RED BANK: LIBRARY DIRECTOR CHECKS OUT

Red Bank library staff and patrons held a sendoff party last week for the retirement of director Elizabeth McDermott, seen above speaking with public utilities director Cliff Keen.

Monmouth County Freeholder John  Curley, a former Red Bank councilman, presented McDermott with a county proclamation recognizing her for, among other accomplishments, leading the library through the most turbulent period in its 81-year history.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY DIRECTOR TO RETIRE

Elizabeth McDeromott, center, at the 2015 Red Bank Mayor’s Ball. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Elizabeth McDermott, who guided the Red Bank Public Library through perhaps the most turbulent chapter of its 81-year history, will retire at the end of June.

An ex-software industry consultant who changed careers well into adulthood, McDermott announced her retirement in the spring issue of the library’s newsletter, out this week.

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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.

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CRAVINGS: A LIBRARIAN’S WEEKLY BENTO

Red Bank library director Elizabeth McDermott indulges her craving at Sogo Sushi. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

World traveler-turned-Red Bank Public Library director Elizabeth McDermott has a weekly itch that she scratches at Sogo Sushi on Monmouth Street: a bento box.

“It’s like comfort food to me,” says McDermott, whose previous job as a software consultant for Oracle took her all over the globe.

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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.

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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.
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RED BANK: FOUR MAYORS… AND SOME FRIENDS

lee kuo 050115lock menna 050115The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.

Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the Red Bank Public Library and the Parker Family Health Center.

redbankgreen grabbed dozens of photos during the cocktail hour overlooking our beautiful Navesink River. Click the “read more” to see who else was there. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: LIBRARY AVERTS PREDICTED CRISIS

rbpl 1 102113Dire forecasts made by library board members who resigned a year ago have not panned out, officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Article updated with post-publication comment below]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Nearly one year after a mass resignation by trusteees over budget issues that they said imperiled its future, the Red Bank Public Library hasn’t collapsed into the river it overlooks.

Nor has it been swamped by red ink. In fact, the institution is doing quite well, says its new director, Elizabeth McDermott, who recently accepted the job on a permanent basis – after first rejecting it – largely because of the turnaround she helped guide.

“The building didn’t fall down,” McDermott told redbankgreen earlier this month, following a meeting at which the board approved a new $1 million budget. “In fact, we’re growing.”

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RED BANK: A GATHERING OF MAYORS

mayorsThe three living former mayors of Red Bank — Benedict Nicosia, Michael Arnone and Ed McKenna — join Mayor Pasquale Menna as guests of honor at the first annual Mayor’s Charity Ball, going on May 1st.

Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee

Mayor Pat Menna is honoring three of his predecessors — and inviting the community — to the first annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball, scheduled for May 1st at The Oyster Point Hotel.

“Our committee is planning a great event and a fun evening, celebrating all things Red Bank,” noted the mayor.  “We are fortunate to have three former mayors — Judge Benedict Nicosia, Assemblyman Michael Arnone and Mayor Edward McKenna — still here in the area, and we will be honoring them for their public service.”

Other honorees include Red Bank RiverCenter, which will receive the Outstanding Community Service Award; the Two River Theater, the Cultural and Arts Award; Gerry Eisner, the Historical Legacy Award; Downtown Investors, the Urban Development Award; and Seals Eastern, the Manufacturing and Technology Award.

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RED BANK: HIGH SCHOOL THESPIANS OF OLD

  rbhs theater 020615 4rbhs theater 020615 3Now playing in the lobby display case at Red Bank borough hall: photos of Red Bank High School thespians, believed to have been taken in the 1950s.

The exhibit, the latest in a series of works by RBHS photography teacher Anthony Trufolo, was assembled by volunteers from the public library, and spotlights kids in rehearsal, getting ready backstage and hitting their marks at showtime.

We’ve got lots more after the ‘read more.’ Do you know any of these folks? (Photos of photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: GRID STARS OF OLD

rbpl football 091014 1rbpl football 091014 2Photos of Red Bank High School football players, coaches and cheerleaders from the 1940s and ’50s give the lobby display case at borough hall a distinctly autumnal feel.

The exhibit, put together by volunteers from the public library, showcases images taken by RBHS photography teacher Anthony Trufolo. The last display, assembled in June, featured prom pix from Trufolo’s collection. Library director Elizabeth McDermott says the next one, scheduled for January, will spotlight theatrical productions at the school, which merged into a regional school district in 1975. 

Do you know any of these folks? (Photos of photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

rbpl football 091014 3

RBR SENIOR IN TOUCH WITH HISTORY

kaylaRed Bank Regional senior and Red Bank resident Kayla Williams is currently working on an oral history project, in alliance with the Red Bank Library.  

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Each Sunday, area residents flock to the Galleria parking lot to pick the fresh produce at the farmers’ market. Few among the shoppers realize that a similar scene once played out down the road at Marine Park, where boats carried in fruits and vegetables straight from New York City’s markets in the days when Red Bank was an operating port.

That was the memory of 97- year-old Anthony Trufolo, a former Red Bank High School teacher, as recorded by 17 year-old Red Bank resident Kayla Williams, a rising senior at Red Bank Regional High School.

Kayla spent a good part of her summer vacation interviewing and recording the memories of other senior Red Bank residents, in collaboration with the Red Bank Library’s on-going oral history project. She volunteered to participate as she thought it would be interesting and fun.  She found it to be all that and, in her words, “just amazing.”

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RED BANK: SURFING FOR SIDEWALK DIAMONDS

rb-sidewalk-sale-10-072713It’s the 60th annual edition of a local  favorite – and the organizers of the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale have a special stroll down memory lane built in to this year’s three-day event. 

rb sidewalk sale 8 072713While Red Bank remains an ever-evolving entity — sometimes at a brisker clip than a lot of longtime locals are prepared to digest — one summertime signifier of community life has been soldiering on, uninterrupted, for a frankly amazing 60 years. And in 2014, the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale marks its diamond anniversary  with a three-day thriftarama that takes a look back at some of what’s made this town so great and unique.

Think about it: back in 1955, President Ike was dispatching the first U.S. advisors into an obscure place called Vietnam. The Brooklyn Dodgers were gearing up to finally make “next year” a here-and-now reality. School-age kids were promised trips to that new Disneyland place, if they’d just hold still for the equally new polio vaccine. Folks from nearby communities such as New Shrewsbury flocked to the Carlton Theatre to see James Dean light up the screen in East of Eden. And the Red Bank Register reported that the town fathers were planning a study of the ongoing downtown parking issues (let’s hear one for continuity).

Those decades of borough history won’t be trampled underfoot, as scores of shoppers take to the sidewalks of Broad, Monmouth, Front and White streets in search of figurative “diamonds” — that bargain in a box, that folding-table find, that street-rack steal. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Red Bank Rivercenter celebrates the occasion with a “trip down memory lane” — and a rolling out of the welcome mat for some exciting new additions to the Sidewalk Sale scene.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY LAYOFFS SPARK OUTRAGE

sira williams 031214Laid-off children’s librarian Sira Williams embraces colleague Jane Eigenrauch after Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Hours after more than half the staff of the Red Bank Public Library was laid off, supporters packed a borough council meeting Wednesday night demanding a financial fix that would maintain the 77-year-old institution’s hours, programming and jobs.

Taking turns at a microphone to recall their own childhood days at the library or of watching their children learn to read there, a string of speakers pressed the council on how the library could find itself facing an estimated $131,000 operating deficit this year, and what the governing body planned to do about it.

“I can’t believe a town as wonderful as ours is facing this crisis,” said Sally Gordon or Windward Way, noting that Red Bank’s cultural assets led to its selection by Smithsonian Magazine as the third-best town in America in 2012. “I urge you, because you have the knowledge and the power, to figure out how we can get past this crisis.”

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RED BANK: REVISITING THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Elizabeth McDermott, Mary Faith Chmiel, Dan Dorn, Jr., and Harry Greenwood discuss life in Red Bank throughout the 20th century. Below, a circa 1935 meeting of the Red Bank Lions Club, with IDs by Greenwood. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Harry Greenwood moved to Red Bank in 1925, at the age of 5. He lived on Globe Court, where there’s now a parking garage. He and his friends used to play ball in open fields on Spring Street, and picked apples to bring home from a now-vanished orchard on Tower Hill.

Daniel Dorn, Jr., whose father started Dorn’s Photo – the unofficial photo historian of Red Bank – grew up in Shrewsbury. He and a young neighbor built a major-league-sized ballfield on Meadow Drive over the course of a summer.

Both had newspaper routes, going to door to door – no throwing papers! – delivering the now-defunct Red Bank Register. It was still the era when local farmers brought produce from farms west and north of town, horse-and-buggy races were held on Pinckney Road, ice was sold in blocks at West Front Street and Bridge Avenue, and the Strand Theater offered summer serials where a Merrill Lynch office now stands, at Broad Street and Linden Place.

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