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Matt Rourke  

Baltimore Ravens’ Michael Floyd (13) scores a touchdown past Philadelphia Eagles’ Jeremiah McKinnon (38) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Cumberland County first responders hold active-shooter drills

MILLVILLE — Bullet shells lay scattered on the hallway floor leading to the gymnasium of Lakeside Middle School Friday morning. Inside, staff and students took turns getting their faces airbrushed and sticking latex bullet wounds to different parts of their bodies.

This was all part of a concerted effort to make the full-scale, countywide active shooter drill appear as real as possible for area emergency officials.

“I’m very big on training realistic,” Millville police Detective Anthony Loteck said. “God forbid if we ever did have a realistic event, a catastrophic event, it’s not going to be so much of a shock-and-awe to them because they’ve experienced this training.”

More than a year ago, Millville police Chief Jody Farabella had tasked Loteck with staging a drill for just their department. But he saw it as an opportunity to form a partnership once he realized that in a real active-shooter event, law enforcement would ultimately rely on mutual aid from nearby departments.

“In any real-world scenario like this — if it should happen in, God forbid, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton — nobody’s going to stop at the border and say, ‘We’re not coming to help,’” Vineland police Chief Rudy Beu said. “Everybody’s coming to assist. So having something like this where all the agencies get together and work together on one issue is fantastic.”

Meeting regularly for more than a year, the Millville Police Department partnered with police and fire officials from neighboring Bridgeton and Vineland, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the county Prosecutor’s Office, State Police, the FBI Crisis Response Unit and Inspira Health Network EMS to conduct two training simulations Friday.

Craig Matthews / Staff Photographer  

Detective James Riley of the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office searches the halls of the middle school. Friday’s scenario dealt with two active shooters.

The drills used 150 actors and 30 victims ages 16 and older who volunteered to be moulaged, a process in which mock injuries are applied for the purpose of training emergency response teams and other medical and military personnel.

The victims also were given papers with their specific injuries written on them so EMS would know how to proceed.

The drill — held weeks after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, killed a total of 32 people — was designed to train law enforcement officials to work more closely with EMS and firefighters to form Rescue Task Forces.

“We’ve learned through Columbine and we’ve learned through other active shooters throughout the country that some people have actually bled out when they could be taken care of right away,” Farabella said.

He said the training is another way law enforcement is changing its approach to active shooters.

“We would stop and wait until the SWAT team came. We can’t do that anymore,” Farabella said. “We have to eliminate that threat as quick as possible, and we have to treat these people who are injured as soon as possible.”

Law enforcement and local leaders watched the drill on four television monitors inside the school’s video center as a call for a student acting out escalated into an active shooting.

The actor posing as school Principal Spike Cook collapsed on the screen after two shots rang out and the fire alarm was activated.

Craig Matthews / Staff Photographer 

Detectives James Riley and Robert Bernard of Cumberland County Prosecutors Office searched classrooms at the Lakeside Middle School. The Millville police department and other agencies conducted a Cumberland County full-scale mock scene of an active shooter as part of its "Active Threat/ Integrated Response & Rescue Task Force Exercise." It include 150 actors and 30 moulaged mocked victims. Aug. 23, 2019 (Craig Matthews / Staff Photographer)

Those working in the video center flipped through different screens following police as they rushed through smoke-filled hallways to address what would become a two-person active shooting.

Both shooters were subdued within the first 10 minutes of response. Police then focused on searching classrooms and creating safe passageways for EMS to treat victims.

The last student volunteers were evacuated with their hands above their heads less than an hour after the drill started.

“It was educational and frightening all at the same time,” Vineland Mayor Anthony Fanucci said.

Afterward, all participants met in the school’s auditorium to discuss areas where they felt they could use improvement. Most critiques centered on improving communication, as different command centers got organized and dispatch was flooded with calls and radios and cellphones experienced spotty connections.

“I’m extremely, extremely pleased. With all the agencies and all the officers and all of us working together, it went better than I expected,” Farabella said.

As participants filtered outside to grab lunch before getting ready for another drill later that afternoon, Farabella said he hoped the training could continue. Loteck said video recorded during the drills will be used for future training.

“We’re going to have deficiencies. That’s what we’re going to work on,” Farabella said. “Until you do this type of training, you don’t know.”

Beach bartenders beat the heat by serving up the cool side of summer

ATLANTIC CITY — For some, a summer trip to the beach is only complete if it includes a brightly colored, ice-cold adult beverage served in a plastic cup with a mini umbrella and a fruit garnish.

As such, those who mix, shake and pour alcoholic libations for beachgoers are an essential part of the summer party, especially in Atlantic City.

Enter Taylor Crowley, a 22-year-old from Tuckerton who has been slinging margaritas, hurricanes and daiquiris at the Hard Rock Beach Bar for two summers.

Crowley had never tended bar before last summer, and had to learn on the fly.

“It was a little intimidating, I’m not going to lie,” she said with a smile, “but it was the only way to learn.”

Crowley, who recently earned her bachelor’s degree in English education from Rowan University, said she wants to teach and would prefer to do so in Atlantic City. Being behind a busy beach bar has given her more than a few skills Crowley thinks she could use in a classroom.

“Definitely social skills because you’re dealing with so many different types of people,” she said, adding she’s had to figure out how to deal with a guest who may not want to talk at all while, at the same time, serving drinks to a talkative out-of-towner who picks her brain about where to go and what to do.

Now, with a summer’s worth of experience under her belt, Crowley said she is “100%” more comfortable behind the bar. Her favorite drink to make is a Tito’s Orange Crush. The semisweet concoction is made with Tito’s vodka, fresh-squeezed orange juice, a splash of Sprite and an orange wedge.

“I just know a lot more (now),” Crowley said. “So, if someone asks for a drink that’s not on our menu, I know what it is now. Last summer, I knew our menu really good, but when it came to other things, I had to ask. Now, I’m whipping out everything.”

That’s good news for thirsty patrons, who pack the beach bar early every day.

“We’re busy all the time,” she said. “We have good people, a good crowd. When 12:30 (p.m.), 1 o’clock hits, we get rollin’.”

Atlantic City visitors come from all over, but Crowley said the beach bar sees its fair share of business from those with “sand in their shoes.”

“We’ve got regulars here, and we get a lot of locals,” she said. “We get a lot of Atlantic City locals, which is awesome.”

The mix of people who visit the Hard Rock Beach Bar on a given day is somewhere between those looking to party and those who just want to sip a cocktail under a cabana while reading a book with the ocean waves as background noise.

Finding the balance to provide the best possible experience to each guest is what makes a good beach bartender, she said.

“(Hard Rock Beach Bar) has a very good vibe,” Crowley said. “You can party, but you can also relax. So if you want to just chill, hang out and relax, you can. But if you want to come out at night and dance all night, you can do that, too.”

Mainland teacher charged with lewd act on Ocean City beach

A Mainland Regional High School teacher was arrested this month after he exposed himself to someone while he was working as a lifeguard on Ocean City’s beach, police said.

Christopher Denn, 48, was arrested Aug. 9 and charged with criminal sexual contact and a lewd act after fondling himself in front of a female without her consent, according to documents received from the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office through an Open Public Records Act request.

Denn and Ocean City Beach Patrol Chief Mark Jamieson did not respond to requests for comment.

The age of the victim was not provided. The victim was a friend of Denn’s, according to an incident report, and reported to coworkers that Denn exposed his privates to her at 2 p.m. on the Surf Road beach in a lifeguard stand with 300 to 500 beachgoers present.

Denn is a teacher at Mainland and a former swimming coach at other schools in the area. Denn won The Press’ girls swimming Coach of the Year in 2015 as the coach for Oakcrest High School and in 2008 as the coach for Egg Harbor Township High School.

Mainland was notified, according to the incident report.

“We were recently made aware of allegations about one of our staff members, which occurred outside of Mainland Regional High School. We take all such allegations seriously and will evaluate the matter and respond as necessary,” said Mark Marrone, chief school administrator at Mainland. “However, we do not comment on personnel matters. We will continue to enforce our commitment to Mainland being a safe place for our students and staff.”

The next Mainland school board meeting is 6 p.m. Sept. 16 at the high school.

Denn is due in Cape May County Superior Court for a pre-indictment conference Sept. 12 at 8:45 a.m. in front of Judge Michael Donohue.

Former NJ governors to be honored by Stockton Hughes Center

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Two former New Jersey governors will be recognized this fall for their public service during the biennial Hughes Center Honors award ceremony.

Former Govs. Jim Florio and Christie Whitman will receive Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Awards along with three other New Jersey leaders during the ceremony Nov. 14 at Seaview, a Dolce Hotel on New York Road.

“These two outstanding New Jersey leaders embody the values of public service and civility in public affairs,” said Edward H. Salmon, chairman of the Hughes Center Steering Committee. “Those values are the hallmarks of Ambassador Hughes’ career, and they guide the work of the Hughes Center for Public Policy.”

The Hughes Center at Stockton University, named for former U.S. Rep. and Ambassador William J. Hughes, began its awards ceremony in 2013 with former Gov. Brendan T. Byrne as the first Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The awards recognize professional excellence and a commitment to public service, civility and bipartisanship, reflecting the life and career of the center’s namesake.

In 2017, the center honored Hughes with the award, which was presented by former Vice President Joe Biden.

“It’s an honor for Stockton to host these two leaders, who have played crucial roles in shaping New Jersey public policy throughout their careers,” Stockton President Harvey Kesselman said. “They remain role models for the values of civic involvement and civil discourse, which are hallmarks of Stockton’s mission.”

Sharon Schulman, director of Hughes Center at Stockton, retires

When winter break ends and students and staff return to Stockton University in January, a staple of the Galloway Township campus will be missing. Sharon Schulman, executive director of the college’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, is leaving her post after 10 years.

In addition, Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts Casino Hotel, will receive the Excellence in Civic Engagement Award; founding Hughes Center Director Sharon Schulman will receive the Distinctive Alumni Leadership Award; and 2018 Stockton graduate Ike Ejikeme, who works at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the Citizenship and Immigration Services Intelligence Database, will receive the Distinctive Student Leadership Award.

The event is set for 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at