UPDATED MONDAY, MAY 21, 2012
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BY BILL CLEARY
POLICE OFFICER MEMORIAL SERVICE-The Gloucester City Police Benevolent Association along with the City of Gloucester City will be dedicating a memorial in honor of Gloucester City Police Officer Frederick Blackburn (photo) on Friday, May 18th at 1 PM at the Police Administration Building, 313 Monmouth Street. Some members of the Blackburn family will be in attendance.
Blackburn is the only Gloucester City Police Officer killed in the line of duty. The Patrolman was struck by a hit-and-run driver on March 6, 1946 as he walked his beat at the intersection of Cumberland and Atlantic Streets. He succumbed to internal injuries eight days later.Blackburn, who was 75 years old, had served as a Patrolman for 34 years. He was survived by his wife and six children.
CITY FIRE DEPT. RECEIVES $600,000 GRANT-U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced that the Gloucester City Fire Department has received $598,038 in federal funding to hire new firefightersthrough the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program. “With local governments facing a tough budget climate, this federal grant will help Gloucester City hire firefighters and improve emergency services for local families,” said Senator Lautenberg, Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which funds the SAFER program.
In 2010 the City laid off 8 firemen because of budget restraints reducing the ranks in that department from 33 to 25 employees. Councilman Nick Marchese said on Monday (May 21) all but two of the eight have been hired back as a result of people retiring. He said the total number of firemen employed by the City today is either 28 or 30.
The 2010 layoffs caused some bitter feelings between the FMBA, the union representing the firemen, and the City. James was asked if the City was concerned that another union fight would ensue after these funds run out? For that reason was the City going to accept this grant?
“Yes we will accept the money from the SAFER grant. This is s federal grant for hiring personnel, training of personnel and volunteer recruitment activities. We are proud of the efforts of our Fire Department and Triad Associates who prepared the grant and are thankful to Senators Menedez and Lautenberg as well as Congressman Andrews for their assistance and consideration as well. The fire committee will be meeting with the Fire Department to go over the grant specifications in the near future to determine the lawful expenditures available to us.
“We are actually short a couple of positions from where we were after the layoffs and if we can keep overtime down there will be no need for layoffs in the future.”
We were unable to reach Fire Chief Brian Hagan on Monday for his comments on the grant.
COMMUNITY PRIDE-Riverview Heights resident Dan Reader planted flowers and shrubs recently at the Lane and Thompson Avenues Playground. He also built some new plant boxes for the park. This is the second or third year that Mr. Reader has spent his own money and gave up his time to plant flowers along with repairing benches at the park. Over the years Dan, without any fanfare, has taken it upon himself to paint the playground fence along with the park benches. He has also stepped up to clear the sidewalks that surround the playground of snow in the winter. You are truly someone who loves the City of Gloucester City. Thank you Dan.
UPDATE ON MARTIN/ ZIMMERMAN CASE-Medical records released by the Court on May 16 revealed George Zimmerman's injuries the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting included a pair of black eyes, a broken nose and two cuts to the back of his head. The three-page medical report also stated that Zimmerman complained of nausea and stress, but declined to go to the hospital that evening. An autopsy of Martin, the black unarmed teenager who was fatally shot by Zimmerman, a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer, shows that his body had injuries to the knuckles. Zimmerman has entered a plea of not guilty and claims self-defense in the Feb. 26 shooting.
What these details, like many others leaked in recent days, will ultimately mean for Zimmerman's high-profile second-degree murder case is unclear, though they could presumably be used by his defense team to bolster his argument that Martin attacked him and beat him up before he was forced to shoot the teenager in self-defense.
NOT RIGHT! Recently between 15 and 20 Mount Ephraim teachers union members wearing red shirts and carrying signs were seen picketing outside a home of a Board of Education member. The teachers have been working without a contract since last year. A reader writes, "Your actions are reprehensible. What kind of message are you sending the board member's children when they see their teachers parading angrily outside of their home? "What did I (or my father) do wrong?" What's next...the inflatable rat in the school parking lot?"
Joe Santone Jr. Commits to Widener University-Gloucester Catholic senior standout Joe Santone, Jr. recently committed to play baseball at Widener University next season. Joe, a star pitcher and outfielder under coach Dennis Barth, has turned in a .300-plus batting average with 13 RBIs in helping the Rams to an 18-4 record on the season thus far. He is 3-0 on the mound this season for the Rams. He will study finance at Widener once classes begin next fall.
Joe Santone Jr. (center), with his parents, Joe and Joan Santone, signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Widener University next season.