The Pinelands Commission could vote on Friday to approve the controversial gas pipeline through the pine barrens. Proponents of the pipeline, which will be built by a consortium including Atlantic County’s South Jersey Industries, say it will bring cheaper gas to the area, while opponents say its construction goes against the rules that protect the pinelands. The commission’s meeting is set for Friday at 9.30 am in Cherry Hill. Details here via Shore News Today.
We are seven weeks into New Jersey’s bail reform, which did away with cash bail, and experts are divided on whether the program is working. Even some judges are starting to say maybe tweaks should be made, and police chiefs in South Jersey have called the reform “dangerous”. In Little Egg Harbor, the police are particularly concerned by a recent decision to grant bail to a man charged with a sex crime. The 20-year-old man had served time for a similar offense as a juvenile, local police said, arguing he should not have been granted bail. You can read more in this piece by NJTV News.
A new program to safely dispose of prescription drugs is being tested out in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties, in an effort to reduce the addiction epidemic there. Healthcare facilities in the three counties have purchased special pouches that contain a carbon substance that reacts with and deactivates pills placed inside. The pouches will be distributed around the area. NJ Spotlight has the details here.
Could you smell smoke yesterday? We could, from Ventnor. There are controlled wildfires in Tabernacle and Ted Greenberg of NBC reports (video here) that the firefighters on site say the weather conditions – dry, mild – are worrying. A fire in Manchester Township in Ocean County yesterday burned about 570 acres of forest, ABC news reported.
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In the rest of the headlines from the last 24 hours, there is talk about selling naming rights to the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall, there’s a review of how Absecon police are finding a new 12-hour shift and a piece on how South Jersey fishermen are handling new flounder regulations. All that and more below:
Christie’s Public Pension Legacy: Broken Promises, No Effective Fixes–Gov Chris Christie once bragged about “fixing” New Jersey’s beleaguered public-employee pension system with a series of reforms that were enacted during his first two years in office. But now, as the second-term Republican prepares to present a final state budget to lawmakers next week, the retirement funds for public workers remain a huge problem, and any long-term solution will likely not come from Christie, but from a successor who will be elected later this year. www.njspotlight.com
Mixed Opinions on Rollout of New Jersey Bail Reform–Police departments say the implementation of bail reform, which eliminates monetary bail, has endangered the public. But judges and prosecutors have a different view, saying the program is an improvement, though it does need some tweaks. NJTV News
Talks Ongoing Over Selling Naming to Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall–Could you catch a show at Pepsi Boardwalk Hall or attend an event at the Coca-Cola Atlantic City Convention Center? As it looks to increase revenue, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has started exploring the idea of selling the naming rights to both buildings, said Dean Dennis, general manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center. Press of Atlantic City
Senate Passes Bill Requiring South Jersey Representation on Turnpike Authority–The New Jersey Senate has passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by the 9th District legislative delegation requiring at least one member of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to be from South Jersey. The measure, S-1674, sponsored by Senator Christopher Connors, would require at least one member of the Turnpike Authority must be a resident of Ocean, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester or Salem County. www.tapinto.net
South Jersey Fishermen United Against 2017 Flounder Regulations–That Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission winter meeting this month was surely a bummer for summer flounder fans. The delegates went through hours of sometimes confusing debate and somehow authorized an unpopular reduction in daily possession limit and an increase in size minimum for a keeper to help achieve a 28 percent to 32 percent cut in in the flounder quota along the Atlantic Coast. Press of Atlantic City
Disposing of Prescription Drugs Safely – A South Jersey Initiative – NJ Spotlight – http://www.njspotlight.com/–Healthcare providers have teamed up with community groups in South Jersey on a new program that could eliminate several million leftover prescription pills before these drugs can be diverted for improper use. As one of several efforts to reduce their region’s addiction epidemic, leaders at Inspira Health Network, which operates three hospitals and dozens of other healthcare facilities in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties, have purchased some 50,000 plastic pouches with a carbon substance that — when filled with unneeded pills and tap water — absorbs and safely destroys all the active ingredients. www.njspotlight.com
Presidents’ Day Breakfast Holds Talks about America’s Past and Present–In Mullica Hill, Presidents Day was observed with hotcakes and hot topic, including a discussion on Russian-American relations. In partnership with the Friends School Mullica Hill, Rowan University and the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce organized their fourth annual Presidents' Day Breakfast. www.snjtoday.com
Pinelands Commission Could Vote to Approve South Jersey Gas Pipeline Friday–The New Jersey Pinelands Commission is expected to vote on a natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands proposed by South Jersey Gas at its Friday, Feb 24. An agenda for the meeting on the Pinelands Commission’s website includes a resolution to approve the pipeline with certain conditions. Shore News Today
Ventnor Man Arrested for Fatal Atlantic City Stabbing–A Ventnor man is being held for murder, attempted murder and other charges after a stabbing of two people Saturday night in Atlantic City left a city woman dead and a Pennsylvania man injured. Lite Rock 96.9
Harrah’s Atlantic City Pool Party Starts in March–Everybody can get back into The Pool starting the first weekend of March. A spokeswoman for Harrah’s Resort said its popular aquatic attraction, which shut down for extensive renovations in January, is set for a grand reopening March 3 and 4. Press of Atlantic City
EBay Auction for Trump Sign Taken Down–An online auction was discontinued Monday for a "TRUMP" sign that once adorned the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. Before it was removed Monday afternoon, the top bid during the eBay auction was $7,500. Press of Atlantic City
Sturdy Savings Bank Donates $2,000 to Fund Atlantic Cape Scholarships–Sturdy Savings Bank, headquartered in Cape May Court House, recently donated $2,000 to the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation for student scholarships. Cape May County Herald
Witherspoon, Fitzpatrick Seek Atlantic County Freeholder At-Large Seats–Democrats Thelma Witherspoon and Caren Fitzpatrick announced their candidacy Thursday, Feb 16 for Atlantic County Freeholder at Large. Witherspoon and Fitzpatrick said in a press release that their goal will be to focus on the needs of Atlantic County residents through economic development, tourism throughout Atlantic County and more fiscal responsibility in government. Shore News Today
Captain’s Table Reception Puts Food on Atlantic County Tables–The third annual Captain’s Table event hosted by Let Us Eat, Please Inc and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey will be held 6-9 pm Thursday March 2 at the Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show at the at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The event will feature food from more than a dozen area chefs, along with an elaborate array of desserts, drinks and music. Shore News Today
Absecon Police Finding 12-Hour Shift Productive–The Absecon Police Department became the latest Atlantic County force to move to a 12-hour shift schedule beginning Feb. 1. Council approved the switch from an eight-hour to a 12-hour shift in January. Shore News Today