I’ve been making more and trips to the barrier island in the last couple of weeks and there is plenty of good news but unfortunately just as much bad news.
The good news is people are moving back to places like Seaside Park, Seaside Heights and Lavallette and businesses are re-opening. Klee’s Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights has been open since right after Christmas, Hemmingway’s was back in business last weekend and the Bamboo Bar is expected to open next weekend.
That will all help bring people back to Seaside and help other businesses as well while giving locals options without having to drive over the bridge.
I stopped in yesterday to The Crabs Claw Inn and happy to report that owners Sam & Louise Hammer will re-open the landmark Lavallette restaurant next Friday (February 1st). Works crews and staff have done an amazing job in making repairs and improvements after Sandy and offered praise for Lavallette officials, who have gone out of their way to help the business community get back on their feet, which is the way it should be.
However to get to Lavallette I had to drive through Ortley Beach and what you see there is still heartbreaking and gut wrenching. Sure it’s better than it was but that’s not saying much and clearly this section of Toms River Township has a very long way to go.
What is disturbing is the amount of garbage and debris still piled-up outside businesses on Route 35 north and it’s an eyesore and nasty reminder that needs to be removed as soon as possible. Like many individuals are finding out, issues involving FEMA, homeowners and flood insurance are still bogging down too many recovery efforts.
A couple of quick hitters:
Nice touch by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to visit a Salvation Army relief center in Ortley Beach yesterday in advance of the Phillies Winter Tour stop in Lakewood.
Congratulations to coach Ron Laycock and the Toms River South wrestling team for earning a share of the Class A South title for the first time in more than 30 years. The Indians pinned Brick last night while perennial power Brick Memorial decked Southern which leaves South and Memorial as co-champions of what has to be the best wrestling division in the state.