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RUMSON KIDS, SENIORS MIX AND MASK

attach.mscCostume contest winner Carolyn Ott (center) meets Forrestdale School sixth-graders Sally Wingertzahn (left) and Brennan Stabler (right) during the Rumson Senior Citizen’s Club Halloween Luncheon, held at the First Presbyterian Church on October 26. The event is one of many student/senior activities offered throughout the school year by the club, information on which (including other activities like a holiday Toys For Tots drive and bus trips) is available by contacting the church.

RED BANK: OPEN ARMS FOR LOCAL SENIORS

Wesleyan_Arms_The_Arms_Cafe_1Registered Yoga teacher Theresa Conlon progresses flawlessly through her routine in the gazebo at Wesleyan Arms in Red Bank.

Press release from Wesleyan Arms

On Wednesday, June 24, the Red Bank-based senior housing community Wesleyan Arms hosted the grand opening of The Arms Café, a new senior resource hub to the area’s growing population of older adults.

A partnership between Wesleyan Arms and Home Helpers Home Care of Monmouth County with the Visiting Nurse Association of Central New Jersey, the Cafe is dedicated to a mission of providing opportunities for essential social interaction, physical exercise and continuing learning to people aged 65 and older who live alone.

Located at 9 Wall Street in Red Bank and part of the United Methodist Homes of New Jersey (UMHNJ), the Cafe welcomes older adults in the area to participate each week in a casual setting with a “drop-in center” feel. Open every Wednesday between 10 am and 2 pm, the facility is staffed with a resource coordinator who can offer information about elder care resources to individuals and their families.

Examples of the varied calendar activities include: chair yoga or Zumba, art, technology, reading and book club discussions, meeting new friends, walking groups, finding information, enjoying the company of others, and more. While The Arms Café has some structure, seniors may do as much or as little as they prefer. All resource information and most classes are free. Occasionally, a special offering requires a fee.

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LITTLE SILVER: RBR SENIOR TOPs IN CLASS

JorgeRed Bank Regional senior Jorge Benavides is the school’s first student to complete Teen Outreach Program training, and to co-facilitate a class.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

“It’s a safe place to let out our opinions and views, where there is mutual respect and we do not judge one another,” states Jorge Benavides of Red Bank.

A senior at Red Bank Regional High School, Jorge is referring to the Teen Outreach Program, or TOP — and as the first RBR student to co-facilitate the nationally acclaimed program in his school, the 17 year old speaks with authority on the subject.

Developed by the Wyman Center, TOP “promotes the positive development of adolescents through a combination of curriculum-guided group discussion and community service learning.” Examples of past RBR community service included a walk for suicide prevention, aiding the victims of Hurricane Sandy and a program supporting the LGBT community.

Freshman participants are recruited for TOP by The SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program. Offering weekly sessions during their lunch and study hall time for most of the school year, the program also runs a section for sophomores and upper classman who chose to continue their participation.

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RBR SENIOR IS FORENSIC PROSE CHAMP

SarahVatesNJchampionPress release from Red Bank Regional High School

On March 2, Red Bank Regional High School senior Sarah Vates realized a long-term goal in winning the New Jersey State Tournament of Champions in a competitive forensic event.  In a few weeks, she will travel by invitation of Governor Christie to the Governor’s mansion, Drumthwacket, to celebrate her achievement along with the 19 other New Jersey students who took first place in their respective forensic categories.

As Sarah explains, “Forensics is similar to acting, but more disciplined since there are many rules by which competitors must abide. It is also pure performance, without props, or costumes and depends solely on voices, gestures and facial expressions.  It is much nuanced and can be different every time you perform a piece.”

The Holmdel resident — pictured holding two trophies; one each for herself and for her school — won the New Jersey state championship in prose interpretation. She chose her own material from a novel (The Paris Wife by Paula McClain) in which she synthesized the author’s words  into a ten minute forensic performance. Sarah had recently qualified to compete in the state championship when she placed fourth in the University of Pennsylvania’s Liberty Bell Classic national competition. Thirty contestants (who similarly qualified by placing in other high-level tournaments) competed in twenty categories using material chosen from other published sources.

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RFH SENIOR TAKES UP THE OARS FOR DREXEL

Kate EdwardsRFH High School senior Kate Edwards has been recruited by the Drexel University Women’s Rowing Team. The Drexel crew joins the race for the Governor’s Cup  on the Navesink this Saturday, September 28.  (Click to enlarge)

By MARY ANN KAMPFE/ RFHRHS Public Relations

Kate Edwards, a senior at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, has committed to the Women’s Rowing Team at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Edwards, who was heavily recruited by over a dozen top colleges and universities, made her commitment on August 12.

“The outstanding educators at RFH have really inspired me to achieve my goals,” said Edwards, who is a High Honors student and a member of the National Honor Society.

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SENIORS READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL TRIVIA

Red Bank seniors enjoy a spirited round of Super Bowl-themed trivia – with special categories in US presidents and states, for non-football fans – during their monthly trivia game at the Senior Center Friday. Volunteer David Prown, right, served as host for the event, which was capped off with a football-field cake for dessert. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

PUTTING A COMMUNITY CENTER ON TRACK

Community center72The center is to be housed at the corner of Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Bridge Avenue in a building that was once a bar and more recently served as the Count Basie Learning Center.

Last week, after more than 18 months of discussion, the Red Bank Council unanimously directed the borough attorney to come up with a contract under which the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County would launch and run a community center on the West Side.

redbankgreen did an email interview with the Robert Taylor, chief professional officer of the Asbury Park-based club, about the project.

Read on to learn what’s in the works.

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BACK IN PLAY: A COMMUNITY CENTER

Noble prownCommunity center proponents Peter Noble, president of the Red Bank Board of Ed, and David Prown after Monday's borough council session, which ran for almost three hours, as suggested by the clock in the background.

After nearly three months of relative silence, borough officials reopened discussion last night on whether Red Bank should create a community center for adolescents and teens.

This time, there was more talk than in the past about the need for a swimming pool and gymnasium, two elements that officials acknowledge may be far beyond the ability of taxpayers to support.

Though the question of how to proceed dominated what turned out to be a nearly three-hour-long meeting, no decision was reached.

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RED BANK: PARK DESIGNATION ADVANCES

A satellite view of the Senior Center, where the patio provides a view of the Swimming River. (Satellite image from Google Maps. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council initiated a process to create a new “passive park” behind the Senior Center Wednesday night.

Still unanswered, however, is the question of how big the park might be, and how it would be accessed.

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RED BANK: NEW ‘PASSIVE PARK’ ON AGENDA

A 2021 view of the rear of the Senior Center, which overlooks the Swimming River. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal to subdivide the Senior Center property to create a “passive park” is on the Red Bank council’s agenda Wednesday night.

Also on the table for the semimonthly meeting are matters relating to parking, parks and a committee name change. Here’s what to expect.

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RED BANK: CONTRACT, ADMIN JOB ON AGENDA

More than three years after it was closed by a catastrophic leak, the borough Senior Center is about to get repairs. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRed Bank’s council is scheduled to award a contract to repair the Senior Center, and to discuss a possible new search for a borough administrator, when it holds back-to-back workshop and regular meetings Wednesday night.

Here are some highlights from the agendas:

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council meets via Zoom due to pandemic restrictions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe creation of a commission to examine Red Bank’s century-old government structure is on the table when the council holds its monthly workshop session Wednesday night.

So are renovations to the mothballed Senior Center and the swan song of Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL INITIATES REBUILD

The Senior Center occupies a stand-alone building on Shrewsbury Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council moved to jumpstart repairs to water-damaged Senior Center Wednesday night, one day after a recommendation by the Redevelopment Agency that it do so.

But even enroute to a unanimous vote, the measure churned up bitterness among the all-Democratic governing body.

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RED BANK: OFFICIALS EYE $1.18M INFUSION

red bank broad street 032720Downtown Red Bank was nearly empty on a Friday night last March as pandemic restrictions on economic and social activity took effect. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s government will receive a direct infusion of nearly $1.18 million under the $1.9 trillion pandemic recovery bill passed by Congress earlier in the day, officials said Wednesday night.

The funds will enable the borough to begin filling its own budgetary holes while providing aid to renters, small businesses and local non-profits, said an elated Mayor Pasquale Menna.

But one item it can’t be used on, contrary to the suggestion of a council candidate, is repairing the shuttered Senior Center, according to two officials.

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RED BANK: TWO NEWSLETTERS LAUNCHED

A screen grab from the first edition of the borough’s new newsletter. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

With the recent launch of newsletters, Red Bank residents have two additional ways to keep abreast of civic events and downtown goings-on.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH, TAYLOR TRADE BARBS

With Mayor Pasquale Menna in the background, Councilman Ed Zipprich attached a borough pin to the jacket worn by Angela Mirandi after her swearing-in as council member in February. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Eight days after former councilman Mark Taylor blasted current Councilman Ed Zipprich as the source of “chaos” in Red Bank government, Zipprich returned fire Wednesday.

In a prepared statement, Zipprich slammed Taylor for “ineptitude” as a council member and for purported failures of leadership at the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation.

Taylor, in turn, doubled down in his attack on Zipprich.

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RED BANK: PORTMAN SEES INTERIM ROLE

Billy Portman addressing supporters at a fundraiser held at Tino’s Restaurant in late April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank mayoral contender Billy Portman is “not looking for a lifetime in politics,” he says.

In fact, if all goes according to plan, he’ll be able to hand the reins to his successor just five months after being sworn in, he says.

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RED BANK: BALLARD TOUTS ‘TEAM’ GOALS

Michael Ballard at Sickles Market in Red Bank in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Unlike his opponent in the June 7 Red Bank Democratic primary, Michael Ballard says he’s in it for the long haul.

“I am running to be the mayor of Red Bank for the next four years,” Ballard told redbankgreen last month. And with his “team,” he vows to return the governing body “to a pre-2018 council that was not at each others throats.”

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RED BANK: ADMIN SEARCH TO BE REVIVED

Chief and interim Business Administrator Darren McConnell with Senior Center Director Jackie Reynolds last October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See Correction below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRed Bank’s council will try again to find a full-time borough administrator, following an abandoned effort of year ago.

The search will be revived even as the governing body, sharply divided on numerous other issues, appears to agree that police Chief Darren McConnell is doing a faultless job in double duty as interim administrator.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH, BALLARD ON AGENDA

Councilmen Michael Ballard, left, and Ed Zipprich at borough hall last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.) 

By JOHN T. WARD

On deck to testify at a special session of the Red Bank Charter Study Commission Thursday is Democratic party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich.

Also slated to sit for an interview is Councilman Michael Ballard, a Zipprich ally on the fiercely divided but all-Democratic governing body.

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RED BANK: EX-AGENCY MEMBER FIRES BACK

wilson beebe 072319Wilson Beebe at a Redevelopment Agency session in July, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 See correction below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith the Red Bank Redevelopment Agency on the chopping block, one of its former members fired a parting shot at elected officials Thursday.

Contrary to claims, the town got its money’s worth, Wilson Beebe wrote in an “open letter to the Red Bank council and residents.” And “the responsibility for the manner in which the Senior Center project was handled rests solely” on the borough council, he said.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI ZOOMS INTO OFFICE

Angela Mirandi, center, prior to her swearing-in. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bankers were finally able to put a face to the name as Angela Mirandi completed her swift transformation from commenter to council member Friday evening.

The corporate accountant, whose voice became familiar to other attendees of Zoom-hosted council meetings during the pandemic, was sworn to office in a brief ceremony outside borough hall, less than 48 hours after a divided council selected her to fill a vacancy.

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RED BANK: YNGSTROM QUITS, CITING TOXICITY

Erik Yngstrom celebrates his first election to council in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njCiting political “divisiveness” and “toxic rhetoric” about his recent marriage, Erik Yngstrom resigned from the Red Bank council Wednesday morning.

His departure from the all-Democratic governing body sets the table for a possible power shift back to party regulars headed by Councilman Ed Zipprich, an outcome Yngstrom said would only make things worse.

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RED BANK: AGENCY FUTURE IN SPOTLIGHT

Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Cherron Rountree speaking at the borough library earlier this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith the cancellation of its year-ending meeting scheduled for earlier this week, Red Bank’s Redevelopment Agency closes out 2021 having met just twice since July.

Going into 2020, whether it will survive to its third anniversary is an open question.

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