Thursday, January 28, 2016

Storm cleanup in Beach Haven ‘wasn’t anything out of the ordinary’ following a nor’easter

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Loads of sand are dumped on the beach to
offset erosion at Merivale and Nelson avenues.
There’s no doubt the weekend’s blizzard hit Beach Haven hard as 100 dump truck loads of sand were brought in first thing to offset severe beach erosion at Merivale and Nelson avenues. But the accrued damage is characteristic of being hit by a nor’easter, said George Gilbert, superintendent of the Beach Haven Public Works Department.
“That’s our normal spot; it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. It wasn’t like (Superstorm) Sandy,” he stated. “That’s the only place we trucked in sand. We have scattered erosion up and down the rest of the town, on the front of the dunes. But there’s nothing major there, so we’ll just address that as we can.”
For the affected beaches, 62 trucks of sand were brought in on Monday, and the rest of the 38 lots were delivered on Tuesday.
“They’ve got a boatload of dump trucks running up and down the Boulevard, dumping sand,” Beach Haven Police Capt. Matt Greenwood stated on Monday. He noted a geotube in the location is what saved the homes.
By late Tuesday morning, crews were doing the final grading.
Although it was a seamless (yet “busy”) process, Gilbert said beach replenishment, which was supposed to start last spring before it was eventually pushed back to March after the dredges were rerouted to Georgia, “would have definitely eliminated our issues.”
On the flipside, flooding from the bay was a big problem for the town during the blizzard. Long Beach Boulevard had anywhere from 2 to 4 feet of water, depending on the area. Some residences and businesses required cleanup.
It took Beach Haven Fire Department members about five hours to clean the firehouse Sunday afternoon after they were forced to open the doors Saturday evening due to street flooding.
“We didn’t want the pressure on the door to blow out the bottom because that happened during Sandy also,” said Beach Haven Fire Chief Matt Letts, noting the firehouse took in about a foot of water.
A few auxiliary members as well as members of the Beach Haven First Aid Squad joined the cleanup, to help wash the trucks and mop and disinfect the floors and rooms.
Power outages were also an issue for people during the storm. The electricity went out in 1,600 residences on Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. During that time, one resident was voluntarily evacuated from a condominium and brought to the first aid squad building on Engleside Avenue.
Throughout the weekend, the squad’s Beach Haven division responded to a total of four medical calls, two of which were for the same person, according to Deborah Whitcraft, a trustee of the company.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas causes heavy beach erosion in Surf City

Photo via Facebook
Surf City Patrolwoman Sarah Roe
checks the beach erosion at 18th Street.
Winter Storm Jonas took a toll on Surf City’s beaches, with significant erosion occurring mostly on the engineered dunes north of 12th Street. Much debris, including street signs all the way from Harvey Cedars, were found in the sand during cleanup.
“You can obviously see it was a powerful storm that took stuff that’s miles away on the north end and brought them down to our beach,” said Surf City Patrolwoman Sarah Roe, who advised residents to contact police if they find signs so they can be reinstalled.
The beach buggy entrances at 12th and 18th streets, where there are steep drop-offs, have been roped off for safety purposes.
Damage is visible on the dunes from 22nd through 24th streets, which have not yet received beach replenishment.
“It didn’t go over the dune, but it came very high,” said Surf City Councilman Peter Hartney, who noted he had asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement protective measures to the beaches prior to the storm.
According to the Army Corps, it is not fiscally prudent for contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. to complete replenishment on those beaches unless it can move into neighboring North Beach, which has outstanding easements. Now that there is damage that needs to be repaired, Hartney said he hopes there is sufficient incentive for the Army Corps to complete the project in Surf City without having to wait for North Beach.
“Since we have all our easements, they should have enough real estate now to make it worth their while to do all their work,” he stated, adding that he had received a call on Sunday from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who has been pushing the Army Corps to bring the contractor back to the area after leaving in December for other jobs in Georgia.
“The senator himself took time for a three-minute phone call to see how we were doing, and said that he would continue to do everything that he can along with Congressman (Frank) LoBiondo,” Hartney stated.
The blizzard’s high winds and severe winter weather also created issues in other areas of the town. Tidal flooding occurred throughout the weekend on Barnegat Avenue and in some parts of Central Avenue, where chunks of ice could be seen floating by. Some flooding on the shoulders of Long Beach Boulevard also arose during the worst of the storm.
Members of the police and fire departments helped a family voluntarily evacuate from their bayside home on Saturday evening. The fire company also responded to a car that became disabled after driving through flooded streets. The public works department spent much of Sunday and Monday clearing road entrances of ice and wreckage so residents could travel safely.
The storm’s high winds blew in some residences’ homes and windows, and those with low-lying garages had some flooding. The police department recommends homeowners check on their houses for possible damage.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Property revaluation in Beach Haven to begin in spring

A revaluation of all Beach Haven properties should begin in early spring and continue throughout summer.
The Ocean County Board of Taxation ordered the borough to conduct the revaluation last year because its ratio of assessed value to true value is down to 83.57 percent. The town’s last evaluation was conducted in 2004.
Photo via LBI Realty Group
About 40 percent of the properties
are classified as condominiums.
When the borough’s existing tax maps were sent to the state Division of Taxation last year, they were not in compliance with current standards, which require more detail of the town’s condominiums.
“Believe it or not, approximately 40 percent of our properties are actually classified as condominiums, so we’re talking about a lot of areas on our maps,” Borough Manager Richard Crane stated at the town council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Because of the discrepancy, the borough received a one-year extension for the revaluation. The tax maps were finally approved two weeks ago. Officials are now allowed to move ahead with the revaluation, which will take place during calendar year 2016 with the values that go on the books for tax year 2017. Vital Communications of Trenton will be handling the process.
“Don’t be surprised if you get a card or a knock on the door and it’s a representative from Vital Communications,” said Crane.
Moving Along
In other news, a $233,534 contract has been awarded to Buterick Bulkheading of Manahawkin for the installation of pilings for the town’s new municipal building. The bid is $144,897 below the architect’s estimate.
“Hopefully we can use that (remaining money) for some other parts of the project,” Crane said.
The borough manager also noted the bid is “significantly less” than what was offered by three other bidders in December.
Work on the pilings should begin by the first week of February.
Good News, Bad News
Local resident Kristy Davis, who has worked for the borough for over four years on a part-time basis, has been appointed the new deputy clerk as well as deputy registrar of vital statistics. She is taking over for Lauren Liquori, who started as a Stockton intern and is now moving to Florida.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Temporary shelters on Long Beach Island open to residents experiencing power outages

Photo by Ryan Morrill
A portion of Long Beach Boulevard is
closed in Long Beach Township due to floods.
Out of the 6,700 residences in Ocean County currently without power due to blizzard conditions, about 390 of them are in Long Beach Township, according to Frank Tedesco, Atlantic City Electric Co. media contact.
“A lot of the issues along the eastern portion of our service territory have been the extremely high winds and flooding on the islands,” he said. “Our crews cannot safely perform aerial restorations on the wires, in a bucket truck, with sustained winds of 40 mph or more. However, we are able to restore where we are safely and quickly as possible.”
The number of outages will fluctuate throughout the day based on the winds, Tedesco added, noting crew members are working around the high tides.
A majority of people in the High Bar Harbor section of the township were some of the first in the municipality to experience power loss.
Temporary shelters, including the Barnegat Light Volunteer Fire Co., Long Beach Island Grade School and Beach Haven First Aid Squad buildings, have opened on the Island for residents who are in need of lighting, refrigeration or warmth, said Long Beach Township Police Chief Michael Bradley. He noted an overnight shelter could open up if needed, though no decision has been made. Those seeking assistance should contact the Long Beach Township Police Department to make arrangements before heading to any of the locations.
Flooding has created other obstacles for local residents in different parts of the township as well. Long Beach Boulevard has been shut down from North Beach Haven through Brant Beach. There is also sporadic flooding on some bayside streets at the south end of the jurisdiction.
Bradley estimates the area had up to 8 inches of snow before conditions changed to sleet and rain around 4 a.m. He said the township Public Works Department and Ocean County Road Department did “a very good job” cleaning snow from the township’s streets.
“Now we’re concerned about flooding and ice, so our strong recommendation is do not travel,” he stated.
The police chief is encouraging people to stay informed of the weather forecast. Periodic updates are being sent out via the department’s emergency notification system, including its website and Facebook page as well as Nixle.
Township officials are working with the Ocean County Sheriff's Department Office of Emergency Management.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Surf City Police Chief says ‘now is the time to prepare’ for winter storm Jonas

The Surf City Police Department is encouraging residents to get ready now for winter storm Jonas, which has the potential to create heavy snow conditions, gusting winds and major coastal flooding on Long Beach Island and in surrounding areas tonight and throughout the weekend.
“The storm hasn’t gotten here yet, so now is the time to prepare and be ready for some snow and flooding,” said Surf City Police Chief William Collins, who noted elderly family members and neighbors should be checked on. “The most important thing is people still have a few hours to be and get prepared for this. If you need food or medication, get out and get it now. If you need to get your car to high ground, do it now.”
Photo by Ryan Morrill
A Surf City Volunteer Fire Co.
snow vehicle stands at the ready.
Homeowners in low-lying areas of town are encouraged to move their vehicles to higher grounds in case of flooding, which will be at its peak during the bay’s high tide cycles.
Cars may not be parked in the medians on Barnegat Avenue, which is expected to be under water.
To make way for snow plowing, all cars must be moved from borough streets.
“When they’re plowing snow and slush and your car’s parked on the street, first off it’s an obstacle, and second your car is liable to get damaged,” Collins said. “It shouldn’t be on the street during any snow event.”
The police department has received permission for residents to park their cars in the lot at the St. Thomas of Villanova Church as well as at the lot at the firehouse, near Long Beach Boulevard on Seventh Street, in Surf City.
The Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School in Surf City will be available for parking after 6 p.m. tonight.
Police have also secured access for residents to park their cars at the St. Mary’s of the Pines Catholic Church, in the lot nearest to McKinley Avenue, as well as at the Stafford Township Municipal Building and on the dirt path on Cedarbridge Road behind Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin.
Residents are encouraged to secure any outside items that could blow away such as loose cans and patio furniture. Contractors should cover Dumpsters and any building materials.
The police department is monitoring the storm and alerting residents of all pertinent updates via Nixle as well as its Facebook page.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fire companies fight flames at L.M. Farina & Sons in Manahawkin

Firefighters from Stafford and Barnegat townships as well as Forked River extinguished flames from a garage fire at L.M. Farina & Sons, located next to Kline Brothers Landscaping on East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin, early afternoon on Monday, Jan. 18.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Firefighters work to put out a fire in Manahawkin.
The call came in around 1:09 p.m., according to Stafford Township Police Capt. Thomas Delane.
“The shed is a total loss,” he said, adding that the adjoining residence also suffered heat and water damage.
The cause of the fire was deemed accidental due to a wood stove located in the garage. It was investigated by the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Stafford Township Detective Bureau and Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CIU.
The Stafford Township First Aid Squad also responded to the scene.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Beach Bums Corvette Club may be forced to change location, date of annual show due to Hop Sauce Festival

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Car show participants enjoy showing
off their flashy vehicles.
The Beach Bums Corvette Club, a nonprofit group that has held its annual car show on Taylor Avenue at Bay Village and Schooner’s Wharf in Beach Haven the first Sunday in June for nearly 10 years, will have to either change this year’s event location or push it back due to a scheduling conflict with Hop Sauce Festival, which is held at the same location.
Hop Sauce has been planned for the past two years on the Saturday following Memorial Day weekend, which means this year’s festival falls on June 4 – the day before the Corvette show. Because the popular festival has grown significantly since its inaugural event in 2014, vendor cleanup will not be completed in time for the car show, Regina Lotito-Starin, Hop Sauce chief organizer, stated during the borough council’s organization meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Although special-event requests are not normally discussed in public, Municipal Clerk Sherry Mason brought the issue to council since both applications were submitted within a couple of hours of each other.
The council suggested moving the car show, which typically draws around 150 Corvettes, to Veterans Park. But Lou Sivori, Beach Bums Corvette Club treasurer, who chairs the event, said the grassy area is not suitable for parking the expensive, well-maintained vehicles.
The participants “are very fussy about where they park,” he said.
Although Sivori noted he preferred to use the same lot on the rain date the following week, on June 12, he said doing so would most likely result in a decrease in participation. He fears this would cut proceeds, which are donated to local charities, by about a third.
Last year’s show raised approximately $3,000, $900 of which was donated to the Beach Haven Police Department for a bullet-proof vest.
If the club wants to keep the car show on the same day, the borough council suggested moving it to Second Street near the bay, which Sivori said he would discuss with the club board.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assures replenishment in Beach Haven will be finished in time for Memorial Day

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has vowed to have replenishment in Beach Haven completed before Memorial Day, Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis announced at the borough council’s organization meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Extra barges will help speed up the
replenishment process in Beach Haven.
“Beach Haven will be their main focus when they come back, probably sometime at the end of March. They guarantee me that they can finish in time for the summer,” she said, noting Army Corps officials Keith Watson and Lt. Col. Michael Bliss assured her the town would be the first to receive beach replenishment.
Last month, contractor Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. stalled work on Long Beach Island and moved its barges to Georgia for environmentally sensitive, military-related projects. Since then, Taggart Davis has worked with Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.-2nd) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to bring the contractor back.
“They have worked tirelessly to get Great Lakes back on the job,” Taggart Davis said. “They have done everything possible to get this to happen. They really have fought for this.”
Great Lakes is expected to bring extra barges to work twice as fast when the company arrives back in the area. A decision is still pending on whether the beachfill will begin at 12th Street and head south to Nelson Avenue or vice versa. The town’s southern-most beaches have more erosion, but the northern beaches are more heavily trafficked in season.
Although there was discussion of putting some sand on the beaches now, Taggart Davis said doing so would slow down the project and push it into the summer.
“I personally didn’t think that would be a great plan because the band-aid of putting a little sand on the beach is not really going to help us if we have a major storm,” she said. “Literally they claim that by the time they lay the pipe, with the roughness and the coldness of the ocean in the winter, that it would take them a couple weeks just to get their pipes down and bring the sand in. So that’s not happening.”
The mayor noted the overall project was delayed earlier in other LBI municipalities, partly because of unsigned easements.
“The thing that is annoying to us in Beach Haven is that we were the first town on the Island that had all our easements, and we are the ones that have been somewhat ignored. They worked on 12th Street and then went north again and left us in the lurch. So they know that, and they know we’re upset about that.”
Luckily there is a “very good” possibility Great Lakes will be able to take nicer sand out of the Little Egg Inlet to replenish the beaches.
“This would open up the inlet, which is something we would desperately like to see happen. So keep your fingers crossed that it all works out well for Beach Haven,” Taggart Davis said.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.