Society NEWS

2019 County Budget Adopted with No Tax Increase

Posted on April 13, 2019 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

The $212.7 million county budget introduced by County Executive Dennis Levinson earlier this year was adopted by the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders, 8-0, on March 12.

“The 2019 county budget is $5 million less than last year with a nearly 2-cent reduction in the general purpose tax and no tax increase. We are extremely proud of this fiscally conservative spending plan,” stated Levinson. “We continue to put the interests of our taxpayers first.”

Levinson noted, however, that this does not mean the county is resting on its laurels, but rather, it is actively implementing its countywide economic development strategy to attract, retain and grow business in Atlantic County.

“While we have maintained our strong financial management practices, as recognized by both Moody’s Investors and Standard and Poor’s financial services, we have exercised foresight in planning for our future and that of our children and grandchildren so they may be able to stay and thrive in Atlantic County.”

Part of this effort includes development of the National Aviation Research and Technology Park. Its mission is to enhance aviation sciences by creating a consortium of industrial, academic and governmental partnerships that will promote sustained economic growth and job creation in Atlantic County and throughout New Jersey.

“The park’s first building was completed on schedule and on budget. Based on increasing interest, we are developing plans for the second of seven buildings,” Levinson said.

The NARTP is also included in a newly created aviation innovation hub comprising a one-mile area around the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, the nation’s premier air transportation testing facility, and the Atlantic City International Airport, which has recently been designated as a Smart Airport test bed research facility.

“Atlantic County is now the center point of an emerging aviation industry in New Jersey. We have developed strategic partnerships with major aviation companies and institutions including Boeing, Lockheed, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, National Institute of Aviation, General Dynamics, the FAA, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and more.”

Levinson is also excited about opportunities for the development of offshore wind energy that will also create new jobs, many of which will require similar skills to those in aviation repair and maintenance. The county is working with Embry-Riddle to implement its aviation STEM initiative in local high schools. The program will enable successful students to earn college credits and industry certifications prior to graduating.

“The goal is to help improve the skills of our workforce to meet the growing needs of technology-related fields and make it more attractive to potential employers,” he said.

“Atlantic County residents and taxpayers can be assured that their county government is hard at work for their benefit. We are in sound financial shape with good reason to be optimistic about our future.”

First 2019 Rabies Case Identified in Absecon Raccoon

Posted on April 13, 2019 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Atlantic County health officials are reminding residents of the importance of protecting their pets with a rabies vaccination after reporting the first confirmed case of rabies in Atlantic County this year in a raccoon found on a property located in the 500 block of Delaware Avenue in Absecon.

Animal Control was called to the property to collect a raccoon that appeared sickly. The raccoon was humanely euthanized due to its poor condition and sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed positive for rabies on March 20.

An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health could not rule out possible contact and exposure by the property owner’s dog. The dog is current with its rabies vaccination but was placed under a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure.

In 2018, Atlantic County had a total of 3 rabies cases involving two raccoons and a bat.

Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination.

The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs and cats once a month at 240 Old Turnpike Road in Pleasantville. The next clinic will be in April.Dogs must be brought on leashes and cats in carriers. For more information call (609) 485-2345 or visit www.aclink.org/animalshelter.

Dogs and cats who receive an initial rabies vaccination are not considered immunized until 28 days after the vaccine has been administered, therefore it is strongly recommended that any animal newly vaccinated or those too young to receive the vaccine (less than three months) not be left outdoors unattended. Situations have arisen where pet owners have left unvaccinated or newly vaccinated pets outdoors where they have sustained exposures to known or suspect rabid animals, resulting in euthanasia or four to six months strict confinement.

Public health officials also advise residents to teach your children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals. Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets.

If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention. Report all animal bites to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.

For more information about rabies control and precautions to protect your family and your pets, please visit the county web site at www.aclink.org/publichealth or call 609-645-5971.


NARTP Partners with Embry-Riddle to Advance Aviation Innovation

Posted on April 13, 2019 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The National Aviation Research and Technology Park has announced yet another positive step in the development of an aviation innovation hub with its signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to promote academic and research opportunities in aviation and avionics.

The National Aviation Research and Technology Park is an industry, academia and government collaboration focused on research, innovation and commercialization of emerging technologies for aviation. It is ideally located adjacent to both the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, the nation’s premier air transportation systems laboratory, and the Atlantic City International Airport, a Smart Airport Research Test Bed facility. Together the three facilities comprise a state-designated Aviation District.

“With this MOU, Embry-Riddle will now serve as an academic partner of NARTP to help advance the aviation sciences through research activities to enhance the safety, security, efficiency and capacity of air transportation,” stated NARTP Board President Dr. Edward H. Salmon.

As a key member of NARTP’s academic consortium, Embry-Riddle will also assist in the creation and delivery of academic programs related to engineering, aeronautics, aviation and avionics.

Embry-Riddle is recognized as the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace. Embry-Riddle is also working with Atlantic County to develop an operational plan for an aviation and technical academy at Atlantic City International Airport and most recently met with Atlantic County high school superintendents to discuss an aviation STEM initiative that would provide high school students with opportunities to earn college credits and industry certifications prior to graduation.

“We are honored to partner with the NARTP to accelerate the pace of innovation in aviation and avionics through education and research initiatives,” said Dr. Alan Stolzer, dean of Embry-Riddle’s College of Aviation in Daytona Beach, Fla. “Aviation safety and workforce capacity are top-priority goals, which will be supported through this collaborative venture.”

Stockton Poll Finds N.J. Residents Want Infrastructure Repairs, but with Fed Money

Posted on April 13, 2019 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Galloway, N.J. _ Motorists say New Jersey roads and bridges are in bad shape and should be fixed. But only a minority are willing to personally pay more for road work, preferring federal funding to repair infrastructure, according to a Stockton University Poll released today.

In the poll of 632 New Jersey adults, 80 percent rated the condition of the state’s roads and highways as fair (45 percent) or poor (35 percent). Respondents rated the condition of New Jersey’s bridges and tunnels only a little better, with 63 percent rating them as fair (43 percent) or poor (20 percent). Thirty-eight percent said they have felt concern for their safety when traveling over a bridge or through a tunnel.

Nearly half say poor road conditions have cost them money in repairs, with 46 percent saying their car sustained a flat tire or other damage because of a pothole in the last three years. Thirty-one percent called potholes the greatest hazard on the state’s roads.

The Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University interviewed 632 adult residents of New Jersey in this poll. Live interviewers called landline and cell telephones March 21-28, 2019. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.9 percentage points.

Strong majorities believe leaders in Washington should do more about the problem. Sixty-two percent said President Donald Trump is not paying enough attention to the conditions of roads, bridges and tunnels, while 22 percent said he is and 15 percent were unsure.

But the president fared better than Congress; 76 percent said leaders in Congress were not paying enough attention to infrastructure concerns, while 13 percent said they are, and 10 percent were unsure. Researcher John Froonjian of the Hughes Center said the results are consistent with abysmally low ratings of Congress in previous Stockton Polls.

New Jersey adults would overwhelmingly support a federal infrastructure bill discussed in Washington that would spend up to $200 billion, according to the poll. Eighty percent said they would support it, with 10 percent opposed and 9 percent unsure. However, when asked whether they personally were willing to pay more to help finance construction projects for roads and bridges, 48 percent said no, while 45 percent said they would be willing and 7 percent were unsure.

“New Jersey is a very high-tax state, and taxpayers already feel that they are tapped out,” said Michael W. Klein, interim executive director of the Hughes Center. “The state’s gas tax increased over 27 cents per gallon between 2016 and 2018, and the congestion pricing plan for driving into New York City, recently approved under New York State’s new budget, will make commuting for many New Jerseyans more expensive than ever when it is implemented.”

The percentage in support of a federal infrastructure bill dropped to 55 percent if the bill would increase the federal debt.

So how to fund infrastructure repairs? Among those willing to pay more to improve road and bridge conditions, one-third would support higher tolls, including increased tolls on existing toll roads (21 percent) or charging new tolls on New Jersey roads that do not have them (13 percent). Eighteen percent supported a higher gasoline tax, while 20 percent would increase other taxes such as the state’s sales or income taxes. Only 5 percent wanted more government debt.

Distracted Drivers Also a Major Hazard

While poor road conditions were seen as dangerous by many, the most respondents (49 percent) said distracted drivers posed the greatest hazard on the road. A majority of 55 percent said New Jersey drivers generally drive too fast. Six percent said they drive too slowly, while 35 percent said most drive at appropriate speeds. However, there was little appetite for greater enforcement of anti-speeding laws: 53 percent wanted no change in enforcement levels, and 6 percent wanted less enforcement. Forty percent would like stricter enforcement of speed limits.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said they drive more than 10 mph over the speed limit at least occasionally, with 39 percent reporting they speed very or somewhat often. Otherwise, motorists rate themselves as careful drivers. Only 9 percent said they are distracted when they drive very or somewhat often, and the same percentage admitted to driving too aggressively very or somewhat often. Eleven percent said they have frequently made rude gestures at other drivers, and 7 percent said they have felt road rage. Hardly anyone – 1 percent – said they ran stop signs or traffic lights very or somewhat often, while 17 percent said they do so occasionally.

Finally, many see traffic as the bane of New Jersey driving. Ten percent identified it as the greatest road hazard, and 56 percent (60 percent in North Jersey) said it poses a major inconvenience (23 percent) or a serious problem (33 percent). Thirty-seven percent called it a minor inconvenience.

For full poll results, go to Poll Results

About the Hughes Center

The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy (www.stockton.edu/hughescenter) at Stockton University serves as a catalyst for research, analysis and innovative policy solutions on the economic, social and cultural issues facing New Jersey, and promotes the civic life of New Jersey through engagement, education and research. The center is named for William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ambassador to Panama and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Stockton. The Hughes Center can be found on YouTube, and can be followed on Facebook @StocktonHughesCenter, Twitter @hughescenter and Instagram @ stockton_hughes_center .

Methodology

The poll of New Jersey adults was conducted by the Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy March 21-28, 2019. Live interviewers who are mostly Stockton University students called cell phones and landlines from the Stockton University campus. Overall, 59 percent of interviews were conducted on cell phones and 41 percent on landline phones. A total of 632 respondents screened as adults and residents of New Jersey were interviewed. Both cell and landline phone numbers came from a random digit dialing (RDD) sample provided by MSG. Data are weighted based on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 5-year data for New Jersey on variables of age, ethnicity, race, education level, sex and region. The poll's margin of error is +/- 3.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. MOE is higher for subsets. The Stockton Polling Institute is a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

Stockton Course Based on Game of Thrones

Posted on April 13, 2019 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Galloway, N.J. -  Game of Thrones may just be returning to television on Sunday, but students in Stockton University’s Game of Thrones class have been using the show to study history, film, literature and writing all semester.

Now in its third year, the class, “Games of Thrones in Premodern Literature & Film,” taught by Assistant Professor of Critical Thinking and First-Year Studies Geoffrey Gust, meets from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The class will sponsor a Medieval Marketplace and tournament from 3-5 p.m. on Thursday April 18 in Independence Plaza on the Galloway campus. The Knights of Crossford, a well-known historical re-enactment troupe that helps to run the NJ Renaissance Faire, will participate.

The marketplace will feature exhibits and projects created by students in Gust’s class. A classical music ensemble of Stockton students will perform music from Game of Thrones, and the Knights of Crossford will offer interactive training exercises and a faux tournament display, as they parley and “fight to the death” in a thrilling demonstration of a medieval pas d’armes (chivalric jousting and fighting).