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Be it virtual, hybrid or in-person, getting ready for back-to-school is not an inexpensive prospect. The Cape May County Coalition for a Safe Community plans on making the return to school a bit less financially stressful for folks in need in Ocean City and also throughout the county with a free book bag and school supplies giveaway Wednesday. Pastor Thomas Dawson, senior pastor of the SOAR Church in Woodbine, who also spearheaded free facemask giveaways in Cape May County recently, is the lead organizer of the book bag project. The event takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the cottages at Pecks Beach Village in Ocean City. The cottages are located between Fourth and Fifth streets, just west of West Avenue.
When John Loeper talks about the latest display piece acquired for U.S. Life Saving Station No. 30, he uses tones some men would reserve for a Carson Wentz touchdown pass -- or a particularly tasty slice of Boardwalk pizza. “I had no idea what to expect” said Loeper of his trip to rural Northwest New Jersey to pick up his prize, a meticulously maintained example of a small surfboat used in ocean rescues since the 1850s. “Many times, when you look at a boat this old it’s ready for the boneyard or a fireplace,” Loeper said. “I certainly wasn’t expecting anything as pristine as this." The pristine object of Loeper’s affection is a 65-year-old Seabright skiff, commonly known as a surf boat, the smaller 17-foot variety, but of the same design dating back to the 1850s.
Free, quality cloth facemasks were distributed to hundreds of people in Ocean City and throughout Cape May County on Wednesday, through the hard work and generosity of the SOAR Church and local volunteers. “People were happy to receive the masks,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Antwan McClellan of Ocean City, a former longtime member of City Council. “It was a very successful event.” Organizers said well over 100 people received the masks, including residents of Pecks Beach Village and Ocean City’s senior citizen housing.
In the COVID-19 battlefield, masks are a critical weapon. Face coverings are among the best defenses against catching and/or spreading the virus, and they are required in government buildings and private businesses to do everything from checking books out at the library to buying a slice of pizza. The flipside is that not having a mask can deny people from taking part in such activities. “Having a mask readily available can sometimes be challenging, particularly for folks in need,” said Antwan McClellan of Ocean City, a New Jersey Assemblyman who served as an Ocean City Councilman from 2012 until earlier this year. While masks are essential, they aren’t always easy to find and they can be expensive. In response, McClellan is helping to organize a "Free Mask Giveaway" with Alexander Bland, the president of the Cape May County Chapter of the NAACP. The giveaway takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 12, in Ocean City and other locations around Cape May County.
If life’s a beach, as the saying goes, it helps to have one. On Sunday at Park Place beach, folks were soaking up the sun, sand and surf. Especially the sand. Just last week, what passed for the same beach amounted to a narrow strip of sand ranging between 10 and 50 yards wide. At high tide, the water’s edge came just feet from the dunes. That all changed last week when the city’s beach replenishment project pumped in enough sand to increase the width to approximately 150 yards.
Ocean City’s summer tradition of conducting flag-raising ceremonies at the Water Park across from the Music Pier is always special. Thursday morning’s event took on added significance as the city paid tribute to Marine Corps veteran Doie Barnes, on her 99th birthday. “It was a very nice thing to do for a wonderful person,” said her friend and fellow World War II veteran Joe Caserta, 98. “She appreciated it a great deal.” Barnes, of Ocean City, was one of the first women to join the Corps after the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was established in 1942.
In today’s COVID-19 world, people are coming up with creative ways to spend their extra time and to accomplish positive goals. Three sisters with ties to Ocean City, and their daughters, recently completed one such adventure, taking part in the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, logging most of their actual miles right here in Ocean City. The brainchild of Laz Lake, race director of the Barkley Marathons series of road races, the Virtual Run replaces actual races canceled this summer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tennessee was chosen because it is Lake’s home state. Participants signed up and paid a small entry fee, which was designated to several charities, and plotted their course on a map by electronically entering each day’s runs.
If you’re an Ocean City booster – and who isn’t? – you can add miniature golf to the resort’s long list of national bragging rights. Aaron Kaminski, 28, who has been playing mini-golf since he was 3, and who is the president of a local mini-golf “tour,” recently earned a spot on the hit ABC “extreme mini-golf” reality show “Holey Money.” With the appearance came a chance to putt for the $250,000 grand prize.
Tabernacle Baptist Church, one of the oldest congregations in Ocean City, will mark its “re-boot” Sunday with an old-fashioned outdoor tent service. All community members and visitors are invited to the event, a joint service with neighboring Shiloh Baptist Church, to take place from 4 to 5 p.m. on the grounds of Tabernacle Baptist, 760 West Ave. “We are calling this a service of encouragement, during these unusual times,” said Shari Thompson, one of the organizers.
It’s Thursday at 7:30 a.m. in Ocean City, but it could pretty much be any day. The sun is out, the birds are out and so are the pickleballers. The pickleball courts behind the Ocean City Intermediate School at 1901 Bay Avenue are abuzz with post-pandemic social distancing measures in place, with the emphasis on social. The pop-pop-pop staccato of wooden paddles smacking the yellow perforated pickleballs fills the air -- as does laughter, game-related chatter, and some occasional trash talk.