The sweet and buttery smell of the mac and cheese filtered through the door of the East Camden Boys & Girls Club Thursday night. Inside, more than 200 Camden club members (from Parkside and East Camden club houses) and their families lined up to get a plateful of mac and cheese, veggies, ham and turkey meat rolled around a ball of stuffing during the fourth annual Thanksgiving dinner for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Camden County family.
The dessert table was also divine with more than 200 beautifully decorated cupcakes.
All the food was donated by area caterers and supermarkets. Volunteers from Congregation Beth El in Voorhees and Impacting Your World Christian Center in Cherry Hill did most of the cooking and serving during Thursday’s feast.
A $5.1 million grant for Rowan University to expand its downtown Camden campus was approved Thursday by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) board.
The grant will go toward the university’s $13.5 million redevelopment of the former First Camden National Bank and Trust building, a university spokesman said. The university purchased the property through eminent domain in 2009. After a court battle with the building’s owner, Rowan was forced to pay $4.45 million for the building and annex.
Rowan’s Camden enrollment has doubled to more than 800 students in recent years, with classes held in a building shared with Camden County at Broadway and Cooper, kitty-corner from the old bank. The expansion will allow Rowan to increase enrollment to more than 1,000 and offer additional bachelor’s degree programs, specifically in the areas of urban research and education.
In its quest to make the Camden waterfront a premier attraction, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership is looking to get a $500,000 grant to attract a new restaurant for the area.
The development nonprofit is developing a $9 million three-story building across from the Ferry Terminal Building on the waterfront. The building will serve as the nonprofit’s new headquarter space but the ground floor will be reserved for 4,500-square-foot restaurant space.
Most of the funding for the building has been secured but Cooper’s Ferry is now asking for a $500,000 grant from the Camden’s Urban Enterprise Zone office, one of 37 in the state established to stimulate economic development in struggling urban areas. The request was up for a vote at Tuesday’s city council meeting but the resolution to approve the grant was tabled after questions were raised on the number of Camden residents the project would hire. The resolution is expected to be on again for the December council meeting.
South Jersey area high school students and their families are encouraged to attend Wednesday's Malcolm Bernard HBCU College Fair at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden.
The college fair will have admissions representatives from more than 40 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). Students and their families are invited to meet with representatuves and discuss their interests, admissions, scholarships, financial aid and more.
In the last two years, more than $1.32 million in scholarships and fee waivers were awarded and 980 students were admitted to college onsite, according to fair coordinator Jonathan Muse.
As I wrote in today's Inquirer, the push over the summer to get a nonpartisan election referendum question on today's ballot did not work out.
The city says activists turned the petition in too late. Activists say the city stalled in approving the petition.
The only two questions city residents will see on their ballots today are state questions, one of which asks whether Supreme Court and Superior Court judges should contributions be taken from their salaries to help pay to their employee benefits. The other question is on whether the state should issue bonds to help build higher education facilities.
The cash reward leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for a fire that killed two teenagers this summer has been increased to $2,500, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday.
The investigation into the deaths of Kenny Holmes Jr., 15, and his girlfriend, Qua'Nyrah Houston, 16, over the summer in a suspicious rowhouse fire has frustrated their family and friends. The County Prosecutor's Office initially offered a $1,000 reward for information to help determine what happened the morning of June 29, when Holmes and Houston were killed.
The popular teens died of smoke inhalation, apparently trying to escape from the rowhouse in the 1000 block of Thurman Street where Holmes lived.
As most cities in the region, Camden issued an emergency declaration and is shutting down its city hall, courts and school district Monday as it braces for the impact of Hurricane Sandy.
Mayor Dana L. Redd has declared a local disaster emergency, which restricts traffic in the city to essential personnel and necessary travel starting at 7:00 p.m. Sunday until further notice.
A Camden hotline has been set up - 856-968-4743 or 856-757-7630- for residents who need assistance with hurricane preparedness; to report any downed trees or power lines, flooded roads, flooded basements; etc.
In anticipation of Monday’s school board meeting (if it happens), the Camden Education Association president put out a feisty letter asking all members to show up and speak out against any more privately run and publicly funded schools in the city.
As I mentioned in my article in today’s Inquirer, officials involved with the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy proposal, which was rejected in September by the Camden Board of Education, were asked to attend Monday's board meeting. None of the people behind three other Renaissance proposals, also rejected Sept. 25, was invited to the meeting, but some plan to attend anyway.
The nine-member board unanimously rejected, with one abstention each, proposals for the Benjamin Franklin Academy, the Camden Center for Youth Development SMARTS Academy, and the Universal Cos. Renaissance School. The KIPP proposal was voted down, 4-4, with one abstention. The application - the most ambitious plan of the four by sketching a plan for a five-school campus - came from the partnership of the Norcross Foundation Inc., a charity created by the family of State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden) and his brother George E. Norcross III; the charitable foundation of Cooper, which George Norcross chairs; and one of the nation's largest charter-school operators, the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP). George Norcross is a managing partner of the company that owns The Inquirer.
In an effort to deter Camden kids from a criminal life on the streets, Rev. Sheila Jones will be hosting a ‘Reality Check’ seminar Saturday at St. John’s Born Again Church in East Camden.
The event, which will be held from noon to about 3 p.m. Saturday, will feature law enforcement and former convicts speaking to youth about the dangers of drugs, gangs and teen pregnancy.
Jones, who lost her son to drug violence in 2001, wants to dispel “the myth of street life,” which is an “it won’t happen to me” approach, she said.
More than 200 volunteers spent eight hours Saturday building a dream playground in Northgate Park for the North Camden neighborhood children.
The playground was build by KaBoom!, a national nonprofit promoting play for children, with the help of various local organizations such as Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties.
The new playground, which was designed with input from some neighborhood children, features a “slither slide” and a swing set. The 3,600-square-foot playground will serve more than 1,500 children, according to those involved in the project.