RED BANK: LUCKY BREAK BILLIARDS TO REOPEN

lucky break 102113Lucky Break was closed for more than two months as the owner struggled to find a way out of red tape over BYOB rules.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Lucky Break Billiards, the Red Bank pool hall that shut itself down after becoming entangled in bureaucratic red tape over beer and wine consumption, will reopen Thursday.

Hall owner James Hertler tells redbankgreen he got the green light to reopen Wednesday from Mayor Pasquale Menna.

“The gist of it was that there was no complaint” by anyone that Hertler could challenge in court, Hertler said Menna told him. “My takeaway was that we’re good to go.”

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RED BANK: LUCKY BREAK’S SHATTERED DREAM

lucky break 102913James Hertler, below, shut down Lucky Break Billiards in September, a month after police cracked down over BYOB issues. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

james hertler 101813How’s this for an auspicious start for a business?

• In early 2011, in an effort to spice up nightlife, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna spearheads a zoning law change to allow billiards parlors and other entertainment-based businesses to operate downtown.

• Several months later, former Mayor Ed McKenna, as lawyer on a lease for a planned billiards parlor, calls now-deceased police Chief Steve McCarthy to confirm that it could operate as a bring-your-own-beer and wine establishment. McKenna gets an OK, he tells his client, James Hertler, who was in McKenna’s office during the call.

• That October, Hertler goes before the zoning board and wins quick, unanimous approval of his plan for Lucky Break Billiards. Throughout its lengthy resolution of approval, the board notes that Lucky Break will be a BYOB that serves coffee and microwavable snacks and will allow its customers to bring in food from nearby restaurants.

• The following March, Hertler and partner Jeff Regen open Lucky Break at 14 West Front Street, in a space that had been vacant for four years.

• Lucky Break toughs it out for the next 18 months, building a repeat clientele largely based on private parties and edging toward profitability.

• Though it’s located amid a busy cluster of bars, there’s not a single incident requiring a police response at Lucky Break. “We worked hard to be a good neighbor,” said Hertler, a borough resident.

Yet without any change in the pattern described above, guess who abruptly finds himself accused of violating liquor laws – and out of business?

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RED BANK DEMS MAINTAIN LOCK ON POWER

Councilman Mike DuPont referred to his wife’s battle with cancer in his victory speech, with running mate Art Murphy at his side.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD & DAN NATALE

Incumbent Red Bank council members Mike DuPont and Art Murphy drubbed their sole Republican challenger Tuesday, ensuring a continued Democratic lock on power at borough hall.

Political newcomer Suzanne Viscomi polled just 1,476 votes, barely two-thirds the totals racked up DuPont, with 2,266 votes, and Murphy, 2,155.

“I think the voters like what we do, and we need to continue,” DuPont told a group of supporters gathered in the vacant former Ballew’s jewelry store on Broad Street.

Viscomi, though, went down swinging.

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RED BANK GOP CANDIDATE NOW RUNS SOLO

Council candidate Suzanne Viscomi, left, joined by state Senator Jen Beck, center, and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, answers questions during a presser in her driveway Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Already a little-known, thinly financed newcomer taking on established incumbents, Red Bank council candidate Suzanne Viscomi will go the rest of the campaign without a running mate.

Viscomi announced Monday that ticket mate and fellow borough board of ed member Allen Palma has had to withdraw from the race for personal reasons.

At an open-air press conference outside her home Monday, Viscomi said the vacancy on the ballot was unlikely to be filled, and that she would run solo. But she didn’t see that as a hinderance in her effort to unseat either Art Murphy or Mike DuPont.

“We only need one voice” to counter that of the all-Democratic mayor and council, she said.

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SENKELESKI CONCEDES SHE HASN’T CONCEDED

kim-senkeleskiKim Senkeleski: provisionally waiting.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Prior statements by the candidate aside, it’s possible Tuesday night’s borough council election results didn’t spell the end of campaign ’09 for Republican Kim Senkeleski after all.

Early Tuesday night, Senkeleski conceded to incumbent Democrats Art Murphy and top vote-getter Mike DuPont.

But the Asbury Park Press reported later in the evening that Senkeleski was considering a ballot recount because she had narrowed the gap.

Senkeleski denied that report when contacted by redbankgreen later that night.

But she changed her tune when she posted a comment yesterday on redbankgreen‘s election story, writing that because provisional ballots have yet to be counted, she will not admit defeat.

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COUNCIL CANDIDATE: SENKELESKI

senkeleski1_ir

[audio:https://www.redbankgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/senkeleski.mp3]

Today, redbankgreen brings you the fourth and final installment in a series of unedited audio interviews with each of the four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank Council up for grabs in the November 3 election.

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COUNCIL CANDIDATE: MURPHY

murphy1_ir

[audio:https://www.redbankgreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/murphy.mp3]

Today, redbankgreen brings you the third in a series of unedited audio interviews with each of the four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank Council up for grabs in the November 3 election.

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