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Bellmawr Student Government for A Day

By Chris Concannon

NEWS Correspondent

Gloucester City News-Eighth Grade students from area schools overtook the recent Bellmawr Borough Council Meeting.

The all-female “Mayor and Council,” led by “Mayor” Madeline Bekier, opened the meeting by passing three resolutions they themselves developed and discussed.

Councilman Lou Di Angelo then described the student’s day, which included an extensive tour of county departments, with stops at a CSI lab among them. There they learned how long a case is really solved with DNA evidence, far longer than the one hour on the CBS crime dramas.

NJ Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-5) swore in the student stand-ins that morning.

The 2009 Bellmawr Student Government Participants are:

Mayor, Madeline Bekier; Borough Attorney, Seamus Hall; Construction Official, Shannon Grega; Recreation Superintendent, Eric Robinson; Director of Health and Education, Ashley Ealer; Highway Superintendent, Rogelio Morales; Police Chief, Barry Andress; Tax Collector, Melissa Parkin; Chief Financial Officer, Denise Lee; Water Superintendent, Brooke Jeffries; Director of Public Safety, Kristin Bartnikowski; Borough Clerk, Leticia Morales; Municipal Court Administrator, Karolina Bedryjowski; Director of Buildings and Lands, Bridgette Heisler; Borough Treasurer, Savannah Dougherty; Tax Assessor, Shannon Breen; Director of Recreation, Elizabeth Mooradian; and Sewer Superintendent, Amber Mc Knight.

Although not all of them were able to attend the meeting, Councilman Di Angelo noted each would receive a proclamation marking the event.

Bell Oaks Middle School participated in the program, along with Holy Trinity School in Westville, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School in Barrington.

Following the Student Government portion, Bellmawr Fire Department Chief Jim Burleigh (Station 32), presented the winners of the 2008 Fire Prevention Poster Contest.

Chief Burleigh noted there were around 750 posters entered, and 30 winners were selected, with two from each of K-7th Grades. All three Bellmawr public schools participated, and the winners are:

Eesha Godavarth, Megan Arnold, Kristen Devoe, Kylie Ryan, Michael Hoyte, Alexis Gaylord, Tommy Gillis, Mia Borelli, Alyssa Cerezo, Shohag Kabir, Emily Martin, Devan Constantine, Caitlin Monroe, Kaylee Jo Antinucci, Danielle Gillespie, Tatum Siegrist, Alexsa Colon, Miranda Osadczuk, Carlei Budding, Nikita Acker, Kaleigh Green, Natalie Helm, Casey Lanard, Kassandra Bowers, Gabriela Morales and Nicholas Lin.

Following the presentations, Chief Burleigh invited everyone to view the new Fire Safety House, purchased through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

He noted the trailer is all one level, making it easier for adults to take part, as well as being ADA compliant, allowing wheelchair access for children attending Bellmawr’s LARC School, among others.

Council President Steve Sauter chaired the regular portion of the meeting, and mentioned that Mayor Frank Filipek is currently recuperating, following re-cent hip surgery.

Councilman John Bollinger, also Public Safety Director, congratulated all the poster winners, along with the Student Government participants, and a special note to Police Officer Jeff Vance, for being presented with a recent award.

Councilman Jim D’ Angelo stated the New Jersey Water Environmental Association recently honored Sewer Superintendent George Coleman for professional excellence.

He added further that the Bellmawr Sewer Department also received a merit award from the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA).

Lou Di Angelo then thanked all Department heads in town, for their work making Student Government Day a success.

He also mentioned the Borough’s summer work program, which will begin on July 2 and end on July 11.

Councilwoman Regina Piontkowski echoed Bollinger’s earlier comments on George Coleman, as well as commenting on Student Government Day.

Councilman Sauter praised the outstanding work by George Coleman, George Rennles, and all Borough employees.

Under the public portion, resident Debra Bello inquired, as to the signage on the Warren Avenue softball fields, which reads “No hardball”.

She cited recent hardball activity on the fields, in which the Police Department was called to address the situation.

Borough Solicitor Robert Messick suggested posting a new sign, which clearly states the ordinance in effect.

Runnemede resident Bill Klaus had questions about the timetable for completing the landfill project currently underway.

Messick again fielded his query, stating the 115-acre site is currently under a developer’s control, which has to remediate the entire property, per the State DEP.

He added further comments on past and current conditions at the former dump sites.

All business listed on the evening’s agenda was unanimously approved, including a new resolution, Item #5:106-09, titled “Acquisition of Real Property.”

Two new ordinances were introduced at the meeting:

Ordinance #05: 10-09, amending the “No through truck” ordinance, relative to Hall Avenue, from Creek Road to Walnut Avenue; and Ordinance #05: 11-09, authorizing the reconstruction of Lincoln Avenue, from Old Kings Highway to Bellmawr Avenue.

This ordinance also allows for the appropriation of $220,000 for the project, along with the issuance of $209,000 for the financing of the appropriation.

The second reading, public hearing and final adoption will take place at the next scheduled Council Meeting June 25. The public is invited to attend this and all Council Meetings.

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