Friday, May 31, 2013

Fantasy Island Amusement Park offers day of unlimited rides to benefit LBIF

What could be better than spending the day indulging in unlimited rides at Fantasy Island Amusement Park to help support one of Long Beach Island’s best-loved theme parks and renowned cultural centers? Fantasy Island and the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences are teaming up on Sat
Photo via Fantasy Island
Fantasy Island Amusement Park, located in
Beach Haven on LBI, lights up with merriment.
urday, June 1, for “Community Pride: Together We Made a Difference,” a fun-filled afternoon of unlimited rides between 2 and 8 p.m. at Fantasy Island, located at 320 Seventh St. in Beach Haven. “Ride all afternoon” tickets cost $25 per person and can be purchased by calling the LBIF at 609-494-1241. Part of the proceeds will benefit the LBIF.
“We’re trying to reach out to different organizations in the community to help us increase revenue and profits and let people know we’re open – the same message every organization on the Island is trying to convey,” said Kristy Redford, LBIF’s executive director. “We want to enhance our position within the community by combining both ends of the Island. Cross-marketing only makes us stronger.” 
The funds will help the LBIF, a nonprofit organization located in Loveladies, continue its annual summer programs. Programs range in topic from the arts and sciences to sports and fitness. Special performances and presentations are also offered.
Though the upcoming event is not considered a “Sandy fundraiser,” Redford said most events the LBIF holds will, in some way, help support the organization’s cleanups and extra costs following Superstorm Sandy.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dutchman's Brauhaus near LBI celebrates new sign after being damaged by Superstorm Sandy

Friday night marked a cold and windy start to the Memorial Day weekend. But Long Beach Island has seen its share of dreary days recently, and not even a bit of lousy weather could keep its residents and visitors from crowding around the tavern at The Dutchman’s Brauhaus on Cedar Bonnet Island that night. They weren’t just celebrating the holiday or looking for a warm place to converse with friends. They were also there to support one of their favorite local restaurants as its new sign blinked to life after losing the old one to Superstorm Sandy.
“The sign was demolished to pieces because of Sandy. We lost our name,” said Rick Schmid, a co-owner of Dutchman’s.
Though upset by the sign’s destruction, Schmid said he and his family are grateful the building did not suffer any further damage from the storm.
“I’ll take sign damage any day compared to water in the building; we were blessed with no water,” he said.
But many of the restaurant’s loyal customers expressed grief over the sign’s destruction via The Dutchman’s Facebook page. To show their appreciation for the eatery’s loyal fans, the Schmids allowed its Facebook friends to decide whether or not the new sign should include a “The” before “Dutchman’s.” Fans voted to keep the sign the way it had been for the past 41 years, as plain old “Dutchman’s.”
“I think people are tired of change due to Sandy. I think they wanted to see something consistent,” said Schmid.
The new sign, a stainless steel, LED-lit billboard created by Effective Sign Works in Burlington Township, was placed on the restaurant’s rooftop on Wednesday, May 22. It was lit at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night, as Schmid’s son, Max Schmid, 21, stood beside it, braving the cold wind.
Max, who now works as the restaurant’s upstairs and dining room manager, remembered hanging out at the restaurant with the bar server as a young kid while his dad worked his daily shift. He said he also remembered visiting his grandparents, who resided in a five-bedroom apartment above the tavern. The old apartment now functions as an office and storage area.
“Seeing the (Dutchman’s) sign as a kid always reminded me that I was almost home,” said Max, who grew up on the Island. “It meant a lot to me, and I think it means the same thing for other people who live here or visit. There are just certain billboards that people remember. I think the (Dutchman’s) sign just sticks in people’s minds. It’s a monumental sign; people know they’re almost at the beach,” he added.
The new sign sits 4 inches higher than before, and its letters are 2 inches taller than the original ones. It can now be seen from the first trestle bridge on the Causeway.
“That’s just what the doctor ordered,” said Rick, viewing the lit sign from the rooftop for the first time. “I don’t want the sign to blow down again. I’d like to see it stand another 41 or more years,” he added.
Those who visited the tavern during the lighting of the sign will receive some sort of memorabilia keepsake in the future. Rick said he has not yet decided what to give.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sixth annual 'Blessing of the Lifeguards' to be held on LBI

Photo via Flickr
Lifeguards will soon take their post on LBI.
Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season, a time for barbecues, sunbathing and a quick dip in the ocean or pool. Lifeguards will soon take their posts to safely watch over the community’s friends and family. In honor of those who guard the area’s beaches and pools, lifeguards, friends, family and shore visitors are invited to the sixth annual Blessing of the Lifeguards, just before the regularly scheduled lifeguard tests and trials. The blessing will be held at the St. Francis Aquatics Center, located at 4700 Long Beach Blvd., from 4:45 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 25. All are welcome, regardless of religious affiliation.

The service will be led by Sisters Pat McNiff and Pat Klemm. The service will begin with a welcoming ceremony and reading, following by a blessing and a sign of peace. For more information, call the St. Francis of Assisi Parish office at 609-494-8813.

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New skydiving operation opens in Ocean County, NJ

Skydiving – it’s on your bucket list. If it isn’t, it should be. Free falling 10,000 feet from the sky at 120 mph or more over the spectacular sea-to-land view of southern New Jersey may sound terrifying, but it’s a wild ride – one you’ll live to tell, believe it or not.

Don’t worry; it’s a safe trip. The guys at Skydive East Coast, a new skydiving operation located at the Eagles Nest Airport in West Creek, just off of Exit 58 on the Garden State Parkway, are a bunch of laid-back skydivers who like to joke around, but you can be sure their main priority is safety.
Photo by Sean Maloney
Free falling 10,000 from the sky at 120 mph
with SEC tandem instructor Sean Maloney.
“If the weather conditions aren’t good for skydiving, we don’t go, no matter how much people argue with us,” said SEC co-owner “Coffee John” Todorv.
Ideal ground winds are between 10 and 22 mph, said Todorv. Sky winds, which can get up to 30 mph or more, don’t really pose a problem. Clouds can be an issue since the tandem instructor needs to have a good visual of the location he and his dive partner are jumping over.
“If the weather’s good, we’ll be jumping,” Todorv said.
Interested participants must be 18 or older to make a tandem jump, which requires the diver to jump with a licensed tandem instructor via an attached harness. Proof of age is required, as well as the participant’s signature on a lengthy standard assumption of risk agreement, a legal document that places all risk in the hands of the participant. Then it’s on to watching a short video that introduces the diver to tandem skydiving and its inventor, Bill Booth – a serious beard aficionado who left the corporate world in the 1960s and never shaved again. All this, according to SEC co-owner George Voishnis, or “Nuclear,” as he’s known around the hangar, is the most frightening part of the whole experience.
“This is the scariest part about skydiving; they tell you stuff you don’t want to hear,” said Voishnis, motioning to the video playing on the TV screen.
SEC opened in March, after the organization’s six owners, who worked together at a skydiving and training facility in northern New Jersey, decided that running a skydiving establishment should be more about sharing the experience and the thrill of the ride with customers than price-gouging. The proprietors are local small-business owners who said they are invested in the community and run a gimmick-free operation. “You won’t find us charging hidden fees for gear to make your tandem jump,” their website,, promises.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
SEC tandem instructor Tadas Simonis
wraps up after a successful landing.
SEC’s owners include Todorv, tandem instructor and drop zone manager originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, who made his first jump in 1993 and 1,400 jumps since then; Tadas “Chop’em” Simonis, tandem instructor and certified U.S. Parachute Association Accelerate Free Fall instructor who has made more than 4,500 skydives and more than 33 BASE (buildings, antennas, spans and earth) jumps since his first jump in September 2002; Sean Maloney, tandem instructor and certified USPA AFF instructor with more than 3,500 jumps to-date, who gave up pizza deliveries to take up skydiving five years ago; “Little Mike” Black, parachute rigger who made his first skydive in January 2011 and about 500 jumps since then; Voishnis, tandem instructor and senior parachute rigger who has been in the sport for more than 14 years; and Dave Pankove, chief pilot, who started flying airplanes when he was 15 years old and has been safely flying skydivers for the past three seasons.
“It doesn’t get old; it’s not monotonous. It’s always a new challenge,” said Pankove, who wants to continue building his flight time and become a corporate or commercial airline pilot.
Who wouldn’t trust their skydiving fate to a bunch of qualified guys like that?
The best way to squash your pre-dive jitters is to accept them. Or you can relax at the facility and play a game of pool. The owners may even order lunch from a nearby restaurant, or you can bring your own.
“A lot of people claim they’re afraid of heights, but I think it’s really the fear of the unknown that they’re scared of,” said Todorv. “Why would you want to do something so extreme, like jump out of a plane from 10,000 feet high? But really, everything looks flat.”
“The freedom you feel is insane,” added Voishnis.
After signing the necessary paperwork and taking a few moments to get stoked for the skydiving experience, it’ll be time to suit up. Though participants are advised to dress for the weather, a jumpsuit will be provided to keep clothes free from debris, especially during landing in the nearby drop zone. Comfortable shoes that lace tightly are required. Open-toed shoes, flip-flops or heavy boots with lace hooks will not suffice.
A fully adjustable harness with four hooks, each of which can hold up to 5,000 pounds, will be provided to keep you safe and comfortable, as well as attached to the tandem instructor. The instructor will carry the necessary parachutes – the main canopy and a reserve parachute that can be deployed should the first parachute malfunction, a combined weight of about 50 pounds. Your instructor will also carry a Cypres automatic activation device. This should help deploy the parachute if something goes wrong.
“We can feel everything the other person is feeling because we’re so close to you. You become part of our body; you’re attached to us,” said Todorv.
“Everyone brings something different to the jump,” added Simonis. “It’s fun to see people who are really nervous conquer the jump. They’re so stoked.”
Qualified jumpers at SEC can weigh up to 220-pounds, though Todorv said it depends on the person. A 250-pound bodybuilder will certainly be able to hold his own. A healthy 90-year-old woman also qualifies. Speak to your doctor beforehand if you have any medical conditions that may make skydiving a hazard. Alcohol consumption is not tolerated. Anyone under the influence will not be permitted to jump.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
SEC tandem instructor and senior
parachute rigger George Voishnis
gears up for another jump.
Skydiving injuries are pretty rare, said Todorv. Those who are over-confident and attempt high-performance jumps, such as swooping, without the necessary training are usually the ones who get hurt. SEC tandem instructors won’t be performing any fancy tricks during your jump.
SEC is a state-of-the-art operation with up-to-date standards and equipment. Safety days and inspections are performed regularly. The facility has special use air space; air traffic is controlled throughout the area and takes into consideration all traffic from airports in Warren Grove, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New York City, Newark and Washington, D.C.
Before hopping on the plane, a Cessna 210-5A, which holds up to five jumpers and a pilot, the instructors will cover airplane procedures, what to expect during free fall and how to prepare for a safe landing. Be assured that your instructor will remind you of each step along the way should you completely blank out.
“Our equipment is really safe, and we don’t jump in bad weather conditions,” assured Maloney. “Skydiving allows you to explore your own limits. There are no other life worries; you just live in the moment,” he added.
Now is your chance to change your mind and claim a refund. Once that door closes, you’ll be paying for a nice plane ride above Southern Ocean County. The pilot and instructors will not force you to jump, but it is encouraged. High fives, thumbs up and lots of smiles and high-energy talk will help keep you excited.
While the plane gains altitude, your job is to enjoy the beautiful view. I can attest to the serenity of the panoramic view.
My sense of direction was thrown off a bit as I sat on the floor of the plane with my back to Pankove, who was also wearing a parachute just in case. My hands gripped the ankles of Maloney, my tandem instructor who sat facing me. Peering out the window, I was captivated by the bold green color of the treetops below. I’m usually racing around the streets in my car from one interview to the next, but the vast amount of lush vegetation on the ground helped quiet my chaotic inner spirit. My eyes soaked in the brilliant blue-green of the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, and eventually I spotted the lighthouse, a comforting landmark I’ve been fortunate enough to associate with home.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Tadas Simonis, Sean Maloney,
George Voishnis, John Todorv and Mike Black.
As the plane looped around, I could see Atlantic City to the south and Toms River to the north. The sky was a bit overcast, but I was told that on a clear day the view spanned as far as New York City and Cape May and as wide as the ocean and Philadelphia.
When the plane finally reached 10,000 feet, the door flung open. Maloney checked my harness before it was time to jump. After watching SandPaper Photo Editor Ryan Morrill slowly lean out of the airplane with Simonis, his tandem instructor attached to his back, my nerves spiked. Climbing over to the edge of the doorway, Maloney cheering us on, I accepted my fate – I was about to free fall out of the sky two miles above land for the very first time. Hell yeah!
Honestly, I was pretty nervous. Jumping out of an airplane goes against all natural instinct. Thank goodness Maloney was carrying me through this; I don’t think I could have mustered up enough courage to force myself out of the door. I just kept smiling into the GoPro camera attached to Maloney’s wrist, which snapped photos of the two of us every half second.
Remembering all of my duties as a jumper, I leaned my head back against Maloney’s shoulder and forced myself to keep my eyes open; I did not want to miss anything about this incredible journey I was about to undertake.
In the next instant, we jumped.
Holy s***.
I was on top of the world, spiraling down to Earth. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face even if I wanted to.
Everything really did look flat; it was an amazing perspective of the area I’d lived in all my life, yet had never seen from this angle before.
After about 30 to 35 seconds, the parachute opened up and everything slowed down. I was shivering a bit – a combination of damp weather and adrenaline. I allowed myself to completely relax and enjoy the ride. Grabbing on to the strings of the parachute with Maloney’s help, we flew around in a few wide circles. For the first time, I felt my stomach drop. Gosh, I loved it.
After five to seven minutes of killing altitude with the view getting closer and bigger, the ride was over. After we made a safe landing in the sandpit, Maloney and I hugged it out. My mind was blank and my hair in wild knots (ladies, I wouldn't suggest fussing over your hair before attempting a jump). All I could think about was doing it again.
After receiving my skydiving certificate, which acknowledged the successful completion of my first tandem jump at SEC, I watched another group gear up for their first jump.
John and Mary Storms of Old Bridge, who spend their summers at their home in Surf City, which has been in the family for the past 60 years, treated their daughter, Danielle, 20, and son, Connor, 18, to their first tandem jump at SEC. Connor was celebrating his birthday. Though they didn’t appear nervous, their mother said she wouldn’t be partaking in the event. John, on the other hand, was jumping next.
After their jump, Danielle and Connor seemed mesmerized by the experience.
“It was easily the most incredible thing I’ve ever done,” said Daniellle, her face glowing with excitement.
“It was awesome. It was definitely the best birthday present ever,” added Connor, letting out a loud cheer.
After each completed jump, Black set to work repacking the parachutes (the one Maloney and I used was 330 square-feet; Morrill’s and Simonis’ was 364 square-feet).
“After awhile, you make up your own technique,” he said, laying full-body over the gigantic canopy and squishing out all the air.
Later in the day, he took one of his just-packed parachutes for a dive — a nice way to end a successful day of work.
SEC is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset from March to mid-November. Tandem jumps cost $195 per person on weekends if paid in cash, and $200 if paid by credit card. Weekday jumps cost $200 cash, or $205 credit. A video and still pictures cost $90 per person, or $75 for a video and $30 for pictures if bought separately. Call 609-294-5858 to set up an appointment. A valid credit card number is required to hold your spot. Cancellations must be made 48 hours prior to your arrival. Gift certificates are also available.

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Music benefit celebrates life on LBI, despite lousy weather

Camaraderie is thriving on Long Beach Island, a truth visible on Saturday, May 11 when, despite lousy weather and a 15-minute power outage, nearly 300 area residents joined at the Long Beach Island Foundation in Loveladies to celebrate life after Superstorm Sandy. “Love Long Beach Island and the Mainland2: Hope, Harmony, Charity,” a concert benefit for local businesses and individuals affected by the storm, paid tribute to the community spirit that continues to facilitate the rebuilding of LBI and surrounding towns.

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Rhett Tyler performs at the LBIF
in Loveladies to support victims
of Superstorm Sandy.
The live music event, sponsored by Dependable Environmental Protection, a full-service disaster relief and mitigation company that has helped with much of the area’s mold remediation, rekindled the sights and sounds of the Jersey Shore through musical performances led by the Southern Regional High School Jazz Ensemble, Face Down, Rhett Tyler and Early Warning, and the Billy Walton Band.
Free admission included fare catered by Touch of Elegance Catering, beverages from The Marlin, a world-class silent auction and a viewing of “Hurricane Sandy,” a documentary film produced by David Kaltenbach, which depicts the efforts of the region during and after Sandy’s fateful arrival.
“Being out there every day, tearing apart people’s homes and doing mold remediation, it’s been easy to see that Sandy created a whole lot of damage and a lot of people are in serious need, especially older people who are living on a fixed income,” said Michael Mercadante, a Manahawkin resident and co-owner of DEP. “We’ve worked on 130 homes so far. A lot of people are not getting money from their insurance companies. We need to raise money and get it out to the local community. What better way to raise money and kick off the summer season than with great music?”
The music began at 5:30 p.m. with SRHS’s 21-piece jazz band, including five saxophonists, four trombonists, six trumpeters and six rhythmists.
“I wanted to do something more directly involved with the Sandy efforts, so I was more than happy to volunteer to have the band play,” said Kevin Moninghoff, director of the jazz ensemble.
The group, clad in black formal wear, played five songs featuring swing and jazz tunes. Jamie Myhre, 18, a senior who is getting ready to attend West Chester University in Pennsylvania, sang a solo performance of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” written by George and Ira Gershwin and introduced by Fred Astaire in the 1937 film “Shall We Dance.” She also sang a duet with high school junior Noah Dondera, 17, featuring “Feelin’ Good,” written by English singer-songwriters Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the 1964 musical “The Roar of the Greasepaint – the Smell of the Crowd.”
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Event-goers peruse the auction
items available for bid during
"Love LBI M2."
Face Down took the stage next with lead guitarist Dave Gardner from Belmar, rhythm guitarist John Plumley from Manahawkin, bassist Tony Sailer from Runnemede and drummer Steve Ferringo from Manahawkin.
“We came to support the cause. How can you not?” said Sailer.
“Many of our friends and relatives and the businesses where we play had damage from the storm. We’re supporting not just our friends and neighbors on the Island, but the mainland, too,” Plumley added.
The local band, having played in the area for more than 30 years, played classic rock songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among others.
Singer and guitarist Rhett Tyler, along with Early Warning band members Jeff Prescott on drums and Doug Howard on bass, traveled all the way from upstate New York to play some of the group’s original hits with blues, jazz, gospel and rock rhythms. The power trio, playing onstage underneath a spinning disco ball, brought the house down with performances of “Get Tough” and “Cold Wind Blowing” until the power dulled out at a quarter to 9, with just the distant storm lightning left illuminating the gallery. The group finished out their performance when the power came on again, 15 minutes later.
“We’ve been through all this before; we wanted to support the cause,” said Tyler, who was recently inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame. Though he now lives in Albany, N.Y., he grew up attending Mahwah High School in Bergen County and has been performing within the state for the past 25 years. Prescott and Howard have also spent part of their childhood in New Jersey.
“I used to be on the boardwalk in Asbury and Seaside all the time. To see it destroyed is shocking. Unless you lived there, you can’t understand how culturally essential it is,” said Howard, who has also played with the Edgar Winter Group, Todd Rundgren and Utopia. “Who cares who we played with? This is about here, right now. This is about protecting New Jersey’s legacy,” he added.
Tyler will be donating half of the proceeds from the prerelease of his latest album, The Rhythm The Power The Blue, to the Sandy recovery effort.
The musical performances wrapped up with the Billy Walton Band, featuring Billy Walton on guitar and vocals, William Paris on bass, Johnny D’Angelo on drums and Richie Taz on saxophone. The band, which is set to leave for a tour in Europe on Wednesday, May 15, played original songs, a combination of hard blues with soul flair.
“We’ve been invited to play for a lot of these fundraisers, but you can’t do them all,” said Paris. “Billy grew up in Tuckerton. For us to come help and do something to make a difference, this is the location that he wanted to get involved in.”
With help from individual donations and a number of high-ticketed auction items, more than $11,000 was raised throughout the night. Auction items included artwork from local artists such as Matt Burton, Patrick Pross and Paul Hansen; a comedy package from Sea Oaks Country Club; gift certificates from Antoinetta’s Italian Restaurant and Audrey’s Cleaning Service; a standup paddleboard lesson for one from South-End Surf ‘N Paddle; a full filet mignon strip from Okie’s Butcher Shop; a House of Blues Rock-n-Roll Dream Package with a guitar signed by the night’s performing musicians, dinner for two at the House of Blues in Atlantic City with general-admission show tickets and two acetone-extraction processed Rolling Rock glasses; an original manuscript of author Steven Lange’s new book, Breathing Room; autographed photos by fashion photographer Michael Creagh of New York City; a VIP trip for eight people to eight different New York City nightclubs; an Elev8 bike co-invented by Mark Becker, owner of Barista’s Coffee House in Galloway Township; and a modeling contract provided by 4 A Star.
The funds will be donated to four different area charities: St. Francis Community Center; St. Mary’s Parish; Jersey Surf; and the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group.
“People seemed to have a really good time,” said Mercadante. “I think it was a good beginning for what could be a yearly event. That’s what we’re going to try to do. We’re going to try to create this musical event in the middle of May every year, and grow it, and make it hopefully something like Chowderfest. It’s a fun thing to do, and I believe there will always be some charity, some cause that we’re trying to help, like we’re trying to do this year. Maybe by next year we’ll still need to help people with the Sandy storm. If not, there will still be things the community needs. The rest of it will just be a nice way to bring people to the Island sooner. If we can start the season off in the middle of May with a musical concert, I think it’ll be a good thing. My desire is to find other partners or businesses to partner with, so it can be a business-community event,” he added.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Official LBI summer kickoff begins this weekend

The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and its tourism arm, the Long Beach Island Region Destination Marketing Organization, is inviting local residents and vacation-goers to “Soar, Pour and Roar with us into Summer 2013.” This year’s official summer kickoff will take place Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19.

The event will begin Saturday with the LBI Beach Ribbon-Cutting at 11 a.m. on the 17th Street ocean beach ramp in Ship Bottom. All are welcome to celebrate “bringing barefoot back.” N.J. Division of Travel and Tourism Director Grace Hanlon, Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd) and 9th District State Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove will help cut the ribbon between two 4-foot clam sculptures.
The new Passport to LBI program will be introduced by environmental, historic and cultural organizations. ReClam the Bay, Alliance for a Living Ocean, Clean Ocean Action and other environmental groups will present demonstrations highlighting clean ocean and bay programs.
Event-goers can continue supporting ALO at its LBI Fish Fry, a fundraiser to be held at Boulevard Clams, 2006 Long Beach Blvd. in Surf City, at noon. The event will benefit ALO’s Surf Stewards program. Giveaways and displays from surf companies will also be available.
The two-day Pour Into Summer Wine Festival, complete with live music, gourmet food and a scenic view overlooking Barnegat Bay, will also start at noon on Saturday. Ten New Jersey wineries will offer a tasting at the Taylor Avenue Ball Field behind Bay Village in Beach Haven. Plagido’s Winery, DiMatteo Vineyard, Renault Winery, Tomasello Winery, Coda Rossa, Cream Ridge Winery, Auburn Road Vineyard, Wagonhouse Winery, Amalthea Cellar and Sharrot Winery will offer a tasting of more than 200 varieties.
Tickets for the wine festival will be available for $15 at the gate, or $12 if purchased in advance through Attendees younger than 21 and adults who are not sampling are not required to purchase a ticket. The festival will run from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Bring your motorcycle or classic car to the Taylor Avenue Ball Field parking lot in Beach Haven on Sunday, May 19, for the Frank Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin’ For a Cure event, presented by David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation and Panzone’s Pizza and Pasta. The event will honor local icon Frank Panzone “for his dedication to his family, community spirit and his heroic battle against this deadly disease,” said David Caldarella, a Stage IV cancer survivor and founder of David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds to provide financial assistance and services to families, primarily in New Jersey, who are affected by a cancer diagnosis.
“It’s an honor to have the Frank Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin’ for a Cure involved in the opening weekend,” added Lori Pepenella, the chamber’s destination marketing director. “He was a past president of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, and Chowderfest chairman, and his spirit is really still with us,” she added.
Registration for the event will take place between 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. at the Taylor Avenue Field behind Bay Village in Beach Haven. Bagels and refreshments will be offered.
At 11:30 a.m. sharp, motorists will head north on Long Beach Boulevard to Route 72 West to County Route 563 to County Route 532 to Route 72 East. The ride will finish at the Surf City Hotel, where everyone is invited for an after-party from 1 to 5 p.m.
For a $20 donation, the party will include a hot buffet lunch and live music by Ted Hammock, Jason Booth and The Impulsives. Sprinkles the Clown will be entertaining the kids with some good, old-fashioned fun. An auction will also take place.
For more information about the chamber’s many upcoming events, go to
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Support the American Red Cross, purchase ice cream

During the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the American Red Cross provided a great deal of support to New Jersey residents, especially those in Ocean County. During the response phase of the storm, the organization mobilized more than 5,300 employees and volunteers and provided more than 28,300 health and mental health contacts to state residents. The organization also distributed more than 1.5 million relief items and served more than 4 million meals and snacks. The ARC continues to offer help to victims of the storm.

Photo by Laura Steinmetz
Laura Steinmetz's dog, HD, participates
in the ice cream contest. Steinmetz is the
American Red Cross South Jersey Region's
community/government relations officer.
Now the ARC needs the public’s support. Don’t worry, no one’s asking for blood (though the ARC is always in need of more supplies). The organization just needs people to purchase ice cream.
Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet member Trace Adkins is one of the two final contestants in this season’s television show “Celebrity Apprentice.” As part of the show’s final challenge, the remaining two contestants have developed custom ice cream flavors for Walgreens “Good and Delish” ice cream brand, Red Cross officials said. This week’s sales of the ice cream at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores will figure into the decision on who will be the show’s winner. The contestant with the best selling flavor will receive an extra $100,000 for his charity. Adkins developed a “Maple Macadamia Mash Up,” based on his favorite candy flavor, maple nut.
If Adkins’ flavor is the top seller this week, he will win an extra $100,000 for the ARC. That translates into 10,000 meals for disaster victims or 20,000 blankets for people who stay in ARC shelters, officials announced.
Take photos of yourself purchasing Adkins’ “Maple Macadamia Mash Up” at Walgreens, located at 879 West Bay Ave. in Barnegat, and at 201 Mathistown Rd. in Little Egg Harbor Township. Submit the photos by email to The photos will be posted to Twitter @RedCrossSouthNJ. Participation is available this week only. 

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Talented New Jersey students perform 'The Little Mermaid'

Flashes of glitzy sea-creature costumes and artwork intermingled with melodies from Disney’s The Little Mermaid in the auditorium of All Saints Regional Catholic School, located in Manahawkin, on Saturday, May 4. With help from parents and a technical crew, a group of fifth- through eighth-graders dabbed on makeup and rehearsed lines during their first dress rehearsal for their spring performance, which will be presented this weekend.

Photo by Ryan Morrill
ASRCS students perform a dress rehearsal
for their spring show, The Little Mermaid, Jr.
All Saints, which serves children from preschool through eighth grade who are associated with the five area Catholic churches, is known throughout the broader community for its spectacular performances offered year after year. This year’s spring performance is, of course,The Little Mermaid, Jr.
“We decided to do The Little Mermaid because of the hurricane (Superstorm Sandy); we wanted to tie it in with the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore,” said Evelyn Bisignano, who has been directing the school’s performances for the past nine years. “This is a very big shore area, and a lot of these children live down on the Island. So we wanted to show our love for the Jersey Shore by putting this show on and combining the two together. These are all beach kids, and they love the shore. We’re all beach people,” she added.
This year’s spring show includes 133 schoolchildren from third through eighth grade. Students in grades five through eight were eligible to audition for the show’s lead roles. More than 60 students tried out. Some of the main characters, including Ariel, Ursula, Sebastian and Flounder, have been split among the actors due to the overwhelming number of talented children who auditioned, said Bisignano.
“I love these children. I love to see their talent come out,” she added. “We send them on to high school, and the high school teachers are, like, ‘Wow.’ So it’s a great feeling to know that they learn an awful lot here. They’re very talented.”
Julia Kelly, 13, of Lacey Township, who sported black eyeliner, pink rouge and dyed red hair during the dress rehearsal, will perform as Ariel during half of the show’s performances. She said she has been acting in every show the school has offered since she was in second grade. She performed as Alice’s understudy during last year’s performance of Alice in Wonderland.
“I’m really happy to have the lead role this year,” said Kelly, who will be hoisted up on a harness during the play. “It’s fun because I can participate, and I love the songs, and I love to sing. The second half (of the show) is really fun because it’s pure acting; there’s no singing. I like playing a whole new character and wearing pretty dresses. It’s cool to create a whole new person,” she added.
Joseph Exel, 13, of Manahawkin, who wore a button-down, white linen jacket with gold fringe, will perform as the show’s only Prince. Having performed in some of the school’s other shows, he said he has enjoyed the challenge of memorizing more lines this time.
“Being the lead is fun. It’s more acting, dancing and singing, but it’s fun,” said Exel. “All the people are nice here, and I like acting,” he added.
Exel said he does not mind wearing makeup for the show and said the costume is comfortable, which is a “big deal.”
The group has been practicing for the show for nearly 10 weeks. Staff members Katie Decataldo and LouAnn Ruyak helped choreograph the dance numbers, while Jonathan McElroy, one of the school’s music teachers, helped mix the sights and sounds of the show. Beth McIlmail, the school’s art teacher, directed the artistic efforts of the performance. Dedicated parents such as Vikki Hay, Maureeen Murphy and Rose Knox designed the costumes, while set builders Bruce Hay and Greg Knox transformed an ordinary stage into an extraordinary scene of land and sea.
The Little Mermaid, Jr. will be held at All Saints at 400 Doc Cramer Blvd. in Manahawkin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18, and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and children younger than 15.
T-shirts and beach towels sporting “The Jersey Shore is ‘Part of Your World’ Help Rebuild!” slogan will be available for purchase at the show. Shirts cost $15; towels cost $20. Orders can also be placed online via
“We’re hoping to see them all over the shore this summer,” said Bisignano.
For more information, call 609-597-3800 or visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

LBI residents' fiction book published posthumously

Longtime Long Beach Island resident Joe Egles passed away in 2010 at the age of 60, yet his passion for astronomy and storytelling lives on. The Kabrini Message, a science fiction novel written by Egles more than 25 years ago, was recently published by Etopia Press through the efforts of Egles’ younger sister, Marie Carhart, and his widow, Gwen Egles. The story features an archaeological dig in Greece where Jeffrey Driscoll stumbles upon ancient crystals with celestial coordinates that will connect humankind with the Kabrini, a highly advanced alien civilization. Readers are taken on a quest all over the world and finally to the deepest depths of space.

Carhart said she was searching for photos for her son’s wedding in 2011 when she found the book’s typed manuscript in an old box in the attic.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
After finding her brother's book manuscript
in the attic, Marie Carhart of Absecon, NJ had
The Kabrini Message published posthumously.

“I found a manila envelope, and in my mom’s handwriting it just said, ‘Joe’s Book.’ It was all loose pages. So I read it, and I thought it was really good,” Carhart recalled. “Even though sci-fi is not my favorite genre, I still liked it. It had enough of an action-adventure crossover, kind of like an Indiana Jones story. It sounded like Joe’s sense of humor with quick wit and sarcasm. I thought it was a shame it had been sitting in the attic for 25 years,” she added.
Carhart said she had no idea her brother, who had published only a few freelance articles for the local papers, had written a book. Gwen Egles later told her that the couple had tried to have the story published during the 1980s, when they lived in Loveladies.
Egles had worked on the book for about eight months while he acted as his grandfather’s caretaker, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He spent a year trying to publish the story before he put it away.
“Back then, it was before email,” said Gwen. “So you actually had to print out hard copies and mail them to publishers. It was a whole different process than it is today, and it was much more difficult.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Carhart had a picture of her
brother's book made into a
necklace charm.
“I could always tell when the rejection letters came. (Joe) was never in a good mood when that happened. After a while you start to feel defeated, which I certainly understand. There didn’t seem to be any more avenues to pursue because we had done everything that we knew how to do. So we just gave up.” 
Gwen said the book’s original manuscript, along with a number of Egles’ short stories, was ruined during Superstorm Sandy. Fortunately, Carhart still has the copy.
Hoping to publish her brother’s story posthumously, Carhart spent a year searching for a literary agent. She hired an editor, Amy Bell of WritePunch, to polish the story.
“It took a while. We went through one chapter at a time,” said Carhart. “We added a couple of chapters and had to kind of expand the story. We didn’t really change too much, but we had to update the technology – laptops and cell phones, instead of pay phones,” she added.
After seeking out more than 100 agents and receiving numerous rejections, Carhart, who was also working as a self-employed interior designer, decided to seek out a royalty-paying publisher. The Kabrini Message was picked up by Etopia Press in September 2012. The book launched in January in electronic format and became available in print edition at the end of April.
“It’s very hard to sell fiction right now, even more so for a first-time author that’s deceased. I knew it was going to be an uphill struggle, but I wasn’t worried,” said Carhart.
The Kabrini Message is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Print copies will be available for purchase at The Cedar Garden in Ship Bottom.
Carhart also hopes to turn the book into a screenplay.
“Hopefully the book takes off and producers will come to me so I don’t have to go through all the searching again. Hopefully it’s a big blockbuster movie, like ‘Star Wars,’ and I can retire,” she said with a laugh. “A lot of the agents that turned me down said it had great visual potential. I thought about turning it into a screenplay first, but thought Joe would really want it to be a book first.”
For more information about The Kabrini Message, visit
--Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Older Barnegat resident is second in Ocean County to obtain healing touch certification

“Before I start a session, I have to center myself. I pull the energy from the earth through my feet and from the source through the top of my head, into my heart,” said Lorene Sherman, 75, of Barnegat. She was referring to her work with healing touch, a nurturing energy therapy that uses gentle contact to balance a person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

“I inhale the energy and exhale it out through my hands, into the (client’s) body. Sometimes I feel a rush, or a tingling. Some clients say they feel twinges, or an overall sense of peace – if nothing else, at least relaxation, and that’s the main thing,” she added.
Photo by Kelley Anne Essinger
Lorene Sherman, 75, of Barnegat performs a
healing touch session on Kathleen Gill, the
woman who helped introduce Sherman to
 the nurturing energy therapy.
Sherman is the second person in Ocean County to have become certified as a healing touch practitioner. She received her certification in March from Healing Touch International Inc., a nonprofit professional membership organization recognized by the healing touch community, health care communities and general public since 1993.
According to HTI, healing touch works with a person’s energy field to support the body’s natural ability to heal. It is considered safe for all ages and works in harmony with standard medical care.
“I’ve just always been interested in energy in the hands and sort of even the laying of the hands,” said Sherman. “My grandmother was very spiritual, and she would sometimes be led to lay hands on people for healing purposes, like if they were ill. So that was never considered weird or unusual in my family,” she explained.
Sherman was formally introduced to the energy therapy about four years ago when Kathleen Gill, owner of Ocean Healing Touch, taught introductory healing touch classes for the adult education program at Barnegat High School.
“I said, ‘That’s what I’ve been looking for! I got to go to this!,’” Sherman remembered. “I think it was always percolating inside me anyway, and when Kathleen spoke, I could say, ‘Yes, I understand that; I agree with that. Yes, that makes sense.’ I didn’t have an aha moment. It was more of an affirmation that yes, this makes total sense to me,” she added.
A friend of Sherman’s who had also attended the course noticed a decrease of pain in her foot after Gill performed a session on her. This account reaffirmed Sherman’s belief in the therapy.
“There is this energy that you can’t see, but it’s there. We all have it,” she said.
The main reason people seek healing touch is for pain reduction, said Gill. Help with anxiety and stress, as well as with hospice care, is also sought after.
“I always like that feeling of peace that comes over me during a session, but I always ask Kathleen to work on my head a little bit for my memory,” said Sherman, chuckling.
Before obtaining her healing touch certification, Sherman had to complete five levels of classes that incorporated a variety of educational and practical energy-based learning modalities. She traveled all the way to Morris County to participate in the classes.
Photo by Kelley Anne Essinger
Kathleen Gill, a certified healing
touch practitioner for nearly 15
years, says Lorene Sherman's
work is "profound."
It took her about two years to finish all of the required courses and another year to complete all of the necessary fieldwork. Besides regular readings, she had to experience 10 different modalities of energy therapy, such as acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy and reflexology. She also had to document 100 sessions.
After completing level two of the required coursework, Sherman was qualified to begin practicing healing touch as a volunteer. She started working with Gill at Causeway Chiropractic, located in Ship Bottom, where Gill has volunteered her services for the past five years.
Sherman “jumped to the occasion right away,” said Gill. “She showed up and started her volunteerism with healing touch in every opportunity, in every community event that we had here at Dr. Bott’s (at Causeway Chiropractic).”
“Having Lorene and Kathleen here, working on energy therapy, adds a new energy to the building,” said Dr. Christopher Bott, owner of Causeway Chiropractic and a licensed chiropractor who is also trained in reiki and craniosacral therapies. “It complements my work and gives patients other tools to bring home with them. It’s nice to have different modalities. It’s a holistic center. We have the space, so whatever the community needs, we’ve tried to provide it,” he added.
Causeway Chiropractic offers a healing touch sampler for residents interested in a complimentary, 30-minute healing touch session. The next seminar will be held on Wednesday, May 29, between 5:30 and 8 p.m. Holistic stress management workshops to help residents better deal with the emotional effects of Superstorm Sandy are also available from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; future dates are Tuesdays, May 21, June 4 and July 2. Classes are free, but donations are welcome. Registration is limited and required. Call 609-361-1800.
Besides working at Causeway Chiropractic, Sherman has also volunteered her services within the adult community where she resides.
At that point, “I had enough techniques to feel the energy. I could begin to feel it in my hands and in other people,” she recalled.
After completing all fives levels of the healing touch education, Sherman was acknowledged as a healing touch practitioner and could begin charging for sessions. She set up a therapy room at her house for clients.
“It helps to set a sacred place,” said Sherman. “There’s something about lighting the candle and turning on that music; you already start to relax when you walk in. If the room is also used for meditation, I think that brings a certain energy into the room. You are getting the energy that this room holds. It’s tranquil. You have to trust,” she added.
Sherman wasted no time pursuing her healing touch certification. She submitted her final work in January to be reviewed by a panel at HTI.
“To have someone else take a look at your work and the case studies that you have to do, and to analyze those as an outsider who doesn’t know you at all, and to say this person has been through the program and is ready to go out and has enough knowledge for us to say she is ready, really meant something to me,” said Sherman.
She said she doesn’t think of herself as a healer but as a vessel for the healing.
“I never think of it as I’m doing the healing,” said Sherman. “I’m a channel, but I’m just doing the housekeeping, getting the energy connected and balanced. It’s up to the body to do the healing,” she added.
“She’s gifted,” said Gill. “She works on me, on my energy field, and her work is profound. It evokes a profound relaxation response.”
Though Sherman is now certified as a healing touch practitioner, she said it is still a continuous learning process.
“I wish more people could experience (healing touch),” she said. “I sense that the medical field is beginning to maybe listen a little bit, and the more people that get involved with an understanding of energy, the better. I think it’s kind of sad when you think of medical doctors who may have an understanding, or who may have some agreement that there is energy, that there’s a life force that they can’t see or touch, and they have many patients that traditional medicine doesn’t do anything for, and yet they are afraid to embrace something that is basic. But I think very slowly it’s beginning to shift.”
Gill and Bott both agreed the medical industry is beginning to acknowledge the benefits of healing touch.
“More and more science is backing it up. It’s not voodoo,” said Bott.
Though Sherman has continued to volunteer at Causeway Chiropractic, she said she hopes to open her own healing touch practice in the future.
“I think it’ll be part-time; I don’t think I’ll do it full-time,” said Sherman. “I’ve got too many other things I want to do. I like taking courses. Now I’m going to take this aromatherapy course. Can you believe it? How am I going to do that?” she said, laughing. “I’d also love to get my foot in the door at the hospital here in Manahawkin. It would be wonderful to get in with the cancer unit, to be able to combine working in the energy field to help patients feel relaxed and connected and balanced for the medicine to work in the best possible way. I would love to do that.
“I’m trying to remain open to the source. My life has always been one of service,” said Sherman, who used to work as a speech pathologist for many years at a pediatric hospital in Union County. “I’m beginning to get a feeling that it would be a joy to help people in hospice, to help them emotionally down that road without fear. I personally don’t have any fear of death or dying. Spiritually I’ve grown to accept that it’s just moving from one dimension to another dimension. So maybe that will be my path,” she added.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.