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News Digest 4.5.2006

By Rick Racela

Contract Awarded
SEA ISLE CITY – Whirl Construction, out of Port Monmouth, was awarded the contract to build the Dealy Field playground March 31 at a special commission meeting. The winning bid was $227,463, nearly $50,000 less than the runner-up. The five vying parties placed their bids at 2 p.m. In other business, the commission also authorized an application for the 2006 Municipal Public Improvements Joint Venture Program. If approved, the $418,055 in funds allotted for the city, would be attributed towards the Dealy Field project.
Pilot Blunder
ERMA – The National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the Piper Arrow airplane failed to maintain clearance over trees, while attempting to land at the Cape May Airport April 5 of last year. Stephen D. Baughn, 56, of Burlington County and Barbara Freedman, 57, of Elkins, Pa., were practicing night flying when their single-engine airplane collided with the trees and crashed in the Acorn Campground, which was empty for the season. Both pilots died from the impact.  Baughn and Freedman had a combined 530 hours of flight experience, but little of that time was spent flying at night.
Warrant Executed
NORTH CAPE MAY – SWAT officers from North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and Cape May aided the Lower Township SWAT officers in serving a high risk warrant at the Channel Apartment Complex April 3. Marlon Mitchell, 37, was charged with possession of stolen property, specifically a rental car that had crashed on Route 109 at the end of the parkway on March 30, police said. The vehicle caught on fire. Mitchell was reportedly seen in the stolen vehicle with a man out of Philadelphia who was wanted for sexual assault.  Mitchell was taken into custody and was also charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He is currently being held at the county correctional center on $15,000 bail.
Second in State
NEW BRUNSWICK – In the final state round March 28, county mock trial champ Middle Township High School took second place to Montclair High School, despite besting that opponent in the regional rounds. Both schools will go on to compete May 15-17 in the American Mock Trial Invitational at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Both New Jersey and North Carolina withdrew from the national competition earlier this year because it would not accommodate students who did not wish to compete on the Jewish Sabbath.
Honor Songs of Slaves
WASHINGTON, D.C. – When Calvin Earl, of Jersey City, performed African American spirituals for Richard M. Teitelman students Feb. 3, he said he had been working to have the music declared a national treasure by Congress for over a year. On March 28, Sen. Joseph Menendez introduced Senate Resolution 407, which mentions Earl’s efforts and expertise and recognizes the music, which southern slaves developed when they were not permitted to speak native languages or play African instruments, as a national treasure. The resolution has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and Earl asks everyone to write to senators to move the resolution so the president can sign it on July 4.
Open That Bridge
COURT HOUSE – County Freeholders have decided that nice guy tactics are getting them nowhere closer to crossing the Beesleys Point Bridge. The bridge, which is privately owned, was closed by its owners in June 2004 because they said it is unsafe. Freeholders adopted a four-page resolution demanding that the state Department of Transportation either force the owners to repair the bridge or take it over. Citing summer traffic congestion and suggesting that county resident are at risk if evacuation due to a hurricane is required, freeholders also included a list of other road problems that they claim shows the state is ignoring the county.
Half a Penny
WOODBINE – The tax rate is expected to go down less than a half cent to 41 cents per $100 assessed value, when borough council introduces its $3.5 million budget tomorrow night. Assessments in the borough rose close to $1 million during the past year to $59.7 million. The amount to be raised through tax levy is only slightly higher than last year at $244,421 since it is anticipated that over 90 percent of the budget will be funded through state and federal grants. A $1 million upgrade of Washington Street between DeHirsch and Adams avenues is planned and $300,000 has been budget for the borough’s share of the $3 million gym and library additions for the Woodbine elementary School. A public hearing on the budget is set for May 4 at 7:30 p.m.
DT Phone Home?
DENNISVILLE – Dennis Township School District will be testing a phone system for parent notification of announcements and emergences supplied by Global Connect School Communications for the rest of the school year. The system will allow administrators to tape messages and send them via phone lines to all student homes, according to Business Administrator Frank Rizzo. He told the school board March 30 that in lieu of making a presentation to the board, the company was willing to set its system up for a three-month trial run. If the district is satisfied with it, they can contract for services at a cost of $2 per student. Rizzo said the proposed budget includes adding this service next year.
Still Guilty
COURT HOUSE – Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten refused to allow John DeNoia, 35, to withdraw a guilty plea he entered to an assault charge arising from the 2002 stabbing of John Taimanglo. The North Wildwood resident was initially charged with attempted murder and, after his plea in February 2003, DeNoia received a five-year prison term. In his motion to withdraw his plea he claimed that the agreement included a provision that Taimanglo could not file a civil suit against him. 
Killer Now Assaulter
COURT HOUSE – John Brown, who is serving two consecutive life sentences for the 1973 murders of Woodbine Police Chief Philip J. DeSantis and Kenneth McGuire, a gas station attendant, was found guilty of aggravated assault here March 29. He was temporality confined in the county jail in July 2005 for DNA testing regarding the murders. During a strip search there, he allegedly had an altercation with Corrections Officer Joseph McCorriston and used long fingernails, claimed by the state to have been grown as weapons, to scratch the officer. The jury took only an hour and a half to return the guilty verdict. Brown will be sentenced June 8.
Gun Fight Trial Starts
COURT HOUSE – A shoot-out in Wildwood in October 2004 left three of the four men involved wounded, including Tahiem “Ty” Howell, who went on trail this week for the attempted murder of Daniel Edros, one of the other wounded men. The gunfire apparently arose from a drug deal gone bad. Edros was sentenced to five years in prison in October 2005 after pleading guilty to unlawful weapon possession. Howell, who has been convicted twice on drug charges, was offered similar plea but chose to go to trial. The other two gunfighters, Sharod Thomas and Joel Gonzalez, are in jail in New York on out-of-state charges.
Everything but Guns
DENNISVILLE – State police charged two Dennis Township residents with burglary and theft and a third with receiving stolen property April 1 for items taken from the Crooked Horn Gun Club. The theft of a plasma screen television, pool cues, a keg of beer and a card table and other items valued over $3,000 was discovered that morning and police were called. Amy Morrison, 35 and Ronald Gheysens, 30, were charged with taking the items and Edward Champion, 51, was charge with receiving them. All three were released after posting $2,500 bail. Some of the stolen property has been recovered.
School Tax Level
STONE HARBOR – The Board of Education here approved a $2.3-million budget recently, that maintains the tax rate of 5.65-cents per $100 of assessed value or $56.50 for every $100,000 of assessed value. All educational programs and personnel will remain intact, with enrollment estimated at 92, according to David Rauenzahn, chief school administrator. The budget goes before voters April 18.
Nab for Crack Peddling
NORTH CAPE MAY – Lower Township police arrested Claudio Bailey, 49, of Whitesboro March 28 about 1:30 p.m. and charged him with possession and intent to distribute cocaine. Detectives saw a female approach his vehicle in the North Cape May Shopping Center parking lot near Blockbuster Video. After observing what appeared to be narcotics activity, and the female as possibly having traffic warrants, detectives approached the vehicle and Bailey allegedly tried to hide the cocaine in the center console. A consent form to search Bailey’s vehicle was obtained. Police found 12 packs of crack cocaine valued at $1,200. He was remanded to county jail with bail set at $25,000.
She’s Staying
COURT HOUSE – Superior Court Judge Carmen Alvarez refused, March 30, to remove herself from a case in which former attorney Paul W. Dare is charged with deceiving clients. He accepted disbarment in April 2004 after the state found he had misappropriated clients’ money, and several other charges. Dare’s attorney, Joseph Rodgers, wanted the judge to remove herself since Dare worked for her in a real estate case in 1991 which involved the state DEP. Rodgers plans to appeal.
Budgets Approved
 CREST HAVEN – Boards of school estimate for the county Special Services School District, with 306 full-time and 11 part-time pupils, and Technical School District, with  480 full time, and 275 others, (shared time, special or post secondary), presented budgets that were approved by freeholders March 28. The Technical school’s $12.9-million budget sought county taxes of $5.28 million. The Special Services district’s budget of $12.7 million asked $3.5 million from county taxes.

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