SHREWSBURY SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON JCP&L

By: REBECCA DESFOSSE

In case it wasn’t already getting the message, JCP&L will now hear it from the Borough of Shrewsbury: get your act together.

At Monday night’s town council meeting, a resolution that resulted from a recent “Snow Summit” of Monmouth County town officials  won approval. It includes 10 recommendations aimed at getting the power utility to improve communications in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

One council member voted against the measure.

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RED BANK: CHEATING, FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Christine Zilinski of Salon Concrete styles the hair of Maritza Soler of Port Monmouth last week. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Done2In the days after Hurricane Sandy hit, Red Bank hair stylist Christine Zilinski jumped in as a volunteer to help residents of Union Beach cope with the aftermath.

It didn’t seem like enough, though. Zilinski said she wanted to do more. She wanted to use her strongest skills.

Of course, the answer to what that might mean was right there in her mirror. And it came with a sexy catchphrase: “Cheat on your hairdresser.”

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RED BANK: HOTEL AIMS FOR JANUARY RETURN

The surging Navesink River poured six feet of water into the hotel’s basement, knocking out electricity and other systems. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Almost a month after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore, Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel remains locked and dark, a handwritten note taped to its front door telling visitors it will reopen “when it is safe to do so.”

The riverside hotel’s basement, the operational heart of the facility, was inundated with more than six feet of water in the storm. Even though flood gates were in place, the water levels exceeded them and entered the basement, destroying the electrical and communication equipment, said Kevin Barry, the hotel’s operating manager.

“We have flood gates that were set by the standards of the ’92 storm, but obviously the damage by Sandy was exponentially worse,” he said.

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RUMSON: MARINA RESURFACING AFTER STORM

Life was returning to normal at the Rumson marina on Tuesday, though a new $3 million Viking that was swept from the lot remained half-sunk on the Middletown side of the Navesink, below. (Photo above by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

More than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, Oceanic Marina owner Pete Pawlikowski is still trying to restore his ravaged Rumson business. redbankgreen was on the scene day the morning after the storm hit, and returned on Tuesday to check in on the rebuilding process.

“Its mind-boggling, really,” said Pawlikowski, sitting in his once-again operational office and store, which was submerged in over four and half feet of water just two weeks ago. “I’ve never seen so much devastation.”

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FAIR HAVEN RATES STORM COMMUNICATIONS

A hard hat signed by Alabama Power line workers was donated to Fair Haven as thanks for the town’s hospitality at Tuesday night’s council meeting. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

In a meeting predictably dominated by issues related to Hurricane Sandy, Fair Haven’s borough council and a concerned public agreed on Monday night: though the local government did well, better communication is needed.

Council members and residents said the town’s officials did a good job of damage control and post-storm recovery efforts, but a lack of effective communications from the borough was the one lingering negative at the governing body’s bimonthly meeting.

“I think the main thing is we need to do a better job communicating,” said borough AdministratorTheresa Casagrande.

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RED BANK: PRIMARY SCHOOL STILL UP IN AIR

A dumpster loaded with discarded carpeting and other material sits outside the Red Bank Primary School, which remained closed Monday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After two weeks, Red Bank Primary School students were able to finally make their return to school Monday – just not their own school.

Displaced students attended a morning session at the middle school, before the middle school students arrived for an afternoon session.

The primary school, adjoining the Swimming River, was built on marshland, and suffered major flood damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy two weeks ago. According to Superintendent Laura Morana, over two-thirds of the school’s flooring and carpeting were rendered unusable in Sandy’s wake.

“The school has been in existence for over 40 years,” Morana told redbankgreen, “and this by far the worst damage we’ve faced as a result of weather.”

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SEA BRIGHT BRACES FOR MORE, ONLY LESS

A comfort tent has been set up for personnel manning the blockade on the Rumson side of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

It looked like Sandy Redux on the west side of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge in Rumson early Wednesday afternoon, as police and National Guard blockaded the already battered ocean community of Sea Bright with a mixture of snow and sleet already falling steadily.

Though the power of an approaching northeaster isn’t expected to carry anything near the destructive force of Hurricane Sandy, the resulting damage could be worse than usual because of its proximity to last weeks’ superstorm, particularly in ravaged communities like Sea Bright trying to pick up the pieces, officials there worry.

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RED BANK POWER RESTORATION CONTINUES

A map issued by the Red Bank Office of Emergency Management late Tuesday afternoon shows, in yellow, areas of town that have been restored to full electrical service.

At right, Verizon workers replace one of two fallen utility pole on Washington Street that have inhibited the return of electrical service to Red Bank’s East Side, officials said. At 4 p.m., a Verizon worker said the second pole would be up and ready for JCP&L to do its thing within the hour. (Photo at right by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)


FAIR HAVEN MAKES ROOM FOR SEA BRIGHTERS

Fair Haven voters chatting outside the Youth Center, where all local balloting was moved to accommodate Sea Bright residents at the Fair Haven firehouse. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Sea Bright residents and other voters displaced by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy were able to exercise their right to vote in Fair Haven this Election Day. Grateful that they were able to vote despite the devastation in their hometowns, voters piled into two polling locations in Fair Haven from all over the state.

Sea Bright residents were instructed to vote at the Fair Haven firehouse, while all Fair Haven residents were rerouted to the Youth Center behind the police station.

Sea Bright resident Kristin Thatcher said she wasn’t inconvenienced at all by the change in polling locations – she was just glad she was still able to vote. Read More »

RUMSON GAS STATION RUNS ON HAND PUMP

CBS News ran this story Monday about Richie Dodd, owner of the Rumson Exxon station. Still without electricity following Hurricane Sandy eight days ago, Dodd and his employees have been pumping gasoline from the West River Road station’s underground tanks by hand-cranked pump into canisters his customers have lined up with.

“You have to do it for the people,” Dodd says. “People have to get their generators going.”

SEA BRIGHT RESIDENTS TO GET ACCESS TODAY

For the second time in four days, Sea Bright residents gathered in a stadium, this time in West Long Branch, to get updates on the storm cleanup Sunday. Below, Mayor Dina Long and Councilman James LoBiondo. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sea Bright residents were to begin getting greater access to their homes Monday morning, town officials told them at another packed-grandstand meeting Sunday.

Though a massive cleanup and repair of public works infrastructure is proceeding more quickly than initially anticipated, “Sea Bright is not ready to be reoccupied,” Mayor Dina Long said at a townwide meeting held at Shore Regional High’s football field in West Long Branch.

Still, officials hope to allow unimpeded access to residents as early as Friday, said Councilman James LoBiondo, who has headed up the effort to cap leaking natural gas lines and remove hundreds of tons of sand from roadways.

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RUMSON: HALL OPENS AS COMFORT STATION

Rumson’s Bingham Hall has been transformed into a comfort station, offering residents a warm, lighted place to stay during the day until electricity is restored. The borough Office of Emergency Management is also collecting donations of food, clothing, toiletries and boxes for storm victims; arranging transportation and shelter; and providing information about FEMA filings. The OEM will also deliver needed items to the homebound, said volunteer Kerry Chandler. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: THE MORNING AFTER

Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood sent us these photos he took in Sea Bright at the first light Tuesday, just hours after Hurricane Sandy all but obliterated the town. From left: the demolished remnants of popular oceanfront bar Donovan’s Reef; Ocean Avenue looking north from downtown; and Ship Ahoy Beach Club. (Click to enlarge)

Town officials said Thursday that Sea Bright would be off-limits to residents and visitors for seven to ten days as crews work to halt natural gas leaks and inspect structures for safety. As for the 14-month-old Woody’s, the owner says the restaurant came through the storm and will be back.

RED BANK: A SURGE IN SEARCH OF POWER

With power on along the west side of Broad Street, Starbucks was packed with laptoppers at noon Thursday. Below, an unidentified man tapped into the grid courtesy of a vacant storefront. (Click to enlarge)

They’re hungry for power.

With tens of thousands of homes still without electricity on the Red Bank area, data-starved residents are swarming facilities with electricity, wifi and, ideally, coffee Thursday.

Starbucks in Red Bank was packed at noon, nearly 24 hours after power was restored to parts of the downtown.

Other businesses are encouraging the public to stop by and charge up.

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SEA BRIGHT SMASHED BY HURRICANE SANDY

Ship Ahoy Beach Club appears heavily damaged, as seen from the bridge. Below, Ocean Avenue looking north during the storm Monday. (Photo below by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hurricane Sandy devastated Sea Bright Monday, bashing beach clubs and stores from the ocean side, flooding from the river side, and leaving an avenue of deep sand more than a mile long along Ocean Avenue, witnesses said.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, police were still barring entry to the sandbar borough, citing dangers that included downed power lines and natural gas leaks.

But in interviews with redbankgreen, witnesses — including two holdouts who defied a mandatory evacuation order and rode out the storm in their homes — spoke of far-reaching destruction.

“Chapel Beach Club – that’s gone,” said weekly Two River Times news photographer Scott Longfeld, who was permitted into town. “Every club except for Surfside is destroyed.”

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STORM WIPES OUT RUMSON MARINA

The Oceanic Marina yard as it appeared early Tuesday, above, and on Saturday from the same spot. (Click to enlarge)

 By JOHN T. WARD

On Saturday, even as he braced for record flooding, Oceanic Marina owner Pete Pawlikowski thought he had the storm beat.

The Navesink River was sure to flood the store and office of his Rumson business, Pawlikowki told redbankgreen, and the level might even break the records.

But as for the fleet of 75 recreational vessels entrusted to him by customers – at worst, he said, he might lose one or two to Hurricane Sandy. But all were safely up on blocks, he said, crowded so tightly into his yard that a person could barely squeeze past them.

By Tuesday morning, they were gone. And even after 30 years of watching storms come and go, a stunned Pawlikowski could hardly begin to comprehend it, he said.

“It’s total destruction,” he said. “We don’t even know where to begin.”

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RED BANK: SANDY SINKS ANTI-OBAMA FLOAT

Just two days ago, it was riding high, towed around on the Navesink by a boater whose identity redbankgreen doesn’t know. By Monday, though, a custom-built anti-Obama floating ad was underwater at a dock in Red Bank.

Should we read anything into this about next week’s presidential election? And if so, who is sunk: Obama or Nobama? (Photo above by Michael McMahon; at right, by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WIND RIPS ROOF OFF HIGH-RISE

Strong winds peeled back the roofing atop the Grandville Tower high rise on Morford Place in Red Bank Monday afternoon, leaving it flapping over the edge of the 10-story building. (Photo by Ken Kalada. Click to enlarge)

REALLY? NOW??

Fido gets one of his most pressing needs tended to on East Front Street in Red Bank during a Hurricane Sandy downpour Monday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

SHREWSBURY: WIRES DOWN ON SYCAMORE

Emergency workers closed a stretch of Sycamore Avenue in Shrewsbury around 2 p.m. Monday after a tree limb took down some wires. An auto accident apparently occurred nearby, with a mistaken initial report of an entrapment, though it was not immediately clear if the two incidents were related, police Chief Lou Ferraro told redbankgreen.  (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK? TRY GRAY BANK

Yestercades owner Ken Kalada shared this shot of Marine Park, Red Bank. (Photo by Ken Kalada. Click to enlarge)

redbankgreen readers Ken Kalada and Deb Smith sent us these storm shots taken early Monday.

Have you got one you’d like to share? Feel free to email it to us, full-sized, with info about when and where it was taken, and who if anyone should be credited.

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DOWNTOWN SEA BRIGHT UNDERWATER

redbankgreen photographer Peter Lindner snapped this shot on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright at about 10:30 a.m.

Water was at mid-thigh, Lindner reports. Wind is howling there, too. Still, a few sightseers were out. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: OCEAN VIEW

Wish you were there? Sea Bright beach, around 10:30 Monday morning. (Video by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)