HOMEOWNER GRABS ALLEGED CAR BURGLAR

call-in-the-authoritiesWell, in this case, the authorities were called… but only after a homeowner found himself in a tussle with an alleged car burglar.

Middletown police report that they arrested a Lincroft man early Wednesday morning after a report of an alercation between a purported thief and a resident of a nearby home.

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MORE HEARINGS EXPECTED ON AVAYA PLAN

avayaThe Avaya property hearing saw more than 200 people in attendance, but no decision was made by the planning board. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

More than 200 people, some wearing t-shirts with a red slash through the number 342,  turned out for Wednesday’s planning board meeting on a proposal to build 342 housing units at a disused Avaya office complex, the Asbury Park Press reports.

It was the first of many expected meetings that will take place over the course of months, Township Planner Jason Greenspan told the newspaper.

The proposal to build 342 units on the 68-acre property on Middletown-Lincroft Road has residents concerned about its impact on the sewer system. Rick Brodsky, attorney for developer Four Ponds Associates, said his client “will certainly pay its fair share” should a new pump station for the system should one be needed.

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‘BEATLES’ HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE

beatlemanialuciennocelliThe Beatlemania Stage Show — co-starring Lucien Nocelli of Lincroft (right) as John Lennon — rolls up to the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater for a fab fundraiser on Sunday.

Beatlemania is coming to Two River Theater for a benefit concert! But wait, didn’t we just publish this story a couple of months ago? Yes, we did — but that was an altogether different foursome of MockTops, and an event (presented by Red Bank Rotary Club) dedicated to an altogether different collection of worthy causes.

You see, The Beatles never really went away — and never ever left the hearts of the people of New Jersey, a state in which most everyone of a certain age treasures a recollection of Sullivan Show ’64 (and which gave the world The Knickerbockers in return). From celebrity tributeers like The Fab Faux to veteran costume acts like The Mahoney Brothers, we need never venture too far afield for our FabFour fix — and it seems that whenever and wherever there’s a charitable cause to be advanced, a medical bill to be paid, a grave wrong to be righted, the Beatles suit up and re-emerge in some shape or form like some semi-retired Justice League.

Here in and around the greater Red Bank Green, that moptopped mania often manifests itself in the host entity of the Beatlemania Stage Show, a two-hour, four-act extravaganza that offers spot-on recreations of Beatles material, ranging from the cheerful chirp of their earliest singles to the ambitious, genre-smashing gotterdammerung of their final studio masterworks.

Co-fronted by Lincroft-based singer, songwriter, guitarist and businessman Lucien Nocelli, the show comes to the Two River stage on the afternoon of Sunday, May 1, in a concert from which proceeds are being dedicated to the nonprofit organization Housing & United Service Inc. of NJ.

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BROOKDALE TO DISPLAY AXES, ACTS

guitarFans of six-strings will find nirvana at Sunday’s guitar show at Brookdale Community College. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It might be getting hard to tell anymore whether you’re at a daylong music festival with a ton of guitars on display, or a guitar festival with a ton of live music on display.

It’s the latter, but having a mix of live tunes alongside hundreds of axes is what makes the Brookdale Guitar Show one of those increasingly-popular exclusive events without making people feel excluded, the college’s public radio director Tom Brennan said.

“It’s not just about buying strings, buying guitars and buying amps,” he said. “It’s all about performances, too.”

Now in year 14, the radio station’s largest fundraiser to keep its audience’s ears pleased and its DJ’s fed, plugs in this Sunday

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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)

‘IMAGINE’ NATION, AT TEEN ARTS 2011

teenartsA sampling of featured works from recent presentations of the Monmouth County Arts Council’s annual Teen Arts Festival — the 2011 edition of which opens with a reception tonight at Brookdale Community College.

With bureaucrats and administrators taking a palette knife to public arts funding these days, a nonprofit entity like the Red Bank-based Monmouth County Arts Council must often rely on some very well known friends.

When it came time to plan the 2011 edition of the annual Teen Arts Festival, MCAC Education Director Sandy Taylor turned for inspiration to a public figure who was taken from this world nearly two decades before some of this year’s featured artists were even born — John Lennon, alpha Beatle and composer of the stately peace anthem “Imagine.”

The most famous song of Lennon’s post-Beatles career has in turn served as the inspiration for a collection of original artworks by some 65 students of area middle schools and high schools — the centerpiece of the festival that opens tonight, and continues through Friday at Brookdale Community College.
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LINCROFT HOUSING PLAN RATTLES NEIGHBORS

avayaA proposal to build more than 300 townhomes at a former Avaya property in Lincroft has neighbors worried. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A plan to build out a vacant property in Lincroft with more than 300 homes has neighbors concerned and “real nervous” about the impacts of such a large development in one of Middletown’s more tranquil areas.

Plans submitted by Four Ponds Associates call for 342 residential units — 274 of them townhomes and 68 apartments — on the 68-acre property most recently used as an office of business technology giant Avaya.

While the plans are under review by the township’s planning department, nearby residents full of questions and concerns are banding together in opposition to develop the sprawling tract on Middletown-Lincroft Road, which is now the site of a 352,000-square-foot office building, according to property records.

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UNDER FIRE, BURNHAM QUITS BROOKDALE

hot-topic rightPeter Burnham quit his job as Brookdale Community College president Tuesday, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Under fire for lavish pay and perks, and under investigation over questions about spending, Burnham said his resignation should not be taken as an admission of guilt, according to the Press.

Through a statement issued by his attorney, the 66-year-old Colts Neck resident said he had been planning to retire soon, “but I would be disingenuous if I did not say that recent events have moved my timetable forward.

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BROOKDALE PREZ PUT ON UNPAID LEAVE

hot-topic rightBrookdale Community College President Peter Burnham has been put on unpaid leave amid questions about “questionable spending,” the Asbury Park Press reports.

Burham, who has been in the spotlight recently over a pay-and-perks package some elected officials consider exorbitant, was replaced Thursday morning on an interim basis by an acting president “who is both an educator and fraud investigator,” the newspaper says.

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ALL THEY ARE SAYING IS ‘GET IN BED’

mm-give-peace-a-chance-1John Lennon and Yoko Ono duet during their 1969 Bed-In for Peace, the subject of a new installation opening this weekend at the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft. (Photo ©Joan Athey/ Peaceworks Now Productions)

Need a reason to get out of your pajamas and leave the house this weekend? The Monmouth Museum is offering two chances to do just that — and you can even keep the PJs on.

Opening on Sunday afternoon (and previewing with a fun fundraiser on Saturday evening), the exhibit known as Give Peace a Chance recreates those eight days in the late spring of 1969 when the recently married John Lennon and Yoko Ono held court inside Suite 1742 of Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Their playfully public Bed-In for Peace resulted in massive media coverage, friendly (and not so) visits by fellow public figures — and a subversively silly, enduringly catchy Top 20 anthem.

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CURLEY TAKES AIM AT COLLEGE PREXY’S PERKS

curleyMonmouth County Freeholder John Curley, right, has turned his sights on a raft of generous perks being paid to Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham, according to a report in today’s Asbury Park Press.

It turns out that in addition to his annual $216,000 salary, Burnham gets a country club membership, a housing allowance, a car and up to $40,000 a year of tuition coverage for two his children.

Curley, a Republican who served as a Red Bank council member before moving to Middletown and in 2008, calls the package “an extravagance at a time and place when there’s no room for extravagance,” the Press reports.

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MAN IN GOGGLES ROBS LINCROFT STATION

just_in1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown police are looking for a man who robbed the BP gas station on Newman Springs Road in the Lincroft section of town before dawn Saturday.

The suspect, described as tall and skinny, and was wearing dark, tinted swimming goggles, displayed a silver-and-black handgun to the station attendant and demanded money, Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger said.

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‘AGREE TO DISAGREE’ ON FIRE PHOTO

COMMENT8

This week’s Comment of the Week was posted last Tuesday by “Pat.”

Pat’s comment was part of an exchange about a photo redbangkreeen ran from the wedding of a couple who are members of the Lincroft fire and first aid squads.

The headline over the photo was “LINCROFT PAIR START A FIRE.” Did they ever.

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LINCROFT PAIR START A FIRE

kellykissDavid Kelly III gets a smooch from his new bride, Kristin Williams, following their wedding Friday evening at St. James RC Church in Red Bank. He’s a fireman in the Lincroft Fire Company, and president of the First Aid Squad; she’s vice president of the fire company. Lincroft’s Tower 200 truck served as the backdrop for their photos. (Click to enlarge)

SWINDLED INVESTORS TO GET $5.15 MILLION

hot-topic rightCustomers of a penny-stock boiler room that operated out of an office on Half Mile Road in Lincroft will share in $5.15 million obtained by authorities from stock swindler Robert E. Brennan, according to a report today from NorthJersey.com.

The defunct firm, L.C. Wegard & Co., was a legitimate stock brokerage before Brennan secretly took it over in the early 1990s. But like First Jersey Securities, a firm whose ubiquitous commercials made Brennan famous in the 1970s and ’80s, Wegard became a high-pressure sales operation peddling stocks that Brennan secretly controlled.

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RED BANK HOUSE, LINCROFT CHURCH ON TOUR

solar-houseReady for its moment in the sun: the Ptak house on West Westside Avenue. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s not uncommon for Peter Ptak to have complete strangers knocking on his door, poking around his yard and asking him a list of questions about that funny-looking roof of his. So when a steady flow of strangers show up this Saturday, it won’t be such a big deal.

But in a sense it is.

Saturday is the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association‘s annual Green Buildings Open House, which showcases local projects like Ptak’s solar-powered home, to interested locals.

Its purpose is to show the public that living in a more sustainable and energy efficient home is somewhat simple, even if it extends beyond screwing in a couple compact fluorescent light bulbs.

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