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Kennedy hires former Van Drew campaign manager

BRIGANTINE — Democratic 2nd District congressional primary candidate Amy Kennedy said Monday she has hired U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s former campaign manager to run her campaign against Van Drew.

Joshua Roesch, a native of Stow Creek Township, had served as Van Drew’s manager until the congressman switched parties in December.

“As someone who was born and raised in this district, I originally wanted to work for Jeff Van Drew because I thought he’d represent the Democratic ideals I believe in. But when Jeff switched parties last month and pledged his undying loyalty to Donald Trump instead of the people of South Jersey he was elected to represent, he betrayed those ideals and everything I thought we were working for,” Roesch said in a news release from Kennedy’s campaign.

He said he now knows Kennedy is the best candidate to represent the district, “because she’s dedicated to serving people in our community and doing what’s right. Amy Kennedy won’t turn her back on South Jersey families like mine.”

Van Drew said Roesch had only been with his campaign about a week.

“I wish him the best,” Van Drew said Monday.

Roesch worked on campaigns in Virginia and New Hampshire in the past, he said. According to the release, Roesch served as the Senate Caucus Director and as Campaign Manager for Bill Boltono, a state senate candidate in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

In Virginia, Roesch worked on several state and federal campaigns. Roesch is a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

“I’m very excited to have Josh on my team as campaign manager. His deep roots in South Jersey and his experience in this district and nationally will help us run the campaign we need to communicate our message about getting politics back to the business of doing what’s right and serving our community not ourselves,” Kennedy said.

Stockton signs exchange agreement with 2 Taiwan colleges

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — New agreements between Stockton University and two universities in Taiwan will give business majors a glimpse into the global economy.

Stockton President Harvey Kesselman signed the new agreements with National Chiayi University (NCYU) and National Taichung University of Education (NTCU) during a recent trip to Taiwan that also included eight students and five faculty members.

The agreement with NCYU allows for up to three Stockton Master of Business Administration students to attend NCYU and three graduate business students from NCYU to attend Stockton each year. Students will also eligible for a dual degree from both institutions.

Under the agreement with NTCU, the colleges will collaborate to develop opportunities for undergraduate Stockton students to study and includes opportunities to develop collaborative research, conferences and lectures.

Faculty and staff from Stockton, through Professor of Mathematics Chia-Lin (Charlie) Wu, have been collaborating with NCYU since 2017 to study education practices and methods in the two countries, especially as they relate to teaching math.

Stockton faculty and students first visited NCYU in December 2017, and a group of educators from Taiwan came to Stockton in October 2018 for an International Mathematics and Education Symposium.

During the most recent trip, Kesselman was the keynote speaker at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Development and Its Impact on Educational Leadership and Innovation, hosted by NCYU, where all the students and faculty also present.

“They were very excited about the student-first philosophy, they liked our commitment to being engaged with the cities around us,” Kesselman said of Stockton’s reception in Taiwan.

He said that for the students who will participate in the exchange, it will be a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“Taiwan has a booming economy. You’re going to be able to understand the entrepreneurism, the business mindset of a Chinese country, the largest economy on the planet,” he said. “You’re getting involved in a country that is clearly focused on the economy — not just the Asian economy, the world economy.”

He said that the students will form business relationships that may shape their future careers.

Kesselman said Stockton will become a member of Taiwan’s preferred list of institutions to visit and partner with on exchange programs, academic symposiums and research conference.

Bronx man charged in kidnapping, raping and trafficking Atlantic City woman

NEW YORK CITY — A Bronx man accused of kidnapping a woman from Atlantic City in February to rape her and force her into sex trafficking was arrested last week.

David Williams, who is also known as “Pap,” “Pap Avilii” and “Daddy,” also allegedly forced a 14-year-old girl into the sex trafficking scheme, forcing the pair to engage in sex acts with clients in exchange for money, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Williams was charged Tuesday, Jan. 7 with several counts, including of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, threats of force, fraud or coercion, sex trafficking of a minor — which carry a maximum term of life in prison upon conviction — coercion and kidnapping.

“It is reprehensible that a person would forcibly coerce another human being into sex and seek to profit from it, and for allegedly doing so, Williams now faces life in prison,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. “Human trafficking continues to be a priority for this Office, and I commend the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force for aggressively pursuing cases to bring sexual predators to justice.”

From December 2018 through February 2019, Williams, along with another person, identified as “CC-1,” ran a sex trafficking business, according to the release. The other person also worked as a prostitute in the business.

In February, the pair kidnapped an Atlantic City woman and took her to the Bronx, officials said. When the woman resisted being trafficked for sex, Williams waved a gun and threatened to hurt the woman unless she complied. He also raped the woman at least once after threatening her with the gun.

Officials did not release the identity of the woman.

The previous December, Williams and his partner recruited a 14-year-old girl to work in the sex trafficking business, according to the release.

The pair advertised the girl for sex and directed her to engage in sex acts with clients in exchange for money, forcing the girl to turn over the money she made.

The New York City Police Department, FBI and the New York Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force investigated.

Stephanie Bush-Baskette hired as Atlantic City business administrator

ATLANTIC CITY — Stephanie Bush-Baskette started Monday as the new business administrator for the resort, the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) announced.

Most recently serving as Bridgeton’s business administrator for almost three-and-a-half years, Bush-Baskette, who lives in Galloway Township, teaches at Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration and the Center for Government Services with a current focus on government ethics.

“We look forward to Dr. Bush-Baskette bringing her remarkable, distinguished career to Atlantic City to help guide it to the next level of renewal and prosperity,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner.

Bush-Baskette takes over for Anthony Swan, who served as interim business administrator since August. He returns to his position as city solicitor.

Bush-Baskette’s professional career of more than four decades has included public service, academics, research, elected office and law.

Mayor Marty Small said it’s a great day for the resort any time the city can bring someone on staff with the knowledge, experience and plethora of skills as Bush-Baskette.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Bush-Baskette to enhance the vision of the city in 2020 and beyond,” Small said.

After being elected to three consecutive terms in the state General Assembly, representing the 27th legislative district, Bush-Baskette then served as commissioner of the DCA during Gov. Jim Florio’s administration, becoming the first African-American woman to be a member of any New Jersey gubernatorial cabinet.

Bush-Baskette has done considerable research and teaching on the criminal justice system, particularly its impact on women of color and juveniles, authoring a book entitled, “Misguided Justice — The War on Drugs and the Incarceration of Black Women.”

Bush-Baskette founded the Sojourn Institute, which aims to promote social justice through research, training, technical assistance and informed advocacy. In addition to Bridgeton, she also served as business administrator for East Orange in Essex County and Hillside in Union County. She has been a member of the New Jersey Ethics Commission.

“I look forward to sharing my experiences, skills and passion to have a positive impact on the City of Atlantic City,” Bush-Baskette said. “I am ready to get to work.”

Bush-Baskette earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, her juris doctor from American University and her doctorate from Rutgers.

Person entered cheetah enclosure at Cape May County Zoo

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — Someone hopped the fence and entered the cheetah enclosure at the Cape May County Zoo last week, according to the Cape May County Sheriff’s Office.

“Needless to say, the cheetahs, Buju & Beenie weren’t amused and luckily ignored him,” the office posted on its Facebook page.

The person was not arrested but was issued citations for violations of county ordinances and then removed from the zoo, according to the post.

No further information was available.

— Colt Shaw