Debate Ducking, Brain Drain, More Mold – Wednesday’s Roundup

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Debate Ducking
A debate between candidates for New Jersey’s second legislative district (most of Atlantic County) had been scheduled for a month, but Republican candidate Chris Brown was a no-show. The Republicans had previously asked for the debate format to be changed, then cancelled on Tuesday. Still, the debate went ahead and as we report on Route 40, there was some interesting action on the undercard where assembly candidates Vince Mazzeo and John Armato faced off against independent candidate Heather Gordon.

The view of the soon-to-open Atlantic City observation wheel from Ventnor beach. Photo by Michael Ein (@michael_ein on Instagram).

Brain Drain
The Atlantic City metro area has suffered the fifth worst “brain drain” in the United States over the last three years, according to a Bloomberg analysis that looked at the exodus of people with advanced degrees, the decline in salaries for science and tech jobs and the closure of businesses. Obviously, this is a big problem for everyone. But bar a lot of talk about supporting the aerospace industry and the FAA Tech Center, not a lot is being done. It also makes the expansion of Stockton University in Atlantic City look less like the next great hope for saving the area and more like a contributing factor to the brain drain, unless it can bring enough new jobs for graduates to go into.

More Mold
The mold problem that shut down a 6,000-student school district in Gloucester County was known about for months, reports The Inquirer. County and state officials had detected mold but previously been satisfied that Holly Glen Elementary School was addressing the problem. And to answer the questions on every other parent’s mind, The Inquirer looks at how worried we should be about mold in New Jersey’s schools.

In the rest of the day’s news, two women were arrested in Atlantic City after trying to sell what turned out to be an arsenal of weapons and pipe bombs (the mayor said they had enough to blow up a three-block section of the Boardwalk), the Steel Pier observation wheel should open next month, there was an NJ gubernatorial debate last night (no clear winner), there’s uncertainty about the future of  Atlantic City’s Back Bay Ale House amid the Gardner’s Basin redevelopment,  and the ALDI grocery store chain is planning a one-day hiring spree. All that and more below:

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