The $350 million road project for the Route 72 causeway entrance to Long Beach Island goes out to bid on Thursday. The long-awaited project will include a new bridge parallel to the existing one, which will be improved to increase capacity and include a bike-way for both pedestrians and bicycles. Local officials have been lobbying for the upgrade for the past 10 years. The Manahawkin Bay Causeway provides the only vehicle access to LBI.
After a first-degree murder indictment in June of 2010, an accused man will finally stand trial for his crime. On Wednesday Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten ruled that Alberto Martinez of Wildwood is competent to stand trial for the baseball bat murder of 19 year-old Vincent DeSario, who was visiting Wildwood with friends in May of 2010. Psychiatrist Dr. Bonard Moises told the court that Martinez understands the role of the judge, jury, lawers, and understands the charges against him. Martinez suffers from schizophrenia and is being held in a psychiatric facility. No trial date has been set but an evidential hearing will be held in February.
A man who serves as as assistant basketball coach at Vineland High School has been arrested and charged with lewdness for exposing himself to two male foreign exchange students. The South Jersey Times reports that 49 year old John Kinka of Vineland was housing to teenage foreign exchange students; Kinka allegedly provided alcohol to the two boys and exposed his genitals to one of them. Police allege Kinka tried to pull down one of the boy’s pants. Kinka has been a volunteer with a student exchange program.
Students who attend Atlantic Cape Community College will be paying more for their education in the coming year. The Board of Trustees met this week and approved a six percent increase in tuition and fees charged at the local college. The college anticipates a three percent drop in enrollment which means tuition and fees have to go up in the coming year. The college has reduced its faculty and staff by nearly two dozen members; those jobs will not be filled.
Less than 90 days after Hurricane Sandy struck, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $1.1 billion in disaster loans to 16,800 residents and businesses in the federally declared states affected by the storm. This milestone comes as Congress passed emergency legislation that will add $799 million to SBA’s disaster assistance program budget to help meet the demand for loans from Hurricane Sandy and future disasters. For more information about SBA’s disaster loan program, visit www.sba.gov/sandy,
Cape May County republicans have selected Marie Hayes to be the newest member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Republicans gathered on Wednesday evening and selected Hayes to fill the unexpired term of Susan Sheppard, who resigned her seat after winning the election for Cape May County Surrogate in November. Hayes outpolled Lower Township’s Stig Blomkvest 123-89. Hayes is from Ocean City, and she will be sworn in to her new office on Friday at Noon. She will serve on the board until December 31st.
Lower Township Police are continuing their investigation into the discovery of what they call “threatening’ graffiti inside a bathroom at Lower Cape May Regional High School. The graffiti was found on Wednesday and the incident is under investigation by both police and the school district. Police are asking all parents to speak with their teenagers and discuss the consequences of any threatening message that is made in society. If you know who may be responsible for the graffiti, you are asked to contact the Lower Township Police Department.
A very strong line of storms and wind is approaching the Jersey Shore this evening. The National Weather Service has maintained a High Wind Warning for the Jersey Cape for this evening through 5am on Thursday. As of Wednesday at 5:00pm, the leaning edge of the rain was in the Philadelphia area with a line of storms directed south, east of Washington, DC. It’s likely the windy, stormy weather will arrive in Cape May County after nightfall. Scattered power outages are likely during this storm event.
Have you made a major purchase on your credit card since Sunday? If so, it’s possible the retailer passed on a one to four percent credit card fee onto you, the consumer. A new law allows retailers to tack on that extra fee to your credit cards, but the law may be short-lived in New Jersey. A new Senate bill would prohibit those fees from being passed on to the consumer. Among the sponsors of the bill are Atlantic County State Senator Jim Whelan.
It may not make any difference, but Newark Mayor Cory Booker has thrown his support behind democrat Barbara Buono for governor. Buono is challenging republican governor Chris Christie in fall election, and some polls put Christie’s popularity rating at a whopping 70 percent. Booker and other democrats, including some high ranking democrats from South Jersey, are doing the expected and putting their support behind Buono.