• TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced Nov. 20 that Ventnor City would receive a $501,000 grant to restore historic City Hall. The building was one of four in Atlantic County selected for Sandy Disaster Relief Grants for Historic Properties to fund the preservation, stabilization, rehabilitation and repair of New Jersey historic structures that were damaged by the storm.

    Other Atlantic County structures awarded grants include Fire Station 3 in Atlantic City, which received $338,289, Fire Station 2 in Atlantic City $205,649 and Gateway Playhouse in Somers Point $102,400.

  • MARGATE – Local firefighters and EMS workers who routinely arrive at drug overdose calls are now carrying the life-saving antidote, naloxone.

    Chief Anthony Tabasso made the announcement at the Nov. 6 Board of Commissioners work session meeting.

  • MARGATE – City Clerk and Tax Collector Tom Hiltner will resign from both positions Jan. 1 and receive $260,000 payable in installments over the next two years as part of a settlement reached in his whistleblower lawsuit against the city.

    Under the agreement, the city will also give Hiltner $12,000 a year for the next eight years for health insurance, and pay $50,000 in attorney fees to Jacobs & Barbone, his attorneys.

  • MARGATE – Despite differences of opinion regarding the dunes issue, the Board of Commissioners Nov. 6 agreed to uphold the wishes of the voters and proceed with an effort to stop the state and Army Corps of Engineers from building sand dunes on the beach.

    Congratulating the advocacy group Margate Citizens Questioning the Beach Project, which lobbied to fight the dunes project, Commissioner Brenda Taube said she would join Commissioner Maury Blumberg and Mayor Michael Becker in support of voters who passed a nonbinding referendum Nov. 4 that asked if they wanted the city to spend up to $200,000 in legal fees to try to stop the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps from proceeding with the project. The unofficial vote count was 1,140 yes, 1,091 no. Provisional ballots are still being counted. Certification by the Atlantic County Clerk is expected Monday afternoon.

  • VENTNOR – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has awarded $230,000 in Post-Sandy Planning Assistance grants to help the city become more resilient to storms.

    Mayor Michael Bagnell said the grants will help the city plan for the future after several years of struggling with the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, which flooded the city in October 2012.

Large turnout for Beach Sweeps

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People scour the beach for debris Saturday, Oct. 19 during the 28th annual Fall Beach Sweeps by Clean Ocean Action. People scour the beach for debris Saturday, Oct. 19 during the 28th annual Fall Beach Sweeps by Clean Ocean Action.

VENTNOR – The calendar says summer is over but you wouldn’t have known it given the turnout and the weather for the Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps on Saturday.

There were at least 100 people on the beach in Ventnor for the 28th annual fall Beach Sweeps Saturday, Oct. 19. Beach Sweep Captain Beth Kwart, of Ventnor, was stationed at Newport Avenue signing people in and handing out trash bags and gloves, provided by Atlantic City Electric. In addition to volunteering with Clean Ocean Action, Kwart also serves a secretary of the South Jersey Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

“I’m very pleased,” Kwart said. “This is great. It’s really exciting to have this many people here.”

Groups came near and far to clean the beaches along Absecon Island while sweeps were happening up and down the New Jersey coast.

Among the groups in Ventnor were the Caring Kids Club of Oak Knoll Elementary School in Williamstown, the Atlantic City High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, Rochelle Gimmillaro’s seventh-grade science class and various residents.

“I have to thank the volunteers,” Kwart said. “Hopefully they are having a good time today because it can be a fun day to hang out on the beach – even if you’re cleaning it up.”

She said the top three items group collected were 270 cigarette butts, 173 plastic bottle caps and 144 plastic bottles in about two miles on either side of Newport Avenue beach.

Franz Adler, the Beach Sweeps captain of Margate, said it was a nice morning which may have contributed to the good turnout of volunteers.  

“I think everything was wonderful,” Adler said. “There were adults, people from Margate schools who came out, a commissioner, and some people from the ACUA plus some different residents; overall it was a good turnout.”

John Bonino of Upper Township was captaining the Beach Sweeps in Longport and coordinating 30 volunteers with Commissioner Jim Leeds.

Bonino, who is also a treasurer of the local Surfrider chapter, was also promoting Rise Above Plastics month, a program by Surfrider.

“The reason the events are in the spring and fall is typically we have bigger storms that eject form and plastic from the North Atlantic Gyre onto the beach,” Bonino said.

While volunteers swept the beaches across the state, they were also inventorying what and where it was found. Bonino said those totals establish a baseline and provide local and state agencies to determine what types of debris are most common and where it is coming from.

Leeds said Monday, Oct. 21 that he noticed a lot of the plastic had already been processed and he is providing that information to local agencies.

“The majority of what we picked up were these plastic water and soda bottles that were washed up from this nor’easter,” Leeds said. “But they were crushed, which means they were already picked up by a municipality and put into a truck. They weren’t just discarded bottles people left on the beach; these would have been floating in the ocean and they ended up on the beach, which to me means they came from a landfill somewhere or a barge somewhere out in the ocean.”

Leeds said it is typical to see that type of material wash up on the beach occasionally.

“It’s an unusual observation,” Leeds said. “I’ve never seen so much crushed plastic.”

See www.cleanoceanaction.org for information about the Beach Sweeps, including data reports. 

Beth Kwart said the top items her group collected were 270 cigarette butts, 173 plastic bottle caps and 144 plastic bottles in about two miles on either side of Newport Avenue beach in Ventnor. Beth Kwart said the top items her group collected were 270 cigarette butts, 173 plastic bottle caps and 144 plastic bottles in about two miles on either side of Newport Avenue beach in Ventnor.

Photos by Shaun Smith


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