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News Digest Nov 9th

By Rick Racela

News Digest Nov 9 2005
Horseshoe Crab Ban?
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — With declining numbers of migrating red knot birds, the Atlantic States Fisheries Commission is proposing a two-year ban on harvesting horseshoe crabs here and in Delaware. The birds eat horseshoe crab eggs while stopping over on the shores of Delaware Bay before continuing to the Arctic. Their journey begins in South America. Scientists fear extinction of the red knot due to the over harvesting of horseshoe crabs which are cut up and used for bait. The state is considering compensating harvesters of horseshoe crabs for their losses if the ban takes effect this winter. State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell said the red knot could be in danger of becoming extinct after 2010 if its population continues to dwindle.
Car to Carts
SWAINTON — Mark D. Aaronson, 46, of Mount Holly was flown to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center after his car struck several objects in the Acme store parking lot here Nov. 2 about 7:30 p.m. According to police, Aaronson’s SUV jumped a curb turning into the parking lot off Avalon Boulevard, hitting shopping carts and a fire hydrant before becoming lodged in eight-foot-by-40-foot storage trailer.  Firefighters cut into the trailer to extricate Aaronson from his vehicle. The accident is under investigation. Aaronson’s injuries did not appear life threatening, according to Middle Township police.
Bad Pull Over
COURT HOUSE — Dennis C. Sampson, 56, of Seaville was indicted by a grand jury Nov. 1 on single count of impersonating a police officer, a fourth degree crime. On Sept. 6, Sampson allegedly pulled over a car driven by off-duty State Trooper Roy Blackledge. 
Bus Sandwich
PETERSBURG — Sixteen students on their way to Ocean City High School were taken to Shore Memorial Hospital Nov. 1 after a car on Route 50 in Upper Township struck their school bus. The accident happened about 7:10 a.m. while the bus was stopped to pick up students at Upper Bridge Road. A van reportedly traveling at 45 mph plowed into car, pushing it into the school bus. There were no major injuries. Students were evaluated and released. According to police, glare from the sun may have contributed to the accident, which is under investigation.    
Heroin Charge
NORTH CAPE MAY — Lower Township police arrested Mark J. Zinkewich, 21, of Wildwood after receiving a tip that a drug sales transaction would take place in the area of a service station here on Bayshore Road. After setting up undercover surveillance Nov. 1 about 5:30 p.m., police interviewed Zinkewich who was allegedly found to have 24 bags of heroin in his possession. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of under 50 grams of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia, He was lodged in county jail under $25,000 cash bail. Detectives Mel Hedum and Chris Lambert investigated the incident with assistance of the patrol division.   
Succumbs to Injuries
COURT HOUSE — Esther DuBree, 61, of Court House, died Nov. 3 at Atlanti-Care Regional Medical Center, City Division of injuries sustained in an Oct. 31 car accident on Route 9, Swainton. She was driving southbound about 1:30 p.m. just north of Avalon Boulevard when she entered the northbound lane and hit a utility trailer behind a pickup truck, then a second northbound car.
Crash Injures Two
RIO GRANDE — A Nov. 2, two-car crash near 3124 Route 9 injured both drivers with non-life threatening injuries, according to Middle Township police. About 8:56 p.m., a car driven by Rachel Vitale, 19, of Rio Grande, struck a vehicle driven by Christopher O’Donnell, 30, of North Wildwood. Police said initial investigation revealed O’Donnell was leaving an apartment complex at 3124 Route 9 when he drove into Vitale’s path. His vehicle was struck on the driver’s side. Both vehicles sustained severe damage. Both drivers were taken to Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital for treatment. O’Donnell was given a careless driving summons. Other charges are pending investigation by Patrolman Fran Fiore.
Phone Cards for GIs
NORTH CAPE MAY — VFW Post 3725 is seeking names of local active duty military personnel serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to give them phone cards. Contact for the Town Bank VFW post project is John T. “Jake” Lincoln at 886-6364. He will require name and address of the military member to mail them a card.
Investigate Break-in
COURT HOUSE — Middle Township police are seeking the public’s help to solve a burglary and theft case. The incident took place Nov. 2 on West Woodland Avenue. Police said a person or persons entered the home between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. and stole a purse, PlayStation video console, and Sony digital camera. Persons with information should call 465-8700.
Helpers Head South
SEAVILLE — Some 17 members of Seaville United Methodist Church are traveling to Mississippi to help reroof and fix up homes damaged in Hurricane Katrina. The aid mission is sponsored in part by Noon Rotary Club of Upper Township and Ocean City. The group raised over $15,000 for building supplies. The group plans to sleep in a Biloxi area church. Those who are professional construction workers will supervise other unskilled, but willing, volunteers.
Speedway Shifts Gears
MILLVILLE — A planned $100 million motor-sports complex, planned here, and stalled by a lawsuit initiated by several environmental groups against the city planning board, will move forward. The action came after the city, New Jersey Motorsports Park LLC and Cumberland County joined the suit as interveners. Rutgers Law Clinic represented Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River, state Audubon Society and Association of N.J. Environmental Commissions. Major issues were noise and impact on wildlife, and have been settled to the satisfaction of the litigants. Among those lauding the compromise was U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd) who cited the project’s job creation and expected tourism revenue, which will benefit not only Millville, but also the entire region.
Sandy Solution
CAPE MAY — The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is offering to pay 75 percent of the cost to move a dune that has been spilling sand onto the Cove Restaurant’s property on Beach Avenue. The city would be responsible for the remaining 25 percent, something it may not be willing to pay using taxpayer dollars, according to City Solicitor Tony Monzo. The Johnston Family, owners of the Cove Restaurant, have been arguing with city officials for five years asking that the dune, which is on city property, be relocated. The Johnstons have contended the dune was created by fencing the city placed on the beach to prevent access to those who don’t buy a beach tag.  The Johnstons are considering a lawsuit against the city for damages. The DEP plan calls for the dune to be moved 15-feet south of its current location.
Worth a Bundle
SEA ISLE CITY — Mayor Leonard Desiderio told a few gathered around the dais after the Nov. 5 commission meeting that the state has an appraisal that puts the value of the 47th Place properties at $10 million. There are nine properties involved in a month-long dispute that started when the state Tidelands Bureau informed owners that the state owned their land. Negotiations are at the point where the city is offering alternative property for a land swap. Residents were concerned at the Saturday meeting that is the state acquired an undeveloped parcel on 29th Street that it cold ultimately be developed. Desiderio assured them that the property would only be transferred with a deed restriction against such development. Meanwhile, the next meeting for the nine beleaguered property owners and the state is Nov. 22.
Heart Attacks Beware
SEA ISLE CITY — Police Chief William Kennedy announced Nov. 5 that the city has obtained two more Auto External Defibrillator (AED) units and one training unit, approximately $5,000 worth of equipment through a grant from the state Department of Health and Senior Services. The city already had four units that have been used in police cars for a while, said Kennedy. The critical time to employ this equipment is within 10 to 20 minutes of a heart attack. The two new units will be placed in the public safety building, one upstairs in an alarm case where “anyone can pick up and deploy it,” said Kennedy. The second will be in the police dispatch unit. 
Nix Electric Heat?
NEWARK — The state Board of Public Utilities is floating the idea that the use of electricity to heat residential property might be banned in the future. The board’s rational fro such a ban, according to its draft rule, is energy conversation and avoiding the need to construct more energy generating plants in the state.  The rule change would deny permits for construction that include plans for electric resistance heating equipment and would prevent utility companies from supplying the electricity. Atlantic City Electric voiced concern that these decisions should be left to contractors and homeowners and that since most energy use in south Jersey occurs in the summer, there is no basis for the conservation rationale in this area. No decision has been made about adopting the rules change. For now the board is seeking feedback form those interested.
One Way
NORTH WILDWOOD — City council introduced an ordinance Nov. 1 that will turn the 100 block of 17th Street into a one-way eastbound street. The change will reportedly take place once a refurbishing project is complete on 17th Street. City administrator Ray Townsend told council residents have been notified. 
More Room
WILDWOOD — The city’s zoning board voted Oct. 24 to approve 10 variances in the expansion of the planned 25-story Wildwood Beach Hotel and Resort. Dorothy Gannon was the only board member who voted against the project, citing the number of variances. The project was originally zoned to replace the Oceanic Motel, but developer Princeton Junction Development Partners LLC also purchased the adjacent Days Inn Motel and Cork and Bottle Liquor Store enabling the “WB Hotel” to grow to cover a city block. Plans for the 340-unit condotel include a ballroom, café, a bar, and several restaurants. The complex will also offer high-end retail space along the street front on Atlantic Avenue. The high-rise proposal is currently with the Department of Environmental Protection and is awaiting CAFRA approval. 
Close the Deal
WILDWOOD — A residential development on the city’s former landfill may be one step closer to reality according to the city’s development director Lou Ferrara.  The 30-acre site, bordered by the bay and Lincoln and Susquehanna avenues was a municipal dump until the 1950’s. Builder K. Hovnanian originally planned to build 220 homes, a marina, and a park, but those plans may change after the city hears from the state Department of Environmental Protection. A spokesman for K. Hovnanian said that the final round of subsurface investigation was being completed before the final proposal can come before Wildwood officials.
Status Questionable
WILDWOOD — In an Oct. 27 letter to over 200 residents at Marina Bay Towers the state said they want the developer to the get the approval of the IRS before the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency can continue with the building’s refinancing plan. Developer Paul Cocoziello, needs the tax credits to sell about $6 million bonds, which will fund the rehabilitation work made to the senior citizen complex. Cocoziello said that without the credits, the 143-unit building’s status as an affordable housing complex would be questionable. 

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