• MARGATE – The city received confirmation Thursday, Sept. 4 that it has been awarded $360,000 in Post-Sandy Planning Grants. New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard E. Constabile III said the city will receive eight grants, ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 each, to identify areas where it can improve resilience to storms and promote economic development.

    City Administrator Richard Deaney announced the grant award at the Board of Commissioners’ 4 p.m. worksession meeting.

  • MARGATE – When local voters go to the polls for the Nov. 4 general election, they’ll get one more chance to decide if a legal battle to stop the dunes project is in Margate’s future.

    Following a 90-minute special meeting that brought out supporters and detractors of the fight to stop the pending dunes project, the Board of Commissioners passed two resolutions. One would put a question on the November ballot asking voters to spend $200,000 plus technical costs to sue the state and federal government to stop the project. The other would allow the city to hire an attorney to file an immediate injunction to stop the project.

  • MARGATE – The Board of Commissioners will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 13 to decide if it will hold a referendum in November to determine if taxpayers will fund a legal battle to stop the pending dunes project.

    “We are calling this special meeting to discuss if it makes sense to put a question on the November ballot,” Mayor Michael Becker said.

  • MARGATE – The Board of Education will hold a special meeting Friday, Aug. 8 to accept Superintendent Dr. Theresa DeFranco’s resignation and decide on a date to release her from her contract here.

    DeFranco said she informed the board that she would be interviewing for the superintendent’s post in Absecon, a K-8 school district, replacing Superintendent James A. Giaquinto, who is leaving the district Sept. 1.

  • MARGATE – Residents opposed to the dunes project got what they have been asking for at the Aug. 7 Board of Commissioners meeting. The meeting revealed each commissioner’s stance for or against fighting the dunes project in court.

    The meeting agenda requested input from the public about two recent attorney opinions that said chances are slim the city would win a lawsuit to stop the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from building sand dunes along the entire New Jersey coastline.

  • VENTNOR – Residents who would like to learn more about free job search assistance available at the Atlantic County One Stop Career Center are invited to attend a town hall meeting 9-11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 21 on the second floor of the Atlantic County Library/Ventnor, 6500 Atlantic Ave.

    Rhonda Lowery, executive director of the Atlantic Cape May Workforce Investment Board, and a team of representatives will be available to discuss the many online resources for job searches, job matching services, employer hiring incentives and explain what the One Stop Career Center can do for you.

  • MARGATE - The Board of Commissioners wants to hear from residents at its Thursday, Aug. 7 meeting about whether or not fighting the pending dunes project is a worthwhile effort.

    Following its July 17 meeting, the board published on its website three legal opinions received from qualified attorneys regarding the city's chances of winning a legal suit against the state and federal government.

  • MARGATE – Principals at the city’s public schools have switched roles to accommodate a new educational intervention program, much to the dismay of parents who voiced concerns at the July 22 Board of Education meeting.

    Superintendent Dr. Theresa DeFranco gave a presentation about the reorganization plan, but several parents said the switch in school leadership was implemented without input from parents or the board.

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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