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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Ventnor Middle School Revives Multicultural Fair

Ricardo Agustin moved to Ventnor six months ago. He’s learning English for the first time. On Friday May 19 he was standing proudly in front of a stall and talking to other students, teachers and parents about his life in the Dominican Republic. He talked in Spanish and a little English. “We didn’t have fairs like this,” he said.

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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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Postcards From The Other Ventnor

I grew up not far from the original Ventnor. It’s also on an island. Unlike Absecon Island, the Isle of Wight has gravely beaches and cliffs and winding roads. The weather isn’t reliable. It’s a 22-minute catamaran ride to Portsmouth on the mainland. It was the punchline to a lot of jokes where I lived.

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Bill’s Gyros To Reopen in June – Probably

Bill’s Gyros, a Boardwalk fixture in Atlantic City, has been closed a lot this winter. There was a sign on the door that said go to My Friend Diner, another block north along the boardwalk. Sometimes, even My Friend Diner was closed. The blue-fronted gyro spot claimed it “never closed”. But people were asking about it, worried about Bill.

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Meet Omar

“Hey!” he says. “Come and take a picture of me!” He is waving a gold microphone from his seat behind the wheel of a hospitality van. He’s stopped at a traffic light on Pacific Ave behind the looming Revel.

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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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Meet the ARTeriors Artists

Heather Deegan Hires stands under some industrial lighting and looks from her phone to the wall in front of her and back to the phone again. She’s trying to show me her vision for transforming the sterile space with graying baby-blue walls and institutional floor tiles into a topsy-turvy wonderland. She first saw the room a couple of weeks ago and, at this point, she has just over a week before it will become one of the installations at Atlantic City’s third ARTeriors project.  

“The whole theme of our room is an upside down, sort of Alice in Wonderland, but a dark version of it,” said Deegan Hires (@bodypaintingbyheather). “So we still – we have a lot of work to do.”

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