RED BANK: VIOLENT CRIME DOWN, THEFT UP

AUTHORITIES_RB2Though violent crime declined, a jump in reported thefts boosted Red Bank’s crime rate through the first 11 months of 2013, according to data released last Friday by the New Jersey Attorney General.

The annual Uniform Crime Report data shows a 2.1 percent uptick in overall crime in the borough, largely on the basis of a 16.8 percent increase in larceny.

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SEA BRIGHT: PARTY OUT BACK

The Mad Hatter in better days, above. The owners plan to revive the tiki bar out back next week. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The people who run the Mad Hatter – a sports bar/restaurant that’s practically synonymous with downtown Sea Bright – knew they had to do something to get open.

With the borough’s first post-Sandy summer quickly approaching and their oceanside establishment still unusable, they knew that they couldn’t risk going an entire season without opening their doors for loyal locals and Shore visitors.

So they decided to improvise. Twice.

Now, after a stalled attempt to reopen under a tent on the municipal parking lot, owner Scott Kelly and his brother Michael have a plan they say will allow the Mad Hatter to come back in time for Memorial Day.

“What we’ve done is effectively turned the back of the building into the front, in a way,” Michael Kelly, the manager, told redbankgreen,

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RED BANK: HOTEL AIMS FOR JANUARY RETURN

The surging Navesink River poured six feet of water into the hotel’s basement, knocking out electricity and other systems. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Almost a month after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore, Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel remains locked and dark, a handwritten note taped to its front door telling visitors it will reopen “when it is safe to do so.”

The riverside hotel’s basement, the operational heart of the facility, was inundated with more than six feet of water in the storm. Even though flood gates were in place, the water levels exceeded them and entered the basement, destroying the electrical and communication equipment, said Kevin Barry, the hotel’s operating manager.

“We have flood gates that were set by the standards of the ’92 storm, but obviously the damage by Sandy was exponentially worse,” he said.

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RUMSON: MARINA RESURFACING AFTER STORM

Life was returning to normal at the Rumson marina on Tuesday, though a new $3 million Viking that was swept from the lot remained half-sunk on the Middletown side of the Navesink, below. (Photo above by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

More than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, Oceanic Marina owner Pete Pawlikowski is still trying to restore his ravaged Rumson business. redbankgreen was on the scene day the morning after the storm hit, and returned on Tuesday to check in on the rebuilding process.

“Its mind-boggling, really,” said Pawlikowski, sitting in his once-again operational office and store, which was submerged in over four and half feet of water just two weeks ago. “I’ve never seen so much devastation.”

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RED BANK: THIS TIME, ELECT TO GO NAKED

Models make their way through the crowds at the inaugural Go Naked and Check Yourself awareness-raiser in 2011. This year’s edition takes place Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

The presidential race may be over, but there’s still one more election this month: Elect to Check, the theme for this year’s Go Naked and Check Yourself cancer fundraiser and awareness raiser.

Red Bank’s Sugarush cupcakes and Sweetest Sin lingerie have teamed up again for the second edition of this popular and slightly risqué event that helps build awareness about detectable cancers.

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‘MINDFUL OF WHAT THESE BOYS GAVE’

World War II veteran Ray Taylor listens as Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli speaks at the borough’s annual Veterans Day celebration at Victory Park Sunday. Taylor, 90, also took a turn in front of the park’s doughboy statue, telling several dozen onlookers, “I’m glad to see so many of you here, mindful of what these boys gave.” (Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN GOES FOR INCUMBENTS

Poll workers at Fair Haven’s Youth Center on election day 2012. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Voters in storm-darkened Fair Haven returned two incumbents to the borough council for new terms Tuesday.

Republicans Bob Marchese and Eric Jaeger outpolled a pair of Democratic challengers, Dorothy Neceda and Susan O’Brien.

Mayor Ben Lucarelli was uncontested in his race to serve out the remaining two years of his predecessor, Mike Halfacre.

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SHREWSBURY RE-ELECTS INCUMBENTS

By JOHN T. WARD

Incumbent Republicans Jeffrey DeSalvo and Anthony Pellegrino sailed to new three-year terms on the borough council Tuesday, holding off a challenge from Democrat Donald Sena.

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AS USUAL, RUMSON STICKS WITH THE GOP

By JOHN T. WARD

Continuing longheld tradition, Rumson voters stuck with the Grand Old Party in electing council members Tuesday.

Democrat Philip Wagner won less than 16 percent of the 5,103 votes cast, vastly outpolled by incumbent Republicans Mark Rubin and Frank Shanley.

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SEA BRIGHT RESIDENTS TO GET ACCESS TODAY

For the second time in four days, Sea Bright residents gathered in a stadium, this time in West Long Branch, to get updates on the storm cleanup Sunday. Below, Mayor Dina Long and Councilman James LoBiondo. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sea Bright residents were to begin getting greater access to their homes Monday morning, town officials told them at another packed-grandstand meeting Sunday.

Though a massive cleanup and repair of public works infrastructure is proceeding more quickly than initially anticipated, “Sea Bright is not ready to be reoccupied,” Mayor Dina Long said at a townwide meeting held at Shore Regional High’s football field in West Long Branch.

Still, officials hope to allow unimpeded access to residents as early as Friday, said Councilman James LoBiondo, who has headed up the effort to cap leaking natural gas lines and remove hundreds of tons of sand from roadways.

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RUMSON: HALL OPENS AS COMFORT STATION

Rumson’s Bingham Hall has been transformed into a comfort station, offering residents a warm, lighted place to stay during the day until electricity is restored. The borough Office of Emergency Management is also collecting donations of food, clothing, toiletries and boxes for storm victims; arranging transportation and shelter; and providing information about FEMA filings. The OEM will also deliver needed items to the homebound, said volunteer Kerry Chandler. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: THE MORNING AFTER

Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood sent us these photos he took in Sea Bright at the first light Tuesday, just hours after Hurricane Sandy all but obliterated the town. From left: the demolished remnants of popular oceanfront bar Donovan’s Reef; Ocean Avenue looking north from downtown; and Ship Ahoy Beach Club. (Click to enlarge)

Town officials said Thursday that Sea Bright would be off-limits to residents and visitors for seven to ten days as crews work to halt natural gas leaks and inspect structures for safety. As for the 14-month-old Woody’s, the owner says the restaurant came through the storm and will be back.

STORM WIPES OUT RUMSON MARINA

The Oceanic Marina yard as it appeared early Tuesday, above, and on Saturday from the same spot. (Click to enlarge)

 By JOHN T. WARD

On Saturday, even as he braced for record flooding, Oceanic Marina owner Pete Pawlikowski thought he had the storm beat.

The Navesink River was sure to flood the store and office of his Rumson business, Pawlikowki told redbankgreen, and the level might even break the records.

But as for the fleet of 75 recreational vessels entrusted to him by customers – at worst, he said, he might lose one or two to Hurricane Sandy. But all were safely up on blocks, he said, crowded so tightly into his yard that a person could barely squeeze past them.

By Tuesday morning, they were gone. And even after 30 years of watching storms come and go, a stunned Pawlikowski could hardly begin to comprehend it, he said.

“It’s total destruction,” he said. “We don’t even know where to begin.”

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SPOOKTACULAR TRADITION CONTINUES

A couple of pop stars and a walking pumpkin made cameos at the 2011 edition of the Red Bank Halloween Parade. (Click to enlarge)

By: REBECCA DESFOSSE

Get your costumes ready for Red Bank’s annual Halloween Parade, now in its sixty-fifth year. Set for this Sunday, the parade, hosted by the borough Parks and Rec department, will include costume- and float-judging, with prizes to be awarded.

Last year, the folks from the Red Bank Charter School built a barn and silo for  float. That will be hard to top.

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RED BANK: BOUNCING FROM BAR TO BAR

Some of the 800-plus participants in Saturday’s fourth annual Boozin’ for Boobs bar crawl head out to other Red Bank watering holes after assembling at Brannigan’s on Wharf Avenue Saturday.

The event generated $20,000 from registrations alone, with revenue from other sources still being tallied, said organizer Jill Kinslow of Red Bank. Funds raised go to breast cancer research and prevention by the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. (Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: FROM WHITECAPS TO BEER FOAM

Rowers from Christian Brothers Academy headed landward at Fair Haven Yacht Works, above, after winds of 23 miles per hour prompted the cancellation of what was to have been Fair Haven’s first regatta for high school crews Saturday.

Still, the final event of the borough’s centennial celebration went off as planned that night. An Oktoberfest celebration, held at the Smart School Preschool on River Road, prompted one attendee to don his lederhosen, above right, and other displays of civic mirth. More photos after the jump.  (Click to enlarge)

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OYSTERS AND GUINESS, GOING DOWN EASY

Judging by the huge crowd and gorgeous weather, Sunday’s Red Bank’s Guinness Oyster Festival was shell-cracking success. Autumnal coolness and the aromas of 25 food borough restaurants drew thousands into the White Street lot consistently throughout the seven hours of tasting, dancing and people-watching. From red’s pulled pork and apple slaw sandwiches to the Cupcake Magician’s selection of sweet creations, locals were not left hungry. Oh, and the oysters and stout flowed, too. redbankgreen was on the scene to capture the fun. (Photos by Danielle Tepper, Trish Russoniello and John T. Ward)

RED BANK GOP CANDIDATE NOW RUNS SOLO

Council candidate Suzanne Viscomi, left, joined by state Senator Jen Beck, center, and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, answers questions during a presser in her driveway Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Already a little-known, thinly financed newcomer taking on established incumbents, Red Bank council candidate Suzanne Viscomi will go the rest of the campaign without a running mate.

Viscomi announced Monday that ticket mate and fellow borough board of ed member Allen Palma has had to withdraw from the race for personal reasons.

At an open-air press conference outside her home Monday, Viscomi said the vacancy on the ballot was unlikely to be filled, and that she would run solo. But she didn’t see that as a hinderance in her effort to unseat either Art Murphy or Mike DuPont.

“We only need one voice” to counter that of the all-Democratic mayor and council, she said.

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STREET FAIR SIGNALS SUMMER’S END

Scenes from Sunday’s Street Fair in Red Bank. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Sunday’s balmy mid-70s temperatures brought locals out in droves to experience the eclectic collection displayed at the Red Bank Street Fair.

The annual event offers residents and visitors six hours of live music and 200 stands of crafts, clothing and flavorful foods – most of which have been dipped into a vat of frying oil.

This year was no different. Broad Street and Monmouth Street were overrun with excited kids in strollers, happy dogs on leashes, and adults of all ages eager to give the summer a proper send-off.

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PADDLE? YOU WERE GONNA GET WET ANYWAY

A sudden downpour was a delight for these kids on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank Saturday morning. Meanwhile, down by the river, displays for Paddle the Navesink Day are set up for visitors willing to brave the weather, organizer Cindy Burnham tells redbankgreen. But decision about whether to keep the event going as planned is expected at about 11 a.m., she said. We’ll update when we hear.

11:15 a.m. update: Sun’s out (mostly) and so the event is on (mostly – Monmouth Boat Club has cancelled its free BBQ). . (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

FIRED UP FOR THE FAIR HAVEN FAIR


There’s just enough room to squeeze between the rides and booths that pack the grounds of the Fire Haven firehouse for the annual Firemen’s Fair, touted as the largest such event in New Jersey. On Tuesday, volunteers oiled gears on a truck-themed  merry-go-round and hosed down each car of the ferris wheel, which can be seen from far down River Road.

The fair kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. and runs nightly through September 1, except on Sundays. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

FAIR HAVEN: AN OLYMPIAN RETURNS HOME

Swimmer and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional grad Connor Jaeger got a loud, loving welcome home from the London Summer Olympics as fire and first aiders paraded him through Rumson and his hometown Fair Haven Friday evening. Above, Jaeger signs the shirt of a young admirer. (Photo above by Fran Waldmann. Click to enlarge)