RED BANK: DISTRICT GETS FUNDING BOOST

Jobs and after-school programs that were cut this spring are being restored, said Superintendent Jared Rumage, seen at left with board president Fred Stone before a lobbying trip to Trenton in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank school officials have been busy in recent days restoring jobs, programs and contracts eliminated just four months ago.

Under Governor Phil Murphy’s first budget, the borough’s 1,422-student pre-K-8 district saw a 55-percent jump in state aid, which board members said Tuesday night was a cause for both celebration and frustration.

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RED BANK: MURPHYS IN CLASSIC FINISH

Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy powering through the last steps of the race, above, and before the start, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Undaunted by a fellow runner’s warning that Tower Hill can be a killer, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy finished among the top 25 percent of racers in the debut Red Bank Classic 5k Saturday.

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RED BANK: SCHOOL TAX HIKE, JOB CUTS LOOM

Jobs and after-school programs are on the cutting block unless the state comes through with an additional $750,000, said Superintendent Jared Rumage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The average Red Bank homeowner would pay about $117 more in taxes to support borough schools this year if New Jersey legislators don’t come through with more funding, Superintendent Jared Rumage said Tuesday night.

Even with the levy increase, the local primary and middle schools could see cuts in staffing and extracurricular programs such as jazz band and the fledgling cross-country track team, he said.

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FAIR HAVEN: COUNCIL TAKES AIM AT POT, GUNS

Councilman Bob Marchese urged the council to ban recreational pot sales while allowing for medicinal trade. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Mixed in among discussions of yard sales and tree removals at the Fair Haven council’s semimonthly meeting Monday night were two issues of concern statewide and beyond: marijuana and guns.

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RED BANK: CHARTER AID BOOST SLAMMED

District officials say they may have to eliminate a new cross-country program in order to balance the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank school board members and parents reacted with outrage Monday night to an effective reduction in state aid under funding announced by the administration of Governor Phil Murphy last week.

Though nominally a $178,503 increase for the district, more than that sum is to be relayed to the Red Bank Charter School, Superintendent Jared Rumage said at a board meeting at the primary school.

With the district seeing an effective decline in aid while state funding to the charter school’s rises $1,025 per student, “I think the time has come to have the discussion about running two public schools in Red Bank,” Rumage told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: MOMS FLOCK TO GUN LAW EVENT

Amy Downey offered cookies prior to the start of a Moms Demand Action orientation meeting that drew a full house to Shapiro’s Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The murders of 17 people by a gunman in Florida last week prompted a hasty new-member orientation in Red Bank Tuesday night for an organization dedicated to what it calls “common sense gun laws.”

Volunteers with Moms Demand Action said the February 14 slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has unleashed a surge of interest unseen since the group’s founding five years ago in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut murders of 27 children and adults.

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FAIR HAVEN: TOWN TAKES UP POT DEBATE

Councilmen Bob Marchese, center, and Jon Peters, with Business Administrator Theresa Casagrande in foreground, at Monday night’s meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven officials mulled joining other towns in Monmouth and Ocean counties in opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana Monday night.

But the discussion was left unfinished, as council members differed over what specifically they would oppose of Governor Phil Murphy’s plans for legalization, and what they would find acceptable.

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RED BANK: UNITY RALLY DRAWS A MURPHY

Tammy Murphy reacts as her husband, Governor-elect Phil Murphy, calls her while she’s delivering a speech at Saturday’s Unity Rally in Red Bank. The event drew a full house to Pilgrim Baptist Church, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Ignoring biting cold, dozens of Red Bank-area residents participated in a “unity” march and rally Saturday in honor of two civil rights champions: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

Anchored at Pilgrim Baptist Church, the event featured a cameo appearance by the spouse of Governor-elect Phil Murphy as part of a whirlwind, pre-inaugural tour of New Jersey.

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STATEHOUSE: GOPAL, O’SCANLON SCORE WINS


 Vin Gopal and his 11th-district running mates staked out an island of Democratic blue in a sea of GOP red. (Map by NJSpotlight.com.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Middletown resident Phil Murphy was the clear winner in the 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial race Tuesday, in spite of a chilly reception from his home county.

Meanwhile, Republican state Senator Jen Beck of Red Bank lost her 11th-district statehouse seat to Democrat Vin Gopal, and first-term Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan came up short in his bid for an Assembly seat on Beck’s ticket.

Former Little Silver Councilman Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican, held off a challenge to his 13th-district state Senate seat by Middletown Democrat Sean Byrnes, according to results posted by the Monmouth County Clerk.

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RED BANK: MURPHY TOUTS ‘SENSE’ ON GUNS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, with Brett Sabo of Moms Demand Action at right, in Riverside Gardens Park Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At a no-surprises event held in Red Bank, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy picked up an endorsement from a group pushing for “common sense gun laws” Friday.

Addressing a clutch of supporters and at least two local GOP officials in Riverside Gardens Park, Murphy pledged to reject an “us versus them” approach to dealing with gun-rights advocates while pressing for ways to reduce firearms violence in New Jersey.

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RED BANK: MURPHY ROLLS, AND SWEENEY SITS

phil murphy 051616 3Phil Murphy in a campaign photo, apparently taken at Edie’s Luncheonette in Little Silver. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Middletown resident Phil Murphy moved closer to his goal Thursday when a key prospective primary contender decided to sit out the race.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he would not vie for the governorship as Murphy racked up dozens of endorsements from elected officials statewide Thursday, including Red Bank Democrats.

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MIDDLETOWN: EX-FINANCIER EYES TRENTON

phil murphy 051616 3Phil Murphy in a campaign photo, apparently taken at Edie’s Luncheonette in Little Silver. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Middletown resident and former Democratic national finance chairman Phil Murphy has declared his run for New Jersey’s governorship, even though voters won’t cast their ballots for another 18 months.

Murphy declared his expected candidacy in a video released Monday on YouTube.

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REPORT: BON JOVI STIFFED M’TOWN ON O.T.

bon jovi 101911Bon Jovi, seen above in Red Bank in 2011. Below, a gate to his home. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

bon jovi house 2008A campaign fundraiser at which pop star Jon Bon Jovi “serenaded” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was held in Red Bank Monday night because Middletown balked at providing police protection for the event at the pop star’s mansion, according to a report.

The conservative Washington Free Beacon claimed Wednesday that the township refused to staff the event at Bon Jovi’s Navesink River Road home because he hasn’t ponied up for $14,000 in police overtime expenses still owed for security provided for a 2008 fundraiser held there for then-Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama.

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RED BANK: BON JOVI “SERENADES” CLINTON

bon-jovi-101911Bon Jovi, seen here at the opening of Red Bank’s JBJ Soul Kitchen in 2011, was back in town to host the former first lady and secretary of state Monday night. Below, an uncredited photo of Clinton posted on the Twitter feed of former New York Governor David Paterson. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Hillary Clinton 062915Jon Bon Jovi “serenaded” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a $1,000-a-head campaign fundraiser in Red Bank Monday night, according to PolitickerNJ.

Actually, the report says pop-rocker, who has a home on the Navesink River in Middletown, “serenely serenaded” Clinton at the no-media-allowed event, held at the riverfront Molly Pitcher Inn.

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