PORTER, M’TOWN TEEN HONORED AT MLK EVENT

Y MLKAt left, Pilgrim Baptist Pastor Terrence K. Porter (center) accepts a proclamation from Red Bank Council members Kathleen Horgan and Edward Zipprich. At right, Middletown HS South senior Aisha Boori (center) displays the Humanitarian Award presented to her during the annual YMCA Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Flanking her are essay contest winners Xavier Norman and Sahar Akbarzai.

A Middletown Township teen was the recipient of an annual Humanitarian Award from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, at a January 20 event that also saw a proclamation honoring the pastor of Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Curch.

During the 25th annual YMCA Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, Aisha Boori was presented with the award given each year to a Monmouth County student who “exemplifies the definition of a humanitarian and conveys the character values of the Y: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.”

The Middletown High School South senior was recognized for her co-founding of a non-profit organization, Dreamers Without Borders, dedicated to collecting food supplies for Afghan refugees who are housed at an immigration center, as well as Tibetan refugees from a village school in India.The award was presented by First Assistant Prosecutor Marc C. LeMieux.

Pilgrim Baptist Pastor Terrence K. Porter delivered the keynote address to a crowd of approximately 300 people gathered at Branches Catering in West Long Branch.The pastor also received a proclamation from Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna and council, for his dedicated service to the Red Bank community.

Each year, teens enrolled in Monmouth County YMCA programs are invited to submit essays reflecting on Dr. King’s words, on how they can follow in his footsteps to improve the welfare of others and serve their community.This year’s essay winners were Xavier Norman, a freshman at Monmouth Regional High School, and Sahar Akbarzai, a senior at Old Bridge Regional High School. The essay winners were each rewarded with a $500 scholarship.

The annual breakfast was hosted by The Community YMCA and the YMCA of Western Monmouth County, and sponsored by Meridian Health and Sunrise Optimist Club.In addition to presenting the awards, the Ys collected non-perishable food items to support Lunch Break of Red Bank.

RAISE YOUR VOICES, AT RED BANK LIBRARY

LorraineDiasZipprichActress Lorraine Stone, Two River Theater artistic director John Dias and Councilman Ed Zipprich are among the Red Bank area notables giving voice to historic American figures in “The People Speak LIVE,” presented free at Red Bank Public Library on Thursday night, December 12.

There’s the escaped slave turned abolitionist and social activist Sojourner Truth, brought to vivid life by local actress Lorraine Stone. The pioneer openly gay elected official Harvey Milk, paid tribute by Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich. The Nobel laureate playwright Eugene O’Neill, channeled by Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias — and Red Bank Regional grad John McMahon as T. Thomas Fortune, the trailblazing African American journalist whose historic Red Bank home is the subject of an intensive rescue and preservation effort.

These and other fascinating figures from America’s past and present will be making their voices heard inside the Red Bank Public Library on the evening of Thursday, December 12, when the T. Thomas Fortune House Preservation Project joins Frank Talk MultiMedia Network and RBPL for “The People Speak LIVE,” an event in which “community-minded people from the greater Red Bank area” recreate the words of pivotal people in our nation’s history. Hosted by journalist, businesswoman and cable TV host Candace Kelley, the 6 p.m. presentation is based on the documentary film “The People Speak” — itself adapted from the late Howard Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States.”

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH WEDS PARTNER

zipprich nicolaides 110607Ed Zipprich, left, and J.P. Nicolaides on election night in 2007. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich wed his longtime partner J.P. Nicolaides in one of the first-day marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples early Monday, the website PolitickerNJ reports.

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GAY PRIDE TO PLANT A RED BANK FLAG

The June 20 event, at the Two River Theater, will feature an open mic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths to tell their stories. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Joining the ranks of cities and towns across America, Red Bank is set to hold Two River Pride, its first-ever community event to commemorate the struggles and accomplishments of the gay community.

Ed Zipprich, the borough’s first openly gay elected official, tells redbankgreen that Two River Pride is a response to  inquiries from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals about the absence of events during June, designated as LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan that sparked the gay rights movement.

“For years, we’ve been asked why we don’t do an event, and it’s because no one ever took the initiative to start one,” he said. “So Kathy Horgan and I put our heads together,” he said of his fellow member of the borough council.

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RED BANK CANDIDATES SILENT

election_2011_wcandidatesBelow is where the responses to questionnaires sent to the four council candidates (for two available seats) on the November 8 ballot in Red Bank would appear, if any of them had responded. None did. But we welcome their thoughts on the issues, and encourage them to comment.

Q FOR GOP: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

candidatesWestside Community Group president Amy Goldsmith, right, discusses the debate format with candidates Juanita Lewis, Joe Mizzi, Grace Cangemi and Ed Zipprich. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

election_2011_wdebatesRed Bank’s Republican contenders for borough council were on the defensive Wednesday night as their opponents, and some voters, pressed them on their perceived sudden re-emergence as election day looms.

Resident David Prown asked GOP candidates Grace Cangemi and Joe Mizzi how confident taxpayers should feel in their representation, given what he characterized as their low profile between last spring’s candidacy announcement and now. Several questioners pressed them on the point of view that the pair say is missing from the current all-Democrat council.

In the evening’s most heated moment, incumbent Ed Zipprich called his opponent’s criticisms of the current council “absolutely ridiculous,” and said Cangemi, a former council member, hadn’t appeared at a session of the governing body since she lost a re-election bid in 2008, though she had pledged to serve as a watchdog.

“What have you done for the town in the three years since you walked out the door?” he asked.

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EXTRA EYES, PATROLS SET FOR RED BANK

rgp-trash13A bench at Riverside Gardens Park, where vandalism and littering have been growing problems. Debris in the pole-vault box at Count Basie Fields, below. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

basie-litter1In response to a surge in vandalism on borough property this summer, Red Bank officials are looking into video surveillance as a way to fill gaps in already heightened police presence and serve as a deterrent to would-be scofflaws.

Video could be just one part of a multiprong effort by the borough to curb public defacement and all-around mistreatment of public property, police Captain Darren McConnell said.

Police have stepped up their presence at Riverside Gardens Park in recent weeks, he said. They’re also cracking down on curfew laws for teenagers. And because the council earlier this week called out littering at Count Basie Fields as a growing issue, cops will make rounds there more often.

“The regular patrols will be stepped up quite a bit,” McConnell said. “It’s really only Riverside Gardens Park and Count Basie Fields that are having the issues, and they’re not even the same groups hanging out there, but they get the most use.”

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RIVERCENTER PLANS DOWNTOWN KIOSKS

rivercenter-sandwichRiverCenter’s first kiosk is slated for installation in English Plaza to let visitors know its new location. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Not that it was so easy to find when it was sequestered in a second-story space above Broad Street, but with Red Bank RiverCenter‘s move three months ago, the agency compromised what little visibility it had, taking up residence in an all-but-hidden office in English Plaza.

And if you’re a tourist looking for the Red Bank Visitors Center, which shares space with RiverCenter, well, good luck trying to find it.

But the move presented a fresh reason for RiverCenter, which promotes the downtown and portions of the West Side businesses, to put into action an idea executive director Nancy Adams has harbored since she stepped into her role more than three years ago, she said.

On Wednesday night, Adams presented the borough council with a plan to install information kiosks in English Plaza to alert visitors to the new RiverCenter and the Visitors Center digs.

It would be the first of a handful of kiosks downtown to offer maps and pertinent borough info to people coming into town, Adams said.

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KABOOM: TEN BUCKS AT RIVERSIDE GARDENS

riverside-gardens-crowd1Fireworks watchers at Riverside Gardens Park will have to pay; viewing from other public properties will remain free. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Primo pyrotechnics views will cost you at one public location in Red Bank this July 3.

The Kaboom Fireworks Committee, apparently back on its feet through a revamped fundraising model, is backing off a previous plan to charge for views of the annual Independence Day fireworks show at three waterfront properties, and has decided on just one: Riverside Gardens Park.

The other two riverside locations, at the borough library and Marine Park, will remain free.

“They are on very, very sound financial footing,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said of the fireworks.

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MULCH ADO ABOUT MAPLE COVE, AGAIN

11A request for mulch at Maple Cove digressed into a clash between Cindy Burnham and council members Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Cindy Burnham and other volunteers, part of the ad hoc Friends of Maple Cove group, ended a yearlong spat with the Borough of Red Bank and secured a deal to designate a one-acre patch at the foot of the Navesink River on Maple Avenue as a natural area with waterfront access, the understanding was that Burnham and company would maintain the parcel.

So says the town council.

Burnham maintains a different recollection.

“The only reason the Friends of Maple Cove came out to do anything was because you guys wouldn’t,” Burnham told the council Tuesday, following a request that the borough donate a half-truckload of mulch to the site.

The request triggered a kerfuffle between Burnham and the governing body over who should take care of the property, a question that never was answered.

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MIZZI, CANGEMI TEAM UP TO BUST DEMS’ BLOC

mizzicangemi

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The last time redbankgreen talked to Joe Mizzi, on election night last November, he’d just acknowledged his loss in the race for a seat on the Red Bank borough council and said he was going to begin work on his next campaign.

“My last quote was, ‘I’m not going anywhere,'” said Mizzi, a 35-year-old financial analyst and adjunct professor of economics at Brookdale Community College. “And I meant it.”

On Friday, Mizzi, a Republican, announced he’s making a second run to break the Democratic lock on all six council seats, and this time he’s enlisted a familiar name to run with him: former Councilwoman Grace Cangemi.

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RED BANK: DELAYED SPRING SPORTS POSSIBLE

basie-snowSnow mounds in the parking lot at Count Basie Field, among other athletic fields in Red Bank, may cause a delay in the start of spring sports programs. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A little over a week ago, the problem was snow and ice. Now, it’s what happens when snow and ice melt.

The unusually large amount of snow that fell this winter, plus freezing temperatures, could delay the opening of spring sports in Red Bank, officials said in an announcement on February 18.

Now?

“The fields are all snow-less at this point,” Councilman Ed Zipprich, who is liaison to the public works department, said. “The problem right now is the rain.”

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ZIPPRICH SPOTLIGHTS ABORTION PROTEST

planned-parenthoodThe Planned Parenthood clinic on Newman Springs Road is the purported terminus of a protest walk planned for March 12. Below, Councilman Ed Zipprich. (Click to enlarge)

zipprich-021411The Red Bank council’s rubber-stamping of some two dozen requests for public events was interrupted Monday night when Councilman Ed Zipprich raised security issues in connection with a planned anti-abortion march scheduled for next month.

Invoking the recent shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and a push by New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith to have the federal government redefine rape in an effort to limit access to abortions, Zipprich expressed concern that the march might attract someone bent on violence.

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ZIPPRICH ADDS TO ‘IT GETS BETTER’ EFFORT

In a video posted on YouTube in support of an outreach effort for gay teenagers who may be considering suicide, Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich talks about his own sexuality and the presence of bullies in his youth.

Describing himself as “an out and proud councilman elected by the people of Red Bank, New Jersey,” Zipprich recalls that as a teenager, he knew that “by being different, I wasn’t safe, especially when it came to kids who bullied.”

“It was very painful and very difficult to go to school every day in fear that somebody would find out who you really were,” he says in the video, which is featured on the It Gets Better website among those made by average joes and celebrities such as Keith Strickland of the B-52s and comedian Margaret Cho.

“I buried who I was. I knew that who I was wasn’t safe,” he says.

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RBC RAISES KICK-IN ON BASIE FIELDS UPKEEP

count-basie-fieldsRed Bank Catholic will pay more for its use of Count Basie Fields to help defray the cost of the turf upgrades. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank Catholic‘s rent is going up.

The borough council Wednesday night voted to amend the parochial school’s annual lease of Count Basie Fields in order to help cover the $878,000 cost of a recent artificial turf job. Most of the cost — $537,500 — was covered by two grants, said borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said.

RBC will now pay $80,000 a year for use of the fields for the next 15 years, up from $55,000. It will also contribute $50,000 a year over the next three years into the field’s capital improvement fund, Sickels said.

Here’s the resolution on the agreement: 10-255draftresolution

Here’s a rundown of other happenings from Wednesday night’s council meeting:
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TALK OF TOWNHOUSES IN HISTORIC DISTRICT

washington-stAn architect has drawn up plans for townouses for a vacant lot in Red Bank’s historic district, but nothing has been filed with the borough. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A vacant lot in Red Bank’s historic district could become the site of townhouse-style condos if informal plans now in the works gel.

Brendan McHugh, a Manasquan-based architect, has drawn up plans for a four-unit project at the corner of East Front and Washington streets, and recently made an informal pitch about his plans to the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission.

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GETTING SCHOOLED ON CYBERBULLYING

cyberbully1Kevin Clark, who runs Monmouth County’s computer crimes unit, gave a presentation on computer safety at Frank Talk on Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The message Kevin Clark wants to deliver can’t be spread fast enough.

“Think before you click,” says Clark, director of the Monmouth County prosecutor’s computer crimes unit.

On the ‘duh’ scale, Clark’s maxim may be high up there. But when you get into the online world, the advice is still news to a lot of people, especially children and teenagers, he said.

That’s why Clark used the phrase several times throughout his presentation about cyberbullying and Internet safety to a small group of Red Bank dignitaries (and one curious teacher) on Saturday, with the goal of raising awareness to a new-ish brand of schoolyard teasing that has risen to new, dangerous heights in recent years.

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A SANDWICH BOARD SUMMER, MAYBE

sandwich-boardThis Monmouth Street business has a half a sandwich board outside; the borough is considering allowing full-sized versions on sidewalks this summer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Councilman Ed Zipprich says that for more than a decade, Red Bank’s borough council has chewed over, bandied about and confabbed — all but taken action, really — the idea of allowing businesses to put out sandwich boards on the sidewalks.

“We know this has been debated many times between 1992 and 2009,” Zipprich said.

Yet you haven’t seen one on a borough sidewalk since Mayor Pasquale Menna was in his fifth year as a councilman in 1993.

Could this possibly be the summer of the sandwich board?

Zipprich hopes so.

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