RED BANK: LIBRARY MARKS PAST, EYES FUTURE

The heirs of manufacturer Sigmund Eisner donated his West Front Street mansion to the library, which opened there on April 15, 1937. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: TRUSTEE CHARGED WITH KID PORN

AUTHORITIES_SB-2016-v3A Sea Bright man who serves as a member of the Red Bank RiverCenter board of trustees was arrested on a child pornography charge last week, according to law enforcement authorities.

Michael Warmington, 66, of Ocean Avenue, was arrested last Wednesday by detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

Read More »

RED BANK: COUNTY LIBRARY COSTS WEIGHED

rbpl-garden-siteTrustees 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

HOT-TOPIC_03The 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.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: WHAT RESIDENTS LIKE, OR DON’T

fh river rd 042016 2A survey found general satisfaction with the older, eastern business district, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03There are too many street lights on River Road. There aren’t enough on Third Street. New and remodeled homes are too big.

So say some Fair Haven residents in a new and extensive survey of on the physical attributes of the town as it begins mapping out its future.

Read More »

RED BANK: EISNERS PLEDGE $50K TO LIBRARY

rbpl 1 032714Through his foundation, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner below, has pledged $50,000 to the library that bears his family’s name. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

(Press release from the Red Bank Public Library)

michael eisnerThe Eisner Memorial Red Bank Public Library started 2016 with a nice surprise: a letter notifying Director Elizabeth McDermott of a five-year, $50,000 donation to the Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library from the Eisner Foundation.

This is the largest donation yet received by the library foundation, with $10,000 being donated annually for five years.
Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: INPUT WANTED ON PLANNING

fh-boro-hallThe Fair Haven Planning Board is conducting a survey as it prepares to create an updated Master Plan, asking residents whether they think downtown signs are too big, how their children get to school, how they would feel about a dog park in town and more.

Resident input “is critical to help us prioritize and ensure that we’re not missing any issues important to residents and visitors,” says board member Jake Rue. The online survey is here. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: GOP ‘CANDIDATE’ BLASTS… GOP

irwin katz 040307.jpgCamera-shy then as now, Irwin Katz hides behind a sign at his short-lived Monmouth Street store in 2007. Below is the August 10 GOP Facebook post that angered Katz. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RB GOP school board post 081015One of three candidates on a Republican-recruited slate for the Red Bank school board tells redbankgreen he wants nothing to do with party, whose officials he calls “a bunch of liars, gangsters and thieves.”

Irwin Katz said he was talked into running without any mention of the GOP’s involvement, which he said he resents in a race that he believes should be non-partisan. But now that he’s on the November 3 ballot, he’ll stand as an independent, as intended, he said Wednesday.

“I’m going forward, for hell or high water,” Katz said. “Now my Irish is up.”

Read More »

FIVE JOIN MONMOUTH CONSERVATION BOARD

mcf+-+CHRISS-LANDING-seagulls-tinaThe foundation is in the process of acquiring the 15-acre Chris’s Landing in River Plaza. Below, Meredyth R. Armitage. (Photo below by Tina Colella. Click to enlarge)

Press release from the Middletown-based Monmouth Conservation Foundation.

Meredyth R. ArmitageMonmouth Conservation Foundation, the non-profit organization that collaboratively has preserved more than 22,500 acres of open space and farmland throughout Monmouth County, is pleased to announce five individuals have joined the organization’s Board of Trustees: Meredyth R. Armitage, Paul R. Brown, Ph.D., Mai Cleary, Mark Forrest Gilbertson, and Bob Sickles.

Read More »

RED BANK: BURNHAM WINS ZONING CASE

cindy burnham 121814Cindy Burnham with her attorney, Ron Gasiorowski, at Thursday night’s zoning board hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The fix wasn’t in – not this time at least.

Cindy Burnham, the lone Republican on the Red Bank council who often lambastes the Democratic majority for what she contends are back-room  development deals, went before the zoning board Thursday night seeking an OK for a new garage and back porch for her home at 71 Wallace Street.

She came loaded for bear.

Read More »

RED BANK: LIBRARY HOSTS FUNDRAISER

111114 rblibrary16111114 rblibrary23Seven months after a mass resignation of board members in a budget dispute, the Red Bank Public Library hosted a wine-tasting fundraiser to signal it is back on track to eventual full restoration of hours of operation and services Tuesday night.

The event, hosted by the Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library, featured culinary offerings from a number of borough eateries and treateries, including Faustini Wines, the Melting Pot, Readie’s Café and Sugarush cupcakes.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: TRUSTEES PAN BOROUGH BUDGET

barbara withers 032714Barbara Withers, a resident of the Atrium at Navesink senior complex, implores the board to preserve a book-delivery service for its residents. Below, board president John Grandits, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna outside the library meeting room. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

grandits menna 032714A plan by the Menna administration to rewrite the proposed Red Bank Public Library budget and undo the recent layoff of half its staff got a cold reception from the library trustees Thursday night.

One or two of the suggested changes, such as leaving the soon-to-be-vacated job of the library director unfunded, appear to be “illegal,” trustee Brigid McCarthy told a packed meeting of library supporters.

Still, Mayor Pasquale Menna, displaying obvious frustration with what he called “drama” surrounding the borough’s recommendations, said the standoff can and will be quickly resolved, even if he has to take unilateral action.

Read More »

RED BANK: LIBRARY LAYOFFS MAY BE REVERSED

rbpl sale 2 020213The fate of jobs for three full-time librarians is still up in the air. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials said they are working toward a budget fix that might undo the layoff of half the staff at the borough library two weeks ago.

At Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, administrator Stanley Sickels said he and borough CFO Eugenia Poulos had developed an alternative to the library’s budget that might “maintain the full-time staff.”

Now, attention turns to the eight-member library board of trustees, which gathers Thursday night in what may be its best-attended meeting in history.

Read More »

RED BANK: BOARD DEFENDS LIBRARY LAYOFFS

rbpl board 022714 1The library board of the trustees at a meeting in February. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Responding to “misinformation” and “half-truths… stretched beyond their limits” surrounding layoffs of half the staff at the Red Bank Public Library last week, the library’s board of trustees is pushing back.

In a question-and-answer document prepared by six of eight board members and obtained by redbankgreen, the trustees say that personnel costs accounted for 95 percent of the library budget before the layoffs, which affected six of the 11 staff members.

The layoffs were part of a library “reorganization” that “eliminates our deficit, allows us to right-size the Library for the budget, and sustains the Library for the future,” the trustees say in the Q&A. “The solution implemented [at a board meeting following the layoffs] on March 13 was just one step in a much larger process that began in 2013 when it became clear that even with stringent cuts in expenditures last year, the Library was living beyond its means.”

Read More »

RED BANK: SCHOOLS HEAD MORANA TO RETIRE

laura morana 111709Superintendent Laura Morana in her office in 2009. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank schools Superintendent Laura Morana is leaving the district at the end of the month, according to a measure approved at a school board meeting Wednesday night.

According to a late addition to the meeting agenda, the board accepted her resignation “for the purpose of retirement,” effective September 30.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: SKIMMING THE SURF’S EDGE

Scenes from Sunday’s action at the two-day Skimbash 2013 held this weekend in Sea Bright. The competition is considered the premier pro/am skimboarding event on the Jersey Shore. (Photos by Peter Lindner.)

RBR TEACHERS, BOARD RESUME TALKS

Teachers and board members returned to the bargaining table Thursday night. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

More than two years into a drawn-out negotiation process, including almost a year-and-a-half of slow-paced mediation, Red Bank Regional High’s teachers’ union and the board of education were once again face to face Thursday night.

The first bargaining session in months, held behind closed doors following a regular board meeting, capped a rather dramatic couple of weeks in which teachers gathered several times in silent displays of unity at morning drop-offs of students.

Read More »

RED BANK HEAD LIBRARIAN OUSTED

By JOHN T. WARD

After less than a year in the job, Red Bank Public Library director Mary Faith Chmiel has been forced out.

Chmiel, right, tells redbankgreen she was called to a meeting with borough Administrator Stanley Sickels and two members of the library’s board late last Friday afternoon and given a choice of resigning or being fired. She chose to resign, she said.

Chmiel referred questions about the reasons for her ouster to members of the library board, saying only that she was told she “was not respectful enough and deferential enough” to board members.

Read More »

RUMSON WOMAN TO FOCUS BASIE ON FUNDING

Justine Robertson, who revived a family-owned theater in her native Hartford, Connecticut, is the new interim CEO of the newly restructured Basie. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Elbowing aside its CEO of the past decade, the board of the Count Basie Theatre has decided to merge the operation of the Red Bank stage with the theater’s fundraising counterpart, and has hired a Rumson woman to run the restructured entity on an interim basis, the theater announced Thursday.

Justine Robertson, a 27-year Rumson resident, replaces Numa Saisselin, who was widely credited for having steered the Monmouth Street theater from leaky-roofed money pit to a refurbished and financially stable cultural gem.

Saisselin, a onetime stagehand who colleagues say is more comfortable directing a load-in and negotiating band contracts than schmoozing potential donors, assumes the title of chief operating officer of the not-for-profit enterprise, answering to Robertson, who starts work on Monday.

With its choice, the theater signaled a shift in emphasis the nuts-and-bolts booking acts and theater upkeep to winning contributions from deep-pocketed individuals, Robertson said in an interview with redbankgreen.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT CHARGES INTO SKIM BOARD FEST

sea-bright-skim-bash-2A competitor goes airborne in last year’s edition of the event, now in its sixth year.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Forget those end-of-summer blues this weekend. Sea Bright’s got some hot beach action lined up, weather forecast be damned.

Hundreds of spectators and competitors from around the country are expected to watch or participate in the sixth annual Sea Bright Skim Bash, a three-day type of fair at the borough beach.

The weekend is centered on the burgeoning sport of skimming, in which contestants run from shore into an incoming wave, mount a small version of a surfboard at the water’s edge and ride waves like traditional surfers.

Read More »