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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The Imperial Agenda

It’s more than 100 days since the Great Atlantic City Takeover began, and Jeffrey Chiesa does not have an adequate nickname. Officially, he is the “Designee of the Director of Local Government Services” but, you know, they create these strings of gobbledygook on purpose. So you won’t be able to talk about them. I’m proposing “Boardwalk Emperor” as an alternative. The Boardwalk Emperor, Jeffrey Chiesa, has not been spotted publicly in Atlantic City since November, but we have a clearer picture of his majesty’s ambitions here, in our Queen of Resorts, courtesy of his attorney Ronald Israel who casually revealed some of the details before a Superior Court Judge on Tuesday.

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#ACAnonymous: Street Art In Atlantic City

For a guerilla artist, this one is polite and well-mannered. We received an anonymous  phone call at 9.30am on Monday from Atlantic City’s mysterious new photography phenomenon. Known only by the hashtag #ACANONYMOUS, this photographer has been stapling scenic images of the city in the place of boarded-up windows, worn-out planters and faded signs.This was our conversation:

What is the idea behind #ACANONYMOUS? This is just a way to get my own artwork out on display. It’s not necessarily in your typical way – like in a gallery or having an exhibit – but I guess, this is a public way to get the photos out in neighborhoods and reach people that wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to see the work.

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Brown Park Update


Last December, after years of false starts, renovation began on Brown Memorial Park in Atlantic City, which had become a hang-out for drug abusers, homeless and mentally ill. Now it’s fenced off and construction crews are at work. We stopped by to ask the neighbors what they thought of the changes. You can see our original interview with Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, who spearheaded the effort to renovate the park here.

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Worried About Health Care Repeal, Advocates Hold Vigil Outside LoBiondo HQ

On Wednesday night, a couple of dozen people gathered outside Rep. Frank LoBiondo’s office in Mays Landing. They were there to protest the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without any replacement plan. “Prior to the Affordable Care Act, we couldn’t afford insurance,” Jenna Alcantara, a small-business owner from Mullica Township told one of the staff at LoBiondo’s office. “To have this be where it is, is very scary to somebody like me.” (You can see an interview with Alcantara in the video below).

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How Would You Spend $1.56 mln on Atlantic City?

New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) paid the accounting firm Ernst & Young $1.56 million through September last year to “analyze” Atlantic City’s finances, according to some sleuthing by The Press of Atlantic City’s Christian Hetrick. We are sure that a lot of people in and around Atlantic City have better ideas for how they could use that money. Tell us what you would do with it! We will compile thoughtful suggestions into a post and send it to the DCA. Loading…

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Takeover Tango

New Jersey’s sinister Department of Community Affairs (if that is, in fact, its real name) has hired Jason Holt to assist in its work of taking over and fixing the grave mess that is the Atlantic City municipal government. This is a curious hiring decision, since, up until a few days ago, Holt had been business administrator for–wait for it–the municipal government of Atlantic City itself, which raises a question or two. Was the Atlantic City government really incompetent, as Governor Christie has repeatedly asserted? And if so, why is the State Department of Community of Affairs hiring the city’s allegedly incompetent personnel to staff its takeover team? By sheer luck, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Amy Rosenberg seems to have wondered the same thing and reports that a spokesman for Christie, “declined to answer a question about whether Holt’s hire undercut repeated assertions by Christie that Atlantic City’s government was incompetent.”

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Original Spartans

Dr. John Baker and Dr. Fred Dalzell worked the sidelines of Holy Spirit High School football games for parts of five decades. The prominent South Jersey orthopedic surgeon John Baker likes to talk about the time he met the eminent South Jersey high school football coach Ed Byrnes to talk about becoming the team doctor for the Holy Spirit Spartans. In New Jersey, state law requires high school football teams to have medical staff on-hand in case of injury. At most schools, this is a paid position, but Holy Spirit in the late 1970s was running its program on a shoestring, and Coach Byrnes was looking for volunteers. Baker was a young doctor, recently transplanted to South Jersey from St.

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Socktober Surprise

Students at Frog Pond Elementary School in Little Egg Harbor donated 821 pairs of socks to Covenant House, a homeless shelter for homeless youth, in Atlantic City earlier this month. The idea to collect the socks came fromKerry Gunn, who teaches fifth grade at the school and showed her students a facebook video by Kid President Robby Novak, who pointed out that socks (according to some metrics) are among the most-needed and least-donated clothing items. Gunn said she presented the idea to her fellow fifth-grade teachers who supported it. “We called this service project, ‘Socktober–Kids Helping Kids,’” she said, in a statement. In response to a series of questions (“Who donated the most socks? Why’d that person have so many socks?

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