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Posts Tagged ‘Fletcher Lake’

Ocean Grove. April, 2019. Paul Goldfinger, ©

 

DAKOTA STATON   “Misty”

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By Jack Bredin, reporter/researcher @Blogfinger.net

Fletcher Lake, Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger © Another riparian waterway subject to public trust rights. This one empties to the ocean via the floodgates seen above. But the dirty ground water burden is much less over there.

7:7-9.48 Lands and waters subject to public trust rights.

“Lands and waters subject to public trust rights are tidal waterways and their shores, including both lands now or formerly below the mean high water line, and the shores above the mean high water line.

“Tidal waterways and their shores are subject to the Public Trust Doctrine and are held in trust by the State for the benefit of all the people, allowing the public to fully enjoy these lands and waters for a variety of public uses.”

DALIDA “Dans le bleu du ciel bleu” (In the blue of the blue sky.”)

 

 

 

 

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Fletcher Lake, late afternoon, Ocean Grove, as seen from Bradley Beach. Nov.22, 2017. Paul Goldfinger ©.  Click to enlarge.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN:  “My Oklahoma Home.”  From  We Shall Overcome—the Seeger Sessions

“My Oklahoma home it blown away
Well it looked so green and fair
When I built my shanty there
Now my Oklahoma home is blown away.”

During the 1930’s and ’40’s, the FSA (Farm Security Administration) sent a team of photographers  to the “dustbowl’ of Oklahoma, Carolinas,  Kentucky and elsewhere to document the poverty and deprivation of that place at that time.  Marion Post Alcott was the first woman to be hired for that high powered team of skilled artists and photojournalists.   During 1938-1942 she produced 9,000 images for the FSA.

This album of Pete Seeger’s music was recorded by Bruce  at his Colt’s Neck farm in 2007, and it is the only album, so far, that he has done not containing his music.  The album was a huge hit worldwide and it was beautifully done, with musicians skilled in that music genre.  Bruce fit right in.

Another FSA photographer was Dorothea Lange. Here is a Blogfinger link to our piece about her:

Dorothea Lange, photographer

–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

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Ocean Grove South End. Viewed from the east end of the Lake.  November 5, 2017. Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net. Click to enlarge.

 

ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK:

 

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Fletcher Lake in Ocean Grove. By Rich Despins. © Special to Blogfinger.net

Fletcher Lake in Ocean Grove. By Rich Despins. © Special to Blogfinger.net click to enlarge.

BEBO VALDES and CHUCHO VALDES   “Tres Palabras”

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By Mary Walton

Since early January the Ocean Grove Sewerage Authority has used an area bordering the east end of Fletcher Lake to deposit debris from its sewer replacement project along Abbott Avenue.

Concerned residents watched as giant sewer pipes, smaller ones of PVC, chunks of asphalt, clumps of cement, a discarded cement culvert, pallets, plastic wrap and mounds of earth spread along the lake front. There were no trash cans, and litter left by workers added to the mess.

Several residents raised their objections at the recent meeting of the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association, and 10 turned up at a meeting of the Fletcher Lake Commission on Wednesday. Commission chairman Charles Quixley agreed to write a letter reiterating their concerns to both the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, which owns the property, and to Neptune Mayor Randy Bishop. Meanwhile, Jeannine Rudolph, who lives nearby on Central Avenue, requested the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to investigate “possible illegal dumping.”

As the protests mounted, the pile shrank temporarily and residents cheered. But then it grew bigger. Finally, late Friday, workers began removing much of the remaining debris. And assurances came from multiple sources that the site would be cleared by Monday, when the Sewerage Authority expects to finish its project.

Rudolph said she received a call Friday from a DEP investigator, who told her the debris was too minor to warrant an investigation but that a Township engineer had told DEP it would be gone by Monday. “They are cleaning it up,” Rudolph said. “That’s the important part.” In a telephone conversation with Blogfinger, a DEP spokesman said there was “no violation.”

On the scene of the clean-up, Tom O’Neill, an inspector for Leon S. Avakian Consulting Engineers, the firm that is overseeing the project, added his pledge that everything would be gone by Monday.

As a team of workers shoveled a shrinking mound of dirt into a neat pile, Broadway residents Connie Ogden and Carol Woidt, who had lobbied for action, emphasized that they had acted out of concern for the environment. “We don’t object to the staging part — the pipes and equipment,” Woidt said, “but we do object to dumping.”

“We were very concerned because we didn’t know what was in it,” Ogden said of the debris, “and it was directly on the ground and very close to the lake.” With a Broadway drainage project set to begin shortly, she added, “We’d like this to be a precedent for not dumping unknown debris and dirt on the ground close to the lake. It’s purely an environmental concern.”

Here's how the site looked on Thursday

On Friday workers were cleaning it up. Photos by Mary Walton

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By Charles Layton

One of the most disturbing things about the recent fuss over swan boats on Fletcher Lake was the way information about that proposal was withheld from our citizens.

One example: Sometime this spring the promoters gave a presentation to the Fletcher Lake Commission — a public body — but the fact that they did so was never made public in any way. People in Ocean Grove who care passionately about that lake, and who normally ask to be notified about the Commission’s meetings, were not notified about that particular meeting. This, they say, was suspiciously unusual. Even now I cannot find anything on the Neptune Township website about that meeting. If you click on “Agendas & Minutes” and then click on “Fletcher Lake Commission,” you get a blank page. The Bradley Beach website is equally unhelpful. We only learned what was afoot with Fletcher Lake because some Ocean Grovers got wind of it, purely by accident, and spent an inordinate amount of effort digging out the facts.

Why the official silence?

Another issue of huge concern to our town was the recent settlement between the Neptune Board of Education and the ACLU. But have you seen anything on the school district’s website explaining the terms of that settlement? I can’t find it there. Have you heard school board officials describe the terms in any detail? Blogfinger published those terms in full because no one else was doing so, questions were flying and erroneous accounts were starting to spread. But the details we published didn’t come to us from school officials; we had to get them via the ACLU.

Again, why so much official reticence?

Here’s something else Ocean Grovers urgently care about: the North End Redevelopment Plan. But there’s a general lack of understanding among our citizens as to what that plan contains. The plan’s full text is available on the Neptune Township website, but just try to find it. Here’s what you have to do: Type “redevelopment” into the search field. (Typing “north end” gets you nowhere.) Scroll down to “Economic Development” and click the phrase “Read More.” Then scroll way, way, way way down until you get to “Redevelopment Plan-OG North End.” It took me two days to figure this out; it was like searching for The Lost Chord.

On Saturday the Home Owners Association passed a resolution about the North End, and that resolution includes a request that the Township use its website to keep citizens informed and updated. Good idea, and we hope the HOA continues to press the point.

Here’s another transparency issue: demolition by neglect. We try to keep people up to date on the court proceedings against the owners of problem properties in Ocean Grove. But wouldn’t it be better if the Municipal Court kept its schedules of trials and hearings online so every citizen could keep up — not just about code enforcement cases but all cases? This is the 21st century, the information is already in the court’s computers, and it is a basic public record.

Sometimes information that rightfully belongs to the public is kept from us because someone in authority wants it so. And sometimes it’s kept from us because no one cares enough to make the effort to share it. But whether the motives are active or passive, the result is the same: people are left in the dark about the workings of their government.

We used to rely on the media to keep us informed, but our local news media are weaker and more overextended than ever before. Given the economics of the news business, this won’t change. So if people in Ocean Grove want sound information, they’ll have to start demanding it.

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Fletcher Lake. Photo by Paul Goldfinger

By Charles Layton

Quietly, without publicity, a proposal is being advanced for a commercial swan boat operation on Fletcher Lake in Ocean Grove. This would be in addition to the one soon to open on the Asbury Park side of Wesley Lake.

The Fletcher Lake project, though, is more problematic because that area — between the boardwalk and Central Avenue — is not zoned for commercial use. However, the promoters may have a way around the prohibition of commercial activity there. One of the businessmen involved, Robert Hilton, formerly of Ocean Grove, told me that zoning would not be a problem because the business he and his partner are proposing would not be year-round. A floating dock would be installed in the spring and then removed in the fall, Hilton said.

Bernard Haney, Neptune Township’s land use administrator, also said zoning wouldn’t be an issue, but for a rather different reason: “The dock [would be] in the water; we have no control of the water.” If the promoters were building something beside the lake, on land, that might present a zoning issue, Haney said.

Hilton and his partner in the venture, Clark Cate of Ocean Grove, gave a presentation to the Fletcher Lake Commission about two months ago, in which they described pedal boats operating from a small floating dock next to Ocean Grove. (The Commission is composed of members from both Bradley Beach and Ocean Grove.) Hilton said he has also consulted with Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop of Ocean Grove and various other officials and has received encouragement. “We wanted to make sure nobody had any issues before we started the project,” Hilton said.

However, those not consulted were the homeowners near the site of the proposed dock. Some of them do have issues, and they are complaining that they only found out about the plan two weeks ago, more or less by accident, and have had a difficult time getting further information.

Marilyn Laverty, who lives on Broadway directly across from the site, said a boating concession would harm the environment and would also “commercialize an area that should be preserved and in fact improved environmentally rather than damaged.”

Another neighbor, Carol Woidt, also worries about opening up the lakeside to business activity. “I don’t want that to be an opening for other commercial things over here like food or that kind of thing,” she said. “Also, I wonder how it’s going to be advertised, are we going to have big signs over on the lake or in that area?”

Jeannine Rudolph, who also lives nearby, said, “I’ve been involved in the annual community cleanup of Fletcher Lake for five years now. Every year, we find that people have used this protected wetland as a dumping ground — from beer cans to bicycles to tires.” She fears that a pedal boat business “will add to the pollution in this already fragile ecosystem.”

Cate said he and Hilton would not permit food on their boats and that they “would make a point of going around and doing cleanups. We want to keep the lake the way it is, it’s gorgeous.”

Cate said he expects to get the business going sometime this summer, starting perhaps with six pedal boats and expanding if needed to as many as 10. He said they were considering two-person boats or four-person boats. Hilton emphasized that “nothing is 100 percent finalized yet,” but he said that “everybody in the world is on board” including the state Department of Environmental Protection, the federal EPA and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Some of those questioning the project say there is no record so far of the DEP approving a commercial enterprise on the lake. Some opponents also question the notion that the zoning issue could be avoided by having the dock float in the water rather than being attached to the land. Regarding that, Cate told me, “From what I understand, we have the approvals that we need from everybody.”

The Camp Meeting Association, which owns the land, won’t charge the operators for its use, said Rev. Scott Hoffman, the CMA’s chief administrative officer. “We’re just allowing them to do it because we think it’s a good thing for tourism.”

Hilton also argued that boats on Fletcher Lake would be good for the town’s tourist economy.

Cate and his wife, Margaret, owned the Manchester Inn on Ocean Pathway, which burned down last year. Since then, he said, “I have been trying to find some new, people-related business that I could get back into and enjoy… Right now this is not a big business for us, this is something we could actually run ourselves.”

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