RED BANK: WILLIAMS’ STORY NOT IMPROBABLE

brian williams 121612NBC News anchor Brian Williams onstage at the Count Basie Theatre in December, 2012. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Was news anchor Brian Williams robbed at gunpoint while selling Christmas trees in Red Bank in the late 1970s, as he has repeatedly claimed – including once before a packed house at the Count Basie Theatre?

That question, and some speculation by local old-timers, threw fuel on an already-raging firestorm about the truthfulness of the NBC News helmsman and former Middletown resident, who was later suspended by the network earlier this month for misrepresenting facts about an incident in Iraq.

Brian Donohue, an nj.com writer and commentator, did some legwork on the Red Bank piece of the story. And while he and his colleagues failed to unearth any specific evidence supporting Williams’ claim, he found plenty to refute the rose-colored reminiscences of locals who said it could not have happened because stuff like that just didn’t happen in Red Bank in the 1970s.

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STEWART RIPS MEDIA’S WILLIAMS REAX

On Monday night’s edition of the Daily Show, Red Banker Jon Stewart weighed in on the controversy over NBC News anchor Brian Williams, whose embellished account of an incident early in the Iraq war has drawn widespread media scrutiny. Stewart did not comment directly on a claim by Williams, a former Middletown resident, of having once been robbed at gunpoint in Red Bank, which he made to Stewart himself onstage at a Count Basie Theatre fundraiser in December, 2012. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WILLIAMS’ MUGGING STORY A LIE?

williams stewart 2 121612NBC News anchor Brian Williams, left, onstage with comedian Jon Stewart at the Count Basie Theatre in December, 2012. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Was news anchor Brian Williams robbed at gunpoint while selling Christmas trees in Red Bank in the late 1970s?

The big-money network newsman, who’s in hot water for claiming he was in a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire in Iraq a dozen years ago, claims that he was mugged one night at what’s now known as Veterans Park, at the junction of West Front Street and Riverside Avenue.

But some area residents think the story is bunk, according to a report by the New York Post Saturday.

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RED BANK: A DAMPER ON THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

rb fog 120513Thick fog settled on the Green Thursday morning, enshrouding the Christmas tree at Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank. The Weather Channel forecasts the haze will lift by late-morning, replaced by gray skies, and temperature peaking in the low-60s. (Click to enlarge)

SLEDGER: FAKE-FARMER LAW NEEDS TEETH

A recently enacted state law aimed at culling ‘fake farmer‘ landowners “will eventually give local tax officials the power to force out fakers,” but doesn’t go far enough, the Star-Ledger says in an editorial published Friday.

Championed by state Senator and Red Bank resident Jen Beck – who won her seat in 2007 after a battling an opponent she tagged as a fake farmer – the reform bill signed by Governor Chris Christie this month goes too easy on wealthy individuals, developers and owners of office parks who took advantage of the old law to duck some $95 million a year in local taxes, the Sledger says.

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TRAGEDY AVERTED IN CHRISTMAS TREE FIRE

Volunteer Red Bank firefighters help two unidentified women recover treasured ornaments from a Christmas tree after it caught fire inside the home at 227 River Road around 5:15 p.m. Sunday.

Fire Chief Josh Sanders, who was sworn into his post two hours earlier, tells redbankgreen that the fire appears to have been electrical in origin, and involved contact with a dry tree. There was no structural damage to the home, he said. (Click to enlarge)