie Fox both had strong objections to the special election.

“It was gratuitous to do it this way, ” said Howard.

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MIDDLETOWN: CONTEMPTIBLY LONG BLOTTER

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities James Koenig, age 56, from Brainard Avenue in Port Monmouth, NJ, arrested on July 28, 2013 by Patrolman Stephen Greenwood on a Non-Support warrant issued by the Monmouth County Superior Court. He was held on $13,603.00 bail.

Phil Craddock, age 21, from West Sylvania Avenue in Neptune, NJ, arrested on July 28, 2013 by Patrolman Anthony Dellatacoma on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $1,500.00 bail.

Evan Rosencranz, age 19, from David Drive in Old Bridge, NJ, arrested on July 27, 2013 by Patrolman Donald Coates for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was released pending a court date.

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FAIR HAVEN: SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

Smoking would be banned in parks and other green spaces. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Between granting an exception to the tree preservation ordinance and a discussion about putting a sign in front of borough hall, Fair Haven’s borough council continued to debate the merits of a smoking ban in borough parks Monday night.

As currently drafted, a proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking on all non-impervious surfaces in borough green spaces such as Fair Haven Fields and Natural Area. Smoking would be allowed on adjacent hard surfaces, such as parking lots and sidewalks.

In a friendly but pointed back-and-forth, dividing lines that had emerged during earlier talks remained.

“I think it’s a severe overstepping,” said councilman Rowland Wilhelm. “Is it even constitutional?”

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LITTLE SILVER: BASEMENT FIRE INJURES ONE


The fire, at a vacant building formerly used by a landscaping company, broke out in the basement, officials said. (Click to enlarge)

A volunteer Little Silver firefighter suffered a minor injury while combating a smoky basement fire on Conover Place Monday afternoon, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The unidentified firefighter, one of more than 50 from four towns who responded to the 4:30 p.m. alarm, was treated on the scene for a leg injury, Fire Chief Andrew Smith told the Press.

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RED BANK: MARKET, HOMES EYED AT FIVE-WAY

Developer Ray Rapcavage envisions a greengrocer flanked by condos and townhomes at Red Bank’s five corners. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of Red Bank’s long-forsaken properties may be in for a major overhaul.

Owner and developer Ray Rapcavage plans to convert nearly a whole block at the five corners confluence of Harding Road and Branch and Hudson avenues into a three-building complex anchored by an old-fashioned fruit and vegetable market and 20 residences.

If approved and built, the project would transform the acre-sized site of four existing homes and a former gasoline station into a vibrant, eastward expansion of the downtown business district, said Rapcavage, who gave redbankgreen a sneak peek at his plans Monday.

“When you come into that intersection, you’re going to see a lot of green,” he said of produce displays he has plans along a the Harding Road facade of the market.

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ARTIEPALOOZA ROCKS THE RIVER

Partygoers gathered on dozens of vessels to remember a friend at Saturday’s floating bash on the Navesink dubbed ‘Artiepalooza.’ (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By NICK MALFITANO

One could hear the unmistakable sound up and down the Navesink River Saturday afternoon; American rock n’ roll. Sun peeked through the clouds as dozens of partygoers gathered in Blossom Cove on the river’s Middletown side to enjoy food, drink and live music at a floating party.

It could only be Artiepalooza.

The boat bash served as both a fundraiser – for David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation, an organization that provides financial assistance to those affected by cancer – and a tribute to the memory of 51-year-old Arthur “Artie” Natsis of Middletown. The event, known as “Baaaquapalooza” during its first two incarnations last summer, was renamed in Natsis’ honor after he died from cancer in April.

“Everyone’s having a great time,” said Natsis’ widow, Feli Donato-Natsis, whose first name is pronounced ‘Filly.’ “I counted about 35 boats here. Some knew about the party, and others came from word of mouth. All our friends rented the only two pontoon boats in the area to be here.”

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RED BANK POLICE BLOTTER

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of August 1 to August 8, 2013. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring between 8-2-13 and 8-3-13 at Broad St. Victim reported that unknown person(s) deployed graffiti on doorway of business. Ptl. John Camarca.

Criminal Mischief two incident occurring between 8-2-13 and 8-3-13 at two locations on West Front St. businesses. Unknown person(s) deployed graffiti on to the buildings. Ptl. John Camarca

Criminal Mischief occurring between 8-5-13 and 8-6-13 at Chapin Ave. Victim reported that unknown person(s) slashed two tires on parked vehicle. Ptl. Pubylski.

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SEA BRIGHT: FOCUS ON STALLED BUSINESSES

A volunteer group wants to help owners of vacant stores spruce up their properties.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

A group of Sea Bright residents is asking the borough to reach out to businesses that have stalled in the post-Sandy recovery process.

With a campaign for sand replenishment, a fundraiser to replace lost beach equipment, an open-house on recovery construction and more efforts already under its belt, Seabrighters Embracing Action – a community group that formed in February to help the town and each other recover from Hurricane Sandy – is now turning its attention to matters of appearance.

“We’re asking the town to enforce the codes when it comes to businesses that aren’t cleaning up,” SEA founder Heather Bedenko said Tuesday night after the bimonthly borough council meeting. Closed businesses “are like black eyes on the town. We have businesses opening up between two half-demolished places,” she said.

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WEEKEND: WORMS, TRUCKS ‘N SMASHED FRUIT

The orchestra seats have been covered in plastic at the Count Basie for tonight’s appearance by fruit-smashing comedian Gallagher. Still: pity the housekeeping crew. Troubador Pat Guadagno, below, is at Jamian’s Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, August 8:

SHREWSBURY: Take a ride over to the Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library as big rigs from Shrewsbury Public Works line up for touch-a-truck. Big Truck Day is both kid and adult friendly, and begins at 11 a.m. 1001 Route 35 North.

SHREWSBURY: The Master Gardeners of Monmouth County demonstrate vermicompost, using worms to make nutrient-rich soil at the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch. The compost demonstration begins at 11 a.m. 1001 Route 35 North.

MIDDLETOWN: The Manga Club gets a special visit from voice actress Michele Knotz – voice of May in Pokémon as well as video games, audio books and more – at the Middletown Main Library. J*Con: A Manga Club Special Event, features food, games, anime, manga, prizes, cosplay, as well as a Q&A with the manga star. Register in advance online, the event begins at 12:30 p.m. 55 New Monmouth Road.

RED BANK: Dig Into Reading at the craft party hosted at Red Bank Public Library, where kids can create rock paintings and animal fossils. The party lasts from 3 to 4 p.m. 84 West Front Street.

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RED BANK: LAST OF THE GAGUTZ AND GARLIC

Peppers, peaches and eggplant will be peaking this weekend at the Red Bank Farmer’s Market. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

This Sunday could be your last chance to grab a gagutz at the Red Bank Farmers Market.

“This is going to be it – the guys just went into the fields to cut the vines down,” Michelle O’Connor, who runs Brookville Farms in Barnegat, tells redbankgreen. But it may also be your last chance to grab fresh garlic, too, says O’Connor.

“It’s just about done,” she said of the harvest. “I’ve got a little bit left, and if it’s there, it’s there.”

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LITTLE SILVER: WORK STARTS ON CONDOS

Six years after winning its original approvals, construction of the 39-unit Carriage Gate condo project got underway with site-clearance work at Eastview and Oceanport avenues in Little Silver this week.

Developer Patrick Kalian, of Shrewsbury-based Kalian Builders, tells redbankgreen that four acres of the 14-acre site will be cleared, with the balance deeded to the town or another entity for preservation. “It will stay heavily wooded, just as it is now,” he said.

The townhouse-style homes, including eight designated as ‘affordable,’ are expected to become available in June, 2014, Kalian said. A restriction limiting occupancy to residents 55 and older was dropped in 2011. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

IN RED BANK’S GARDEN, A GARDENER BLOOMS

Rookie gardener Deb Jellenik shows off her harvest Wednesday morning. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

With backyard gardens around the Green yielding their early-August bounties, redbankgreen stopped by the Red Bank Community Garden to see how its first-year harvest is going. We found Deb Jellenik picking tomatoes and spoke with her about her experience thus far.

“I was a latecomer to the community garden,” says Jellenik, who was one of the last people to reserve a plot at the narrow, borough-owned parcel on Marion Street. But she’d been walking past the garden almost everyday, watching the plots take shape, when her desire for fresh tomatoes for making sauce spurred her to act.

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RED BANK: DOG DAY DIVERSIONS @TWORIVER

The musical act Early Elton — featuring members of the Asbury Jukes and the Fab Faux — brings its tribute to Elton John and Bernie Taupin to Two River Theater in a Saturday night benefit show.

The start of the 20th Anniversary stage season at Two River Theater is still more than a month away, but even as Tony- and Oscar-winning actor/director Joel Grey rehearses his cast for the upcoming production of On Borrowed Time, the stage of the Bridge Avenue performing arts center is abuzz with activity in these dog-day afternoons and evenings.

It’s a late-summer slate that kicked off with this past Sunday’s Beatlemania benefit concert — and which continues tonight with a sold-out screening of the locally produced documentary feature Destiny’s Bridge.

The sights and sounds and screenings roll on right to Labor Day’s doorstep, with a Saturday night benefit concert that captures the soulful spirit of an international music superstar’s introspective early albums.

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RED BANK: ARMED HOME INVASION REPORTED

Three men, two of them carrying handguns, invaded a Red Bank home and robbed two men Tuesday evening, the Star-Ledger website NJ.com reported.

The crime occurred at about 7 p.m. at a house on West Sunset Avenue near Leighton Avenue, the Sledger reported.

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SHREWSBURY POLICE REPORTS

Activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of July 27 to August 2, 2013.

call-in-the-authoritiesReport of Theft and Criminal Mischief in the area of Emperor Wok, Shrewsbury Avenue on 7/29/13. Victim reports property taken by unknown subject(s). Ptl. Ryan Cullinane investigating.

Arrests

Tyree T. Weston, male age 21 of Asbury Park was arrested on 7/29/13 for Contempt of Court in the area of Shrewsbury Avenue by Ptl. Ryan Cullinane.

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RED BANK: NEW PHARMACY APPROVED

A drugstore and two adjoining stores would occupy space formerly used by a Chinese takeout restaurant and a portrait studio near the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Rcsm2_010508Less than a year after losing its last independent drug store, Red Bank is getting a new one, and it’s located just across the street from the vacant shell of its predecessor.

Pharmacist Kamlesh Patel won approval from the borough planning board Monday night for an independent pharmacy at 141-1431 Broad Street, nearly opposite the former home of the Professional Pharmacy, which closed up shop in December after 61 years in town.

MUNI CALENDAR: COPS, ZONERS AND MORE

National Night Out features include a bounce house in Fair Haven, above, and a drunk-driving simulation in Red Bank, below. (Click to enlarge)

What’s going on, civics-wise, this week in some of the towns on the Green…

Fair Haven and Red Bank: Each town hosts its annual “National Night Out” gathering Tuesday evening to get residents, and particularly kids, to casually interact with their police departments, learn some safety lessons and have some fun along the way.

Fair Haven’s event, held behind police headquarters, runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and features a bounce house, a dunking machine, and free food and drinks. Here’s a video of last year’s event.

In Red Bank, The event will include demonstrations by the police department and the volunteer fire and first aid squads, as well as tours of police headquarters and child ID fingerprinting. Red Bank PBA Local 39, Super Foodtown of Red Bank and Manhattan Bagel will offer free food and refreshments.

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