Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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Family-Friendly Celebration Marks Grand Opening of Ocean City Firehouse

Rookie firefighter Robert Hart’s very first day on the job in 1954 coincided with the grand opening of the then-new Ocean City firehouse on the corner of 29th Street and West Avenue. He didn’t rush out to battle any fires on that day while working the midnight shift, but he did experience the excitement of receiving his first two-week paycheck for what was then his $3,100 annual salary. “I got a paycheck, a meal and a nap – all on the first day,” Hart recalled, laughing...

Ocean City Housing Authority Struggles With Cash Shortage

The financially struggling Ocean City Housing Authority is running at a $100,000 loss as it awaits a crucial payment from Washington, D.C., that has been held up by delays in getting the federal budget approved. Jacqueline Jones, the housing authority’s executive director, said the agency will be “very, very low on cash” through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. “That’s a great concern, obviously,” Jones told the authority’s commissioners while giving a financial report during their monthly board meeting Tuesday...

Embezzlement Sentencing Postponed for Former O.C. Housing Authority Executive

A sentencing hearing for a former top Ocean City Housing Authority executive who was caught in an embezzlement scheme has been postponed for three weeks amid ongoing efforts to clean up and restructure the troubled agency since she was removed. Alesia Watson, who was fired from her job as the housing authority’s executive director a week after she pleaded guilty to embezzlement on May 8, was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday in federal court in Camden. However, officials said Monday her sentencing has been pushed back until Sept. 7...

Madison Leigh Kennelly is Crowned Miss Ocean City 2018

Madison Leigh Kennelly jokingly refers to herself as a beauty pageant “guru.” Now there’s another pageant-related title she can call herself: Miss Ocean City 2018. The 18-year-old York College sophomore beat out 11 other contestants Saturday night at the Music Pier in her first attempt to become Miss Ocean City...

Amid Criticism, Ocean City Approves New Dredging Agreement with Pleasantville

A new agreement approved Thursday will allow Ocean City to send sediment dredged from its lagoons and back bays to the town of Pleasantville, but some local residents believe the deal is a way for a wealthy community to dump its “toxic slime” on a poor municipality. Ocean City wants to get rid of the muddy sediment as it moves ahead with a comprehensive dredging program, but Pleasantville plans to use the material as fill for its Lakes Bay waterfront redevelopment area, a proposed project that would include homes, retail shops and office space...

Former Lifeguard Wins Age-Discrimination Verdict Against Ocean City

A former Ocean City lifeguard who lost his job after he narrowly failed a swimming test has been awarded nearly $128,000 by a Superior Court jury in his age-discrimination lawsuit against the municipality. Paul McCracken claimed in his litigation that city officials “concocted a scheme” to get rid of older lifeguards by imposing new fitness requirements that made the running and swimming tests required of the Beach Patrol members more rigorous...

Ocean City’s Boardwalk Becomes Picture Perfect During Art Show

One of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic images, a publicity photo taken during her starring role in the 1961 romantic comedy “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” shows her puffing on a slender, foot-long cigarette holder. Artist Michael Kenney reimagined the same photo and created a striking, abstract portrait of Hepburn that makes it appear her face has been covered by colorful graffiti. Despite the dramatic facelift, it is still very clearly Audrey Hepburn...

Auto Buffs Marvel Over Exotic, Dream Cars at Ocean City Show

Matthew Gabriel paused for a moment while trying to estimate the value of all of the 122 exotic, luxury and vintage cars gracing the grounds of the Ocean City Tabernacle on Saturday. Certainly, it was in the millions, he acknowledged. Then, he set his sights higher, guessing that it was in the tens of millions. Finally, he settled on around $100 million. Gabriel, a 19-year-old college student who organizes the annual Ocean City Cars & Coffee Show, smiled when that staggering amount of money registered in his mind. But who’s counting?

New National Database Tells You the Quality of Your Drinking Water...

It appears to be clean, but is the water coming out of your tap really as safe as it looks and tastes? Consumers now have a new tool to check the quality of their drinking water simply by going online and doing a little research. The research group Environmental Working Group compiled information from nearly 50,000 public water systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in its database at...

Bleak Weather Doesn’t Stop Ocean City Vacationers From Having Fun

Shopping bags in hand, Mary Ellen Buono and Joan Cesarini stopped at an Asbury Avenue boutique Saturday afternoon to check out the sale items on a clothing rack outside the store. Buono noted she had already bought some pillows for her home and a top for her granddaughter. Next, she was looking for a birthday gift for her niece. She joked that Cesarini was her shopping “assistant.” “I’m helping to carry all of the items,” Cesarini quipped...