Seven months ago: Port Republic City Hall torn down

Port Republic officials have been conducting the city's daily business from a rented trailer and using the firehouse for council meetings.

However, Mayor Gary Giberson said City Council will review floor plans for the new building for the first time at its next meeting Tuesday.

"It's just cramped," Giberson said about the current working conditions. "Everyone is just scrunching by each other as we work and do our daily things."

Port Republic officials demolished the old structure last year after an oil spill contaminated the soil underneath the Depression-era building on Main Street.

Giberson said plans for the new City Hall were drawn up by Vineland-based architect John Peterson and call for building a "huge house," with a living room and offices.

"We're going to come out with a really nice building," Giberson said. "It's not a plain-Jane, because Port Republic doesn't do anything plain-Jane."

Giberson said city officials are ready to bond $750,000 for the project, but the final price depends on how bids come in for construction.

He said he thinks the building could be built before the end of the year, but he doesn't expect construction to begin until April.

Two months ago: Cumberland County education officials start dismissal proceedings

A Cumberland County teacher was formally fired from his position after he allegedly sexually assaulted students at Myron L. Powell Elementary School.

Derek Hildreth was an eighth-grade teacher at the school, located in the Cedarville section of Lawrence Township, when the incidents allegedly took place between 1999 and 2002.

He was indicted Nov. 2 on 33 counts of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

In November, John Saporito, superintendent of schools for Lawrence, Commercial and Maurice River townships, said district officials filed paperwork with the state Department of Education to remove Hildreth's tenure.

In a decision reached Jan. 23, Chris Cerf, acting commissioner of education, revoked Hildreth's tenure and terminated his employment.

"Noting that respondent has failed to respond to the allegations against him, the commission finds that the district has demonstrated that respondent is guilty of conduct unbecoming and other just cause warranting the district's requested penalty of respondent's termination from his position," the decision says.

Criminal proceedings are ongoing.

20 months ago: Somers Point firefighter charged with stealing cash

Somers Point firefighters are still waiting after nearly two years to learn whether they will get back money that a former firefighter allegedly stole.

Jim Guckes, president of the Somers Point Volunteer Fire Company 2, said the fire officials have not heard from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office whether their case against Wayne Bailey, of Egg Harbor Township, will head to court.

Bailey was a firefighter with the Somers Point Voluteer Fire Company 2 when the incident allegedly occurred.

"Those funds are lost. We just regrouped and went on," Guckes said, adding he was confident Bailey eventually would have to pay back the money.

In May 2010, when Bailey was charged, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said Bailey allegedly stole more than $500. Guckes said Bailey took more than $8,000 and allegedly admitted to him that he took the money.

Haleigh Walz, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor's Office, said the case is still open and that she did not have information she could release this week.

Meanwhile, Guckes said he does not understand what is taking so long.

"We're in limbo," he said, adding cases involving finances take longer because of the paper trail they involve.

Contact Caitlin Dineen:


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