Ocean City’s New Beach Patrol Chief Prepares for Busy Summer Season

first_imgBy Donald WittkowskiMark Jamieson isn’t sure how many swimmers he has saved during his nearly 20 years as an Ocean City lifeguard, but there is one rescue that stands out in his mind.In 2004, a big wave and strong winds pushed about 30 or 40 swimmers out to a jetty on the Ninth Street beach, putting all of them in severe danger. A mass rescue involving about 25 lifeguards ensued. When it was over, everyone was pulled to safety.“It was one of those rescues that was exhausting,” recalled Jamieson, who ended up with some cuts and bruises from brushing up against the jetty rocks.Jamieson points to the rescue not as a personal achievement, but rather as an example of the dedication, skill and teamwork of the entire Ocean City Beach Patrol.Over the years, there have been drownings in Ocean City, but they were at beaches that didn’t have lifeguards. No one has drowned at an Ocean City beach protected by lifeguards, Jamieson said.That perfect record dates all the way back to the founding of the Ocean City Beach Patrol in 1898, he noted.“It’s one honor we hold near and dear,” Jamieson stressed.Jamieson, 35, a lifelong Ocean City resident and beach patrol member since 1998, will now be the person primarily responsible for maintaining that honor.In February, he was named the beach patrol’s new chief, placing him in charge of protecting eight miles of coastline and an estimated 2.5 million to 3 million Ocean City beachgoers each summer.So, for any “Baywatch” fans out there who think that being a lifeguard is an easy summer gig, consider those numbers – 2.5 million to 3 million people must be protected every year.“By no means do we take that lightly,” Jamieson said.Jamieson, right, talks to lifeguards Connor Brady and Edward Keenan at the 12th Street beach.Memorial Day weekend provides Jamieson with his first big test as the new chief. On Saturday, he weaved his way through crowds of sunbathers lining the 12th Street beach, giving him a sense of what the rest of the summer will be like if the weather holds out.“A day with a cool ocean breeze is the perfect remedy for Ocean City day trips,” Jamieson said on an afternoon that featured partly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s.In his role as chief, Jamieson will oversee 170 employees, one of the biggest beach patrols in New Jersey and the largest in Cape May County. He will be paid an annual salary of $30,000.He said he doesn’t plan to make any major changes in operations, but will emphasize training and safety certification for all lifeguards. Above all else, he plans to carry on the beach patrol’s tradition of teamwork.“I’m not a ‘me person.’ I’m not a ‘you person.’ I’m an Ocean City Beach Patrol person,” he said.Capt. Brian Booth, one of Ocean City’s longest-serving lifeguards, said Jamieson has gotten the beach patrol fully prepared for the busy Memorial Day weekend and the rest of the summer.“The guys have confidence in him to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the beach patrol and the city,” Booth said.Booth, 46, a 32-year veteran, explained that the lifeguards were happy when one of their own was named to head the beach patrol.“We were comfortable and familiar with him, instead of having someone new and from the outside who we didn’t know,” he said.Booth has served as head coach of the boys swimming team at Mainland Regional High School for 20 years. He recalled seeing Jamieson the first time when Jamieson was a member of the Ocean City High School swim team. Jamieson has brought his competitive nature as a swimmer with him to the beach patrol.“He’s got a tremendous work ethic. He works very hard,” Booth said. “He deserves everything he’s gotten.”Crowds packed the beaches Saturday for the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer vacation season.Jamieson is a 2000 graduate of Ocean City High School. He graduated from Montclair State University and holds a master’s degree from Walden University. He works as a physical education teacher and boys and girls swimming coach at Egg Harbor Township High School.Jamieson succeeded Tom Mullineaux, who retired in November after 16 years as chief and 51 years on the beach patrol. His promotion to chief capped a career that saw him rise through the ranks as a senior lifeguard, training officer and senior lieutenant.Lifeguarding runs in Jamieson’s family. He’s had uncles and cousins who were lifeguards at the Jersey Shore.He chuckled at the stereotypes of lifeguards created in popular culture, including the campy “Baywatch” franchise that made David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson TV icons in the 1990s and has now hit the big screen, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the starring role, just in time for the summer.Jamieson hasn’t seen the new “Baywatch” movie yet, but he and some other lifeguards plan to catch the film sometime soon.“We’ll all go and watch that film and get a laugh out of it,” Jamieson said.Jamieson appeared at the May 23 City Council meeting to accept a proclamation from Mayor Jay Gillian designating Beach Safety Week from May 27 to June 4. Lifelong Ocean City resident Mark Jamieson, a veteran lifeguard, takes charge as the new beach patrol chief.last_img read more

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Friendly Football Match Between B&H and US Armed Forces in Kandahar

first_imgIn addition to the friendly match between B&H and the US, which took place last night at Koševo stadium in Sarajevo, a friendly match took place last night in Kandahar between the B&H and US military forces. The match was played at stadium Boardwalk Arena at 17:00 (Afghan time). The B&H team won with a result of 6:1.The game was played in a friendly atmosphere, with the support of several BH Fanaticos.The B&H team began to lead in the first minute. The lead then increased to 2:0, and with a goal by the Americans due to an error in defense by the B&H team the score became 2:1. The B&H team managed to score 4 more goals and the final score was 6:1.The game lasted half an hour because weather conditions (high temperatures and dust) did not allow it to go on for longer.(Source: klix.ba)last_img read more

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Cho deemed mentally ill in 2005 by state

first_imgWASHINGTON – Under federal law, the Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho should have been prohibited from buying a gun after a Virginia court declared him to be a danger to himself in late 2005 and sent him for psychiatric treatment, a state official and several legal experts said Friday. Federal law prohibits anyone who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective,” as well as those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, from purchasing a gun. A special justice’s order in late 2005 that directed Cho to seek outpatient treatment and declared him to be mentally ill and an imminent danger to himself fits the federal criteria and should have immediately disqualified him, said Richard J. Bonnie, chairman of the Virginia Supreme Court’s Commission on Mental Health Law Reform. A spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said that if found mentally defective by a court, Cho should have been denied a gun. The federal law defines adjudication as a mental defective to include “determination by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority” that as a result of mental illness, the person is a “danger to himself or others.” Cho’s ability to buy two guns despite his history has cast new attention on the adequacy of background checks that scrutinize potential gun purchasers. And since federal gun laws depend on states for enforcement, the failure of Virginia to flag Cho highlights the often-incomplete information provided by states to federal authorities. Only 22 states submit any mental health records to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the FBI said in a statement on Thursday. Virginia is the leading state in reporting disqualifications based on mental health criteria for the NICS system, the statement said. But Virginia state law on mental health disqualifications to firearms purchases is worded slightly differently from the federal statute. So the form that Virginia courts use to notify state police about a mental health disqualification only addresses the state criteria, which lists two potential categories that would warrant notification to the state police – someone who was “involuntarily committed” or ruled mentally “incapacitated.” “It’s clear we have an imperfect connection between state law and the application of the federal prohibition,” Bonnie said. The commission he leads was created by the state last year to examine the state’s mental health laws. Bonnie, the director of the University of Virginia Institute on Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, said his panel would look into the matter: “We are going to fix this.” Bonnie said he believed similar problems exist elsewhere in the country: “I’m sure that the misfit exists in states across the country and the underreporting exists.” After two female students complained about his behavior in 2005, Cho was sent to a psychiatric unit for evaluation and then ordered to undergo outpatient treatment, which would not qualify as an involuntary commitment under Virginia law, Bonnie said. “What they did was use the terms that fit Virginia law,” he said. “They weren’t thinking about the federal. I suspect nobody even knew about these federal regulations.” But Christopher Slobogin, a law professor at the University of Florida who is an expert on mental health, said that under his reading of Virginia law, outpatient treatment could also qualify as involuntary commitment, meaning Virginia law should have barred him from buying a weapon as well, an interpretation that Bonnie said he and the state’s attorney general disagree with. Slobogin added that the federal statute “on the plain face of the language, it would definitely apply to Cho.” A spokesman for the Virginia state attorney general’s office declined to comment Friday, saying only that various agencies were “reviewing this situation.” Richard Marianos, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Friday that federal and state officials were looking into the question, studying the court proceedings and testimony. But he added: “If he was adjudicated as a mental defective by a court, he should have been disqualified.” Dennis Henigan, legal director at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the oversight on the federal law in Virginia has probably been occurring for some time. “They may have been doing this for years, just basically assuming, if the guy’s not disqualified under state law, then we don’t have to send anything to the state police,” Henigan said. “It’s a failure to recognize the independent obligation to the federal law.” Most states do not follow the letter of the federal law when it comes to the mental health provisions, said Ron Honberg, legal director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an advocacy group. “I suspect if we look at all the requirements that exist for the states, there’s probably a whole lot of them that don’t implement them,” Honberg said, explaining that the gap often comes from a lack of resources but also because no one is enforcing the requirements. “When something like this happens, then people start to pay attention to this,” he said. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., has been pushing a bill to require states to automate their criminal-history records so that computer databases used to conduct background checks on gun buyers would be more complete. The bill would also require states to submit their mental health records to their background check systems and give them money to allow them to do so. According to gun control advocates, however, the mental health information submitted to the NICS is often spotty and incomplete, something McCarthy’s bill is designed to address. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a former member of the National Rifle Association’s board of directors, is co-sponsoring the bill, which has twice passed the House only to stall in the Senate. According to congressional aides, he is negotiating with pro-gun groups to develop language acceptable to them. “The NRA doesn’t have objections,” Dingell said in an interview. “There are other gun organizations on this that are problems.” A spokesman for the NRA declined to comment Friday on the legislation, but Dingell said the measure could prevent future tragedies: “It resolves some serious problems in terms of preventing the wrong people from getting firearms.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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