Children's Garden a winner at show
CAMDEN FLOW The Camden Children's Garden won four awards - the most in its history - this year in the group's 17th appearance at the Philadelphia Flower Show.
Mike Devlin, executive director of the waterfront-based attraction that was threatened with eviction last year, said the wins "made for a true comeback story."
The 400-square-foot exhibit consists of a vegetable and flower garden surrounded by picket fences, individually painted by children in schools, churches, and community centers around Camden. The garden also features repurposed tires, an old engine block, and a rusted bike painted in bright colors.
The group won the American Horticultural Society Education Award, the Alfred M. Campbell Memorial Trophy for Major Educational Exhibit award, the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania Special Achievement award, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Special Achievement award.
On Friday, Devlin proudly pointed out the silver plates and ribbons now affixed to the front of the exhibit at the first night of the show.
"It's great to be recognized for something the whole community worked on and it's one of the most interactive exhibits here," he said.
The Flower Show will run through Sunday. The Children's Garden will open for the season March 29.
yJulia Terruso, www.inquirer.com/camdenflow
Democrats name Runyan seat as their top target
CAPITOLINQ The South Jersey congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.) ranks among Democrats' top targets as the party once again takes aim at Republican-held districts in the Philadelphia area.
Among the 19 top-tier challengers on Democrats' "Red to Blue" list released Monday is Aimee Belgard, the Burlington County freeholder running to replace Runyan in a South Jersey district that includes parts of Burlington and Ocean Counties. Runyan isn't seeking reelection.
One notch down, Democrats named three others races in our area - based in Chester County, Bucks County, and a huge swath of South Jersey - on their list of 16 "emerging" races in which they hope to flip seats from Republican to Democratic control.
Combined, four out of the 35 GOP seats rated most important to the Democrats' congressional campaign arm are in the Philly suburbs, according to the Democratic list.
"People from Burlington and Ocean Counties have joined our grassroots campaign to end the partisan gridlock in Washington and stand up for our veterans, seniors, and middle-class families," Belgard said in a news release.
Republicans in the South Jersey district have yet to settle on a consensus candidate. Conservative Steve Lonegan is running, but the Burlington and Ocean County GOP organizations are still trying to settle on a candidate they will back. The Ocean GOP held another screening session over the weekend, but PolitickerNJ reported that the struggle for organizational support could drag on until a March 19 county convention.
Late Monday, the Burlington County Republican screening committee announced that it was backing Tom MacArthur, a former Randolph mayor who moved south to run for the seat. The full county GOP organization still has to weigh in, but the decision seems to put MacArthur in the lead when it comes to winning support from South Jersey Republican leaders.
While Democrats are optimistic about winning the district, the seat has been dominated by Republicans for decades (the one two-year exception was when Democrat John Adler held it in 2009 and 2010). Runyan and the GOP retained the seat even amid President Obama's reelection win in 2012.
Democrats named James Hughes Jr. as an "emerging candidate" in his bid to oust longtime U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo in a sprawling district that covers the most southern portion of New Jersey, including much of Gloucester County and a huge piece of the Shore. Hughes, though, faces a primary race against Dave Cole, an ex-Obama administration aide.
yJonathan Tamari, www.inquirer.com/capitolinq