RED BANK: STATION TO BE NAMED FOR O’HERN

rb station 112514 1The Red Bank train station will be dedicated to the memory of late Mayor and state Supreme Court Justice Dan O’Hern. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

After a four-year, $1.6-million facelift, the scaffolding is down at the Red Bank train station, revealing a spiffy new Victorian-era depot.

On Friday, the station will get a new identity to go along with the new roof, restored windows and gingerbread trim.

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ELECTION RESULTS FROM ACROSS THE GREEN

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FAIR HAVEN: Incumbent Republican Susan Sorensen won re-election to the borough council, but Aimee Humphreys pulled off a rare win for a Democrat in outpolling incumbent Republican Jerome Koch. The Monmouth County Clerk’s website had it as Sorensen with 38 percent of the vote, Humphreys with 34 and Koch, 28.

Mayor Ben Lucarelli was re-elected without a ballot opponent.

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RED BANK SCORES IN GAS VALVE BATTLE

An NJNG crew packs it in after being ordered by police to stop work on a nearly completed gas regulator valve replacement on Monmouth Street in October, 2012. Below, a Monmouth Street valve that was struck by a falling tree during Hurricane Sandy. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb gas valve 103112Remember the flap over the regulator valves that New Jersey Natural Gas Company moved above-ground along storefronts over the objections of Red Bank officials and merchants two years ago?

They’re unsafe, borough officials said. They’re ugly, too, said business owners and officials at RiverCenter, the downtown promotion agency. Mayor Pasquale Menna called them “monstrous carbuncles” forced upon the town by an “arrogant” utility company.

They’re also illegal, according to a state appellate panel ruing issued Tuesday.

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RED BANK COPS HALT GAS VALVE WORK

An NJNG crew packs it in after being ordered by police to stop work on a nearly completed gas regulator valve replacement on Monmouth Street Friday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The dispute over natural gas valves in downtown Red Bank grew more heated Friday morning, as Mayor Pasquale Menna directed the police chief to pull cops off traffic duty at New Jersey Natural Gas worksites and to order the construction halted.

Menna and downtown business interests, already blowing a gasket over what they have termed the company’s “medieval,” “spiteful” and “arrogant” displays of power, said NJNG has visibly ramped up its efforts to move gas valves from sub-sidewalk pits to above-ground spots adjacent to storefronts. And it is doing so without obtaining necessary construction permits, they said.

Based on that failure, Menna said he consulted with borough Attorney Dan O’Hern before asking police Chief Steve McCarthy to yank officers from site work and to have cops order the workers to pack it in.

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NEFF TAKES LITTLE SILVER MAYORAL RACE

ls-votes-110811A voter signs in at borough hall Tuesday. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

election_2011_plainLittle Silver Mayor Bob Neff Jr. coasted to victory over Independent Councilman Dan Levine in the race for the tiny borough’s top job Tuesday, according to the Monmouth County Clerk’s website.

Incumbent Democratic Councilman Dan O’Hern Jr, and Republican Dane Mihlon claimed the two open council seats, leaving Independent Jennifer Pardee a distant third.

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O’HERN, AZZOLINA GET NAME HONORS

ohern-stationThe Red Bank train station and the Route 36 Highlands-Sea Bright bridge, below, have new names. (Click to enlarge)

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Two prominent pieces of public infrastructure – one, some 140 years old, the other brand-new – have officially been renamed for Red Bank-area leaders.

Governor Chris Christie has signed bills naming the century-old Red Bank rail station for the late borough mayor and state Supreme Court Justice Daniel O’Hern and dubbing a new bridge across the Shrewsbury River for the late  Joe Azzolina, the longtime state Assemblyman from Middletown.

State Senator Jennifer Beck, who pushed for both, announced the changes Monday.

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HONORS FOR O’HERN & AZZOLINA ADVANCE

oherndaniel2Legislation that would name the Red Bank train station for late mayor and state Supreme Court justice Daniel O’Hern, right, will move to the full state Senate after clearing its Transportation Committee Monday.

Ditto for another bill that would put the name of the longtime Middletown legislator Joe Azzolina on the Highlands-Sea Bright replacement bridge now under construction at the mouth of the Shrewsbury River.

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RENAMING HONORS O’HERN’S ACHIEVEMENTS

ohern-dedicationFamily members and other admirers of the late mayor and state Supreme Court justice gathered for an evening ceremony Sunday.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It would have been easy for Daniel J. O’Hern to leave Red Bank and move on to almost anywhere he wanted, his son, Dan O’Hern Jr., said Sunday afternoon to some 30 people on the corner of Shrewsbury and Locust avenues.

The elder man’s resume was impressive, to say the least: Fordham University and Harvard Law School graduate, Korean War veteran, borough councilman and mayor, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Supreme Court Justice.

“With that pedigree, he could’ve punched his own ticket. But he didn’t do that. He came back to Red Bank,” O’Hern Jr. said. “My father never, ever, ever forgot where he came from. He embraced this town with all of his heart.”

In return for his love and service to Red Bank, borough officials dedicated Locust Avenue —the street he grew up on — to him, ceremonially renaming it Justice O’Hern Way.

“It was important, since his roots are on this street,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna. “We thought in our way we could give back, in perpetuity, to him.”

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