Investigators: Organized Crime Dumping Dirty Dirt in New Jersey

Palmyra site. Photo via New Jersey State Commission of Investigation

Jersey Recylcing Services Palmyra site. Photo via New Jersey State Commission of Investigation

The New York mob is cashing in on New Jersey’s loopholes in recycling regulations — and it’s costing both the environment and residents, according to investigators from New Jersey’s State Commission of Investigation.

At a three-hour hearing held Wednesday at the Statehouse in Trenton, investigators said organized criminals are profiting from an underground economy via the improper disposal of contaminated soil and construction debris from New York. A few recycling sites and makeshift dumping grounds in South Jersey are particularly notable, according to the Inquirer.

It’s prompted the SCI to inspect the state’s recycling industry, which has it says been tainted by organized crime for years.

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Atlantic City Makes Bond Payments, Avoids Default (For Now)

Photo | Dan McQuade

Photo | Dan McQuade

Atlantic City made a $1.8 million bond payment this morning, but Mayor Don Guardian could not guarantee at this point the city would make its bond payment next month.

“I wanted to make sure I didn’t put the bonds before payroll, before schools, before anyone else,” Guardian said. “But if we didn’t make our bond payment, it would be detrimental to everyone, including us.” The mayor said the city would be able to meet payroll this month, and expected to make a payment to the school district on May 15th.

Atlantic City had considered skipping the bond interest payment in order to make payroll, which would make it the first New Jersey municipality since the 1930s to default on a bond payment. Read more »

New Poll: Chris Christie More Unpopular Than Ever in N.J.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, gives a thumbs up to the crowd as he is introduced by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, at a rally at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., Monday, March 14, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, gives a thumbs up to the crowd as he is introduced by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, at a rally at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., Monday, March 14, 2016.

Donald Trump may be on the verge of capturing the Republican nomination for president. But his chief campaign surrogate continues to drop in popularity in his home state.

Per a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, the governor’s approval rating has hit a new low. Only 26 percent of New Jersey voters have a favorable opinion of Chris Christie, down three points from February and a huge drop from the soaring popularity Christie enjoyed after Hurricane Sandy.

“Among the New Jersey politicians we poll, Governor Christie continues to generate the most negativity among voters, even more so than the state’s currently indicted senator [Robert Menendez,” Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University, said in a release. “Not even Christie’s backing of Donald Trump has helped him with New Jersey Republicans, who give Trump higher ratings than Christie and are now more likely than ever to vote for Trump come June.” Read more »

Ocean City Wins Best Beach in America Bracket

Ocean City beach

Photo | Dan McQuade

It may not feel like it today, but New Jersey’s shore towns are quickly waking up from their winter slumber. It’s only 47 days until Memorial Day!

Last month, we told you about Wildwood being named a top-10 beach town. Now, it’s Ocean City’s turn for an accolade: It recently won the 2016 Best Beach in America bracket — beating out Huntington Beach, California, in the finals. Read more »

Activist: Expel Penns Grove Middle Schooler Over Violent Racial Threats

Civil rights activist Walter Hudson (Photo courtesy National Awareness Alliance)

Civil rights activist Walter Hudson in October 2015 (Photo courtesy National Awareness Alliance)

The country has endured far too many school shootings in its recent past, so it’s not surprising that alleged threats of violence made among students at Penns Grove Middle School in New Jersey have spurred a commotion. The situation caught the attention of civil rights activist, founder of the National Awareness Alliance, and former member of the Penns Grove-Carneys Point school board Walter Hudson.

On Monday afternoon, Hudson held a press conference at the Penns Grove-Carneys Point Regional District Building. He and some outraged parents protested the school district’s handling of the situation. In an open letter to Superintendent of Schools Zenaida Cobian, Hudson says that a student, who is white, allegedly “threatened to shoot several students and referred to African-American students” with racial slurs. The NAA, Hudson’s organization, says it strives to fight racial discrimination and social injustice. (Hudson has a complicated relationship with Penns Grove.)

Hudson told Philly Mag that the student in question recently followed three African-American students on their walk home from school, threatening to shoot them and using racial slurs. The parents of the students who say they were threatened reportedly did not contact police.

However, this story’s roots go back approximately three years. The student who is alleged to have made the threats appeared in a Facebook photo uploaded by his father which showed the child holding what appears to be an assault rifle. The controversial photo drew national scrutiny at the time.  Read more »

2 Brothers Admit Peddling Bootleg Jerseys on Wildwood Boardwalk

Bootleg jerseys - Wildwood - counterfeit jerseys - U.S. Department of Justice photo

The game on the Wildwood boardwalk where the Strothers brothers gave away counterfeit basketball jerseys as prizes. (Photo: U.S. Department of Justice)

As an expert in Wildwood boardwalk T-shirts, it’s time to let you readers in on a little secret: Not all of the shirts are officially licensed products. Logos are used without permission, store owners swipe T-shirt ideas from one another and — maybe because infringers can escape into the sea — the boardwalk is generally a copyright lawlessness zone.

But not always. In the past two weeks, two South Jersey brothers have pleaded guilty to purchasing at least 16,700 counterfeit basketball and football jerseys and giving them away as prizes at three outposts on the boardwalk in Wildwood and North Wildwood. To which I say: It’s actually possible to win those prizes on the Wildwood boardwalk’s basketball games?! Read more »

Allies Turn on Christie After Trump Endorsement

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, wave as they arrive at a rally at Millington Regional Airport in Millington, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, wave as they arrive at a rally at Millington Regional Airport in Millington, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.

Chris Christie said he was not taking any questions from the media about Donald Trump. Still, a reporter raised his hand and asked permission for just one question other than the selected topic of Christie’s press conference today, which was about Christie’s nomination to fill a long-standing vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

“No off-topic questions!” Christie bellowed from the podium. “I won’t permit you to. I told you that there will only be on-topic questions allowed today. Permission denied.” Christie later said he wasn’t taking questions about Trump “because I don’t want to.”

And why would he want to? Ever since he endorsed Donald Trump on Friday, things haven’t been going so well for the New Jersey governor.

He is taking shots from all sides. Jennifer Rubin, a columnist for the Washington Post who was previously a huge Christie backer, wrote that he was “now ruined.” Supporters like Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and a surrogate for Christie on the campaign trail, denounced his decision: “The governor is mistaken if he believes he can now count on my support, and I call on Christie’s donors and supporters to reject the governor and Donald Trump outright.” Read more »

Rogue Ex-Pharmacist May Have Exposed South Jersey Hospital Patients to HIV and Hepatitis

Shore Medical Center. Photo | Facebook

Shore Medical Center. Photo | Facebook

A New Jersey hospital has sent out letters to 213 patients to notify them that they may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV during their stay.

The warning came after it was discovered that an employee had allegedly stolen morphine from patients’ vials and replaced it with a saline solution. The fear is that patients may have been exposed to the ex-employee’s blood and thus contacted one of the diseases. Read more »

N.J. Announces Regulations for Skill-Based Casino Video Games

Attack from Mars pinball

The Attack from Mars pinball machine at the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Based on the skyline, this pinball game is set in Philadelphia.

New Jersey gambling is going to get a little more exciting soon.

Today, the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement today legalized more ways to gamble: Namely, it announced temporary regulations for skill-based gaming: Instead of sliding bills into a slot machine where you have no control over whether you win, you’ll be able to play skill-based games for real money in Atlantic City casinos.

“This is another important step towards implementing skill-based gaming in the Atlantic City gaming market,” DGE director David Rebuck said. “Although the Division has had the authority to authorize these games for some time and announced in October 2014 an initiative for manufacturers to bring their skill-based games to New Jersey, the industry requested specific regulations to guide their efforts to create innovative skill-based products.”

The regulations allow game outcomes to be “dependent in whole or in part upon the player’s physical dexterity and/or mental ability.” Slot machines with skill-based elements must pay out at least 83 percent, while games that are entirely skill-based do not have a hold minimum. Games can’t be altered during play in order to make it tougher for a skilled player to win. Read more »

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