A weekly update of stories previously reported.

Six months ago: Route 52 causeway opens, dead birds found along roadway

The opening of the new Route 52 causeway into Ocean City in May had some unexpected consequences as multiple sea gulls were found lying dead on the roadway. But the state is working on a plan to prevent further injuries.

Joe Dee, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said Bird Barrier America Inc. of Carson, Calif., and Secaucus, Hudson County, has installed a deterrent system for the birds.

The state found the birds were most vulnerable to vehicles when they attempted to land on a section of railing along the northbound part of the causeway along Rainbow Island, he said. A wire has been installed along an 800-foot section of the railing there to block the birds, he said.

The northern railing is close to a traffic lane, which “seems to contribute to the problem,” Dee said, noting there does not appear to be instances of injury when birds land or take off from the railing on the other side of the causeway, which is separated from traffic by a bike path.

Dee noted the reports of dead birds declined as summer passed and that wind, weather, tide and time of year all may contribute to the frequency of the strikes. Multiple birds were also injured and had to be euthanized.

30 months ago: Galloway adopts policies to protect prayer at council meetings

In May 2010, Galloway Township Council enacted new procedures they felt would allow for prayers before council meetings and also protect against potential litigation.

Council members decided they would reach out to clergy representing as wide a spectrum as possible to give invocations before council meetings and ask the speakers to keep all speech nondenominational.

But council has not had an invocation in recent months as the township was concerned about lawsuits. Instead, council asks for a moment of silence before meetings begin.

Former Mayor Keith Hartman, who was part of the effort to adopt the policy in 2010, said he understands why council made the change but said meetings should be a reflection of the town, and if the people want the prayer, it should continue.

“As a society we continue to pander to the few that cry out, and we step on the civil liberties for the rest of the society,” he said.

5 years ago: Hamilton Township landmark damaged in fire

The former Wheaton factory was a cornerstone of Hamilton Township’s downtown near Lake Lenape for centuries, but after a September 2007 fire it became more of an eyesore and a public safety concern.

As the Newark-based Fieldstone Development Group continued to work on plans to build a residential complex on the site, the township has become more concerned with the six-acre property. Last year, some of the more deteriorated buildings were demolished.

Mayor Roger Silva said he met with representatives from Fieldstone earlier this month, and they toured the site. Silva said the company said it will repair the parking lot and better maintain the property.

Silva said it’s an important structure since it’s the gateway for the downtown from the western part of the township.

“(Fieldstone) thought the project would take off before the economy (slowed),” he said. “It’s just a question of when it makes the most sense to do it.”

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