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RED BANK: DEMS GLIDE INTO NEW YEAR

red bank, nj, pasquale menna, wayne hartman, scott calabrese, bob holidayMayor Pasquale Menna prepares to swear in new fire Chief Wayne Hartman, center, and deputies Scott Calabrese and Bobby Holiday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s government turned the calendar page to 2019 with a friction-free reorganization meeting Tuesday that kicked off the fourth term of Mayor Pasquale Menna and gave Democrats unfettered control of borough hall.

Here are some highlights:

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LITTLE SILVER: TOUCH-A-FIRE-TRUCK SUNDAY

ls firetruck 101814Little Silver’s historic Parker Homestead plans to honor the borough’s volunteer fire department Sunday. LSFD memorabilia will be on display inside the historic farmhouse, which will also be showing off some recent renovations, and a fire truck will be present for kids to climb into and around. Abundant sunshine and warm temperatures are forecast. The event runs from 1 to 4 p.m.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: FIREFIGHTERS FREE TRAPPED HAWK

rb hawk 012915 1The bird makes a break for freedom under the watch of a decoy owl. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb hawk 012915 5Red Bank volunteer firefighters rescued a juvenile hawk trapped in an open-air tower Thursday morning just as the animal appeared near starvation, an amateur ornithologist said.

The bird, a Cooper’s Hawk, had apparently been up under the peaked roof of the tower at the Medieval-style Courts of Red Bank office complex for days, having somehow bypassed steel netting installed just last fall to keep out pigeons.

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LITTLE SILVER: CAROLS FOR THE SEASON

ls christmas 120714 1ls christmas 120714 3Students from the Markham Place and Point Road Schools in Little Silver caroled through six holiday songs – including “Little Drummer Boy,” “African Noel” and “The Spirit of Hanukah” – as the community gathered for the annual Christmas tree lighting at borough hall Sunday. A dog named Jameson was dressed for the chilly occasion, too. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

ls christmas 120714 2

FAIR HAVEN: WAITING FOR SANTA

120514 fhsanta13There was no shortage of pizza as kids awaited Santa, who arrived with an assist by the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120514 fhsanta12A drizzly night didn’t stop the hearty kids and adults of Fair Haven from coming out to greet Santa Claus Friday night.

Leaving his sleigh at the North Pole until Christmas Eve, jolly old St. Nick got a lift to the annual Christmas tree lighting from the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department.

More pictures await, just around the corner…

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RED BANK: STREET FAIR SHINES AGAIN

Sunday was a day of sunglasses, leashes, and bibs in downtown Red Bank for the annual late-summer edition of Street Fair, a fundraiser for the volunteer fire department and the local PBA. Every nook and niche, it seemed, was taken up by hungry fairgoers. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: TAXES, FIREHOUSE PACK COUNCIL

sb council 080514 1Mayor Dina Long, center above, helped move tables to accommodate an overflow crowd Tuesday night. John Lamia, below, was sworn to fill the unexpired term of Read Murphy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

john lamia 080514A boatload of critical issues came crashing ashore in Sea Bright Tuesday night, as officials and residents wrestled with soaring taxes, where to put a Sandy-wrecked firehouse and more.

Dozens of residents packed a bimonthly borough council with their concerns: a bulkhead ordinance that would require some property owners to raise the level of protection adjoining their homes along the Shrewsbury River; a plan to build a 150-foot tall cell tower just feet from the ocean beach behind borough hall; the timing of repairs to the seawall.

Two matters in particular drew concerted heat: a proposal to rent land for use as a temporary fire station from a former mayor in arrears on taxes, and a 10-percent increase in tax bills, reflecting a whopping 17-percent increase to cover the cost of sending borough kids to Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch.

That one, and other issues, reflected longstanding frustrations.

“Twenty-five years ago, when I first came on the council – it was a subject then,” said Councilman Jack Keeler. “It hasn’t changed.”

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SEA BRIGHT: EX-MAYOR MAY GET FIRE STATION

sb fire house 040114 2Two fire trucks have been relocated out of town and another sits beneath a tent since the firehouse, in the background, was condemned. Former Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka-Adams, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

jo-ann-kalaka-adamsLast we heard from former Sea Bright Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka Adams, she had just failed to relcaim her old job after an election race that turned in part on property taxes she owed the town.

Fast-forward to now. Kalaka-Adams may start collecting $4,500 a month in rent from the borough for a vacant lot, even though she owes the town $40,000 in overdue property taxes, according to the Asbury Park Press.

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WEEKEND: RIGHT HERE IN RIVER CITY

MusicManGroup_718x370The cast of THE MUSIC MAN brings the Broadway evergreen to ‘Two River City’ for five concert-style performances this weekend. Below, Jersey music Jedi master Glen Burtnik leads an all-Shore team of guests to the Basie stage on Saturday, for a SUMMER OF LOVE salute to the sounds of the original Woodstock festival. (Above photo courtesy NJPAC)

Friday, March 14:

glenburtnik-4-kurdzukjpg-907ec69606a7eef9RED BANK: “Seventy Six Trombones.” “Marian the Librarian.” “Til There Was You.” “Ya Got Trouble” (right here in River City). If you’ve seen but one golden-age Broadway classic performed by a class of drama-club kids, a community of earnest amateurs or a summer-stock touring troupe, it was probably The Music Man, the 1957 Tony winner in which traveling con man Professor Harold Hill brings an outlandish scheme — and, in the process, a healthy dose of life, love, laughter and music — to the stodgy folk of a circa-1912 Iowa small town. What you probably haven’t seen is a Music Man brought to you by an African American cast and director — and this weekend, Two River Theater Company offers up five chances to catch a talent-packed production that’s being presented in cahoots with Newark’s NJ Performing Arts Center.

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FAIR HAVEN: MEATBALL MAN ROLLS AGAIN

Angelo DePonti, above and below, oversees the cooking for the Fair Haven Fire Department’s annual spaghetti dinner, scheduled for Saturday night. (Photos by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

There’s a special ingredient the Fair Haven Fire Department rolls out to ensure success at its annual spaghetti dinner fund raiser. It’s not in the meat. It’s not in the sauce. And it’s not in the bread.

It is Angelo DePonti – and his way with meatballs.

“I learned to make meatballs from my mother and father,” said DePonti, 83, a lifelong Red Bank resident. “As a kid, I used to watch them cook every Sunday. I was born to cook. I love to watch people eat my food. I haven’t got a recipe for my meatballs, I just know how much to put in… by the smell, by the feel”

DePonti, a retired Garden State Parkway maintenance worker, is a social member of the Fair Haven Fire Department. For the past 60 years, he’s also volunteered with Red Bank’s Union Hose Company where his son, Steve, and his two grandchildren, Steve Jr. and Matt, also serve.

In preparation for this year’s spaghetti dinner, scheduled for Saturday, DePonti was in the Fair Haven firehouse kitchen Thursday night preparing the meatballs with a crew of helpers.

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JUDGE TOSSES CONVICTION IN BRAWL CASE

A state Superior Court judge has overturned the harassment conviction of one of three Sea Bright firefighters involved in a firehouse scuffle 18 months ago, redbankgreen has learned.

In an unwritten opinion, Judge Anthony Mellaci ruled from the bench in Freehold Friday that a municipal court judge had given “misplaced” credibility to the accusers of firefighter Justin Hughes, said Hughes’s attorney, Scott Servilla.

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SENTENCINGS DELAYED IN FIREHOUSE TUSSLE

One of two videos of a firehouse fight involving three Sea Bright firemen last October. The second video is below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The lawyer for two Sea Bright volunteer firefighters convicted of assaulting a third in the town’s firehouse last year has obtained a delay in their sentencings, which had been scheduled for today.

Brothers Steven Lang, 25, and Peter Lang IV, 33, are facing banishment from the fire company, under a sentence sought by the prosecutor in the case, Mike Halfacre. But defense lawyer William Wilson won a one-month adjournment by questioning whether the town’s governing body really wants to see the Langs kicked to the curb.

Meantime, redbankgreen has obtained the two video views of the October 9, 2010 scuffle, which occurred during a wet-down celebration for a new fire truck.

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FIREFIGHTERS TOUT PREVENTION

Scenes from the annual Red Bank Fire Prevention Fair put on by the town’s volunteer firefighters in the White Street municipal lot Sunday. Photos by Peter Lindner. (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.)

MEGO EAGER TO STOP FIRES — AND TRAFFIC

img_6635010310First Deputy Fire Chief John Mego with his wife, Betty, and three grandchildren at yesterday’s borough government reorganization meeting. (Click to enlarge)

A little more than three weeks after he was knocked unconscious by a car, John Mego pulled his Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department dress blue jacket over the cast on his broken right arm Sunday to be sworn in as first deputy fire chief.

Bearing a scar from 35 stitches in his scalp, and minus the mustache he cultivated for years, the 65-year-old Spring Street resident said he was eager to get back to his duties as a crossing guard at Maple Avenue and Peters Place, where he was struck by a passing vehicle in a rainstorm on December 9.

“I’ll be back, same corner,” Mego tells redbankgreen. “I don’t remember anything , so it doesn’t scare me.”

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FIREFIGHTERS MUM ON CHIEF’S PAST, FUTURE

img_5216112209Emergency vehicles on the Oceanic Bridge during the rescue of Fair Haven Fire Chief Shaun Foley Sunday night.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Yesterday had the feel of Black Monday at the Fair Haven firehouse.

Twenty-four hours after borough Fire Chief Shaun Foley plunged from the Oceanic Bridge into the the Navesink River, department members were visibly shaken and reluctant to discuss his drastic actions Sunday night. Only two people within the department, Deputy Chief Jim Cerruti and President Jim Butler, spoke with reporters at Monday night’s Fair Haven Borough Council meeting. But they didn’t say much.

“One of our top concerns is his well being,” Butler said.

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FIRE COMPANY MARKS END OF FIRST CENTURY

westside-hoseA party at the Westside Hose on Monday night had some ex-chiefs checking out photos from the company’s history. With John “Ray” Weston, seated in front of a scrapbook, were John Abbatemarco (in the black and white hat), Bob Talerico (in dark sweater), and Stanley Sickels, looking over Talerico’s shoulder. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

Red Bank’s youngest fire company turned 100 last month.

The Westside Hose Co. No. 1 threw a small get-together Monday night for volunteer firefighters and their families to kick off a yearlong centennial celebration.
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FUN HAVEN, IF DANNY STAYS AWAY

fhfair21Views of the setup at the Fair Haven Fire Department for the fair that runs through Saturday, September 5. (Click to enlarge)

Swirling rides and music to match. Chowder. Conviviality.

The annual small-town tradition known as the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair gets underway tonight, staking its usual claim to the week leading up to Labor Day.

Tonight, that is, as long as Danny keeps his distance.

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