The CMA got so sick of the Doo Wops that they cancelled all traces of Little Richard, Abba, the Platters and the rest of that ’50’s and ’60’s music-making crew from their summer events schedule in the Great Auditorium. We are told that only the Beach Boys will be back seeking help from Rhonda. (There actually is a waitress named Rhonda over at the Seville Diner in East Brunswick.)
But, as if nature really abhors a vacuum, we now have the QFest Film Festival in April, sponsored by QSpot from the Grove, and, surprise, a gay sponsored Memorial Day event at the Melrose Inn. It looks like the Melrose’s owner/operators have decided to be trend setters in promoting gay-sponsored entertainment events in (gasp!) Ocean Grove where such happenings have not occurred in the past. But now we have two new events, and boy are they needed.
Would you say that this town is stale? It really does need a shot in the arm, but not like the massive events such as the Craft Show on the Pathway. The gay community in Ocean Grove is well positioned to inject some new-look happy events here, but of the sort that brings culture and neighborhood interest. The Melrose Memorial Day event and the QSpot film festival are great starters.
Is Ocean Grove ready for this—there is no doubt. The times they are a’changin.’
In an on-line post yesterday, the QSpot LGBT Community Center of Ocean Grove, NJ revealed that they were filing an “additional retaliation claim in its pending discrimination lawsuit against the JSAC in New Jersey Superior Court today.” QSpot is represented by a “national law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP with support from the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest.”
You may recall that the QSpot organization rents space (for the last 4 years) at the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove. But Herb Herbst, President of the JSAC, would not renew the lease on the grounds that QSpot did not provide the requisite arts programming. QSpot disagreed and filed a discrimination law suit last November.
QSpot claimed that the JSAC “acted out of bias towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and that they were in violation of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.”
The “retaliation claim” is about the alleged “threats of retaliation by the JSAC if QSpot holds its 2nd Annual QFest NJ LBGT Film Festival on April 7,8,9.”
At Blogfinger we are always interested in unique cultural events in Ocean Grove as well as news of all sorts pertaining to our town. We will not get involved in presenting the QSpot legal tangle that continues to emerge, but we will keep our fingers on the pulse of this very interesting story.
Remarkably, for a tiny town, this is not the first time that Ocean Grove has been center stage regarding issues with potential national impact having to do with gay rights and discrimination.
Thank you to the citizen reporter who alerted us to the latest chapter in the QSpot saga. Please keep us informed–we are an information sharing website.
And, by the way, this is not the first time that a film festival was held in the Grove: You may recall the 1st and 2nd Annual Blogfinger Film Festivals which ironically were almost held at the JSAC, but changed its venue to the Youth Temple in the Grove.
It’s too early for dinner. Americans always arrive too early. The French know how to eat: go slow and savor the main course; a sip of wine and one small bite at a time. Then put down your fork and take a moment.
Try to speak French to the waiter, but he won’t understand. I say “beurre” but he acts like he doesn’t understand. I took 6 years of French—I can say “beurre.”
He says, “Speak English.” I say, “Butter please.”
He says, “OK.” They’re like that, but they sure can cook.
Click the word “Blogfinger” below this sentence. “S’il vous plait” (please)
This is about Bruce Springsteen teaching his band a Chuck Berry song, “You Never Can Tell” during a huge concert in Leipzig, Germany. The Asbury Park Press published the story in honor of Chuck Berry who died on March 18, 2017. After clicking the video link, skip the top video and scroll down to the one that says “VEVO.” At the bottom of this post is a Chuck Berry recording of him performing this song.
The Blogfinger herd of cows after a long afternoon of processing comments on BF. They say, “Eat mor chikin.” BF photo, 2017.
1. After a trial of nearly 4 months, Blogfinger will stop the advertising. The blog will look much better without it.
2. From Jennifer of OG: “Hi there, I wanted to write you – to acknowledge 3 young sweet girls who have volunteered to help clean the catch basin in Fletcher Lake. While driving passed the Lake today, we saw the girls, named – Linka, Gabby, & Faith removing plastic bottles, soda cans, junk food bags, etc. We were really were impressed by their drive and desire to help clean up our Lake. We donated $20. for their efforts. They deserve to be acknowledged and honored for their hard work, while even working with smiles.”
3. Town-wide yard sale remains without a sponsor: We have had some inquiries to participate in the event. But despite the success of this tradition, no individual, or group of people, or OG organization was willing to take over sponsorship of this worthwhile event. The town-wide yard sale is for the people of the Grove—something that is fun, rewarding , social, necessary, but evidently not appreciated enough.
I would suggest that the concept could work somewhat anyhow if enough of you scheduled your yard sales on the traditional date of the Mother’s Day weekend Saturday—-May 13, 2017. If any of you do that, please send me your information to post (name or not, address, cross street, and items for sale.) What will be missing will be the sense of a community hosting an organized event, people to deal with publicity, promotions, word-of-mouth advertising, fliers, take-charge, field inquiries, etc.
Incidentally, the same problem is with the People’s Garden Tour which BF founded as an event for the citizens to enjoy (ie visiting each other’s gardens). But again, no one ran with the ball. If anyone is interested in organizing this activity you can contact Miss Peggy at the Woman’s Club of OG. June is the best time because it will be busting out all over.
4. In December 2016, a letter to the editor by Jack Bredin was posted. He spoke about his concerns regardingWesley Lake, and some of that discussion was new to many of us. Today, we received a response from a member of the Wesley Lake Commission. Doug McQueen commented under that December post. The exchange is worth reading if you care about the Lake. Just click on the link below and go to comments at the lower right hand corner.
The Whitfield Hotel in 2015. The front of the lot is on Surf Avenue facing north (60.5 feet wide). The back is on Bath Avenue, facing south (60.5 feet). The side is 103 feet long on Beach Avenue facing the ocean. This property, #20 Surf Avenue in OG, is zoned for one lot (Block 113, Lot 10.)
Not only are there now 4 foundations on that one lot site, but those lots would have to be undersized. 30 x 60 is the minimum lot size requirement for Ocean Grove. The size of the rectangular Whitfield site is 103 feet long, and four regulation lots would need a minimum of 120 feet along each side. But the Whitfield lots would have to fit into 103 feet, and they are, by definition, undersized.
Everyone we have spoken to, including Township officials, residents who live near the Whitfield, and concerned Grovers tell us that the Whitfield site will become 4 detached single family homes, and almost everyone seems delighted. But should they be?
The excavation has begun, and we now know that there are four foundations. And a source tell us that the developer has been officially “approved” for placing 4 homes at that site. But who allowed work to begin without a 4 lot subdivision being blessed by the Neptune Township Planning Board?
We asked around and learned, mostly from people in the know, that Bernard Haney, the long-standing Tax Assessor in Neptune Township, who also wears a second hat, that of Land Use Administrator, was responsible for that decision.
Here is how the procedure should work. First the developer orders a survey map of the property. The survey map shows the exact size of the lot, and the map is used to prepare a site plan/subdivision.
This is a plan which shows where the buildings will be “sited” on the subdivided property pursuant to the zoning and the subdivision ordinance. The site plan is part of an application for development and is to be filed with the Township Building Department.
The site plan is then prepared and signed by a licensed professional who in this case would clearly show on the cover page that the applicant wants to subdivide the property into 4 undersized (nonconforming) lots.
However, the problem is that there is no type of variance or procedure that would permit a conforming lot to be subdivided into any nonconforming lots.
The application should have been referred to the Planning Board for a public hearing, but that referral was never made. We checked with the Planning Board secretary who verified that she was not instructed to schedule a hearing on the Planning Board agenda.
Approved subdivisions are recorded on the tax map under the supervision of the Township Engineer. As such, the Township Engineer should have been asked to review the plan and prepare a written report for the Planning Board. The Neptune Engineer said she received no such request.
We learned that after the subdivision approval, the approved plan was sent to the Building Department to issue permits for the 4 single family houses, or, at least, for the foundation work which is now in progress.
It appears that the current 2014 tax map, which clearly shows one existing lot at the Whitfield site, not four, was ignored. That lot would ordinarily require a subdivision if more than one single family house is proposed.
We were told that Mr. Haney decided that after the demolition, the current empty lot would automatically revert to an 1879 tax map which showed 4 lots and to declare that the 2017 post demolition lot was already subdivided into 4 lots.
This maneuver by the Township appears to be a technique to allow 4 single family houses to be built on a lot where only 3 can be permitted.
Even if this method of circumventing the usual approach to subdivisions turns out to be acceptable, the application still should have been referred to the Planning Board.
Do you suppose that this is a well traveled highway in Ocean Grove? Have we now lost that loving feeling in our town, or did it disappear a long time ago?
In October we reported that houses would be built on that property next to the Arts Center. Internet photo.
“Just thought you’d be interested that dump next to the old high school, which used to contain lumps of soil and sand is now a construction lot for the Gannons and whatever other construction job is occurring in the immediate area, which currently involves something that involves digging up the street.
“Every day the number of vehicles, equipment, containers seems to increase. Pretty certain this is not an approved use.
“A worker/supervisor doing work on the roads (I assume on public utilities) told me that Herb Herbst, of the Jersey Shore Arts Center, said they could use the lot, but Herb no longer owns the land; the Gannon’s own it.”
Editor’s Note: OGJaimie is a resident over there and he has a history of commenting about this subject. Blogfinger has no information at this time about the current status of that property.
Here is a link to our October, 2016 post about that property. There is a discussion there which deals with lot sizes and subdivisions, a topic that we are currently involved with regarding the Whitfield property on Surf Avenue.
Bobcat (Lynx rufus) by guest photographer Ernest Bergman, FOB (Friend of Blogfinger)
Ernest was strolling along a boardwalk that winds through a nature preserve in Florida when he came upon this bobcat. There are two predatory cats that live in Florida. The bobcat survives in all sorts of environments. It is twice the size of a domestic housecat and is a meat eater–hunting by night. (squirrels, rabbits, birds and raccoons.)
The other Florida cat is the Florida Panther which is more elusive.
Identifying birds like these white shore birds can sometimes be difficult because such birds are often similar. These might be called the Great White Egret, the Snowy Egret or the Great White Heron. The color characteristics can vary according to the season and the age of the bird.
The one on top stood still for long periods and then moved its legs very slowly before making a sudden thrust into the water with its bill. —-PG
THE ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC with Christopher Hogwood. It’s George Frederic Handel’s “Water Music Suite #21”