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Scene Around Town: End of the Summer Scene

One last look, taken on September 5th, 2015. Until next year!
Ocean Gate Fire Chief: New Members
Wanted & Welcome

Ocean Gate Vol. Fire Company Chief Geoff Barger recently put out word that the company is in "serious" need of new members from Ocean Gate and the surrounding area to "train and operate efficiently."

"We are down to a core group of 10 to 12 active members, most of which are of the over 40 variety," he said. "Prospective firefighters should be at least 18 years of age, reside within a reasonable response distance, be in good physical condition, pass a background check conducted by the Ocean Gate Police Department and be willing and able to attend approximately 160 hours of training at the Ocean Gate Fire Academy."

Interested parties may call (732) 349-3249 and leave their name, address and phone number, or stop by the firehouse on the second, third or last Monday of the month.

Borough Bulletins
 
News and notes from the August regular and September workshop council meetings of the governing body.
 
Summer 2015 Scores a 10
 


Remarking on the ten perfect rain-free summer weekends reflecting the equally unblemished recreation and activity through town during the same, multiple governing body members weighed in to cheer the season and its volunteers.
 
"It has been a busy summer," said Councilwoman Joella Nicastro. "I know I shouldn't be saying this out loud, knock on wood, but there were no jellyfish this summer - I don't know what's helping it, nobody seems to have the answer, but all I can tell you is there are lots and lots of happy kids."
 
"Barely any complaints of what's going down down [at the beach]," concurred John Serpica, councilman and recreation committee chair, noting both the lack of jellyfish and general beach events and day-to-day operations and adding that profit by mid-summer badge sales was over $3,700. "We're having a very good year - people are coming out and supporting it, so it's all good."
 
Many thanked him and the organizations and volunteers that made Ocean Gate Day a success, on August 8th.
 
"It was totally a team effort, beginning with Paulette [Konopka, the borough's chief financial officer and longtime resident], who laid the groundwork and pointed me in the right direction," replied Mr. Serpica. "It's very easy when you've got great people working around you - these things happen very easily, and it was a good success so let's keep it going."
 
Mayor Paul Kennedy estimated that there appeared to be even more people on Ocean Gate Day attending the Ocean Gate Vol. First Aid Squad's 3rd Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta than were there for the July 4th parade and beach games, which were also very well-attended.
 
"A lot of people had a really great time," agreed Councilman Dave Kendrick. "If you haven't been to one, I suggest you come out next year, it's a lot of fun."
 
Councilman Alex Martinez gave special praise to the borough public works employees for their work on Ocean Gate Day picking up trash and emptying overflowing bins.
 
Recreation Commission Considered & Upcoming Events
 
Ocean Gate Trunk or Treat 2014.
The borough recreation committee may soon be returned to commission status, allowing it to have more volunteer managing members, if work by its current chairman and those interested feel it would be an improvement.
 
"Talking to a lot of people in town, and I briefly had a discussion with the mayor, we're thinking of possibly bringing back a recreation commission," reported Mr. Serpica. "It was done in the past, it was very successful and recreation is a big project and has a lot going on, more than I can handle for sure, so we're thinking about bringing some citizens in - a representative from the school, from the municipal alliance, the council and some citizens."
 
"We want to come up with some kind of a plan, some ideas, suggestions, and get some volunteerism going to make improvements, raise money," he continued, noting that plans would be discussed sometime after the start of the new school year.
 
Turning then to the remainder of the year and the off-season, the councilman stated the next event would be the second annual Trunk or Treat for Halloween, likely on October 30th, as the Toms River Fire Company announced the permanent return of their parade to October 31st, thereby returning the decades-old tradition of trick-or-treating the night before by that and surrounding municipalities.

 
He added that later still, sometime following Christmas break, he would seek to again begin holding open gym nights at Ocean Gate School for children to engage in active athletic and social activity during the cold winter.
 
Where Angels Play Foundation Honored
 
Moments after the ribbon was cut on the new playground in early August.
Bookending the well-attended and successful fundraiser and playground construction and dedication project of Jay Marles Memorial Park on East Atlantic and Wildwood avenues in early August, officials from the Where Angels Play Foundation - the organization behind its volunteer effort to build it - were honored at the August council meeting.
 
Remarking on the "hundred-plus" volunteers involved, Mayor Kennedy said he wanted to again thank the foundation and the former Ocean Gate resident who was integral in bringing it together, John Bourke.
 
He then presented a plaque that read, "In grateful appreciation for your dedication, time and effort, and construction of Jay Marles Memorial Park, our deepest gratitude from the mayor and borough council of the borough of Ocean Gate."
 
George Brown, a resident of Bayville and member of the foundation, accepted the plaque in place of the organization's president, Bill Lavin, who was unable to attend due to work on another playground in Boston.
 
"This goes back to September 11th [2001, when] some kids down in Mississippi sent letters to the firehouse where a lot of us - we were pretty much all police officers and firefighters - were, and they told us what they thought of us and what they appreciated," he recalled. "Fast forward to Hurricane Katrina, those kids, their homes were wiped out, the schools were wiped out, so Bill Lavin reached out to Mississippi and asked, 'What do the kids want from us?'"
 
"They said all they want is a place to play and be kids," Mr. Brown continued, stating that later, following Hurricane Sandy, "those same kids started raising money and gathered toys to send here for Christmas, and then the Sandy Hook [Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012] occurred, and the question was, 'What kind of world is this? What do we do?' And Bill said, 'Do you know what we do? We build playgrounds for the kids to be kids.'"
 
"In 22 months we raised over $2.3 million and built 26 playgrounds for the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, each one reflecting the person we built the playground for," he said. "Their favorite color, piece of art, something they said or did."
 
The effort then continued in communities such as Ocean Gate, honoring fallen Ptl. Jason "Jay" Marles, who lost his life at the hands of an intoxicated driver on the Garden State Parkway while returning home following a holiday night patrol on Thanksgiving Eve, 2010.
 
Next, Pat and Joe Engrassia, Ptl. Marles's mother and step-father, thanked the borough "from the bottom of our hearts" for not letting their son become just "another police officer."
 
Mr. Bourke recalled growing up in the borough and wanting to be involved in helping the project come to fruition to honor the fallen patrolman, noting that monies raised through their efforts in town had thus far amounted to over $10,000 for future playgrounds.
 
And in other news of the governing body:
 
Councilman Martinez was congratulated on the birth of his daughter, Scarlett Rose, with his wife, Alexandra, in early September... the Ocean Gate Social Club was working towards getting a senior exercise coach involved in their activities... an East Cape May Avenue resident approached the governing body seeking an adjustment on her water bill from the years the line was not in use following Hurricane Sandy but was not formally cut and capped, and Mr. Martinez, who is chair of the public works committee, said he was working on it in that group... longtime former borough resident Bill Bourke, who is a well-known and popular audio recording professor with Ocean County Vocational-Technical School at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station campus, would bring student musical groups for a special beachfront event on October 10th in conjunction with an autumn borough bonfire... a new police contract was in the works, said Councilman Brian DiStefano, who expected to "have this probably put to bed very quickly [with] probably a contract in place by November" or sooner... interference is causing issues with police radios during the night, and Police Chief Reece Fisher reminded council of the upcoming mandated frequency change among all emergency service organizations to move them away from the interference from digital television signals, which would cost the borough capital funds... Councilman Mark Haug reported the spring beach sweep included collecting 462 cigarette butts, and added that the fall sweep, which needed volunteers, would be held October 24th from 9 am to 12:30 pm. He added that if turnout was high, he would separate a faction to help clean up the duck pond along Ocean Gate Drive on the west side of town... Ms. Nicastro stated that with summer over, work ongoing in preparation for next year included improved parking signage, clarification of crabbing rules, addressing garbage at the beachfront - specifically garbage cans there, which continue to have problems of nearby renters and homeowners dumping household trash in them during the season, causing massive overflows... Mr. Kendrick, who is also chair of the public safety committee, reported that the Office of Emergency Management was seeking a sort of instant alert system to call its volunteers to action, as the current method of calling down a line was tedious and time-consuming... flu-shots would be available in Ocean Gate on October 30th from 10 am to noon, according to Mr. Haug, who would announce more details at an upcoming meeting... the fire company issued a concern over the potential inability to reach the roofs of homes that had been raised in the years following Hurricane Sandy, which could lead to a new ladder truck purchase in the near future... Angelsea Avenue resident Rick LeFevre approached the mayor and council with a request that they consider a beach-wide smoking ban, which Mayor Kennedy instructed Mr. Haug to work on in his health, welfare and environment committee, to report back upon at a later meeting... Mr. Martinez asked any residents who notice non-functioning streetlights to report them to borough hall so he may keep JCP&L updated on work needed through the fall and winter months... Mayor Kennedy reported that a single bidder submitted a proposal to supply the borough with new water meters in the amount of $268,210 with 90 percent of the cost due to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)... an East Lakewood Avenue resident and his four dogs were granted permission to temporarily reside in his parked camper on his property next to his home for a period not exceeding six months while he makes necessary repairs following lingering damage by Hurricane Sandy. The resident noted the difficulty he found in trying to find a rentable unit that would allow his pets... 

Seeding the American Littoral Society Oyster Tank @  Wildwood Avenue Pier

Earlier this summer, officials from the American Littoral Society held an event with borough officials whereby they ceremonially seeded the new oyster tank at the end of Wildwood Avenue pier. Several weeks later, the shells containing the oyster spat were sunk off Good Luck Point to help continue to build a new habitat there for the improvement of Barnegat Bay watershed quality.

 
Vintage Vignette: July 3rd, 1922

Four girls laugh for a photo around alongside the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks on July 3rd, 1922.
Ocean Gate Day &
Volunteer First Aid Squad's 3rd Annual Cardboard Boat Races! 

Residents, visitors, vendors, volunteers and competitors thronged the Wildwood Avenue beachfront again for this year's Ocean Gate Day, August 8th, with the big draw of the Ocean Gate Vol. First Aid Squad's 3rd Annual Cardboard Boat races. Enjoy our photos of this popular event by clicking here or the photo above!
Notes & Dispatches

A Property Re-assessment Information Session will be held Thursday, Sept. 24th at 7 pm in borough hall to explain the process, implementation and reason behind the operation. A question and answer session will follow.

Fire hydrant flushing will commence now through the end of November on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 to 10 pm. If possible, avoid using water while the hydrant flushing is taking place. By not taking water from the tap or running appliances that use water (dishwashers and washing machines) residents can prevent discolored water from entering their household plumbing altogether. Do not launder clothes during flushing, as discolored water can stain fabrics - wait until the water runs clear at the tap and run a load of dark clothes first once it does. If discolored water is encountered following flushing, run the cold water taps throughout the home for five to ten minutes or until the water clears. This allows the discolored water to work its way out of household plumbing.

Trash pickup changed from its summer schedule to off-season schedule September 16th, with the service now occurring Wednesdays.

The next meeting of the Ocean Gate Borough Mayor & Council will be Wednesday, September 23rd at 7 pm in borough hall.
2015 Ocean Gate Vol. Fire Company
Annual Alfred Batilla Roast Beef Dinner 

On July 18th, members of the Ocean Gate Vol. Fire Company hosted their annual roast beef dinner at Adrian Hall to the delight of borough residents.


Photos by Damian Kulikowski for the Riverside Signal.
School News

Ocean Gate School Superintendent Frank B. Vanalesti shared the following updates for parents, students and residents:
  • The Ocean Gate School District is sharing services with the Ocean Gate Police department for a School Safety Resource Officer who will be in the school during school hours. The officers who will be posted in the school are typically  part-time "Class II" officers who have received "Active Shooter" school security training.  The school district has been very diligent in its execution, drilling and security procedure planning and the officer  will work with us on lock down, evacuations, and other school security measures.
  • The district received the state ROD Grant, a program for school facilities projects in Regular Operating Districts, of approximately $160,000 to update the HVAC systems in the classrooms.
  • This month begins the 2015-2016 school year, with the first day a smooth opening with happy and eager students and our great teachers who have worked hard to plan many exciting learning activities for the new year. Whether it is the mayor and council, board of education, PTO, parents or staff, we look forward to working together for the new school year in this small town of Ocean Gate that is so filled with community spirit.
  ICYMI: Ocean Gate School Municipal Tour 2015

Towards the end of the last school year, third graders from Ocean Gate School received a civics lesson through a tour offered annually by the borough and its various departments and volunteer organizations that introduced the concepts and processes behind running a municipality.

Mayor Paul Kennedy, in his office, shows students a rendering of the new town playground.
The Ocean Gate Police Department offered a tour of their station within the municipal office building, including this holding area.
Police Chief Reece Fisher went over bike safety in the police garage bay.
Office of Emergency Management coordinators Tom Fitzgerald and Robert "Woody" Vassallo review preparations for storm events, including 2012's Hurricane Sandy.
Mr. Vassallo shows a map that outlines the flooded versus dry areas during Hurricane Sandy.
Borough Clerk Ileana Vasquez-Gallipoli goes over her duties as clerk during council meetings, while students filled the roles as officials.
George Alvarez, with the Public Works Department, gave a tour of the water supply system facility.
The Ocean Gate Vol. Fire Company instructed the students on their equipment and apparatus.

Clubs & Orgs

Ocean Gate Civic Club
Annual Movie on the Beach  - August 22nd, 2015


  At the Berkeley Library

To register for any of the following, go to the library website at www.theoceancountylibrary.org and click Calendar of Events beneath the Events & News tab or call (732) 269-2144.
 
Tuesday, Sept. 22nd
 
Mobile County Connection
10am - 2pm
Ocean County's mobile service offers passport applications, Ocean Ride information, and more.  Walk-in, no appointments needed
 
Mini Makers: Puppet Fun
10:30am
Make your own paper-bag and stick animal puppets. Then we'll play with all sorts of puppets. Ages 2 to 5 with an adult. REG
 
Wednesday, Sept. 23rd
 
Cuddle Up for 1s & 2s
10:30am
Cuddle up with your little one as we share stories, rhymes, songs, and finger-plays.  Ages 12 to 36 months. Class size is limited.  REG
 
Thursday, Sept. 24th
 
An Afternoon of Mah Jongg
1 - 3pm
For Mah Jong Mavens:
If you have your own set, please bring it along. Registration required only for first visit.
This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Berkeley Library.
 
¿Qué está cocinando? What's Cooking?
6:30pm
We'll read stories with some Spanish words, learn un poco español, and enjoy a treat! Let's count to 10 in Spanish with los animales in Count on Culebra, and join ocho animales in Eight Animals Bake a Cake. Learn how to say the cake ingredients and animal names en español.
Ages 4 to 8. REG
 
Friday, Sept. 25th
 
Senior Movie Matinée: The Age of Adaline
1 - 3pm
Adaline (Blake Lively) has kept to herself for decades in order to keep secret the fact that she has remained 29-years-old for nearly a century. However, when she meets a handsome philanthropist named Ellis (Michiel Huisman), she strains against the self-imposed exile she's lived in. When her secret may become public, she is forced to take greater control over her life. Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker co-star. Rated: PG-13;running time: 109 min. This program is sponsored by The Friends of the Berkeley Library.
 
Saturday, Sept. 26th
 
UMIGO Drop-in Activities
All Day
Drop in anytime today (9 am to 5 pm) to celebrate UMIGO's second annual You Make It Go! Day. Build polygons and 3-D shapes, using straws and chenille sticks. See how many UMIGO figures you can stack up into a tower. Then measure things around the library and take home a new ruler. Ages 3 to 12.
 
Afternoon Movie: The DUFF
12:30 - 2:30pm
Emotionally devastated after learning that she's secretly referred to as "The DUFF" (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by the entire student body, high-school senior Bianca (Mae Whitman) dismisses the cautionary advice of her favorite teacher (Ken Jeong), turns her back on her longtime crush Toby (Nick Eversman), and enlists the help of charismatic jock Wesley (Robbie Amell) to help salvage what's left of her senior year. As the once-contented senior wages a monumental struggle to regain her confidence, she gradually turns her efforts toward knocking cruel class queen bee Madison (Bella Thorne) from her throne up on high.
Rated: PG 13: running time: 101 min. This program is sponsored by The Friends of the Berkeley Library.
 
Monday, Sept. 28th
 
LEGO® Club
4 - 5pm
We've got the LEGOs®-use them to build your own design. Display your LEGO® creation in the library's showcase.  Ages 6 to 10. Space is limited.  REG
 
Hispanic Cooking Class
6:30 - 7:30pm
Join Giavonna Carbonello, registered dietitian of the Perlmutter Family Shoprites as she cooks up a Latin American inspired dish with a healthy twist and authentic flavors.  Open to teens and adults.  An Hispanic Heritage Month program. REG
 
The Yarn Dolls
6:30 - 8:30pm
Knit or crochet with the Yarn Dolls.  Bring along your unfinished projects.
 
Tuesday, Sept. 29th
 
Scarecrow Storytime with Craft
10:30am
Why does Chicken want Scarecrow's hat? Join us for a fun story with animal puppets. Then make your own scarecrow mask.  Ages 3 to 5 with an adult. REG
 
Wednesday, Sept. 30th
 
Friends Psychic Fair
5 - 8:30pm
Come Join the Fun!  The cost of the program will be $20.00 for a 15 minute reading.  All proceeds benefit the Berkeley Branch of the Ocean County Library.  Register online or call the branch, you will be contacted to confirm your appointment with a psychic.   Sponsored by the Friends of the Berkeley Library.
 
Tuesday, Oct. 1st
 
An Afternoon of Mah Jongg: Beginner Lessons for October
1 - 3pm
For the month of October: Lessons are being  offered for those who wish to learn the game.  Learners must register.
Games for experienced players will be held as well.
For Mah Jong Mavens: If you have your own set, please bring it along.
This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Berkeley Library.
 
Friday, Oct. 2nd
 
Dancing & Bumping the 'Chute
2:30pm
Let's move to the music. Enjoy dance and parachute activities for parent and child together. Ages 2 - 4 with an adult. REG