Double Dutch

There were more than a hundred people gathered in Brown Park on Saturday for a double dutch competition. While kids swarmed the park’s brand-new play equipment, their parents gathered around swishing jump ropes. More than the official ribbon-cutting two weeks ago, this event marked the rebirth of a park that had become synonymous with so many of Atlantic City’s problems.

After a $1.5 million renovation, the park reopened last month and it is now being used by families. Many of the parents in the park on Saturday never played there themselves – Brown Park had that kind of a reputation for over three decades. “We’re 35 years old – no one ever played in Brown’s Park, because of the infestation of drugs and alcohol and violence,” said Indra Owens, co-founder of a girls’ mentoring group called Princess Inc. When Owens and her Princess Inc co-founder Automne Bennett learned the park was being renovated, they got together with managers of the nearby housing developments.

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Walshy’s Warriors

Nineteen teams had registered for the first annual “Past, Present and Future” flag-football tournament and fundraiser for longtime Holy Spirit High School football coach Bill Walsh Saturday—213 players, according to the organizers. It was an unseasonably cold May morning, though the wind (excessive) was pretty standard for May in South Jersey. The fundraiser was held to raise money to cover medical expenses and general life expenses for Walsh, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. There were teams of current Holy Spirit players and former Holy Spirit players. The Pleasantville Greyhounds fielded a team.

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Water Watch

May 27: That’s the date the state’s designated overseer can start dissolving and “monetizing” Atlantic City’s water system by leasing it or selling it outright to a private corporation. In a speech in April, the executive director of the system, Bruce Ward, who is trying to keep the Municipal Utilities Authority under city control, talked about his hometown (he was born in Stanley Holmes Village) and the many assets he has seen slip away during his lifetime. Above Convention Hall, etched into the stone, was a declaration: The building was conceived as a “permanent monument” to the “ideals of Atlantic City—built by its citizens.” “But we don’t own it anymore,” Ward said. “The state does.” Ditto the city’s parking authority, airport, etc., and so on down the line. Water is the last asset the city has control over and the state’s circling that too.

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The Optimist

William K. Cheatham attends most of the meetings of the City Council of Atlantic City. He attends the board meetings of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. He is president of the Board of Trustees of the Atlantic City Free Public Library, a member of the Shade Tree Committee and an alternate on the board of the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority. He was active in the First Ward Civic Association and was a regular at the meetings of the city Taxpayers Association (which reviewed the municipal budget) but those organizations no longer assemble on a regular basis. He’s a former member of the county construction board.

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The Sporting Life: Gather Ye Tootblans While Ye May

It started with a simple question: What to make of Ryan Theriot? Do you know what his slash line is? Do you need to know? The Cubs shortstop was beloved of fans, who will, let’s face it, tend to focus their affection on players who get their uniforms dirty and don’t cost a lot of money, and “The Riot”, as he was known, was an affirmative on both those counts.“He dove for balls to his left. He dove for balls to his right.

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A Pine Barrens Documentary Nears the Finish Line

There’s a scene in David Scott Kessler’s film about the Pine Barrens where Steven Carty, a basket-weaver from Mount Holly, reflects on the nature of Piney identity. Steven’s a Bozarth, which makes him Piney royalty, and he’s Lenape Indian (“the first Pineys”) on his mother’s side, but he has an open mind on the question of what makes a Piney a Piney—if you say you’re a Piney, you are one. But he does have one pet peeve. “If you ask me, claiming to be a ‘redneck’ does not make one a Piney,” he says. “Some folks forget the Mason-Dixon line ends at Delaware.”

Apt words during these interesting times in the history of our Republic, when identity crises have burst forth into our political culture with such unprecedented force.

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The Legal Fight Behind Atlantic City’s Hot Pink Mess

Atlantic City’s Ducktown Arts District has a new fuchsia warehouse, courtesy of Jimmy DiNatale, its colorful owner, who is in the process of suing everyone’s favorite state agency, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, over what he says is CRDA’s failure to disclose environmental contamination on the site, where he’d planned to open a Hooters and a sports bar. Last year, while lawyers for DiNatale and CRDA were writing pointed letters to one another, a group of intravenous drug users set up residence in the empty warehouse at 2231 Arctic Avenue, and the property began to fill up with syringes. The pathway between the warehouse and the neighboring Noyes Arts Garage—where last summer Mayor Guardian hosted a tie-your-own-bowtie event and kids played—became littered with drug paraphernalia. Earlier this winter, Mo Colon and Gladys Coppage, two artists who work out of the Arts Garage, noticed the spike in the number of syringes and took it upon themselves to do some cleanup around the warehouse. They found surgical gloves, ER records, tampons, needles, etc.

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Boardwalk Beans: How a Quest for the Perfect Cup of Coffee Turned into a Business

Damon Germano and Gabrielle Cianfrani just wanted to make a better cup of coffee. Somewhere along the line, their personal mission turned into a business. Now, from a corner of Pleasantville not far from the old Ireland Coffee Company plant, Boardwalk Beans is roasting small batches of carefully-selected coffee for retail and wholesale customers. Germano used to work for Ireland, back when Ireland had a small store in one of the Atlantic City casinos. “I was really into coffee, I had the beret, the turtleneck – the whole thing,” he said.

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It’s No Longer the ‘Trump’ Taj Mahal

Trump Taj Mahal

Our touchy president’s name (“Trump”) has been removed from Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal Casino, the Eighth Wonder of the World. The casino has been owned by Carl Icahn, who closed it last fall, out of spite (JK!). But Trump had an agreement to keep his name on the classy property. Apparently that’s changed. Here’s a facade of the Taj as it looked in August 2016.

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