Kings of Leon
The band Kings of Leon were in Atlantic City this week, which appears to have been a very-well-kept secret (until the careful PR campaign that announced it). They were there to rehearse an upcoming world tour, according to Atlantic City Weekly, but maybe it was some very smart thinking by Comcast’s venue management company Spectra, which operates Boardwalk Hall and Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center (coincidence! Kings of Leon play there next Thursday). In which case, hopefully Spectra is cottoning on finally to how to exploit its Philadelphia/AC synergies. There’s another issue here that kind of fascinates me: having a band like Kings of Leon come and ‘rehearse’ secretly-but-not-really is the kind of stealth marketing that Atlantic City really needs. It sells a pretty attractive message about the city (it’s attractive! To musicians!) to a key demographic (non-gamblers) that gets missed out of most of the AC marketing spiel. So hats off to whoever it was that pulled this off. And thanks Kings of Leon.
The great Kevin C. Shelly of Philly Voice returns to AC to follow up on plans for a Trump museum, first mooted by Levi Fox, founder of Jersey Shore Tours, last year. Shelly writes that the Trump Museum Committee plans to launch an online fundraising campaign and the committee is also seeking artefacts and other mementos of Trump in AC. Read the piece for details here.
Booker’s Vote on Cheaper Meds
Changing tack just slightly, it’s worth considering this piece on a Senate vote from Wednesday night. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) voted with Republicans against a budget amendment that would have allowed Americans to purchase cheaper drugs from Canada. There were various strands to the for and against arguments for the amendment (safety and regulation was one issue, free(er) market pricing was another) and the vote didn’t go along party lines. An important footnote was this: “Booker has received more pharmaceutical manufacturing cash over the past six years than any other Democratic senator: $267,338. In addition, significant numbers of pharmaceutical and biotech firms reside in Booker’s home state of New Jersey.” To me (this is Elinor today), the piece was a (reasonably) simple watchdog article looking at how an elected representative is voting. It’s easier than ever to check and see how elected officials are voting and – with some important caveats – how they spend taxpayer money, but there are too few local news organizations left to do this routinely (please support us, by the way, if you don’t already!)
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Here’s the rest of today’s locally-relevant headlines:
NJ Supreme Court Rules Young Offenders Can’t Be Given Life Sentences–The New Jersey Supreme Court is closing a loophole that could lead to juvenile offenders spending their entire lives in prison. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed life in prison for youthful offenders, there are still a number of juveniles in New Jersey serving life sentences — including one serving 100 years. A WNYC News investigation also found racial disparities affecting which juveniles are tried as adults, which leads to longer and harsher punishment. www.njspotlight.com
Interactive Map: New Jersey Graduation Rate Inches up for Class of 2016–The percentage of New Jersey high school seniors who graduated last June reached a new high point, with slightly more than nine in 10 students getting a diploma, according to new data released by state education officials Thursday. This accomplishment is especially noteworthy since the class of 2016 was the first that was supposed to pass the controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or an alternate test in order to graduate, although students could also use portfolios. www.njspotlight.com
Does NJ Need New Ratepayer Subsidy to Encourage Solar Deployments?–If some legislators get their way, new financial incentives to install solar systems will be available, helping ease congestion on the electric grid, a problem that can spike power bills. But are such incentives necessary? Not according to New Jersey Rate Counsel Director Stefanie Brand, who calls the proposed ratepayer subsidies “too rich,’’ and questions whether the state is already doing enough to hold down congestion costs related to the electric grid. www.njspotlight.com
Guadagno Joins GOP Governor’s Race, Ciattarelli Says Cancer Will Slow Him – NJ Spotlight – http://www.njspotlight.com/–Two major developments Thursday reshaped this year’s GOP gubernatorial primary, with Lt Gov Kim Guadagno filing the necessary paperwork to officially join the race and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli announcing that his own campaign activities will slow down this month while he receives treatment for cancer. Guadagno was long considered to be eyeing a run for governor, especially after joining a nonprofit ”think tank” last year that many viewed as a precursor to a 2017 campaign. www.njspotlight.com
Lesniak Willing to Sue Over $300M Renovation Christie Is Pushing for State House–Gov. Chris Christie has been pushing for a planned $300 million overhaul of the oldest sections of the New Jersey State House to begin as early as this July. But now a veteran Democratic lawmaker is threatening to file a lawsuit to ensure lawmakers have more say as the project moves forward. www.njspotlight.com
Experts Warn Christie’s Prescription Limits Could Cause More Addiction–Gov. Chris Christie framed his pledge to limit opioid prescriptions to a five-day supply, one of several new concepts he outlined in his State of the State speech Tuesday, as a way to curb the availability of these highly addictive medications and help “prevent addiction before it starts.” But advocates for those prescribing these pills are adamant that the change would do more harm than good, since limiting prescriptions could endanger patients with legitimate pain and possibly drive them to harder drugs, like heroin, they said. www.njspotlight.com
Three Indicted in Connection with Killing of Pleasantville man, kidnapping of witness–Two men and a woman were indicted Thursday for their parts in the killing of a Pleasantville man and the kidnapping of a witness last year. Mark Smith, 19, was found with a gunshot wound to the head after police responded to several 911 calls to Vola Lane at about 11:30 pm July 14. BreakingAC
Two Indicted for Promoting Prostitution of Children–Two Atlantic County men were indicted Thursday for promoting prostitution. Seleem Reynolds and Mikal Mitchell were arrested after a four-month investigation led by Atlantic County Sheriff’s Officer Greg Engstler and Department of Human Services Officer Paul Vanaman, both of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. BreakingAC
New Jersey Police To Receive More Body Cameras–More South Jersey police officers will be hitting the streets equipped with brand-new body cameras. philadelphia.cbslocal.com
Suspect Sought in South Jersey Hit-and-Run–Police in South Jersey are looking for a suspect in a hit and run on Friday. The suspect was driving a 2003 – 2008 white Jeep Cherokee with a missing hubcap on the passenger side front wheel, according to Galloway Police which did not disclose the location or circumstances of the incident in a news release and could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon. New Jersey 101.5 – Proud to be New Jersey – New Jersey News Radio
TEN Casino May Open in February Pending Judge’s Ruling–The former Revel Atlantic City casino, renamed as "TEN," could be opening it's doors as early as February if owner Glen Straub has his way and is now suing to make that happen. According to the developer, abusive red tape from New Jersey regulators is preventing people from investing in Atlantic City. www.snjtoday.com
Nickles: Flat State Aid Erases Possibility of Full-Day Kindergarten in EHT Schools– Egg Harbor Township School District will not be expanding to a full-day kindergarten program in the 2017-2018 school year, Interim Superintendent Fred Nickles announced Tuesday. “The idea of full-day kindergarten came with a commitment that we could do it only if there was no impact on the taxes of the residents of Egg Harbor Township, and it is obvious now that we cannot do it this upcoming year because it would create a tax increase,” he said. Shore News Today