Three Months Ago: Atlantic County provides $1 million for Brigantine road project

In May, Brigantine City Council was finally able to approve a $1 million project funded by Atlantic County for a renovation project at the intersection of Brigantine Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard.

The project would reconfigure and repave the intersection as well as complete work on Brigantine Avenue between 29th and 32nd streets.

The work was completed by the July 4th weekend as projected and now a portion of Brigantine Avenue is one-way. The triangle separating the two roads has been extended, and a new turning lane allows a safer turn for motorists traveling south of Brigantine Boulevard.

Brigantine Manager Jennifer Blumenthal said crews are still working on rebuilding the fountain at the intersection and that should be complete by today, weather permitting. The city's Garden Club plans to plant flowers at the highly visible section of road.

The work did cause delays during the beginning of the summer season, but traffic will flow much better due to the improvements, she said.

"The county did a great job," she said. "It makes a big difference in that intersection."

Thirteen Months Ago: Former Hammonton woman sues priest in sexual abuse

In June 2012, former Hammonton resident Lisa Shanahan, now 44, filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden and the Rev. Thomas Harkins alleging she was sexually assaulted between 10 and 15 times when she was a student at St. Anthony of Padua church in Hammonton between 1980 and 1981.

In New Jersey, a victim of sexual abuse is allowed to sue as long as two years from the point they realize they have suffered damages from an act of abuse. There are exceptions that allow for victims to sue for damages later, such as if the victim is a child and cannot do so because they still live with his or her abuser.

The diocese challenged the lawsuit, stating the case should be dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed.

But the federal court in Camden on June 22 rejected that claim, stating Shanahan had a right to make her case at trial.

Shanahan's attorney, Adam Horowitz, said they hope to go to trial sometime in 2014 and are very pleased with the court's decision.

"It provides our client with an opportunity and justice," he said. "We suspect that Father Harkins left behind a trail of victims and was moved from parish to parish by the diocese to conceal his wrongdoing. The public has a right to know what the diocese knew about Father Harkins and when they knew it."

Camden Diocese spokesman Peter Feuerherd declined to comment on the lawsuit while it is still in litigation.

Harkins ultimately resigned from the ministry in 2002 and was laicized in 2011, Feuerherd said. Harkins, who now works as a TSA agent at Philadelphia International Airport, could not be reached for comment.

Twenty-nine months ago, Millville shopping center anchor closes

In 2005, Millville opened a new shopping center on Route 47 that would bring in large big box retailers that were new to Cumberland County and generate millions in revenue in the Urban Enterprise Zone. The center currently features Lowe's, National Tire and Battery, and Chili's. It was a precursor to the adjacent Union Lake Crossing Shopping Center, which brought more national chains to the area.

But in February 2011, Acme closed several locations, including the Millville store, which was one of the shopping center's anchors. The store had about 60 employees.

The building has remained vacant, but in January, the city's Planning Board approved an application for a new Planet Fitness in the center. There is no opening date scheduled for the new business.

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