MENNA LOOSENS HIS TIE, SORT OF

menna-meetRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He didn’t share any secret recipes or crack too many jokes, and didn’t even loosen his bright pink tie. But Mayor Pasquale Menna got about as informal as he was going to Saturday.

For Menna, the opening meetup in what’s billed as a series of weekend chats was a chance to let his hair down — in the metaphorical sense, at least — an opportunity he took to pat the borough’s employees on the back, recommend a shred job to the state constitution and ponder his daily reading habits.

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KABOOM: TEN BUCKS AT RIVERSIDE GARDENS

riverside-gardens-crowd1Fireworks watchers at Riverside Gardens Park will have to pay; viewing from other public properties will remain free. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Primo pyrotechnics views will cost you at one public location in Red Bank this July 3.

The Kaboom Fireworks Committee, apparently back on its feet through a revamped fundraising model, is backing off a previous plan to charge for views of the annual Independence Day fireworks show at three waterfront properties, and has decided on just one: Riverside Gardens Park.

The other two riverside locations, at the borough library and Marine Park, will remain free.

“They are on very, very sound financial footing,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said of the fireworks.

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RED BANK, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL

lib-bulkheadThe American Littoral Society would like to replace this old wooden bulkhead with a graded, natural one to help preserve wildlife. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The bulkhead — a battered wooden wall meant to protect the Red Bank Public Library‘s backyard from the Navesink River — is, without question, in need of repair.

What the fix should be is the question.

The American Littoral Society has a suggestion: tear it down and put in a more natural bulkhead, one that will better serve the shorehline ecosystem.

The environmental group earlier this week pitched the idea, which hasn’t been tried in this area, to the borough council.

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NEW LIBRARIAN JUST A ‘GROWN-UP KID’

sam-quintas-yoga

Yes, that’s the new children’s librarian, Samantha Quintas, who added yoga classes to the program. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Samantha Quintas has a tattoo on her right wrist that reads “In Libris Libertas.” It translates from Latin as “In books there is freedom.”

You might say she was destined to be where she is today, as head of the children’s library at Red Bank Public Library. But it wasn’t a clear path to West Front Street.

Despite her love of books, Quintas, 24, wasn’t always so eager to master the Dewey Decimal system or spend hours re-stocking shelves. In fact, it was the latter that almost drove Quintas to find a different career.

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FRESH FACE AT LIBRARY: CHILDREN’S AUTHOR

john-grandits1Children’s author and poet John Grandits, shown here with a couple of his books, is the newest member on the Red Bank Library Board. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Not long ago, John Grandits was talking to a friend about serving on one of Red Bank’s many boards or commissions. One of the possibilities was the planning board, though Grandits doesn’t have your typical background for the job.

Nor does he have the energy, he realized.

“It would bore me to death,” he told redbankgreen.

Then an opportunity that fit his skill set presented itself at the end of the year when the library board announced an opening. Grandits, a cheery author with a strong resemblance to Santa Claus, minus the paunch, grabbed at the chance to fulfill a longtime goal of his.

“I always thought for years and years and years if I had the time I’d like to be on the library board,” said Grandits, who is 60 years old. “Now I have the time.”

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LEGALIZATION ADVOCATES TO HOST POT FILM

union-movie_11x172

Will the pro-pot lobby finally get to exhale next week?

If so, one of their earliest celebrations may be here in Red Bank.

As the state Assembly and Senate prepare for a possible vote Monday on the New Jersey Compassionate Use Marijuana Act, two pro-legalization organizations will be at the borough’s public library Wednesday night to talk all things cannabis.

The international Students for Sensible Drug Policy and marijuana reformist advocates NORML are hosting the screening of “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High,” a documentary film about marijuana legalization at the library.

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