Expensive Bathrooms, Buena Teacher Arrested, Dinosaur Park – Wednesday’s Roundup

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Expensive Bathrooms
New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, charged with the upkeep of some of Atlantic City’s most important public buildings and spaces, yesterday approved spending up to $2 million on two sets of bathrooms in Boardwalk Hall. That might sound like a lot, but – the Authority was told – the bathrooms have been out of order for decades and major plumbing work is needed. Plus, SOSH Architects did a 500-page report with details of all the beautiful fittings, so at least some of the high costs are transparent. But there’s another reason why it costs multiple police-and-fire-salaries to refit a bathroom in a city that is struggling to meet its debt payments and where the same state that approves of $2 million bathroom upgrades is trying to cut public safety jobs. Because Boardwalk Hall is run by the state, it has to pay prevailing wages to trades for any work done, which increases the cost.
What’s more worrying for the city at large – and casts a different light on CRDA’s commitment to maintaining the city’s public places – is that at the same meeting, a group of CRDA maintenance workers stood up to say that they are worried about their jobs, given cuts coming to CRDA’s budget (since some casino tax money has been diverted from CRDA to the city). They earn $11 an hour and are only employed 9 months of the year, which seriously limits their benefit entitlements. The board’s response was that they have funds (from luxury tax bonds) that are available for improvement work but not for wages. Still, there are many possible improvement projects in Atlantic City. Why spend so much now on some bathrooms that no one has used in decades? Philly.com has more details.

Buena Teacher Arrested
A Folsom man who was a teacher at Buena Regional High has been arrested (in Florida) for allegedly having a relationship with a 17-year-old girl student at the school. The man also allegedly tried to persuade the girl not to cooperate with police. Lynda Cohen at BreakingAC.Com has the details.

Dinosaur Park
A group of seventh-graders at a Glassboro school came up with their own plans for expanding Rowan University’s new Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park – and they got to present them to the associate director of the park. The ideas – which included details such as a hands-on exhibit for a visitors’ center and a “build-your-own-dinosaur” activity – would create somewhere that would be a pretty cool family destination for South Jersey. It will be interesting to see how the project progresses and how the students’ ideas might be incorporated. NJ.com has the details.

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The rest of today’s headlines include rumors swirling around the Route 40/Gravelly Run shopping center, a look at how the Federal immigration order could change enforcement – or not – at the shore, and news on how it could get a little easier to remember to appeal your property tax assessment (from next year). All that and more below:

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