Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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Fire Causes Smoke, Soot Damage to McMahon Insurance Office

The McMahon Insurance Agency office building in Ocean City will be closed all week following a fire that caused smoke damage and left soot “everywhere.” Ocean City Fire Chief Jim Smith said the smoky fire Sunday night was caused by a burned-out sump pump in the elevator shaft. Firefighters had trouble pinpointing the source of the smoke because the sump pump was tucked inside the base of the elevator shaft, Smith said.

Flea Market Hooks Hundreds of Anglers

Hundreds of fishing enthusiasts spent their Saturday at the 16th annual Ocean City Intermediate School Fishing Club Flea Market. The event featured an entire gymnasium filled with rods, reels and other fishing gear sold by vendors. The flea market attracts fishermen – and women – from all over the Northeast and has become a must-see winter event for anglers who are getting ready for the spring and summer fishing season. Normally, it attracts between 800 and 1,200 people.

Black History Month Exhibit Celebrates Ocean City’s Ford Family

Five generations of Ocean City's Ford family are featured in a new exhibit that opened Friday night as the centerpiece of the Black History Month celebration at the Ocean City Historical Museum. The free exhibit will run through February. Although it chronicles 11 members of the Ford family spanning five generations, the exhibit focuses on brothers Samuel Ellis Ford Jr., Norman Kenneth Ford Sr. and Theodore Charles Ford.

County Prosecutor Touts Programs to Fight Drug Abuse

Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland spent 90 minutes Saturday telling an audience of local residents about a series of county programs that are intended to prevent drug abuse, and, if it happens, how addicts can get help rather than simply being thrown in jail. “It’s just as important preventing it as it is arresting people,” Sutherland said during a Fourth Ward community meeting at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

Prettyman Approved as New Police Chief

Even as a rookie cop in Ocean City in 1995, Jay Prettyman had thoughts of one day becoming police chief. On Thursday night, he got his wish when City Council approved Mayor Jay Gillian’s appointment of the 48-year-old Prettyman to head the Ocean City Police Department. “It’s great. I feel I have been prepared most of my life for this,” Prettyman told reporters.

Some Shoveled, Some Built Snowmen

Altogether, about 4 inches of wet, clumpy snow fell on Ocean City to create a winter wonderland on the beaches, the Boardwalk and the rest of town. It was the first snowfall of 2019. Throughout Sunday, the sounds of shovels scraping the sidewalks and snow plows lumbering down the streets filled the air.

Council Introduces Ban on Marijuana Sales

In a preemptive strike, Ocean City plans to ban the sale of marijuana in the family-friendly resort town as discussions continue among state lawmakers to legalize recreational pot smoking in New Jersey. Voting 7-0, City Council introduced an ordinance Thursday night that would prohibit “businesses which cultivate, manufacture, test or sell marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia.” The measure would ban marijuana facilities within one-quarter mile of a school, church, recreational or sports facility, the Boardwalk and any residential area. It would effectively outlaw businesses from selling marijuana or pot paraphernalia in all parts of town.

Dredging Clears Out Ocean City’s Clogged Lagoons

Over and over, the giant excavator operated by Scarborough Marine Group dipped its claw into the lagoon waters and scooped up gobs of gooey black muck. For all anyone knows, the mud-like sediment could have been lying at the bottom of the lagoon in front of the Harbor House Condominiums for a millennium, explained Sean Scarborough, owner of the dredging company. Thick sediment has been clogging Ocean City’s lagoons and channels along the back bays for years, but it is finally being removed one scoop at a time by Scarborough’s company and other dredging contractors.

Demolition Clears Way for New Hotel Project

Demolition has begun on two old buildings to create room for a proposed boutique hotel that its developer believes will be the first new hotel project in Ocean City in at least 20 years when it opens in 2020. Dubbed the North Island Inn, the hotel’s large, all-suite accommodations will allow the property to market itself to families that are taking extended summer vacations in Ocean City. “It’s going to usher in a new era of hotel rooms – modern hotel rooms catering to the families who come to Ocean City,” developer Christopher Glancey said in an interview Tuesday.

Ocean City’s Old Railroad Embankment May Become Flood Barrier

It is a railroad that leads to nowhere. There are no trains, no stations and no passengers. The ghostly remnants of railroad tracks that were abandoned years ago cut through the marshlands in the southern end of Ocean City for about two miles. Although train service is dead, there is a chance that the old railroad may be put to use again – this time as a barrier to protect homeowners from flooding in the south end of town.