Camden's Council meeting Tuesday was mostly about the parking authority appointees and the people in favor and opposed. But here's a round up of some other issues that came up:
Council members approved, on first reading, an ordinance transferring land on Admiral Wilson Boulevard to the Camden Redevelopment Authority to become a ShopRite, scheduled to open in the fall of 2015. The project still needs approvals from the DRPA, which owns a portion of the land.
The former Pathmark is still scheduled to become a PriceRite and open in November. Camden, a city of 77,000 has been without a chain supermarket for more than a year.
Camden has more than 3,000 vacant buildings, according to a study done by CamConnect, a non-profit group that has embarked on a mission to map the city.
The group collected data on foot from each of the city’s 31,124 properties and then compared the findings with existing data from the city, post office, and state tax assessors.
The survey found 3,334 vacant buildings in the city.
Nearing his one-year anniversary as Superintendent of Camden Schools, Paymon Rouhanifard released a second progress report this week, describing improvements his office has made district-wide.
The report, released by the district, includes launched and completed initiatives to improve safety, infrastructure, teacher and principal training, student learning and pre-k enrollment.
Here's a look at some of the announced improvements:
Hippopotamuses Genny and Button - the largest residents at Adventure Aquarium - just got a $1 million upgrade to their shared home.
The two female hippos have spent their days grazing and wading in "Hippo Haven” since 2005 and remain the only hippos in an aquarium anywhere in the country (the large mammals are often found at zoos).
Starting May 29, the renovated exhibit officially opens with newly installed lighting, decorative flower and plant projections, an African inspired original musical score (think Lion King) and an upper viewing area to see the animals both up close and from above.
The principal of a middle school, which could be phased out of operation, appealed to the superintendent at Monday's school board meeting, asking him to merge the school with another public school.
Brian Medley, principal of Pyne Poynt Middle School, spoke at the heated meeting in which 272 people were laid off. He suggested Molina Elementary come to Pyne Poynt, to fill out the under-used building, rather than open the school to Mastery Schools, as is the current plan.
Administration officials have said no schools in the under-performing district will close in the 2014-2015 school year but said some could be phased out.
Not at my church.
That’s the attitude – described as both “pretty stupid” and “incredibly heroic,” that two ushers had when an armed robber grabbed the collection following mass and they ran after the suspect, recovering the money.
At about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, after one of the busiest masses of the year celebrating first communion for dozens of elementary age children, ushers Francisco Torres and Jose Garcia brought the canvas bag, holding the day’s collection to Brother Karl Koenig in the sacristy.
Webimax, an online marketing company employing 100 people - and hiring up to 100 more over the next two years - plans on moving from Mt. Laurel to the Camden waterfront.
Kenneth C. Wisnefski, CEO of the company, which was ranked New Jersey’s fastest growing business in 2012 by Inc. magazine, said he’s waiting on a final contract from the state, which he expects within the next week.
“We’ve never received any funds from the state and frankly our biggest concern was we move quickly, sign a lease, and they say these funds dried up – so once we get that final contract, barring any surprises, we’re locked and loaded,” he said.
Sara Davis, who served on Camden's school board for six terms - one of them as president - was notified this month she would not be reappointed. Mayor Redd appointed Brother Wasim Muhammad, a minister at the Nation of Islam Muhammad's Temple of Islam No. 20 to fill the seat.
Davis, a former teacher, has been an outspoken critic of state intervention and charter and renaissance schools, who fought to keep jobs in the district. Tonight will be her final meeting.
In the advisory board's vote earlier this year about whether to recommend the renaissance applications of Mastery and Uncommon Schools to the state, Davis was the only board member who voted no.