RED BANK: WHAT’S ON THE COUNCIL AGENDA?

red bank plastic bag banSingle-use plastic bags and more would be banned under an ordinance up for introduction. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council has street-sweeping, green roofs, single-use plastics and cranes on its plate when it meets this week for its only regular meeting of July.

Here are some of the expected highlights: Read More »

RED BANK: WHAT’S ON THE COUNCIL AGENDA?

red bank primary access roadWork on the primary school emergency access road, seen here from Locust Avenue, is nearly complete. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWhile most of America is cracking open its first cold beverages of the July 4 holiday Wednesday evening, the Red Bank council plans to hold a workshop session.

Yep.

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RED BANK: A SUPERLATIVE COUNCIL SESSION

Red Bank Primary School students, reprising a recent performance at the borough Senior Citizens’ Center, regaled the audience at Wednesday night’s council meeting with four songs, including ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” from the Disney musical ‘Mary Poppins.’

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RED BANK: SPORTS SURGE BOOSTS ACADEMICS

Taniaya Morris scoring this season for the Lady Rockets. (Photo by Mark Costa. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Coming off what Superintendent Jared Rumage called “the most successful year ever in the history of Red Bank Middle School sports,” district officials have also harvested some gold about the relationship of athletics and academics, they said recently.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL ADVANCES RIVER CRUISES

The Red Bank Primary School Chorus entertained the council audience with two songs, including this variation on a Woody Guthrie tune. (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Red Bank’s Marine Park could once again be the point of departure for commercial cruises on the Navesink River, following council action Wednesday night.

Details on that action, and other news from the council’s semimonthly meeting, are just around the read more corner.

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RED BANK: SMALL FIRE EMPTIES SCHOOL


rbps fire 111715The fire occurred in a transformer room, officials said. Below, the affected transformer. 
(Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rbps transformer 111715Students at the Red Bank Primary School got a real-life lesson in responding to fire alarms Tuesday when a small transformer fire prompted an evacuation.

No injuries occurred during the incident, in which accumulated dust atop a transformer appeared to cause a wire to burn, Deputy Fire Chief Pete DeFazio told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: BACK TO SCHOOL, BRIEFLY

Luigi Laugelli 091913“We’re going to keep this short and sweet, because we know you’re all excited to see your children’s classrooms,” said Red Bank Primary School Principal Luigi Laugelli. Running a tighter and more efficient ship on back-to-school night is just one of the changes the new principal is bringing to the primary school. Parents and students were treated to a freshly painted cafeteria, new landscaping and Laugelli’s refreshingly concise remarks about the school’s new curriculum. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: SCHOOL REOPENS, WITH GOODIES

Greg Martin of Michigan-based Disaster Relief at Work delivered pencil cases for kindergartners, above and below, as well as all other Red Bank Primary School students Monday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One month to the day after it was inundated by the Swimming River in Hurricane Sandy, the Red Bank Primary School reopened Monday morning.

The event was accompanied by the arrival of a truckload of school supplies donated by residents of Clarkston, Michigan.

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FOUNDATION ENVISIONS LINK TO RBPS POND


A satellite view of the pond at the Red Bank Primary School, courtesy of Google Maps. Below, Andrew Winning, 10, demonstrates a human sun clock on the school grounds. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Kathie Panepinto was leading a tour of the Red Bank Primary School property and lamenting the heavy growth that hides an adjoining pond Monday when groundhog that had been sunning itself in the grass scooted across her path and into the brush.

“Oh, look at that,” she said said excitedly, noting that up-close sightings of deer and other wildlife are common at the school, which sits on landfill in a former wetlands abutting the Swimming River.

It was the kind of moment that for decades has inspired talk of the school’s potential as natural sciences learning center. And it underscored the value of ongoing efforts by Panepinto and other volunteers in their most ambitious effort to date: creating a permanent physical link between the school and the inaccessible pond.

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PRIMARY SCHOOL BIDS PRINCIPAL FAREWELL

The Red Bank Primary School PTO threw a sendoff dinner in the school cafeteria Monday night for principal Rick Cohen, who is leaving this week to become director of curriculum in the Metuchen district.

“The parent involvement in this school has just been amazing,” said Cohen, 38, who’s been principal for the past six years. “That gives the kids a real sense of belonging and pride.”

Superintendent Laura Morana tells redbankgreen that an interim principal is expected to be named tonight, and that a search committee will commence interviews for a replacement next week. (Click to enlarge)

COPS, CHOPPER ON SCENE AT RIVER STREET

chopperA helicopter hovered above the water at the foot of River Street Thursday morning as authorities conducted unknown “police operations.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

[Editor’s Note: This story is updated with information from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.]

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank and Monmouth County authorities are conducting “police operations” in the area of River Street, next to the primary school, which include a helicopter and police in a boat where Swimming River meets the upper Navesink River.

One official was overheard saying the efforts are related to a missing person report, but declined to confirm that information, and deferred all questioning to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni would not comment further on the activity, only saying it’s a “law enforcement operation.”

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RED BANK SCHOOL BUDGET RAISES TAX 1.9%

taxesBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Red Bank Board of Education unveiled its 2011-12 budget last week, a plan that includes difficult decisions but avoids drastic ones, said Superintendent Laura Morana.

Sports, fields trips and capital projects are, like last year, off the table, and a handful of positions will be eliminated under the $19.45 million spending plan.

That doesn’t necessarily equate to job losses, though, Morana said.

“I am positive everyone will be absorbed” somewhere else in the district, she said.

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RED BANK TO GET MORE FOUR-WAY STOPS

4wayThe intersection of River Street and Bridge Avenue is one of three leading to the Red Bank Primary School that will become four-way stops. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna loves four-ways.

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PRE-K AT THE LIMIT, AND LIKELY TO STAY

pre-k2Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, John Bombardier, with a pre-k student. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After two years of growth, the number of children in Red Bank’s lauded pre-kindergarten program is likely to stay static next school year, a direct result of the state’s dire budget situation.

“I don’t know that we’ll be able to expand, but we expect we’ll have the same number of children for next year,” Superintendent Laura Morana said.

Now taking up residence at various locations throughout the borough, the early education program tailored to three- and four-year-olds is at capacity, with 238 students, plus a waiting list.

And Morana can’t stop singing the praises of the state-funded initiative, in which only five school districts in the state were selected to participate.

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SCHUNDLER MUM ON TRIP TO WOODSHED

stringsPre-K students playing string instruments greeted Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, in red tie, during his visit to the Red Bank Primary School this morning. (Click to enlarge)

He came, he listened, and he got choked up on his own words about “the vision of a beloved society” that quality education promises.

But one thing New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler did not do on a visit to Red Bank this morning was talk about a report that he’d gotten a dressing-down over the phone by Governor Chris Christie last Friday.

“It’s a great day to visit Red Bank Primary School,” Schundler said with a smile, when asked if a Star-Ledger report that Christie “tore into” him over a deal with the state teachers’ union was accurate.

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SCHUNDLER PLANS RED BANK STOP

primary-school

Department of Education Commissioner Bret Schundler is scheduled to visit the primary school tomorrow. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler plans on spending a little time checking out what school’s like in Red Bank tomorrow.

At the request of state Senator Jen Beck, Schundler will spend an hour at the primary school getting a glimpse of classroom instruction and will be treated to some music, said superintendent Laura Morana.

What he won’t get, says Morana, is any grousing about the Christie Administration’s budget-slashing, which left the two-school Red Bank district with just $24,000 in state aid this year, not counting funds for its highly regarded pilot pre-kindergarten program.

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THE WHEELS ON THE WALKING BUS GO ‘HMM’

walking-bus1Transportation planner Mike Dannemiller leads a group through the West Side for the Red Bank Safe Routes initiative. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Mike Dannemiller, a cheery, bespectacled transportation planner from north Jersey, led a group up the sidewalk from Red Bank Primary School, along the north side of River Street to Leighton Avenue Tuesday night, stopping at random intervals to quiz the adults walking two-abreast behind him.

“How’s that feel for you?” he’d ask.

The responses were mixed; some said it was OK, one said “it feels different now,” and another mentioned how he narrowly avoided stepping on a chicken bone.

On the return trip, he asked again, and got the kind of response he seemed to be looking for.

“It was a little claustrophobic,” said Jim Willis (redbankgreen‘s tech guy, for disclosure), referring to a few trees along the east side of Leighton Avenue that were starting to take up some sidewalk space.

“That’s really why you need  to go out and walk the streets,” Dannemiller said, “and not just plan the paths from satellites in outer space.”

The subtleties of a simple walk may seem petty, but really, these are important things to guys like Dannemiller.

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A CLEANUP, AND A RELEASE

primary_school_cleanup-209

primary_school_cleanup-208About a dozen Red Bank adults and their children turned out for a site cleanup organized by board of education member Carrie Ludwikowski at the Red Bank Primary School last Saturday.

At right, Diana Archila-Donohue of Red Bank shows off a turtle that she released into the wetlands. Her husband, Brian, had rescued the turtle from the Garden State Parkway. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge.)