Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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Biker’s Cross-Country Journey Ends in Triumph at Shore

Matt DiNote was overcome by emotion as soon as he arrived in Sea Isle City, the culmination of an arduous, 4,400-mile, cross-country journey powered by his legs and inspired by the love for his brother. “Oh, my God,” he said softly as he bowed his head and wiped away tears while sitting on his bike Saturday evening. He ceremoniously dipped his back bike tire in the Pacific Ocean when he set out from California in August. In a triumphant touch to end the trip on Saturday, he walked his bike out on the beach at 65th Street in Sea Isle and dipped his front tire in the Atlantic Ocean just before nightfall.

Ocean City Housing Project “Looking Great”

Ocean City Housing Authority’s nearly $7 million affordable housing project for senior citizens is rolling along on time and on budget with about five more months to go before its scheduled completion, the agency’s board members said Tuesday. “Tracking it closely, it’s looking great,” Scott Halliday, who chairs the authority’s redevelopment committee, said while giving an update on the construction schedule during the monthly board meeting.

Tear It Down Or Fix It Up? Battle Erupts Over Historic...

An eyesore or historic gem? Unrepairable or a fix-it-upper? A historic home built only 23 years after Ocean City’s founding in 1879 as a seaside resort town by four Methodist ministers awaits its fate amid a fight over whether the deteriorated house should be demolished or saved. The property owner is appealing the Ocean City Historic Preservation Commission's decision to deny a demolition permit for the house.

Ocean City Plans $25 Million in Flood-Control Projects

Ocean City plans to spend about $25 million in the next five years as part of a comprehensive flood-control strategy to protect neighborhoods that are particularly vulnerable to stormwater. The plan includes new pumping stations, road construction, drainage systems, berms, retention walls and other measures to prevent stormwater from inundating parts of the low-lying island. Mayor Jay Gillian and other city representatives outlined the plan during a virtual town hall meeting Saturday that lasted one hour and 40 minutes and included members of the public participating online or by teleconference.

Council Approves Funds for Land Purchase, Questions Proposed Wind Farm

City Council gave final approval Thursday night to three bond ordinances that include more money to complete the acquisition of property that will create a large swath of open space protected from housing development. The bond ordinances provide an extra $615,000 to buy the land that encompasses a full block bordered by 16th and 17th streets between Simpson and Haven avenues next to the Ocean City Community Center. One of the parcels formerly served as the site of a car dealership and had been proposed for a housing project. In other business, the Council members expressed concerns and outright opposition to a proposed offshore wind farm that would be powered by 99 huge turbines located 15 miles out into the ocean from Atlantic City to Stone Harbor, including Ocean City.

Mayor to Dog Owners: Keep Your Pets Leashed

Although dogs are banned on Ocean City’s beaches during the peak summer tourism season, they are allowed to romp on the sand from Oct. 1 to April 30 provided they are on a leash and their owners clean up any messes. Mayor Jay Gillian says that he has been taking a “be nice, be kind” approach up to this point, but now he is warning owners that they must keep their dogs on a leash or face the consequences.

At Johnson’s Appliances, 75 Years and Counting

When Don Johnson joined his father, Sam, in the family’s Ocean City appliance business in the early 1970s, the marketplace was dramatically different than it is today. “When I started, there were seven appliance dealers in Ocean City,” Don recalled. He paused for a moment before adding, “We’re the last one.” Johnson’s Appliances is celebrating its 75th anniversary, thriving in a business generally not known for longevity.

Land Deals and Hybrid Learning Top Council Meeting

Ocean City is kicking in more money to complete the acquisition of three adjacent pieces of property that would be combined to create a large swath of open space protected from housing development. City Council introduced three bond ordinances Thursday night that will provide an extra $615,000 to buy the land that encompasses a full block bordered by 16th and 17th streets between Simpson and Haven avenues next to the Ocean City Community Center. In February, Council approved a funding package of nearly $12 million to acquire the land from the private owners, Klause Enterprises and Palmer Center LLC. The bond ordinances introduced Thursday will increase the total amount that the city is offering to pay for the parcels to about $12.5 million.

O.C. Housing Authority to Coordinate Free Rides to Supermarket For Residents

Senior citizens and families living in Ocean City’s affordable-housing communities have enjoyed the convenience of doing their grocery shopping at the Acme supermarket at Eighth Street and West Avenue – a short walk from their homes. However, a weekend fire that has closed the Acme on Eighth Street means that residents at the Bayview Manor and Pecks Beach Village housing complexes will now have to shop at the Acme sister store about two miles away on 34th Street. Knowing that many of those residents don’t have transportation to travel across town, the Ocean City Housing Authority is planning to arrange free rides to take them to the Acme store on 34th Street. “We will step up and fill that need,” said City Council President Bob Barr, who also serves as chairman of the housing authority’s board.

Ocean City Church Wins Court Battle

Tabernacle Baptist Church is regaining its tax-exempt status following a judge’s ruling that the controversial sale of Ocean City’s oldest surviving church to its former pastor was “illegitimate,” a church leader said. Normally, churches have tax-exempt status, but Tabernacle Baptist temporarily came under private ownership in March 2019 during a sale of the property to Pastor Charles Frazier, who has since died. Tabernacle Baptist’s board of trustees regained ownership of the property in December 2019 after it filed a lawsuit against Frazier challenging a deal he had worked out with the church’s former leaders to sell him the building for $1.