Monday, December 22, 2014

POSTED: Friday, August 8, 2014, 4:24 PM
Image: Village Green Preservation Society

Young preservationists in Woodbury are battling the proposed demolition of a battered but historic former hotel  on the Cooper Street gateway to downtown.

"Woodbury is rapidly losing what makes it a destination, which is historic buildings -- and the vibe they create," says Bryan Bonfiglio, of the Village Green Preservation Society.  "The city doesn't need more surface parking lots."  

Mayor Bill Volk says the city has worked with groups such as the Woodbury Olde City Restoration Committee to try and save the vacant Green Hotel since last year. But no buyer or other interested party with resources to rehabilitate the deteriorating structure has come forward. And the mayor says he's prepared to approve a demolition application scheduled to come before the city planning and zoning board August 20.

POSTED: Thursday, August 7, 2014, 7:44 PM
Photo: NJ Poverty Reality

Camden will inspect the vacant, city owned Radio Lofts building in the wake of safety concerns raised by a local blogger.

In a post headlined 'Downtown Danger,'  the NJ Poverty Reality blog published photos of cracked exterior brickwork, warped window frames, and material it said has fallen from the onetime RCA Building #8 at 2nd and Cooper streets.

"The building is solid," says city business administrator Robert Corrales, adding that personnel nevertheless will  take a look and make a report. He adds there is no reason to believe the structure is in danger of collapsing, as the blog suggests.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 2:21 PM
Courtesy of Reel East Film Festival

Premiering soon at the landmark Ritz Theatre in Haddon Township, NJ: The Reel East Film Festival.

The August 22 and 23 event will highlight esteemed indy cinema pioneer John Sayles, who will host a screening of his latest movie,  Go For Sisters. Short films, documentaries such as Going Attractions and Brotherhood of the Popcorn,  and classics -- including Alfred Hitchock's 'The Lodger,'  with live musical accompaniment -- also will be on the bill. And musician Juston Stens (Dr. Dog, the Get Real Gang) will be on hand to present his autobiographical road film, I Lay Where I Fall.

The festival aims to showcase work by New Jerseyans such as Sayles and Stens, and will celebrate the Garden State's other contributions to cinema,  says organizer Irv Slifkin.  A film teacher, journalist and author (Filmadelphia)  who lives in Delran, Slifkin is among the half dozen volunteers behind the festival.


POSTED: Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 11:26 AM
Rendering courtesy of Welcome Market & Cafe

Collingswood,  home to a thriving farmers' market and a lively restaurant scene -- but no supermarket  --  may soon add two locally owned food stores to its bustling downtown.

The Welcome Market & Cafe expects to open at 712 Haddon Ave. next month. "The concept is to bring great, locally sourced and other food to a town that really values it," says entrepreneur Eli  Massar, who is opening the 2,000 square foot store with business partner, Chris Thomas. "Collingswood and the surrounding areas have been starving, pun intended, for alternatives and options."

As my Inquirer colleague Clark Mindock reports, a second grocer -- McFarlan's Market, of Merchantville -- plans to  open on the opposite side of the avenue if the borough commission votes Sept. 2 to approve a development plan for the former National Food Stores building.  Meanwhile, efforts to establish a Collingswood food co-op continue as well.

POSTED: Thursday, July 24, 2014, 11:49 AM
About 60 people attended Tuesday's public discussion of whether Haddon Heights, NJ should allow restaurant liquor sales. Photo by Kevin Riordan

One of South Jersey's dwindling number of 'dry' towns is considering whether to license restaurant liquor sales.

So far, the public discussion in Haddon Heights has been as congenial as the Camden County borough itself. About 60 people attended a special borough council hearing Tuesday, but most of those who spoke seemed more concerned about the licensing process than the prospect of breaking with an 81-year-old tradition.

Not so the aptly named, gentlemanly teetotaler Jerry Drinkwater, 74, who urged the council not to allow liquor sales, period.  "We already have a B.Y.O.B. system in town...and I think that''s as far as we ought to go," the retired salesman said. "There's plenty of liquor around in other towns."

POSTED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 10:50 AM
The State Capitol buliding stands in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is planning to seize control of Harrisburg's finances even as City Council members seek bankruptcy for the capital in an effort to ward off state action. Photographer: Paul Taggart (Bloomberg)
A roundup of Tuesday's Philadelphia Inquirer headlines:

“Ethics board opens sting inquiry: The case of four Pa. legislators allegedly recorded taking money is to be scrutinized.”

“Judges’ fate is now in jury’s hands: Ex-Traffic Court jurists accused of fixing tickets.”

POSTED: Thursday, July 3, 2014, 10:24 AM
Gov. Corbett (right) and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley discuss the state budget, which Corbett has yet to sign, at a news conference Sunday. BRADLEY C. BOWER / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Our quote of the day comes from none other than Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

After a long contentious battle over school funding, where Philadelphia Democrats begged Harrisburg to enact a $2-a-pack tax that would be levied only against city smokers, a no-brainer in any other political climate, the House finally passed the measure late Wednesday. This came after Corbett said over the weekend, "I would encourage the delegation, the Democrat delegation, from the city of Philadelphia ... to give the votes to get a pension bill done so they can get a cigarette tax done so they can get additional funding for the school district of Philadelphia," adding "It's in their hands." The statement was met with outrage and derision by the Philadelphia delegation and Mayor Nutter.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 4:15 PM

A Camden-based blog called Local Knowledge continues to attract thoughtful, impassioned posts about the city's past and future.

Two recent contributions in particular -- one from a person identified only as "SB," the other from educator Keith Benson --  have given rise to an online conversation about the shortcomings of Camden's approach to redevelopment.  The posts were sparked by the recent announcement of an $82 million, state tax credit-funded practice facility for the 76ers that will rise on the Camden Waterfront.

Benson, who teaches in the city and is studying for his Ph.d in education at Rutgers-Camden, says those in power seek to attract "outsiders" to Camden while ignoring the needs of longtime residents.  "SB" is less troubled by so-called gentrification, but lambastes the typical Camden development as an oversubsidized "smoke and mirrors" exercise.

About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

Kevin Riordan Inquirer Columnist
Daniel Rubin Inquirer Columnist
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected