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Something old is being restored to its former glory at the historic First Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of 7th Street and Wesley Avenue. The 106-year-old steeple, already sliced in half by a lightning bolt in 1925 and subject to the ravages of time and the winds from the Atlantic Ocean, is undergoing a significant restoration project. The hope, First Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor John S. Sheldon says, is for it to be there for perhaps the next 106 years of service to its members, the community, summer visitors or anyone else who stops by.
The waves weren’t huge Saturday afternoon in Ocean City, but they were there, after days and days of bad weather and/or a flat ocean. That seemed to be enough for the people we talked to, anxious to get out of the house and into the sun, sand and surf. Even if the waves weren’t world class, the saying, “when in doubt, paddle out,” seemed to be in full effect. A nearly cloudless day coincided with the first day of spring and the result was surfing heaven on Ocean City beaches.
The Ocean City High School football team now has a new and improved website that matches the football program's high level of play on the field. The old site had a bulky domain name nobody seemed to be able to remember or find. If they did find it, the site was difficult to navigate. Players and parents couldn’t easily find or post information and college recruiters didn’t have an easy way to find a player’s highlight reel or other info. “The goal was to bring the website up to the same prominence as the Red Raiders’ program,” said Ken Wisnefski, CEO of WebiMax, the digital company that created the team's new website. “The coaches and players worked very hard to reach this level of success. They needed a website that would dominate the internet the same way the team dominates on the field.”
It was a very cold weekend in Ocean City. But not too cold for Ocean City. That seemed to be the theme for many folks, despite temperatures hovering around and below freezing much of the time. And the gusty winds making it feel a lot colder than that on Saturday. Sunday started out colder, but temperatures hit 40 by mid-afternoon. Bright sunshine and very few clouds won out over the dreary ice and rain of earlier in the week, and people wanted to get out and take a break from cabin fever.
It’s been a rough time for local athletes, coaches, fans and parents who have been dealing with measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Finally, things have taken a positive turn. On Feb. 12, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that parents and guardians of senior athletes – as well as a limited number of fans – will be permitted to attend winter and spring sports events. The governor’s statement gave hope that New Jersey schools are taking the first tentative steps away from virtual events, games and practices at near-empty venues and toward traditional competitions in stadiums and gyms.
The women have spoken, and this time they agree with the men. Despite Tom Brady’s matchless resume of Super Bowl championships, despite the fact he and his coaches and teammates are sleeping in their own beds and playing in their home stadium, most of the women who responded to our call for predictions go along with Las Vegas. They’re picking Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs to defeat Tampa Bay and take their second straight Super Bowl title on Sunday.
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.