Saturday, March 28, 2015

Beach Haven School Superintendent to resign at end of contract in 2016

At the start of the Beach Haven School Board’s regular meeting Tuesday, March 24, Superintendent EvaMarie Raleigh announced she will resign her position at the end of her three-year contract, effective June 30, 2016. She will not consider a second contract.
Photo via
EvaMarie Raleigh helped reopen the elementary
school after Superstorm Sandy damage.
Although she had intended to stay at the school until her retirement in about five more years, Raleigh said the job is “both too big and too small at the same time.” The job is too big because, as one administrator, she said, she has to “wear many hats, each with its own set of skills, requirements and time constraints.” The job is too small because curriculum and instruction as well as professional development are what make her happiest, she added.
If she wants her full pension, Raleigh said she will have to work in New Jersey’s education system for four more years. Her goal is to be a college adjunct professor and travel the country teaching workshops.
Raleigh recommended the board hire both a school principal and shared superintendent for her replacement.
“The administrative position at Beach Haven School is more of a principal position with district responsibilities,” she noted.
Raleigh said she was charged with a “long list” of goals and objectives, all of which have been “met or exceeded,” from the school board and teachers when she accepted her position two years ago. Those goals range from reopening the school building after Superstorm Sandy and enhancing technology to increasing School Choice funding and leading staff through the new evaluation process among other targets.
“The teachers have been the driving force in these plans since the start,” Raleigh stated. “They are to be commended for their hard work and for engaging our students in real world, project-based learning as well as embracing new trends and research in educational technology.”
Although colleagues and friends attended the meeting in support of Raleigh’s decision to resign, the superintendent said she had not shared the news with board members prior to the meeting. She claimed none of them have spoken to her since January, when the board reorganized.
“Maybe now they’ll leave me alone and let me just do what I know how to do,” she told The SandPaper.
During her tenure, Raleigh also has been criticized by some parents for being unqualified for the position and being unreceptive to their concerns.
During public comment, Sandra Close and Donna Kilcommons, former board members who were involved in hiring Raleigh, thanked the superintendent for her hard work.
“Her energy, her professionalism and, most importantly, her love for the children here have made her an exceptional superintendent,” said Close, who had cited the tension between the board and some members of the public during her resignation in October.
“Despite what happens at these meetings … this is a great school; the kids have the best experiences,” Raleigh said after the meeting. “That’s what I want to be remembered for.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Harvey Cedars mechanic honored by police for helping vacationer find deceased mother’s lost jewelry

Photo by Ryan Morrill
One good deed leads to another for
Barnegat resident Jimmy Schroeder.
During the Harvey Cedars Police Department’s annual awards ceremony, held at borough hall Tuesday, March 24, Jimmy Schroeder, a Barnegat resident who has worked as a mechanic at the Harvey Cedars borough yard for the past 17 years, got to relive some of the pleasant feelings he experienced in the summer when he made it his personal mission to find a vacationer’s lost rings. Police Sgt. Sean Marti nominated Schroeder for the award, and it was presented by Chief Tom Preiser. Schroeder’s wife, Debbi, and their youngest daughter, Dana, sat in the audience in support.
“It’s nice to be appreciated sometimes; I felt honored,” Schroeder said. “It wasn’t anything I expected; it wasn’t anything I thought I’d get. I kind of forgot about it. It brings that warm feeling back to you.”
Determined to find the vacationer’s late mother’s engagement and blue topaz birthstone rings, which Amanda McKiverkin, 15, of Washington, lost at the beach on Aug. 21, Schroeder spent his 15-minute work break the following day sifting through debris from the beach cleaner, where he unexpectedly found the jewelry.
“If I wouldn’t have looked for it, it probably would have bothered me deeply,” Schroeder told The SandPaper in an interview following the August incident. “... I know what it feels like to lose a parent. I know what kind of meaning those little artifacts or possessions have.”
Schroeder, who lost his father around the same age as McKiverkin lost her mother, recounted a story in August about his father’s missing ball cap, which he was especially fond of. He recently told The SandPaper that his sister found and returned the hat to him just a few weeks after the article was published.
“The way everything worked out, to get something of mine that was lost, it was like, ‘Holy cow,’” Schroeder said. “Everything happens for a reason. You always hear that, and you don’t understand it, but it’s a warm, fuzzy feeling.”
Schroeder received his first award, a certificate of merit, from the local police in 2009. The award was presented in honor of his efforts to renovate a newly purchased Kawasaki Mule into a police vehicle for the department, which, due to budget issues, could not afford to have it fixed through an outside company. The alterations were completed during Schroeder’s personal time at home.
“I care for this town, and they care for me,” Schroeder said.

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Despite Surflight’s closing, ‘Broadway at the Beach’ continues for Pennsylvania family

The closing of Surflight Theatre and its accompanying Show Place Ice Cream Parlour in Beach Haven comes as a shock to many local residents and visitors who have fond memories of the venues. But for Allentown, Pa., resident Robert Woroniak, 80, and his family, who have been making trips to the area since the 1970s, “Broadway at the Beach” will continue as they make their sixth excursion to The Cast House in April.
Photo via Karen Goldner
Robert Woroniak builds a replica of The Cast
 House, a hotel in Beach Haven formerly owned
and utilized by Surflight for its summer actors.
A 4,200-square-foot building that includes 10 Broadway-themed bedrooms and bathrooms, The Cast House, also located in Beach Haven, was formerly owned and utilized by Surflight for its summer actors.
Dave Martin, a former Surflight volunteer who said it is a shame to see “a great, long-standing theater go because the Island needs Surflight,” purchased The Cast House the same year Surflight added a newly constructed cast house adjacent to the theater. The Cast House was completely rebuilt, including new foundation and rewiring, and made available to renters. It sleeps 25 people.
About 65 percent of the in-season rentals are repeat people who rent every year “because they like it so much,” Martin said. Yearly inside changes keep the motif new and exciting, he added.
“It’s phenomenal what they put in there," said Karen Goldner, Woroniak’s oldest of four children. “They really went all out with props in there. Every year we all jockey for who’s going to get what room.”
Although the guest house itself is captivating, it also holds special meaning for the Woroniak family, who began celebrating special events there.
"We usually find some reason to celebrate something, either my parents’ anniversary or a major birthday, to make it a special occasion. Someone’s always turning 50,” Goldner said.
“My dad has always made sure we go for a week for vacation to Long Beach Island every year since we were little, and I’m 55. We would go to the Surflight Theatre, and I made sure my kids went there, so I’m very sad to hear that (it’s been closed),” she added.
Despite having a stroke six months ago, Woroniak took his love of his vacation accommodations one step farther. A retired electrician who enjoys constructing model railroads, he recently built a miniature replica of The Cast House out of plywood. He said he spent an entire day taking measurements of the windows and doors and even used Google Earth to get the detailing of the roof. The project took him about two months to complete.
“That’s how I do it. I measure everything and take a lot of pictures, and then I scale it down (to 3/16 of an inch on the foot), and I actually make blueprints and work off of that,” Woroniak recounted. “When you’re in the trades, you learn how to do everything and you find out how everything works. Once you know how everything works, it’s pretty easy to do it,” he added.
Though Martin has not seen the actual rendering, he said he has viewed pictures and it looks “just unbelievable.”
The replica is currently part of Woroniak’s train display at home, though he said he would consider donating it to the Long Beach Island Museum in Beach Haven when he passes.
A member of the Long Beach Island Fishing Club, Woroniak said he is also working on building a replica of the old Coast Guard station in Harvey Cedars, where the members meet. He plans to donate the model when it is completed.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Shore Good Donuts brings delectable service to Beach Haven

Photo via APP
The shop is Long Beach Island's only
made-to-order doughnut business.
Shore Good Donuts’ second location, set to open in May, is good news for those who are sweet on the business’ fresh-out-of-the-oven doughnuts. The new store, located in Beach Haven at 14 South Bay Ave., will offer the same delicious menu as its main store in Ship Bottom but with inside seating.
Despite lost time after opening right before Hurricane Irene in 2011, followed by damage and more down time due to Superstorm Sandy, Shore Good Donuts’ Ship Bottom location quickly earned an esteemed reputation for its delectable service. Opening a second location during the summer months in Beach Haven, “where there’s a lot of action,” is a “good opportunity” for both the business and its customers, said owner Todd Hunt.
“We’ve really battled a couple of storms … but people already know our product, and we’re just excited to be in Beach Haven as well,” he added.
A seasonal operation that runs from March through October, Shore Good Donuts in Ship Bottom will host its third annual Free Donuts and Coffee Day on Saturday, March 28, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The yearly event, “to give back to the community,” began when the shop reopened after Sandy. It will continue to be held every year at the Ship Bottom location only.
For more information, visit or call 609-492-0100.
–Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Stockton's Hughes Center forms National Advisory Board to provide ‘advice and guidance from national perspective’

To provide “advice and guidance from a national perspective,” Stockton University’s William J. Hughes Center of Public Policy recently formed a National Advisory Board. 
Photo via Stockton University
The Hughes Center is designed to provide a
public service in the region and across the state.
Board members include Luke Bierman, dean and professor of Law at Elon University School of Law; Bill Bradley, a former U.S. senator from New Jersey; Brendan T. Byrne, former New Jersey governor; Robert DelTufo, former New Jersey attorney general; Mickey Edwards, former member of Congress and now director of Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership; Kristen Grimm, president of Spitfire Strategies; Ruth J. Katz, director of Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine and Society Program; Virginia A. Long, retired New Jersey Supreme Court associate justice; Bill Richardson, former congressman, U.N. Ambassador, U.S. energy secretary and New Mexico governor, who now heads The Richardson Center for Global Engagement; Lindsay Thomas, former member of Congress; John E. Wallace Jr., retired New Jersey Supreme Court associate justice; and Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey governor.
“Stockton University, the Hughes Center and, ultimately, the citizens of New Jersey will benefit from the advice and counsel of such an incredible array of nationally recognized experts in government, law, civic engagement and public policy,” Stockton President Herman Saatkamp stated in a press release.
Named after Ambassador William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the U.S. House of Representatives, ambassador to Panama and a distinguished visiting professor at Stockton, the center promotes the community’s civic life through engagement, education and research. Since 2008, it has expanded and enhanced its programming to include Legislator-in-Residence, Congress-to-Campus, civic education with iCivics, Hughes Center Honors, Washington Internship Program Scholarships, Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance, and the Stockton Polling Institute, along with debates, symposia, lectures and panel discussions.
“Our roots are always in South Jersey, even as we receive more regional and national attention for our work,” Hughes stated. “The National Advisory Board will help broaden the perspective of the center by bringing more points of view and experience to the table.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Founder of David’s Dream Cancer Foundation appointed as patient advocate for National Cancer Institute

Photo via DDBCF
David Caldarella is serving on two committees.
David Caldarella, a local resident and founder of David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation, has been elected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Cancer Institute to serve as a patient advocate on the Head and Neck and Patient Advocate steering committees. Established under the National Cancer Institute Act of 1937, the NCI is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training.
“I’m honored to serve the board on behalf of those patients currently fighting cancer and to be the voice for those who have lost their battle with this deadly disease,” Caldarella told The SandPaper.
The honor comes on the heels of DDBCF’s fifth anniversary. Since August 2010, the foundation and its supporters have donated more than $300,000 to 325 families battling a cancer diagnosis.
A cancer survivor himself, Caldarella was diagnosed with stage IV head and neck cancer on April 20, 2010. Throughout surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, he received tremendous support from family, friends and even strangers, fueling his desire to create a nonprofit to “pay it forward.”
Rita Axelrod, Caldarella’s oncologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, had initially submitted his name to serve on an NCI subcommittee. After speaking with representatives, he was elected to serve on two committees.
The Head and Neck Steering Committee, composed of leading cancer experts and advocates including NCI senior investigators and doctors among many prestigious institutions, works to offer a resourceful, transparent practice to encourage clinical research and offer incentives to those who contribute. As a patient advocate, Caldarella will be involved in the research process, including concept and protocol development.
NCI leads a national effort to eradicate suffering and death from cancer. Through investigation and training, the organization conducts and supports research with a goal to find a prevention of cancer.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

After recent home explosions, new bill pushes for mandatory explosive gas detectors in houses and other dwellings

After life-threatening gas explosions recently demolished homes in Stafford Township, Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights, state Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin of the 10th Legislative District have introduced legislation requiring explosive gas detectors to be installed in homes and other lodgings. The detectors warn residents of the presence of dangerous amounts of methane or propane gas in the air. Methane is the main element of natural gas used to fuel many furnaces, hot water heaters, fireplaces, stoves and ovens.
On Feb. 24, an Oak Avenue home in the Ceder Run neighborhood of Stafford exploded due to a leak from a natural gas main into the house’s basement, injuring 15 people. Less than a week later, on March 2, a gas leak caused a home in Point Pleasant Beach to blow up, severely burning the occupant. Both homes were completely destroyed.
This past Saturday, March 14, a Seaside Heights home explosion related to a natural gas leak hospitalized a 26-year-old woman. The residence has been deemed uninhabitable, and an investigation is ongoing, authorities said.
“While the use of natural gas and propane for heating and cooking in our homes is extremely safe, the recent house explosions in Point Pleasant Beach and Stafford Township have reminded us that gas leaks do pose some risk,” Holzapfel stated in a press release. “We can lower the risk of gas leaks by modeling our response on the successful rollout of carbon monoxide detectors that are now present in nearly every home.”
Under the proposed legislation, the new requirement for the use of explosive gas detectors would reflect existing requirements for carbon monoxide detectors. The legislation allows for the use of a single device that can detect both carbon monoxide and explosive gases to fulfill both requirements.
According to the release, combination units that detect both carbon monoxide and explosive gases can be obtained for just $40.
“Affordable explosive gas sensors are now widely available at most home improvement stores,” Wolfe said. “We’d like to see them in every home alongside smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.”
The legislation would require one- and two-family homes to be inspected for the existence of an explosive gas sensor prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. There would be no need to install a gas detector if it has been concluded that no possible explosive gas risk exists.
Likewise, every unit in a hotel or multiple dwelling would be required to have explosive gas detectors installed.
“The cost of installing explosive gas detectors is negligible, but the benefit is substantial,” added McGuckin. “Their widespread use will help to warn residents and allow for gas leaks to be fixed before people are hurt and property damaged.”

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stockton University opening student-requested Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Center

Believing in the notion that issues related to sexualized violence, gender and sexuality are pertinent not only to women but to everyone, Stockton University is opening a new Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Center on its main campus in Galloway Township. To enhance the quality of campus life, the center will serve as a safe, welcoming space for those seeking gender, sexuality and survivor resources. The mission is to serve the entire campus, including Stockton’s instructional sites in Manahawkin, Atlantic City, Hammonton and Woodbine, via Internet resources and outreach programs.
Photo via Press of AC
Stockton President Herman Saatkamp
approved the proposal in June.
“The entire community should address problems such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, interpersonal relationship violence, bullying and homophobia, and issues such as sexual orientation and parenting if we are to effect political and social change,” the WGSC Faculty Senate Task Force proposal and report state.
To provide advocacy and outreach to students, the center will work with various departments across the university, including the Wellness Center; Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity; and several student organizations.
In the spring of 2013, faculty and staff responded to student requests for a campus center of this kind and prompted a formal call to action by the Stockton community. An ad hoc committee of faculty, staff, students and community members composed an initial proposal for the center, and the FSTF was formed in January 2014 to further review the center’s mission, responsibilities and required resources. The task force presented a final proposal to the Faculty Senate, which was approved in May, and Stockton President Herman Saatkamp approved the approach in June.
“This project really began with the students; this is their success,” Kristin Jacobson, associate professor of literature and co-chair of the FSTF, stated in a press release. “The students performed the advocacy and worked through the institutional channels. We as faculty and staff members simply supported their seeking of a sustainable resource to provide to the campus community.”
Stockton joins seven of its sister schools in New Jersey that have women’s centers, including Rowan University, The College of New Jersey and Montclair State University.
Initial advocacy projects will address issues such as sexual assault, sexual violence, and gender and sexual identities, including advocacy for additional gender-neutral bathrooms and gender-inclusive practices and policies on campus.
“The center’s focus is on advocacy targeting specific family-friendly issues to make systemic changes transferable to the future workplace,” Jacobson said. “It is a practical effort to build consciousness of the importance of the changing landscape of gender-based issues.”
Osprey Advocates, specially trained volunteers, will support individuals of sexual assault through various methods, including forensic exams, medical systems, police, a campus hearing board and legal proceedings. They will also provide survivors with peer support and empowerment as well as access to resources and information about rights and options.
Since spring 2013, more than 75 advocates have been trained in the national certification program. Currently, 10 advocates are actively volunteering on campus, and some certified advocates are volunteering at off-campus locations.
The center will also partner with the Atlantic County Women’s Center, Student Rights and Responsibilities and Residential Life offices as well as campus police. The WGSC will serve as the primary unit responsible for prevention-oriented programming on campus, including arranging joint programming and training with the ACWC.
Other responsibilities of the center include LGBTQ support, the development of a Safe Zone program for the LGBTQ community and allies, pregnant and parenting student resources and the coordination of the Green Dot bystander intervention program, which is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention.
Cases involving physical or psychological medical issues may be referred to the university’s Health Services or Counseling Services divisions respectively.
Laurie A. Dutton, Stockton’s associate director of Counseling Services, has been named interim director of the center.
“I am excited to return to my professional roots and work again as an advocate for victims and survivors of power-based personal violence,” said Dutton, who also co-chaired the FSTF.
According to the release, Dutton has an extensive background in social work, assessment, counseling, crisis intervention, domestic violence intervention, program and office administration, training programs, collaborative efforts and more. She has worked with AtlantiCare and other health care institutions to provide services in the local community. Prior to her work in New Jersey, Dutton was a social worker for nearly 10 years with Alexandria, Va.’s Domestic Violence Intervention Project. She is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor and also has her master’s degree in counseling.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

‘Shelf Life’ rescheduled to screen in Beach Haven on Saturday

Shake off the winter blues and head to Island Baptist Church, located at 215 Third St. in Beach Haven, this Saturday, March 21, at 8 p.m. to watch the Lighthouse International Film Society’s screening of “Shelf Life.”
An award-winning dark comedy directed by three-time Lighthouse International Film Festival alumna Tamar Halpern and starring Betsy Brandt of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” the film depicts the story of petty office politics in an old-school library.
“It’s the head librarian versus the fresh-out-of-rehab book shelver in an all-out, deadly war of the wills,” a press release states.
A question and answer period with Halpern will be held after the screening.
To view the movie trailer on YouTube, visit
Admission to the event is $5. Tickets are free for Lighthouse International Film Society members.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Give blood, win Hop Sauce Fest tickets

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Festival-goers wash down the spice with
craft beer at least year's inaugural event.
Every donor who participates in the American Red Cross Blood Drive at the Beach Haven Firehouse on Thursday, March 19, between 1 and 6 p.m., will be entered to win two tickets to Hop Sauce Festival 2015.
The festival, “a gathering of craft beer and spice enthusiasts” that premiered last year, will be held this year on May 30. Last year’s event drew over 3,000 people.
The first 25 blood drive donors will also receive a Beach Haven T-shirt.
The blood drive is hosted by the borough of Beach Haven. It is the town's first event held in honor of its 125th anniversary. 
Appointments for the blood drive are preferred. To sign up, contact Darcy Kolodziej at 609-492-0111, extension 210, or Reservations can also be made online at
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

TGI Fridays Manahawkin leading two fundraisers for community nonprofits this month

A casual-dining restaurant corporation invested in local efforts, TGI Fridays Manahawkin will be sponsoring a number of community events throughout the month.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Partnerships between the Red Cross and other
local organizations help the nonprofit 'survive.'
A Pancake Breakfast benefit to help David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation raise funds for community members in need will take place at the restaurant on Sunday, March 15, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Throughout the morning, the nonprofit group’s Generation Dream youth team will be helping Fridays staff with various jobs, including hostessing, food prepping and serving. Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, bacon, coffee and soft drinks.
“It’s our first event of the year, and we’re excited to kick it off with Generation Dream and our friends at TGI Fridays Manahawkin,” David Caldarella, a local resident and founder of David’s Dream and Believe, said in an email.
Admission to the event costs $10. Sixty percent of all proceeds will go directly to DDBCF.
In honor of American Red Cross Month, which has been celebrated every March since 1943, the restaurant will also be raising funds throughout the month for the American Red Cross South Jersey Region, which supports Ocean County and eight other counties in the area.
Customers who donate at least $5 at the restaurant or its sister locations in Bricktown, Toms River or Turnersville will receive a $5 off $15 Fridays coupon. Individuals who participate at the Fridays Manahawkin restaurant-sponsored blood drive at the Beach Haven Moose Lodge in Manahawkin on Friday, March 27, between 2 and 7 p.m. will also receive a coupon.
Instead of hosting the blood drive on a bus at the restaurant, management decided to hold it at the lodge, where more people can participate.
“Basically we’re just trying to get as many people out to donate as we can,” said Taylor Martin, a Fridays Manahawkin employee helping to coordinate the event, who is also a nursing student at Ocean County College.
Donors who also submit their phone number will be entered to win a gift basket full of Red Cross items, including a crank radio, blankets and other goodies.
Because Fridays Manahawkin Manager Christine Greenwood has never led a fundraising effort “of this magnitude,” she said, she does not have a specific dollar amount she expects to raise. However, she said she hopes to raise a significant amount.
“We’ve done things for school districts; we’ve done things where we’ve raised $100 or $200 (in a weekend or three days). My hopes are way more higher than that for this organization,” she stated.
After seeing how instrumental the Red Cross has been in helping people affected by Superstorm Sandy, Greenwood said it has been her goal to give back to the organization. She expects to continue to do so by making this an annual event.
“Every time I see something, the Red Cross is there,” she said. “We like to help people. We always help the little school districts and the organizations at the school. I just felt like, with Fridays being a big name, that we should do something bigger; we really should help something a little bit more,” she added.
Of course, the restaurant’s participation “isn’t just about dollars,” said Laura Steinmetz, communications/government relations officer for the Red Cross South Jersey Region. “It’s about raising awareness and educating the public about Red Cross and the wonderful community partner you are becoming,” she added.
Kim Price, major gift officer for the American Red Cross Jersey Coast Chapter, said it is these types of connections that help the Red Cross stick around.
“It’s wonderful for them to actually reach out to us. Fridays especially, this group is so community-driven, and we can work together,” she said. “That’s how we survive, honestly – from this type of partnership. So it’s been very, very helpful. The fact that it just fell into place when it was ‘March is Red Cross Month’ makes it that much better.”
To sign up for the blood drive, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Beach Haven Council honors former, long-time members of board of education

MaryLouise Bellingeri and Sandra Close, former members of the Beach Haven Board of Education, received a standing ovation from the public when the borough council formally honored them during a town meeting Monday, March 9, for their dedication to the Beach Haven School.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
The school gymnasium had to be replaced
after Superstorm Sandy damage.
Bellingeri, who did not rerun for a position on the board this year, served as a member for 20 years, leading the group as president for the last five. During her tenure on the board, she also served seven years as a member of the borough land use board. Prior to her election to the school board, she served for seven years as president of the PTA.
Close, a third-generation Beach Haven native whose children also attended the Beach Haven School, served for 18 years on the school board and was vice president for the last two years. She resigned in October when conflict between the board and the public became too much for her.
“It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to serve, even for a few years,” Mayor Nancy Taggert Davis, who presented the honors, told the public. “I know serving on any type of public office is difficult; I can speak from experience. You have to make a lot of hard choices, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everybody.”
Taggert Davis also noted that Margie Carnavale, a fifth-grade teacher at the school, was Close’ first-grade teacher. At one time, Close was also a student of Taggert Davis’ at Stockton University.
“The town is so honored to have such a wonderful school, and the people that serve the school should be honored,” Taggert Davis stated.
She noted that one of the students who graduated from the school with a group of 17 others went on to graduate from Southern Regional High School as valedictorian in 2010.
“MaryLou and Sandy worked hard to ensure that the school is academically rigorous and our children receive the best education possible,” Taggert Davis said. “All of us in Beach Haven should be proud of how well our students perform academically and how well prepared they are for high school and for college; it’s just incredible. Beach Haven School students excel at Southern Regional, and they make our community proud. Academic excellence does not happen by accident. In this case, much of the Beach Haven School’s success can be attributed to MaryLou and Sandy and the other members of the school board.”
Both Bellingeri and Close were instrumental during Superstorm Sandy, it was said. Taggart Davis congratulated them for “working on behalf of Beach Haven’s children to ensure that they were safe and that their school year was not lost to the ravages of Sandy.” Although they, too, were displaced by the storm, Bellingeri and Close were active in getting the students to the Eagleswood Township Elementary School, when building damage made attending their own school impossible.
Taggart Davis made it a point to also thank Donna Kilcommons, another former board member who was in attendance at the meeting, for her help during the storm, as she also was displaced.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Beach Haven School one of only five Ocean County schools to receive increased state aid this year

Photo via
Gov. Christie visited the school for its
reopening after Superstorm Sandy.
Despite historic spending on public schools across New Jersey, the Beach Haven School District is one of only five public school districts in Ocean County to have received an increase in state funding. The school, located on the southern end of Long Beach Island, received an increase of $38,073 due to a boost in School Choice funds, EvaMarie Raleigh, superintendent of the Beach Haven School, told The SandPaper.
Gov. Chris Christie’s administration recently announced $12.7 billion in aid for the state’s public schools, which includes $9 billion in school aid and $655.5 million for preschool programs.
School districts across the state will receive $5.2 million more in state aid than they did last year, according to N.J. Department of Education documents. However, most schools in Ocean County will see no increase.
Five of the county’s 29 school districts, including Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, Pinelands Regional, Tuckerton and Island Heights, received a total of $122,605 in additional K-12 state aid, according to state documents. Ocean County schools will obtain $306.6 million in state aid for K-12 learning.
Although Choice funds are capped for next year, Raleigh said she worked with the Department of Education to secure three additional seats for a total of 13, which has resulted in the increase in state aid for a total of $164,983.
Had the Beach Haven Board of Education revised the residency policy this fall, the school could have been granted four more seats and an additional $50,000 in funding, Raleigh said. In the future, if the cap is lifted and Choice funding remains, there is hope for additional funds. However, there is the fear that Choice funds in the future will be granted only to students who come from failing schools. This would greatly affect not only the Beach Haven School, but many other small school districts throughout the state, Raleigh explained.
“We have the 13 seats for this year definitely, but no one knows what’s going to happen the year after,” she said. “That $165,000 could just disappear. We don’t know.”
Due to a four-district consolidation, Stockton Elementary – historically known as the smallest school in the state – is now part of South Hunterdon School District, leaving the Beach Haven School as the smallest school in New Jersey today, Raleigh said.
“We’re the smallest school in New Jersey, the smallest,” she emphasized. “It’s serious because if they take it (Choice funding) all away, it’s very serious for this town.”
In 2010, the school’s application to become a School of Choice was accepted by the Department of Education, and the school was awarded five seats. Prior to becoming a Choice School, state aid had been minimal. Some years the school received zero funding, Raleigh said.
The school’s Choice tuition rate is calculated by a funding formula that results in all schools receiving a different per-pupil choice tuition amount. Beach Haven’s local share Choice tuition rate is $12,691, Raleigh stated.
From 2010 to 2013, Beach Haven received $63,445 in Choice funds. Last year the Department of Education placed a cap on all Choice seats, as costs for the program had increased from $5 million to $50 million since 2010.
Last November Raleigh attended the new administrator’s training for Choice Schools and met with representatives from the Department of School Choice to explain the “unusual situation” the Beach Haven School found itself in after Superstorm Sandy.
She “explained that during the storm many families had to relocate to the mainland and now, a year later, several had decided they were not returning but wanted to keep their children in the Beach Haven School,” Raleigh said.
Although she was told it was too late to add additional seats for the school year, the Department of Education increased the Choice seats from five to 10 despite the cap. Funding increased to $126,910.
“To get seats has been a big deal,” Raleigh said. “The state has really helped us a lot because of the situation with the storm, but everyone else was capped.”
A member of the Interdistrict School Choice Finance Committee that has been working with the Department of Education to fight for the survival of the Choice program, Raleigh said there is a call for parents, former students and schools to provide testimony to the Department of Education in the coming months.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Beach Haven introduces $11.1 million budget for 2015, tax hike needed for Superstorm Sandy debt

As in the last two years, Beach Haven’s 2015 municipal budget, introduced during the town council’s regular meeting Monday, March 9, is full of increases driven by Superstorm Sandy-related expenses. The total appropriation amounts to $11,149,618, which is a decrease of $171,606 from the previous year.
“That in itself, however, is confusing,” said Borough Manager Richard Crane.
Photo via The SandPaper
The bayfront tennis courts in Beach Haven
flooded during Superstorm Sandy.

The amount to be raised locally by taxation is $7,559,973, which is an increase of $495,000 over last year. The municipal tax rate is 3 cents more than 2014, when it was about 39 cents per $100 assessed valuation.
Craned noted that it would be a “couple more years before that levels out.”
Changes from last year’s budget include an increase of $148,915 for salaries and wages; $59,766 for insurance expenses; $71,581 for pensions for clerical workers and police; as well as $163,235 for debt services.
However – “and this is where the budget gets a little funky,” Crane said – the town’s deferred charges for payments for Sandy-related expenses went down by $260,000.
Although Crane noted the town is taking on more debt than ever, he said Beach Haven is “now moving from the phase we had been immediately post-storm, which is paying for the emergency repairs,” and into the more long-term obligations. He said it is “necessary” because so much of the town’s infrastructure and buildings were “severely damaged.” Debt payments are expected to be included in the next few budget cycles.
Because the town no longer has access to a community disaster loan relief it was awarded from the state the last two years, Beach Haven is lacking $634,373 in revenue compared to 2014. The town is also anticipating $287,500 less from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In order to help offset that reduction in revenue, the borough is using an additional $213,462 from surplus.
The minimum appropriation to support the Beach Haven Library is set at $661,763. The total appropriation for the separate water utility budget is $1,775,750, which is a decrease of $8,075 from the previous budget.
“Much like the regular operating budget, the water utility budget also has been drastically affected by storm-related expenses,” Crane said.
An additional $150,000 in water rate charges, as well as an additional $150,000 in surplus, are anticipated in the budget to make up for lost revenue. The town is anticipating $100,000 less in FEMA proceeds and $225,575 less in CDL loan proceeds.
“As I said before, it’s a very interesting year,” Crane summarized.
An ordinance to exceed the municipal budget appropriation limits and to establish a cap bank was passed on first reading.
A public hearing for the budget will be held at the emergency operations center on Monday, April 13 at 7 p.m.
In other meeting news, the council approved an ordinance appropriating $5 million, as well as the issuance of $1,425,000 in bonds or notes, to finance part of the cost of the reconstruction of the municipal building. Assessments for the new borough hall as well as for the emergency operations building renovations have begun, Crane noted. Point Pleasant-based Robert Sebring has been hired as the architect for the projects. Sebring designed Barnegat Light’s borough hall and also wrote up the plans for Ship Bottom Borough Hall’s expected renovations, Mayor Nancy Taggert Davis told The SandPaper. A town meeting with Sebring will be held later when plans have been put into place, Councilman Don Kakstis said.
It was also noted that the Coral Street water main project is nearing completion. A temporary patch will be laid down this week, and a more permanent patch will be put in place next month. Crane said the project has been “very difficult” considering the contractor had encountered some unusual issues, such as having to work around a home that was “basically sitting in the middle of the street” as it was being raised or put on pilings, as well as the onslaught of “extreme cold” weather temperatures in February.
The borough manager noted that, due to a scheduling change, beach replenishment will be coming to the area earlier than anticipated. The project is expected to begin in Long Beach Township in April before making its way to Beach Haven at the height of the summer, near the end of July or beginning of August. Unfortunately, Crane said, some areas of the beach will be temporarily closed at that time.
“On a positive note, this project will be completed, most certainly, before the storm season hits in the fall, and into the winter of 2015 we’ll have much wider beaches and dunes,” he said.
Officials will be meeting with the contractor, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., and other representatives of the project on March 17 at the Long Beach Township municipal building.
Other meeting business included the adoption of an ordinance amendment for alternate relief drivers or riders for peddling and soliciting, as well as adoption of an increased general penalty provision from no more than $1,250 to no more than $2,000.
An ordinance amendment that would permit private garages as an accessory use, with certain requirements, for all residential properties located in the borough, and the borough workers’ salary ordinance were both passed on reintroduction.
The council honored MaryLouise Bellingeri and Sandra Close, former members of the Beach Haven Board of Education, for their dedication to the elementary school.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Area towns to receive combined $59,000 via the Ocean County Recycling Revenue Sharing Program

Local municipalities that took part in last year’s Ocean County Recycling Revenue Sharing Program will receive a combined $59,524 of the almost $270,000 generated during the last six months of 2014. Barnegat Township will receive $8,633; Barnegat Light will get $1,078; Beach Haven is expected to see $3,501; Eagleswood Township will receive $858; and Harvey Cedars will get $1,075. Little Egg Harbor Township will receive $9,707; Long Beach Township will get $6,921; Ship Bottom is expecting to see $2,099; Stafford Township will receive $21,082; Surf City will get $2,432; and Tuckerton will receive $2,138.
Photo via Google
Single-stream recycling allows paper and
plastics to be placed in one container.
During the first six months of 2014, the 11 area towns received a combined $84,887 of the more than $441,000 generated.
“Recycling continues to pay in a big way in Ocean County, and we want to encourage everyone – citizens, businesses and towns – to recycle,” Freeholder James F. Lacey, who serves as liaison to the county’s recycling program, said in a press release.
Since the program began in 1995, the county has returned more than $15 million to its participating towns. The municipalities are provided a portion of the recycling revenues based on the amount recycled and the price per commodity in the current market.
“These prices change all the time,” Lacey said. “What was high in the first half of a year may be on the decrease in the second half. It is based on what the market dictates.”
During the second half of 2014, the county collected 41,983 tons of recyclables. The payout for this period was $6.36 per ton.
The price of commodities such as corrugated cardboard and newspapers continues to decrease, Lacey said. Newspapers and tin cans are both down by $26 a ton as compared to the second half of 2013. However, materials such as aluminum continue to have a high demand, selling for $1,674 a ton, which is a $552 a ton increase from 2013.
Recycling comes with a host of other benefits, such as keeping the material out of the landfill and preserving the space there, Freeholder Director John C. Bartlett Jr. said. Because of these recycling efforts, municipalities collectively saved nearly $3 million in the second half of 2014 by not dumping those materials in the landfill, where they would have to pay a tipping fee, he explained.
Although many towns invest the returned money back into the recycling program, Lacey said towns can use the money as needed.
“If a road needs to be fixed, or a park needs to be upgraded, this money can help with those projects,” he said. “This is a return on their recycling effort.”
Recycling numbers increased after the county implemented single-stream recycling, allowing all materials from newspapers to plastic soda bottles to be placed in one container at the curb, Lacey noted.
“We make every effort to keep this program as convenient as possible,” he said.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.