There’s a long look at Atlantic City’s finances on Bloomberg today that basically concludes that the future is likely to be a double whammy of tax hikes and spending cuts, which I guess everyone already knew is the way to dig yourself out of a debt hole, but there’s something about the graphics on the page – they depict the drop in tax take – that is so stark it’s hard not to feel sympathy pains for the taxpayers in the city. The blink-and-you’d-miss-it takeaway from the Bloomberg piece is that the city workers’ union is considering legal action to thwart any move by the city’s overseer to change workers’ contract. If anyone wants to be cheered up, they can take a look at our take on how the city’s crisis is actually a problem for the whole county, although that gets less attention.
In even more depressing local news (it’s one of those days, apparently), there was another shooting in Hamilton Township last night – Lynda Cohen at Breaking AC has the details here.
In wider New Jersey news, there have been some developments around tackling the opioid crisis that are worth paying attention to. A group of hospitals a long way north of Atlantic County, but connected to networks down here, have agreed to provide Union County police with free Narcan, the drug used to counteract opioid overdoses. New Jersey is also expanding welfare benefits for former drug offenders – although not for anyone with a conviction for distribution. Separately, an appeals court is rethinking the medical marijuana question.
New Jersey has so many water-related problems. There are hurricanes and storms. There’s flooding from the bays. And the drinking-water system is really really old. NJ Spotlight takes a long look at the changes the state needs to make to improve the system.
To lift everyone’s spirits (pun intended) – here’s a piece on a South Jersey distillery (Richland’s Lazy Eye Distillery) that just one an award for its vodka.
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The rest of today’s headlines include details on Atlantic City’s efforts to draw in gamers, the Hamilton Township shootings, affordable housing and pensions and a student protester in Vineland:
Ex-Absecon Dispatcher Gets 12 Years For Killing Pedestrian–A former Absecon police dispatch supervisor was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in state prison for killing a pedestrian in a 2015 Galloway Township crash. Press of Atlantic City
Atlantic City Is Gambling On Attracting Gamers With New First-Person Shooter Games–The brainchild of GameCo. Inc, the Danger Arena is a first-person shooter game. The pay outs are based on a player’s 45-second performance using a game controller similar to that of the Xbox and Playstation. The Outside Game
Atlantic City Convention Center Gets New GM–Dean Dennis, a 20-year veteran of the convention center industry, has been named general manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center. In his role, Dennis will be responsible for supervision and oversight of the facility, according to a statement by Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, venue managers for historic Boardwalk Hall and the local Convention Center. Press of Atlantic City
Man Killed In Shooting in Hamilton Twp Condominiums–A man was shot and killed Wednesday night in the Woodlands Condominiums, acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton confirmed. It is the second killing of a 21-year-old man in the township in five days.
Green Trading Post Benefits Pinelands Nonprofits–The Pinelands Preservation Alliance is holding a Green Trading Post shopping event Saturday and Sunday at its headquarters in Southampton Township. Merchandise and memberships from Pinelands nonprofit environmental, cultural and historical organizations will be for sale, as well as from Pinelands-related businesses. Press of Atlantic City
Will NJ’s Top Court Boost Affordable-Housing Requirements?–The New Jersey Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments over whether the number of affordable homes municipalities must provide over the next decade should include low-income residents who could not afford housing over a 16-year period. While it is never smart to second guess a court, based on the justices' questions to attorneys arguing the complex question of municipal housing quotas, it seems likely the court may require higher allocations than municipalities have argued they are required to deliver. www.njspotlight.com
Pension Leaders Question if NJ Should Do More to Shore Up System–New Jersey has the nation’s worst-funded public-employee pension system, and in a bid to help put it on a firmer footing, state lawmakers last week overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill that calls on the state to begin making pension contributions on a quarterly basis. But the leaders of the board that oversees investment policy for the pension system are divided on whether lawmakers should be going even further to address the state’s pension-funding problem. www.njspotlight.com
Judge To Weigh Special Prosecutor In Christie-Bridge Case–A citizen activist is asking a New Jersey judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Gov. Christie broke state law when he allegedly refrained from ordering his aides to stop a political payback scheme involving the George Washington Bridge in 2013. A hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday before Assignment Judge Bonnie J. Mizdol in Bergen County. Philly.com
Why This South Jersey Middle Schooler Won’t Stand For Pledge Of Allegiance–The Vineland seventh grader insists that Donald Trump's election has made it impossible for him to continue saluting the American flag in good conscience. "It's supposed to stand for freedom and equality," says Martinez, 13. Philly.com