Archive: September, 2012
The Camden Board of Education, in a move that surprised everyone including its own members, rejected all four proposals to build renaissance schools in the city.
The early morning decision (just after midnight) came after a closed session meeting in which the board discussed the four applications.
The proposals for Ben Franklin Academy, Camden Center for Youth Development and Universal Company were voted down by every member.
As I reported Sunday, Camden’s police overtime costs are surging this year, in part, as the result of a “secondary employment contract” requiring city police to patrol special events at the Susquehanna Bank Center. But the center is only one of dozens of city entities with such a contract.
The police department’s deployment flexibility has made it appealing to many businesses in the city, including the so-called Eds and Meds. Cooper University Hospital, for example, switched earlier this year from using the Camden County Sheriff’s Department for patrol to contracting with the city’s police department.
“Changing over to city police provided is the ability to have 24-hour coverage and more officers,” Cooper Hospital spokeswoman Lori Shaffer said.
The recently released Census figures paint a grim picture of Camden. One that is worse than the year before.
According to the new estimates, Camden is the poorest city in the country with a poverty rate of 42.5 percent. The rate for children living in poverty in Camden was even higher with a rate of 56.7 percent.
Other stark statistics included Camden’s median income in 2011 was $21,191, the lowest among the 555 cities and places surveyed. It was a huge drop from Camden’s median income in 2010 of $28,720.
Residents in North Camden will have a full-service car repair shop in their neighborhood next year thanks to a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to the nonprofit human-services agency Respond Inc.
Respond, which operates an auto-tech program in North Camden, will convert a 4,000-square-foot storage room on 8th amd Erie streets to a shop. Respond executive director Wilbert Mitchell expects many of its 15 employees to be graduates of the agency’s program.
Many trainees are high school dropouts who lacked job skills, said Mitchell, who believes the program and shop are integral to the revitalization of North Camden.
Wet, the street name for marijuana dipped in the hallucinating drug PCP, has been around in Camden for at least a decade. But only recently has it received so much attention, not just from the media but from local and state officials.
In less than three weeks, two children have been killed by adults alleged to be “wet.” (Read here)
At Tuesday’s City Council caucus, president Frank Moran introduced a resolution asking state legislators to consider changing statutes or do whatever is needed to penalize people dealing wet.