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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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)

RUMSON-SEA BRIGHT: FAST-MOVING RIVER

A view of the fast incoming tide on the Shrewsbury River between Rumson and Sea Bright, as seen from Lincoln Avenue in Rumson at about 9 a.m. Monday. Photographer Peter Lindner says the West Park section of Rumson, which was ordered evacuated, has about a foot of water in many places. (Video by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON ORDERS EVACUATION

There was barely an unused square foot of ground at the Oceanic Marina Sunday afternoon, as all vessels were pulled from the water in advance of the storm. (Click to enlarge)

Though a mandatory evacuation order was in effect as of 4 p.m. Sunday, redbankgreen saw lots of lights and televisions glowing after 8 p.m. in homes along the streets that Rumson authorities warned are in danger of severe flooding as a result of expected storm surges.

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SEA BRIGHT SHUTS DOWN

A motorist stopped at a sign reading “Turn Around Now” at the foot of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge around 8:30 p.m. Sunday (Click to enlarge)

With a mandatory evacuation order in effect and a roaring storm expected to put the town “under water,” in the words of Mayor Dina Long, Sea Bright shut itself to the outside world Sunday evening, barring traffic across the two bridges that provide access. From the south, Ocean Avenue was reported to be flooded in Monmouth Beach as a result of ocean water overtopping the sea wall.

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RED BANK BEFORE THE STORM

The folks at Sugarush figured a little sweet talk couldn’t hurt. (Click to enlarge)

The looming arrival of Hurricane Sandy lent an eerie vibe to an otherwise ordinary Sunday in autumn yesterday. Businesses in downtown Red Bank taped their windows as a precaution while the whitecapped Navesink River spilled over its banks at high tide, offering a preview of watery destruction yet to come.

Borough government and schools are to be closed Monday and Tuesday, with no sanitation or leaf pickups.

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