Four Months Ago: Fire ravages Egg Harbor Township condo complex

On April 3, the Heather Croft complex off Hingston Avenue in Egg Harbor Township had a fire that forced the evacuation of people - including several families - from 21 units of a building.

Property manager Donna Simpson said there were only three units in the building that were unoccupied at the time, but nobody was injured. The complex worked to find everyone new housing - some in other rental units at the complex, she said.

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Simpson said they are working with an architect and the insurance company to rebuild. Demolition work will begin Tuesday, and once the crew starts, they will determine how much should be demolished.

"It's great (to start the project), this has been a long time coming," she said. "We really want to move forward."

Balsley Losco Real Estate agent Steven Schafer, who represents some tenants and owners at the complex, said many of the units' owners rented the property so the incident affected about 30 families total.

Three Months Ago: Residents to donate DVD players for wounded vets

Throughout May, the 125 members of the Margate-based Jewish War Veterans Post 39 sold poppies at area stores to raise money.

Now the veterans are asking for more help from the public to benefit those recently wounded in action.

David Guralnik, a retired master sergeant of the U.S. Army who served in World War II, said the organization raised enough money to purchase 75 portable DVD players, and they plan to distribute them this fall at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia.

The past two years the group bought 50 players, but this year was more successful, Guralnik said.

The group buys DVD players because it's what soldiers in the hospitals want most, he said.

This year, the post is asking the public to donate any DVDs for soldiers. The DVDs can be brought to the Margate Library or any library in the Atlantic County system, Guralnik said.

Sixteen Years Ago: Middle Township corrections officer slain

On July 30, 1997, Middle Township resident Fred Baker was working as a corrections officer at Bayside State Prison in the Leesburg section of Maurice River Township when he was fatally stabbed in the back by inmate Steven Beverly, who was later convicted of the crime.

Now, 16 years later, Baker was honored by his family at the prison on a day dedicated in his honor to recognize all state corrections officers.

Last year, the state passed a law officially naming the anniversary of Baker's death "Corrections Officer Day."

A special ceremony was held Tuesday at the prison, with members of Baker's family and officials with the state Department of Corrections present to honor Baker and the importance of the designated day.

"Officer Baker made the ultimate sacrifice, and his family did as well, losing a son, a husband, a father and a brother," NJDOC Commissioner Gary Lanigan said. "Although I never had the honor of meeting him, I can tell you something about Officer Baker simply by knowing his family. Their words and actions, their dignity and bravery, speak volumes about their loved one."

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