I hope you’ll keep the people of Florida and the Southeast in your thoughts and prayers as Hurricane Irma approaches the United States. The images of the massive flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas are still fresh in our minds and a reminder of how vulnerable we all remain to the power of nature. These storms strengthen quickly and wander unpredictably, so it’s extremely important for all of us to be prepared.
As a routine precaution, I held a meeting today with senior staff and emergency management members to review policies and procedures for the city team. Effective communication is vital to keeping everybody safe during any natural disaster, and I encourage all of you to register a mobile phone number with our emergency notification system . Property owners should always secure trash cans and other loose items before leaving their homes. Residents should have a checklist and a plan ready for any potential evacuation. It’s always a good idea to pray for the best and be ready for the worst.
Ocean City’s 2017 dredge program continues to move forward with a hydraulic dredge contract awarded to Mount Dredging and Video Pipe Inc. Residents will see activity in Carnival Bayou (between W. 16th Street and W. 17th Street) as the contractor begins dredging operations in that area. Dredge materials will be placed in CDF 83 to begin the dewatering process necessary for removal to an NJDEP-approved beneficial re-use location.
The city’s mechanical program has changed due to Pleasantville’s inability to obtain (at this time) the necessary permits to move dredged materials to the Pleasantville redevelopment area. Ocean City found it necessary to re-advertise the mechanical dredging contract for Sunny Harbor and South Harbor with the anticipation that a contract will be awarded later this month and residents will see dredging activity. I will keep you updated on the city’s dredge program as it continues to move forward this fall.
I’m sad to report the passing of Richard “Dick” Galante, an Ocean City resident who served his country and community with distinction. Dick was raised in Ocean City, served in the Navy during the Korean War and was an active member of the local VFW and American Legion posts. I want to extend my condolences to all his friends and family. Visitation is at 4 p.m. today at the Godfrey Funeral Home at 809 Central Avenue, and a celebration of his life begins at 6 p.m.
Finally, I’d like to remind everybody of annual 9/11 memorial ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday, in front of the Ocean City Fire Department headquarters between Fifth Street and Sixth Street on Asbury Avenue. I encourage you all to attend. The ceremony includes music, prayer and reflections on the memory of lives lost and on the community spirit that was renewed in the wake of the tragedy. This year’s special guest speaker will be Becky Wynne, sister of Richard “Rick” Blood, an executive and volunteer fire marshal who died in the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. Their families continue to visit Ocean City every summer in honor of Rick and relish all of the happy memories they shared here.
Jay A. Gillian