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News Digest 4.26.2006

By Rick Racela

Drink on the Beach
DIAMOND BEACH – Atlantis Beach Club here was granted a club liquor license by Lower Township Council, April 17. Only beach club members and their guests will be permitted to purchase drinks. The license must also receive state approval. No permanent buildings may be constructed on the beach for the bar. The license will not be a moneymaker for the township. According to Township Manager Kathy McPherson, the fee for the license is $150.
Tax Free Project
VILLAS – Lower Township Council introduced an ordinance April 17 that would exempt from taxes a 75-unit senior housing project at St. John of God Catholic Church in North Cape May. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden would make a payment in lieu of taxes annually equal to 15 percent of annual gross rent revenue exclusive of any government aid or subsidies to renters. The township must submit 5 percent to the county. The tax exemption lasts 40 years.
Ponderlodge Plan
VILLAS – Representatives from 11 civic groups in Lower Township will present their proposal for future use of Ponderlodge tonight at 7 p.m. at Lower Township Hall on Bayshore Road. In question is whether 11 holes of the former 18-hole golf course will be maintained or the property will be used as a nature reserve. The township has expressed an interest in keeping recreational facilities on the property operating. The public is invited to attend the meeting.
‘Buy-Bust’
NORTH WILDWOOD – Maurice O’Keith Harris, 23, of Philadelphia was arrested April 21 here on numerous drug charges, according to a police report. Harris was arrested after he allegedly sold cocaine and marijuana to a police informant during a “Buy-Bust” operation. He was charged with possession and distribution of cocaine and marijuana in a school zone. Harris was lodged in the county jail under $100,000 bail.
News in Your Ears
RIO GRANDE – On this week’s Herald Podcast: the first Starbucks opens in this county. How will it fare in our seasonal economy? Also: changes in fares on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and a walk through tour of the Franklin Street Methodist Church’s conversion into condominiums in Cape May. Go to www.cmcherald.com and click on Podcast to listen to the 15-minute audio program.
Candidates Debate
CAPE MAY – The Taxpayers Association of Cape May and the county League of Women Voters will host a debate for candidates for city council here, tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Cape May Elementary School auditorium. Seven candidates have been invited to participate. The first half hour will feature five-minute opening statements from candidates followed by an hour of questions and answers. 
Watch for Red
WILDWOOD CREST – Those blinking lights everyone’s been driving through here in the borough will be back to red, yellow, and green for traffic control May 1. It’s a sure sign winter is over and borough police want residents and visitors to be reminded to start heeding those lights once again.
Charged for Cocaine
WHITESBORO – Acting on a search warrant here at 301 George Street, law enforcement from Middle Township and the county prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force arrested Lydell Hall, 38, of here, for alleged possession of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute. The county regional SWAT team also aided in the search. Hall was lodged in county jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Arrested at Motel
RIO GRANDE – Jamie Hayes, 30, of Millville, and Luis Perez, 19, of Court House, were arrested after the execution of a search warrant at room 151 of the Offshore Motel here on Route 47. Middle Township Police, the county prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force and the regional SWAT team aided in the search and arrest. Hayes and Perez were charged with alleged possession of a controlled dangerous substance, intent to distribute, conspiracy, and child endangerment. Both were lodged in county jail in lieu of $40,000 in bail each.
Avoid Grant Lure
DEL HAVEN – A suspicious call to an unidentified resident here has prompted Middle Township police to warn that someone calling from the Government Grant Entitlement Center and offering a free grant of $5,000 may be involved in a scam. According to police, the caller asked the unnamed resident for bank information to electronically transfer the money but the resident didn’t give it, the call was terminated and police were notified. Police have not been able to identify the caller and believe it may have come from out of the area. They warn that residents be alert for such scams and avoid giving personal information over the telephone.
Compounding Offenses
NORTH CAPE MAY – Attempting to flee Lower Township police responding to a domestic violence call, Angel Ortiz allegedly jumped out a rear window of his girlfriend’s apartment at Channel Apartments here. When he got in his car to drive away he was reportedly stopped and arrested for driving while intoxicated and disorderly conduct. His girlfriend called police before 11 p.m. April 18 claiming Ortiz was going to damage her apartment. It took three officers to subdue Ortiz when he allegedly resisted arrest. Patrolman McPherson made the arrest and sustained a back injury and is recovering. Police recovered a two-foot long machete a neighbor reportedly saw Ortiz brandish, but discard in bushes. Ortiz refused a breath test and was subsequently charged with a motor vehicle offense, police said. He was sent to county jail in lieu of $15,000 and has also been charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice.
Blvd. of Broken Springs?
RIO GRANDE – This week, another Spout Off “first.” The column has heard over the years from a few animals  – cats and dogs – but this week a Lower Township “road” contacted Spout Off, begging to have its potholes filled. Stay tuned.
Hazards Wanted
BURLEIGH – Gather up all your household hazardous waste – plus any no longer wanted electronics – and haul it all over to the county MUA’s transfer station on South Shunpike Road here on Saturday, May 6, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.  They’ll take it for free, within reason (minor charges kick in for more than 12 gallons of paint, for more than two TVs or computers, etc.)  No explosives, please. Details in an ad in this newspaper next week.
Send Us Your Excess
STONE HARBOR – Atlantic City International Airport has “plenty of space” and “one of the longest runways in the country,” Sharon Gordon of the South Jersey Transportation Authority told county Chamber of Commerce directors at their luncheon meeting at Henny’s April 20. The bad news: located between Philadelphia and Newark airport, it’s seen as lacking enough customers to entice other airlines. But, with Philadelphia suffering “runway gridlock,” she said, there have been talks about AC providing Philadelphia with “capacity enhancement.”
Traveling Doctors?
STONE HARBOR – County Chamber of Commerce directors gave a round of applause to the announcement April 20 from Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital CEO Joanne Carrocino that the hospital and University of Pennsylvania Health System have entered into an affiliation for cancer and cardiovascular services. In some cases, instead of patients having to travel to Philadelphia, “Now the doctors travel,” said Carrocino at the luncheon meeting at Henny’s.
Happy Shred Day
COURT HOUSE – What a deal. Free shredding of your paper documents courtesy of the county MUA Saturday, April 29, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Middle Township Hall, 33 Mechanic St. If that doesn’t work, scoot on over to the Crest Pier at Ocean Avenue at Heather Road in Wildwood Crest from 1 to 3 p.m. The MUA wants your shredded material to boost its recycling. No large binders or plastic covers, but standard size staples and paper clips are okay.  See ad, page 28.  Cape May, Sea Isle City, Seven-Mile and Woodbine paper shredding days will be coming in May and June and will be announced here.
Crash Injures Three
MAURICE RIVER TWP – Traffic was backed up for about three hours after a brutal accident severely injured three on Route 47 April 21. George McKinley, 26, of Villas, attempted to pass a tractor-trailer, miscalculated the distance and was given no choice but to veer left, striking a pole on the northbound shoulder of the road around 7 a.m., according to State Police from the Port Norris barracks. McKinley’s vehicle then bounced off the pole, back into the road, smashing into the driver’s side of the tractor-trailer and then hitting Dennis Reed’s vehicle. Reed, of North Cape May, and his wife Nancy both sustained serious injuries and had to be airlifted to different hospitals, according to police. McKinley was charged with assault with a motor vehicle and driving with a suspended driver’s license.
5 Years For Gun Use
COURT HOUSE – Saulaman Allen, 27, of Woodbine, was sentenced to five years in jail April 21 after pleading guilty in February to being a person who cannot possess a weapon because of a prior conviction for possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance. The charge arose out of his discharge of a handgun in Woodbine last September. Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten recounted Allen’s criminal history, which includes two convictions for drug possession and resisting arrest. Allen won’t be eligible for parole during the five years.
Jailed for Stabbing
COURT HOUSE – Julia C. Mabry, 22, of Middle Township, accused of stabbing Maura McCaffrey, then 23, of Lower Township during a dispute over a man, chose to plead guilty to the third-degree charge of aggravated assault. Mabry went to Club shakers, at Shellenger and Pacific Avenues in Wildwood, on July 2, 2005 with a steak knife concealed in her purse. McCaffrey was stabbed in the chest around 2:30 a.m., which resulted in a punctured lung. Mabry claimed to have no intention of using the weapon. Indicted back in December on the charge of attempted murder, Mabry plea agreement carries a sentence of three and a half years in prison. She will be sentenced July 7.
Plea Thrown Out
COURT HOUSE – Jose Pineiro, 37, of Wildwood will not be serving five years in prison, at least not yet.  A state appellate court reversed the conviction, finding Pineiro’s testimony to the facts of his guilty plea insufficient. Pineiro had appealed his conviction and sentence, claiming it was excessive. Pineiro was on parole from a previous drug possession conviction in April 2002 when he was indicted. The court found Pineiro denied a key element of the crime of absconding by claiming he never attempted to hide from his parole officer but had moved due to financial reasons. His plea made through an interpreter during trial was vacated. The prosecutor’s office will likely retry the case.
Assorted Critters
STONE HARBOR – During Councilman Brian Levinson’s April 18 public safety address to borough council, he reported “animal complaints” referred to police that included: Five dogs, five foxes, four skunks, one coyote and one bird. There were no feral cat or raccoon complaints.
Fresh Pond Found
STONE HARBOR- During a survey of the borough’s internationally-renowned bird sanctuary by members of the Duffield Associates of Wilmington, Del., hired by the borough to make recommendations to lure egrets and herons back to the site, something unexpected was found: a fresh water pond. The pond and surrounding “coastal forest” is located in the heavily vegetated northeast corner of the tract. Councilman Julian Miraglia, chair of council’s Natural Resources Committee, reported the find at council’s April 18 meeting. “No one realized it was there,” said Miraglia.
Teen Stabbed
WILDWOOD – An unidentified 16-year-old boy was stabbed outside of Commissioner’s Court around 10 p.m. April 20 just off New Jersey Avenue. The victim was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, treated and released, according to reports. Wildwood police report they had no suspects and were still investigating.
Out in No Time?
COURT HOUSE – A delay in sentencing James Kessler, 22, of Lower Township, for his plea of aggravated assault and criminal sexual contact has made him eligible for parole even though he was just sentenced to a five-year term April 21. The criminal incident took place Jan. 31, 2005 and Kessler had served 445 days in county jail before his sentence was imposed. Although he has no other convictions as an adult, Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten commented on his lengthy juvenile record, including theft and weapons possession arrests, at the hearing last Friday.
Plumbing for Cash
WILDWOOD – A 23-year-old plumber was arrested April 17 after allegedly robbing an unidentified man at knifepoint. According to police, Frankie Sola, a resident on Roberts Avenue here, committed the robbery about 6 a.m. inside a motel room at the San Juan Motel on East Lincoln Avenue and he and the victim knew each other. Sola was arrested at the scene and charged with robbery and weapons charges and taken to county jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. Police reportedly recovered some money at the time of the arrest.
What’s the Story?
WILDWOOD – A lawsuit filed by Wildwood Police Officer David Romeo for injuries he claims were caused by brothers Joshua Baker and John Hruska in an incident on Sept. 21, 2002 during the Boardwalk Classic Car Show has been challenged by Baker. In paper’s filed with the court, it is claimed that Romeo made statements during a deposition that he was not injured by the brothers. Baker’s lawyer has filed a motion to dismiss the case against Baker and the court will hear the motion on May 26.

Spout Off

Sea Isle City – I have grave concerns over the Sea Isle fire company. We called when our alarms were sounding and it took them nearly 20 minutes to arrive. Now hearing rumours the chief was removed by the city….

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Villas – I found out most spouters do not want to hear any positive things, when I put or other spouters spout nice spouts no one responds. There are good things that happen here why not say something…

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Cape May – PLEASE respect the signs on the Cape May bridge and do not ride your bikes over it with ongoing traffic. There are 4 signs that say "Walk bikes over". You are risking your life and others…

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