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Thriving, bustling, as if it were Fourth of July weekend, these are just some of the ways downtown and Boardwalk merchants are describing the start of the shoulder season in Ocean City. “Shoulder season this fall is identical to our summer peak season, possibly even more active. Asbury Avenue has been bustling,” said Katie Miccarelli, head of brand development for Cruise Control Gear, an active wear shop in Stainton’s Gallery of Shops. “It’s as if Fourth of July weekend poured over into September.”
The annual Ocean City Fall Block Party has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of opportunities for families who make the event an annual tradition to shop, shop and shop some more. This year, shopping enthusiasts don’t have to leave home to enjoy the best deals, discounts, and merchandise from merchants in town. On Oct. 9, Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, the block party will be offered virtually. Store specials will be posted, and customers can shop online if they choose or shop in person.
Tyler Jay Onesty would have turned 26 on Sunday. The Ocean City High School graduate died of a heroin overdose in 2017. In his memory, and in an effort to help others battle addiction, the third Memorial Scholarship Fund Benefit in his name was held. Tyler’s brother, 22-year-old Zach, and parents Sally and Marte Onesty, of Ocean City, welcomed friends, family members, employees of mental health and drug treatment services and people in recovery, who lined up at Golden Galleon Mini Golf at 11th Street and the Boardwalk to spend a day enjoying Tyler’s favorite pastime – miniature golf. “I feel like we are keeping Tyler’s memory alive and we are helping make an impact on other people who suffer from disease and addiction,” Zach explained.
The Ocean City Fire Department will add a new fire truck to the fleet next year to replace one that is more than 20 years old. City Council approved a contract to buy a new pumper truck for $650,000 from Pierce Manufacturing Inc. of Appleton, Wisc. The truck will be delivered in the fall of 2021. Fire Chief Jim Smith said in an interview that the department is appreciative of the support from the city.
For 13 years, the Ocean City Theatre Company has captivated and entertained audiences with performances showcasing young talents in productions, dance numbers and song. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the OCTC’s summer series held each year at the Music Pier. Much of the theatre company classes were held virtually. Now, while adhering strictly to CDC guidelines, the theatre company is making a comeback by offering an impressive lineup of musical theatre, acting and dance classes for students in grades 8th through 12th grade, as well as for adults.
With two weeks into the start of the 2020-21 school year, Ocean City school officials said students are working hard as they navigate new ways to learn during the COVID-19 pandemic. And they are doing it well, Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor noted during a Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.
The school’s athletics was awarded the NJSIAA Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive year, as well as the Ed Byrnes Memorial Award for the eighth year in a row, according to a news release. Both awards come from the team’s success on and off the field, even with a shortened 2019-2020 athletic season. “The Ed Byrnes Award shows how diverse our athletic skills are and how teamwork under great coaching staffs leads to success on the competition venues. The NJSIAA award shows the character of the student-athletes and coaches,” said the district’s Athletic Director Geoffrey Haines. Haines added, “It also takes more than just coaches, it is also the leadership of the teaching staff and building staff, to the athletic trainers to administration to a supportive community. I am proud of these honors and it shows that hard work pays off.” The awardees of the NJSIAA Sportsmanship Award are presented with a banner to be displayed with their other record-setting and championship honors as motivation for current and future athletes...
The Cape May County Fare Free Department has started their long-anticipated "On-Demand" rider program that expands its existing transportation services, according to a county release. The service is being tested in Ocean City and is currently available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for residents over age 18. The "On Demand" program is an Uber-style service that will take riders to and from doctor appointments, shopping trips, and other transportation needs provided to Fare Free Transportation clients. This service is in addition to the transportation programs already in existence. Freeholder E. Marie Hayes, liaison to Fare Free Transportation, explained, "We were looking for ways in which to provide eligible residents with a service that would meet their transportation needs when they needed it.” She continued, “The existing service often required a three-day scheduling period and while that has been successful, many users found themselves in need of same-day transportation services. The On-Demand system will allow for those who require same-day service to schedule it through the downloadable app or call the office." After some software issues, driver shortages, and COVID-19 the new program is operating on a pilot program and available to Ocean City residents...
In a time when fundraising for the Ocean City school district has slowed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a local organization has offered help in the way of a needed donation. The Ocean City Gardens Civic Association donated $4,350 this month to the district for three needed supplies. The donation enables the district to purchase 155 mask clips for Intermediate School students, giving students a way to secure their protective masks to their clothing should they have to temporarily take the masks off. Funds also went to the Primary School for 654 foam gym mats and portable pop-up tents for outdoor activities.
On Monday and Tuesday, the 34th Street Bridge will be restricted to one lane of alternating traffic between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., according to a county news release. Traffic will be maintained using flaggers in order to alternate traffic along the bridge. The lane closure is necessary to permit an under-bridge platform truck to provide access for bridge inspectors.