Friday, October 30, 2015

Interim administrators of Beach Haven School attending to tasks ‘that were started but not completed’

Linda Downing and Richard Starodub, both former administrators in the New Jersey education system who are temporarily leading the Beach Haven School after the board approved the decision to have Superintendent EvaMarie Raleigh released early from her contract, attended their first regular board meeting at the school Thursday, Oct. 22.
A member of the public, who noted “you can just feel a difference in energy at the meeting tonight,” thanked the board for changing “the direction of the school administration.”
Photo via NJ News 12
The temporary administrators are getting
to know the school students and staff.
“All of the (members of the Beach Haven) board of education have worked or are working in an educational field, and I know you understand what it’s like to work with contentious administration,” said Marcia Pietrowski, obviously referring to the controversy surrounding Raleigh. “Deception and self-serving intentions is not the route this educational community was established. Beach Haven School was founded on dedication, determination and caring, and it will continue to grow with your leadership.”
Arriving just a month after the start of the new school year, Downing and Starodub have been tasked with various routine procedures as well as a few important issues raised by the board and staff.
“When you come into a new situation like this, there are things that are not finished yet, that were started but not completed,” said Downing. “This month is a time to get to know the kids, get to know the routines of the school, get to know the teachers and work with them. We’re just trying to maintain the school.”
As interim administrators, Starodub noted, he and Downing are first and foremost concerned about the safety and well-being of the students and staff. Alongside the Beach Haven Police Department, “who have been extremely cooperative,” he said they have adjusted the school’s emergency plans and made sure the drills are up to date.
“One has to realize that, in this changing world, we have to stay very attentive to security and work hand-in-hand with the police, which we have been doing and will continue to do. The support has been overwhelming,” Starodub said, noting the administration is looking into the issue surrounding the school’s security cameras.
Downing and Starodub are also attempting to implement more “age-appropriate” health instruction since the school’s fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students are currently receiving the same health lessons.
“There’s a big difference between grade levels when it comes to health,” said Downing, who noted there are scheduling conflicts to consider.
The new administrators are also looking to create a second-grade class since the second- and third-grade students are currently in one combined class. Although this is not unusual considering the school’s small enrollment, Starodub said, it would be best to have separate curriculums better geared toward each of the grade levels.
“Third (grade) is a (standardized) testing grade; the curriculum is a little harder,” Downing stated. “Second-graders are learning to read; third-graders are reading to learn.”
Student report cards, which were changed during Raleigh’s tenure, have also been reverted to the standard numeric and letter grade reports used for many years.
“It’s important that the staff is comfortable with it, and also, most importantly, most importantly,” Starodub stressed, “that the report card is accepted by the parents because it is a report to the parents.”
He noted the reports use the same breakdown as the Southern Regional High School District, where the Beach Haven School students will go for grades seven through 12.
Also during the meeting, Starodub noted there was one incident of vandalism and one incident of non-student violence during the 2014-15 school year.
The board also invoked the doctrine of necessity to create a negotiations committee for staff salary increases. Carol Labin, a former member of the Beach Haven Education Association and the New Jersey Education Association, as well as Kathy Kelly, who is related to a member of the NJEA, were appointed to the committee since the other three board members are currently members of the NJEA.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Island towns chip in for new computer-aided dispatch system

A new, $150,000 computer-aided dispatch system being implemented in Long Beach Township, which also dispatches Long Beach Island police calls for Beach Haven, Ship Bottom, Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light, will allow the departments to communicate quicker and more effectively. The new software system, which Harvey Cedars is already using, will act as a hub for information sharing.
Photo via Google
The new dispatching system will allow
all officers to respond faster to calls.
“They’re taking our database and our system and moving it into a bigger system, so we’re actually the basis for the new system,” said Harvey Cedars Police Chief Tom Preiser. “Basically it’ll be the whole Island except for Surf City, and at that point we’ll be able to share information. Right now we aren’t able to do that.”
Long Beach Township Police Chief Michael Bradley hopes to have the system in place by Jan. 1.
The township’s current system, which it has used for approximately eight years, is being discontinued by General Dynamics, Bradley said.
“It’s not an upgrade,” he emphasized.
The new system will provide dispatching services as well as records management, which includes various types of reports from accidents and arrests to investigations, Bradley noted.
“The computer-aided dispatch is an essential tool for law enforcement,” he said. “We’re required to retain public records, so this is a system that meets that standard for record retention as required by the state of New Jersey.”
Some interesting features of the new system include a barcode evidence tracking system as well as a messaging system that will allow officers to disseminate pertinent information in a more timely fashion. For example, if there is a hit and run in Beach Haven and the car is headed north, every department will be notified of that information, including what type of car is involved and what type of damage it has, Preiser noted.
“Whatever kind of information there is, dispatch can put that out to everybody in one shot, and we can look out for whatever we need to look out for, quicker,” he said.
A mapping system will also allow officers to plot statistics for crimes such as burglaries. This will help law enforcement locate trends and direct extra enforcement where necessary, said Preiser.
“It’s really neat. As it is now, our guys have to come in and kind of create pieces in the system on their own,” he said. “This way, dispatch will create cases, and they (officers) will just fill in some details. It’ll save a lot of work for the officers all around. It’ll be a lot less time inside doing paperwork.”
The cost of the new system, which includes the annual licensing maintenance fee for 2016, is being divided proportionately by the size of each participating town, said Bradley.
“It’s shared service, so we are sharing the cost,” he noted. “Long Beach Township is the biggest town, so we contributed the most.”
The fee (also proportionate to the size of the town) that each participating town pays Long Beach Township for its dispatch service is included in a separate contract, he added. 
“It’s the same agreement we’ve been running on for years, and in some instances, decades,” Bradley said. “We’ve worked very well over the years together, and I believe it’s produced quite a bit of tax savings for our community. And it’s produced, in my opinion, high-quality dispatching services.”
Beach Haven Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis, who noted it is much cheaper for the town to be part of the joint service than to have its own dispatching center, said the borough is chipping in $24,500 for the new system. Utilizing the new system should lower their monthly dispatching fee by a couple hundred dollars, added Sherry Mason, municipal clerk.
Long Beach Township is also implementing a new digital radio system for which most of the towns involved will just need equipment reprogramming, according to Presier. Antenna sites will be set up in Barnegat Light, Holgate and at the Long Beach Township Police headquarters in Brant Beach.
“It’ll be much clearer for everybody to understand, and there won’t be any of these dead spots that we have now in certain areas, where you go to transmit on your portable radio and you can’t get in, or it’s not clear, or it’s static-y. We’re going to get rid of all that,” he said.
The system should be up and running soon, he noted.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Humpback whales sightings ‘not really uncommon’

Humpback whales have been making a big splash along the shore the past few weeks. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center reported sightings in Ship Bottom and Ocean City Saturday, Oct. 17. Another sighting took place in Bay Head Sunday, Oct. 18, and the last reported sighting was in Point Pleasant Monday, Oct. 19.
According to Sheila Dean, co-director of the center in Brigantine, fishermen in Cape May also reported whale sightings in that area last weekend.
Photo by Jim Verhagen
Beach-goers catch a humpback whale
making waves in the water in Surf City.
“As far as the whales off LBI, it is always amazing to see such large marine mammals in our waters,” said Kyle Gronostajski, executive director of Alliance for a Living Ocean. “People seem to have a real connection to most marine mammals, and hopefully it makes them more aware of the numerous environmental issues facing our oceans. We are lucky to get to see such creatures right here in our own backyard and should never take that for granted. We'll only continue to see them if we keep our waterways clean and work to make it a great home for these creatures as well as for ourselves.”
Although the stranding center has not had any whale reports in a few days, Dean said it is not unusual to see humpbacks this time of year.
“We see them every year. We’ve been seeing them close to shore every fall, so it’s not really uncommon,” she said.
Although she wishes the center could identify each one of the whales, she said, “We’re not researchers.” And she doubts passing the photos along to researchers would help them in any way.
“Most of the time they need to see the bottom of the tail, and these whales are not in deep water. They’re in shallow water, so their tails are not going to come up,” she said.
“By the time we would drive to where the whales are, they’ll be gone. It’s not like they stay in one spot, so we rely on people to take photographs,” Dean explained.
There have been a lot of baitfish in the water lately, which is what humpbacks feed on.
“That’s what they’re going after, the small fish, because they’re filter-feeders. That’s what they eat,” said Dean.
Baitfish are typically around during the fall when the water is warmer, but the temperatures are dropping, which could be the reason why whale sightings have been less frequent.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Beach Haven Fire Co. gives rescheduled Block Party a spooky twist

Photo via BHCFV
Floodwater creeps into the
firehouse in Beach Haven.
For the first time in 20 years, the Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co.’s annual Block Party, normally held alongside Chowderfest weekend, had to be rescheduled due to flooding concerns from a nor’easter. To make up for it, the company is hosting a scaled-back version of the event, Halloween-style, at the firehouse on Friday, Oct. 30, from 5 to 9 p.m.
“(Hurricane) Joaquin did not affect us. It was the nor’easter that hung around for a few days, causing flooding,” said Matt Letts, Beach Haven fire chief. “(The) Block Party is a big fundraiser for us, so it definitely affected us financially,” he added.
Admission to the event is free, and everyone is encouraged to come in costume. Prizes will be awarded for best dressed.
Although the street will not be blocked off and the event is only being held four hours instead of the usual eight hours, a gaming trailer, DJ, crafts and more will be available. Fire company members will also be serving hot dogs, hamburgers, chili, soda and beer.
“(The) Block Party has been a yearly thing since 1995,” said Letts. “We would like to thank all of our sponsors and the community for their continued support.”
A traditional truck housing ceremony that was also postponed on Oct. 3 will be held sometime in the spring. The event will officially welcome the company’s new, custom-built pumper and water rescue trucks, as well as a 5-ton flood and forest fire response truck refurbished in-house after Superstorm Sandy. A re-dedication of the original section of the firehouse, which was constructed 100 years ago, will also take place during the event. No date has been set.

— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween Party at LBIF to benefit local school organizations

Kids and adults looking to enjoy some spooky, holiday fun are invited to attend the Halloween Party at the Long Beach Island Foundation in Loveladies, Friday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. The event, hosted by the Foundation in partnership with Stafford Teachers and Residents Together, will benefit START, the Long Beach Island PTA and Stafford PTO.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
The Long Beach Island Foundation provides
educational and cultural programs for all ages.
The party will start with DJ Mike, and those who come in costume will be eligible to enter the costume contest.
The event is BYOB. All types of Halloween treats from candy to baked goods will be provided.
For those looking to get their scare on, admittance to a haunted house will be available for a $3 donation.
“This year we are stepping the scare up; be prepared for a fright,” said Amy Carreño, director of public programs and LBIF.
The spooky attraction will also be open the following Friday, Oct. 30, before “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
There is a suggested $5 donation requested from those who attend the party.
“This is an awesome event for the whole family,” Carreño said. “Kick off Halloween with a frightful, fun night and support our kids and the schools. It’s a win-win for all.”
For more information, call 609-494-1241.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, October 16, 2015

David Caldarella of Manahawkin, founder of David's Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation, receives national Hero of Hope award

Local hero David Caldarella, known around town for his selfless support and generosity in helping individuals and their loved ones through David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation, recently stood before hundreds of people at the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigator’s sixth annual conference in Atlanta, Ga., where he received the inaugural Hero of Hope award. The national honor recognized the Manahawkin resident as “a person living with cancer who is making an outstanding contribution to his/her community through fundraising or leadership, by serving as a role model to others with cancer, and exuding extraordinary spirit, grace and optimism in the face of adversity.”
Photo by Ryan Johnson
David Caldarella was diagnosed
with cancer at 42 years old.
Over 50 proposals from across the country were submitted for the honor. Caldarella was one of four nominees to enter the final voting round, which took place online between August and September. More than 10,000 votes were cast over the two-month period, with Caldarella receiving the most.
“More than anything else, this nomination and award means ‘the little engine that could’ known as DDBCF is being recognized on a national level for the ‘IMPACT’ it’s having in the oncology community, and specifically for its’ impact on patients and their families affected by a cancer diagnosis,” Caldarella said.
He was diagnosed with stage IV head and neck cancer five years ago, at 41 years old.
“I was in the best shape of my life and had never smoked,” he recalled. “Beyond the physical, this experience hit me emotionally, socially and financially. It literally changed my life.”
After undergoing several surgeries as well as chemotherapy and radiation, Caldarella was cancer-free eight months later. Throughout his treatment, he spent hours considering how he could use his experience to make a difference.
DDBCF now hosts four fundraising events each year. A gala at the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club in Beach Haven this August raised a record $100,000. To date, the organization has helped 421 families by providing more than $400,000 in assistance.
A $1,000 grant from AONN will also “go directly into the hands of a deserving family or two battling a cancer diagnosis,” Caldarella stated.
He credited DDBCF’s board of directors, including Kim McCabe Manzella, Tim Hall, Dani Corso, Jill Elsasser, Kristin Panzone and Kelly Powers; the many sponsors and volunteers who continually support the organization; the expanding Generation Dream youth group and their parents; Southern Regional High School’s student group and its teachers; Stockton University, Dr. Ai Zhang and students; and those dealing with cancer as well as anyone who has lost that battle.
“This amazing group of courageous, strong and inspiring souls received that Hero of Hope award with me,” Caldarella stated.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Beach Haven sells nearly $15,000 more in beach badges this summer

Beach badge sales in Beach Haven this summer totaled $494,582, which is an increase of $14,582 over last year, borough manager Richard Crane announced at the town council’s regular meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 13. The number of daily badges sold increased by 408, and an additional 152 seasonal badges were sold.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Sunny days helped bring more beach-
goers to Beach Haven this year.
Given the nice weather and crowds the beaches had every week this year, Crane said he was a bit shocked by the final numbers and also wondered “whether we’ve maxed out.” He noted the town’s free beach admittance on Wednesdays, held for the first time this summer, had affected sales, though he is not yet sure how greatly.
“I don’t know how much of an effect that would have had, but I was a little surprised. I was expecting we’d take in a few more dollars,” Crane said.
On the positive side, Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis emphasized, the borough did bring in more money than last year. She also noted Wednesday Fun Day helped bring more business to town.
“It was an extremely good summer for the merchants. In addition to that, it was a long summer,” Taggart Davis said. “Unfortunately, we had bad weather over Chowderfest, which was a shame. But we did see a lot of activity this past weekend.”
The mayor said she spent more money during the #blinkinglightsale than she did all summer. The campaign during Columbus Day weekend to help local businesses recover from the hit of the Chowderfest cancellation was started by a group of local businesswomen.
This summer, the beach patrol  was “extremely active” with 487 rescues, “proving yet again that the Atlantic Ocean is not your typical backyard pool,” Crane said. During a four-day period, from Aug. 27 through Aug. 30, the patrol made 157 rescues. The high number was attributed to the large crowd of people and the rough water conditions from a strong northeast wind and an extremely low tide.
“Swimmers were taking advantage of the relatively shallow water, and then they would step just beyond a certain point, go knee-deep in the water and get caught in the rip current,” Crane explained. “It created a tremendous amount of problems for them, and (Beach Patrol) Chief (Mike) Lawrence said it was the most serious thing he’s seen. He never experienced anything quite like that.”
Crane noted Lawrence also suggested the beach replenishment immediately to the north of the borough in Long Beach Township may have had something to do with it.
“That’s an awful lot of rescues in a four-day period,” Crane emphasized.
In other meeting news, Crane noted the first phase for demolition of the borough hall has begun with Yanuzzi Group of Hillsborough Township, which submitted a successful bid of $237,000. The entire project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
The council approved an ordinance amendment that, if adopted, would make it “unlawful to dispose of trash, litter, garbage, or debris by placing it at any location other than the property where it was generated.”
An ordinance amendment pertaining to special events, block parties and bonfire events that require Dumpsters was also approved. If adopted, it would be up to the public works department to decide whether an event must use borough-issued Dumpsters or if the event is large enough to require the use of a commercial Dumpster provider. If a commercial Dumpster is necessary, receptacles would need to be picked up the day after the event concludes. If not picked up at that time, a fine would be applied until pick-up was done. All applications for special event permits would also need to be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of 10 percent of the rental fee pertaining to the organization.
An ordinance amendment updating the permitting process and regulations for newspaper vending machines within the borough was also approved.
Councilman Jim White, who said two of his nieces are battling stage IV breast cancer, urged the public to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He noted 250,000 women in the U.S. are affected by the disease.
Councilman Don Kakstis announced the council will be working with St. Francis Community Center to obtain a grant to bring handicapped children to the beach next summer.
Taggart Davis thanked Beach Haven Future for working with the borough on its 125th anniversary events, which are ongoing. An inaugural Fall Festival will take place at Veterans Park Saturday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bicyclist injured in car crash near Southern Regional High School

Richard E. Smrkovsky, 60, was riding a bicycle when he was injured after a motor vehicle operated by Jonathan M. Tedesco, 51, crashed into him in front of Southern Regional High School on Route 9 in Manahawkin on Sunday, Oct. 11. Both parties are local residents.
Photo via Google
The crash occurred near the school on Route 9.
Tedesco was traveling south on the highway when the 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe left the roadway for an unknown reason and struck the bicyclist and then a utility pole. Smrkovsky was riding his bicycle north on the southbound shoulder of the roadway at the time the crash occurred.
Officers of the Stafford Township Police Department responded to the scene, and traffic was temporarily re-directed off Route 9 to Cedar Bridge Road. The New Jersey Department of Transportation and Verizon responded at 1 p.m. to replace the utility pole and to re-open Route 9 to traffic.
As a result of the impact, Smrkovsky sustained a significant injury to his leg and was transported to Southern Ocean Medical Center, where he received treatment for his injury, Stafford Police said.
Tedesco’s vehicle was heavily damaged and was towed from the scene. He did not sustain any injuries from the crash. He was charged with careless driving and failure to maintain a lane. 
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall Festival in Beach Haven will celebrate autumn at the shore

Veterans Park on Engleside Avenue in Beach Haven will be transformed to reflect autumn at the beach during the town’s inaugural Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is being held in collaboration with Beach Haven Future and Beach Haven borough.
Photo via BHF
The autumn-inspired event is the first of
its kind to be held in Beach Haven.
“We’ve had a wonderful response from local business owners who plan to serve delicious comfort food all day long. Hot dogs, yummy soups, chili, sausage-peppers-onion sandwiches and hot turkey sandwiches are on the menu,” said Barb Cona, executive director of BHF. “There will be plenty of fall foods to tempt your taste buds: caramel apples, fall-flavored ice cream, funnel cakes, apple fritters, fudge and much more. For the adults we have some fall beers coming your way along with a terrific selection of wine.”
Children are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes, and bags will be available for collecting treats from vendors. A petting zoo, pony rides, hayrides and a pumpkin decorating booth will also be available for kids.
A few fall-inspired competitions will give the event a real seasonal feel. An apple pie bake-off will include the first 10 entries. Advance registration is required, and each contestant will need to submit two pies (one for tasting and one for show) made entirely from scratch.
An apple pie-eating contest will include a limit of six contestants per category. Age groups consist of 10- to 15-year-olds; 16- to 21-year-olds; 22- to 54-year-olds; and anyone 55 years old and older. Prizes will be given to the winner in each age group.
A scarecrow contest for anyone interested will allow participants to use their creativity to represent their business, family, or themselves. A $100 prize will be awarded for the best overall winner. Registration is free, but advance registration is required.
A variety of Beach Haven merchants will also offer a range of goods from fall spices, clothing and crafts to home-baked goods, Halloween costumes for pets and Christmas ornaments.
Jake’s Rockin Country Band will provide live, bluegrass music from noon to 4:30.
“Beach Haven Future wanted an event to celebrate the change of season on LBI, and the Fall Festival will be a festive event that will continue to grow over the years,” Cona said. “The town’s 125th anniversary gave us the perfect time to kick this into high gear. We are beyond excited.”
Festival-goers can bring their own chairs, but no pets are allowed.
For more information, visit and check the organization’s Facebook page.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Casino and Auction Night at Brant Beach Yacht Club to benefit students, staff of LBI Consolidated School District

Let the chips fall at the Long Beach Island Parent-Teacher Association’s Casino & Auction Night at the Brant Beach Yacht Club on Friday, Oct. 23, from 6 to 10 p.m. Ticket holders get $50 in chips at the door as well as options to play casino-style at eight tables with pro croupiers.
Photo via Flickr
The casino-style event will take place at
the Brant Beach Yacht Club on LBI.
Winning at the table means more chances to win at basket raffle. A silent auction, 50/50 raffle and wine pull will also be available.
Appetizers provided by Foodie’s as well as a cash bar and (hopefully) a fall sunset across the bay will complete the night.
“What has been truly amazing about this year’s Casino & Auction night is the width and breadth of support we’ve received from local businesses,” said Jen Begonia, LBI PTA vice president and event chairwoman. “Over 100 merchants, service providers, restaurants and more from end-to-end on the Island and over the Causeway have contributed as sponsors and donors. We have more than $12,000 in prizes to offer thanks to the generosity of our community.
“A fun fact is that our PTA president, Tom Beaty, donated one of his handmade alaias (valued at $250) to the silent auction. We believe he is the first male president ever in our district,” she added. “Our former president, Karen Beetel, parent to four LBI District students and employee at EJ School, as well as a licensed massage therapist, is donating a massage. ”
Proceeds from the event will help raise funds for events and programs for students and staff of the LBI Consolidated School District, which includes the Long Beach Island Grade School and Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School.
“All of the funds we raise go directly to support the kids and educators in these schools,” said Begonia. “Our organization contributes to field day, cultural arts assemblies, special evening and weekend programs, a school garden, college scholarships, after-school enrichment, reading fairs (including a free book for each student), field trips and much more.”
Tickets to the event cost $40 and are only available in advance. To purchase tickets, visit The printed form can be delivered to the EJ School before 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, or postmarked by the same date.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Single-lane closures on LBI Causeway beginning next week will remain until spring

To allow for the start of the demolition and reconstruction of the north side of the east and west thorofare bridges on the $350 million Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project, Schiavone Construction Co. crew members will begin to shift traffic to the south side of the bridges next week.
The new traffic pattern will include a single lane in each direction between the two thorofare bridges. The new configuration will remain until the spring.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
The entire project is expected to be
completed by 2020.
The north sidewalk on both thorofare bridges will be temporarily closed during the construction. The New Jersey Department of Transportation will coordinate a shuttle service with the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association for pedestrians.
“A temporary bus shuttle service will accommodate pedestrians so there is no loss of travel capacity on Route 72 with this new configuration,” said Steve Schapiro, DOT communications director.
Work on the Route 72 bridges project began in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2020. The 3-mile-long causeway, which links Stafford Township on the mainland with Ship Bottom on LBI, is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete after 53 years in existence, Schapiro noted.
When the new span is finished in 2016, the existing Bay Bridge will be closed to traffic for rehabilitation. It will serve as the bridge for westbound traffic once completed.
“The project is constructing a new bridge parallel to the existing one over Manahawkin Bay, providing the safety of a redundant route on or off the Island in the event that one of the bridges needs to be closed,” Schapiro said. “This design is consistent with Christie administration objectives to build in strength or redundancy to better withstand future storms. The existing Causeway sustained relatively minor damage during Superstorm Sandy, but storm damage is a concern, especially because it provides the only way for motor vehicles to enter or exit Long Beach Island.
“The new bridge will be 2,400 feet long with a vertical clearance of 55 feet over Manahawkin Bay. Ultimately, it will function as the bridge for eastbound traffic once the project is completed,” he added. “This sequence was designed to preserve the current two travel lanes in each direction during busy summer seasons from mid-May to mid-September during daytime hours and weekends. The contractor is allowed single-lane closures overnight and during the off-season, but one lane will always be maintained in each direction.”
The exact timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors.
For more information about the project, visit Construction updates and real-time travel information can be found at
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Area towns to receive combined $47,000 via Ocean County Recycling Revenue Sharing Program

Local municipalities that have taken part in the Ocean County Recycling Revenue Sharing Program will receive a combined $47,865 of the $241,166 generated by all participating county towns during the first half of 2015.
Barnegat Township will receive $7,995; Barnegat Light is getting $563; Beach Haven will acquire $1,651; Eagleswood Township will get $670; Harvey Cedars is to receive $373; and Little Egg Harbo
Photo via Shore News Network
The county collected more than 37,000 tons of
recyclables during the first six months this year.
r Township will get $8,932. Long Beach Township is acquiring $3,243; Ship Bottom will get $1,080; Stafford Township is acquiring $20,077; Surf City is getting $1,276; and Tuckerton will receive $2,005.
Since the program began in 1995, the county has returned over $15 million to participating towns. Municipalities are provided a portion of the recycling revenues based on the amount recycled.
During the first half of 2015, the county collected 36,763 tons of recyclables from its towns. The payout for this period was $6.56 per ton.
The amount is based on the price per commodity in the current market.
“These prices change all the time,” said Freeholder James F. Lacey, who serves as liaison to the county’s recycling program. “And even though we have seen a decline in the average price of each commodity we recycle, we are still able to return money to our towns.”
For example, corrugated cardboard is down $31.90 per ton to $106 per ton, old newspapers are down $40.47 per ton to $79.53, and some plastics have decreased by as much as $127.80 per ton in comparison to the same period in 2014.
“Recycling comes with a host of benefits,” said Freeholder Director John C. Bartlett Jr. “One of the greatest benefits is keeping the material out of the landfill and preserving the space there. As a result of these recycling efforts, municipalities collectively saved almost $3 million in the first half of 2015 by not dumping those materials in the landfill, where they would have to pay a tipping fee.”
Although many towns invest the money back into the recycling program, they can use the funds as desired.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fire company launches Smoke Alarm Inspection Program for Surf City, North Beach residents

To help prevent fire-related injuries and deaths due to nonworking smoke alarms, members of the Surf City Volunteer Fire Co. and EMS are conducting free smoke alarm checks for Surf City and North Beach residents. The launch of the department’s Smoke Alarm Inspection Program coincides with Fire Prevention Month.
Department volunteers will check alarms to make sure they function properly and will also replace batteries if necessary. New alarms will be installed if the home is not equipped with them. Some new alarms on the market that have a sealed battery with a 10-year life span are available to residents. Specialty alarms for the hearing impaired are
Photo via SCVFC
Surf City firefighters and EMS members
work to put out a home fire. 
available as well.
“By letting our volunteers test or install these smoke alarms inside your home, you will increase the chances of survival by early detection in the event the unthinkable happens,” said Michael Wolfschmidt, assistant chief of the fire company.
Although hard-wired smoke detectors can be checked, they cannot be serviced or replaced by department members. Members recommend residents contact a licensed electrician or fire alarm contractor to have detectors that are over 10 years old, or are not working, serviced or replaced.
“There are several different manufacturers of smoke detectors, and it would be very difficult to replace a homeowner's detectors with an exact match,” Wolfschmidt said. “We can, however, replace the back-up batteries inside them.”
There is a difference between smoke alarms and smoke detectors, Wolfschmidt noted. Smoke alarms are battery-operated and are not interconnected to other alarms. Smoke detectors are hard-wired to a power source and are usually interconnected. Smoke detectors in homes typically have a back-up battery installed as well, he said.
Batteries in both smoke alarms and smoke detectors should be replaced twice a year. For an easy reminder of when to change them, Wolfschmidt suggests using the daylight savings time schedule.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 3,000 people in the United States are killed every year due to fires. Compared to other age groups, older adults are more likely to be killed by a home fire. Three out of five home fire deaths are the result of fires in which smoke alarms are not present or malfunction.
Members of the Surf City Fire Company recommend having smoke detectors or alarms on every level of the home, including the basement. One should be located in the hallway outside the bedrooms as well as inside each bedroom.
Homes with fuel-burning appliances, such as natural gas, and/or an attached garage should also have carbon monoxide detectors installed within 10 feet of a bedroom, Wolfschmidt said. Due to cost, the fire company does not have the resources available to provide carbon monoxide detectors with the Smoke Alarm Inspection Program.
The program will be available as long as supplies, which have been donated by the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, are available. Residents and business owners are also welcome to donate.
To schedule a smoke alarm check or installation, contact Wolfschmidt at 609-494-6127 or Residents can also fill out a form at the Surf City firehouse.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

#blinkinglightsale Campaign promoting shopping in Beach Haven this weekend after Chowderfest cancellation

Photo via APP
The traffic lights on Long Beach Island have been
set to blink mode for the remainder of the year.
Most businesses in Beach Haven stock up on extra inventory and end their season with blowout sales during Chowderfest weekend. But the threat of Hurricane Joaquin this past weekend put a damper on the business community when the festival, which draws thousands of people to town every year, had to be canceled due to severe storm weather.
To help the community recuperate, a group of local business owners has started a hashtag campaign dubbed #blinkinglightsale to spread the word about the discounts and specials many stores are offering during the upcoming Columbus Day holiday.
“This weekend is a three-day weekend for many, and we have the Kite Festival and (Long Beach Island Commemorative) 18 Mile Run. There are people coming here this weekend, and we need to let them know we are open,” said Regina Lotito-Starin, owner of Spice It Up, who started #blinkinglightsale with Bonnie Buchan of Sur La Plage and The Mod Hatter owner Tina Berman, who kick-started the idea through a Facebook post that resonated with many other local businesses. “We encourage (business owners) to make it fun, offer a secret sale or gift or coupon to be used for next year. Share, share and more sharing will help us to get the word out.”
The campaign, which is being used on social media, encourages residents and visitors to make the now-quick-trip to Beach Haven since the traffic lights on Long Beach Island were set to blink mode on Monday. Although the flashing yellow and red lights signal the end of the summer season for the area, many look forward to driving around the Island without the stop-and-go of working traffic lights.
A couple from Pennsylvania who stopped in Spice It Up Tuesday told Lotitio-Starin’s husband they had heard about the sale and are planning to come back to the area on Saturday, Lotito-Starin said.
“Even though a few of us did try to open for Chowderfest weekend, obviously it wasn’t the same volume,” she said. “But it seems like at least (the campaign is) starting to reach out to people, which is great.”
The borough’s town-wide yard sale, which was also postponed from last weekend due to the storm, has been rescheduled for this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11. Officials are asking visitors to be mindful of the participants of the 18 Mile Run, which begins in Holgate at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Manahawkin native may not be able to keep ‘Driving Jersey’ show on the road

“Driving Jersey,” the Emmy-nominated TV series that brings viewers on a journey to meet some of the Garden State’s best-loved or little-known people, places and things, is at a crossroads. The show, produced and funded mainly by Steve Rogers – a single dad, who grew up in Manahawkin – may have to pump the brakes as finances prove scarce.
Earlier this year, the project’s vehicle went down and a new camera and other equipment were needed as well. Without corporate sponsorship or individual angel support, continuing the show has become nearly impossible.
Photo via Steve Rogers
The show is produced and funded mainly
by Steve Rogers, who is a single dad.
“Unlike most PBS programs, we’re not sponsored by a long list of corporations,” Rogers said. “We get by on our own dime, which means we have complete freedom, but it also means when we’re hit with major expenses we’re in jeopardy of stalling.”
The show appears in fives states to 2.2. million households. It is currently in production of its fifth season.
During the series’ creation over the last seven years, the crew has made several stops locally.
The now-closed Colonial Theater in Beach Haven was featured in an episode about cinema in New Jersey, and an episode about education in the state included Manahawkin teacher Adele Rogers, who is also Steve Rogers’ mother. A full episode was even dedicated to Surflight Theatre.
An earlier episode highlighted local Barnegat Light fisherman/towboat captain Jake D'Arcangelo, and another featured singer and Beach Haven West resident Gino Valenti.
In an attempt to complete the show’s fifth season and get rolling on the next, Rogers and his crew have started a Kickstarter campaign, which they hope people will contribute to.
This is only the second time they have requested help from the public. The first fundraiser for the show concluded just after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“Because we had no power, I was in the dark, in my car texting friends and family, asking them to spread the word and share our need,” Rogers said.
One of three post-Sandy episodes devoted to chronicling the aftermath of the storm featured Beach Haven West, Ship Bottom, Brant Beach, Haven Beach and Beach Haven.
“That was important to us,” Rogers said. “We really mean it when we say this is a people project, so doing what we could to help people and highlight the tragedy and need that was out there was us trying to directly connect the dots of gratitude we had for people helping us.”
The show’s upcoming November episode features Ocean County/Southern Monmouth County band Thomas Wesley Stern. The final episode of the season will highlight former Manahawkin resident Kevin Bott, “a former professional actor turned academic,” who created an old-style tent revival show that celebrates democracy instead of old-time religion. His family still lives in Manahawkin and on LBI.
To learn more about the show and its campaign, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chatsworth Cranberry Festival celebrates another year of Pine Barrens fun

Autumn has quickly fallen upon us, and with the season come some of the region’s best loved, outdoor festivals. The famous Chatsworth Cranberry Festival, dedicated to New Jersey’s Pine Barrens and its abundant cranberry harvest (the third largest in the United States), is now in its 32nd year. The family-friendly event, filled with a diverse showing of more than 160 artists and crafters and over 35 antiques dealers as well as a wide selection of delicious, cranberry-inspired food and beverages, will take place in the center of town in Burlington County on Oct. 17 and 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Photo via Burlington County Times
Holly Dengler scoops cranberries during
last year's Chatsworth Cranberry Festival.
Aside from lots of shopping and good eating, some of the best highlights of the festival include a quilt display and a chance to meet the Howling Woods Farm wolves, featured in Disney’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” The Bullzeye Band gives a live southern and classical rock performance between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Car enthusiasts interested in the Antique and Classic Automobile Show are invited to check out the over 100 vehicles that will roll in for demonstration on Sunday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Early birds can stop by for breakfast, which will be served each morning between 6 and 11 at the Chatsworth Firehouse. Assorted pastries and baked goods are also available at the White Horse Café and other local restaurants.
The weekend event is hosted by the Festival Committee of Chatsworth for the preservation of the White Horse Inn, a local landmark that was originally built as the Shamong Hotel in the 1800s. It served stagecoach passengers when first constructed and, later, railroad passengers on their way to iron furnaces in the southern part of the state. At the turn of the 20th century, overflow guests from the Chatsworth Club were housed at the inn. It is the sole remaining building that once belonged to the club.
The iconic hotel, which is one of the oldest surviving inns in the Pine Barrens, was on the verge of ruin when local residents decided to save it. Renovations, which took over a decade to accomplish, were completed in 2009. However, ongoing maintenance is required annually. A majority of the costs are covered by funds raised at the festival each year.
Admission to the event is free. Those who use the parking area at the school near Second Street are asked to make a $5 donation. No parking along Route 532 will be allowed.
For more information, visit
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The Beachcomber.