Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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Troubled Ocean City Housing Authority to Undergo Reforms

A sweeping management overhaul is planned at the Ocean City Housing Authority following a guilty plea in an embezzlement investigation involving its executive director and growing indications that the agency’s finances are in disarray. The authority’s six-member board is expected to take steps during its meeting Tuesday to reform the agency, including the hiring of a new interim executive director and authorization for a forensic audit to examine all finances dating to 2012. The board also plans to hire an accounting firm to conduct the authority’s 2017 audit...

Despite Soggy Weather, Martin Z. Mollusk Sees his Shadow to Predict...

Hmm, we hate to sound crabby, but we think Martin Z. Mollusk may have pulled a fast one Saturday. On a soggy May morning that rained buckets and left everyone soaked, Ocean City’s famous prognosticating hermit crab somehow “saw” his shadow to fulfill his perennial prediction that summer will arrive one week early in the beachfront town. “We see his shadow. Summer is coming early to Ocean City!” exclaimed Michael Hartman, the city’s special events director who had the honor of peeking under Martin’s shell. Normally, Martin’s handlers take him out on the beach for his shadow-spotting duties, but the torrential downpour Saturday forced the ceremony to be moved indoors at the Music Pier...

N.J. Surfing Legends Honored at Hall of Fame Ceremony

This may have been the first Hall of Fame gala in history where shorts, Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops and baseball caps turned backwards seemed to be standard attire. Essentially, the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame induction ceremony had the same vibe as a gigantic beach party, only it was inside. In all, a sold-out crowd of 500 casually dressed surfing enthusiasts gathered Friday night at the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City to honor 14 inductees who were pioneers in a sport that has a rich history at the Jersey Shore...

Larry Friedel, of 7th Street, Heads to N.J. Surfing Hall of...

Two knee replacements in the past three years and a ripped left hamstring aren’t going to prevent the 65-year-old Larry Friedel from doing what he loves. “I will be back this summer. I will be surfing as soon as the water warms up a touch,” he vowed. Should anyone doubt him, they need only look at his involvement in the surfing community in the past 50 years or so – first as a young competitive surfer and then as a surfing mentor, coach and the owner of Ocean City’s iconic 7th Street Surf Shop...

City Funding Plan Introduced for Capital Projects

City Council introduced an $18.5 million funding package Thursday night to finance a series of dredging projects, road improvements and drainage upgrades that are a major part of Mayor Jay Gillian’s capital plan this year. A public hearing and final vote on the bond ordinance are scheduled for May 23. Assuming the ordinance is approved, Council will next have to vote on individual projects before the money is actually spent...

Hundreds of Walkers in Ocean City Raise Money for MS Awareness

One of the biggest shocks that Lu Ann Parkin gave her family came in 2013, when she told everyone she was traveling by herself to South Korea. “No one could believe it,” said Parkin’s cousin, Rose Marie Quirk. “We all said, ‘Are you out of your mind?’’’ Parkin, 58, of Millville, laughed at Quirk’s comments and said reassuringly that she had a great time on her trip. By now, Parkin’s family is becoming less and less surprised by what she wants to do. For instance, she is thinking of taking scuba diving lessons next...

Ocean City Block Party Draws 25,000 People

When it comes down to her choosing between Ocean City, New Jersey, and Ocean City, Maryland, Baltimore resident Patricia Haley has some strong opinions that might surprise the people in her home state. “I make sure my clothes say Ocean City, New Jersey, instead of Ocean City, Maryland,” she said, referring to the words embossed on her garments. Haley, who grew up in Wildwood before becoming a Baltimore transplant, continues to have an allegiance to the Jersey Shore, not Maryland’s Eastern Shore. On Saturday, she was among an estimated 25,000 people who crammed Asbury Avenue for Ocean City’s annual spring block party, an event that gives the town a jump-start for the peak summer tourism season...

Atilis Gym Shows Its Muscle With Ambitious Expansion Plans

This is a place that proudly proclaims itself as an old-school gym. Owner Chris Lambert says there is nothing pretentious or fancy about the surroundings at his five Atilis Gym locations in Cape May and Atlantic counties. Just a lot of weights and fitness equipment. And sweaty people. He also stressed there is no huge corporate owner using high-pressure sales tactics to nudge clients into a more expensive membership level. “For the big corporations, it’s all about the dollar. It’s not about the people. But here, we don’t try to sell you stuff. We’re not trying to make you upgrade your membership,” he said. When you walk in the door, don’t be surprised if Lambert is there to greet you at the front desk. You can’t miss him...

OC Waterpark Looks to Make a Big Splash This Summer

Climbing the stairs to the top of the Serpentine Body Slide at OC Waterpark is like going on a mountaineering trip. Up, up, up you go, until you finally find yourself a full eight stories above the Ocean City skyline. Panoramic views of the ocean and beaches unfold for miles and miles from this high up. In the distance, you can see the water tower in Somers Point. Even farther away, you can spot the soaring smokestack at the B.L. England electric plant in Upper Township...

Friends, Family Members Recall Cancer Warrior Who Was “Fearless”

They remembered her radiant smile, her adventurous personality and the way everyone’s eyes seemed to focus on her when she entered the room. Christie Hess certainly had a mesmerizing quality, but perhaps most notable was her inner strength that allowed her to battle cancer with dignity and courage up until the very end, her friends and family recalled. “She had moxie. She was fearless,” said Megan Balinge, 36, of Vineland, who remained one of Christie’s closest friends after they graduated together from Ocean City High School in 1998...