MUNICOURT MERGER PLAN GAINS A BACKER

hot-topic rightBy MOLLY MULSHINE

A proposal to establish a regional municipal court in the Red Bank area has some early momentum, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.

Menna recently invited his counterparts in Fair Haven, Little Silver, Rumson and Shrewsbury to consider merging their court systems to cut costs. One town’s elected officials have reacted favorably to the plan, though Menna wouldn’t say which one.

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AFTER 40 YEARS, BUSTING OUT OF SCHOOL

mastro-classStudents at the Mastro Montessori Academy during a class with elementary directress Sasha Cherniavsky last week. Below, an architect’s drawing of the new school, to be built on White Road in Shrewsbury. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mastro-renderingA little-known private school in Little Silver that’s called a modified Cape Cod its home for the past 40 years is getting ready to double in size.

Tucked in between a dry cleaning operation and a string of industrial buildings off Branch Avenue, the Mastro Montessori Academy plans to start construction soon on a two-story, 8,100-square-foot schoolhouse on White Road in neighboring Shrewsbury.

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RAIL, WATER JOBS PROMPT DETOURS

nsrd-detour-091811A water-line installation along Shrewsbury Avenue, below, may add to driver woes after regular business hours, while Newman Springs Road users are in for a new route for 24 hours. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

shrewsbury-ave-091311Never easy, navigating the intersection of Shrewsbury Avenue/Rector Place at West Front Street in Red Bank is about to be more irksome five nights a week.

And commuters who normally travel the stretch of Newman Springs Road that separates Red Bank and Shrewsbury are in for at least 24 hours of disruption this week, Red Bank police say.

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SEEKING SOLACE A DECADE LATER

In Fair Haven, Shrewsbury and Middletown on Sunday, they honored residents and all who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Photographer Peter Lindner visited each for redbankgreen. Here’s some of what he saw.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

NUDES IN SHREWSBURY!

nudes-shrewsburyForgive us the sensational headline, but come on: how often do we get to pair nakedness with the sleepy little burg of Shrewsbury?

Thanks for the big giggle to reader Kim Widener, who snapped this shot outside the Talbot’s store at the Grove at Shrewsbury Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

PREDAWN FIRE DAMAGES SHREWSBURY HOME

211-williamsburgThe fire was underway in the room at far left, said a neighbor who alerted the occupants. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Three members of a Shrewsbury family safely escaped their burning home early Saturday morning after being awakened by a neighbor.

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PATIENCE & GROANS AS OUTAGES PERSIST

1st-ave-rumson-083011A downed tree and electrical lines had First Street in Rumson blocked off 48 hours after the storm. Below, a sign on the locked doors of Trader Joe’s in Shrewsbury. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

trader-joes-0830111Electrical power was restored at Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre’s home late Monday night, about 12 hours after he bought a mobile generator.

But he’s still still in the dark about when the lights will be on in the parts of his town that still don’t have power, he said.

Progress that had been made over the last two years in repairing strained relations between the town and First Energy subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light “seems to have been completely undone,” as the utility company has failed to keep officials informed about efforts to restore power in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, Halfacre said.

“I have found it incredibly frustrating dealing with JCP&L,” Halfacre tells redbankgreen. “There’s been a complete lack of substantive information.”

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IN DETAIL: ‘BLOWN AWAY’ BY A SHINY CAR

shawn-gattaShawn Gatta applies some elbow grease to a car at Detail Doctor in Shrewsbury. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By EVAN SOLTAS

Bites2_SmallShawn Gatta has spent more than half of his life in the auto-detailing business. The owner and manager of the Detail Doctor on Broad Street in Shrewsbury, Gatta, 42, has been bringing out the best in the cars of his customers since he was a teenager in Neptune.

Since then, it’s kept him so busy that when he’s tried to pursue other fields — real estate, for one — he’s found himself lured back by the “first love” he found in detailing.

“There are other things I would like to do,” said Gatta, “but I’m so consumed by this business.” He’s had a real estate license since he was 19, but he’s never found a spare moment to make a single sale or listing.

Earlier this week, redbankgreen stole some time with Gatta’s lunch break – he works 66 hours a week, by his count – for some insights into the life of a clean-car obsessive.

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ORGANIST ADMITS TO CHILD-SEX CHARGE

hot-topic rightA Red Bank man who worked as an organist for a Shrewsbury church faces up to five years in jail for his admission that he sexually assaulted a minor, according to a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor.

Kenneth Clayton, 66, pleaded guilty to third-degree child endangerment May 31 in state Superior Court in Freehold. The plea came to light after an inquiry Monday by redbankgreen.

According to assistant prosecutor Christopher Gambiccioni, Clayton admitted that he touched a seven-year-old boy’s penis while the child was asleep in Red Bank last September 9.

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IN SHREWSBURY’S QUIVER, A DEER SOLUTION?

deer-libraryA deer on the lawn of the Monmouth County Library’s Eastern Branch on Route 35 last October. (Photo by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)

Not a word of objection was uttered Monday night as the governing body of the fed-up-with-deer borough of Shrewsbury gave the nod to the use of bows and arrows to thin burgeoning herds.

Then again, the move was a formality, as the council simply accepted the findings of a report that recommended that frustrated property owners do what they’ve been allowed to do for the past five years: kill the animals with arrows, provided they do so within New Jersey Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife regulations.

Now, the only question is how many residents take the suggestion.

“A few people in town are so fed up, they’re going to do it,” said Mayor Donald Burden, who this year tore out his own vegetable garden in surrender to the white-tailed creatures.

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LAPPING IT UP AT THE GROVE

Molly, Dexter, Denali, Cappucino, Skippy and Harry were among the one-named attendees at Doggie Date Night at d’jeet? restaurant at the Grove shopping center in Shrewsbury Friday night.

The occasion was a fundraiser for Project Animal Worldwide’s effort to save street dogs in Puerto Rico. redbankgreen was there to get the dog’s-eye view of the proceedings.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

FEDS CHARGE LOCAL DOC IN DRUG RING BUST

lopresti-officeJacqueline LoPresti, who has an office on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver, is one of two doctors indicted for allegedly writing illegal prescriptions. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

A Little Silver osteopath is among 21 people facing federal drug distribution charges for her alleged role in a massive scheme to peddle the painkiller oxycodone, the Associated Press reports.

Jacqueline LoPresti, 50, who lives in Fair Haven and practices in an office on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver, is one of two doctors arrested Wednesday for “illegally writing more than 6,000 prescriptions for more than 500,000 oxycodone tablets between January 2009 and December 2010,” the AP reports.

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey scheduled a noontime press conference in Newark on the case.

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FOR RETIRED CARPENTER, IT’S HAMMER TIME

hammersFrank Scordo with one of his favorite conversation pieces, a double-handled hammer. Some 1,200 tools from his collection are on display at the Shrewsbury Historical Society. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For many retirees, the entry into the golden years is a chance to travel, spend more time on the golf course or play the spoiling grandparent.

But for retired carpenter Frank Scordo, post-employment means keeping up with a hobby that, for most, might just instantly pound the brain’s snooze button: cultivating a collection of hammers.

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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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MIDDLETOWN MAN INDICTED FOR BANK FRAUD

just_in1Six months after he was arrested on charges of trying to defraud a Shrewsbury bank branch out of $93,000, a Middletown man has been indicted on related charges.

Sandy Masselli, 48, faces charges of theft by deception and forgery, according to an announcement by Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter Warshaw.

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TRADER JOE’S FANS REVEL IN NEW STORE

tjs3Customers got the aloha treatment, complete with leis, at the opening of the new Trader Joe’s store in Shrewsbury Friday morning. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Aaaaaaaand exhale, Trader Joe’s fans.

On this damp and gray Friday morning, the wildly popular grocer opened its doors in Shrewsbury — an event full of pageantry, with Caribbean music blasting, a Hawaiian-shirted steel drummer at the entrance and TJ employees forming a tunnel and placing leis around the necks of some 30 customers who lined up well before the 8a opening to get their fix.

“We’re so happy to be here,” said Fran Waldmann, of Red Bank.

Happy, she said, because now she can sleep.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

where_022411_ir1

Ok, all you pillars of the community we call Whereopolis: Where is this one?

If you know or want to hazard a guess, drop us a line here, with the words ‘Where Have I Seen This?” in the subject line, please.

A number of readers roared in instant recognition last week, when we featured a large, sculpted lion’s head.

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TRADER JOE’S MUM ON SHREWSBURY OPENING

trader-joeTrader Joe’s is coming to Shrewsbury’s Treasure Island Plaza, but hasn’t said exactly when. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Trader Joe’s appears to be gearing up for its Shrewsbury opening sometime in the near future.

How near is the big question. Sorry, we don’t know when exactly the supermarket chain will open its doors to its rabidly faithful followers, but you can thank corporate reticence for that.

Anyway, signs, including the big red one in Hawaiian-style lettering erected in the Treasure Island Plaza last week, point to “soon.”

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SHREWSBURY DOC MUSCLES HER WAY TO FAME

karyn-marshallKaryn Marshall, seen below in competition in the 1980s, will be inducted into the Weightlifting Hall of Fame next month. (Click to enlarge. Photo above by Dustin Racioppi.)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

karyn-marshall1She’s won five world championship gold medals, and was the first woman in history to clean-and-jerk more than 300 pounds over her head. She’s set 60 world and American records. She was, in 1985, dubbed by World Weightlifting Magazine “the World’s Strongest Woman.”

In the world of weightlifting, Karyn Marshall, set just about every standard for her gender.

Now, here’s another superlative she can add to her résumé: Hall of Famer.

Next month, the 54-year-old weightlifter-turned-chiropractor, who has a private practice in Shrewsbury, will be inducted into the Weightlifting Hall of Fame in York, Pennsylvania, capping an illustrious career that started with anything but promise.

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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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SNOW: ARE WE IN FOR IT OR WHAT?

poblanaDee Patel’s grocery store on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank cleared an early path for customers during the December 26-27 storm. (Click to enlarge)

The too-white winter of 2011 is expected to lay a fresh blanket of snow up to 13 inches thick on the Red Bank region Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

It begins around 4p, the forecast says, with light accumulation until about 7p, when the snow dump begins in earnest.

The Red Bank police department has issued a request urging that vehicles not be left parked on-street overnight, to make it easier for plows to do their work.

In addition, there are borough streets for which an ordinance prohibits parking when the road is snow-covered, subjecting vehicles to tickets and towing.

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FIRE DAMAGES LITTLE SILVER HOME

alden-fire-1With two firefighters manning Shrewsbury’s aerial ladder, a fireman knocks down the last of the flames under the eaves of a Little Silver home Friday night. (Click to enlarge)

Fire caused extensive damage to a Little Silver residence Friday night.

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