APPEALS COURT OKS COLONY HOUSE DENIAL

Img_4589The decision concerns a 50-year-old apartment building on Bodman Place that the owner wanted to convert to condos. (Click to enlarge)

The state appeals court has upheld the Red Bank zoning board’s rejection of a condo conversion plan for the half-century-old Colony House apartment building.

The plan would have exacerbated a “severe lack of available parking,” the board said in its July 2008 resolution on the rejection.

In a decision dated February 10, the appeals court found that the board had acted reasonably in coming to that conclusion.

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ZIPPRICH SPOTLIGHTS ABORTION PROTEST

planned-parenthoodThe Planned Parenthood clinic on Newman Springs Road is the purported terminus of a protest walk planned for March 12. Below, Councilman Ed Zipprich. (Click to enlarge)

zipprich-021411The Red Bank council’s rubber-stamping of some two dozen requests for public events was interrupted Monday night when Councilman Ed Zipprich raised security issues in connection with a planned anti-abortion march scheduled for next month.

Invoking the recent shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and a push by New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith to have the federal government redefine rape in an effort to limit access to abortions, Zipprich expressed concern that the march might attract someone bent on violence.

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MENNA: RED BANK NEEDS MORE NIGHT ACTION

wfront-2The mayor says entertainment ventures could help fill empty storefronts. Above, two long-time vacant spaces on West Front Street. (Click to enlarge)

Citing a surplus of vacant storefronts and not enough for visitors to do after-hours, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna on Monday called for law changes to allow more nightlife attractions downtown.

Menna got the ball rolling on what he said would be a process to come up with zoning changes to allow such ventures as billiards parlors, small movie theaters, and places offering “digital entertainment” in the district.

“People say, ‘we love coming to Red Bank, but after we have dinner and drinks, we want to do more,'” he said.

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RED BANKER VIES FOR ‘MISS NEW JERSEY’

quaniesha-frostQuaniesha Frost of Red Bank won the Miss Tri-County competition last month and is getting ready to compete for the Miss New Jersey crown. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Quaniesha Frost, a slender and soft-spoken 23-year-old, has big goals, none of which can be achieved through anything short of intense hard work and a little bit of luck.

She wants to save, and eventually enhance, school music programs. She wants to open performing arts schools around the country. She wants to perform on Broadway.  She wants to be Miss America, perhaps the goal most within reach for the Red Bank native.

In June, Frost, otherwise known as Miss Tri-County, will vie for the crown of Miss New Jersey, the penultimate pageant to the coveted national title.

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BECK TAKES AIM AT SEXIST STATUTES

beck-010310-4Republican state Senator Jennifer Beck, left, got a fair amount of media attention over the weekend for her campaign to purge laws of outdated and sexist treatment of women.

The Red Bank legislator, along with state Senator Lorretta Weinberg of Bergen County, was spotlighted Sunday in the same article run by both the Newark Star-Ledger and the Record of Hackensack for proposed legislation that would strike from the books “antiquated and at times demeaning references to women.”

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FORECAST: WARMISH & WINDY

maple-moundBelow, a lone ice floe sporting a stalk of phragmites appears headed to its doom in the upper Navesink as temperature rise today. But how long will it take to melt Red Bank’s ugly glacier of snow dumped at the foot of Maple Avenue, above? (Click to enlarge)

floe2The long-overdue snowmelt is finally underway.

Having seen temperatures climb into the high forties over the weekend after what seemed an ice age, Red Bank-area residents can expect to see the mercury shoot past 50 degrees today, according to the National Weather Service.

Between wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, that is. That part of the outlook has prompted the issuance of a wind advisory.

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YOUR WEEKLY RED BANK CRIME REPORT

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the week of February 4 to February 11, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Theft occurring at Broad St. restaurant on 2-5-11. Victim reported that a credit card was stolen while at the establishment. Ptl. Michael Campanella.

Theft occurring on 2-7-11 at Broad St. business. Owner reported that unknown person(s) removed ten boxes of porcelain tile from basement of business. Lt. Joshua Berbrick.

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KABOOMERS PROMISE FRESH START

A promotional video for the KaBOOM fireworks show. Below, Tim Hogan, new chairman of KaBoom’s executive committee. (Click to enlarge photo)

hogan-2Coming off two years of financial challenges and crowd-control issues, the 2011 edition of the giant annual fireworks extravaganza known as KaBoomFest will feature a renewed focus on family entertainment and security, organizers say.

While some aspects of the event, including whether to repeat last year’s expansion from one to three days, remain undecided, KaBoom is on track to raise more money from corporate sponsors this year and is paying more attention to the importance of security, said Tim Hogan, president of Riverview Medical Center and chairman of KaBoom’s executive committee.

“We want to make sure that it’s safe and want to make sure that it’s family-friendly,” Hogan said.

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CLOWNS AND A MIME IN TRTC’s QUILT

bowersclownsActor, mime and raconteur Bill Bowers speaks up in IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING at Two River Theater  — while Matthew Gumley and Michael Nathanson continue through February 20 in A THOUSAND CLOWNS.

By TOM CHESEK

With winter regrouping for a second-half assault on the senses, the trick is to stay busy into the lamb-y end of March. It’s a point well taken by the folks at Two River Theater, who are seeing February out with a flurry of activity that includes a current mainstage production, the latest in the Flashes of Brilliance series of solo pieces, and an intimately scaled side project presented at a neighboring Red Bank landmark.

That big-stage offering is a revival of A Thousand Clowns, the 1962 comedy by Herb Gardner that was previewed right here in the pixelated pages of redbankgreen last week. The show stars Michael Nathanson as Uncle Murray — a happy-go-lucky, gainfully unemployed case of arrested development, and semi-legal guardian to his nerdish but savvy nephew Nick. Matthew Gumley, a 14-year-old Broadway trouper who we’ll all probably be seeing a lot more of (and who popped up as an answer on a recent telecast of Jeopardy!), co-stars with a solid cast of character players, among them Tony nominee Lou Liberatore.

Employing the jargon of the want-ads, Star-Ledger reviewer (and dean of Jersey theater crits) Peter Filichia called the show “an ‘excInt oppt’y’ to meet one of Broadway’s first nonconformists,” and capped his enthusiastic take on the show with “everyone’s batting a thousand in A Thousand Clowns.” You can read his freshly posted review here — and you can find much more happening on this side of the river, right after the jump.

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RED BANK POLICE ACTIVITY REPORT

rbpd-patrol-webThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of January 21 to February 04, 2011. The information appears here unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 1-22-11 at W. Front St. Victim reported that unknown person(s) damaged light pole on property. Ptl. Paul Perez.

Theft occurring on 1-24-11 at West St. residence. Victim reported that unknown person(s) entered his room and stole a gold rope bracelet. Lt. Eliot Ramos.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 1-27-11 at Broad St. Victim reported that unknown person(s) spray-painted graffiti on to inside wall of residence. Ptl. Gary Watson

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NEW ON BROAD: HIP, HUMBLE & VINTAGE

danny-weinbergHip And Humble Home co-owner Danny Weinberg inside his Broad Street store, set to open this week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI rcsm2_010508

It took Danny Weinberg a matter of seconds to decide on Red Bank as the newest location for his longtime business, Hip And Humble Home.

Weinberg, a Teaneck resident, had recently closed his New York City shop and was driving through Red Bank about six weeks ago when he spotted a vacancy on Broad Street.

“I just drove down here one day, saw the ‘for lease’ sign and the price was right,” Weinberg, 48, said. “I didn’t look anywhere else.”

Six weeks later, Weinberg’s stock of unique wooden imports, mostly from Indonesia — dining tables, chairs, dressers and bed frames, among others — is packed into 58 Broad, and Weinberg is ready to tap into demand for used furniture.

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JERSEYS FOR JESUS

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altarSunday was ‘Jerseys for Jesus’ day at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Red Bank, where congregants were encouraged to sport their team colors. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

BROAD STREET CLOCK RESTARTED

reussielles-clockThe Reussille’s clock was back to telling the correct time late Friday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s landmark downtown clock is back to telling time, even if its owner has moved on.

The distinctive Reussille’s clock was shut off three weeks ago, when Ballew Jewelers, the successor to Reussille’s, ended a 126-year run in town.

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ART WALK: THE GALOSHES EDITION

leslies_sentinels“Sentinels” by Leslie Backlund whose works will be among those displayed Sunday at Shrewsbury’s Guild of Creative Art.

The virtual Art Walk is back on redbankgreen as February pops from the groundhog-hole with a newfound momentum toward those first gloriously slushy days of the long-awaited Big Thaw. Like charging into a snowdrift and hoping for the best, we proceed apace — and if the walking’s still a bit slippery out there, we did mention that we’re kicking it “virtual” in here.

This weekend brings an annual event that, while it doesn’t claim to compete for attention with the Super Bowl, remains an eagerly anticipated seasonal signifier around the greater ‘green. Hosted at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft and presented by the CBA Mother’s Club, the 36th Annual CBA Professional Art Show and Sale brings together some 100 pro artists from all over the region for a fundraiser that kicks off with a preview reception tonight. Tickets for the 7p event ($40 in advance, $50 at the door) benefit the school and include hors d’oeuvres, wine/beer open bar, live music, first dibs on all artworks offered for sale, plus unlimited return visits for the duration of the weekend.

The show continues Saturday and Sunday between 10a and 4p, with $5 admission once again dedicated to special event programs at CBA. There’s a 50/50 raffle, drawings for featured art works and refreshments available for purchase from “the unique Artist’s Palette Café.” Take it here for full details — and take it ’round the corner for more arty action.

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ZIPPRICH ADDS TO ‘IT GETS BETTER’ EFFORT

In a video posted on YouTube in support of an outreach effort for gay teenagers who may be considering suicide, Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich talks about his own sexuality and the presence of bullies in his youth.

Describing himself as “an out and proud councilman elected by the people of Red Bank, New Jersey,” Zipprich recalls that as a teenager, he knew that “by being different, I wasn’t safe, especially when it came to kids who bullied.”

“It was very painful and very difficult to go to school every day in fear that somebody would find out who you really were,” he says in the video, which is featured on the It Gets Better website among those made by average joes and celebrities such as Keith Strickland of the B-52s and comedian Margaret Cho.

“I buried who I was. I knew that who I was wasn’t safe,” he says.

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FUNDRAISERS BRING WARMTH TO AREA

toy-story-3-disney-pixarBuzz, Woody and the gang are back for one more big-screen adventure, when TOY STORY 3 returns for a special showing at Clearview Cinemas to benefit Bridge of Books.

Done2While wobbling and shivering across the frozen tundra of what can only be called Red Bank Greenland, you’d do good to bear in mind that in the Caribbean, the sun is shining and the thermometer is expected to hit the low to mid 80s. And you’ll have Done Good to bear in mind that in Haiti, the hard-hit victims of last year’s earthquake are still in need of a helping hand.

One is being extended to the beleaguered nation from Red Bank’s own Pilgrim Baptist Church. From now until Wednesday, February 16, the Haiti Relief, Recovery and Restoration Initiative of Red Bank (in partnership with Aslan Youth Ministries) is seeking donations of school supplies — everything from pencils, erasers, crayons and rulers to composition books and solar calculators — for distribution to elementary school students in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. The small northeastern city will be the site of a groundbreaking for a new community medical clinic, and a Mission Work Team from the Initiative will be delivering the school supplies when they travel to Ouanaminthe on the week of February 21-27.

You can drop off donated items at Pilgrim Baptist (172 Shrewsbury Avenue); you can learn more about the Mission Work Team trip by calling Bernadette Marshall or Pastor Terrence Porter at (732)747-2348 — and you can brace yourself for another seasonal blast of Done Good action, right around the corner.

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M’TOWN TRAFFIC STOP ENDS IN DRUG BUST

jeremy-browneA 19-year-old Red Bank man was held on drug charges Sunday after Middletown police found pot, cocaine and Ecstacy in his car, authorities said Wednesday.

Jeremy Browne of Spring Street was stopped on Tindall Road at about 11p that night for having improper tint on the windows of his vehicle, according to an announcement by the township police department. But the smell of pot prompted officers to bring in a drug-sniffing dog and conduct a search that ended in Browne’s arrest, the announcement said.

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NOW WAS THAT SO HARD?

Tom Fishkin of Readie’s Fine Foods and activist Cindy Burham took it on themselves to clear off some ice-encrusted benches in downtown Red Bank Tuesday. “Nobody will sit on them, but they’ll look nicer,” Fishkin said. (Click to enlarge)

SICK OF WINTER? TAKE A PHIL PILL

pux_2010Punxsutawney Phil’s yearly debut, as reimagined at a spot along the Middletown side of the Navesink River at McClee’s Creek.

It’s a pretty good bet that Punxsutawney Phil won’t see his shadow Wednesday morning.

According to Groundhog Day lore, the failure of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania’s most famous resident to see his own shadow on February 2 presages an early spring.

A shadow-spotting seemed unlikely as of 5a. It was rainy and misty out there in west central Pee Ay, with an outlook for rain, snow showers and freezing rain, according to the National Weather Service.

An early spring would certainly be welcome in the snow-and-ice-bound Red Bank region, where today’s forecast is also dim and damp, if not as cold.

Temperatures are expected to rise above freezing by 9a, but as we write this, streets and sidewalks are crusted with a dangerous layer of ice, and a freezing rain advisory is in place until at least 8a.

Here’s the forecast for our area:

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RED BANK MAN COPS TO TWO BANK JOBS

call-in-the-authoritiesA Red Bank man admitted in federal court in Trenton Monday that he robbed a Fair Haven bank last August and another one a week later in Cranford.

Wilfred A. Dunn Jr., no address given, faces up to 20 years for each robbery, according to documents filed in connection with the plea.

According to an FBI agent’s statement in court records, Dunn entered a TD Bank branch on River Road in Fair Haven last August 20 and passed a teller a note that said, “I have a loaded gun in my bag. Just give me the money and nobody gets hurt. 20s, 50s and 100s.”

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IDINA MENZEL, MARVIN HAMLISCH AT BASIE

idinamenzelSuperstar stage and screen diva Idina Menzel returns to Red Bank Thursday with no less than Marvin Hamlisch at the podium as guest conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

By TOM CHESEK

Most actors, singers or combinations thereof would be very thankful to have latched on to even one genuinely fan-supercharged, multi-generational, cross-cultural pop phenomenon in their professional lifetimes. Idina Menzel has been a big part of three such phenoms — and the general consensus is that she’s only just begun.

When the recently minted stage superstar, who painted herself a minty green for her Tony-winning turn as Elphaba in Wicked, returns to the boards of the Count Basie Theatre Thursday night, she’ll be bringing it big-time for local Rentheads (she originated the role of Maureen in the modern musical smash), Gleeks (she’s co-starred in the recurring role of Shelby Corcoran on the hitmaking Fox TV series), and whatever it is that fans of Wicked call themselves these days (Elphicionados?).

The native Long Islander and hardworking mom (she and co-RENTer husband Taye Diggs have an infant son) will also be bringing along an extra special treat — Marvin Hamlisch, the EGOT winner (Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-Tony, that is; not to mention two Golden Globes and one Pulitzer Prize) who’s scored about as many golden trophies as he has movies, TV specials and Broadway musicals. The maestro will be wielding the baton as guest conductor of the mighty New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for an 8p set of songs written or otherwise “owned” by the star singer, from stage/screen signatures to material from her 2008 CD I Stand.

The celebs desk at redbankgreen talked to Menzel on the eve of her east coast jaunt. A half-dozen or so Q’s and A’s follow.

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ANOTHER STORM DAMPENS BUSINESS

broadFew pedestrians were out on Broad Street in downtown Red Bank late Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

Not to belabor the obvious, but the snowy winter of 2010-’11 is putting a tight squeeze on Red Bank stores and restaurants, owners say.

“It’s killing us,” says Gary Sable, of That Hot Dog Place on Monmouth Street. Motioning to the municipal parking lot on White Street, he says” “Look, it’s empty.”

Empty of everything but white stuff, that is. And the outlook is for more than previously expected.

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TRIPLE DIP FOR THE EPIPHANY

orthodox-2orthodox-3Congregants of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church held their annual celebration of the Epiphany Wednesday, when three of them jumped into the Navesink River at Oyster Point. The event was moved from its customary site at Maple Cove because of an excess of goose droppings, a church official said. (Click to enlarge)