Sunday, August 31, 2014

'Movies at the Beach' in Beach Haven ends season with 'E.T.'

Photo via Wikipedia
"E.T" will play on the big screen in Beach Haven.
“E.T.: The Extraterrestrial” will be the last movie playing outside on the big screen during the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Science’s Movies at the Beach summer program. The showing will begin at dusk on Sunday, Aug. 31, at Veterans Bicentennial Park, located on Beach Avenue between Engleside Avenue and Amber Street in Beach Haven. Ice cream and coffee will be available for purchase.
“It’s the perfect movie to end the summer,” said Amy CarreƱo, LBIF’s director of public programs. “It’s a fun night to spend with friends and family. Watching a movie outside is more exciting for everyone, especially on a summer evening,” she added.
Film participants are encouraged to bring a $5 donation for LBIF as well as a nonperishable food item, which will be contributed to a local food bank.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pancake breakfast to benefit Beach Haven Fire Department

Photo via Google
A variety of breakfast foods will be available.
Members of the Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co. will be serving up stacks of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and fruit salad during its annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser Sunday, Aug. 31. Coffee, juice, water, milk and more will also be included. The buffet-style event will take place at the firehouse, located at the corner of Amber Street and South Bay Avenue, from 8 a.m. to noon.
Beach Haven Fire Chief Matt Letts said the money raised during the event will help cover costs for training and equipment. A portion of the proceeds will also be used to cover the purchase of a pumper truck as the former truck was damaged due to Superstorm Sandy.
Tickets to the fundraiser cost $10 for anyone 12 years old or older. The entry fee for seniors and for children ages 4 through 12 is $8. Tickets are free for children younger than 4.
–Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, August 29, 2014

'The Good Shit Shindig' includes a shopping sale at School of Vintage in Surf City, Aug. 31

The Good Shit Shindig, an end-of-summer celebration hosted by School of Vintage co-owners Jeannine Errico and Erin Buterick, will be held at the store’s Surf City location at 1509 N. Long Beach Blvd., on Sunday Aug. 31, from 6 to 9 p.m. All items in the shop will be 40 percent off. Inventory includes vintage and handmade clothing and accessories as well as housewares.
Photo via Facebook
Most of the Surf City inventory will be moved
to the new Tuckerton location, which will
remain open during the off-season.
The Surf City shop will close for the season on Labor Day, before reopening in the springtime. The owners will still be available for bridal, consignment and alterations appointments.
The store’s second location, at the Tuckerton Emporium, located at 2 East Main St., which opened in March, will remain available to the public year 'round.
The event name stems from a blog the owners started called, “Shit People Say to Us,” which chronicles “ridiculous statements made by customers that are usually very rude and leave us scratching our heads,” Errico explained. At the end of the year, the owners donate $1 per blog post to the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter in Manahawkin, “to try and turn a negative into a positive.”
“As another way to be positive, we started posting the ‘good shit’ people say in our store to our Facebook page, which is just as entertaining but less rage-inducing,” Errico said. “In fact, it usually leaves you feeling pretty good inside. So the name of the party is a direct homage to all the good shit people say and all the good shit people want: a big sale, food, drinks and music.”
Live music includes a solo performance by local singer/songwriter Patrick Sullivan and an acoustic show by Nicotine and Brown.
Tickets to the event cost $5. One dollar from each ticket will be donated to the Manahawkin animal shelter. Due to space, a limited number of tickets are available via the store’s website, Tickets are also available at the door but are first-come, first-served.
For more information, call 609-494-1171.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Manahawkin Lake Park central location for Stafford's Town-Wide Yard Sale

Stafford residents will have a chance to clear out some of the clutter in their homes during Stafford Township’s Town-Wide Yard Sale, Saturday, Sept. 13. The event will be held rain or shine, from 8 a.m. to 3 pm.
“So often people think, ‘Oh, I’ll have a yard sale,’ and then they just never get around to it. But we feel that when it’s a community-wide event, especially when you have more than one person on your street who has a yard sale, it attracts more customers,” said Debbie Budesa, administrative assistant for Stafford Recreation. “A lot of people go out when they find out there’s a town-wide yard sale, and they just go out looking for whatever they can. It’s a way to bring the community together, and last year was very, very successful. People were anxious to have it again,” she added.
Photo via Google
The community event will take place
during the last few weeks of summer.
Over 200 families participated in last year’s event, which was the first in many years, said Budesa. She said she hopes even more families will participate this time.
New this year, the township is allowing residents who live in an out-out-the-way location to set up their items at the Manahawkin Lake Park, located on Route 9 in downtown Manahawkin. Participants must bring their own tables and chairs.
“The township is so far-flung that there are sections that people don’t really get to,” said Budesa. “Our township extends to Warren Grove, which is well off of Route 72. We also have sections of our waterfront, Beach Haven West, where people live quite a distance away from the main drag. So that’s why we wanted to offer that to them.”
Yard sale participants with leftover, unwanted items can leave them at the curb for township pick-up starting Sept. 15.
Anyone interested in partaking in the event must register by Sept. 5. The usual $5 permit fee will be waived.
Registration forms can be picked up and dropped off at the Bay Avenue Community Center, located at 775 East Bay Ave., or mailed to Stafford Recreation, at 260 East Bay Ave. Online forms can also be emailed to
A log of each participant’s street address and the items available will be listed on the township’s website at Names and phone numbers will not be visible.
“Lots of people will be out and about looking because they know the yard sale’s going on. And with the lists of addresses and items available, then people can see if they’re looking for something in particular, maybe books or sporting goods or something,” said Budesa. “It’s a great way to get out there what you have.”
For more information, call 609-489-0913.

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The Forked River Gazette.

Raquel's Closet And More offers boutique clothing without the boutique price

Lisa White and her 20-year-old daughter, Raquel, have always enjoyed shopping in boutique clothing stores, yet they were never satisfied with the high prices. Knowing others felt the same way, they decided to open Raquel’s Closet and More. Dedicated to “The Queen City’s Hottest Fashions,” the shop offers elite, fashionable clothing for young misses, women and men.
“We love boutiques, but we could never afford the boutique prices. So I researched to see if there was good, quality items at affordable prices, for teenage girls especially, and there was,” said White, who co-owns the shop with her husband David. Both are local residents who graduated Southern Regional High School in 1983. “Everything in my store is under $100. You could buy a dress for $40,” she added.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Raquel White hangs up the
shop's new fall inventory.
The shop, which opened next to Chicken or the Egg in 2011 and had to be refurbished after 5 feet of floodwater damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, originally carried apparel for teenage- and college-aged girls only. It was relocated to Bay Village in March, and the inventory has expanded to appeal to more people in the family.
“When you have a family come in, you have Mom, Dad, your 16-year-old daughter and even Grandma sometimes. They actually can all find something in the store,” White said.
Raquel, whom the shop was named after, helps pick out the inventory, which is bought on a selective basis, added White.
“I order six pieces of one style, and when that goes out, it goes out. I don’t keep reordering it and having the same things in year to year, or week to week,“ said White. “I have a big turnaround; every week I’m getting new inventory in. There’s a lot of locals that shop here, too, from the mainland. So I want to keep it moving for them, too.”
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Queen City Apparel tank tops are
currently available in women's sizes.
Currently geared more toward women’s fashion, the shop offers a variety of stylish apparel and accessories inspired by the latest trends from vibrant-colored tops and chic, detailed skirts to drapey kimonos perfect for layering.
“They’re fashionable,“ said White. “There’s a lot of must-haves to put in your wardrobe that I carry, including basic Sugarlips tank tops. They come in all colors, and you can put them under a sheer dress or something. A lot of things are sheer now, or crocheted. Everybody’s doing a hint of crochet everywhere. It’s so pretty. I love it. The boho style is really coming back for the fall,” she added.
Beach bags, purses and coverups with a beachy or nautical flair have also been popular among summer customers, said White. Lindsay Phillips flip-flops that have interchangeable snaps have been a huge hit.
“I have the basic pieces, but then I have the pieces that almost look vintage, but they’re brand new, which is the style,” she said. “There’s a lot of day into night outfits. You can get a sundress or a maxi dress for the day, and at night you can switch it up and put a piece of chunky jewelry with it, and you’re good to go. I love the fashion. I love putting outfits together, pretty much from head to toe,” she added.
The store owners also recently introduced Queen City Apparel, their own brand of clothing, which White said local apparel company Jetty helped design and print. Women’s tank tops were the first to launch this summer. The burnout tops, “good for hanging out at the beach, at home, or the gym,” come in charcoal gray, blue and light gray colors. Ladies yoga pants and men’s shirts are expected to be introduced next.
“Rather than ‘We’re in Beach Haven,’ I wanted to catch attention to ‘It’s in the Queen City,’” said White.
The shop, located at 213 N. Bay Ave., is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. After Labor Day, store hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Saturday. The owners expect to keep the shop open until Christmas, before closing for the season.
For more information, call 609-207-6684.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New law increases towns' capability to manage vacant, foreclosed properties

Legislation that would permit towns to adopt ordinances to regulate the care, maintenance, security and upkeep for the exterior of vacant and abandoned residential properties that have been foreclosed on has been signed into law. The now-enacted S-1229/A-1257 bill was prime sponsored by Sen. Christopher J. Connors and cosponsored by Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove of the 9th District delegation.
Photo via Google
Unmaintained, foreclosed properties
are an eyesore for neighbors.
Under the provisions of the legislation, an ordinance would also provide that the creditor liable for the residential property, if located out of state, would be accountable for assigning an in-state representative or agent to collaborate with the municipality. The provisions of the new law take effect immediately.
Upon the signing of S-1229/A-1257, the 9th District delegation released the following statement: “Unmaintained, vacant properties continue to cause deep frustration for residents who, as homeowners, want their property values protected in these difficult economic times, especially on the real estate front. Our delegation was strongly supportive of this initiative largely due to the concerns raised by residents of age-restricted communities for whom unmaintained, vacant properties serve as a consistent source of agitation. Residents with whom we have spoken took issue with the decision-making process by banks in that these properties will only be more difficult to sell if left unmaintained, especially for a prolonged period.
“Meanwhile, as banks did little to nothing in terms of maintenance, many vacant properties fell into disrepair and stood out as eyesores. Understandably, local residents and municipalities impacted by this issue called for action to hold banks accountable. Based on the broad bipartisan support for the legislation, which was passed overwhelmingly by both Houses, this is a serious issue throughout the state.
“Existing law already requires creditors in the process of foreclosing on properties to be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property. However, requiring a bank to designate an agent streamlines the process and better enables municipalities to enforce local ordinances by avoiding certain jurisdictional issues. To that end, there is a greater likelihood of resolving serious issues linked to vacant properties that communities and municipalities were increasingly forced to contend with since the housing crisis hit.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Structure fire at The Gazebo Restaurant in Beach Haven ruled accidental

Photo via Facebook
The restaurant was reopened
six hours later.
The Gazebo Restaurant, located in Schooner’s Wharf in Beach Haven, suffered a structure fire at the start of Labor Day weekend Friday, Aug. 29, around 11 a.m. About 25 firefighters from the Beach Haven and Ship Bottom fire departments responded to the scene.
The fire, which was contained to the kitchen’s exhaust hood, was ruled accidental by the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office.
“The suppression system that’s in the hood system extinguished the fire. The fire departments just did precautionary measures afterwards,” explained Bill Gee, deputy fire marshal.
Small pockets of fire, farther up the hood toward the roof, had to be extinguished, said Beach Haven Fire Chief Matt Letts.
“For the most part, it was pretty fast to put out,” he said. “The biggest issue that we had was trying to find the trapped pockets of fire inside the wall.”
Emil Delettoe, owner of The Gazebo Restaurant, said he was able to open up again six hours later.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

LBI's revival after Superstorm Sandy captured during live filming of 'Good Day Philadelphia' in Beach Haven

The sunshine made a brief, strategic appearance Friday morning, Aug. 22, in Beach Haven, when local residents, officials and business owners gathered around the newly rebuilt beach patrol headquarters building on Centre Street to celebrate the area’s recovery following Superstorm Sandy. Overlooking the beach crowd – a mix of lifeguards in blue swimsuits and families and friends dancing and toting beach gear – the Billy Walton Band kept the beat going atop the watch deck as Fox 29’s “Good Day Philadelphia” show aired live.
Quincy Harris, one of the show’s entertainment reporters, was filling in for regular host Jennaphyr Frederick who left at the last minute for vacation. Harris interviewed the audience for the station’s second to last “Comeback Down the Shore” segment, a special series that began in Cape May in July.
Photo by Ryan Johnson
Elvis gets a little help from Jon Runyan
in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
“A lot of my family is from South Jersey, and Sandy really hit hard,” Harris told The SandPaper in an interview. “Last year was the resurgence, but I feel like this year everyone’s kicking in and kind of getting back to normal here. We’ve been to a ton of beach towns this summer. Last year was the bounce-back, but this year it’s about getting back to normal.
“This is a good time,” he added, peering around at the ocean, where kids frolicked in the drift and surfers rode in the waves. “It’s a really good time just to have everyone back at the beach, everyone participating, helping the economy, relaxing and really just continuing family traditions that they started before Sandy happened, and just having a good, old time in the summer.”
The day started bright and early at 7:45 a.m. with a mock lifeguard rescue led by Beach Haven Beach Patrol Chief Mike Lawrence. Town Mayor Robert Keeler was particularly proud of the segment.
Photo by Ryan Johnson
Steve 'Smiley' McNamara and Chris Esibell
of the Beach Haven Beach Patrol dig into
16 scoops of ice cream.
“One of the areas I feel unappreciated is the lifeguards,” he said. “I think it was good just to see what happens. They do so much; most of these kids are fully trained in CPR and paramedics. They’re extremely busy during the summer, and very few people actually see what they do. So I thought it was a real positive segment, watching them go through a drill and telling them step by step what was going on.”
As children waved their  arms in front of the TV camera, thoroughly enjoying their 30 seconds of fame, cast members from Surflight Theatre’s “Spamalot” show were filmed during the second segment, which highlighted the part of local businesses. A treasure hunt hosted by Barry’s Do Me a Flavor sent kids in search of gift certificates. Fantasy Island’s Mayor Gator joined in the fun, as other local merchants handed out coupons and other goods.
“We’re a small town with small-town values,” Keeler emphasized to The SandPaper. “These businesses here are mom and pop businesses that were homegrown, and the people have been here all their lives. I think the reason people enjoy coming down to Long Beach Island, and hopefully spend time in Beach Haven, is because there is a difference. We don’t have (many) franchise businesses. We’re all local, homegrown people here, and I think little by little small towns are disappearing. They’re being taken out, and I think the fact we have these small-town values shows through in the business, how we greet the vacationers when they come down here and appreciate the fact they’re here.
Photo by Ryan Johnson
Fox 29 entertainment reporter Quincy Harris
fills in for regular host Jennaphyr Frederick.
“I think getting them a little visibility on TV is nice,” he added. “I always like to see the people in town here, who work so hard, to get any type of press because if our businesses are healthy, even in a very short season, our town is healthy. I obviously feel very good that (Fox 29 has) come to Beach Haven to spend time with our business people. Anything done on the Island, whether it’s Beach Haven, Harvey Cedars or Barnegat Light, is good for LBI as a whole.”
During the event, Keeler unveiled the town’s new T-shirts, adorned with the logo, “Visit Beach Haven: The Heart of Long Beach Island,” and “Eat Shop Beach Repeat.”
During the culmination of the show, the crowd gathered around to cheer on contestants who volunteered to stuff their faces during a food-eating challenge. Local resident Nolan Andersen and Joe Mangino, founder of Stafford Teachers And Residents Together, went head-on in a Chicken or the Egg wing-eating contest. At the next table, Chris Esibell and Steve “Smiley” McNamara, both members of the Beach Haven Beach Patrol, teamed up against Lauren Liquori from the Beach Haven Borough Clerk’s office, and BG Braun of the Beach Haven Police Department in a Boardwalk ice cream challenge. Local resident Emily Frank took on Pat O’Donnell, a member of the local fire department, in Uncle Will’s “Clean Plate” pancake challenge.
In the midst of the five-minute time allotment, special guest Congressman Jon Runyan, who stopped by to talk football, doused cold water on a local Elvis performer in honor of the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Ice Bucket Challenge, which has been circulating the Internet as well as up and down the Island.
The Billy Walton Band played until the show wrapped up and the crowd headed back to work or home, closing out another summer at the shore in celebration of the revival after Sandy.
“We’re one of many towns that were highlighted (in the show), and I think it’s very important for tourism in New Jersey that people get to see that all these towns, not only Beach Haven, have done a wonderful job trying to get back after Sandy,” said Keeler. “It’s been two years; we’re in our second summer, and I think if people see in some way that we’ve come back, we’re actually even better than we were before Sandy. We have new buildings; people’s attitudes are great. I think it’s just wonderful that Fox 29 did this because a lot of people just don’t have the time to get down to see it, and they really have no idea what’s happened here after the storm.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kids wearing bike helmets in Beach Haven 'ticketed' for ice cream reward

The Beach Haven Police Department has been issuing a lot of tickets to children. Thankfully, it’s for ice cream.
Sgt. Thomas Medel, who spearheaded the program to reward kids age 17 and younger who are following New Jersey’s bicycle helmet law, said he has already handed out about 25 tickets since the joint effort with Beach Haven ice cream shops began in August. The department’s other patrol officers are also pulling kids over and partaking in the effort.
Photo via Beach Haven Police Department
Children under 18 years old are required
to wear a helmet in NJ while on a bicycle.
“Most of the time they think they’re getting in trouble,” said Medel. “It’s really quite fun with the kids because their faces light up. It’s not often that you’re told from a police officer, ‘Hey, you’re doing something really good.’”
Bicycle safety is especially important during the summer months when the town is full of vacationers from out of state, Medel said.
“A lot of other states don’t have helmet laws like we do. It’s really important for the kids to wear their helmets and follow the rules of the road,” he added. “We have people riding their bicycles everywhere now. It’s actually dangerous for the people driving their cars as well as the bicyclists.”
The idea began when the owner of The Boardwalk, an ice cream parlor and bike shop, suggested rewarding kids for their efforts to follow the law, Medel explained. When Medel approached other business owners about the idea, he said they were all “on board.”
The tickets are good for one ice cream at Barry’s Do Me a Flavor, Ben and Jerry’s, The Boardwalk, Carmella’s Ice Creamery and Coffee Shop, Country Kettle Fudge, Fantasy Island Amusement Park, Happy Skipper, Lainie’s Ice Cream Porch, POPularity Pops or Thundering Surf Waterpark.
“Without the businesses generously offering the ice cream to the kids, this wouldn’t be such a success,” said Medel.
He claimed his younger daughter has been more aware of who is following the law and who is not since she received a ticket.
“You’d be surprised. When a little kid tells you you’re doing something wrong, you might think twice about it. The kids do know the right thing to do.”
Although the program will end around Labor Day, when school begins again, Medel said he hopes to start the program earlier in the summer next year.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Creation of New Jersey's first state forest topic of 'Lectures at the Lake' series Aug. 23

Bass River State Forest’s 2014 “Lectures at the Lake” series will continue Saturday, Aug. 23, with a free program on the history of the forest, which was the first acquired by the state of New Jersey for public recreation, water conservation and wildlife and timber management. Park Superintendent Cynthia Coritz will lead the discussion at the Lake Absegami beach breezeway, located at 762 Stage Rd. in Bass River Township, at 8 p.m.
Photo via West Jersey History
Swimming in Lake Absegami is allowed
Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
A photo history of the creation of the forest, which was established in 1905, will cover three chapters in the life of the forest: why and how it was created, how the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1933 to 1942 affected the forest and what it currently offers to the public.
“Other areas in the New Jersey State Park System have history that goes back prior to 1905, but there were no other state parks, state forests, or recreation areas before Bass River State Forest was established,” said Coritz. “We all love our state parks, forests and recreation areas and may know their histories, but the history of the whole park system began here with about 870 acres purchased from the Mathis family in 1905.”
One of her favorite parts of the discussion, Coritz said, is that Gifford Pinchot, the forester hired to survey South Jersey and make recommendations on what to do with the land that had been burned down and cut over, went on to become “the father of forestry,” head of the U.S. Forest Service and governor of Pennsylvania. Coritz said she also loves sharing information about the importance of the Civilian Conservation Corps-era and how hard those men worked, despite receiving “very little recognition.”
Insect repellent, a flashlight and something to sit on are recommended for the event. The venue is ADA accessible. Donations to the forest’s Interpretive Program are welcome.
For more information, call the forest office at 609-296-1114 or visit

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sneak Attack to perform at Calloways Aug. 23

HOME BASE: LBI–mainland area
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Sneak Attack performs at Joe Pop's Shore Bar
in Ship Bottom.
STYLE: Dedicated to “rocking people’s faces off,” Sneak Attack merges a broad range of genres into its live performances, covering songs from the 1970s to today, whether it be rock, rap, funk, country or pop. No song is safe.
LINEUP: The five-piece band, which formed in 2013 with over 10 years of live experience by each member in punk, hardcore, metal and rock bands, includes lead singer Mike Delagado; John Becker on rhythm guitar and backup vocals; lead guitarist Matt Rott; Glen Bleakley on bass; and Steve Szymanski on drums.
SOUND BYTE: The local band covers everything in an upbeat, rock-meets-pop, dance-ready style.
TWO’S TAKE: The band loves the crowd, and the crowd loves them back.
BE THE JUDGE: Saturday, Aug. 23, 10 p.m., at Calloways Restaurant and Bar, Staffordville.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Public invited to 'Good Day Philadelphia' filming in Beach Haven

Beach Haven will be the center of attention Friday when Fox 29’s “Good Day Philadelphia” sets up near the town’s newly rebuilt beach patrol headquarters building, located on the beachfront of Centre Street, to film live segments for the show’s “Comeback Down the Shore” weekly summer series. The special series tells the stories of business owners and residents along the Jersey Shore who had to rebuild their lives, homes and businesses following Superstorm Sandy. Beach Haven’s segment is the second to last in the series, which began in Cape May in July.
Photo via Food Spotting
A Chicken or the Egg wing eating contest
will be recorded live during the event.
Local business owners, residents and visitors are welcome to participate in the live filming.
“This is just another step in our Visit Beach Haven plan,” said Stan Gauss, owner of Gauss Digital Marketing, whom the municipality hired in the spring to help with its digital marketing and better promote the area. “As the heart of Long Beach Island, we believe a truly vibrant and successful Beach Haven makes for a stronger Long Beach Island. This year we have seen record traffic at all events from Hop Sauce and the Memorial Day parade to our weekly Concerts on the Green. We believe the visibility we will get from Fox 29 will only go to further that.”
“Good Day” anchor Jennaphyr Frederick, known by viewers as JennFred, will interact with business owners and residents during the filming, between 7:30 and 10 a.m. Beach pilates as well as a mock rescue with Beach Haven lifeguards will take place at 7:45. Members from Surflight Theatre and The Showplace Ice Cream Parlour will go on at 8:30. Fantasy Island’s mascots and other local businesses will be participating in the event as well. Multiple food-eating contests will wrap up the show at 9:45, including a Boardwalk ice cream challenge with two teams of two, a Chicken or the Egg wing eating contest with two contestants and an Uncle Will’s pancake challenge with two contestants. All contest participants must be on site by 9.
Town officials will also unveil the “Visit Beach Haven” T-shirt and announce plans for the town’s 125th anniversary, coming up next year.
“Beach Haven is full of history, culture, great food, family fun and beautiful beaches. It’s truly a vacation spot for everyone and a great place to live,” said Beach Haven Mayor Robert Keeler. “Fox 29’s ‘Good Day Philadelphia’ will only help let more people in the area, and those looking for a great place to visit, know that Beach Haven is for them.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sun Dog Imports offers unique accessories handpicked from Asia

At its very essence, fashion at the shore is about creative expression – mixing and matching accessories and clothing to represent a unique style. While many store owners browse through catalogs searching for eye-catching accessories and attire to add to their shop, Sun Dog Imports owner Michelle Palladino navigates the streets of Bali-Indonesia, Thailand and India to handpick the shop’s unique items.
Photo by Ryan Johnson
The textile room is complete with intricately
designed bed spreads, pillow covers and tapstires.
The authentic Asian goods, including sterling silver and stone jewelry made in Thailand as well as traditional Indian women’s wear such as saris and sarongs, are found in small shops and street marts during her annual travels in January and February, which began when she was 21 years old.
“I just always traveled and thought, ‘How can I create a business through my love of traveling?’ And this is what came about,” said Palladino, standing among racks of intricately beaded tops and skirts.
While some of the items in the shop’s Ship Bottom location (now in its 16th season) are bought directly from the rack, most are imported via cargo agents. Clothing takes about six weeks to make, Palladino explained.
“The colors are just so rich and vibrant, and that’s what I love. That’s what I love about traveling,” she said. “You can be having a hard day traveling, you’re trudging around, thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve got to find this stuff.’ And an elephant walks down the road and it’s painted.”
Photo by Ryan Johnson
Brooke Rullo and Michelle Palladino, the store's
manager and owner respectively, travel to Asia
during the winter in search of new inventory. 
After traveling to Bali and Thailand with Palladino and her family in search of new inventory two years ago, Brooke Rullo, the shop’s manager, journeyed to India on her own.
“I prepped her and wrote her lots of notes,” Palladino said. “I introduced her to the tailors and where to buy this and where to buy that, and how to get to places. I helped simulate her into those different cultures – because it is another world.”
Rullo, who found she loves the textiles and colors as well as the culture and weather in Asia, took on the entire venture by herself this past winter.
“The people are so happy,” said Rullo, who has worked at Sun Dog Imports for eight years. “It’s just a different way of living. And we’re handpicking everything, which is nice.”
Other handmade items include intricately designed scarves and bags, vibrant-colored dresses and rompers as well as pretty, detailed sandals and Buddhist prayer beads. A textile room located in the back of the shop also offers unique items for the home such as bedspreads handmade in India, pillow covers and tapestries.
Photo by Ryan Johnson
Beaded tops and skirts as well as vibrant-colored
bags are just some of the beautiful accessories available. 
“When I first started, and what I try to bring across in this inner space, is a place to come in, get away from everything and just relax for a minute,” said Palladino. “There’s no sales pitch. There’s no up selling. People can come in, they can be in the back for two hours in the textile room, looking at fabrics and everything else that’s back there, and there’s no pressure. That was my number one priority when opening.
“Our focus is keeping it clean and neat and feeling good and fresh, so people can come in and find things – so they’re not rummaging through racks of clothes all over the place. It really makes a difference,” she added.
Handicrafts such as wooden Buddhas and instruments, including shakers and drums, as well as books made from the barks of trees in Bali also make for beautiful gifts in the home or workplace.
“We go to different places, and you can see them carving (the different items). It’s all a work in progress,” said Palladino.
“Everything’s absolutely handmade. Nothing here is machine-made, which is kind of the beauty of it. It’s just us going into a place and looking at different items and picking out what’s great, making sure it’s done well. It’s much more fun than going through a catalogue and saying, ‘Oh, that’s made in China. I’ll order five of those.’”
“I’ve never experienced a retail store like this, really,” Rullo added. “There’s a lot of clothing stores everywhere, but not as many that have those different types of pieces.”
During the summer, the shop is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
A sidewalk sale offering everything outside for $5 or $10 will be held Aug. 19 through 21, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A Labor Day sale with 40 to 50 percent off everything in the store will be held in September, when hours decrease before the shop closes for the season in December.
For more information, visit or call 609-361-2777.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The Beachcomber.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lost camera leads to friendship for two families on Long Beach Island

When Carrie and Christian Witzke lost their camera while visiting family on Long Beach Island in June, they thought they had forever lost photos of their time at the shore as well as precious moments of their children, including those of Lukas, their third son, who was born last August. While getting ready to celebrate Lukas’ first birthday on Aug. 3, the couple received a call from Michele Jabin, whose family had spent a month trying to connect with the rightful owners, to let the Witzkes know they had found the camera and wanted to return it.
“They were pictures (of Lukas) from the hospital, from the christening, the first Christmas, everything. She thought she had lost them all on that camera,” Jabin, who has a home in Haven Beach that has been in the family for over 40 years, told The SandPaper in a phone interview. “It was just a miracle that we were able to track her down and that she gets to have her pictures back.”
Photo by Jack Reynolds
The two families meet up for the camera exchange.
When Jabin’s daughter and son-in-law Gillian and Fernando Giglio, who have two young boys of their own, found what appeared to be an expensive Nikon camera at the Taylor Avenue Park behind Bay Village in Beach Haven, they said they knew whoever had lost it was hurting. After waiting an hour at the playground for someone to show up and claim it, they decided to take it home and report it lost to the local police.
“You leave a camera like that, it disappears,” Fernando said. “We don’t need it.”
Hoping he would recognize someone in the photos, Fernando, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said he was devastated after looking through them.
“The card was full, and I was just torn,” he said. “I couldn’t even look at that camera without feeling something. I knew whoever lost it was hurting. When you have health challenges, family means a lot.
“It’s not even the camera. It’s the photos,” he added. “Those photos, they’re priceless. And just when I started to look at the pictures, I got tears in my eyes.”
After a couple of weeks and still no word, Jabin reached out to The SandPaper for help in tracking down the owners of the camera.
“You can buy another camera. You can’t go back and get the pictures,” she said. “That’s what was so important to all of us.”
When SandPaper Photo Editor Ryan Morrill told Jabin he had found Lukas’ last name from a newborn picture taken at the hospital, the family conducted a two-hour-long Internet search before eventually finding Carrie Witzke’s phone number. Witzke said she was going through Lukas’ baby book when she received a call from Jabin. At first, Witzke said she thought Jabin was a telemarketer.
“I was just surprised at their persistence in trying to find me and all the things that they went through,” said Witzke. “I’m just really grateful to get the camera back, to get the pictures back so I have all the memories. It had all of his (Lukas’) firsts: his first bath, his first meal, the first time he rolled over. It had everything from when he was born through the first year, so I was pretty upset. I liked the camera; I had it for a few years. But I was mostly upset about the pictures of my three kids that were all gone.
“I think they’re very special people to go to all those extremes, to try to find me when they didn’t have to,” she added.
The families met up at Jabin’s home Saturday, Aug. 16, to exchange the camera and get acquainted. The Witzkes presented the Giglios with a “generous” gift certificate to The Gables for their efforts. They plan to meet up again in the future.
“LBI embodies this kind of community,” said Fernando. “We found a camera and made friends with a beautiful family with the same LBI values as us.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beach Haven Future announces Beautification Contest winners

Beach Haven Future, a nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing the town of Beach Haven, hosted a beautification contest, which began Memorial Day weekend and concluded at the end of July. The contest received dozens of entries for best business curb appeal as well as best homeowner and condominium landscaping.
Photo via BHF
The Gables Inn and Restaurant, located on
Centre Street, wins best business curb appeal.
The main focus of the contest was to improve the streetscape along Bay Avenue between 12th and Pearl streets, explained Barbara Cona, the organization’s executive director, who announced the contest winners Friday, Aug. 15.
“It is our hope that homeowners, business owners and condominiums will focus on curb appeal in the coming years,” she said. “When one yard on the block looks beautiful, it inspires others to kick things up a notch to improve their own property. One by one, we can make Beach Haven gorgeous. It won’t happen overnight, but if everyone improves their property a little each year, we will get there eventually.
“Thirty years ago, hardly anyone had landscaping on the Island. Gone are the days when everyone’s yard had nothing but stones. Beautiful plants can grow at the shore. Choosing appropriate plant material and water, water, water are vital to the success of a garden,” she added.
The winner for best business curb appeal was The Gables Inn and Restaurant, located on Centre Street, and the runner-up was Container Garden Consignment on Bay Avenue. Local residents Wes and Jean Frazier took best homeowner landscaping for their yard on Ocean Street; Bonnie and Don Lenhard were given the runner-up award for their landscaping on Fairview Avenue. The winner for best condominium landscaping went to The Sans of Beach Haven on Pearl Street and Atlantic Avenue. Prizes ranged from VIP Chowderfest tickets to gift certificates to Foster’s Market. Winners also received a yard plaque honoring their accomplishment.
Throughout the contest, BHF members planted 32 4-foot planters along Bay Avenue. Though Cona said watering has been an issue, she said the project has been a “huge success” due to the assistance from the organization’s block captains as well as the volunteer efforts of BHF board members Allan Menegus and John Snyder.
“We’re anxious to see this program blossom,” said Cona. “Next year we hope to see more participants and additional categories.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, August 15, 2014

'Terrapins and Tires' program at Bass River State Forest Aug. 16

Photo by Ryan Morrill
A terrapin makes its way to a less populated
area on Long Beach Island.
Northern diamondback terrapin turtles, a species of special concern, will be the topic of discussion during Bass River State Forest’s “2014 Lectures at the Lake” series Saturday, Aug. 16, at 8 p.m. The free “Terrapins and Tires” program will take place at the Lake Absegami beach breezeway, located at 762 Stage Rd. in Bass River Township.
Ben Wurst, habitat program manager at Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, will lead the discussion. The program will focus on the life history of terrapins as well as the local efforts to diminish their number of road kills in the Barnegat and Great Bay watersheds.
“The diamondback terrapin is native to New Jersey, and major threats to the health of the population are drowning in ghost crab pots and being hit by vehicles when crossing roads,” said Cynthia Coritz, park superintendent. “Since they’re a coastal species, I think their plight is not widely known by the general public, especially folks that only visit the Jersey Shore seasonally. We hope that Ben’s program will help visitors and residents alike learn the importance of the terrapin in the ecosystem and change people’s behavior so that healthy population numbers are maintained.”
Program participants are encouraged to bring insect repellent, a flashlight and something to sit on. Donations for Conserve Wildlife Foundation will be accepted.
For more information, call the Forest Office at 609-296-1114 or visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.