RED BANK: COPS SAY SESTITO INTERFERED

Red Bank police dashcam video from the June 3 incident on East Bergen Place. (Red Bank Police Department video. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s police chief has asked the Monmouth County prosecutor to review an incident involving Councilman Michael Ballard earlier this month.

The incident, which Ballard reported as it occurred outside his home during a council meeting on Zoom, led to his wife, Rose Sestito, briefly in handcuffs for allegedly interfering with a police investigation, though no charges were filed.

Read More »

RED BANK: COP AIDED EVENTUAL VICTIM

RED BANK BALMER 060820Patrolman Stan Balmer, at right, with a State Trooper on the Parkway early on the morning of May 23. (Screenshot from release by New Jersey Attorney General. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Red Bank cop came to the aid of stranded motorist last month in the first of a series of related encounters between police and the driver, who was later shot dead by a State Trooper, authorities said Monday.

Patrolman Stan Balmer, who leads one of the borough’s two K9 teams, was off-duty and enroute home following his shift when he came upon a car broken down in the center lane of the Garden State Parkway in Brick Township on May 23, according to Chief Darren McConnell.

Read More »

RED BANK: BALLARD DUBS COPS ‘AGGRESSIVE’

michael ballardRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church Thursday night. (Screenshot from Facebook Live. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard on Thursday teed up borough cops for what he called “overagressive” treatment of his wife during an incident 24 hours earlier.

Speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church for an online forum on systemic racism, Ballard, an African-American, also appeared to suggest he’d been treated unfairly by unnamed officials at borough hall in his role as finance chairman.

Read More »

RED BANK: BALLARD REPORTS WIFE’S ‘ARREST’

red bank council zoom 060320 Red Bank Councilman Michael Ballard, highlighted at upper right during Wednesday’s council meeting via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

To the growing list of embarrassing videoconferencing moments in the COVID-19 era – energetic children running through home offices, cats on keyboards, spilled coffee – a Red Bank councilman added another: a report of spousal arrest in progress.

Read More »

RED BANK: CRIMES AND ARRESTS

red bank policeThe crime and arrest reports below for the months of May, 2020, were provided by the Red Bank Police Department. This information is unedited. For additional information, please scroll to the bottom of this post.

CRIMES

Theft: Medicine, an old radio, an old Ford car seat and miscellaneous items valued under $150.00 were reported stolen out of the back of a truck on 05/01/2020 in the area of E. Westside Ave. Ptl. Frank Metta.

Read More »

PROSECUTOR: ‘OUR MISSION IS TO PROTECT’

Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni at a community forum on police-involved shootings at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Red Bank in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

redbankgreen hot topicMonmouth County’s top law enforcement official on Monday “wholly” denounced the death of a Minneapolis man that has sparked protests and violence across America.

In a statement posted on the county website, Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni called the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody “murder.”

Read More »

RED BANK: POLICE-COMMUNITY FORUM SLATED

A Red Bank police officer speaking with a motorist during a stop on Leighton Avenue in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02With cities across America erupting in violence in recent days over police abuses, Red Bank’s police department plans to hold an online forum on community relations Thursday.

Read More »

RED BANK: CRIMES AND ARRESTS

red bank policeThe crime and arrest reports below for the months of March and April, 2020, were provided by the Red Bank Police Department. This information is unedited. For additional information, please scroll to the bottom of this post.

CRIMES

Theft: Two cell phones were reported to be stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the area of Boat Club Dr. on 03/05/2020. The cell phones are described as an Apple I Phone 11 valued at approximately $1000.00 and an Apple I Phone 6 plus valued at approximately $600.00. Lt. Robert Kennedy.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: CHEERING HEALTHCARE HEROES

With the sound of sirens blaring in the distance, residents of Jackson Street joined their neighbors across Fair Haven in giving a noisy, pots-and-pans cheer to healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle Thursday night.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: RESPONDERS GET SPOTLIGHT

little silver ambulance 041020A Little Silver ambulance outside Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

little silver light the night logoLittle Silver plans to salute first-responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle next month with a townwide “Light the Night” celebration.

The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the borough’s all-volunteer fire department and first aid squad.

Read More »

RED BANK: MAN CHARGED IN BOTTLE-STAB

red bank policeThe stabbing of a man with a broken bottle led to the arrest of a Red Bank man Sunday, police Chief Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

According to McConnell, a verbal altercation between two acquaintances in a home on West Westside Avenue escalated Friday.

Read More »

RED BANK: POLICE BUST UP CAR RALLY

red bank car rally molly 041920Red Bank police busted up a car rally in the parking lot of the Molly Pitcher Inn early Sunday afternoon, police Chief Darren McConnell told redbankgreen.

Police determined that the gathering violated Governor Phil Murphy’s March 21 “stay home” executive order barring a wide range of activities, McConnell said.

“The participants were cooperative and left the area without incident,” he said. (Click to enlarge.)

VIRUS UPDATE: CARE-HOME DEATHS CONTINUE

red bank marine park closed 041820The Wharf Avenue entrance to Marine Park in Red Bank, which remains closed along with all borough parks. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

Governor Phil Murphy reported  “undeniable” progress in New Jersey’s battle to quell the spread of COVID-19 Saturday.

He also blasted an Atlantic County official as “irresponsible” for calling for a reopening of the state’s economy “without restrictions.”

Read More »

VIRUS UPDATE: PEAK STILL “COMING” TO AREA

red bank foodtown toilet paper 041420A common sight in the pandemic: sparsely stocked paper products at the Red Bank SuperFoodtown earlier this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

The COVID-19 strain on hospitals showed signs of easing even as the death toll surpassed five times the number of New Jerseyans killed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, Governor Phil Murphy said Friday.

At the same time, data suggests that while the peak of the crisis has now occurred in the northern end of the state, it’s still “coming” to the central and southern regions, said state health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

Read More »

VIRUS UPDATE: DEATH TOLL UNYIELDING

red bank train station 041420The parking lot at the Red Bank train station was nearly empty Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

COVID-19 continued to claim New Jersey lives by the hundreds even as other crisis metrics signaled improvement, data released by Governor Phil Murphy’s administration Thursday showed.

With 362 fatalities added at Murphy’s latest daily briefing on the crisis, more than 1,200 have been reported since Sunday, and the number of residents testing positive for the coronavirus is still on the rise, though at a slowing rate.

VIRUS UPDATE: DEATH TOLL SOARS AGAIN

fair haven healthcare heroes 041420A temporary sign on River Road in Fair Haven as seen Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

New Jersey’s loss of life from the COVID-19 soared past the 3,000 mark in recent days as another 351 residents were added to the ledger, Governor Phil Murphy reported Wednesday.

The fatalities, including more than 700 in recent days, was accompanied by evidence that “people are getting better and they are overcoming this illness,” said state health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

VIRUS UPDATE: ‘WORST CASE’ REVISED DOWN

  red bank social distancing 041420Observing social-distancing recommendations, well-spaced customers wait their turns to be admitted to the Bank of America branch on Broad Street in Red Bank Tuesday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

Three-hundred-sixty-five more New Jerseyans have died as a result of COVID-19, the largest increase reported in the month-old crisis, Governor Phil Murphy reported Tuesday.

The spike was reported as administration officials unveiled a dramatically improved worst-case scenario in coming weeks, based on data projections.

VIRUS UPDATE: POSITIVE SIGNS AMID BRACING

phil murphy 041320 Governor Phil Murphy speaks at his Monday briefing, with a sign language interpreter seen in inset at left. (YouTube screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

[See correction below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

More positive signs emerged in the COVID-19 crisis Monday even as New Jersey’s government braced for critically ill patients to soon swamp the state’s hospitals, officials said Monday.

The preparation included issuing triage guidance to hospitals for use in “last resort” scenarios, they said.

VIRUS UPDATE: LOCAL CASE GROWTH EASING

Firefighters, first aiders and police from 10 towns converged on Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank to cheer frontline healthcare workers Friday night. Check out the photo gallery here. (Video by Allan Bass. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

Both Monmouth County and New Jersey saw further softening in new COVID-19 positive cases and other encouraging signs in the pandemic, government agencies reported Sunday.

At the same time, another 167 New Jersey residents died from the illness, including 8 in Monmouth County, according to the state health department’s COVID-19 web page.

Read More »

RED BANK: CHEERS FOR HOSPITAL STAFFERS

red bank thanks riverviewEmergency workers packed the front parking area for the surprise as hospital personnel responded from upper-floor windows. (Photos by Allan Bass. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank thanks riverviewRed Bank-area police and volunteer firefighters delivered a massive surprise cheer to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle at Riverview Medical Center Friday evening.

The borough’s firetrucks, joined by gear from at least nine surrounding towns, twice sounded their horns in unison as staffers left and arrived for a shift change. Several hundred participants, most wearing protective masks, cheered and blew kisses from the parking lot as hospital employees in surgical masks and gowns acknowledged the love from upper floor windows.

Red Bank Fire Chief Scott Calabrese organized the unannounced event, which drew fire, police and first aiders from Fair Haven, Little Silver, Sea Bright, Shrewsbury, Rumson, Middletown, Tinton Falls, Eatontown and Oceanport.

The aim, he said, was “to say ‘thank you for your courage on the front lines of the battle.'”

(See more photos by Allan Bass and John T. Ward, below.)

Read More »

VIRUS UPDATE: ‘HOPE’ CITED AS PEAK NEARS

red bank broad street 040820Normally busy, Broad Street in Red Bank was almost people-free Wednesday evening. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicNew Jersey Governor Phil Murphy cited “glimmers of hope” in his daily update on the COVID-19 crisis Friday. Read More »

VIRUS UPDATE: DEATH & INFECTION TOTALS UP

red bank surf taco 040820A masked woman leaving Surf Taco on Broad Street in Red Bank with a takeout order Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See CORRECTION and UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicThe grim roster of COVID-19 deaths continued to grow as the Murphy Administration braced for a possible “surge” of hospitalizations, officials said Thursday.

More than 14,400 new patients could hit the healthcare system “over the next two to three days,” double the number currently hospitalized, said state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, citing a continually-updated projection.

Read More »