• Upper Township Gazette

    (Jen Marra) Beaches in Strathmere have signs posted warning visitors of nearby nesting birds. The birds nest here each spring.

    STRATHMERE – Mayor Richard Palombo said last week that the planned beach replenishment project in Strathmere, Sea Isle City and the southern end of Ocean City will start sometime next fall and take more than a year to complete.

  • Upper Township Gazette

    UPPER TOWNSHIP – Kameron Ghanavati of Upper Township will compete with the University of Delaware’s Vocal Point a capella group in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) competition next month.

  • Upper Township Gazette

    UPPER TOWNSHIP – A spokesperson with the state Department of Community Affairs said this week that the closure of the BL England power plant in Beesleys Point would not affect $6.2 million in energy tax receipts to Upper Township.

    The money funds half of the township’s budget each year. Officials have said a loss of that revenue would lead to large tax increases or substantial cuts in services.

  • Upper Township Gazette

    UPPER TOWNSHIP – The township is seeking a conditional approval of its official tax map in order to proceed with a planned property revaluation this year.

    The state Division of Taxation gave officials a 64-page itemized list of changes that must be made to the tax map in March, engineer Paul Dietrich said last week. Upper Township had hoped to start its revaluation in April.

  • Upper Township Gazette

    Last weekend, 34 scouts and leaders from Boy Scout Troop 95 spent the weekend in New York City. Scouts were picked up from school Friday, and quickly loaded into waiting cars, their gear having already been packed the night before.

Legendary Wildwood basketball coach passes

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A nor’easter made Friday a rather dark and gloomy day in the Wildwoods. It only got darker and gloomier as news of the passing of a legendary local basketball coach spread through the community.

Bernie McCracken, the head coach of multiple championship boys basketball teams at Wildwood High School, passed away in Florida due to complications from pneumonia, according to several people in the Wildwoods community.

Although he hadn’t been on a bench since the early 1980s, Mr. McCracken is still regarded as one of the top basketball coaches in Cape-Atlantic League history. He coached the Warriors to five Cape-Atlantic League championships, four South Jersey titles and one state championship over two different stints as head coach. He was first the Warrior head coach from the early 1960s to the early 1970s before returning to the bench from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

Mr. McCracken, a longtime highly respected mathematics teacher at Wildwood, also served as an assistant coach under Ray Lynch for three South Jersey champion and one state champion Warrior basketball teams in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Known as a staunch disciplinarian and creative tactician, Mr. McCracken was head coach at Wildwood for a total of 16 seasons. He is one of only two boys basketball coaches in CAL history, along with Ocean City’s Dixie Howell, with at least 250 career wins and less than 100 career losses. McCracken’s teams went 256-88 during his career, his win total still 12th best in CAL history.

While Mr. McCracken most recently resided in Lakeland, Fla., he often returned to the area and attended a handful of Wildwood High School basketball and baseball games each season in recent years to watch his grandsons, Jared and Tyler DeGroff and Zak Barrett, compete. Tyler DeGroff and Barrett both graduated from Wildwood last June. Barrett finished his basketball career with more than 1,000 career points.

(See this week’s editions of the Leader and Gazettes for more coverage of this story.)

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