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Wildwood 4.5.2006

By Rick Racela

Col. ww.4.5.59
           
As I head into the second half of my expected century on the planet, my thoughts turn away from such frivolous preoccupations of youth like the beginning of a new baseball season and just who will comprise the starting pitching rotation for the Phillies.
My thoughts instead turn to visions of retirement and pension and how, thanks to the medical profession and the wonders of modern science, I’ll be healthy enough to work until I’m 90.
Which is lucky for me because pensions are becoming as rare as a single family homes on the east side of North Wildwood and I’ll have to work until I’m 90.
So as I consider the prospects of another 30 years on the job, assuming I’m lucky enough to have a job, it’s only natural at my age to think about what happens beyond that job.
After the replacement parts that keep me going – the bionic knees and electronic eyes, computer driven organs and solar-powered heart – all finally give out and the warranty’s up on yours truly.
When at last I cast off my mortal coil, I want to be beamed up with Scotty, which is a truly fitting end for a child of the “Star Trek” generation.
Having pretty thoroughly trashed this planet, civilization has turned its gaze towards the heavens.
I guess there isn’t enough junk in orbit like satellites to provide signals for our cell phones, automobile navigational computers and other modern gizmos and necessities.
So, now, we’re going to fill the friendly skies with orbiting mausoleums.
Scotty isn’t the first to have his ashes hauled into the great beyond.
“Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, in keeping with his immortal mantra of “going where no man has gone before,” arranged to have his remains literally sent to heaven on the first funeral flight in 1997.
Naturally, the Chinese are also getting into the space burial act. And, of course, they’re doing it cheaper.
An organization called Chinese Descent Funeral Service offers an economy plan that allows you to rocket your remains into space inside a bottle the size of a tube of lipstick. The cost comes to the equivalent of about $1,500. 
In the very near future, you won’t have to die to get a chance to orbit the globe. The tourism industry is branching out from traditional offerings of family packages to the Jersey shore and gamblers’ junkets to Atlantic City.
The industry is making space the final frontier for the discriminating traveler who has exhausted the possibilities with the attractions of this world.
Provided he has the $200,000 to pony up for his ticket to ride, which is more expensive than a two-week rental of a beachfront condo during the height of the summer season.
According to the Associated Press, Richard Branson’s newest company, Virgin Galactic, already has over 100 takers for its inaugural flight, which could take place within two years.
With space funerals and tourists blasting hither and yon in the great beyond, joining all those communications and spy satellites already in orbit, traffic in the sky could soon start looking like the Garden State Parkway on Friday night of July 4 weekend. Then again, maybe not.
Promoters of the celestial cemetery indicate that the modules containing ashes will orbit for several years before tumbling back into the atmosphere, which might make for some interesting weather. 
***
Look for “100” on the North Wildwood beach at 14th Avenue on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
 Residents, tourists and beachcombers are all invited to gather at that time and location to form a human century to mark the 100 anniversary of North Wildwood as a municipality.
A helicopter will fly overhead to photograph the occasion.
The names of those participating will be listed, and placed inside a time capsule, which will be buried in front of City Hall
Call 425-0674 for more information.
***
There are many candidates interested in the April 18 Wildwood Board of Education election.
Ernie Troiano III (the son of Wildwood’s mayor) is the most re-cent to announce his candidacy.
Troiano brings the total to seven candidates vying for three three-year terms, and one one-year term.
Already running are Todd Kieniger, David Wertman, Carol Bannon, Richard Adair, Anthony Totah Jr. and William Cripp.
***
Wildwood Catholic High School holds its 50/50 Spring Raffle on Tuesday, April 11. Call 522-7257 for more in-formation.
***
There will be an open house on Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at the George Boyer Museum, 3907 Pacific Ave.
Refreshments will be served.
***
A Wildwoods’ welcome home is being extended to US Marine Cpl Mario Nocito Jr.
The North Wildwood resident returns home after serving seven months in Iraq.
***
Relax with yoga classes at the Wildwood Crest Recreation Center, 5800 Atlantic Ave. every Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $3 per class.
The recreation center also offers Tai Chi every Tuesday at 7 p.m. Cost is $3 per class.
Call 523-0202 for more information on these and other recreation center program offerings.
***
The final weekly community Lenten service takes place today at noon at the Wildwood Baptist Church, Maple and Atlantic avenues.
The program is sponsored by the Greater Wildwood Pastoral Association.
Following the service, there will be a lunch, where dessert and beverage will be provided.
Call 522-2981 for more information.
***
Those little yellow items poking out of North Wildwood lawns these days are the first daffodils of spring.
The search for Gus continues. Signs reading “Where’s Gus?” are being posted on lawns across the island.
And who is Gus? The first mayor of North Wildwood was Augustus Hilton and as part of the city’s centennial, North Wildwood is offering a $300 prize to the person who most closely resembles Hilton.
 No word on what the prize is for the person who finds Gus himself.
***
Holly Beach Fire Company and the Wildwood Civic Club are offering a full breakfast and bake sale on Sunday, April 23 from 9-1 p.m. at the fire house, Montgomery and Washington avenues.
A $7 donation benefits both organizations.
Call 729-2771 for tickets.
***
The 2006 Peer Leadership Conference takes place Friday at the Wildwood Convention Center.
Presented by Cape Assist, Rutgers Cooperative Center, and Cape May County Healthy Communities Coalition, the conference is open to all school-based and youth development organizations.
Call Kim Mounce, 729-8697 for more information.
***
Cape May County Emerald Society meets Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Elks Lodge on New Jersey Avenue, North Wildwood.
***
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Cape May County holds its third annual Spring Wine Tasting event on Friday, from 7-10 p.m. at the convention center.
Money raised at this event goes to the organization’s community and school-based programs.
Tickets cost $65. Call 653-8250 for information.
***
North Wildwood police officer Joseph Catanoso has been working with the DARE program at Margaret Mace School.
He has been interacting with students in grades 6-8 to help them understand some of the potential dangers that come with using the Internet.
Students have been playing a game called “Missing,” based on a true story about a young Canadian teenager who was lured away from home by a stranger who befriended him online.
The purpose of the game is to educate children to make wiser choices.
The Internet is a valuable tool but children should be especially careful about what sort of personal information they share online.
Parents also need to be aware of what their kids are doing. That means monitoring computer activity including the “friends” they make online.
***
Wildwood Crest Borough Commission meets today at 9:30 a.m. at Borough Hall, 6101 Pacific Ave.
West Wildwood Borough Commission meets Friday at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 701 W. Glenwood Ave.
Wildwood Crest Board of Education meets Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at Crest Memorial School, 9100 Pacific Ave.
North Wildwood Board of Education meets Monday, April 10 at 6 p.m. at Margaret Mace School, 1201 Atlantic Ave.
Wildwood Zoning Board meets Monday, April 10 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 4400 New Jersey Ave.
North Wildwood zoners are scheduled to meet Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 901 Atlantic Ave.

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