Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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
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
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
POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 4:55 PM

Despite living in the poorest city in the country, students at Ulysses S. Wiggins Family School have been fund-raising to help even poorer kids in Africa.

Since September, students at Wiggins in Camden’s Bergen Square neighborhood have been learning about the global water crisis and raising money for a clean water project in Tanzania.

On Friday, the youths will host a “water walk” to raise awareness of the lack of clean water in many developing countries, as well as raise money to help one Tanzania school.

Claudia Vargas @ 4:55 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 7:46 PM

While poverty and urban history experts spoke at Rutgers-Camden’s forum Monday on poverty in America and in particular Camden, the city’s mayor put out a news release on Camden’s new business curfew.

“Similar to our surrounding suburban neighbors, Camden does not need to be open into the late night hours,” Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd said in her statement about the new 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. hours of operation in the city.

Though Redd was not in attendance at Monday’s forum —— meant to address how Camden got to be where it is today, the poorest and most dangerous city in America and how to change that —— her comment could have fit perfectly in the conversation.

Claudia Vargas @ 7:46 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2013, 11:54 AM

Rutgers-Camden professors are hosting a forum to discuss poverty in America and in particular Camden.

The challenge for Camden, the challenge for America forum, which requires pre-registration, will be held today between 1 and 5 p.m. I will be live tweeting from it, so follow me @InqCVargas.

As I wrote earlier this year, Camden seems to be in worse shape now than ever before. In 2012, Camden was named poorest city in the country as well as the city with the highest crime rate in the country, a title formerly known as the "most dangerous city" in the CQ Press analysis and rankings.

Claudia Vargas @ 11:54 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, April 18, 2013, 11:45 PM

In a nearly three-hour question and comment marathon, Camden residents -- many with political aspirations or with union agendas – spoke about almost everything in education but hardly touched on the actual state takeover during Thursday’s town hall meeting to address the future of Camden schools.

Thursday night’s forum, which attracted about 200 people at Fairview’s Malandra Hall, was the first in what is to be a series of meetings for the community to address the changes coming to the school district. State Department of Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf and Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd answered some questions and made their own remarks.

Redd started the meeting by prefacing that the meeting was not to point fingers because “we all have a responsibility” in providing a well-rounded education to Camden youth.

Claudia Vargas @ 11:45 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, April 15, 2013, 6:02 PM

New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Chris Cerf and Camden Mayor Dana Redd will host a joint town hall meeting in Camden Thursday to discuss the future of the city’s schools. The meeting is expected to be part of a series  of meetings the Department of Education staff will host with the Camden community to discuss the next steps in the state takeover of the district.

The Camden community is invited to attend Thursday's meeting to share their thoughts on changes they would like to see in the city’s schools, what challenges they see for the future, and how the Department and community can work together to ensure Camden’s students are prepared for college and careers upon graduation.

If you go: 

Claudia Vargas @ 6:02 PM  Permalink | 0
About this blog
Julia Terruso started covering Camden and its residents, agencies, government and school district in September 2013. Previously, she worked at the Newark Star-Ledger covering the criminal justice system in Essex County and prior to that Union County.

Julia is a proud graduate of Syracuse University, originally from the Philadelphia area. Email tips, concerns and story ideas to or reach her at 856-779-3876 or on Twitter @juliaterruso. Reach Julia at .

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