RED BANK: ROADWORK UNDER THE LIGHTS

red bank route 35 maple avenueeNighttime travelers along Route 35 in Red Bank and neighboring towns have encountered lane closures, detours and lots of floodlights in recent weeks.  

What’s Going On Here? Read on. (Photo by John T. Ward.)

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MIDDLETOWN: WOMAN STRUCK AND KILLED

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2-2014A 75-year-old Middletown woman died Monday evening when she was struck crossing Route 35, township police said Tuesday.

Nadra Sourial was stuck as she crossed the highway from east to west at the intersection of Harmony Road at about 6:10 p.m., according to Captain Steve Dollinger.

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SEA BRIGHT TO PUT COP ON CROSSWALK BEAT

sb ocean ave 011614The tiny borough plans to deploy a police officer devoted to enforcement of pedestrian safety laws. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long admits it: she has wigged out on motorists who don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks on the town’s main drag.

“I’ve been known to yell at cars on Ocean Avenue,” she tells redbankgreen. “When I see somebody blow through a crosswalk, especially if there’s a child waiting to cross, I’ll be like, ‘what is wrong with you? Do you not see the kid standing in the crosswalk?’ I have been known to do that.”

Now, the tiny oceanfront borough, though it is starved for cash as it continues to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, is taking action.

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RED BANK: DEAD FISH LEFT ON BRIDGE

bridge fish 102413Seen on the Route 35/Cooper’s Bridge between Middletown and Red Bank at midday Thursday: four dead fish. Apparently, whoever caught them couldn’t even bother to throw them back into the Navesink River. (Click to enlarge)

DRUNK DRIVING RAMPANT IN MIDDLETOWN

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

mtown-police-carThe recurring — and alarming — theme for Middletown’s police officers this week was dealing with alleged drunks crashing into things.

There were five reported car accidents in which the drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated, said Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger in his regular roundup of crime activity. One driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit a parked car, two crashed into utility poles, another man went through a road barrier and another ended up on the side of the road after crashing his vehicle, Dollinger said.

That’s not counting the two incidents of wrong-way drivers.

More reports from MTPD are unedited below.

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COPS: CLERK POCKETED CASH

mtpd-badgeBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An employee at the Target on Route 35 was taken from the store in cuffs last week after police say she pocketed cash that was supposed to go into the register for sales.

The Keansburg woman allegedly rang transactions on the cash register, then voided them and took the cash, Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger said in a roundup of police activity.

Details and more reports from Middletown police appear unedited below.

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RED BANK MAN VICTIM OF HIT AND RUN

just_in1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A 26-year-old Red Bank man was seriously injured after being hit by a vehicle whose driver fled the scene Tuesday night, police said.

The accident, which occurred on Route 35 south in Middletown, between Coopers Bridge and Navesink River Road, left the victim, whom authorities are not yet publicly identifying, in critical condition, Middletown Sergeant Fred Deickmann said.

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DAD, SONS BUSTED IN M’TOWN DRUG STING

middletown-pdBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A father and two sons were arrested after a lengthy undercover investigation by Middletown police and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, police said.

The three-month investigation led to the arrests of Dean, Christopher and Peter Sadecki, all of 12 Walada Avenue, said Detective Sergeant Steve Dollinger. Authorities seized cash, a variety of drugs and a sport utility vehicle at the family’s Port Monmouth home.

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CLINIC STRIKES FEAR IN NEIGHBORHOOD

methadone-crowdA crowd packed Middletown’s meeting room Monday night rallying against a recently opened medical center that dispenses methadone. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The tiny community near Apple Farm Road, off Route 35, was a place where kids could roam free, homeowners could decide not to lock their front doors without worry and every face you saw was somebody you knew.

That was until Middletown Medical opened up and changed everything, neighbors say.

Because at the only entrance and exit to that community sits the medical center, which is not the place to go for a check-up or to look into a nagging cough. Middletown Medical is a methadone clinic, dispensing the synthetic pill just a stone’s throw from a bundle of homes and school bus stops. Methadone, in addition to treating chronic pain, is a popular and controversial drug used to treat opiate addicts to help wean them off drugs like heroin and morphine.

And nobody’s happy about the new dispensary opening its doors — to the town’s surprise — so close to the residential neighborhood. Neighbors share fears that the business will open up the neighborhood to a seedy cohort prone to stealing, robbing or getting a fix or drug money by any means necessary. One woman who said she goes walking through the neighborhood each morning fears she could be mugged, thrown in a ditch and left unnoticed for hours.

Within the law, though, there nothing anybody can do about the clinic, town officials maintain.

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MEMORIAL DAY ROUNDUP

american-flagsA home on Bingham Avenue in Rumson displays a row of miniature American flags in recognition of Memorial Day, which is Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Memorial Day is this Monday, signifying not just a long weekend and the unofficial start to the summer season, but most importantly a holiday to pay tribute to the American soldiers who’ve died in service to the country.

Here’s a roundup of Decoration Day events around the redbankgreen.

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HOTEL PLAN CLEARS FIRST HURDLE

hampton-inn-siteThe zoning board’s decision exempts the former filling station site from an ordinance that appeared to limit its use to residences. Planner Roy DeBoer, below, testified for the developer. (Click to enlarge)

deboer-051911A plan for a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn hotel on the Red Bank anchorage of the Cooper Bridge advanced Thursday night.

Asked solely for an interpretation of a 2009 land use law that allowed only single-family housing along once-stately Rector Place, the borough zoning board unanimously ruled that the ordinance was not intended to apply to the proposed hotel site, long home to a gas station, and had been mistakenly included by the town council.

The plan, however, still faces substantial procedural hurdles, including requests for height and density variances, as well as a glaring question: should a site that the state Department of Environmental Protection says is too contaminated for housing, schools and hospitals have a hotel on it? Read More »

PRISONER BUSTED IN 2008 BURGLARY

mtown-cop-carsBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In this week’s recap of Middletown police activity, a high school girl was assaulted  at school, a teen was busted trying to buy whiskey and a prisoner was charged for a gas station burglary that occurred three years ago.

Details, provided by Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger, are below and appear unedited.

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COPS: DRUNK DRIVER CRASHES IN WORK ZONE

authorities2aBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown police made several arrests over the weekend, including one of a man accused of drunkenly smashing a vehicle into the back of a paint truck and another police said caused a noisy ruckus outside a home in the Belford section of town.

Details of the police reports are below.

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SHREWSBURY NAIL SALONS BURGLARIZED

estella-break-inEstella Nails was one of two Shrewsbury nail salons broken into the last two weeks. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A pair of Shrewsbury nail salons within blocks of each other on Broad Street were burglarized in the last two weeks, police said.

Nails Plus, at 427 Broad, and Estella Nails, 464 Broad, were targets of overnight smash-and-grabs, Chief John Wilson said.

The burglaries appear to be connected to a flurry of Monmouth County nail salon break-ins, he said.

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PROBE INTO DEADLY FIRE CONTINUES

135-statesir-2The scene at 135 Statesir Place Tuesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office continues to investigate the deadly fire that ripped through a Statesir Place home early this morning, First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.

The names of the four people who were killed in the blaze have not been released, pending notification of family members, he said.

“My people are out there doing their due diligence,” Gramiccioni said.

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MIDDLETOWN BAR CRUSH RILES NEIGHBORS

mjsBrisk business at MJ’s Pizza Bar and Grill is causing traffic to jam up a nearby residential area, neighbors say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Here’s a problem merchants these days might like to have: a business so hopping that the parking lot can’t keep up with demand.

Recently-opened MJ’s Pizza Bar and Grill, on Route 35 north in Middletown, is having such a containment issue. A lack of available real estate isn’t deterring customers, but the parking spaces they’re finding have got neighbors of MJ’s all riled up.

Neighbors say bar patrons are using the area of nearby Rosewood and Melrose terraces as an alternative parking area, making noise late at night and using private driveways as U-turns to get back out onto the highway.

“There’s a major problem with my privacy and my neighbors’ privacy and traffic. You can’t even pull your car out to Route 35,” said Vito Nigro, of Melrose Terrace. “Roseland Terrace is like a parking lot.”

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M’TOWN: THEFT, SHOPLIFTING, BURGLARY

authorities2aBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Shoplifting, car break-ins and credit card theft are among the crimes that have kept Middletown police busy as of late.

The department made six arrests for the various crimes in the last 11 days.

Details after the jump.

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BANK GOES TO PLAN B ON FORMER HOV HQ

old-khov1The former Hovnanian Enterprises headquarters in Middletown is in the midst of a complete makeover and almost ready for tenants. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Following a failed proposal to open a bank with a drive-through at the old Hovnanian Enterprises headquarters on Route 35 in Middletown, the building’s owner, Valley National Bank, has moved on to a new idea: completely overhauling the three-and-a-half story, box-like building and leasing it out.

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HAMPTON INN EYES RED BANK EYESORE

hampton-innPlans for a Hampton Inn at the site of a former gas station on Route 35 in Red Bank call for a six-story, 76-room hotel at the foot of the Navesink River. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A major name in the hotel industry is looking to develop on a long-vacant eyesore property on the Navesink in Red Bank.

A franchisee has filed plans to build a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn at the southwestern foot of Cooper’s Bridge, on the 1.2-acre former home to an Exxon station.

In order to move forward, though, the developer has asked the borough council to first make a change to its zoning law.

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M’TOWN COPS NAB V-DAY SHOPLIFTERS

just_in1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Four Middletown residents, including a related trio from the Belford section of town, were arrested on Valentine’s Day for shoplifting from the Kohl’s department store on Route 35, police said.

The group, after walking through the store for two hours, is accused of lifting $1,240 in merchandise from the chain.

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AT 55, EVIL CLOWN ENTERS RAG TRADE

calicoCalico, the iconic “evil clown” of Middletown, celebrated its 55th birthday Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

At 22-feet tall and 10-feet wide, it has withstood the test of time, surviving fire, a potential sale of its home and a near ousting by a major development project. It’s been featured on the Tonight Show, in Weird NJ and Kevin Smith’s Clerks II, and draws fans from all over the state to gawk at its creepy grin, shoot tribute videos and set up a Facebook fan page in its honor.

Calico, the iconic “Evil Clown of Middletown,” turned 55 on Tuesday. Now it’s time to celebrate five and a half decades of making roadside history with a new venture: evil clown apparel.

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MIDDLETOWN BANK ROBBED

just_in1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A Sovereign Bank branch on Route 35 in Middletown was robbed late Friday, police said.

Detective Lieutenant Steve Dollinger said authorities are searching for a white man in his late 20s or early 30s, weighs about 150 pounds and is between five-foot-six and five-foot-eight inches tall.

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RT. 35 CRASH SENDS CAR OVER DIVIDER

middletownaccident-081210One of two cars involved in the accident jumped the divider and ended up on its roof. (Photo by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)

Police and other emergency personnel responded to a two-car accident on Route 35 in Middletown Thursday evening that sent one vehicle over the highway divider.

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TRADER JOE’S PLANS SHREWSBURY STORE


The specialty food store has filed plans to take over more than 12,000 square feet in Treasure Island Plaza, according to a report.

After a brief dalliance with Red Bank three years ago, Trader Joe’s, a foodstore chain with a reverential following, appears to have settled on Shrewsbury instead.

So reports the Asbury Park Press, which says the California-based company has filed plans to take space in the Treasure Island Plaza shopping center on Route 35, next door to Staples.

Plans on file with the borough indicate Trader Joe’s will take over three existing storefronts to create a 12,026-square-foot store, the Press reports. No estimated opening date was reported, and a company spokeswoman told the newspaper she could no confirm the information.

But don’t expect to find bottles of Two-Buck Chuck there. The store won’t have a liquor license, the Press says.

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