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COUNCIL WRAP

Here’s a recap of Monday night’s Red Bank Borough Council meeting. (Follow along with the agenda, if you like.)

• Mayor Pasquale Menna accepted a $162,975 dividend payment to the borough from the Central Jersey Health Insurance Fund, the shared-services operation comprised of 20 Monmouth and Ocean county towns and authorities.

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The dividend has more than doubled from the $79,000 of just two years ago, and represents improved claims experience, Menna said. It is also the equivalent of a six-percent return on the borough’s annual health insurance premium, he said.

• Menna also accepted a $5,000 donation to the borough in lieu of taxes from the nonprofit Monmouth Boat Club.

• The council gave final and unanimous approval to two ordinances.

One will result in the creation of a four-way stop at the intersection of Bridge Avenue and Chestnut Street.

The other, a planning amendment, permits the use of professional offices by physical, speech and other licensed therapists and real estate brokerages with five or fewer employees. Previously, the list of authorized uses was limited to doctors and dentists, architects, musicians and ministers, among others.

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REPORT: WATERCRAFT CRASH IN FAIR HAVEN

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that two personal watercraft collided in mid-air on the Navesink River in Fair Haven Monday afternoon, injuring one of the operators.

Both riders had jumped the wake of a boat when they crashed, the Press reports.

From the story:

Walt Graczyk, 42, of Keyport suffered injuries to his arm, chest and abdomen and was taken by Fair Haven First Aid Squad to Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, he said. The other man, who was unidentified, was not injured, he said.

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KABOOM: THE SHOWS BEFORE THE BIG SHOW

Img_3352A glimpse of the 2007 show via an alley on West Front Street.

For some reason, clicking on the KaBoom fireworks website starts a song that features “let it rain” as a refrain.

There wasn’t some other middling Springsteen anthem-to-partying available in his songbook that avoids provocation of the weather gods?

Fortunately for those responsible, the National Weather Service reports “a slight chance of rain and thunderstorms” tonight — about 20 percent.

(Unfortunately for those responsible, if there are thunderstorms, this story will haunt them eternally.)

Though he was unaware of the song’s presence on the site until redbankgreen asked him about it, KaBoom chairman Peter Reinhart is unfazed.

“For the rain date [July 4, same time and place] to be invoked, it would pretty much have to be teeming,” he says. The logistics of the event demand that the show go on unless it absolutely cannot, he says.

Besides, he adds, “that’s not a bad forecast.”

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EXACT SAME SHOW, 1/20TH THE HASSLE?

Rumson_fireworks3The view from Victory Park in Rumson last year.

Hey, it was bound to get out anyway.

For the second year in a row, Rumson will be home to a spectacular July 3 fireworks display to rival that of its far more famous neighbor, Red Bank.

No, check that. It doesn’t rival Red Bank’s kaboomery; it matches it. Exactly.

Same shells, fired at exactly the same time, to the same music, in a skyfire display run off the same computer program by the same world-famous fireworks company, Garden State Fireworks.

“The two shows are absolutely the same, but 3.5 miles apart,” Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl tells redbankgreen. “I have trouble communicating that. People are incredulous when I tell them.”

Incredulous, perhaps, because the Red Bank show — billed as the state’s largest — is believed to turn some 150,000 pairs of eyeballs to the sky over the Navesink River, while Rumson’s rookie effort attracted just 7,500 pairs, and a proportionally smaller traffic jam.

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AND JUST A HINT OF SULFUR…

Kabooming_irThe 2007 closing blasts, that is.

Brace yourselves for a bit of window-rattling pyrotechnics over the Navesink tonight.

Better yet, leave the sofa and television behind for a couple of hours and see for yourself as the night sky blooms in crackling colors.

In case you haven’t heard, tonight’s the annual KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink fundraiser, held at the Monmouth Boat Club.

The goal is to offset as much of the $175,000 annual cost as possible. The July 3 spectacular, which typically draws 150,000 people into Red Bank, gets no public funding; it’s all paid for from donated funds.

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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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CHUBBY’S PLAN MEETS LITTLE RESISTANCE

Img_9808Architect Tony Busch Jr. discusses the proposed design for a building to replace Chubby’s, shown superimposed at left on a photo of West Front Street buildings. (Click to enlarge)

Had their business been treated as a brand-new one, the owners of the restaurant and sports bar proposed for the present site of Chubby’s Waterside Café on West Front Street might be looking at a $325,000 bill from Red Bank for insufficient parking.

As things stand, though, the final tab will probably come in closer to $30,000, Borough Engineer Rich Kosenski told redbankgreen last night.

His comment followed a generally favorable reception by the Zoning Board for a plan to demolish Chubby’s — a rock club best known these days for weekend all-ages shows — and replace it with a four-story mix of restaurant, sports bar and banquet facility topped by two rental apartments. The eatery would be run by the principals in the Bistro at Red Bank and called The Bank.

The board took no vote on the matter, though. The next hearing on the request was scheduled for Jan 17.

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THE END OF AN OASIS

Shrewsbury1_1

Say goodbye to another Red Bank landmark.

Shrewsbury Manor, an idyllic cluster of 59 apartments located next door to the Molly Pitcher Inn, is gradually being cleared out and will fall to the bulldozer sometime after the last tenants have departed in late 2007, redbankgreen has learned.

Samantha Bowers, vice president of Philip J. Bowers & Co., the family-owned real estate development firm that built Shrewsbury Manor 60 years ago and still owns it, yesterday confirmed that the buildings will be razed.

Because of their age, the two-story, red brick structures “require an extraordinary amount of maintenance,” said Bowers. “The buildings have reached the end of their useful life, and so this is, unfortunately, what we have to do. It’s time to redevelop the property.”

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DROPPING IN ON…

When redbankgreen visited Shrewsbury Manor at mid-afternoon Monday, blithely ignoring the orange fencing meant to keep out trespassers, the Independence Day partying was not yet in full swing, but signs of the bash to come were unmistakable.

Both interior courtyards of the apartment complex were dotted with folding tables starting to groan under loads of food and drink. Long-neck bottles chilled in tubs of ice. Four young women played beer pong, a game of startling simplicity in which contestants try to toss a ball into a cupful of beer; when they succeed, their opponents must drink beer. Nearby, a beer-drinking guy exhorted the women to take off their tops when he spotted our camera. They didn’t. Apparently, the combined beer pong scores were still at the level of a World Cup soccer match.

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At the river end of the yard, where a grand vista opens out east along the Navesink, Barbara Cottrell sat quietly in the shade in front of her apartment, chatting with passing neighbors and awaiting the start of the fireworks, the latest installment in a long string of July Fourths spent on or near the waterway.

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