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News Digest 5.31.2006

By Rick Racela

 
Busy, Busy, Busy
ERMA – Lower Township police responded to 450 incidents during the holiday weekend. They conducted 109 vehicle stops and issued 134 summonses resulting from them. Twelve people were arrested and several large narcotics seizures were made during car stops, along with the arrest of a fugitive from Philadelphia, wanted for sexual assault. Seven domestic violence calls included three that involved assaults. Memorial Day weekend also included 18 disorderly conduct calls, 15 motor vehicle accidents, 10 emergency medical calls, 16 animal complaints and 10 suspicious person calls. Single-digit police attention getters were aggravated assaults, simple burglaries, thefts, 9-1-1 hang-ups, trespasses, fire calls, harassments, and missing persons.
Seize Drugs
VILLAS – After receiving information concerning drug activity here, Lower Township police conducted surveillance on Fulling Mill Road and stopped a vehicle at about 3:30 p.m. on May 26. The stop resulted in the arrest of Darrel L. Hodges, 37, of Whitesboro, who was alleged to be in possession of one ounce of suspected crack cocaine and 10 bags of suspected heroin. Hodges was charged with two counts of possession of controlled dangerous substances and is in county jail in default of $50,000 bail.
Bucks for a Big Bang
AVALON – Everything is in place for the borough’s big fireworks show July 2. Council awarded a $40,000 contract to Vineland Fireworks Company, Inc. of Vineland to put on a 20-minute show beginning at 9 p.m. Council also gave itself a special permit to have the show, under a new ordinance it adopted earlier this year.
Open to the Public
AVALON – Workers finished up on May 27, according to Avalon Councilman Dave Ellenberg and Veterans Plaza was ready for its unveiling Monday for a Memorial Day tribute. Ellenberg said that there were 500 to 600 in attendance and except for a few punch list items, the plaza is good to go for other events this summer. See photo, page 70.
On Time but Not Full
AVALON – The Great American Trolley Company made its debut appearance here over Memorial Day weekend. It runs from 12th Street in the borough to 107th Street in Stone Harbor. Councilman David Ellenberg said that it was a huge success from the standpoint of running on schedule, but ridership is expected to increase. It will run again on June 24 and 25 from noon to 10 p.m. and daily service from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. will start July 1. Riders can offset the nominal ticket price by getting vouchers from local businesses and the borough. Council authorized $2,800 toward tickets for those who visit the library, museum and other borough sites.
Bring on the Sewage
WOODBINE – This borough now has a $3-million sewage plant up and ready to go but it had to be test run with tap water since no residents or business are connected. It is part of the plan to bring commercial development to the airport. Residents have public water but private septic tanks for sewage. The plant could service 350 homes but businesses are the focus customer group.
Street Makeover
WOODBINE – As a start to a new look for the downtown area here, borough council has approved a $150,000 contract with Bud Concrete, of Sewell, for curbs, sidewalks and crosswalk pavers Between Franklin and DeHirsch avenues on Washington Avenue. The work will start in June. This is the beginning or improvements to the area that are anticipated to cost $1 million.
Lock that Car
OCEAN VIEW – State Police are warning residents here to keep parked cars locked due to  thefts from five unlocked vehicles in the early morning of May 24 along Route 550. Items taken reportedly included cash, CDs and a laptop computer. Anyone with information should contact the Woodbine barracks at 861-5698.
Alleged Mace Attack
VILLAS – John Kiger, 26, of Garfield Avenue here was riding his motorcycle east on Fulling Mill Road when he heard brakes screeching behind him as he made a left turn. A verbal confrontation followed with the driver who allegedly sprayed Kiger’s face with mace. Lower Township police are looking for a red, four-door compact car with a crucifix on the driver’s door. The vehicle’s driver is reportedly a white male in his mid-50s with gray hair.  A small dog was also in the vehicle. Patrolman Robert Fessler is the investigating officer; anyone with information should call 886-1619, ext. 156.
Bicyclists Hit by Car
SOUTH DENNIS – Two female juveniles were riding their bicycles along Cape May Courthouse-South Dennis Road, Route 657, about 3:30 p.m. Monday when a motorist reportedly from Pennsylvania struck them. State Police report the vehicle was traveling north but that the driver made a U-Turn possibly due to holiday traffic. Heading south, the driver reportedly told police the vehicle was driven onto the shoulder to avoid a car backing out of a driveway but police said there was no such car. The two bicyclists were treated for minor injuries at Burdette Tomin Memorial Hospital and released.
Fatal Crash
PALERMO – Daniel Cupaiuolo, of Sewell, was pronounced dead on the front lawn of a home on Bayview Avenue here about 2:30 am. Monday after the vehicle he was driving north on Route 9 left the road, sideswiped a pole, and stopped at a tree. A passenger, Jacob Hendrickson, also of Sewell, was removed from the vehicle with an extrication device, according to State Police. He was reported to be in stable condition at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center as of Monday night.
Caught in the Act
MAYVILLE – A resident here reportedly foiled an alleged car burglary May 27 at about 3:45 p.m. after discovering Timothy J. Blewitt, 27, of Folsom Pa. in his pick up truck, tackling him and subduing him until Middle Township police arrived. Blewitt was taken into custody and lodged in county jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail. Although nothing was taken from the truck here, police reportedly found items in Blewitt’s vehicle that might have been taken from vehicles burglarized in Lower Township.
Reval Appears Heard
COURT HOUSE – The County Board of Taxation will likely be hearing from many North Wildwood property owners, appealing the results of a 2005 revaluation, through June. According to county Tax Administrator George R. Brown III, 1,064 city property owners had appealed their new assessments. The revaluation increased the town’s overall value from $866 million to approximately $3 billion. During a May 23 hearing, Tax Assessor Joseph Gallagher and a representative of Tyler Technologies/CLT Division reviewed assessments and the process used to determine the value.
Flood Warning
NORTH WILDWOOD – Registration forms are available for residents who want to be included in the city’s new flood early warning telephonic system. The new system will notify registered residents of possible tidal flooding or other emergencies via the telephone when the National Weather Service issues a warning. Registration forms can be picked up at the city clerk’s office or at the police department. There is no cost to participating residents.
They’re Back!
NORTH WILDWOOD – Sam’s Pizza reopened Memorial Day, approximately six months after a blaze destroyed the Shore Plaza motel that had housed it and other boardwalk businesses. Customers packed the newly constructed pizzeria and waited in line for a slice of Sam’s famous pizza.
 
B’Walk Brawl
WILDWOOD – A brawl between a group of teens, that broke out on the boardwalk in the afternoon of May 29, was under control by late evening, according to police reports. The fight, which began between Cedar and Oak avenues, did not result in any reported injuries or damage to any boardwalk businesses, police said. Reportedly, eight police officers responded after two people involved in the fight called police.     
Knife Throwing
WILDWOOD CREST – William C. McNeal Jr., 24, was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a deadly weapon, after a female victim reported that McNeal had threatened to harm her with a fourteen inch serrated kitchen knife and then allegedly threw the knife at her. The victim was able to avoid being hit by the knife and was not injured, according to reports. Sgt. Michael Healy and Cpl. Joseph McKenna responded to East Cresse Avenue at 6:50 a.m. on May 26 and subdued McNeal. He was lodged in the county jail on $50,000 bail.   
 
Coffee to Go
ERMA  – Louis Decero IV, 20, of Philadelphia, was arrested May 28 when he was discovered allegedly burglarizing an apartment at Beachcomber Campground.  Beachcomber employe Michael Pasquarello stopped by his apartment about 11:30 a.m. and discovered two men inside. They fled but Pasquarello was about to capture Decero after accidentally spilling hot coffee on him. A second suspect, James Coglin, 22, of Philadelphia is still at large. About $50 in cash is missing along with $400 in jewelry. Decero was found to be in possession of $50 cash taken from the apartment. He was lodged in county jail in default of $25,000 cash bail. 
 
Waters Test Clean
CREST HAVEN – County Health Department tests of 67 ocean and bay recreational sites May 22-24 found all well below the state set limit for enterococcus bacteria of 104 per 100-millileter sample. Of 51 environmental locations where recreation activities are not recommended, all were with acceptable limits. For updated reports, call the hotline, 465-2422.
 
Help for Aquaculture
COLD SPRING – During a fisheries tour yesterday, Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew and Nelson Albano (both D-1st) announced legislation they are introducing to create an Assembly Task Force on Saltwater Fisheries and Aquaculture. It will determine the best methods for consolidating and streamlining management, support, and research efforts connected with those industries to bring them under one entity such as the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University. The task force would also look at strengths and weaknesses of the industries and develop strategies to address weaknesses and evaluate all aspects of commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture industries. Van drew said it was “shameful for the past decade there has not been one cohesive focus for the aquaculture industry.” He said research and dedication of resources have been fragmented to the point where the state was lagging behind neighboring states. The 14-members task force would include four Assembly members, representatives of interest groups, academics, and a representative of the Marine Fisheries Council.
Auction Liquor License
VILLAS – The state Department of Taxation will offer the former Ponderlodge Golf Course liquor license at public auction, June 13 at 10 a.m. in township hall, 2600 Bayshore Road. The license was seized for unpaid taxes. Successful bidders must make a 25 percent deposit at the auction in guaranteed funds such as a certified check, cash or money order. More information is available from Division of Taxation Supervisor Michael Nolan at 856-614-2628.
That Sinking Feeling
CAPE MAY – Representatives of the New Jersey Sierra Club and New Jersey Public Interest Group are warning seaside towns such as Cape May and Atlantic City will be underwater by the year 2100 if steps are not taken to stop global warming resulting in rising sea levels. The groups are calling for steps to stem high-energy use in cars, homes, and businesses. They recommend minimum standards for heaters and appliances, more mass transit, taxes on gas-guzzling cars and more use of wind and solar power. Princeton University has predicted a two to four-foot rise in sea levels by 2100. The Delaware Bay shore would also be under water.
Mace in Face
ERMA – Lower Township police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a driver who allegedly sprayed mace in the face of a motorcyclist during an argument. According to a police report, motorcyclist John Kiger, 26, of Villas, was riding eastbound on Fulling Mill Road in Villas, May 24 about 9 p.m.  when he made a left turn onto Garfield Avenue. He reported hearing screeching brakes behind him with the driver yelling at him. Kiger followed the driver where a verbal confrontation took place at Franklin and Bentz avenues. The car driver reportedly sprayed Kiger with pepper mace. The unidentified driver is described as a white male in his 50s, with gray hair, driving a small, red, four-door car with a white or blue Jesus cross on the front driver’s side door. There was a small German Sheppard riding in the car. Anyone with information is asked to call Lower Township police: 886-1619, ext. 156 or Crime Stoppers at 465-2800.
Help for Aquaculture
COLD SPRING – During a fisheries tour yesterday, Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew and Nelson Albano (both D-1st) announced legislation they are introducing to create an Assembly Task Force on Saltwater Fisheries and Aquaculture. It will determine the best methods for consolidating and streamlining management, support, and research efforts connected with those industries to bring them under one entity such as the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University. The task force would also look at strengths and weaknesses of the industries and develop strategies to address weaknesses and evaluate all aspects of commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture industries. Van drew said it was “shameful for the past decade there has not been one cohesive focus for the aquaculture industry.” He said research and dedication of resources have been fragmented to the point where the state was lagging behind neighboring states. The 14-members task force would include four Assembly members, representatives of interest groups, academics, and a representative of the Marine Fisheries Council.
Extend Rebate Deadline
TRENTON – Homeowners will have additional time, until Aug. 15, to take advantage of the state’s FAIR Rebate and Property Tax Reimbursement (senior freeze) property tax relief programs. The FAIR Rebate program was designed to ease property tax burdens on working, middle-income families who own a home and lived in it as their primary residence on Oct. 1, 2005, and paid property taxes on that dwelling. The senior freeze is for senior and disabled persons who are reimbursed for the difference between local property taxes in their base year, and amount paid in the reimbursement year. For information on the senior freeze call 1-877-658-2872. Questions on the FAIR rebate should be directed to 1-888-238-1233.
Largest Cash Forfeiture
COURT HOUSE – County Prosecutor Robert Taylor announced the largest cash forfeiture in county history, $100,000 on May 26. It resulted from a narcotics arrest Nov. 22, 2005 of Poplar CafŽ owner Stanley Stefankiewicz, 48, at the establishment, 2708 Pacific Ave., Wildwood. Stefankiewicz pled guilty on May 26 before Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Batten to possessing with intent to distribute cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school. His sentencing is set for July 28. In addition to the forfeiture, Taylor said $7,889 in cash, seized from the property would be retained. He said the terms of the judgment “serve to send a firm message that the Prosecutor’s Office will aggressively pursue all authorized means, including civil forfeiture statutes, to prosecute those involved in the illegal distribution of drugs.”
Arrest in Child Luring
WILDWOOD – City police arrested Wayne D. Wall, 28, of Gloucester City, after receiving several reports from Wildwood High School that a suspicious male had allegedly approached students in an inappropriate manner. When officers responded, Wall had fled the scene. Later, they received two other calls of the same type. When they apprehended Wall, he reportedly gave false information about his identity. Wall was positively identified by an automated fingerprint system. From state and federal databases, it was determined Wall was a convicted felon with an extensive criminal history, according to police. He was charged with hindering apprehension and attempting to lure or entice a child under 18 years of age for purpose of committing a criminal act. The victims’ identities were withheld; their ages were from 12-15 years. Wall was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail and is restricted from being within 1,000 feet of any school and from having contact with his victims.

Spout Off

Lower Township – As a retired long time bus driver for NJT,and an even longer resident of LT : Thank you to all the school bus drivers for an accident free year. It is a monumental achievement in this day and age!

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Del Haven – I couldn't help but note that a Republican Rep likened Trump's speech to that of a drunk uncle at a dinner party, when he ranted about Milwaukee as being a terrible "city", Pelosi…

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Wildwood – I think it's only fitting wbp honors past chief cirelli with some sort of badges on their uniforms . Chief Lou lived for the summers and only wished the best for our city

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