There are several forest fires burning in Atlantic County’s Pinelands and more than 200 acres of Wharton State Forest have already been wiped out as 30-mph wind gusts are hindering efforts to contain the blaze. No roads or buildings are threatened but the windy conditions are challenging firefighters’ efforts to control the flames. The Press of Atlantic City reports that firefighters believe they should have the fires under control later today.
Would you spend more in local stores if you could get money off your property tax bill in return? Haddonfield is the latest South Jersey town to try such a program, but as our NJ News Commons colleague Matt Skoufalos reports at NJ Pen, it is not as straight-forward as it first sounds and high upfront costs for business owners have hamstrung a wider rollout of the ‘Shop Local’ program.
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The rest of what we’re reading today includes the latest on how much taxpayers are spending on Christie’s legal defense, news on Thanksgiving meal charity efforts and an update on the Hard Rock Cafe’s progress since the Taj Mahal casino closed:
NJ Taxpayers Just Hired Another Lawyer For Christie–New Jersey taxpayers just hired another lawyer for their governor. Gov. Chris Christie, who has already charged New Jersey $11.3 million for attorneys to represent his office in the federal Bridgegate investigation, has added legal representation for a related state criminal matter. www.njspotlight.com
Can Quarterly Payments Help Rescue NJ’s Underfunded Pension System?–After failing to find any common ground for the past several years over the best way to address New Jersey’s grossly underfunded public-employee pension system, state lawmakers reached a rare, bipartisan agreement yesterday, voting in favor of legislation requiring quarterly instead of yearly state pension contributions. The measure — which legislative leaders say they are confident Gov. Chris Christie will eventually sign — would help the $73 billion pension system by breaking up the annual state pension contribution into smaller installments that the sponsors hope will be easier for the state to afford than the lump sum that administrations typically try to make at the end of each fiscal year. www.njspotlight.com
Atlantic City Restaurant Gives Sister Jean’s Kitchen A Day Off–For years Sister Jean's Kitchen has been serving Atlantic City's hungry on a daily basis, but one of the area's well-known restaurants decided to give the staff the day off. Sister Jean’s Kitchen opens up for lunch during the week to help feed the hungry, but on Monday while they opened as usual, their chefs got to take a little break thanks to one of Atlantic City's busiest restaurants. www.snjtoday.com
State Police Team Up With Atlantic City School To Donate Thanksgiving Meals– Just a few days before Thanksgiving, 125 families in need got to pick up their meal in a box Monday courtesy of a city school and State Police efforts. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Pennsylvania Avenue School opened its doors to the families. It was the 12th annual turkey drive troopers helped sponsor in the city. Press of Atlantic City
Hard Rock Cafe Still Going In The Shadows Of The Shuttered Trump Taj Mahal–The darkness of the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort loomed over the Hard Rock Cafe as the restaurant celebrated its 20th anniversary early last week. That this money-losing restaurant is open at all — a month after the casino that housed it closed — came down to the decision of the president and CEO of Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, a former Atlantic City cook who rose through the resort’s casino-industry ranks. Press of Atlantic City
Local Teen Adopted By Aunt Folded Into New Family–Of the 12 adoptions that took place that Friday morning, Elizabeth was the only teenager. In fact, of the 121 teenagers in foster care looking to be adopted in Atlantic and Cape May counties, Elizabeth was the first teen adopted in over a full fiscal year, according to officials with the Court Appointed Special Advocates for those counties. Press of Atlantic City
Atlantic County Organization Raises Money For Syrians–More than 400 people attended a fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 29 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Egg Harbor Township in support of Christians who are suffering persecution and genocide in Syria. Shore News Today
“Ferris Bueller, The Video Game” Coming Soon To A Casino Near You–GameCo, the company that developed skill-based gambling games for Caesars Entertainment properties in Atlantic City, has entered into an agreement with Paramount Pictures to develop games based on popular movies. Press of Atlantic City