Downtown Jacksonville steakhouse investor's beef with JEA gets mayor's attention – Florida Times-Union

The long quest to turn a century-old, downtown Jacksonville building into an upscale steak restaurant called Cowford Chophouse has gone through Historic Preservation Commission meetings, City Council sessions, courthouse hearings, and construction delays.

The action moved last week to a City Hall conference room, where Mayor Lenny Curry convened a meeting of top officials from his staff, JEA, and the investor behind the multimillion-dollar renovation to work through the latest flare-up.

The gathering came after Jacques Klempf, whose group bought the abandoned building in 2014, fired off emails to Curry that accused JEA of being a “total detriment to downtown re-development” in his dispute with JEA over whether its underground utility equipment poses a risk to the foundation of his building.

The oven-hot rhetoric cooled somewhat in wake of that meeting.

“Everybody is working toward an amicable solution,” said Natalie DeYoung, spokeswoman for Cowford Chophouse.

Taxpayers have a financial stake in the place. The city provided a $500,000 grant and a $250,000 loan in 2014 for the work. Cowford Chophouse LLC is pouring millions of its own money into the renovations.

Curry said when Klempf sent him the angry emails, he decided to get everybody in the same room because the city needs to do what it can to promote private investment, whether it’s in downtown or elsewhere.

“We want government to be an ally, not an obstacle,” he said.

The meeting, whose attendees included JEA Chief Executive Officer Paul McElroy and city Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa, didn’t entirely resolve the dispute. But Curry said the meeting put a framework in place for further talks while the renovation stays on track.

The original target date for opening the restaurant was summer 2016, but the renovation is taking far longer. Cowford Chophouse isn’t giving a new target date for the grand opening.

Previously known as the Bostwick Building, the two-story structure came close to being demolished before the city went to court to obtain possession of it. The city then sold it to Klempf, who unveiled plans for a steakhouse at the corner of Bay and Ocean streets in the entertainment district known as The Elbow.

DeYoung said the renovation has fixed the major foundation problems that existed when Klempf bought the building. The foundation is fine now, but Klempf, working with an engineering firm, is concerned that the foundation “could be compromised over time,” DeYoung said.

At issue is an underground structure called a vault that contains transformers that are part of the electrical grid serving downtown. When water gets into the vault, JEA uses a pump to remove it.

Klemp contends that pump also pumps silt from underneath the building into the storm drain, and that as a result, the foundation suffered damage in the past and the same thing will happen again in the future. He wrote to Curry the vault has needed repairs for at least 10 years.

JEA says that’s not the case. Utility spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said the “grit” in the water pumped out of the vault is a result of stormwater run-off picking up particles on the street, not from underneath the building.

“The vault in no way impedes them from opening as planned,” she said.

JEA agreed to hire an outside engineer who will inspect the site and provide findings and recommendations, which could help break the impasse.

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Beef Board CEO highlights results of Beef Wise study – Delta Farm Press

Commentary

by Polly Ruhland, Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO

Beef WISE study”Diets are boring!” 

“I hate trying to lose weight, it’s no fun.” 

“Who wants to eat salad for dinner every night?”

Do these sound like excuses you’ve heard from friends or family when it comes to exercise to lose weight?

Well, if you missed it, the news is out and it’s exciting: the new Beef WISE study found that lean beef, as part of a healthy, higher-protein diet, can help people lose weight while maintaining muscle and a healthy heart. 

The Beef WISE Study adds to the growing body of research demonstrating the role of lean beef in heart-healthy diets and strong bodies. This includes another beef-checkoff funded study called BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet), and independent research DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). 

Building on Previous Research

In recent years, higher-protein diets have become a popular diet strategy for weight loss. Dietary recommendations such as the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans may suggest that eating patterns with lower intake of red meats are associated with a reduced risk of obesity. However, these recommendations to limit red meat are based primarily on observational studies, whereas clinical trials such as the three I mentioned largely found no detrimental impact of lean red meat consumption on markers of cardiometabolic health during weight loss or weight maintenance. 

Red meat is a major contributor of protein in the American diet and represents 58% of all meat consumption in the United States, thus its exclusion from the diet can pose as a barrier to sticking with a higher-protein diet for the long-term.

A Protein-Conscious Consumer Environment

Few clinical trials have compared different high-quality protein sources to understand their effectiveness in a weight loss or maintenance diet. The Beef WISE study did a direct comparison of the State of Slim eating plan with half the participants consuming four or more weekly servings of lean beef as the only source of red meat, compared to participants who did not consume any red meat during the study. Subjects in both groups lost equal amounts of body weight and fat mass while preserving muscle.

The WISE study, made possible by a research grant from your checkoff, demonstrates that lean beef doesn’t have to be restricted in a higher-protein diet and is just as effective as other protein choices in supporting healthy weight loss and leaner bodies. 

In order to get this good news out to health and fitness leaders, your checkoff sent custom emails along with a press release to approximately 150 targeted media outlets and reporters. These selected outlets cover health and fitness for consumers or are nutrition/science-focused publications

Be proud of your checkoff’s work in this arena as this study is great news for people who enjoy beef but may have been told they should avoid it while following weight loss diets. It underscores, once again, lean beef can be part of a healthy, higher-protein diet for weight loss.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com. 

Source: Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion Board

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After TPP withdrawal, US beef farmers face big Japan tariff – USA TODAY

CLOSE

After a decade-long decline, low prices, strong disposable incomes and a guarded thumbs up for the healthiness of red meat have combined to give beef a resurgence.
USA TODAY

TOKYO — In unwelcome news for American farmers, Japan said Friday that it was imposing emergency tariffs of 50% on imports of frozen beef, mainly from the U.S.
Finance Minister Taro Aso announced the move Friday, saying he was prepared to explain the decision to the U.S. side.

“The tariff will take effect automatically as the volume of the imported US frozen beef exceeded the quota set by law,” Aso said, “So this is what has to be done.”

Japan’s beef farmers are famed for their luscious marbled Kobe beef and other delicacies, and the government has long used tariffs and other measures to protect its farmers from foreign competition. Still, prices for imported beef tend to be half or less those for beef from domestically-raised cattle.

The U.S. and Australia account for 90% of all imports of frozen beef, which is mostly used by beef bowl, hamburger and other fast food outlets.

The usual tariff rate for frozen beef imports is 38.5%. Under World Trade Organization rules, Japan can introduce safeguard tariffs when imports rise more than 17% year-on-year in any given quarter.

U.S. farmers had been hoping for wider access to Japan’s lucrative market through a Pacific Rim trade initiative, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from that accord after taking office.

Trade terms Japan negotiated with the 10 other remaining members of the TPP remain in force. So Australia, the biggest rival to U.S. beef exporters with a more favorable tariff rate of 27.5% for frozen beef, will not face the same jump in tariff rates thanks to a free trade agreement reached with Tokyo as part of the TPP talks.

Relatively affordable “Aussie beef” is an increasingly popular feature of most supermarket meat sections, with Australia supplying more than half, about 55 percent, of all frozen beef imported to Japan.

According to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. supplies around 35%, though U.S. beef exports to Japan have risen recently as prices fell after the livestock sector recovered from years of drought.

The Finance Ministry reported 89,253 metric tons of frozen beef were imported so far this year.

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Beef and brains are on the menu at the British Open – San Francisco Chronicle

SOUTHPORT, England (AP) — Beef is back on the menu at the British Open, and Andrew Johnston can only hope there’s as much sizzle to be found at Royal Birkdale as there was last year when he made an entertaining run on the weekend at Royal Troon.

There are brains here, too, thanks to a last minute win Sunday by Bryson DeChambeau, who defies golf convention with his swing thoughts and has physics formulas stamped on the back of his wedges.

Golf in what seems now to be a permanent post-Tiger era remains alive and somewhat well. That’s especially true on this side of the pond, where huge crowds will turn out this week for the 146th version of what they prefer here to call simply The Open.

The winner on Sunday will be crowned championship golfer of the year. Based on the small sample size of recent major championships, it is likely to be someone you know little about.

The last seven major championships have been won by players who had never won a major in their lives. That could go to eight this week if an up and coming player the likes of John Rahm — who dominated the Irish Open in his last outing — can win this Open.

Or maybe local resident Tommy Fleetwood, who didn’t exactly come in through the front door of the pro shop when he played a few holes here and there growing up.

“It was a course I would have crept on now and again,” Fleetwood said.

The revolving cast of new winners is part of the reason this Open — and golf itself — seems to be struggling for a story line. The course may be the best in England and the field full of great talent, but even the bookies here can’t figure out who should be favored.

Gone forever are the days when Woods dominated and every conversation in the sport revolved around what he was doing.

“It shows the quality of golf that everybody plays at right now,” said Sergio Garcia, the Masters champion who is still looking for his first Claret Jug. “It’s a really high level and it doesn’t matter if you’ve won a major or not, everybody can definitely do it.”

That everybody certainly includes Garcia himself, who spent the better part of the last two decades tantalizing fans with his talent but never delivering in a major before a brilliant back nine comeback gave him the green jacket at Augusta National this year.

His Open career began as an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998, and he’s had several legitimate chances to win the Open, only to kick them away. But he’s now a major champion and, with a wedding set for next week, he could be a storybook champion should he emerge with the iconic jug engraved with winners of years past.

“Obviously I am excited about it,” Garcia said. “I am confident about my possibilities but I can’t tell you if I’m going to be right up there on Sunday with a chance. I’m hoping that I will be, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that every week.”

The player nicknamed Beef certainly understands that. The bearded, portly Johnston entertained the crowd at last year’s Open, nearly upstaging a tremendous duel between Phil Mickelson and eventual winner Henrik Stenson in the final round before finishing eighth.

But Johnston has struggled to make cuts ever since, as did DeChambeau until he came through Sunday with a blistering back nine to win for the first time in the John Deere Classic.

That gave him the final qualifying berth in the Open, and a chance to demonstrate some unusual theories he has about golf, including using the same length shaft in all of his irons.

A win here would be an extreme longshot, but strange things can happen in golf. That’s especially true at a tournament where just a few years back 59-year-old Tom Watson came within a par of winning before losing to Stewart Cink in a playoff.

So maybe the search for a new hero will focus on the hometown kid with the flowing bangs who used to sneak onto Royal Birkdale to play a few holes while his dad walked the dog around the course perimeter.

A win for Fleetwood — now the No. 1 player on the European Tour — might even get him noticed in the town where he grew up. So far, his appearance here has been welcomed with a collective shrug.

“There’s nobody fainting in the street as I walk past,” Fleetwood said. “So I’m still waiting.”

____

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

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Beef price hikes hit Denver steakhouses – Denver7 … – The Denver Channel

DENVER — After 120 years of serving steaks, The Buckhorn Exchange isn’t about to become a pasta joint.

But major beef price hikes in certain high-end cuts will soon eat into their bottom line.

“We’ve been notified that our prices are going up, and they’re going up significantly,” said Bill Dutton, the general manager and partner of Denver’s oldest restaurant. “Anytime you see price hikes of 20-30 percent, it hurts.”

Dutton said other steakhouses have been seeing the impact for the last few weeks, but he has a long-term contract that has shielded him. In the next few months, though, he has learned his New York Strip will go from costing him about $11 per pound to about $15 per pound. 

“There’s a premium price to pay for it, and now, evidently, there is a bigger premium price to pay for it,” said Dutton. “A price hike on that is going to brutalize it, but it’s not like we can’t serve it anymore. It’s a signature item.”

While some businesses have blamed the price increase on Trump’s trade deal opening U.S. beef sales to China, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA) said it is tied to consumer demand.

“That seasonal increase has been quite strong this year, because there is a lot of demand in the marketplace for steak,” said Alison Krebs, the director of Market Intelligence for the NCBA.

Statistics show in the last two months, choice cutouts wholesale prices have also shot up almost 20 percent, which also affects restaurants.

“They are seeing those higher prices right now at wholesale, which is going to pressure their margins a bit more,” said Krebs. “Bottom line, beef is still bringing a lot of dollars to their operations.”

At Buckhorn Exchange, they are renovating the kitchen and reworking the menu with smaller portions and a more elegant presentation to help absorb the price hike.

“The value is still there,” said Dutton. “You’re just giving them a little more for the eyes and less for the stomach, and they’re happy because that is the trend for the restaurant business.”

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Brazilian Restaurants in US not Bothered by Beef Ban – CattleNetwork.com

Brazilian restaurants in the United States have no beef with the U.S. government’s ban on meat from Brazil because the steaks they serve are all-American.

Brazil is the world’s largest meat exporter but business has been marred by scandal and safety concerns and on Thursday the United States barred imports from there.

The ban will not be an issue for American diners hungry for Brazilian dishes such as picanha, a famous cut from a cow’s rump.

“It doesn’t even come close to beef from Colorado,” Joao de Matos, one of the owners of top-notch Brazilian steakhouse Churrascaria Plataforma in New York City, said of his homeland’s beef in a telephone interview.

De Matos also buys meat from Texas, the biggest cattle producing state, and said he probably would not buy from Brazil even if the ban is lifted.

“Our supplier is the same that we had for 21 years,” de Matos said. “He doesn’t even know what Brazilian beef is.”

In Chicago, the historic center of the massive U.S. meat packing industry, managers of restaurants such as Carnivale and Zed451 said their themes may be Brazilian but the beef isn’t.

“We try to use local vendors but several chefs’ recipes are specific to Brazilian regions,” said an employee at Carnivale. “And we do have a couple of meats that come from Australia.”

Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao has more than two dozen restaurants across the United States, as well as nine in Brazil. None of the meat used at their U.S. restaurants comes from Brazil, Mary Nelson, a spokeswoman for the chain, said in an email.

A little over 7,000 metric tons of fresh beef has been imported to the United States from Brazil so far in 2017, said Eric Mittenthal, spokesman for trade association the North American Meat Institute. That is a tiny fraction of total U.S. meat consumption, he added.

Much of the Brazilian meat is imported as trimmings, which typically end up used in hot dogs, meatballs and other processed meat products.

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Pasture to plate: Beef tour gives chefs up-close look – Wichita Eagle

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Wichita Eagle

Pasture to plate: Beef tour gives chefs up-close look
Wichita Eagle
Chef Andrew Whitney has literally served tons of beef from a trendy restaurant in Nashville. At times, he has wondered about all that has gone into those thick rib-eyes or nice fillets. Now he knows, because he's seen it all: from young calves nursing

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Beef-pork pepperoni rolls recalled for extraneous materials – Food Safety News

An Ohio bakery is recalling almost 3,000 pounds of pepperoni and mozzarella rolls after consumers complained of finding extraneous materials in the Gia Russa brand product.

recalled pepperoni rollThe 2,959 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat beef and pork products produced by P&S Bakery Inc. of Poland, OH, were shipped to retail locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as to distributors in those states that may have shipped the product on to other locations.

In a recall notice posted Friday night by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the extraneous materials in the pepperoni rolls was described as “clear meat casing utilized in food production.”

“The problem was discovered after the firm received consumer complaints through one of their distributors,” according to the recall notice. “FSIS has received no reports of injury or illness from consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

“Consumers who have purchased this product are urged not to consume it. This product should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

The recalled pepperoni rolls can be identified by the following label information:

  • Gia Russa brand
  • “Double Stuffed Pepperoni Roll Pepperoni & Mozzarella”
  • 5.25-ounce roll in plastic wrapper
  • lot/case code 17088
  • “EST. 27274” inside the USDA mark of inspection

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact John Houser, quality assurance manager, at 330-707-4141.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

© Food Safety News

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Cattle producers prepare for China to open its doors to US beef – Fence Post

When the Chinese open their borders to American beef this summer, the promise of significant premiums and a substantial new market is real and is prompting many beef producers to go through verification programs to be among the first to export beef to the new market. Ranchers Connecting Ranchers and RaeMarie Knowles stand at the ready to help producers through the process.

Ranchers Connecting Ranchers (RCR) was established in 2014 after Knowles had spent six years in the cattle verification industry and hoped to better serve cattle producers. Knowles, who lives near Kiowa, Colo., is the managing partner and CEO of the company that provides verification services to beef producers who are hoping to participate in programs that might mean more dollars per head.

RCR verifies cattle for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Source and Age Verified program, Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC), and the now defunct Never Ever Free which was previously the USDA’s natural program. Additionally, RCR offers a Saudi Arabia export verification program and will also offer the verification for cattle intended for Chinese export as soon as those standards are released in the coming weeks. Verification can be completed for either ranches or feed yards through RCR.

Private label programs are also available to cattlemen through RCR to complement the USDA programs. RCR Natural replaced the previous natural and grass fed beef program. The Feed Bunk Ready Vaccination Verified program is a third-party verification program of vaccination, handling and the weaning history of a ranch. When those cattle go to a feed yard, this verification can add to the feed yard owners’ confidence in the quality of cattle purchased and lend additional credibility to vaccination programs. The RCR Natural and Gently Raised program satisfies consumer demands for beef raised naturally with an added handling component.

“On the USDA side, the large premiums for Source and Age verified went away when Japan opened their borders to cattle 30 months and under,” she said. “There is still value because it shows buyers that they’re forward thinking and the buyer perceives those cattle to be higher quality.”

PREMIUM

In recent months, the premium for NHTC cattle has been approximately $4 per head as opposed to $35 or more per head at its 2008 inception. The NHTC and Source and Age Verified are cost prohibitive compared to the premium and are typically only completed by large producers. However, Knowles said, the Saudi Arabian beef and Chinese beef hold promise to be excellent premiums.

“China has the potential to be pretty substantial because we’re marketing to 1.4 billion Chinese consumers,” she said. “In 2003, it was a totally different demographic. There wasn’t nearly that amount of people or that amount of people with the disposable income to pay for animal protein from the U.S.”

Forward thinking ranchers, the kind Knowles said makes up her clientele, who participate in the verification programs will see a decent premium for their efforts. Even those who do not participate in the programs or market beef to the Chinese markets will reap the reward of an invigorated cattle market.

“Even in the beef cuts we think they’re going to want specifically, we could send them all the beef we produce in the U.S. and not meet their demand,” she said. “It’s a huge market for us and there will be, more than likely, verification requirements tied to those products.”

July 16 is the anticipated latest date that China will open its borders to U.S. beef and cattlemen hoping to participate in the export market and verification companies are all anxiously awaiting requirements so the process can begin in earnest.

“Based on the basic idea of supply and demand, we’re going to see the markets for even conventional beef jump up so it’s a win-win all the way across the board,” she said.

The Chinese market also has the potential to add value to beef carcasses as the demand in China for cuts like tongue and other variety meats is significantly higher than in the U.S. Knowles and her counterparts in verification programs are anxiously awaiting the details to be released so producers can market the type of cattle that the Chinese market demands.

PROGRAMS

Source and Age Verified offers traceability and age verification and is the simplest of the programs, requiring only a calving date and identification that traces back to the ranch. Group identification and brands can be used if the cattle go to an approved feed yard. Otherwise, EID tags may be used. Non-Hormone Treated Cattle may not receive implants and heifers that have been given Lutalyse may not return to the program. Cattle in this program must have EID tags and must move directly from the verified ranch to the feed yard. This program also has an age verification component requiring cattle to be under 30 months of age.

All verifications with the exception of Source and Age Verification on the ranch require an onsite review from RCR staff. Knowles insists that RCR staff all be well-versed in the cattle industry and all are ranch raised. The verification process can be a bit daunting so every effort is made to streamline each step.

“It is important for potential customers to know that our auditors are top of the line industry professionals, who are ranch raised and appreciate the culture,” she said. “We try and put the ranchers and feeders at ease as much as possible.”

Producers who sell cattle through video marketing like Superior Productions tend to gravitate toward verification programs as well as producers who market to feed yards who participate in verification programs. The premiums are not paid through more traditional, local marketing but, Knowles said, getting the cattle in front of buyers specifically looking for cattle that qualify for the different programs equates to premiums.

Ryon Massey, a cattleman from Kiowa, Colo., was among the first to go through the verification process with Knowles and RCR. Massey markets about 80 calves as a split load on Superior and anticipates that his return on investment will continue to grow as his operation grows and the market changes with the addition of the Chinese market.

Massey completed the NHTC verification on his ranch and said a process that could have been daunting and stressful was quite the opposite.

“I did the NHTC verification and was curious to see how it worked,” Massey said. “Down the road I’m going to pursue more of it. I’m just trying to add some value to those calves and RaeMarie and her folks know the business from a grassroots level,” he said. “They know what it takes to raise a calf from point A to point B.”

The requirements for Saudi Arabian beef exports have been released and American producers have begun both the verification process and exporting to the market. These verification requirements have an age component and the calves cannot receive any prohibited protein post weaning, fish oil and milk replacer. For the entire lifetime of the animal, they may receive supplements but tallow must be beef tallow and it must be sourced from an approved rendering facility.

“For Chinese beef, going all the way back to 2015, there have been all sorts of ideas thrown around,” she said. “There is more than likely going to be a source component, specifically tied back to the ranch. They’re not necessarily worried about what happens between ranch and packer but will want the sources verified for the ranch and packing facility.”

Hormones will also likely be a concern for Chinese beef, specifically Beta-Agonists. According to Penn State Extension, Beta-Agonists bind to receptors on fat cells in the cattle’s body and redirect and reduce the metabolism of fat, resulting in more muscle and less fat. Beef imported from Australia and Canada to China is currently not allowed to contain Beta-Agonists and Knowles said testing is likely.

“We expect to have requirements and an understanding of the protocol as early as the first week of June,” she said.

-Spencer is a freelance writer from Wiggins, Colo., where she and her family raise cattle and show goats. She can be reached at rachelspencermedia@gmail.com or on Facebook at Rachel Spencer Media.

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Ground beef recalled from N.J. ShopRite store – NJ.com

HILLSIDE — The ShopRite on Route 22 West in Hillside has recalled all store-made ground beef produced and sold Friday, citing possible metal fragments in the meat.

The store is recalling regular-size packages of 80, 85 and 93 percent lean ground beef, as well as 80 and 85 percent family-size ground beef with a sell-by date of May 12. 

A mechanical problem with the grinder may have caused small pieces of metal to fall into the beef, ShopRite said in a press release. The company has not gotten reports of any injuries.

Customers who bought ground beef Friday can return it to the store for a refund or replacement. ShopRite said it contacted Price Plus club card customers who bought the meat to alert them to the recall. 

Other meat sold at the Hillside store and ground beef sold at other ShopRite locations have not been affected. 

Questions or concerns can be directed to 1-800-ShopRite (1-800-746-7748).

Marisa Iati may be reached at miati@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook. 

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