Friday, January 30, 2015

Enjoy photos of the ocean world by Kurt Williams at this weekend’s ‘Science Saturday’ at the Long Beach Island Foundation

Photo via Facebook
Pictures of fish, coral reefs and other ocean
creatures are available for viewing at the LBIF. 
Anyone interested in discovering the underwater world from a new perspective is invited to spend this weekend’s “Science Saturday” at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences with local diver and underwater photographer Kurt Williams.
“The ocean world is filled with beauty and wonder,” Amy CarreƱo, LBIF’s director of public programs, said in a press release. “Experience the treasures Kurt captures in his photographs,” she urged.
Science Saturday, hosted at the LBIF for nine consecutive winters, highlights interactive lectures on topics regarding today’s most vital scientific, environmental and sustainability matters.
This Saturday’s presentation will be held in the LBIF’s main building, located at 120 Long Beach Blvd. in Loveladies, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Breakfast treats will be provided by a Little Bite of Italy.
Admittance is free for LBIF members. All others are asked to donate $5.
For more information, call 609-494-1241 or visit or LBIF’s Facebook page.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Boat Used in 'What Lies Beneath' movie ready for sale

Seasonal North Beach resident Sandy McWilliams, 67, is not making things up when he says he is selling one of the two sailboats that appeared in “What Lies Beneath,” a 2000 thriller that features a couple, played by Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, that is rattled by voices and eerie occurrences at their lakeside home in Vermont. The Tofinou 7, a 23-foot shoal draft sailing sloop, which McWilliams obtained in 2010 out of Shelter Island in New York, was originally purchased by DreamWorks, Bob Rodgers, broker/owner of Rodgers Yacht Sales in Connecticut, who closed the deal on both, told The SandPaper in a phone conversation.
Photo via Sandy McWilliams
Sandy McWilliams enjoys a day on the boat,
which was once owned by DreamWorks.
“It was definitely one of the ones in the movie,” Rodgers said. DreamWorks “sold it back to us two years after they finished the movie. They were painted a flat, matte black so that they didn’t reflect in the filmmaking, so that’s the tip-off. They’re the only two boats that are done in that manner.”
Rodgers said he originally took a new boat to the movie audition in Burlington, Vt.
“The guy who flew in the big jet got off and he went straight to the Tofinou, and said, ‘This is it,’” he recounted.
The company initially wanted to charter the boat, but Rodgers said he knew doing so would be difficult considering the hefty fees and damage that usually accumulates during filmmaking. Instead, he talked personnel into buying two of them, and a mock-up was used for the accident scene, he noted.
“It worked out great,” Rodgers said. “The boats were in great shape. They came back just fine on trailers.”
McWilliams, who taught himself how to sail in 2009 after reading a handful of books and purchasing a 14-foot Areys Pond Cape Cod catboat, bought one of the boats, already handled by a couple of previous owners, from Rodgers when he decided he wanted to upgrade. The other boat is still in Vermont, Rodgers said.
“We don’t know any better, so we say our boat is the one that was in the scene with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer,” McWilliams said, laughing.
He claims he bought the boat because it is great for the Surf City, Harvey Cedars and Loveladies areas “because it can operate in shallow water.”
“It can operate in 20 inches of water, which is pretty low for a sailboat,” McWilliams emphasized.
However, he said the boat’s back story definitely helped motivate him to purchase it.
“I don’t think it was the full reason (I bought it), but it helps,” he said. “It’s a nice little piece of information.”
Of course, McWilliams also hopes the boat’s history will now help him with his sale.
“I don’t think it’ll hurt,” he said. “... It’s just an interesting fact about the boat.”
Because of the extra work he put into it, including the installation of a new teak deck among other fixes, McWilliams’ asking price is the same as the amount he purchased the sloop for – $45,000.
“It was kind of a clunky boat when we got it. We’ve done a big upgrade over the four years,” McWilliams said. “It’s an upper-end boat; it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s teak and mahogany; it’s got a fiberglass hull. We get compliments every time we sail it, either in the lagoon or out on the bay, or just at the dock. Having a boat in Harvey Cedars with a teak deck is very rare because they’re very expensive.
“We sailed it more than 80 times, so we sailed it a lot. But it’s in much better shape now than when I got it,” he added.
The boat, which has been professionally maintained by Wood’s Boat Service in Barnegat Light, is currently trailered in McWilliams’ father-in-law’s garage on the north end of Long Beach Island.
McWilliams plans to sell the boat before acquiring another one, an Alerion 26, which he has already purchased from Rodgers.
“I took (sailing) up because I can’t go to the beach every day. ... Now I’m upgrading again,” McWilliams said. “I guess I get comfortable, and I live on the oceanfront in North Beach, and I see these boats that are kind of modest in size, under 30 feet, I see them out there in the ocean, and I think, ‘I’d like to do that.’ So that’s what I’m trying to do.”
The new boat is “a little bigger, a little faster and comes with more creature comforts,” he added. “We’ll have to sail this one north of Loveladies, where the deeper water is. With the new boat we’ll be able to sail in the ocean.”
Of course, the new, upgraded sailboat also has history. It is an updated replica of a personal boat built in 1912 by Nathanael Herreshoff, a renowned naval architect.
“If they’re not pretty and have a story, I don’t buy them,” McWilliams said. “I think it’s the beauty of the workmanship. It’s a boat, not a piece of jewelry, but it looks like jewelry. It shines, and it’s just elegant in its design and the lines of it. This boat and the old boat, they’re both kind of the same ilk.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beach Haven Police grateful to donor’s gift ‘to save a life’

Six of the Beach Haven Police Department’s 12 members were recently fitted for new bulletproof vests, a piece of equipment the officers are required to wear while on duty that, depending on the circumstance, could mean the difference between life and death.
“The horrible fact of law enforcement is (the vest) is not just to protect from other people’s guns,” said Beach Haven Police Sgt. Tom Medel. “The primary bullet that it’s designed to stop is the one that we carry (40 caliber), in case we were ever disarmed. It covers a broad range of bullets, but that’s the main reason why we always wear a vest, because no matter where we go, there’s always at least one gun in every situation.”
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Beach Haven Police Department
members prepare for their fittings.
The danger is “always in the back of your mind, between the bad feelings for cops, the gangs out there, the people that are just bad people – people that, for whatever reason, woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day and want to do harm to somebody,” Medel said. But the increased risk for cop killings nationwide due to ill feelings about their roles mostly stemming from the recent cases regarding Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City, has really heightened the fear for officers’ loved ones.
“There’s always somebody bigger and badder, no matter who you are,” Medel said. “You never know if you’re going to get disarmed. You could get hit over the head, knocked out. You could get a real bad guy who could figure out how to get (your gun) out of the holster and shoot you with it, if they want to. ... That’s the primary concern. It’s important, we tell every officer, that you do your job to the best of your ability and that you go home to your families at the end of your shift.
“I don’t understand how, just because we wear a badge and a gun, it makes us automatically the bad guy,” he added. “… As police officers you have to make split-second decisions that no jury or anybody else could understand unless you’re in the person’s shoes.”
“I’ve got kids,” Beach Haven Detective Sgt. Jim Markoski emphasized.
Luckily, the new Armor Express Halo IIIA body armor, chosen by the department for its superior protection and comfort, provides the “highest threat level for soft body armor protection,” Robert Leary, director of sales at Atlantic Uniform Co., who provided the fittings, told The SandPaper.
“This Halo IIIA (which costs roughly $900) is a top of the line piece of equipment for the officer. … There are less expensive vests with the same threat level rating that could be purchased, but the biggest problem there is it’s less comfortable for the officer,” said Leary, easily crumpling the ballistic panel from the Halo model into a tight ball before grabbing a less-expensive Quantum IIIA vest (about $700), which is a lot stiffer and more restrictive to movement.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Michael Perkins, a provisional
officer, is fitted for his first vest.
However, the Quantum IIIA vest still does the job ballistically, Leary said. That vest is the same one worn by East Orange Police Sgt. Michael Williams, who was shot “pretty much at point blank range” approximately two months ago, Leary added.
“The vest saved his life,” said Leary. “He was in the hospital and out the same day.”
While citizens’ lives are important, Medel said, cops’ lives are equally as important.
“We’re people, too,” he said. “We deserve to be able to go home to our families at the end of the day without fear. We have to be safe. We have to do everything in our power to be as safe as possible.
“That’s the issue that really stands out,” he added. “The people that are pro cop, you know who they are. They’re the ones that listen to what you have to say. They’re the ones that look at you and smile and wave. The people that are anti-cop you don’t know until they’re attacking you, whether it be verbally or physically. We don’t know who the bad guy is; the bad guy knows who he or she is. You never know who you’re dealing with, or what side is going to come out of that person.”
Photo by Jack Reynolds
The Armor Express Halo IIIA body
armor is considered top of the line.
For safety purposes, the standard vest package comes equipped with two ballistic panels, front and back; a ballistic strike packet to go in the pocket; and a concealable carrier for wear underneath the uniform shirt. The vest needs to provide adequate coverage around the torso and also fit comfortably to allow for movement so that the officer will wear it, Leary said.
“Every vest is custom,” he noted. “There’s no mediums, large, extra larges.”
Vests can wear out over time due to normal activity, including deterioration from heat, sweat and regular movement. The armor usually has a five-year warranty and liability insurance period according to the Rational Replacement Policy, which goes back many years and has been accepted by most manufacturers, Leary explained. This means vests should be replaced just as often.
“It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still wear the vest if you don’t have a new one because whether this vest will stop bullets for five years and two days or 10 years, it’s better than not wearing any vest at all,” Leary said.
Although the BHPD receives some grant money from the federal government specifically for vests, it is not enough to pay for all of them, said Medel. The department’s vest fund currently has enough money to replace about four of the six needed; the force’s other six members will need replacement vests within the next three years.
A 24-hour soda machine outside the police station used to bring in “a decent amount of money,” which would be used to purchase vests, but the machine was taken back by Pepsi because the department was not buying enough soda from the distributor, said Markoski. A new machine, which was put in the lobby after Superstorm Sandy, “pretty much just pays for itself.”
But this year, the local department does not have to worry about where it will get the money for vests. Jeffrey Heinel, a financial firm stock broker from Lawrenceville who owns two properties in Beach Haven, has offered to pay for the six new vests.
Heinel has been donating money to the BHPD the past few years “for whatever they need, are short of and don’t have funds for, as long as it falls into the basic category of ‘is this something that would save a police officer’s life?’” he said.
“That’s my prerequisite for my gifts,” Heinel explained. “I don’t want to buy sofas for their lounge. That’s not money well spent, is it? If this is going to save a cop’s life, then it’s a practical and much needed donation, correct?”
The BHPD is “very much in debt” to Heinel “for helping us out with these,” Medel said.
“I was absolutely dumbfounded when the gentleman said that he would pay for all of them because you never want to ask somebody for help,” explained Medel. “We’re not in the business for asking other people for help; we’re the people that give the help.
“Every day you sit there, and you never know. Granted we live on sunny Long Beach Island, but any time you listen on the news and when something happens in some remote place or some resort area, people go, ‘I never thought it could happen here.’ So you never can let that be how you’re running your department, because it always can. ... We can’t tell you how grateful enough we are to the guy who purchased these vests.”
Until now, Heinel, who has purchased new radios and defibrillators among other equipment for the department, has remained anonymous to the public regarding his donations. The recent negative attention surrounding police officers encouraged him to speak with The SandPaper about why he believes “cop’s lives matter,” and to “push back a little bit.”
“I’m not some guy that failed the police test 20 years ago and has always wanted to be a cop. That’s not the reason I give the money,” he said. “I give the money to aid that of what it is they do on an ongoing basis so that we can afford to be in communities like this. One of the reasons I continue to hang onto the property (in Beach Haven) is the comfortability that I got regarding the community. It’s a phenomenal community. I think the police do a fantastic job.
“We all live in a community where we rely upon the police,” Heinel continued. “We rely upon them to provide us with safety and a certain standard of living. I only wish there were more people that understood that. These people, not only are they responsible for our well-being in a community, but they’re also responsible for the standard of living that we’ve got. You have many people down there (in Beach Haven) that have multimillion-dollar houses, and one of the reasons we are afforded such luxuries is the fact that they (the police) do such a good job. Can you imagine for a moment if they weren’t as proficient in doing what they do, what our real estate values would be in Beach Haven? They’d be significantly less, wouldn’t they? I can name six or seven communities along the Jersey Shore where crime is prevalent, and the houses aren’t worth near that of what they are in Beach Haven. I’m sure you can probably name those towns, too.”
Heinel said he often donates to the communities he has interactions with and has even purchased service dogs for quadriplegics as well as soldiers coming back from the Middle East with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I try to spread my charitable givings around evenly so that the dollars go to work immediately,” he said. “I don’t like giving to charitable organizations where my money goes to just simply support the overhead. In this particular instance I get to see exactly how my money’s used, and I get to see exactly 100 percent of it go to work as opposed to administrative salaries for people who supposedly are collecting money to do good things.”
Heinel also expressed his dismay for the number of people with investment properties on LBI, who, he claims, “give nothing back to the community.”
“I’m a big believer in that you can’t just take everything and not give a little bit of it back,” he said. “I have the good fortune of making enough money so that I have the luxury of being able to do this. For years this has been anonymous, but the police need to be shown in a different light. They’ve had a bad light shown on them in the past year and a half, and this is not who the police are. They’re your next-door neighbors who are putting on uniforms and going out every single day to protect people like you and I so that you have the freedoms that you have. … Enough’s enough. These guys don’t deserve this. And again, I’ll underscore the catchphrase: police lives matter. We seem to have forgotten that as a country. We’ve forgotten that in the last two or three years. ...
“I don’t have a dog in this race, other than I just want to do the right things for the places in which I live,” he added. “What if you were the spouse of a Beach Haven police officer and your husband was shot and the vest that he was wearing didn’t protect his life? Tell me what you’d be feeling, when if someone would have stepped up and simply made a contribution to the community, a life would have been saved? I can’t give you a better reason as to why I do these things.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, January 23, 2015

NJ Senator Christopher J. Connors to receive Distinctive Alumni Leadership Award from Stockton College

New Jersey state Sen. Christopher J. Connors of the 9th Legislative District, which includes parts of Ocean, Burlington and Atlantic counties, has been named an “outstanding New Jerseyan” by the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, a recent press release announced. One of five individuals recognized, Connors will receive the Distinctive Alumni Leadership Award during the school’s 2015 Hughes Center Honors. The event will be held at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway on Feb. 6.
Photo via New Jersey Legislature
Sen. Chris Connors is among five
Stockton alumni recognized.
The honors are awarded for professional excellence and a commitment to public service, civility and bipartisanship that reflects the life and career of William J. Hughes, who served as U.S. ambassador to Panama and as a U.S. congressman for 20 years.
After graduating from Southern Regional High School in Stafford Township, Connors earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration at Stockton College. He also obtained his master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University and his juris doctor degree at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. He currently practices law with the firm of Dasti, Murphy, McGuckin, Ulaky, Cherkos and Connors. Prior to his tenure in the state Senate, Connors also served in the General Assembly, on the Lacey Township Committee and as mayor of Lacey Township.
The other honorees include former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, who will accept the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award; retired Associate Justice John E. Wallace Jr. of the New Jersey Supreme Court, who will receive the Civility in Government and Politics Award; Edward J. Graham, chairman and CEO of South Jersey Industries, who will receive the Excellence in Civic Engagement Award; and Carl Archut Jr., president of the Stockton Student Senate, who will receive the Distinctive Student Leadership Award.
The Hughes Center serves as a catalyst for research, analysis and innovative policy solutions on the economic, social and cultural issues facing New Jersey.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Surflight 'best musical theater' in BroadwayWorld NJ Awards

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Surflight's 2014 production of 'Spamalot'
was well received by theater lovers.
For the second year in a row, Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven has won the Best Musical Theater Production (Professional) award given by BroadwayWorld New Jersey Regional Awards. Surflight’s 2014 summer production of Monty Python’s “Spamalot” also won awards for best actor in a musical, best director, best choreography, best sets and best lighting.
Calling it the biggest year yet in terms of public response, the 2014 BroadwayWorld Awards tallied a record number of voters in more than 60 regions worldwide, a press release stated.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Beach Haven proposes ordinance for eight tent permits per residence in 2015, four in 2016

During its first public meeting of the year, held Monday, Jan. 12, the Beach Haven Borough Council formally addressed the town’s tent affairs matter by introducing an ordinance amendment that, if adopted, would limit the allowable number of tent permits per residence to eight until Jan. 1, 2016. After that time, the number of tent permits would be limited to four.
If passed, the ordinance would also raise the permit fee from $25 to $100 each. No additional permits would be granted.
“A tent or other temporary structure may be erected on private property for private use by the property owner and/or their guests, and must be dismantled within 48 hours of the conclusion of the event,” the proposed ordinance states.
Photo via Google
The excess number of tent events at
101 Centre St. has created issues for
many of the surrounding neighbors.
This summer the council approved an ordinance amendment that allowed a limit of eight tent permits per site per year, an increase from the previous four. The amendment also allocated 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 Street, a former bed and breakfast that is often rented out for wedding parties, has been the main concern for many surrounding neighbors.
“There were 19 weekends where there were tents (at 101 Centre Street), even though there were supposed to be eight,” Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis told The SandPaper. “We sort of looked the other way, but because of all the complaints and the people that are upset, we have to be more diligent about enforcing these ordinances.”
During public comment, seasonal resident John Harvey, who at a previous meeting said he and his wife bought a second home on Second Street because of the “vibrancy and energy of the area,” urged the council “to make decisions based on the common good of its constituents.” He suggested keeping the number of permits at eight even past next year. He said doing so “would represent, at worst, an uncomfortable situation for some people less than 4 percent of the time” during the 214 days between April and October, “when the permits are typically approved for.” He asked elected officials to get together with some of the surrounding neighbors “to discuss some ways to make the events more of a joy for some and less of a negative situation for others.”
“In my opinion, this solution not only reflects good decision-making and effective government, but will also help build a higher level of trust between neighbors; and frankly, trust has taken a hit during this process. This is always a good thing, especially in a community as special as Beach Haven,” Harvey stated.
He also thanked town personnel for updating the meeting minutes on the website, which he said helps those living out of the area to keep up with town matters.
A more concise amendment to the current noise ordinance was also introduced to better help people understand the provisions. The proposed ordinance states that a violation occurs “when an officer can hear plainly audible music or other sound at a distance of 100 feet beyond the property line of the noise-generating property during nighttime hours, or any unreasonable sound at or within a complainant’s property during daytime hours.”
Plainly audible is described as “any sound that can be detected by a person using his or her unaided hearing faculties of normal acuity.”
Nighttime hours are from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Sunday, and daytime hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Also during the meeting, Borough Manager Richard Crane announced the town’s water plant was recently taken down, and construction of the new one is expected to begin “relatively soon.” The project should be completed by the “early part of May.” During the winter months, water will be supplied by an interconnect with Long Beach Township.
“It’s the perfect time of year for this. This is our lowest time for water usage,” Crane said.
In comparison to the same period last year, water usage is down 2.2 million gallons, he noted.
Due to the frigid temperatures, Crane encouraged those who have not already done so to take precautions to winterize their properties. The town has already had waterline breaks and emergency callouts due to the weather.
“We certainly do not want anyone to have to suffer through that,” said Crane.
The Coral Street water main project is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks, he added. A pre-construction meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.
Proposals for architectural services for the municipal building are also in the works. The town plans to use a commercial architect to design a two-story building that will house all of the administrative personnel as well as the police department.
“This is taking an unusually long time,” Crane noted. “That sometimes happens, particularly when you’re taking in, in this case, state and federal money. There’s a whole other level or two of regulations and approvals you have to get.”
He said he hopes to see progress soon.
Other ordinance amendments for fencing; beach parties; special events and block parties, including bonfires; streets and sidewalks; water meters for unimproved lots; private garages as an accessory use; seasonal rental dwellings; as well as scrap metals, precious metals and other secondhand goods regulations were introduced at the meeting.
It was also announced that the municipal offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 19, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
At the end of the meeting, members of the council, including Jim White and Don Kakstis, who were both sworn in Jan. 2, congratulated Taggart Davis, a member of the council for the past 4½ years, for being unanimously elected as mayor during the council’s reorganization meeting. Although she told The SandPaper she had “mixed emotions” about being mayor, she said she thought she “could do a good job,” considering she is retiring in June after 41 years from her position as a professor of pathology at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
“I don’t have any classes to teach this semester, so I thought I could probably put the time into it,” Taggart Davis said. “I would not have taken this position if I had to teach, just because of the time constraints with attending meetings outside of the curriculum.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Beach Haven homes, businesses decked out during holiday decorating contest

Beach Haven Future’s first Holiday Decorating Contest brought cheer to Long Beach Island’s Queen City during the holiday season. The contest, dedicated to bringing residents’ and business owners’ “a-game in preparing for the holidays so Beach Haven looked its best,” explained BHF Executive Director Barbara Cona, was open to all property owners in Beach Haven during the town’s annual Celebrate the Season festivities.
Photo via Beach Haven Future
The Boardwalk, an ice cream parlor and bike shop,
was named the winner of the business category.
“There was so much energy in Beach Haven the entire month of December,” said Cona. “Celebrate the Season was a smashing success, bringing more people into town during December than ever before. This was a friendly competition, which encouraged everyone to do a little something to share their holiday spirit.”
The winning contestants were recently announced via the organization’s website and corresponding Facebook page: The Boardwalk, a local ice cream parlor and bike shop, received the winning title of the business category. Coastal home decor and accessories gift boutique, Beached, was named first runner up, and Buckalew’s Restaurant and Tavern received the second runner up award.
Local residents Mary Jo and Bill Martin won the residential category for their home on Amber Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. First runner up went to the Tallents’ house on Norwood Avenue, and the second runner up award was given to Harvey and Christina Kelsall of Bay Avenue.
“We are hopeful our decorating contest as well as the beautification contest in the summer will have every property in Beach Haven focused on curb appeal, to show visitors and residents how charming Beach Haven is when we put our best foot forward,” Cona urged.
The organization’s second annual Beautification Contest will run from Memorial Day to July 31, when judging will take place.
For more information on BHF’s upcoming contests and events, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Beach Haven Board of Education gets new president and vice president, swears in two additional members

The Beach Haven Board of Education got a major overhaul during its official reorganization meeting, held Wednesday, Jan. 7.
Irene Hughes, an incumbent member who was elected to the board in November 2013, was unanimously elected as the new president. She is taking the place of former long-time President Mary Louise Bellingeri, who decided not to run for re-election after serving 20 years.
Photo by Liam McKenna
New member Caroline Labin is sworn in to the board

just before the new year, on Monday, Dec. 15.
“I am looking forward to working with the administration, parents and community to create the best educational opportunities for our children,” Hughes told The SandPaper.
Board member Donna Kilcommons also did not rerun. Three others resigned earlier in the school year, including former Vice President Sandra Close, a third-generation Beach Haven native who had sat on the board for the past 18 years. She cited the “nonstop conflict and negative energy” between the board and members of the public for her decision to leave in October.
Caroline Labin was appointed to the board in December after Close’s resignation.
Kathy Kelly, who was appointed to the board in October to fill the vacant seat left open by Amy Haig, who resigned in September, was unanimously elected as the board’s new vice president during Wednesday’s meeting. Kelly is president of the school’s PTA and also works as the administrative assistant to George Chidiac, superintendent of the Stafford Township School District. She said she decided to run for the open seat in September because she “felt it was time to give back to the community.” Her children formerly attended the Beach Haven School.
Student parents Jennifer Tomlinson and Meredith O’Donnell, both teachers in the Stafford School District who ran unopposed for the two open seats during November’s general election, were sworn in on Wednesday. During the election, Tomlinson received 217 votes and O’Donnell received 212 votes. They will each serve three-year terms.
“As a first-time board member, but a veteran teacher, I hope to bring fresh new curriculum ideas to our school,” O’Donnell told The SandPaper. “We are fortunate to have an excellent staff who seem to infuse new ideas into their everyday teaching, and I want to foster that through new curriculum and present curriculum. Offering teachers proper training on curriculum is certainly a propriety.
“I foresee this new board joining together to bridge the gap of communication to maintain our small community school,” she added. “Input from our parents and community members is the key to keeping our school the tight-knit district we are. It is essential we keep parents, teachers and community members involved in our school to provide our children with a true sense of community. I look forward to serving on the board.”
A board code of ethics presentation, led by Paula Clark of Machado Law Group, which Clark said is required to be shared annually at a public meeting, emphasized the fact that the board is responsible for “policy-making, planning and appraisal.” The board essentially has one employee, the superintendent, she added.
“Everyone else who works in the district works for the superintendent. So any discussions or issues or questions or comments from the board should generally go through the superintendent because that’s who works for the board,” Clark said. “Anything that gets at a lower level is really the superintendent’s responsibility.”
Beach Haven School Superintendent EvaMarie Raleigh, who was in attendance at the reorganization meeting, told The SandPaper she hopes things will go smoothly with the new board, considering the previous tension between her and some of the new members.
“I am prepared to be the best I can be and to continue to do the things I know are right for children and this school,” she said. “Knowing there are individuals out there who see the good keeps me positive.”
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ongoing work for new Route 72 bridge continues during the new year

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Nearly half of the 16 hammerhead
piers have been completed.
Construction of the new Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge is proceeding and on schedule, Stephen Schapiro, acting director of communications at the New Jersey Department of Transportation, recently told The SandPaper. About half of the 16 hammerhead piers to support the new bridge are finished, and the rest are in “various stages” of completion.
“Setting the beams on the piers is scheduled to begin before the end of the winter,” Schapiro said.
Electrical work as well as some work to level the bay bottom under the West Thorofare Bridge between Cedar Bonnet Island and Bonnet Island is also being executed, he added. Single lane closures, which are allowed during the off-season as well as overnight, are being utilized when necessary.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

‘OJ: The Musical’ to screen at LBI Foundation of the Arts and Sciences on Saturday

Photo via Cleveland Film
The musical follows a theater artist as he sets up
for his musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello.
“OJ: The Musical,” an off-beat comedy carried out by an eccentric theater artist living in New York City who struggles to stage an OJ Simpson musical with the help of his childhood friends, will screen at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. The event is being hosted by the Lighthouse International Film Society, a division of the Lighthouse International Film Festival, dedicated to showcasing ground-breaking films and promoting the next generation of filmmakers.
The film is directed by Jeff Rosenberg, who worked as an assistant director for many projects, including FX’s “The League,” and suddenly decided to pursue his own “impossible dream” in filmmaking.
The storyline centers on Eugene Olivier, “who has spent the last ten years of his life putting on various musicals to rave reviews,” a press release states. “After years of creative triumphs, Broadway has lost its luster for him and Eugene longs for the early days when he and his childhood friends would put on shows together back home in Orrville, Ohio. With little thought and no preparation, Eugene decides to move to Los Angeles where he will surprise his two best friends from childhood, Lawrence and Regina, and help them rediscover their now forgotten love for the theater. After pitching them on his brand new OJ Simpson musical, which is loosely based on Othello, Eugene comes to realize that it may not be as easy as he thought to stage the next great American musical. ‘One Man’s Madness is Another Man’s Musical.’”
Tickets to the event cost $5. Admission is free for LIFS members.
For more information, contact Christine Rooney at or 571-212-3292.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.