Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wildwood Police to Pinch the Grinch


An all points bulletin will be in effect throughout this city December 12 as members of the Wildwood Police Department search for the master of merry mischief, the Grinch.

Police will be running the Grinch out of town on the third annual "Pinch the Grinch 5K Run and 1 Mile Family Walk." The event will take off in front of the Wildwoods Convention Center on Saturday, December 12 at 10 a.m., rain or shine.

"We received a bulletin from Whoville saying the Grinch and his dog, Max, are heading in this direction, and will be in town December 12," said Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto. "Our officers will be on high alert to pinch him and send him packing."

According to the chief, the Grinch has a rap sheet that includes impersonating Santa Claus, breaking and entering Who homes, purloining playthings and stealing roast beasts.

"These are tough times economically," said Regalbuto. "It's difficult for some families to put food on their tables, let alone toys under their tree."

To ease the burden for those families, John Lynch and his army of helpers along with Wildwood police officers hope to make the holiday a grinch-less one for local children.

Supporting the Grinch Run was an easy one for the Wildwood police. The department has a longstanding relationship with John Lynch, executive director of the Lunch with Lynch Foundation. The foundation serves many needy families throughout Five Mile Island. A holiday offshoot of the Lunch with Lynch Foundation, "The Lynch Who Stole Christmas from The Grinch" provided toys, gift cards and warm coats to those in need.

"We're hoping to have as many law enforcement officers as possible make the run," said Regalbuto. "We're encouraging all police officers to participate."

Registration costs $30 per person, or $15 with the donation of a new, unwrapped toy. On-site registration begins at 8:30 a.m. the morning of the race inside the Wildwoods Convention Center.

Information about the run, including sponsorship, can be obtained by contacting Regalbuto at 609-522-0222, extension 2330 or online at

Pre-registration for the race or walk can be done at Participants are encouraged to register prior to December 9 to be guaranteed a Pinch the Grinch T-shirt.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mack's Pizza's "Mrs. T" passes away at 94

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Rose Tata, longtime manager at Mack's Pizza, on Monday at age 94.

Affectionately known as "Mrs. T," Tata was a fixture at the famous pizzeria's original Wildwood Avenue location, which she oversaw from her favorite seat at the end of the long counter for nearly a half century.

Tata was born in Philadelphia in 1921. She lived the majority her adult life in Cape May County, also spending time in Florida.

According to Ralph Grassi's outstanding history of Mack's Pizza at, Tata and her husband Andrew owned various Boardwalk businesses in the 1950s and 60s, including The Corral and Captain Andy's (which was located above Odger's Restaurant on the beach - the current location of Surfside Pier).

Tata later operated an ice cream parlor owned by the Mack family next door to Mack's Pizza's Roberts Avenue location. She went on to manage the Mack's location at Lincoln Avenue (no longer in existence) before moving to the Wildwood Avenue store.

Seeing Mrs. T, whether greeting her at Mack's or simply catching a glimpse of her doing her thing while passing by on the Boardwalk, was a rite of passage for many locals and visitors each year.

Wildwood 365 would like to offer our most sincere condolences to the extended Mack's family, and all who knew and loved Mrs. T.

She will be greatly missed!

Morey's Piers' Holiday Sale right around the corner...

The weather outside has been far from frightful (knock on boardwalk), but the upcoming savings are sure to be delightful!

Morey's Piers' annual Holiday Sale is right around the corner, featuring the year's biggest savings on amusement and waterpark passes, tickets, gift cards and more.

The sale begins on November 30 - less than two weeks away - and runs through January 8.

*Note: Online pre-orders start November 30; phone and on-site sales at Mariner's Pier begin December 7.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Warrior Signs to Play NCAA Division I Baseball


Wildwood High School senior Chris Mormile set a record that took 100 years in the making - he is the first athlete in school history to be signed to play NCAA Division I sports.

With his parents and coaches surrounding him, Mormile took pen in hand and signed on to play baseball for Wagner College in New York City.

Mormile said his decision to attend Wagner was made after his junior year when a coach from the school saw the Warriors pitcher's performance at the Philadelphia Phillies-sponsored Carpenters' Cup showcase.

"The coach offered me a visit. I decided to visit and the tour was just unbelievable," said Mormile.

The Wagner Seahawks play at Richmond County Baseball Park, a New York Yankees minor league stadium. For the native New Yorker, going home to play ball is a "dream come true."

In addition to his college baseball career, several major league scouts have been watching Mormile.

Mormile's father, Anthony, said the pitcher's talent on the field was apparent when he was 3 or 4 years old. Chris is one of eight children, six girls and two boys. Both boys, Chris and Andrew, play Warrior baseball.

"It's inborn talent," said his dad commenting about his son's success. "It's a tough task, but I'd like to see him go as far as he can go."

"Chris is the first Division I athlete to ever sign out of our program in the school's history," said Wildwood High School baseball coach Rich Hans. "He's the first one to get an athletic scholarship to play at the Division I level."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Crest seeks volunteers for advisory board positions


The Borough of Wildwood Crest is currently seeking volunteers to fill separate open positions on its Tourism Development Commission and Recreation Commission.

Potential applicants for the Wildwood Crest Tourism Commission must be Wildwood Crest residents who possess a current borough mercantile license and are interested in tourism-related issues and in promoting and developing tourism events in Wildwood Crest.

Potential applicants for the Wildwood Crest Recreation Commission must be Wildwood Crest residents interested in promoting and developing recreation programs, events and activities that serve both residents and visitors to the borough.

Members of both commissions help make decisions on events and programs, provide guidance on advertising and marketing issues and serve as consultants to borough recreation and tourism staff.

Both commissions meet once per month throughout the year, except during the summer months as no meetings are scheduled for June, July and August.

Applicants for either position should send a letter of interest to:

Borough of Wildwood Crest 
c/o Patricia Feketics, Borough Clerk
6101 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood Crest, NJ  08260

Deadline is Monday, November 23.

For further information, call 609-522-5176.

Wildwood Monument Dedication to be Held Nov. 21


Chapter 955 Vietnam Veterans of America, Wildwood, along with Boy Scouts of America Troop 185, North Wildwood, will conduct a recognition ceremony and dedication of a new monument located on the Burk Avenue side of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Wildwood.

The event will be held November 21 starting at 11 a.m. and is expected to take less than one hour.

There will be several speakers, including Marie Hays, who will speak of a family connection to the monument.

Recognized at this event will be Sean McBride, who organized and completed the monument and surrounding grounds. He earned his Eagle Scout badge with this "Beautification Project."

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located direction across from the Wildwoods Convention Center, Burk & Ocean Avenues in Wildwood.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

'Burn the Bird' Turkey Trot set for Saturday, November 28

November is typically one of the lightest months of the Wildwoods' annual event calendar, but a new event will help us ease into the holiday season this year.

The "Burn the Bird" Turkey Trot 5k and 1 mile walk, presented by the South Jersey Triathlon Club, comes to the Boardwalk on Saturday, November 28 - two days after Thanksgiving.

Registration the morning of the event will begin at 9 a.m. at the Wildwoods Sign (Ocean & Rio Grande Avenues).

The 5k will begin at 10 a.m., with runners heading south to Cresse Avenue, reversing north to Juniper Avenue, then turning south again back to the Wildwoods Sign.

For pre-registration info and more, see

Friday, October 30, 2015

North Wildwood Police Donate Bicycle to Student after Motor Vehicle Accident


Wildwood Police Officers recently donated a new bicycle to a local 8th grade student after his old bicycle was damaged.

The 8th grader was riding his bike home from school when he was struck by a motor vehicle. Officers arrived on scene and spoke to the student, who was visibly upset that his bicycle was in need of repair.

After seeing this, the officers contacted Scott Chambers, owner of Zippy's Bikes in Wildwood, to assist. With the help of Mr. Chambers, a new bicycle was purchased for the 8th grader and was presented to him at his home.

The bicycle was purchased by the North Wildwood Police Officer's Association. Zippy's Bikes also donated lights for the bicycle and free maintenance for the lifetime of the bicycle.

Gia "soft opening" tonight at new location

Gia by Vincent & Mia Chiarella will hold a "soft opening" this evening at its newly renovated location (which is also a previous home of the restaurant) - 3001 Pacific Avenue.

Dining hours are set for 4:30 - 10 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, all winter long.

Reservations can be made at 609-729-2802 or via

Congrats to Vincent, Mia and Beth!

Follow executive chef Mia "FitChef" Chiarella on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Public invited to Crest branding presentation


The borough of Wildwood Crest is set to unveil its new branding package at its next regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, November 4 at 9:30 a.m.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the meeting, which will be held in the courtroom at Borough Hall, located at 6101 Pacific Avenue.

Finch Brands, the borough's branding company, will present various forms of the potential new logo and tagline/slogan and discuss branding strategies with the commissioners and members of the public.

The commissioners are expected to vote on formal approval of the potential new logo and tagline at the meeting.

For more information, call 609-522-5176.

Halloween activities in the Wildwoods this Thursday & Saturday

Halloween is mere days away and happens to fall (no pun intended) on a Saturday - the perfect combination for trick or treating and some weekend leisure at the shore!

The frightful festivities begin on Thursday, when Wildwood Crest hosts its annual Trunk-or-Treat for Halloween; on Saturday, North Wildwood will hold its Trunk-or-Treat Block Party while the Greater Wildwood Elks continues the tradition of its annual Haunted House...

Wildwood Crest Trunk-or-Treat for Halloween

When:  Thursday, October 29 @ 6 p.m.
Where:  Crest Pier Recreation Center - 5800 Ocean Avenue

The event consists of parents/adults bringing their Halloween-decorated vehicles to the Wildwood Crest Pier parking lot at Heather Road & Ocean Avenue, where they will distribute candy from the trunks of their vehicles to children outfitted for Halloween The event includes other Halloween-related activities, a DJ, refreshments and prizes awarded to the best decorated vehicles. Trunk-or Treat is a free event, but vehicles must be pre-registered. Registration forms are available at the Crest Pier Recreation Center.

For more info, call 609-523-0202 or visit

Greater Wildwood Elks Halloween Haunted House

When:  Saturday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where:  Elks Lodge - 109 West 1st Avenue

A FREE walk through haunted house for trick-or-treaters. Treats will be given.

For more info, call 609-729-2170.

North Wildwood Trunk-or-Treat Block Party

When:  Saturday, October 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where:  Olde New Jersey Avenue between 2nd & Walnut Avenues

A family fun event, participants are encouraged to bring their vehicles decorated for Halloween. Children will come in costume and visit each car, where families will provide treats from the trunks of their cars. There will be no judging of children's costumes, but prizes will be awarded to the vehicles with the best decorations. Registration is FREE and forms are available at 900 Central Avenue in North Wildwood. Parking for visitors will be available in the municipal lot at 2nd & Olde New Jersey Avenues.

For more info, call 609-522-2955 or visit

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wildwood Street Named for Beloved Restauranteur

Mayor Ernie Troiano, Commissioner Pete Byron and Commissioner Tony Leonetti stand amid the Russo family. 
Photo courtesy of Earl Ostrander Jr.

A piece of Wildwood's rich entertainment and business history was honored Sun. Oct. 25 when City Commissioners Pete Byron and Tony Leonetti and Mayor Ernie Troiano unveiled a sign on Davis Avenue, honorarily naming it "Joe Russo Ave."

The honorary renaming was done to commemorate Russo's importance in the development of the city as a nationally known entertainment capital.

On May 1, 1922, the Russo family opened the Gingham Club at the corner of Davis Avenue and Park Boulevard. Named for the gingham cloths on each table, its name was later changed to Russo's Restaurant and operated until October 2008. Now named the Ice House, the restaurant continues to stand on the same corner.

Throughout the years many Russo family members were part of the family's business, but Joe Russo was the face that was associated with the restaurant. In naming the street, officials noted, "The City of Wildwood honors Joseph Russo and his entire family for their dedication not only to their business, but to the community as a whole."

"The naming of the portion of Davis Avenue, from Park Boulevard to Arctic Avenue, was done to commemorate Russo's place in Wildwood history" said Troiano. "This is one of many that we hope to do. The city is committed to recognizing the places where these great pieces of Wildwood history once stood."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Crest releases renderings of proposed Pacific Avenue medians

Above: Pacific Ave median from north: An architect’s rendering of proposed medians along Pacific Avenue facing south from Morning Glory Road.

Above: Pacific Avenue median from south: An architect’s rendering of proposed medians along Pacific Avenue facing north from Primrose Road.


The borough of Wildwood Crest has released architect's renderings of the proposed traffic medians that are part of an overall reconstruction project along the northern end of Pacific Avenue.

These colorful, landscaped medians, which will be located in the center of the roadway, will be 12 feet wide and will be constructed with sloped concrete curb, trees, sod, topsoil, and other vegetation and will be irrigated.

Medians will be constructed from Morning Glory Road through Primrose Road.

The area along Pacific Avenue on the north side of Rambler Road in front of the Wildwood Crest Volunteer Fire Company will not have a median in order to allow safe, easy access to the roadway for emergency vehicles.

Upon completion of the project, the entire length of Pacific Avenue in Wildwood Crest, from Cresse at the northern border to Jefferson at the southern border, will be one lane in each direction.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Crest announces project details for reconstruction of Pacific Avenue


The Wildwood Crest Board of Commissioners has approved a plan for the reconstruction of the northern end of Pacific Avenue that includes utility improvements consisting of the replacement of sewer mains and gas, water and storm drainage lines; road surfacing; and concrete work. The work will complete the project that was begun in the spring of 2015.

The commission also approved the creation of colorful, grass-covered and tree-lined medians along Pacific Avenue from Morning Glory Road to Primrose Road.

Estimated total cost of the project is $2.5 million, of which more than $2 million is for the street utility, paving and concrete work from Cresse Avenue to Rambler Road. Median construction costs are estimated to be $465,000, or approximately 18 percent of the total cost of the project. The borough recently received a $175,000 municipal aid grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation that is limited for use on Pacific Avenue between Cresse Avenue and Rambler Road. The NJDOT grant funds come with a limited timeline to spend the funds, without jeopardizing the grant.

The project was approved by the Board of Commissioners by a vote of two to one. Mayor Carl Groon and Commissioner Don Cabrera voted in favor of the project. Commissioner Joyce Gould voted against the project, citing her opposition to the proposed medians.

The street construction project is scheduled to begin in early December and is expected to be complete in May, in time for the 2016 summer season.

“Funding was approved at the (Oct. 7) meeting and will be in place by Nov. 2,” said Cabrera, the Commissioner of Public Works. “It is important to note that this project is on a tight timeline. Any changes to the approved plan will delay this project into the fall of 2016 and beyond. I think our residents and visitors would appreciate this project being complete as quickly as possible. I don’t think any of us want to go through another summer with the roadway like it is currently.

“I think our residents and business owners will like the look we are proposing on the rendering, which we will introduce hopefully by next meeting.”

Medians will be constructed for multiple purposes, including but not limited to the following:

The Wildwood Leader - Vol. 35, No. 97

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