OCEAN BEACH AREA: Only Footprints

By Theresa and Patrick MacriWell here we are with our third column of the season already — can’t believe we are more than halfway through June! The weather is finally doing its part to make us feel like summer, and things in and about town are heating up as well.Besides the weather, the heated race for the VOB trustee seats was almost too hot to handle. In the election held on June 5, challenger Chris Norris ran against incumbents Matt Blake and Greg Pace for the two 4-year term seats, while Brian Power ran unopposed for the one 2-year term seat. With Power a “shoo-in,” and three people vying for the other two seats, the push for votes was on and it was clear that the voters had “change” on their minds. Each candidate made a push to promote their views on how they planned to move OB forward, with Blake and Pace reaffirming why they would be the best choice for the two open positions, while Norris suggested that if elected, he would bring a “balanced voice” to the local governing body.Although the candidates were all very cordial to each other throughout the campaign process, it was the voting community that bared its teeth. Passionate dialogue both on the streets and online signaled that much was at stake here. Issues such as “quality of life” and the fate of Windswept were main topics of debate, as well as a perceived ineffectiveness of the village to address vital infrastructure repairs two years post Sandy. In at hotly contested election, it was Blake and Norris emerging victorious along with the uncontested Power, thus reshaping the composition of the village trustee board. For many, the people had spoken and “change” was indeed their mandate.We spoke with Mayor Mallott about the results and asked how this would affect the village’s governing body. He first thanked Greg Pace for his years of service to the village and then assured us that the new composition of the board were all talented individuals who he was ready to work with on the many pressing matters for the village. He also expressed a caveat that although committed, the group would need time to gel as a team, as there are now three new (Norris, Power and Jason Bendicksen) out of four trustees that have come onboard in the past year. “There’s definitely a learning curve,” remarked Mallott, who stressed that making things happen may seem deceptively simple to many. “All these men are volunteers who are giving copious amounts of time to support our village while maintaining their real life jobs. But no matter how hard they work, it’s still a process to get things done.”And speaking of process, the mayor assured us that after two years of working with FEMA and New York State, things will finally get going on much needed repairs to the Ferry dock and terminal. “Shovels in the ground come September,” he added.The village also has started working on several cosmetic and safety upgrades with the recent shingling of the police station as well as much-needed concrete repairs of some major sidewalk sections within town and the total replacement of several full streets south of Midway.As we write, we are less than a month away from the unofficial “real” start of the summer, the July 4th weekend. By this time, most if not all schools will be on summer break and families with children will become a more frequent part of the OB scene. Thanks to the Ocean Beach Community Fund, several family friendly events have already been scheduled.We recently spoke with Iris Leviten of the OBCF and she wanted all to know that the Children’s Arts and Crafts Show will be held on Saturday, July 25. Applications are available now via email — send your application requests to obfund11706@aol.com. Or if in town, you can pick one up at the Fire Island News, Village Office, the Historical Society, Kline’s, Ice Castle Candy Store, OBT Market, OB Hardware, Palms Hotel, Rene’s Lighthouse Plumbing, Scoops or the Seaview Market.In addition, the Saturday Night Music on the Dock concerts will indeed be back this summer, featuring:July 25 Reggae with Winston IreAug. 8 Beatles Tribute by The Liverpool ShuffleAug. 15 Rock ‘n Roll with Tradewinds BandAug. 22 Rod Stewart Tribute by Rick LarrimoreAug. 29 Woodstock Tribute by Alan Stillman and Retro69All shows will take place on the dock adjacent to the OB Police Department and will feature two sets: 7:30-8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.And while we are marking our calendars, the OBCF’s Annual Community Dance will be held on Saturday, Aug. 1 and the Art Show on the Bay will take place on Saturday, Aug. 8 and Sunday, Aug. 9. Stay tuned for more information in our next issue.Finally, while this column is dedicated to what’s going on in Ocean Beach, we would like to mention how some of the things that go on here effect our home community just next door, Corneille Estates.For years, Corneille has been known as the “land of yes,” in comparison to Ocean Beach being the “land of no.” In an effort to curb the rising level of crowds eating, drinking, playing ball and listening to loud music on OB’s beaches, the OBPD cracked down on violators and along with various establishments, told them to move to Corneille’s beach.Unfortunately, the only thing that really happened was that OB’s problem now moved west to become Corneille and Summer Club’s problem. This forced Corneille/Summer Club residents to implement new community rules to restrict beach activities such as no drinking, no eating and no ball playing. To help enforce these regulations, the homeowners chipped in and hired private guards stationed along Midway and the beach. Of course, this in turn only served to keep the party moving – literally – to the National Seashore tract due west.But last year, in an unprecedented move, the National Seashore opted to implement and enforce a new “No Alcoholic Beverages” law in the area from Corneille to Atlantique. And just like that, the bulk of the problem solved, albeit with financial expense to all the Corneille/Summer Club homeowners.The silver lining to this action is that by working together, we can change the quality of life in our towns and villages. Now all residents who go to the beach in these communities able to peacefully enjoy the beach and leave behind… only footprints.Got Ocean Beach area new for Theresa and Patrick? Email them at oceanbeach@fireisland-news.com.