Campbell to sell Danish snack manufacturer for $300M

Camden-based Campbell Soup Co. announced Friday it has agreed to offload Denmark-based Kelsen Group to Ferrero affiliate CTH Invest for approximately $300 million.

The Kelsen Group, which had net sales of approximately $157 million over the last 12 months, is a manufacturer of baked snacks sold under brands such as Kjeldsens and Royal Dansk. The company is part of Campbell International, which includes Arnott’s biscuits; Campbell’s simple meals businesses in Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan; and manufacturing operations in Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“The sale of Kelsen Group supports our strategy to focus on North America where we have iconic brands and strong market positions, while reducing debt. Throughout the divestiture process, we have considered many options for our valuable international assets. Selling Kelsen separately from the rest of our international business generates the greatest possible value for Campbell. We are committed to the divestiture of the remainder of our international operations and will remain disciplined as we move forward,” Mark Clouse, Campbell CEO and president, said.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Centerview Partners, Goldman Sachs and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP advised Campbell in the sale.

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NJR Chairman, CEO Downes to retire; Westhoven named successor

New Jersey Resources announced Friday its chairman and CEO, Laurence M. Downes, is retiring.

Downes said he will retire on Sept. 30 after spending 34 years with the company and 24 at the helm. NJR also announced Steve Westhoven will be succeeding Downes and will take over as CEO and president on Oct. 1.

The Wall-based energy provider, also the parent company of New Jersey Natural Gas, said Downes will continue to serve as chairman of the board until the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

File photo
Steve Westhoven will become CEO of New Jersey Resources.

Downes joined NJR in 1985 and was named treasurer in 1986, followed by vice president and treasurer in 1988. He was then promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1990 and executive vice president of NJNG in 1994. Downes was the named CEO, president and chairman of NJR’s board of directors in 1996.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the New Jersey Resources family for more than three decades,” Downes said. “I’m grateful to the women and men of our company, past and present, who have made us the organization we are today. Their hard work has earned us 13 J.D. Power Awards — more than any other utility in New Jersey; significantly improved the performance of our delivery system; increased the value of our company more than tenfold and helped over 1,800 community service organizations annually across New Jersey. I know our team will continue to deliver on our commitment to our stakeholders for many years to come.”

Westhoven joined the company in 1990 and was named vice president of NJR Energy Services in 2004 and senior vice president in 2010. He was then promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2017, followed by president and chief operating officer in 2018.

“Larry’s outstanding leadership has driven strong performance at New Jersey Resources for more than three decades. His passion for customers, employees and the communities we serve has delivered consistent results. On behalf of the Board, we sincerely thank Larry for his contributions over the years.” said Donald L. Correll, lead director of NJR’s board. “The board is confident, under Steve’s leadership, we will continue to grow our business, serve our customers and communities, support our employees and deliver performance for our investors.”

Downes also served as chairman of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority board until resigning earlier this year.

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When Dentistry is a Family Affair

Kevin Lehnes with his wife, Stephanie Rossy, and sister-in-law Danielle Rossy, left. Photo by Scott Jones

Danielle & Stephanie Rossy, sisters
Pediatric Dentistry

Kevin Lehnes, husband of Stephanie

OFFICES: Randolph and Newton (Kevin only)

FAMILY FACTS: Danielle and Stephanie co-own Rossy Pediatric Dentistry, but they’re not the only ones with a sibling in the field. Stephanie’s husband, Kevin, has a twin brother, Greg Lehnes, who is a dentist in Voorhees. Kevin and Stephanie met at Stephanie’s orientation for dental school at UMDNJ (now Rutgers), where Kevin was also studying dentistry. His crush was immediate. Stephanie and Kevin live in Randolph with their four children, ages six and under. Danielle and her husband, George Mazpule, a surgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center, live in Denville. They have a 2-year-old and another baby on the way.

Danielle and Stephanie, how did you get into dentistry?

Stephanie: It was her idea, but I stole it. Danielle and I shared a room growing up. I’m four years older, but Danielle started running around at age two saying she wanted to be a dentist. As we grew up, I thought, That’s a good idea! But since I’m older, I got to do it first. I always knew I wanted to work with children, and I loved the pediatric dental rotations in school. So when Danielle got into dental school, I was like, “You have to check this out.” She loved it also. That’s how we both wound up in pediatric dentistry.

What is your working relationship like?

Stephanie: We love it. I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else. It’s fun—you’re doing what you love with people you love.
Danielle: Our relationship engenders that family vibe in our office. We’ve found that everyone feels like family—the office staff, everybody.
Stephanie: And that’s our big thing with our patients. In this day and age, you get to know your hygienist. The dentist comes in and counts your teeth and says, “Goodbye”! People are really responsive to us spending time with them and treating them like they’re in a family place.

Stephanie and Kevin, do you bring your work home with you?

Kevin: Our dinner conversation is very boring. The funny thing is we have a large number of patients in common, and the patients we see in the practice are people we interact with in the community. They’re people we’ll see at gymnastics or at birthday parties. A lot of times, it boils down to what happened in someone’s mouth that day.
Stephanie: It’s fun to have other people to talk to who understand your quirkiness. Like, if I see a crazy thing at work, and I was to call somebody else and say, “I saw this molar that was wild,” they would be like, “What?” But if I say it to Danielle and Kevin, they’re like, “Really? Show me a picture!” We actually learn a lot from each other that way.

Do you differ in the way you interact with your patients?

Danielle: The big difference is that when Steph sings, kids love it. If I sing, they start to cry.

Photo by Scott Jones

Lauren & John Archible, wife & husband

OFFICES: Phillipsburg and Annandale

FAMILY FACTS: John and Lauren met as dental students at the former UMDNJ (now Rutgers) 16 years ago, then did a general dentistry residency together before taking turns going back to school to learn their specialty, root canals. When they started to practice together in Phillipsburg in 2015—Annandale came a year later—the community had high expectations: Lauren’s father, Bruce Jiorle, was an orthodontist in the same building. He recently retired after more than 30 years of straightening teeth. 

How does working together affect your marriage?

Lauren: We work together only one day a week in Phillipsburg, so we’re not together all the time. For the most part, it’s been really good, because we have a built-in support system, and we feed off each other’s strengths. Like, if we have any questions about any cases we’re working on, we talk about it. Four eyes are better than two. And in terms of running the practice, he sees my strengths and I see his strengths, and we put them together. 

How would you characterize those strengths and weaknesses? 

John: Lauren’s strength is that she really puts people at ease. She talks to them in depth about everything under the sun before she even worries about the tooth. She’s friends with the person by the time she starts working. Me, I’m more direct. I get down to business. Besides doing root canals, I’m pretty good at the management side. 

Do you feel the need to pursue separate hobbies for space?

Lauren: We have an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old, so our social life is geared mostly toward them and whatever activities they have going on. But we have the same interests. We both enjoy going to Long Beach Island in the summer—that’s where John is from—and we have the same friends.
John: Everybody needs balance in their life between the person that they love and their business partner, but I’ve got both in one person. That makes my life really simple. We hang out with each other and make each other laugh.  

Do you talk about work at home? 

Lauren: We’re definitely able to compartmentalize those things. Work doesn’t really carry over. If it does, we put the kibosh on it and move on. But when the extended family is together, teeth can come up. My dad’s an orthodontist, and my younger brother is an endodontist in Washington, D.C.
John: Her dad is a legend in Phillipsburg. Everybody who comes in asks her, “Are you Bruce’s daughter?” And they’ll say to me, “Are you Bruce’s son-in-law?” It’s helped with familiarity. 

Would you recommend working together to other couples? 

Lauren: Yes. One of the great things about it is, we’re able to do stuff with the kids and still have coverage at the office. Like, I can be a chaperone on a field trip while John is with patients. Or if there’s a snow day, they can come to the office. It’s a huge benefit.

Photo by Scott Jones

George Papasikos, father

Jacy Papasikos & Arianna Papasikos, siblings

OFFICES: Montclair (all) and Bedminster (George only)

FAMILY FACTS: Arianna and Jacy grew up in Morristown in a tooth-conscious family. Their mother, Corinne, is a dental hygienist and educator; she works in George’s Bedminster office. Arianna is three years older than Jacy. George has been practicing 35 years, Arianna, 7, and Jacy, 6. Jacy’s wife, Samantha, is the office manager in Montclair.

Jacy and Arianna, how did your father influence your decision to get into dentistry?

Jacy: We grew up going to my father’s office, and I have great memories of spending time in that environment. I always had an interest in the field. And then as far as lifestyle, we had a father who was able to spend time with us, because he set his own hours.
Arianna: And he seemed to enjoy what he did.

George, did you encourage them?

George: I was very happy they made the choices they did. There’s a great mix of work and home and education in what we do.

Jacy and Arianna, you decided to study orthodontia. How does that work in the office?

Arianna: Not going into the same specialty my father chose was more challenging. But it’s been advantageous in terms of caring for patients.
Jacy: Oftentimes, patients have two different issues to treat, and it’s easy for us and for the patient to communicate between the different fields.

Do you all keep up with dental technology? Or maybe one of you introduces the others to the latest gizmos?

George: We have cone-beam scans, but Jacy and Arianna do a little more scanning than I do, because there are more patients in orthodontia who need scanning.
Jacy: But I would say for someone of his age….
George: Careful!
Jacy: I would say that he has kind of set the bar for us. He takes continuing education classes more than anyone I know. You’d think he’d reach a plateau, but he’s actually always bringing new techniques into the office.

Do you make a point of seeing each other outside the office?

Arianna: I have two kids under the age of two, and Jacy is expecting twins. So we have a lot to juggle outside of work. But in that respect, working together benefits us because one of us can keep the office open when the other can’t.
George: We took a family vacation to Greece a few years ago. We closed the office for that.

What is the benefit to patients, if any, of coming to a dental practice run by doctors who are family?

Jacy: We’re constantly communicating with each other. But maybe more important is that we’re so invested in our practice. Each of our names is on the door. It’s our family name.
Arianna: We’re in this long-term.

Are there ever sibling squabbles?

George: There’s only one challenge for me as a parent having siblings in the office, and that is I have to remember at work that they’re not my children, they’re highly trained professionals. At the beginning, when someone mentioned they needed orthodontic work, I would say, ‘Oh, you can see my children for that!’ There was always a big laugh. They’re not my children, but my colleagues.

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CBRE report: N.J.’s industrial market breaks records

New Jersey’s industrial market is continuing to break records in the second quarter of 2019, according to CBRE’s Q2 2019 New Jersey Industrial MarketView report.

The report said the strength of the overall market was best demonstrated by the continued rise in rents, with deals nearing $13 per-square-foot in North Jersey and $10.50 per-square-foot in Central Jersey – well above the average asking rates.

The market also experienced a 20 basis point drop in availability rate when compared to the first quarter, ending the quarter at 6.2% – the lowest rate seen in the state’s industrial market since the first quarter of 2005.

Leasing activity of 6.7 million square feet in the second quarter, although the highest second quarter result since 2001, was slightly lower than the 6.9 million square feet posted in the first quarter of 2019, CBRE found.

The report showed net absorption at 3.6 million square feet, which was 900,000-square-feet below the first quarter. However, this was the 10th consecutive quarter with a positive result.

The quarter ended with seven buildings delivered to the market, bringing 2.1 million square feet of new industrial space to the area, CBRE said. About 45% of the new product was pre-leased upon delivery and more than 6.7 million square feet is currently under construction across 20 buildings.

“As market fundamentals remain incredibly strong, although fluctuating, New Jersey’s industrial market continued to break records with higher asking rents and very low availabilities for quality product,” Mindy Lissner, executive vice president, CBRE, said. “Given New Jersey’s central location, at the epicenter of the Northeast distribution corridor, and strong demand by e-commerce and logistics users, the market is poised to remain robust for the foreseeable future.”

Third-party logistics providers dominated the second quarter leasing, taking up more than 41% of the activity. Food and beverage was the next industry, at 18.5%, and e-commerce coming in at third with 12.5%.

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Genova Burns promotes 2 to counsel

Genova Burns announced Thursday it has promoted two associates to counsel.

The Newark-based law firm said Erica M. Clifford and Maria R. Fruci have been named to the position of counsel.

“Maria Fruci and Erica Clifford are both accomplished law professionals and have repeatedly brought distinction upon themselves and on the Firm,” Angelo J. Genova, chairman and managing partner of Genova Burns, said. “Both of these attorneys are a strong voice for their specific specialty areas, and these promotions are an acknowledgement of their professional knowledge and skills, and their contributions to the Firm’s service and success on behalf of our clients.”

Clifford is a member of the Employment Law & Litigation and Human Resource Counseling & Compliance Practice Groups. She advises clients on employment matters, Genova Burns said. Her primary role is as a litigator, defending clients against claims of discrimination, harassment, hostile work environment and more.

Fruci is a member of the Complex Commercial Litigation, Class Action Defense, Intellectual Property, and Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Groups. She represents clients in complex commercial disputes, trademark protection and litigations, and mediations and arbitrations.

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This Company Wants to Help Hudson County Compost Leftover Food Scraps

Food scraps in a Community Compost Co. five-gallon bucket. Photo courtesy of Community Compost Co.

Food waste is heating up.

As in, it’s literally contributing to the warming of our planet (food makes up a major chunk of what gets dumped in landfills). It’s also heating up in the sense that there’s a growing hunger to do something about it. While buying less food and fighting food waste in the kitchen are productive starts, some leftover food scraps are inevitable. After all, most modern home cooks and chefs don’t have the time to jam, pickle and repurpose every last peel or crumb.

Enter compost. The process, essentially nature’s recycling, takes food scraps and yard waste and turns them into an earthy, crumbly, darker-than-dirt material that gives soil a boost of extra nutrients. But doing it yourself at home can be close to impossible for urban dwellers or businesses without outdoor space (not to mention intimidating for those who do). For would-be composters in Hoboken and Jersey City, there’s Community Compost Company, a service that recycles subscribers’ cucumber skins, egg shells, apple cores and other food scraps for them.

It works like this: Similar to trash and recycling pick-up services, Community Compost Co. collects bins residents and restaurants place outside weekly or bi-weekly with their truck. They then pile up this discarded food at their one-and-half acre facility in the Hudson Valley, shepherding the natural process of creating compost out of broken down food scraps.

That’s 1.6 million pounds—and counting—of scraps diverted from landfills, says Andrea Rodriguez, Community Compost’s sales and marketing manager. Now a team of six women, all of whom Rodriguez describes as “passionate environmentalists,” the business started as the brainchild of New Jersey native Eileen Banyra. A city planner with three decades of experience (and a New Jersey native), Banyra switched gears in 2013, getting Community Compost off the ground through an incubator program in New Paltz, New York.

Two years later, Banyra wanted to expand beyond the Hudson Valley. She landed on Hoboken and Jersey City—both diverse, green-minded, urban communities with lots of New York transplants familiar with composting—as starting points in her home state. Drumming up interest by creating compost drop-offs at farmers markets, they then launched the pick-up service, handing out their signature five-gallon green buckets to home cooks (there are currently close to 300 household subscribers; it costs $29 or $19 per month for weekly or bi-weekly pick-up respectively.)

You may see Community Compost Co. buckets more around Hoboken and Jersey City. Photo courtesy of Community Compost Co.

Restaurants and chefs, too, have been an important part of Community Compost’s growth. In Hoboken, the company has partnered with the city to offer free compost pick-up for restaurants twice a week (other businesses and schools are eligible as well). Picking up scraps from eateries such as Choc-O-Pain, cooking school Hudson Table, Black Rail Coffee, Grand Vin and Simply Juiced has been a natural match. “Chefs really see the importance of good, healthy ingredients,” Rodriguez says. “With composting, you’re only helping to create more awesome ingredients to cook with later on.”

Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato owner Jen Kavlakov saw working with Community Compost as the logical way to come full circle, as she says her small-batch gelato shop, which opened in Jersey City in 2015, places a premium on sourcing local, seasonal ingredients. Community Compost’s first restaurant client in Jersey City, Kavlakov has recommended them to other area cafes and restaurants who want to recycle kitchen prep scraps and customer leftovers. “It’s about sustainability,” she tells peers. “It’s about doing what is right for the future.” In Jersey City, Subia’s Vegan Cafe, Barcade, and Busy Bee Organics also compost with Community Compost Co.

More communities, restaurants and home cooks are clamoring to get in on compost pick-up or communal drop-off locations, Rodriguez says. But she says there are steep hurdles for Community Compost and other small and mid-size businesses like theirs to take root or expand.

Just obtaining permits to recycle food waste in New Jersey is a costly, inflexible and lengthy process, explains Matthew A. Karmel, founding board member of the NJ Composting Council and an attorney in the Environmental Practice Group at Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland, Perretti LLP in Morristown. By his count there are only four facilities in the state with traditional food waste permits and an additional three with temporary research, development and demonstration permits, which Karmel says is not nearly enough when compared with the growing demand for such services in the state. Legislation passed at the end of June does require establishments generating large quantities of food waste to recycle this waste. The loophole? Landfills and incinerators count as recycling centers. In light of this, environmental and industry groups like Karmel’s are urging Governor Phil Murphy to veto the measure.

Because Community Compost Co. takes the scraps they collect over the border to a Kerhonkson, New York farm, they avoid much of this tricky legal landscape (New Jerseyans’ trash often gets carted to landfills much further away, Rodriguez is quick to point out; Hoboken’s garbage, for example, ends up in West Virginia), but Rodriguez says they are fighting for change in New Jersey so that “there more options, and more and more communities can get on board with composting.”

In the meantime, she says their focus is on their current New Jersey and New York locations and on educating communities and food businesses. They partner with community gardens and farmers markets, sell their compost at a handful of area markets and garden stores (they’re bagged under the name Hudson Soil Co.; subscribers can also get a container of compost back each fall and spring) and have worked with concerts, film and TV productions and festivals in New Jersey to compost catering leftovers, too.

Above all, Rodriguez says she encourages people “to try to not look at food as garbage.” Is composting, at home or via pick-up and drop-off services, extra effort? Yes. Does it take some getting used to? Sure. But, she says, “it’s really a resource that helps our soil to grow healthy food for us to eat again.”

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Stockton Market Sold to New Hope Restaurant Owner

Photo courtesy of Stockton Market.

—Stockton Market in the small-but-charm-packed town of Stockton (just south of Trenton) has been sold. Fans of the market shouldn’t worry too much; the new owner Steven Lau was responsible for bringing The Salt House restaurant to New Hope (Pennsylvania), emphasizing market-fresh, seasonal cuisine. Not that everything will be about preservation: Lau’s nothing if not ambitious (he was in the music industry and opened his own Napa winery prior to attending the Culinary Institute of America). In the very least, Lau will likely seek out new vendors to add the Stockton’s very well-curated roster. Needless to say the late summer/early fall season should be extra exciting (and delicious?) this year. The Stockton Market, 19 Bridge Street, Stockton; 609-608-2824


—After closing the original West Philadelphia location of The Farmacy earlier this year, Ross Scofield and partner Danielle Coulter made the sudden—and surprising—announcement that The Farmacy in Palmyra is now also closings its doors. (Surprising as in our review of the restaurant went up on Tuesday.) Possibly more unexpected is the fact that Scofield essentially offered the restaurant space (and name) up to the best (most community-oriented, fiscally-solid) offer via Facebook on July 7. Per the post, as Scofield cleaned out the restaurant, he realized the place had potential for the right future tenant: “Fully inspected, fire systems tagged, certified for outside seating, new cooking equipment/ refrigeration, POS system, phone/internet, new tables, new flatware, and all.”

Scofield seemed to earnestly desire a new restaurant tenant for the neighborhood and landlords, so much so he was willing to (gratis?) assist a potential new tenant: “I can help write menus and show the new team the ropes.” No word yet on whether that deal was done, though the comments did reveal some of the reasons why both Farmacy locations are now closed. As one saddened regular asked “Why?” Coulter chimed in to explain a two-fold decision: “We had a better opportunity presented to us,” she said, adding, “We have been restaurant owners for [seven] years. We have a 2-year-old. And we want to live a normal life.” That “better opportunity” may refer to another restaurant concept (with a liquor license) the team was reported to be working on in conjunction with Scofield’s parents, also restaurateurs, somewhere in South Jersey. The Farmacy, 307 West Broad Street, Palmyra. 856-543-4411

—Egg Harbor Festhaus & Biergarten has abruptly closed for business. The German restaurant and beer hall made the announcement on July 2 via the restaurant’s Facebook page, saying only “EGG HARBOR FESTHAUS IS CLOSED FOR BUSINESS. We would like to thank our many customers, friends & employees.” The close seems especially abrupt, as only a few days earlier they’d posted a regular weekend-teaser pretzel/schnitzel/wurst photo array. Not much else is explained, though the closure announcement did end with the promise: “Future news will be posted here.” Egg Harbor Festhaus & Biergarten, 446 St. Louis Avenue, Egg Harbor City; 609-593-6524


Last week we reported on the midday fire on July 1 that shut down Hobby’s Deli in Newark, but it looks like the iconic restaurant is already—at least partially—getting back to business. In fact, it was only the next day that the delicatessen and restaurant was announcing it would be reopening Wednesday, July 3 with delivery and takeout (the dining room remains closed, pending repairs). Among other small miracles of resilience, a lone bottle of Cutty Sark whiskey survived the blaze (maybe no coincidence, it was a favorite of Hobby’s Deli founder Sam Brummer, whose sons Marc and Michael currently run the show). Stay tuned to their Facebook for developments, or other Scotch-related anomalies. Hobby’s Delicatessen & Restaurant, 2723, 32 Branford Place, Newark; 973-623-0410

In the Works:

—Capital Craft in Green Brook is getting a second location in the former home of the Macaroni Grill in East Hanover. The restaurant—which emphasizes eclectic, creative gastropub food and plenty of craft beer—will seat as many as 300 guests, with two separate bars, 30 craft beer lines, an outdoor space and coal-fired pizza. Considering the scope of the ambition here, and that it’s only the second iteration of a proven successful restaurant concept, the East Hanover location is likely to swing for the hospitality fences (when it does open—likely closer to several week from now—be prepared for a good time). Capital Craft, 138 Route 10, East Hanover; no phone yet.

—Hoboken’s Green Pear Café is expanding; the funky, warm, ultra-neighborhoody restaurant is on the cusp of opening its second location in another neighborhood, nearby Jersey City Heights. The second location will only serve dinner—during the day, the space will be dedicated to Green Pear’s catering company—but considering its location on a booming strip of the Heights neighborhood, it’s likely to start off at full speed when it opens. Dinner menu is still TBD, but you can expect similar mixture of eclectic, seasonal, and hearty (think Suckling Pig Sandwich and Grilled Atlantic Salmon and Vegetables). Green Pear Café, 93 Franklin Street, Jersey City; no phone yet.

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Atlantic Health, Kindred Healthcare: New hospital in Madison nears completion

A joint venture between Atlantic Health System and Kindred Healthcare announced on Tuesday the completion of Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, a new, inpatient rehabilitation hospital located in Madison.

The $24 million, two-story, 38-bed hospital is the first standalone hospital to be built from the ground-up by Atlantic Health, it said. The hospital is expected to begin accepting patients “in a few weeks” following regulatory approvals, the joint venture said.

The joint venture said the hospital will be located off Route 124 on a 40-acre parcel of Giralda Farms land owned by Atlantic Health. The 46,000-square-foot area will be developed into a campus for health services, they said.

“Joining forces with a nationally recognized leader allows us to expand access to extraordinary rehabilitation services in our communities” said Amy Perry, senior vice president, Integrated Care Delivery, and CEO of Atlantic Health System’s hospital division. “We are proud to partner with Kindred to provide top-caliber patient care in the exceptional healing environment that has been created at Giralda Farms.”

The hospital will have a number of additions and amenities, including a therapeutic courtyard; bionic, assisted moving systems for patients; a gym with ceiling lifts and new equipment; a simulated home space; an ADL Suite; bariatric rooms; a brain injury unit with dedicated gym; private rooms; meeting spaces for families; a putting green; basketball court; and more.

“We are pleased to work with the premier healthcare provider in New Jersey as we address the growing need for inpatient rehabilitation services in the New Jersey and New York area,” Russ Bailey, chief operating officer of Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services-IRF, said. “Atlantic Health System has been a great partner and we look forward to continuing to work with them on this high-quality rehabilitation hospital that will greatly benefit the community.”

“This new hospital gives our team all the tools they need to care better for our patients, and gives patients the setting they need to prepare them to return to their lives,” Joseph Rempson, medical director for the new hospital, said.

The groundbreaking for the facility was held on May 22.

“Mayor Conley and the Madison Borough Council are looking forward to the opening of the new Atlantic Health Rehabilitation Institute,” Carmela Vitale, Madison Borough councilwoman, said. “This state of the art facility will be a tremendous asset to Madison and the greater area community, serving those in need of rehabilitative care.”

The building was designed by Earl Swensson Associates and constructed by Holt Construction.

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Atlantic City Executive Council: Building a strong foundation for the future

There is economic opportunity and a promise of renewal in Atlantic City with the opening of a new college campus, new businesses and the reopening of two once-closed casinos. Exciting things are taking shape under Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, and the Department of Community Affairs has seized the chance to strategically plan a path to help move the city forward.

The plan is embodied in the “Atlantic City: Building a Foundation for a Shared Prosperity” report, often called the Transition Report, that was released in September 2018 and provides recommendations for the process of returning Atlantic City to local control. The report revealed that it will take sustained cooperation and hard work by the city, state, community, businesses and key stakeholders to help Atlantic City rise to where it ought to be — a thriving community and top destination for people to visit.

Partners in this effort understand they need to do many things well and they need to ensure the work produces real progress for the residents of Atlantic City and its many diverse organizations and business enterprises. 

Under the guidance of Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and Jim Johnson, special counsel in the Governor’s Office, the state and city have developed a strategy for getting the work done. The strategy includes convening the Atlantic City Executive Council, which brings together key stakeholders to share information and collaborate to achieve the Transition Report’s recommendations. The Executive Council meets monthly on Stockton University’s Atlantic City campus and is comprised of representatives from commercial enterprises, public and private institutions, government agencies, city schools, civic associations, labor groups, community organizations and city youth. 

The Executive Council is developing a new Atlantic City Implementation Plan, which is nearly complete and will break down each strategic objective into actionable items. The Implementation Plan will outline the lead stakeholders doing the work, the strategy to get the work done, actions needed to accomplish the work, the impact of the work on the community and the end goal. Once finished, the Implementation Plan will serve as a baseline for monitoring performance and progress of the Executive Council’s projects.

Meet some members of the Atlantic City Executive Council and read their vision for the future of Atlantic City:

DCA leadership

Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver
Department of Community Affairs

“The Atlantic City Executive Council has been instrumental in moving progress in Atlantic City forward — one step at a time. We understand this transformation isn’t going to happen overnight, but we know that we are on the right path with an outstanding collaboration of minds sitting at the same table every month working on positive solutions for the city.”

Jim Johnson
Special counsel
Governor’s Counsel’s Office

“Too often, when people come together to solve big challenges, they start with what’s wrong in the situation, instead of what is strong. Atlantic City has many strengths. With unified effort and a clear vision of where we want to go, Atlantic City can continue its rise together.”

Atlantic City government

Frank F. Gilliam
Atlantic City

“Atlantic City is surely on the rise. I want to thank the office of DCA and the lieutenant governor for their unwavering support and the continuous dedication of the Atlantic City Executive Council.”

Marty Small
Council president
Atlantic City

“The Atlantic City Executive Council has been essential in bringing stakeholders to the table in an effort to form a community partnership using combined resources to make Atlantic City all that we want it to be. I look forward to being a part of the short- and long-term solution, with this diverse group of individuals that make an extremely strong team.

“To take our city to the next level fiscally, we need to grow the middle class and attract professionals from various careers and offer them incentives to buy homes in our city, which adds to our ratable base, which has a positive effect on our taxpayers.”

General Executive Council members

Joyce Hagan
Executive director
Atlantic City Arts Foundation

“The Atlantic City Arts Foundation envisions Atlantic City as a community in which residents, businesses, government, employees and visitors value arts and culture as a means to stimulate economic development, encourage civic engagement and promote community well-being.”

Amber Hamlett
Youth representative
Hamlett Consulting

“I believe the successful future of Atlantic City is centered in the youth. As a 26-year-old entrepreneur, I have experienced many closed opportunities due to lack of access because of my age. If we create spaces for youth involvement and development in politics, business and community development, I believe our city can grow exponentially.

“Progress to me is centered around action. It is my experience and my family’s experience that many great ideas and even solutions are discussed around building Atlantic City, but implementation seems slow or not at all. I believe that the Executive Council has done something extremely unique by getting all stakeholders together at the table to task and execute initiatives.”

Lori Herndon
CEO and president

“There should be a coordinated effort to engage residents at an organic level, neighborhood by neighborhood. A greater bond with residents will help instill more community pride, spirit and trust. This, in turn, will lead to true grass roots support for larger, citywide initiatives.”

Joe Jingoli Jr.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

“What’s currently happening in Atlantic City is the coming together of many bright, talented, motivated people whose goals are common — advancing the cause of the city, opening businesses in the city, working in the city, relocating businesses to the city and helping to guide the city in the upward trajectory track it is on.”

Harvey Kesselman; Michelle McDonald
President; vice president of academic affairs
Stockton University

“The Atlantic City Executive Council has been essential in bringing stakeholders to the table in an effort to form a community partnership using combined resources to make Atlantic City all that we want it to be. I look forward to being a part of the short- and long-term solution, with this diverse group of individuals that make an extremely strong team.

“To take our city to the next level fiscally, we need to grow the middle class and attract professionals from various careers and offer them incentives to buy homes in our city, which adds to our ratable base, which has a positive effect on our taxpayers.”

Howard Kyle
Chief of staff
Office of the Atlantic County Executive

“We see Atlantic City as a vital part of the Atlantic County economy and as an important component of a diverse, sustainable regional economy. We look forward to helping to integrate Atlantic City into a regional economy and breaking down the barriers between Atlantic City and the suburban communities and creating greater levels of cooperation and new synergies.”

Libbie Wills
1st Ward Civic Association

“As a resident, I see my key role on the council as a voice for the residents who, in the past, have not had a voice at the table. Our visions for Atlantic City are the creation of an economic development plan that includes our neighborhoods, the aging, the youth and the disabled. We also envision the development of the South Inlet with mixed income housing, improved waterfront and Atlantic Avenue with stores that meet the needs of the residents.”

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N.J. ranks among Top 10 worst states to retire

New Jersey has been ranked the 9th-worst state to retire, according to a report. determined the rankings by examining 11 public and private datasets related to the life of someone who is retired, broken down into five categories: affordability (40%), wellness (25%), weather (15%), culture (15%) and crime (5%).

New Jersey, which was ranked No. 42 overall,  fared well in crime (No. 5), but was ranked No. 48 in affordability, the study’s most important metric. The Garden State wound up in middle of the pack in the rest of the categories — No. 16 in culture, No. 22 in weather and No. 23 in wellness.

“There are many factors to consider when deciding where to retire,” Adrian Garcia, data analyst for, said. “Some people may choose to stay close to family, while others prefer to seek out warm weather or affordable living. It comes down to very personal preferences, so it’s important to weigh all factors and determine what is most important for your happiness.”

The Top 5 states to retire, according to, include:

  1. Nebraska;
  2. Iowa;
  3. Missouri;
  4. South Dakota;
  5. Florida.

The Top 5 worst states to retire include:

  1. Maryland;
  2. New York;
  3. Alaska;
  4. Illinois;
  5. Washington.

To see the full rankings and methodology, click here.

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