RED BANK: PAYOUTS WILL DEPLETE FUND

rb-borough-hall-111316-2Red Bank’s borough hall during a roof replacement job in November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRetirements by three senior employees in coming months won’t put an immediate squeeze on Red Bank taxpayers, two municipal officials said Tuesday.

But the departures will all but deplete a rainy day fund created to cushion the blow of outsized payouts for unused sick and vacation time, said Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who heads the finance committee.

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RED BANK: MAN GETS 14 YEARS FOR MURDER

9-bank-door2Broken glass littered the porch of the Bank Street house where Larry Yarbrough Jr., below, was murdered in 2011. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

larry-yarbroughA Red Bank man was sentenced to 14 years in state prison for  stabbing death of another borough resident three years ago.

Four months after he pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and aggravated assault, Jose Olivares-Palma, 26, was sentenced Wednesday for killing Larry Yarborough, 39, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement released Thursday morning.

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YARBROUGH: MEMORIES, QUESTIONS LINGER

l-yarbrough-srLarry Yarbrough Sr., with a picture of his son, also shown below, who was stabbed to death in Red Bank early Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

larry-yarbroughAs investigators continue to look into the stabbing death of a Red Bank man and the critical wounding of another early Sunday, little information remains available about the incident, and the victim’s father says he’s as in the dark about it as everybody else.

Friends and other family, too, are looking for answers in the death of one of Red Bank’s own, a fun-loving man who, despite a checkered past, was on the up and up and proud of his progress as a worker and father to a young daughter, they say.

Now is not the time to get caught in the negativity or the tension surrounding the death of Larry Yarbrough Jr., they said Wednesday night at the bimonthly meeting of the borough council. It’s the time to come together as a community.

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QUICKLY, RED BANK TAPS NEW CFO

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

money-full-columnBruce Loversidge can go back to retirement. Again.

Red Bank’s former chief financial officer and go-to guy to fill in for his outgoing successors will be relieved of his interim duties at the end of the month.

In speedy fashion, the borough has hired Spring Lake Heights’ financial chief to take over the post last held by Frank Mason, who left last month to become CFO in Montclair.

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BELLHAVEN PARK NEEDS TLC

bellhaven-parkRed Bank officials are seeking funds for the Bellhaven Park nature area on Locust Avenue. Below, a map from the 2006 waterfront plan. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

swimming-riverBellhaven Park, an oft-overlooked waterfront parcel in Red Bank’s inventory of natural areas, could use a little help — any kind of help, says borough Engineer Christine Ballard.

Sequestered away from the public eye at the western end of Locust Avenue, it’s never gotten the kind of use or attention from residents that other parks see. Now, general neglect at the park, designated as a passive natural area, has led it to become a little bit too natural, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

The Swimming River has swallowed up at least half of a floating dock at the park, and the heavy brush of native and invasive species has made some winding paths almost impassable.

“It’s like a jungle down there,” Menna said. “It needs to be accessible and safer. Even our own (police) patrols can’t even go in there because of the overgrowth.”

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DUMPSTER SWIMMING POOLS FOR RED BANK?

dumpster-poolA Macro-Sea Dumpster pool under construction in 2009. (Photo courtesy of Macro-Sea. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

sharon-leeSharon Lee wants to bring Dumpster diving to a whole new level — a cleaner, cooler level.

And she wants to bring it to Red Bank.

The third-term councilwoman, ripping a page from a two-year-old New York Times article on Dumpsters that were converted to public pools in Brooklyn, suggested to her counterparts on the dais that Red Bank, after the general pant-and-gasp brought on by last week’s heatwave, think outside the box by going inside the box.

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EXTRA EYES, PATROLS SET FOR RED BANK

rgp-trash13A bench at Riverside Gardens Park, where vandalism and littering have been growing problems. Debris in the pole-vault box at Count Basie Fields, below. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

basie-litter1In response to a surge in vandalism on borough property this summer, Red Bank officials are looking into video surveillance as a way to fill gaps in already heightened police presence and serve as a deterrent to would-be scofflaws.

Video could be just one part of a multiprong effort by the borough to curb public defacement and all-around mistreatment of public property, police Captain Darren McConnell said.

Police have stepped up their presence at Riverside Gardens Park in recent weeks, he said. They’re also cracking down on curfew laws for teenagers. And because the council earlier this week called out littering at Count Basie Fields as a growing issue, cops will make rounds there more often.

“The regular patrols will be stepped up quite a bit,” McConnell said. “It’s really only Riverside Gardens Park and Count Basie Fields that are having the issues, and they’re not even the same groups hanging out there, but they get the most use.”

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WATER MAIN FIX SLATED FOR SEPTEMBER

sbury-hydrantWork on an old water main below Shrewsbury Avenue is expected to begin after Labor Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An overdue upgrade to boost water pressure to homes and businesses along Shrewsbury Avenue is expected to start in September, says Red Bank Engineer Christine Ballard.

On Wednesday, the borough council awarded a $524,206 contract to a Long Branch company to replace the outdated four-inch water main beneath the bustling corridor with an eight-inch line.

“We’ll start work probably after Labor Day,” Ballard said.

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COUNCIL: RED CARPET TO REPLACE RED TAPE

sogo-sushi-072011New procedures are expected to expedite openings and expansions by restaurants, like Sogu Sushi on Monmouth Street, and other types of business. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Welcome to Red Bank, business owners. Please take note of the red carpet in front of you.

That’s the message borough officials are delivering, fresh off the arrival of a bulleted report on cutting down administrative hindrances and other processes that drive prospective restaurateurs, shopkeepers and others to the ledge.

Ordered in response to the clamor of businesses and developers who’ve long blasted the borough for being difficult, and at times, torturous, to deal with, the months-long investigation by an ad-hoc ‘red-tape review committee‘ included multiple discussions with borough officials, business owners and the downtown promotion agency RiverCenter.

“The bottom line is the welcome mat is out, the screen door is open,” said Councilman Mike DuPont, who led the review. “You can have a cup of coffee with the mayor and everybody who’s here.”

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PARK IT HERE FOR VEGAN FOOD & A FILM

The trailer for ‘Forks Over Knives,’ which will get two screenings in Red Bank Thursday night.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While Adam Sobel waits to learn if he’ll be permitted to operate his four-wheeled business in Red Bank on a regular basis, he’ll have his Cinammon Snail mobile food truck downtown for at least a couple of hours Thursday night for a down-to-earth dinner and a movie.

Along with vegan-friendly comrades Patti Siciliano of Funk & Standard, Gail Doherty and Tiffany Betts of Good Karma Café and others, Sobel is taking part in an evening focused on the health benefits of eating the un-American way: organically.

The night revolves around the indie documentary Forks Over Knives, which features T. Colin Campbell, a nutrition researcher at Cornell University who believes degenerative diseases can be prevented, and in some cases reversed, by adopting a “whole foods, plant-based diet.”

Or, as Siciliano, a converted vegan who recently opened an organic juice bar in her Broad Street business, says, “just don’t eat garbage.”

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MASON OUT, LOVERSIDGE & VALET IN

frank-mason1Frank Mason, soon to be Red Bank’s former CFO, at his final council meeting Wednesday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank council members unloaded their attaboys on Frank Mason Wednesday, bidding a formal farewell to the borough’s outgoing finance chief, whose last day on the job is next Friday.

Mason, who’s taking the same position in Montclair, will be replaced, on an interim basis, by Bruce Loversidge, who held the position for more than 30 years before he retired.

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CALENDAR CONFLICT SPURS EVENTS REVIEW

boynton-councilFreddie Boynton and members of the Celestial Lodge had a beef to air about a block party. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It hadn’t happened in Council President Art Murphy’s seven years sitting on the Special Events Committee, and Mayor Pasquale Menna said he’s never seen it in his two decades in Red Bank government.

But a clogged calendar and miscommunication between two West Side groups is pushing the council to tighten up its processes to grant special event requests.

It came to a head Wednesday night, when members of the two groups locked horns over rights for coveted street space next month, and prompted the council, hat in hand, to ask each for a little help.

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VALET UP FOR A VOTE IN RED BANK

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

park_it_021There soon could be fewer cars circling downtown Red Bank in search of parking spots if the borough council gives the green light to a proposal by Red Bank RiverCenter Wednesday night.

The business promotion agency, in an effort to pull in more visitors, hopes to try valet parking on a trial basis.

“It’ll benefit anybody whose customer doesn’t want to drive around or park themselves,” RiverCenter Executive Director Nancy Adams said.

Motorists who covet the six spaces on Broad Street that will be dedicated to the valet service might have a different take, however.

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MIDDLETOWN SEEKS KABOOM COMPENSATION

cooper-bridgeA view of the Navesink River from Cooper’s Bridge, where Middletown officials are concerned more people will gather this year to see the fireworks. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While the sky lights up and music blasts across the Navesink River Sunday, and Red Bank’s north end is bursting with crowds and pre- and post-show traffic, Middletown, too, will have its share of it all.

But unlike Red Bank, the neighboring township is footing the bill for the police overtime the event necessitates.

Not fair, say Middletown’s leaders, who share concerns that, with a new fee this year to watch the Kaboom fireworks show at Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank, more people are apt to catch the view from the north side of the river, making more work for its police force.

“It’s gotten worse every year,” said Middletown Committeeman Gerry Scharfenberger, who called Middletown the fireworks’ “incidental victims.” “It’s not an event that we sanction, but we’re left having to deal with the police and crowd control.”

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PAY POSTS COMING TO MAPLE COVE

m-cove-lotThe borough will install pay stations at the recently rebuilt parking lot at the north end of Maple Avenue. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Be sure to pack a change purse with your kayaks and canoes, river-goers.

Red Bank’s council, as it hinted in recent weeks, plans to reinstitute a pay-to-park policy at the recently repaved 12-spot lot at Maple Cove.

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FIXX NEEDS A FIX TO KEEP LIQUOR LICENSE

fixxFixx must go to the state if it wants to keep serving booze, Red Bank officials have decided. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just like its predecessor, Fixx on West Front Street is in hot water with the borough government.

The council, citing “problems” and “public safety” issues, tabled a rubber-stamp resolution Wednesday night to renew the night club’s liquor license, which expires at the end of the month.

If Fixx wants to keep serving, it has to get a temporary license from the state Alcohol Beverage Control division, Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

Beyond that, the club, which more often than not draws a college-age crowd for live music and drinks in plastic Silo cups, must prove to the borough that it will operate at a more acceptable level.

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McCARTHY AND RBPD GET CONTRACTS

s-mccarthyRed Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy at a West Side Community Group meeting in November. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Steve McCarthy just got himself some job security.

For the first time in borough history, the Red Bank council entered into a contract with its police chief, locking up McCarthy for the next five years.

“It protects the individual. It protects the municipality, and it alleviates guesswork out of what you’re supposed to do,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said. “We want him to stay for five years. Or more.”

The council also endorsed an agreement good through 2013 with the union for the 38-member police force.

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THE COUNT NEEDS A CUT

basie-bust21Attention jazz and history lovers who hate weeds: volunteers are wanted to help clean up the area of the Red Bank train station that’s home to a bust of borough native William ‘Count’ Basie. Councilman Ed Zipprich said the bust, dedicated less than two years ago, has become overgrown with weeds and brush, and plans a cleanup of the area in the near future. For info, call borough hall at 732.530.2740. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

OFFICIALS COUNTER MAPLE COVE CHATTER

sickles-m-coveStanley Sickels gave a brief history of the parking lot at Maple Cove Wednesday night in response to comments posted on redbankgreen. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

park_it_021Responding to “drama” in the redbankgreen comments section last week in which readers weighed in with speculation, history — or their version of it — and assorted posits about the repaving of the parking lot at Maple Cove, Red Bank officials took a break from Wednesday night’s regular order of business to clear the air. Fact check. Dispel the bloggy bosh.

To “try and shed some factual light,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna, “instead of just hypothetical speculation and gossip.”

Read on. Comment if you dare.

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COUNCIL STILL DUG IN AGAINST GARDEN SPOT

cg-sickelsCommunity garden proponents talk to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels about their proposal after Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The borough council Wednesday night unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a community garden in Red Bank.

Great, some said.

But when it came down to where the council might allow that garden to sprout, the council maintained a hard position that while it supports a community garden, it doesn’t support one where a group at least 40 strong want it: at a piece of borough property next to the library.

The clash between impassioned members of a community garden group and the council continued Wednesday night, without agreement, and none in sight, on its location.

It was more like a talking-to than a talking-with, as the council offered little feedback to a long line of speakers serving up suggestions, implicating political motives and asking questions that they feel still haven’t been answered.

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BOATHOUSE STALLED BY HYDRANT ISSUE

foundationGeoff Johnson’s unfinished Boathouse at Red Bank, and a rendering of what it’s to look like, below. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

boathouse-elev060711

While the Red Bank government is working to show that the town is “open for business,” a West Side property owner is among those who say the door still isn’t open wide enough.

“I would have to agree with everyone who’s ever said Red Bank is difficult to do business with,” said Geoff Johnson, who has approved plans to build a kayak and canoe rental and boat club on the banks of the Swimming River, at the north end of Shrewsbury Avenue.

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LANDLORDS LOOK TO LOOSEN RENT CONTROL

sbury-manorRed Bank landlords are pressing the borough government to make changes to its rent leveling ordinance. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank has one of the oldest and most successful rent control measures in the state, Mayor Pasquale Menna says.

But landlords went before Menna and his council counterparts last week to complain that they’re getting squeezed by the stringent standards in the borough’s rent leveling ordinance.

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CODA FOR TWO MUSIC SHOPS ON MONMOUTH

summitSummit Music has cleared out, and across the street, Honey Child Music has shut its doors. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Within days of each other, two Red Bank music education shops shut their doors last week, dealing a double blow to Monmouth Street’s reputation as a place where kids learned the basic chords that might someday land them on the stage of the nearby Count Basie Theatre. rcsm2_010508

Summit Music, which in recent months shifted from instrument sales and drum repairs to kid-focused instruction by joining forces with the national School of Rock chain and Little Rockers, quietly cleared out of its space, at 52 Monmouth Street, just before Memorial Day.

Maureen Tieri, who’s owned Summit the last three years, could not be reached for comment.

Diagonally across the street from Summit, longtime children’s music shop Honey Child Music went dark after losing the lease on the space at 73 Monmouth.

The departures leave Monmouth Music, at 30 Monmouth Street, as the sole instrument and instruction shop on a street that boasted three.

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RAISES APPROVED FOR RED BANK EMPLOYEES

money-full-column

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Raises are going out at Red Bank Borough Hall, but stopping at the dais.

After two years of austerity, the borough council approved two-percent raises across the board for non-unionized employees last week. But the governing body kept its own pay flat.

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JAZZ & BLUES FEST BUSTS ITSELF IN THREE

stage2The 2009 edition of the festival was the last at Red Bank’s Marine Park, and there are no signs of a return. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival, once a summer staple in Red Bank that was unceremoniously scratched off the calendar and has since been on a wayward journey for a permanent home, is taking the show on the road this year.

After a stint on the pavement at Monmouth Park, the festival’s foundation announced it’s taking a totally different direction — three, actually — making one-day stops over three months in as many towns.

“It is what it is right now,” festival organizer Dennis Eschbach told redbankgreen. “We’re going in a different direction this year.”

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