THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

c-murphy-backSea Bright Fire Chief Chad Murphy looks at a mock vehicle accident just before his and two other volunteer departments started extrication drills last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Tragedy hit Middletown twice last week, with a man dying in a motorcycle crash and a family perishing in a six-alarm fire.

A roundup of all of last week’s news below.

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BOOM TOWN BASH IS A BIG-TENT TICKET

kaboom-preview-2008The annual KaBoom!  fundraiser culminated in a fireworks preview outside the Monmouth Boat Club in 2008. This year’s edition will be at Hovnanian HQ.

Whether you love it — or leave town for the day because of it — the annual KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink event is one of “the fabulous events that make Red Bank and the Navesink River community the special place that it is,” says KaBoom! Committee chairman Tim Hogan.

As an attraction that draws some 150,000 gawkers and revelers to multiple sites along the riverfront, the July 3 sky-splash is surely the single biggest happening of the borough’s calendar year — one in which all of the more than $200,000 needed to produce KaBoomFest comes from private donations.

While the KaMittee’s underwriting vehicles have ranged from big-league corporate sponsorships to the less sophisticated (but no less effective) “Kick In for KaBoom Bucket,” it’s the annual springtime cocktail party that has traditionally fired the first signal flare in the Countdown to KaBoomsday — and on the evening of Thursday, April 28, the fuse will be lit for an intensive interlude of pyrotechnics, preparations, promotion, and the soliciting of those crucial private donations.

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SPRING 2011: DAMP DAY

fogFog enshrouds the Bluffs housing complex in Red Bank, as seen Wednesday morning from the promenade at Marine Park. The weather outlook for the day includes rain and a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. (Click to enlarge)

WHEN HARRY SALLIES FORTH IN RED BANK

harry-connick-jr-new-appr_t588A renaissance guy in Red Bank: Harry Connick Jr. makes his first-ever two night stand at the Count Basie this week — and the man from NOLA might stand a bit of sightseeing while in town.

By TOM CHESEK

They walk among us, sometimes — shopping in the broad daylight of Broad Street, spelunking the nooks and crannies of the Antique Center, sampling the fare at everything from the most sophisticated sit-downs to way-cool WaWa.

We’re talking celebrities, baby — many of them in town for a whistle-stop tour gig at the Count Basie Theatre. While the pimped-out tour buses come and go outside the Monmouth Street landmark with regularity, however, every so often a headline act plants it here in the greater Red Bank Green for something more than a one night stand. So it is this Wednesday and Thursday, as the Count’s crib plays host to a still-young veteran who’s long worn the mantle of Renaissance Guy: Harry Connick Jr.

When the jazz pianist, pop stylist, songwriter, composer, Broadway leading man, screen actor and Krewe founder visits the Basie-birthing borough for a pair of concert events on April 20 and 21, he’ll be bringing along his big band (with perhaps a separate trailer just to tote that résumé) in a full-on recreation of his most recent studio set, the collection of jazz and pop interpretations known as Your Songs. Having ably prosecuted his long-playing career through a deft mix of fanbase-friendly favorites and a pretty delightful flair for the unexpected, we’re hoping that New Orleans-rooted Connick (who, we should point out, maintains a place in the city with his family) gets to feeling a little exploratory during his hours in Red Bank — and we’re here to toss out a few suggestions to play that stay to the fullest.
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EIGHT INJURED IN RED BANK ACCIDENT

rb-accident-041811-1Volunteer first aiders move one of the victims from the van to a waiting ambulance. (Click to enlarge)

A late-afternoon accident left eight passengers in a van with neck injuries and other non-life-threatening injuries Monday afternoon, Red Bank police said.

The accident, at Harding Road and Spring Street, involved a van carrying a special-needs adults, according to police Captain Darren McConnell.

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RED BANK TREE PLAN GETS PLANTED

wfrontSpring blooms along West Front Street at the entrance to Riverside Gardens Park last week. (Click to enlarge)

The Red Bank Shade Tree Committee hopes to plant 200 new trees in the borough over the next five years, according to an action plan filed with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection last week.

Also among the objectives of the Community Forestry Management Plan: complete an ongoing inventory of every tree not on private property.

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COPS: THIEVES TOOK KITCHEN APPLIANCES

rbpd6 doorThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of April 8 to April 15, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Theft occurring on 4-8-11 at Newman Springs Rd. Victim reported that unknown person(s) removed several items from her residence while she was gone which included kitchen appliances, couch, dishes and other kitchen items. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

Burglary occurring at Bank Street residence on 4-9-11. Victim reported that upon returning home found two unknown males inside residence that abruptly fled. Stolen was cash from bedroom. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

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AT 17, SOCIALIST SEEKS FREEHOLDER SEAT

pat-noble-041211Patrick Noble on Broad Street in his hometown, Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

Forgive us our presumptions, but when Patrick Noble invited redbankgreen to meet for coffee earlier this week to discuss his Socialist Party candidacy for Monmouth County Freeholder, we imagined someone… different, yes. Offbeat, certainly. Embittered, possibly.

We did not expect to find a pink-cheeked young man with a pleasant demeanor who lost his only prior run for elective office: vice president of his high school’s student government. In the current school year.

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SPRING BLOOMS IN BULK ON WEST SIDE

bridge-aveMountains of household waste line Bridge Avenue, above, and Shrewsbury Avenue, below, as seasonal bulk waste pickups resumed in Red Bank Thursday morning. (Click to enlarge)

shrewsbury-aveAh, the smell of newly mown grass, fresh flowers and soggy, basement-fermented mattresses.

Yes, if it’s the second Thursday in April, it must be the surest sign of spring in Red Bank: the return of bulk waste pickups.

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WINDSHIELD SMASHED ON RIVER STREET

rbpd4 windowThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of April 1 to April 8 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 4-1-11 at River St-parking lot. Victim reported that unknown person(s) damaged parked vehicle by breaking rear windshield and scratching paint. Ptl. James DePonte.

Auto Theft reported on 4-4-11 but occurring approximately two weeks prior at West Bergen Place. Vehicle stolen from street is described as a 2000 black in color Volvo S80, NJ Reg. ZXN37S. Lt. Michael Clay.

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WHO CAN IT BE NOW AT THE RECORD STORE?

colin-hay-aWith a new CD to promote, hard-working singer, songwriter and storyteller Colin Hay visits Jack’s Music Shoppe during Record Store Day on Saturday.

By TOM CHESEK

Do not under any circumstances exile him to the sad but sun-kissed island of the One Hit Wonders. Nor should you rank him with Crocodile Dundee, Aussie Rules Football and other once-trendy pursuits of some long-ago moment. Besides, his 1980s group Men at Work scored not one but two Number One hits (“Who Can It Be Nowand the anthemic “Down Under“), plus a whole slew of other international chartbusters.

Whatever you do, however, never suggest that Colin Hay is a trafficker in nostalgia — at least not the sort of candied nostalgia that comes swaddled in big hair and shoulder pads, and uncomplicated by the emotional currents and dancing reflections that course through his latest release, Gathering Mercury.

This Saturday afternoon, April 16, the Scottish-born Guy From Down Under visits Jack’s Music Shoppe on Broad Street in Red Bank for an in-store appearance that’s slated as the sweet-spot attraction in the annual celebration known as Record Store Day (and yes, it’s a worldwide holiday).
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RED BANK LANDS NEW FIRE BOAT – FREE

rb-fire-boatSoon to be churning up the waters of the Navesink: a former U.S. Coast Guard vessel, now getting a sprucing-up at the Red Bank public works garage. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s fleet of emergency vehicles is about to get an addition.

Borough officials earlier this week took possession of a 22-foot SeaArk Marine boat with twin 130-horsepower Honda engines. And they got it for free.

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NAACP DRAWS ATTENTION TO SCHOOLS

rb-boe-040711About a dozen residents turned out at St. Paul Baptist Church in Red Bank Thursday night for the latest in a series of budget presentations given in recent weeks by schools Superintendent Laura Morana, with mic above. A Q&A with board of ed candidates followed at the event, hosted by the Greater Red Bank Branch of the NAACP.

The $15 million budget would raise the district’s portion of the local tax bill by $40 on a residence assessed at the borough average. Voting on the spending plan, and for board seats, is April 27, when polls are open from 2p to 9p. (Click to enlarge)

BUDGET SHOW NO SRO

rb-budget-040711Borough officials outnumbered residents at the annual Red Bank budget Q&A held at the Senior Citizens’ Center on Shrewsbury Avenue Thursday night. Administrator Stanley Sickels gave a 35-minute overview of the spending plan that was nearly identical to one he delivered at a council meeting last month, and drew only two questions from the audience.

The $19.95 million spending plan, which would raise the local tax on a house assessed at the average $403,696 by $105 for the year, is scheduled for a council vote on April 27. (Click to enlarge)

T&M TOPS CONTRACTOR DONOR LIST

money-full-columnMiddletown-based civil engineering firm T&M Associates was the state’s biggest contributor to political campaigns among businesses that contract with local and state government in New Jersey, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The state Election Law Enforcement Commission reported that for the fifth straight year, T&M — which holds contracts with both Middletown and Red Bank — topped the list of donor/contractor firms disclosing contributions under so-called ‘pay-to-play’ laws.

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‘ANNIE’ WHICH WAY YOU CAN, AT THE BASIE

annieAt left, Carly Nelson is ANNIE (and Oliver is Sandy) in the Phoenix Productions staging of the musical favorite. At right, Annie and her fellow orphans bedevil Lauren J. Cooke as Miss Hannigan. (Photos courtesy Phoenix Productions)

By TOM CHESEK

From church basement to charity bash, from middle school to midsummer stock, there’s probably never a weekend when somebody somewhere is NOT staging a production of Annie, the sassy musical period piece based on Harold Gray’s seemingly ageless comic strip character Little Orphan Annie.

Which begs the question: how can the sun come out”Tomorrow” when the sun never sets on the Annie empire?

While you ponder that, consider the fact that when the folks at Red Bank-based Phoenix Productions put on a show, they’re mounting it not at that aforementioned church basement, but at the landmark performing arts venue that is the Count Basie Theatre. When the Count’s resident community theater troupe revisits Annie, Daddy Warbucks, Miss Hannigan and company this weekend, they’ll be treading the same boards as have supported some of the most legendary figures in showbiz — and they’ll even put forth a cast that boasts at least one performer with something of a bone-a-fide Broadway pedigree.
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RIVERVIEW NETS ANOTHER $1M FROM DONORS

RiverviewmedctrThe hospital has raised $6 million of its $15 million capital campaign from two Middletown couples. (File photo. Click to enlarge)

Little more than a week after disclosing it had received a $5 million donation toward a planned $15 million revamping of its operating rooms, Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center announced Monday that another $1 million contribution had come in.

The donation, by George and Vita Kolber, of the Locust section of Middletown, will go toward the construction of a new 22,000-square foot “center for surgical excellence” within the exisiting footprint of the Red Bank hospital, officials said.

A $5 million donation by Kolber neighbors Bob & Joan Rechnitz, founders of the Two River Theater Company, is to be used for the same purpose.

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TAKING TO THE AIR

skateboarderA skateboarder takes advantage of Monday’s warm weather by practicing ollies at Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park. Tuesday will be cooler, wetter and windier, says the National Weather Service. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

hyde-pierce-geoffrey-owensActors David Hyde Pierce (of TV’s ‘Frazier’ fame) and Geoffrey Owens (‘The Cosby Show’) ran into one another at the March 26 opening of ‘Candida’ at the Red Bank’s Two River Theater. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Good morning, readers.

Before you dig into the day’s news, here’s a rundown of last week’s happenings on redbankgreen, an easily digestible compendium of the week that was.

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FORECAST: ARTY IN APRIL

rbrartWorks by Shrewsbury artists Chelsea Moore (THE BIKE RIDE. left), Hong Yang (WORDS OF WISDOM, right) and other Red Bank Regional students are on display at the Guild of Creative Art beginning Friday.

So we’ve just about made it out the lamb-y end of March, and as the greater Red Bank Green awaits that new grass on the field, we step gingerly over the remnants from the last of the St. Pat’s Pub Crawls on a cultural constitutional that can only be called the April Art Walk.

Starting with… Friday, April the no-fooling First, which marks the first phase of an annual tradition at the Shrewsbury-based Guild of Creative Art — a two-part exhibit that spotlights the work of the most talented young artists from two of our local high schools in a professional-quality gallery setting. Beginning with a reception from 6 to 8p, and continuing through April 13 at the art collective’s Broad Street headquarters, the Guild showcases seniors from the Red Bank Regional High School Visual and Performing Art Academy’s Commercial Art Program, under the supervision of RBR Commercial Art teacher Claudia O’Connor. Featured are drawings, paintings and pastels by Kelly Conley, Kelly McWatters, Chelsea Moore, Andrea Squassi and Hong Yang (all of Shrewsbury), as well as  Jessica Cresanti-Daknis (Oceanport) and Anthony Lee (Neptune City). Then on April 15, it’s an opening reception for an exhibit of artworks by students from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, a display that continues at the Guild through April 27.

There’s much more where that came from, of course, and it’s on view with just a step past the virtual velvet rope.

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