Sunday, February 7, 2016

Archive: April, 2012

POSTED: Monday, April 30, 2012, 6:27 PM

What was a plain second-floor lab and study room for Rutgers-Camden early childhood development students has been transformed into a library at the John S. and James L. Knight Early Learning Research Academy. 

The academy, which is on Rutgers’ campus and part of the LEAP Academy University Charter School, received a $10,000 donation from the PNC Bank Foundation to build the library, which formally opened Monday. 

The Grow up Great Library at ELRA is the sixth PNC employees have created at early-learning centers in the region as part of the bank’s 20-year, $350 million investment in early childhood education. The employees assembled shelves, decorated the interior, and prepared reading corners. More than 1,100 books, including volumes in Spanish, were collected through an employee book drive.

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POSTED: Friday, April 27, 2012, 8:17 PM

A 36-year-old Camden man, who police say was a bystander, was shot and killed early Friday inside the Crown Fried Chicken restaurant on the corner of Broadway and Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Another man, a 22-year-old Camden resident, was shot in the incident.

According to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, an altercation broke out at the restaurant about 5 a.m. between the shooter, his friend, and a group of other men. The homicide victim, whose name has not been released, was sitting in a booth with a woman during the fight. Once the incident turned violent, the pair attempted to escape, and the man was struck by a stray bullet. The shooter and his friend were observed fleeing in a new model pickup truck.

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POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012, 6:56 PM

Six weeks after threatening to sue the state Department of Education, the Education Law Center, which advocates for New Jersey's poor school districts, pulled the trigger.

On Wednesday, it filed a lawsuit against the state for what it calls a failure by the state to promptly review and approve hundreds of emergency repair projects in urban school buildings, including dozens in Camden.

"ELC filed the action on behalf of the thousands of children who, as a result of the DOE’s inaction, are attending school in buildings with unsafe, unhealthy and dangerous conditions, including leaky roofs; crumbing facades; and inadequate heating, fire safety and other basic systems," the center wrote in a statement.

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POSTED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 12:08 PM

The Camden school board, which thought it would have a role shaping new kinds of schools coming to the city, balked last night at the first step along the way.

The board ultimately rejected a “request for proposals” (RFP) for Renaissance Schools projects -- publicly funded (95 percent of per-pupil tax dollars) but privately run schools -- after it was told it would be voting on a basic and not final version.

Unless the board holds a special meeting to approve a final version of the RFP, the plan to have at least one Renaissance School open by fall 2013 could be delayed.

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POSTED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 6:34 PM

Good thing tax appeal season is over.

Camden tax assessor Frank Librizzi abruptly resigned Apr. 14 (though since that’s a Saturday, the city is saying Apr. 13 as the official day).

Librizzi, who’s been the city’s go-to tax guy for several years, turned in a handwritten note on a ruled sheet of paper, dated April 14, that simply read:

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POSTED: Monday, April 23, 2012, 7:40 PM

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd appointed two new members to the Board of Education last week and reappointed Barbara Coscarello.

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POSTED: Thursday, April 5, 2012, 9:04 PM

Our media company is transitioning to a new software system, Saxotech, and I have been in training all week. My apologies for not keeping up with the blog.

I will be on vacation for two weeks, returning April 23. Good thing is I will come back refreshed and ready to blog on a consistent basis. 

If anything major happens in Camden, I'm sure my colleagues will cover for me. So, be sure to keep up with's South Jersey page and our Camden in Crisis Facebook page.

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POSTED: Monday, April 2, 2012, 7:28 PM

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd, who has been very critical of the school district in recent months, will soon have more control of the district’s destiny.

Redd is seeking applicants to fill three school board seats — which means she will have appointed all nine members.

When the state takeover of Camden ended in January 2010, the power to pick all board members shifted to the mayor. Previously the governor and Camden's mayor each appointed three members. Three additional members were elected.

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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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