Tuesday, September 1, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 12:02 PM

At Tuesday’s Camden school board meeting, the new superintendent was the topic du jour, with some residents and teachers expressing their frustration to the board.

“It’s an insult to the Camden community when there are equally and more qualified candidates (in the district) who weren’t considered,” Keith Walker said of the superintendent selection process. Interim superintendent Peggy Nicolosi led the meeting.

Teacher union president Laverne Harvey complained about teachers and principals being held at a higher standard than Paymon Rouhanifard, who holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science and is not a certified principal or superintendent. Rouhanifard was not at the Tuesday's meeting.

Claudia Vargas @ 12:02 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, August 23, 2013, 10:16 AM

In addition to the water slides and other amenities the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden's Cramer Hill neighborhood will have once completed next year, visitors will also enjoy an exotic fish exhibit.

The community center on Thursday received a $25,000 donation from Adventure Aquarium, of which $15,000 will go toward a 7' by 4' fish exhibit featuring marine creatures from around the world. The other $10,000 will go toward the  Building Hope and Changing Lives campaign, which is the main fund for the $90 million project, slated to be completed next year. 

The 120,000 square-foot facility is expected to create 160 new jobs and will feature a fitness center, an eight-lane competition pool and water park, a chapel, a black box theater and dance studio. It also features indoor and outdoor basketball courts and ball fields.

Claudia Vargas @ 10:16 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, August 22, 2013, 9:31 AM

The New Jersey State Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting Monday to vote on Gov. Christie's selection for Camden superintendent.

Paymon Rouhanifard, 32, of New York, was announced Wednesday as Christie's pick for the next Camden school chief. The state board is expected approve the selection.

Since it is a state-run district, the state board will also set Rouhanifard's salary. One state board approval is complete, Rouhanifard will begin his job as head of the most troubled district in the state. 

Claudia Vargas @ 9:31 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, August 19, 2013, 12:18 PM

Moorestown Township Council will hold a public hearing tonight in a controversial move to increase the political campaign-contributions threshold for businesses looking to contract with the township.

The campaign contribution limits currently in the Moorestown code are similar to those set forth in Camden's pay-to-play ordinance. The ordinance, if passed, would increase the amount a business entity could donate from $300 in the year preceding a given contract to $2,600. It would also increase the maximum amount allowed to be donated to Moorestown Township party committees or to any political action committee (PAC) to $7,200, up from $300 and $500 respectively.

Moorestown current law and suggested changes have been criticized by campaign-finance-reform advocate the Citizens Campaign.

Claudia Vargas @ 12:18 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 1:47 PM

The Camden County Superior Court Assignment Judge nominated to replace Republican Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens, made not one but two decisions earlier this year that some say was crucial to the county moving forward with its police force.

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, in 2012 Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina ruled against putting the matter of disbanding the Camden police to create a county police department before voters in a special summer election.

But a few months prior to that decision, Fernandez-Vina also shot down an attempt by the Camden Fraternal Order of Police to get an injunction and halt the creation of the county police force. As my colleague Darran Simon reported in April, in denying the injunction, Fernandez-Vina did not rule on the FOP’s argument that the county and city's plan create the new force violated shared-services requirements because a shared service agreement is not yet in place.

Claudia Vargas @ 1:47 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 9:22 AM

Camden County Superior Court Assignment Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina, who Gov. Christie nominated Monday to the state Supreme Court bench, has ruled with Camden City on two controversial cases.

As my colleague Matt Katz reported in today’s Inquirer, the Cuban-born judge helped pave the way for the controversial new Camden County police force.  He also ruled on the long-delayed and debated city business curfew.

In April, Fernandez-Vina upheld the city's business curfew ordinance passed in 2011, which was legally challenged by a city activist, some take-out restaurant owners and 7-Eleven.

Claudia Vargas @ 9:22 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, August 12, 2013, 6:07 PM

Teenagers who end up being treated at the Children's Regional Hospital at Cooper University Hospital in Camden will soon have more than just a bedroom TV to keep entertained.

A $30,000 grant from the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation and the Ravitz Family Foundation will support the creation of a teen lounge for patients at the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper.

“We are thrilled to accept this generous grant,” Robyn Harvey, senior director of patient care services, said in a statement. “This grant will enable us to create a safe, fun and interactive environment suitable for our adolescent patients.”

Claudia Vargas @ 6:07 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 12:35 PM
(Photo by April Saul)

Starting this week, the dance and drill team will practice at the Walt Whitman Arts Center next to Rutgers-Camden. The center is opening its doors free of rent and fees to Sophisticated Sisters, who garnered national attention this year for the positive influence the group has on its members, ages 3 to 18.

Team members performed this year on Dancing With the Stars and Good Morning America, where they received a shout-out from Beyoncé.

Claudia Vargas @ 12:35 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 asteele@philly.com, call 856-779-3876, or reach out on Twitter @AESteele.

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