Two lifelong Atlantic County residents who have worked in multiple capacities to improve the lives of their fellow citizens will be honored at Atlantic County's 25th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Birthday Celebration. The event, to be held at 11 AM on Friday, January 13 at the County Office Building, 1333 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King and recognize John McLernon, a licensed clinical social worker and Director, Community Relations and Social Services; and Kaleem Shabazz, community leader and president of Shabazz Associates.

McLernon is a resident of Northfield who started his career as an Atlantic City Press reporter detailing the social impact of the casino industry on county residents. In 1986 he joined Atlantic County government as a coordinator in the Office on Aging. He would later become a supervisor in the Adult Protective Services Unit where he helped protect residents from abuse, neglect and exploitation. As the coordinator of the Atlantic County Human Services Advisory Council he also helped identify services and funding to meet the unmet needs of county residents. Since 2001 he has served in his current position where he is responsible for administering emergency assistance programs and intervention to at-risk families in addition to implementing discharge planning services for inmates at the county jail that promote successful transitions upon their return to their communities and help to reduce recidivism.

"John embodies the principles upheld by Martin Luther King,” stated Dennis Levinson, Atlantic County Executive. “He continually provides an outstretched hand to lift people up, to encourage them to help themselves, and to embrace a better life. He is one of the most caring and compassionate people with whom I have had the pleasure to know and work. He has never turned his back on anyone.”

Kaleem Shabazz was born and raised in Atlantic City where he continues to reside today. He has devoted himself to many professional and civic organizations. He is the president of Shabazz and Associates and currently serves as a board member for the American Conference on Diversity and as vice president of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial organization. He is the former South Jersey Director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, a past member of the Martin Luther King Commission, and a co-founder of the local African-American Male Conference. He is also a past board member and Executive Director of the Atlantic City Art Center.

"Kaleem is synonymous with Atlantic City. There are very few Atlantic City initiatives that he has not been involved in, especially those that promote education and acceptance of cultural and ethnic diversity. He is well respected and truly dedicated to making a difference in his community and beyond,” said Levinson.

In addition to the presentation of the 2012 MLK Awards, the ceremony will feature a keynote address by Rev. Milton Hendricks, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Pleasantville and a past MLK award recipient.

This spring, Iron Chef Marc Forgione will join Revel at its 6.3-million-square-foot beachfront resort in Atlantic City with the opening of American Cut.  The announcement was made by Revel in partnership with LDV Hospitality, a leading hospitality group headquartered in New York City, and marks Chef Forgione’s first restaurant outside of his Michelin-starred, eponymously named outpost in New York City.  American Cut will pair Chef Forgione’s award-winning, modern and signature take on fine dining with the comforts of the new American steakhouse. 

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Revel is curating a collection of lifestyle experiences to appeal to enthusiasts of dining, design, entertainment and shopping, bringing a true resort option to the Northeast.  With the addition of Marc Forgione, Revel continues to bring together partners with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and gastronomic talent.  Each culinary partner at Revel has a vested interest in the resort and brings signature style from their regional restaurants in Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.

“American Cut gives me the opportunity to redefine and reset the bar for the American steakhouse experience,” said Executive Chef and Owner Marc Forgione.

The name American Cut is a nod to Marc’s father, Chef Larry Forgione, whose iconic New York City restaurant was called An American Place.  The space will feature approximately 300 seats, an energetic lounge, a grand meat bar and seafood raw bar, two private dining areas and a lively main dining room with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Guests at American Cut can look forward to an indulgent experience driven by Chef Forgione’s passion for locally influenced American cuisine, a sexy and vibrant ambiance and genuine hospitality. Signature items will include his take on the ultimate surf and turf – a show-stopping, 28-day aged, 48-ounce Tomahawk Rib Eye Chop served with his delicate yet fulfilling Chili Lobster dish – as well as his famed Chicken Under-A-Brick dish for two that he also serves at his New York City restaurant. The menu will also feature custom steakhouse cuts and seasonal side dishes accented by Chef Forgione’s critically acclaimed flair.

Brooklyn-based Crème Design will take premium steakhouse dining to the next level by combining modern design with Art Deco accents in an 11,000-square-foot space.  Upon arrival, guests are led toward the bar by a curving exterior glass window set upon a black and white marble floor with stacked grey stone walls and large-scale custom pendant lights. A monumental backdrop of dark stained wood showcases the bar offerings as well as tempers the daylight from the windows beyond.

Revel will be a complete entertainment destination encompassing more than a dozen other restaurants, three nightclubs, private beach club, more than 1,800 guest rooms, retail shops, a 31,000 square-foot spa, two theaters that seat 5,500 and 500 guests respectively and a 150,000-square-foot casino.  It will bring together offerings designed by top performers in daylife, nightlife, theatrical, spa, and experiential programming. To experience Revel and to see a glimpse of the future, visit