Raging Fire Strikes At Heart Of Sandy-Hit New Jersey Town

Map of New Jersey highlighting Ocean County

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

SEASIDE PARK, N.J. – A raging fire spewing fist-sized embers engulfed much of an iconic Jersey shore boardwalk Thursday, destroying more than 50 businesses and undoing months of rebuilding efforts after the inundation of Superstorm Sandy.

Workers joined the fire in tearing into the boardwalk – a last-ditch effort to rob the inferno of fuel that helped preserve what was left of the economic lifeblood of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights.

The wind-whipped fire devoured eight blocks of boardwalk – four in each town – and caused millions of dollars in damage before workers halted its advance by ripping out a large section of boardwalk and piling up huge makeshift sand dunes meant to hold back fire, not water.

The blaze destroyed 32 businesses on the Seaside Park portion of the boardwalk, borough Councilwoman Nancy Koury told The Associated Press.  Michael Loundy, a real estate agent who works with Seaside Heights on tourism projects, said 20 businesses were destroyed there.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=510840

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Prince Harry Tours Storm-Damaged New Jersey Shore

English: A view of the boardwalk in Seaside He...

English: A view of the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey north of Casino Pier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. – Britain’s Prince Harry toured two New Jersey shore communities devastated six months ago by Superstorm Sandy, viewing some of the damage that remains but also walking on a rebuilt boardwalk and shaking hands with construction workers who have been racing to get the resort towns ready for the summer.

In Seaside Heights, where the MTV reality show “Jersey Shore” was taped, he walked down the rebuilt boardwalk with Gov. Chris Christie and both took part in a game of chance, throwing perforated plastic balls into holes for stuffed animal prizes, which they handed over to children.

The two came within sight of a roller coaster that the storm sent plunging into the Atlantic Ocean and which became a defining image of the storm that struck in late October.  A crane was in place to begin demolition of the amusement ride.

In both Seaside Heights and Mantoloking 10 miles north, his first stop, the prince shook hands with police, fire and other emergency personnel.  Harry also greeted construction workers who have been working on rebuilding Seaside Heights’ famous boardwalk, now about two-thirds complete.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/nation_world/20130514_ap_princeharrytoursstormdamagednewjerseyshore.html

Christie Had Secret Weight-Loss Surgery

English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of Ne...

English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, whose long struggle with obesity has been raised as a political liability, secretly underwent weight-loss surgery three months ago, according to a statement from his office on Tuesday.

The surgery, which took place on Feb. 16, involved the placement of a silicone band around his stomach to reduce its size, limiting the amount of food he can take in but not altering his digestive process.

Mr. Christie, a Republican whose weight was an issue in previous campaigns and who is widely thought to be considering a run for president, disclosed the surgery in an interview with The New York Post in which he maintained that it had nothing to do with politics.  “It’s so much more important than that,” he said.

“I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years,” he said.  “For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.”  His office confirmed the accuracy of the published interview but declined to provide additional details.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/nyregion/chris-christie-secretly-had-weight-loss-surgery.html?hp&_r=0

Governor Christie To Announce State Takeover Of Camden Schools

English: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poor...

English: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Camden suffers from unemployment, urban decay, poverty, and many other social issues. Much of the city of Camden, New Jersey suffers from urban decay. 日本語: ニュージャージー州カムデンのスラム. Svenska: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Kiswahili: Camden, New Jersey ni moja ya mataifa maskini zaidi katika miji ya Marekani. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TRENTON – Gov. Christie plans to announce Monday that he is taking the extraordinary step of putting the educational and fiscal management of the Camden School District under state control, The Inquirer has learned.

As part of the takeover of what the state considers the worst-performing district in New Jersey, Christie will appoint a new superintendent and leadership team, shifting the school board to an advisory role, according to Christie administration officials briefed on the plan.

The Republican governor’s move nonetheless has support from at least a few school board members and key Democratic leaders in the South Jersey political establishment, some of whom are expected to join Christie at the takeover announcement Monday in the city, officials said.

Camden will become the fourth urban district under state control, after Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City. This is the first takeover initiated by Christie, who will add the severely challenged district to his education portfolio less than eight months before his reelection bid.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/nj/20130325_Christie_to_announce_state_takeover_of_Camden_schools.html

Governor Christie Quietly Takes On New Jersey Lottery

English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of Ne...

English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TRENTON – Gov. Christie hasn’t held a news conference about it, and his treasurer has refused to testify on it.  But the Republican governor is close to privatizing the bulk of a $2.8 billion New Jersey institution.

Following a national trend already under way in Pennsylvania, Christie is negotiating a 15-year contract with a company to operate the state lottery in an effort to increase sales, thereby building more revenue for schools and state institutions.

Like Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Corbett, Christie bypassed the Legislature, much to its chagrin, in bidding out the system.  And like Pennsylvania, New Jersey got just one bid in response to its request for proposals.

Unlike in Pennsylvania, where the pending contract was ultimately posted online and must be submitted for approval to the Democratic attorney general, New Jersey’s lottery bid is not public.  Christie could just sign a contract in the next two months.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/nj/20130128_Christie_quietly_takes_on_lottery.html

Not Chris Christie’s Fault Mitt Romney Lost To Barack Obama

English: US_Attorney_Chris_Christie.jpg‎ cropp...

English: US_Attorney_Chris_Christie.jpg‎ cropped as square headshot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Interesting opinion piece from the Trentonian on Chris Christie.

Hey Dick Morris:  You live up to your first name.

The political commentator lives up to his name not because he predicted a Mitt Romney electoral college romp, although that’s probably reason enough.  But nope.  Reason is because of his blog post about why he was so miserably wrong in his prediction.

“I did not take full account of the impact of hurricane Sandy and of Governor Chris Christie’s bipartisan march through New Jersey arm in arm with President Obama,” Morris wrote.  “Not to mention Christie’s fawning promotion of Obama’s presidential leadership.  It made all the difference.”

To recap: Morris blames Romney’s loss on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.  Many Republicans are also starting to believe this line of reasoning.

Read more: http://www.trentonian.com/article/20121108/OPINION03/121109650/not-chris-christie-s-fault-mitt-romney-lost-to-barack-obama

A.C. Hammered, But An Overall Sigh Of Relief At The Jersey Shore

Atlantic Ocean shore at Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic Ocean shore at Atlantic City, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Officials in Atlantic City scrambled this morning to fully assess the extensive damage caused by Sandy, which launched a direct hit there last night, submerging most of the city in water.

But they let out a collective sigh of relief: No deaths had been reported as feared when thousands were trapped in the city.

And other Shore towns found less damage than thought.

Authorities in Atlantic City were going door to door throughout the city early this morning. Some streets were still impassable.  And parts of the boardwalk were torn away in the north end.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20121030_A_C__hammered__but_an_overall_sigh_of_relief_at_Shore.html?viewAll=y

New Jersey Unemployment Rate At 9.8 Percent, Highest Since 1977

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  By comparison, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate for July 2012 was 7.9%.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate rose in July for the fourth month in a row to 9.8 percent, a record high since 1977, according to data released by the state Department of Labor on Thursday.

July’s jobless rate in the Garden State was up from 9.6 percent in June and from 9.4 percent in July 2011, the preliminary numbers showed.

Democrats seized on the data to blast Republican Governor Chris Christie‘s self-proclaimed “comeback” for New Jersey.

“There is no way to interpret this other than bad,” said New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, in a statement. “What I want to see is this administration admit it is failing in terms of getting people back to work.”

 Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-nj-unemployment-rate-20120816,0,1446508.story

Getting In And Out Of New York City Just Got More Expensive!

The George Washington Bridge connecting Fort L...

Image via Wikipedia

Not to be outdone by the Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is also raising bridge, tunnel and PATH fees.  Crossing the Hudson will cost you a lot more in September. People in New Jersey are getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop being sandwiched in the middle!

E-ZPass car tolls will rise from $8 to $9.50, cash tolls will rise from $8 to $12.  This is for peak-time.  By 2015, the E-ZPass car toll will be $12 and the cash toll will be $15.

Single-fare PATH train rates will increase .25 cents per year, over the next four years.

These increases are lower than initially proposed.  Both governors took credit for intervening on the side of the consumer.

The Port Authority has cut staffing to the lowest level in decades and made other improvements to cut costs.  However, both governors have called for an audit of the Port Authority citing fiscal mismanagement as the primary reason for the increases.  Overtime is out of control.

None of the nine appointed commissioners would speak with the press at the end of this morning’s hearing on the higher tolls.  One commissioner had his eyes closed during most of the meeting.  Always a nice touch, to show the public how deeply you care, when a commissioner sleeps through a public hearing.

Governor Corbett Becomes Head Of The Delaware River Port Authority

The Walt Whitman Bridge, opened in 1957, is a ...

Image via Wikipedia

It sounds like somebody will be a tad busy for a while.  It is not like Tom Corbett does not already have enough headaches being the newly elected “Govenator” of Pennsylvania but now Tom Corbett is also is Chairman of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA).

Oddly enough, Governor Corbett nominated himself for Chairman of the DRPA and was unanimously voted in by all 16 commissioners.  I suppose this could be a case of if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.  The DRPA is a hot mess and does need some strong leadership.  It seems the DRPA has strayed from its original intent.  Governor Corbett plans to reign in the scope of the DRPA.  Corbett feels the DRPA should stay out of economic development.  Corbett says the mission of the DRPA is the safe transportation of people across the Delaware River.  (We agree.) 

Corbett pledged to work with New Jersey “Govenator” Chris Christie.  Actually this is no surprise since they have a mutual admiration society going on.  However, that is a good thing since the DRPA certainly needs a leader.  New Jersey and Pennsylvania need to work together on the issues.  The DRPA has been dysfunctional as of late and is in less than satisfactory financial straits.

Let’s hope we get down to business and do what is right by the taxpayers of both states!

New Jersey Casino Deregulation Bill Eliminates Jobs – Saves Casinos Money

Christie in 2008

Image via Wikipedia

Governor Chris Christie signed a new casino deregulation bill which is aimed at bringing New Jersey into line with the rest of the county.  The outdated New Jersey regulations were costing casinos a great deal of money by requiring round-the-clock inspectors at the states eleven casinos.  The original laws were written back in 1978!

80% of casino inspectors are being laid off on March 25th.  More may follow.  The Division of Gaming Enforcement is taking over these duties.  Gamblers will now either phone Trenton or fill out a complaint form instead of tracking down the inspector on duty.

The new regulations also cut minimum staffing levels for casino security officers, surveillance personnel and pit bosses.  Casinos will now have more money to spend on marketing.  With states like Pennsylvania adding casinos, New Jersey gambling revenues are down.

Chris Christie Campaigns For Tom Corbett

Chris Christie, the current governor of the st...

Image via Wikipedia

Popular NJ governor Chris Christie was in Williamsport on Monday supporting Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett.

Christie said he supports Corbett so they can join forces and slash government spending on both sides of the Delaware River that is holding back jobs.  Corbett said “We’re going to create an economic climate where the private sector provides the jobs, not government.”  “We’re going to get out-of-the-way.”

Christie warned the audience not to become complacent about polling that shows Corbett solidly in the lead over Democratic challenger Dan Onorato.

Christie was in town for a GOP fundraiser for Corbett.