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Pennsylvania father dies after saving son from drowning off Atlantic City beach

ATLANTIC CITY — A Reading, Pennsylvania, father died Monday morning after rescuing his son from the ocean off New Jersey Avenue.

At 9:32 a.m., police, firefighters, beach patrol and EMS went to the beach following a report of a child drowning. His father, Thanh Bui, 58, ran in after him, according to a release from the department.

The child, 11, was able to make it to the shore.

Jim Glorioso Jr., a former police officer from Amsterdam, New York, saw Bui struggling in the water and tried to pull him in using a boogie board.

Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Steve Downey reached the two men first, followed by members of the Atlantic City Fire Department, according to police.

Glorioso and Bui were helped to shore.

The father was unresponsive, according to police. Firefighters began performing CPR immediately. He was then transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, where he died.

Beach Patrol was off-duty at the time, but responded from a nearby beach tent, according to police.

Alex Staarmann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, said there was a moderate risk of rip currents at all New Jersey beaches Monday.

According to the National Weather Service, there had been no reported surf zone fatalities in New Jersey as of July 24.

At 2 p.m., children were wading in the water off New Jersey Avenue, and the sand was dotted with beachgoers. A flag warning would-be bathers to stay out of the water was planted near the jetty by the water’s edge.

A couple visiting from the Pomona section of Galloway Township sat under umbrellas and looked out over the water. They thought the surf wasn’t typically as rough in South Jersey as it is up north.

They thought a lifeguard should be stationed closer to the jetty, especially after the man’s death.

But Dashira Collier, 19, of Atlantic City, said she saw Beach Patrol drive past on four wheelers a minute prior.

The incident, though sad, didn’t surprise her, she said.

“It happened a summer ago and so it’s just like ... you need to be careful,” Collier said.

Press Meteorologist Joe Martucci also contributed to this story. 

Scallops are tasty, but they will cost you this summer

Scallop lovers cannot catch a break this summer.

Even though more sea scallops are being harvested, the demand for them is increasing, which keeps the price high when ordering them.

Hannah Hansen, the manager of H&H Seafood in Cape May, said the price of scallops started to rise toward the end of August and September last year and decreased over the winter.

Still, the price of scallops per pound has increased from $15.95 to $16.95 in the past year.

“With scallop pricing, some years are down, and some years are up,” said Hansen, who offers Old Bay dusted scallops on her dockside dining menu.

New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the scallop harvest topped 58.2 million pounds last year, the highest total since 2011 and the fifth-largest in history, according to federal statistics going back to 1945.

The scallop industry is thriving as a result of years of conservative management that has allowed the valuable shellfish to grow undisturbed, said Jimmy Wotton, a scalloper based in Friendship, Maine.

As the supply of scallops has increased, the consumer demand for them has risen even more, leading to an increase in price, said Robert Vanasse, spokesman for Fisheries Survival Fund, a Washington D.C.-based fishing advocacy group.

Customers traditionally pay between $18 to $22 per pound for scallops, but the amount that customers will pay for scallops varies from location to location.

The Cape May Fish Market is charging $18.99 per pound. Dominic Alcaro, the owner of Barbera Seafood in Atlantic City, said he is charging $15.99 per pound for his sea scallops, which are larger than bay scallops.

“For those who get the good quality stuff, they don’t mind paying the money, but you can’t hurt them with the prices. You have got to keep it reasonable,” Alcaro said.

The fishery is projecting to harvest even more pounds this year, said Andrew Minkiewicz, a Washington, D.C.,-based attorney who works with Fisheries Survival Fund.

“When you have a fishery that is constantly able to supply the product, you can sustain that demand,” he said.

Scallops on the East Coast have been a stable resource because there has been an increase in the quota that can be harvested for the past two years, said Wayne Reichle, owner and president of Lund’s Fisheries in Cape May.

Lund’s Fisheries uses its company-owned vessels and independent vessels to collect the shellfish. On weekdays, a seafood auction is held in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which provides a guideline for the price Lund’s will charge wholesalers, Reichle said.

“It’s supply and demands,” Reichle said. “A lot of scallops are imported. There are large scallops coming from Japan. It’s a global market.”

Seafood prices are set by the market, what’s being landed, where, and the quantities being landed, Reichle said.

Traditionally, there is not a great deal of summer flounder caught in June, for example, Reichle said. During the shoulder season, flounder is $3 or $4 a pound, but now, it is $6 a pound.

The price of scallops increases $1 or $2 every year, said Chris Monge, Jr., one of the owners of Bella Vida Garden Cafe in West Cape May.

“Seafood is tough for a restaurant. Some restaurants just say market price,” said Monge when it comes to the cost of fish dinners on a menu. “It goes up and goes down. We build our menu twice a year.”

Scallops and crab meat are among the most expensive, Monge said. Scallops were up to about $16 a pound two months ago, he said. They are now down to $13.95 or $14.95.

Michael Monichetti, owner of Mike’s Seafood & Dock Restaurant in Sea Isle City, said scallop prices have fluctuated a great deal this year. Tuna and swordfish prices have stayed the same. Flounder prices have dropped, but clams are spiking up. They have increased $10 per $100 during the two last years, Monichetti said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Atlantic County pulls ICE resolution after group objects

An Hispanic advocacy group has convinced Atlantic County freeholders to pull from Tuesday’s agenda a resolution supporting “continued collaborative efforts” with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“The resolution was very confusing and the language vague,” said Hispanic Association of Atlantic County Advocacy Chair Cristian Moreno-Rodriguez, 23, of Atlantic City. “To the layman, you would think we were passing a (new) law about working with ICE.”

View the resolution that was pulled

The resolution said the cooperation was within limits of a November 2018 directive from state Attorney General Gurbir Gerwal, which set strict limits on how and when county officials could work with ICE officers.

But Moreno-Rodriguez said it would take a lawyer to understand the language in the resolution.

Like most resolutions, it was written in legal terminology rather than common English.

If read carefully, it was not changing the county’s policies, he said. But the average person would have difficulty seeing that clearly.

Moreno-Rodriguez found out about the resolution Friday and talked to county officials, including freeholders and County Executive Dennis Levinson. He said he got confirmation the resolution would not be voted on Tuesday.

Levinson said the freeholders made the decision to pull the resolution. Sponsor Freeholder Frank Formica did not return calls for comment Monday.

“It was up to the freeholders to pull it,” Levinson said. “What we do here is pretty clear. We obey federal law and the initiative set down by the attorney general of New Jersey.”

He said the intent of the resolution was to reassure the Hispanic community that the county follows Grewal’s November 2018 directive, which sets limits on county officials’ cooperation with ICE in detaining prisoners, and protects immigrants’ rights.

The county, unlike Cape May County, has not signed a 287(g) agreement with ICE, to empower some of its county jail officers as ICE officers, Levinson said.

But for the average person, the resolution sounded like it was empowering anti-immigrant sentiments, Moreno-Rodriguez said.

“It would have been a lot different if it had explained in the resolution what the trust directive is — that it is meant to foster communication so victims feel safe reporting crime, and to create conversation between law enforcement and the community,” Moreno-Rodriguez said.

In short, the resolution said the county has cooperated with ICE by issuing detainers “for undocumented aliens who are being held in the County Jail awaiting disposition of criminal charges.”

It also said officials of the county jail “are cognizant of the Directive regarding ICE detainers and since the inception of the Directive have acted in conformity with its provisions.”

Moreno-Rodriguez said his group is not asking to make New Jersey a sanctuary state, “just a welcoming and fair one.”

Proposed Somers Point restaurant doesn't have adequate parking, court rules

Plans for a bayside restaurant in Somers Point are likely dead after state appellate judges ruled earlier this month the plans didn’t include adequate parking.

Developer Gene Mitchell presented the proposal to the city’s Planning Board in 2016 for a 6,000-square-foot waterfront eatery and banquet hall called Ginger’s on the Bay at 924 Bay Avenue that would have 41 on-site spots and an 83-capacity off-site surface lot four blocks away.

The plans sparked backlash from residents, who argued the developer’s idea to offer parking blocks away would create congestion on side streets in the already crowded historic district. Meanwhile, city officials hoped to encourage growth in a scenic part of town in a way that didn’t harm residents.

The Planning Board ended up approving the controversial proposal, and a resident sued.

In July, the state Appellate Court reversed the board’s decision.

The judges disagreed with a complicated arrangement to have customers walk from a Shore Road valet lot across from Josie Kelly’s Public House, through residential neighborhoods and to the 281-seat restaurant about a quarter-mile away. The developer entered a lease with the lot owner, Mac’s Shore Development LLC, which could be terminated within four months.

That setup, the judges said, could only work if patrons desired using the off-site lot. The short time span of the lease was also a problem, the judges said.

“The efficacy of the valet parking requirement, as a means of mitigating the negative effect on-street parking would have for area residents, is entirely dependent on the willingness of the patrons to use this amenity,” the opinion reads.

The Planning Board and developer’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment. Mitchell could appeal the decision to New Jersey Superior Court.

Michael Valentine, a Somers Point resident living near the proposed restaurant, brought the suit against the Planning Board and the developer in 2016 after arguing publicly that parking would operate like a game of musical chairs on side streets.

His attorney, Carl Tripician, said Valentine is “delighted with the outcome.”

“People would have to traverse through residential areas,” Tripician said.

In the summer, traffic can back up near the bridge to Ocean City with cars turning into numerous other large, popular waterfront dining places on Bay Avenue and Shore Road that have limited parking.

Mayor Jack Glasser said there has long been tension between the city’s desire to develop the waterfront area and the needs of residents. In years past, he said, the city bought a few municipal parking lots to alleviate parking issues.

But as developers continue to eye the picturesque bayside, Glasser said the city needs to only stand behind reasonable construction. In 2016, he said he rejected variances for Ginger’s on the Bay.

“It’s tough,” Glasser said. “We really want development along Bay Avenue. ... But we also need to hear residents’ concerns. How do you level the field with that?”

The parking issue at Ginger’s on the Bay ultimately stemmed from the restaurant’s immense size, Tripician and the appellate court agreed. The planning board approved the developer’s request for 80% lot coverage, rather than the allowed 30%.

“These disruptive factors are inextricably linked to the scale of the applicant’s project,” the opinion reads. “Reducing the size of the restaurant to conform to the property’s capacity to provide on-site, off-street parking would eliminate this problem.”