• City Commissioner Maury Blumberg, right, recognizes retiring City Clerk Tom Hiltner with a proclamation naming Dec. 18.MARGATE – Tom Hiltner attended his final government meeting as city clerk Thursday, Dec. 18. He will retire at the end of the year after more than 25 years as the city’s keeper of records. He was also the city tax collector.

    The Board of Commissioners appointed Deputy Clerk Rosie Freed to replace him as city clerk and Linda Morgan as tax collector. Freed was sworn in at the end of the meeting with her family present. Morgan will take the oath of office at the next meeting when her family can be present.

  • ATLANTIC CITY – An activist for open government will be heard in court Monday after the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office denied his request for information about the alleged theft of funds from the Margate Firefighters Benevolent Association Inc. The case is scheduled to be heard 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 15 by Superior Court Judge Nelson C. Johnson.

    According to a complaint filed Nov. 10 in Superior Court, John Paff of Somerset, chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project, the Prosecutor’s Office refused to provide any information about the case. He is asking for the immediate release of all incident and investigative reports related to the case.

  • LONGPORT – The Board of Commissioners is considering a request from the city engineer to be more assertive in its support of the pending Absecon Island Beach Protection project – which its neighbor to the north is trying to stop.

    “We went to great lengths to try and get this money and to protect our infrastructure and properties through the dune system. I really think we ought to look at what proactive activities we can do because of the court case out there,” borough engineer Richard Carter told the commission at its Wednesday, Dec. 11 workshop meeting.

    “If you want this, might have to fight for it.”

  • Board of Commissioners appropriates $50,000 more for legal work

    MARGATE – U.S. District Court Judge Renee M. Bumb issued an order Tuesday, Dec. 9 adjourning a court hearing on the dunes project from Dec. 17 to 10 a.m. Jan. 15 to allow the parties to come up with an “amicable resolution.”

    The order was issued in response to a joint request for adjournment from Margate’s special counsel, Jordan M. Rand of Dilworth Paxson LLP, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • CAMDEN – Margate won the second round Thursday in its legal battle to negotiate an alternative to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to build sand dunes on the beach.

    On Dec. 4, U.S. District Court Judge Renee Marie Bumb extended the temporary restraining order she imposed Nov. 24 that barred the DEP from awarding a contract to build the dunes.

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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