Splashback

1992: Bridge Promises; July 4th and Columbus; Beach Tunnel Scare

By MARGARET THOMAS BUCHHOLZ | Jul 05, 2012

In June 1992, a Beachcombings article led off with, “The causeway bridges are slated to get a $10.8 million facelift that should be completed by August 1994.” HA! A debate raged when the State wanted to change the railing lights that were experimental when installed in 1959, but by the end of the summer, agreed not to replace them with overhead lights. Two decades later, work is scheduled and we will get overhead lighting.

July 4th marked a very big anniversary. For the first time in a century, garbage scows out of New York Harbor were not dumping millions of tons of sewage sludge – the infamous toxic cocktail of human and industrial waste – into the ocean. As Karen Kiss, the charismatic head of Alliance for a Living Ocean, said, “The people, millions of common people, nationwide, working together, exercising their rights as citizens, stopped the sludge dumping this July.”

Barnegat Light fishing boats Miss Barnegat Light, Carolyn Ann III and Doris Mae IV cruised up to New York Harbor for Op-Sail on July 4th. A big attraction was the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ crossing, with replicas of Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria leading the parade. … July 4th fireworks at the lighthouse were canceled because concerned officials didn’t want to disrupt the nesting shorebirds.

Harvey Cedars had a Maritime Festival, including a catboat race, continuing a Barnegat Bay tradition dating back to at least 1800. Bob Selfridge, along with baby daughter Marley, organized a longboard competition. Today he teaches kite-boarding, and I’ll bet that Marley is a surfer. … Chamber of Commerce Director Jeanne DiPaolo promoted the annual Chowder Fest, started just three years earlier. This was the year that the Chamber installed a new sign in front of their office, with the colors of Barnegat Lighthouse reversed, white on top. It was quickly corrected.

Real Estate Values: Haven Beach duplex was offered for $559,000. Bayfront in Haven Beach for $389,000 … Beach Haven oceanfront for $549,900 … Loveladies oceanfront for $1,590,000.

Two sand pits excavated by children on the Brant Beach strand almost turned into a death trap for one of the boys when it collapsed, burying him beneath at least three feet of sand. Ten-year-old Lee Koch was at the base of one of the pits, trying to join the two holes by tunneling through the five-foot-thick wall that separated them. The lifeguards had warned the boys that they were digging too deep, but when the sand caved in the guards were calling in swimmers as a thunderstorm roiled in. Koch was unconscious when his head was cleared; he was air-lifted to Cooper Medical Center in Camden and released the following day. … Southern Ocean County Hospital turned 20 in 1992, having grown from a 60-bed facility to one with a hundred beds. Twenty years later it grows again, only it’s no longer a hospital, it’s a medical center. I have yet to figure out the difference.

Barnegat Light resident Barbara Truncellito published a new book of poetry, In Fragile Twilight. … Meg Matthews was director for the Long Beach Island Foundation’s 45th summer. … Surflighter Eddie Todd, an audience favorite, was back for another season on the boards. He went on to be artistic director, and is now with the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. … Former Barnegat Light Mayor Lloyd Behmke celebrated his 96th birthday by going to work at Andy’s by the Light. He said, “I meet many nice people there and talking to them is therapy for me. Better than staying home.”

The Keowee kayak made a big splash in Barnegat Bay. The friendly, 9-foot, molded polyethylene craft was the hottest new boat on the bay. … Jonathan Hahn, a kayaker in a sleek and sturdy 18-foot fiberglass boat, stopped by on his way from Miami to Portland, Maine. He covered 50 miles in one long day. A quick Google search shows the man is still paddling.

Feral cats, a perennial problem, elicited an angry letter in response to columnist Larry Savadove being “too cute” about the problem. T.C. wrote: “So before Mr. Savadove goes making fun of a poor, frightened animal whose rich owners just forgot about it in their rush to get home in time for cocktails, he should put himself in their place and spend a winter huddled in the dunes while the wind is roaring and the night is cold. Then he will not think it is such fun.” … At the end of the summer, someone stole The Beachcomber sign hanging in front of the office in Surf City. The boss ordered a new one and we warned souvenir hunters that it would be wired to detonate on the first tug. Does any now mature person want to own up to that petty crime?

Margaret Thomas Buchholz is the former owner of this paper and author of Island Album, Shore Chronicles and New Jersey Shipwrecks, and co-author of Great Storms of the Jersey Shore. Reach her at lbipooch@comcast.net.

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