Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fith Street Beach Pavilion defaced in Beach Haven

Photo via Google
Graffiti was carved into the pavilion
over the Memorial Day weekend.
A possible swastika and other graffiti carved into the wood of the Fifth Street Pavilion in Beach Haven over Memorial Day weekend will have to be sanded out by the public works department, said Beach Haven Police Sgt. Tom Medel.
“The very nature of it looks juvenile: writing a name, so-and-so likes so-and-so. Stuff like that. We’re going to get that taken care of,” he stated.
A video of what appears to depict kids defacing the pavilion was sent to The SandPaper on Tuesday afternoon.
Although the police check the pavilions and beaches diligently, usually once a shift every day, they have not been checked as often lately to avoid getting in the way of beach replenishment, Medel said. He urged the public to contact the police as soon as possible if they see anybody producing graffiti.
“Vandalism is vandalism. Criminal mischief is criminal mischief,” he stated.
Adults can be fined for the incident and juveniles can be required to help fix the damage, Medel noted.
Also over the weekend, a toilet paper cover at the Centre Street bathroom had someone’s name written on it in marker. Medel said it’s “nothing unusual.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Surf City’s fire siren unexpectedly breaks

Photo via SCVFC
The siren alerts firefighters of an emergency.
If Surf City seems unusually quiet, that’s because the fire company’s siren is out of order. The alarm, which was last replaced in 2004, is out of commission due to exposure from the area’s salt air, said Fire Chief Michael Wolfschmidt, who noted the members did not foresee the siren’s unfortunate demise.
Because purchasing a brand-new siren would be very pricey, the fire company is in the process of deciding whether or not to acquire a used siren or to rebuild the one already in place. Wolfschmidt said the alarm, which is vital for notifying the volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel, will be in working order as quickly as possible.
Although some people consider the sound of the siren to be a nuisance, it is “truly a time-tested method of alerting our volunteers of an emergency” and rarely ever stops working, Wolfschmidt stated in a post on the Surf City Volunteer Fire Co. and EMS’ Facebook page. The siren also signals residents and visitors of an emergency and allows the community to be mindful of volunteers and emergency vehicles responding to the situation.
The siren is activated for all fire and rescue calls but is not used for emergency medical calls.
While the department’s members use electronic paging devices, the costly equipment sometimes stops working. The electronic devices also cannot be carried at all times, such as when volunteers are swimming or surfing or even boating, Wolfschmidt said.
“If we were to shut the fire siren off, some volunteers would be completely unaware of a fire or rescue emergency, which could have disastrous results. We need them to be there!” he stated. “When the fire siren activates, our volunteers always stop what they’re doing, or get out of bed, and head to the firehouse to help their neighbors in need. Please remember that firefighting is a dangerous and ultra hazardous activity. That firefighter responding to your emergency may never come home to their family in the event the unthinkable happens.
“Fire does not discriminate whether you are a career or volunteer firefighter or a civilian ... it will kill you just the same. Please remember this the next time you hear our siren and see our volunteers.”
Anyone with further matters concerning the siren may email Wolfschmidt at surfcityfirechief@gmail.com.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

LBI Garden Club donating 50th house tour funds to area green groups

Proceeds from the Garden Club of LBI’s 50th annual Holiday Tour of Homes, featuring five decorated houses extending from Holgate to Barnegat Light this past December, will be donated to eight local organizations dedicated to environmental activities, club members announced.
The groups, hand-selected by grant committee members, include the Terrapin Nesting Project, Beach Haven School garden, Ethel A. Jacobson Elementary School garden, All Saints Regional Catholic School garden, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church community garden, the children’s garden at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, Beach Haven Future’s planting project and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.
Photo by Pat Johnson
Debra McWilliams and Mary Kate Murray are house
chairwomen for the ‘Sand Castle’ in Loveladies.
“In providing a monetary grant to these organizations and schools, we hope to help them in their environmental endeavors and create a better community environment for all,” said Bette Dellatorre, who chairs the grant committee.
The groups either applied for the funding or were recommended to the club. The club does not disclose how much funding it is awarding to the groups or the total of funds raised from the tour, said member Bonnie Korbeil, who was enticed to join the club after attending the tour for many years.
“I love the creativity, the hard work, the camaraderie and lasting friendships formed, and of course the end result,” she stated. “The hard work of all of our members allows us to give back to our community in support of environmental concerns facing our area, as well as the other community oriented projects that we do through the course of the year.”
During the 50 years the club has been holding the tour, only one had to be canceled, in 2012 due to Superstorm Sandy. Nearly 900 people attend the tour every year, which is always held on the second Thursday of December. Participants get to enjoy stepping into the stylishly adorned homes, indulge in tea at the Brant Beach Yacht Club and check out the many different green arrangements made by the members at the boutique held at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, also in Brant Beach. Tickets normally sell out within weeks of when they go on sale on the second Friday of October.
“The tour is a labor of love for the Garden Club of LBI and planning begins in January, right after all the loose ends of the previous tour are wrapped up,” said Korbeil. “It is a huge undertaking with all members expected to participate.
“Once the homes are chosen and graciously given to the club to decorate the week of the tour, the planning and work begins. From the chairperson to the designers for the homes, to the hostesses and the workers for the tea and boutique, and all the countless other jobs, the ladies of the club give up much of their time and effort to bring this endeavor into a tour to remember for all who attend.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sharkfest will honor 100th anniversary of 1916 shark attack in Beach Haven

Whether or not residents and visitors are fearful of or fascinated by sharks, Sharkfest at Veterans Memorial Park in Beach Haven on Saturday, June 18, will be an event everyone can enjoy. The festival, hosted by Beach Haven Future from 3 to 10 p.m., will have plenty of activities for the entire family from contests, tournaments, book signings and lectures to games, a photo booth, local vendors and organizations, shark paraphernalia and much more.
Photo via Facebook
The summer kick-off event will be
held at Veteran's Memorial Park.
“We like to open each season with a kick-off event to get the residents, visitors and businesses together, and what better reason than to commemorate the 100th anniversary of our nation’s first recorded shark attack, which happened right here on Engleside Avenue?” said Lisa Mack, a BHF board member.
The infamous attack, which is thought to have inspired the blockbuster movie “Jaws,” took the life of Charles VanSant, a 24-year-old stockbroker from Philadelphia, who was enjoying his first dip in the ocean after just arriving in town with his family.
“Beach Haven Future is looking forward to this event because we will be celebrating a significant piece of our town’s history,” said Mack. “It also gives us a chance to raise awareness on the important role sharks play in our oceans.”
The festival is the brainchild of James Yuhas of Barnegat, who hopes the event will alert people about the issues surrounding shark finning, which involves the removal of shark fins while the rest of the shark is discarded in the ocean.
Live entertainment will be performed throughout the event. Dan Brown and The Empaths will play from 3 to 7 p.m., and Garage Kept will go on from 7 to 10 p.m.
Barbecued pulled pork, burgers, hot dogs, sausage and peppers, peel-and-eat shrimp, steamers, shark bites, baked beans, various sides, snacks and desserts as well as beer and wine will be available for purchase. Admission is free.
Buckalew’s Restaurant and Tavern, located at 101 North Bay Ave. in Beach Haven, is also hosting a Shark Fest Dinner in partnership with BHF’s Sharkfest Weekend, on Friday, June 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will include a Dog Fish Head beer tasting as well as shark discussions by guest speakers.
The menu includes family-style appetizers such as Sriracha lime baked oysters, sweet chili grilled shrimp and tuna tartare wonton chips. The entree includes a choice of wasabi pea crusted yellowfin tuna with sticky rice, Japanese long beans and ginger sauce, or grilled filet with whipped potatoes, Parmesan garlic green beans, frizzled buttermilk onions and bacon herb butter. The meal also includes a salad with Burrata cheese over balsamic greens with Jersey tomatoes, as well as elephant ear and shark fin ice cream for dessert.
Tickets cost $75 per person and include tax and gratuity. To purchase tickets, call 609-492-1065.
A number of other shark-inspired events will take place in Beach Haven throughout the summer season, including a private dinner at Buckalew’s, hosted by the New Jersey Maritime Museum, on Wednesday, July 6, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will include presentations by the Shark Research Institute as well as Dr. Richard Fernicola, author of 12 Days of Terror, which investigates the Jersey Shore shark attacks that occurred between July 1 and July 12 in 1916. The author will also be speaking at the museum's annual fundraiser, dubbed “The 1916 NJ Shark Attacks – 100 Years Later,” on Sept. 10, which will offer guests a chance to ride on a mechanical shark.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The Beachcomber.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Surf City Police, public works department rescue 14 ducklings from storm drain

Photo via SCPD
Surf City Police Officer Victor Rice responds to a
mother duck's cries for help to save her babies.
When the kids are in danger, mom knows she has to do whatever she can to get help. Last week, a frantic mother duck’s quacks alerted a Surf City resident to her 14 ducklings that were trapped in a storm drain at North Fourth Street and Barnegat Avenue. Members of the local police and public works departments quickly came to their rescue.
“They pulled the ducklings out and put them in a bucket, and once they got them all out, they put them over by mom and off they went,” said Surf City Patrolwoman Sarah Roe, whose father, Police Chief William Collins, helped save the ducks with Patrolman Victor Rice.
Tom Hudson, superintendent of the public works department, and full-time laborer Ed Oerther pulled up the grate so the officers could scoop up the ducklings.
“Our public works department has the equipment to lift up the grate, and then once the grate comes up, you can pretty much just reach in and grab them,” Roe explained. “They basically just need a pole to prop everything up. It’s a heavy grate, so it usually takes two big, strong men to pick it up. So they’re definitely our people for that job.”
Photo via SCPD
The ducklings huddle with their mother on the

grass after being rescued from a storm drain.
Roe suspects the ducks wandered over from the boat ramp near South Second and North First streets, where a lot of ducks can be seen swimming in the bay. She believes someone might be feeding the ducks from a private dock.
“As crazy as it sounds, they’re native to that area,” Roe stated.
It’s not uncommon for the police department to receive calls for these types of emergencies in the late spring and early summer, when the ducklings arrive, she said.
“They aren’t really aware that they’re going to fall into the storm drain, and then they can’t get out because at this point they can’t really fly,” said Roe. “They just kind of follow mom, and mom hops up, and they go, whoop, right down into the storm drain. But when we get called, it’s an easy enough thing for us to pull them out.”
If anyone comes across an animal trapped inside a drain, Roe recommends contacting the police for help instead of trying to retrieve the animal themselves.
“It’s not something we want just anybody doing,” she said. “Obviously people shouldn’t be touching that sort of property. If they do come across a mama duck and the babies inside the drain, they should just call us because we can get the resources out there to do it and get it done. We don’t want anybody getting hurt trying to stick their arms in the grates. That would be probably a worse situation.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Weddings planned this weekend at the Shell could be shifted due to beach replenishment

Photo by Jack Reynolds
The replenishment project quickly approaches
the beach in front of The Sea Shell.
Replenishment in Beach Haven is moving along quickly. But if the beachfill activity near The Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club on Centre Street doesn’t quiet down by this weekend, the two weddings planned for the Shell’s beachfront area may be held elsewhere on the property, said owner Tom Hughes.
“I think (the replenishment) is going to be right in front of us,” he stated. “The couples are all aware of it. Everybody for the last three years has been aware. Whether or not they’re going to continue to have their wedding here (at the beachfront) or they’re going to go to an alternate site, which they already have picked out, is going to be a last-minute decision.”
Contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. began to push sand and build up the dune along the Centre Street beach earlier this week. Hughes expects the couples to make a decision about which location they’re choosing by Thursday or Friday.
“If they’re just doing the dune and they’re not necessarily working with all the equipment, the couples might decide to have it here. But if they’ve got all this ‘Stars Wars’ equipment that they have down there, (the couples) might choose to move it,” he said. “We just don’t know how fast they’re going to go. Right now they’re moving very, very fast, but they could have something break down or they could have something unforeseen happen. So we’re at their mercy.”
Replenishment started at both ends of the town about a month ago and will continue to progress inward, weather permitting, said Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis. Although she said she “isn’t thrilled about beach replenishment,” she believes it’s the best thing to do for the safety of the residents.
“They’re absolutely doing beach replenishment in front of The Sea Shell,” Taggart Davis stated. “It is not stopping or taking a break in front of there. It is going as scheduled; I can guarantee you that. There’s no chance that there’s just going to be a big opening there in the dune.
“Every single person in Beach Haven, including Tom Hughes, has signed their easement. We have no holdouts, which is not true of other places. That’s why they’re doing Beach Haven right now,” she added.
Because the new lifeguard station at Centre Street was built out farther onto the beach two years ago, Hughes noted, the new dune will be built right in front of the Shell’s approved recreation area, where weddings are often held.
“They’re doing everything in front of The Sea Shell that they’re doing everyplace else,” he said. “We’re going to lose our view, and we’re going to have a giant beach. The beautiful ocean, we’re not going to see that anymore. But it is what it is. We need it.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Beach replenishment coming to Surf City in June

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has obtained all of North Beach’s easements for beach replenishment, which means the project will move forward in Surf City in mid-June, weather permitting, borough Councilman Peter Hartney announced at the Surf City Council’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 11.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
The beach entrance at 21st Street, where there's a
steep dune drop-off, is blocked off for safety purposes.
The town’s beaches were partially replenished during the original project in 2006. The blocks between 12th and 22nd streets were also repaired after the nor’easter in 2009. After Superstorm Sandy, the whole portion was restored. The borough is currently waiting for the remaining area, from 22nd to 25th streets, to be completed.
As of now, Hartney said, the dunes between 21st and 13th streets, which were severely damaged by Winter Storm Jonas in January, will not be repaired during the replenishment. But contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. will be tapering the beach at 21st and 20th streets where there’s a big hole, he noted. To make the beaches accessible in time for the opening of the beach on June 18, the town will be utilizing its shared-services agreement with Ocean County to have those dunes repaired in the beginning of June. Hartney said officials are still determining whether they will be able to move the sand on the beach and/or cut down the dune entrance, or whether they’ll have to truck in the sand.
Local officials had hoped the Army Corps would take care of the repairs and foot the bill, but assistance through the Federal Control and Coastal Emergency Act won’t be available until sometime next year.
“Basically what the Army Corps is going to do is build a new beach next to a damaged beach, come back in a year after all the paperwork is done for the funding and redo it,” Hartney said. “We’re going to have to spend a couple million dollars waiting for them to come back and repair it, even though they’re here.”
The town is in the process of applying for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has offered reimbursement through its Public Assistance grant program to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of eligible public facilities damaged by Jonas. But Hartney expects the town will have to pay for the work itself since it had to fund similar repairs to another section of the beach following the nor’easter in 2009 that was later rebuilt by the Army Corps.
Mike Feeney, a resident of 20th Street for 58 years, told council members that he and many of his neighbors, who have renters that pay thousands of dollars to stay at their houses during the summer, are concerned about whether or not they’ll be able to use the beaches. But Hartney and Mayor Francis Hodgson assured him that the beaches will be open and accessible in time for the summer season.
Hartney noted that Harvey Cedars and some parts of Long Beach Township are in the same predicament.
“I’m going to continue working on advocating with our local officials,” Hartney stated. “The dredge is here; the dredge is offshore. They’re pumping sand. So it’s worth reaching out to the federal officials to see if they can talk some common sense into the Army Corps. There’s always hope.”
At the close of business on May 10, Hartney announced, there were 3,329 seasonal beach badges sold at the preseason price of $25, for a total of $83,225. Badges sold at the booth, which is open until 4:30 p.m. seven days a week, accounted for 2,591 badges, or $64,775. Mail-in orders accounted for 738 badges, or $18,450.
“In comparison to 2015, when the month of May was bright and sunny all month long, compared to the two weeks of rain we’ve had, we’ve sold 1,301 badges less than last year at this time, which is an offset of $32,525 less in badges,” Hartney said. “The rain has an impact. We pray for the sun.”
Mail-in orders for the preseason price can be sent in until May 31, he noted, adding that dogs are no longer allowed on the beach until Oct. 1. Beach buggies will also no longer be allowed on the beach between May 28 and Sept. 17.
Due to safety and liability as well as noise concerns, council denied two public requests for the set-up of tents and tables as well as a DJ on the beach for wedding ceremonies in the off-season.
Lifeguard try-outs for this summer will be held at St. Francis Community Center in Brant Beach on Sundays, May 22 and 29, noted Councilman James Russell, who also encouraged the public to attend the borough’s Memorial Day service at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday, May 28, at 11 a.m.
The fourth annual Get LBI Running 5K to benefit the local fire company will take place on Saturday, May 21, beginning at 9 a.m. Registration is still available, stated Hartney, who is also president of the fire company. Those who wish to walk the event are welcome to join.
Department members will also be cleaning the street ends along the bay, from 23rd to 18th streets, on June 3 during the annual Barnegat Bay Blitz, which is sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Twenty sixth-graders and four staff members from Stafford schools will be joining them.
Councilwoman Jackie Siciliano noted that the reinforcement of the bulkhead at Fifth Street at the bay, which is naturally a low-lying area that has created flooding issues for residents in that region, has been completed by the public works department. The department has also demolished and poured fresh sidewalks and curbing between 13th and 14th streets, next to the public works yard.
Due to Jonas, which brought in a lot of water and pushed around stones and other debris, street sweeping for all of the borough’s roads is being scheduled to be completed by the county in the near future, Siciliano said.
She also mentioned that local officials met with county engineers regarding a traffic pattern change going into North Beach at the end of Surf City, which she said was decided against after officials expressed safety concerns.
Councilman William Hodgson noted that a local resident donated three bicycle helmets to the police department. He also stated that $7,200 in property was stolen in April. After the meeting, Police Chief William Collins said an investigation for the stolen jewelry is ongoing.
Council passed a resolution authorizing approximately $5,000 for the installation for water and sewer laterals at North Second Street and the ocean, to be performed by Kevin J. Schubiger Plumbing and Heating.
Council adopted ordinance amendments for zoning filing fees and boat ramp and parking lot fees, as well to disallow the obstruction of a water meter pit, water turn-on/turn-off pit and/or any connecting lines and pipes.
An ordinance authorizing the reconstruction and resurfacing of various streets in the borough and appropriating $300,000 and providing for the issuance of $285,000 in general improvement bonds or notes was approved on first reading.
The borough has received $2,322.97 from the county for the second half of last year’s recycling revenue, Councilman John Hadash announced.
Many members wore pink shirts in honor of Paint the Town Pink, a campaign that the town is participating in for the third year in a row that advocates for the detection of breast cancer through annual mammography.
David Pawlishak, who has been working for the borough for the past 35 years, announced that he would be retiring as the borough’s chief financial officer, which position he has held for the last 18 years.
“I’ve always been proud of my relationship with Surf City,” he said, choking up. “This governing body is to be commended. You could set an example for the other towns in New Jersey. You have a relatively stable tax rate. You have a healthy surplus. You have no bonded indebtedness. And you listen to your taxpayers, and you try to work with them. I think that’s wonderful.”
Each of the council members warmly thanked Pawlishak for his many years of service and openly welcomed Michael Gross of Manahawkin, who will be taking over as CFO starting June 1. He has 29 years of experience in municipal finance.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

All lanes shifted to new Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge

The opening of the second westbound lane on the new Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge means all motor vehicle traffic is now traveling on the new span. Schiavone Construction Co. workers opened the additional lane overnight this past weekend, on Friday, May 13, into Saturday, May 14.
The initial shift of westbound traffic onto the new bridge occurred on Tuesday, May 10, which was about a week later than planned.
Photo by Marjorie Amon
Vehicular traffic is flowing in all
directions on the bridge. 

“This was delayed due to the rain that prevented NJDOT crews from paving and placing roadbed materials,” Kevin Israel, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said.
Israel stated that DOT officials are working on a plan to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians over the bridge. He said the shuttle service, which was available to individuals who normally walk or bicycle to and from LBI and the mainland via the bridge when the north sidewalk on the east and west thorofares of the bridge closed for demolition and reconstruction in November, will most likely resume after the summer. It had been suspended in February due to a decrease in ridership.
Eastbound traffic was shifted to one lane on the new bridge on April 22. The second lane was opened the following weekend but was temporarily closed to allow for the installation of the new pearl-like lighting, Israel noted. Heavy east- and westbound traffic delays occurred following the shift, but have since cleared up.
“The full summer traffic configuration will be in place by the end of the month,” Israel said. “Currently, we are constructing the approach and crossover roadways (east and west), associated drainage and highway lighting in preparation for placing traffic into the new pattern. We are also working on the final landscaping (topsoiling, seeding and tree planting) as well as constructing the median ponds and U-turns.”
The shift will permit work to be done on the existing bridge, which is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete after 57 years in existence. Upon completion of the rehabilitation work, that bridge will accommodate westbound traffic. The new bridge, at 2,400 feet long with a vertical clearance of 55 feet over Manahawkin Bay, will ultimately function as the bridge for eastbound traffic when the project is finished.
Work on the $350 million project was started in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2020. The 3-mile-long Causeway links Stafford Township on the mainland with Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island.
The new bridge parallel to the existing one over Manahawkin Bay will provide another route on or off the Island in the event that one of the bridges needs to be closed. This design is consistent with Christie administration objectives to build in strength or redundancy to better withstand future storms, DOT officials noted.
The existing Causeway sustained relatively minor damage during Superstorm Sandy, but future storm damage is a concern and the span had provided the only way for motor vehicles to get on and off LBI.
The DOT plans to maintain two travel lanes in each direction on the new bridge during the busy summer season, from mid-May to mid-September, throughout 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.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beach Haven School students contribute to time capsule that will be installed in new borough hall

Photo via Beach Haven School
Beach Haven School children, staff, parents
and town officials listen to a student read a
letter he wrote for the time capsule.
Beach Haven School students had the chance to predict what their lives might be like 25 years from now when they wrote letters and poems to their future selves. But the task wasn’t just a school assignment. Their items have been placed in a time capsule that will be sealed in a wall of Beach Haven’s new municipal building, which is being built after the former building suffered severe damage from Superstorm Sandy.
“Twenty-five years from now the time capsule will be opened, and hopefully many of today’s school students will be there to read their letters and poems,” said Beach Haven Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis, who attended the ceremony with Jim White, borough council president, on April 22. “As mayor I reflected on what can happen in 25 years and how different the world was 25 years ago and what changes might take place 25 years from now.”
Two children from each grade read their poems aloud and placed them in the time capsule during the event.
“It was a lovely and meaningful event attended by all the students, their teachers, principal, superintendent as well as some parents,” Taggart Davis said.
Bids for the construction of the two-story, Victorian-style municipal complex are expected to come in on Thursday, May 12, said Taggart Davis. The building should be completed sometime in 2017. The 17,600-square-foot facility will accommodate administrative offices, emergency management and the police department.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Surf City’s new fire truck arrives home after being displayed at conference in Indianapolis

Photo via Surf City Volunteer Fire Co. & EMS
Assistant Fire Chief Robert Luts and Fire Chief
Mike Wolfschmidt welcome the truck at the firehouse.
The Surf City Volunteer Fire Co. & EMS’s new rescue pumper truck is finally home after being showcased at the international Fire Department Instructor Conference – the largest gathering of fire professionals worldwide – in Indianapolis last month. Representatives of Spartan Emergency Response, a South Dakota business unit of Spartan Motors that manufactured the truck, drove it out to Indianapolis and back, performed work on the truck and then delivered it to Surf City.
“We are very excited to have taken delivery of the new truck,” said Fire Chief Mike Wolfschmidt. “It turned out better than we had envisioned. When we stand back and look at the truck, it’s a great feeling of pride and accomplishment. I encourage all the residents and visitors of our community to stop by the firehouse, take a look at the truck, ask questions and celebrate its homecoming.”
Although the new truck arrived at the station prior to the fire department’s participation in the Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co.’s triple housing last weekend, it was not entered into the parade because it is still not ready for use, said Peter Hartney, president of the fire company.
Robert Luft, assistant fire chief, is planning several training sessions in the coming weeks to teach the firefighters how to use the truck to its full potential, Wolfschmidt noted.
“The next month plus will be a very busy time at the firehouse,” said Hartney.
The truck, which combines the department’s previous rescue truck and fire engine into one unit, has been customized for the area’s post-Superstorm Sandy needs.
Photo via Surf City Volunteer Fire Co. & EMS
The new truck has been nicknamed
'The Pride of Long Beach Island.'
“Being on a barrier island, the rapid deployment of fire and rescue apparatus is somewhat limited due to the geographical shape of Long Beach Island, and the restriction of only having one Causeway Bridge for egress,” said Wolfschmidt. “This can be further limited during severe flooding, weather and traffic congestion. Having a well-equipped truck that is fully prepared to handle any type of emergency is extremely important.”
Members of the truck committee, which put thousands of hours into planning during the past three years, also considered the constantly changing demographic of residential homes and buildings in the department’s response area. The 20-foot boom on top of the new truck, which can reach 28 feet, has a master stream nozzle on the end that can flow 1,000 gallons per minute and lift up to 1,000 pounds. Hose connections can serve as an elevated connection pipe to a raised residential structure, if needed, said Lou McCall, fire captain and vice president. The truck also includes a 2,000-gallon-per-minute pump, and a compressed air foam system for four hose lines.
“By having an apparatus with an elevated master stream to reach the tops of tall homes and being well-equipped with a variety of hose lines able to make a long-distance stretch, we can effectively provide adequate fire protection to our residents and visitors,” Wolfschmidt said, noting many larger homes are being built closer together, which presents many challenges for the firefighters, especially during high winds that often occur. “The well-being of the people and communities we serve was put first in all our decision making, and we are proud to have made this accomplishment, which will serve us well for many years to come.”
Members have decided to name the truck “The Pride of Long Beach Island,” due to its innovative design and the department’s immense feeling of accomplishment, said Wolfschmidt.
Although custom-designed by members of the fire company, the new truck is funded by Surf City borough as well as Long Beach Township, which contributed $105,000. It was originally priced at $723,000 through the nationwide Houston-Galveston Cooperative Purchasing Program, but wound up costing $729,000 for necessary safety features. The borough is selling the fire department’s former rescue truck and old fire engine to make up for some of the cost.
“We wish to thank the borough of Surf City and the township of Long Beach for the monetary contributions in the purchase of this truck,” Wolfschmidt said. “We could not have done it without them.”
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Replenishment in, smoking out in Beach Haven

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Crew utilize assorted equipment to perfectly
place replenishment sand on the beach.
Beach replenishment in Beach Haven is underway with the Liberty IslandPadre and Dodge barges fully engaged in dredging operations in the northern and southern areas of the municipality. Although ocean conditions this past week prevented contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. from working for a few days, crewmembers are now back on the job, Borough Manager Richard Crane announced at the borough council’s regular meeting on Monday, May 9, which marked the 17th day the project was in town.
“It’s quite interesting to watch. They’re up to Leeward (Avenue) in terms of the southern end of town,” he noted.
Councilman Chuck Maschal, who said one of his most important initiatives is to try to get the town protected again, noted one potential munition has been found, though it hasn’t been confirmed.
He also said, “It appears that we may seriously be able to get (Little Egg) Inlet dredged, which would be huge in helping to replenish and rebuild our commercial fishing fleet, which has suffered.”
Council members adopted a ban on smoking on “the beachfront, beach or beach access pathways, including areas within 15 feet of the beach access pathways.” Smoking is now also prohibited “in any recreation or park area or in any borough-owned area.”
To avoid cigarette littering, resident Michael Peler suggested the town install more trash receptacles, which he said could be funded through ticketing violators. He noted eight $250 fines a week would net $2,000.
“I would like not to pay for somebody’s habit. I’d like them to pay for it,” he said.
Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis said the ordinance will be enforced, and she hopes people will respect the regulations.
Councilman Don Kakstis said the council should begin looking at New York City’s newly enacted 5-cent charge on plastic bags, which could be used as a guideline in Beach Haven.
Maschal mentioned getting involved with a recycling program offered by Trex, an environmentally responsible outdoor products company that provides communities with a composite bench in exchange for more than 500 pounds (about 40,500 plastic bags) of plastic refuse in a six-month span.
“If we can’t eliminate them right away by law, at least we can start recycling them,” he said.
Taggart Davis, who said she recycles all her plastic bags, noted an article in The New Yorker last week said most of them go to a dump.
“That’s basically what happens to them,” she said. “There’s just no market for those bags. So when you’re saving your bags, you might get a bench and that’s good, but it’s not really making a difference in the environment, and that’s what we need to think about.”
Kakstis said he’s also looking into having the street lighting equipped with either wind or solar panels.
Crane said he is pleased the town will be receiving $275,000 from the state Department of Transportation for street reconstruction on Dock Road beginning this year. The funding comes from the Transportation Trust Fund, which Crane said is “nearly depleted.”
“We’re extremely fortunate to be receiving these funds,” he said, noting that the town did not receive funding last year.
Crane also noted that bids for the construction of the new municipal building will be accepted on Thursday, May 12.
The council passed a resolution for a $6,000 reduction in cost for the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce’s Chowderfest contribution. The decrease is for this year only, due to last year’s cancellation from severe weather.
The members also approved the hiring of Jennifer Beahm, a planner for CME Associates, who is experienced in administering Council on Affordable Housing funds.
“We’ll greatly appreciate her assistance as we do have a bit of money accumulated in our residential development fees,” said Crane. “We hope to have some interesting projects.”
The council is holding a meeting with the land use board and the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee on May 16 to begin discussing ways to encourage people to put in affordable housing and how to improve the business district between 12th and Pearl streets. Taggart Davis mentioned the option of possibly utilizing the district as an affordable housing overlay area.
“We, as a town, are not obligated to build affordable housing, but we are obligated to provide opportunities for other people to do it. But we can’t force them to do it,” she said.
The working meeting is open to the public, but the mayor said comments from the audience will be limited to three minutes. A larger public gathering to discuss potential options when they arise will be held in the future, she noted.
Ordinances to implement a $2 daily pass and a $40 season pass for the borough’s pickleball courts, to permit and regulate “sandwich” sign boards and to establish this year’s salaries for the town’s officers and employees were also adopted.
A special ordinance authorizing a utility agreement and right of way on block 133, lot 2 for Atlantic City Electric to “install, operate, maintain, add to, extend, relocate and remove electric and communication facilities, accessories and appurtenances to provide communication services” was passed on first reading.
The adoption of an ordinance to regulate the use of dune walkovers was tabled at the request of council President Jim White, who said after the meeting that he wanted to make sure it doesn’t breach any easement agreements.
In honor of National Maritime Day, on May 22, the Beach Haven Borough Council presented a plaque to Deborah Whitcraft, who owns and operates the New Jersey Maritime Museum with her husband, Jim Vogel. Whitcraft thanked the members for recognizing the day annually.
“There are 565 municipalities in New Jersey, and Beach Haven, unfortunately, is one of very few who honor this day every year, and we’re very thankful to you and the entire governing body for doing so,” Whitcraft said.
White, who leads the town’s Memorial Day observance, which is usually well-received, said he’d like a lot of participation at this year’s event at Veterans Memorial Park.
Councilman Don Kakstis encouraged residents to get an AngioScreen, which is being offered by Meridian Health at the Beach Haven Firehouse on May 24, between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The special discounted rate for the vascular screening, which provides information about a person’s circulation and risk for heart attack and stroke, is $49.95. Pre-registration is required. Call 1-800-560-9990 to sign up.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Surf City goes pink to help fight breast cancer

Photo by Ryan Morrill
Pink ribbons line Long Beach Boulevard in Surf City.
To help raise awareness for the prevention of breast cancer, Surf City has once again teamed up with Meridian Health for its annual Paint the Town Pink Campaign. Residents and passersby in the borough, which is known as Surf Pink during the month of May, have certainly noticed the many pink ribbons along Long Beach Boulevard, the different businesses that are decorated in pink and the giant pink banner hanging outside the municipal building. The visual cues are a way to remind women about the importance of getting an annual mammogram.
“These wonderful pink displays are dual purpose. Not only do they add a fun element to the town, but they serve as a visual reminder for women to ‘think pink,’ and by that, we mean to think about their breast health,” said Surf City Patrolwoman Sarah Roe, who initially brought the campaign to Long Beach Island three years ago. “Unfortunately, statistics show that about one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and in 2016, an estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S.”
The campaign’s main goal is to encourage women ages 40 and older to have a mammogram every year. The month-long event helps raise funds for Meridian’s Pink Fund, which is used to provide free mammography screenings to women in need.
“In 2015 alone, participating communities and businesses in Ocean and Monmouth counties raised over $67,000 for the Pink Funds, and this year, we hope to raise as much or more,” said Roe.
Those in need of a mammogram who cannot afford one can contact a representative at Southern Ocean Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center (Jersey Shore Imaging), Riverview Medical Center or Bayshore Community Hospital.
For more information on fundraising events in Surf City and other participating communities, visit paintthetownpink.com.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Beach Haven School students celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees along Barnegat Bay

In celebration of Arbor Day, on Wednesday, April 27, Beach Haven School’s fifth-grade students, accompanied by their teacher, Deb Harkness, planted 12 new trees on Taylor Avenue near the bay. Mike Blahut of Hut Landscaping instructed the students on how to plant the trees and supervised their efforts.
Photo by Lin Van Name
The fifth-graders get their hands in the dirt.
“It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to assist the fifth-graders in planting new trees in honor of Arbor Day,” said Blahut. “The fifth-graders did a wonderful job, and they quickly understood the process of planting a tree and worked very well together.”
The children planted six Robusto junipers and six Hollywood junipers.
“These trees were selected because of their tolerance to drought, wind, cold and salt, a perfect combination of features for successful planting along our bay front,” said volunteer Lin Van Name.
Arbor Day has been celebrated since 1872, when Nebraska resident J. Sterling Morton approached the state Board of Agriculture about setting aside one day a year to plant trees. More than a million trees were planted in Nebraska during the inaugural event.
“Unlike a lot of holidays that celebrate a historical event, Arbor Day is really a celebration of the future,” said Van Name. “The trees planted on Arbor Day are to be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Last year, Beach Haven School students attended a special dedication for the native garden on Taylor Avenue, where they painted rocks with the names of the various plants found in the plot. It was created and built by Beach Haven resident Robert Jacobsen in connection with Rutgers University’s Environmental Stewardship Program.
Borough council members also placed two benches in the garden at last year’s dedication. One was dedicated to Jacobsen and the other was dedicated to George Gilbert, superintendent of public works, and his department members.
Two more planting areas have been added, and picnic tables and educational signs about the bay should be in place by summer, Van Name noted.
“The whole area has been quite an eyesore, especially since Superstorm Sandy. But now we have a concrete walkway along the bay, lots of benches and some greenery,” she said. “We so appreciate the county helping us with obtaining soil and mulch, and the Beach Haven elementary students have been helpful with most of the plantings at the garden.”
The trees the students planted on Arbor Day are not native to the area, so they were planted outside the native garden.
“The hope is they will grow and not only provide greenery, but a nice windscreen for the playground and basketball court from those cold west winds in the fall, winter and spring,” said Van Name.
— Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.