Archive: December, 2012
Everyone is doing a top XYZ of 2012, so here is my top 10 Camden stories of 2012. They are a combination of stories that graced our front pages or simply created a lot of buzz in the community.
No. 10- Pedro Hernandez
Camden is no stranger to national news, but this case brought some unexpected worldwide attention to little Camden. In May, authorities in New York said Pedro Hernandez, 51, who grew up in North Camden, had admitted to strangling 6-year-old Etan Patz and putting his body in the trash 33 years ago. Hernandez allegedly confessed to a prayer group at St. Anthony of Padua in the 1980s in Cramer Hill. His first wife, Daisy, still resides in Camden. Hernandez pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and is awaiting trial.
No. 9- Joseph D. Carruth
Joseph D. Carruth, whom the board terminated as principal of Dr. Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts High School in 2006, returned to the district in August as principal on special assignment.
Carruth, 44, sued under the state’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act, alleging that the district fired him for publicly reporting in 2005 that he was asked to tamper with students’ state test scores. He was awarded an $860,000 settlement last year. He is now working with the district’s safety and security department reviewing bullying and intimidation guidelines and security protocols at the schools.
A week after a shooter entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and gunned down 20 children and six adults, the National Rifle Association announced that the best way to prevent a recurrence "of this unspeakable crime" is to have an armed police officer at every school throughout the country.
As my colleague, Carolyn Davis, reported in today’s Inquirer most school and political leaders in the Philadelphia region disagreed with the NRA’s suggestion.
But Camden’s school district executive director of safety and security Gaylen Conley, who used to work in the Philadelphia School District, said Friday that schools and malls are the “lowest protected” places and the most targeted for mass shootings.
Instead of celebrating Christmas with their families this year, thousands of Camdenites will be behind bars, in county jails or state prisons.
A city nonprofit group is trying to collect enough toys and money to host a Christmas party for the children of incarcerated parents.
The Camden Dream Center, a faith-based reentry, mentoring and support program affiliated with Evangelism Today Christian Church on Mt. Ephraim Avenue, is hosting a toy drive this week to give 50 children “gifts their parents would wish for them to have,” said Pastor Keith Davis.
Financial donations are being accepted to cover the cost of the party, which will include live music.
The plan to transfer the 16-acre plot where the Riverfront State Prison once stood to the state Economic Development Authority is one signature away from becoming a reality.
A bill sponsored by State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden) and Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D., Camden) asking to sell the prison property to the EDA for $1 passed in the legislature earlier today and was sent to Gov. Christie for final approval.
"The Riverfront Prison has been a dangerous blight on Camden's waterfront for too long," Norcross said in a statement. "We can begin the process of replacing the site with development that will bring jobs and ratables to the city."
Since adopting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national policy for healthier school meals earlier this year, the Camden School District has been serving more fruits and vegetables.
But students were still getting their fill of pizza, giant soft pretzels and cookies at various fund-raising events after school.
Not any more.
Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd will be hosting the 3rd Annual City of Camden Holiday Celebration starting at 4:30 p.m. today at Fountain Park on the waterfront.
Ceremonies will include the official tree lighting, music, Santa Claus and hot chocolate. The event is open to Camden children, their families and visitors.
WHO: Mayor Dana L. Redd; Santa Claus
My story in today’s Inquirer looks at the recent flurry of naming of buildings throughout the city, in particular the Theodore “Teddy” Hinson Waterfront Garage.
Hinson’s name joins a list of local politicians who have recently been honored with a building. The late Mayor Melvin R. Primas and former state Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez have also had the honor this year.
But one dignitary is balking at accepting a similar honor.
It’s not quite a winter wonderland yet (hello, 60-degree weather!) but the Camden District Council Collaborative Board is hosting its second annual Holiday Enchantment Festival from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at Johnson Park, corner of 2nd and Cooper streets on the Camden Waterfront.
The festival will include a holiday concert and a park lighting ceremony, as well as an appearance from Santa.