Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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Memorial Day Ceremony Honors Ocean City’s Hometown Heroes

Memorial Day is a particularly sad time for Joe Coserta, a 95-year-old World War II veteran who fought in Europe while serving as a tank commander with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Division. Coserta, who has lived in Ocean City for 30 years, explained that Memorial Day ceremonies remind him of his fellow soldiers who were killed on the battlefield more than 70 years ago. “It’s very sad,” he said. “I think about all the hard times we had and all the guys we lost who were with us. It was a long time ago, but we never forgot them.” Hundreds of people filled Ocean City’s Veterans Memorial Park on Monday for a somber Memorial Day service that showed that they, too, haven’t forgotten the military men and women who lost their lives while serving their country during different wars...

New “Gale Force” Roller-Coaster Gets Thumbs-Up From Riders

If shrieks and screams are any way to judge the thrill factor of an amusement ride, then the new Gale Force roller-coaster at Playland’s Castaway Cove is already a blockbuster hit. Primal, high-pitched screeching filled the air above the Ocean City Boardwalk as riders got their first taste of a towering roller-coaster that is exhilarating one moment and terrifying the next. “Scary, that’s all I have to say,” 8-year-old Mia Plocinik exclaimed moments after stepping off the coaster Sunday afternoon...

OCNJDaily.com Contest Winner is Enjoying a Blockbuster Holiday Weekend

It was clear from all of the suitcases they were toting Friday that Joanna Vassallo and her family planned to have a big Memorial Day weekend. Their holiday getaway in Ocean City includes a three-night stay at the historic Flanders Hotel, ensconced in a penthouse suite on the ninth floor that offers stunning views of the coastline for miles and miles. “It’s unbelievable,” Vassallo exclaimed while peeking out from the balcony. “The view is spectacular. The whole suite is gorgeous, too.”

Ocean City’s New Beach Patrol Chief Prepares for Busy Summer Season

Mark Jamieson isn’t sure how many swimmers he has saved during his nearly 20 years as an Ocean City lifeguard, but there is one rescue that stands out in his mind. In 2004, a big wave and strong winds pushed about 30 or 40 swimmers out to a jetty on the Ninth Street beach, putting all of them in severe danger. A mass rescue involving about 25 lifeguards ensued. When it was over, everyone was pulled to safety. “It was one of those rescues that was exhausting,” recalled Jamieson, who ended up with some cuts and bruises from brushing up against the jetty rocks...

Ocean City Business People Take the “Plunge” to Welcome Summer

Thomas Giacinto, vice president of marketing for The Title Company of Jersey, was attired in a dark blue suit, cranberry-colored tie and black dress shoes. Stacy Demcher, a realtor for Keller Williams Jersey Shore, wore a yellow print dress, black cardigan sweater and five-inch black heels. They and other nattily dressed business people gathered on the Ocean City beach Friday afternoon, looking as if they were prepared to nail down some multimillion-dollar real estate deal. Giacinto even carried a binder for some seemingly important papers...

Ocean City’s $2.1 Million Firehouse is Ready to Open

Aficionados of firefighting lore may be saddened to hear that there will be no brass pole to slide down. When the alarm sounds, firefighters at Ocean City’s new firehouse on 29th Street will instead scamper down the stairway as they rush to put on their gear and jump on the fire engines. “Most places are getting away from it. There are potential injuries,” Ocean City Acting Fire Chief Jim Smith explained of the lack of a fire pole in the two-story building. Although that piece of firefighting nostalgia wasn’t included in the project, the new $2.1 million firehouse opening this weekend does feature an exterior design that is definitely a throwback to old-fashioned times...

Council Approves $18.5 Million Funding Package for Citywide Projects

City Council gave final approval Tuesday night for an $18.5 million bond ordinance to finance road construction, drainage upgrades, dredging projects and other public improvements that represent a major piece of Mayor Jay Gillian’s 2017 capital plan. Voting 6-0 on the funding package, Council has been working hand-in-hand with Gillian’s administration on what is shaping up as the largest capital improvement program in Ocean City history...

Ocean City Looks to Salute its “Hometown Heroes”

A recent business trip took Ocean City Councilman Keith Hartzell through Frackville, Pa., a small town in the heart of northeastern Pennsylvania’s historic coal mining region. Hartzell was so moved by something he saw lining Frackville’s streets that he stopped and got out for a closer look. “A tear came to my eye,” he said. Attached to the telephone poles were banners that included the names and pictures of members of the Frackville community who served in the military during different wars and different generations and are now hailed as “Hometown Heroes.”...

New Web-Based Delivery Business Promises Fresh Seafood “Dock to Door”

If Domino’s can deliver freshly made pizza to your house, why can’t fresh seafood straight off the docks be delivered to your door, too? That’s the concept behind a new web-based business called Dock to Door Seafood Delivery that is launching Saturday at www.dock2doorseafood.com. Customers entering the promo code OCNJDAILY will get $5 off their first order. Dock to Door owner Hank Rydecki, who jokes that he is “a terrible fisherman, but a good businessman,” believes he has discovered a niche market that combines the convenience of home delivery service with the freshest seafood...

Ocean City Housing Authority Removes Chief Executive, Approves Other Reforms

The Ocean City Housing Authority on Tuesday approved an overhaul of its management and financial structure in the wake of an embezzlement scandal involving its chief executive. In a series of votes to reform the troubled agency, the authority’s board members formally removed Executive Director Alesia Watson, approved her interim replacement and authorized a forensic audit of its finances from Oct. 1, 2013, to May 1, 2017. The forensic audit will cover the period that Watson worked at the agency. She began in August 2013 and remained executive director until she pleaded guilty on May 8 to embezzling federal housing funds to pay credit card bills for personal expenses...