Murder suspect arrested in Barnegat Light case

Murder suspect arrested in Barnegat Light case

In a dramatic development Wednesday, a Colts Neck man was arrested on the charge of murder in connection with the death of Richard P. Doody, who was found dead two days earlier in his home at 2204 Central Ave., Barnegat Light.

Conrad Sipa, 52, of 1 Homelands Drive in Colts Neck, was taken into custody at his home, Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 25, and charged with one count of murder and one count of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, authorities said. His bail was set at $1 million cash by Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney.

Officials say Doody was beaten with a blunt instrument and slashed. Doody, 60, was a retired lieutenant from the Fire Department of New York who also owned a home in Tottenville, Staten Island, theStaten Island Advance had reported.

The announcement of the arrest of Sipa was made jointly by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Long Beach Township Police Chief Michael Bradley, and results from an extensive investigation.

The announcement does not say whether or how Sipa knew the victim.

An autopsy conducted by Dr. Ian Hood on Nov. 24 determined that Doody suffered blunt force trauma to his head and slash wounds to his neck, authorities said. Hood ruled Doody was the victim of a homicide.

The investigation began when officers from the Long Beach Township Police Department went to the Central Avenue home shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23 for a “well-being check” after a concerned family member was unable to make contact with him.

According to investigators’ reports, the house doors were not open. Police “made entry into the secured residence after receiving no response from within,” said a press release from the prosecutor’s office. Doody was pronounced dead by Dr. Larkin from the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office at 7 p.m.

Even after the arrest announcement was made, an investigative team was still on scene at the home, and had been there steadily since the victim was found. Authorities were seen removing computers and other items from the house and impounding vehicles from the driveway.

The investigation is being conducted by detectives from the county prosecutor’s office Major Crimes Unit, the Long Beach Township Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Investigations Unit. The victim’s residence was meticulously examined and processed by members of the Crime Scene Investigations Unit, the prosecutor’s office reported.

“Prosecutor Coronato commends the efforts of Detective Steve Capuano and Sergeants Shannon Dugan and Valerie Seiser, of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Investigations Unit, for their efforts in identifying, preserving, collecting and analyzing items of evidence in this case. The Colts Neck Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office provided assistance with the arrest at Sipa’s residence,” a press release from the prosecutor’s office said.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory minimum term of incarceration of 30 years and a maximum term of life. Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose is a second degree crime which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in New Jersey state prison.

Anyone with any information concerning this case is asked to call Detective Raymond Gardner of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027 or Detective Ronald Hullings of the Long Beach Township Police Department at 609-494-3322.

The Staten Island Advance reported that Doody “was once honored for his role in pulling a 260-pound college football player from a car heavily damaged in a crash.”

Fellow residents of Staten Island, including those who also have homes on Long Beach Island, are expressing sadness at the news of the retired firefighter’s death.

“He was known not only as a great fireman, but an even greater guy,” one fellow firefighter posted on Facebook.

Tax records with Barnegat Light borough show the victim had purchased the Barnegat Light property in January 2015.

Reposted from The Sandpaper

‘Clothe a Child,’ in 5th year, success in Stafford

The Clothe a Child program at Southern Regional High School was started in 2011 by teacher Beth Strattman, in partnership with Kohl’s department store. The project raises money through donations from churches, businesses, civic organizations and individuals for a shopping trip for selected kids in need. That first year she helped 34 children, and last year the number grew to 88.

The owners of Manahawkin Flea Market, Warren and Jill Petrucci, support the Clothe a Child program by donating the proceeds from vendor space rentals during the Friday farmers market in the summer months. This year the total donation was $1,040.

Strattman and Warren Petrucci attended the Stafford Township Council meeting of Oct. 20 to thank Councilman Steve Fessler and resident advocate Joe Mazzola for their help in making the program successful. Strattman described it as a self-esteem builder for the kids, who receive mentoring from honor society students, teachers and volunteers.

“If our whole community behaved like this, it’d be a wonderful place to live in,” Strattman said.

Thanks to Southern Regional School District Superintendent Craig Henry, Strattman will expand the program into all the sending districts.

“It’s really blossoming,” she said.

Donations of time are very valuable, she said. Anyone interested in participating in the future can reach Strattman by email at

Reposted from The Sandpaper

Deceleration lanes on Route 72 going in

Deceleration lanes on Route 72 going in

This week, heavy-duty vehicles have made their presence known on Route 72 near the mobile home communities of Brighton at Barnegat and Pinewood Estates.

But there won’t be many complaints from residents as the state Department of Transportation is working on deceleration lanes at the entrances to the two developments.

“I believe we, the community, township and the state, have all been a cohesive committee of one mind and goal,” said Michelle Woodruff of the Brighton Action Committee/Neighborhood Coalition. “They want to get this done before Thanksgiving.”

Currently, when an eastbound car slows down to make the turn, vehicles driving behind often pass to the left. Woodruff said when that happens, they wind up in a potential head-on crash situation if a driver is in the left turning lane.

Committeeman John Novak said a hazardous situation was created more than 10 years ago when the DOT put in a lefthand turning lane from Route 72 West. However, there was no corresponding right turn lane from the other direction.

“They didn’t finish the job, and I think instead of improving the situation, they made it worse,” he said “We needed that eastbound turning lane before a tragedy happens.”

During the summer, Mayor Susan McCabe, state Sen. Christopher Connors and district legislative aides met with the DOT. The result was the DOT coming with a plan for the deceleration lanes.

“At one time, the DOT had told us it couldn’t be done,” said Novak. “We had to be very persistent. I was going to be on top of this until it got resolved. We were fortunate to get support from our legislative team, who were frequently in touch with the DOT.”

Assemblyman Brian Rumpf had visited Pinewood Estates residents the previous year, at which time they emphasized it was an issue of serious concern.

“Residents spoke of the dangers caused by motorists traveling east on Route 72 at high rates of speeds who, in many cases, have come close to hitting motorists turning right into the communities or who attempt to pass turning motorists and thereby travel into the lane of oncoming traffic from the west,” said Rumpf.

Woodruff said that once the new lanes are in place, the next step would be striping.

“They couldn’t wait much longer to start on the project,” she said. “Once winter sets in, the DOT couldn’t be out there until the spring.”

Woodruff said the issue is far from a Brighton or Pinewood Estates matter.

“This is a resort access roadway and services thousands upon thousands of vehicles,” she said. “And it is our community’s only entry and exit for residents as well as family members, friends, visitors, emergency services and others. There is no alternate route.”

Reposted from The Sandpaper

Stafford Police endorse ‘MyPD’ smart phone app

The Stafford Police Department wants everyone in town to download the MyPD app, which is free for all smart phones from iTunes or any app store, Ptl. Chris Fritz announced at the Oct. 20 town council meeting.

Fritz described it as “an excellent way to stay in touch with the community” and very simple to obtain and install.

Once installed, users will receive notifications about day-to-day happenings, breaking news, emergency alerts, storm information, traffic information and upcoming community events.

The police department is increasingly reliant on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Nixle for communicating with residents.

Other noteworthy features of the app, according to Fritz, include departmental contacts; anonymous tip submission; officer commendations; a most wanted list; directions, weather, you name it.

“We’ve been experimenting with it for about a year, and we’re very pleased with it. We plan on continuing with it,” he said.

In the event of a school crisis, he added, “the best thing a parent can do is have this app.”

Reposted from The Sandpaper

NJ Natural Gas requests rate increase from Board of Public Utilities

New Jersey Natural Gas has filed a request with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities seeking an increase of approximately $148 million to its delivery rates. Approval would raise the typical customer’s annual bill by about 24 percent, although not for this winter.

According to the utility, “under the proposed rate filing, the average residential customer using 100 therms a month would pay about $21.69 more per month.

“Delivery rates are the portion of the customer’s bill designed to cover NJNG’s delivery costs, including operating and maintenance expenses, as well as the cost of constructing its infrastructure, which includes the opportunity to earn a profit on investments in infrastructure used to provide service to customers. Typically, natural gas bills consist of two main parts – the delivery charges are the cost of delivering the natural gas and maintaining the delivery and other systems, and the Basic Gas Supply Service is the portion of the bill that goes toward purchasing the natural gas commodity itself. Utilities do not make a profit on the sale of the natural gas commodity, which is passed through to customers.”

The filing is not expected to have any impact on this winter’s heating bills. In fact, during this upcoming season, the typical residential and small commercial customer’s bill is expected to be 17 percent lower on an annual basis as a result of a $76 million BGSS bill credit implemented by NJNG. The BGSS credit, which reflects lower natural gas supply costs, is in effect for natural gas usage between Nov. 1, 2015, and Feb. 29, 2016, and is expected to save the average customer approximately $166 over that four-month period.

“Providing our customers with safe, reliable service is the most important thing we do,” said Laurence M. Downes, NJNG chairman and CEO. “The investments we make strengthen our system and provide greater resiliency to our customers and the communities we serve.

“We have requested this increase so we are able to adequately meet the necessary future infrastructure investments to ensure the same safe, reliable service our customers expect and deserve. Customers should know that even with the proposed change their bills would still be 29 percent lower than they were when our last rate case was approved – thanks to the decline in wholesale natural gas prices.”

NJNG last filed a general request to increase delivery rates in 2007.

The review of the recent NJNG rate filing could take up to 10 months.

Reposted from The Sandpaper

LBI’s great gas pump disappearance; Sam, 6, displays his striper prowess

LBI’s great gas pump disappearance; Sam, 6, displays his striper prowess

GAS IS A GONER: A critical gas crisis has befallen LBI. We’ve damn near run out of service stations. I discovered this the hard way – and I was fuming, literally.

Not having assorted fill-up sites close at hand is doubly troubling for those of a truck-owning ilk. I’ll be the first to admit my beloved heavy-Chevy is the consummate guzzler. Hell, it can guzzle more than a redneck at a beer truck rollover.

So where have all the LBI gas stations gone? You don’t have to be some sorta fuel historian to recall when Ship Bottom alone had six gas stations, five of them in just a 250-yard stretch, starting at the Exxon at “the circle” and ending with Russo’s, right before the first Causeway bridge. In between, there was one on each side of The Gateway Bar and Restaurant and yet another on the corner of Barnegat Avenue and Eighth Street. The one on Barnegat Avenue is now the last station standing between Surf City and almost to Beach Haven – and it’s on its last leg.

Doing more gas station recalling, Long Beach Boulevard, as recently as within the last few decades back, had eight service stations between Surf City and Beach Haven. As of this past weekend there were none available, short of one up in Barnegat Light. Which brings me back to my fuming.

I was heading to Holgate, my gas needle sinking toward empty. No sweat. I intended to fill up in Beach Haven, as usual – only to find it had become a dry town. How can that be?! It’s such a partying place.

I fumed all the way back to Ship Bottom, hoping to hit the lone remaining pumps twixt the Queen City and the Gateway to LBI. Things were so close, fuel-wise, I pondered that paradox of whether to drive faster, to rush to the pumps before fuel runs out, or to conserve gas by old-ladying along, meaning more time to stress over my running on empty. I won’t tell you which route I took on the grounds it might incriminate me.

I did successfully slide into the lone open station on Barnegat Avenue, where a whole new stress arose. The pump I had sidled up to has seen way better days. Hell, there are pumps in Cuba in better shape than the one straining to squirt my gas out. In fact, the entire station had an oddly domesticated air. I’m not sure what to make of it, but as I was sitting there I watched some small, quite-cute kids riding Boogie Boards – on the concrete. I was tempted to explain the concept of an ocean and body boards, but I was afraid my voice would shut off the pump, which had already stopped about five times before hitting $1.

Anyway, here’s hoping this service station shortage is only temporary. Hey, I’m now more than willing to pay a few extra cents per gas gallon. Inconvenience is costly. I’m even hoping the price of gas will quickly double so former LBI stations can reopen and we can go back to driving life as usual on LBI. Why ya lookin’ at me that way?

SAM THE MAN!: The big fish news statewide – and now going tri-state – is 6-year-old Sam Adams’ besting of a 41.5-pound, 47-inch striped bass. The fish was almost the exact length of Sam himself, as a photo taken later during the weigh-in at Jingles Bait and Tackle clearly shows.

When word of the landing first hit the angling news waves, there were the expected mumblings that a kid that age – and size – couldn’t single-handedly best a bass that big. He musta had a helping hand, if not assorted helping hands. The moronic mumblings flared up even louder when the fish was legally entered into the LBI Surf Fishing Classic, a sure money-winner.

Then came the video, taken from a cell phone by the boy’s grandfather. It irrefutably showed the most intricate details of the boy-vs.-bass battle – instantly snuffing the naysayers. Take that! Which is just what TV stations did, running with the amazing story and video.

While the video was worth a million words as proof, it wasn’t lacking in its own words, as pop is steadily heard masterfully coaching Sam through the 10-minute fish fight. He even reeled the young man in a bit at one appropriate point, offering, “Don’t get cocky.”

Steadily shining through in the video is the resolve of the first-grader. During his 10-minute struggle, Sam maintained a phenomenal calmness and tenacity. He was so aware that, shortly after the hookup, with line screaming off his reel, Sam had the quite-cool composure to notice – and remark – that his line had crossed over the line of another nearby rod. Hell, I woulda been screaming bloody murder at the other rod – before stomping it to bits.

I was so blown away by the video, I helped viralize it through Facebook.  However, I had to enhance the video a bit by adding a still photo of the weigh-in, with Sam standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his trophy. It seems pop got a bit excited at the point of actual landing. He kinda forgot to videotape the fish itself. In his defense, he turned off the video to take some still shots with his cellphone camera. So don’t a few chronic Facebook whiners go and give the epic video a thumb’s down. For those knowing fishing, the fight itself was far more telling than any swinging-tail fish photo.

BOATS BEAT OUT BEACHES: While boat bassing recently detonated into impressive fireworks, we of a land-based bassing and bluefishing genre have seemingly been tuned out of that out-there action. Sure, young Sam Adams and a few others have had their surf day in the sun, but considering the slew of surfcasters out of late, the take has been woefully wanting.

There are not many anglers doing binge fishing right about now. Binge fishing used to be a surfcasting pastime. A day or two of bass or bluefish blitzes in the suds and we’d drop everything to tune in for the entire series, not wanting to miss a single episode.

Though we’re damn near fall fishing finale time, most of us are still networking, awaiting social media word of blitzes or binges. But if there were still such a thing as test patterns on idle TV channels that would be the look I’m seeing.

Yes, kids, TV channels used to go off the air, essentially sleeping for the night. As proof, re-watch the spooky thriller “Poltergeist.” Check out the famed scene with the cute little girl hypnotically staring into off-air channel static, ominously offering, “They’re here.” Yep, that’s just what sleeping TV used to look like. Now, picture me staring into said screen, saying, “They’re not here.” Hell, I’d settle for the ghosts of past bass right about now.

Yes, I’m sounding like something my grandma called a Negative Nellie. But I was so sure we’d see surfside wildness by now that I rigged a couple heavy-duty rods – to stand at the blitz-ready. Gospel truth: I notice the large eye of one of those rods now has a spider web wound inside it. Very funny, ha-ha.

Despite my urge to Nellie, I shall not give up the surfcasting ship. I await each dawn’s early light to get back out plugging. Admittedly, I might soon resort to sneaking in a bit of boat bassing time – you know, just to feel the feel; keep my head in the game for when I’m called into surfside action.

Also, I recently pulled out my trusty sit-atop kayak for a quick looksee, while wondering where the paddles might have gone during Sandy.

As to ’yak fishing, I received a couple accounts of excellent bassing for folks paddling not that far out to sea. It showed how close to surfcasting range big bass and blues have come.

So, should I drop a hundred bucks for a paddle – or stay the surf course? Hell, by the time I decide, there’ll be Christmas carols on TV. Hey, come to think of it …

MY LANGUAGE SUCKS: I recently got a note questioning my right to freedom of foul speech. Damn it all, I thought I had been kicking ass in cleaning up my verbal act.

Self-policing my cussing, even when doing a piss-poor job, is far better than having a bar of soap jammed into my frickin’ mouth – a method that was tried on me at a young and tongue-impressionable age. It failed. I soon acquired quite the taste for Ivory Bar Soap. That 99 and 44⁄100 percent purity was to die for. However, I outgrew that kid’s stuff and began self-administered Zest. Predictably, I soon turned to the hard stuff, secretly drinking straight Bronners Almond Castile Soap – on the rocks. Life soon had me cussin’ like a Marine, just to substantiate my growing soap drinking problem, which had somehow sunk to guzzling Woolite from a paper bag.

But I swear to hell and back that I’m now getting better – Oo-effin-rah!

If only tender-eared types knew how much bloody constraint I now show when writing.

If I try to be esoteric about those folks going balls out on critiquing my language, I might note that many of the greatest writers – which I sure as hell ain’t – fully foul-mouthed their ways to literary fame and writing excellence. I’ll exclude Henry Miller since even I blush reading that bastard. Ain’t no soap coulda helped that boy.

In the same vulgar vein, I love talkin’ about my interview with cooking legend Julia Childs. It’s a good thing we were at a cooking show because that would explain photos of all us reporters with our mouths down to the ground … after hearing her drop F-bombs to where the television sound men simply walked over and hit the “erase” buttons.

What’s more, nowadays some of the finest and brightest talk show hosts – I have to reference the oft-blipped Jon Stewart – have given up even trying to clean-mouth it, fearing they might get confused with Pat Robertson.

Not that I’m emulating anyone. I’m as far from an emulator as one can get. I just routinely use both spoken and implied cussings as forms of emphasis.

Hurting my freedom-of-cussin’ cause is how this column, mainly meant for fishing, nature, and out-there types, has leached into the mainstream. The mainstream runs very hot and cold. It also has lots of sensitive ears, so to speak.

While I’m just as often stunned by the language open-mindedness of many readers –  those I would peg as stodgy and loose-tongue intolerant – I’ll take an occasional shot at keeping itverbally clean – though I don’t think I’ll ever control  nouns.

RUNDOWN: Might that quick northeast blow help to spike the surfside bass bite? Sure, why not. It has definitely spiked the surf, which rushed from small to quite large overnight, obviously urged on by gale-force winds.

The winds blew in some nice bass and bluefish. The eye-opener was a 19/5 chopper caught on Tuesday by Jim Corson. He was fishing Beach Haven Park. It was 38.5 inches long, caught on bunker.

To stay up on big weigh-ins for the Classic, go to Also, give my daily website a look at or simply Google “Jay Mann Fishing.”

Before Tuesday’s blow, boat bassing went oddly dead off IBSP and LBI.  Might it be the bass sensing the barometer drop, like freshwater fish? Not likely. Could it be the big-bass biomass moving down to the Delmarva? Perish the thought.

Here’s just one report reflecting that boat bass big-chill: Just got back from an afternoon session looking for bass. As I was putting the boat in another guy coming out said there were no fish up along IBSP but there were plenty of bunker. I decided to head south and found small pods but with no fish. There were about 10 boats together off of HC but it was bunker only and no bass. Headed back to the inlet and tried a few drifts with bunker with no takers. Saw about 10 boats 1.5 miles off of the IBSP coast guard station and headed out. Saw one bass boated on the troll. I dropped my bunker over and waited. My waiting was rewarded with dog fish bite off. I gave up and came on in. WP.

We’ll soon see if that bass absence carries on when the ocean goes flat as plywood later in the week. By Friday, we’ll be seeing the first truly honking west winds, going clear into next week. If peanut bunker are going to begin showing surfside, it’ll likely be with this arriving lake-like conditions.

Speaking of bait, I have no clue as to why there has been no forage-fish showing near the LBI beaches or even inside the inlets. You’ve likely heard or seen the frantic bait activity in the surf just to our north. I’d run with the replenishment possibly hurting things, but the entire northern part of LBI has no sand pumping and still isn’t showing much bait. We should be waist-deep in the likes of spearing, rainfish and bunkies. The smaller forage simply isn’t crossing Barnegat Inlet.

Large bunker aren’t wavering, though. Plenty of big bunker off LBI.

I blind-threw net in Holgate and landed on a few corncob mullet. I pondered chunking them up but couldn’t conjure up the patience needed to bait fish. Oddly, I’ve never had luck live-lining corncob mullet, even on days when bass are aggressively going for live herring being swum off the deep water edge along Holgate’s west side. I have to wonder if that nasty-ass dorsal spine/spike on corncobs is just too threatening for bass. Hey, that’s why nature gave them that spike, so it must present some sort of problem for gamefish. I even know folks who clip the dorsal fin off smaller mullet before live-lining them.

Reposted from The Sandpaper

Emergency coordinator ready to serve as SB councilman



Since becoming Ship Bottom’s emergency management coordinator three years ago, Joseph Valyo has familiarized himself with borough operations.

In January, Valyo will be taking it another step when he officially becomes a Ship Bottom councilman. Last week, Valyo and incumbent Republican Councilman Peter Rossi won three-year terms on the council. Rossi, who will be starting his third term and is public works committee chairman, received 206 votes while Valyo had 193.

Coming up short was Councilman Robert Gleason, who ran as an independent after failing to get the Republican nod to run. Gleason, who was seeking his sixth term, received 83 votes.

Valyo, 64, is a retired fire marshal from Mercer County.

“Obviously, since (Superstorm) Sandy, it has been a very busy time,”  he said. “For a while, it made this a full-time job. We had to get the borough hall and a lot of equipment repaired and back up to speed. Even three years after Sandy, we’re still dealing with its aftermath.”

Valyo regularly attends borough council meetings.

“I’ve gotten to know the council members and the people who work in the borough hall,” he said. “I’m a real roll-up-the-sleeves kind of guy. I’ve always liked to work and I’ll bring that kind of mentality to the council.”

Mayor William Huelsenbeck said that Valyo “should be a good fit” on the council.

“With emergency management, he’s helped us get a lot of grants,” he said. “He really loves this town and I’m sure he’ll do a fine job.”

Gleason, who chaired the public buildings and grounds committee, said he “wasn’t going to make a big issue” about not getting Republican backing.

“I feel the direction of the party changed after Charlie Kisselman died,” said Gleason, referring to the late  Republican club president who passed away in 2011.“But I’m glad I had a chance to serve on the council for all those years and I thank the people who still supported me.”

Reposted from The Sandpaper

LBT construction coordinates donation to St. Francis Food Pantry

f-St Francis Food Pantry 3

’Tis the season for giving. With that in mind, the Long Beach Township construction department reached out to municipal employees and to Realtors and general contractors in the local area to help stock the food pantry at the St. Francis Community Center in Brant Beach, and to raise awareness of this important community service.

In addition to food and other donated items, the department collected a total of $5,680 – which will feed about 300 families for nearly two months, according to Lori Tomaro, program director for Family Support Services at the community center.

“This is going to help a lot of families at this time,” Tomaro said on Monday, when municipal employees stopped by with the donations. “The (summer) season is over, so not as many families are working.”

“I think this was a great thing that the building department did,” township Mayor Joseph Mancini noted. “I was really encouraging of it.”

Residents may drop off food for the pantry in the community center foyer at any time during operating hours (available online at There are a refrigerator and freezer, so such items as unopened bread and bags of rolls are acceptable, in addition to non-perishable canned, jarred and packaged foods. Peanut butter and jelly, and proteins such as canned tuna and beef stew, are always appreciated.

Personal care products – soap, deodorant, laundry detergent, diapers, toilet paper – are also needed, especially since, as Tomaro pointed out, they cannot be purchased with food stamps.

For monetary donations, make checks payable to St. Francis Human Concerns. Checks may be mailed to St. Francis Human Concerns, 4700 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach Township, N.J. 08008, or dropped off at the front desk of the center.

“We appreciate all of the support our community provides to serve those in need,” the food pantry website states.

Tomaro also pointed out that the food bank is grateful to local businesses such as Murphy’s Market, Acme Market, Wawa, Target, Costco and BJ’s for their regular donations.

To pick up items, the food pantry hours are as follows: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon; and, on Thursday – new extended evening hours – from 4 to 6 p.m. Each family receives bags of food that can then be customized using the various loose items in the pantry.

On Monday, community center staff were preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving distribution, for which families signed up last month.

Anyone with questions about the food pantry or the center’s various support services may stop in or call 609-494-8861 and ask for the Human Concerns department.


Reposted from The Sandpaper

Beach Haven will forgive ‘abnormally high’ water charge due to pipe breaks

Due to last winter’s extremely cold weather, a number of seasonal homeowners in Beach Haven received excessively high water bills when their pipes burst or began to leak. While some residents asked for reprieve from the charges, the local government could not provide forgiveness since the ordinance did not include such a provision, according to Borough Clerk Sherry Mason.

Now, property owners who accrue an uncommonly high quarterly water bill “due to unusually high water use attributable to a leak, mishap, or accident, in or outside the billed premises” may obtain a one-time billing adjustment. The ordinance amendment, which includes a special provision for those who received abnormally high water bills issued in 2014 and 2015, was approved by council members on Monday.

According to the ordinance, an abnormally high charge is classified as “a quarterly water bill in which the usage exceeds the total amount of usage billed to that residence or property for the prior 12 months of usage.”

Only property owners listed on the account for each respective property within the town are eligible to make a claim under the policy. Just one claim for redress during the time the owner owns the residential or business property will be acknowledged. Customers seeking a billing modification must formally apply within the grace period of the bill. A $50 non-refundable application processing fee will also be charged.

For those seeking relief from a bill issued in 2014 and 2015, applications must be submitted no later than April 1, 2016, and must comply with all other provisions of the ordinance.

Property owners who intentionally use a significantly large amount of water such as while filling a pool, power washing, or during construction, will not be considered.

Officials noted property owners will soon be able to monitor their water usage and receive customizable alerts through AquaHawk, a water leak and detection system the borough is expecting to utilize. More information should be included in the next water bill.

“Because of the variation in use of the properties here, we never really know who is at a given property, if folks are coming down for the weekend or they’ve wrapped it up for the season,” said Borough Manager Richard Crane, who encouraged everybody to participate.

In other news, the town purchased a second beach tractor from Cherry Valley Tractor Sales for $92,191 to more effectively sweep the beach after replenishment is completed by the 2016 summer season.

“Hopefully we’ll have a much wider, flatter beach to rake,” said Crane.

During the recent demolition of the town’s Superstorm Sandy-damaged borough hall, remains of some previous structures, including a portion of the original water tower and a power-generating plant, were found underneath the building. According to Beach Haven Historian Jeanette Lloyd, Crane said, it was common practice in earlier days to construct buildings on top of buildings and relocate structures to other parts of town.

“In Beach Haven, nothing goes to waste,” Crane said, quoting Lloyd.

Council members are also working on amending the town’s abandoned property ordinance based on the state’s Abandoned Properties Rehabilitation Act.

“We have a number of properties in town that are really unsightly and that we would like the owners to rehab, particularly in the center of town next to businesses,” Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis stated. “A lot of people we’ve contacted individually and asked them to try to improve the looks of their property, and they haven’t done anything. So by passing this ordinance it’ll be able to give us more teeth to demand that they do something. We can actually take the property away from them,” she explained.

A number of residents have expressed outrage regarding a plan presented to the land use board last week by developer William Burris that, Taggart Davis explained, would require the closure of Dock Road between The Ketch and The Boathouse. The plan is expected to be presented before the council Friday, Nov. 20.

“Because we’re elected officials, we have no right to give up any streets of this town for anybody for any reason. This is not our town to give away,” stated Councilman Jim White, who asked people to attend the meeting.

“These are just plans,” Taggart Davis added. “The street belongs to the town, and the town has no obligation or fear of a lawsuit in this regard. There’s no reason we would have to give him that street.”

Reposted from The Sandpaper

Surf City says goodbye to its almost 50-Year mayor

f-Mayor ConnorsFor the first Election Day in almost 50 years, the Surf City ballot did not include the name of Leonard Connors as candidate for mayor. After having the keys to, and driving, Surf City since 1966, Connors’ service will come to an end after he declined to seek another term.

This also likely marks the conclusion of the 86-year-old’s political career in which he also served as an Ocean County freeholder and a state senator.

Born just months before the 1929 stock market crash, the Jersey City native began his public service in 1947. For two years, he was a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He then worked in construction, an occupation that lasted for decades.

“I didn’t like the way things were being ran at a local level,” Connors said.

In 1962, Connors joined Surf City’s council and, four years later, successfully ran for mayor of the small Long Beach Island town. Could Connors have foreseen himself serving as mayor for nearly 50 years?

“No,” Connors quipped.

As mayor, he took things one year at a time.

The first reference to Connors in The Beachcomber was an article from April 14, 1966 in which Connors took issue with the Long Beach Island Surfing Association’s desire to hold its second annual contest on 22nd Street.

“The Borough has had trouble, with them disrobing on the beach, burning Christmas trees, and other undesirable behavior,” Connors was quoted in the paper. Connors “instructed police to maintain a strict patrol against open lewdness, disrobing, and picnicking on the beach.”

Fast forward 18,108 days: There is rarely disrobing on the beach, and no Christmas tree burning. While that may seem rather peculiar, the 1966 news article gave readers a hint of what Surf City residents would apparently have in their new mayor: a leader, with unmoving integrity.

Ocean County Freeholder Gerry Little says the best contribution any political figure can make is to leave his or her constituents living in a better place. Connors did that, noted Little, also a former Surf City councilman.

“It’s just been an absolutely remarkable career. As a resident of Surf City and representative of Surf City, he has left us with a financially stable community.”

Little added that police, public works, tax stability and administration are all excellent. To Little, that is due in part to Connors’ leadership as mayor.

Taking time out during a vacation to Wyoming, Stafford Township Mayor John Spodofora also answered The SandPapers’ request for remarks about Connors’ career. His first comment: Connors is the best mayor to ever serve in Ocean County.

“He’s always been an inspiration to me,” Spodofora said. “I probably never would have had interest in holding public office if it wasn’t for him.”

That inspiration goes a way back for Spodofora, knowing Connors since Spodofora was in his childhood. His parents moved to Surf City, and it was Connors who built his family’s home. This was not just a business relationship. Connors formed a friendship with the family. The term “straight arrow” was used and then applied to why Spodofora’s family respected Connors.

“That had to back in – geez – 1963 was when I met him,” Spodofora said.

Spodofora, now 69, was 17 years old at the time. Connors lived “just up the street” from the family’s home, the Stafford mayor said.

“We share a lot of history together,” Spodofora said.

From 1977 until 1982, Connors was an Ocean County freeholder before he was elected to the state Senate, beginning his first term in January 1982. Yet Connors also stayed on as mayor of Surf City, and that’s likely where a lot of history was formed.

“It was quite a challenge,” Connors said. “I just got through it.”

Put on top of that construction work and a family – whew. Looking back, Connors said he might have done some things differently. The keyword there is some.

Asked what it was like growing up in the Len Connors household, son Chris Connors chuckled. Discipline and work ethic were the first two terms he associated with the family’s values.

“He always made the time, no matter how busy he was both in his occupation as a builder and in public service, for my brother and I,” said Chris Connors, who occupies the same Ninth District senate seat his dad did. “He involved us in things. He was just very generous with his time.

“You learn. And I appreciate even more now, being the father of two children, how enormously difficult that can be.”

Chris shared some details on how his father got it done. He would be up around 5 a.m. each day. The newspapers would be read. The paperwork would be completed. He would have a day’s work completed before Chris woke up. Then, Len would be off to work by 7:30 a.m.

“He immersed himself in anything that he did, and he did it well,” Chris said.

The younger Connors learned, perhaps rather gained, much from his father, serving as a mayor and state senator. Chris Connors was elected to the Lacey Township Committee in the late 1980s, serving part of his term as mayor.

“We both served as mayor simultaneously, and we both served in the Legislature simultaneously,” said Chris, whose first state office was election as a Ninth District assemblyman. “It was one of those very unique opportunities to be working side-by-side with your father.

“It was great to have that time together in that capacity, than what we otherwise might do as father and son.”

Chris said he admires his father’s straightforwardness with those he served, saying his father worked “without fear or favor.” This earned his father a reputation of being passionate and fair in the eyes of those he worked beside. Whether in Trenton or in Surf City, Connors’ No. 1 obligation was to the taxpayers who elected him, according to his son.

“He defied what the opinion may be in terms of dual public office holders because the constituency of both of those offices accepted the level of representation they received,” Chris said. “It never seemed to bother the constituency at all.”

He said his father, when in Trenton, never forgot that he was there for the Ninth Legislative District. There would be pressure from all sorts of entities to vote a certain way or hold the party line. Yet Len Connors did not have it in his nature to do so, Chris said. “If it wasn’t good for the people he served, he was just not going to support it.”

Chris said this was passed down to him; he cited his own recent opposition to a Gov. Chris Christie veto of a gun control bill.

“I have had that voice inside of me, in which I could essentially hear my father say, ‘do what you think is right for the people you serve. Don’t be intimidated by anyone or anything,’” Chris recounted. “That’s part of his legacy that will continue to live on, at least through me.”

That said, Chris Connors knows where his father ultimately stood politically. He referred to the fact Surf City has no municipal debt, but also has a low tax rate.

Connors’ service as mayor made him a better freeholder and a better state senator, according to his son. This gave him firsthand knowledge of how laws passed in Trenton affected those back across the state at home.

Freeholder Little said Connors has provided him and his family with a tremendous friendship. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Len Connors, his friendship and all the things he gave me,” said Little, who spent many formative years on Connors’ legislative staff at their district office in Forked River. “I’m thankful. I’m blessed.”

Connors had Little serve as his chief of staff for more than 20 years while Connors was a state senator. Little described Connors as a “fierce” politician who commanded “great respect.”

“He was like the Ted Cruz of the New Jersey State Senate,” Little remarked.

Just like Cruz, there has been no shortage of quotes coming from Connors. Addressing a potential rise in federal flood insurance following Superstorm Sandy, Mayor Connors remarked, “This country is going broke.”

At Surf City Taxpayers Association meetings, Connors was personable, once saying, “I have a pussy cat,” when asked if the town would consider building a dog park. While he added that he once owned a German shepherd, he professed to be more of a cat guy. At an earlier council meeting, he spoke about the cat, Spencer, making it through Superstorm Sandy, safe and dry. Instances like these made Connors seem like just another average Len.

“He likes to hear people’s stories. And, can he tell a story!” said Surf City Councilman Peter Hartney. “There’s a richness in his stories.”

Connors was a frugal mayor, once refusing to pay for painting the town’s street curbs yellow in no-parking areas. The Republican’s political beliefs were reflected in the budget, too. At a taxpayers association meeting in June 2014, he said the town had the smallest amount of debt in comparison to Ship Bottom and Beach Haven, at $25,000. At the meeting, he also claimed Surf City’s population pays the smallest amount of municipal taxes in comparison to those towns:

An example of the taxes for a $600,000 residential property is $1,512 in Surf City, $2,268 in Ship Bottom and $2,310 in Beach Haven. In true conservative fashion, he said Surf City also came out on top for smallest 2014 municipal budget among the three: $6,358,173.

That budget consciousness dates back to the beginning of his mayoral service. He considers his fiscal work among his best contributions to Surf City.

Other contributions: “Oh, man, there’s probably several I could point to. One would be beach tags,” Connors said.

Connors helped implement beach badges as a way to pay for lifeguards and beach maintenance; Surf City was the first Long Beach Island town to charge the public for beach use. He said prior to the inception of beach badges, “going back a ways,” tourists would use the beach but not contribute to its upkeep. At the time, beach operations were paid strictly by the residents of Surf City.

“It was costing us too much money,” Connors said. “No one (else) paid.”

Now, with beach badges in place, the beaches pay for themselves, and then some.

Whether acting as a freeholder, state senator or mayor, Connors took great pride in ensuring people paid their fair share to make sure Surf City stayed great. “How can you do any better that the best?” Connors said of Surf City, at a past council meeting.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hartney said. “He was able to work with people, listen to people and engage in discussion.”

He appeared to never take matters or himself too serious, unless necessary.

At an August 2014 council meeting, a resolution was passed that allows “the sale and disposal of surplus property” using “Boy, that sounds ominous, doesn’t it?” Connors joked.

If he wanted something, he’d also let people know. “I think we ought to have the John Gutbrod Day,” Connors said in May, wanting to commemorate the World War II service of the veteran.

If he didn’t know something, he’d let people know. “What the devil is this?” he asked of a 2014 storm re-entry plan during a council meeting.

Little saw Connors as a man who was a true advocate as a politician, standing up for his beliefs – even if it meant doing so in defiance of his own Republican party. He added that Connors would read every bill – something that not even presidential candidates do. For all of this, Connors was rewarded by his constituents with enough votes to win seven state elections in a 26-year senate career.

Connors and Little would spend at least six days every week together, traveling across the state. “He was almost like a father to me for a lot of years, and that is a friendship I can’t replace,” Little said. “I am fond of Len Connors, and always will be.”

Little tells people that while he may have a degree in education, he received ‘a doctorate in politics’ from Connors and then-Assemblymen Jeff Moran (now Ocean County surrogate), and Chris Connors, who later advanced to his father’s state Senate seat in 2008.

“It was a magnificent legislative team that stood up for Ocean County,” Little said.

Even with all of the learning and fierce politics swirling around, Little said, Connors kept things fun with his sharp sense of wit.

“There were a lot of good jokes between him and (Surf City Council President) Franny Hodgson,” Little recalled. “It was a good time.”

“We have all been blessed with Mayor Len Connors, Sen. Len Connors, Freeholder Len Connors,” Little said.

Surf City Councilman Hartney has served beside Connors for over seven years. For him, being able to witness Connors’ leadership was “marvelous.” The biggest accomplishment in those seven years, Hartney said, was the borough’s preparation, response and recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

Spodofora speculated that Connors is the longest-serving mayor in the 165-year history of Ocean County. That appears to be a fine guess because the longest serving mayor in the state’s history, the late Gerald Calabrese of Cliffside Park, served just two more years than Connors. More importantly, though, Spodofora considers Connors to be the best mayor to ever serve in Ocean County, justifying the point by saying he was a caring, community-first leader. Spodofora added that Connors would do “the right thing” regardless of party values.

“Len is very special,” Spodofora said. “He was great in his business career. He was highly respected. He was great in his political career. He was certainly a great friend, neighbor, and father to his family. He is just one of those special people. He’s a very rare person.”

Surf City will now hope to have another “very rare person” as its next mayor. “It’s a bittersweet time,” Little said. “We see the passing of the torch of a great town.”

That torch will be handed off to Council President Francis Hodgson. Little noted that Hodgson has served more years on Surf City’s council than Connors did as mayor. Little said this should translate to continuity and strong, maintained leadership. Little has firsthand knowledge of this, serving beside Connors and Hodgson as a Surf City councilman from 1995 until 2003, when he became a freeholder. Like Connors, as the longest-serving mayor in the county, Little believes Hodgson is among the longest-serving councilmen in the country.

“They’ve shared a lot together,” Hartney said. He predicts Hodgson will continue to run the borough in a “fiscally responsible way.”

“From having no bonded indebtedness, to providing good services, I think it’s going to be seamless,” Hartney said.

Chris Connors says this is even more impressive in 2015 with an increased demand for services, state and federal mandates and losing resources like state aid. That, he said, is a testament to Surf City’s government as a whole.

“It’s built a culture in that municipality that’s shared by the members of the governing body that are there now,” Chris said. “If there’s anything close to being a family, I would have to say (it’s) the governing body and administrative staff in Surf City.”

He sees a borough that will continue to spend the taxpayer’s money in a frugal manner. “There’s nothing fancy, but everything gets done,” Chris said.

Asked if he had any advice for Hodgson, Leonard Connors replied, “No, Franny’s a good man.”

“The two of them, they’re about as frugal as you’ll ever get,” Chris said. “They’re both ultra-conservatives, in many respects.

“It’s going to be difficult for Franny, too, because they’ve served for so long together. I know there’s going to be a certain part of Franny that’s going to feel a certain sense of emptiness in not having his buddy there.”

Chris Connors added that his father likely is noting the changing times. Leonard has seen the birth of two grandchildren in a matter of months. But Chris looked farther back: the passing of his father’s friend and former Long Beach Township Mayor James Mancini in 2003, had a huge impact on his father.

“It said things aren’t the way they used to be. Time is passing us by,” Chris said.

However, the long-time mayor has his town on a positive course.

“If you’re going to live in New Jersey, if you’re going to live in Ocean County, you can’t beat Surf City,” Little said. “That’s the best legacy we can leave, as public officials. We are all caretakers.”

“I think the governance of Surf City has been fair and up-to-date, and I’m rather proud of the service I rendered to the borough,” said Mayor Connors.

Little finished by sharing a story. He was once told that Mayor Connors and his wife, Lorraine, would drive around the borough before calling it a night.

“He’d make sure he put the town to bed safely, and then he would rest his head on the pillow and sleep peacefully,” Little said. “That’s a small town mayor doing a great job.”

The Mayor said that story is somewhat accurate. Now, Surf City’s car is parked elsewhere, and in January, Hodgson will have the keys.

For the last 49 years, though, Surf City has been able to rest peacefully every night.

Reposted from The Sandpaper

No COLA for 2016 Social Security concerns freeholders

Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari says he is disappointed there will be no cost of living adjustment (COLA) for next year’s Social Security, noting that many seniors rely on these benefits as their primary means of financial support,

“This is a concern for many of our seniors,” said Vicari, who serves as chairman of Ocean County Senior Services. “No increase in benefits in 2016 could result in seniors being forced to make decisions they shouldn’t have to. Seniors should not have to decide between buying medication and buying food.”

As of December 2014 there were 154,510 Social Security recipients in Ocean County, including 50,970 men and 71,365 women 65 or older. Ocean County has the largest senior population in the state, and the second largest in the country, Vicari pointed out.

And, according to the freeholders, the recent elder economic index shows Social Security is the sole income for approximately 30 percent of New Jersey elders.

“While I understand there is a formula used by Social Security that determines the adjustment, it remains of the utmost importance for all agencies to do their part to provide the financial means our seniors need,” Vicari added. “The lack of an increase for our seniors is very frustrating to say the least.”

As the freeholders explained, the amount of money Social Security pays out is adjusted each year to take into account the rate of inflation; the COLA is set every October based on the September inflation report.

“Our seniors rely on these benefits,” Vicari said. “I would hope the Social Security Administration would take into consideration just how important these benefits are to our seniors and not keep the COLA flat in coming years.”


Reposted from The Sandpaper

Buy books, baked goods and more on November 24

Stafford Branch
Ocean County Library
129 North Main St. (Route 9)
Manahawkin (609-597-3381)

There will be more than reading materials available when the Friends of the Stafford Library hold a book sale on Tuesday, Nov. 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Besides a wide collection of discounted fiction and nonfiction titles, shoppers can also find a pleasing variety of baked goods.

Normally, the sale is held on the last Thursday of each month. But because that will be Thanksgiving Day, the sale is held prior to the holiday.

Nora DeRosa, Friends president, said there would be homemade cakes, pies, breads, brownies and cookies.

“These are desserts that can go along with the Thanksgiving meal, so pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads are usually the most popular of the selections,” said DeRosa.

She added that while the book sale ends at 1, the baked goods would remain available until all are sold.

The Friends sponsor a concert by Gino Galante on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. The Stafford resident will perform a variety of Broadway and popular melodies.

The next feature film is “San Andreas,” on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 2 p.m. In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

During library hours on Tuesday to Thursday, Dec. 8 to 10, a decorations swap will take place. Bring in your gently used items and swap them for something more to your liking. Decorations will be set up on tables in the front lobby.

The Tuesday afternoon book discussion group meets on Dec. 8. at 1 p.m. The topic is The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. The Wednesday afternoon group will not meet in December.

The next meetings of the String of Purls knit/crocheting group are Saturdays, Nov. 21 and Dec. 5, at 10:30 a.m. and Thursday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m. New and experienced knitters are welcome.

Every Tuesday, the Ocean County Family Success Center Sandy Project will have a representative from 9 to 10:30 a.m. to provide free counseling for families, children and individuals who are struggling and need support.

Mah jongg buffs get together for games every Friday beginning at 12:30 p.m. Participants should bring current-year game cards and sets.

Need help with using the Internet? The technology room on the lower level has numerous courses available for beginners and experienced computer users. Check the front desk for times and dates. The room is open for public use on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 3 to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Friday, 3 to 4:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Reposted from The Sandpaper

Interactive website offers advice for eco-friendly yards

The state Department of Environmental Protection, the Barnegat Bay Partnership and Ocean County College have partnered to launch the website, developed with a $100,000 federal nonpoint source pollution reduction grant program known as the Clean Water Act’s 319(h) program. The site, part of a Jersey-Friendly Yards campaign, provides practical tips for property owners to create environmentally friendly lawns and gardens, and includes an “interactive yard” tool.

“While the website was designed with the Barnegat Bay watershed as its basis, the tips and tools that it provides are applicable statewide and can be used by residents, landscapers, property managers and others to reduce stormwater runoff and actually have ecologically healthier lawns,” said Dan Kennedy, the DEP’s assistant commissioner for water resources management.

“The tips and interactive tools developed through this initiative show property owners how they can significantly reduce fertilizer and pesticide use; provide practical advice on making wise decisions about the types of shrubs, trees and plants they select; and offer practical advice on how to capture and re-use rainwater. At the same time, property owners will be creating natural habitats that will be used by beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife.”

The website also provides information about the water quality degradation caused by stormwater runoff and fertilizers. As the DEP explains, fertilizers that wash off onto roads can eventually enter storm drains that empty into waterways, causing rapid growth of algae and other aquatic plant life. This unhealthy growth not only impacts swimming, boating and fishing, but, as algae and aquatic plants die, they use up oxygen needed by fish and other marine life to survive.

Reducing stormwater pollution is a critical part of the Barnegat Bay Partnership’s efforts to protect and restore the bay, noted Karen Walzer, BBP public outreach coordinator. The organization is currently working with the Ocean County Soil Conservation District and Rutgers Cooperative Extension to put Jersey Friendly Yards practices into place by developing demonstration projects with six homeowner associations in the Barnegat Bay watershed.

Walzer deems the new website “an easy-to-use source of information for creating a beautiful, healthy and environmentally-friendly yard in New Jersey. The website will help us toward our goal of cleaner water for drinking, swimming, fishing, and wildlife – and a healthier environment for everyone in our state.”

Improving water quality is also a key environmental priority for the state. “At the DEP, we are doing everything we can to help reduce the fertilizers, pesticides, automotive fluids and other contaminants that run off into our lakes, rivers and streams – but we need everyone to pitch in to improve water quality,” said Kyra Hoffmann, an environmental specialist who helped develop the website. “We strongly encourage everyone to browse the site and make a difference by putting some of these ideas into practice.”

Reposted from The Sandpaper

Fishermen’s energy loses bid for wind farm leases

f-Fishing Activity MapThe U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held an offshore land lease sale for the purposes of developing future wind farms on Monday, Nov. 9.  Although a locally held company, Fishermen’s Energy, participated in the auction, it lost out to two other concerns.

US Wind Inc. won the right to develop the Wind Energy Area off Ocean and Atlantic counties by bidding$1,006,240 for 183,353 acres, Outer Continental Shelf Lease Area 0499. RES America Developments Inc. won the right to develop the 160,480 Wind Energy Area acres from Atlantic City south to Cape May County, paying $880,715 for Lease Area OCS-A 0498.

The New Jersey Wind Energy Area starts about 7 nautical miles offshore and extends roughly 21 nautical miles seaward. To see a map of the New Jersey Wind Energy Area, go to–Jersey.

Each lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which the lessee will submit a site assessment plan to BOEM for approval. A site assessment plan describes the activities (installation of meteorological towers and buoys) a lessee plans to perform for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area.

Fishermen’s Energy Chief Operating Official Paul Gallagher was not available for comment on Tuesday.

Fishermen’s Energy was developed in 2007 by a consortium of eight commercial fishing and dock facilities along the East Coast from Massachusetts to Virginia. In New Jersey, Viking Village in Barnegat Light, Atlantic Cape Fisheries and Cold Spring Fish and Supply Co. are some of the partners.

The idea was to take a leadership role in building wind energy farms that would be sensitive to fishing areas and the marine environment.

On Tuesday, Mayor Kirk Larson, owner of three scallop boats at Viking Village and a partner in Fishermen’s Energy, said he thought the land leases went fairly cheaply, but the consortium just could not match the amounts. He would not speculate on what it means for Fishermen’s Energy going forward.

“We’re still a company,” he asserted. “It was the BPU that hurt us. The federal government loves us; they gave us the $51 million grant.”

Fishermen’s Energy’s plans to build a demonstration site consisting of five wind turbines 2.8 miles off the Atlantic City coast that would generate 25 megawatts to power 10,000 homes has all of the necessary permits in hand but for the past four years has been unable to get approval from the Christie administration’s Board of Public Utilities. The BPU has been instructed to develop a system of Offshore Wind Credits to allow investors to buy into the project but has failed to do that despite its being one of the key provisions of the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act of 2010.  Offshore wind renewable energy credits would function like solar energy credits – and would make financial assistance and tax credits for existing businesses that construct, manufacture, assemble and support the development of qualified offshore wind projects. When he signed it into law, Gov. Christie said his administration was committed to making New Jersey a national leader in wind power.

Despite losing out on the large land leases, a Nov. 9 press release from FE’s COO, Paul Gallagher, stated that the New Jersey Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee approved an amendment to the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act that requires the New Jersey BPU to open a “window” to solicit new proposals for a small wind project off Atlantic City.  Gallagher expects that the full Assembly and Senate will pass the bill by year-end and revive Fishermen’s Energy’s demonstration wind farm.

The timing may be crucial as it will take U.S. Wind and RESS time to develop site assessment plans; the lessees have 4½ years to submit a construction and operations plan. This plan provides detailed information for the construction and operation of a wind energy project on the lease to BOEM for approval. Only then will BOEM conduct an environmental review of that proposed project and gather public input. If the COP is approved, the lessee will have an operation term of 25 years, at a cost of $3 per acre annually.

According to a BOEM press release, an analysis made by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that if the two leases are fully developed, the area could support about 3,400 megawatts of commercial wind generation, enough electricity to power about 1.2 million homes.

BOEM has awarded nine additional commercial offshore wind leases, including seven through the competitive lease sale process: two in an area off the shore of Rhode Island-Massachusetts, another two off Massachusetts, two off Maryland and one off Virginia.

“Today’s auction underscores the emerging market demand for renewable energy and marks another major step in standing up a sustainable offshore wind program for Atlantic coast communities,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “Through extensive outreach and public engagement, we reduced potential use conflicts while moving the country closer to harnessing the enormous potential of wind energy along the Atlantic coast.”

In July, Jewell joined Rhode Island officials to celebrate the start of construction on Deepwater Wind’s $225 million, 30-megawatt offshore wind project that will provide electricity to Block Island and Rhode Island mainland consumers.

Plans for Wind Farms Run Afoul of Scalloping Grounds

Meanwhile, Barnegat Light Mayor Larson joined other commercial fishermen at a Nov. 6  public hearing held by BOEM in Point Pleasant. Larson represented about 200 fishermen and their families that run scallop boats out of Viking Village in Barnegat Light.

The 30 or so fishermen who were able to attend the meeting all protested BOEM’s proposed  land leases off Point Pleasant and Long Island (N.Y.) where known ocean scallop beds are commercially dredged.

“That’s why we started Fishermen’s Energy; we wanted to control our own destiny,” said Larson.

“Some guy just drew a map on the land: This is where the winds are heaviest, right over the scallop grounds. I said, ‘There’s lots of wind out there; couldn’t you just move it further east?’” said Larson on Tuesday.

The proposed areas for wind farms off Long Island would also affect the squid fishery and mackerel catches, he said. “It’s not just scallops. It could affect who knows how many fisheries.”

The workshops by BOEM are intended to provide the Department of the Interior with a better understanding of how the area, known as the New York Call area, is used for fishing before it determines which areas should be made available for leasing. Larsen said the BOEM officials did not give a timeline on when decisions might be forthcoming on the boundaries for these wind energy leases.

Reposted from The Sandpaper

Zion Lutheran Church 75th Anniversary cookbook is a treasure

f-Still Cooking

How to compile a church cookbook: Keep reminding the congregation to get those recipes in … try them to make sure something vital isn’t missing … coordinate the computers … but know that the result will warm the whole community.

Zion Lutheran Church in Barnegat Light is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2015, and a cookbook is an enduring tribute.

“Favorite Recipes” is 178 pages of specialties from church members, their friends and families, including the ever-helpful “hints” pages. A rarely-published history of the seaside church was also researched and compiled for the publication.

Where else but a church cookbook from Long Beach Island would a collection have Barnegat Light Grilled Swordfish With Mango Salsa, Gourmet Flounder Fillets, Meatballs in Cranberry Sauce, Cold Peach Soup, and Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting?

Chris Einselen’s Black and Blue Tuna starts with yellow fin or big eye caught by the Barnegat Light commercial fishing fleet that gets seared and dipped in a white wine-wasabi sauce. Anyone would be hooked.

And as “seashore” as some of them are, there are others with a taste of family tradition. Uncle Nick’s Nut Bread submitted by Debbie and George Schnell, Ham Loaf Circa 1940s from Kit Cornell and Pistachio Cake from Peggy Hem are just three.

As a gift in time for Thanksgiving, Christmas or other special occasion, a church cookbook keeps on giving.

Astrid Ottey, Rosemarie Unger and Linda Haviland from the church delved into the project. Ottey, as chairperson of the committee, talked about how it came about.

“I had started to write a family cookbook and I got pretty far along and then I got bogged down and it just became overwhelming,” she said. “So I put all that stuff away and that was the end of it.

“But then suddenly we are preparing to have our 75th anniversary of our church,” she recalled, “and I mentioned it to the Ladies Guild at the church that I would like to do a cookbook but I ‘failed’ at it once and I need help. I didn’t think the church had even done a cookbook as far as I knew. Later on I found out that they had done several cookbooks in the past,” she said. (Residents in town recall at least one on mimeographed sheets of paper, but these treasures are out of print.)

“We worked on it all last winter. We met at our house, sometimes four times a week, from 10 o’clock in the morning until 5 o’clock at night.”

“I made lunch!” Ottey’s husband, Bill, interjected, and that had been important. He has several recipes in the book, by the way.

“We had so many decisions to make,” Astrid Ottey said.

“There we are, sitting there with all our computers – all of us had our own computers – and our cell phones and we were calling people to make sure the recipes were right because they didn’t have the temperatures or they didn’t have the measurements …”

“We checked each recipe at least four times. At least,” added Unger. That meant baking a great deal of them, as well.

Some were tried-and-true by an expert, and that’s where R. Marilyn Schmidt’s prized cranberry recipes come in. The former Barnegat Light resident, who moved to the pines to run the iconic Buzby’s Chatsworth General Store, has five recipes in the book. Eleanor Crane, church organist for all 75 of the church’s first years, put in her state-prize-winning Glazed Lemon Pound Cake.

Every community cookbook has some extras in its “This and That” chapter, such as Unger’s Egg Yolk Paint for Cookies.” Stirring egg yolk with water and food coloring yields a kid-friendly paint for personalizing their own treats. Making Linda Haviland’s Soft Pretzels could be another family pastime. Rum Balls, thanks to Siegrid Dunphey, turn the party up a notch.

“The hard part in the beginning was trying to get people to give us their recipes,” said Ottey, who contributed 11. Unger’s festive Jubilee Chicken with cherries, peaches, chili sauce and sweet and sour sauce, is one of nine of her offerings. Haviland has 10, including Peanut Brittle.

“And so I would stand up in church every Sunday and say, ‘we need recipes.’ And Rosemarie Unger had a thermometer this large (spreading her arms) showing that we wanted to have this many recipes.

“We exceeded the number of recipes.”

The fun part for locals will be looking up recipes according to names of the contributors. One of two indexes allows that.

Some features make this cookbook unique to Zion Lutheran Church. A cordial welcome page by Pastor Bill McGowan suggests, “remember the love you have for those for whom you are cooking,” and “say a prayer thanking God for the blessings of your own life.”

Zion Lutheran history began in 1940 as the church of many of the Scandanavian fishing families, who were also instrumental in building it.  “Some of the great carpenters and the great boat builders in Barnegat Light have done a lot of the woodwork in our church,” Ottey learned.

The land for the church was donated by Wesley Roche Sr. The crucifix on the east wall is from Oberammergau, Germany. Mosaics made by the confirmation class between 1976 and 1978 sparkle in nautical themes.

The late Lorraine Slim Hanna’s Baked Lima Beans is the featured recipe that has a history in itself. When Ruth Reeder hosts her 26th church picnic this year and brings the picnic ham, everyone will finally know how Hanna made the delicious bean side dish – the recipe is right at the front of the book.

There was a question of whether to use many of the recipes from the old cookbooklets, but this new one evolved to have its own personality. Starting fresh seemed to be the answer, said Ottey.

Quite a few of the older people passed away or moved away. “So we tried to get young people to put their recipes in here because when our church celebrates the 100th anniversary, the younger people will be here and they have their names in this cookbook.”

One older recipe that was included in the book is Jean Patterson’s Baked Deviled Crab. Typical of some cooks from past generations, she didn’t specify how much crabmeat to use, but the cookbook committee decided to leave it just that way. People can mix in the amount that seems right to them.

”We had a big discussion about that on the phone, and we decided we were going to leave it as-is. We decided after researching and talking to people that some people would put a lot of crab in and some people would put less crab in.”

On the topic of trying the recipes, Ottey has a funny story about the seafood casserole that former First Lady Barbara Bush now has in her family.

“They were going to Jeb Bush’s inaugural in Florida and they stopped for lunch and ordered this seafood casserole and they were getting late, but an aunt of Barbara’s had to have the recipe,” Ottey related. “So she went back in the kitchen and got the recipe. A chapter in Barbara Bush’s book is called, I think, ‘the recipe that made us late for Jeb’s inaugural.’

“I tried this recipe because our daughter had just gotten engaged and I invited her future husband’s parents. We worked so hard on this recipe. It cost $140, at least; it had lobster tails, all this fish and crab and scallops. It took me a whole day to make this recipe.

“Then I found out they didn’t like fish. They hardly ate it, but it is the  best.”

The church ordered 400 cookbooks and Morris Press Cookbooks threw in an extra 52 for good measure, and paid for shipping.

At $10 each, they’re going fast. To get one, contact one of the three women on the committee, including Astrid Ottey at 609-494-8914.


Reposted from The Sandpaper

Water metering in Barnegat Light’s future

Barnegat Light is discussing the first steps of going toward water metering in the borough. The process of installing new meters will take a couple of years, but council members approved drafting an ordinance that would first cover new construction.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is cracking down on water conservation, and Barnegat Light is one of many area municipalities in some phase of the metering process.

“I want to get this ordinance in so all new homes are already on it,” said Mayor Kirk Larson at the November caucus meeting of borough council.

“What we’re trying to do is get the first part of the ordinance or a partial ordinance in place so people aren’t putting in something that’s not going to qualify later on,” Council President Michael Spark said.

The new meters will have updated technology and can be read from a central office, borough officials said. The town will have to dig new meter pits to hold them, but the property owners will be responsible for having the meters installed, said Spark, who chairs the water and sewer committee.

“If you look at Harvey Cedars, it probably took them two to three years before meter reading went into effect because once you have the ordinance, you have to figure out the rate structure, then give the individual homeowners time to put it in – it’s their responsibility to put it in; they pay for it,” Spark outlined after the meeting.

He could not estimate a cost at this point. “The cost to install a meter will depend on different situations on the property, such as whether it’s blacktopped or landscaped and they have to rip that up; different contractors are going to charge the homeowners a different price.”

Regarding the first phase, where an initial ordinance would apply to new construction, it would take 60 days for an ordinance to take effect after it is passed, added Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Flanagan. At that time, builders or property owners could pick up specifications for the water meters, The ordinance has not been written yet, but Borough Attorney Terry Brady will compose the wording.

Currently, older meters are in the ground but they have not been read. Instead, the borough charges on a per-spigot basis.

When meters are read in the future, some families’ water bill may go up, and other families’ may go down from the current charge, Spark said. It will depend directly upon how much water is used, not on how many spigots are in the house.

In Ship Bottom, where the new process is in progress, some residents “have wanted it for years,” said Flanagan, who is also financial officer for that borough.

After the meeting, Spark clarified more details of the situation. For years, Barnegat Light has supplied water to the northernmost towns of neighboring Long Beach Township that do not have water towers, including High Bar Harbor and Loveladies, for a fee. But that also means more water usage, and in many summer months, total usage has exceeded the allocation allowed by the DEP.

Now, meters are “being mandated” by the DEP, Spark said.

“In the previous couple summers we’ve gone over our allocation. They fined us for using more water than we’re allowed,” he said. “It’s not astronomical, but it’s a penalty, and it’s shared between us and Long Beach Township. They use about half of our water.”

That is one reason to proceed with metering, he said, “and we’ve been talking about doing it for years. Now the DEP is putting the pressure on, and in other towns they have come down and mandated it and given a period of time to get it done.”

About “95 to 98 percent” of the properties in the borough have meters, Spark said, “but we’ve never read them as meters; we’ve gone by a spigot count. But the fact that we have meters is part of the reason, I think, that we’ve been able to alleviate some of the DEP pressure, but they’ve been pushing and pushing.”

The new meters will require bigger pits than the current meters are sited in, Spark said.

“We’ve always been working under the assumption that our pits would accommodate what would come in the future. … We’re now in a whole new generation of technology. It will be Wi-Fi; you sit in your office and can read what’s happening.”

Spark said the borough will consult its engineer, Frank Little, about the new process. “We’re learning from the beginning. I’m sure Frank has been involved in this with other municipalities; he can help us determine rate structures. And we’ll be talking to other people who have done it.”

Spark, Larson and Flanagan also noted that water metering is conducive to conservation. Many people tend to avoid leaving the sprinkler system running, for example.

“From what I understand, Harvey Cedars’ water usage went way down,” said Larson at the meeting.

Among other discussions, Larson said the dog park that has been on West 10th Street on a trial basis may be moved and the area where the dog park is now would be reverted to a sports field for kids.

“The kids will get their ball field back. I say we take care of our residents,” he said, referring to the fact that the dog park is also used by a lot of out-of-town and out-of-area people.

Personnel Changes Come With Retirement

Brenda Kuhn was appointed as acting clerk in the borough on the retirement of administrator/clerk Gail J. Wetmore. Kuhn will also retain her existing position of tax collector.

Kathy Guerrero, who has been serving as deputy clerk, will continue working in that capacity but has also been appointed as one of two tax clerks. Borough employee Elaine Tollison is the other newly appointed tax clerk. Tollison, who is the borough’s recreation coordinator, was recently named acting secretary of the planning board in anticipation of Wetmore’s retirement.

Flanagan will be appointed qualified purchasing agent for the borough under an ordinance introduced at the Nov. 11 meeting. One of Wetmore’s duties had been as purchasing agent. Borough officials said that having a purchasing agent means the borough saves in engineering fees and other costs because more purchasing decisions can be approved in-house. The threshold for bidding on items needed is $40,000, rather than $20,000 in towns that do not have a purchasing agent.

Another ordinance introduced will create the position of borough code official, a title that would be added to the zoning officer’s duties. Current Zoning Officer Al Oros is retiring effective Dec. 1. Borough resident Jeffrey Washburn has been interviewed and approved for the job, but the appointment will not be officially made until Oros’ retirement, the borough officials said.

The retirement of Wetmore effective Nov. 1 was accepted with the mayor and borough council members expressing “heartfelt thanks” in appreciation for her decades of faithful service.

“We will all miss her,” said Councilwoman Dottie Reynolds.

“It’s just a sad day that we won’t see her again,” said Larson. “She did a great job keeping the town together for over 23 years.”

As planning board secretary, Wetmore put in additional long hours, said Spark, adding, “The meetings used to start at 7:30 and end at around 10, and she had stayed here since 3:30 doing paperwork.”

Beach and Boat Ramp Fees Up for Next Summer

Increases in some beach and boat ramp fees got the formal go-ahead with passage on second reading. The details had been discussed at the October meeting when the ordinance was introduced.

Seasonal beach badge fees are set to go up next summer, but not the price of daily badges. The cost for seasonal badges will be $30 if bought pre-season and $40 during the season. This is $5 above last year’s price.

Weekly badges will cost $22 (up $2), daily badges will be $5 and senior citizens will pay $12 (up $2.)

Boat slip rental fees will be hiked slightly for the 2016 season as well. A $100 increase in seasonal slip rentals will bring the price to $2,100.

“This is as much to try to not make us too competitive with some of the private marinas,” whose fees are in the $2,300 range, said Councilman Ed Wellington last month. He chairs the docks and harbors committee.

“We’re going to leave the ramp fee at $20 for the typical in and out,” Wellington added.

The seasonal fee for boat launching at the 10th Street municipal ramp will go up $20, to $120.


Reposted from The Sandpaper

Deadline to file for homestead benefit 12/31

To make sure state residents have the chance to attain property tax relief, the Christie administration has extended the deadline for filing Homestead Benefit applications to Thursday, Dec. 31. The Treasury Department’s Division of Taxation has sent out over 1.28 million program applications to homeowners for calendar year 2013. The previous deadline for filing was Oct. 30.

“At this point, the division has not received all of the applications it expects will be filed for calendar year 2013, and it is unlikely that all eligible filers will meet the Oct. 30 deadline,” Acting State Treasurer Robert A. Romano said earlier. “By extending the application deadline to Dec. 31, we will give those who might have missed out the chance to apply and receive their benefit in 2016.”

To be eligible for a benefit for calendar year 2013, applicants must be a New Jersey resident who owned a principal residence on Oct. 1, 2013, and paid property taxes on that home. Applicants must also have reported $75,000 or less in New Jersey gross income for 2013 or, if disabled or 65 years of age or older on Dec. 31, 2013, must have reported a gross income for 2013 of $150,000 or less.

According to the division, the 2012 program paid over $369 million in benefits to 785,517 homeowners. On average, each taxpayer received a benefit of $469.82.

Before attempting to file, homeowners are being asked to read the instructions and complete the worksheet in their application packet. To avoid missing out on the Homestead Benefit, anyone who has sold his or her home recently or is preparing to sell the home should read the instructions carefully.

Homeowners can file online at or by phone at 877-658-2972.

For more information on the program, call the Division of Taxation’s Homestead Benefit Hotline at 888-238-1233 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Information is also available on the division’s website at and through its Automated Tax Information System at 800-323-4400.

Text telephone service for the hearing impaired is available at 800-286-6613 or 609-984-7300.

Reposted from The Sandpaper

Barnegat Food Pantry seeks food for holiday baskets

As Thanksgiving approaches, the Barnegat Food Pantry is hoping for donations of turkeys, hams and the trimmings to help needy families in the Barnegat-Waretown area. Libby Hammond, who took over as director last June, said volunteers at the Route 9 facility will soon be making food baskets, featuring a turkey or a ham as the centerpiece complete with mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing and more.

“We’ll probably be serving around 90 families,” she said. “There are a lot of people in the community going through tough times.”

She said following Thanksgiving, the pantry would begin collecting for Christmas food baskets, also featuring hams and turkeys with various trimmings.

“We need a lot of donations because the shelves can get bare quickly,” said Hammond. “The Boy Scouts will be holding a drive and that will help us, but we hope people will continue to donate.”

Hammond became director after serving as a volunteer for eight years.

“Besides the food pantry, we also have a thrift shop,” she said. “For a while, we were only generating $20 a month, but now we’ve had some days we’re bringing in $200.”

Hammond said the pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information, call the pantry at 609-698-7174.

Reposted from The Sandpaper

LBI beachfill project extended to 5/2016

Current beach replenishment work on Long Beach Island was initially, under the base contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., required to be complete by April 12, 2016. However, due to “weather delays and the need to repair areas damaged by the recent storm, we have extended the contract,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Steve Rochette noted on Tuesday. “The required completion date is now approximately May 21, 2016.”

The recent renourishment efforts began in Ship Bottom in early May, then moved to Long Beach Township. As of Monday, Nov. 2, beachfill discharge was between 75th and 77thStreets in Beach Haven Crest. The dredge Liberty Island has departed the LBI project, and is expected to return in January, while the dredge Dodge Island remains.

This segment of the project, from the previously constructed beaches at 57th Street in Brant Beach to Nebraska Avenue in Beach Haven Park, had been scheduled for completion in mid-November, but that date will also move back because of the weather and storm repair delays.

As for the remaining areas awaiting sand – the Loveladies and North Beach sections of the township, and Beach Haven and LBT’s Holgate section to the south – the timeline is uncertain. According to Rochette, “There’s been no determination ‎on the next location for beachfill operations at this point.”

Operations had been scheduled to subsequently move to either Loveladies or North Beach, with Beach Haven and Holgate slated for beachfill to begin around January. However, as Rochette said last week, “The USACE is “waiting to see when (the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection) will be able to provide the easements that enable us to build the project in the two northern areas (Loveladies and North Beach). Once all of the real estate easements are in hand, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock will determine how they will complete the project in the most expeditious manner.”

Township Mayor Joseph Mancini pointed out at a recent meeting, “The state of New Jersey, over the last months, has filed eminent domain on all of the Loveladies and North Beach (easement holdout) properties for the beach replenishment. That process is going to take awhile, because there’s been different guidelines as far as negotiations for the north end.”

According to the municipality, as of last week, there were 32 holdouts in Loveladies and North Beach.

Meanwhile, all easements are acquired for the southern portion of the township.

“In July, the state filed its first eminent domain actions against beachfront property owners to secure easements that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to build engineered beach and dune projects to protect lives, homes and businesses in the state’s economically vital coastal communities from severe storms and flooding,” the DEP explained earlier this year.

“Owners of beachfront properties up and down the coast have overwhelmingly stepped forward and done the right thing,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “Unfortunately, a few holdouts continue to refuse to provide easements, forcing us to seek condemnation of portions of their properties so we can move forward with projects that will protect lives and property.”

The state, Rochette said Tuesday, expects to have the real estate in place before Great Lakes completes work in the current section.

All remaining sections of the project will undergo construction in the late fall and winter timeframe, with all areas to be completed by the new finish date of May 21, 2016.

The Army Corps awarded a $128 million contract to Great Lakes in December 2014 to complete initial construction of the LBI project, a joint effort between the Army Corps and state DEP that had been only partially completed when Sandy hit. As noted on the Corps website,, “The Army Corps completed the initial construction of the project at Surf City in 2006; Harvey Cedars in 2010; and Brant Beach between 31st and 57th Streets in Long Beach Township in 2012. The Army Corps repaired beaches in Surf City and Harvey Cedars in 2012 after Hurricane Irene, and fully restored the beaches within all three communities after Hurricane Sandy in 2013. The restoration and repair work was funded 100 percent through the Army Corps’ Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies program.”

The project schedule is updated regularly at


Reposted from The Sandpaper