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New Digest 2/15/2006

By Rick Racela

He also mentioned the Court House post office, slated for upgrade, and for which property was acquired a decade ago. Nothing has been done there either, he wrote.
OK Altobelli Plan
WHITESBORO – Middle Township Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a plan by Louis Altobelli Sr. for a property that fronts Route 9 at Gibson Street. The auto repair facility will be similar to the adjacent Hi Tech Auto Repair facility. The site will have 36 parking spaces, with 13 additional in the rear for cars awaiting service.
Plan K-9 Searches
COURT HOUSE – Parents of Middle Township High School students were informed by letter from Principal David Salvo of a meeting Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. It will explain a request by district officials to township Police Chief Joseph Evangelista to develop an action plan for canine searches of student lockers and vehicles for the presence of drugs. The request stemmed from “incidents involving students who have been cited for being under the influence or in possession of drugs in our school building,” Salvo wrote. Members of the county Prosecutor’s Office, Sheriff’s Department and township police department are expected to attend. Salvo stated the police were in place to “insure that MTHS is a safe and positive learning environment.”
Alcohol to Minors
SEA ISLE CITY – Sherry Camerlengo, 42, was arrested Feb. 3 for purchasing alcohol for minors. Sgt. Jon Gansert Sr. said that Camerlengo distributed wine coolers to children between the ages of 12 and 15. Gansert said that Camerlengo purchased the alcohol for the kids and gave it to them at her house.
Auto Burglary, Theft
SEA ISLE CITY – Two Brigantine minors were arrested last week and charged with burglary and theft. The teens allegedly went through 15 unlocked vehicles and took loose change and other items in December. The Brigantine Police Department provided information to city police on the case.
Whale Relief
SEA ISLE CITY – Lobster fishermen may soon be required to use sinking rope instead of the kind that floats. The government has discussed the issue, but hasn’t decided on anything yet. Meanwhile, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the nonprofit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have implemented a voluntary exchange program to get the floating rope out of the ocean by paying $2 a pound for the old rope. So far, the program has eliminated about 200,000 pounds of floating rope. The sinking rope, which consists of polyfibers and heavier nylon, greatly reduces the probability of whales getting caught up and dying.
Drug Dealer Sentenced
COURT HOUSE – Duran Burrus, 27, of Philadelphia was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for drug distribution and violating his probation on another drug charge Feb. 10. Burrus was convicted of third-degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance last November. He was already on probation for an October 2004 intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance conviction. Burrus never reported to his probation officer. Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten sentenced Burrus to seven years in prison for the 2005 conviction and three years for the 2004 conviction.
Assault, Car Burglaries
COURT HOUSE – Sean Morrissey, 25, of Pennsylvania was sentenced to four years in state prison and a six-month county jail term for numerous car burglaries and an assault last summer in Sea Isle City. Morrissey was sentenced Feb. 10 and must also pay $1,472 in restitution for medical expenses. Morrissey stole money and other small items from parked cars in Seaville.
Probation for Cover-Up
COURT HOUSE – James W. Conroy, 20, was sentenced to four years’ probation for attempting to hide his brother’s involvement in the shooting of 18 year-old Bradley Brown. Brown’s friend Ryan Conroy admitted to shooting him with the stolen gun, but claimed that he was not aware that the gun was loaded. Brown died April 4, 2005 from the fatal gun shot wound. James Conroy had allegedly given police a false impression about the events that led to the shooting. He was also charged with a disorderly persons offense of harassment. Conroy drove his car towards a WMGM-TV 40 news cameraman, attempting to scare him. Along with probation, he is also sentenced to anger-management counseling and a $500 fine for the harassment charge.   
Bayview Opening
DIAMOND BEACH – Despite a scheduled visit to Lower Township’s Planning Board March 2, Bayview Inn owner Bill McCullen told the Herald restaurant-lounge is reopening tomorrow and will be open all summer.  JWR Construction is seeking to build 20 condos in three buildings on the site. The proposed condo project would have no street frontage and the developer may need to purchase a narrow strip of land from the Borough of Wildwood Crest. A hearing before the planning board has been delayed at the developer’s request since last November. McCullen said the deal is not definite at this point. McCullen and partner John Feulner have owned the Bayview since 2001. The building began its life as the Mariner Inn in 1966.
Two Injured
GOSHEN –  A two-car accident here on Route 47, Feb. 10 at 10:20 am resulted in two drivers being hospitalized. According to Middle Township police, a vehicle driven by Bruce Wintjen, 57, of Lower Township, was traveling east across Route 47 when he struck a car driven by Larry Slick, 48, also of Lower. Wintjen was transported by helicopter to Atlantic City Medical Center for head and neck injuries. Slick was transported to Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital for neck and back injuries where he was treated and released.
Injured, Missing
COURT HOUSE – After a serious car accident, police found two injured men near the entrance of Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC), seven and half hours after the crash occurred. According to Middle Township police, a severely damaged vehicle, that apparently hit a utility pole, was found on South Dennisville Road near the rear entrance to the county zoo. No occupants were found at the scene. Police conducted a four-hour search in heavy rain, wind, and near freezing temperatures and checked local hospitals. Patrolman Fran Fiore was alerted that two bloodied men approached a woman, whose car slid off the road near the ACCC entrance, asking to use her cell phone. Jesus Costenzega Morales, 28, of Goshen, and Raul Ocampo Torintino, 28, of Hammonton, were taken to Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital for treatment of head injuries and hypothermia. The subjects took refuge in horse stables located at the 4-H fairgrounds, according to police.
Suspected Drugs
NORTH CAPE MAY – Fernando A. Rodriguez, 19, of Court House was arrested for possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute following a traffic stop by Lower Township police Feb. 4 about 12:22 a.m.  Initially cited for failing to use a turn signal, officers spotted items in his vehicle believed to be drug paraphernalia along with a small quantity of a substance believed to be marijuana, and 10 pills of a yet-to-be determined drug, according to police. Rodriguez was lodged in county jail under $15,000 bail.
Deaney to Retire
OCEAN CITY – This city’s Business Administrator Richard Deaney announced Feb. 9 he would not seek another four-year contract when his current one expires in July. He spent 16 years with the city. Deaney, 64, did not rule out working with the city on an interim basis. Mayor Bud Knight is also not seeking reelection after 14 years.
Lifesaving Station
OCEAN CITY – In a 4-3 vote, city council voted Feb. 9 to allow Pansini Custom Design to move the historic Fourth Street Lifesaving station to make way for condominiums. The developer has also promised to donate $300,000 to the city to restore the building and pay expenses of moving the lifesaving station to a parking lot at Sixth Street.  A move would require approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection. At the meeting, a number of residents spoke out against moving the building. Voters rejected a $3 million referendum last year to buy the building from the developer.
 
Purse Theft Charged
RIO GRANDE – Teresita L. Leet, 18, of North Cape May, was charged by Middle Township police with allegedly stealing two purses from customers at Shop Rite on Route 47. On Jan. 31, a woman reported her purse stolen from her shopping cart. That incident was captured on tape by a video camera. On. Feb. 3, Leet was seen leaving the store carrying another woman’s purse, according to police. Leets was also charged with fraudulent credit card use. She was released on a summons. 
Fatal Accident 
GOSHEN  – A 22 year old man was killed Monday night about 7:36 p.m. when his vehicle lost control and struck a tree while traveling west on Swainton-Goshen Road. The victim’s name is being withheld until family members are notified. He has been identified as a Goshen resident. Goshen Fire Department, Middle Township Rescue, and Medic 9 responded to the scene.
Drug Arrests 
WILDWOOD CREST – Police arrested two men on drug charges after executing a search of an apartment in the 100 block of West Sweetbriar Road. Officers recovered a substantial amount of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana and cash, according to a police report. David Slusher, 37, and Dante Grant, 27, both of Philadelphia, were charged with several counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance. Slusher was found to be wanted in Pennsylvania for a parole violation. He is being detained without bail on the fugitive warrant from Pennsylvania. Grant’s bail was set at $25,000. The arrests were the result of a lengthy drug investigation by Wildwood Crest police, the county Narcotics Task Force, and Middle Township SWAT Team.
Burke Appointed
COURT HOUSE  – Raymond M. Burke III, president and owner of the Burke Motor Group auto dealerships, has been appointed by Gov. Jon Corzine to the board of directors of the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation. Burke was one of six new members appointed by the governor Feb. 7. Burke has served on the state Economic Development Authority as an alternate member since 2004.
Saltwater Coming
HIGBEES BEACH –  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the approval of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to open freshwater Pond Creek Marsh to the flow of saltwater from Delaware Bay to eliminate Phragmites reeds. The flow would affect about 170 acres of the 417-acre marsh. Pond Creek runs a shallow, narrow, circuitous path from the bay behind the former magnesite factory and flows into Lower Township and West Cape May. Plans presented to the public last fall included building berms to protect freshwater wetlands. Those have been eliminated from the project as a cost cutting measure.  DEP will monitor the program to make sure saltwater does not flow beyond the desired area. Residents told the Army Corps they feared saltwater intrusion in their wells.
Light Snow
COURT HOUSE –  While Philadelphia saw 11 inches of snowfall at the airport from a weekend storm, Cape May County snowfall averages for Feb. 12 averaged two to three inches. Warmer temperatures along the coast brought rain during the early morning hours of Feb. 12 turning to snow around 5 a.m. The Wildwood Automatic Weather Station reported a total of seven inches of precipitation with most of that falling as rain. This county did experience high winds that downed tree limbs and power lines, coastal flooding in the Wildwoods, and beach erosion in North Wildwood, and Cape May.
Beach Rebirth
AVALON – After two failed attempts to attract a bidder for a major beach replenishment job, negotiations have paid off and in a few weeks Weeks Marine will be on the job pumping sand back on borough’s beaches between 9th and 18th streets. Council awarded a $2,285,000 contract to Weeks, which has corporate offices in Cranford, to dredge 300,000 cubic yards of sand from Townsend’s Inlet. Weeks is completing a federal job in Brigantine and will be on site in a few weeks. In the meantime, council said preparation work would begin immediately once the contract was signed.
Dennis Plan Done
DENNISVILLE – Dennis Township Committee unanimously approved its plan endorsement petition, which must be filed with the DEP’s office of Smart Growth at least 30 days before March 15. At its meeting Feb. 7 the committee heard a presentation of the plan and conducted a public hearing to get any final comments. It adopted the changes recommended by the panning board, following its public hearing Jan. 26, which included enlarging two of six growth centers established in the township, limiting environmental assessment to major subdivisions and site plans, and adding stronger language regarding the township’s position against sharing water with its more densely built neighboring communities.
Sign Up to Vote
DENNISVILLE – The Dennis Township School District will conduct a voter registration drive at the Primary School on Hagan Road. The first will be Feb. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the stage area of the all-purpose room. On Feb. 24 it will be held form 6 to 8 p.m. in the foyer area and on Feb, 25 it will be in the foyer area again from noon to 3 p.m. Personnel will be available to help with completing forms and those registering must bring a driver’s license. 
Ear Splitting Siren
WILDWOOD CREST – How would you like living next to an ear-splitting siren that can go off at all times of the day, Morning Glory Road resident Phyllis Bethel asked the mayor and commissioners on Feb. 8. Bethel said that when the fire siren on her street goes off, it seems to go on forever at decibels that are increasingly painful. Bethel and her neighbor Richard Spina said that they don’t mind when the sirens work properly, but added that something should be done when a blaring siren goes off at varying times of the day and doesn’t stop.  Mayor Carl Groon said that he was going to look into the problem as soon as possible.      
Hike in Rate?
WILDWOOD – The Wildwood Water Utility asked city hall on Feb. 9 to increase its revenues by $1.37 million or 31.3 percent. This means an increase from $48.40 to $63.53 per quarter for residential customers. Written comments for Lower Township and Wildwood Crest have called the proposed increase, outrageous. According to Gary Ziegler, director of the utility, Wildwood would be the least expensive water provider, charging $254.12 per year for the typical residential customer with a 5/8-inch meter using 20,000 gallons per quarter. Ziegler explained that the increase would not affect sewer rates, because they are based on consumption and set by the local government.   
Text Messages
COURT HOUSE – Students at Atlantic Cape Community College can receive text messages from the college, altering them to school closing and weather conditions. The text messaging service does not cost anything, but individual text messaging charges still applies. Students can register their cell phone on the college’s website at www.atlantic.edu. According to Douglas Hedges, dean of information technology services, the college spent approximately $4,000 for the service. Currently, 50 students have enrolled and the system has not been used, said Hedges.    
Offer Services
NORTH WILDWOOD – Eamonn Boyle, a resident of this city, has offered to help property owners have a better understanding of their assessment, by offering a free comparative market evaluation. Boyle said that he attended the Jan. 30 meeting in Philadelphia and plans to attend the second meeting on Feb. 27.  For more information, contact Boyle at eboyle@wrhoeygroup.com.

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