Archive for the ‘Blogfinger reports’ Category

DEA and ATF federal officers at a surprise raid to capture an alleged drug dealer. 8/16/17. APP photograph.   Manchester, NJ  is in Ocean County, near Toms River.  APP.com has more photos and an action video. One of the arresting officers is an OG resident. There are drugs in OG and everywhere.



By Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.net

RE-POST:  There have been over 150,000 deaths over the last year due to drug overdoses.  The problem in 2022 is worse than ever, aggravated by open borders to the south.   Evil drug cartels are lacing heroine and cocaine with the  highly toxic, potent,  and fatal drug fentanyl. Did you read about the West Pointers on spring break who overdosed in Fort Lauderdale?  This happens when drug users get hold of what they think is heroine or cocaine and don’t realize that they can die from the fentanyl mixed in.


This drug trafficking ring has been supplying death dealing poisons to citizens of Monmouth and Ocean Counties where opiate related mortalities have been going up sharply.

From NJ.com in March 2017:

“Authorities are working with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Medical Examiner’s Office and other health officials to figure out why the northeast coastal communities are “disproportionately impacted” when compared to the rest of the state. ”

Below is the official document dated Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, by the Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.   Special to Blogfinger from official sources, August 15, 2017.


“Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Carl J. Kotowski, the Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), today announced the unsealing of an indictment charging 12 defendants with participating in a drug trafficking organization that distributed large quantities of heroin in and around Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey, and obtained the heroin from Washington Heights and the Bronx, among other places. In conjunction with the unsealing of the Indictment, search warrants were executed at several locations in New Jersey.

“Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated: “As alleged, this organization transported large quantities of heroin from Washington Heights and the Bronx across the Hudson to Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey, helping to fuel the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation. Today’s arrests of twelve alleged members of this heroin distribution organization is part our sustained commitment, along with our partners at the DEA, to stop the flow of heroin into and out of New York.”

“DEA Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski said: “Today’s arrests should send a clear message to the drug traffickers that DEA and our partners are committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe. Those arrested are facing significant time in prison and will no longer be pushing their poison.”

“Mr. Kim thanked the DEA Monmouth Ocean HIDTA Task Force for their outstanding work on the investigation. The Monmouth Ocean HIDTA Task Force comprises representatives from the DEA, the ATF, the New Jersey State Police, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Toms River Police Department, and the Neptune Township Police Department.

Mr. Kim also thanked the Howell Police Department, the Freehold Township Police Department, the Lakewood Police Department, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey for their assistance in this investigation. He added that the investigation is continuing.

“This matter is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Hanft and Michael D. Neff are in charge of the prosecution.

“The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


(note: italics are ours at BF)


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OG Giant Flea Market. Jean Bredin. 6/5/21 © Blogfinger.net


OG Giant Flea Market. 6/5/21 By Jean Bredin for Blogfinger.net


Jean says, “I’m a flea-market type person. Getting out in the sunshine and being with like-minded people lifts my spirits.

“Shoppers were jolly waling around, with and without masks.  I had my two vaccinations, so I mingled without fear.”


By 10:30 am at the North End, there were no visible parking spaces, and parkers were circling. There were challenges for parallel parkers, but if they were New Yorkers—no problem.

Jean returned at 11:00 am for a hot dog and she  found the streets to be “jamming” —-a big mob scene at the Flea Market; mostly no-maskers.


From Jean Bredin:





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This is the cover of the Together Campaign 2015 booklet. This painting was made by Sue Anderson Gioulis, artist of Ocean Grove. ©

This is the cover of the Together Campaign appreciation 2015 booklet. The painting was created  by Sue Anderson Gioulis, Ocean Grove artist. © Re-post in Blogfinger from 2015.  The Together Campaign raised over $1,500,000.


Sign on the Great Auditorium before Sandy hit. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©


August, 2015:      “May what we do and how we do it strengthen and rebuild Ocean Grove.”

“These words introduce the booklet just distributed at the Together Campaign dedication of the newly renovated Cupola in Auditorium Square Park on Sunday, August 2, 2015.  The booklet lists all the contributors, volunteers, organizations, fund raiser events, citizens, businesses, Together Campaign workers, and others who deserve recognition for their contributions to achieve the Campaign’s goals. Over 2,000 people contributed money, large and small amounts.”

“The recognition list of all these groups and people is huge and will make great bedtime reading.    The booklet contains a history of the Sandy super-storm in OG along with many photographs.  It will become a treasured memento.”

“Dale Whilden, President of the OGCMA said  (August 2, 2015) , ‘The great and overwhelming success of the TOGETHER Campaign was achieved by the generosity of dedicated donors, valuable volunteers, extraordinary organizations, and commitment of the Campaign Steering Committee, each of which worked hand-in-hand to accomplish a virtually miraculous outcome’ ”


Editor’s Note, April, 2019:  The OG Camp Meeting Association accomplished quite a few projects with this fund including boardwalk repairs, Great Auditorium roof reconstruction, and Thornley Chapel project, among others.

The Blogfinger Film Festival is mentioned among that large list of contributors.  We brought  film students from  6 universities in the area.  The event was held in the Youth Temple with the help of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the OGCMA.  All profits went to the Fund.

Soon the CMA will embark on another fund raising drive which will have multiple goals including restoring the Pier.  We will report on the details.

–Paul Goldfinger,   Editor@Blogfinger.net

ALICIA MORTON and VICTOR GARBER  from Annie—-“Leaping lizards, together at last, together forever”

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A statue of George Washington in Albany. Two of the most powerful men in the capital, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Senator Dean G. Skelos, go on trial this month. Credit Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

A statue of George Washington in Albany. Two of the most powerful men in the capital, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Senator Dean G. Skelos, go on trial this month. Photo: Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

Recently we discussed how Neptune officials, engaging in irregularities and improprieties  regarding  the Ocean Grove North End Project might “get away with” such activities.  We said that public apathy and a useless Home Owners Association could provide the opportunity for officials to successfully skirt or manipulate the law to achieve objectives which are not in the public’s best interest.

New Jersey has an infamous history of successful prosecution of elected officials who break the law, including cases in Neptune Township* and Asbury Park.

But with instances when there is just a suspicion of wrongdoing,  the suspicion alone can result in loss of trust on the part of the electorate, and that loss of trust can produce a corrosive effect on our normal democratic processes which are supposed to result in  justice and the public good.

In Ocean Grove, where Blogfinger and some citizens are suspicious of  procedures being followed for the North End Redevelopment Plan and other issues, the situation has reached the point where there is mistrust of the Neptune Township  Committee.  We elected them to represent us and we loaned them the power to make decisions on our behalf.  But their lack of transparency and possibly illegal behavior create a justified lack of confidence in them as our representatives. There already is one law suit in play naming the Neptune Township Committee.

It’s one thing to disagree with your Committeemen about policy, which is a normal part of our system, but it’s quite another if you don’t trust them.  And it is not only a problem experienced at the local level of government.

Consider Meet the Press this past Sunday when the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, said,  regarding working with the President, “I don’t trust the President on immigration.”  Regardless of the merits, that charge has serious implications, and it illustrates how loss of trust may negatively affect our democratic processes even at that level of governance.

Let’s consider a shocking situation in NY State where loss of trust actually turned into indictments. In Albany two respected and powerful men, long distrusted by many,  are now on trial for corruption. Consider what the NY Times** says about the “culture of corruption” in that state:

“In separate federal courthouses in Lower Manhattan this month, two of the most powerful men in New York are about to go on trial, an extraordinary spectacle centering on allegations of corruption, bribery and nepotism in the state’s highest chambers of political power.”

“The alleged acts are typical of a culture, according to the watchdog groups, that has made Albany practically synonymous with corruption and stubbornly resistant to reform, keeping citizens — and even most lawmakers — in the dark about much of the legislative work and spending done in their names.”

Because of these New York State cases, the electorate in that state has to wonder if the entire governance  process in Albany cannot be trusted. This is the extent of the destructive effect on our democratic institutions  when loss of trust evolves into criminal investigations.

The Times says, “This focus on Albany has already had a chilling effect in the Capitol and contributed to what was an anemic legislative session this year. Some lawmakers said this occurred, in part, because of their concern that investigators may view the normal, transactional nature of politics in Albany as crimes of corruption. And some lawmakers complain privately that the federal scrutiny has tainted the state’s many honest public servants.”

Locally, we have not gone on record to accuse anyone of a crime, but some of us are suspicious of what’s going on in the Municipal Building in Neptune, and we have every right to say so and to demand a transparent explanation of whatever is questioned and to insist on an outside investigation of the public processes.

Is there a “culture” at Neptune Town Hall which causes failure of trust?  So it seems.

  • In 2005, the FBI indicted  the Neptune Township Deputy Mayor for corruption.  He served jail time.  There also was another Neptune functionary, the Director of Code Enforcement, who got caught up in the same investigation which brought down numerous Monmouth County officials.

** NY Times link for November 1, 2015



Neptune Township Committee:  It’s not too late to go down the better road; restore trust by pulling the plug on that North End Redevelopment Plan—-start over and earn back the trust.

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The boundary line between OG and Asbury is in front of that bench. Blogfinger photo. 8/25/15

The boundary line between OG and Asbury is between those two benches (see below). Blogfinger photo. 8/25/15 ©

This is where the new boardwalk will be 35 feet wide in front of the White Whale. 8/25/15. Blogfinger.net photos.

This is where the new boardwalk will be 35 feet wide in front of the White Whale. 8/25/15. Blogfinger.net photos.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

August 25, 2015.     GOOD NEWS posted today by J.P. Gradone, COO of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association:

“I am pleased to announce that FEMA and NJDEP have approved our expansion of the North End boardwalk from 20’ wide to 30’ wide, and the expansion of the area in front of the Homestead building from 20’ to 35’. 

“As of last night, Neptune Township awarded the bid to Epic Management, Inc., which is the same company that installed the Middle Boardwalk last spring.  We plan to begin construction in early Fall with completion before the holidays.”



  1. There are three North End boardwalk plans: the one sent to FEMA, the one described in the 2008 NERP, and the one voted on last night, but there are differences between the NERP and last night’s plan in terms of width, elevations and easements.
  1. The Mayor (Mary Beth Jahn) and the Township Engineer (Leanne Hoffman) did not attend last night’s Committee meeting to explain why the approved plan is different from the official Committee plan (i.e. the North End Redevelopment Plan of 2008.) They should be identical.
  1. No one at the meeting last night including Blogfinger has ever seen the actual boardwalk plan which was submitted to FEMA by the CMA. The engineer who designed the FEMA boardwalk plan, Peter Avakian, was not present. He is the same engineer who designed the 2008 NERP, and his company designed the plan which was voted on last night.   He should have been at the meeting to answer technical questions. No one at the meeting showed diagrams of the plan to those in attendance or explained the technical details or handed out copies.    FEMA requires that any plan which they approve is followed assiduously by the Redeveloper. By the way, there is no official Redeveloper yet and no Redevelopers Agreement yet. Boardwalk work can begin under the supervision of the Committee.
  1. At last night’s meeting, Committeeman Randy Bishop said “The new boardwalk will have a bulkhead that will protect it from future storms.” But he gave no details.


  1. The old boardwalk which is 30 feet wide north of the Pavilion will be patched, not replaced.
  1.  The section of the new “North End Boardwalk” that will be within the “Area in need of Redevelopment” and is now under the authority of the Township will begin at Sea View Avenue and go north to the Asbury Park boundary line which is about 45 feet north of the White Whale.
Boundary between OG and AP. Look carefully at the arrow. Blogfinger photo © 8/25/15.

Boundary line between OG and AP. Look carefully at the arrow where it says OG. Blogfinger photo © 8/25/15.  No one knows what the rest of the boardwalk (i.e. Asbury property) will look like as it extends to the Casino.

  1. Originally, the North End boardwalk was 60 feet wide in this section when the commercial area was built in 1910. The NERP calls for a 60 foot boardwalk, but we are going to get 30 feet now on the OG side, except as noted by Mr. Gradone.
  1. Easements will have to be revealed because there will be pipes under the boardwalk for electric, water, gas,etc to reach the White Whale or its replacement, and access easements on top must be revealed for future garbage pickup, deliveries, trucks, etc. Elevations are important to be disclosed because there are new 100 year federal flood recommendations after Sandy. The new boardwalk must align with all adjacent elements.
  1. Note that Wesley Lake goes under that north end boardwalk, so we suggest that the Wesley Lake Commission be part of these discussions.

SPECULATION: (Blogfinger is making some educated guesses:)

  1. No underground garage will be built. Instead they will build an above-ground garage–at least two stories high.
  1. These new boardwalk specs might not work when the final North End plans appear, and the $600,000 FEMA North End boardwalk might have to be torn up.
  1. Perhaps the single family homes will get lost in the condo shuffle.
  1. The CMA will be removed as a redeveloper, leaving WAVE as the only one. WAVE will hire a developer to do the actual construction. When the identities of all WAVE investors who own over 10% are revealed, some CMA trustees will be on the list.

Credit: Jack Bredin of Ocean Grove, researcher.

THE FLAMINGOS:       We only have eyes on who?

“I don’t know if we’re in a garden or on a crowded avenue.”

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Garrison Keillor in Michigan, 7/29/156 by Alex McDougal. MLive.com ©

Garrison Keillor in Michigan, 7/29/15 by Alex McDougal. MLive.com ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor   @Blogfinger.net

Last night in the Great Auditorium, a large crowd watched a 72 year old man in a seersucker suit with red shoes talk and sing for nearly 3 hours straight.  Garrison Keillor has been doing his famous radio show Prairie Home Companion for 41 years and has entertained millions of people.  He stopped in Ocean Grove as part of his nationwide America the Beautiful 41st Anniversary Tour, traveling the country in a bus with 5 fabulous musicians, an  impersonator who can do anything including a chicken playing a banjo, and some technical workers.

Keillor is a raconteur, a professional singer with an engaging  bass-baritone voice, a comedian, a writer, and a philosopher.  He brought us news from the fictional Minnesota town where he was raised (Lake Wobegon) along with his “spontaneous” musings (scripted, but so what) about everything from computers to music, to  religion to sex. His ideas flow from topic to topic so fast that you really need to pay attention.

I knew that his music would be wonderful and it was.  He leans heavily on old Christian hymns, patriotic tunes, traditional old songs like “Red River Valley” and country/western pieces served up by 2 mandolin/guitar/fiddle players, a string bass, a versatile keyboard musician and a percussionist.  Most of the musicians also sang, creating beautiful harmonies.  This ensemble has been polishing this show for years, but always with Keillor at the center.

Below is a link from a Michigan web site which does a superb job in reviewing the July 29, 2015 outdoors sold-out concert which for them was essentially identical to ours. This review is by Jeff Kaczmarczyk of MLive.com.

But the thing that blew my socks off was when intermission time arrived;  Keillor did not leave the room.   Instead he grabbed a mike and began to slowly stroll up and down the aisles, with a spotlight on him, singing old hymns while urging the standing audience to join in.   By some miracle, beautiful voices emerged from all over the Auditorium including the upstairs sections, magically knowing the words to all the songs.  If I didn’t know better, I would think the whole thing was staged, and Keillor bussed in a professional choir of 500 people.

No one actually left the hall at “intermission.” The sound of that “out-of-the blue” choir, softly singing, with their voices gently echoing off the wood walls and ceiling of the Auditorium was captivating. It was a musical surprise that captured that large audience and kept them on their feet for the entire mini-concert within a concert.  Keillor seemed mesmerized himself.  He clearly was enjoying this special musical moment in a very special venue which did not require much more than people sharing a musical wave of emotion and  beauty. There were at least two Jews in the audience who found the hymns to be moving. I wish I had this choir at my bar mitzvah.

The Prairie Home Companion is a show that has held up over time because it is so unique and so excellent. We must mention a beautiful young woman, Sarah Jarosz, an accomplished  musician who plays several string instruments, but especially a mandolin.  She is on stage the whole time, and  her most special contribution is when she sings harmonies with Keilor.  Just lovely!

REVIEW FROM MICHIGAN:          www.mlive.com/entertainment/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/07/meijer_gardens_sees_beginning.html

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Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo.  2014.

Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo. 



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On stage at the LEAD Rally at Neptune High School.  Paul Goldfinger photos ©

On stage at the LEAD Rally at Neptune High School. January 9, 2015.  Paul Goldfinger photos ©  NHS color guard in the background.

January 9, 2015. Neptune High School.
By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

With all due respect to the organizations that planned this event in a hurry, the two hour session, although well intentioned, failed, for the most part, to confront the real challenges that have recently been causing so much angst among law enforcement.

We all are aware that the police have been frustrated lately by unfair allegations that they are out to abuse young African-American males. Those that recently promoted anti-police demonstrations, rhetoric , and even violence would like America to believe that the police are racists and go out of their way to stop, search, arrest and even shoot unarmed black men. Most reasonable people know that those charges are false.

These allegations have been paraded across the country by media and community “leaders” who prefer to divide racial groups rather than to promote harmony. In addition, the problem has been compounded by lack of leadership and support for police at the highest levels of government, including the White House, the Department of Justice, and the New York City mayor’s office.

Many police officers were in attendance. Blogfinger photo ©

Many police officers were in attendance. Blogfinger photo ©

Today’s event at the Neptune High School Performing Arts Center was lightly attended with about 200 in the audience. It’s interesting that almost all those present were white. Many who came were policemen, families of police and others who work with and support police such as the Police Unity Tour, NJ State PBA , Neptune Township Police Dept., National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (Central Jersey Chapter,) Neptune Township Committee, State Troopers Fraternal Association, C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) and about a dozen other similar groups.

There were 15 speakers, many from the sponsoring organizations and they mostly expressed similar themes which the vast majority in the audience already embrace: i.e. police are dedicated and brave; they put their lives on the line every day; they protect us from harm; they protect our communities from chaos; they offer programs to reach out to kids; their work is not a job, it is a calling; police should be treated with “dignity and respect;” police are good, not evil; police treat all citizens equally; and that many police die or are injured in the line of duty.

Yes, all of that is totally accurate, and all of us should commend the police and be grateful for their service, but what was missing today was an attempt to find insights and solutions to the reasons for calling this meeting in the first place.

There were some who stuck their necks out. Chief Kevin Sauter, President of the NJ State PBA said “This is not a happy time to be an officer.” He said, “Horrible things are being said about us around the country.” He wished the public would be more supportive, but “the public doesn’t understand police work.” He said that the “commitment to duty” of police deserves support and understanding from citizens and public officials. If police do something wrong and are to be judged, he said, it must happen in a courtroom and not on the street.

Trooper Chris Borgos, President of the State Troopers Fraternal Association cautioned officers to “remain vigilant and never let your guard down.”

Trooper Andy Mathews, incoming chairman of the National Troopers Coalition said, “We need public support more than ever. We will not be deterred (in performing our duty) even if we die doing it and we will not allow our badges to be tarnished or broken.”

The only speaker who offered ideas about how to fix the current situation was Rev. Greg Boyle, a former policeman who is now Chaplain of the Police Unity Tour. Boyle offered a “benediction,” but it was more than that.

He said, “The tides have been turned in our nation, so something needs to be done.” His first suggestion was that the woman who murdered a NJ state trooper in 1973, Joanne Chesimard, should be returned to the U.S. from Cuba.   He also asked that the penalties for non-compliance and refusing arrest should be increased.

In addition, Boyle believes that a significant contributory factor is that kids don’t learn manners and respect at home. In an interview with Blogfinger after the event he said that our education system should introduce curriculum changes to teach kids how to respect police and how to properly conduct themselves.  We expressed skepticism that school boards would introduce such measures, but it seemed like a constructive and important idea.

Scott Rasmussen spoke of the Neptune Twp. policeman who saved the lives of himself and his family.  Blogfinger photo ©

Scott Rasmussen spoke of the Neptune Twp. policeman who saved the lives of himself and his family. Blogfinger photo ©

An interesting sidelight for Ocean Grovers was the appearance of Scott Rasmussen who, on March 13, 2010, was awakened by a Neptune policeman at 5:15 am who told him to get his family outside because the Manchester Inn was in flames. Twenty minutes later, his entire house was engulfed.   In an emotional recounting of those events, Rasmussen gave credit to that police officer for saving his family that morning. He also complimented the Neptune PD as an outstanding police force and he was effusive in his thanks to the community.

There were bag pipes, many police in uniform, and, as advertised, it was a day to appreciate law enforcement. But all of us there knew that much more needs to be done to deal with the latest tension between police and those who criticize them. The first step needs to openly and truthfully identify the problems and then to seek solutions.

Another step might have been, instead of sending those Neptune High School students home early, to invite those kids to this event.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN    “Land of Hope and Dreams.”

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South end beach in Ocean Grove after Dec. 9 2014 nor'easter.  Paul Goldfinger photo

South end beach in Ocean Grove after Dec. 9 2014 nor’easter. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

CMA logo

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

On December 9, 2014, the Jersey Shore got blasted by a nor’easter which produced several inches of rain and high winds. We went down to the Ocean Grove beach and found the beach and dunes to appear a bit wasted.

Four days ago, NJTV News posted a report from Mantoloking, Bay Head, and Ortley Beach (Toms River) regarding the sand and dune losses at those beach towns.  All three had less damage to their beaches than what might have occurred if they hadn’t provided post-Sandy protections, including  a steel wall,  a rock wall with 7 ton boulders, and a huge dune respectively.

Here is a link to that article:   NJTV link

In Ocean Grove, the Camp Meeting Association has been engineering the new beachfront to provide protections from future storms, including our own steel bulkhead, new dunes, and a new strong boardwalk design. 


We contacted William Bailey, Director of Operations at the OGCMA, and this is his reply:

“Paul, the nor’easter caused minimal sand loss, and we anticipate that it will once again build back up.  The “sad” dune photo you posted was of the south end dune that was established in the months following the hurricane.  That dune has remained as it is now, with little change other than more sand accumulating.

“The new dune process is from the Pier towards the boardwalk pavilion or between Heck and McClintock St.   Those dunes were not affected by the nor’easter;  in fact the newly established dunes along with the sand fence recently installed collected sand as designed, thus you will note there was no sand blown on the boardwalk or roadway.

“The dune work will be on going over the next year as more sand fence is installed and then dune grass plantings in the fall of 2015.”

William H Bailey

Director of Operations


AL JOLSON:   (we’re sending this out to Susan and Jim of OG who themselves are soon heading for the Golden State)


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next day oct 30 am

Ocean Grove.  The next day.  Oct. 30, 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

After consulting with a well known dune scientist and other experts,  an “engineered design” was developed for rebuilding OG’s dunes, and that project will begin next week. The main purpose of the dunes will be to protect the OG beachfront and the town itself from future storms.

This announcement was made by J.P. Gradone, the COO of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, and we also interviewed Bill Bailey, the CMA Director of Operations, who has been the point man for all the post-Sandy work that we have been witnessing during the last two years.

Stewart Farrell, our dune consultant, is a  scientist who is the Director of the Richard Stockton Coastal Research Center. He has been studying the Jersey Shore for nearly 30 years. Farrell walked our beach to assess elevations and sand loss immediately after Sandy hit.  Then, he returned in March, 2013, to hit the beach again with Bill Bailey and to begin discussions of dune planning.  Two weeks ago  he returned to help finalize the plans for rebuilding the dunes here in the Grove.

After Sandy devastated the Shore, Farrell said that the beaches which had received prior replenishment from the Army Corps of Engineers and which had the highest and widest dunes had the least amount of damage.

In Ocean Grove, the places where there were no bulkheads and where openings in the dunes let in the storm flood (“the funnel effect,”) there was the most boardwalk destruction. Our dunes had been developing for 25 years, and they offered a good measure of protection for the town during Sandy, “getting us through some high tides. ”

Except for the beach and board damage, however, Ocean Grove didn’t do too badly from Sandy compared to the damage elsewhere such as in Mantoloking and Harvey Cedars. Besides the dunes, we were additionally protected by bulkheads, where they existed north and south, and also because Ocean Grove is among a relatively small number of Shore towns ( including Long Branch, Asbury Park and Cape May) that are on the mainland, as opposed to barrier islands which are much more vulnerable.

Our dune project will begin next week with excavation.   A 25 foot wide space will be created north to south between the boardwalk and the back of the dunes. This will allow vehicles to get through.

The new dune will be made from existing and excavated sand  and it will be 32 feet wide (east to west.). The height will be four feet, in contrast to giant dunes, over 20 feet in some locations, which are being constructed in more vulnerable places at the Shore.

Our dune is designed to be a continuum of about 1,000 feet, with “cuts” that zigzag through to allow access to the beach. Eventually there will be “walk-overs” that allow access “over the top” of the dunes. If a big storm is expected, those “cuts” can be filled in.

Snow fences will be installed on the east and west sides of the dune. The latter will prevent sand from blowing onto the boardwalk and Ocean Avenue; an extra benefit will be to keep people off. The former will be important in “catching sand” to make the dunes denser and bigger over time.

Since dune grass does best if planted in November, the CMA will wait until next year to plant the grass, and Mr. Farrell has laid out suggestions as to how to do that in terms of spacing. Over time, the root systems of the dune grass will help “fortify” the dune.

Note that the beach replenishment made the beach bigger. It is now 12 feet above sea level, so adding that to the 4 foot engineered dunes yields a dune height of 16 feet, just slightly higher than the 15.5 foot elevated boardwalk.

In summary, Ocean Grove will be protected by a “series of engineered systems” starting with the beach replenishment, then the dunes, then the reinforced bulkhead which is a complex structure tied into the east side of the boardwalk,  coupled with the relocation of the middle boardwalk west, about 30 feet.  And finally there are the  strong construction methods that were used in building the boardwalk itself.

Bill Bailey says, “As promised, we built it right.”


In May, the existing metal bulkhead was tied into new wood construction which later was bolted to the new boardwalk. Blogfinger photo

In May, the existing metal bulkhead was tied into new wood construction which later was bolted to the new boardwalk. Blogfinger photo

For those in government and for scientists such as Stewart Farrell, they know that the Jersey shore will be increasingly vulnerable in the future due to rising ocean levels and continued erosion of sand from the beaches, coupled with more severe storms.      The Army Corps has been back to the Jersey shore many times during the last 60 years or so, and hopefully the government will stay involved in the future.

A private contractor will do the work, and it should be noted that the dune construction is being financed entirely by the OGCMA.

For Ocean Grove, we have reason to be optimistic as to how well we will do when the next big storm hits. Bill Bailey is quick to credit the “experts” who collaborated in the design of this fortress construction and he also loves to tell how a Boy Scout, Bobby Easton, working on an Eagle project about 20 years ago, and assisted by his friend Dave Shotwell, Jr., came up with the notion that sand dunes in the Grove could help protect the town. Well, it turns out that the idea was successful; it just took a couple of decades to prove the point.

Note: Excellent related article from the New Yorker magazine:  link to “The Beach Builders.”


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