by William E. Cleary Sr.
LOCAL RESTAURANT/DINER UPDATE— May 2015 was suppose to be the month the groundbreaking ceremony for Ott’s on the Waterfront restaurant was going to be held. From what we have heard mayor and council are still in negotiations with the principal investors, Donald Bigley and Jeffrey Lucas. The parties met earlier this month and are expected to meet again sometime this week. Since the project was announced in 2012 the city has said the sticking point continues to be the developer’s financing. However, in March, a source told us, off the record, that Bigley and Lucas do not want to lease the land from the city. Instead, they want to buy it, but the city is asking too much money.
Why we continue to wait for a waterfront restaurant to be built in Gloucester City, we have learned that the repairs to the Brooklawn Diner, in Brooklawn NJ, are nearing completion.
According to Donna Anderson, a spokesperson for the new owner, “We are just waiting for the outside work to be finished, which should be soon.”
Michael Petrogiannis, a Greek immigrant who with his three brothers owns nine other restaurants, are the new owners. Michael, 58, came to this country when he was 16-years-old. Some of the other eating establishments the family owns include: South Philadelphia’s Melrose Diner, the Mayfair Diner, the Country Club Diner in Northeast Philadelphia, the Broad Street Diner, La Veranda Restaurant, Tiffany’s Restaurant, the Warminster West in Bucks County and various Michael’s Diners.
PHILADELPHIA REGION, ONE OF THE WORST FOR ASTHMA—The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) released the 2015 Asthma Capitals report which ranks the 100 most challenging cities to live in the United States with asthma, on May 5, World Asthma Day. The report looks at 13 critical factors relating to asthma prevalence, environmental conditions and healthcare utilization. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the large and small airways of the lungs causing wheezing, coughing and other symptoms that make it difficult to breathe.
The Philadelphia region, which includes South Jersey, was listed at number three.
"Each year for our report, we look at the largest cities across the country and measure the things that people with asthma care about the most," says Mike Tringale, AAFA Senior Vice President of External Affairs and principal investigator for the report. "Obviously we look at pollen, pollution, and ozone because nature affects adults and kids with asthma. But we also look at poverty, uninsured rates and city smoking bans because public policies matter too," said Tringale.
To view the full list of 100 Asthma Capitals and the ranking methodology, visit www.AsthmaCapitals.com.
PENNSAUKEN CONSIDERING CAMDEN COUNTY METRO—Pennsauken Township is considering a proposal to join the Camden County Metro Police Department, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The proposition reportedly details how a county-run police department would function in place of the township's current 70-man force.
When the Camden County Police Department began two years ago there was speculation the Freeholders would want to expand the concept into other cities.
Pennsauken Public Safety Director John Kneib stressed in an Inquirer interview that the report would be just an early look at the idea, and that any final decision - which he said would require the support of residents and township police officers - was far off.
"It's got to blow us away," he said of the county's expected pitch.
The talks between the township and county officials have stirred concern among Pennsauken officers, said union president Detective Matthew Henkel, who called the situation unsettling.
"We're concerned about maintaining our jobs here," he said, "but also about the kind of service that Pennsauken would be subjected to" under a new police force. Read more
BALTIMORE POLICE/FIRE UNIONS FIGHTING BACK-A billboard chiding the mayor and council of Baltimore for taking the side of the rioters was erected at the entrance to the city last week. It reads, “Welcome to Baltimore, Home to a Mayor and Council who turned their backs on our police and firefighters.” Recently the six police officers who were arrested on charges they were responsible for the death of Freddy Grey filed a motion Friday to have the State’s Attorney for the city recuse herself from the case. The 109-page motion alleges that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has too many conflicts of interest with the case for the officers to receive a fair trial. See letter