FISHER: BEACHFRONT FIRST CONCERN

sb_fisherNAME Margaret C Fisher – I prefer Meg (Democrat)

AGE 61

OCCUPATION Pediatrician

LENGTH OF RESIDENCE IN TOWN 8 years

General Questions:

1. What do you see as the top three issues in town?

First – beachfront development

Second – flooding in the downtown area and fear of flooding elsewhere

Third – keeping the budget under control and getting the most for our money

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KELLY: PUT EMPHASIS ON BEACH REVENUE

sb_kellyNAME: Brian Kelly (Republican, incumbent)

AGE: 42

OCCUPATION: CEO of a Solar Design and Installation Company

LENGTH OF RESIDENCE IN TOWN: 10 years

General Questions:

1. What do you see as the top three issues in town?

The top three issues are 1) continuing to reduce the operating costs for the borough of Sea Bright (fiscal responsibility) 2) completing Phase 1 construction in 2011 for the beachfront facilities. Once we settled a lawsuit with the State DEP earlier this year regarding beachfront access, it allowed us to move forward with the beachfront planning and construction as well as help make additional funds available for beach access projects  3) We successfully completed shared services for our courts (also removed old court trailer) with Oceanport as well as other cost savings shared services for maintenance and fuel contracts, etc… continue to look at shared services with other boroughs and continue with ones that will only save the borough money and either keep or improve the services without losing the benefits of our borough staff.

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RECALLING “A GOOD DOSE OF HUMOR”

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Our Comment of the Week comes from beneath the story “LEHNERT LAID TO REST,” about the funeral of the late Fair Haven Councilman John Lehnert.

The very publication of the article, which included three photographs from the funeral, miffed a couple of readers, while others saw it as as respectful.

But a reader who identified herself as Claudia stayed away from that debate. Instead, she took the opportunity provided by the comments to deliver an overdue thank-you to Lehnert, who served as a Fair Haven police officer for 14 years before retiring in 2006.

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LEHNERT SUICIDE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES

lehnert-jackson-092110The house in Jackson Township where John Lehnert killed himself in the front yard early Tuesday. (Click to enlarge)

Law enforcement authorities remained mum Wednesday on the suicide of Fair Haven Councilman John Lehnert early Tuesday in the front yard of an Ocean County home.

Deputy chief of detectives Michael Mohel of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office tells redbankgreen that the matter remains under investigation, though foul play is not suspected.

Mole said his office is awaiting the results of post-mortem toxicology tests and an investigation by Jackson Township police.

But he said he would have no comment on why Lehnert was at the Jackson address, whether the handgun used was registered to Lehnert, or if anyone was home at the time.

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FAIR HAVEN TREE ORDINANCE DIES

zoe-gallagherZoe Gallagher, 13, had rallied support for the measure after trees on a Poplar Avenue property were cut down to make room for two houses. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

A proposed local law that would have required property owners to notify neighbors of plans to remove trees failed to gain passage in Fair Haven Monday night, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The proposal had pitted residents who wanted to preserve greenscape against others who saw the law as an affront to property rights. Councilman Ben Lucarelli argued that requiring a person who wants to remove a single tree to notify their neighbors is excessive regulation, the Press reports.

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COURT SHARING SPARKS DEBATE

sb-oport-sign1Sea Bright officials dispute how well a new shared service with Oceanport is working out. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

There are  two ways Sea Bright officials describe one of its latest shared services agreements with a nearby town: just fine and a nightmare.

Nearly six months into an agreement to have Oceanport provide municipal court services for the borough, there’s a divide on the council whether it’s really working. Councilman Read Murphy says no. Mayor Maria Fernandes says yes.

“Nobody’s happy over there,” Murphy said.”People think it’s a joke.”

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SEA BRIGHT BOROUGH HALL CRACKING UP

sea-bright-boro-hall The building’s eastern wall has damage that will end up costing the borough tens of thousands to fix. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Sea Bright Borough Hall just might get some of that extra space officials and employees say they’ve needed, but not in a way that anyone wanted.

If you take a walk out back and look at the building’s eastern wall, you’ll see a lightning-shaped crack running down it and a section that clearly wants to separate from the rest of the building. The damage, though visible from the outside, is worse inside, says administrator Maryann Smeltzer.

In the kitchen, which is on the other side of the wall, cabinets are becoming loose. In the men’s bathroom, one end of the window frame has an inch-long gap from the wall.

“We know the walls are shot,” Councilman Read Murphy said.

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RUMSON TO APPEAL ARBITRATION AWARD

rumson-pdRumson’s police union and the borough council have been at an impasse since December, 2006. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For nearly four years, Rumson officials and its police union have been at loggerheads on a new contract. Earlier this week, a state arbitrator delivered a decision that has the council shocked and disappointed.

The governing body will appeal the decision given by arbitrator James Mastriani, said Mayor John Ekdahl. The terms Mastriani proposed, he said, create a “privileged class” of employees.

The award calls for 3.5-,  3.5- and 3.25-percent pay increases retroactive to when the union’s contract expired at the end of 2006. For 2010, officers would get increases of 3 percent, and 2.75-percent next year if Mastriani’s award holds up.

But given the state’s economic turmoil — plus a pending 2-percent tax cap — Ekdahl finds the terms of the police contract unfair to the borough and its taxpayers.

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COUNCIL APPROVES SANDWICH BOARD SIGNS

hot-topic rightRejecting the advice of the borough planning board, the Red Bank Council last night said merchants may put sandwich-board advertising on sidewalks outside their establishments through the end of this year.

Overruling concerns that the signs would pose a safety hazard to pedestrians and violate the intent of the borough’s master plan, the council voted 5-1 for an ordinance permitting free-standing signage, which they said is needed to help stores attract customers in a difficult economy.

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NEW IDEA IN FAIR HAVEN: SENIOR HOUSING

fh-colonial-courtThe project would extend from the cul-de-sac at Colonial Court west to Hance Avenue. Below, a suggested floor plan for a “cottage” envisioned on the site. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

senior-housing-fhFair Haven may get its first senior housing community if a local builder can convince borough leaders to change current zoning laws.

Little Silver-based home builder Kevin Hughes, of K.M. Hughes, has been testing the idea of building age-restricted homes on little more than an acre spanning Hance Avenue and Colonial Court, a cul-de-sac off Smith Street.

Hughes wants borough officials to create an overlay zone — which allows for higher densities — in the residential area. And so far, they’ve been receptive.

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ALL-DEM COUNCIL PLEDGES ‘ACCOUNTABILITY’

menna-murphyMayor Pasquale Menna arrives at Sunday’s reorganization meeting, followed by Council President Art Murphy. (Click to enlarge)

Entering a year in which the electoral prize will be Red Bank’s mayoralty, the borough’s all-Democratic governing body trumpeted a theme of ‘accountability’ to voters at Sunday’s annual reorganization session.

Councilman Mike DuPont, returning to start his second term, told a packed-house audience that he hoped voters with opposing ideas would continue to challenge him, as they did during his door-to-door re-election campaign, so that compromises might be found.

“I also want you to hold me accountable and keep us in line,” added Councilwoman Juanita Lewis.

“We will focus all of our efforts on fiscal accountability,” said Councilman Ed Zipprich, who, with Lewis, started his second year on the council.

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DEMS: IT’S OVER, AND WE WON IT

dupont-election-night-2009Councilman Mike DuPont at Democratic HQ on election night.

[Editor’s note: This article was updated at 12:27p with a statement from Kim Senkeleski]

A count of disputed ballots from last week’s election for two Red Bank council seats yesterday resulted in a widening of the leads of incumbents Art Murphy and Mike DuPont, officials say.

Borough officials say the numbers are final, and show that the Democrats beat back challenges by Republicans Kim Senkeleski and Rob Lombardi.

After the inclusion of the provisional ballots — votes cast in cases where the voter’s eligibility or residence was in doubt, mostly — DuPont remained the top vote getter, with 1,521, and Lombardi finished out of the money with 1,382.

At issue in the count was whether Senkeleski had overtaken Murphy. But the count widened in Murphy’s favor, as he picked up 20 votes from the provisionals, giving him a total 1,507, and Senkeleski added nine, putting her tally at 1,464, according to data distributed by the borough clerk’s office.
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RED BANK GOP HEARTENED BY CLOSE FINISH

lombardi-senkeleski2Candidates Rob Lombardi, left, and Kim Senkeleski were joined by former Councilman Jim Giannell as the returns came in at Senkeleski’s home. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Tuesday’s narrow defeat of Republican council candidates Kim Senkeleski and Rob Lombardi doesn’t mean the end to their fight for change in Red Bank, they said last night.

After conceding that incumbent Democrats Art Murphy and Mike DuPont took the race for two council seats, Senkeleski assured a crowd of dozens at her John Street  home that she’d be back on the Red Bank political scene, and said the results were the encouragement she needed to do so.

“I just want to let you know I’ll be back,” Senkeleski said. “We’re going to get you what you want.”

Contrary to a report in the Asbury Park Press, Senkeleski told redbankgreen shortly before midnight that she accepted the vote tallies she’d seen and was not considering a recount.

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COUNCIL CANDIDATE: SENKELESKI

senkeleski1_ir

[audio:https://www.redbankgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/senkeleski.mp3]

Today, redbankgreen brings you the fourth and final installment in a series of unedited audio interviews with each of the four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank Council up for grabs in the November 3 election.

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COUNCIL CANDIDATE: MURPHY

murphy1_ir

[audio:https://www.redbankgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/murphy.mp3]

Today, redbankgreen brings you the third in a series of unedited audio interviews with each of the four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank Council up for grabs in the November 3 election.

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COUNCIL CANDIDATE: LOMBARDI

lombardi1_ir

[audio:https://www.redbankgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/lombardi.mp3]

Today, redbankgreen brings you the second in a series of unedited audio interviews with each of the four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank Council up for grabs in the November 3 election.

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COUNCIL CANDIDATE: DuPONT

dupont1_ir1

[audio:https://www.redbankgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/dupont.mp3]

Today, redbankgreen kicks off a series of unedited audio interviews with each of the four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank Council up for grabs in the November 3 election.

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SPLITTING THE TIME DIFFERENCE

rb-council-chambers2Two meetings per month at 6:30p would replace one at 5:30 and another at 7:30.

Once again, it’s time for the time issue.

Red Bank’s governing body is set to change the start times of its bimonthly meetings for the second time in five years. Only this time around, the one-party borough council finds itself in unanimous agreement on the proposal.

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COUNCIL BIZ, JULY 13, 2009

rb-council-chambers2

Some items from Monday night’s bimonthly meeting of the Red Bank Council:

The council honored this year’s teachers of the year at local schools. They are:

Red Bank Primary School: Karen Gerber

Red Bank Middle School: Damian Medina

Red Bank Regional High: Cassandra Dorn

Red Bank Charter School: Brenda Conni

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