FAIR HAVEN: COUNCIL TAKES AIM AT POT, GUNS

Councilman Bob Marchese urged the council to ban recreational pot sales while allowing for medicinal trade. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Mixed in among discussions of yard sales and tree removals at the Fair Haven council’s semimonthly meeting Monday night were two issues of concern statewide and beyond: marijuana and guns.

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FAIR HAVEN: WALKOUTS GET DETENTION

Fair Haven Superintendent Sean McNeil, seen below at a January event, expressed pride in Knollwood students who walked out, but told them there had to be consequences. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Seventy-two Fair Haven middle school students were ordered to report for detention after participating in a walkout Wednesday to mark the one-month anniversary of a mass school shooting in Florida.

Meanwhile, just half a mile away, hundreds of Red Bank Regional High students observed the nationwide walkout without penalty. But the fact that they were sequestered within the confines of the school stadium, and surrounded by police, irked at least one student.

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RBR SUPERINTENDENT: ADDRESS GUN ACCESS

Superintendent Louis Moore speaking at an anti-hate rally in Red Bank last August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

This essay, titled ‘Schools Will Not Be Secure Until We Address Access to Lethal Weapons,’ was submitted to redbankgreen by Red Bank Regional High Superintendent Louis Moore.

Since the tragedy at Columbine High School almost 20 years ago, school districts have implemented measures to protect students and staff from the threat of a mass shooting. Entrances have been hardened with “mantraps” and bullet resistant glass. “Active shooter” drills are now regularly conducted along with fire drills. New security staff have been hired and all staff are trained on best security practices.

Yet the brutal massacre in Parkland, Florida demonstrates that schools remain vulnerable and the threat is ongoing. Read More »

RED BANK: MOMS FLOCK TO GUN LAW EVENT

Amy Downey offered cookies prior to the start of a Moms Demand Action orientation meeting that drew a full house to Shapiro’s Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The murders of 17 people by a gunman in Florida last week prompted a hasty new-member orientation in Red Bank Tuesday night for an organization dedicated to what it calls “common sense gun laws.”

Volunteers with Moms Demand Action said the February 14 slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has unleashed a surge of interest unseen since the group’s founding five years ago in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut murders of 27 children and adults.

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RUMSON: SUICIDE PROMPTS ARMED RESPONSE

Authorities cordoned off Ridge Road from Bellevue Avenue, above, to Buena Vista Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A suicide with a firearm prompted a heavy turnout of police and armored vehicles in Rumson Sunday morning, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office said.

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RED BANK: MURPHY TOUTS ‘SENSE’ ON GUNS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, with Brett Sabo of Moms Demand Action at right, in Riverside Gardens Park Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At a no-surprises event held in Red Bank, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy picked up an endorsement from a group pushing for “common sense gun laws” Friday.

Addressing a clutch of supporters and at least two local GOP officials in Riverside Gardens Park, Murphy pledged to reject an “us versus them” approach to dealing with gun-rights advocates while pressing for ways to reduce firearms violence in New Jersey.

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RED BANKER INDICTED IN HEROIN & GUN CASE

A Red Bank man arrested last August as an alleged member of guns and heroin distribution ring has been indicted by a Monmouth County grand jury, the county prosecutor announced Monday morning.

Russell Vann, 54, right, was one of 20 defendants named as alleged members of “a criminal enterprise responsible for the distribution significant quantities of heroin and the trafficking of firearms,” Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw, Jr. said in a prepared announcement.

Two other men arrested in the sweep and previously identified as Red Bank residents were not named in the indictment. They are Charles Dixon, 54, and Raymond Jackson, 41.

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DRUG SWEEP NETS THREE RED BANKERS

just_in1Three Red Bank men were among more than 30 suspects arrested in a massive law enforcement sweep focused on the sale of heroin and assault weapons, authorities said Thursday.

Russell Vann and Charles Dixon, both 54 years old, and Raymond Jackson, 41, were caught up on drug distribution charges in raids led by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office over the past month, the agency said in an announcement.

All three were alleged to have been “midlevel” drug dealers in a hierarchical” syndicate run by a Long Branch man, who was also arrested. No street addresses for Vann, Dixon and Jackson were immediately available.

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ALLEGED WEST SIDE SHOOTER REJECTS PLEA

Suspect1The alleged gunman in the November, 2007 double shooting at Red Bank’s Montgomery Terrace has rejected a plea bargain offered by prosecutors and will instead stand trial, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The newspaper says Eatontown resident Anthony Sims, 20, rejected an offer by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office of a 17-year prison sentence. He told state Superior Court Judge Edward M. Neafsey in Freehold that he wants to go to trial.

Neafsey set October 27 as the trial date.

Both of the shooter’s victims survived their wounds. A third man who authorities say was also fired at was unhurt. Read More »