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Founders' Park, Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

Founders’ Park, Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

DAVE BRUBECK OCTET    “September in the Rain”

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Bob Bowné took a right turn today and wound up in Spring Lake. Nov. 21, 2015. Special to Blogfinger ©.

Bob Bowné took a right turn and wound up in Spring Lake. Nov. 21, 2015.    Where do you go for a cup of Joe?   Special to Blogfinger ©.

 

ADELE:   From her new hit album “25”       This selection is “All I Ask.”  She was a big winner at the 2017 Grammy awards, and this song is from her 2017 album of the year.

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Asbury Park boardwalk near the Casino looking north. Photograph by Rich Despins of B. Beach. Special to Blogfinger ©

Asbury Park boardwalk near the Casino looking north. Photograph by Rich Despins of B. Beach. Special to Blogfinger ©  Undated.

 

KENNY VANCE AND THE PLANOTONES:

 

 

 

 

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July 4 parade on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove. Running the swan show is Proprietor Linda Occhipinti.. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

July 4 parade on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove. Running the swan show is proprietor Linda Occhipinti. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

 

 

MEL TILLIS:

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This sleek Deal home had minimal damage after Sandy. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

This sleek Deal home had minimal damage after Sandy. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. Click to enlarge.

JOHN DENVER:

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HMS Glen Edwards. Dredger off Allenhust. By Bob Bowné. Special to Blogfinger ©

HMS Glen Edwards. The Artful Dredger off Allenhurst. By Bob Bowné. April 17, 2015.  Special to Blogfinger ©  Last posted on BF in 2015.

Hi Paul..

One of the dredgers is back in our area…I shot this this morning off of Allenhurst… Not sure if this is a continuation of the original sand replenishment or perhaps some additional maintenance due to storms.

-Bob (Bowné )

THE CHIEFTAINS.   Music to sing on deck: “An Poc Ar Bulle/ The Dingle Set”

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Retro-fit.  Ocean Grove 2011. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Retro-fit. Ocean Grove 2011. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

EVAN RACHEL WOOD:  “If I Fell.”

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Nov. 4 2012. Neighbors discuss the storm. Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net

Nov. 4, 2012.  (6 days after Sandy)   Neighbors discuss the storm. Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net

 

TONY BENNETT AND K.D. LANG

 

 

 

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xxxx

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  (Originally posted in November 2015 and now minimally edited for this New Year’s Day edition of Blogfinger. The original question posited in the headline is still valid.)

There are multiple factions in the small town of Ocean Grove (pop  3,700,) and these organized groups  are largely isolated from each other. Woven into the fabric are homeowners and renters who live here but do not belong to any organizations, thus becoming, by default, a faction of their own.

According to social scientist Steve Valk, whose family has lived here for several generations, it would be important for these factions to find ways to appreciate and cooperate with each other. For example he cites the religious groups and the secular groups which ought to find common ground for the benefit of the town. One example of such cooperation is the recent interaction, since Sandy, between Ocean Grove United (OGU) and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association  (CMA); however we have recently seen how tenuous that relationship is when we recall the  clash about Sunday sermons this past summer.

The CMA ran the town from 1869 to 1980—-111 years. Neptune Township  treated OG as a sort of gated community.   The CMA made the rules and imposed blue laws until the N.J. Supreme Court put a stop to that in 1980 when Neptune  took over active governance in the Grove  (although they were technically the governing body almost since the town’s founding.)   Since 1980, the CMA has continued its mission and  it has largely kept out of the way of Neptune Township.

But we now see the CMA and the Township working together on the North End Redevelopment Project, but suspicious elements have been revealed, and that project does not seem to be designed primarily with the town’s best interest at heart.

As for the Neptune Township governance,  you have seen the results of our recent poll which shows  that 80% of respondents mistrust  the Neptune Township Committee. Interestingly, over the years, there were times when the citizens rose up against Neptune control resulting in law suits and even a failed referendum to allow the Grove to become a separate town which it did for one year in 1925.

The other organizations here also tend to have their own agendas and to be run like private clubs. Such groups include the Homeowners Association, the Historical Society, Ocean Grove United, and the Chamber of Commerce. They don’t work together very much for the good of the town.  They are busy with their own activities.  For example, the Chamber of Commerce runs big events to try and drum up business for the merchants.  But what do they do for the benefit of those who live here?  We asked them to take over sponsorship of the Town-wide Yard Sale, but they refused. When we introduced a new idea for the town—the Blogfinger Film Festival—a benefit for the boardwalk—-only a few of the members would be sponsors for the program, and hardly any attended the event.

When we think of factions in town, we can see the visible ones, but how about the invisible ones such as families that have lived here for generations and are part of networks that act in concert with each other, with the CMA,  and with the Township governance, especially where land use, zoning,  and parking are concerned.  Let’s call that “the network of special interests.”

For them the town of Ocean Grove  seems like a gift that keeps on giving. This network never speaks publicly, shows its face, or identifies itself, but what it does and has done will impact all of us and will determine what the town will be in the future.  We have seen the results of favoritism for those special interests in the Greek Temple and Mary’s Place.  The North End Redevelopment Project is a good example to keep an eye on.  Who will be the winners, and who will be the losers?

Because of indifference by the public, organizations, and special interests, Ocean Grove may become an at-risk town which could end up a  failed historic  place without focus and character, such as is seen in other shore towns—unless the public pays attention and the organizations here begin to work together for the overall benefit of the town and not just on their narrow pet projects, like the Homeowners Association which is currently circulating a simple minded parking survey while ignoring the improprieties and illegalities around town regarding land use issues.  The HOA has teamed up with the Neptune Committee ever since 2008 when it supported 165 residential units, mostly condos, at the North End.

In 2002, a professor* at Monmouth University published an academic paper about OG history, emphasizing the powerful way that the activist HOA of 25-30 years ago  fought for the town and saved its life.  Below  is a quote**  from that research about that era.

Contrast the conclusion below with the current HOA which now is failing Ocean Grove through impotence, inaction, and lack of focus towards the issues which currently threaten our town the most.

The Home Groaners need to step up and save the town once again,  but this version appears to so far be hopeless in that regard.

** 2002:   “The HOA has maintained or reconstructed the carefully planned infrastructure of the founders, and even as Ocean Grove is being reborn as a contemporary tourist site, the HOA has worked with the CMA to preserve its sacred foundations. Just like the CMA, the HOA has been outstanding in its ability to secure what it wants and what it believes the community needs. Property values have risen, the community is again a safe place, tourism has been revived, an enormous amount of social capital has been generated, and the Victorian charm of the town has been restored.”

By Karen Schmelzkopf*  in the Journal of Historical Geography, 2002

BLOSSOM DEARIE:

 

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By Tom Costantino, Citizen reporter @Blogfinger. 12/18/16 ©

By Tom Costantino, Citizen reporter @Blogfinger. Saturday.12/18/16 ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Hi Tom:  I love the photo and the headline.   Thank you for finding that special light and quietude at dusk as a wintry Saturday night approached  in the Grove. But are you so gullible that you suspect fowl play?

Stephen  (Goldfinger) came home on Sunday, when it was 60 degrees, and told me how all the sea gulls were active at Wesley Lake, engaged in a sort of feeding frenzy, diving for food  (probably fish) and then jostling with their friends for possession of the goodies—I hope they weren’t after the Coney Island Whitefish,  given the condition of that detention/retention basin.   I had no idea that any fish could survive over there.

Actually, on Sunday, when the weather was so warm, the fish, cold blooded creatures, may have come closer to the surface where both buoys and gulls could enjoy a fine dinner. The dopey fish should have stayed on the bottom where they could while away the cold days, free from the dangers of the food chain.

We had a frog visit our pond this summer. Frogs do tend to go exploring, and undoubtedly that one came from Wesley Lake which is only one block from our backyard pond.  But he must have been bored, disappearing after a few days, undoubtedly heading for the bright lights of the big city across the Lake. But he needs to avoid the French restaurant over there where famished A. Parkers are ordering cuisses de grenouille—i.e. frogs legs.

So this song is dedicated to the hungry sea birds above, with a rousing version of “Food, Gullorious Food.”  (This joke courtesy of Stephen G.)

FROM THE CAST OF OLIVER:

 

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