COPS: WHALER ‘RODE OVER’ VICTIM’S BOAT

buoy-20Saturday night’s fatal boat collision occurred near Buoy 20, seen here from Rich Stavola’s Navesink River Road home, where authorities based their rescue operations. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A combination of alcohol and speed led to the death of a 50-year-old Keansburg man in a late-night boating accident on the Navesink River Saturday, authorities said Monday.

George Harrington, 39, of Atlantic Highlands, was “operating at a fairly high rate of speed” at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when his 20-foot Boston Whaler, carrying five passengers, hit a Stingray operated by Christopher Plante in the area of Buoy 20 in the Middletown section of the river, State Police Sergeant Stephen Jones tells redbankgreen.

Harrington’s boat “rode over the stern of Plante’s vessel,” Jones said.

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COPS: BODY FOUND, BOAT DRIVER WAS DRUNK

northoverThe command center in front of the mansion at 36 Northover Place in Middletown, where the victims of the boating accident came ashore, as seen at about 5 a.m. Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

An Atlantic Highlands man was charged with drunk driving in the Navesink River accident that killed the lone passenger of the boat he was operating and sent all five occupants of a second boat into the water Saturday night, State Police said Sunday morning.

The body of the victim, which had been missing after the 11:30 p.m. crash, was recovered from the river almost nine hours later, after being spotted by a State Police helicopter between Middletown and Fair Haven, said Sergeant Brian Polite.

An eyewitness gave redbankgreen a different account of the body’s recovery.

The name of the victim has not been released pending notification of next of kin, he said. [Update, 2:50 p.m.: NJ.com reports the victim was Christopher Plant, 50, from Keansburg.]

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BOATER MISSING, MAN ARRESTED AFTER LATE-NIGHT BOAT CRASH ON NAVESINK

nav-river-arrestA State Police officer frisks an unidentified man early Sunday morning while another shines a flashlight on him. Below, a woman who had been on one of the boats sits in an ambulance. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

rb-ambulanceA boater was missing and an unidentified man was in custody after a two-boat collision on the Navesink River between Middletown and Fair Haven late Saturday night.

More than two hours after the 11:30 p.m. crash, a massive rescue operation involving two helicopters and boats from numerous jurisdictions turned into a search for a body in the darkened river.

At dawn, however, the search boats appeared to end their task, and a phalanx of emergency vehicles parked on land departed without word about whether the missing boater had been found.

Eleven people were believed to have survived the crash, and soon came ashore at the residence of Richard Stavola on Northover Place, a loop off Navesink River Road in Middletown. According to an unconfirmed report, the missing boater was a man about 50 years old.

At about 1:45 a.m., State Police officers on the scene walked a handcuffed man in a white collared shirt and checkered shorts up the property’s long brick driveway, frisked him, and put him in a State Police truck.

Authorities were mum, however, on the reason for the arrest, as well as whatever they knew of the accident. Middletown police referred all inquiries to the State Police, which had assumed command of the operation. A State Trooper told reporters on the scene that that matter was under investigation and that they should “call headquarters Monday morning.”

A aural witness to the accident told redbankgreen what she heard and saw immediately afterward.

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A THREE-TOWN TROT

The 18th annual running of the George Sheehan Classic swept through Red Bank, Little Silver and Fair Haven, NJ, under blue skies Saturday. More than 1,400 runners completed the five-mile race in humid conditions. Searchable results are here.

redbankgreen’s Dustin Racioppi and Trish Russoniello were on the ground to freeze the action in pixels.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

DOC SHEEHAN RETURNS FOR ANNUAL CHECKUP

sheehan-finish-2009The finish line at the 2009 George Sheehan Classic, and this year’s course, below. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

geosheehancoursemap1If there’s one thing Red Bank won’t be short on this weekend, it’s foot traffic.

As in, like, 6,000 feet stomping through the downtown Saturday morning.

Among New Jersey’s most anticipated proceedings on pavement, the George Sheehan Classic brings harriers in swishy shorts and squishy sneaks by the hundreds from as far away as Zimbabwe to the streets of Red Bank, Little Silver and Fair Haven.

A literally well-heeled borough tradition, the five-mile main event sparks the sweaty anticipation of crossing the finish line for a sweet cash prize (for the elites) and coveted bragging rights (all others).

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BLACK BOX DEBATE: ARE THEY DANGERS?

black-boxLarge black power boxes for traffic lights, like this one at Prospect Avenue and Harding Road at the Little Silver/Red Bank border, have some Fair Haven residents concerned about visibility. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A push to upgrade traffic lights in Monmouth County has some Fair Haven residents switched on against the hulking black boxes being installed at the corner of River Road and Hance Road.

The boxes, which already have been installed at two other locations in Little Silver and Red Bank, might be fit for somewhere on the Turnpike, but not in a residential neighborhood where school children walk and ride bikes, they say.

In Fair Haven, though, a satisfying solution doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.

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FAIR HAVENITE REPORTS $70K BULLION THEFT

fhpd-vehicle

The crime reports below were provided by the Fair Haven Police Department for the month of April 2011. The information appears here unedited.

4/1/11

2 intoxicated juvenile males; 1 from Rumson and the other from Fair Haven were arrest for disorderly conduct by S.O. Reevey.

4/4/11

A report was taken for vandalism to a bench at a baseball field in the Borough. Sgt. Lambert took the report.

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SCHOOL’S IN AT FAIR HAVEN LODGE

smart-startGene and Debbie Trotta outside the former Masonic lodge on River Road in Fair Haven, which is now home to their pre-school, Smart Start. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Its prominent brick frame rising to a spire, it had once been home to a church and later a Masonic lodge, but for the last two decades it was little more than a shell of Fair Haven’s past.

To Gene Trotta and Debbie Trotta, the River Road landmark was crying out for something.

“I looked at it for 20 years, and I always said it was meant to be a school,” said Gene.

The Trottas admired the century-old building while they went to work down the street, to the Cedar Avenue preschool they started in their late 20s, a one-floor spot with just a couple classrooms and not a hint of the history or distinct architecture they coveted on River Road.

Then, as Debbie tells it, a little bit of fate interceded, and by the time the school year started, the Colts Neck couple was busting out boarded-up windows, spreading spackle and applying a finish to original chestnut wood floors.

“Everything’s original in here,” Gene said.

Except for the owners, who have fulfilled their vision to run Smart Start Preschool within the historic walls of 786 River Road.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

hyde-pierce-geoffrey-owensActors David Hyde Pierce (of TV’s ‘Frazier’ fame) and Geoffrey Owens (‘The Cosby Show’) ran into one another at the March 26 opening of ‘Candida’ at the Red Bank’s Two River Theater. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Good morning, readers.

Before you dig into the day’s news, here’s a rundown of last week’s happenings on redbankgreen, an easily digestible compendium of the week that was.

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TROTTING OUT THE T-BIRDS AGAIN

turkeys1redbankgreen spotted four more wild turkeys at about 10a Thursday morning, this time outside the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven.

Since our last update on this topic, we’ve heard additional reports of wild turkey sightings, with the birds usually in a rafter of four or five, from Lincroft, Little Silver and Fair Haven. We’re still wondering what explains the sudden prevalence of plumage. Got any ideas? Or pics? Drop a line here. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN DUCK FLAP GETS SLEDGERED

A conflict over a 12-year-old resident’s request to keep six pet ducks in her Fair Haven back yard has attracted the probing lens of Ledger Live.

And a critical essay by a columnist.

In a video posted Sunday, Star-Ledger video reporter Brian Donohue ducks his camera under branches and stands stock-still in a driveway in an attempt to verify complaints by South Woodland Drive neighbors that Nicole Stover’s ducks are too loud and their pen unsightly.

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SPRING SO CLOSE SHE CAN SMELL IT

claudetteClaudette, a nine-year-old bulldog, gets an early scent of spring Thursday while lazing in the window of Fair Haven Cleaners on River Road in Fair Haven, where she’s kept store owner Vicki Heard company every day for the past eight years. Spring arrives Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

BIG GREEN HAT FOR A BIG GREEN DAY

green-hatIn Fair Haven, six-year-old Will Beausoleil gears up for a big St. Patrick’s Day. “We’re going to meet a friend in the woods. We’re having a little parade by ourselves,” his mother, Kathleen Beausoleil, said. “Then corned beef and cabbage tonight.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

MORE WILD TURKEYS

fh-turkeys-031611 lincroft-turkeysIs there an ornithologist in the house? Earlier this week, readers sent us photos of five wild turkeys spotted on the streets of Red Bank and Fair Haven. Today, Colleen Donovan saw five in her neighbor’s yard on Harrison Avenue in Fair Haven, above. And Linda Snyder sent us the shot at right, taken on Leedsville Drive in Lincroft on March 10.

Can someone explain the sudden appearance of wild turkeys, and whether this might be the same gaggle on the move? (Click to enlarge)

DRUG COMPANY FOCUSES ON FAIR HAVEN

gourmet-picnicPhotographers from New York made a trip to Fair Haven Thursday afternoon for a photo shoot at Gourmet Picnic on River Road. A representative from the company said they cameĀ  for a “lifestyle” shot that may be used to publicize a new medication from a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company. Store owner Suzette O’Brien was flattered her shop was chosen for the shoot. “It’s probably something you’d never see in Fair Haven,” she said. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

RED BANK MAN COPS TO TWO BANK JOBS

call-in-the-authoritiesA Red Bank man admitted in federal court in Trenton Monday that he robbed a Fair Haven bank last August and another one a week later in Cranford.

Wilfred A. Dunn Jr., no address given, faces up to 20 years for each robbery, according to documents filed in connection with the plea.

According to an FBI agent’s statement in court records, Dunn entered a TD Bank branch on River Road in Fair Haven last August 20 and passed a teller a note that said, “I have a loaded gun in my bag. Just give me the money and nobody gets hurt. 20s, 50s and 100s.”

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MORE SNOW = MORE SNOW PIX

redbankgreen did a tour through Rumson, Fair Haven, Little Silver and Sea Bright Thursday morning to get photos of all the whiteness dumped by the latest winter snowstorm . (Photos by Dustin Racioppi) To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

SNOW: ARE WE IN FOR IT OR WHAT?

poblanaDee Patel’s grocery store on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank cleared an early path for customers during the December 26-27 storm. (Click to enlarge)

The too-white winter of 2011 is expected to lay a fresh blanket of snow up to 13 inches thick on the Red Bank region Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

It begins around 4p, the forecast says, with light accumulation until about 7p, when the snow dump begins in earnest.

The Red Bank police department has issued a request urging that vehicles not be left parked on-street overnight, to make it easier for plows to do their work.

In addition, there are borough streets for which an ordinance prohibits parking when the road is snow-covered, subjecting vehicles to tickets and towing.

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POLICE PAY IN SLEDGER SPOTLIGHT

hot-topic rightSunday’s Star-Ledger had an eye-opening article on police salaries in New Jersey.

Analyzing 2009 pay data from police departments throughout the state, the Sledger concluded that

the average municipal cop in New Jersey is paid 80 percent more than the average resident, and three of 10 made at least $100,000 last year. In addition, police tend to be paid the best in small towns with little crime.

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