Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Six-court pickleball center opens at the Nelson Avenue Skating Rink in Beach Haven

The desire for permanent pickleball courts in Beach Haven quickly became a necessity after a group of residents introduced the activity to other individuals on Long Beach Island last summer. The racket sport uses a perforated Whiffle ball to combine elements of tennis and badminton. Now, a year later, the town is hosting a grand opening of its new, premier pickleball center with six courts at the Nelson Avenue Skating Rink. The ribbon cutting will take place Monday, Aug. 3, at 5 p.m. All are welcome to join.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Residents get into the game at the new center.
“The courts are ready to play, and people are starting to use them,” said Beach Haven Councilman Don Kakstis, who began playing the game with others on the Beach Haven School premises last July. “We’re proud of it because (pickleball) is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States right now. All the different towns are doing it,” he added.
The skating rink, which was formerly in disrepair, has been revamped with help from both volunteers and town officials. It will be a multiuse facility. Scheduled pickleball games will be held Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon. Anyone interested in playing roller hockey or roller skating can do so from noon on. Individuals with their own pickleball equipment are also encouraged to set up their own games throughout the day.
The local, volunteer-run pickleball enterprise, which currently includes about 100 players “from on and off the Island,” Kakstis said, is free and open to all residents and visitors, including beginning, novice, intermediate and advanced players of the sport.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book signing at New Jersey Maritime Museum will highlight several authors’ works

A gathering of local authors to promote their various books will put local shipwrecks, fictional Jersey Shore murders, former news stories and more in the spotlight at the New Jersey Maritime Museum, located at 528 Dock Rd. in Beach Haven, on Sunday, Aug. 2, from 2 to 5 p.m. The free event will also include beer, wine and assorted snacks.
Photo via New Jersey Maritime Museum
Co-authors Deborah Whitcraft and
Gretchen Coyle hang outside the museum.
Brant Beach resident Carole Bradshaw, also known as “The Anchor Lady,” will be publicizing her first book, Fortuna, which tells the story of the Italian bark that ran aground in Ship Bottom in January 1910.
“The book introduces the captain and his family, traces their journey from Sicily to the shipwreck in Ship Bottom, my subsequent discovery of the anchor 73 years later, and the search for answers to many lingering questions,” Bradshaw said.
Margaret Buchholz, former owner and publisher of The Beachcomber, published on Long Beach Island, will promote her newest book, Long Beach Island Reader. The book highlights over 60 of the publication’s featured observations, essays and literary stories that have captured the essence of the 18-mile island.
“The anthology offers an all-encompassing perspective of Long Beach Island – the real LBI we love and hold in our collective memories,” said Buchholz. “…Those activities may be a little different in different eras, but the experiences (and feelings) are much the same today.”
(Buchholz also will appear on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at the Long Beach Island branch of the Ocean County Library, 217 South Central Ave., Surf City, at 10 a.m.; and Thursday, Aug. 6, at the High Point Firehouse, West 80th Street in Harvey Cedars, at 7:30 p.m.)
Co-authors Gretchen Coyle and Deborah Whitcraft will publicize their latest book, Tucker’s Island, which is due out Aug. 10. The pictorial book is devoted solely to the history of the 8-mile-long island formerly located between the Beach Haven and Little Egg inlets.
“It’s neat to look at life in a whole different era,” Whitcraft said. “It gives readers an insight into a different lifestyle and a different time. It’s just something that they will never experience.”
Tim Dring, a retired commander of the U.S. Naval Reserve, will present his latest book, The Deadly Shipwrecks of the Powhattan & New Era on the Jersey Shore, which he co-authored. The story chronicles two “horrendous” shipwrecks that took place on the New Jersey coast between Sandy Hook and Little Egg Inlet in 1854.
“This book pulls together for the first time all of the available historical information and facts regarding these shipwreck disasters, and provides an in-depth analysis of the accidents and their likely causes,” said Dring.
Leslee Ganss, design director at Down The Shore Publishing and former art director at The SandPaper, will be signing copies of Too Many Summers, which is a new collection of her “witty, often laugh-out-loud cartoons” that appeared weekly in The SandPaper over the last 20 years.
“It’s a chunky little book, chock-full of fun (320 illustrations) for the whole family, and featuring a foreword by (SandPaper Publisher) Curt Travers,” Ganss noted.
Thomas Reeder, who grew up on the outskirts of Philadelphia, will advertise his first foray into fiction with Poetic Justice, which was inspired in part by his love of LBI.
The story is “a ‘Noir’ Jersey murder mystery set in mid-1930s Beach Haven that harkens back to the glory days of hard-boiled detective stories,” said Reeder.
For more information about the event, call the Maritime Museum at 609-492-0202.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Beach Haven’s The WooHoo Is serving up fresh food fast

Photo by Ryan Morrill
The owners and staff at The WooHoo enjoy
the Island breeze on the restaurant's patio.
The WooHoo, a fun, new outdoor burger joint in Beach Haven, has given the fast-food experience a special twist by serving up fresh, tasty grub made in-house. The select menu, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as ice cream and smoothies served in traditional fast-food containers, allows the restaurant to provide high-quality food quickly.
“We don’t offer chicken tenders and hot dogs that we get in frozen just to sell to people,” said Shaun Kilroy, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Megan.
The couple, who met in band class at Pinelands Regional High School, both have varied restaurant experience and said they have wanted to open an eatery in the area for a long time.
“Everything that we do, we do from scratch, and we put our own flair on and make it great,” Kilroy said. “We don’t want to get into serving a million options and having it muddled and the quality lowered.”
Three windows for order, pickup and ice cream only near a brightly colored seating area with grass umbrellas, flamingo yard decorations in colorful flower pots and ceiling fans for an added breeze, make going out to eat a seamless process, and wait times are just eight to 10 minutes, noted Kilroy. Mostly everything, including condiments and dressings, is made in the kitchen no more than a day ahead of time.
“It’s a fast environment even though everything is made from scratch,” Kilroy said, adding that they try to use every part of the food, which is sourced as locally as possible.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Co-owner Megan Kilroy has been making
her own ice cream for many years.
Burgers, served on a potato bun, include a choice of antibiotic- and hormone-free beef, ground turkey, or homemade veggie patty with traditional (lettuce, tomato, red onion, American cheese), summer (local greens, heirloom tomato, gorgonzola, cucumber, herbed aoli), woo hottie (sriracha, ghost pepper cheddar, jalapeños) or bruschetta (mozzarella, bruschetta) fixings.
The veggie burger, made with beans, farro, roasted garlic and caramelized onions, is “surprisingly popular,” said Matt MacCrea, head chef, who has worked as a sous chef all around Long Beach Island as well as at the former Revel casino in Atlantic City. “That’s usually people’s last choice, but ours has a very intense flavor. There’s a lot of things going on.”
The turkey burger takes more time to prepare in the morning since it is made from a whole roasted turkey. However, it “tastes much better,” MacCrea said, adding that he will not let prep work be the downfall of the kitchen. The days start early and end late, he noted.
The pulled pork sandwich, created from whole pork butts that are cooked for four to five hours and topped with sriracha BBQ sauce and coleslaw, is also a hot menu item.
“I can’t keep it in the kitchen,” said MacCrea.
Another popular item is the corn fritters; the corn is taken off the cob and served with maple butter.
“They’re savory, but with the maple butter you can turn them into your grandfather’s corn pancakes,” MacCrea said.
“We put a lot of thought into the menu. We’re not just ordering a bunch of stuff from Sysco and putting it into a fryer,” added Megan, who handles all the ice cream, which includes one “vegan” sorbet a week and eight rotating flavors of hard ice cream (blueberry has been the most popular so far), including a special cereal flavor (last week’s was Cinnamon Toast Crunch). Soft serve is also available.
Although Megan has been making her own ice cream for years, she decided to attend an ice cream-making course at Pennsylvania State University, where Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry’s also studied, before getting into the commercial aspect.
“It was a lot of science. We weren’t just eating ice cream,” Megan said with a laugh.
The owners, who noted they are keeping their prices low, “especially compared to other places,” were honing the menu from April through June.
“You can put together a burger joint without a lot of thought process; it’s burgers. But that’s what we didn’t do,” said MacCrea. “There was a lot of time and research and development creating what we’re presenting, down to the cucumber on the summer setup to where it’s a crisp bite. … There’s a reason for each ingredient and why things are prepared the way they are.”
“We’ve had heated discussions over one small ingredient in a menu item because we want to make sure that what we give you is something that we think is awesome,” Shaun Kilroy added. “When you buy ice cream from Turkey Hill and resell it, or you buy a frozen hot dog and you just heat it up, that’s about dollars and cents. That’s about let me make more profit. Why we wanted to get into this is because we wanted to sell people good stuff. You can do that, and you can still make a profit, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about selling people something that’s awesome and giving them an awesome experience here.”
Despite the restaurant’s late-summer opening (Tuesday, July 14), the owners said the staff have been “rock stars” and have learned really fast.
The WooHoo (think Blur, “Song 2”), located at 211 Bay Ave., is serving lunch and dinner seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and ice cream until 10 p.m. Breakfast is available on weekends from 7 to 11 a.m. Restaurant hours will remain until after Labor Day, when they will change to Thursday through Sunday until ChowderfestThe owners hope to extend the season throughout the fall by taking part in several festivals.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ship Bottom Brewery provides ‘high-quality, handcrafted ales’ using local ingredients

Cooling off in the summer heat with an ice-cold beer will be no sweat for those who head to Ship Bottom Brewery’s new, production-sized brewhouse in the heart of Beach Haven in Bay Village next year.
Photo via Ship Bottom Brewery
The new Island brewery will be located
in the Bay Village plaza in Beach Haven.
Although the company originally wanted to open the brewery in Ship Bottom, owner Robert Zarko said he was unable to find a suitable location. Bay Village, however, was an ideal spot.
“We always wanted to open a brewery on the Island,” he emphasized.
The company, which currently operates a small pilot brewery in Wallingford, Pa., produces a variety of ales, such as stouts, IPAs and wheat, pumpkin and pale ales, labeled after Long Beach Island landmarks.
Zarko named the business in tribute to his wife’s family, who had a Ship Bottom home for many years. He plans to have five ales on tap at the Beach Haven brewhouse; Barnacle Bottom Stout, The Shack IPA, Chicken or the Egg Killer Bee Sting, Beach Patrol Hefeweizen Ale and Double Overhead will be available, as well as at least three taps for seasonal or limited edition beers. An assortment of lagers and limited edition barrel-aged ales, including bourbon, whiskey, rum and tequila in 22-ounce or 750-milliliter bottles, will also be offered.
The pilot brewery in Pennsylvania is a two-barrel system as opposed to the new brewhouse in Beach Haven, which will be a seven-barrel system with 14 barrel fermenters. The company will continue to use the former facility to develop and test new recipes.
“With the new system (in Bay Village), we will be able to produce around 2,100 barrels a year,” Zarko mentioned.
Each beer is built differently, using a combination of ingredients such as malt, hops, yeast and specialty items like chocolates, coffee, hot peppers and fruits, he noted.
“We come up with an idea for a beer and then think about how we want the beer to taste,” he said. “We know the base recipe for a style of beer – stout, IPA, wheat beer, etc. – and know what items will impart different flavors and aromas to the finished beer.”
A typical brew day starts around 5 or 6 a.m., and lasts about eight to 10 hours, Zarko said. The process begins by heating the water to about 170 degrees in the hot liquor tun. In the meantime, the brewing grains are milled, and then both are transferred into the mash tun. The grains rest for one to two hours, depending on the recipe.
“This resting process allows the water to convert the starches from the cracked grains into sugar, which is called wort,” Zarko explained.
After the resting period, water is pumped into the mash tun over the grains, which act as a filter for collecting sugars. The wort is pumped into the brew kettle, where it is heated. Once it’s boiling, different ingredients such as hops, honey, coffee, chocolates and fruits are added to the kettle. Depending on the style of beer being produced, the wort is typically boiled for 1 to 1½ hours. When the boiling process is complete, the wort is pumped though a heat exchanger and cooled to around 65 degrees before being pumped into a fermenter. Yeast is added to the fermenter, which converts the sugar into alcohol. Fermentation usually takes about two weeks. After that, carbonation is added to the beer, which is then packaged in kegs or bottles.
Every batch of beer is handcrafted using local ingredients whenever possible, Zarko said.
“We really communicate with our consumers when we are developing and testing our beers,” he added. “We use their feedback at tastings, beer festivals and tap rooms to make sure we are producing the kind of beer that our consumers want to drink.
“Please feel free to reach out to us at any time with feedback or questions. We are a local, community-based brewery that loves to be engaged with our consumers,” he urged.
The company’s beer is currently available at Tuckers Tavern, Black Whale Bar & Fish House and Buckalew’s Restaurant & Tavern in Beach Haven; daddy O in Brant Beach; The Gateway and The Arlington in Ship Bottom; Northside Bar & Grille in Surf City; and Applebee’s and Spirits Unlimited in Manahawkin.
“If you don’t see us in any of these bars, please ask to get us in,” Zarko said.
The company has come a long way since Zarko, who grew up in Bucks County, started it as a homebrewer in 1995.
“We have fine-tuned our recipes and developed more control around our processes. This has led us to producing a higher-quality beer on a consistent basis,” he said. “We have learned more about modifying our brewing water with natural elements to help us brew the style of beer that we desire. We have really developed a process for management of our yeast that allows us to obtain the desired results that we need to provide consistency to make high-quality, handcrafted ales.”
A new barrel aging program has also really brought “a whole new dimension” to the beer, said Zarko.
“We are really amazed with the results that we are getting out of the program and will offer these limited-edition ales at the brewery,” he noted.
“I love the creativity of brewing,” he added. “It’s a lot of fun developing recipes, brewing the beer and then seeing the reactions on people’s faces when they are blown away by the beers that we produce. We also feel like all of the other brewers/breweries that we are engaged with are really helpful. The people involved in brewing are awesome people. We are glad to be part of the brewing community.”
The company is still in the process of obtaining a brewing license with the state as well as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for the Bay Village brewery. The next step is raising all the necessary funds.
“We are actively looking for investors, and we believe we will have all money needed to start construction sometime in August,” Zarko noted.
The Beach Haven brewhouse should be up and running by springtime 2016.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The Beachcomber.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beach Bums Corvette Club helps purchase bulletproof vest for Beach Haven Police Department

To show their appreciation, members of the Beach Bums Corvette Club are donating $900 to the Beach Haven Police Department. The funds, raised through the club’s 11th annual Corvette Show at Bay Village and Schooner’s Wharf in June, will be used to purchase one bulletproof vest.
Photo via The SandPaper
Show-stopping Corvettes draw a large crowd
to the Beach Bums Corvette Club's annual show.
“We wanted to do something for the police department as they have always been very supportive of our show and have always assisted us with traffic control and security,” said Ken Egerer, Beach Bums Corvette Club president. “...This is the first time we are donating to the police department, and we felt it was overdue.”
Egerer said the vest is not predetermined for any one officer; the department will determine for whom and when it is needed.
“We’re very thankful when someone wants to help us out with equipment,” Beach Haven Police Chief Kevin Kohler said. “Bulletproof vests are very important to the officers. They’re not cheap, so whenever somebody wants to donate to it, that’s a great opportunity for us, and we’re extremely thankful.
“I’m glad they reached out to us and volunteered to do it,” he added. “We enjoy working with them every year with their car show. They run an awesome car show. We’re always happy to help them out, so we’re glad they want to give us something in return.”
The club raised about $3,000 during this year’s event.
“We had an excellent turnout this year with over 150 Corvettes registered for the show. (It was) one of our best years ever,” Egerer said.
A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Food Pantry at St. Francis Community Center in Brant Beach as well as the Friends of the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter in Manahawkin. Scholarships will also be awarded to students of Southern Regional and Barnegat high schools.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Company members drive new water rescue truck home from Texas

A brand-new, custom-built water rescue truck has rolled into the Beach Haven firehouse.
Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Matt Letts and Deputy Fire Chief George Salazar flew to Texas via the Philadelphia International Airport bright and early Thursday morning July 16 to pick up the 2015 GMC Sierra 3500 HD. The following day, the two started driving the truck the 1,600 miles back to New Jersey. By late Saturday afternoon, they arrived in Manahawkin at Barlow Buick GMC to pick up an inspection sticker, clean off the truck and get “all the dead bugs off it,” before finally arriving in Beach Haven.
“It was fun. It was a nice, easy trip. (There were) no problems,” said Letts.
Photo via Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co.
The new water rescue truck arrived in
Beach Haven on Saturday.
The department ordered the truck’s cab through Barlow, and it was later shipped out to Texas-based BFXFire, which specializes in forest fire trucks often used by the U.S. Forest Service. The truck’s lightweight, composite-style body means it will run better on the beach and will not rust, Letts noted.
The new truck, fully funded by the Beach Haven Fire Co., will be the department’s primary water rescue truck. The other water rescue truck will replace the department’s utility truck, which reached the end of its life about six months ago.
“The other pickup truck will pull the second Jet-Ski on the trailer, and then that’ll be our utility truck to run around for classes and stand by for wires down and stuff like that,” said Letts.
Building a new water rescue truck, opposed to a new utility truck, “made more sense,” he added. The new truck has additional cabinet space and a “better layout,” which gives the firefighters more of what they need “to more efficiently do the water rescues.”
The new truck is already stocked with a majority of the necessary equipment, but the department needs to install a few radios and “a couple other little things,” said Letts. It should be operational within the next couple weeks.
The truck officially will be dedicated when the company holds a traditional housing ceremony in October. The department will also be welcoming a new fire truck, which is being custom built for the firehouse’s low-garage height.
“It’s brand-new. It’s being built as we speak,” Letts said.
The fire truck is technically replacing two fire trucks, one that was lost in Superstorm Sandy and another used truck that was purchased in 2011. It will arrive sometime in mid- to late August.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, July 20, 2015

New ‘string of pearls’ lighting system will span both Manahawkin Bay Bridges

A new and improved LED lighting system split along the Manahawkin Bay Bridges will replicate the original string of pearls’ low-level lighting system. One set of new lights will run along the northern face of the original, rehabilitated bridge, and a second set will run along the southern face of the newly constructed bridge, said Daniel Triana, public information officer at the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
The lights have been in continuous use since 1958.
The new lighting system will feature LED fixtures designed to eliminate the need for repeated maintenance frequently experienced with the older system. After approximately 60 years, the parts for the old lighting system slowly became unavailable, Triana noted.
The Route 72 bridge’s string of pearls was originally designed from scratch in the mid-1950s by Dorland J. Henderson, a top DOT engineer, whom the bridge is officially named after. The lighting system, made up of 768 separate fluorescent lights, was the first of its kind in the world. The goal was to preserve the clean lines of the structure. It has been hailed as one of the most aesthetically pleasing light systems ever designed for a bridge in the country, and has also been described as a "pathway to heaven." The lights have been in continuous use since 1958.
The new string of pearls will appear in phases. The southern set of lights will be illuminated as construction on the new bridge approaches completion next year. After the rehabilitation work on the original bridge is completed, the northern set of lights will be turned on, Triana explained.
In addition to the new string of pearls, a standard set of highway light poles will be installed to illuminate the bridge roadway.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Amid global bee decline, beekeeper stresses need for apiarists

As I pulled on my long-sleeve, collared shirt and pants and tied the laces to my sneakers, I suddenly felt very vulnerable in my attire. Not because I was underdressed (I wasn’t going on a date), and I was obviously covered head-to-toe. Instead, I was going to spend the day in the honeybee yard at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies, with local beekeeper Michael Long.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Working in the honeybee yard at the LBIF
requires wearing the proper safety attire.
Of course I was a bit nervous about getting stung. (I once stepped on a bee in a friend’s backyard in elementary school, and my foot blew up like a balloon.) But really, I felt honored to be in the presence of such vitally important pollinators, both bee and man, and I wanted to make a good impression.
Long, who operates Uriah Creek Apiaries in Parkertown, took up beekeeping in 2007. He enrolled in a course at Rutgers University with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture after he suddenly experienced major trouble producing vegetables and fruits in his garden. It was not until he came across a picture of misshapen apples that resembled his own that he realized the problem was that he no longer had bees in his backyard.
“It was always weed, water, sunshine, fertilizer, harvest. I never gave pollination a thought,” he said. “You planted, and the bees would come. Now it doesn’t happen that way.”
Pollen must be moved from a flower’s pistil to its stamen. Otherwise, it will produce ill-formed fruit, or nothing at all.
“It’s flower sex, basically. Pollen is male sperm,” said Long.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Some of the hive's frames are covered in
honey, which is almost ready to be harvested.
Long started with five hives at home in the spring of 2007, and by September of that year he also had a bee yard at a pig farm in Brookville (Barnegat Township) that has been in existence since the 1940s. Brookville never needed beehives up until 2007, Long said, when the area also began experiencing the same pollination issue. He realized it was not a localized problem at his farm, considering the two farms were 15 miles apart.
By the end of that year, Long also picked up a bee yard at Cloverdale Road in Barnegat.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Standard Langstroth hives, where bees build
combs into frames, are easily removed. 
He currently has anywhere from eight to 14 apiaries throughout Southern Ocean County, each of which has anywhere from two to 20 hives. The hives are all in different stages. Some are used for raising bees, others for honey production.
Long maintains eight bee yards and has access to another six.
“I don’t need the farmers as much as they need bees,” he said.
Long had hundreds of bees in his backyard prior to 2005. The only thing he had done differently that year, he said, was plant corn.
In recent years, beekeepers and environmentalists have called on the government to prohibit the use of some of the country’s most used pesticides, neonicotinoids, which became popular among farmers during the 1990s. Neonics, as they are called, are used to coat the seeds of many agricultural crops, including the biggest crop of all: corn.
Organic food also does not mean pesticide-free, Long noted. (According to organic labeling laws, naturally occurring chemicals may be applied to crops.)
“That’s why I do this. People need to know what’s happening,” he added, referencing the public seminars he hosts at the LBI Foundation every Friday in July and August.
He brings participants to the apiary, where the hives remain closed. He also utilizes a single-frame observation hive for the benefit of those who don’t want to go near the bees. It is not practical to keep the bees in the observation unit, so they are later transported back to their original hive.
During the past few decades, bees have been hard hit by habitat loss and by disease, such as those caused by such parasites as varroa mites. It takes about eight months for varroa mites to kill a beehive; pesticides can kill a hive within weeks, Long said.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Pollen collected from the hives shows a
clear difference in the bee's flower prefernce.
“The mites are a problem, but not the problem,” he emphasized. Bees’ “immune systems are being compromised; the virus isn’t getting stronger.”
“The problem is the new class of pesticides introduced in the early 2000s. The problem has increased ever since,” he added.
This is bad news for humans because bees are critical to our food supply.
“We need to have beekeepers. They (bees) will not survive without us,” Long said. “There must be something to it because the president took action,” he added.
According to an Obama administration estimate, honeybees alone add $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year by pollinating everything from blueberries to squash. To reverse the bee decline, also known as colony collapse disorder, the administration has introduced an action plan that includes restoring 7 million acres of bee-friendly habitat that have been lost to urbanization, development and farming.
Although many environmentalists say restoring bee habitat is a good place to begin, they are critical of the fact that the administration has not done more to limit the use of neonicotinoids.
Long also pointed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, a widely used weed killer. Studies have shown that the chemical adversely affects honeybees’ survival instincts.
But the bees were buzzing away last week at the Foundation, where Long cares for two fully matured hives, with 20 frames each.
I expected the hives to be traditional skeps, conical-shaped baskets usually made of coiled straw. But skeps are illegal to use in New Jersey because beekeepers cannot inspect the comb for diseases and pests, and because honey removal often results in the destruction of the entire colony, Long said. He uses standard Langstroth hives where bees build combs into frames, which can be easily removed. This hive type revolutionized beekeeping in America, Long said, when invented in the 1850s by Philadelphia native Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth.
The north hive at the Foundation suffered from a mite infestation earlier in the season, but it was treated and has recovered well, Long said. It currently has about 40,000 bees in it. The south hive has around 60,000 to 70,000 bees and is close to being ready for harvesting honey.
“Summer usually separates the beekeepers from the bee-havers,” said Long.
Just one side of a hive frame had more than 1,000 bees on it, Long pointed out. The other side had over 2,000 in a sealed brood waiting to be hatched.
“The size gets very large. The amount of bees can be daunting and intimidating,” he said, adding that they can sometimes form a cloud.
Long expects to harvest about 30 to 60 pounds of honey from each hive this season.
“Give it a sniff. Smell the sweetness,” he insisted.
Although I felt a bit claustrophobic with the bee veil covering my face, I bent down and stuck my nose toward one of the frames covered in honey (and bees).
“This is money. This is Island honey,” Long said, grinning.
Aside from using bees for pollination, he also generates income from their honey. He harvests only a portion of the honey because it is important to make sure the bees have what they need to eat so they remain healthy, he said.
As a beekeeper, he is always listening to and smelling the bees to make sure they are not ill. It takes a long time and a lot of money to renew a hive.
“It’s easier to make money when your bees are not dead,” he said. “It’s a lot of work; there’s a lot to learn,” he added.
It is also important to be aware of the bees’ activity. They tend to get louder when they are annoyed, which is why we were wearing a veil, Long noted.
“We’re going directly into their house and tearing it apart. Bees sting,” he said.
To keep the bees at bay, Long lit small coal embers to create smoke, which covers the bees’ alarm pheromone. He uses this tactic only in the presence of other people because he normally wants to see the temperament of the bees.
When Long first started beekeeping, he said, he would get a small, localized reaction to bee stings. Now if he is stung, he has no reaction. He believes his body has built up a tolerance to melittin, the venom released during a bee sting.
The best time to gather honey and pollen is during the middle of the day, when most of the bees are out collecting, Long noted. He started collecting pollen from the hives at the Foundation a few weeks ago. Since then, he has noticed a clear difference in the bees’ flower preference. The pollen collected by the bees in the south hive is much darker. Long is conducting a study to determine the Island’s flowering season.
“There’s more than dune grass here,” he said.
A honeybee hive’s inhabitants are divided into three types. Workers, which are females that are not sexually developed, forage for food such as pollen and nectar from flowers; build, clean and protect the hive; circulate air by beating their wings; and carry out many other communal tasks.
The queen lays eggs that produce the hive’s next generation. Larvae are fed from the stores during the winter until they are fully matured by springtime and can begin to produce honey.
There is only one queen in a hive. If she dies, workers create a new queen by feeding a fellow worker a special diet of royal jelly, which enables her to develop into a fertile queen. The queen also controls the hive’s activities by producing pheromones that direct the actions of the other bees.
Several hundred male bees, called drones, live in each hive during the spring and summer. They are barred during the winter months, when the hive goes into survival mode.
I was not nervous going into the apiary until Long warned that the bees should not get “too rambunctious” – should and too being the operative words here.
Eventually, SandPaper Photo Editor Ryan Morrill was stung on the hand and thus marked. So we flew on out of there like expelled drones, never to come back to the hive again.
What a job.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beach Haven bar licenses renewed with discussion about solving residential complaints

Despite receiving “a few” complaints from neighbors, Beach Haven Council renewed liquor licenses for all the businesses that serve alcohol in the borough at its meeting Monday, July 13.
These businesses include the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club, Black Whale Bar and Fish House, Buckalew’s Restaurant and Tavern, Engleside Restaurant, Ketch Restaurant and Bar, The Marlin, Murphy’s Marketplace, Rommel’s Liquor Store, Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club and Tuckers Tavern.
Photo via Google
The parties don't have to stop, but they
must kept under control, officials say.
Prior to the approvals, Councilman James White told the audience, which included a number of the licensees, that the council takes “the responsibility of serving alcohol beverages very seriously. Our licensees have demonstrated responsible stewardship in the past, and we expect the same going forward.”
The council has had to impose restrictions on liquor licenses in previous years. So far this year, there have been a few neighbor complaints made to the council as well as the Beach Haven Police Department, White noted.
“It is our intention, with your cooperation, to avoid imposing any further restrictions. ... Our intention is to resolve any problems that affect the quality of life of the citizens of Beach Haven,” he emphasized.
Immediate concerns include the dumping of waste, mostly glass, during the evening and after hours. Loud music, especially the thumping of bass noise, which reverberates off walls and is disruptive to sleeping neighbors, has also been an issue.
“Keeping doors closed is a first step, but we would like more help from you to alleviate the noise problem,” White said. “We would like you to inform patrons that as they leave your premises that it is late and to be quiet and respectful of the residents who live in the vicinity, and remind them to use the restrooms before leaving. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping Beach Haven a family-friendly community.”
At the council’s public meeting in May, local resident Scott Cunningham said people had been using his lawn to relieve themselves at night. Although he is “all for keeping the bars open,” he said, the issue is a health hazard for the municipality.
White, who recently spent time in town with his grandson, said he is very proud of how safe and clean borough workers have kept it.
“I got to say, I love this town, the people and the people that work for it – police, public works – how the council works, the people in it that make it such a great place to come and visit and make it a family place,” he said.
In reference to a Harvey Cedars proposal for an open space preservation tax, Councilman Chuck Maschal noted that Beach Haven has one of the largest park areas of any shore community.
“We should be very proud of those, and I think that we should continue to invest in additional green acres as well as maintaining and improving and enhancing the open space that we have in Beach Haven,” he said.
“Thank you, that’s a statement to my heart,” said Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis, who also mentioned the town passed its annual audit “with flying colors.”
Taggart Davis said beach replenishment is not expected to take place in Beach Haven until the end of September.
“We’re very fortunate in that respect because we can enjoy our beaches without having to worry about all this going on,” she said.
Taggart Davis also thanked Tom Hughes, owner of the Sea Shell, who donated bike racks to the town. A few have been set up, and the rest will be installed in the fall.
Councilman Bob Keeler thanked the public works department for rebuilding the handicap access to the bathroom on Taylor Avenue. He noted that it would have cost the town two or three times more if it had hired an outside company.
Demolition of the new borough hall should begin after Labor Day, Councilman Don Kakstis noted. A public meeting to discuss the preliminary design will be held in August.
He also noted the town’s upcoming plan to reconstruct the skating rink on Nelson Avenue into six permanent pickleball courts will cost about $20,000 to complete. In comparison, Kakstis said, a five pickleball court project in Ocean City is costing that town about $170,000. Beach Haven will use $7,000 remaining from the skating rink project, which started over 11 years ago, to help fund the cost.
The council passed an ordinance amendment that, if approved, would require owners of contributing houses within the historic districtincluding Surflight Theatre, which is set for auction in August, to wait 12 months before doing any major exterior renovations or replacements. The current ordinance requires homeowners to wait six months. The purpose of the extension is to modify and strengthen the preservation of buildings within the historic district.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Uncle Will’s Pancake House celebrates 50 years of service with a smile ... and a pig

If you haven’t indulged in a giant plate of syrupy waffles or delicious, handmade crepes at Uncle Will’s Pancake House, you’ve at least seen the restaurant’s plump pig sign on Bay Avenue in Beach Haven. The eatery, which draws a crowd of hungry individuals from near and far, is celebrating its 50th year in business.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
The restaurant's present owners, husband and wife
Tom and Margie Stewart, met while working there.
The present owners, husband and wife Tom and Margie Stewart, have led the operation with its eclectic pig motif since the mid-1990s. The two got together in 1996, when Margie, who's also a teacher in Little Egg Harbor, was hostessing at the restaurant.
“She came for a job, and I violated my primary rule of not dating the help because she was worth it,” said Tom.
The pair prides themselves on the establishment’s vast breakfast and dinner (first offered 11 years ago) menus, which feature a fun play on words using famous artists and farmhouse jargon such as the Van Goat (grilled asparagus, wild mushrooms, tomatoes and chevre goat cheese) and Leonardo da Vinsheep (grilled chicken, avocado, sundried tomatoes and manchego) Egg-Stravagant Omelets as well as The Stampede Farmhouse Special (a 7-ounce top round steak with three eggs and three pancakes).
“We have fun with what we do because if you’re not having fun, there’s no reason to do it,” said Tom, who owned the former Tide bar and Mooring restaurant in Bay Village in the late ’80s and is also a previous Beach Haven mayor.
The restaurant’s outsized portions and many substitute accommodations also keep customers coming back.
“If you want it and I have it, why not? We’re the only place on the Island where you can get French toast with your omelets; we’ll give you anything with your eggs,” said Tom. “Most other places, you just get toast or home fries. We’re one of the few places that’ll give you pancakes with your eggs, omelets, whatever, as opposed to just having to have pancakes as an entrée unto themselves. But we also go even further. We give you fruit, we give you sliced tomatoes, whatever the heck you want.”
The restaurant doesn’t offer lunch “because we don’t compete against the beach,” he added.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
The eclectic pig motif is part of the fun of
eating at Uncle Will's Pancake House.
“That’s why people are here, either to be on the beach, to be out on their boats in the bay water skiing or fishing, or whatever. So we get people ready for their day. ... Being a part of someone’s lifestyle is really cool,” he emphasized. “Fifty years is an incredible compliment. It speaks to the quality of the business and the loyalty of our customers,” he added, noting that many restaurants fail within the first two years of opening. “It’s a tradeoff. Do the people come here because Uncle Will’s is so good, or does Uncle Will’s continue to be good because of the people who come here?”
During the ’90s, the restaurant also ran a coffee house called Café Cochon, which means pig in French. It appealed to the times and also gave underage individuals a place to hang out, said Tom.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Customers enjoy the many available food options.
The entire restaurant menu has evolved from two to six pages since the former owner, Gary Pulz, handed the business over to Tom in ’95.
“I found Gary literally strolling the streets at night, looking up at the moon,” Tom remembered. “He decided (nearly) 22 years was enough.”
Before Pulz, the restaurant was owned by Bill Schaeffer, who opened it as Uncle Bill’s in ’66 and then left the Island in ’76 to reopen the operation in Cape May.
Pulz changed the name to Uncle Will’s to differentiate the two establishments.
“He literally crawled up on a ladder, took down the B and made it a W,” Tom recounted.
The building, constructed in 1922, originally housed a variety of grocery stores, including the Acme, now located in Long Beach Township. The Stewarts have kept the grocery store theme of the location by expanding on the pig theme, which Pulz introduced when he purchased an antique chalkware piggy bank. The vintage pig, sporting a blue hat and overalls, is still on display at the restaurant. Others have also been added, including a few that Tom bought from an Italian-American club in Hackensack.
The newest pig, a ceramic fixture constructed by Amanda Klinger of Paint a Pot in Spray Beach, sits in the middle of the restaurant.
“We named him Uncle Will because everybody would ask us, ‘Well, who’s Uncle Will?’ And since there was no Uncle Will, we said, ‘The pig.’ And now he’s taken on his own identity, and he’s incredibly popular,” said Margie.
Technically, Tom noted, Uncle Will was the farmer on the restaurant’s former sign many years ago. But the pig has become so admired that it even had to undergo emergency repairs after a child “tackled” it three months ago. (As a side note, a car once drove through the front window during dinner 10 years ago. No one was hurt, and the restaurant was open for breakfast the next morning.)
The eatery’s other pig décor ranges from pig-shaped placemats and old Piggy Pears and Buckingham Apples crates to a remake of Pink Floyd’s Animals album cover signed by the band members.
“When I bought the place, I decided if Walt Disney could have his mouse, Uncle Will’s could have a pig,” said Tom.
The restaurant is also famous for hosting a Warren Zevon concert (think “Werewolves of London”) in ’96.
Of course, Tom and Margie attribute the success of the operation to its faithful customers and “outstanding” staff, many of whom have worked there for over 15 years.
“We have such a loyal clientele,” said Margie. “People are here on vacation, but they’re also here for the Uncle Will’s experience. There are people that collect the T-shirts here year after year. ...The kids have literally grown up here.”
On Friday, July 10, customers lined up at the door at 6:30 a.m. to be a part of a live filming by FOX 29’s “Comeback Down the Shore” segment, which celebrated the borough’s 125th anniversary.
“The clientele is so loyal that they woke up that early to be here,” said Margie.
Like many other LBI establishments, Uncle Will’s took a hit from Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, with 41 inches of floodwater inside the building. However, the restaurant was able to reopen the following March. Despite their own hardship, the Stewarts made a point of actively supporting the Friends of Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter after the storm.
“It became very apparent there was an incredible influx in abandoned pets due to Sandy, either because folks were forced out of their homes and had to relocate ... or due to financial circumstances resulting from Sandy,” said Tom.
“You can either complain that it’s dark, or you can get up and turn on a light; Uncle Will’s wanted to help turn on a light,” he emphasized.
Over the past two years, the restaurant has hosted four fundraising dinners and contributed nearly $20,000 to the volunteer organization. Another fundraiser is expected to be held in the fall.
The couple said they want Uncle Will’s to continue and will remain as the owners for as long as they can. The next owners will carry on the restaurant’s many traditions, the pair assured.
“Fifty years from now, unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be around because I’m 54, but I’ve always looked at the 21 years that I’ve been here as that I am nothing more than a caretaker of Uncle Will’s who maintains the integrity and the tradition and the heritage that I’ve been fortunate enough to have,” said Tom. “There are very few businesses that have been around this long, that are part of people’s tradition of coming on vacation and having breakfast with us. ... Many places serve great food, but Uncle Will's has always taken pride in its singular service.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.