Two Philly Chefs Join Forces Over a Wood-Fired Grill

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A few months ago, Greg Vernick’s sous chef Dominic Piperno announced that he and his wife Lindsay would be opening their own restaurant in Collingswood, N.J. At the time, there was no name, no real details at all, just a general concept and an address: a fine-dining BYOB centered around a wood-fired grill.

Today, the chefs revealed their big plans for 801 Haddon Avenue.

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Get This: The Mob Is Involved in the Waste Business in Jersey

SCI dump

Image via the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The mob is involved in the waste business in New Jersey.

The mob and the garbage industry are a common trope in film and TV depictions, and with good reason: The mafia really has historically been involved in the waste business since the mid-20th century.

In some ways the reason is rather simple, as Michelle Tsai explained in Slate a few years ago: “Find a business that’s easy to enter and lucrative to control.” Garbage-haulers get big public contracts that aren’t going away, and compared to other ways of earning money it’s much easier. Organized crime has been in the garbage biz ever since cities started bidding trash collection out to private companies about 70 years ago.

The business has been corporatized in recent years, especially as governments have passed regulations for handling solid waste, but the mob still has its hands in the garbage business. And a report from the New jersey State Commission of Investigation says that New Jersey’s recycling business remains vulnerable to corruption because it’s relatively unregulated compared to the garbage business. Read more »

Joe Piscopo May Actually Run for N.J. Governor

Joe Piscopo / NJ seal

Donald Trump is just a celebrity. Or, rather, he was just a celebrity before he ran for president and actually won, making him the 45th president of the United States. Now that he’s shown it can be done, what’s to stop other celebs from following in his footsteps?

As Trump has demonstrated, you don’t even need to be a particularly popular celebrity to win the highest office in the land. You also don’t need to have been popular recently to win an election — the 1980s will suffice. And it follows that you don’t need to be a particularly notable celebrity to win a lower office.

Which leads us to your potential next New Jersey governor: Joe Piscopo!

The actor and comedian, best known for his Frank Sinatra impression on Saturday Night Live 30-plus years ago, told the Associated Press he’s “more serious than ever” about running. Read more »

N.J. Pols Can’t Stop Sharing Offensive Jokes on Facebook

Facebook memes

What’s the biggest trend among New Jersey politicians? Offending their constituents with Facebook memes.

Okay, that’s overstating it. But there have been two incidents of New Jersey politicians sharing offensive jokes on Facebook in the past few weeks, so it bears investigation.

First was Atlantic County Freeholder John Carman, a Republican, who shared the following joke ON the day of the women’s march: “Will the Women’s March be over in time for them to cook dinner?” He added, “Just asking” to let you know he was just asking.

Predictably, belittling women into a homemaker first and a person second did not sit well with his constituents. He landed on the cover of the Daily News and had to sit and listen to a bunch of angry people berate him at a meeting.

One woman brought a box of macaroni and cheese to the freeholders’ meeting and told Carman to “cook his own damn dinner.” How did Carman respond to being berated by a bunch of people? Did he say sorry and move on? Of course not.

Carman stood up and said: “This has made me realize how blessed I am, because the women I’m surrounded by, my family, my friends, my colleagues are all strong, confident women, women who are sure of themselves. They didn’t get offended by this.” Read more »

Tens of Thousands of Fish Wash Up in Multiple N.J. Fish Kills

Peanut Bunker via Brian Gratwicke, license,

Atlantic menhaden, aka peanut bunker by Brian Gratwicke via Creative Commons license,

Another day, another fish kill at the Jersey Shore.

This Sunday, thousands of dead fish washed up at the Atlantic Highlands marina in Monmouth County.

On Saturday, about 15,000 to 20,000 dead fish washed up in Little Egg Harbor in Ocean County. Earlier last week, more dead fish popped up in Keansburg in Monmouth County.

So what’s causing these fish kills? Per the Asbury Park Press, the state Department of Environmental Protection says that “most likely, these large groups of fish are bring chased by predator fish from colder waters, into warmer waters.” Read more »

Smart Guns Aren’t for Sale in America Because of a New Jersey Law

Split photo: Chris Christie, New Jersey governor, and a smart gun developed by NJIT

Christie photo by Bob Jagendorf (license); smart gun prototype photo via of New Jersey Institute of Technology

Chris Christie yesterday vetoed a bill that would have required New Jersey gun dealers to carry at least one “smart gun” for sale. Christie used a pocket veto, which means the Democratic legislature cannot override it.

Smart guns have been developed by several different sources, but are not yet for sale in the U.S. A smart gun can only be fired by an authorized user (though some smart gun tech has a way for authorized users to override that and allow anyone to fire it). The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s smart gun prototype uses “dynamic grip” technology to prevent anyone else from firing it. NJIT’s smart-gun project was begun at the behest of the state, but was eventually killed.

The gun-lobby says it’s agnostic to smart gun tech, but that’s a lie: The CEO of Colt’s Manufacturing Company was dropped after backlash to the company’s smart gun prototype; the NRA famously boycotted Smith & Wesson after it agreed to develop smart gun technology as part of a deal with the Bill Clinton administration. Some people go even further: A Maryland gun dealer, who planned to sell a new smart gun, said he received death threats. (Some death threats are empty, but these presumably came from people with guns.) Read more »

So, Is Olympic Silver Medalist Nia Ali From Philly or Jersey?

Nia Ali after placing second in the women's 100m hurdles final in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange.

Nia Ali after placing second in the women’s 100m hurdles final in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange.

Last night, Nia Ali took the silver medal in an all-American sweep of the women’s 100-meter hurdles. Brianna Rollins won gold, and Kristi Castlin took bronze. It was the first time three U.S. women had swept any Olympic track event.

But where is Nia Ali from? Various sources have her from Norristown (Wikipedia), Philadelphia (Philly.com) or Pleasantville, New Jersey (The Press of Atlantic City). To make things more confusing, Ali’s USA Track and Field bio says she graduated in 2006 from West Catholic High School, while other sources note she’s a graduate of Pleasantville High School.

So what gives? Read more »

Christie Says He’ll Vote to Expand Casinos to Northern New Jersey

Chris Christie

New Jersey governor Chris Christie said he plans to cast his ballot in favor of expanding casinos outside of Atlantic City and into parts of northern New Jersey.

The Associated Press reports that Christie made the comments at a statehouse news conference, where he said he would campaign for the ballot question. The idea of expanding casinos has drawn criticism from those who believe the move would further damage Atlantic City’s economy.

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