Archive: March, 2012
After a decade of fighting Camden over outstanding tax liens it claims are unfair, Unity Community Center, the city's award-winning youth performing-arts group, finally celebrated a victory last week.
But the joy might not last long.
At last week's City Council meeting, President Frank Moran, following the lead of Councilman Brian Coleman, initiated "canceling interest and fees" for the tax liens on 1427 and 1429 Haddon Ave., a 7,000-square-foot property intended to be a multipurpose arts center for the nationally recognized group.
Please note correction: Tuesday, March 27.
The Volunteers of America Delaware Valley will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for Home for the Brave, a 30-bed facility with housing and support services for homeless veterans.
The center, at 271 Atlantic Ave., adjacent to the VOA’s transitional living Aletha Wright Center, is expected to be complete in early fall.
Camden school board president Susan Dunbar-Bey was thrilled when she received a call a couple of months ago saying millionaire businessman Lewis Katz wanted to talk about helping the district.
Dunbar-Bey was prepared to discuss the Camden High football field renovation and construction of a new Lanning Square Elementary School.
"We figured if he wanted to help us, those were our needs," Dunbar-Bey said Thursday.
Camden County Schools Superintendent Peggy Nicolosi and Mayor Dana L. Redd are co-hosting a forum to discuss the improvement of public school education in Camden.
The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Adventure Aquarium. Though the flyer does not provide an agenda, some board members were told there will be a 2-minute limit per person. (For the record-- City Council meetings have a 3-minute limit per speaker)
In a letter to David G. Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center which represents urban districts, the state Department of Education states that the public forum is part of the state's Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) assessment. State DOE officials want to hear the public's concerns with the district.
The likely influx of charter schools to the Camden School District in September has some school board members worried.
At Wednesday night’s budget meeting (yes, another one), a few members complained about the increase in charter schools taking away money from the district schools. The board is predicting that $56.5 million of the school’s $314 million budget will go to fund the city’s charter schools in 2012-13, compared to $43 million this year.
The city currently has seven charter schools, and six are planning to open in September, pending final state approval.
Six Camden agencies that help the city’s at-risk youth, homeless and parolee populations received a boost this week in the form of federal and state grants.
The New Jersey Department of State announced Wednesday that its Office of Faith-Based Initiatives would distribute $1.2 million to organizations dedicated to serving the Garden State’s “most vulnerable” residents. The recipients are:
Hopeworks ’N Camden and the Hispanic Family Center. $25,000 each for services to support at-risk youth, including gang prevention programs, homework assistance and tutoring, and promoting entrepreneurial initiatives.
As I reported Monday, Lanning Square residents are unlikely to get the new elementary school they have been promised for nearly a decade — at least anytime soon.
They are very frustrated with the situation, and some have teamed up to form the Friends of Lanning Square School. Others are circulating a survey and have been canvassing the neighborhood for opinions on what people want at this point.
“They just want a school, whatever comes first,” said neighborhood activist Sheila Davis, who, along with companions, went out Saturday and interviewed 175 people. They plan to go out again to collect more feedback.
The funeral for former Camden Mayor Melvin “Randy” Primas Jr. on Friday was a Who’s Who of Camden politicians.
Former mayor Gwendolyn Faison, current mayor Dana L. Redd, about half of City Hall — council members, departments heads and longtime secretaries — and hundreds more packed St. John Baptist Church in East Camden.
Then there were the state and county politicos, virtually all of them Democrats: former Gov. Jim Florio, U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews, Sen. Donald Norcross, Assemblyman Whip Wilson, Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash and more.