Lawmakers Seek Support For $29 Million Emergency Aid For Atlantic City

New Jersey members of Congress appealed Tuesday to U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to support a $29 million National Emergency Grant request to help workers left unemployed by recent casino closings in Atlantic City.

In a letter sent by Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo and Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, Perez was urged to support the “Atlantic City Re-Employment Initiative” proposal to fund employer-driven training programs.

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development filed the application for the National Emergency Grant late last month to address the needs of 8,000 workers left without jobs after recent closings of Revel, Showboat and Trump Plaza casinos and the earlier closing of the Atlantic Club.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141203_Lawmakers_seek_support_for__29_million_emergency_aid_for_AC.html#kwupXQI6hZxVI5St.99

Death Of Wife Of Cooper CEO Ruled A Homicide

Map of New Jersey highlighting Somerset County

Map of New Jersey highlighting Somerset County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The death of the wife of Cooper Health System CEO John P. Sheridan Jr. has been ruled a homicide, while investigators have not determined how her husband died, records show.

A copy of the death certificate for Joyce Sheridan, obtained by The Inquirer on Tuesday, lists the manner of death as “homicide.” Her husband’s death certificate says “pending investigation.”

The Sheridans both had multiple stab wounds when their bodies were pulled from a Sept. 28 fire in their home in the Skillman section of Montgomery Township , sources said last week.

Joyce Sheridan, 69, a retired teacher, was repeatedly stabbed in the upper body and chest, according to one of the sources, who like all the others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20141126_Death_of_wife_of_Cooper_CEO_ruled_a_homicide.html#PMue5UBhJADgpoQU.99

No Man’s Land, Atlantic City

full-state map

full-state map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tucked into northeast Atlantic City, where ocean meets inlet, is a two-by-six block expanse of undeveloped land that in other shore towns would be carved up by wealthy outsiders to build $2 million homes.

Instead, the few surviving, decades-old houses dot hundreds of empty lots like jagged teeth at the mouth of a yawning ocean in this sleepy part of town. Some call it North Beach; others South Inlet. Bill Terrigino, 69, lives at one end, his home one of those visible teeth.

An empty Revel casino shimmers in the background, emblematic of the mirage Atlantic City has become. Terrigino, a laid-off casino banquet server who resembles a Jersey Shore version of Hemingway, has a two-story home on South Metropolitan Avenue.

His house boasts an unobstructed waterfront view – but not by design. It’s just that nothing stands between it and the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/No_Mans_Land_Atlantic_City_.html

John And Joyce Sheridan’s Son Charged With Cocaine Possession Day Of Deaths

English: New Jersey county map

English: New Jersey county map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SKILLMAN, N.J. – Hours after Cooper Health System CEO John Sheridan and his wife, Joyce, were pulled from their fire-ravaged bedroom and pronounced dead Sept. 28, one of the couple’s sons was arrested for cocaine possession, police records show.

After authorities found cocaine in his car, Matthew Sheridan, 40, was arrested for third-degree cocaine possession. Police also arrested him for possession of drug paraphernalia for a digital scale and baggies. He lived at home with his parents.

The arrest was not made public at the time by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, which is handling the investigation into the Sheridans’ deaths. The Inquirer on Wednesday obtained the booking report, which documented the arrest, through an open public records request made to Montgomery Township.

Members of the Sheridan family declined to comment Wednesday on the arrest.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141113_Sheridans__son_was_arrested_for_cocaine_after_deaths.html#u2RUP4xu78tmp8Cr.99

United Will Drop Service To And From Atlantic City On Dec. 3

An early photo of the Atlantic City Airport Te...

An early photo of the Atlantic City Airport Terminal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In another blow to Atlantic City, United Airlines will end flights in and out of Atlantic City International Airport on Dec. 3, saying the service to Chicago and Houston did not meet expectations.

United, based in Chicago, arrived to great fanfare eight months ago – celebratory balloons, beach umbrellas, and praise from officials including Gov. Christie – when it launched daily nonstop service April 1 to Chicago’s O’Hare and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airports.

United was the first major carrier to begin new passenger service in several years at the airport in Egg Harbor Township.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141108_United_will_drop_service_to_and_from_Atlantic_City_on_Dec__3.html#7XdUM0B2JiQ01vhZ.99

Details Sparse In Deaths Of Cooper CEO And Wife

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly two weeks after Cooper University Health System chief executive John P. Sheridan Jr. and his wife, Joyce, were found in their home, authorities have released few details about their deaths.

Several days after the fire in the couple’s Central New Jersey home, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said it was deliberately set.

Sheridan, 72, and his wife, 69, were found unresponsive in the second-floor master bedroom of their Montgomery Township home early Sept. 28. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and she was pronounced dead a short time later at a nearby hospital.

Authorities have not disclosed who they believe set the fire or why, or what led to the deaths of the prominent couple.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20141011_Details_sparse_in_deaths_of_Cooper_CEO_and_wife.html#T4mghCdK2u7eFVxk.99

Bankruptcy Judge OKs Revel Sale To Brookfield

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A federal bankruptcy judge in Camden on Tuesday approved the sale of Atlantic City‘s Revel Casino Hotel for $110 million to Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

“I believe the high bid of Brookfield should be approved,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gloria M. Burns said.

The sale will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the short and tumultuous history of the $2.4 billion property that struggled from the day it opened in 2012.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141008_Bankruptcy_judge_makes_Brookfield_new_owner_of_Revel.html#9DfB3Aab1OpydZmT.99

High Hopes For $38 Million Project In Pleasantville

Map of New Jersey highlighting Atlantic County

Map of New Jersey highlighting Atlantic County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. – This down-on-its-luck stepsister town to neighboring Atlantic City has struggled economically for decades, languishing without a redevelopment plan or the ability to attract private investment.

But a $38 million project that includes two apartment buildings and retail space on a vacant Main Street block is expected to set the cornerstone for economic growth and expanded development in the Atlantic County city, according to Jacqueline Amado-Belton, economic development director for the City of Pleasantville.

“We feel like we have borne the brunt of a lot of issues that have spilled over from Atlantic City over the years,” Amado-Belton said. “In terms of perception and other factors, it’s been a struggle and a challenge to get to this point.”

The Pleasantville City Center, expected to be completed by next summer, will add 135 apartments and 18,000 square feet of retail space and will be bordered by Main Street, Washington Avenue, Milan Avenue, and South Second Street.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20141006_High_hopes_for__38_million_project_in_Pleasantville.html#ZlSiLKCqFZQAdj9H.99

Cooper Health Executive John Sheridan, Wife Found Dead After Fire In Home

Map of the 21 counties of the State of New Jersey

Map of the 21 counties of the State of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arson and major crimes detectives were investigating a fire at the home of John P. Sheridan Jr., president and CEO of the Cooper University Health System, and his wife – whose bodies were found in their bedroom Sunday morning, authorities said.

Firefighters found Sheridan, 72, and his wife, Joyce, 69, when they were called to the couple’s home in Skillman, Somerset County, in central New Jersey. Neighbors saw smoke coming from the house but no flames.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said detectives from its arson task force and the major crimes unit assigned to the case had been joined by the crime scene investigation and forensic units.

The New Jersey regional medical examiner was scheduled to perform autopsies. No preliminary information had been released on the suspected cause of death.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20140929_Cooper_Health_executive_John_Sheridan__wife_Joyce__die_unexpectedly_in_N_J_.html#LGgTer5CrSypoGZv.99

 

Atlantic City’s Credit Rating Is Downgraded

Trump Taj Mahal, 2007

Trump Taj Mahal, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY – Standard & Poor’s downgraded Atlantic City’s credit rating from A-minus to BBB-plus on Monday, citing mainly the closing of four of 12 casinos this year.

The downgrade, which includes a negative outlook for the city, comes as Atlantic City is struggling with the loss of tax revenue because of the closures.

Combined, the shuttered gambling halls – Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza, which closed last Tuesday – generated about $75 million in property tax revenue last year. A fifth – Trump Taj Mahal – may close in November.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140923_JERSEY_SHORE.html#8By6Www9h9YC1lJB.99

Stricken Revel Has A Buyer – For $90M In Cash

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revel AC Inc. said in a bankruptcy court filing Wednesday that it had reached a deal to sell its $2.4 billion Atlantic City property to South Florida developer Glenn Straub for $90 million in cash.

The deal was reached Friday, according to the filing. That was less than a week after Revel closed, putting nearly 3,000 people out of work.

The offer is less than 4 percent of the casino’s original price tag.

“It’s not going to be just a casino,” Straub said. “There’s four people that would make excellent casino operators, but that building is much, much more than just a casino.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140911_Stricken_Revel_has_a_buyer_for__90M_in_cash.html#UYw7HbKdWPWbAI8K.99

Trump Casinos File For Bankruptcy

Trump Taj Mahal, 2007

Trump Taj Mahal, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The purge of Atlantic City‘s weakest casinos continued Tuesday, as Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Delaware, a week before it plans to close Trump Plaza, putting a fifth Atlantic City casino in danger of closing this year.

After a previous bankruptcy in 2010, during which Donald Trump lost control of the company to hedge funds, Trump Entertainment attempted to retool its operations, but failed to increase revenue and profits, the company’s chief executive, Robert Griffin, said in a court filing Tuesday.

Operating losses at Trump Entertainment, which also owns Trump Taj Mahal, soared from $5.1 million last year to $25.7 million in the first six months of this year, Griffin said. That put the company in a cash crunch.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140910_Trump_casinos_file_for_bankruptcy.html#bgqO4MgG4T3piOxI.99

Community Tips, Cooperation Behind Drug Crackdown In Phillipsburg

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It started with concerned residents reaching out to police.

It ended with nearly two dozen arrests.

A recent drug crackdown in Phillipsburg and 10-day roundup of alleged dealers and users was a team effort, police Chief James Faulborn said last week. Community members relayed tips and information, authorities followed up with “basic police work” and nearby police departments offered a helping hand.

“It was a collaborative effort with us reaching out to the community and the community responding with information,” he said. “Working together with the community and other law enforcement agencies, we were able to execute search warrants and arrest warrants and take the necessary action.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/phillipsburg/index.ssf/2014/09/community_cooperation_behind_d.html

Atlantic City Facing Unprecedented Economic Collapse

full-state map

full-state map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Atlantic City region is on the brink of a short-term economic disaster.

Atlantic City made history 36 years ago when it opened the first legal casinos in the United States outside Las Vegas.

Now it’s doing so again as casino employment – which for years exceeded the number of city residents – drops precipitously after a decade of steady decline.

The closing of three casinos, starting with Showboat and Revel this weekend followed by Trump Plaza two weeks later, and the rapid-fire loss of 5,700 jobs, draw historic comparisons to longer-term collapses of U.S. industries such as steel.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140831_Atlantic_City_facing_unprecedented_economic_collapse.html#GmfpHBJZ5OpDgeaJ.99

Casino Closings Wipe $2 Billion From Atlantic City Property-Tax Values

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boa...

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boardwalk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The closure of three Atlantic City casinos by mid-September will wipe $2 billion from the city’s property-tax values next year, exacerbating the already cash-strapped city’s financial plight, Mayor Don Guardian warned Tuesday.

By 2017, Guardian said on a conference call to discuss Atlantic City’s way forward as a tourism center following the rout of its casino industry, property values are expected to have fallen to as little as $7.5 billion from $20 billion five years ago.

In the short term, Guardian said the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has made money “available for some bridge loans to make sure that the city continues functioning with this year’s budget because of any concern that we might have that a casino’s closing, going bankrupt might hold off payments.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140827_Casino_closings_wipe__2B_from_Atlantic_City_property-tax_values.html#9bAf73M2kyMlu0jB.99

Prayers For Atlantic City As Closings, Layoffs Loom

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY – Members of the clergy locked arms as they led a march of about 400 Unite Here Local 54 members in “a prayer vigil for Atlantic City’s service economy” on Wednesday night.

“This is union territory,” the casino workers chanted as they marched along New Jersey Avenue amid car horns honking in support. Many held signs, including Linda Bragg, 56, of Atlantic City, who works at Bally’s. Hers read: “Atlantic City – Broken Promises.”

“We don’t want to be a forgotten town,” she said. “I grew up with all these people. We made millions for the state. It’s really heart-wrenching. A mess.”

The march, on the eve of three planned casino closures, started between the Revel and Showboat casino hotels on the Boardwalk at 6:30 and ended more than an hour later at New Shiloh Baptist Church on Atlantic Avenue. Several pastors and bishops held a prayer service in support of the employees, many of whom are members of their churches.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140821_Prayers_for_Atlantic_City_as_closings__layoffs_loom.html#OST66wvzBszPrqpJ.99

Cold Winter, Cool Spring Bring Mixed Results For Lehigh Valley, N.J. Farmers

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Русский: Яблоня со спелыми плодами. Украина. Latina: Malus domestica (Borkh., 1803) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This winter’s cold temperatures that stuck around until late spring have curbed apple production at one local orchard, although local vineyards say the grapes are some of the best they’ve ever seen.

Tianna DuPont, an educator for sustainable agriculture at the Penn State Cooperative Extension, said the growing season started out about three weeks late, although recent warm weather is helping plants catch up.

Matty Matarazzo, the owner of Four Sisters Winery in White Township, expects a smaller than usual yield of apples this year. He said they’ll grow enough for the winery’s apple wine but not an abundant amount.

Bob Best, of Bests Fruit Farm in Independence Township, said the cool spring threatened his crops initially, but once the weather warmed up the produce started to grow.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/07/despite_cool_start_growing_sea.html

Wiz Khalifa Taking Under The Influence Tour To Camden / Scranton

Editor’s note:  Don’t necessarily agree with some of his activities but it’s cool to see somebody from Pittsburgh love their hometown and be proud of it.  

Summer is Wiz Khalifa time. His tune “Shell Shocked” is on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sound track. His new album, Blacc Hollywood, drops in August. And the rapper will take his third Under the Influence of Music summer tour through Scranton on Thursday and to Camden on Friday.

“I always wanted to make Under the Influence something to talk about,” says Khalifa, “not just the day after the show, but the rest of your life.”

He’s a Pittsburgh native. His 2010 hit “Black and Yellow” was a pledge of allegiance to the Steelers. “Eagles, Steelers,” he says. “You know there’s no competition. You already know about that.” But there is a Philly connection: his wife, South Philadelphia-raised Amber Rose. “My Philly girl,” he calls her. He and the model married in 2013 after their son, Sebastian, was born, and they settled in Canonsburg, near Pittsburgh.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20140724_Wiz_Khalifa_taking_Under_the_Influence_tour_to_Scranton_and_Camden.html#sQPxiIK8oCy2WyV3.99

If 4 Atlantic City Casinos Close In September, Then What?

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – This resort faces the prospect of having four major vacancies on its famed Boardwalk come mid-September.

The grim reality sank in July 14 when Trump Plaza issued layoff notices and targeted Sept. 16 as the date to cease operating as a casino.

Perception is reality in tourism, experts say, and the Boardwalk is synonymous with Atlantic City. How will four hulking, empty buildings sit with visitors – especially at night – and will they impede tourism when Atlantic City needs it the most?

“When an area goes dark, and there are increased vacancies, it generally sends out more than a subtle message that things are not promising on the horizon,” said Don Moliver, dean of the Leon Hess Business School at Monmouth University.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140722_Atlantic_City_lights_dimmer_in_September.html#LRbj1JvhlyPXrwkJ.99

Cities Deploy Fakery Techniques To Cover Up Urban Blight

Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest and most crime-ridden U.S. cities, has awaited rebirth for a generation. For now, it has Christopher Toepfer and his paintbrush.

Ten feet up a ladder, Toepfer, a 51-year-old artist, is turning a rotting factory’s plywood-covered windows from a mess of gang graffiti into a railroad mural. The spruce-up, though it won’t cure the neighborhood’s ills of poverty and violence, will make a bright spot of the biggest blight on Federal Street.

Thirty years after New York City Mayor Ed Koch drew scorn for gussying up uninhabitable Bronx tenements with decals of curtained windows, urban fakery is spreading in U.S. cities where the recession’s wave of foreclosures added to decades-long decay. The city of Wilmington, Delaware, used the decal approach on a string of row houses earlier this year, and Bridgeport, Connecticut, started working with local artists in October to adopt Toepfer’s approach.

If the technique that Toepfer calls aesthetic board-up is a stopgap, it’s a cheap one, costing just $500 to $1,000 per property, a fraction of demolition costs. It’s also immediate, with a typical makeover done in less than a day.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/05/Vacant-House-Fakery-Reborn-as-Cleveland-to-Camden-Fight-Blight/stories/201407040018#ixzz36bqH18zQ