Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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Voters to Pick Best Alcohol-Free “Mocktail” in HERO Campaign Contest

Don’t be surprised this summer if you hear the patrons at your favorite Jersey Shore tavern or restaurant say, “Bartender, give me a HEROtini.” A HERO what? The Great HEROtini Mocktail Challenge is the trademarked name for a contest that will run from Memorial Day to Labor Day to promote the importance of responsible drinking and using a designated driver. Conceived by the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, the contest will feature bars, taverns and restaurants at the Jersey Shore concocting a special alcohol-free “mocktail” and vying for top honors in an online poll...

Councilwoman Wants Ocean City to Consider Rules for Mass Balloon Launches

Whatever happened to just throwing hats into the air in celebration? The mass release of balloons, floating lanterns, doves and even butterflies has become an increasingly popular way to provide a picture-perfect ending at weddings, graduations, birthday parties and other festive events. But some people seem to have forgotten one thing: What goes up, must come down...

New Regulations Approved for Ocean City’s Boardwalk Performers

Singers, musicians and other performers who entertain the bustling summer crowds on the family-friendly Ocean City Boardwalk will have to play by a new set of rules starting on Memorial Day weekend. Culminating more than a year of debate, City Council unanimously approved new regulations Thursday night that designate special areas of the Boardwalk where entertainers will be allowed to perform five nights a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Mayor Jay Gillian originally had proposed the regulations last year as a way to prevent conflicts between the performers and the Boardwalk merchants, but withdrew the proposal twice to give negotiators more time to craft a compromise that would satisfy both sides...

Council to Vote on Upgrades for Ninth Street Corridor and Boardwalk

Ocean City’s main entryway and its top tourist attraction are both in line for major upgrades as part of separate projects scheduled for a vote by City Council at its meeting Thursday. The Ninth Street corridor, the principal artery into town, will be spruced up when the city acquires a blighted former Getty gas station and redevelops the site into green space. Council is expected to approve a $650,000 funding package to buy the old gas station at the highly visible corner of Ninth Street and Bay Avenue. Plans call for tearing down the abandoned Getty building to rid the Ninth Street corridor of one of its most notorious eyesores...

Ocean City Mother Goes Public About Son’s Overdose Death to Fight...

Often, the obituaries for young people will discreetly note that they died “suddenly” or “unexpectedly,” without specifying the cause of death. Tyler Onesty’s obituary also said that he passed away suddenly, but it went on to disclose that the 22-year-old Ocean City resident died “from a heroin overdose, after a hard battle with addiction.” His mother, Sally Onesty, wanted Tyler’s obituary to be a loving remembrance of his life. But she also wanted it to serve as a blunt warning to other families about the perils of drug addiction, in hopes that their children won’t die in the same way as her son, a well-known and popular 2012 graduate of Ocean City High School...

Organ Transplant Recipient Talks About the “Gift of Life”

Every year, on Sept. 15, Joe Pratt sends a “thank you” card to a family he has never met. That date is the anniversary of Pratt’s life-saving surgery in 2013. He received two transplanted lungs from an organ donor who was killed in a car crash and was just 23 years old. “This is all the information we have on my donor,” Pratt said of the man’s age and how he died. “I wish I knew more.” Pratt, 74, of Upper Township, sends the cards to his donor’s family members to thank them and let them know he is in good health now. The cards are forwarded to the family by the Gift of Life Donor Program, but Pratt has not yet received a reply...

Ocean City School Board Approves New Policy for Overdose Antidote

Joseph S. Clark Jr., the president of the Ocean City Board of Education, says he knows of five people who have died of a drug overdose in just the past few months. Although none of those people were local students, the possibility of drug overdoses occurring in Ocean City’s schools prompted the Board of Education to adopt a new policy Wednesday night to equip the school district with a potentially life-saving opioid antidote. “We have to be proactive,” Clark stressed...

Ocean City’s Proposed 2017 Municipal Budget Emphasizes Capital Projects

Ocean City’s proposed $79.7 million operating budget reflects a healthy real estate market and should satisfy Wall Street credit-rating agencies, but will require local property owners to pay more in taxes this year, according to the city’s chief financial officer. Overall, the 2017 budget is up about 5 percent compared to last year, largely due to an increase in debt payments for new construction projects and higher health insurance costs...

Eight Years Later, Still no Trace of Ocean City’s Missing Man

For Jen Powell, the disappearance of her son is made even more difficult by the exasperating lack of clues in the case – and the uncertainty of even knowing whether he is dead or alive. John Weisbecker inexplicably vanished on March 11, 2009, from the house he shared with his mother and sister at 205 Asbury Ave. in Ocean City. A postal worker saw Weisbecker that morning, but no one else has spotted him since then, police said. As another year passes without any trace of Weisbecker, his mother remains convinced that someone – somewhere – knows something about her son and must come forward to finally give the family closure. “I just keep praying that one day someone will have a conscience and tells us what is going on,” she said in a phone interview Friday on the eighth anniversary of her son’s disappearance...

Council Introduces Regulations for Ocean City’s Boardwalk Entertainers

Largely avoiding the controversy and objections of the past, Ocean City’s third attempt to regulate the Boardwalk performers who entertain the summer crowds sailed through on its first vote Thursday night by City Council. In another key vote, Council approved spending $650,000 to buy an abandoned former Getty gas station that has been a longtime eyesore marring the appearance of the main gateway into town...