DRUG BUST NEAR SCHOOL NABS TWO

rbpd-patch- rightThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of March 4 to March 11, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring at Broad Street on 3-4-11. Victim reported that unknown person painted graffiti on business sign. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

Attempted Shoplifting occurring at E. Newman Springs Road on 3-4-11. Victim reported that unknown male subject attempted to steal a bottle of liquor without paying for same. Actor fled but without the bottle of liquor. Ptl. Michael Campanella.

Burglary occurring on 3-6-11 at Tower Hill Drive. Victim reported that unknown subject stole an IBM laptop, three silver men’s bracelets and one man’s watch from residence. Ptl. Dawn Shields

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TRADER JOE’S FANS REVEL IN NEW STORE

tjs3Customers got the aloha treatment, complete with leis, at the opening of the new Trader Joe’s store in Shrewsbury Friday morning. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Aaaaaaaand exhale, Trader Joe’s fans.

On this damp and gray Friday morning, the wildly popular grocer opened its doors in Shrewsbury — an event full of pageantry, with Caribbean music blasting, a Hawaiian-shirted steel drummer at the entrance and TJ employees forming a tunnel and placing leis around the necks of some 30 customers who lined up well before the 8a opening to get their fix.

“We’re so happy to be here,” said Fran Waldmann, of Red Bank.

Happy, she said, because now she can sleep.

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FAR-LEFT PEACENIK AL STRASBURGER DIES

al-strasburgerAl Strasburger, a lifelong Red Banker widely recognized for his presence at antiwar, antinuke and pro-labor demonstrations, died early Thursday, redbankgreen has learned.

An affable and unrepentant “revolutionary socialist ” who considered Castro a hero and thought Stalin had been judged too harshly, Strasburger could often be seen leading protests at the gates of Fort Monmouth or outside the post office on Broad Street.

In between, he cut he lawn of his Oakland Street house with a sickle and made regular visits to unemployment offices, where he handed out anti-capitalist literature, often to the bemusement of job-seekers.

“I’m pretty far to the left,” Strasburger told redbankgreen in an interview in September, 2006, when he was 74 years old.

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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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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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We think we speak for the majority when we say we have seen quite enough snow this winter and hope to make it to spring without seeing another flake, let alone any more accumulation.

But the snowscape featured in last week’s Where reminds us that there were a few hours this winter when it looked all cute and such. Before it got ugly and overstayed its welcome.

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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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RIVERVIEW PLANS $15M SURGICAL MAKEOVER

red-bank-riverviewRiverview plans to add two surgical suites to handle a growing number of surgeries, officials say. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center is planning a $15 million upgrade to its surgical facilities in coming months to meet rising demand, hospital officials announced Monday.

Expected to start this spring and to take some 16 months to complete, the work calls for the creation of two new high-tech surgical suites, bringing the total number of operating rooms to 12, says Riverview president Tim Hogan.

To make room for the new facilities at the east end of the third floor of the Blaisdell Pavilion, an existing same-day-surgery center will be relocated to the west end and modernized.

“This is a sizeable project for us,” Hogan tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK POLICE BLOTTER

The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of February 25 to March 4, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

authorities2bCriminal Mischief occurring at Shrewsbury Ave. between 2-18-11 and 2-26-11. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke rear window in garage. Ptl. Thomas Doremus.

Criminal Mischief occurring W. Front St.-Bluffs between 2-26-11 and 2-17-11. Report of three exterior lanterns lining the wall had been damaged by unknown person(s). Ptl. David Smith.

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RIVERCENTER AND STORES ON THE MOVE

rivercenter-for-leaseRiverCenter is relocating to English Plaza in mid-March. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After six years tucked above the bustle of Broad Street in Red Bank, RiverCenter is packing up and moving one block west. rcsm2_010508

In mid-March, the independent agency that promotes the downtown and part of the West Side will make English Plaza its hub of operations. The move, to the same building that houses the Inbetween Cafe, PS Poppyseeds, Urban Dawgs, and Space Interiors,  will create more elbow room for the handful of employees and reduce the rent, said Executive Director Nancy Adams.

“We loved being here,” she said of the offices above Zebu Forno. “But it gives us more space and some separate offices for staff.”

That’s the latest move downtown. There’s more in the rundown right around the Read More corner…

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RED BANK CRIME & ARREST REPORTS

authorities3The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of February 18 to February 25, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Theft reported on 2-18-11 at Central Ave. Victim reported that vehicle was towed and upon his retrieving same, all of the stereo equipment including wiring had been removed from the vehicle. Ptl. Dawn Shields.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 2-19-11 at Newman Springs Rd.-Salvation Army. Report of the glass and frame on their sign being damaged by unknown person(s). Ptl. Paul Perez.

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RED BANK CURB SERVICE

car-curbpark_it_021Today, redbankgreen rolls out an occasional feature called Park It, in which we’ll spotlight all manner of issues, from the trifling to the truly troublesome, about parking in Red Bank and nearby towns. Our debut entry, from the trifling end of the spectrum, merely calls attention to the inattentive parking job by the driver of this Hyundai Elantra on Broad Street Tuesday afternoon.

Have you got a suggestion for Park It? Park it here, please. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

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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SPRING SO CLOSE YOU CAN SMELL IT

dogsJoan and Bill Zacher of Middletown take Arden, left, and Zadar on a walk through downtown Red Bank Saturday. Arden is a Seeing Eye trainee who this week goes back to the program after spending a year and a half with the Zachers; Zadar is a Seeing Eye flunk-out. (Click to enlarge)

A warm and sunny taste of spring over the weekend yields to rain and relatively warm temperatures  as we close out February today.

The National Weather Service says the temperature will reach as high as 60 degrees in the Red Bank area, though opportunities to enjoy it will be limited by heavy rain, thunderstorms and maybe even some hail.

Sunny skies return for a few days beginning Tuesday, but temps will fluctuate quite a bit over the next few days as winter and spring begin their tug-of-war.

Here’s the forecast:

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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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HAMPTON INN EYES RED BANK EYESORE

hampton-innPlans for a Hampton Inn at the site of a former gas station on Route 35 in Red Bank call for a six-story, 76-room hotel at the foot of the Navesink River. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A major name in the hotel industry is looking to develop on a long-vacant eyesore property on the Navesink in Red Bank.

A franchisee has filed plans to build a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn at the southwestern foot of Cooper’s Bridge, on the 1.2-acre former home to an Exxon station.

In order to move forward, though, the developer has asked the borough council to first make a change to its zoning law.

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MAKING HISTORY SING… AND DANCE

jamesbrowndrjpRed Bank families packed the middle school auditorium Thursday night for a Black History Month celebration that included a performance by “James Brown,” above; hip-hop dancers, below, and a reading in the voice of Dr. James Parker Sr. one of the “past and present heroes of Red Bank.” Supper followed in the cafeteria. (Click to enlarge)hiphop

MIDDLETOWN INVENTOR EYES THE FUTURE

Andrei Provini explains one of his hundreds of inventions: headlamp spectacles. (Video by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Christmastime at the Provini household in Middletown is full of tradition, one of them being the line of questioning Liz Provini delivers to her son, Andrei.

“Every single year, we can’t find the bolts for the (tree) stand because Andrei’s got them in one of his inventions,” she said.

Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood off Navesink River Road, Liz Provini’s home is as much, if not more, a laboratory for her 19-year-old son who, since the age of five, has tinkered with everything from bolts to strainers to stumbled-upon Volkswagens to create hundreds of inventions.

“He’s very creative,” she said. “His mind is going a million miles an hour. If he doesn’t have an invention in the works, he gets very frustrated.”

Provini, his mother said, was born to create. More specifically, he was born to change the world, he said, and doesn’t see himself settling for any less.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

where_022411_ir1

Ok, all you pillars of the community we call Whereopolis: Where is this one?

If you know or want to hazard a guess, drop us a line here, with the words ‘Where Have I Seen This?” in the subject line, please.

A number of readers roared in instant recognition last week, when we featured a large, sculpted lion’s head.

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TROUBLED WATER LINE SET FOR UPGRADE

shrews-hydrantThe replacement of the Shrewsbury Avenue main is to be timed with the replacement of Hubbards Bridge on West Front Street. (Click to enlarge)

Homes and businesses serviced by an antiquated water supply line on Red Bank’s West Side are finally going to get the water pressure they’ve been demanding for years, borough officials say.

A replacement of the existing four-inch main running beneath Shrewsbury Avenue with an eight-incher is on the drawing board and about to get financing.

The completion of the project, however, is months away.

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RED BANK: RUGBY TOO ROUGH FOR BASIE

scrum2Monmouth Rugby of Red Bank, in blue, and Monmouth Rugby of Wales, in stripes, in a scrum at Thompson Park in Lincroft in May, 2008. (Click to enlarge)

Its home, the Wilde Rover, is in town, on Shrewsbury Avenue, and it contributes nicely to the community, one Red Bank council member says of the Monmouth Football Rugby Club.

But sorry, ruggers, you can’t practice here, the governing body told the club last week. You just play too rough.

It’s not a call that’s sitting well with the 38-year-old club.

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BIKE & PED PLAN HITS THE STREETS

bike-route-networkA “bike route network” map in the report details suggested locations for bike lanes, shared lanes, bike parking and more. Below, the cover page of the report. (Click to enlarge)

saferoutes-report-cover

Attention Red Bank pedestrians and bicyclists: your wish list is in.

A much-anticipated report on ways to improve biking and walking safety, titled “Red Bank Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Project,” has been delivered to borough officials and is now available here at redbankgreen (see below).

Based in part on suggestions from dozens of borough residents who attended input sessions and completed questionnaires,  it contains a cornucopia of recommendations, ranging from simple upgrades to signage and traffic signals to the creation of bike lanes and roundabouts.

The comprehensive report is “exactly what we wanted, and then some,” says Jenny Rossano, speaking on behalf of Safe Routes Red Bank, a grassroots organization that promotes walking buses and other alternatives to car use.

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‘DOG WHISPERER’ TRAINS HIS AUDIENCE WELL

cesar2Don’t tell Fido: The Dog Whisperer is back in town, as Cesar Millan returns to the Count Basie for February 25 event that’s strictly for humans only.

Not so very long ago it was an accepted, if unwritten, law of show business that said audiences seldom pay to see something “live” that they can get at home, for free, on the teevee.

Of course, that old showbiz playbook hit the shredder some time ago — right about the time that the Count Basie Theatre and other similarly sized venues discovered that TV stars — specifically, stars of realiTV — had become some of the most dependable draws on the entertainment circuit, regularly packing houses with relatively inexpensive, logistically uncomplicated presentations that were powered by the undeniable appeal of their newly minted celebrity centerpieces.

Within the past handful of months, the Basie stage has accommodated well-received shows starring a Cake Boss, a Real Housewife, a couple of Paranormal Staters and a No Reservations “bad boy of cuisine.” And on Friday, February 25, the Count’s crib welcomes back a personality who sold out the auditorium in his last Red Bank appearance: Cesar Millan, host of the National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer.

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A WEEK OF BURGLARY AND THIEVERY

rbpd-car

The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of February 11 to February 18, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 2-11-11 at Reckless Place. Victim reported that unknown person(s) keyed his parked vehicle on the driver’s side. Ptl. George Travostino.

Theft occurring on 2-11-11 at South St. parking lot. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole purse from vehicle, which contained wallet with cash and debit card. Lt. Daniel Bannon.

Theft occurring on 2-13-11 at Broad St. restaurant. Victim reported that unknown person(s) removed camera from on top of counter. Ptl. Thomas Doremus.

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