Authors Posts by mvitale



Cape May County Commissioners Reorganize

The Cape May County Board of County Commissioners met on Wednesday evening to officially reorganize their government. Commissioners Will Morey and Jeffrey L. Pierson both were sworn in, along with Sheriff Robert A. Nolan and County Clerk Rita A. Rothberg. Senator Michael L. Testa, Jr. swore in Morey, Nolan, and Rothberg, while Surrogate Dean Marcolongo swore in Pierson. The meeting was held virtually for the public due to current restrictions of COVID-19...

Ocean City Ecumenical Council in Business of Helping Community

Like so many other charitable organizations throughout the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, the volunteers at the Ocean City Ecumenical Council Food Cupboard had their share of struggles. The pandemic brought restrictions that made it harder for them to do their job of providing meals to those who need it most throughout the community. Despite challenges, the dedicated members continued to make home deliveries to qualified homebound residents, and just recently opened the doors again to those who wish to pick up their food packages at the cupboard, which is located in St. Peter’s United Methodist Church at 501 E. Eighth Street.

Summer 2020 Beach Tag Sales End Strong

Despite the pandemic and a temporary shutdown of beaches and businesses during the 2020 summer season, Ocean City beach tag sales were solid, officials said. The final official beach tag revenue number was $3.83 million, Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said Monday. In 2019, the figure was $4.03 million.

Holiday Season Strong in Ocean City

The holiday shopping season in downtown Ocean City and on the Boardwalk proved successful for many merchants, officials said. Despite the pandemic and a months-long shutdown of some nonessential businesses in the spring, shopkeepers said that people still shopped, still spent money for takeout food and outdoor dining and continued to shop locally, even with the added rules and restrictions due to COVID-19. An early indicator that business would still continue to be strong came with November’s “Earlier Than The Bird” shopping promotion. The event brought tourists to the downtown to shop locally and take advantage of discounts.

Ocean City Residents Wash Away 2020 With “First Dip”

Call it refreshing. Call it invigorating. Or, well, most might call it crazy, yet two Ocean City residents continued the tradition of heralding in the New Year with a chilly plunge in the ocean. Ocean City canceled the official event, known as the New Year’s Day “First Dip,” off of the beach near the Music Pier, due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on gatherings. But that didn’t stop friends Carl Wanek and Joe Schneider from continuing the zany tradition by making a mad dash into the frigid water.

Revelers Enjoy Safe, Happy New Year’s Celebration

Bidding farewell to 2020 isn’t likely going to make people shed tears amid a pandemic. People strolling on the Boardwalk and walking downtown Thursday all seemed to have the same thing in mind – spending a quiet New Year’s Eve in the comfort of their homes among family or a couple of friends. Ocean City’s First Night has been a family-friendly, alcohol free event boasting an array of activities and acts, capped off by fireworks. With the blockbuster event canceled due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, visitors and residents came up with alternative ways to ring in 2021.

Dredging Underway in Snug Harbor

A giant excavator sitting atop a barge is using its claw to scoop out black muck from lagoons and channels in Ocean City's Snug Harbor. Dredging of Ocean City’s channels and lagoons has remained a top priority for the city administration. The city has been spending millions of dollars in the past few years for a program to clear out the channels and lagoons. And the latest project is underway to remove muddy sediment clogging the channels and lagoons to make boat travel easier and provide cleaner waterways. Year-round Snug Harbor resident Sean Barnes said in an interview Tuesday that he is pleased that the city has begun dredging in his area...

Council Approves Tabernacle Baptist Church Repayment

City Council approved a repayment of more than $18,000 to Tabernacle Baptist Church after it regained its tax exempt status. During a remote Council meeting Monday afternoon, the governing body passed a resolution to refund the money that the church paid for 2019 and 2020 taxes. Tabernacle Baptist Church regained its tax-exempt status following a judge’s ruling that the sale of the church to its former pastor was “illegitimate.” The church, which is the oldest surviving church in Ocean City dating back to 1908, fell behind in back taxes to the tune of approximately $8,700 it owed for 2019 and $9,700 for 2020 and was threatened with a tax sale. City Council President Bob Barr spoke after the council meeting about a community wide effort to raise funds, mostly from private donors, to pay the money owed for the church, which is located at the corner of Eighth Street and West Avenue. Barr, and Councilman Pete Madden and Councilman Keith Hartzell met to discuss ways to raise money for the church. It was a day after a November Council meeting where a president of the church’s Board of Trustees Shari Thompson spoke of the court ruling. “We worked together and raised the money and took the money down to the tax office. Keith Hartzell was the driving force on this,” Barr noted, adding that it was before they knew that they could do the resolution on the payment...

Top Ocean City Stories of 2020

The majority of people are likely happy to bid 2020 goodbye and with good reason. Throughout the year, Ocean City residents, including business owners and students, have endured struggles like so many other Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But there were some good things to remember from 2020 as well. Following is a rundown of the most memorable stories in Ocean City for the year.

Ocean City Vacation Rental Website Offers “Scam Free Guarantee”

Ocean City’s Vacation Rental website VROCNJ offers a safe and easy way to explore the available Ocean City properties to rent for a perfect retreat. Since the website launched in the resort last year, it has taken off, explained Duane Watlington, founder of Vacation Rentals Jersey Shore LLC. The website gives homeowners and realtors a site to showcase their listings for a low fixed annual price, and vacationers a site to find the selection that best fits their family’s needs for that dream getaway, with no booking fees or service charges.