FAIR HAVEN: LUCARELLI BACKS JCP&L PLAN

ben lucarelli 042915 2Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli says the controversial transmission line may help his town avoid a repeat of the long outage experienced after Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli stepped onto a political third rail Tuesday, proclaiming his support for a controversial 10-mile long, high-voltage electricity transmission line that would end in Red Bank.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TABLES JCP&L STATEMENT

rb train station 062216 3The 10-mile high-capacity power line would run above the Red Bank train station on new, taller pylons and terminate a few blocks south at a power substation, according to JCP&L. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank council tabled a resolution Wednesday night opposing a proposed 10-mile long, high-voltage electricity transmission line that would end in the borough.

Councilman Mark Taylor put the brakes on the measure when he said he hadn’t seen it before the start of the governing body’s semimonthly meeting and wanted a chance to do some research into the issues.

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RED BANK: TAX HIKE TRIMMED ON A TWEAK

rb parking 041316 2A recent deal allowing the Count Basie Theatre to sell parking spots at borough hall on specified dates paved the way to a new budget.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe owner of a typical Red Bank home will pay $35 more in local property taxes this year, rather than $40, following passage of the first Republican-led budget in a generation Wednesday night.

The borough council’s unanimous approval of the 2016 spending plan marked the anticlimax to a brief standoff that began when Democrats raised eleventh-hour objections to  what they later called “‘fluff and ‘slush funds” in the GOP budget.

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RED BANK: DEMS TARGET ‘SLUSH FUNDS’

horgan schwabenbauer 101815Council members Kathy Horgan, left, and Linda Schwabenbauer, seen at last year’s Halloween parade, are now at odds over the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesTwo weeks after it was shot down on the mayor’s tiebreaking vote, Red Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation faces its next test on Wednesday.

That’s when council members will square off over cuts suggested by Democrats to what they called “‘fluff’ and ‘slush funds.'”

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RED BANK: BUDGET FAILS ON TIEBREAKER VOTE

schwabenbauer menna 052516Mayor Pasquale Menna confers with Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer during the council’s budget deliberation Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation failed to win approval when Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a tiebreaking vote at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

His vote against the spending plan followed a 3-3 deadlock that included a “no” by a member of the budget-crafting finance committee, Democrat Kathy Horgan, whose caught committee chairwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a Republican, by surprise.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE REDUCED

rb budget q&A 051816 1A half-dozen or so residents, outnumbered by borough employees and officials, attended the budget session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Update, May 20: Visuals from this presentation are now available online here.]

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA controversial increase in parking fees will trim the local property tax increase to less than half that previously anticipated, Red Bank officials said Wednesday.

At the annual informal budget presentation, held at borough hall, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer said the spending plan scheduled for adoption next week calls for a two-percent tax increase, or about $35 for the year for the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $354,006. Read More »

RED BANK: BURNHAM BEGINS RE-ELECTION BID


burnham party 051516 2

burnham party 051516 1 Having been denied a return spot on the Republican ticket, Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham, seen at center right, hosted an open party at her Wallace Street home to kick off her re-election campaign as an independent Sunday night.

 “It’s not a fundraiser — it’s a friend-raiser,” Burnham said, quoting one of her daughters, as about two dozen partygoers mingled in chilly weather in her garage and driveway while a live band played. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: ‘COMPROMISE’ PARKING HIKE OK’D

rb parking 051116 1Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, to $1 per hour, while metered spots on the street would rise 50 percent, to $1.50 an hour. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank’s parking fees are going up.

The borough council approved rate increases Wednesday night, billing the action as a “compromise” with downtown business owners.

Still, merchants decried the hikes, which they said will further alienate potential visitors already turned off by metering, aggressive enforcement and costly tickets. Read More »

RED BANK: MAYOR’S BALL II DRAWS A CROWD

philipson menna 050616rb mayors ball 050616 12Mayor Pasquale Menna, above right, welcomed Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson, left, and more than 200 other guests to the second annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the borough-based nonprofits Lunch Break and HABcore

Check out the photos from redbankgreen’s drive-thru of the cocktail hour, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: BURNHAM PLANS NO-TIES PARTY

burnham 1 010114Council President Cindy Burnham, seen here at her 2014 swearing-in with state Senator Jen Beck at left, plans an independent run for a second term. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainYou might call it the “no-party-ties party” when Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham launches her independent run for re-election next month with a bash that she says is open to all borough residents.

After licking her wounds about being dumped from the 2016 Republican ticket on Sunday, Burnham confirmed Thursday that she’ll mount a solo run, one based on her record as an activist and “the voice of reason” on the governing body.

And she’s kicking it off with a party at her home that will feature a live band — Kül d’Sack — and free food, by Greek Eats.

“If there’s on thing I know how to do, it’s throw a party,” she told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM “STILL MULLING”

burnham colmorgen 010116Council President Cindy Burnham, seen here in January with fire police volunteer Carl Colmorgen, says she’ll announce her plans later this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainContrary to a published report, Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham says she still hasn’t made up her mind whether to seek a second term as an independent.

One day after she was left off the 2016 Republican ticket, Burnham told redbankgreen that she’ll announce on Thursday whether she’s running and will fly solo in her quest.

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RED BANK: GOP DUMPS BURNHAM

cindy burnham 021016Council President Cindy Burnham said she’s undecided whether she’ll seek re-election. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainShe may have broken the Democrats’ lock on Red Bank government, but that wasn’t enough for the party she rode in with.

Heading into her first re-election campaign, Councilwoman Cindy Burnham was dropped from the 2016 Republican ticket Sunday.

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RED BANK: DEMS TAP HORGAN AND YNGSTROM


horgan burnham 022614 2
Incumbents Kathy Horgan and Cindy Burnham, above, and newcomer Erik Yngstrom, below, will vie for two open council seats in November.
 (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

erik yngstromLess than three months into a new Republican era and eight months before the next election, Red Bank’s Democrats have chosen their candidates for council.

Incumbent Kathy Horgan and newcomer Erik Yngstrom, a member of the zoning board, have been nominated to run in the Democratic primary election to be held June 7, party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich announced Friday night.

Separately, Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, who broke the Democrats’ seven-year lock on the council with her victory in 2013, told redbankgreen that she will seek re-election.

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RED BANK: CHARTER TRIES SILENCE WITH PR

rbcs 020216 6Charter school Principal Meredith Pennotti with a school cofounder, Michael Stasi, center, and trustee Roger Foss, in blue tie. Below, charter school parent and middle school employee Diana Archila addresses the crowd as charter school spokesman Kevin King looks on. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

archila king rbcs 020216After what’s been called “a PR disaster” involving its proposed plan to double enrollment, the Red Bank Charter School shifted into corporate communications mode Tuesday night.

Over the course of a two-hour forum that drew a fired-up, overflow crowd in its new STEM lab on Monmouth Street, school officials, with one exception, refused to answer questions, rebut criticisms or even state positions on their own proposal plan, instead sitting silently and letting critics have their say.

And for reporters, school officials deferred all questions to a polished corporate spokesman who stayed rigorously on-message.

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RED BANK: CHARTER SCHOOL SLATES FORUM

135 MONMOUTH 121515 1
HOT-TOPIC_03
The Red Bank Charter School plans to hold an open forum and press conference on its controversial expansion plan Tuesday at 7 p.m., the school announced Sunday.

“The press conference will provide clarity on a recent application amendment, after which the forum will be opened for community comment,” according to a press release.

The event will be held at 135 Monmouth Street, above, a building in which the school recently leased space for a STEM lab and to accommodate the expansion, if approved by the New Jersey Department of Education. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: PANEL BLASTS ‘SEGREGATION’

rbcs 121515 3The 17-year-old charter school has said a weighted lottery that takes racial and economic factors into account would be used in the expansion. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The panel charged with a hurry-up examination of the proposed Red Bank Charter School expansion teed up the institution for segregation in its report, unveiled at a borough council meeting Wednesday night.

“According to New Jersey Department of Education enrollment data, Red Bank Borough is home to the most segregated school district in the state of New Jersey, with deep disparity” in racial makeup, primary language skills and economic backgrounds, the report said.

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RED BANK: PANEL TO AIR CHARTER ‘CONCERNS’

rbcs panel 012216 2A standing-room crowd filled the middle school auditorium for Friday night’s hearing on the charter school expansion. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A panel commissioned to review the proposed expansion by the Red Bank Charter School is expected to express “concern” about the plan’s impact on borough taxpayers, Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen.

Menna, who appointed the so-called blue-ribbon commission and participated in its closed-door meeting Monday night, said the body’s report will also air misgivings about what he termed the “strong and overwhelming” disparity between the charter school and the local school district in terms of demographic makeup.

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RED BANK: PANEL GETS DISTRICT’S SIDE ONLY

rbcs panel 012216 1Members of the charter school review panel watched a video touting the district schools Friday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[CORRECTION: The original version of this article misreported data displayed in a chart during Rumage’s presentation. The chart indicated that 40 percent of Red Bank Charter School students are economically disadvantaged, compared to 88 percent of district students, whereas redbankgreen mistakenly reported the charter school figure as 4 percent. Also, the corrected figure reflects only economically disadvantaged children, not include new English learners.]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03With the first flakes of an anticipated blizzard falling outside, a hearing on a proposed enrollment expansion by the Red Bank Charter School was predictably one-sided Friday night.

As expected, charter school Principal Meredith Pennotti was a no-show, as were the school’s trustees, but not because of the weather. They issued a statement earlier in the day saying they were staying way because the panel that called the hurry-up session should take more time in order to conduct “an in-depth analysis without outside pressure.”

Less expected was district Superintendent Jared Rumage’s strongly worded attack of charter school data, which he said obscured its role in making Red Bank “the most segregated school system in New Jersey.”

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RED BANK: CHARTER PANEL HEARING STILL ON

meredith pennotti 012016 1Charter school Principal Meredith Pennotti said she won’t attend Friday’s hearing in part because of hostility directed at her at a recent event. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A planned hearing on a proposed enrollment expansion by the Red Bank Charter School is still scheduled for Friday night, despite the withdrawal of a key participant and the expected start of a blizzard.

Councilwoman Kathy Horgan, who chairs Mayor Pasquale Menna’s so-called blue-ribbon commission on the proposal, said the event will go ahead because the committee is on a tight deadline, and the storm will be in its earliest hours. Read More »

RED BANK: KOPKA GRANT FUNDS SCIENCE DAY

Press release from Red Bank Borough Education Foundation

All in the interest of science, the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation presented the Red Bank Board of Education with its second Rosemarie Kopka Memorial Mini-Grant for $2,000, to be used for a Science Day scheduled for June 11 and 12 at Red Bank Primary School.

Borough Councilman Ed Zipprich, who is also RBBEF Vice President, presented the check to Red Bank Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jared Rumage during International Day on Friday, May 29.  Also present for the award presentation were RBBEF President Susan Berke, Secretary Barbara Boas, Treasurer Kathie Panepinto, and Councilwoman Kathy Horgan, who was the founding RBBEF President.

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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 CANDIDATE: CINDY BURNHAM

Election_2013_QA

CBURNHAMOne of four Q&As with the candidates for two, three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council in next weeks election. Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, both Democrats, are the incumbents; Cindy Burnham and Sean Di Somma, Republicans, are the challengers. Their answers to redbankgreen‘s questions are unedited.

Name: Cynthia (cindy) Burnham, age 58, grew up in Colts Neck

Age/DOB:

Where did you grow up?

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?

I lived in RB from 1979 to 1993.  In 1993, I moved to Harrison Ave, which is half RB & half Fair Haven. While I resided in Fair Haven,  I continued to own investment property in RB and persisted in my civic involvement in RB.  Last year, I moved into my investment property that I have owned for 27yrs on Wallace St. and next month will be moving my daughters in who are now in college.

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RED BANK CANDIDATE: SEAN DI SOMMA

Election_2013_QA

SDSOMMAOne of four Q&As with the candidates for two, three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council in next week’s election. Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, both Democrats, are the incumbents; Cindy Burnham and Sean Di Somma, Republicans, are the challengers. Their answers to redbankgreen‘s questions are unedited; the links below were provided by Di Somma.

Name: Sean Patrick Di Somma

Age/DOB: 3/3/1982

Where did you grow up? Bergen County, NJ

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?

Roughly a year and a half. When I moved here, I was appalled at the misinformation and ineptitude of the council. I began speaking out and was recruited to run for this office when there was vacancy.

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RED BANK CANDIDATE: KATHY HORGAN

Election_2013_QA

KHORGANOne of four Q&As with the candidates for two, three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council in next weeks election. Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, both Democrats, are the incumbents; Cindy Burnham and Sean Di Somma, Republicans, are the challengers. Their answers to redbankgreen‘s questions are unedited.

Name: Kathleen Horgan

Age: 68

Where did you grow up: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank: 14  years

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RED BANK CANDIDATE: SHARON LEE

Election_2013_QA

SLEEOne of four Q&As with the candidates for two, three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council in next week’s election. Kathy Horgan and Sharon Lee, both Democrats, are the incumbents; Cindy Burnham and Sean Di Somma, Republicans, are the challengers. Their answers to redbankgreen‘s questions are unedited.

Name: Sharon Lee

Age/DOB: 58

Where did you grow up? Germany, Red Bank

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank?

Life long! With brief absences, being a military dependent (army), college and a beach hideaway 58 years. Red bank has been my address.

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