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ICYMI: Governor Murphy, NJ Transit Announce Atlantic City Rail Line and Princeton Dinky to Resume May 12th

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)


Restoration Nearly Two Weeks Ahead of Target Date

                                                                                              

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – NJ TRANSIT has accelerated the restoration of service on the Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL) and Princeton Branch (Dinky), announcing that both rail services will resume on Sunday, May 12th.  The new date is nearly two weeks ahead of the agency’s target date and fulfills the commitment to have these services operating prior to Memorial Day weekend.

“Our economy relies upon our residents getting where they need to go reliably and safely, and Governor Christie’s nearly decade-long mismanagement of NJ TRANSIT undermined the capacity of NJ TRANSIT to fulfill that responsibility,” said Governor Murphy. “That is why I’m so pleased to announce the early restoration of the NJ TRANSIT Atlantic City Rail Line and the Princeton Branch Dinky Line, which will allow our commuters to get to work, school, and back again, free of disruption. I applaud NJ TRANSIT’s leadership for their efforts to improve safety and restore service. Our residents and commuters deserve nothing less.”

“The importance of these rail lines was made abundantly clear during our town hall meetings. The needs of our customers remain our highest priority. I am pleased that we were able to restore reliable services to these regions ahead of schedule,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.

“I am pleased we are able to restore service sooner than projected.  I know how critical these services are to those who rely on them,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Kevin Corbett.  “I did not want these rail lines to remain out of service for a minute longer than necessary, and I’m grateful that we’re able to resume service nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.  I want to acknowledge our employees’ hard work that made this possible, and thank our customers for their patience while we were able to successfully meet our interim 2018 Positive Train Control (PTC) requirements and complete necessary track replacement work on the ACRL.”

As part of an effort to provide more reliable and frequent service for Atlantic City area commuters, the ACRL will resume with an improved schedule to better match service with customer demand. In response to customer feedback gained through NJ TRANSIT’s listening tour and enhanced customer focus, the new schedule includes an adjustment to a weekday a.m. peak period roundtrip which fills a gap in arrivals at Philadelphia 30th St. Station during the morning rush hour. The Agency will now offer five trains that arrive in Philadelphia prior to noon, up from three, and reduce wait times between trains to a maximum of two hours throughout the service day. Similar adjustments have been made to the weekend schedule. 

Princeton Branch (Dinky) service will resume with a schedule similar to its previous operation prior to the temporary suspension.

Full schedule for the Atlantic City Rail Line:

Full schedule for the Princeton Branch (Dinky).

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE:  In advance of both the ACRL and Dinky resumption dates, test trains and rail equipment will begin to operate on the tracks.  The NJ TRANSIT Office of System Safety (OSS) urges the public to stay alert, remain cognizant that railroad equipment can operate at any time, in any direction and at various speeds.  Pedestrians and vehicles should only cross railroad tracks at designated crossings, while paying attention to crossing gates, lights and bells that warn of the potential presence of a train or other railroad equipment.    

During the temporary suspension on the ACRL to meet the 2018 year-end federal PTC requirements, NJ TRANSIT installed 266 transponders, 17 poles, 20 wayside interface units, and nearly 60 miles of ground based network, including fiber optic cable to link all signal bungalows.  NJ TRANSIT also utilized the temporary suspension to perform state-of-good repair work on the ACRL by replacing 7.5 miles of track.  While NJ TRANSIT was at just 12% PTC completion in early 2018, the agency was able to meet this critical safety milestone in December 2018 to qualify for an alternative schedule for the remainder of the PTC installation process. NJ TRANSIT now has until the end of 2020 to ensure its PTC system is fully functional.

Maya K. van Rossum to Speak at Parks Advisory Board Meeting - May 1

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)


Author, environmental attorney, and founder of the Green Amendment for the Generations Movement, Maya K. van Rossum, will be the guest speaker at the May 1 meeting of the Atlantic County Parks and Environment Advisory Board at 7 PM at the Canale Training Center, 5033 English Creek Avenue, Egg Harbor Township.

 

Van Rossum will lead a discussion about a new tool for environmental preservation that will inspire a new way of thinking from both a policy and legal perspective. She will also focus on how to secure the rights to pure water, clean air, and a healthy environment for present and future generations.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, call (609) 625-1897.

ICYMI: NJ Labor Department Announces $3.9M to Fund Job Training in Counties Hardest-Hit by Opioid Crisis

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)


From the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development: 

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has awarded $3.9 million in funding to six organizations that will provide training and support services to people whose work trajectories have been interrupted by the opioid epidemic.

The Opioid Recovery Employment Program, also known as Pathways to Recovery, is part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s multi-faceted, multi-agency strategy to combat the state’s worsening opioid crisis. In January, the Governor announced he would dedicate $100 million from the FY2019 budget to fight the opioid crisis. He is proposing to again appropriate $100 million for these programs in FY2020.

“As the opioid epidemic continues to impact countless families across our state and the nation, we must support affected individuals and provide them with vital resources and information that will get them on the path to recovery,” said Governor Murphy. “This funding will expand opportunities for those facing addiction and enable them to access meaningful work, an essential part of restoring their lives for long-term recovery.”

Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo added, “Recognizing that steady employment is one determinant of long-term recovery, we are proud of these efforts to coordinate the physical and mental health needs with the workforce needs of those affected by opioids.”

New Jersey had 3,163 drug overdose deaths in 2018, the most recorded in one calendar year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported New Jersey had one of the highest increases of fatal overdoses in the country, up 21 percent from January 2017 to January 2018.

The six hardest-hit counties – Atlantic, Camden, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean – all saw greater numbers of overdose deaths last year than in 2017.  

The grants were awarded to agencies that agreed to partner with other community-based organizations to deliver employment opportunities to 600 opioid-affected individuals. Participants include people who are in recovery as well as those who were directly impacted by addiction, as relatives, friends, or caregivers. The participants will receive work-readiness assessments, career coaching, peer support, and, ultimately, placement in jobs for which there is a high demand. 

These grants are supporting a new approach in New Jersey to combine recovery and employment opportunities.

The Pathways to Recovery grant recipients are:

  • Jewish Family Services of Atlantic County, Inc. – Atlantic County
  • Center for Family Services, Inc. – Camden County
  • Blessed Ministries, Inc. – Essex County
  • Township of Woodbridge – Middlesex County
  • Monmouth County Division of Workforce Development – Monmouth County
  • County of Ocean, Department of Human Services – Ocean County

Statement from Mayor Baraka on the Governor's Task Force on Youth Justice

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)


“I applaud the Governor’s commitment to the future of our young people in creating the Task Force on Youth Justice in New Jersey. We know this task force will be a part of any process involving how to best rehabilitate youth. In addition, it is my hope that the Task Force is looking at reinvesting current youth incarceration funds in alternative policing strategies that can end the systemic problems created by jailing children. Let’s work together to ensure that no child is incarcerated."

Joint Statement from Governor Murphy and Newark Mayor Baraka on Establishing a New Secure Youth Residential Center in North Jersey

NEWARK  – Today, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka released the following joint statement on establishing a new secure youth residential center in North Jersey for young offenders:

“Over the past two decades, a bipartisan coalition of New Jersey leaders has worked to transform our juvenile justice system and make it a model for the rest of the country. And yet we still have much more work to do. Despite recent progress, New Jersey still owns the shameful distinction of having the largest black-white youth incarceration gap in the nation. To help reduce this disparity, we believe in the continued transformation of our juvenile justice system to prioritize treatment, rehabilitation, and positive reinforcement for young people.

“In October, Governor Murphy signed an executive order creating a Task Force for the Continued Transformation of Youth Justice in New Jersey to ensure that our juvenile justice system reflects our values, including safety, dignity, and fairness. The Task Force is comprised of people directly impacted by the criminal justice system, juvenile justice agencies, and key community stakeholders and is charged with promoting strategies to reduce recidivism and provide recommendations to improve our juvenile justice system.

“New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice Commission is and will continue to be a national model for progressive reform. Since New Jersey began partnering with the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 2004, New Jersey has reduced the number of juveniles detained in both county and state facilities by 80 percent – and youth of color account for more than 80 percent of this reduction. We remain committed to working with community stakeholders and various law enforcement agencies to ensure we employ best practices in continuing the tremendous work that the JJC has done to transform youth justice.

“These reductions in the juvenile detention population have allowed New Jersey to make significant progress towards its goal of closing the Jamesburg facility and moving towards a decentralized, community-based model that allows youths to receive best-in-the-nation rehabilitative and treatment services while being housed closer to home. The fact remains that a small number of juveniles engage in serious, violent conduct, and we must find a safe, secure way to house them – one that ensures public safety while also departing from the more punitive practices of the past.

“We look forward to the opening of smaller regional centers to allow young people the ability to be closer to their families and home communities. These regional sites will provide a secure residential setting for young offenders while providing treatment, rehabilitative services, and community space. Unfortunately, there has been misinformation spread over the past few days by those who are opposed to any sort of secure youth residential center.

“We remain deeply committed to transforming our juvenile justice system in New Jersey and look forward to working with advocates, community members, and partners in law enforcement to address the disparities in our incarcerated youth population. 

Annual Spring Cleanup at Atlantic County Parks - April 27

Posted on April 13, 2019 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Atlantic County Parks is looking for community volunteers to participate in its 9th annual cleanup on Saturday, April 27, 8:30 AM to 12 noon.

“Since the start of this program, a total of 15.5 miles of roadways and trails have been cleaned and approximately 46 cubic yards of trash and 30 cubic yards of recycled materials have been collected,” reported County Executive Dennis Levinson. “To put that in perspective, it is the equivalent of 76 washing machines.”
 
This year’s cleanup will cover a nearly one-mile portion of Somers Point-Mays Landing Road (Rt. 559) from Miry Run to the end of the Pine Forest Tract in Egg Harbor Township. If time permits, volunteers will proceed to the RIverbend Tract to collect additional trash and debris from a half-mile section around Perch Cove.
 
Atlantic County Parks provide essential habitat for trees and wildlife. The cleanup locations were chosen due to their proximity to the Great Egg Harbor River and its tributaries. Keeping these areas clean helps promote a healthy ecosystem.
 
Last year’s spring cleanup removed 30 bags of trash and 35 bags of recycled materials from Lake Lenape Park in Hamilton Township.
 
Volunteers will meet at 8:15 AM at the Atlantic County Green Tree Golf Course, 1030 Somers Point-Mays Landing Road, Egg Harbor Township and are asked to dress for the weather. They should bring gloves and drinking water. Lunch will be provided at the conclusion of the cleanup.
 
Registration is requested before April 13 by email to: pleis_kathleen@aclink.org or by calling the Parks at (609) 625-1897.

Additional sponsors include Great Egg Harbor River Council, Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association, Atlantic County Friends of the Parks, Atlantic County Utilities Authority, NJ Clean Communities Council, and the Atlantic County Parks and Environment Advisory Board.

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