Back in August, we wrote about Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on the Washington Street Mall and, more specifically, the many maintenance-related challenges you might expect from a building that was incorporated in 1848. At this point, the disrepair of the church’s breathtaking stained-glass windows was already being addressed, and had been for about six years. But that million-dollar project, coupled with the costs of a leaky roof and its inherent dramas — plaster falling on the head of the Blessed Mary, for instance — left the church with no option but to seek help from its neighbors. The SWIN, or Stop Water Intrusion Now, campaign was launched. “I see this project larger than a Catholic thing,” Our Lady Star of the Sea Business Manager Terry McGarvey told us. “This is a Cape May thing.”
And, obviously, Cape May thought so, too.
The church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, set a fundraising goal of $600,000, and set its sights on hitting this target within 18 to 24 months. But last week, we ran into SWIN’s co-chairpersons, John and Janet Kerney, and they gave us this great bit of news: The goal has not only been met, but met in just four-and-a-half months… a Christmas miracle, if ever we’ve heard one.
Or, maybe, not so much a miracle, as a generous show of support from a town that knows what strength there is in community — 527 parish families have donated, as well as 170 non-parishioners. Their money will go toward finishing repairs at Our Lady Star of the Sea, as well as repairing Saint Agnes Church in Cape May Point.
When we saw them, John and Janet were understandably beside themselves with gratitude for the groups (like the Charitable Exchange foundation), the locals, visitors, business owners, religious folk, lay people, and anonymous donors who all contributed to the success of the SWIN effort, as well as the other members of the SWIN Committee — Joe Bogle, George Catanese, Terry and Tom Christie, Bernie Haas, Earle Hughes, Joan and John Hunger, Bob Lamendola, Bill Murray, Mike Piron, Christine Rizzo, and John Tice — who worked tirelessly to get the message out. We thought it only appropriate to give them a shout-out ourselves.
Congratulations to the members of Our Lady Star of the Sea, and to all non-members as well.
This kind of coming together is what makes Cape May great.
Rest In Peace, Rick
Fifty-nine-year-old West Cape May resident Rick Kaschak, who passed away unexpectedly on December 17, had a lot of loves.
First, there was his family, which includes devoted girlfriend Shannon Oliver, 10 siblings, and 19 nieces and nephews.
Then, there was his business. A veteran of the Navy and a former mechanic who moved to West Cape May in 2003, Rick operated Steaks Up in the Akroteria Outdoor Food Court on Beach Avenue. You might have seen him there, sporting his New York Giants shirt and, in his typical dry-sense-of humor-fashion, a paper bag over his head, because of his shame over being a Giants fan.
And there was his community. “Every year at his home on Broadway,” said dear friend Stephen Fischer, “Rick would host a party on the day of the West Cape May Christmas Parade that was open to everyone. People would bring food, drinks, desserts; it was always such a good time, and I’m so glad we got one more in this year.” When Rick wasn’t hosting his neighbors, he was helping them. “He was a very talented person,” Stephen said. “He was very handy. One time I had a plumbing problem; I called Rick and he was here in five minutes, after picking up parts at the hardware store. He was the kind of friend you could count on — always willing to help everyone, and always so happy and upbeat.”
Rick, who played four to five times a week at the Cape May Tennis Club, was Stephen’s tennis doubles partner. “Whenever we won a match,” he told us, “Rick would always say ‘West is best,’ because we are both from West Cape May. Everybody at the club loved him.”
Shortly before he passed away, Rick played one final match. “We’re going to miss him,” Stephen said. “He made so many people happy in so many ways. He left us too young, but at least he went after doing something he loves.”
Where To Bring Your Canned Goods
Regular readers know just how much we love animals at Exit Zero — a love that’s second only to our great appreciation for how much this community loves animals. Case in point? Bob and Linda Steenrod of dog-friendly Billmae Cottage are once again doing their Animal Giving Tree.
Each year, they collect dog and cat food, treats, toys, old but clean towels, blankets and bleach for cleaning, all of which will be donated to Animal Outreach of Cape May County, as well as the Cape May County Animal Shelter. Items can be left under the tree on the Steenrod’s porch at 1015 Washington Street until January 8.
If you’d like to make a monetary donation, checks can be made out to Paws and Stripes, a small non-profit (donations are tax deductible) that rescues shelter dogs and trains them as service dogs for veterans in need. The couple who runs the organization does so for no salary. Check out their website at pawsandstripes.org… then get thee to the Animal Giving tree.
The First Big Event Of 2014
You know the deal — great music from the Irish Pipe Brigade, a great menu featuring the Scottish staple haggis (and vegetarian alternatives), great friends, great kilts, and an altogether spirited celebration of Robert Burns, the 18th -century Scottish poet who penned “Auld Lang Syne”. We’re talking about the 10th Annual Burns Supper, being held at The Ugly Mug on Thursday, January 23. It’s not too late to reserve your seat — log onto exitzero.us. Tickets are $35 and benefit Animal Outreach of Cape May County.
We’ll see you there, Cape Island. Until then, have a joyful New Year, We can’t think of a better place to kick off 2014 than right here in Cape May.
40th Candlelight House Tour
On 12/28, this self-guided tour, the main attraction of Cape May’s holiday season, features homes, inns, hotels, and churches decorated for the holidays, plus caroling, and strolling musicians. Hospitality centers offer warm beverages and traditional treats. Includes admission to the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, and the Carriage House Gallery. Continuous shuttle servie is offered on heated trolleys. Lasts from 5:30-8:30pm. Adults are $25, children are $20 (ages 3-12). Visit capemaymac.org.
Bird Seed Sale
On 1/4 and 1/5, stock up on your bird seed at the Nature Center of Cape May. Maintaining bird feeders is a great way to benefit birds during the cold winter months, when wild food is scarce. Don’t miss these great opportunities to stock up on birdseed for the winter AND support the Nature Center of Cape May. Special discounts are available the first weekend of each month, so plan your seed shopping accordingly.
Sports Talk With Celebrities
On 1/18, you’ll want to attend this open forum at Convention Hall where fans can connect with some of the area’s most recognized members in sports media. From 2-4:30pm. Contact 609-884-9565.
On 1/24, older kids will have a chance to cut a rug to the sounds of a DJ at Convention Hall from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Contact 609-884-9565.
Adult Ballroom Dancing
On 1/25, nthing will help you keep the spark alive like a night of ballroom dancing with the Fred Hall Orchestra at Convention Hall. Contact 609-884-9565.
Sports Talk With Celebrities
On 2/2, you’ll want to attend this open forum at Conevention Hall where fans can connect with some of the area’s most recognized members in sports media. From 2-4:30pm. Call 609-884-9565.
Rum Runners Ball
On 2/15, come dressed as a flapper, rum runner, keystone cop, or still operatore… just look out; the joint might just get raided! Held at Congress Hall. Contact 609-465-3535.
Crafts And Antiques in Winter
On 2/15 and 2/16, the region’s most sought-after antique dealers and craftspeople come together for a two-day show featuring an array of handmade items, country antiques, glassware, silver, furniture and more from 10am to 4pm at Cape May Convention Hall. Admission is $2.
Playing Now At Cape May Stage: Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol: We all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge…but what ever happened to Jacob Marley? Chained and shackled, Marley is condemned for all eternity, but when a malicious little evil sprite offers a desperate Marley one chance to free himself, he accepts. To escape his own chains, he must first redeem Scrooge. So begins a journey of laughter and terror, redemption and renewal. This irreverent, funny, and ultimately, deeply moving story retells Dickens’ classic with warmth and infectious zest. This thrilling performance is sure to become a holiday classic for generations to come. Through December 29. Performed at The Robert Shackleton Playhouse.
Santaland Diaries: A struggling young writer takes a job as a Christmas elf at Macy’s in New York City, and offers a sardonic, witty, irreverent accounting of elf training, bad Santas, abusive customers, and humiliating conditions. Go deep into the heart of Christmas as it exists in our consumerized world and get our holiday in high gear with this hilarious one-man show. Through December 29. Performed at Congress Hall.
Roller Skating (at Convention Hall beginning December 20)
Adult Skate: Open to those 18 and older. Held on Tuesdays, starting January 7, from 7pm to 9pm.
Toddler Skate: Held every Friday morning, starting on January 3 from 9:30am to 11:30am.
Open Skate: Open roller skating is offered on Fridays from 4pm to 6pm and from 7pm to 9pm, on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 3pm and from 4pm to 6pm.
Cape May Convention Hall will be closed for roller skating on Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Guests may bring their own standard or in-line skates or they can rent them from our facility. Admission fee is $5 per person. Skate rental is $2 for traditional skates and $4 for in-line skates. Admission for non-skaters is $2.
Skaters can take a break from the action and enjoy soft drinks, water, and light snacks at the concession stand for affordable prices.
Roller skating at Cape May Convention Hall will continue through Sunday, April 6 and then resume in December of 2014 for the winter season.
Contact the Recreation Department at 609-884-9526 for more information.