Welcome back and warm greetings to all Ocean Beach owners, renters and guests! We’d like to introduce you to Only Footprints, your source for OB community news for the 2015 season.We named this column to emphasize the fact that although on the surface we seemed “revived,” our island has still not fully recovered from the aftereffects of several past storms. Whereas the Village and shopkeepers have done a wonderful job to prepare Ocean Beach for another year of fun in the sun, we are also asking you, dear readers, to do your part to help keep OB the revitalizing and family-focused environment many have enjoyed for decades. How can you help? All we ask is to be mindful of your impact environmentally and socially while you are here. Our wish is that everyone embraces their stay, take away fond memories and leave nothing behind — only footprints.One other housekeeping item we’d like to mention before we get to some news. If you haven’t already, please familiarize yourself with the VOB website and specifically check out the “village code book,” by accessing the website and then clicking on the “village code book” link in the left column. Here you can find all the information you need regarding permits, safety information and village ordinances. Lots of important information here, so check it out.While you were away, we endured one of the coldest winters in recent years resulting in the bay freezing solid for over six weeks. Due to this situation, ferry service was suspended depriving many who enjoy the winter season a chance to see Fire Island in its natural beauty. For many of us locals, whether we were able to drive off the island or not, a hint of cabin fever did set in. Fortunately we could thank our good friends at CJ’s for staying open as much as they could to help us enjoy a sense of community during this brutal stretch of winter.With spring in full bloom there are many new happenings to report on in Ocean Beach:• On Saturday, May 22, the Ocean Beach Fire Department will hold their annual Blood Bank Drive, from 3-7 p.m., at the OBFD fi rehouse. Kindly bring your ID. Food will be served to all who donate, so come on out and help a very worthy and needed cause.• Then on Sunday, May 23, our annual Memorial Day observance and parade will take place starting at 11 a.m. The parade will start at the OBFD firehouse, proceed down Bayberry to Bay Walk and end at the flag on the village green. Please note that all veterans are cordially invited to walk as well. Please muster (uniforms optional) at 10:30 a.m., at the OBFD firehouse and be part of this special celebration.We would like to take the time to recognize some of our business owners, and staff news, for the 2015 season. Join us in congratulating Scott Hirsch and crew at the Island Mermaid as they celebrate their 25th anniversary year. In addition, a special shout out is in order to Laura O’Shea, who was recently promoted to manager of the Island Mermaid and Lauren Lincoln to the same position at The Landing. We would also like to welcome to the beach two new key members of The Hideaway staff: Samantha MacLeod, general manager, formerly of Tocolo Cantina (Garden City) and Craig Atwood, executive chef, formerly of Jedediah Hawkins Inn (Jamesport). We are looking forward to having them carry on the great Hideaway tradition, both in front as well as in the back of the house.We’d be remiss if we didn’t share some happy news relating to several of Ocean Beach’s tireless workforce. Congrats are in order for Paul Conway (Rene’s Lighthouse) and Amy Goldstein, who were married on May 16. And future wedding bells will be chiming in 2016 for sisters Ashley (Castaway) and Justine (Albatross) Leggio, who got engaged this past winter to Jon (Castaway, The Landing, Scoops, Beaches and Cream, BayWalk Café) Randazzo and Gavin (Houser’s dock master) Farrell, respectively.In other business news, a new shop call Fire Island Outfitters has opened in the space formerly occupied by The Athletic Turtle. (Thank you Jerry Cohen for decades of friendly service.) Fire Island Outfitters features Fire Island merchandise, casual beach clothing, foot and athletic wear and is operated by Lindsay Patrick Klentzin, owner of Bambootique and Salty Stich among others. The Community Garden Center has opened its new arts boutique, Community Gardens, on the site of the former Laughing Gull. This openair market will continue the tradition established by the former owners, Mel and Bob Linekin, showcasing crafts, home furnishings and outdoor lifestyle products all sourced from local Fire Island artisans. We also wish to convey our thanks to Nanci Engle and Ira Charles of The Country Mouse for the 30+ years of serving Ocean Beach. TCM closed this year and undoubtedly many will miss Ira, who was always a fixture sitting and smiling outside the store, passionately promoting the need for a higher level of environmental consciousness to protect our beautiful island.As we wrap up our inaugural column, it is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of AmadoVasquez, chef of Castaway Bar & Grill, earlier this month. Rest in Peace, Amado, you will stay in our thoughts as we come to terms with our sudden loss.Finally, we’d like to say a fond and heartfelt good bye to Douglas Wyckoff, who passed away in late 2014. He was a husband, father, fi reman, beachcomber, artist, village trustee, bouncer, bartender, schoolteacher, football buddy, concertgoer and dear friend to many — and he was “Uncle Dougie” to all. He will be missed but his memory will not fade away.Good news you want to share with Theresa and Pat? Email them at [email protected].