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The Wildwood Leader

Published, Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New Jersey, USA

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Borough crew may do some work on pier

WILDWOOD CREST—Some work on the upcoming Crest Fishing Pier project may be performed by borough public works employees, Commissioner Don Cabrera said Monday. Borough commissioners last week amended bid specifications on the renovation to allow for “in-house” labor if outside bids prove prohibitive. Contractor bids will be unsealed on Oct. 16. “We’ll try to get it all contracted out, but if it’s too high, we’ll (buy) the materials we need and have our own staff install it,” said Cabrera. “The driving of the piles has to be contracted out, of course—anything as far as removing and replacing anything structural.” He said the crew of about six carpenters is capable of doing the work if they have the time, possibly with the help of “seasonal/temporary employees.” “Our carpentry crew did all the current ramps and walkways on the beach now,” Cabrera said. “But basically we have a lot of projects already scheduled, so if we can subcontract out, that’s the direction we would like to take.” The Heather Road pier, onetime home of the Wildwood Crest Fishing Club, will undergo comprehensive reconstruction starting in the fall or winter. The $750,000 project was funded in part by a $400,000 grant from the state Department of Community Affairs. A $300,000 bond issue will pay for the rest. Step one in the renovation is the replacement of the existing pilings and pier deck, and making the pier handicapped accessible and code-compliant. Cabrera said recently that the first phase could be complete by next summer. Cabrera backs an ambitious plan to extend the historic pier, which has become landlocked due to the unprecedented growth of the beaches. The pier now completely overlooks sand. Funds for an extension—which is not yet under active consideration by borough commissioners—could be available from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, said administrator Kevin Yecco. Return to Story Index

Marjorie Preston can be e-mailed at or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.

NWBP to host 1st breast cancer walk/run fundraiser
By JACOB SCHAAD JR. Correspondent

NORTH WILDWOOD---Lifeguards will join others of the community on Saturday in the first two-mile North Wildwood beach walk and run to raise $10,000 to help find a cure for breast cancer. The catalyst for the event is former nurse Laura Neeld, of Avalon, mother of two former lifeguards, and a five-year survivor of breast cancer herself. She conceived the idea after meeting Hala Moddelmog, president and chief executive officer of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Organization, at the Remax International Convention in Atlanta last year. Moddelmog is also a five-year breast cancer survivor and Remax, for which Neeld works as a saleswoman at the Wildwood Crest office, was one of six breast cancer survivors honored at the convention by Remax International and its CEO Margaret Kelly, also a breast cancer survivor. The event in the Wildwoods is honoring Moddelmog, whom Neeld considers her mentor. “Hala’s more than a sister survivor,” says Neeld. “She’s my angel. She has inspired me to share her inspirational spirit with the world, and she uplifts me with her wings of support and friendship. At the anniversary of our five-year marks of survival of cancer, I must say, this one’s for Hala.” Neeld says she is trying to “inspire other women to keep a positive spirit and to live, love and laugh and give courage to other women.” The walk/run begins at.noon on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 15th Avenue and the beach where registration will take place at the lifeguard station at 11:30 a.m. Among the participants will be Tony Cavalier, chief of North Wildwood Beach Patrol, and members of his staff. A donation box will be available at the site for those wishing to make contributions. Neeld, who underwent more than 20 surgeries and chemo radiation treatment in her battle against cancer, last year won Cape May County’s outstanding woman award. In 2004 she won the Good Neighbor Award from the Cape May County Board of Realtors. Moddelmog, who holds a master of arts degree in journalism and communications, was diagnosed as having breast cancer in 2001. She also has received numerous awards including the Women of Achievement Award from the YMCA of Greater Atlanta. “We are so close to creating a world without breast cancer,” said Neeld. “The science is there. Now is the time for us to see this fight through so that no one ever has to fear breast cancer again. I am hoping for a large turnout on Saturday as part of this important campaign.”  Return to Story Index

Impropriety accusation fly at Wildwood meeting

WILDWOOD—Accusations that the city may have been improperly handling special vending permits led to a shouting match last week between an official and a city resident. Mayor Ernie Troiano during a Sept. 26 commissioners meeting said he had enough of being accused of illegal practices and told resident Michael Della Vella to “file suit” against the city if he felt he witnessed any wrong doing. “There is nothing devious going on here,” Troiano said. “There is no one trying to make money on this side. It’s not like this is something we started doing this year—we’ve been having these (events and fees) every year trying to put money into our special events fund.” Troiano and Della Vella exchanged words for several minutes during the meeting’s public portion. “You’re paying an auditor to do a job he’s not doing,” Della Vella said. But Troiano denied any wrong doing and said city officials should have been approached if something was found to be wrong with the issuance of permits instead of writing a letter and publicly accusing officials. “You don’t send someone to the Prosecutor’s Office at the drop of a hat,” he said. City Clerk Christopher Wood said vendor regulations and fees would be explored after Della Vella questioned officials last month why, during special events, some vendors were paying fees up to $200 while others paid nothing. Della Vella brought the inconsistencies to the attention of city officials during a Sept. 12 commissioners meeting. City officials said then that permits were not regulated by the city but by the party given a vending license for a special event. After hearing Della Vella’s complaint, however, Commissioner Gary DeMarzo said he felt compelled to look into the issue. DeMarzo said he was “quite dismayed” to learn certain revenue from special events was not put into the city’s general funds. “My disappointment and disbelief were compounded when I received approximately 42 Block Party applications all neither generated with a cost structure adopted by ordinance nor consistent or sanctioned by the city of Wildwood,” he wrote to commissioners in a letter dated Sept. 17. DeMarzo said the city’s collection of vendor fees violated at least one local ordinance that sets the cost of a vendor license at $30. DeMarzo wrote that craft vendors were charged $125 and food vendors $175 and that those fees were collected under “false pretenses and presents itself as the appearance of impropriety.” Some residents also said the city had two sets of rules for issuing permits and that city vendor fees were too high. “You can’t nickel and dime these people to death,” resident Tony Totah said. “If they make no money one weekend, are they going to come back to pay a $90 fee? I don’t think so. There just seems to be separate rules—one person may be able to get away with something while another person may have to follow the rules to a T.” Commissioners did say there seems to be an enforcement issue and that events have grown too large for the previous way of handling permits. “We have to make them pay,” Troiano said. “But $125, $175 for a vendor fee is not a lot of money.” Wood said the city had simply outgrown its previous process. “The problem is readily due to our own success,” Wood said. “There was a time when we charged a fee for a vendor license with a block of permits and that vendor issued permits to (a small group of vendors), but obviously we’re getting too big to do it that way.” In the meantime, Commissioner Bill Davenport criticized the way the matter was handled. “The way to address this is not by accusatory letters,” he said. “That does not get my attention. I want suggestions, not accusations I’m doing something wrong.” DeMarzo said the letter he wrote was accurate after Troiano asked whether it was necessary. “The personal attacks have got to stop,” Troiano said, “or these next three and a half years are going to be murder.”  Return to Story Index

Lauryl DeSantis can be e-mailed at or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.

Residents complain about tavern clientele

WILDWOOD—Nearly two years have passed since the state established its indoor smoking ban, and while bar patrons may breathe a little easier, passersby say the new law has brought new problems. City officials and residents here said the new law may be better for the health of people indoors, but smokers may be causing more problems for people outside while they get their nicotine fix. “The smoking ban has pushed everyone out of bars and into the streets,” Commissioner Greg DeMarzo said. Residents agree. Dennis Monroe said he is getting fed up with bar patrons at The Sportsmen Tavern at 3711 New Jersey Ave. heckling them when he walks by. In some instances, he said, patrons hanging outside have threatened him, solicited sex and offered to sell him drugs. “White and black groups are fighting out there and threatening the foreign workers,” Monroe said. “These kids are scared, (so are) the tourists at night—something needs to be done and it needs to be done tonight.” Brother David Monroe said an alleged prostitute shouted obscenities at him when he refused to utilize her services, while another man threatened him and told him to “get off his turf.” “We don’t care if you raise our taxes $100 a year or whatever,” he said, “but get the prostitution and this stuff off the streets. I don’t know who owns the bar and I don’t care who owns it—they just have to clean up there act because I’m telling you there’s going to be a shooting.” The Sportsmen Tavern isn’t the only bar causing problems, according to residents. Surrounding bars like the Shamrock Café or anywhere patrons must go outside to smoke cause problems. “What about putting a wall or enclosed patio at the Shamrock or outside of the club somewhere so they don’t threaten anybody?” Dennis Monroe said. But it may not be that easy, city officials said. “I really don’t see how you could force someone to stay in one area outside,” said Police Chief Steve Long. “That is an area that we keep extra checks on because with the smoking laws more people are outside.” Long said on any night 10 to 15 people might be gathered outside various bars to smoke, and arrests have been made in the areas. Those areas are more active than in previous years that could be due to the new smoking laws, Long said, but prostitution is not something that has shown any great increase. “Once in awhile we do hear something and make arrests from time to time,” Long said, “but I wouldn’t say it’s an issue.” Long said patrols are made specifically in the bar areas periodically throughout the day, but that most people scatter when they see police. “They’re not stupid,” he said, “and we can’t be everywhere all the time, but we strongly, strongly urge residents to call us even if they see suspicious behavior that doesn’t seem like anything. They don’t have to leave their name. We depend a lot on the reports of private citizens.” The owner of The Sportsmen Tavern was not immediately available as of press time, but one employee said he has not received any complaints and that they don’t have any issues with police. “I find that hard to believe,” Long said. “We have made arrests.”  Return to Story Index

Lauryl DeSantis can be e-mailed at or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.

Celebrating freedom of the printed page

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE—A parent who objected to the book “Real Girls, Real World,” registered her concern at the county library, and asked that the book be removed from the shelves. She objected to the book on moral and religious grounds. “Real Girls, Real World,” which has been described as an “Our Bodies, Ourselves” for the teen set, includes frank discussions of sexuality and safe sex procedures, as well as “body image, ethnicity and self-esteem.” And though the parent’s objection was duly noted, the book remains available to anyone who wants to read it. The freedom to read goes hand in hand with the freedom to protest. Both were celebrated during Banned Books Week (Sept. 29-Oct. 6) at the Cape May County Library. New books are challenged annually, said library director Deborah Poillon, and there are always a few surprises. Among them in recent years: the popular “Harry Potter” series, which inspired a generation of tech-obsessed youngsters to return to reading. “Harry Potter, through the witchcraft issue, really bothered some people, but we had no complaints,” said Poillon. “We had a Harry Potter party.” Banned books in a display by librarian Mary Jane Dillon included the Dan Brown blockbuster, “The DaVinci Code,” deemed insulting to both Muslims and Christians; Mark Mathabane’s “Kaffir Boy,” which included a scene of boys prostituting themselves for food; Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” challenged for its depiction of a rape and unwanted pregnancy; “Freakonomics,” for supposedly going against Christian principles; and even the classic “Arabian Nights” (banned in France in the 19th century) for objectionable sexual content. Others that raised the ire of readers in 2006-07 were classics like Ray Bradbury’s “Farenheit 451” (for scenes of drunkenness, smoking and swearing); “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” (sex, rape and implied incest); and Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Beloved,” (for its raw depiction of the antebellum South). “We always have some new books, and a lot of books from past years,” said Poillon. “We like to pull out ‘Tarzan.’ It was banned because Tarzan and Jane were living in sin.” Even the Bible has been challenged, and the Koran, Poillon said. Though many challenges are unsuccessful, some succeed, as in the case of an award-winning children’s book, “Attack of the Mutant Underwear,” removed from the Pinellas, Fla., school district, and the book “Cuban Kids,” a picture book that included a child with a rifle and children saluting the Cuban flag with the caption, “We shall be like Che!” Poillon said some concerns are warranted, and all are taken seriously by the library commission, which makes the ultimate decision to retain or ban a book. “With young adult books, I think it’s an area we tend to be a little cautious about,” she said. Of “Real Girls, Real World,” she said, “The (complainant) felt that the book was sexually explicit, but this is more respecting your body, and this is how things work.” The most famous challenged book may be Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” for its use of the N-word. No one has challenged it at the county library, and most readers “understand the book is actually very positive towards race relations,” said Poillon. Librarian Dana McAnaney said it’s not surprising that parents would get “up in arms” about sexually explicit content in books for young readers. She is surprised, though, at the hue and cry over Harry Potter. “I think it’s great, to see so many kids excited about Harry Potter. You get a kid reading one book, and that leads to another and another,” she said.  Return to Story Index

Marjorie Preston can be e-mailed at or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.

Lillo, Montalbano earn bachelor degrees

TRENTON -- Thomas Edison State College will hold its 35th Annual Commencement on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m., in the Soldiers and Sailors’ War Memorial in Trenton. The College will award 2,217 degrees, and to date 350 graduates from 24 states, including California, Florida, Texas and Hawaii, and two other nations — Italy and Canada, are planning to travel to Trenton to accept their diplomas earned through Thomas Edison State College’s innovative degree programs. Among the graduates are Roger Lillo, of Wildwood, and Gena Montalbano, of Wildwood Crest. Lillo is a police officer for the Wildwood Police Department. Graduating from high school in 1991, Roger continued his studies at a county college. Two years later, he transferred to Shippensburg (Pa.) University, just three or four classes short of completing his associate degree. Another two years passed before he decided to leave Shippensburg and pursue a career in law enforcement; this time he was 10 courses away from completing his baccalaureate degree. In 1997, Roger was hired full time by the Wildwood Police Department. Noting that “since then I have always felt incomplete about not graduating,” Roger explained that his Thomas Edison State College degree has given him a sense of accomplishment. Roger thanked his wife, Diana, and son, Lance, and especially thanked his dad Larry, his mom, Shirley, and his sister, Lizabeth, for their support during his educational journey. Pursuing his degree for more than 15 years overall, Roger completed degree requirements at Thomas Edison State College in two years. Montalbano earned a bachelor of science in business administration. She used Thomas Edison State College courses and transfer credits to complete degree requirements in two years.  Return to Story Index


Transportation provided for Girl Power

WILDWOOD -- Transportation will be provided for the Cape May County Girl Power Conference, to be held Saturday, Oct. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Cape May County Technical High School. Buses will pick up and drop off in the Ocean City/Upper Township area and in Wildwood. Please check the Cape Assist website at for information on pick-up times and locations, and also for information on transportation available in other areas of the county. Girls 9-14 years of age who wish to register for the free conference may pick up registration forms at their school or print forms from the Cape Assist website. Completed forms may be faxed to Cape Assist at 522-4074. Registration forms will also be accepted at the conference; however, workshop selections are on a first-come, first-served basis.  Return to Story Index

LPN students honored for perfect attendance

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE -- Licensed practical nursing students at the Cape May County Technical School District were recently recognized for perfect attendance during the first semester of their school year. Pictured are, seated, Patricia Caroccio, Christine Bossert, Alexis Morton, Margaret Platt, Meghan Valeri and Liliana Rodriguez. Standing: Jennifer Musso, Shannon McMichael, Natasha Boyd, Mitzi Besas, Janet Eisiminger, Cindy Dougherty, Lillian Lopez, Patricia Mantz, Nicole Kett, Suleiman Soud, Jennifer Krissinger, Suzanne Michel, Antoinette Mangine and Elena Nikitina Return to Story Index

Winans, McCormack earn honors

NORTH WILDWOOD—Richard J. Turco, principal of Wildwood Catholic High School, announced today that Kimberly McCormack and Catherine Winans have been named Commended Students in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Program. Letters of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, were presented by Principal Turco to these scholastically talented seniors. Approximately 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2008 competition for National Merit Scholarships, Commended Students placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.4 million students who entered the 2008 competition by taking the 2006 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). “The young people named Commended Students in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Program are distinguished by their strong academic performance in this rigorous competition,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “Our nation’s pursuit of educational excellence can be furthered by publicly honoring these outstanding students and by acknowledging the important role schools play in fostering their development. We hope that this recognition will contribute to their educational opportunities and encourage all students to strive to realize their potential.”  Return to Story Index

WCMC throws party for listeners
By JACOB SCHAAD JR. Correspondent

WILDWOOD—Radio station WCMC (1230 AM) and its popular host Jim MacMillan are going to throw a free party for all of its listeners. It won’t be on radio or on television, but instead will be live at the Performing Arts Center of Middle Township. They’re calling it “Listener Appreciation Day” and it will take place on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 3 p.m., offering several performers who will bring back musical memories of bygone eras familiar to fans of MacMillan and his early-morning programming. Each of the first 100 people who attend will receive a box of fudge courtesy of the Original Fudge Kitchen of Cape May County, one of the sponsors of MacMillan’s programs. Special door prizes will be awarded, also. WCMC has been on the air for more than 50 years and MacMillan, who has a long history of radio experience, has been with WCMC for 18 years. “This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all who have listened to the station, as well as my programs, all these years,” MacMillan said. The program will have a family connection for MacMillan. One of the performers will be his granddaughter Christine MacMillan, who with Preston Stokes will re-create the swing dancing of the Big Band era. Both are students at the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Pont, N.Y., and will be shipping out to sea in different directions after they perform here. The other acts include Maura McKinney Mastro and her husband, Frank, in “Musical Impressions”; The Starlite Steppers, bringing back the golden era of vaudeville; Doris and Joe Rich in their impressions of George Burns and Gracie Allen, and the mother-daughter team of Greta and Stella Schwartz, in “Musical Memories.” No tickets or reservations are required for the show.  Return to Story Index

Jake Schaad can be e-mailed at or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.

Wetlands Classes

Fall classes for pre-schoolers at the Wetlands CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE -- Fall classes for preschoolers will be held in on Wednesdays and Fridays, Oct. 10 to Nov. 2, at the Wetlands Institute, 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd., Middle Township. Children 4 years old and older will learn about what’s happening in nature this time of year plus have fun with crafts, stories, activities, adventures in the marsh and more. Classes are 1 to 2:30 p.m. Oct, 10 and 12; Oct. 17 and 19, Oct. 24 and 26 and Oct. 31 and Nov. 2. Cost is $60 for members for all eight classes, $70 for nonmembers. Individual classes are $8 for members and $9 for nonmembers. Pre-registration is required and class size is limited. Call 368-1211 for information or to register.  Return to Story Index

Halloween Sleepover at the Wetlands CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE -- Experience the Wetlands Institute like never before: at night with a Halloween sleepover. It promises to be an exciting night of exploration, learning, and Halloween fun with an unforgettable night hike down the marsh trail. Meet some aquarium critters up close, make some creepy crafts, enjoy games, spooky snacks and more before settling in with friends for the night in the haunted lecture hall. All the fun begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19 for ages 8 and up. Cost is $35 per child for members, $40/child for nonmembers, and includes a light breakfast. Children must be picked up by 8:30 Saturday morning. Space is limited so sign up early by calling 368-1211.   Return to Story Index

Cranberry Bog Tour CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE -- Ever wonder where cranberries come from or how they’re harvested? Join a group from the Wetlands Institute Monday, Oct. 8, for a trip to Whitesbog Village in Brown Mills that includes a tour of a cranberry bog plus information about the history and importance of the cranberry industry and even a chance to pick a few berries. There will be a stop for lunch, not included in the price, before heading home. The bus leaves the Wetlands Institute at 8:15 a.m. sharp and returns about 3 p.m. Cost is $60 members, $70 non-members. For information or reservations call 368-1211.    Return to Story Index


Presentation helps students with ethical, moral standard

WILDWOOD -- On Sept. 21, both Wildwood High School and Wildwood Middle School enjoyed an afternoon of innovative and energy filled presentation. Camfel Production showed two interesting themes to the students. The high school enjoyed Commitment to Excellence. Their lively discussions included Overnight Success is a Myth, portraying the message that instant success is a myth, and students must work hard to achieve excellence. On another note, the middle school's feature presentation theme was Be the Change. The message intended to let the students know that they have options when it comes to peer pressure, drug abuse, and staying in school, and they don't have to conform to the trend. They can Be the Change. Camfel Productions is a non-profit organization specializing in three-screen multi-media assembly presentations motivating teens to recognize and fire up the possibilities inside each of us. Camfel's three-screen multi-media assemblies are seen by millions of students in the United States each year. This program is designed to encourage healthy decisions as viewers are challenged to examine their own values and attitudes.  Return to Story Index

Wildwood Civic Club hosts Fall Fashion Show

STONE HARBOR -- The Wildwood Civic Club is hosting a Fall Fashion Show and Luncheon Wednesday, Oct. 10, at noon at the Stone Harbor Golf Club. Fashions by Coldwater Creek. Proceeds from the event benefit the Wildwood Civic Club's community projects. Donation $30. For Tickets and Reservations call Ellie at 729-2771.  Return to Story Index


County give-backs paid for portion of the tab

WILDWOOD CREST—It was once a pair of vacant, weed-strewn lots on Ocean Avenue between Forget-Me-Not and Palm roads. It is now the new Wildwood Crest Fitness Park, a swath of spacious green parkland with jogging paths, wrought iron benches and elegant new lighting that overlooks what Mayor Carl Groon called “one of the best beaches in the world.” The new park, paid for in part by funds returned to the Crest by the county board of freeholders, opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday evening. Members of the Wildwood Crest Memorial Elementary School’s cross country team, shivering slightly in mustard-colored tanks and red shorts, officially opened the path with a ceremonial run. Commissioner Don Cabrera said it is a fitness park “for want of a better term,” and said exercise stations—“push-ups, sit-ups, a balance beam”—will ultimately be installed around the park. He said the park was built to “improve recreation here in Wildwood Crest, and also improve the quality of life.” Five laps around the perimeter of the 4,000 square foot parcel is the equivalent of one mile. Most of the money for the new park came from a 2006 budget surplus, earmarked by the county for recreation improvements in the municipalities. Wildwood Crest garnered more than $156,000 as its share of the refund. Cabrera said the same oceanfront property is the future home of an entertainment pavilion for the community. “Enjoy your new park, Wildwood Crest,” he said.  Return to Story Index

Marjorie Preston can be e-mailed at or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.

Crest seeks $400K for Rambler Road amenities

WILDWOOD CREST—The borough will apply for a $400,000 grant from the New Jersey Small Cities Division to install handicapped-accessible amenities at the Rambler Road Park project. The amenities will include new handicapped parking, restrooms and a play area. Commissioner Don Cabrera said the inclusions are especially important in the Rambler Road area, because the bike path and beach patrol are situated there, and the area is well-traveled by the public. “It is something we believe is important and we have a need for it,” said Cabrera. “We want to get it done.” The grant money, if awarded, will come from the state Department of Community Affairs, which is also contributing $400,000 toward the renovation of the Crest Fishing Pier. “We are four for four right now with getting what we want from the state,” said Cabrera, then added, “With the state money drying up, we want to get what we need now.” Grants will not be approved until spring 2008. -- Marjorie Preston Return to Story Index


2008 Film Festival will be at Convention Center
By JACOB SCHAAD JR. Correspondent

WILDWOOD—Movie buffs, autograph seekers and filmmakers came together here last weekend during the first Wildwood By The Sea Film Festival. Encouraged by the response, producers of the four-day event announced that they will do it again next year with some modifications. It is planned to hold the entire event at the Wildwoods Convention Center, according to Ed Mebs, executive director of the Greater Wildwood Hotel Motel Association, which helped in the presentation of the festival. The 2007 festival was spread out at six sites, four at the Convention Center, one at Frank’s Theater in Rio Grande and the sixth at the Strand Theater on the Boardwalk. Meanwhile, Paul Russo, co-director of the event with artistic director Shawn Swords, said emphasis will be placed in the coming year on obtaining funding via sponsors so the festival can expand. He estimated the turnout of filmmakers and movie fans totaled about 2,000 and his hopes are to double or triple that number next year. Some 100 films, most of them in competition, were shown. Some came from as far as Japan and Australia. This year’s festival was funded mostly by the entry fees paid by the filmmakers, admission prices to the events, sales of a glossy program book with its advertisements, of T-shirts and a few sponsors. “Every filmmaker we spoke to said they loved the festival and can’t wait to do it again,” Russo said. ”Plans for next year are already in the works.” At times this year’s event took on a Hollywood-like atmosphere. On Thursday night actor Robert Davi, who portrayed the lead role of an FBI agent in the NBC TV series “Profiler,” showed up at the Frank Theater for the East Coast premiere of his new feature length film “The Dukes,” which he produced and directed and acted in. The background music for the film, which has an appropriate Doo Wop theme for Wildwood, was provided by The Emeralds, which offered a musical overture of several songs before the showing of the movie. The Emeralds first performed in Wildwood in 1965 at the old Starlight Ballroom.. “The Dukes,” which has received favorable reviews by the media, will also be shown at upcoming film festivals in Rome and in Queens. Davi was photographed by fans in the lobby of the Frank Theater before he addressed the audience in the 140-seat movie house. He commended Russo and Swords for “their courage and vision to bring something like this to Wildwood.” “The first year is always difficult. It’s like a baby being born and then learning to walk,” he said. Davi’s appearance here also provided a local angle. His first movie role was in the film “City Heat,” for which the script was written by Cape May’s Joseph Stinson who will be conducting workshops at the Cape May Film Festival in November. Davi said he is a friend of Stinson and was anxious to meet him, but efforts to bring to bring them together during Davi’s short stay here were unsuccessful The event took on another Hollywood-like atmosphere on Saturday morning while Frank Stallone, brother of Sylvester Stallone, was eating breakfast at The Vegas Diner in North Wildwood. The word got out that he was there and about 50 fans asked him for his autograph, according to Russo. Stallone conducted a workshop at the festival. The event also marked the first showing of a segment, “The Wages Of Spin,” Swords’ and Russo’s latest documentary about the Philly music scene from 1952 to 1957. Two other segments, which complete the film, are scheduled to be shown later at sites still to be determined. Plans are to sell the entire film for a TV showing. Afterglow parties were held each night during the festival at restaurants and nightclubs in Wildwood and North Wildwood. Chubby Checker, a familiar entertainer of the past and the present in Wildwood, entertained the crowd in Saturday night at the new Bolero, which in its other former life was a famous place for entertainers to perform. The weekend climaxed on Sunday afternoon when awards were made for best films in five categories. They include: feature documentary, “Suffer The Children” (Trevor Glass); short documentary, “When Broomsticks Were King” (Jason Cusato); narrative feature, “Conference Room C” (Rob Buck); narrative short, “Absolute Zero”(Alan Woodruff, and animated film “Say Can You See” (Tony Caio). Each winner as given a plaque and a cash prize. “Next year we’ll do more after we get sponsors,” added Russo.  Return to Story Index

Jake Schaad can be e-mailed at or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext. 250.

Airman Meyers graduates basic training

Air Force Airman Christopher J. Meyers has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises, and special training in human relations. In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate degree through the Community College of the Air Force. He is the son of John Meyers of Chestnut St., Suffern, N.Y., and grandson of Helen Meyers of E. Aster Road, Wildwood Crest.  Return to Story Index


Goodbye Summer Car Wash

WILDWOOD -- Wildwood High School’s Sophomore Class of 2010 is holding a car wash fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Baker Avenue. Cars are $5 and trucks, vans and SUVs are $7. Refreshments will also be sold. Return to Story Index


Van Drew must distance himself from non-local money interests   
By HARRY HURLEY Political Columnist

Over the next four weeks, we will take a look at each of the four candidates for New Jersey State Senate in the pivotal Districts 1 and 2. In District 1, the candidates are Republican Sen. Nicholas Asselta and Democratic Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew. In the 2nd District, the candidates are Sen. James J. "Sonny" McCullough, a Republican, and Assemblyman Jim Whelan, a Democrat. These two districts are crucial for both political parties in the quest to retain/gain the majority in the state Senate. You can expect a record amount of money to be spent in these two districts over the next six weeks.  Toward this end, we will capsule the challengers in each district, followed by the incumbents. The focus will be on what each has to do to win on Nov. 6. Today's candidate review will feature Jeff Van Drew.  In District 1, Van Drew is not your ordinary Democrat. He has successfully managed to live the life of a political tight-rope walker. Never before Van Drew has a Democratic candidate been able to consistently win in this district, which encompasses Cape May, Cumberland and parts of Atlantic counties. Van Drew is one of the few Democrats to win election in District 1 since Reconstruction. To do this, Van Drew has accomplished political feats that rival those of Harry Houdini, David Copperfield and Chris "The Mind Freak" Angel. Some how, some way, Van Drew has been able to campaign while meshing the rhetorical sounds of Ronald Reagan with the voting score card of Hillary Clinton. It's a disconnect that goes beyond slight of hand. Van Drew has mastered it. Long ago, I came to the conclusion that it must be Van Drew's likeability factor which makes this seemingly incompatible existence possible. It is Van Drew's most potent political weapon. He is most engaging in one-on-one encounters and before small groups. Van Drew is not as effective on the big stage in my view. He is bright, articulate and glib, but he shines best in direct, personal contact with voters. Van Drew has many more potential pitfalls to navigate than his opponent, Asselta. First, Van Drew has been a member of the majority party. This means he has a record to defend. Second, Van Drew will probably be relying heavily on serious campaign cash from Camden County and North Jersey. The Republicans have spent the past two years trumpeting this as their mantra that Van Drew and Whelan are politically controlled by outsiders from Camden County. It remains to be seen if this tag line has stuck or not. Van Drew must hope that it hasn’t. He must some how make it clear that he remains his own man, while spending their cash. This may be his most difficult challenge. Not only will he have to defend the money that will come in this year, but Van Drew will also have to survive a recap of the money that came in two years ago. In politics, money is free speech. Normally the one with the most of it wins. Gov. Jon Corzine comes immediately to mind. He literally came from nowhere. First, he purchased a United States Senate seat. Then he decided that he no longer wanted to be one of 100, so he ran for and won the New Jersey governorship. But there is a distinct difference here. Corzine spent his own money and was therefore somewhat inoculated from criticism that befalls candidates who get their money from outside interests. You need money to win political office today. The trick is, where does the money come from and are there political strings attached. It's hard to do, but, if you create a "boogeyman" scenario and demonize the money and of all its "ills," you can make large campaign cash boomerang right back into the faces of those using it. Van Drew has to some how spend the Camden County money while maintaining his independence. It will be up to the homogenous voting public to determine if he can do that. If Van Drew pulls it off, it will be the grandest political play of his thus far highly successful career in elective public service. Van Drew has another decided disadvantage. Asselta is the incumbent and Van Drew is the challenger. Typically an incumbent must have done something wrong to lose an election. Not only has Asselta not done anything "wrong," he has done almost everything right. Finally, a most daunting task for Van Drew is to continue to secure the votes of a district that on its face is more conservative than he is. Thus far, Van Drew has been able to successfully navigate harsh political realities; somehow his moderate Democrat/fiscal conservative political speech has propelled him to victory after victory. Van Drew has cast several key votes over the years to strategically distance himself from Camden County and North Jersey Democrats. In truth, the Democrats typically had these votes won without Van Drew, which made it safe for him to go the other way. But still, Van Drew can accurately cite these occasions as he attempts to cast himself as independent from any political bossism.     Beyond all that has been recounted here, Van Drew's biggest hurdle is that Asselta is genuinely popular, relentless and formidable. Asselta wants to keep his seat and he's fighting hard for it. Asselta has gone toe to toe with Van Drew in a smash-mouth political style that demonstrates to the voting public that he wants to remain as their state senator. Make no mistake about it; Van Drew does not want his political career to be derailed now. He has taken a huge risk to challenge Asselta, as his Assembly seat was quite secure. Also, I strongly believe that Van Drew wants to take on U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd) next year. Should Van Drew lose this year, he can kiss that ambition good bye. Next week, we'll set the political table regarding what Sen. Asselta must do to retain his seat and stave off the most serious threat he has had to date.               Harry Hurley is program director and hosts a daily talk radio program, "Hurley in the Morning," weekdays from 7 to 11 a.m. on Life Radio WIBG 1020 AM. Hurley hosts various  programs for local television. He is the editor and publisher of his news and information website,   Return to Story Index

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Recreating in the Wildwoods

North Wildwood Recreation Center Ninth and Central avenues Call 522-2955 for more information unless otherwise noted.

Open Rec

1ST-6TH GRADE (North Wildwood residents only)

  • Registration and code of conduct must be filled out before child can attend

FRIDAYS -- 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

7TH – 12TH GRADE (Island residents only)

  • Registration and code of conduct must be filled out before child can attend

FRIDAYS -- 8:30 PM – 10 PM


THURSDAYS – 7 PM – 10:00PM

1ST-6TH GRADE AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM (North Wildwood residents only)

BEGINS MONDAY – 10/1 Boys and Girls in Grades 1st-6th Mon-Fri from 2:15pm- 5pm (Early Dismissal Days 1-4 pm)

Registration is by appointment only. Please visit for a complete list of what to bring to appointment. Call 522-2955.



Tuesdays and Fridays – 10 am – 12 pm Playgroup at the N. Wildwood Rec Center for boys and girls who are not school aged; Children are supervised by their parents as they learn social skills and how to interact with others; No Registration or Fee; Call 522-2955 for more information


Outside yoga class at the Lou Booth Amphitheater (2nd and Ocean Ave in N. Wildwood)

Saturdays from 9 am-10 am $5 per Class Participation Fee (please bring exact change) Participants are encouraged to bring their own mat and water


North Wildwood Recreation Center Monday and Wednesday from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm Call 465-5618 for more information


Meetings held the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the North Wildwood Recreation Center from 7 pm – 9 pm


North Wildwood Recreation Center Tuesdays 7 pm – 9:30 pm  Return to Story Index

Wildwood Recreation Center Events Rio Grande Avenue Call 522-5837 for more information unless otherwise noted.

Open Rec The recreation center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Wildwood Crest Crest Pier 5800 Ocean Ave. 523-0202

Wildwood Crest Recreation Youth Wrestling Program The borough of Wildwood Crest is organizing a youth wrestling program for children in grades 1-8 that will be held at the Crest Pier Recreation Center this winter. The program, which will be held Monday and Wednesday evenings from late November through mid February, is open to beginner, intermediate and advanced youth wrestlers. Cost for the program is $50 for the entire season. Registration will begin Oct. 1. Call coach Steve DeRitis at 522-0726 or the Crest Pier Recreation Center at 523-0202 for further information.

Youth Arena Football Registration The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department will begin accepting registration for its fall/winter youth Arena Football League, a fun indoor touch football league for children in grades 4-8. Games will be played in the Crest Pier gymnasium late afternoons and early evenings. Registration fee is $5. Call 523-0202 for further information.

Family Movie Night Oct. 19 The Wildwood Crest Pier Recreation Center will host a family movie night on Friday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free to children in grades 4-8 and their families. Call 523-0202 for further information.

Children’s Pool Party Oct. 27 The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department will host its first pool party of the fall/winter season Saturday, Oct. 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Joseph Von Savage Memorial Pool at Pittsburgh and New Jersey avenues. Open to children in grades 4-8, the event includes pool activities, music, pizza and beverages. Cost is $5 per child. Call 523-0202 for further information.

Halloween Eve Trunk or Treat family event The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department will host the second annual Halloween Eve Trunk or Treat family event Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. The event consists of parents/adults bringing their Halloween-decorated vehicles to the Wildwood Crest Pier parking lot at Heather Road and Ocean Avenue, where they will distribute candy from the trunks of their vehicles to children outfitted for Halloween. The event includes a DJ, refreshments and prizes awarded to the best decorated vehicles. Trunk or Treat is a free event, but vehicles must be pre-registered. Registration forms are available at the Crest Pier Recreation Center. Call 523-0202 for further information.

Open Recreation Schedule Announced The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department has announced its open recreation schedule for the fall season:

OCTOBER Monday through Friday – Adult (Crest residents only Tuesday through Thursday), noon-2 p.m.; Grades 1-8 (Crest residents only), 3-6 p.m.; high school through adult (island residents only), 6-9 p.m. (No open rec Mondays after 6 p.m. due to volleyball night). Saturday – Grades 1-8, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; high school through adult, 2-6 p.m. Sunday – Family open recreation (Crest residents only), 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Note: Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 8) will follow a Saturday schedule. Do not bring your own equipment (basketballs, etc.). Equipment will be provided by the Crest Pier Recreation Center. All open rec participants must adhere to the sign-in policy.

Adult Volleyball Night The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department will host an open adult volleyball night on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m. beginning Oct. 1. The program is open for beginning and experienced players. Call 523-0202 for further information.

Crest Pier Yoga Classes The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department hosts yoga classes three days per week at the Crest Pier Recreation Center. Classes are directed by Bobi Watson, Recreation Leader. Classes are held Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. and 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. and Thursdays from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. Cost is $5 per class or $50 for 12 sessions. All ages are welcome. Attendees are encouraged to arrive five minutes prior to start time and to bring their own mats. Call 523-0202 for further information.

Crest Pier Adult Aerobics Classes The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department will host aerobics classes for adults Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. at the Crest Pier Recreation Center. Classes will be directed by Lisa Kobierowski. Cost is $5 per class or $50 for 12 sessions. Call 523-0202 for further information.

Pier Walking Available for adults Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Twelve laps equal one mile.

Adult Cards An adult card playing program is held at the Crest Pier Recreation Center every Wednesday at 10 a.m. The program is free.

Men’s Winter Basketball League Registration The Wildwood Crest Recreation Department is organizing a men’s winter basketball league for players ages 18 and older that will begin play in February and conclude in early April. Games will be played Sunday afternoons. Cost is $45 per player. Individual and team registration is being taken. Call 523-0202 for further information.

Paper Shredder Available To Borough Residents The Borough of Wildwood Crest encourages its residents not to throw away their junk mail, personal records, old receipts or other normally discarded documents, as the borough has purchased a commercial shredding machine at no expense to taxpayers. The shredding machine is located at the Crest Pier Recreation Center and is available for use by residents during the facility’s normal operating hours of 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. For more information about the borough’s shredding machine, call the Crest Pier Recreation Center at 523-0202.

Joseph Von Savage Memorial Pool

General admission fees are $5 for adults and $4 for senior citizens and children. Individual and family seasonal and yearly memberships are also available. Call 522-0084 for more information.  Return to Story Index

Insulting to seniors

To the Editor: Recently a local politician compared renewing an old fishing pier to giving a facelift to a 90-year-old woman. We have all heard of racism and sexism. Well, this comment falls into the category of “ageism.” Even though it was probably meant to be humorous, nevertheless, it was insulting, as all bias remarks are.  Return to Story Index

Tony Eisele Wildwood Crest


Pension plans are a thing of the past

To the Editor: I read last week the commentary offered by FMBA members Danel Speigel and Gene Sanguinetti. For the record Mr. Speigel is currently a captain with the cty of Wildwood Fire Department. Captain Speigel is widely believed to become the next fire chief for the city after the current one retires. Mr. Speigel is a dedicated professional and enjoys all of the perks that being a paid firefighter has to offer. The sate of New Jersey is an over-taxed state. Whether the taxes come from personal income tax, sales tax, and or real estate taxes, the high-water mark for taxpayers has arrived. There is a pension crisis in New Jersey and the overburdened taxpayer who funds it needs a life raft with a finely tuned air compressor attached to keep it afloat. The comments made by Spegiel and Sanguinetti are largely single minded. The local FMBA 50 and 56 offer no real long-term plan regarding the pension plan for firefighters and law enforcement officers of New Jersey. Blaming past politicians for this mess is one thing. We have had some lousy ones. Offering a clear vision for new ideas is another. Speigel and Sanguinetti say nothing while the taxpayer screams uncle! All over America large public traded companies, some in the Fortune 500, have frozen and halted many new contributions (for employees) to their guaranteed pension plans. These plans throughout the years were the responsibility of the plan sponsor, which was the company that offered them. Much of corporate America has now switched to 401k’s and cash balance plans. What happened? Simple. The companies that once offered these generous plans can no longer afford to pay for the contributions. They cannot meet the financial burden. The company revenues have fallen behind the contribution rates. Instead of going out of business private companies are often forced to make tough choices like cutting back and tightening their belts. The public sector on the other hand has the taxpayer as its pied piper. Whistling past the financial graveyard. It is the taxpayer that is responsible for the public sectors largesse. This means you. True, 8.5 percent is deducted from each contributors’s paycheck. What an employee will get from that 8.5 can total in the hundreds of thousands during a retirement which really isn’t retirement in many cases. With a 26 and out career many firefighters and cops find another job for their second career act. How can we afford this? We can’t. It’s a matter of placing the cart before the horse. A fantasy. The burden must be placed on public employees to fund their own retirement such as the one used by federal employees. A thrift savings plan or public 401k or 403b plan. Guaranteeing 65 percent of salary for life complete with a yearly cost of living adjustment with full health insurance premiums is a fairy tale and can no longer be afforded. We need a change and fresh ideas.  Return to Story Index

Name Withheld Wildwood


The Del Haven disaster

To the Editor: I’d like to comment on the “Living in fear in Del Haven” story. The problem has been exacerbated since the beginning of the year for some reason and I can only attribute it to the number of new people in the area, most of whom appear to be renters. The kids are really without any sense of remorse. They’ve stolen things from our property and broke them. We’re there on weekends and it’s really a bit of a nightmare. It’s been a 360-degree turn from last year. Regarding the police, you find varying amounts of help from them. I’ve been told one of the Middle Township police officers is the father of one of the kids and there seems to be some reluctance on the part of the police to do anything. One cop in particular came to the house one day after the kids were skateboarding across my porch and congregated on my lawn and he said we have to go and issue a complaint and fill out a form, and that’s bogus in opinion. It’s the job of the police to restore order and he was very dismissive. My response to him is I’ll call him every time I need to, that’s what I’m paying $4,000 a year in taxes for. I’m very frustrated and fed up. If the market were better I’d move. It’s a shame because Del Haven is such a great area.  Return to Story Index

Name withheld Del Haven


Last week’s letter should be framed

To the Editor: Susan Mamone's letter in last week’s edition ought to be framed and copies of it sent to all of the "decision-makers" in the Wildwoods who think they know what's needed in the towns. High-rises, condos and townhouses, in place of affordable motels, may modernize the place, but for whom? Those that can afford them? As Ms. Mamone states, there are plenty of other shore towns along the coast, but there was only one Wildwood, and what it had made people come back year after year. Sure there were some tough years, but there were also some very good ones. High-rises and condos won't make the area a year-round attraction. More than that is needed, but there seems to be a mental block preventing those decision-makers from seeing this. The island is a beach town and a tourist resort for families and young people. It always has been. No one is going to travel miles to come down and walk the boardwalk or beach on a cold January day. No major attraction is going to play a 7,000-seat venue. A first-class indoor waterpark might pull some people, but then, what else is there to do? The decision-makers should build on the past and not try to re-invent the future. As Susan Mamone says, once you change, you can't go back. As an aside, with all of the new building that has happened, I thought taxes were supposed to go down or at least stabilize. I believe I read recently where it will be necessary to raise taxes. Am I mistaken? Is someone feeding the locals a bunch of joy juice to make them feel good about even more construction?  Return to Story Index

Mike Smalley West Mifflin, Pa.


Wildwood misses chance for first win

This time, the Wildwood High School football team was not beaten by a more physical, more athletic or more talented team. This time it was, as coach Rich Hans said, “A lack of focus.” Wildwood could not capitalize on two offensive drives inside the 20-yard line, one of which ended at the 6, and eventually lost 14-0 to Clayton Saturday. The victory snapped a 28-game losing streak for the Clippers and left Wildwood still searching for its first varsity victory since 2002. Wildwood had 159 rushing yards, 103 passing yards and gained 11 first downs to Clayton’s six. But five turnovers and 10 penalties prevented the team from reaching the end zone. “We had well over 100 yards rushing and passing and we were on their side of the field a lot,” Hans said. “But we just either stalled out fumbled and we had a couple penalties hurt us, too.” Clayton (1-2) got its first score in the first quarter when Brandon Wright ran in from 17 yards out a few plays after a bad punt snap by the Warriors. “We shut them down three straight (plays) and then we got the ball and got a couple first downs but then we had a snap go over our punter’s head and they got the ball on the 20-yard and went down and punched it in,” Hans said. Wright put the Clippers ahead by two scores when he ran for a 74-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Clayton added a safety in the fourth quarter to set the final score. “We had a lack of focus and that starts at practice,” Hans said. ‘We haven’t had one week where every starter has made every practice for whatever reason. I think some of the kids think they can just show up on game day and play and that practice doesn’t matter.” Trevor Rivera had 81 rushing yards, Eric Hunt added 53 rushing yards and Zac DeWeese completed seven passes for 103 yards for the Warriors. Wildwood (0-4) hosts Pitman Friday at 7 p.m. The Panthers are also 0-4. “They’re pretty athletic and they have some tough kids but I think it will be a good game,” Hans said. “I think we can hang in there against them.” Hans said Rivera, who injured his hamstring Saturday for the third time this season, may not be available for Friday’s game. Return to Story Index



Dustin Sturm (sophomore-DeSales soccer-LCMR) has three goals and two assists for the Bulldogs and was recently named Freedom Conference Player of the Week. David Ackley (junior-DeSales soccer-LCMR) has started eight of DeSales’ nine games. Charles Marriner III (sophomore-DeSales soccer-MTHS) has also played. DeSales travels to Arcadia on Saturday afternoon… Linda Cimini (freshman-Eastern Mennonite field hockey-MTHS) has scored a team-leading four goals and an assist despite only starting three of eight games. The first week she was moved into the starting lineup, she was named Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Week. Katie Cimini (freshman-Eastern Mennonite field hockey-MTHS) has played in five games for the Royals. EMU is at Randolph-Macon on Saturday… Christina Reilly (senior-William Paterson tennis-WCHS) was named Pioneers Athlete of the Week. She earned victories in fifth singles and third doubles in the Pioneers’ 5-4 loss to Baruch. After losing her singles first game 1-6, she rallied to win the second game 6-4, and fought off two match points to win the tiebreaker, 13-11. She also helped earn a team point with an 8-3 doubles win. William Paterson will host TCNJ on Saturday... Markal Ginyard (junior-Kean football-MTHS) has made 27 tackles, second on the team, and returned an interception 32 yards. Kean will host Cortland State on Saturday... Angie Tecco (senior-TCNJ cross country-LCMR) made her cross country debut and finished 15th overall in the New York University Invitational. She then became the rare senior to be named New Jersey Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week. Tecco is an NCAA Division III All-American in the 800 meters. She will run again on Oct. 13 in the University of Wisconsin Invitational... Shane Seabrook (freshman-Millersville soccer-WCHS) scored his first collegiate goal and it was a game-winner over West Chester. The Marauders are now 5-4-1 and Shane has started of the games this season. Millersville is at Kutztown on Saturday afternoon… Joe DiCicco (freshman-Frostburg State soccer-MTHS) has played in three games for the Bobcats, who are 4-5-1 on the season. They will host Hilbert on Saturday afternoon... -- TOM WILLIAMS Return to Story Index

(Additional information about former CAL athletes may be available at the online blogs of Tom Williams and Brian Cunniff – Any links or information about other former local athletes can be emailed through those blogs)

Former Cape May Tech athlete getting up-close look at Phillies’ wild ride

The workday John Fetsick dreamed about having occurred Monday. “This is exactly why we do what we do,” Fetsick said excitedly. “Coming into work (Monday morning) is unlike any other day I’ve had in this office.” Fetsick, a Cape May County Technical High School graduate whose family resides in North Wildwood, is a junior accountant for the Philadelphia Phillies, the 2007 National League East champions. His job is to help record, process and analyze the team’s revenue from sponsorships, ballpark suites, McFadden’s Restaurant at Citizens Bank Park and other sources. His passion is to also root for the team, which will play in the Major League Baseball playoffs for the first time in 14 years this week. Fetsick, who turns 24 next month and now resides in Aston, Pa., has been a full-time employee of the Phillies since May of 2005 when he graduated from Neumann College with a degree in accounting. He started with the Phillies as an intern three months prior and accepted his full-time position upon graduation. “I’ve been a Phillies fan all my life and I know a family friend who was the sales director here and that gave me the opportunity to get in as an accounting intern,” said Fetsick, who played soccer and basketball at Cape May Tech and four years of college soccer at Neumann. “Of course, who doesn’t want to work for the Phillies, especially when it’s your favorite baseball team growing up? After I got the internship everything worked out and after the internship was over, my boss, John Nickolas, who’s the vice president and CFO, asked me to stay and keep working and today here I am two years later. It was a great decision.” Fetsick was in attendance at Sunday’s National League East-clinching Phillies victory against the Washington Nationals with his younger brother, Kevin, who plays soccer and basketball at Wildwood High School. They grew euphoric when they heard an early score of the critical Mets-Marlins game, which had started about a half-hour before the Phillies’ game. “We were in Section 125, right behind home plate, and we were nervous before the game started and everyone was scoreboard watching,” he said. “We kept watching but then we were getting phone updates from a guy sitting behind me. When the Marlins went up 4-0 we started cheering but they didn’t have it on the scoreboard right away. Then when they put it up on the scoreboard, the place just erupted. It was unbelievable. And then when it got to 7-0, everyone was going crazy because everyone knew we had a great chance to win the N.L. East before the game even started.” Like many of the team’s fans, Fetsick said many Phillies’ employees are shocked at the events that led to the division title, with the Phillies getting hot at the same time the Mets were suffering an improbable collapse, giving up a seven-game lead in the standings with only 17 games to play. “If you told me two weeks ago we were going to be N.L. East champs, I think even everyone here in the office might have questioned that,” he said. “But the more the Mets lost and the more we won and got closer, everyone came to the realization that we might do this. And then yesterday was just a culmination of all of it.” Fetsick said he plans to attend every home playoff game as long as the Phillies stay alive. Should the team get to the World Series, he’ll even be at a couple of away games. “Knock on wood, if they make the World Series, the team will fly all the front office employees out to the American League city for the first two games,” he said. “The team really treats us well.” A berth in the World Series, however, is still a long way away, which is why Fetsick, like many Phillies fans, is savoring the moment. “It is absolutely unbelievable around here right now,” he said. “There’s just absolute magic going on right now.” Return to Story Index

Team spirit carrying Middle to solid season

High school tennis is one of the few sports in which total individual play fits within a team concept. Seven players compete at five different positions, and a team gets a victory if its players win at least three of those matches. But there’s no question that the team concept in high school tennis helps make better practices and builds team chemistry. And that’s exactly what the Middle Township girls team has used to have a solid season so far. “I think the big thing is that we’ve played as a group,” longtime Middle coach Tracey Hall said. “Nobody’s a distraction or wants to stand out. No one has anything bad to say about anybody. They are pretty much a team from top to bottom and that has helped us the most.” Middle lost a 4-1 decision to unbeaten Holy Spirit Monday, but still took an excellent 8-4 record into its home state playoff match Tuesday against Northern Burlington (too late for this edition). The Lady Panthers probably won’t win the Cape-Atlantic National Conference title this season as Holy Spirit and Sacred Heart appear too strong for the rest of the teams in the league. But Middle is shooting for third place behind the two Catholic schools. Their quest for that position was helped by close victories against Buena and Lower Cape May earlier this season, although Middle still has to play both schools again before the close of the season. “At the beginning of the season I thought we should be next in line after Holy Spirit and Sacred Heart but you’re never sure that’s going to happen,” Hall said. “So far we are, but we still have to play teams like Buena and Lower again so we’ll see what happens.” Senior Chelsea Otten, sophomore Alison DiDonato and sophomore Alison Tice have been holding down the respective first through third singles slots. Junior Kathleen Ney and senior Angie Vitale have played first doubles, with senior Laura Hoy and junior Ashley Hartman manning second doubles. Tice, however, is scheduled to leave the team after this week to embark on an academic exchange program. Hall said she will most likely move a player up from the junior varsity to fill her slot. The doubles teams have played particularly well of late, playing close matches against Holy Spirit and Sacred Heart. In Monday’s loss to the Spartans, Ney and Vitale recorded Middle’s point with a straight set victory, while Hoy and Hartman lost a three-set decision. Hall said this has been one of her most coachable groups in recent years. “I would say this team seems to listen more than teams I’ve had before in the past,” she said. “I feel like when I’m trying to teach them something, they try their best to go out and do it and they continue to try to do it. They never say, ‘I can’t do that.’ They really go out and try. It’s great to be around them and see them learning. They’re all pretty smart kids, too. They play the game the way it should be played and they show up at practice at practice ready to play and they play hard.” Return to Story Index


Despite lopsided loss, Middle taking small steps

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The Middle Township High School football team was on the wrong side of a 39-0 score against Holy Spirit Friday night, dropping the Panthers to 0-3 for the season. There’s no denying the fact that 39-0 is 39-0, that Holy Spirit was clearly a better football team. Middle had less than 50 yards of total offense, including minus-17 yards rushing, and could only consistently move the ball when Holy Spirit committed some of its nine penalties. But, for a team that dresses only around 25 players for varsity games and is still getting to know a coaching staff and system that wasn’t in place until the summertime, small steps are being taken. “We only had one turnover and over the last two games we had nine, so that’s definitely an improvement,” Middle coach Lee Chappine said. “And the kids actually thanked me after the game for not being tired, due to all the conditioning that we do.” This was one of those games in which Middle really had no chance to win, going up against the program that has two top-flight Division I prospects and a handful of other players who have the talent to continue their careers at the college level. Middle made Holy Spirit work in the first half. After William Washington scored the first of his four touchdowns less than three minutes into the game, the Panthers held Spirit scoreless until the late stages of the half, when Nick Hall scored from two yards out less than two minutes before halftime. “We hung in there as well as we could for as long as we could in the first half,” Chappine said. He paused, before adding with a laugh, “But I think they might have more coaches than we have players.” Billy Hodgdon once again played another hard-nosed game, punting the ball well, making numerous tackles on defense and special teams – a couple of which saved touchdowns – and also catching a couple of passes. He’s quietly been developing himself into one of the better players in the Cape-Atlantic National Conference. “Coach Chappine and that team, with only around 25 kids, they played their hearts out,” Holy Spirit coach Bill Walsh said. “Those kids play extremely hard.” After the somewhat competitive first half, the Spartans pulled away with a third-quarter explosion, needing only seven offensive plays to score three touchdowns. Washington scored from 68 yards out on Spirit’s first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, JasonSmart-el turned a short reception into a 71-yard touchdown catch and Washington ran in from 14 yards out one play after an electrifying 41-yard run. Washington scored his final touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 44-yard scamper. “The good news is that I don’t think we’ll be playing a team as good as them the rest of the year,” Chappine said, “and we got nobody nicked up and I was worried about that coming in here. But we have no one injured right now.” Despite the adversity, Chappine is making no excuses. “I really think we should be 2-1 right now, but we’re not,” he said. “We’re just not ready to win yet. No disrespect to who we’ve played, but we really should have won the first game (against St. Augustine, a 28-14 loss) and then we were right in our last game (against Vineland, a 34-10 defeat) until that 100-yard interception return killed us. “Sooner or later it’s going to happen for us. We keep tightening the screws and these kids have responded. Hopefully things will start to turn around for us and hopefully, especially for our seniors, it’s soon because these kids deserve it.” Middle hosts Jackson Liberty in a non-league game Friday evening. Return to Story Index


Raiders defeat Lower Cape May, 2-0, in boys soccer – now 10-0
By TOM WILLIAMS Staff Writer

For Ocean City coach Mike Pellegrino, Monday afternoon’s 2-0 win over Lower Cape May continued the progress of his team toward its goals. The same might be said for Lower coach Dennis Elia. “Before the game started I think some of our kids were in awe,” said the second-year Lower Cape May coach. “We tried to tell them that Ocean City puts on its shoes one at a time, just like we do. But talk only goes so far. It was when they had played 10 minutes or so on the field with them that they began to realize that Ocean City is very good, but we can play with them.” The Raiders scored twice in the first half – Kevin Curran beat LCMR goalie Andrew Wampler off a cross from Josh Marciano and then, with less than 30 seconds left, John Granese came off the post and buried the ball into the back of the net off a toe-poke from Neal Melchionni. “We’re playing to just get through the games right now,” said Pellegrino. “We’re not really coming out to pepper anybody. We’re playing possession ball. We’re working hard on defense. Nothing extraordinary – we’re not flashy. Things are just starting to come together.” The win was No. 10 this season for the undefeated Raiders, No. 198 for Pellegrino in his 11th season and stretched their unbeaten streak in the Cape-Atlantic League’s American Conference to 63 games since losing to Oakcrest in October of 2002. They have Rancocas Valley coming to Ocean City next Wednesday in a mid-season battle for the No. 1 ranking in South Jersey and the Coaches Tournament right behind that. “These kids are smart,” said Pellegrino. “I don’t think they’re really looking ahead. They know that you can’t do that with our schedule. And, besides, the game with Rancocas Valley doesn’t mean that much. The winner will be No. 1 right after the game but we could play again in the Coaches Tournament or somebody else could step up and beat one of us. I try not to pay much attention to rankings in the middle of the season.” Lower Cape May dropped to 3-7, losing twice to Oakcrest last week within three days. “I’m very happy with the way we played today,” said Elia. “They needed to step up and I think they did. Our defense played well and when we had a few mental letdowns, Ocean City took advantage, like they always do. We could have done a better job getting the ball to our forwards, but a defense like they play can break you down.” Lower will host Vineland on Wednesday afternoon and, on Friday, will play a rematch with Middle Township. Middle beat the Tigers, 2-1, in their first meeting and came into the week with an 8-1 record, losing only to Ocean City. Playing the Raiders is great, but Middle is something else. “We love for the kids to play teams like Ocean City,” Elia said. “We’ll get them again in a couple weeks down at our place. But Middle is a different level of excitement to our kids. They really get up for Middle and (Wildwood) Catholic. Those are our rivals.” Lower will visit Wildwood Catholic at noon on Oct. 13. “But today was a great effort,” Elia added. “Ocean City is something special. They have so many weapons they can hit you with, so much depth. We love playing them. If you don’t want to play against the best, then you shouldn’t be out there. I was happy with what the kids did today.” The Raiders go to Hammonton on Wednesday, then take a long weekend before hosting Mainland on Tuesday. After that, it’s Rancocas Valley and the Coaches Tournament. “We’re very pleased,” said Pellegrino. “We’re still working on the defense. There are some first-year starters back there and they’re working very hard to understand what we need from them. But this team is coming along very well. We’re pleased with their continued progress.” Return to Story Index


Crusaders shrug off slow start

Devastating injuries and a schedule that forced the team to play arguably the three top teams in the Cape-Atlantic National Conference to start the season put the Wildwood Catholic boys soccer team into an early hole. Losses to Middle Township, St. Augustine and Sacred Heart left a team that lost only four times all of last season at 0-3 to start the season. But now the Crusaders seem to have righted the ship. They’ve won four straight games heading into Tuesday’s key division contest with improved Cape May Tech. “We’re starting to move the ball out of our own zone much better,” Wildwood Catholic coach George Salvesen said. “We’re getting better possession of the ball and moving the ball well into the final third of the field. Anytime you do that, you’re going to have a better shot at things, no matter who you’re playing.” Wildwood Catholic has relied on midfielders Dan McMichael and Matt Mangold, forward Julian Miller and goalkeeper Mckenzy Scott to lead the team out of its early hole. McMichael has been stellar at both midfield and up front and Mangold, who began the season at sweeper, has moved back to the midfield, where he has been an offensive and defensive force over the past couple of weeks. “The play of McMichael and Mangold has stepped up tremendously the last few games,” Salvesen said. “Mangold was asked and he also volunteered to play out of position for a few games to help the team until we could get things a little better synchronized. With the injuries we’ve had this season (losing defenders Danny Murphy and Alex Palatjko, among others), that threw the stabilizing factor out of our game plan. We’ve had to make adjustments and positional changes. With Mangold stepping up and volunteering to go to the back, we were able to be competitive with everyone. The losses hurt us, but we were competitive in every game. We could have won a couple of them but we didn’t.” Zach Ostrowsky, a senior, is now the team’s sweeper, at least for the time being, as Palatjko is expected back from his minor knee injury later this week. “That’s a position Zach hasn’t played, ever, but he’s starting to get a grip on it and that’s helped a lot,” Salvesen said. “We’re actually playing better defense now that Mangold’s not back there because he’s a natural midfielder and that helps us offensively and defensively. All the shifting around gave us trouble controlling the midfield. We were giving too much space between the forwards and backs. If you’re going to win the midfield you’re going to win the game and Mangold being in the middle gives us a better shot at winning the midfield.” Ostrowsky has been joined in the back by Shirod Hammer, Mark Gose and Pat Namiotka. Scott has done his part over the last four games, posting three shutouts. “Anytime you have the goaltending we have this year, anytime you get a kid like that back there, you’re going to be in every game,” Salvesen said. “He’s the real deal.” Despite the three early-season losses, Salvesen still sees his team as a major factor in both the National Conference and in Non-Public B. “I still think we have a great shot to win (National II),” he said. “To catch St. Augustine or Middle for the conference is going to be tough, but are we going to be a factor in the end? You can bet we’ll be there in the end. “This is a group of kids that’s very talented. It’s a matter of, the varsity experience is not what it was last year and therefore it’s going to take a while to get into the system and understand what we’re trying to do. Sometimes it takes a little playing experience to get through. Once they realize what we’re capable of doing, we’re going to be all right.” Return to Story Index



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