RED BANK: COPS SAY SESTITO INTERFERED

Red Bank police dashcam video from the June 3 incident on East Bergen Place. (Red Bank Police Department video. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s police chief has asked the Monmouth County prosecutor to review an incident involving Councilman Michael Ballard earlier this month.

The incident, which Ballard reported as it occurred outside his home during a council meeting on Zoom, led to his wife, Rose Sestito, briefly in handcuffs for allegedly interfering with a police investigation, though no charges were filed.

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RED BANK: LANE TO GO ONE-WAY, PARTWAY

red bank boat club denholtz southbankBoat Club Court, seen from Union Street, would become a one-way uphill toward West Front Street, but remain a two-way for a short stretch in the other direction. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA steep and narrow road serving Red Bank’s Marine Park and two Navesink River clubs would become a partial one-way street under an ordinance up for consideration by the borough council this week.

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RED BANK: BALLARD DUBS COPS ‘AGGRESSIVE’

michael ballardRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church Thursday night. (Screenshot from Facebook Live. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard on Thursday teed up borough cops for what he called “overagressive” treatment of his wife during an incident 24 hours earlier.

Speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church for an online forum on systemic racism, Ballard, an African-American, also appeared to suggest he’d been treated unfairly by unnamed officials at borough hall in his role as finance chairman.

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RED BANK: BALLARD REPORTS WIFE’S ‘ARREST’

red bank council zoom 060320 Red Bank Councilman Michael Ballard, highlighted at upper right during Wednesday’s council meeting via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

To the growing list of embarrassing videoconferencing moments in the COVID-19 era – energetic children running through home offices, cats on keyboards, spilled coffee – a Red Bank councilman added another: a report of spousal arrest in progress.

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RED BANK: JOBS DEBATE SPLITS COUNCIL

red bank recycling center 051420 Robert Greene, left, and John Caine at the Red Bank recycling center Thursday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA plan to eliminate two part-time jobs at the recycling center sharply divided Red Bank’s all-Democratic council Wednesday night.

Things got personal. During the governing body’s semimonthly meeting, conducted via Zoom, Councilman Ed Zipprich accused Business Administrator Ziad Shehady of retaliation for an earlier action by the union that represents the affected employees.

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RED BANK: ZOOMING IN ON PARKING & MORE

red bank white street lot 040820The White Street parking lot was desolate April 8. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See CORRECTION below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Along with their Netflix and Hulu viewing options during the COVID-19 lockdown, civic-minded Red Bankers will have some Zoom options in coming days.

Among them: a presentation on the redesign of the White Street parking lot.

OK, so it’s not quite ‘Tiger King,’ but hey.

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RED BANK: MAPLE COVE ADDITION POSSIBLE

red bank 96-98 west front 041420The property at 96-98 West Front Street is approved for offices and apartments. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank may get a small addition to its riverfront Maple Cove tract under negotiations authorized by council in executive session Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: WHITE STREET ON COUNCIL AGENDA

red bank council 040720 1Officials and council members recite the pledge of allegiance during the borough government’s first-ever digital-only meeting April 7. (YouTube screen grab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At its second official meeting of the COVID-19 era Wednesday night, the Red Bank council plans to consider awarding a contract to rebuild much of White Street and the adjoining municipal parking lot.

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LITTLE SILVER: A BACKYARD SWEARING-IN

little silver Stephanie Keenan 040920 2Mayor Bob Neff, joined by three council members standing far apart from one another, swears in Stephanie Keenan in her backyard April 9. (Photo by Elizabeth Keenan. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

After what was probably the first socially distanced, backyard swearing-in ceremony in borough history, the Little Silver council will have a new member when it meets via Zoom Monday night.

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ON THE GREEN: RED BANK JOINS MOVE ONLINE

Fair Haven remote council meeting 032320Fair Haven’s March 23 council meeting, conducted via Zoom from the office of Forefront Incorporated, drew 68 attendees. (YouTube screen grab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Thanks to a videocamera placed on a conference room table, Fair Haven residents got a close-up view of Mayor Ben Lucarelli’s beard when the town’s governing body held its first-ever online-only public session two weeks ago.

Now, thanks to the limits on public gatherings in the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank is also about to enter the fuzzy world of public sessions at which no members of the public are present.

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RED BANK: YASSIN GETS POLS TO PONY UP

Councilman Hazim Yassin in February, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Councilman Hazim Yassin tells redbankgreen he has assembled a bipartisan coalition of elected officials from across New Jersey to donate funds from their campaign warchests to the fight against the coronavirus.

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ON THE GREEN: MEETINGS MOVE ONLINE

Fair Haven Board of Ed members sat well-spaced at a meeting carried live on YouTube last week. (YouTube screen grab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven’s board of ed held its first-ever virtual meeting last Wednesday.

With five members seated well apart from one another in the Knollwood School gym to minimize the possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus, the board had a quorum. Four other members participated via the Zoom conferencing app. And the public, barred from appearing in person, chimed in via the chat function on YouTube, where the meeting was live-streamed.

Among the most frequent comments: “we can’t hear you.”

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RED BANK: BALLARD & ZIPPRICH TO RUN AGAIN

Ed Zipprich, left, won a fourth term, and Michael Ballard, right, won his first in the 2017 election. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two incumbent Democrats will defend their seats on the Red Bank council in the November election, the party announced Monday.

In an unsurprising move, the municipal and county Democratic committees unanimously endorsed Councilman Ed Zipprich‘s pursuit of a fifth three-year term, and Michael Ballard‘s quest for a second.

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RED BANK: SNACK BAR, SCREENS ON AGENDA

red bank riverside gardens concessionThe council won’t renew the lease on the snack stand at Riverside Gardens Park under a measure on Wednesday’s agenda. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After several years as a seasonal commercial operation, the concession stand in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park has proven to be a fiscal dud.

So suggests a proposal to nix an extension of the soon-to-expire lease on the building. That, along with an ordinance tightening up the property maintenance law governing lawns and window screens, is among the items of interest up for consider at for the council’s regular session Wednesday.

Here’s a quick rundown.

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RED BANK: BALLOONS, TRAFFIC ON AGENDA

The study is to examine traffic and on-street parking downtown. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Expect the Red Bank council to initiate a proposed ban on mass balloon releases at its next regular meeting Wednesday night.

Also on deck: the award of a contract for a traffic study.

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RED BANK: TRAFFIC STUDY ON AGENDA

red bank broad st snow 011820A proposed study is expected to track traffic at 19 downtown intersections, including Broad and West Front streets, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A study of downtown traffic is up for discussion at the Red Bank council’s workshop session Wednesday evening.

The data to be gathered is expected to be useful for future parking, pedestrian and other initiatives, borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady tells redbankgreen.

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FAIR HAVEN: COUNCIL ADDS TWO DEMOCRATS

meghan chrisner-keefe 010620Joined by her husband, James, and four children, Meghan Chrisner-Keefe recited her oath of office. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Democrats pulled even with Republicans on Fair Haven’s council council for the first time in memory Monday night.

But Meg Chrisner-Keefe and Mike McCue, the two newest members of the six-member governing body, both downplayed partisanship in brief interviews with redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: MENNA OFFERS PROTOCOL FIX

tammy murphy pasquale menna 010120New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy with Mayor Pasquale Menna prior to the start of Wednesday’s reorganization meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna proposed a workaround Wednesday to a year-old protocol covering comments and questions at council meetings: he says he’ll show up an hour early to field them.

At the borough government’s annual New Year’s Day reorganization meeting, attendees also heard Menna heap thanks on Governor Phil Murphy, whose wife, Tammy Murphy, attended the ceremonial session.

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