Perceptions of Camden are sometimes worse than the realities.
"Come see our waterfront, our magical Children's Garden...and all the great things doing on in our city," says Andrew Adams, public relations coordinator with the District Council Collaborative Board, which builds relationships between law enforcement and the community.
After some New Jersey municipalities banned the sale of alcohol in 1873, businesses sprung up along their borders to cater to the drinking population of dry towns, a situation that exists until this day.
For Haddonfield, one such place is on Haddon Avenue, just across the line in Westmont, home now to P.J. Whelihan’s but the former site of a dive known as the Haddon West.
Another is the point where Kress Liquor has been in operation for decades at Kresson and Haddonfield-Berlin Roads in Cherry Hill.
A seemingly cute pig on the run is the talk of Gloucester County. The porcine fugitive, purchased to be an unofficial mascot for Kingsway Regional High School and dubbed Dubbs, even has a Facebook page dedicated to his safe return
But there is a serious side to the story.
Escaped pigs become wild hogs and in the United States they cause an estimated $1.5 billion a year in damage, much of it to agriculture.
Once upon a time, when PATCO service was interrupted, riders would later find a printed explanation (or apology) on the train seats.
Those were the days when the commuter line between Lindenwold and Center City was a mass transit role model instead of a little engine that can't.
As my colleague Paul Nussbaum reports, busted escalators and stalled trains are taxing the riding public's patience. It seems the fabulous Delaware River Port Authority's railroad division neglected (forgot?) to renew an escalator/elevator maintenance contract; earlier this year, the same folks also underestimated the cost of rebuilding tracks and other facilities by 47 percent.
Monday represented a critical mass of education meetings. The School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers in talks but, alas, not with each other. Meanwhile, self-described education “radical” Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, hosted a Teacher Town Hall at Temple.
A lightening rod for criticism, Rhee opposes unions and supports eliminating seniority and testing and firing inefficient teachers. She heads a political advocacy nonprofit for education reform. A lightening rod for criticism wherever she goes, Rhee attracted a crowd of 50 exceptionall well-dressed protestors, in “pearls” no less. One sign read: “Your dialogue is as real as our pearls.” Erasers were handed for “Erase to the Top.”
Well, you get the idea.
Mount Laurel choreographer Renee Chambers Liciaga jumped at the chance to make dances as part of a September 19 benefit for Newtown, Ct., a community still recovering from the 2012 shooting rampage that claimed 28 lives.
"When I found out the cause, that was my, 'I'm on board,'" says Liciaga, who is choreographing the "Broadway Sings for Newtown" production Thursday at the Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, Ct. The show will feature Broadway stars such as Danny Zolli ("Jesus Christ Superstar") and Kate Schindle ("Legally Blonde").
"It's a labor of love," Liciaga says. "A chance to give something back."
The notion of a lifelong Camden County Democrat and long-serving legislator like N.J. Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald as a crusader for lower property taxes strikes some readers as...less than compelling.
"Greenwald is the Igor to [former Gov.] Jon Corzine’s Dr. Frankenstein role in creating the property tax monster in NJ he is purportedly now 'fighting,'" Camden County GOP chairman Tom Booth writes me in reaction to my September 10 column lauding the Sixth District Democrat's property tax position.
"Greenwald...has had his chance to fix the system during each of his 18 years in office. If he hasn’t gotten it right yet, what makes us think he ever will?" says Booth, in a separate email. "His 'big' idea: a citizen’s convention. Awesome. Let’s let everyone tell him how to fix the problem since he apparently has no idea how to fix the problem."
Every once in a while, we open the morning paper and find a sentence that stops us cold.
In Thursday’s paper, The Inquirer’s Troy Graham crafted such a sentence.
Writing about City Council’s major issues on its fall agenda, Graham noted that one of the items is “Legislation, more than eight years in the making, to create a central land bank for the city’s vast stock of vacant and abandoned properties.”