Donuts! Coffins! Rent Burdens! – Tuesday’s Roundup

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Time to Eat the Donuts
What the what? The Ventnor Dunkin’ Donuts is open. Scratch that. I’m being told it’s not a Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s a “new generation” space “known simply as Dunkin’.” Free wi-fi.

“More than 4,300 people from all over the country applied to become a Coffin Dweller in Six Flags Great Adventure’s 30-hour Coffin Challenge, which is set for Oct. 28 and 29 at the Jackson park,” is the lede of this story in the Asbury Park Press.

This is not a comment on the state of our jobs market.

$1.4 Billion
A panel put together by Steve Sweeney says the state could save $1.4 billion in healthcare costs/strip $1.4 billion in healthcare benefits from public workers, who “have the richest government benefits in the nation, according to the Sweeney panel.”

‘Toxic’ Foreclosures 
Elsewhere in Spotlight land, Colleen O’Dea has an in-depth look at South Jersey’s “toxic” foreclosure problem, based on a report from the Walter Rand Institute at Rutgers.

Atlantic County still had the highest foreclosure rate in the state, which itself had a foreclosure rate three times higher than the national average. South Jersey also had more than a third of the “distressed properties” in the state.

The report says something called an “investor” drives up the cost of foreclosed homes, which are owned by lenders. Meanwhile humans who want to do weird things like live in the houses or apartments are forced to pay extortionate rates to do so.

You’re “rent-burdened” if you pay more than 30% of your income on housing, and, according to the report, “more than 57% of renters and 42% of homeowners” in South Jersey pay more than 30%.

Or to quote/paraphrase one of our county freeholders, “The engine is working.” Atlantic County is one of the most financially sound counties in the state. The business model is working. “Change for change’s sake…is absolutely the wrong thing to do.”

Easter on the Boardwalk 
Hat tip to Cat Country for pointing us toward this historical film of the Atlantic City Boardwalk, taken some 90 years ago. With sound!

In an email, Paul Schopp, of the South Jersey Culture and History Center, says, “There is no doubt this was shot on April 8, 1928, the date of the annual Easter Parade. Newspaper accounts indicate the weather was grey and rainy with winter-like temperatures, which appear to be the conditions depicted in this newsreel. It is an amazing, evocative vista to an era long past and never to be repeated.”

The amazing thing is he probably didn’t even need to look that up.

Also, read Taj Rock Revisited in which we check up on the former human resources offices at the Taj Mahal, now Hard Rock. Last year it was a makeshift shelter with discarded syringes. How much has changed?

For more feats of journalism…

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