By Neil Schulman
Monmouth Beach — The borough hopes that next Veterans Day will bring some increased turnout.
At the Nov. 20 Borough Council meeting, resident Sue McDonald said that she wondered why the borough hadn’t held any events on Veterans Day, November 11. She knew that plaques had already been put up to commemorate veterans, and had heard something was held earlier in the week, but said it wasn’t well publicized.
“I knew there was something at the schools, but there was no announcement.”
Monmouth Beach veterans presented a ceremony at the Monmouth Beach School on November 5. Mayor Susan Howard said that the borough has done this for the last five years.
“After (Hurricane) Sandy, we moved it to involve the schools, so the children would appreciate it,” she said.
Prior to that, the event had been held at borough hall, and the school band and choir had performed during the ceremony. But with borough hall damaged by Sandy, people decided to move it to the school and hold an assembly for all students to take part in.
Since Veterans Day took place on Sunday this year, about the same time as several local conventions, the ceremony was held early.
“The veterans picked the day this year,” Howard said.
She said that in the past it’s been advertised, and they will make sure it’s announced in borough emails and other places in coming years.
She also encouraged more residents to attend the ceremony.
“We get very few people. We try very hard to get other people,” she said, but often it’s just veterans and parents of essay winners.
Sand pile may be moved
There are a lot of if’s involved, but it’s possible that, after six years, the borough will no longer need to worry about the mounds of sand that blow over the sea wall by the Sea Bright border.
After Hurricane Sandy receded, Ocean Avenue was left covered in sand. The federal government plowed it and piled up the sand directly east of the sea wall.
With nothing to anchor it down, the sand keeps blowing back over the sea wall whenever there’s a strong wind or storm.
“They wouldn’t come back and fix it, and immediately the piping plovers became an issue,” Howard said.
Because these birds are on the endangered species list, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection puts a lot of restrictions on what can be done in the birds’ nesting territory. Sea Bright isn’t allowed to put up snow fencing, because the DEP claims that would block the birds’ access. Nor can the borough plant dune grass, which strengthens piles of sand and keeps them from blowing, because predators who feed on plovers hide in the grass.
But Commissioner Dave Stickle says there’s hope. He’s been working with borough engineers T&M Associates on a “beach management” project. In the fall and winter, when the birds aren’t at the site nesting, they’ll come in and remove the sand.
Because this requires DEP approval, it’s moving slowly.
“The project started last March,” Stickle said. And he thinks that the day it started might be beneficial. It was during a major sou’easter, where the DEP representatives could see the sand flying over the wall and onto the highway.