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The Warrington Feb. 2017. Photo by a citizen reporter who lives a stone's throw away. The ParkView site is adjacent, approved for undersized lots. © Blogfinger.net

The Warrington, Feb. 2017. Photo by a citizen reporter who lives a stone’s throw away. The Park View site is adjacent, approved for undersized lots. © Blogfinger.net

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  and Jack Bredin, Researcher @Blogfinger

This is no surprise, but the final Site Plan approval for turning the Warrington into a boutique hotel will be signed this week by the Zoning Board of Adjustment Engineer, Secretary,  and by the Board Chairman. As you may recall from our October, 2016 article  (see link below,) the process of final approval had been held up pending consideration of a variety of issues.

Our concerns last October included the need for an easement to connect the Lake Avenue structure with the utilities on Seaview Avenue. There are two small cottages which are interposed between the Warrington and Seaview Avenue.

According to Kristie Armour, the Zoning Officer for the ZBA, in an interview today, it was found that there was a pre-existing easement which would cover this matter.  But the tax map has shown no such easement.

Also, the new project encroaches on CMA property, but Ms. Armour tells us that the CMA wrote a letter to give permission. However, normally, such a letter would be useless unless the CMA property were newly subdivided to show that the Warrington owner now owns that encroached property.

There were other matters as well, but we have no information about these concerns including the bizarre suggestion by the Home Owners Assoc. to turn part of Lake Avenue into a two-way street near Founders’ Park in order to create new parking.  New parking should never crowd out a historic location.

Another irregularity is that the Warrington is on a land-locked lot–not fronting on a street;  Lake Avenue is not a street. This should be illegal now as it pertains to the new project.

Other violations include failure to follow New Jersey state RSIS parking standards whereas this project should have been required to provide on-site parking.

The Warrington originally received final ZBA approval in 2015. In June 2016, the ZBA Engineer found that a Developers Agreement was needed.  In September 2016, the Developers Agreement was passed.  But there were still loose ends, and now we hear that the matter is finalized.

The only way that this project could be blocked now is with an appeal to the governing body or a law suit brought by the citizens to the Superior Court.  There is a 45  day opportunity to sue, and then it will be a “done-deal.”

But the Home Groaners  have shown no interest in this project or any other important land-use issues in town including the condoization of the Grove.  How do the residents of Sea View Avenue feel about this situation?

So there will be project approval this week even though the application is riddled with land-use law violations.

https://blogfinger.net/2016/10/21/the-case-of-the-worrisome-warrington-chapter-ii/

SUTTON FOSTER:  From Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein.  If you think that land use policies in Ocean Grove are hopelessly corrupted, do something silly and have a roll in the hay.

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Off the Sanibel Island Causeway. Morning, Feb 26, 2017 © Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Off the Sanibel Island Causeway. Morning, Feb 26, 2017 © Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Wind surfer #2 Blogfinger photo. ©

Wind surfer #2 Blogfinger photo. ©  Click to enlarge any of these photos.

Wrapping it up. Blogfinger photo © 2/26/17.

Wrapping it up. Blogfinger photo © 2/26/17.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

They are a group of about eight friends who met on this beautiful Sunday morning, for a session of wind surfing.  The group meets at various locations where conditions might be ideal.  They told me that the winds were good for about one hour this morning, just enough time to form a line and catch the breezes as they surfed around in a big continuous circle, like sail boats do.   It is a strenuous sport, and you have to be in good condition; the surfers were a mix of men and women of varied ages.

I watched their session as the wind caught their colorful sales and propelled them at high speed through the calm surf. It wasn’t easy to stay afloat.

I got a chance to take some photos, then, as they reorganized on shore, we chatted for a while.  One of them, a professional piano tuner, gave me her card. I promised to send them some photos, which I did.

They all seemed to have a wonderful fun time. They were laughing and chatting away on the beach as they explained how good this sport made them feel. One of them said, “It’s a great workout.”

DON CHERRY AND WILLIE NELSON

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Five wood storks in the wild. Ft. Myers, Fla. Paul Goldfinger photo. Click left

Five wood storks in the wild   (our backyard). Ft. Myers, Fla. Paul Goldfinger photo. Click left to see Big Bird.

Hello, I must be going. Click left

Hello, I must be going. Click left

By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger, editors @Blogfinger   (original post Jan 2014)

Wood storks are on the endangered list. They are tropical and semitropical birds, but they can be found in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  These birds are huge, being about 3-4 feet tall, with a wing span of 5-6 feet.  They have pink feet, black heads,  long curved black bills and black under their white wings.

They like to feed in open wetlands and  wade in shallow water to find fish, frogs and bugs. They like swamps, marshes and mangroves for that, but they breed and nest where there are tall trees, preferably cypress forests where there can be 25 nests in one tree. They are very sensitive to fluctuating water levels which occur wherever there is more development.  They are known to fly long distances, up to 80 miles,  to find sufficient fish for their babies which get large very quickly. The female usually lays  3-5 eggs.

The largest nesting area in the world is near us in the Corkscrew Sanctuary  in Naples.  We  visited there yesterday (see photos below,)  but weren’t allowed near the nesting areas.  Nevertheless, the National Audubon Society maintains a beautiful refuge there where a variety of wild life can be seen, including still-frozen tourists from -30 degree Minnesota as well as those from New Jersey who are seeking good bagels. We saw baby alligators and a variety of birds. The gators were about 2 feet long–two lying on a log perfectly still.

We found  8 wood storks, see above,  in our backyard a few days ago. They are in the wild and they like to hang out with a group of egrets. It looked like a Rotary meeting. Two of the storks did a brief mating dance.  I was able to approach them, but when I got too close, they just walked slowly away in the other direction as if to say “Buzz off, pal!” 

Corkscrew Sanctuary in Naples, Fla. Egret hunts for prey. Jan. 2014. Paul Goldfinger photos ©

Corkscrew Sanctuary in Naples, Fla. Egret hunts for prey. Jan. 2014. Paul Goldfinger photos ©  Left click for all theses photos.

Corkscrew Sanctuary wetlands with cypress trees. Paul Goldfinger photo © 2014.

Corkscrew Sanctuary wetlands with cypress trees. Paul Goldfinger photo © 2014.

Baby alligator. Click left for bigger view. Corkscrew refuge. 2014 ©

Baby alligator. Click left for bigger view. Corkscrew refuge. 2014 ©

 

 

JULIE ANDREWS   “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins.

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3rd.Street in Naples, Fla. By Paul Goldfinger 2/23/17. ©

3rd Street in Naples, Fla. Sensory deprivation due to cell  phones.  And look at the body language—what does it say?     By Paul Goldfinger 2/23/17. ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Naples, Florida is practically an international city. You can hear a variety of languages spoken.  It is affluent and beautiful.  There are so many lovely sights including “cottages” that are reminiscent of old Florida, and we will post a few images of those.

And there is wonderful people watching, car watching, art, architecture, and great shops.

If you talk to people there you can find out all sorts of fascinating information.  For example Eileen was conversing with a sales lady in the Tommy Bahama men’s shop about women’s clothing.

She said  that there is a solution to finding the perfect fit in a pair of jeans for women.  It seems that women have a variety of challenges in that department. To me, those “challenges” just enhance girl watching for men. But what do we know?

She gave us directions to a shop that will measure your every curve and create the perfect jeans specifically  for you.  We didn’t go, but I know that we will eventually be visiting that spot in Estero.—-a report to follow.

So, getting to our photograph, we have this couple who are staring at their phones instead of each other.  It is said that there might be health issues from excessive use of cell phones  including brain injury from radiation; tendon problems and inflammation (involving neck, elbow and hands;) computer vision syndrome (dry eye, blurry vision, dizziness;)  addiction to the devices (anxiety if you don’t check them often);  sensory deprivation (as in experiencing your environment;) and , in this case, damage to relationships.

We will try to develop a collection of photos regarding selfies and cell phone addiction.

PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND with AMY LAVERE:

Amy LaVere sings Baby Won't   You Pease Come Home"

Amy LaVere sings Baby Won’t You Please Come Home”

WBGO JAZZ RADIO  (regarding this recording session): “But Amy LaVere was there to sing the enticing “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home” into a vintage-style ribbon microphone, albeit one that was wreaking havoc for the sound technicians. Her auburn-accented hair sailed into the breeze, and she handled an equally flowing delivery.”

 

 

 

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oceangrove-welcomesign

19th century view of Main Avenue as one drives a horse and buggy through the gates. Source: OG historian Justin Truth.

19th century view of Main Avenue as one approaches the gates in  a horse and buggy. Source: OG historian Justin Truth.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @blogfinger.net

Ocean Grove is a historic town on the State and National Registers.  Our town government and our town organizations, especially including the Home Owners Association, are supposed to be committed to maintaining that historic perspective as Ocean Grove moves forward in time, now into the 21st century.

But these town entities don’t often place our  master plan  on top of their priority list. This quote is from the Neptune Twp. Master Plan, Historic Element:   “The MLUL  (Municipal Land Use Law) responds to a generally held belief that those sections of a municipality that still bear the visual imprint of the past should be preserved.”

Among the “goals and objectives” of this document we find “#1 To preserve and protect Neptune Township’s designated historic sites and structures.”

Most recently they made a decision to use diagonal parking  to narrow our beautiful boulevard, Main Avenue,  right where it enters town and greets visitors.  On Blogfinger we assailed that plan, partly because it will turn our lovely entrance way into a congested eyesore.

But more than the ugliness, this decision goes against history.

In an article written early in the 20th century, the story of President Grant’s visits to Ocean Grove was recounted. You can read it at Justin Truth’s web site. http://thebookofhistoricalsecrets.blogspot.com

Here is a quote from that piece, and please take notice of the part in italics:

“The matchless soldier and the nation’s chief was also a dutiful son and brother, and during the time that his mother and sister occupied a cottage near Wesley Lake he came at frequent intervals to visit them. These trips from Long Branch were made by carriage, and the President’s favorite pair of horses came in time to be as quickly recognized as the man himself.

“It is not surprising, perhaps, that Main Avenue, so wide and straight and smooth, offered to a genuine horse- lover almost irresistible temptation to speeding; but the big and commanding chief of police, who still holds the same position at Ocean Grove, testifies that on certain occasions when it became necessary for him to lift his hand as a warning signal the President always and instantly complied, reining in his spirited bays to a decorous trot.”

So, the President of the United States enjoyed his carriage rides as he rode into our town via that welcoming “wide, straight and smooth” west part of Main Avenue.  What would he think today if he knew that the Township was about to choke that stretch with diagonal parking. He probably would change his route onto Broadway.

Contact the Neptune Committee and ask them not to degrade the historic entrance to the Grove.

BEVERLY KENNEY  from “Oklahoma.”

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Patriots Day  is a docu-drama which recreates the events before, during and after the Boston Marathon bombing of April, 2013.  The film-makers tell this story with such marvelous craftsmanship that your mind is totally engrossed for the entire film.  You should go with someone whose hand you can hold. It is that powerful.

The casting and the interweaving story lines are brilliant. You may think you already know the story, but you have to see it enacted in this movie.  The acting is perfect. The screenplay and photography  (hand-held cameras) are amazing.

There are a number of themes that stand out including the performance and spirit  of the City of Boston when suddenly confronted by this incomprehensible tragedy:  the Boston Police, the emergency services, the hospitals, and the citizens all stand out in a way that is so revealing as to how a very special large city reacts to a  terrorist attack.  The individuals whose stories are so compelling make you feel that you know them.

And I was fascinated by how a variety of law enforcement organizations came together so quickly to deal with the situation, including the FBI, Boston Police, the Massachusetts Governor, the Watertown Police, and a shadowy group–probably CIA. The ability of these groups to set up a command center rapidly and to have it equipped and manned with such expertise is awesome.

The way that the behind-the-scenes technicians worked with on-the-street law enforcement teams to nail the  terrorists was fascinating, even as it revealed some mistakes that were made in the process.

It was also intriguing to see that these Muslim terrorists were not from the Middle East—they were from Chechnya, and they were here legally.  It was upsetting to view the American wife of one of the murderers defend him and to see how college students tried to cover up for their classmate.  This story exposes how hard it will be to prevent such attacks and why our nation’s efforts must be maximized.

At the end of the film was a postscript section where you learn about some of the characters (whose real stories were told in the film, played by actors) and to see how they actually look now.

I think this movie helps give a sense of confidence that we will find courage in America to deal with threats like this, although we won’t be perfect doing it.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR AND THE PHILADELPHIA BRASS:   “Abide With Me, ‘Tis Eventide”

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Eileen's New Jersey clam chowder. 2/20/17. Blogfinger photo.

Eileen’s Greatest New Jersey Clam Chowder. 2/20/17. Blogfinger photo.

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger.net

 

2 dozen fresh little neck clams

3 6.5 ounce cans chopped clams

1 6-ounce  steamed lobster tail, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 large sweet onion, diced

1 medium potato, peeled & diced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

2 ears fresh corn; remove kernels from cobb (or 2/3  cup frozen corn)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

7 cloves of garlic, minced

4 tablespoons tomato paste

5 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 cup clam juice

4 cups chicken broth

1 28 ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes plus liquid

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like very spicy)

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bottle beer

Don’t panic at all the ingredients. Most are already in your pantry and most are added to one pot.

 

Clam preparation:

While preparing the soup base place fresh clams in a large bowl of cool water with 2 tablespoons of corn meal mixed in. This will clean the shells and cause the clams to disgorge any sand they may have ingested.

 

Soup preparation:

In a 5 quart  Dutch oven heat butter and extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, pepper, potato, and cook for 10 minutes.  Next add clam juice, tomato   paste and garlic, stir and cook for another 100 minutes. Add  chicken broth, corn, parsley, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes .  Make sure the potatoes are fork tender.

 

While the soup cooks,  prepare the fresh clams.  In a 12” fry pan add the contents of a bottle of beer and bring beer to a boil.   Lift clams straight up and out of the water that they have been sitting  in.  This leaves any sand they have expelled on the bottom of the bowl.    Place them in the boiling beer, cover the pan, and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove cover, and as the clams open remove them with tongs and set them aside on a plate.  If they cook too long they will become tough,

 

While these clams are cooking drain the 3 cans of chopped clams, save the broth ( can be added to soup if it becomes too thick.)  Add clams to soup pot and stir.

 

Assembling:

When all the fresh clams have opened, ladle soup into bowls and place equal amounts of fresh clams with shells on top.

Serve with a rustic bread.

This recipe will serve 4 people as an entré or 8 as an appetizer.

 SAVE FERRIS  “Come On Eileen”

 

 

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Things are looking up in Cape Coral. Paul Goldfinger photo.

Things are looking up in Cape Coral.    Click to enlarge.   Feb, 2017. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Did you ever drive in Cape Coral,Fla?  Probably not. The streets are a chaotic network with names that are repetitive and confusing.  For example there is NE 12th Ave, NE 12th Court, NE 12thPlace, NE 12th St. and NE 12th Terrace.    Even my Garmin GPS shut down while trying to find a restaurant over there. Eileen’s phone-based GPS saved the day. Our car has a built-in GPS, but it’s too scary to operate.

So we finally reached our destination, but we had to park in a large lot adjoining a strip mall which had a STOP sign within.   And that’s when we looked up and saw the light show.

When I was in medical school, I would get to assist during surgery, but only to tug on retractors so that the surgeon could get a good look. One surgeon was never satisfied that I was pulling hard enough and he would say, “Lift up thine eyes unto the Lord, my boy!” I always remembered his kindly advice, and it finally came in handy in a parking lot in Cape Coral, Fla La Land.

 

CHRISTINA PERRI  “A Thousand Years.”   From the movie Twilight Saga

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The Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger.

The Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger  ©  c 2015

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Have any of you noticed that there is not a single organized group in town which is willing to join with Blogfinger readers in discussing and clarifying issues which our neighbors need to know about?    In the case of the ground rent topic, why won’t the Camp Meeting help us out with clarity regarding a subject which affects them and us?   Why is the OGHOA holding back on releasing the legal opinion about ground rents which was paid for with member money?

OK,  so there is a suit and maybe the lawyer told the CMA to say nothing, but they have been silent on our forum for the last 8 years.  The same thing happened during the Pavilion matter.  But they are not the only ones—we have complained about the Chamber, OGU, Historical Society, Historic Preservation Commission, and Township  elected officials among others.

We are not complaining on behalf of Blogfinger—-  instead we are concerned about those readers who seek honest debate and factual discourse on this site.

Perhaps you have observed that none of these groups offer the opportunity for discussion on their web sites.   The Township Committee will scarcely allow citizens at their public meetings to bring up controversial issues.

I think that it is fear—-they are frightened to stand behind their views, to be honest with our readers, and, especially to have to answer questions in writing.  They won’t even do it anonymously.

The only time that such interaction actually occurred was during the few years when  Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn participated regularly  in our comments section.  That was illuminating, honest, caring, educational and a breath of fresh air, and we won’t forget her for that.

So we currently depend on courageous readers such as Dr. Carol, Joe D, Joe G, Sal, Wisher, Frank S, J.Cortese, Kevin Chambers, David, OhGee, Paulie D, A. Curmudgeon, Tom C, OGrover, Nancy,  and many others who are not afraid to interact on BF.  And, of course, we are grateful to Jack Bredin who courageously sticks his neck out  regularly, uses his real name, and speaks truth to power on this blog and in person to the Committee.

However we would like  the “players” themselves to join in, but they are frightened of being exposed.

Recently OGU invited its members to join a women’s protest march in Washington. But why won’t they invite their members to join the conversations here regarding our town and why did they tape their mouths shut in the shadows of the Great Auditorium when they demonstrated there, refusing to talk to us about their concerns in Ocean Grove ?   Are our issues  in this town less important than politics in Washington? Did they tape their mouths in D.C.?

The former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill,  said that all politics are local, but we are having trouble getting the process going in the Grove because of fear and the corrosive silent treatment pervasive in this town.

ANITA O’DAY:

 

 

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This photo essay of the 2016 Neptune High School graduation continues to attract viewers, so we are reblogging it now for your enjoyment, especially if you missed it.

NHS graduation in the Great Auditorium is a much anticipated tradition in Neptune Township. At one point in the recent past (2011) its continuation was threatened, but it survived, and these images document its importance.

Click on the word “Blogfinger” below this sentence.  And don’t forget to start the music before viewing the images.—Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Blogfinger

Neptune High School graduation. Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ. Photo by Jean Bredin, Blogfinger staff. © Neptune High School graduation. Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ. Photo by Jean Bredin, Blogfinger staff. ©

Monday night.  June 20, 2016.  the first day of summer.

Text and all photos below by Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

I got to the Great Auditorium as the names of the Class of 2016, Neptune High School, were being read.  There was a joyful noise as cheers erupted, one after the other, like a happy chain reaction. Then they all stood for the Star Spangled Banner, and then  over 300 Scarlet Fliers were clutching their diplomas as they flowed out into the twilight.   I stood there,  enveloped by the moving throng.  There were hugs, kisses, laughter and yes joy all around me.  It was hard to focus the camera.

The crowd was in motion as the grads greeted their families, friends and colleagues.  No doubt there will be parties, as there should be…

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