Laura Kaeppeler, the new Miss America, is charming and truly fits the mold of what a Miss America should be. She is beautiful, bright and will be a great spokeswoman for the Miss America program.

Unfortunately, the Miss America Pageant that was broadcast Saturday night was an absolute disgrace. This is not to demean the wonderful young ladies who are their state’s queens, as they are all well-educated, lovely to see and excellent speakers.

It is, however, to call attention to the lack of respect shown to the charming women who participated in the pageant. As one who has viewed the show as a spectator, a broadcaster, a columnist and a friend to many former Miss Americas, it was most disheartening to see the manner in which the contestants were dismissed from the stage.

Is the concept of the new production scheme to embarrass those women who have not been selected to continue on in the competition? In previous years, the women who are to be in the semifinal and final selections were named, and they came on stage and participated in the next phase of the contest. Those who were not selected remained offstage and were in the background or in a production number later.

The idea of publicly querying a contestant on how she feels after being dismissed from further competition shows a lack of concern for that young lady.

The biggest disgrace Saturday night was when the contestants were asked to stand behind one of the three who should be selected to have another chance in the pageant. This was an outright abomination.

Just think of the effect on the two who were not selected. It would have been fine if they had handed them a slip of paper and asked to write the name rather than stand behind the contestant of their choice. Just think how these women will remember that particular event and wonder what they did to have, or not have, more women stand behind them.

The idea of having contestants in their presentation attire be called to compete in the final talent portion of the program and then be dismissed is demeaning and disgraceful. There is no concern for those who are not in the final selection. They knew how many would be in the final talent portion. Why have others come out to be summarily dismissed?

The Miss America Pageant’s program of having the contestants involved in their states is worthy of commendation. The women take this responsibility seriously and do an excellent job of assisting their chosen program in their respective states. It makes it all the more shameful that the Miss America contestants are not treated with more respect.

Bader Field concert update

Last week’s column told you about some of the acts possibly playing in Bader Field in either June or September. Phish will be the act that will perform on June 22, 23 and 24. When the band performed at Boardwalk Hall a few years ago, the city had no room for those who wanted to camp out, as is normally done at Phish concerts.

A request has been made by the producers for the city to allow camping at Bader Field. The request is in the hands of Tom Foley, director of emergency management, who has requested the permission of the Atlantic City Police and Fire departments and all other agencies involved in a venture of this nature. If approved, the manner of obtaining a permit would be handled through the producers of the concerts.

Look at who else is coming to Bader Field. A two-day rock concert, on the last weekend in June, will feature the outstanding band Metallica. Kenny Chesney will headline the Americana concert in September. Without a doubt, these exciting performers will draw huge crowds.

Boardwalk Committee update

The number of ambassadors to help provide safety for the Tourism District has been increased from 47 to 60. This will allow them to cover every block and a half on the Boardwalk and Pacific Avenue. The 25 Class II police officers will be put on the streets at the end of June. This will be a trial for those officers and, if it works out, more possibly would be hired next year. The regular police officers assigned to the Tourism District will continue to remain in that area.

Deputy Police Chief Ernest Jubilee said that he will soon begin assigning officers to patrol the same districts on all three shifts. He also noted that the Atlantic City Housing Authority has donated its “Shot Spotter,” a camera with acoustic capabilities that can identify the type of weapon and the direction of fire for 3 miles. It will be used by the Atlantic City Police Department.

A plan mapping public and private cameras citywide will tie all Web-based cameras together.

The city will test the existing Boardwalk public announcement system to determine its viability. It was suggested that more speakers be added to enable lowering of the decibels, thus making it more audible.

There is no official date for the opening of the garage at Mississippi and Fairmount avenues due to screen functioning problems. The interior is just about completed, but the lights on the exterior and the signs are causing the delay.

The Boardwalk Hall lighting mock-up will not be presented until April due to the fact that, as a historic building, nothing can be screwed into the structure and everything must be hung. This project will not be completed until 2013.

There are presently 64 light poles installed, with 48 of them being powered. Work is progressing and the Boardwalk will be completely lighted by March 31. Tourism District Commander Tom Gilbert noted the district is working with Tanger Outlets and Schneider Electric on video surveillance that will consolidate a central hub and create integration.

He also spoke of a meeting with Atlantic Cape Community College officials to look under the Boardwalk via photographs to determine challenges and incorporate Social Service agencies.

New recycling receptacles and trash cans are now in place at Rhode Island Avenue and the Boardwalk. The Special Improvement Division anticipates delivery of the new receptacles to complete their placement along the Boardwalk by April.

Pinky's Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky's Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, "WMGM Presents Pinky," airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40. E-mail Pinky at: pinky@pressofac.com.