Statement from Chief Harkins on “Rally for Progress” Protection Detail Photo
REAL ID Walk-Ins Resume Thursday

Two-Alarm Fire in Audubon; Parents at Cold Springs Upset; Giving Spirit Alive in GCity

BY William E. Cleary Sr.


FIRE DESTROYS HOME IN AUDUBON--A home in the unit block of East Vassar Road, Audubon was destroyed by fire on Monday afternoon around 3 PM. Fire companies from Audubon, Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Gloucester City, Mount Ephraim, and Oaklyn responded Fireto the two-alarm fire, reported the Courier Post. 

Three women were in the three-story home at the time. The property was an Oxford House which is a home for people in recovery.  One of the occupants said she lived at the house for 18 months with eight others.  The women are living in the house while in recovery from substance use disorders.

Alicia Carlson, an outreach worker with Oxford House, said that shelter will be found for the displaced occupants. "We'll make sure they have a place to stay tonight."

No one was injured. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

NEW MEAL PURCHASE PROGRAM AT COLD SPRINGS-- The Gloucester City School District announced this week it was planning to implement a biometric scanning program for meal purchases  in the fourth quarter of this school year, according to

Kate Kerney, principal of the Cold Springs school said in a note to parents this week, Screen Shot 2020-03-04 at 13.46.09“This is not a fingerprint scanner. Biometric scanning will help to reduce errors related to forgotten user PIN numbers.”  She said the system is secure, accurate, cost-effective and non-intrusive. The scans, according to the principal are “stored in the school’s database with the same high level of security of all of our records.” She said the pre-k to third-grade school was starting the program to help speed up cafeteria lines and to help prevent wrong pin numbers leading to erroneous charges to the wrong student account. The program is expected to be implemented districtwide.

Even so, some parents are upset about the lack of information that has been released about the program. 

Others are concerned about the possible chance the data gathered could be hacked. For example, one parent who didn't want to be identified pointed to a story in CPO Magazine that addressed that issue.

"Biometric data is easy to hack—and the consequences of its misuse could be incredibly dangerous. At the forefront is how private information is increasingly being collected, stored, and transmitted by IoT devices and services in the cloud, making them more vulnerable to identity theft.

Unlike codes and encryption keys, biometric technology capture a single unique identity that can never be changed. This static nature of biometric data makes it prone to identity-based threats. Compromised biometric data is an easy target for hackers. With access to biometric data, hackers can easily steal someone’s identity or even use and tamper the private information that could be detrimental to someone’s life. See article

GLOUCESTER CITY'S GIVING SPIRIT ALIVE AND WELL—City resident Greg Conklin has been capturing news headlines as a result of two park benches that are placed on

Screen Shot 2020-03-04 at 14.55.08
Greg Conklin 

Orlando Avenue; one in front of the Highland Tavern and the other in front of his home across the street.  Conklin, who is best knowns as "Big Daddy has been using the benches as a way to help the less fortunate. He earned the nickname "Big Daddy" in ninth grade, he told the Courier Post .

During a Thanksgiving Food Drive last November Conklin made a deal with Monsignor Bill Hodge, pastor of St. Mary's Parish. Conklin agreed to fill the church food pantry if Hodge blessed the bench. The blessing was given and three truck- and two SUV-loads of food were delivered to the food pantry. Conklin, dressed in a turkey costume, spent time outside on the bench promoting the Thanksgiving food drive. 

Conklin and his group, with help from the Highland Tavern, collected 300 jackets between Thanksgiving and Christmas and 200 toys in a holiday drive with the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club. 

Most recently the same group held a campaign asking for the public for socks for those in need. Trash cans donated by Carr's hardware, located at 22 N. Broadway were full of clean socks. The cans were chained to the benches during the month of February Conklin counted about 900 pair and he expected to raise more during the March 1 St. Mary's/Gloucester City St. Patrick's Parade. 

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published | March 4, 2020