RED BANK: TENNIS, TRESTLE, PARKING & DOGS

rb tennis 102912The Red Bank clay courts during Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, above. Below, a truck stuck under the West Front Street railroad trestle last week. (Photos by Peter Lindner and Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb stuck truck 052314 2Tennis enthusiasts pelted the Red Bank council over the lack of progress on rebuilding the town’s cherished clay courts Wednesday night.

At its bimonthly meeting – conducted over the loud hum of temporary air conditioners while the borough hall HVAC system gets an upgrade – the governing body also took up issues ranging from the vexing train trestle on West Front Street to beagle rights.

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RFH: A GAYLA TO ‘JUST BE THEMSELVES’

Vanessa Cameron, David Ramos and Christina Mekheil at the Gayla prom held at RFH Friday night. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

About 100 high school students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and their straight allies gathered for a dance party in the cafeteria at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional on Friday night.

It was the third annual Gayla!, a prom-like event organized by Make It Better for Youth, a consortium which includes Monmouth County high schools, Jersey Shore PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the county library system, the Two River Theater, and the Monmouth County Arts Council.

“What’s great about this is that you don’t go in feeling pressured to fit into any prom stereotype,” said Ellie Halfacre, RFH senior, member of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and event organizer. “It’s not about what sexuality you are, it’s about being with people who accept you no matter what.

“Everyone’s here to have fun and just be themselves,” she said, adding that many friendships had grown out of the prior two Gayla gatherings.

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GAY PRIDE TO PLANT A RED BANK FLAG

The June 20 event, at the Two River Theater, will feature an open mic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths to tell their stories. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Joining the ranks of cities and towns across America, Red Bank is set to hold Two River Pride, its first-ever community event to commemorate the struggles and accomplishments of the gay community.

Ed Zipprich, the borough’s first openly gay elected official, tells redbankgreen that Two River Pride is a response to  inquiries from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals about the absence of events during June, designated as LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan that sparked the gay rights movement.

“For years, we’ve been asked why we don’t do an event, and it’s because no one ever took the initiative to start one,” he said. “So Kathy Horgan and I put our heads together,” he said of his fellow member of the borough council.

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ZIPPRICH ADDS TO ‘IT GETS BETTER’ EFFORT

In a video posted on YouTube in support of an outreach effort for gay teenagers who may be considering suicide, Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich talks about his own sexuality and the presence of bullies in his youth.

Describing himself as “an out and proud councilman elected by the people of Red Bank, New Jersey,” Zipprich recalls that as a teenager, he knew that “by being different, I wasn’t safe, especially when it came to kids who bullied.”

“It was very painful and very difficult to go to school every day in fear that somebody would find out who you really were,” he says in the video, which is featured on the It Gets Better website among those made by average joes and celebrities such as Keith Strickland of the B-52s and comedian Margaret Cho.

“I buried who I was. I knew that who I was wasn’t safe,” he says.

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