Free Trees!

The New Jersey Tree Recovery Program will be handing out free trees around the state over the next few weeks. The program, a joint venture between the state’s Forestry Service and the Arbor  Day Foundation, aims to provide trees to communities that lost urban canopies after Superstorm Sandy. To date, more than 300,000 trees have been handed out.

Skatepark Groundbreaking

Local nonprofit Skate AC broke ground Monday on a new skateboard park at the site of the old skate park at Sovereign Avenue and the bay.

Shoobies, Whales and the Worst People – Tuesday’s Roundup

Avalon Zoppo writes about moving a very old home that used to be in Avalon from Egg Harbor Township (where it was in storage) to Cape May, where it will now live, with the assistance of seven law enforcement agencies.

The shoobies grow tired of putting their houses on stilts and hoisting them into the air. Now they cut them into pieces and drive them down the Parkway instead. My, whatever will they think of next.

Prescription Case, Crime Boss, Bike Racks – Monday’s Roundup

There were seven new arrests Friday in the big prescription fraud case, everyone reports. This batch includes two guys I grew up playing various kinds of sportsball with. I don’t know what that brings the total to on former sportsballers I sportsballed with, who have gone on to get involved in this debacle. I stopped counting.

Home Rule, Immigration and Your Natural World – Friday’s Roundup

Home Rule
Micha Rasmussen has a fun op-ed in the Asbury Park Press on the proposal by Steve Sweeney for a pilot program for countywide school districts, which he (Rasmussen) says would “reduce duplicative administrative costs” and maybe even reduce segregation and the inequality that attends a system where students, “born into ZIP codes with strong property values go to better-funded schools than students born into ZIP codes with weak ones.” Of course people like their segregation and will even pay for 565 separate municipalities to maintain it. But I’m beginning to think people here secretly like the high taxes too. In Atlantic County, the small-governmenters want the homerule and the duplicative services and also want to replace the Hamilton Mall with an Amazon HQ somewhere that gets a 5,000-year tax abatement. Immigration
Today is the deadline for local law enforcement to implement new procedures for dealing with immigrants, and NJ.com has a helpful explainer.

Schools! Airports! Supermarkets – Wednesday’s Roundup

The New Jersey Department of Education released its School Performance Reports for 2017-2018. The valuable Spotlight has a tool that let’s you search by county, district or school, while NJ.com notes the rankings are often criticized as overly simplistic.

Supermarket Update

Walt West of Uplift Solutions addressed (a partial gathering) of the Boardwalk Committee this a.m. to discuss the new supermarket coming to Baltic Avenue near Ohio, not far from the convention center. West said Uplift is looking to finalize RFPs by the end of April, after which they’ll move quickly to secure an operator and developer for a supermarket that will be 40,000 square feet total (30,000 square feet of active retail space) and employ about 125 people (80% part-time). He estimated it will take 18 months to build. Uplift will be holding townhalls on this important subject on March 21, April 11 and April 23 (details here). In answer to the important “loss-prevention” question that tends to arise when the subject of supermarkets come up in Atlantic City, West said there are “intelligent and effective ways to address that.”

Marijuana, Tax Incentives, Climate Hubs – Tuesday’s Roundup

Everybody’s reporting that March 25 is the day the state legislature will vote on marijuana legalization, though NJ.com, citing unnamed sources, say the leaders of the pro-legalization side are still many votes short, and if they can’t whip their colleagues into position, the vote could be delayed.

Rowing, the Business Community – Monday’s Roundup

Guy Gargan at the Press has a nice story on the fundraiser for Stockton’s crew program where they honored rowing coach Stan Bergman and announced the Alton and Endicott families will provide funds for two new boats, which cost about $40,000 a piece, the Press reports.

Exxon, FEMA, Mayor Gilliam – Friday’s Roundup

New Jersey A.G. Gurbir Grewal is suing ExxonMobil, which is the ninth-largest corporation on the planet or something, for dumping toxic waste in a tidal zone in East Greenwich Township, NJ.com reports.

You may recall Chris Christie let Exxon pay $225 million to settle a $9 billion lawsuit in 2015 when he wanted to be president.

Budget Peace, School Moneys and King Kong Bundy – Wednesday’s Roundup

Phil Murphy made his budget speech yesterday and the valuable Spotlight says it got a “far less hostile response from fellow Democrats than his budget last year,” while Matt Friedman at Politico says, “Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, both houses’ majority leaders and both budget chairs all said they were in a better place than last year.”