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Partly sunny, weather in the 70s and a cooling breeze made for a perfect beach day and an even better Father’s Day in Ocean City. Throughout town, dads could be seen with their family members celebrating. Proud papas were in full effect strolling on the Boardwalk, dining in Asbury Avenue restaurants for takeout or outdoor meals, kayaking on the bay and of course lounging on the beach.
As America continues to wait for the resumption of major league and college sports, New Jersey’s high school football programs appear to be ahead of the curve. On Friday afternoon, Ocean City High School’s head coach Kevin Smith received confirmation from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) that the Red Raiders and other public and non-public school football programs may begin summer workouts on Monday, July 13. Of course, the practices will be different than in years past, with strict social distancing measures mandated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan turned aspiring major league pitching prospect, Jake McKenna always dreamed of wearing the Phils’ red pinstripes. On Sunday morning, the dream came true. McKenna, a 6-foot-7-inch, 220-pound lefty and 2020 graduate of Ocean City High School, signed a $20,000 maximum MLB contract for undrafted free agents and will be assigned to the Phils’ rookie league affiliate in Clearwater, Florida.
The lifeguard knew something was wrong. A woman was on her hands and knees, digging through the beach sand. Oh, and she was sobbing. The woman told the lifeguard she had lost both her wedding ring and her engagement ring, antique jewelry given to her by her grandmother. Who you gonna call? Larry Friedel, beachcomber, that’s who. “Some of the Beach Patrol people know me,” said Friedel, 68, who has plied his tools of the metal detecting hobby for almost six decades now. “I started out when I was 10. When I was a kid I always found enough items of value to pay for a nice lunch or a night on the Boardwalk,” he recalled.
If the proverbial value placed on a visual image is correct, then Martin Fiedler has created an encyclopedic history of the United States Coast Guard’s ancestor, the U.S. Life Saving Service, in a new video series. When it comes to telling stories on video, few are as accomplished or experienced as Fiedler. Thus, his broadcast-quality series documenting the Life Saving Service, its brave first responders of the day, known as Surfmen, and Ocean City’s historic Life Saving Station 30 bears the imprint of a man who cares deeply about his subject.
It’s been a long three months for John Loeper. Like most of Ocean City, Loeper, is more than ready for the town to reopen and make the most of the 2020 summer tourism season. Unlike most, Loeper is uniquely invested. Loeper is chairman of the board of the Ocean City Historical Museum as well as the U.S. Life Saving Station 30, both major cultural attractions in town, and both closed to the public since the COVID-19 crisis began. Despite week after week of forced non-activity, Loeper has had no trouble keeping himself productive and amused. He’s been busy overseeing major renovations at the Historical Museum, and adding artifacts and planning events for the Life Saving Station. When the lockdown ends and patrons are again welcome to the Museum, they will see a radically different space.
Like thousands of other top marathon runners, Britt Miller was disappointed when the 124th running of the Boston Marathon was postponed recently and ultimately canceled on Thursday. Miller, 34, a part-time resident of Ocean City, had trained and qualified for the historic race, which would have been her 35th time competing over 26.2 miles. But her planned trip to Beantown, like so many other plans and events, was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Britt took matters into her own hands by creating her own marathon – a run around the perimeter of Ocean City, which she completed last Sunday.
It wasn’t quite the Prom. But all agreed it was still pretty cool. Ocean City High School’s seniors took some serious hits this year when schools were ordered to shut down statewide in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. There were no spring sports, there was no Prom, After-Prom or Senior Week. But there was an historic “first” – a “Red Carpet” event on Wednesday to give Ocean City’s seniors their moment in the sun, as well as the opportunity to be recognized for making it through an extraordinary school year.
Under normal circumstances, Friday would have seen the 17th annual staging of the “Business Person’s Plunge” and “unlocking” of the ocean to commemorate the start of the Ocean City summer tourism season. Quite obviously, these are not normal circumstances. With the coronavirus pandemic still raging worldwide and the town’s reopening happening in stages, the plunge was among the many Ocean City events canceled or postponed. That didn’t stop John Walton. He held the plunge anyway, in an abbreviated form.
It was the lost Prom. Or was it? Last Friday, on the afternoon of what would have been Ocean City High School’s Prom night at the Flanders Hotel, Katie Bowman arrived home from her run in a “bummed out” mood, according to her mom, Jennifer Bowman. So what was a mom to do? In the case of Jennifer Bowman, it was simple: get back to basics in the parent-offspring dynamic. “I went into ‘Mom mode,’” she related. She created a "Mom's Prom" for Katie and her cousin Brynn Bowman at home.