Upscale Eateries Give Struggling Malls A Lift

After perusing a few boutique stores and getting her hair done at Rizzieri Salon & Spa at Moorestown Mall, Jamie McCulloh-Martin decided to go for dinner at Osteria a few doors down.

“I’ve been here more in the last 1½ years since [Osteria] opened than in all of my 22 years living in Moorestown,” said McCulloh-Martin, 50, owner of a physical therapy chain, who ate outdoors with her administrative director, Kelly Casio. “The mall is really changing, and for the better.”

In the new mall world order, you can taste Jose Garces’ tacos at Moorestown Mall, Bobby Flay’s burgers at Cherry Hill Mall, and filet mignon at Morton’s – the Steakhouse at King of Prussia Mall.

The mall and high-end restaurants have struck up a marriage that’s holding on to shoppers longer and generating a better return for powerhouse owners such as Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and Simon Property Group.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150524_Upscale_eateries_give_struggling_malls_a_lift.html#61pW5raHst0VyXYE.99

Which Philly-Area Municipalities Are Growing The Fastest?

Municipalities in Chester and Montgomery counties saw the biggest growth last year, while just four places in Camden County – including Camden City – added any residents at all.

That’s according to new Census Bureau data, released Thursday, that shows population gains and losses in communities across the country for the one-year period ending in July 2014.

Population figures for counties – including Philadelphia, which saw its population grow 0.27 percent to 1,560,297 residents during that time – were released earlier this spring.

The new data set lets every town, from the smallest boroughs to the largest cities, see how many residents it gained or lost.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150522_Which_Philly-area_municipalities_are_growing_the_fastest_.html#CHc0iHBrbYeXs16r.99

Obama Set To Praise Camden Policing; ACLU Has Concerns

President Obama is expected to speak at 3 p.m. in Camden, where administration officials say he will praise the work of the Camden County Police Department in establishing better ties with the community.

Camden is a “good example of a community that’s putting innovative strategies in place to advance community policing,” Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said in a conference call with reporters Sunday.

Obama chose to visit Camden because of its emphasis on community policing to reduce crime, Muñoz said. She noted that Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson had testified at one of the task force’s hearings in February.

Camden also is participating in Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which the president launched last year to address persistent opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20150519_Obama_to_recommend_Camden_policing_as_national_model.html#262XoD8CAOx7O6Wy.99

Teacher Suspended After Having 3rd-Grade Class Write ‘Get-Well’ Letters To Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal

A New Jersey teacher has been suspended for reportedly having her third-grade students write “get-well” letters to convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

On Sunday, Marylin Zuniga posted a tweet about dropping off the letters to Johanna Fernandez.

“My 3rd graders wrote to Mumia to lift up his spirits as he is ill. #freemumia,” the teacher at Forest Street School in Orange, New Jersey, tweeted on her since-deactivated account.

Fernandez is an assistant professor in the Department of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College in New York City. She also is part of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal, an organization that advocates for the inmate’s innocence.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/teacher-suspended-after-having-rd-grade-class-write-get-well/article_0ba12ee8-dfb2-11e4-b667-c3cbccf60713.html

Dispute Leaves Revel In The Dark

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Revel, the $2.4 billion former casino hotel sold this week for $82 million, went dark – literally – Thursday afternoon.

Power was cut off around 2:20 after its supplier, ACR Energy, made good on multiple threats to new owner Glenn Straub and shut off the lights to the 6.2 million-square-foot, 47-story Boardwalk property.

“Everything is out, it’s a dead building,” a security guard said after the plug was pulled.

It was a hard-to-fathom turn of events even for the endlessly twisty saga of the Revel, once predicted to be an Atlantic City game-changer and now standing tall, dark, and empty in the unpredictable hands of Straub, a maverick Florida businessman and polo player.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150410_Revel_goes_dark__power_company_pulls_the_plug.html#2yowtyKvfB4cVe3h.99

Food Truck And Wine Festival Cruising Back Go Pohatcong Township

Editor’s note:  This is near Phillipsburg, NJ, right across the river from Easton, PA. Can’t go wrong with food trucks and wine ;).

Searching for food trucks?

You won’t have to go far. Alba Vineyard is hosting a Food Truck and Wine Festival later this month.

The Pohatcong Township vineyard hosted a food truck festival in November 2014, and will bring it back noon to 5 p.m. April 25-26.

Admission costs $10 for adults 21 and over, $5 for ages 13-20 and is free for children under 12. Parking is free; food prices will vary by the truck, according to a news release.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2015/04/food_truck_and_wine_festival_c_1.html

Newark, N.J. To Get World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Farm

AeroFarms, an aeroponics company that was started in 2004, is bringing what is soon to be the world’s largest vertical farm to a former steel factory in Newark, New Jersey’s Ironbound community.

The vertical farm will manufacture short, leafy green vegetables grown in vertically stacked trays that will fill 69,000 square feet of the former Newark factory.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/home_and_design/Newark-NJ-to-get-worlds-largest-indoor-vertical-farm.html#6hOeyD2lDQ1rD9Rq.99

Aldi To Reopen 30 Of 66 Shut Bottom Dollar Stores

Discount grocer Aldi said Friday that it will reopen 30 of the 66 former Bottom Dollar stores it took over in Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and northeast Ohio after the previous owner, the Delhaize Group, shut Bottom Dollar last year.

Five ex-Bottom Dollar stores in Philadelphia and 14 in the suburbs will reopen. Four Philadelphia stores will stay shut, along with 13 in the suburbs.

Aldi, an Illinois-based U.S. arm of Germany’s Albrecht family grocery conglomerate, said in 2013 it planned a $3 billion expansion, and Friday’s announcement is part of that effort.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150328_Aldi_to_reopen_30_of_66_shut_Bottom_Dollar_stores.html#PzL7PW1CHTgYrswX.99

Additional article about Lehigh Valley locations:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/03/aldi_to_convert_2_of_8_bottom.html

Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson Gets Raise

The Camden County freeholders on Thursday approved a $66,800 raise for Metro Police Chief Scott Thomson, bringing his annual salary to $230,000.

Thomson’s new contract guarantees that he will stay in Camden until at least 2019, county spokesman Dan Keashen said Friday.

“This is about retaining one of the sharpest law enforcement minds in the country,” Keashen said.

No county funds are used for the operation of the Camden County Police Department, which is paid for by Camden City and the state.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20150321_Camden_s_police_chief_receives__66_800_pay_increase.html#Zl2PFt58e6hq4eVd.99

Outcry Against Evesham Mayor Who Forbade Questions At Meetings

The heated exchange between a proud mayor with a football career and an elderly resident who wanted to question town policies sorely needed a referee that bitter December night.

For four tense minutes, Evesham Township Mayor Randy Brown drowned out Kenneth Mills, 81, after Mills asked about a tax abatement on a property and attempted to tell Brown to calm down. In a booming voice, Brown, the kicking coach for the Baltimore Ravens, told Mills that he had been overwhelmingly reelected in November and that “65 percent of the people who came out love what I do.” He barely addressed the tax abatement.

“You’re acting like a jerk,” Mills said as he sat down, sounding exasperated.

The following month, Brown made it clear that future council meetings would be different. Residents would not be permitted to question council members during public meetings, he said. Instead, they could “make comments only.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20150303_Outcry_against_Evesham_mayor_who_forbade_questions_at_meetings.html#VKpAssuyu1cQVBhH.99

Another Delay For New PATCO Cars

PATCO’s long-delayed rebuilt commuter cars won’t be rolled out this month as planned, as continuing glitches in signal systems have forced another delay, PATCO officials said Tuesday.

Last month, PATCO executives had said the first eight of 120 refurbished cars would be put into customer service in February.

But PATCO president John Hanson said Tuesday, “They’re not going to be ready by the end of this month.”

PATCO is withholding millions of dollars in payments to Alstom Transport Inc. while the manufacturer tries to fix the problem, Hanson said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150225_Another_delay_for_new_PATCO_cars.html#EAwF5emuLcpmrJV8.99

Atlantic City Has $12.8M Debt Due Tuesday; Lenders Wary

Just how wary lenders are of Atlantic City’s credit is evident in their recent demands as the city tries to refinance $12.8 million in debt due Tuesday.

Three lenders expressed interest in making the loan, but one wanted to charge 12 percent interest. Another was willing to lend at a lower rate but wanted a state guarantee, which the state rejected, Mayor Don Guardian said Saturday.

Talks continued with a third prospective lender, and a decision is expected Monday, Guardian said, adding: “We are prepared to make the payment regardless.”

The financial turmoil in Atlantic City, half of whose gambling revenue has disappeared since 2006, has intensified in the last year, as four of 12 casinos have closed, and 8,000 people have lost their jobs.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20150202_Atlantic_City_must_refi__12_8M_debt_due_Tuesday__lenders_are_wary.html#ko1yGKWcfBpViIB0.99

Plans To Transform Underperforming Burlington Mall

Over the next two to three months, officials in Burlington Township will be getting architectural and civil engineering drawings of what the new Marketplace at Burlington – formerly Burlington Center Mall – will look like, as well as a count of the traffic it is hoped it will generate.

By mid-spring of next year, owner Moonbeam Capital Investments L.L.C. of Las Vegas says, groundbreaking will begin to convert the underperforming mall into a must-see destination off Exit 47A of I-295 for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

If all goes as planned, the $230 million-plus phased conversion will also include manicured green spaces with benches and fountains that seamlessly tie a traditional mall with an open-air town center.

The full build-out is expected to take from two to three years and will be done in stages. The mall will stay open the entire time.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150124_Plans_to_transform_underperforming_Burlington_mall.html#ryTRJvJqSdssWhue.99

Philadelphia Region Braces For More Snow

The Philadelphia area is preparing for another round of snow to hit during the night.

The snowfall would be the second the area has seen this week, an unusual occurrence in a winter that’s been nearly snow-free thus far.

The biggest threat appears to be hazardous driving conditions overnight, from around midnight through around 6 a.m. Saturday, with snow, ice and a wintry mix threatening to hit much of eastern Pennsylvania and non-coastal parts of New Jersey.

Transportation officials were gearing up for plowing and salting operations. PennDot was warning motorists that clearing roads during a storm was a time-consuming operation, and drivers should use caution.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150124_Philadelphia_region_braces_for_more_snow.html#oKKHbQdlhTVGVMZ0.99

Phillipsburg Town Council Starts Year Talking Ingersoll Rand Redevelopment, Vacant Properties

At least one Phillipsburg official is optimistic this will be the year the town finds a redeveloper for the former Ingersoll-Rand site, which has sat mostly unused for years.

John Lynn, who succeeds Todd Tersigni as town council president, said officials will be working diligently during the next three months to secure a developer for the more than 250 acres of property the town bought in December 2012.

“We have some things in the works and our goal is to have them come to fruition this year. We have a lot of interest, and we have a lot of options,” Lynn said after the meeting.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/phillipsburg/index.ssf/2015/01/phillipsburg_town_council_star.html

Judge Approves Revel Sale To Reluctant Buyer At $95.4M

A bankruptcy judge in Camden said Monday that she would approve the sale of Revel AC Inc. for $95.4 million to Florida investor Glenn Straub, rejecting Straub’s effort to pay only $87 million.

The next step is a sale order, which must be signed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gloria M. Burns, but negotiations over the terms of that order – particularly how concerns of tenants and others will be handled – bogged down during a break.

Burns asked attorneys for Revel, Straub, and other parties to work on a sales order to be filed this week, in time to be considered at a Revel hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Once a sale order is signed, the sale of the property, built at a cost of $2.4 billion, is expected to close within 30 days, according to the asset purchase agreement.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150106_Judge_approves_Revel_sale_at__95_4M.html#E22YTTlqip5srAzV.99

Wells Fargo To Purchase Revel Tax Lien For $26 million, Says AC Mayor

The failed Revel casino has yet to execute a sale of the property. But its outstanding tax bill at least will be bought, at Revel’s typical deep discount. The $32.5 million tax lien against the shuttered Revel casino that failed to sell at a city tax sale this month will be bought by Wells Fargo in a settlement for $26 million, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said Monday.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/downashore/Wells-Fargo-to-purchase-Revel-tax-lien-for-26-million-says-AC-Mayor.html#b98XQiBDtkW6pUCk.99

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