Thirteen months ago: Baby dies in bathtub in Bridgeton

On June 27, 2012, 8-month-old Walter Williams died in a bathtub with the water running at the Bridgeton Villas apartment complex.

His mother, Shakeya Thomas, 21, was arrested after investigators determined Thomas left the child unattended for a significant period of time in the bathtub with the water running,

The child was pronounced dead shortly after emergency medical workers responded, despite attempts by his mother and office workers at the apartment complex in Bridgeton to revive him.

Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said Thomas was indicted in March on a second-degree charge of endangering the welfare of a child and a fourth-degree charge of child abuse. She is next scheduled to be in court July 24, Webb-McRae said.

Twenty-three months ago: Tropical storm erodes Stone Harbor beaches

In the spring of 2011, Stone Harbor completed a beach-replenishment project, but the beaches were damaged a few months later by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.

In April, work began on a federally funded project to place 420,000 cubic yards of sand on a stretch of beaches. The work was delayed for two weeks due to high winds, but when it resumed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it would refill the entire beachfront and place 700,000 cubic yards of sand in Stone Harbor.

A meeting Wednesday between officials from the borough, the corps, the contractor and the state revealed the work is 50 percent complete, and the borough projects the project will be finished by Aug. 1.

“The resumption of this major beachfill project is on time, on schedule and has received an enthusiastic response from our residents and visitors,” Mayor Suzanne Walters said.

The beaches are open, but the borough warns residents to exercise caution. It also is giving plastic hard hats to children who visit the beach. The hats have stickers that say “Stone Harbor: Stronger Than the Storm” on the front and allow the children who wear them to become honorary beachfill inspectors.

Updates on the project are available at

Nine months ago: Pleasantville seeks lights on its bike path

Pleasantville was connected to the bike path that runs through Northfield, Linwood and Somers Point in November 2000, but it remains the only portion without lights. The lack of lights has been a long-standing issue for residents concerned with safety and not being able to use the path at night.

In October, the city applied for a $300,000 grant through the state Department of Transportation to install lights along the more than one-mile stretch of the bike path.

But the department did not award the grant, said Mayor Jesse Tweedle — even though the department conducted a pedestrian-safety study in the city last year and lights on the bike path were identified as a top priority, since the path stretches to the middle of town.

“Other towns have it, but we have yet to receive the grant,” he said.

The mayor said the city plans to reapply for the grant in the fall when applications are accepted again by the DOT.

Contact Joel Landau:


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Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at

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