Saturday, August 1, 2015

POSTED: Friday, May 10, 2013, 5:58 PM

The nation's 175,000 letter carriers will pick up non-perishable food left by mailboxes on Saturday, May 11, to deliver it to local food banks, as part of Campbell Soup Company and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Stamp Out Hunger campaign.

The Stamp Out Hunger food drive benefits Feeding America, a domestic hunger-relief organization. In 2012, more than 70 million pounds of food were donated by 10,000 communities, helping to put millions of meals on the tables of Americans in need.

In honor of the initiative's 21st anniversary, Campbell's will contribute one million pounds of food and 21,000 cans to Feeding America, according to the company's news release.

Claudia Vargas @ 5:58 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 9, 2013, 6:48 PM

The news and chatter out of Tuesday’s Camden Board of Education meeting was who was laid off.

But given the state’s intervention plan, which the board agreed to last month, it was also interesting to see who was reappointed for the 2013-2014 school year.

Three top administrators, whose positions are expected to be abolished by the state once it takes over, were saved by the board. For the next several weeks at least, Andrea Gonzalez-Kirwin, Patricia Kenny and John C. Oberg will remain in their respective administrative positions.

Claudia Vargas @ 6:48 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 12:09 PM

Should the public have the right to know where public officials live?

This is an argument I just lost with the New Jersey Government Records Council.

A recent state analysis of my case against the New Jersey Department of Education showed that public officials should have “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Except that the state Government Records Council executive director Brandon D. Minde uses “citizens,” not “public officials” in his “reasonable expectation of privacy” decision.

Claudia Vargas @ 12:09 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, May 6, 2013, 9:13 AM
At the Boys and Girls Club of Camden, the Sophisticated Sisters dance and drill troupe hold auditions for new members on 4/13/13. Here, member Germaine Trusty, 15, left; teaches Nyjai Grant, 11, the routine for the audition. ( APRIL SAUL / Staff )

Camden's now-famous drill team Sophisticated Sisters performed on Good Morning America earlier today as part of it's You're Not Dreaming series of inspirational stories.

The girls who were just on Dancing with the Stars last week, got another glimpse of fame Monday morning as they performed in front of a large live audience and millions of TV viewers. 

After dancing to Beyonce's "Get Me Bodied" outside of the GMA studios in New York, the girls were shown a video of a recent interview with Beyonce in which the diva says she was "inspired" by the sisters and wants to meet them.

Claudia Vargas @ 9:13 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, May 6, 2013, 6:56 PM

The secret to revitalizing New Jersey’s urban areas might be indebted college graduates.

A group of urban state legislators are proposing a bill that if signed by Gov. Christie would give $7,000 tuition reimbursement to young professionals who commit to live for two years within a designated neighborhood in either Camden, Trenton or Jersey City.

“This is to encourage young professionals to be part of the economic rebirth of the city,” said Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D- Camden), a co-sponsor of the bill making its way through the legislative process. (It just came out of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee with a 5-2 vote.)

Claudia Vargas @ 6:56 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, May 3, 2013, 7:16 PM

After my series of stories on the great lengths that LEAP Academy University Charter School went through to give the school’s chef a $24,000 raise, LEAP’s board of trustees said it was formally reviewing the matter.

“On February 22, the LEAP board announced that it was conducting its own independent review of this process. No comment will be made until that review is complete,” LEAP board treasurer Peter Burke said in a statement at the time.

Well, apparently there are recommendations for the board to consider. But the school is mute on what they are.

Claudia Vargas @ 7:16 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 2, 2013, 3:14 PM

After more than a decade of only socializing indoors and behind safe doors, Nicole Rome basked in the afternoon spring sun Wednesday in Fairview Village section of Camden, while chatting with her neighborhood friend Tiwanna Morris.

The two women sat on a cement pillar near Malandra Hall, where Gov. Christie and several high-ranking state, county and city officials celebrated the official start of the new Camden County Police Department.

The county force replaced the 184-year-old city department.

Claudia Vargas @ 3:14 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 5:29 PM

Co-founders of Teen SHARP (Successful in High-Achieving and Reaching their Potential) Atnre and Tatiana Alleyne were awarded the Alumni Civic Engagement award from Rutgers-Camden Tuesday evening.

The award, which was one of several at the 2013 Chancellor's Awards for Civic Engagement at Rutgers-Camden, recognizes individual alumni or groups of alumni for efforts and projects that benefit communities beyond the Rutgers campus in Camden and South Jersey.

Teen SHARP is an organization designed for minorities ages 10 through 17 in Philadelphia and South Jersey, offering academic guidance, college assistance and summer preparation. The idea is to “increase college awareness and student leadership,” Alleyne said in an interview last year.

Claudia Vargas @ 5:29 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

Allison Steele writes about Camden’s schools, government and businesses. Most importantly, she writes about the city’s residents. She is a former crime reporter who covered the Camden and Philadelphia police departments for the Inquirer. A Philly native, she has been with the Inquirer since 2008.

Send comments, tips and story ideas to, call 856-779-3876, or reach out on Twitter @AESteele.

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