Extra Points: Cape May County Community Shines
It looks as if we'll be able to enjoy at least some semblance of summer at the beach this year.
Outdoor dining will be permitted starting June 15, which means I'd better call now if I want to get a seat near the fire pit at the Rusty Nail in Cape May.
Barbershops and salons will be reopening a week later. Five minutes after that announcement, my wife Karen was emailing Eternity Nails in North Cape May for a pedicure. She apparently wasn't alone, however, for the salon has yet to contact her.
The local Wawa's have allowed patrons to pour their own coffee again. No offense to the folks who served as baristas for a few months, but I'm the only one who can determine the proper amount of Hazelnut creamer for my 20-ounce cup of Cuban Roast.
Hopefully, retail stores will be allowed to open soon, thereby giving struggling business owners a chance to recoup at least part of the money they lost during the pandemic.
Here's my version of a sidewalk sale. It's a collection of opinions, thoughts and views that have been piling up in my mind and laptop while I've been social distancing.
*Major props to the police officers, clergy, city officials and mostly the residents and visitors for their conduct during the "Blackout Tuesday" protests and demonstrations in Somers Point, Ocean City and the Rio Grande section of Middle Township.
They proved that it is possible to stage meaningful protests against the cruel murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis without letting the situation escalate into the senseless violence and looting that erupted in Atlantic City, Philadelphia, New York and other cities across the country.
I want to give special mention to Ocean City police officer Tyrone Rolls, a former standout athlete at Ocean City High School, and other officers for supporting the protesters.
Alfonzo Toney and his brother-in-law Mike Dempsey also deserve recognition for helping to organize Monday's demonstration in Rio Grande. Toney, Pastor at the Soar Church in Woodbine, delivered a moving, powerful prayer while police and protestors locked hands.
*As a nurse at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Hammonton High School and Stockton University graduate Jill DiBlasi was on the front lines in the fight against Covid-19.
Now she's involved in another battle.
DiBlasi, a former standout soccer player, was seriously injured in an ATV accident on May 23. Doctors amputated her left leg above the knee and she also underwent surgery for a broken left wrist.
Alexa Rubio, who was her college roommate and teammate at Stockton, has formed a fundraiser on Instagram and is selling bracelets for $10 to help with medical expenses. Rubio is also a nurse at Thomas Jefferson.
DiBlasi's personal trainer, Tom D'Agostino, has created a GoFundMe account. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised $81,430 toward the $100,000 goal.
*Local baseball players Mike Trout and Matt Szczur never forgot where they came from. That's been demonstrated by their actions during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Trout, the three-time American League MVP from Millville, donated pizza, soda and cookies to personnel at the Inspira Medical Center in Mullica Hill a few weeks ago. A week later, he bought pizza and soda for 90 workers at the ShopRite store in Millville while his mother, Debbie, handed out gift cards to customers in the parking lot.
Szczur, a Lower Township native who is in the Phillies' organization, created a "Stay Home" collection of t-shirts and hoodies as part of his Szcz the Day Foundation and donated 100 percent of the proceeds to Cape May-area food banks.
In addition, Szczur has also raised funds for local causes with his incredible artwork. Most recently, the former Chicago Cubs outfielder painted an terrific "Last Dance" piece of Jordan and just finished a painting featuring Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to coincide with ESPN's upcoming documentary about their home run duel in 1998.
*The best part about ESPN's 10-part "Last Dance" series was Michael Jordan's bizarre trip to Atlantic City between games 1 and 2 of the 1993 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Knicks.
After losing game one at Madison Square Garden, Jordan, his father James, and some friends hit the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway to blow off some steam in A.C. According to a story in the New York Times from 1993, Jordan participated in an off-day practice on Monday, then headed to Bally's Grand - now the shuttered Atlantic Club - to play some cards.
Not mentioned in the documentary was that Jordan reportedly lost $5,000 playing blackjack in a closed-off section of the baccarat pit and was seen in casino as late as 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning before returning to New York for a mid-morning shootaround prior to a Game 2 loss to the Knicks.
There wasn't much in the way of eyewitness accounts at the time. I imagine it would have been slightly different if Twitter, Facebook and Instagram had been around.