Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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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...

Ocean City Prepares to Purchase, Demolish Eyesore in Main Gateway

Getty appears to be a goner. Ocean City has reached a tentative deal to buy an abandoned former Getty gas station as it moves ahead with plans to demolish blighted sites along the main gateway into town and transform them into inviting green space. City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday night on spending $650,000 to acquire the Getty property at the corner of Ninth Street and Bay Avenue. The Getty site is the last of three shuttered former gas stations that had marred the appearance of the Ninth Street corridor for years...

Humane Society of Ocean City Launches Renovation Project, Seeks Donations

Little Max, a friendly, mixed-breed dog, has been working on his behavior with the Humane Society of Ocean City’s kennel director George Muller in hopes of impressing someone to adopt him. Statistically, Little Max has a very good chance of finding a new home. In 2016, the Humane Society had a 95 percent adoption rate. The no-kill shelter, an Ocean City institution since the 1960s, hopes to build on its success with a $200,000 renovation plan over the next 13 months to accommodate the growing demand for its services...

Bohemian Mama to Add to Asbury Avenue’s Retail “Renaissance”

The first thing customers likely will notice when they enter the Bohemian Mama boutique in Ocean City is the tepee in the middle of the store. Another eye-catching feature is a piece of driftwood that stands around 7 feet tall and is draped with Christmas balls and whimsical ornaments. Adding to the shop’s eclectic decor are two display tables that were once the doors on an Asian-Indian temple. “We want people to feel that coming into Bohemian Mama is an experience,” store owner Gina Ozhuthual explained of the diverse interior design. “We want them to come in and feel they are getting something special.”

Education Foundation Fundraiser Friday Night to Benefit Ocean City Schools

Sorry, kids. This is one Friday night that you’ll have to stay at home and take care of the house and dog while mom and dad are out having fun. But don’t worry. They’ll be having a good time for your benefit. The Ocean City Education Foundation is hosting a “Benefit by the Beach” wine tasting event Friday night at the Flanders Hotel to raise money for local schools... (more)

Ocean City Settles Sex Lawsuit Involving Former Beach Tag Director

Ocean City agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that a former beach tag director had a sexual relationship with a then-teenage girl under his supervision, according to court documents posted online. City spokesman Doug Bergen declined to comment Monday on the settlement, which was filed in October and first made public Saturday by the legal blog NJ Civil Settlements. Michael Testa and Justin White, Vineland attorneys who represented the plaintiff, could not be reached for comment Monday...