NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia



BELLMAWR N.J. (July 22, 2016) - On Thursday, the Camden County Board of Freeholders held their monthly meeting at the Bellmawr Ballroom. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Bellmawr Police Chief William Walsh, and the National Anthem was performed by the Saint Joachim Children’s Choir. 

Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. and Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez presented a Community Development Block Grant for $47,300 to the Borough of Bellmawr, accepted by Councilman Steven B. Hagerty. The federally funded CDBG grants provide a way for municipalities to fund projects that improve community facilities and enhance municipal services.

Freeholder Director Cappelli presented a $100 gift and recognition to the Bellmawr Purple Eagles, accepted by President Steven Hagerty. The Bellmawr Purple Eagles was established in 1961 and is celebrating its 55th anniversary. They strive to provide football and cheerleading for the youth of Bellmawr & surrounding towns. The Bellmawr Purple Eagles was a founding member of the Garden State Football League and is currently a member of the South Jersey United Football League. The Purple Eagles Football and Cheerleading currently has 200 boys & girls from Bellmawr & the surrounding area. They accept boys age 5-14 for football & girls age 5-18 for cheerleading and are a 100% volunteer organization with 50 coaches & members.

Freeholder Bill Moen offered condolences to the family of Brian McGlinchey. Bellmawr resident, Brian McGlinchey passed away on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 at the age of 43. He graduated from Paul VI High School in 1990 and earned a bachelor's degree at the Rutgers-Camden School of Business 6 years later. Brian worked for Copelco Capital Funding Corp. and most recently was a fleet manager for Automotive Resources International (ARI). For the last 20 years he has helped run the Bellmawr Purple Eagles’ four football teams for youths from 5 to 14 years old. Mr. McGlinchey was the team’s general manager and coach for many of those years. He was Bellmawr's representative to the South Jersey United Football League, a group of private teams like the Eagles. In the last ten years, Mr. McGlinchey also served as a basketball referee for grammar school and high schools across South Jersey. Mr. McGlinchey was a man who would do anything for anyone. Mr. McGlinchey will be missed by his wife Katie, his parents Frank and Roseann, sons Jake and Cole, his entire football family and a many more whose lives he touched.

Freeholder Moen presented a community award to Bellmawr Police Patrolman Jared Walton and Sgt. Mike Draham. Around 1:45am on April 25th, Patrolman Jared Walton noticed an oddly parked pick-up truck with its lights on. Seeing a woman in the car who appeared to be asleep on her side and a towel hanging from the visor alarmed the officer. Patrolman Walton saw there was no one in the driver’s seat and called for help. He saw a man behind the truck forcing a hose into the vehicle’s tailpipe and began questioning the man. When Sergeant Mike Draham arrived they saw all of the exhaust was going through the vehicle. The officers immediately shut off the truck, woke up the passenger, opened the doors and called the ambulance. The couple had lost their jobs, their home and custody of their children and wanted to end their lives. EMS talked to the couple about going into crisis. The man’s father later spoke to Patrolman Walton confirming actions helped to set the couple on the right track.

Freeholder Jonathan Young, Sr. presented the Young Adult Community Leader award to Zachary Billingham. Zachary Billingham is a 19 year old young man, born and raised in Bellmawr. He is a graduate of Triton Regional High school where he was an AP student, Class President all four years as well as class Valedictorian. Zach participated in drama, the Tri-Tones, Interact and multiple honor societies. He was a founding member of the “Be the Change” club, which is an anti-bullying organization. Zachary was also selected to be student leader and mentor for the Transitions Project, which focuses on aiding younger peers with their transition into high school. He was also selected to participate in Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Conference and has been involved in local government through Gloucester Township and the Boy’s State Program. Zach recently won a Believe in You Scholarship, which he was selected from a pool of 500 nominees from 44 states and Canada. Zachary plans to further his education at Rutgers New Brunswick where he’ll be studying aerospace engineering, he hopes to work for NASA someday.

Freeholder Young presented a sustainability award to Bellmawr Senior Housing, accepted by Carl Kleese. Bellmawr Senior Housing was completed in 2007 and consists of two buildings that total 130 senior apartment units. Both buildings are 100% Energy Star compliant and are equipped with water saving fixtures. The tenants’ average utility bill is only $55.00 because of the energy saving programs that have been implemented. A $1 million solar array was completed in 2012, and was funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as well as the NJ Board of Public Utilities Clean Energy Program. Electric bills averaged $3,000 to $5,000 per month before that and are now down to about $375 per month. All exterior lights are now in the process of being replaced with high efficiency LED lighting to further reduce electricity bills. A robust recycling program throughout the two buildings has also reduced trash costs from $1,000 to $400 a month.

Freeholder Young presented a sustainability award to Joe Canal’s of Bellmawr. Joe Canal’s is a model of sustainable business practices in Bellmawr and Camden County. They installed a rooftop solar array over five years ago, and see a savings of approximately $1,500 in electricity costs each month because of it. In addition, other energy efficiency measures have also helped reduce Canal’s carbon footprint, including the installation of energy-efficient lighting and timers on all refrigerator units. Recycling is also a key component of their sustainable business model.  Canal’s recycles over 40 tons of cardboard per year, reducing the burden on our local landfills.

Freeholder Young presented a proclamation recognizing New Jersey Corrections Office Day to members of the Department of Corrections. Corrections Officer Day in the State of New Jersey is July 30th each year in recognition of the dedicated service correction officers render each day to their fellow citizens. The employees of the Camden County Department of Corrections work tirelessly to ensure the safety of the public by supervising offenders and preparing men and women to return to their communities. Their compassion, understanding and professionalism is vital to the safety of Camden County residents. The Camden County Board of Freeholders would like to take the time to thank the employees of the Department of Corrections and raise awareness of the duties, hazards and sacrifices made by workers. Their dedication, expertise and efficiency is second to none.

Freeholder Deputy Director Ed McDonnell recognized Public Works employees Stephen Bowerman, Shane Howard, Shakur McFadden, Rolando Otero, and Matthew Zochowski for volunteering at the I Can Shine Bike Program. For the last three years, the Camden County Board of Freeholders has sponsored the I Can Shine Bike program.  The goal of this unique program is to teach individuals with disabilities how to ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle and become lifelong independent riders.  This create a gateway of opportunity, helping them gain assurance and self-reliance. The I Can Shine Bike program uses special adapted bicycles, a specialized instructional program and trained staff to teach individuals with disabilities how to ride a two-wheel bike.  Riders attend one 75 minute session each day for five consecutive days where they learn to ride while accompanied and encouraged by volunteer “bike buddies”.  Not only do the bike buddies provide encouragement and assistance to their riders, they are also the ones running next to them for their entire 75 minute sessions, helping them get up when they fall, keeping them motivated when they need it, and are their biggest cheerleaders for that week.  The bonds created between the riders and their buddies become strong during bike camp week and often last for years and beyond after camp has concluded. Although we have had volunteers from a variety of county departments, no one has been more dedicated and committed to this volunteer experience than our public works employees. They show patience, kindness, endurance and love for our riders each and every year and have committed to come back every year. 

 Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez presented a proclamation to Jason Sosa, the World Boxing Association Super Featherweight Champion. On June 24, 2016, Jason Sosa, a Camden, New Jersey and Puerto Rico raised boxer celebrated a victory over Javier Fortuna. 28 year old Sosa beat Fortuna by TKO in the 11th round of the World Boxing Association Mini Flyweight Eliminator match in Beijing, China. The victory earned Jason Sosa a World Boxing Association Super Featherweight title. Jason never expected any of this success. In 2006, Sosa who was a running back at Sterling High School when he suddenly tore his ACL. As a result, he thought his career was over and went to the gym to try and find a new sport in boxing. Sosa has only been boxing for eight years. Jason now has a world title and a 19-1-4 career record under the recent tutelage of Raul “Chino” Rivas. 

Freeholder Bill Moen presented a proclamation to VFW 3324, accepted by Commander Bill Sampolski. The VFW strives to do good things for deserving people - our veterans, their families and their communities. They have 115 members and another 115 in their Ladies Auxiliary. Post 3324 will receive the highest national community award, at the National Convention in South Carolina, for raising $24,300.00 in Poppy sales. The Post participates in many community events such as Memorial Day, Flag Day, and the 4th of July. They awarded scholarships to 3 Triton seniors this year. One of their biggest fundraisers is the Whiffle Ball Tournament being held over the weekend of July 23rd. The Post meets the 1st Wednesday of the month at 6:00 pm. The Commander is Bill Sampolski and the Vice Commander is Tim Salamatin.

Freeholder Jeffrey Nash presented a proclamation to Michael Ciccotta. Michael began a book drive 3 years ago for underprivileged neighborhood school libraries. His book drive has donated over 5,000 books to Universal Charter School in Philadelphia as well as the Philadelphia school district. His other volunteer work includes his Mission and Ministry work at St. Joseph's Prep: tutoring the elementary school students at the Gesu School in North Philly and participating in the annual coat drive and operation Santa Claus. This past year, Michael was chosen out of many applicants to host high school students from all over the country coming to see Pope Francis' in Philadelphia. He and the others volunteered for 4 days sleeping on classroom floors, serving meals, planning liturgies, group discussions, and cleaning the cafeteria and bathrooms. Michael also participated in a volunteered service trip last summer in New Mexico, to aide Navajo communities. Michael serves as Eucharistic Minister and Alter Server for both St. Joseph Prep and St. Thomas More Parish in Cherry Hill. He performs additional charitable activities through Knights of Columbus in Cherry Hill as a 3rd degree knight. His parents are Reno and Trudi Ciccotta and has a brother Thomas and sister Lauren. Michael will be attending The College of New Jersey to study finance and philosophy.

The July employee of the month was presented to Luis G. Miranda in the Parks Department. He started out as a seasonal employee in 2011. In 2015 he became a full time employee at the Parks Department. Through hard work and a thirst for knowledge, Luis became a clerk in the department. His duties include issuing park permits and front desk duties. With his personable demeanor and his bilingual skills he is a great asset. Luis loves challenges and is now learning the role of purchasing and accounts payable. Luis lives in Camden City with his significant other, Juana, and his three children, Jayden-5, Luis-2 & Elaine-1. Luis is also an accomplished painter.