Trustee in Surflight bankruptcy files Notice of Abandonment


John M. McDonnell, the Red Bank attorney assigned by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of New Jersey as trustee in the case of Surflight Theatre, filed a “notice of abandonment” with the court on Thursday.

The SandPaper obtained a copy of the notice on Friday.

Such a notice is fairly routine procedure in a bankruptcy proceeding. A trustee’s responsibility is to attempt to liquidate a property to satisfy as many creditors as possible, especially secured creditors.

But the notice of abandonment shows the trustee now says the current market value of the .61-acre Surflight campus is only $2 million, the winning bid at a trustee-supervised auction on Aug. 6. The campus includes a 450-seat theater, the Show Place Ice Cream Parlour, a cast house, administrative offices and a single-family house.

Meanwhile, Surflight’s two secured creditors, TD Bank ($1,964,816.40 when Surflight filed for bankruptcy last February) and Show Place Inc. the company headed by former Surflight producer Scott Henderson ($1,513,767 as of February) are owed approximately $3.5 million.

In cases where trustees determine the market value of property isn’t great enough to pay creditors they will file a notice of abandonment, meaning the trustee is no longer responsible for the property.

What happens next?

Moorestown-based developer William Burris, who bid on the theater at the Aug. 6 auction, predicted the trustee would file a notice of abandonment in an article appearing in The SandPaper on Aug. 12. Burris also predicted another auction might follow – held in the Bankruptcy Court in Trenton – or that TD Bank would foreclose, leading to a sheriff’s sale.

Burris wants to purchase the property to build a mini-convention center around the theater proper, which he said he would keep, renting it out to traveling troupes several times a year instead of running it as a traditional summer stock operation.

Several other groups, however, have formed in an attempt to purchase Surflight.

So everything is once again up in the air.

The only thing that is certain is that the winning bidder at the Aug. 6 auction, a North Jersey man named Greg Russo, about whom little is known (he refused to comment to reporters after the auction), is now not Surflight’s owner. The notice of abandonment effectively voided his winning bid.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Ocean County College receives $1.1 Million grant

Ocean County College has been awarded a $1.1 million TRIO Student Support Services grant from the U.S. Department of Education, to be disbursed at $220,000 a year for five years. According to Diana Gatti, project director of Student Support Services at OCC, the SSS program provides academic support to 140 first-generation, low-income or disabled students.

“Student Support Services is a comprehensive program dedicated to increasing the academic success rate of students by providing support in an accessible and respectful environment,” Gatti explained.

“We provide personal, academic, and career coaching that encourages excellence and promotes success through educational opportunities and the use of campus resources,” she added. “This grant will provide much needed funding for the college to offer required services including tutoring, advice on course selection, information (on) and assistance with financial aid, and financial literacy activities.”

“We are very pleased with this renewal grant,” said Kate Pandolpho, director of Career, Employment, and Personal Counseling at OCC. “The college has had the Student Support Services program for the past five years and has had very positive results, increasing the persistence, retention and graduation of students who have academic need. This $1.1 million grant will go a long way in assisting these students.”

For more information on the Student Support Services Program or Career, Employment and Personal Counseling at Ocean County College, visit or call 732-255-0400, extension 2945.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Pallone and Menendez to introduce BEACH Act of 2015

Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.- 6th Dist.) and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) visited the Jersey Shore last week to announce their plans to introduce the BEACH Act of 2015 when Congress returns from recess in September. The legislation sets national water quality standards and provides states with grants to test water quality and notify the public when conditions are unsafe.

“Clean, safe and healthy beaches are vital to our state’s economy and give beachgoers the peace of mind they need to enjoy this incredible resource,” said Pallone, who pointed out that the measure seeks to reauthorize the BEACH Act grants he originally established in 2000 along with the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. “My bill with Sen. Lautenberg was an important step to keep beaches clean and safe, and now, more than 15 years later, I am proud to introduce this bill with Sen. Menendez to reauthorize and strengthen the original legislation.”

As Menendez explained, “The BEACH Act is really about accepting our responsibilities as stewards of our incredible coastal environment and what it means to all of us. It’s about doing all we can to keep it as we remember it so that future generations will have the same wonderful experiences we have had. And it’s about making sure that if you’re spending a day out on the water and bringing your family to the beach, you’ll never have to question whether the water is safe enough for your children to swim.”

Under the BEACH (Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health) Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is required to work with states to ensure they use the latest science to sample and test waters to protect the public’s health. If tests come back positive for contaminants, the state would be required to close the beach until it is clean. The bill would also help states operate comprehensive monitoring and notification programs in order to provide up-to-date information on the condition of all public beaches.

As noted in a press release from Pallone’s office, “The reauthorization legislation mandates the use of rapid testing methods by requiring EPA to approve methods that detect water contamination in two hours or less so that beaches can be closed shortly thereafter. Current water quality monitoring tests only test for bacteria levels and take 24 to 48 hours to produce reliable results, during which time many beachgoers can be unknowingly exposed to harmful pathogens.

“According to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s annual analysis of water quality data, 10 percent of all samples exceeded EPA’s benchmark for assessing swimmer safety. Furthermore, EPA has estimated that up to 3.5 million people become sick from contact with raw sewage from sanitary sewer overflows each year.”

Pallone and Menendez were joined at their press conference last week by Clean Ocean Action Executive Director Cindy Zipf, who remarked, “People have the right to know that the waters that they are swimming in are safe, and the BEACH Act of 2000 required a standard national testing program and beach closures for contaminated areas.

“However, today the BEACH Act is now 15 years old, and needs to be updated to require faster testing and reporting, tests after storms, and permanent funding. Protecting swimmers from sewage and other dangerous water conditions should not fall prey to the whims of Washington, nor should a beach day turn into a sick day.”

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Acme Markets setting up shot in Barnegat

Barnegat Township’s attempts to attract a supermarket appear to have come to fruition with an announcement that Acme Markets will be taking over the vacant Genuardi’s building on West Bay Avenue. The store will become the flagship entity at Barnegat Village Square, which consists of several other businesses and is located just east of the Garden State Parkway northbound entrance.

“We have a deal in place,” said Ed Walters, president of the Walters Group and owner of the property, to the township committee at its meeting on Aug. 17. He said he could not provide specific details yet but said he expects the agreement to be finalized in September.

Walters said he was hoping the new Acme would be open in time for the holidays in December, but a January opening is more realistic.

“If you want to get an idea what it will look like, go to the new Acme that opened on Long Beach Island (in the Brant Beach section of Long Beach Township),” said Walters. “The recession has made it difficult to find tenants, but after a long process, we finally got this done.”

Walters said that when the existing building is renovated, the first order of business would be upgrades to the heating system.

“Nothing much has been done since the store opened,” he said.

The 45,000-square-foot site has been vacant since Genuardi’s closed its doors in December 2012. The store ceased operations after its parent company, Safeway, was unable to find a buyer. Genuardi’s opened in November 1999; one year later, Safeway assumed ownership.

The closing left the town without a supermarket. In the spring of 2011, the A&P at Bayshore Plaza on Route 9 had closed, and was later replaced by a Big Lots franchise.

“This committee has been very active in supporting and encouraging business growth in the community,” said Mayor Susan McCabe. “We’re very pleased that this is going to happen.”

The mayor said officials had talked with representatives of various supermarkets, but either they didn’t feel the space was adequate or it was not financially feasible for them.

Committeeman Albert Bille said once the Acme opens, Barnegat residents need to make it their main food shopping destination.

“If we don’t use it, we will lose it,” said Bille. “If we lose it, nothing is going to come back there again. Hopefully people will do the right thing for Barnegat.”

Jason Soltis, owner of Marchioni’s Pizza and Pasta in the Village Square, said he was “ecstatic.”

“I’m talking as a member of the Barnegat community in general,” he said. “This was badly needed in town. It would be very convenient for Barnegat residents who the last few years have had to go out of town to shop at a supermarket. “

According to the Acme Markets website, the company’s origins date back to 1891 with a small neighborhood grocery store in South Philadelphia. Today, Acme operates 107 supermarkets in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, employing more than 10,000 associates. Nationwide, Acme has more than 2,200 locations, employing approximately 265,000 people.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

State will dredge three boat channels near Barnegat Inlet

f-BL Dredge 1

Upcoming state dredging of three bay channels near Barnegat Inlet is good news, including to the borough of Barnegat Light, which now won’t have to pay for the segment that it was going to pursue.

The borough had been in the process of applying for a state permit to dredge the area around the 10th Street boat ramp and northward where Superstorm Sandy aggravated shoaling.

Now, that is one of three waterways the state Department of Transportation has applied to dredge. The other two permits requested from the state Department of Environmental Protection are for Double Creek Channel and High Bar Harbor Channel.

Borough Councilman Ed Wellington passed the news along at the Aug. 12 monthly meeting of council.

“We received notification in the mail at Borough Hall a couple weeks ago that the DOT had filed an application with the DEP to do three channels, one of which was Double Creek Channel, from the inlet south toward Loveladies,” Wellington reported.

“The second is the High Bar Harbor Channel, which feeds off of Double Creek Channel into the High Bar Harbor section of Long Beach Township.

“The third one is what they call the Barnegat Light State Channel, which is the project that we in Barnegat Light were concerned with,” Wellington outlined in a telephone interview after the meeting.

On Aug. 12 Wellington got notification that the DEP approved the DOT application and the state will bid the project this week.

Boaters and associated business owners know that the shoaling has been worse since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“Double Creek is almost impassible, except for the very small boats, since Sandy,” said Wellington. “That’s going to be a great benefit to everybody who heads south from Barnegat Inlet.

“The High Bar Harbor channel is also shoaled over from Sandy, and that’s going to be a great benefit to all the homeowners in High Bar Harbor to have that dredged.

“So, this is really a big project, and it’s going to be very good for the fishing and boating people on the north end of the Island.”

(The Oyster Creek Channel lies on the westward side of the island, and that is deeper.)

Mayor Kirk Larson and other council members at the meeting remarked that the state will be “saving us a lot of money” by dredging the section around the municipal boat ramp.

Wellington said it would be difficult to estimate how much the project might have cost in total.

“They are moving a whole lot faster than we would have been able to move on the project,” said Wellington, chairman of the council’s docks and harbors committee.

“If we had gone through the process, we would have had to get the application, and we would have had to bid out for a contractor the same way they do, and once we went to bid we would have had to budget for it. We don’t have that kind of money in the budget right now – maybe it would have been for 2017. So this is great news for us that we won’t have to spend the money and go through the whole process.”

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Ocean County credit rating saves $5 million on debt

A stable financial outlook and a reaffirmation of the highest credit rating possible is helping Ocean County save almost $5 million, county officials announced.

“With our bond rating reaffirmed at AAA, and because of conservative financial planning by this Board of Freeholders, we will save about $5 million on the recent refunding of bonds totaling about $77.4 million,” said Freeholder Director John C. Bartlett Jr., liaison to the county’s finance department.

“The ongoing efforts of this Board of Freeholders to budget conservatively while providing the funds for our core services has resulted in us maintaining this credit rating resulting in this savings.”

In 2014 Ocean County’s bond rating reached the highest rating possible, AAA stable outlook, with the revision from a negative outlook in 2013 by Moody’s Investor Services. Ocean County first received an AAA bond rating in 2010.

“That’s the best rating you can get,” Bartlett said. “This is our financial report card. We have a solid financial plan in this county, we follow it and this bond rating validates it.”

Ocean County recently refunded or refinanced $77,460,000 in bonds in order to reduce the interest rate and repayment.

“By selling these bonds on the market floor, we saw a percentage of savings of 5.1 percent on interest costs,” Bartlett said. “That yields a $4.7 million savings.”

Bartlett noted that refinancing bonds is similar to an individual refinancing a mortgage.

“You refinance at a lower rate to save money,” Bartlett said. “That is what we do at the county, but it’s on money we have borrowed for large, capital projects.”

Included in the $77.4 million was funding for upgrades to the county radio communications system, construction of the Ocean County Vocational Technical Schools Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science, reconstruction of Brick Boulevard, the new terminal at Ocean County Airport, Jakes Branch County Park in Beachwood and a host of engineering projects throughout the county.

“These bonds were issued in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008,” Bartlett said. “The refunding does not extend the life of the bonds.”

Bond rating houses Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have both given Ocean County an AAA bond rating. Bond ratings range from Baa, the lowest, to AAA, the highest possible.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Fish panels approve flounder cuts


East Coast summer flounder catches will be cut by more than 26 percent next year in spite of a push by New Jersey to keep the reductions in the 21 percent range.

It could have been worse. The initial proposal announced in July called for a 43 percent reduction.

New Jersey representatives on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission made motions at a joint meeting Wednesday in New York City to reduce the cutbacks.

Jeff Kaelin, a New Jersey representative on the Mid-Atlantic Council, and Tom Fote, a representative on the ASMFC, moved to impose a much smaller reduction. The ASMFC shot down the motion in a 12-5 vote, with three abstaining, while the Mid-Atlantic Council defeated the motion 8-1.

The motion would have reduced the “allowable biological catch,” or ABC, from 22.77 million pounds in 2015 to 18.06 million pounds in 2016, a 20.7 percent reduction.

The two panels instead voted on a three-year plan that in the first year reduces the ABC to 16.62 million pounds, a reduction of just more than 26 percent. The ABC would be 15.86 million pounds in 2017 and 15.68 million pounds in 2018.

It’s hard for the average angler or commercial net fisherman to translate millions of pounds of fish into actual regulations.

For anglers, the reduction will affect the daily bag and size limits, along with the length of the fishing season. Commercial fishermen will see a reduction in harvest quotas doled out to each East Coast state. Those decisions will come later this year or early next year.

The three-year plan was approved by a 6-3 ASMFC vote and a 17-3 council vote with New Jersey representatives voting against it.

John Bullard, administrator for the NOAA region that runs from North Carolina through Maine, opposed any further reductions.

“This is a stock headed for trouble. People are concerned about their business, but this is a stock in steady decline for over a decade,” said Bullard.

Stocks were declared rebuilt just five years ago, but now some argue the stock assessments in the past were flawed and fishing mortality was underestimated.

Spawning stocks are now considered to be declining, with poor recruitment of new fish since 2009. The latest data indicates the spawning stock is 65 percent of its target, while the overall stock is at 75 percent of the rebuilding target.

A lot of theories were thrown around at the meeting, ranging from illegal harvests to dogfish shark predation.

“Whether it’s due to predation or overfishing, I don’t really care. It’s in decline and it’s a problem with profound economic consequences,” said Bullard.

Fote questioned whether it could be from fishing, since the Mid-Atlantic region has seen a decline in registered boats in the thousands and a reduction of flounder trips in the millions since 2007. Fote said registered boats declined by 51,000 in New Jersey alone.

Since Hurricane Sandy, New York also has lost boats and fishing effort.

“The numbers just don’t add up. People are still fixing their homes. They’re not going fishing,” said Jim Gilmore, a New York representative on the council.

Ray Bogan, of the New Gretna-based Recreational Fishing Alliance, said New York lost 62,000 registered vessels between 2000 and 2012.

“We have fewer means by which to land the fish. Economics itself has reduced pressure on the resource,” Bogan argued.

Tom Miller, a council scientist, said that for whatever reason, new fish are not being produced.

“There is a substantial decline in recruitment. The reasons are not well known,” Miller said.

Some wanted the panels’ science and statistical committees to take another look, which was part of the motions by Fote and Kaelin. Greg DiDomenico, director of the Cape May-based Garden State Seafood Association, said more than one-third of the time, new stock assessments show the older ones were wrong.

“Is this real? I don’t know. I’d like the SST’s to reconsider it,” said DiDomenico.

The quota is generally lower than the ABC, but projections were released for 2016, 2017 and 2018. The recreational sector would get 5.42 million, 5.28 million, and 5.26 million pounds over the three years. The commercial sector would get 8.12 million, 7.91 million, and 7.89 million pounds.

Reposted from the Press of Atlantic City

Chowder lovers invited to the October party weekend

Point your compass to LBI for Oct. 3 and 4, when Chowderfest Weekend is the destination.

Unlimited chowder tasting for ticket holders on Sunday follows the Merchants Mart on Saturday.

For 27 years, it’s been held rain or shine at the Taylor Avenue park at Ninth Street in Beach Haven, behind Bay Village. The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce hosts the event that wraps up the season, party style.

It starts Saturday, Oct. 3 when Merchants Mart (free admission) brings together local vendors who offer the best deals of the season under big-top tents. Live music, children’s entertainment and a food court are all part of the day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 4 is time for the cook-off. This year, in addition to the Red and White chowder categories, a Creative Seafood category has been added – all the more interesting for ticket holders, who can taste all they want from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., and then vote for their favorites. The winners are announced at the end of the day.

Because beer goes with chowder, beers on tap will include Land Shark, Shock Top Pumpkin Spice, Beach Haus Winter Rental, Bud Light and Goose Island IPA. Due to high demand, new this year will be the Chowderfest Hard Cider Wagon, featuring Stella Cider, Strongbow Cider and McKenzie’s Pumpkin Jack.

The crowd favorite band Hawkins Road will play both days.

To date, restaurants competing in Chowderfest in the Red (Manhattan) category are Lefty’s Tavern, Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club, Black Whale Bar & Fish House, Shore Fire Grille and defending Red champion Stefano’s Seafood. In the White (New  England) competitors are Chicken or the Egg, Country Kettle Chowda, TGI Friday’s Manahawkin, Buckalew’s Restaurant & Tavern, Sea Oaks Country Club, Pinziminio Trattoria, Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House, and defending champion Howard’s Restaurant.

The Creative Seafood contestants to date include Cuisine on the Green, Biggy’s Beach Grill and Blue Water Café.

Ticket Information

For Sunday’s cook-off, general admission tickets are $25. Children’s tickets (ages 4-12) are $10. VIP tickets, at $55, include a T-shirt and early admission at 10 a.m. Tickets are on sale now through or by contacting the Southern Ocean County Chamber at 265 West Ninth Street, Ship Bottom, phone 609-494-7211. Tickets are also sold at the gate.

There is free parking throughout Beach Haven, and a free Sunday Shuttle for additional parking can be picked up at 42nd Street, 60th Street, 68th Street, 85th Street, 95th Street (by the Acme Market) and 133rd Street near the Wawa store (all in Long Beach Township), and at Veterans Memorial Park on Engleside Avenue in Beach Haven.

The 27th Chowderfest is presented by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce with The SandPaper/Beachcomber, Bud Light/Ritchie & Page Distributing, US Foods and TD Bank.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Letter to the Editor: from a Barnegat Light resident

Denial Questioned

To the Editor:

We read how the school board voted, 7-2, to apply for a grant to the Ocean County Planning Board. This grant application was to sell the school-owned property in Ship Bottom to the county. Funds generated from the sale would be enough to build an addition to the Ethel Jacobsen School in Surf City.

The county funds are accumulated over many years in the open space Natural Lands Trust Fund. These are your tax dollars. Every town pays into the fund on an annual basis separate from any local open space tax voted on separately by individual towns.

In a letter dated July 23 and read publically at the last board meeting, the school board was notified the grant was denied. It was sent by David J. McKeon, planning director, to Enrico D. Siano of the Long Beach Island School District. The letter stated, “the application is not eligible for funding under the Ocean County Natural Trust Program. The expressed purpose of the natural lands program is to acquire and maintain lands that are environmentally sensitive, natural areas or open spaces that would generally remain in their natural state and for the preservation of farmland. Further, page 7 of the adopted Open Space Plan and Recreation Inventory states the Natural Lands Trust Fund is not intended to be used for acquisition of property already in public ownership.” Really?

The application from the school board stated that the property be sold so that a park replace the current structure, a school that had damage during the Sandy storm. In addition, and thousands of dollars later, there are serious questions regarding the safety of the building.

But my question is for the Ocean County Planning Board. As a taxpayer, I’d like to know exactly how much is in the fund and what is the plan to disseminate those dollars. It seems to me the planning board used a loophole to direct these funds elsewhere in the county.

As we all look at our tax bills, we can certainly ask questions about school taxes. However, I invite you to ask probing questions about the county tax that seems to divert the funding and resources to parts of Ocean County other than the southern end.

Barbara Truncellito
Barnegat Light 

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Public concerns over Beach Haven’s beach replenishment

Multiple residents and visitors of Beach Haven stood before the town council during the regular monthly meeting Monday, Aug. 10, to express their concerns regarding the borough’s beach replenishment, adding that many of them like the beaches “just the way they are.” The project, which was last said to begin shortly after Labor Day, has again been pushed back due to the dredge having to be redeployed elsewhere, Borough Manager Richard Crane announced. Officials expect it to return sometime between September and November, or as late as early December.

John Weber, a member of the Surfrider Foundation, urged the council members to think of themselves as customers of the Army Corps and N.J. Department of Environmental Protection. He suggested the ocean beach at Centre Street have a gentler slope because it is the “most populated beach” in town.

Local resident Doris Tuder said she was worried about steep inclines that would make it difficult for older people to get onto the beach.

Councilman Don Kakstis assured her that there would be three handicap-accessible beaches, at Centre, Fifth and Pearl streets, that will have ramps with side rails and wheelchair-accessible mats down to the water.

“There have been some problems in the projects they’ve done before in this respect, and they are fixing them,” Mayor Nancy Taggart Davis stated. “It is a concern, but you do have to remember the whole reason for this is the protection of the properties.”

Charles Barkley Jr. said the town needs to offer more than three handicap beaches. He also said the sand brought into other local towns is “too much” and of “poor quality.”

Taggart Davis explained that extra sand is put down at the beginning of replenishment and that it should level out within one to three years.

Councilman Chuck Maschal added that sand will be taken out of the inlet and put onto the beaches during other cycles.

In response to another concern about the dangers of the sand covering the jetties, Taggart Davis explained that the jetties will be re-exposed over time.

Weber supported the idea of moving the town’s “nice sand” aside and putting it back on top of the sand laid down for the project, a process known as back-passing. He said the state has done this in other instances and should pay for it.

“I think you can, and you should, ask the DEP for that,” he urged.

Ron Pospisol and Ed Sythe both denounced the idea of back-passing since officials claimed most of the sand would wash away during erosion.

Pospisol added that most of the destruction from Superstorm Sandy came from flooding from the bay, not the ocean.

“Let’s not do anything to our sand,” he urged. “Just leave it there, and let it be ours. What’s made us Beach Haven is the sand, the quality.”

Ginny Fine, a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who also works for Long Beach Township, expressed concern for the project’s effects on the environment, including where the sand is being mined.

John Hammer, a fourth-generation resident and surfer, asked the council to consider the town’s surfing and tourism communities.

A town meeting to discuss concerns with representatives of the Army Corps and DEP will be held at the old Coast Guard station on Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. Weber praised the council for hosting the discussion, adding that he believes this is the first town to do so.

“We’re all still keeping on top of this,” stated Taggart Davis, who added that Councilman Maschal has been attending all project meetings with the Army Corps and DEP. “We feel fortunate that they’re starting Beach Haven sort of late in the game so that we can inspect the other beaches. … We really appreciate everybody that is concerned about this because we want the best beaches.”

In other meeting news, the borough’s public tax rate recently proposed by the county is $1.26, which is an overall increase of 6.9 cents from 2014. The county rate increased by 1.3 cents or $268,007; the regional school tax increased by 2.9 cents or $518,215; and the municipal tax rate increased by 2.6 cents or $484,322. The total amount to be raised by taxation for municipal and county schools is $21,210,097, which is an increase of approximately $1,306,771.

Because the county tax rate was struck later than usual, the deadline has been extended by resolution to Sept. 10.

Beach badge sales so far have surpassed sales for this time last year, Crane noted. Total sales to date are $448,693, an increase of $12,643 over last year at the same time.

“We hope this continues for the following 3-plus weeks of the season,” said Crane.

The council honored members of the local beach patrol, police department and first aid squad for “a very big life-saving effort on the beach” Tuesday, Aug. 4. Details of the incident were not made available.

Crane also welcomed Lauren Campellone as the borough’s new court administrator. Campellone previously worked in Manchester Township and has over four years of experience in the municipal court system, he said.

The council adopted a bond ordinance authorizing $310,000 for various water system improvements as well as another bond ordinance of $700,000 and the issuance of $523,500 in bonds or notes to finance various capital improvements and acquisitions.

On first reading, the council passed a 2015 salary ordinance as well as a mercantile license amendment.

A public meeting regarding the construction of the new municipal building will be held at the old Coast Guard station on Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. Demolition of the existing building will begin after Labor Day.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Parents encouraged to review back-to-school health checklist

As kids prepare to return to the classroom, the National Association of School Nurses suggests parents peruse its back‐to‐school checklist to help ensure a safe and healthy start to the school year, notes Bianca Aniski of Student Health Services at Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School in Surf City.

“In an effort to work in collaboration towards healthy students being better learners, the student health offices (at E.J. and the Long Beach Island Grade School, in Ship Bottom) encourage a quick review” of the checklist, Aniski explained. “Along with our students’ return and welcoming back to another successful school year comes the student health offices’ goal of creating a ‘culture of health.’ This goal is best accomplished by being in partnership with our school community of parents, guardians, staff members and administration.”

The list includes the following recommendations:

• Make sure immunizations are up-to-date.

• Review hygiene tips to prevent the spread of infections.

• Establish a bedtime and wake-up time to ensure adequate and consistent sleep.

• Eat breakfast each day at home or at school.

• Develop a routine for homework and after-school activities.

• Help make appropriate clothing choices, such as comfortable and safe shoes.

• Inform the school and school nurse about a child’s health concern.

• Bring current signed healthcare provider orders for treatments and all medications – in the original pharmacy container – to be given at school.

• Provide parent/guardian contact information, and update the school with any changes.

“School nurses are looking forward to the new school year as we greet returning students and welcome our new students,” said NASN President Beth Mattey. “Be sure to connect with your school nurse before or when school starts, particularly if your child has a special health care need.

“NASN encourages families to work with school nurses throughout the year to prevent missed school days and to enable best performance. School nurses safeguard the physical and mental health of students, helping them to achieve academic success.”

As the start of school approaches, Aniski is also eager to get “the garden ready, weeded and trimmed for our children at E.J. as they return to school hoping for a bountiful harvest of the veggies that they planted in June. We are grateful for all the summer volunteers that help to make the E.J. Schoolyard Garden a success,” and a hands-on learning component of the district’s overall culture of health.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol continues wins



The guards waited on the beach in an organized group, ready for the morning. Then the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol truck came over the dune, followed by three ATVs before the captain addressed the squad. It wasn’t quite military, but it was certainly orderly.

There was a sense of pride there, too, being as the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrolhas dominated this summer’s lifeguard competitions. This is somewhat of a new thing for HCBP.

“Back in the 2000s, we would refer to some guards as a ‘pile.’ It was someone who just sat lifeless on the stand all day long. We were kind of in limbo,” said Randy Townsend, who has been lifeguarding since the late ’90s and took over as captain in Harvey Cedars in 2010.

But these days, it’s a different story. Back on July 13, HCBP won the William Kemble Lifeguard Tournament in Lavallette. This summer, they have also won the Ship Bottom Invitational, the Bush Classic in Ortley Beach, the Island Beach State Park Invitational and their own Cutter’s Cup. They took second place at Red Bull Surf and Rescue, which many consider the best lifeguard competition ever held in New Jersey. But the feather they wear most proudly in their cap this season is acing the 54th Annual Long Beach Island Lifeguard Races in Barnegat Light on July 31 and Aug. 1.

“That was the big one,” said Townsend, smirking. Harvey Cedars had not won that title in 40 years.

When Townsend got the job five years ago, he immediately began putting together a team to elevate Harvey Cedars in not only lifeguard competition but general fitness and lifeguarding skills. He implemented “effective time management,” increased the staff by 20 percent and added rigorous morning workouts.

“I asked Billy Webster, who had amazing waterman abilities, if he would be interested in a management position. Just having him on board has been instrumental to our success,” added Townsend. Webster is a longtime surfer/guard, and has done the most grueling distance paddles on the East Coast.

“He knew a lot of other people who were interested in joining and competing,” said Townsend.

Slowly he built a competition team, training in the surfboats, on paddleboards and the rescue line, each week preparing for specific events.

Townsend is a professional surfer, riding for Jetty, Ron Jon Surf Shop and a host of international sponsors. At 35, he is the youngest lifeguard captain in the state, and one of the few who is still a key member of his patrol’s competition team, proficient at paddling and rowing.

In addition to Townsend and Webster, the squad is anchored by Ryan Corcoran, a four-time high school All-American who swam for Syracuse University, and Jenna Parker, a former professional triathlete. They are backed by Maggie Shaw, who has made three conference finals swimming for Wagner College; Jeff Shantley, who swims for Bucknell; big Matt Gruszecki, a former Pennsylvania state water polo MVP who swims for the University of Maryland; and Otto Weiler, a two-time rowing champ.

“I grew up with it my whole life. My dad was a guard and still is. My earliest memories are of my Dad (Mike Weiler) racing and getting me involved,” said Weiler, who is in his 12th year on the patrol. “All I hoped for was to see us start winning. It seemed like a far-off dream, and now we’ve accomplished so much. We went from not being able to compete to being one of the most feared race teams in the state. And I credit that to my dad and Randy for creating a culture of excellence.”

One key to Cedars’ success is the women’s team. Aside from Parker and Shaw, Erin Malone, Rosalie Pataffi, Jackie Endres, Emily McHue and Liz Floyd have all been strong, coming through in all the mixed gender events. The women’s team completely crushed the competition at the Island Beach State Park Women’s Invitational and won the Cape May Women’s Paddle Challenge also this summer.

“It’s been amazing watching this small group of girls push each other all summer to become better competitive lifeguards. Every girl has been eager to work on their swimming, paddling and rowing to strengthen the depth of our women’s race team,” said Shaw, who is preparing for her senior year at Wagner. “It will be fascinating to see how our race team evolves in the future given the number of young female guards motivated to get in the water and perfect their competitive rescue skills.”

Townsend notes that Parker has been a leader.

“She took a hiatus for a few years, but since she’s been back, it just ups our whole level of training,” he said. “Having her has been essential for evolving the ladies team.”

In fact, Townsend credits the pure depth of his patrol for their current strength. In many events, they are putting in second and third teams or just sending their B-team to certain races. At Red Bull Surf and Rescue, Cedars’ B-team finished within the top 10 in the state.

Underneath the guards, Harvey Cedars has a solid rank of junior lifeguards, from whom Townsend looks to hire guards in the future, and an expansive Lifeguard in Training Program of 150 kids, 75 in each of the 9- to 12-year-old group and 13- to 15-year-old group. Both Weiler and Lt. JJ Weiss came through the LIT program in the past.

“I owe a lot to the former captain, Zeke Hill, who led the patrol for 20 years. He put up with a lot of my crap and scheduling for surf contests when I was younger. For a long time, he encouraged me to do my thing,” said Townsend.

Although Hill stepped down as captain, he still guards each summer. Townsend adds that the support of the public works, mayor and commissioners has gone a long way, believing in him as a leader despite the surfer stereotypes.

And the town of Harvey Cedars has been caught up in the patrol’s winning ways as well, with congratulatory signs outside Neptune Market, Harvey Cedars Shellfish Company and borough hall.

“We’re building more of a culture of lifeguarding, rather than just bodies on the beach. It’s more of a family, and every single guard, past and present, has contributed right down to the guards who sit the stand solo when we leave in the afternoon to get to a tournament,” says Townsend. “But really it’s all about being that much better trained and able to get to emergencies that much faster, and handle them that much better.”

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Long Beach Township lifeguards recognized

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Long Beach Township lifeguards were acknowledged at last Friday’s Board of Commissioners meeting for their commendable response to two recent emergency situations.

Clerk Lynda Wells read a proclamation in recognition of the lifesaving efforts of the township beach patrol, which stated, “The professionalism, skill and proficiency of the township lifeguard staff and all beach patrol personnel is often put to practical use as they address the needs and ensure the safety of our welcome beachgoers.”

On July 27, during the annual Lifeguard in Training tournament, “a beach patron was observed to be in distress in the ocean waters,” the proclamation explained. Guards from various township patrols in attendance at the event immediately entered the ocean to rescue the swimmer, “who had suffered a serious and life-threatening laceration while in the ocean.

“As a result of the rapid response and proficient lifesaving and first aid skills of these Long Beach Township lifeguards, a successful rescue was made. … The victim’s injuries were attended to rapidly, ensuring his recovery.”

A few days later, on July 31, township lifeguards were first to respond after a pedestrian and his dog were struck by a vehicle in a northern section of the municipality. “Their swift response helped to calm and stabilize the victims until the first aid squad arrived,” read the proclamation.

The municipal officials called up the following guards to thank them personally for their efforts: Capt. Matt Ward, Capt. Chris Burkhardt, Lt. Andrew Howarth, Patrick Craig, Rob Lynch, Erich Seegar, Jackie McGrath, Ryan Metz, John Starner, James Loftus, John Loftus, Adrienne Bush and Ali Phillips.

The victim in the ocean incident, Stephen Harve of High Bar Harbor, was also in attendance at the meeting. He noted, “The last time I saw these guys I think my last words were, ‘I’m dying.’ They told me I wasn’t. They were right; I was wrong.

“The surgeon who treated me said I shouldn’t have made it off the beach … So it really was down to the training and dedication to these guys.”

Mayor Joseph Mancini announced to applause that Harve donated $2,000 to the beach patrol.

Also during Friday’s meeting, Commissioner Joseph Lattanzi said the township received good news from its council regarding post-Superstorm Sandy reimbursement from insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “This is our final arbitration … and they did recognize the storm damage to our sewer, so we’re going to get that money back,” which should be $7.5 million, said Lattanzi.

“It’s been a convoluted trail. … But it’s nice at least to have a pathway to get to a final financial resolution.”

Lattanzi also pointed out that the LBI Shuttle app for the iPhone has been updated.

The mayor announced, meanwhile, that the police department’s emergency management department has applied for a $180,000 grant that would be used for upgrades to the emergency management center, specifically the communications system and the mobile command vehicle. Mancini said the latter was “very instrumental in improving Long Beach Island after Sandy.”

The police will host a bike rodeo on 10th Street in Barnegat Light from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Aug. 16.

In beachfill news, as of Monday, the replenishment discharge site was between 26th and 25th streets in Spray Beach. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website,, “Dredges Dodge Island and Padre Island (are) expected to work between 24th and 27th Streets in Long Beach Township through early/mid-August. (The) contractor will then flip the pipe landing near 21st Street and work south to 13th Street …. Work between 21st and 13th Streets is expected to last until early September.

“USACE will soon post an updated schedule for other remaining sections of the project which are expected to undergo construction after early September.”

At a prior meeting, the board acknowledged that the dune situation in the Haven Beach area is difficult for some beachgoers, and to remedy this, the township purchased a John Deere Gator utility vehicle for transportation to the beach.

“On a personal note,” Lattanzi said at Friday’s meeting, “I’ve seen the  Gator in Haven Beach, and I’ve had a lot of people come up to me in my neighborhood and they’re very positive on that.”

The next commission meeting is Friday, Aug. 21, at 4 p.m.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Cottages to Victorians on Barnegat Light Historical House Tour

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Glimpses of the past dwell in a town’s historic houses, yet elements of the homes are updated for today’s comfort. The Barnegat Light Historical Society is offering the chance to visit six charming sites from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 20 during its Historic Homes Tour.

The house tour is not an annual event, so it is a special occasion for those who love Barnegat Light’s unique allure.

“The historic homes tour is done every three years. We like to refer to it as the friendly homes tour. Owners are in the homes to tell you the history of the house,” said Historical Society President Karen Larson.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Barnegat Light Museum, on Fifth Street and Central Avenue – a good idea since only 200 are available. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in August (weekends in September). If any tickets are still available on the day of the tour, they can be purchased on that date as well.

At $25 each, tickets are a donation for the Barnegat Light Historical Society Museum.

On Thursday, Aug. 20, the same day as the house tour, a wine and cheese reception will be held at the museum from 4 to 7 p.m. There is no charge for the reception. All are welcome to the open house event to invite people to come visit the museum, said Larson.

“The tour is to make the public aware of the charm of Barnegat Light in the tour of these homes, awareness of the museum that exhibits all of Barnegat Light’s history and charm, and also as a fundraiser for the museum,” invited Larson. “So please come support the Barnegat Light Museum in its homes tour. And also feel welcome to come to our wine and cheese reception.”

The historical society provides the following descriptions of homes on the tour:

20 West Third Street  – Owners Carol and John Shields

This cottage was built in 1879 along with two other similar cottages next to it. Today only one of those neighboring cottages remains. The house is described as a Quaker Victorian-style design because it has no gingerbread or other adornments for trim. Perhaps it is Barnegat Light’s tiniest and most precious of homes. It has two bedrooms upstairs, but originally had one. A tiny kitchen and living room on the first floor make up the rest of the entire interior. A front screened-in porch was added in the 1930s, and the current owners enjoy nature’s own air conditioning. Can you imagine the view of the lighthouse that the original owners must have had?

7 West 18th Street – Owner Marjorie Amon

This home was built in 1929-30 by a Port Republic minister for Mrs. Martha Hoff, who immigrated to Barnegat City from Norway in 1910. Mrs. Hoff lived in the home until her death in 1975, after which the house went through various owners until 2000, when Amon purchased it. Various renovations and her artistic talent of decorating make it the cozy and whimsical cottage it is today. Make sure to notice the old claw-foot tub, the renovated attic suite and her outdoor shower, not to mention her own exceptional photographs around the home. Anna Lisa Olsen Ray is the granddaughter of the original owner and will be on duty as docent to share her experiences with her grandmother in this very home.

13 West Fifth Street – Owners Tracey Cameron and Jim Murtaugh

The house is a simple, one-bedroom cottage that has remained essentially as it was built in 1948 by Warren Mason.  The only modifications are the enclosure of the original open front porch to create a sunroom, which was done during the early 1950s, and the addition of a new porch after the current owners bought the house in 1995. Mason was apparently very frugal; a great deal of recycled lumber was used in the framing of the house. As a yachtsman, he was also aware of the potential effects of constant exposure to salt air and the possibility of storm-driven flooding. He located the house on top of a sand dune and used galvanized nails throughout, which was not a common practice at the time. The house is unusual for having a basement, which as far as the owners can tell has never been flooded – a tribute to his planning and foresight. Cameron and Murtaugh have renovated and restored this home with their expert and clever planning for such a small space. Take special notice of the garden, the kitchen (especially the tiles that Cameron designed), and the outdoor shower, not to mention the couple’s gifted talent in décor.

12 East 12th Street – Owner Ed Heitman

This wonderful Victorian was built in the 1880s. Heitman purchased it in 1968, and the home had five previous owners. Various renovations by Heitman were done that included scraping the paint from many floorboards and pieces of furniture. The tower on the southeast side of the house was removed long ago. The spacious siting on two lots affords room for beautiful gardens, and the home’s wrap-around porch provides a lovely place from which to enjoy them. Kendall, the friendly ghost, still likes to haunt as he does other homes on the street. Be sure to ask Heitman about his antics. Notice the chestnut woodwork throughout the house and Heitman’s tasteful and casual décor.

7 East 12th Street – Owners Sal and Mary Jane Saia

In 1885, Benjamin Franklin Archer, one of the founding fathers of Barnegat City, built this home for his daughter Emily. Upon her death, her daughter Katie Zieber inherited the house. In 1985, the Saias purchased the home from the Zieber estate. After five years of painstaking renovations, the house suffered a massive fire, but today it stands restored all over again. This charming home was even featured in Country Homes Magazine. Ask the Saias about their experiences with their amusing ghost, Emily.

29 East Eighth Street, Home of Tom and Danette Hoffman

This oceanfront home, Harbor Lights, is one of Long Beach Island’s most treasured properties. It was built in 1937 by Robert Montgomery Brown, a prominent Philadelphia architect. Charles Hoffman purchased it in 1952, including the oceanfront lots extending over to Ninth Street and all contents in the house. Each room is named – Yellow Room, Green Room, Captain’s Room, etc.  All cupboards and drawers are also labeled as to contents. The distinctive crow’s nest, installed at the time of construction, is footed in the basement. The home remains with the Hoffman family to this day, as do all the undeveloped oceanfront lots, giving it a privacy enjoyed by few other homes on Long Beach Island.

Zion Lutheran Church, 18th and Central Boulevard

Zion celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The Scandinavians from town built the church in 1940. Notice the nautical theme in the church, with two stunning mosaics in the sanctuary, and a ship model that hangs from the ceiling. Don’t forget to tour the garden on the south side of the building, also.

The Barnegat Light Historical Society Museum proudly displays the original Fresnel lens that once graced the top of Barnegat Lighthouse. It also has many photographs of Barnegat City (Barnegat Light) during the first half of the 20th century. The museum building was originally the schoolhouse in which early town children received their elementary education from its construction in 1903 through the last class on June 15, 1951. The building was opened as a museum for the town of Barnegat Light in 1954. Members of the Barnegat Light Historical Society maintain the exhibits and staff the museum, while the Garden Club of Long Beach Island lovingly cares for the Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens in the back.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Unconscious Boy airlifted to hospital after sand collapses on him

A boy was digging in the sand at the 17th Street beach Surf City when his hole collapsed on top of him on Aug. 10, rendering him unconscious and not breathing, according to Surf City Councilman Peter Hartney. Beachgoers, subsequently assisted by lifeguards, dug the boy out and paramedics flew the youth to Cooper Hospital.

“There’s a reason why we don’t let people dig holes on the beach. This is the reason. The sand is unstable,” Hartney said. “We have an ordinance in place after someone died after digging in Loveladies.”

The 12-year-old from Pennsylvania was digging a hole horizontally, through a cliff created by the tide on Monday, according to Hartney. Just before 2 p.m., that hole collapsed, burying the boy. Beachgoers quickly dug the boy out and began preforming CPR on the boy, Hartney said. Two lifeguards patrolling the beach soon assisted. Hartney, at home at the time of the incident, responded. Within two minutes of getting the call, Hartney, police, more lifeguards and EMTs were on scene. At that time the boy had regained breathing but remained unconscious, Hartney said.

“I made sure a helicopter was called in,” Hartney said.

At about 2:10 p.m., paramedics transported the boy, still unconscious, to the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School, the councilman said. From there, he was flown by helicopter to Cooper Hospital.

“Our prayers are with him and his family, and we hope for a full recovery,” the Surf City Police Department stated.

Police also advise people that there is a local ordinance banning digging deep holes. If people see a hole being dug, they are advised to let a lifeguard or beach badge checker know about it.

On July 25, the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol had found a 6-foot-deep hole on the beach. In response, the patrol also posted a warning on Facebook against digging, saying it has killed “dozens of people in the U.S. and injured many more.”

As for rescue efforts, Hartney was pleased, saying that emergency response worked “seamlessly.” He was also happy with the efforts of the beachgoers. Hartney added that badge checkers and patrolmen are told to restrict hole digging to 1 foot, but also said everyone should keep an eye out.

Whether the sand collapsed randomly is currently under investigation, Hartney said.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Recycling facility has new location in Barnegat

Barnegat Township recently moved its recycling center from the township municipal complex to the public works building on Lippencott Avenue off Lighthouse Drive.

Township Clerk Michelle Rivers said the facility is open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proof of township residency is required.

The center accepts household co-mingled recycling items as well as leaves and brush.

“We had the center behind town hall, but we needed a larger area,” said Rivers. “There were Dumpsters back there, and we were running out of room. With the new place, we’ll have it staffed during the time people bring their recyclables.”

River said that for more information, residents could log onto the township website,

Reposted from the Sandpaper

An educational adventure aboard the A.J. Meerwald

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The 87-year-old Delaware Bay oyster dredge schooner A.J. Meerwald isn’t just a historic sailing ship. It’s a vessel for education, discovery and preservation of maritime tradition.

The boat spends a few days each year visiting Long Beach Island, one of many stops on its journey along the coast. Ticket holders can enjoy a two-hour excursion and learning experience with the captain and crew, who warmly greet and inform guests of a few sailing terms: main sail, jib, fore and aft, boom, setting the gaff, rig and sail; and nautical commands such as “haul away,” “hold the line” and “heave-ho.” (“It’s a proven fact that the louder you yell, the harder you pull,” first mate Tristan Feldman told the crowd onboard for a Sunday afternoon sail.)

The boat’s homeport is in Commercial Township, Cumberland County at the restored 1904 Bivalve Shipping Sheds and Wharves, now a museum and folk life center. The Bayshore Center at Bivalve was founded in 1988 to encourage a love for the history, culture and natural environment of the Delaware Bayshore region.

The A.J. Meerwald had been neglected for eight years when a college student and later Bayshore Center founder, Meghan Wren, bought the boat for $1. She spent another eight years gathering funds and volunteers and raising public interest in a restoration project. With donated materials and thousands of volunteer hours, the schooner’s $800,000 restoration was undertaken with painstaking care and attention given to historical accuracy, plank by plank. The culmination came when she was named New Jersey’s Official Tall Ship in 1998.

Sunday’s ocean cruise from Lighthouse Marina in Barnegat Light was a pirate-themed event, complete with special guest Little Joe Pantilone and his wife, Conniving Kate, from Vineland.

“As long as there have been men, there have been pirates,” Pantilone began his series of tales about pirate history and trivia he told to the boatful of attentive listeners. Piracy originated, he said, the first time a guy had a boat, and another guy liked it and wanted to take it. Ancient Egypt had “sea people.” “Privateers” were pirates who carried a “letter of mark,” which was basically a license from one country’s authorities to take enemy ships. New Jersey had “wreckers” and “mooncussers,” men who didn’t have boats but stayed on shore and used lanterns to fool passing ships into sailing too close and running aground. In the peak of piracy in New Jersey, an estimated 2,500 pirates operated off the coast.

No matter what they were called, they were all thieves, Pantilone explained. He went on to talk about Calico Jack Rackham and his two infamous lady pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Reed.

After Little Joe was finished storytelling, crewmember Ashley Tomasello gave a history presentation, with photographs showing the A.J. Meerwald in different capacities throughout her “life.” In her oystering days, the deck would have been covered in shellfish; during World War II, she was commandeered by the U.S. Coast Guard to be a fireboat; in 1959 she was used to harvest clams.

Sunday’s “pirate ship” was helmed by Relief Capt. Matt Sanders, with Capt. Jesse Briggs standing by.

“Once you love it, you don’t stop,” Sanders said. This year marks his second season on the boat, which travels from April to November along the coast with 12 stops from Philadelphia to Maryland.

For Briggs, the kids are the greatest reward of working on the Meerwald  – running educational programs, fostering a connection to the environment, letting them steer. One program offers teens the opportunity to spend five days and four nights onboard, learning how it all works.

For a big old boat, “she’s fairly maneuverable,” he noted, though she requires “constant maintenance” – no sweat for a guy who’s been working on boats all his life.

By the numbers, the two-masted gaff schooner weighs 57 tons, measures 85 feet in length and reaches 70 feet above the sea, with 3,562 square feet of sail area and a 49-passenger capacity.

First mate Feldman said he gets the most enjoyment out of the communal living aspect of the experience. The captains and crew live and work together on the boat for seven months and form extremely close bonds. (The blue nail polish on Sanders’ and Feldman’s toes – “My girlfriend painted them for me,” Sanders clarified – merely hinted at the variety of amusements the gang cooks up to entertain each other.)

“It’s like camping with a wooden roof,” Briggs said.

“It’s a lifetsyle,” according to crewmember Eli Skinner.

Skinner is from Minnesota but has always felt the pull of the ocean, so she completed a “Semester at Sea” program through Carleton College to learn oceanographic work, and the science education component was also what drew her to the Meerwald. Her favorite thing to do with kids is pull up the trawl net, because the lessons are so hands-on and eye opening, and adaptable to every age group. “A blue crab can last half an hour,” she said.

As she always tells students, “We know less about the ocean than we do about space” – and she gets a thrill out of cultivating in kids a sense of wonder and the desire to explore their surroundings.

“This boat is my space ship,” she said.

Her crewmate Erin Johnson said she loves the ever changing, day-to-day. “Every single day is different, even if the schedule is the same,” thanks to unpredictable weather, people and circumstances out on the water.

“Besides being traditional, (the boat) is a metaphor,” Briggs said. “You need people working together to accomplish things.”

Reposted from the Sandpaper

How to be hated by an entire planet, and more

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After noisily slapping a black fly while crossing the beach on Sunday, I noticed a buncha nearby folks staring over at me, real hard. Then I had this blood-curdling thought: Holy, s***, did I just kill Cecil the Fly?

Oh, stop. I’m as pissed as you are over Dr. Demento’s cross-bowing, then bullet-blasting, Zimbabwe’s wonderful Cecil the Lionhearted.

Minnesota dentist/hunter Walter Palmer first took the crossbow killing-route as a means to add some perceived manliness to the choreographed hunt predicated on first beguiling the pretty much tame Cecil out of his home grounds, using dangled meat. The crossbow was also a way to preserve the pelt for later rugging out … head and all.

The failed bow shooting of the baited lion required it be tracked until heat and blood loss slowed it enough for a truly gifted, high-power rifle blast to the brain – from a few feet away. The lion definitely sleeps tonight.

As contrived as the actual hunt had been, it would have later been portrayed something like this:

“Here I was hiking across the savanna, eating gluten-free granola and admiring wildlife, when out of nowhere this ravenous lion leapt out at me. Utilizing my own cat-like reflexes, I dropped to the burning sand, just as the slavering monster flew over my head. Then, in an instant, I was back on my feet, in time to jump high off the ground, as the big cat next tried to attack my legs. While in midair, I pulled a ballpoint pen out of my shirt pocket and came down on the lion’s back, jamming the pen into him. That’s the one hole you see in the rug. Then, as I was riding on the lion’s back, as he bucked across the dusty African plains, I held onto his mane with one hand, and with my free hand I pulled out a pistol I kept at my side strictly for self-defense. With one shot to the head – that’s this particular hole in the rug – I blasted him into the great beyond. The hundreds of natives who saw my hand-fighting of the lion were madly cheering from the shrubs, pumping their spears, calling me the Great Bwana.”

And right after that, the natives then began humming, “The lion sleeps tonight,” all part of the $50,000 bag-a-lion package Palmer had purchased.

But a funny thing happened on the way to story time. The dentist got busted for poaching – busted like no poacher has ever been busted before.

Anyway, imagine waking up to find you’re the most hated man on the entire planet – and who knows how far beyond the planet? Hell, if extraterrestrials are truly monitoring us from outer space, I’ll bet they’re also pissed off – providing they, you know, piss.

Just for cynical chuckles, I hit the web to explore newspapers around the world. I couldn’t find a nation of any size or denomination that wasn’t in an uproar (pun intended) over the murder of Cecil. How could I tell with the likes of Chinese publications?  Check out this headline:  个猎人杀死美 Cecil the Lion 国人塞西尔

There’s now so much Cecil talk on the Worldwide Web it’s hard to tell what to believe – for instance, the report of authorities finding a stash of “crush” videos in Demento’s dental office, including such titles as “Filleting Nemo,” “Bagging Bugs Bunny,” “Running Over Rin Tin Tin” and a particularly gruesome video called “Skinning Smokey Bear for Fun and Profit.” That last one was co-directed by Ted Nugent.

The good doctor will also have a hard time explaining why in the world he has a life-sized wax image of Bert Lahr’s head mounted on a mahogany plaque above the fireplace. I’ll give younger folks some time to Google that.

As to Cecil, I never met the lion; however, I once stopped by the Cecil S. Collins School in Barnegat. That somehow brings Cecil’s murder even closer to home for me. I was among many who felt a personal loss, as if losing a close, hairy friend. However, if someone would have walked up to me a month back and tearfully announced, “Cecil the Lion was just shot and killed by a hunter,” I’d feign looking utterly shocked while thinking to myself, “Ok, Jay, this is serious. Think hard. Who the hell is Cecil the Lion … and is there any chance you’ve ever written anything bad about him?”

Instead, I managed to ID dearly-departed Cecil via social media. In no time at all, I was walking up to strangers tearfully proclaiming, “Cecil the Lion was just shot and killed by a hunter.”

Now that Cecil’s demise is common household knowledge, it’s coming down to “Where were you when you first heard Cecil was shot?” Future generations love reading crap like that. Of course, I’ve already seen a bumper sticker reading, “Cecil Is Dead … Get Over It.” … very much in a Titanic vein.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m fully a-mock here, but this is actually how I vent over senseless killings like this.

It now comes down to how Palmer the Pelt Hunter must pay for totally pissing off an entire planet, a feat that is surely easier said than done. Even mass murderers come up way short of achieving a planetary loathing. As the great saying goes, “You can piss off some of the people all of the time and you can piss off all of the people some of the time, but you can’t piss off all of the people all of the time” Until now, apparently.

If Dr. Despicable is extradited back to Africa, he’ll likely do a dime (10 years) in a Zimbabwe prison. Rest assured – and don’t drop the soap – you don’t want to do so much as a penny in a Zimbabwe prison. Of course, while in there, Palmer might strike up friendships with fellow poachers, not to mention a slew of unsuccessful ivory smugglers.

But I have an appropriate addendum to his prison term. In order to get an early parole, Palmer would have to serve years on end in African game reserves where he’d constantly clean the yellow teeth of lions, who, you have to admit, currently don’t have the brightest smiles in the jungle. By the time Palmer returns to his dental practice in the U.S., there wouldn’t be a lion anywhere in the Dark Continent without a Regis Philbin smile.

BURN THIS COLUMN: I need some radical folks to rally behind me to “Ban the Speed Limits on LBI!” I’m talking about all the speed limits. Let’s burn ’em all. They’re bummers in the summer, dude.

So, have I aroused your hippy-radical attention? Right on, brother. Of course, you might wanna hear my rap all the way through.

As we rally against the man – and speed limits – I need to bring up the ungroovy subject of wigged-out bicyclists and mind-blowing pedestrians bumming our motoring trips. Face it, those trippers are downers – not to mention out of their frickin’ minds.

Then there’s the bummer-est numbnuts on our Dharma roadways: butthole drivers – other than us. We righteous drivers have to constantly trip out over spaced-out motorists riding high on summer adrenaline – and sometimes even more.

It’s such a head trip out there, we need to come together, right now, over me – and screw the speed limits! I’m already working on a protest chant. So far I have “Hell no we won’t …” Then, I sorta wig out.

So, fellow radicals, let’s start by rallying against the high-end 35 mph speeds on many portions of the Boulevard. Screw that speed … it just ain’t mellow enough!

Say what!?

Hey, I told you to hear me out before burning your bras, figuratively speaking.

You had me trippin’ in another direction, right? – as in cruisin’ around, speed limits to the wind, and doin’ our own outlaw thing? I did one of those direction changes like the middle part of the Monty Python “Lumberjack” song  … “I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK. I chop down trees, I wear high heels, Suspenders and a bra …”

So, my gig is up. Sorry if I bummed you out, but I’m actually goin’ all anti-speed. You know as well as me, brother, there’s no frickin’ way even a laid-back 25 mph speed limit is mellow enough when just passin’ through a clustered quagmire of summer humanity … unless you get your kicks by running down Alice B. Toklas and ending up in a legal purple haze.

Toke on this: Speed limits come with tiny unwritten words below those big black numbers – they read, sight unseen, “Conditions permitting.” Having hell on wheels all around, people- and traffic-wise, just ain’t permitting, karma-wise.

So let’s dig on that 30 mph sign, standing there chillin’, even when there’s enough crosstown traffic to blow anyone’s mind. It’s doubly trippin’ when there are harried happenings of people, cruisin’ to and from the beach/restaurants/stores, along with other stop-and-go drivers nosing around looking to score parking spaces, while strung-out packs of Spandexed road bicyclists buzz through every red light in town. It’s way too fast, dude.

Dig it. We all know LBI’s freaky daily groove – and we need to cool it, regardless of what the man says on those signs. There are times when Island life just can’t handle speed. So, bro, drive to survive, even if it means going 1-5. Be an easy rider.

Peace out. Uh, I’m not sure what that “out” part means.

DAMN, WE’RE OLD: Here’s a telling bit of Island demographic data – Of the 10 N.J. towns with the oldest per capita residents, three of them are here on LBI. Don’t look at me … please. I think the Island appears so old only because we’re just too expensive for toddlers and young children to buy homes here. What?! I didn’t price them out. Those kids have to work harder. Why, when I was their age …

Surf City gummed in as not only the oldest town the Island has to offer, but also home to the third eldest populace in the entire state. The average age in Len’s town is a very Paul McCartney-ish 64 years old. And numbers don’t lie about their age.

The second-oldest folked place on LBI looms large. It’s Long Beach Township, averaging a healthy (or not so much) 63.5 years of age. It’s also the fifth most senior-thick site in the state.

The reason that LBT’s seniority looms larger than life is its overall hefty population, which is higher than most of the other top-10 oldest communities … combined. That makes for quite a load of candles on LBT’s demographic birthday cake. Whatever the hell that image means.

Third on the LBI aging block is quaint, quiet and costly Harvey Cedars, the most valuable municipality – in value per total square footage – in the state. It’s also impressively steady on its age-per-person footing, entertaining a residency with an average age of 62.8. Which means it has a big-ass birthday coming up soon.

So, we’re getting a little long in the cumulative tooth hereabouts. Maybe we should offer some better deals to those toddlers looking for homes.

I’m not sure why this jumps to my mind at this aging instance, but the coast’s most famous resident, Bruce Springsteen, wrote in song, 1976, “We gotta get out while we’re young.” The Boss turns 66 this September. Maybe there’s something in the water that keeps so many of us hanging here until closing.

RUNDOWN: We’re seeing a possible uptick in fluking, though the tock on the dock also shows some really slow flatty hunting sessions. I promise you there is no discernable pattern to successful fluking. One day it’s bay, the next day it’s inlet, then ocean, then surf. I did get some reports of nice fluke in that halo zone around reefs and wreck, where the sand dominates but the structure isn’t that far off. Former reef builder Bill Figley used to chart the very active feeding zones just off the reefs he built. While fluke predominate in those off-structure areas, it wasn’t uncommon to also find structure-based fish, including seabass, tog, porgies, triggerfish, even bluefish and bass, i.e. fish coming and going from the reefs.

I’d like to offer some stellar striper news, but I’ve been checking – and trying – and the bass just ain’t heavily happening off the beach. Oh, there are a few to be caught in the suds – and I hear a 28-pounder went for bunker chunks after dark, mid-Island – but you’ll likely have to buy fish at the store if the family is relying on you to bring home the bass bacon.

A decent black drum was taken (and released) in the lagoons of Beach Haven West. It went for bait meant for snapper blues. I haven’t heard anything about those tiny blues being bayside, especially the way they had been for so many summers back in the 1970s – when you could catch them by the bucketsful. We still have time for them to show. I, like many blues folks, had wondered if the insane showing of blues this past spring might lead to a snapper explosion, as lava blow-in from offshore spawns.

Saw a photo of a huge “needlefish,” technically a houndfish, aka crocodile needlefish. While I understand why folks hate going all Latiny with fish names, the houndfish should win some sort of award for owning the coolest scientific name in the business, Tylosurus crocodilus. Wow. Whether you’re into dinosaur-sounding names or crocodiles, this Latin name rocks. What’s more, the houndfish is spooky enough to hold up its end with either moniker. The above-mentioned 3-foot-long T. crocodilus was released upside the boat. It hit on a Krocodile spoon. Not really. Angler didn’t say.

I was asked about small-crafting out far enough to get some mahi-mahi on the troll. I know for a fact it can be done down off AC – at the pots.

As to heading straight out from BL, it’ll all come down to how far you’re heading east and the quality of your binoculars.

When mahi hunting, you’ll be looking for any bit of surface debris or flotsam. It doesn’t take a very large piece of surface junk to attract these schooling fish.

One time, offshore, we came across a piece of clear plastic, maybe four feet by four, bobbing on the surface, covered with barnacles. The damn thing was holding a school of mahi at least 20 times the size of the flotsam. I saw them from a flying bridge, and they looked like a giant, off-color blob in the ocean.

The oddest nearshore mahi catches I’ve ever seen came via my buddy Walt P. He caught small ones while anchored off the North Jetty, BL, chumming grass shrimp for tog and stripers.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Matt McAndrew’s tour begins in Barnegat Light

f-Matt McAndrew 5

Matt McAndrew’s friends, family and fans tagged along with him as he made a journey home to Barnegat Light on Aug. 1. “The Voice” finalist was at Rick’s American Café to begin his nationwide tour.

Life has truly changed for McAndrew in the last year. On Saturday, he appeared to still be settling into this new lifestyle.

“This really puts things back into perspective for me, coming back home,” he said. “The tour is sort of a metaphor for what has been happening in my life. I’m starting in Barnegat Light; I grew up in Barnegat Light. The tour is ending in L.A.; L.A. is where I live now.”

To make that metaphor even more accurate, Rick’s stage is where McAndrew initially started his solo act as a 19-year-old fresh out of Southern Regional High School.

McAndrew added that the venues also start small and get progressively larger. Rick’s, while packed to the back, maybe holds 100 or 200 people. It’s intimate. It’s not quite the size of Hershey Park Stadium or the beach of Atlantic City, spots McAndrew jams beside Maroon 5 and Nick Jonas.

These crowds’ relation to McAndrew will change once he gets to Hershey and A.C.

“Tonight, we sold it out, and I know people were coming out to see me,” he said. “For A.C., I’m expecting it to be a lot more Maroon 5 fans, obviously, than Matt McAndrew fans. So it’s good to have this support. And then, I’m going to use this when I go out on stage before Maroon.”

Even when he is back on his own at that last show, at The Roxy in West Hollywood, he could perform in front of a crowd as large as 500.

There were two shows on Saturday: an early show for the young folks and late show for the drinkers. The different vibes between the two crowds was apparent. When The SandPaper walked in just after the groms’ show, kids were mobbing McAndrew. There was some true fangirl-ing going on; one might have thought a member of One Direction was signing autographs. The few dads waited patiently by the bar.

Compare this to the over-21 crowd. Once the doors opened for the adults, about a half-dozen people patiently hung out in front of the stage for a good spot. Once the show ended, people, again patiently, lined up beside the bar for a chance to say hi and maybe grab a selfie or two.

From a technical standpoint, McAndrew said he and his band got to feel out what songs played better with what crowd.

Hold up – how about the show itself?

McAndrew came onto the stage after Jason Booth jammed for a bit. He was dressed in all black, aside from the soles of his sneaks and the gold-colored temples of his glasses. His T-shirt appeared to display an osprey nest with Ol’ Barney in the background.

Later asked what was running through his mind as the first note of his tour was played, McAndrew struggled to find an answer. He said he was trying figure out if the way he structured his hour set list would work, but as he played, he wasn’t truly concerned with that thought.

“I was just thinking about the song, honestly. I don’t know,” he said. “It’s always nice to look out in the crowd and see a bunch of people, too. I guess I don’t have a good answer for that. I’m sorry.”

McAndrew was asked about that crowd he looked out to. What vibes were they giving him? He was thrilled to have a sellout crowd at Rick’s; he considered that an accomplishment because most sellouts come from cover bands, which dominate the music scene at the shore. McAndrew prides himself on being an original act. Expecting the crowd to request something from his album or “The Voice,” he was caught a tad off guard by the demand for covers.

“People were like, ‘Jersey Girl!’ And I’m like, ‘We don’t do that!’ You know what I mean? Not that I’m mad. I just don’t even know the song,” McAndrew joked.

He adjusted, though, stating: “I guess I beat the system a little bit.”

His covers included “Johnny B. Goode,” during which he ballparked the lyrics, singing “bom bom bom ba dom ba” as he stretched his arms and shrugged his shoulders. This gesture appeared to ask the crowd: “Does this work?” It appeared to. The crowd danced their tails off.

There were other covers McAndrew killed, too. His second tune was one of the more popular tunes he did on “The Voice,” Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.” Coldplay’s “Yellow” may have been the first or second request he took. Unlike “Johnny B. Goode,” McAndrew knew every word, and milked the song’s lyrics and tone for all they were worth. No lie: He brought one person in the audience to tears.

Overall, the show had more of a rock feel than what he had performed on “The Voice.” True McFANdrews could sing along with everything as he performed a lot of his album View of the Pines. McAndrew stretched his pipes as he performed the bridge of Adam Levine’s “Lost Stars.”

There were times where the sound certainly felt like McAndrew was ready to perform at a true concert venue. There were other times when he played into the small crowd. Take his performance of “Pins and Needles,” from his album. He called out a group of people dancing beside the shooter bar, then hopped onto the floor and danced a bit himself.

The show ended with “Wasted Love.” He then went to the back of the café to meet the fans, and hung out there until well past midnight. Around that time, The SandPaper caught up with him.

His plan once he left Rick’s? “Chill out and maybe take a nap in the van.”

McAndrew didn’t have much time to get nostalgic about being home. Arriving on the Island at 3 p.m., a few hours before his first show, he stopped at his “favorite sushi place in the world,” Little Sumo’s LBI Sushi Co. in Surf City. He also did a few interviews and came to Rick’s.

“Hopefully on a down day, I can come down and just chill out,” he said.

Reposted from the Sandpaper

Ocean County collects, burn over 5,400 pounds of pills so far


An Ocean County collection and disposal program for unused prescription medication has been a “great success” this year, authorities say.

In the first half of 2015, Ocean County residents have dropped over 5,400 pounds of medication into boxes at municipal police departments, said Al Della Fave, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman.

County authorities then collected and burned the pills.

Project Medicine Drop is a county-wide initiative to make disposal of unused medications an easy and convenient priority for Ocean County residents. Participating municipals that have easily accessible medication drop boxes at police department entrances include Barnegat, Berkeley, Jackson, Lacey, Lakewood, Little Egg Harbor Township, Long Beach, Manchester, Ocean, Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Stafford, Toms River, and Tuckerton.

“Unused medications often end up in the wrong hands, are used illegally, or find their way into our water supply,” Della Fave said. “In the worst case scenarios, these forgotten pain killing medications lead to addiction or teens becoming unwitting drug dealers.”

Authorities destroyed over 2,500 pounds of unused medication during the most recent burn on July 17.

Reposted from Down the Shore