A Trump Museum, Earth Shakes, Tax Deals and Narcan – Friday’s Roundup

A Trump Museum
A Stockton University professor and a tour operator are collecting Trump artifacts and hoping to open a museum in Atlantic City all about the soon-to-be President Trump. On the one hand, it’s something that would potentially draw visitors, provide employment and it’s not a casino… On the other hand, it’s a museum to someone who prompts mixed – but usually strong – emotions around here. What do you think? The Press of Atlantic City has the story.

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Buzby’s Last Stand

A Pine Barrens icon shuts its doors
 

A little before three o’clock last Saturday afternoon, November 19, Albertus V. Pepper Jr., age 72, of Chatsworth and Washington “Wash” Orme, 85, of Tabernacle, walked into Buzby’s General Store in Chatsworth, via the commercial kitchen. They were in a state of high animation, shouting back and forth, over and around the heads of fellow patrons. Buzby’s, in the spiritual heart of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, had been closed (mostly) since last spring when its 87-year-old owner, R. Marilyn Schmidt, fell ill. Marilyn spent most of the summer in the hospital. Friends opened her shop in October for the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival and last Saturday for a fundraiser, to help cover Marilyn’s medical expenses.

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NJ/PA Tax U-Turn, Playground Problems and the Burning Pinelands – Wednesday’s Roundup

Governor Chris Christie has decided not to up taxes for those who live in New Jersey and commute to work in Pennsylvania, presumably after his floated plan to do just that went down like a lead balloon in South Jersey. The Asbury Park Press reports that Christie scrapped his plans to tear up his state’s tax treaty with Pennsylvania because he has found the money he needed somewhere else…. wait for it… from cutting workers’ health benefits. Meanwhile, Philly.com says that Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein – one of the latest crop of investors hoping to save Atlantic City from itself – has decided to lease The Playground…

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There’s Something Happening On Pauline’s Prairie

Something is happening down in Atlantic City’s Inlet neighborhood. A machine has appeared and some serious fencing has gone up around two vacant blocks. It’s not quite on the scale of the Gateway Project yet, but it looks like Boraie Development’s plan to build 250 rental units in one of Atlantic City’s most persistently development-starved neighborhoods is getting underway. Better known to some as Pauline’s Prairie or the mother ship of Atlantic City’s vacant lots, the site has been empty for 50 years. The project – dubbed The Beach at South Inlet – is set to include a gym, lounge, pool, parking, restaurants, shops and – yes – a grocery store alongside the housing units, but it has been slow to advance from initial plans laid out in 2013.

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Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant Problems and Thanksgiving Weather – Monday’s Roundup

The Oyster Creek nuclear plant shut down temporarily again this weekend. Newsworks reports that the nation’s oldest nuclear plant had a problem with its turbine control system. It’s maybe a good time to revisit this letter from NJ’s Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel which said the frequent incidents at the plant show it should close before its scheduled 2020 shutdown. Everyone is gearing up for or winding down to the Thanksgiving holiday, which is shaping up to be warmer than today, at least, although there’s a chance of a few showers. Dan Skeldon has the forecast.

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Kellie

Kellie is a mother, homeowner and casino worker. She’s also lost two young family members to gun violence. One of them was her 13-year-old son, who was murdered in 2012. Her nephew, 17, was killed this year. She has another child, 9, that she worries about.

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CRDA Sits On Inlet Development

 

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s highly representative-of-the-community board of directors voted to give themselves more time to think about it before they approved a request for a variance to build a duplex—a duplex—at 206 Vermont Avenue in Atlantic City’s South Inlet. The lot is currently zoned for resort commercial development, a legacy of the casino boom years when people thought someone might build a megaresort or big high-rise on Vermont Avenue (though “Of course we now recognize that won’t happen”). CRDA has zoning authority because the land is in the tourism district. 206 Vermont is currently a little vegetable patch, on an amazingly barren and desolate stretch of land in the shadow of the (formerly $2.4 billion) former Revel casino. Approving a modest, two-family house on such valuable real estate would set a new precedent, board members remarked, after noting they’d all seen presentations from big developers (presumably) for the football-fields worth of vacant lots.

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South Jersey Images of the Week, Nov. 12

It was a big week in national and local news, with a general election and a state takeover of Atlantic City. While there was a lot of relief that the campaign period ended, we wrote about some of the interesting ballot questions and the results from referenda that include everything from changing the way of choosing a school board (Linwood) to introducing liquor licenses (Ventnor). The following day the state decided to take over Atlantic City and we wrote about the – still up-in-the-air – consequences of that decision. The weather, meanwhile, was mostly fantastic and there were some great photos taken of fall foliage and wintry sunsets. Maybe next week we’ll have some amazing shots of the super moon.

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State Takeover Means Higher Taxes & Who Knows What Else?

We were in Trenton today to follow what went down at the meeting of state officials tasked with deciding whether or not to take over Atlantic City. Two things were decided in quick succession – so quick, in fact, that most people in the room missed them – and that may or may not have been deliberate, you decide:
1. The state approved Atlantic City’s 2016 budget with one change
2. The change was to raise property taxes in the city (which as we know is already gasping after the tax rate has doubled in five years)

The state’s local finance board then voted unanimously to execute the state’s power to take the reins in Atlantic City, but took the option of bankruptcy off the table, meaning that the state has to turn the city around without filing for court protection from its creditors. When pressed by the press, the bureaucrat now in charge of Atlantic City, Tim Cunningham, said that he wasn’t sure exactly what new powers he has or what he will do.

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