Local Beat: Clark woman dies following campus pancake eating contest

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

CLARK WOMAN DIES FOLLOWING CAMPUS PANCAKE-EATING CONTEST
Caitlin Nelson was pronounced dead several days after choking during a campus pancake-eating contest at Sacred Heart University. Susan Bonnell of TAP into Clark says witnesses saw Nelson eat up to five pancakes before she collapsed to the floor and began shaking uncontrollably. Police were unable to resuscitate her by the time they arrived on the scene, calling her death “a tragic accident.”

A TRESTLE PROBLEM IN OCEAN COUNTY
The trestle spanning Cedar Creek that connects Berkeley and Lacey townships has been a popular creek jumping location and local landmark for generations, but Chris Lundy and Catherine Galioto of Micromedia Publications say residents have recently noticed an increase in litter, drug paraphernalia, and other remnants of late night parties. Local police have put up “No Trespassing” signs in an attempt to curtail the deterioration of the once-beautiful trestle, but their efforts don’t seem to be having much of an effect.

WESTFIELD BOARD OF HEALTH DISCUSSES INCREASE IN LYME DISEASE
Lyme disease is on the rise in Westfield, according to the latest nursing report reviewed at the Westfield board of health meeting this week. Leah Scalzadonna of TAP into Westfield says the disease is expected to surge this year, and the prime suspect is the white-footed mouse – the biggest carrier of infected ticks – which is expected to increase in population this season.

‘RISKY’ AND TRANSFORMATIVE, CAMBRIA HOTEL GETS GREEN LIGHT IN MORRISTOWN
After more than three hours of testimony, along with six meetings spanning the course of a year, the Morristown planning board on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposal to build the Cambria Hotel in downtown Morristown, just a block away from the historic Morristown Green. Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green (the local news outlet of the same name) says the Cambria will be Morristown’s third hotel and the first new hotel in decades, a project that the mayor called “risky.”

SOUTH BRUNSWICK PREPARES TO MOVE FORWARD FOLLOWING MAYOR’S DEATH
South Brunswick officials and municipal political parties are preparing to move forward following last week’s death of Frank Gambatese, South Brunswick’s longest serving mayor. Charles Kim of TAP into South Brunswick-Cranbury says there will be a special election in November to fill Gambatese’s vacant seat for the duration of his unexpired term of one year.

NEWARK SCHOOL BOARD RACE HEATS UP WITH COMPETING FACTIONS
The dynamic of the Newark school board election shifted earlier this week after Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins announced that she will endorse former Newark Public Schools Acting Superintendent Deborah Terrell. Mark Bonamo of TAP into Newark says the move to create an informal ticket pits Chaneyfield against Mayor Ras Baraka and the rest of her colleagues on the City Council, all of whom are supporting the Newark Unity Slate.

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