SEA BRIGHT: KNITTING AS SANDY THERAPY

Megan Heath Gilhool first picked up her needles in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when she was in “full panic mode,” she said. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Move over, yarn spinning and yarn bombing. A new knitting-based activity has entered the region’s post-Sandy lexicon: Yarn Therapy

“I think the whole activity of knitting in itself is extremely therapeutic,” said Megan Heath Gilhool, an artist and prime force behind the newly instated weekly knitting sessions taking place inside Sea Bright’s community center Thursday nights.

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BOAT CLUB RECOVERING FROM SANDY

Monmouth Boat Club was inundated by the Navesink River hours before Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, and the river rose several feet after this photo was taken. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The home of the Monmouth Boat Club, a Red Bank building that has stood for more than 100 years, is tackling rebuilding post-Hurricane Sandy with a little help from the men who built the place.

“This pine flooring here is the original flooring,” Commodore Leigh ‘Skip’ Bugbee told redbankgreen during a tour of  storied Navesink River clubhouse, which was built in 1895 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. “What’s amazing is that, because there’s no subflooring to it, it can basically withstand any amount of water and let it freely flow back out to the river.”

Even the buckling that was caused will be set back to normal once the heat is turned back on, he said.

“The guys who put it in here really knew what they were doing,” Bugbee said. “We owe them a big thank you.”

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IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR LAYLA…

A sailboat named Layla was smashed against the Navesink River dock at Maple Cove in Red Bank during Wednesday night’s storm. Reader Len Oppenheim grabbed this photo from Riverview Towers. (Photo by Len Oppenheim. Click to enlarge)

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: 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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AREA OFFICIALS ZAP JCP&L OVER STORM FIXES

Howell Mayor Robert Walsh addresses attendees at Monday’s ‘Snow Summit’ to discuss JCP&L’s response to Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Confusion, anger and frustration, tinged by a bit of hope, permeated the Tinton Falls Municipal Building early Monday afternoon at the third annual ‘Snow Summit’ called to address the region’s relationship with JCP&L and how to improve it.

Co-hosted by Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera and Middletown Mayor Anthony Fiore, the meeting was attended by mayors from across Monmouth County, freeholders, state legislators, as well as members of the media and public. Few were impressed by the electric utility’s handling

“If they gave a damn, they would have already done something about” their outreach to localities following catastrophes, Mayor Adam Schneider of Long Branch said of company officials. 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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SEA BRIGHT: FEEDING THE LIFESAVERS

Local restaurateurs banded together on short notice Sunday to provide some gourmet chow to the firefighters, cops, first aiders, other volunteers and contractors who’ve been keeping Sea Bright safe and hustling to get it back in shape in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Contractors dig into considerable sirloin burgers at the borough firehouse, above. At right, Ama Ristorante owner Pat Trama enjoys a laugh with David Burke of David Burke Fromagerie. Below, Chis Wood of Woody’s Ocean Grille grills up some beef.

A relief tent has now been erected next to the firehouse to give the workers a place to eat in inclement weather, Wood reports. (Click to enlarge)

POST-SANDY, A BRIGHTER SEA BRIGHT

After wading waist-deep into churning water on Ocean Avenue during the storm on Monday, photographer Peter Lindner returned to Sea Bright on Saturday, along with redbankgreen‘s John T. Ward, to document the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Here are 150 of Lindner’s shots. Some of Ward’s pix on are redbankgreen‘s Facebook page.

Lindner and Ward were permitted into town by local officials, who were in their second day of ferrying Sea Bright residents into town, by dumptruck, to give them just a few minutes to collect pets, medicines, clothing and other personal items from their homes.

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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.

SEA BRIGHT TO STAY SHUT FOR UP TO 10 DAYS

“Sea Bright is not gone. Sea Bright is you,” Mayor Dina Long, above, tells a packed grandstand at R-FH, below.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

No one will be permitted into Sea Bright until all natural gas leaks are stopped and buildings inspected for safety, a process that’s expected to take seven to 10 days, Mayor Dina Long told a packed and anxious grandstand of residents at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High Thursday afternoon.

Briefly choking with emotion, Long held a piece of a sign reading “DO” from Donovan’s Reef over her head and proclaimed, “We will get through this. We will ‘do.'”

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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: INFO SESSION SLATED

Sea Bright residents and property owners are urged to attend a Q&A info session with town officials today at 2 p.m.

The meeting will be held at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High on Ridge Road in Rumson.

GAS LEAKS, SAND KEEP SEA BRIGHT CLOSED

Residents and sightseers wait on the Rumson side of the Shrewsbury River for authorization to enter Sea Bright Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

 By JOHN T. WARD

Anxious residents and a steady stream of wannabe gawkers poured into eastern Rumson Wednesday, hoping to be allowed into storm-wracked Sea Bright.

But Rumson police, abetted by a Monmouth County sheriff’s officer and a handful of National Guardists, continued to bar access to the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge, citing widespread hazards in the sandbar borough.

Deep sand, building debris and natural-gas leaks make it impossible for anyone other than emergency workers to be allowed in, officials said.

“One match, and a whole block could go up,” a sheriff’s officer who asked not to be identified told redbankgreen, citing the leaks.

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SEA BRIGHT: IN THE TEETH OF THE STORM

redbankgreen photographer Peter Lindner waded in up to his waist to get pictures of Hurricane Sandy smashing into Sea Bright on Monday. Our slideshow also includes some post-storm shots from the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge.

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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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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