Archive: January, 2012
Anyone looking for a new house that’s near a waterfront and small park and designed to use at least 20 percent less water look no further than Camden.
The city will soon be the site of the first urban, single-home community in the nation to boast an Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense certification, officials announced today.
Construction of 10 two-story homes, each with three bedrooms, will begin in the Cramer Hill section in March, according to Manny Delgado, executive director of the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation, which is the project developer. The price of a house: $155,000.
Camden’s local hip-hop scene has produced what they have called “Camden Anthem.”
The 6-minute song, LISTEN HERE, led by Big Lou and various other local rappers, touches on everything from drugs and violence to politics.
“Once a proud city of 80,000 deep, now a brittle shell of what it used to be,” one raps, comparing Camden’s ruins to the Mayan's.
Camden County is the newest member of the bilingual club in New Jersey.
Because of the high number of Latinos in Camden County (not just city) who don’t speak English well enough to participate in the electoral process, the federal government has sent the county a letter stating it must provide all voting information in English and Spanish.
Camden joins Cumberland, Essex, Middlesex, Passaic, Union, and Bergen in having ballots in both languages, having Spanish-speaking poll workers and other voting information. Across the river, Philadelphia County also has been doing this for some time (although the city did get sued for not following the rules a few years ago-- read settlement here. )Camden City is the only municipality that has been providing voting information in English and Spanish for many years, said John Schmidt, aide at the County Clerk’s office. But now that more than 10,000 voting-age citizens with limited English proficiency are spread all over Camden County and not concentrated in Camden City, the whole county has to follow the city's lead. For example, Cherry hill saw a 125 percent increase, to 4,005, in its Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010, according to census figures.
Lanning Square School bus stops continue to lack safety measures and other Camden School Board meeting highlights
ICYMI, highlights of Tuesday evening's Camden School Board meeting:
Two of the four people who addressed the Camden school board last night wanted to talk about the Lanning Square School(s), specifically the lack of a proper school and how young students are still waiting for the bus without any security or crossing guards.
Lanning Square is the elementary school that was found structurally unsafe and in need of demolition and whose students sent to Fetters and Broadway schools. The neighborhood was promised a new school, but it hasn’t happened. See my story here.
- 9:00am on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at Our Lady of Lourdes old Nursing School Auditorium (Vesper Blvd)/ contact Mayor Office 856.757.7200
The state Department of Education and Camden Mayor Redd are losing patience with the lack of progress in the Camden School District.
The list of failures is long, starting with low graduation rates, high drop-out rates, and the 23 schools (out of a total 26 in the district) that were placed on the state’s new priority list, which features the worst 70 schools in the state. Those schools on the list will likely see intense state intervention next school year.
“We need all hands on deck,” Redd said yesterday when I asked her about her plans to turn the tide in the school district. Many in the district are saying the current leadership is not working (check out my story Tuesday). The state chimed in too.
After several months of being out on medical leave, Camden School District Superintendent Bessie LeFra Young says she is planning to return to her post Feb. 1.
"I should be in full-form when I get back," Young told me over the weekend when reached at home.
Young's return will be up for a vote at the School Board's Tuesday meeting.
A man who founded a nonprofit to help minority students further their education. A great-grandfather walks Town Watch in one of Camden’s toughest neighborhoods. And a nun who annually honors Camden’s homicide victims.
These three Camden City residents will be among 13 Camden County residents honored tonight with at a county Freedom Medal ceremony. The award was established in 2011 to recognize civic leaders who demonstrate the ideals of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Atnre Alleyne, along with his wife, Tatiana, co-founded Teen SHARP (Successful in High-Achieving and Reaching their Potential). The program, designed for minorities ages 10 through 17 in Philadelphia and South Jersey, offers academic guidance, college assistance and summer preparation. The idea is to “increase college awareness and student leadership,” said Alleyne, 27, who has lived in Camden’s Cooper Plaza neighborhood since attending Rutgers-Camden for his master’s degree in public administration and political science in 2007. Since Teen SHARP’s inception in 2009, Mr. Alleyne has raised almost $15,000 to take students on tours of colleges from New York to Washington, DC.
What is now a half-acre of dried grass in East Camden could be transformed into a community garden by later this year.
At Tuesday night’s school board work session, Camden City Garden Club founder and Children’s Garden executive director Mike Devlin presented a plan to beautify (and yummify) a vacant plot at 29th and Cramer Streets that the Camden Board of Education has owned for more than 50 years. James Garfield School occupied the site for several decades until it burned down in 1960, according to a local historical website.
The school board will vote on leasing the land to the garden club at Tuesday’s meeting. The half-acre lot Devlin wants for the community garden is assessed at $70,000 but would be leased at a nominal rate to the nonprofit.
In case you missed it, I wrote about Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd’s first two years in office in Sunday’s Inquirer and my colleague Kevin Riordan followed up with a column in today’s paper in which he takes a closer look at Redd’s relationship with her Chief of Staff Novella Hinson, wife of the late Teddy Hinson, Redd’s longtime mentor.
One of the several items or vignettes that did not make it into my Sunday story was one about whom Redd goes to for advice. I asked Redd to name her closest advisers because I thought Hinson would be one of those Redd confides in or looks to for counsel when making decisions about Camden.
Her answer was surprising at first.