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UPDATE! Monday Briefs From WOBM News

Michael Halfacre
Michael Halfacre (NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control)

News from Ocean and Monmouth counties & around New Jersey.TOMS RIVER - The trial of accused cop killer Jahmell Crockam continues in toms river tomorrow. He’s accused of gunning down Lakewood patrolman Christopher Matlosz last January during a traffic stop on a township street.

LONG BRANCH – A scene of chaos and destruction near the beachfront of this bustling community, where fire has consumed at least four buildings and left dozens homeless. Firefighters are struggling to contain the blaze which has blanketed the neighborhood at Brighton and Ocean Avenues with billows of gray smoke. One of the buildings partially collapsed in the flames. A three-story apartment building is among the properties. Roads are closed for a radius of several blocks around the area.

NEPTUNE – There’s a new boss at the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Carlos Rodriguez assumes the Executive Director’s post most recently held by Susan Kelly. Rodriguez compiled his experience across the Hudson River, beginning in his native South Bronx and continuing to the FoodBank For New York City, where he’s credited with enlarging nearly 1,000 hunger-relief programs.

FORKED RIVER – Military veterans who served on or after 9/11 and wish to become teachers could fast-track it under a shore-based measure that cleared the state Senate today. The VETeach bill sponsored by State Senators Chris Connors (R-9) and James Whelan (D-2) would create a 36-month program at Richard Stockton College toward a Baccalaureate degree and fulfillment of certification requirements for grades K through 8, and also selected secondary education assignments. The Assembly version is still in committee.

BAYVILLE - After 20 years, the super Foodtown in Bayville has closed it’s doors. The Food Circus owned market had 75 employees. Some were laid off while others will be transfered to the toms river store. Owners blamed the economy and increased competition from other local grocers.

TRENTON - The final report Of Governor Christie’s nuclear review task force is out and Oyster Creek gets a clean bill of health. Reports say the Lacey plant has taken many lessons learned from last year’s Fukishima Diachi disaster in Japan into account. The state will continue to work with plant owner Exelon and the NRC to ensure safety. The report recommends a battery backup for emergency sirens and additional emergency diesel pumps.

ATLANTIC CITY – Atlantic City’s casinos see a decline in revenue for the month of January, crushing hopes of a two-month hot streak for the nation’s second largest gambling market. Statistics released Friday show slot machine revenue was unchanged, but table games revenue plunged over 20 percent compared to last year.

TOMS RIVER - Two defendants at the center of a drug probe that rocked Ocean County in 2008 now await sentencing. A jury in Toms River Friday found Earl Marshall and Karriem Royster of Barnegat guilty on seven counts related to cocaine and marijuana distribution. They were among 11 arrested during a multi-level probe in Barnegat, Manahawkin and Newark. Marshall’s conviction for leading a trafficking network has a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life.

TRENTON – Former Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre succeeds Jerry Fischer as director of New Jersey’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. The 45-year-old lawyer has also served as Rumson and Little Silver municipal attorney and briefly sought the Republican district 12 Congressional nomination in 2009.

NEWARK – Jersey Central Power and Light and Atlantic City Electric ratepayers can expect smaller average monthly bills starting in March, and likely continuing into the summer. Regulators of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities granted both companies three-percent rate reductions. Corporate officials cite lower-than-expected wholesale rates during the most recent energy auction.

ATLANTIC CITY – Look out, Harrah’s, Pauly D’s about to rock your world. The “Jersey Shore” regular, frequently spotted around Seaside Heights, is the new resident DJ at the casino-hotel’s Pool After Dark. He’s on a roll, having just spun off into “The Pauly D Project,” chronicling his record deal and his gig opening for Britney Spears on her “Femme Fatale” tour. His star-studded AC debut is March 31.

NEW YORK – Rumson native Mimi Alford lifts the lid off her affair with President John F. Kennedy. She’s published a book recounting her seduction, which she says began on her fourth day as a White House intern at age 19 and continued until shortly before the President’s death.

TRENTON – Before New Jersey’s doctor gap widens, state lawmakers are trying to plug it. The state Senate today approved a bill by shore Senator Robert Singer (R-30) that would convene a planning summit of state agencies and boards, along with medical schools and teaching hospitals. A recent report anticipates a shortfall of 3,000 doctors in New Jersey by 2020.

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