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RED BANK: SUNRISE AND WEATHER

Thursday’s sunrise on the Greater Green, as seen from Tower Hill Presbyterian Church in Red Bank: that’s the intersection of Harding Road and Prospect Avenue at lower left.

The day began with temperatures around 30 degrees, and under mostly cloudy skies, with the expected daytime peak around 40 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. But the outlook for Friday through Monday, Presidents’ Day, called for mostly-sunny skies and daytime peaks well into the 50’s. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

ON THE GREEN: HOW MUCH WHITE STUFF?

A coming snowstorm that’s closed schools and government offices is expected to be brief but intense Thursday. As of 6 a.m., with heavy snow reported in northern New Jersey, the rain had just changed to sleet in Red Bank. But the white stuff is expected to begin falling on the Greater Red Bank Green at around 8 a.m. and diminish by early afternoon, with a “most likely snowfall” forecast of 5 to 9 inches, according to the National Weather Service. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

ON THE GREEN: UNUSUAL WARMTH, THEN SNOW

Snow’s coming. Yes, the peak daytime temperature Wednesday is expected to hit 56 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. But that could be followed by “heavy” snow falling at the rate of up to two inches per hour between 3 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thursday.

“The snow should be wet in consistency and therefore will tend to stick to trees and power lines, possibly resulting in some power outages,” the weather service said in a Wednesday morning briefing. “North-to-northwest winds will increase late tonight and Thursday, with gusts in the 30-35 mph range.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

ON THE GREEN: NORTHEASTER ARRIVES

rb paddler 012117In chilly, damp weather, a lone paddler took to our beautiful, if grey, Navesink River Saturday afternoon, as seen from Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank.

The new week begins with even less hospitable conditions for paddling, or much anything else: a northeaster. The National Weather Service forecast for Monday and Tuesday expects a northeaster to bring heavy rain and wind gusts as strong as 65 miles per hour, with coastal flooding. Here’s the full statement on the outlook and hazards from the NWS. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

ON THE GREEN: SNOW’S A NO-SHOW

LS road brine 031816Forecasts for a first-day-of spring northeaster prompted towns across the Greater Red Bank Green to lay down road brine as a precaution, as seen here on Garfield Place late Friday afternoon, But as of early Monday morning, a storm that had been expected to dump up to four inches of snow had barely dusted cars and lawns, leaving roadways a bit slick, but snow-free.

Monday’s forecast: clearing, with a daytime high temperature of about 50 degreess, according to the Weather Underground (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

 

ON THE GREEN: BRACING FOR A BLIZZARD

bread 012515The bread shelves at the SuperFoodtown in Red Bank were nearly bare Sunday afternoon as locals stocked up in anticipation of a blizzard expected to sock the region Monday and Tuesday.

The National Weather Service expects light snow Monday morning, but has a blizzard warning in effect from noon Monday through 6 p.m. Tuesday, with whiteout conditions and accumulations expected to total 18 to 28 inches, with higher drifts as a result of strong winds.

As of 6 p.m. Sunday, Red Bank had cancelled trash and recycling pickups scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, and was reminding residents to get their vehicles off the street once snow starts falling. Details here.

Be sure to check with redbankgreen and our Facebook page for updates, including closings and reschedulings. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

SEA BRIGHT: STREETS INUNDATED AGAIN

SB FLOOD 120914 1SB FLOOD 120914 2In a scene reminiscent of the early hours of Hurricane Sandy, a paddleboarder made the most of opportunity and took to the streets of Sea Bright Tuesday morning. “The wind is rough,” he told redbankgreen as he worked his way past the Sea Bright Supermarket.

Many of the borough’s side streets were flooded in the convergence of a wind-driven downpour and Shrewsbury River high tide, as were stretches of Ocean Avenue, which remained open to traffic.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

RUMSON: DRIVER RESCUED FROM FLOODING

RUMSON flood 120914 1 A car sits in the center of Waterman Avenue, its emergency lights still flashing, moments after its driver was rescued Tuesday morning. Below, a pickup truck abandoned near the boat ramp on Avenue of Two Rivers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RUMSON flood 120914 2One motorist was rescued and another abandoned his inundated truck as the worst flooding to hit Rumson since Hurricane Sandy swamped low-lying areas of Rumson, police Chief Scott Paterson said Tuesday.

Borough police rescued an unidentified female motorist from her car after it became stuck in floodwaters on Waterman Avenue at about 11 a.m. Paterson tells redbankgreen.

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SEA BRIGHT: FLOODS MAY CLOSE OCEAN AVE.

just_in1Sea Bright officials may close Ocean Avenue along the length of the borough due to flooding from Tuesday’s heavy rains, police Chief John Sorrentino tells redbankgreen.

At 9:45 a.m., Ocean Avenue was impassable due to flooding in the 300 block – about halfway between the Rumson and Highlands bridges — as well at the Monmouth Beach border, Sorrentino said.

In addition, side-streets on the Shrewsbury River side of the narrow borough are experiencing “the usual” flooding, he said.

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FAIR HAVEN: JUST LET IT BE SPRING ALREADY

fh new sod 032414It’s spring. What are we to make of this talk of a “coastal monster” of a storm, or “blizzard bomb,” or whatever the weather worrywarts are calling it?

The latest consensus forecast appears to be that our region might take a “glancing blow” from a brewing northeaster Tuesday night, with a few inches of snow, but “a worst-case scenario of an epic blizzard [is] still not off the table,” says Slate.

We’re with the Fair Haven cops: Stay off the new sod, snow. In fact, stay off the old sod, too. (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: COUNCIL WAIVES PERMIT FEES

Members of the borough council at Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Amid complaints by residents about unresolved insurance claims and other rebuilding delays, the Sea Bright borough council rolled out several measures aimed at getting them back into their homes with less hassle and cost Tuesday night.

Among the moves: a moratorium on construction permit fees for all work related to Hurricane Sandy-related rebuilding and repairs.

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SEA BRIGHT: EATING, REFLECTING AND RISING

Chris Wood, as seen in a video, above, and Mayor Dina Long, below, at Saturday night’s event, which raised $130,000 for Sea Bright Rising. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

A hotel in Long Branch was transformed into a showcase of the area’s best culinary talents Saturday night, courtesy of the charity organization Sea Bright Rising and the generosity of local vendors and restaurant owners.

Complete with a live band, charity auction and a video showcasing the relief effort, the sold-out gala, dubbed “The Big Beach Bash,” raised almost $130,000 for Sea Bright’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy, according to the charity group’s Facebook page.

But the real story of the event was perhaps best told by the restaurateurs and merchants whose tables lined the walls of the ballroom of the Ocean Place Resort and Spa. Many were Sea Bright business owners trying to help rebuild their broken beach community joined by owners from neighboring towns looking to lend a hand to friends in need.

Over the lively the noise and, redbankgreen spoke with some of these participating businesses, and here’s what they had to say:

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SEA BRIGHT: CHRISTIE TOUTS FOCUS ON BIZ

Joined by Mayor Dina Long and business owners, Governor Chris Christie unveiled a new cabinet-level office to focus on post-storm rebuilding efforts. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Governor Chris Christie came to Sea Bright Friday afternoon, making his second visit to the storm-ravaged community since Hurricane Sandy struck. But while his first visit was a gesture of support to the beachside borough, this trip was all business.

At a news conference in the borough firehouse, Christie stood in front of a signs from local businesses including Bain’s Hardware, Woody’s Oceanfront Grille and Sea Bright Pizza to announce and lay out plans to help businesses that were affected by the hurricane. These include, he said, the creation of a new cabinet-level position – the Office of Recovery and Rebuilding – and the formation of a business impact assessment group, designed to aid businesses on a personal level.

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SEA BRIGHT: BAIN’S IS BACK IN THE PAINT

Frank Bain working the phone and the computer in the freshly restored paint section of his hardware store. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The rebuilding process in Sea Bright took a big step forward this week when Ocean Avenue mainstay Bain’s Hardware reopened its doors to the public for the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit.

“We opened at noon on 12/12/12 – why go to some concert when you could come down here, right?” owner Frank Bain told redbankgreen Thursday in his newly renovated shop.

Less than seven weeks ago, Bain’s store and every piece of inventory inside of it was destroyed. Now, the half of the store that is currently open looks as though it was never touched by the storm.

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SECOND ‘MOUNTAIN’ PILES UP MEMORIES

A passerby eyes debris in the Anchorage Beach parking lot, above, while a mountain of it dominates the former Peninsula House lot, below. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Mount Sandy, meet Mount Refuse.

Though smaller in stature, the mountain of debris occupying in Sea Bright’s old Peninsula House parking lot on Ocean Avenue is just as scene-stealing and ominous as its sand counterpart, located just a stone’s throw away. This ever-growing pile, however, won’t have onlookers climbing it or posing for closeups anytime soon.

The refuse is the accumulated result of curbside trash pickups in this Hurricane Sandy-smashed town, where residents and business owners are early on in a restoration effort.

It stands, however briefly, as a jarring, visceral reminder of the storm’s reach over porches, through doors and windows, and into rooms and closets.

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SEA BRIGHT: AMID TEARS, GUARD ROLLS OUT

Sea Bright’s tent city was largely dismantled by Friday afternoon. Below, Governor Chris Christie speaking with National Guardsmen at the site on November 9. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After six weeks of assisting displaced residents and first responders with everything from hot meals to extra clothes, Sea Bright’s tent city – created by the US National Guard – is leaving town.

Following a final community meal on Thursday,  National Guardsmen made their move out of the municipal parking lot around 10:30 a.m. Friday, according to Onofrio Moscato, head chef at neighboring restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille, Emotions were running high for the Guard as well as volunteers and residents, he said.

“The National Guard was escorted out by the Sea Bright firemen,” Moscato told redbankgreen. “They were hanging out of the windows and waving. It was a special send-off for them. Before they left, they all stood in line and made a final salute, kind of a sign that their mission here was over.”

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HOT DOG CART AND CHIC EATERY BACK IN BIZ

Hot dog seller Frances Rooney poses for a photo with admirers, including Councilwoman Peggy Bills, at right above. Below, Pat Trama in his restored restaurant. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

One of Sea Bright’s oldest food businesses reopened this week, and one of its newest was scheduled to do so Friday night, two signs that the storm-battered town is cooking up a recovery.

Frances Rooney, affectionately known as “Grandma Hot Dog,”  fired up the gas on her cart this week and was soon attracting lines of hungry and loyal customers.

“My son was the one who really encouraged me to come back out here and start serving people again – sooner rather than later,” she told redbankgreen, “He thought it would be a comforting sight for everyone to see me back in business, up on my feet.”

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RUMSON TEEN’S STORM VIDEO DRAWS TRAIN

A 33-minute video about Hurricane Sandy by a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional student caught the attention of the rock band Train, which will play an acoustic show in Sea Bright as a result, NJ.com reported Wednesday.

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Nagy videotaped conditions in Sea Bright and Rumson before, during and after the October 29 storm, and folded the band’s music into her production. Now, the San Francisco-based band is planning to play a private show for residents, first responders and their families next week, with the performance to be aired on on VH1 Christmas Day, the website of the Star-Ledger reports.

The effort will spotlight the efforts of Sea Bright Rising, a nonprofit devoted to the general recovery of the town of Sea Bright and care for its residents in the interim.

From the story:

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SEA BRIGHT: BAIN’S PAINTS ITS OWN FUTURE

Frank Bain outside his Ocean Avenue hardware store, where all the inventory was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

“This isn’t a competition,” said a stone-faced Frank Bain, when asked if his would be the first business to reopen in Sea Bright after Hurricane Sandy.

But checking in on recent activity at Bain’s Hardware, a visitor might conclude that not only was Bain in a race, but one that his life depended on winning.

One late afternoon last week, the Ocean Avenue storefront was a swarm of dust-encrusted laborers, some installing new subflooring even as others continued with interior demolition work. At one point, an impromptu crew, Bain included, picked up and hustled the pieces of a shattered street lamp from the sidewalk out front to the side of the building.

Make no mistake about it: Bain is in a major hurry. With no flood insurance and every item in his 65,000-SKU shop destroyed, his economic life hangs in the balance, he’s the first to admit. “Getting that register ringing again is paramount,” he told redbankgreen.

But he’s driven just as much, he said, by the importance of his store to other businesses and homeowners who themselves are faced with rebuilding challenges. “We are out here working so that we can get back on our feet and help this town as soon as humanly possible,” he said.

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SEA BRIGHT: ON TOP OF MOUNT SANDY

Rachel Pedersen and Carolyn Rigby on the Sea Bright sandpile, which attracts dog-walkers and other sightseers. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The beach clubs and bars may be temporarily gone, but Sea Bright appears to have a new, if temporary attraction: ‘Mount Sandy.’

Rising perhaps 40 feet above the ocean beach on which it was built, a giant pile of sand reclaimed from the storm-tossed borough’s streets has been luring sightseers willing to climb its soft face, rewarding them with a bird’s-eye view of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.

Just yards away, in fact, is a another mountain rising, this one made of discarded appliances, furniture and building materials.

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SEA BRIGHT MOVES MEETING TO THE BASIE

The mayor and council of Sea Bright took to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank Monday night to accommodate a crowd that would not have fit into the town’s borough hall. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

It was anything but business as usual for Sea Bright residents as they gathered for their borough council’s bimonthly  meeting Monday night.

Stoked by concerns that their homes and businesses might not be rebuilt in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s extensive damage, dozens filled seats near the stage at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre to pepper elected officials with questions about everything from stray transformers to the fate of their town.

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SEA BRIGHT: MERCHANTS PLAN NEW STARTS

Cono Trezza in his newly built pizzeria last February, and as it appeared five days after the storm, below. (Photo below by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

For owners of Sea Bright businesses damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the rebuilding process has just begun. As they assess the damages and take steps toward the recovery of their livelihoods, each has his or her own distinct post-Sandy tale to tell. redbankgreen spoke to four of them this week about their plans in the aftermath of the cataclysmic events that ravaged through their beach community. Here are their stories.

Sea Bright Pizza:
Cono Trezza faces an uphill battle, like most property owners in Sea Bright, though he is meeting it with spirit and vigor that some might find surprising, given the state of his business.

“I want to get back as soon as possible,” Trezza said. “If my ovens were working right now I’d start cooking pizzas for everyone that’s out here.”

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SEA BRIGHT: MOVING ‘MOUNT SANDY’

Bulldozers redistributing sand recovered from the streets of Sea Bright on the borough beach Wednesday morning. Below, contractor Mike Stavola with Governor Chris Christie last week. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s been dubbed ‘Mount Sandy,’ and in its enormity, it looms as one of many reminders of the woes inflicted on Sea Bright by Hurricane Sandy on October 29.

We’re talking about a pile of sand so wide and tall – upwards of 60 feet, says the contractor who built it – that it blocks the view of the ocean from nearly any spot in the municipal beach parking lot.

But the sandpile also stands as a gritty reminder of the rapid progress being made in restoring out the town, while prompting questions about the future of the beaches.

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