Meet Mario

Meet Mario. He lives on Bellevue and is one of the community gardeners who cares for the plot between Bellevue and Texas on Pacific. The residents have been gardening in the area for a while – although the garden has moved recently from across the street. Now it is sheltered on three sides from the wind and is a refreshing slice of greenery along Pacific. Everyone gardens their own corner.

South Jersey Oysters, Methadone Jail Pilot – Monday’s Roundup

Three quarters of the inmates in Atlantic County’s jail are addicted to opioids and the jail is the first in the state to test out a one-year program offering methadone to inmates, reports Joe Hernandez for NewsWorks. The Atlantic/Cape May, Ocean and Burlington court systems in South Jersey run so-called Drug Courts, which help divert some people with abuse disorders to recovery services and away from the criminal justice system, but not everyone is eligible and many still end up in county jails.

Dunes, Wine Camp, AC Community Fund – Friday’s Roundup

The dune work in Margate is going ahead again but with some conditions, after a federal judge lifted the order that halted the construction project. The conditions are designed to increase safety in the event of any future ponding between the dunes and the bulkhead. Judge Renee Marie Bumb said the work should go ahead so Margate would not be left unprotected from storms during hurricane season. The Army Corps of engineers said it is working on solutions to the ponding problem. Read more via The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Amy Rosenberg.

The Walk, Dunes, Beer Garden – Thursday’s Roundup

Margate and the Army Corps of Engineers were in court yesterday to testify on the ponding effect created by new dunes constructed earlier this year, reported Amy Rosenberg for The Philadelphia Inquirer. The lawyer for the Army Corps said he would “ask for suggestions” when the judge questioned him as to what could be done now to improve the problem.

Atlantic City, Bacteria, Sales Tax – Wednesday’s Roundup

t wasn’t from the ocean or even Lake Margate/Christie, but two children in Atlantic County contracted bacterial infections from swimming at Port Republic’s beach along Nacote Creek. Both children are now well after treatment with antibiotics, but their parents took to social media to raise awareness of infection symptoms, SNJ Today Reports.

Local 54, Prescription Probe, PennEast – Tuesday’s Roundup

Local 54
The casino workers’ union Unite Here Local 54 Unite Here yesterday said it would endorse Assemblyman Chris Brown’s run for state senate, the Press of Atlantic City reports. Union President Bob McDevitt explains the decision is related to Brown’s support of the No North Jersey Casinos campaign, which McDevitt said helped lead to Hard Rock’s decision to open an Atlantic City casino. “Thanks to Chris’s efforts, Hard Rock is now investing in Atlantic City, creating over 3,000 new job,” said McDevitt. I suspect there is another Chris who wants credit for that, too. Prescription Probe
Ted Greenberg reported yesterday for NBC 10 that the investigation into prescription drug fraud by municipal workers in Atlantic City, Margate and Ventnor, has expanded.

Nighttime Economies, Rabbits, Hospitals – Monday’s Roundup

Nighttime Economies
Atlantic City isn’t the only city in the United States that has to manage noise and antisocial behavior issues related to its nighttime businesses. Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in Florida have recently appointed officials – ‘nighttime economy czars’ – charged with figuring out how best to manage relations and the issues that crop up between tourists, locals and the nighttime businesses. Route Fifty has an interview with the expert in Orlando – it’s worth reading for those of you involved in the bar/restaurant/casino industries, or just interested in city planning issues. Rabbits
There are bunnies everywhere, as our two-year-old keeps pointing out. Maybe it was the warm-ish winter.

Dunes, Opioids, Malls, Brigantine Surf Jam – Friday’s Roundup

Dune Project Delayed
Margate’s dune project has been temporarily suspended by Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez, who described drainage problems related to the project as the cause of “irreparable harm” to the city, according to an article published by the Press of Atlantic City. The lack of proper drainage has resulted in 15 inches of stagnant water locked behind the newly constructed dune. Mayor Michael Becker has stated tests have shown the pooled water to be loaded with bacteria, and two lifeguards have been treated for infection and fever due to extended contact with the water. New Online Portal Aims to Combat Opioid Epidemic
New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs announced the launch of its Suspicious Activity Report portal on Thursday in a press release. The Division described the portal as the latest feature of the NJ Prescription Monitoring Program.

AC Casino Tax Settlements, AirBnB, Pipeline Questions – Thursday’s Roundup

AC Tax Settlements
Although state oversight and advice to Atlantic City has cost taxpayers more than $6 million and led to costly litigation over public safety staffing, the state’s lawyers-in-charge have succeeded in removing one of the dark clouds that had been hanging over the Queen of Resorts: Casino tax appeals. Yesterday, Gov. Chris Christie announced the settlement of the remaining outstanding tax appeals filed by seven current and former casinos. The settlements will be covered by an $80 million bond ordinance that the city introduced last month, Christie’s statement said. A few small details from the last paragraph of that press release (linked above) detailing the “steady progress” in the city may be worth noting (you decide). 1.

Prescription Probe, Offshore Wind, Opioids – Wednesday’s Roundup

Prescription Probe
There are a couple of new details on the federal – and now state – investigation into the cost of public employees’ prescriptions in Margate, Ventnor and Atlantic City. Lynda Cohen of BreakingAC reported that state grand jury subpoenas issued yesterday likely mean that alleged lower-level suspects in the case would be charged by the state and not federal prosecutors. Meanwhile, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said hundreds could be charged in a late Sunday interview with NBC’s Ted Greenberg. Tyner also said the investigation involves anyone “who played a role in deceiving the insurance companies.” The insurance companies have fraud detection units.

Solar in the Pines, Margate Lake – Tuesday’s Roundup

Solar in the Pines
An appeals court on Monday upheld a decision that conveyed a chunk of deed-restricted Pinelands to be developed as a solar farm, NJ Spotlight reports. The solar project, first proposed 11 years ago, was contested by environmental groups who said it went against the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan. It was not immediately clear what kind of ramifications the appeals court opinion might have for the controversial gas pipelines that have also been challenged by local environmental groups. Margate Lake
The lake that formed between the recently-constructed (and long-protested) dunes and beach houses in Margate after heavy rain over the weekend has now been dubbed Lake Christie. And Margate Commissioners will be meeting tonight to discuss legal action, reports Amy Rosenberg for The Philadelphia Inquirer. The lake’s development was forecast by a civil engineer who testified in court last year on behalf of residents who launched a legal battle to challenge the dunes.

Dumping (Rain, Outrage Opportunities) – Monday’s Roundup

This weekend’s rare July nor’easter dumped loads of rain across South Jersey, and in one Absecon Island town, it also dumped an opportunity for civic outrage. A crowd of about 60 people (the Press of Atlantic City reports) collected on the beach at Delavan Avenue Sunday to demand public officials “Fix our beach!” after stormwater runoff, blocked by the unpopular and probably vindictive dune project, formed a pop-up swamp on their formerly pristine sands. Beachgoers now had to wade through “Lake Margate” as it was being called to get to the ocean. Margate homeowners–many of them–didn’t want the dunes in the first place.