• Teen's suicide draws attention to district’s bullying, mental health policies

    Claire Lowe / Cassandra Rosamond, 19, of Ocean City reads anonymous stories from local students about bullying in Ocean City during a Wednesday, Dec. 17 Ocean City school board meeting.

    OCEAN CITY — Members of the community pressed the Ocean City Board of Education at its Wednesday, Dec. 17 meeting to make bullying and mental illness awareness priorities in the district in the wake of the death of Ocean City High School student Maliha Chowdhury.

  • Ocean City High School

    UPPER TOWNSHIP – School officials in Ocean City said they will not accept School Choice students from Upper Township’s middle school at Ocean City High School, Superintendent Vincent Palmieri said Monday.

    During the Upper Township Board of Education meeting Dec. 15, Palmieri said he and school board president Michele Barbieri met with high school principals and Ocean City Superintendent Kathleen Taylor on Thursday to discuss the issue, and were notified Friday that the students would not be admitted.

  • Jen Marra / Guests take a closer look at the names engraved on the glass plaques of the donor wall that was unveiled Friday, Dec. 12 in the lobby of the Ocean City Community Center. The wall was uncovered during the Ocean City Community Center Association’s Afternoon of Appreciation, recognizing the contributors who made the center possible.

    OCEAN CITY — The many volunteers who helped make the Ocean City Community Center a reality were honored Friday with the unveiling of a new Donor Wall during the Ocean City Community Center Association’s Afternoon of Appreciation.

    “That turned out so well. We couldn’t have been happier,” said Ken Cooper, chairman of the association.

  • Ocean City Downtown Holiday Dash Dec. 19

    A new race will take off in the downtown this month. The Ocean City Downtown Holiday Dash will begin 5:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19 on Asbury Avenue. The race begins at Fifth Street and finishes just beyond 14th Street. Race-day registration begins at 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot at Fifth Street and Asbury Avenue.

  • Strathmere, Sea Isle City dredging will start first, US Army Corps says

    Bill Barlow / A Dec. 9 nor'easter battered southend beaches in Ocean City, eroding some areas like here at 57th Street.

    A beach replenishment project in southend Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle City is currently scheduled to begin in early March 2015, according to new information from the US Army Corps of Engineers, which is coordinating the project.

  • Projects could allow for water hook ups

    MARMORA – The Upper Township Zoning Board of Adjustment Thursday approved an amended site plan, conditional use and lot width and lot frontage variances for a New Jersey American Water project in Marmora that aims to increase water pressure in Upper Township.

    A new well facility there and a planned water tower in Seaville will be connected by a water main, potentially allowing residents to hook up to water service.

  • photos by Claire Lowe / Lawyer Solomon Rothschild (JoHannah Newman, a senior from Ocean City) protests as her client, Jacob Marley (TJ Rumer, a freshman from Marmora), is questioned by Ebenezer Scrooge (Justin Angelastro, a junior from Seaville).

    OCEAN CITY — Students in the Ocean City High School Drama Guild will put Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future on the witness stand as they present “The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge” as their fall play next week.

    Making his directorial debut for the Drama Guild is Ocean City High School alumnus Don Toal Jr. A member of the class of 2003, Toal is also a substitute teacher and has worked in the arts for several years, directing shows and teaching classes for the Greater Ocean City Theatre Company.

Shore Clean Car Wash celebrates new expansion

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Chuck Baker and his son, Brandon, at Shore Clean Car Wash in Marmora. Chuck Baker and his son, Brandon, at Shore Clean Car Wash in Marmora.

MARMORA – Chuck Baker recently celebrated the expansion of his Shore Clean Car Wash in Marmora, but that he expanded at all is nothing short of a miracle, he said.

That’s because little more than a year ago Baker was not expected to live. He contracted swine flu, complicated by pneumonia. When he went into septic shock, doctors gave him a three percent chance to live.

“I spent 190 days in the hospital,” he said. “Only because of experimental medicine did I survive. I battled back to build this place. Thank God I am here. I guess God has a plan for me.”

Baker and his wife Regina opened Shore Clean Car Wash 16 years ago. It was Upper Township’s first car wash and detail center. Building on success, the couple opened “Shore Clean Express” last week. With the debut of the Valvoline lube and oil service, Baker said customers have a one-stop option for car maintenance.

“There’s nothing like it here, in Upper Township or Ocean City,” he said.

Baker replaced three enclosed hand-wash bays with an in-and-out, 20 minutes no-appointment necessary “express” oil change area.

“It’s like an oil change center, you top off your fluids and you get a free car wash and vacuum,” he said. “I look at it as filling a necessity.”

Opening in a bad economy may be risky, but Baker said saw an upside for his business. People are not trading vehicles in, he said, and they’re not buying new cars as often.

“They’re taking care of the car they have and driving it a lot longer,” he said. “You have to keep your car going, so you have to take good care of it. That’s what we do here, offer preventative maintenance, all in one location. We help make the car last a little longer.”

Baker, who resides in Ocean City, is a graduate of Frankford High School in Philadelphia. He spent his summers in Ocean City growing up. When he was 16, he was hired as a ride operator at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.

After graduation, he continued working at the Pier and worked for an asphalt company on the side. Before long he was managing the various concession areas.

“I can’t say enough about the Gillian family, they helped me get where I am,” he said.

In the mid-1990’s the Gillian family attempted to open a go-cart park on the land where Baker’s business is now situated. Upper Township placed roadblocks to developing the land for amusement purposes, so the Gillian family sold the land to Baker.

“I worked for the Gillian’s for 13 years, and I had a desire to go out on my own, to build a car wash and they provided the opportunity to take off,” he said.

Howard Stainton gave Roy Gillian an opportunity to build Wonderland. Baker said the Gillians in turn did the same for him.

“Jay Gillian is my buddy, he’s like a brother to me,” he said. “Last year I went back and helped him on the Boardwalk at night. I missed it. If he needs help, I’ll be there.

Baker is used to hard work. From April through October he worked from 7 a.m. when he opened the concession stands until after midnight when everything closed up.

“I got six hours of sleep,” he said. “All I know is hard work and family. I’m a street-smart kind of guy.”

Regina works as a respiratory therapist at Shore Memorial Hospital and Atlantic Care while he runs the family business. Baker employs a total of ten people in his business.

“I try to do what someone did for me,” he said. “When I expanded I was able to hire four more people. I gave unemployed people a chance to work and that’s exciting for me. I hope to continue to expand and hire more people.”

Baker said his employees know he expects them to work hard.

“We are a professional detail center, we wash your car twice at the car wash,” he said. “We prep it by hand and then send it through the wash.”

The Valvoline side, he said, is no less precise. Sandy Tisi stopped in Monday morning to check it out.

“I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “I brought my car into the car wash several times and they did things and didn’t charge me. Little things, but that made a difference to me. They always did a great job so I figured why not try the oil change? Chuck’s an honest guy, I trust them.”

The Baker’s have two sons, Brandon, 11, and Cody, 8. Brandon spends the day with his father working. On a recent visit, he was making out the schedule.

“He loves this business,” said Baker, adding that Brandon encouraged him to take his birthday and Father’s Day off. “He said he’d fill in for me. The guys were great with him. He was proud as a peacock. He’s the man, that’s for sure.”

When Baker was sick last year, Brandon filled in by necessity.

“He ran the car wash,” said Baker. “He was counting the number of tire dressings, an extra in the car wash, that the guys were doing. One day they only had 11 and he told them they should be doing about 20. He said ‘my dad wouldn’t like that, you need to sell it more.’”

Baker said he is thrilled with the response to the expansion.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Baker. “I’m the kind of a guy who loves to work and stay busy. It’s great to be able to do that and at the same time employ people and provide a valuable service to the community.”

The expanded Shore Clean Express opened last week. The expanded Shore Clean Express opened last week.


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