Homeward Bound

Ocean Beach Community Fund Board member John Schaffner, pictured with Joey Macellaro, passed away on May 16.

By Joey Macellaro

A great migration has begun once again, as members of our community make the trek from wherever they spend the cold months to beautiful Fire Island. Some brave souls never leave the beach, but for the rest of us, this migration has become a kind of ritual filled with tradition and emotion. I like to think the beach feels most like home for many of us, even though we spend only a few months here.

The Ocean Beach Association (OBA) and the Ocean Beach Community Fund (OBCF) will be welcoming over 70 new families at their annual new homeowner brunch at 11 a.m. on June 11 at Windswept, being held for the first time since 2019. Welcoming newcomers was one of many topics discussed at the Ocean Beach Association’s spring membership meeting on April 6, attended virtually by over 100 members.

The Ocean Beach village elections were discussed with all candidates being given time to present their platforms. Mayor Jim Mallott and Village Justice William Wexler are running unopposed. Incumbent Dawn Hargraves and newcomers Marco Ament and Byron Chenault are running for Trustee Brian Power’s seat.

Outgoing OBA Treasurer Craig Sherman welcomed restaurant owner Jon Randazzo as his replacement. OBCF President Holly Etlin spoke about a new teen and adult recreation program, based out of the Ocean Beach Youth Group’s Windswept facility, being launched this summer with the financial support of her organization. She also spoke about plans for the July 4 children’s parade, three dock concerts, the Fund’s annual benefit dance on Aug. 6, a combined adult and children’s art show on Aug. 13 and 14, and the historical society’s exhibit on the village of Ocean Beach’s centennial, titled “100 Years, 100 Voices.” The exhibit will launch on June 25.

Village of Ocean Beach Environmental Committee Co-chair Camille Guigliano spoke about efforts to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles by installing filling stations, as well as the science behind work to restore the oyster population in the Great South Bay.

Patty Brahe spoke on behalf of the Ocean Beach Youth Group, highlighting their need for staff for the summer. Chief Lifeguard Jillian Weinstein noted that guards will be on duty on weekends starting Memorial Day weekend and full-time starting June 25.

Police Chief George Hesse spoke about last season’s influx of unaccompanied minors visiting the village and the challenges his department is facing in recruitment.

As we look forward to coming home again, there are some faces that will be absent. Fire Chief Ian Levine remembered past members John McCollum and Don Cafuoco, who served for a combined 65 years. We will sorely miss Jeyson Reyes, the son of Jonneigh Adrion; Joey Fitz; Roger Mosconi; Dorothy Meyer; and Ocean Beach Community Fund board member John Schaffner, pictured with Joey Macellaro, passed away on May 16., a businessman, volunteer, and vocal supporter of our community for over 50 years.

I look forward to spending another season here, at home, with my readers and friends. Please keep in touch.