Friday, November 28, 2014

Beach Haven School’s new swimming program to begin next month

Students at the Beach Haven School will get their feet wet through a new school-funded swimming program at the St. Francis Aquatics Center in Brant Beach beginning next month.
Photo by Kristin Blair
The indoor aquatics center
was built in 2003.
“It’s great for physical activity, and they live by the ocean. They should know how to swim,” said EvaMarie Raleigh, school superintendent. “Not all kids know how to swim, even though they live here. Anytime you live by the ocean, a body of water or two bodies of water, it’s really important.”
Students in grades four through six will attend the program for an hour each a week, for a total of 15 sessions. Five sessions will be held during the springtime for those in first, second and third grades. The school’s Pre-K and kindergarten classes will attend three open-swim sessions in May, when the older students are busy with state testing.
Three instructors will be leading the classes, including a St. Francis swim teacher as well as school gym teacher Mark Cummings and school music teacher Toni Dworkin, who is a former Southern Regional swimmer.
The program, suggested by a parent last year, was approved by the school board in August and will cost about $2,000.
“I was a swimmer and a swim coach, so I’m all for swimming,” said Raleigh.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

‘Celebrate the Season’ in Beach Haven includes new and traditional holiday festivities

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Beach Haven is offering a vast array of
holiday activities throughout December.
This year’s Celebrate the Season, a month-long event of holiday festivities in Beach Haven beginning the weekend of Nov. 28, will include more activities than ever before, from horse and carriage rides at Kapler’s Pharmacy, the annual tree lighting at Veterans Bicentennial Park and caroling at the Long Beach Island Museum to a holiday dog parade hosted by Lucky’s Bed and Biscuit, an ugly sweater brunch at The Gables Inn and Restaurant and a buffet-style Christmas party at Tuckers Tavern, to name a few. Some of the events have been taking place for several years, but other exciting, new festivities have been added to complement the traditional merriment.
“Celebrate the Season will continue to grow with special activities added each and every year,” said Barbara Cona, executive director of Beach Haven Future, a local organization comprised of business owners and residents that helps coordinate the community event. “The small-town feel of Beach Haven provides an atmosphere where holiday memories are created and celebrated.”
BHF is sponsoring three of the many special events, including a Holiday Decorating Contest in Beach Haven with judging for best residence and best business. There will also be a “People’s Choice” component, where individuals may vote for their personal favorite by placing a ballot in the designated box at Spice It Up in Bay Village, Murphy’s Marketplace, Buckalew’s Restaurant, Kapler’s Pharmacy, Diane Turton Real Estate, or Carmen’s Restaurant. Nominations must be submitted to by Dec. 5.
BHF’s Christmas Party Fundraiser will be held at Buckalew’s Restaurant on Friday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $25 per adult and include light fare, two drinks and entertainment. A Christmas hat contest will also be held, and Murphy’s Marketplace will have donation packages available for $8 and $12, which will benefit St. Francis Food Pantry. Tickets can be purchased through Buckalew’s or online at
A “Dine Around Town” progressive dinner hosted by BHF will be held on Friday, Dec. 12, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The evening will start with the first course at Tuckers Tavern. Participants will then move to Carmen’s Restaurant for the second course before heading to Buckalew’s for the third course and entertainment. Tickets, $50, are available at, or at participating restaurants.
For a complete list of Celebrate the Season events, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, November 24, 2014

‘I Am Road Comic’ to screen at South End Surf ’N Paddle Nov. 29

Photo via IMDb
The film is directed by Jordan Brady.
The Lighthouse International Film Society is shining the spotlight on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, with the 8 p.m. screening of “I Am Road Comic” at South End Surf ’N Paddle in Beach Haven.
A follow-up to cult-favorite stand-up documentary “I Am Comic,” the film offers an in-depth look at what it means to be a working comedian in 2014.
“The documentary examines the good, the bad, the hilarious and the ugly as these comedic road warriors take it on the road,” Christine Rooney, managing director of the Lighthouse International Film Festival, said.
“I Am Road Comic” features interviews with some of today’s hottest stand-up comics such as Judah Friedlander, Niki Glaser, Maria Bamford, Doug Benson, Wayne Federman, Jim Norton and Alonzo Bodden. The film is directed by Jordan Brady, whose resume includes “Waking up in Reno” with Billy Bob Thornton and Charlize Theron as well as “The Third Wheel” with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
Tickets cost $5. Admission is free for film society members. 
For more information, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Applications available for St. Francis Counseling Service’s Winter Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate Training

Photo via
Certified volunteers will help support victims of
 sexual assault through hotline calls and in person.
In view of the local and national discussion on sexual assault awareness, which is prevalent on college campuses as well as in communities spanning Ocean County, a Winter Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate Training, hosted by St. Francis Counseling Service, will be held at the Toms River South High School every Monday from 6 to 9 p.m., for 12 weeks beginning Jan. 5. Individuals interested in providing guidance, support, information and referrals to survivors of violence through hospital accompaniments and hotline calls are invited to take part in the program.
“St. Francis Community Center recognizes the importance of developing a methodology that treats sexual assault victims with sensitivity and understanding,” said Erin Borysewicz, sexual assault/abuse prevention outreach coordinator at St. Francis Counseling Service. “The dignified, compassionate and well-organized treatment of victims is an essential element in creating an environment in which individuals feel safe reaching out for support and assistance.”
The volunteer services are expected to help promote healing for the victim as well as to improve the identification and collection of evidence in all cases of sexual assault. By collaborating with community partners, the program also serves to bridge the gap of awareness for community members who may benefit from the services.
“Every survivor has a story, sometimes that goes untold,” said Borysewicz. “We provide a safe place for survivors to gain strength, empowerment and begin to take control back in their lives. ... We are looking to increase our number of trained CSVAs in Ocean County, in order to better serve both community and campus settings with the victim-centered approach of advocacy and awareness.”
Applications for the service training can be obtained by emailing Borysewicz at For more information, call 609-494-1554.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Stockton College Veterans Affairs program receives recognition by Military Times

The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey has been named to the “Best for Vets: Colleges 2015” listing by Military Times, an organization comprised of the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times, which is published by Gannett Government Media. The recognition is for the school’s Veterans Affairs program, which began in 2008 and serves over 400 veterans and active-duty service members.
“Our student veterans lead the region with veteran graduation rates at over 94 percent, and they excel academically as well,” President Herman Saatkamp said in a release.
Photo via Stockton College
The college is number 15 on
the list of four-year schools.
Stockton’s veterans program, ranked 22nd among 100 four-year schools, includes a full-time veterans counselor, a faculty resource team and a separate orientation for veteran students as well as a veterans’ lounge. Through the Office of Veteran Affairs, veterans and service members can explore eligibility for G.I. education benefits, receive referrals to a variety of support services and connect with their fellow veterans by becoming a part of Stockton’s Student Veterans Organization.
The “Best for Vets: Colleges 2015” listing is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that make an organization a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families, Military Times said in a statement. In their fifth year, the rankings factor in the most comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military students’ success rates.
According to Military Times, the comprehensive survey requires schools to thoroughly document a tremendous array of services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives offered to military and veteran students and to describe many aspects of veteran culture on a campus.
“We factor in what is, to our knowledge, the most detailed school-by-school data on veteran students’ academic success anywhere, including graduation, retention, persistence and course completion rates,” said Amanda Miller, editor of “Best for Vets.” “Two years ago, only 11 percent of the hundreds of schools surveyed could provide that level of detail. This year, that figure is up to 45 percent. By recognizing only the schools that do the most, we believe we’re helping to raise the bar in veteran student services.”
To view the full “Best for Vets: Colleges 2015” rankings, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Beach Haven School’s NJ ASK results reflect performance decrease in math, increase in English language arts

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Beach Haven School Superintendent EvaMarie Raleigh broke down the school’s New Jersey Assessment Skills and Knowledge results during the board of education’s monthly meeting, held on Nov. 18. The results from the standardized test, which is administered by the N.J. Department of Education and was taken in May by the students in grades three through six, consists of math and English language arts content, and also assesses additional grade levels in science. Together with the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) that is given to students in 11th grade, the NJ ASK is used to assess student performance in the state’s public schools.
Photo via Google
Statewide, scores were about the same
compared to last year.
Overall, the school’s scores reflected a performance decrease in math and an increase in ELA. The third-grade students’ scores showed an increase in ELA and were on target with the state mean, but dropped in math. The scores for students in fourth grade increased slightly in ELA, decreased in math and stayed about the same in science. The fifth-grade scores saw a drop in ELA and a significant drop in math. The scores for the sixth-grade students increased in both ELA and math.
Jennifer Tomlinson, a student parent who was elected to the board during November’s general election, said she believed the decrease in the scores reflected the shift in the school’s test preparation and readers/writers workshop.
Raleigh said the school’s overall results lined up with statewide performance results, which remained relatively consistent, with only slight increases or decreases from last year to this year. She did, however, acknowledge the school’s “math problem.”
“We definitely need improvement in math,” she said. “Our language arts scores are hanging right there, on every grade level, with the state.”
The school is also challenged with reducing the achievement gap, Raleigh added.
“It’s all about really what each kid needs,” she said.
Next year, the students will take the Partnership Assessment for Readiness of College and Careers assessments via computer. The assessments, aligned with the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards, will measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers. The new testing will “dramatically change” the baseline, making it difficult to measure the past years’ scores, Raleigh said.
“Our goals for meeting the new Common Core State Standards and the corresponding Partnership Assessment for Readiness of College and Careers is to continue to utilize and strengthen our reader/writers programs for ELA and to determine the best materials (math series, on-line software, etc.) to use to meet the increasing demands in the math Common Core and PARCC,” said Raleigh. ”Currently we are exposing our students to more use of technology as the test will be taken via computers for the first time in the New Jersey state assessments. We will begin to have all students in grades three through six use practice assessments to be familiar with the new testing protocols and electronic tools.”
In other meeting news, it was announced that a $500 donation from the Beach Haven Community Arts Program is being used to partially fund a trip for the students to see the “The Wizard of Oz” at Surflight Theatre on Dec. 5. The balance is being paid by the PTA.
Raleigh also announced that Little Music Makers of Bernardsville donated “quite a list of musical items” to the school.
During public comment, student parent Shari Boehler urged the board to make an effort to have the board meetings recorded, a request she said she has made multiple times.
“It just seems there’s often discrepancies,” she explained. “I’ve had personal discrepancies with the meetings for my own personal comments for the minutes, for things that have been said. I see something tonight was brought up with a discrepancy. I don’t understand why they’re not recorded.”
Boehler also asked the board if she was allowed to bring cupcakes into school to celebrate her child’s upcoming birthday, an issue that has been debated between many parents and the board at prior meetings. Raleigh replied by saying the cupcakes could be brought into school but would be taken home, not eaten in class.
On another note, applications to fill the board seat left open by former vice president Sandra Close, who resigned in October, will be available until Dec. 12. A replacement is expected to be chosen by the board at next month’s public meeting, on Dec. 15, Raleigh said. The board will reorganize in January, welcoming Tomlinson and Meredith L. O’Donnell, both teachers in the Stafford Township School District who ran unopposed for the Beach Haven School Board’s two open seats in the November election.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Beach Haven Borough website has been updated for better accessibility

Photo via Beach Haven Borough
The shore town will celebrate its
125th anniversary in 2015.
Beach Haven Borough has launched an updated website to make it more user- and mobile-friendly. The website has been reconfigured with the help of Gauss Digital Marketing of Manahawkin.
“It is now easier to search for information,” said Lauren Liquori, deputy clerk.
Three quick links have been added to areas that are most often used, such as the tax department, meeting schedule and site map. The picture slideshow is now interactive and will feature events and activities that are current or upcoming in the borough.
The government site will also have a direct link to the Beach Haven Visitor’s website when it goes live in December. The Visit Beach Haven site is the major marketing partnership between the borough and Gauss Digital. This site will have information on all Beach Haven businesses, events and activities. It will also feature all deals businesses have throughout the year.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beach Haven's Superstorm Sandy-damaged water pump station to be replaced before summer

During the monthly Beach Haven Council meeting, held Monday, Nov. 10, it was announced that town officials have accepted a $772,000 bid, the lowest received out of six, from TKT Construction of Williamstown for construction of the town’s new water pump station.
The bid is “a very good price” considering the engineer’s estimate was $1 million, said Richard Crane, borough manager.
Photo via Google
The town suffered major floodwater
damage from the storm.
A grant will cover $500,000 of the cost. The balance will be paid by the town through a low-interest loan.
The existing pump building, which “sustained quite a bit of damage” from Superstorm Sandy, “has been functioning, but not functioning well,” Crane said. Local officials had hoped to get the project started last spring, but it was put off during the summer season.
The plant will be taken off line soon, and the town will use Long Beach Township water from Holgate for the remainder of the off-season. The new plant is expected to be up and running for the 2015 season.
On another topic, it was announced that town officials spoke last week with staff from the state Neighborhood Preservation Grant program regarding reconstruction of the town’s municipal building. The program, which would cover 25 percent of the project, is currently in the environmental review phase.
“Assuming all the environmental things go well – which I cannot imagine why not – we will then be able to get the final commitment letter from the program, which will then allow us to begin the process in earnest,” said Crane.
The cost is expected to be in the $3 million to $4 million range.
Don Kakstis, who was elected during the Nov. 4 election to fill one of the two open council seats and was sitting with the meeting audience, said he expects the municipal building project will be a “big challenge.”
“We need to start focusing on that,” he told The SandPaper. “I’m looking forward to it. There’s a lot to be done, and I’m trying to get involved as quickly as I can.”
He said the council has asked him to attend the meetings, and offer “opinions and thoughts and recommendations” on town matters.
“That’s why I’m here tonight,” he emphasized.
Also during the meeting it was announced that reconstruction of the 300 block of Sixth Street, including drainage, must be completed before Dec. 15, according to the contract. The project was awarded prior to the season, but was delayed and “tied up elsewhere.” Officials have been assured the project will be done by deadline, Crane said.
In other meeting news, the council announced it would dedicate the Fifth Street Pavilion to Floyd Cranmer, a prominent local builder in years gone by. A plaque was awarded to Ellie Ollivier, Cranmer’s daughter.
The council also adopted an ordinance amendment that disallows drones on the beach between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Other ordinance amendments adopted Monday increase the charge for certified copies of public records from $12 to $15; limit the use of crawl space or basement sump pumps, foundation or footing drains to 12 hours on and 12 hours off; and set for sale collectors beach badges and gift box, for $50 and $2 respectively.
Introduced for future adoption were an increase in the dog license fee by 30 cents, and changing the deadline for purchasing a preseason tennis pass to June 15.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Beach Haven Council plans to take down tent ordinance amendment, limiting events to four

In response to complaints regarding the disturbances stemming from tent affairs held outdoors throughout Beach Haven’s residential neighborhoods, the Beach Haven Borough Council announced Monday that the events would most likely be limited back to four per site.
This summer the council approved an ordinance amendment that allows a limit of eight tent permits per site per year, an increase from the previous four. The amendment also allocates a limit of seven additional permits to be granted upon written approval. This increase in events, coupled with symptomatic issues such as noise, disruption and parking matters, particularly near 101 Centre St., a former bed and breakfast that is often rented out for wedding parties, has been the main concern for many surrounding neighbors.
Photo via Google
The number of allowable events had been
increased earlier this year.
Mayor Robert Keeler said Beach Haven currently hosts over 200 weddings a year, which represents about $6 million coming into the local economy. Still, he said it was always the plan to reconsider the ordinance amendment at the end of the season if it became a “severe problem” for the town.
Local residents continued to debate the issue during Monday’s open council meeting. Some individuals, many of whom spoke at last month’s meeting, reinforced their concerns and commended the council for rethinking the increase in events.
Kathy Chang, who lives across the street from the property in contention, said attendants at the outdoor tent events are sometimes spilling into the streets because the “music is so loud.”
Councilwoman Nancy Taggart Davis, who also lives in the area, said she has tried not to be at home during these events due to the noise.
“At times it’s just unbearable; it’s piercing,” she said.
However, she said she believes there needs to be a compromise.
Keeler, who asked that the neighbors be “a little more tolerant,” said he has personally tried to keep the event noise at bay on various occasions, even though “these weddings were not out of control.”
“It is so quiet in the off-season that it is extremely difficult with no music not to have people get upset,” he explained.
The council stated it is currently working with an attorney to create a more concise noise ordinance.
Deeming it more of a noise issue that needs to be better enforced, other residents at the meeting said they thought capping the tent affairs at four would negatively impact other area businesses, which would ultimately affect the local economy as well as the many people who have already planned their weddings in the area.
John Harvey, who owns a second home on Second Street, said he and his wife moved to that location because of the “vibrancy and energy of the area.”
Kitty Snyder, who lives on Berkeley Avenue, said she believed limiting the tent events would hinder the “charm” the weddings bring to the area.
Many residents urged the council not to rush the decision.
Belen Flores, who owns the home at 101 Centre St., said she had not been directly notified about the problem and felt she was being “singled out.”
“It doesn’t have to come to this. It doesn’t have to come to the government to take care of it,” she said.
She said she would try to monitor the situation, but said it was essential that other venues follow the same rules.

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Incumbent Beach Haven Councilman James White receives official certification for his re-election via write-in votes

Following last week’s general election, members of the Ocean County Board of Elections met Monday, Nov. 10, to certify the write-in and provisional votes cast in the county, including for the Beach Haven Borough Council. According to Marie Peterson, assistant supervisor of the board, incumbent Beach Haven Councilman James White received 166 of the 169 write-ins, as well as one provisional ballot, for a final tally of 167 votes, officially re-electing him for one of the two available council seats.
White attended the meeting and said he was “extremely proud of the whole process.”
Photo via Beach Haven Council
James White will maintain his position
on the Beach Haven council.
“They did a lot of due diligence; they were prepared,” he added. “The commissioners went through line by line, name by name, deleting, adding. ... It was a completely detailed thing. It was nonpartisan; there’s two representatives from each party. I think it’s a very fair and ethical process that they did.”
Prior to the election, the Concerned Citizens of Beach Haven, a committee of local residents that formed to seek White’s re-election, invested in letters and signs urging voters to write him in on the ballot due to his strong leadership during his current term, especially during Superstorm Sandy and the ongoing recovery process.
“There’s no telling until the board goes through all of the (write-in) votes whether they were for the same individual,” said Scott Colabella, Ocean County clerk. “That’s the process; there’s nothing unusual about it. It’s the way it’s done legally, statutorily. It’s critical that we figure out if anyone won in a write-in vote so their name can be certified. It’s a very laborious process, and the board has to make sure the person is registered to vote and they meet the jurisdiction qualifications. Once they go through that, they begin to do a tally. Then on Monday is when we certify the results of the election.
“We obviously, on election night, look for numbers and report for candidates that are on the ballot and give results. So the board doesn’t have the time, if you can imagine, to go through all of the write-in votes that are cast, when somebody wants to know who won for Congress or something. Their number one priority is to get the results out for the candidates that are on the ballot. That’s time-consuming enough,” he explained.
White, along with Councilman Edward Kohlmeir, had decided not to re-run for the election, to give someone else a chance, he said. After learning of his potential write-in, he said he would be “humbled and proud to serve if it would come to pass.”
“It is not normally how one gets elected to a position for any office, especially when there are other names printed on the ballot,” said Colabella. “It’s not so unusual when no petitions were filed and the only method of getting elected is through write-in; that’s not as unique. But when there are names on the ballot for voters to vote for and a write-in receives more votes on the ballot, that’s unique.”
Don Kakstis, one of the four candidates who officially ran in the election, received the other available seat with 202 votes.
Tom Lynch, who came in third, received 164 votes, plus one provisional vote, for a final tally of 165 votes, Peterson said on Monday.
Ken Muha acquired 94 votes and Bob Wynkoop received 57 votes.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Queen City Runraiser 5K in Beach Haven to lap Superstorm Sandy recovery, help support broader community needs

The do-gooders behind the Let’s Get Sandy Run for a Cause, a 5K race that brought together nearly 850 people who helped raise a total of $42,000 in 2012 and 2013 for local Superstorm Sandy aid, have decided to donate this year’s event proceeds to local issues that incorporate more than just storm recovery.
The third annual event in Beach Haven on Saturday, Nov. 29, now dubbed the Queen City Runraiser 5K, will benefit the Jetty Rock Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the Jetty brand that is dedicated to supporting individuals and organizations in the local region.
Photo via Facebook
The funds raised during the event will be
distributed through Jetty Rock and ALO.
A portion of the proceeds will also go to Alliance for a Living Ocean, the race’s initial partner, which helped distribute funds to other local organizations’ recovery projects, from the area fire departments and dune grass planting to the Mordecai Land Trust and St. Francis Food Pantry.
“We’ve had a lot of great success raising money for Sandy over the past two years,” said Jane Kleber, one of the four Beach Haven natives, including Natalie Aftanis and Chloe and Catherine Snyder, who founded the race. “Everybody’s been so great; the whole community has been so great. We just wanted to shift our focus a little bit away from Sandy.”
Jetty Rock is “just such a great organization, and their organization encompasses so much,” Kleber added. “They donate money to a ton of different community events, children’s projects and things like that. They’re very local, and it kind of fits in with what we’re going for because obviously we want to help our local community in every way we can. Now that the urgency of Sandy has passed, we want to be able to help our community in other ways. These are the things we’ll be able to do.”
To better integrate the event’s initiative, the race will be held, rain or shine, the same day as Small Business Saturday – a nationwide event led by American Express that encourages shoppers to patronize local businesses. The campaign is being bolstered locally by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce.
That weekend also incorporates the beginning of Beach Haven’s annual Celebrate the Season festivities, including an Arts, Crafts and Gifts Show at the Beach Haven Firehouse, a Christmas Soirée with horse and carriage rides at Kapler’s Pharmacy and a Tree of Warmth event hosted by Murphy’s Market to benefit the St. Francis Food Pantry, as well as an open house at the Long Beach Island Historical Museum.
“We’re just hoping it’s a really great event,” Kleber said. “We’re not doing an after-party or anything like that, but we would really encourage everyone to go out to the different stores. We’re hoping to bring a lot of people down to Beach Haven to experience Beach Haven and the small businesses after the run.
“We all grew up in Beach Haven, so we really, really love it there,” Kleber added. “We love all the businesses; we really want to support all of them. That’s why we’ve chosen to do it on Small Business Saturday, to liven up the off-season a little bit.”
Participants are encouraged to run or walk the race, a flat course that begins and ends at Veterans Bicentennial Park, located between Amber Street and Engleside Avenue, as well as to bring their dogs and strollers, “to make it a family affair.”
Prizes will be awarded to the top three overall male and female competitors and top two male and female competitors in the following groups: 19 and under; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60 and older. Timing will be provided by DQ Events. Water and snacks will also be supplied.
To guarantee a race T-shirt, participants must register this week. Pre-registration costs $27 for adults and $15 for children younger than 12. To sign up, visit
School or running clubs can register for a special group rate by calling Kleber at 609-709-8413 or emailing
Day-of registration costs $30 for adults and $20 for anyone under 12 years old. Checks must be made payable to the Jetty Rock Foundation. Checks can be mailed to DQ Events, P.O. Box 555, Collingswood, N.J. 08108.
For more information about the event, visit

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Get informed at the 14th annual Diabetes Health Fair, hosted by Southern Ocean Medical Center

Photo via WOBM
The fair will take place inside the hospital lobby.
In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, the Southern Ocean Medical Center is hosting its 14th annual Diabetes Health Fair on Saturday, Nov. 15. The free event will take place in the hospital’s main lobby, located at 1140 Route 72 West in Manahawkin, between 9 and 11:30 a.m.
The event is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about the disease. Individuals who have or know someone who has pre-diabetes or diabetes are encouraged to attend.
Participants will have access to the latest information on available diabetes products, literature and services. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with experts in the field.
Health screenings for blood sugar, blood pressure, total cholesterol, Body Mass Index, balance, body fat, foot and hearing will also be available.
A Healthy Breakfast Tips lecture, offering light refreshments, will be held at 10 a.m. Rodney Burris, a SOMC pharmacist, will lead a Diabetes Medication Update at 10:30 a.m. Sajjad Hussain, a SOMC endocrinologist, will offer expert advice during Ask the Endocrinologist at 11 a.m.
Event registration is required. To sign up, or for more information, call 1-800-560-9990.

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

LBI Foundation hosts pizza, art party for kids

Photo via Facebook
Art brings kids together at the LBIF.
Party Your Art Off, a fun night out for children ages 7 and up, will be held at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies on Friday, Nov. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.
“With little for children to do in the evening, especially into the fall, the LBIF would like to invite kids to stop by for a fun night of creativity and a bite, or more, of pizza,” said Amy Carreño, director of public programs at LBIF.
Dawn McDonnell will show kids how to make their own pizza while creating a masterpiece to bring home. Children can make their own creations using paint, mosaic or sculpture.
The registration fee is $35 per child or $25 for LBIF members. Advance registration is preferred. To sign up, call 609-494-1241.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Share-A-Pet program at Popcorn Park Zoo allows individuals, groups to help care for animals with special needs

Photo via AHS
Brenda (left) and Sharyn currently have five sponsors each.
Due to their physical deformities and older age, sister cats Brenda and Sharyn receive extra support through the Associated Humane Societies’ Share-A-Pet program at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River. The 9-year-old cats, which were rescued together and brought to the shelter a year ago, both have vision issues. Brenda is blind because she has no eyes; they were removed after she came in with them ruptured. Sharyn, who was born with inverted eyelids, has limited eyesight due to reconstructive surgery.
Although “most people want the perfect pet,” said Colleen Buchanan, AHS’ sponsorship coordinator, it is because, not in spite, of their unique conditions that Brenda and Sharyn are part of this special arrangement. The Share-A-Pet program enables individuals or groups, through sponsorship, to care for a cat, dog or zoo animal at the center that is older, has a handicap or medical issues, or has been overlooked by potential adopters.
“They’ve been injured, abandoned, abused, neglected, they’re elderly. They already are sick, and we try our best to get them back to health and take care of them,” Buchanan explained. “Sometimes they come to us because people, not thinking, buy a monkey. Well, they don’t have any business with a monkey. We’ve gotten cougars the same way. They get a cougar, and they’re not supposed to have a cougar. Now they can’t go into what you would call a regular zoo. We’re a rescue zoo.”
Individuals, couples, families, classrooms, schools and extracurricular groups have sponsored a range of different animals at the center since the program formed in 1978.
“It’s something for them just to be involved with,” said Buchanan. “It’s a good way to teach children to respect animals, too.”
Brenda and Sharyn currently have five sponsors each. About 20 cats and 28 dogs as well as 100 zoo animals, including bears, cougars, llamas, donkeys and ducks, to name a few, are now available for sponsorship.
The sponsorship dues, $10 a month per animal for cats and dogs or $4 a month per zoo animal, help provide for their neutering if needed as well as their annual exams, inoculations, preventive treatment and any specialized care they require. Sharyn, for example, needs artificial tears because of her condition.
Any funds that exceed the cost of the sponsored animal’s care are applied to all cats and dogs in the program.
Depending upon the animal’s special needs, sponsors are also allowed to visit their respective pets, take them on walks, bring them treats or stay and play.
Some of them “are elderly or have arthritis, just like we do,” said Buchanan. “We get older, and we get ailments, too. So they’re limited sometimes to how far they can walk.”
Sponsors also receive a color photo of their sponsored animal as well as a letter regarding the animals’ health and activity. Free admission to the zoo for the length of the sponsorship and a copy of AHS’ publication, Humane News, are supplied, too.
“It’s really good. It’s good for people who can’t have a pet, who are allergic, or whatever reason they can’t afford to have a pet at home. So for a few dollars a month, they can,” said Buchanan.
“What’s the alternative? Where would (the animals) be if they weren’t here, being helped? They would wind up being out on the street, put to sleep, God only knows what,” Buchanan added. “If we didn’t have this program to bring them in, what would have happened to them? Who knows? We get overrun with cats and dogs here, not only cats and dogs – we have lots of other animals: rabbits and iguanas. What would happen to them? I don’t know. I hate to think of what would happen to them.”
Buchanan, who has been working at the center for 28 years, currently shares her office with Brenda and Sharyn.
The cats in the program live in Kitty City, a two-room location with an upstairs and outdoor area complete with heated floors, trees and beds as well as videos of birds and chipmunks. However, Brenda needs to be kept in a separate area for safety purposes since she cannot see and may hurt herself if she falls while climbing. Her sister, Sharyn, is kept with her.
Brenda “knows where her litter box is, her water bowl, food bowl. She’s extremely explorative,” Buchanan said. “I have a gate into my office; they have to stay in here with me. But if I move the gate for a minute, she’ll wander out down the hall. She’s very adventurous. She’s not afraid of anything.
“I like them in here. They’re company for me,” she added.
Most of the animals in the program are available for adoption, though some of them have been willed to the center and must remain there.
Brenda and Sharyn must be adopted together. The best person to adopt the two cats would be somebody who loves cats, wants elderly felines and “understands that one is handicapped but she’s really not,” Buchanan said.
For more information about the program and available pets, visit or call 609-693-1900.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Holiday gift certificates now available for 2015 Beach Haven beach badges

Photo via Beach Haven Borough
The water tower is most associated with
the town, a Facebook poll revealed.
For the first time, Beach Haven beachgoers can give and receive the gift of beach access for the holidays. Holiday gift certificates for the town’s 2015 beach badges, including the 125th Anniversary Collectors Badge, are available for order now through Dec. 31.
Pre-season badges cost $30 each, and collectors badges cost $50 each. Order forms, which can be found on the borough’s website at, must be postmarked by Dec. 18 if Christmas delivery is needed.
The collectors badge features a unique design of the Beach Haven water tower, an image voted on through the borough’s Visit Beach Haven Facebook page.
The certificates can be redeemed after the holidays. Actual badges will not be issued until springtime. No refunds are available.
Although pre-season beach badge sales have not normally begun until January in years past, Borough Clerk Sherry Mason said town officials hope to have a Christmas-themed badge and gift box available for purchase around this time next year.
For more information, call the municipal office at 609-492-0111.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ocean County’s free pumpout boat service has ‘improved season’

More than 128,000 gallons of waste water was properly treated and disposed of during the 2014 boating season when more than 6,200 boaters accessed Ocean County’s free pumpout boat service.
Photo via Google
The Bay Defender is the county's sixth boat.
Ocean County’s pumpout boats are specially outfitted vessels capable of emptying the on-board toilets and tanks of other boats, which keeps waste from entering Barnegat Bay. Approximately 200 more boaters used the service in 2014 than in 2013.
This year was the program’s 17th season. Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the award-winning program, has extended his “appreciation to the captains for their dedication and commitment to this program.”
Recreational boating in Ocean County saw a decline in recent years as a result of the 2009 recession only to be further complicated by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, according to the county.
“We saw an improved season on the water in 2014, and we know those improvements will continue,” Vicari said.
The county unveiled its sixth pumpout boat this past June, which is managed by Brick Township. The 23-foot vessel has a 420-gallon holding tank. Throughout the years, more than 1.2 million gallons of waste water from boats using the bay have been properly disposed.
The fleet of six boats covers different areas of the bay throughout the county.
“It is an important part of Ocean County’s continuing programs to protect Barnegat Bay,” Vicari said. “From the first boat, the Circle of Life operated by Seaside Park, to the sixth, appropriately named the Bay Defender, the program has been very successful in helping Ocean County’s efforts to keep the bay waters clean and also to assist boaters who use the waterways.”
The continuing success of the service is built on the lasting cooperation of the state, county and participating municipalities, Vicari noted. The county works with the Tuckerton Seaport, Brick Township and Seaside Park to operate the boats.
The costs are split between the county and the Ocean County Utilities Authority, which allows the pumpout service to be provided to boaters free of charge. Although the county provides the initial funding for the purchase of the boats, the program is fully reimbursed by the state Department of Environmental Protection through the Clean Vessel Act program.
“The program provides numerous environmental benefits as all the agencies and individuals involved work to preserve and protect Barnegat Bay,” Vicari said.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.