There was a skate park in Atlantic City on Sovereign Avenue by the bay. It wasn’t built to code – any code – so someone decided to bring it down yesterday. Of course, personal injury claims are a liability for municipalities. But in Atlantic City’s history, claims brought by deep-pocketed casinos who don’t like their tax bills have been a much bigger liability. Also arguably, having vacant and abandoned skyscrapers littering a town, while the state is forcibly downsizing the same town’s emergency services, is another big liability. Skaters and kids don’t have the casinos’ well-compensated lobbyists and politicians in their corner, but they have the attention of the city now – so here’s hoping AC can finally get its long-planned-for skate park. Read our story.
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance yesterday filed an appeal to challenge the development of a $1 billion gas pipeline through the pine barrens, NJ Spotlight reports. The pipeline’s proponents, including local backer South Jersey Industries, say the project will bring cheaper gas to the area and prevent the closure of the B.L. Engand power plant in Beesley’s Point, by allowing it to convert to natural gas. But residents and environmental groups have challenged those claims in packed public meetings. The project has been delayed six years by ongoing litigation.
State legislators are trying to make sure that future whistleblower cases will be settled transparently, several months after Gov. Chris Christie’s administration paid $1.5 million to settle a high-profile whistleblower case that kept documents confidential. NJ Spotlight has details on the legislators’ effort here. Meanwhile, in Atlantic City, a jury just awarded $40,000 to a police officer with a history of excessive force claims against him, after he filed a whistleblower claim against the city for reporting another officer’s use of excessive force, the Press of Atlantic City reports.
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In the rest of the news from the last 24 hours, Hammonton gets a dog park, there’s still no transparency over the AC takeover (thanks to more OPRA-digging by the Press’ Christian Hetrick), a federal lawsuit has been filed after an Atlantic County jail death, and here’s a look back at South Jersey Little League baseball moments. All that and more below:
Atlantic City man apologizes for boyfriend’s killing–“I loved this man,” Faheem Harris told the judge as he spoke during a hearing to detain him in his longtime boyfriend’s killing. BreakingAC
Atlantic Cape Cuts 24 jobs, Raises Tuition Due to Falling Enrollment–Faced with decreasing enrollment, Atlantic Cape Community College will cut 24 full-time positions and raise tuition to balance the 2017-18 budget. The college’s new president, Barbara Gaba, said maintaining programs is a priority and no programs or faculty are being cut. Press of Atlantic City
The Sun Returns the Next Few Days, But the Week Ends With a Soaking Rain–Before we contend with what looks like a soggy end to the week on Friday, we’ll first welcome a pair of brighter and drier days, says meteorologist Dan Skeldon. Press of Atlantic City
How Healthy is your South Jersey County?–The annual County Health Rankings report released Wednesday says Cumberland County remains the least healthy county in the state, while Hunterdon County stays at the top with low premature death and obesity rates, high physical activity, low teen birth rates and a highly insured population. Press of Atlantic City
Freeholder Coursey, Sen. Whelan Caught Between Misstatements–A discussion between Atlantic County Freeholder Ernest Coursey and state Sen. Jim Whelan over a lack of diversity on the county’s Democratic ticket led to controversy Wednesday, one day after Coursey, also a Democrat, lost a nomination vote to run for Assembly.
Coursey, who appeared on WPG Talk Radio’s Harry Hurley Show on Wednesday, ripped the Democratic Party for a lack of diversity. Press of Atlantic City
Look Back at South Jersey Little League baseball moments big and small–Opening Day for Major League Baseball is Sunday, with the Phillies starting their season Monday in Cincinnati. Press of Atlantic City
Who Let the Dogs In? Hammonton Dog Park to Open–After three years in the making, one Atlantic County municipality is ready to open its first dog park. A quiet, lonely field sits behind the Boyer Avenue Recreation area in Hammonton, but now when you follow the blueberry and paw print signs, a highly anticipated dog park awaits. www.snjtoday.com
Linwood Woman Turns 110, Rides in Model-T Ford to Celebrate–A local woman is celebrating her 110th birthday this weekend and she kicked off the celebrations a little early with a trip down memory lane. Helen Turner will turn 110 on Saturday, April 1st, and on Wednesday she took a ride in a 1926 Model-T Ford — the same make and model as her very first car. www.snjtoday.com
Atlantic City Redacts Emails Between Guardian and Chiesa–“Dear Ron and Jeff,” “Good morning,” “Good Afternoon,” And “Good Evening.” That is all the communication between Mayor Don Guardian and state overseer Jeffrey Chiesa the city made public Wednesday, the result of an Open Public Records Act request. Press of Atlantic City