A weekly update of stories previously reported

One year ago: Cameras sought for Cape May jail

The Cape May County Sheriff’s Office tried a new measure last year to cut down on lawsuits in the county jail.

Sheriff Gary Schaffer asked the county freeholders to approve a new $12,000 surveillance system that would provide for 12 new cameras the corrections officers could wear on their collars or over their ears like a Bluetooth device.

The goal was to cut down on frivolous lawsuits filed by inmates, Schaffer said. The county had been the target of 10 lawsuits in the past two years.

Schaffer said cameras were implemented last spring and the program has been a huge success.

The key for the cameras is to help in investigations involving complaints from inmates. There were about 22 complaints about guards from half a dozen inmates last year. Schaffer said most of these claims are frivolous but all require investigation.

Now instead of a lengthy process of interviewing everyone involved, officials can review the tape.

“The new system is quicker,” he said, adding in all the cases the guards were cleared of any wrongdoing. But, “if an officer is not doing what they’re supposed to do, it will work that way.”

The jail has 59 surveillance cameras in the facility but there are blind spots that these new cameras help cover, he said. The office is now asking the county to buy another dozen cameras for the jail as well as the K9 unit, he said.

Two and a half years ago: Mainland Regional High School allows students to use phones in school

At the beginning of the 2010-11 academic year Mainland Regional High School tried a new schedule and revised policies to relieve stress among students and allow them to have more responsibility.

The school created the “Accountable, Connected and Engaged,” or ACE, schedule after a two-year review from a 2008 study that revealed students felt very stressed.

Instead of eight classes a day, the school made periods longer and had students take six courses daily on a rotating schedule.

Superintendent Thomas Baruffi said the school used to have eight lunch periods but now just has one every day from 11 a.m. to 11:52 a.m. The roughly 1,500 students are free to eat lunch anywhere in the school building and seniors in good standing can leave school grounds for the period.

The students are also allowed to use their phones during lunch, between classes and even in class if the teachers allow it.

Baruffi said giving students more freedom has cut down on a lot of unnecessary small infractions.

“We felt we had 95 percent of the students doing the right thing and five percent of students not doing what they’re supposed to do,” he said. “We had all of these rules geared to the 5 percent.”

Only having one lunch period now instead of eight also gives the school more flexibility with the schedule. Students now come in at 8 a.m. every morning instead of 7:30 a.m. and the staff gets to have 30 minutes of professional development at the beginning of every day.

“We feel it’s made a huge difference,” he said.

Two and a half years ago: Group tries to save longtime business

Going to he Silver Fox Inn in Winslow Township just across the Hammonton border was a tradition many thought would disappear. But a group of local residents revived the tavern in the summer of 2010 to make it an attractive place again for customers.

The business was successful for a few years before it closed again on Nov. 1. The building had a one last big party on Halloween.

Dorothy Krafcigs, one of the people involved in the project, said there were too many obstacles to sustain the business and it was too hard to secure the funding. The owners decided to retire, she said.

The property has been foreclosed on. An official from Royal Tax Lien Services, of Jenkintown, Pa., declined to discuss the property when asked for comment.

Contact Joel Landau:

609-272-7215

Follow Joel Landau on Twitter @landaupressofac