We’re on day 77 of the state takeover of Atlantic City and there has been no announcement of any plan the state has for its newest ward. So, understandably, the state says it is annoyed that there are rumors circulating. But, while there’s no official plan, we do know that associates of Gov Christie’s takeover czar Jeffrey Chiesa (who hasn’t been officially seen in town since November) have been talking to police and fire representatives about job cuts. We also know – thanks to Christian Hetrick’s Press of Atlantic City reporting – that Senator Jim Whalen and Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (who sponsored the takeover bill last year) are concerned about those cuts leaving Atlantic City with a potentially dangerous reduction in firefighters. John Wisniewski, governor candidate and chair of the New Jersey Fire Commission, is also concerned by the reports. The thing is, Atlantic City’s financial crisis was caused by the tax base eroding to $6.6 billion from $20.5 billion in 2010, as well as its high costs. The city has already made cuts to its spending. It needs help finding revenue – but there has been no word from the state on plans for the city’s key remaining assets, Bader Field and the Municipal Utilities Authority.
Meanwhile, County Freeholder Frank Formica attended an Atlantic City school-board meeting the other day because the company (Sodexo) that supplies food to Atlantic City and Pleasantville schools has said it will no longer buy bread from Formica Brothers Bakery. The county freeholder said he wanted to let the school board know, so they could be aware of the issue when they come to re-award a food services contract for the schools. A state monitor cautioned the board that promoting using specific vendors would be an ethics violation. The Press of Atlantic City has the story, which says that Formica’s deal with Sodexo was worth between $2,000 and $4,000 per week for both Atlantic City and Pleasantville.
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The rest of today’s headlines include the news that Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson believes just-joking-freeholder John Carman should apologize for his “denigrating” post on the women’s march, Atlantic City joining the Downbeach helium-balloon ban, an Affordable Care Act vigil outside LoBiondo’s office and Donald Norcross joins the Democratic leadership committee. All that and more below:
No Charges for AC Police Officer Who Killed Suspect–An Atlantic City police officer who shot and killed a suspect outside Caesar's Casino last September will not face criminal charges. A grand jury reviewed the evidence Wednesday and declined to indict the officer. 6abc Philadelphia
Small Gathering Holds Affordable Care Act Vigil Outside LoBiondo’s Office–Members of the Communications Workers of America union and a Mays Landing resident gathered in front the office of Rep Frank LoBiondo on Wednesday to urge the congressman to not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“We plan on being here every Wednesday,” said Mike Blaszczyk, president of CWA Local 1085. Press of Atlantic City
Comcast Closing of South Jersey Warehouse will Impact Nearly 90 Workers–Nearly 90 workers' jobs will be uprooted this spring when Comcast closes a warehouse in South Jersey.
According to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification posted on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Philadelphia-based Comcast will eliminate 88 positions at a facility in West Deptford, Gloucester County on June 16. PhillyVoice
Atlantic City Votes to Join Three Other Beach Towns in Helium Balloon Ban–Atlantic City has moved to join its neighboring beach towns of Ventnor, Margate, and Longport in banning the outdoor release of helium balloons, and attaching a $500 fine to the ban.
The Atlantic City Council voted for the ban, which environmentalists hope will reduce trash and protect marine life, on a first reading Wednesday night by a 9-0 vote. Philly.com
South Jersey Likely To Get a New Area Code, Ten-Digit Dialing–State regulators have started the process to not only introduce a new area code to South Jersey but to also require ten-digit dialing in our region. Cat Country 107.3
Front-Runner Phil Murphy Wants to Be NJ’s Next Governor–If you want to run for governor of New Jersey, you need to be good with names. Take the people who attended a Democratic breakfast at a meeting hall in Union County one week before November’s presidential election. njmonthly.com
See aerial views of beach erosion in NJ. towns battered by nor’easter–The blustery nor'easter that churned up the coast on Monday carved huge chunks of beach from Jersey Shore towns throughout the coast, leaving some spots with 10 to 20 foot cliffs at beach access points. NJ.com
Atlantic Cape board to issue layoff notices to culinary staff–Atlantic Cape Community College Board of Trustees will be issuing layoff notices to instructors at the Academy of Culinary Arts, according to a press release highlighting actions taken at the board’s regular monthly meeting, held Jan. 24 at the Cape May County campus. Shore News Today
Patcong Creek Foundation, crab tourney support environmental initiatives–SOMERS POINT – Harbormaster Ron Meischker organizes the annual Assault on Patcong Creek crabbing tournament here – the success of which spawned the Patcong Creek Foundation, a nonprofit organization that looks to help the local environment through education. Shore News Today
NJ Teachers Uncensored on Likely Secretary of Education – NJ Spotlight–The fight over Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. education secretary isn’t over just yet, at least not in New Jersey. www.njspotlight.com
Trump’s EPA Freeze: Start of Ice Age for NJ Environmental Efforts? – NJ Spotlight–It has not taken long for President Donald Trump to put his imprint on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. www.njspotlight.com
Council Makes More Tweaks to Boardwalk Tram Rules–Atlantic City Council again introduced changes Wednesday to rules governing Boardwalk trams, despite a last-minute amendment from state officials and a pending lawsuit. The proposed changes, which include increasing tram fares, would let the trams carry advertisements. Press of Atlantic City
Atlantic County Executive Says John Carman Should Issue an Apology–Atlantic County Freeholder John Carman should apologize for a post denounced as denigrating women during the Women’s March in D.C., county Executive Dennis Levinson said Wednesday. Levinson spoke the day after Atlantic County residents, many of them women, criticized Carman over the Facebook post. Press of Atlantic City
Formica Bros. Bakery Owner Says Loss of School Accounts Will Hurt Business–Local public school students have eaten bread and rolls from the city’s Formica Brothers Bakery for at least a half-dozen years. But bakery owner Frank Formica told the local school board Tuesday night he was recently notified by Sodexo, the food service provider for the district, that it would no longer use him as a vendor. Press of Atlantic City
Borgata’s new Central Conference Center to Open in May–Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa will open its new $11 million Central Conference Center in May, according to a statement from the casino resort. The center will feature two stories of customizable event space including five meeting rooms, a board room and an office on the lower level; as well as a 6,500-square-foot clear span ballroom on the upper level. Press of Atlantic City
New Jersey Cites 136 Home Improvement Contractors in 2016–New Jersey's consumer affairs division cited 136 home improvement contractors in 2016, resulting in $1.9 million in restitution and penalties. Restitution sought ranged from $250 to more than $134,000. Philly.com
Egg Harbor City Considers Allowing Electronic Message Signs–Egg Harbor City Council voted to introduce an ordinance that would allow electronic message signs to be placed outside businesses in various zoning districts. The issue came to light when the owners of Crossroads Bar and Grill applied to the Land Use Board to put sign on their building - rules that have been enforced by the Pinelands Commission barring such signs in areas deemed scenic byways have since been relaxed, according to city director of planning Tim Michel. Shore News Today
Ten Digit Dialing Coming To Parts Of South Jersey–The 609 area code will run out of numbers by the fall of next year, according to an arm of the Federal Communications Commission known as Neustar, which monitors capacity. The administrative process has begun in the state Board of Public Utilities to approve an overlay, with a second area code for all of 609, and towns that share the 856 area code. philadelphia.cbslocal.com
Norcross Appointed to Democratic Leadership Committee–Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) recently announced that he has been re-appointed by leader Nancy Pelosi to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee as a representative for working families. The committee shapes and implements the party's agenda, advises the Caucus on important issues and assigns members to committees. NJ.com