RED BANK: DRUG OVERDOSE CASES SOARING

A “heat map” showing the concentration of drug-overdose deaths in Monmouth County last year. (Map by Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One-hundred-sixty-five people died of drug overdoses in Monmouth County last year, almost double the number just four years ago, the prosecutor’s office reported Tuesday.

Despite the widespread, often successful use of a fast-acting opiate antidote, the number of overdose victims continued to soar last year, rising 35 percent, the agency reported.

Red Bank police Chief Darren McConnell said the number of overdose cases in the borough over the last two years is “ridiculously higher” than he’d seen in the first three decades in law enforcement.

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RUMSON: BATCHLER RESIGNS AS RFH TEACHER

batchler 062716 7Former RFH head football coach Bryan Batchler, seen here working out with college players at Red Bank’s Count Basie Fields in June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Ousted Rumson-Fair Haven Regional football coach Bryan Batchler has resigned as a teacher in a secret settlement with the school, redbankgreen has learned.

In a statement issued Thursday, the school’s board of education said it had accepted Batchler’s resignation on August 9.

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MIDDLETOWN: MAN CHARGED WITH LURING

bryan-sanderson-090816

By JOHN T. WARD

A 24-year-old Middletown man found with a 14-year-old girl on a motor vehicle stop last year has been arrested on luring and child pornography charges, the Monmouth County prosecutor announced Thursday.

Bryan W. Sanderson, right, was arrested August 18 and charged with luring the girl last September using the popular online social media meeting site“Kik,” Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement.

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RUMSON: BATCHLER BACKERS DEMAND ACTION

batchler 071216Former R-FH head football coach Bryan Batchler at Tuesday’s board meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Five months after former Rumson-Fair Haven Regional football coach Bryan Batchler was cleared of criminal wrongdoing over alleged inappropriate contact with a student, several dozen supporters demanded Tuesday night that he be reinstated.

Batchler, who has been on paid administrative leave from teaching for eight months and was stripped of his coaching job in February, told redbankgreen that Superintendent Pete Righi is now trying to oust him, via a tenure-revocation case, from the job he’s held since 2008.  Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL TAPS METER INSTALLER

rb water meter 120815 1Existing water meters are to be replaced with new technology that includes radio transmitters for remote reading, like one already in use on this new house on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Red Bank’s townwide water-meter replacement project, an effort that prompted complaints about unnecessary spending, went from proposal to reality without so much as a peep Wednesday night.

At a semimonthly meeting, the borough council awarded a contract for the work, which calls for replacing some 3,800 residential meters, and hundreds more non-residential devices, with technology that will enable borough officials to get a read on usage without leaving their desks.

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RUMSON: BATCHLER WON’T BE PROSECUTED

batchler-610x343Former R-FH head football coach Bryan Batchler. (Photo courtesy of Shore Sports Zone. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Ousted Rumson-Fair Haven football coach Bryan Batchler has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing for what his attorney said were allegations of an inappropriate relationship with student.

“The evidence was insufficient to support criminal charges,”acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement reported by the Asbury Park Press  Wednesday. “However, we referred the matter to the New Jersey Department of Education Investigations Unit for any administrative investigation or other action within their jurisdiction to conduct.”

“Essentially, Coach Batchler was falsely accused of criminal conduct and the prosecutor’s office didn’t even find that there was probable cause to believe that any criminal conduct was committed,” Batchler’s attorney, Mitch Ansell, said in a statement.

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RED BANK: GOP HOSED ON WATER VOTES

cindy burnham 021016Council President Cindy Burnham, sitting in for the absent mayor for the first time, recused herself from the meter bond vote on advice from borough Attorney Jean Cipriani, right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Amid criticism by taxpayers, the new Republican-led Red Bank council approved two bonds totaling $3.7 million to pay for a municipal well and water meters for every property in town Wednesday night.

Both bonds won unanimous approval, though Council President Cindy Burnham, who recused herself over what was described as a potential conflict of interest, said she would have voted no on the meter issue.

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RED BANK: WATER BONDS UP FOR VOTE

rb water 102215Two bonds totaling $3.7 million in debt for a new well and water meters are up for possible adoption vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Two bond ordinances and a plan to buy new water meters for nearly all Red Bank properties dominate the agenda for Wednesday night’s council meeting.

Facing a deadline for action, the council is expected to hold an adotion vote on two bonds totaling $3.7 million to pay for upgrades they say will help the town avoid  restrictions on water usage and new connections to the water system.

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MIDDLETOWN COPS TO TEST BODY CAMERAS

The Middletown police department is one of three in Monmouth County that will test the feasibility of video cameras worn on the uniforms of patrol officers, county Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni announced Thursday.

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2The test, coming amid rising public attention to cases of actual and alleged police abuse, may lead to countywide deployment of body cameras, Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement.

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PROSECUTOR: NO WRONGDOING IN ARREST

Video of Jeffrey Michel’s arrest on the Brookdale campus last month. (Video by Vincent Cordero)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The viral-video pepper-spray arrest of a Brookdale Community College student last month was done in “full compliance” with law enforcement guidelines, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office has concluded.

In fact, the officers involved might have been more aggressive in their arrest of Jeffrey Michel without overstepping guidelines established by the state Attorney General, an official in the professional responsibility unit of the prosecutor’s office wrote in a December 8 letter to Brookdale’s dean.

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LITTLE SILVER COP CHARGED WITH ASSAULT

just_in1A Little Silver police officer was charged with simple assault Friday following an alleged domestic violence incident in Sea Bright a day earlier, authorities tell redbankgreen.

Joseph Glynn, Jr., 26, was issued a summons in his hometown of Middletown for a disorderly persons violation after the purported victim reported the matter to police there, according to Charlie Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

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RUMSON: GUN BUYBACK TALLY SOARS

rumson guns 051614 4rumson guns 051614 3In its second year, two-day cash-for-guns program in Rumson and Asbury Park last week saw a 64-percent jump over 2013 in the number of weapons surrendered, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office reported Monday. Rumson took in 171 firearms, including the rifles and pistols shown here, up from 125 last year, and Asbury Park collected 188, up from 93.

The event, in which guns could be surrendered anonymously and without questions, paid a total $25,100, which  funded in part by the Sellig family of Rumson. The weapons will be destroyed, authorities said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: GUN BUYBACK ‘BRISK’

rumson guns 051614 2Sergeant Rocco Santorsola shows off a MAC 10 assault weapon exchanged for $200 at the gun buyback in Rumson Friday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rumson guns 051614 1One man turned in a Russian infantry rifle given to him as a gift he didn’t really want, but accepted to be gracious.

A Red Bank couple surrendered a World War II-era Spanish pistol they found in their backyard during a renovation project.

And somebody else – authorities did not ask who – got $200 in exchange for a menacing looking MAC 10 assault weapon.

Just four hours into a two-day gun buyback in Rumson Friday, business was “brisk,” said borough police Detective Christopher Isherwood.

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SEA BRIGHT MAN GUILTY OF SANDY FRAUD

By JOHN T. WARD

A Sea Bright man pleaded guilty to ripping off the Federal Emergency Management Administration via hotel charges he didn’t deserve, authorities announced Tuesday.

Bill Nagle, 52, of Center Street, admitted to a Superior Court judge in Freehold that he defrauded FEMA of more than $12,000 under a Transitional Shelter Assistance program, according to a press release by Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

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MIDDLETOWN: FAMILY WANTS CRASH CHARGES

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2-2014The family of a motorcyclist killed in a crash on West Front Street in Middletown last September is pressing the Monmouth County Prosecutor to bring charges against a motorist, NJ.com reported Tuesday.

According to a press release issued two days after the September 4 crash by township police, 69-year-old Raymond Depalma was travelling eastbound on West Front Street when he was struck by a westbound vehicle attempting to make a left turn onto Harbor Green Circle.

Depalma was flown by helicopter to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, he died five hours after the 3 p.m. crash

The driver of the other vehicle, Daniella Coccurello, 23, of Lincroft, was not immediately charged, police said at the time.

But Joel DePalma, one of Robert DePalma’s four sons, told NJ.com that Coccurello was issued a summons for using a phone while driving. He also said it’s undisputed that his father was not violating any traffic laws.

DePalma tells NJ.com that he and other family members have been asking the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office whether criminal charges will be filed, but aren’t getting answers.

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RUMSON OUTDRAWS ASBURY IN GUN BUYBACK

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01A two-day gun-buyback program aimed at getting unwanted firearms out of circulation ended with a bit of a bang this weekend.

Police in affluent, suburban Rumson collected more weapons than their counterparts in urban Asbury Park.

The outcome surprised even Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, whose office oversaw the program. And it made the anonymous donor who funded the program look “brilliant,” he told redbankgreen.

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SEA BRIGHT MAN CHARGED IN SANDY FRAUD

By JOHN T. WARD

A Sea Bright man was arrested Wednesday and charged with ripping off the Federal Emergency Management Administration by racking up hotel charges he didn’t deserve, authorities announced.

Bill Nagle, 51, of Center Street, was charged with defrauding FEMA of more than $12,000 under a Transitional Shelter Assistance program, according to a press release by Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

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M’TOWN: BOATER IN FATAL CRASH INDICTED

George Harrington being placed under arrest for drunken driving of a boat shortly after the 2011 crash. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[Editor’s note: See update below]

The pilot of a boat that smashed into another on the Navesink River almost two years ago has been indicted on vehicular homicide charge, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office announced Tuesday.

George Harrington, 41, of Browns Dock Road in Middletown, is alleged in a grand jury indictment handed up Monday to have been under the influence of liquor or drugs when a Boston Whaler he was piloting plowed into a vessel near buoy 20, between Middletown and Fair Haven, on July 23, 2011.

Christopher Plante, 50, of Keansburg, was killed in the crash.

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TEEN GET SIX YEARS FOR AUTO DEATH

A 19-year-old man said to be a resident of Red Bank was sentenced to six years in state prison Thursday following his guilty plea in February to vehicular homicide while driving drunk in Middletown, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced Thursday.

Here’s the full announcement:

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RED BANK TEEN TAKES PLEA IN AUTO DEATH

just_inAn 19-year-old Red Bank man has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide following an automobile crash in Middletown that killed a passenger in his car nearly a year ago.

Adam Sofio, no address given, faces up to 10 years in jail for “recklessly causing the death of one Middletown teen, and severely injuring another, by operating a motor vehicle at a high rate of speed while drunk,” Monnmouth County Prosecutor Peter Warshaw said in an announcement Thursday.

Warhsaw’s office will recommend a six-year term at Sofio’s sentencing, scheduled for May 18, according to the announcement.

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EX CHARGED AS RED BANK WOMAN’S KILLER

viridiana-beltran-gomezThe estranged husband of a Red Bank woman missing since mid-May has been charged with her murder following the discovery of a body buried near the Garden State Parkway in Aberdeen, according to news reports over the weekend.

Oscar Prior-Ramirez, 31, or Eatontown, was charged in the death of Viridiana Beltran-Gomez, above, according to a report that first appeared in the Asbury Park Press Saturday night. Bail was set at $1.5 million.

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HOMICIDE CHARGED IN M’TOWN AUTO DEATH

just_inAn 18-year-old Red Bank man has been charged with vehicular homicide following an automobile crash in Middletown that killed a passenger in his car two months ago.

Adam Sofio was already facing drunk driving, speeding and other charges in the aftermath of the crash that killed Middletown’s Paul Bradley, also 18, in the early morning hours of February 27, the prosecutor’s office says in a press release issued Monday.

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PAIR NABBED IN LITTLE SILVER DRUG BUST

just_in1A 27-year-old Little Silver man is in the Monmouth County jail following his arrest at home Tuesday for possession with the intent to sell the painkiller Oxycodone, the county prosecutor’s office announced Thursday.

A Middletown man was also arrested during the search of Jonathan R. Merklinger’s home “after he approached the residence and sought to purchase” from Merklinger, according to the announcement.

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