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Boardwalk Reconstruction Project Near Complete in Ocean City

first_imgAll pilings and stringers are in place, and a small section of decking is the only thing left to be completed before the full length of the Ocean City Boardwalk is restored.After about three months of work, only a small section of decking remains before the second phase of a boardwalk reconstruction project is complete.The boardwalk was barricaded at Fifth Street and Seventh Street in October, and a block of boardwalk was demolished and removed as part of the second phase of a multi-year project to replace the boardwalk between Fifth Street and 12th Street.This phase covered the section between Sixth Street and Plaza Place (just north of Seventh Street).The project was expected to be complete by the end of March, but it appears to be well ahead of schedule. Lampposts are lying on the boardwalk ready for re-installation.The project includes reconfiguring the boardwalk ramp at Sixth Street, eliminating the north ramp and widening the south ramp. The access ramp for the disabled remains in place, leading to the municipal parking lot between Fifth and Sixth streets.Pedestrians and cyclists have been detoured off the Boardwalk at Seventh Street, down Wayne Avenue, through the municipal parking lot between Sixth and Fifth streets, and back to the boardwalk at Fifth Street since mid-October. The detour adds about 0.17 miles to a run the length of the boardwalk (from 2.45 miles to 2.62 miles)._____Sign up for free daily news updates from Ocean City._____City Council last summer awarded a $1.2 million contract to Fred M. Schiavone Construction of Malaga to complete the work. Schiavone was the contractor for the first phase of the project between Fifth and Sixth streets and for the new Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway.Council has authorized spending up to $1,825,000 on this phase of the project, though the final construction costs are not in .The project used a stock of southern yellow pine that has been stored in Ocean City since the settlement of a lawsuit with the Louis J. Grasmick Lumber Co. of Baltimore in 2009.The city has long sought an alternative to pine for its boardwalk. The soft wood splits, cracks and exposes nails or screws after relatively short periods of time. The city has studied and tested many alternatives but has found none both suitable and cost-effective.But the existing stock of southern yellow pine is thicker (three inches) and sturdier that the pine used on other sections of the boardwalk, and the city administration says it is “optimistic” that it will hold up much better.Treated wooden pilings replaced the crumbling concrete substructure of this part of the boardwalk. (At the City Council capital plan workshop on Thursday, Ocean City resident Michael Hinchman asked why the city would not consider using fiberglass pilings, which he said would add infinitely to the estimated 50-year lifespan of wooden pilings.)At the same workshop, Mayor Jay Gillian’s administration proposed doubling the pace of the multiyear project, completing two blocks each year and finishing in the winter of 2017-18. A project to rebuild the Ocean City Boardwalk between Sixth Street and Plaza Place is near complete.last_img read more

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Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Said to Have Been Investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Robert Faturechi, ProPublicaFormer U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.Tom Price, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving in Congress. The Georgia lawmaker traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry.Price testified at the time that his trades were lawful and transparent. Democrats accused him of potentially using his office to enrich himself. One lawmaker called for an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing concerns Price could have violated the STOCK Act, a 2012 law signed by President Obama that clarified that members of Congress cannot use nonpublic information for profit and requires them to promptly disclose their trades.The investigation of Price’s trades by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which hasn’t been previously disclosed, was underway at the time of Bharara’s dismissal, said the person.Bharara was one of 46 U.S. attorneys asked to resign after Trump took office. It is standard for new presidents to replace those officials with their own appointees. But Bharara’s firing came as a surprise because the president had met with him at Trump Tower soon after the election. As he left that meeting, Bharara told reporters Trump asked if he would be prepared to remain in his post, and said that he had agreed to stay on.When the Trump administration instead asked for Bharara’s resignation, the prosecutor refused, and he said he was then fired. Trump has not explained the reversal, but Bharara fanned suspicions that his dismissal was politically motivated via his personal Twitter account.“I did not resign,” he wrote in one tweet over the weekend. “Moments ago I was fired.”“By the way,” Bharara said in a second tweet, “now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like.”Bharara was referring to a commission that was launched by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013 to investigate state government corruption, only to be disbanded by the governor the next year as its work grew close to his office. In that case, Bharara vowed to continue the commission’s work, and eventually charged Cuomo associates and won convictions of several prominent lawmakers.Bharara referred questions from ProPublica to the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York. A spokesperson there declined to comment. The Justice and Health and Human Services departments also didn’t respond to requests for comment.A White House spokesperson didn’t respond to questions about whether Trump or anyone in his cabinet was aware of the inquiry into Price’s trades.In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that Price traded more than $300,000 worth of shares in health companies over a recent four-year period, while taking actions that could have affected those companies. Price, an orthopedic surgeon, chaired the powerful House Budget Committee and sat on the Ways and Means Committee’s health panel.In one case, Price was one of just a handful of American investors allowed to buy discounted stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics — a tiny Australian company working on an experimental multiple sclerosis drug. The company hoped to be granted “investigational new drug” status from the Food and Drug Administration, a designation that expedites the approval process.Members of congress often try to apply pressure on the FDA. As ProPublica has reported, Price’s office has taken up the causes of health care companies, and in one case urged a government agency to remove a damaging drug study on behalf of a pharmaceutical company whose CEO donated to Price’s campaign.Innate Immunotherapeutics’ CEO Simon Wilkinson told ProPublica that he and his company have not had any contact with American law enforcement agencies and have no knowledge of authorities looking at Price’s stock trades.Another transaction that drew scrutiny was a 2016 purchase of between $1,001 and $15,000 in shares of medical device manufacturer Zimmer Biomet. CNN reported that days after Price bought the stock, he introduced legislation to delay a regulation that would have hurt Zimmer Biomet.Price has said that trade was made without his knowledge by his broker.In a third case, reported by Time magazine, Price invested thousands of dollars in six pharmaceutical companies before leading a legislative and public relations effort that eventually killed proposed regulations that would have harmed those companies.Louise Slaughter, a Democratic Congress member from New York who sponsored the STOCK Act, wrote in January to the SEC asking that the agency investigate Price’s stock trades. “The fact that these trades were made and in many cases timed to achieve significant earnings or avoid losses would lead a reasonable person to question whether the transactions were triggered by insider knowledge,” she wrote.What federal authorities are looking at, including whether they are examining any of those transactions, is not known.Along with the Price matter, Bharara’s former office is investigating allegations relating to Fox News, and has been urged by watchdog groups to look into payments Trump has received from foreign governments through his Manhattan-based business. Bharara’s former deputy, Joon Kim, is now in charge of the office, but Trump is expected to nominate his replacement within weeks.ProPublica reporters Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott and research editor Derek Kravitz contributed to this story.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

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