HomeCherry Hill NewsA look back at 2012: July to December

A look back at 2012: July to December

After a year of community events, happenings in the schools and new developments, Cherry Hill is preparing to say so long to 2012.

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This year was a time of transformation in the township.

Talks surrounding the Regis Academy Charter School spanned for the first half of the year, as did the proposed Wawa on Haddonfield Road.

Mayor Chuck Cahn, who took office at the start of the year, began his Mayor’s Wellness Campaign in April, and it is still going strong.

Merger conversations with Merchantville went on hiatus in September, after Cahn said he would not commit taxpayer dollars toward a study.

Plus, through the year, there were a plethora of town events encompassing every age group.

Now, as the township prepares to enter 2013, let’s take a few minutes to look back on a packed year.

July

After months of talks, it was decided in July that the Regis Academy Charter School would not be opening its doors in the fall.

It was reported that the DOE cited Regis in misrepresentations made by the school in the charter application, along with no proof of a suitable facility for its students by the June 29 deadline, among other reasons.

The school board and Reusche released a statement in support of the DOE’s decision.

By mid-summer, the Cherry Hill Food Pantry, which opened its doors in 2006, was busily providing the area with goods, though staff told The Sun that holidays are the time when donations overflow.

The organization saw help in the summer from Cherry Hill students.

“Having the students has been really nice this summer,” Sally Wright, chairperson of pantry operations, said. “They are learning all aspects of running a business, which will be useful later in life. They’re learning about people, and government and funding.”

On July 24, local youngsters came in as runners up in the state finals in little league, which was played in Glassboro.

“They played with a lot of heart,” Coach Scott Keesal said of the Cherry Hill Atlantic 10U little league baseball team. “They just never quit.”

August

As summer continued, the police department saw a change in its cruisers.

With Ford not manufacturing Crown Victoria models anymore, the police department researched other models before deciding on Dodge Chargers.

As August began, there were already 14 shiny new cars on the road.

“We’re cycling them in as we get the computers, the light bars, all that stuff, on,” said Lt. Sean Redmond.

Redmond later said that it would be several years before the entire fleet made the change, as the Ford Crown Victoria models would be used for as long as they were capable.

On Aug. 8, town council’s chambers were filled to the brim with community members to honor longtime councilman N. John Amato.

The township council’s chambers were officially renamed the “N. John Amato Council Chambers” following a unanimous approval by the council.

He has served eight consecutive terms since 1983, making him the longest serving and eldest council member in the history of Cherry Hill.

“I’ll never forget you for the rest of my life,” said Councilman Jim Bannar at the time, stating that there was no one more deserving for the honor.

More good news came out of Cherry Hill in August.

It was anticipated that Cherry Hill residents would save $190,000 in the next three years in tonnage rates, said Mayor Chuck Cahn, of the $1,311,900 in total that would be saved in municipalities throughout the county through a new shared services agreement.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013 after the current contract ends, the township will pay $59 per ton.

A Cherry Hill resident received a distinct honor on Aug. 20.

A veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, Arthur Carmichael of the Montford Point Marines was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor for a civilian given by Congress.

“I’m proud,” said his daughter, Donna Hamilton.

His wife, Evelyn, said that the ceremony was “about time” and “long overdue,” as well as unanticipated.

“We didn’t expect this,” she said.

September

On Sept. 4, summer came to an end for students in Cherry Hill.

There were a plethora of changes that occurred over the summer, including maintenance work and environmental initiatives.

“The start of a new school year is an exciting time for all of us,” said Reusche. “Our teachers, administrators, and staff are looking forward to the return of students and to another year of working with parents toward our common goal: helping our children succeed in our schools, our community, and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Rowan University college students hailing from Cherry Hill were busily preparing to take part in Sept. 15’s Red Bull Flugtag Philly challenge.

The students, named, “The Filthy English Kuh-Nighits,” had an environmental focus for the event.

“We wanted to do something that was environmentally conscious but still fun,” said driver Brooke Golden.

Elsewhere in town, residents geared up for the chance to see Olympian Aly Raisman of the US Women’s Gymnastics Team at the JCC Katz’s annual Sports Award Dinner.

“We are so thrilled to be one of the first stops Aly Raisman makes after her incredible Olympic Games in London,” said Neil Levine, event chair, in a statement. “She is truly inspirational as a young Jewish athlete, and we could not think of a more deserving individual for the Outstanding Achievement Award at this year’s Sports Award Dinner at the Katz JCC.”

National Public Lands Day was celebrated in September, as volunteers converged on historic Croft Farm.

According to Lew Gorman, chairman of Cherry Hill Township’s Environmental Board, the event was an effort to “connect people with nature” and to “do some hands on work on our public lands.”

At a September council meeting, Cahn announced that there would be no tax levy increase in the fiscal year 2013 budget, his first budget process as mayor.

Also in September, the Merchantville merger commission said that they were on hiatus.

Earlier in the month, Cahn said in a statement that he would not commit taxpayer dollars to fund a study to see if the merger would be beneficial.

“With that said, it is certainly the commission’s right to independently seek funding and study the issue if they so choose,” said Cahn. “In that case, I would absolutely be willing to review the results of that study, if and when it might be presented to me. Ultimately, the decision to consolidate would rest in the hands of the people of Cherry Hill and Merchantville.”

October

As October began, Cherry Hill celebrated its rich history at the Make It Historic Day at Barclay Farmstead.

The event replaced the Living History Day in the township.

The day was filled with period crafts, from stenciling to making doll rags to washing clothes the old fashioned way, said Sandra Forney, co-chair of the event.

A sandbox was transformed into an archaeology pit filled with treasures from times past, such as arrowheads and shoe leather.

Oh, and the casual McDonalds Happy Meal toy.

“What we’re trying to teach the kids is, ‘Is this old?’” said Sevrie Corson of the Cherry Hill Township Recreation Department.

Activities were still in full gear as residents took to Challenge Grove Park for the CROP Hunger Walk on Oct. 14.

“Hunger relief is a critical need in so many communities, and the fact that we in Cherry Hill are able to help even a little bit through the CROP Hunger Walk makes me proud,” said Cahn in a statement.

The next weekend, the inaugural Anti-Bullying Day and Just For You Expo in Support of Special Needs was held at Cherry Hill East.

Many community members gave their support for the day, said co-chair Deb Berger.

On Oct. 21, the annual Harvest Festival was held in the township, and saw better weather than in 2011.

“It’s a nice turnout,” said Cherry Hill spokeswoman Bridget Palmer of the township’s largest event of the year. “It’s just grown every year.”

As Election Day inched up, a native of the township, Lauren Platt, was selected to attend the second Presidential Debate at Hofstra University.

“This is the future of my country,” Platt said, adding that she wants to make sure her vote counts. “Having (the debate) here really changed my mind on the fact that it’s something I should be more involved in.”

The end of October saw the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.

Cherry Hill was hit fairly hard, with roughly half of the township losing power.

“Fortunately, the township and the police and fire department were proactive in communicating the expected severity of the storm before it hit, which allowed residents to prepare well before the rain started to fall,” Palmer, the township’s spokeswoman, said. “As conditions deteriorated, the vast majority of residents heeded our warnings. They stayed home, or had already relocated with friends and family in other areas, and the result is that, while there was certainly disruption in all our lives, our residents remained safe.”

November

While no council seats were up for election this year, the school board will soon see a new face after electing Dr. J. Barry Dickinson to replace incumbent Wayne Tarken in the November election.

Incumbents Kathy Judge and Colleen Horiates were re-elected to the board.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Judge on the day after the election. She has served on the school board at this point for four years.

“We’re going to pursue the goals that we set forward as a board,” Horiates said of what’s to come.

All the while, Dickinson was relieved and excited.

News of a smoking ban ordinance surfaced in November, when it was approved on first reading early in the month and ultimately adopted on second reading at Nov. 26’s council meeting.

The ordinance will take effect in January and will ban smoking in all 50 public parks, trails and township buildings.

“It’s something that we’re excited about,” said Palmer.

On Nov. 19, parents flooded the Malberg Administration Building to voice their disdain for the school day extension outlined in the new Cherry Hill Education Association contract.

Come next September, students will be getting up for class earlier.

The day will begin at 8 a.m. and span until 3 p.m. at the middle school level, and run from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for high school students.

“I feel very frustrated,” said parent Julie Walsh.

At the Nov. 27 school board meeting, community officials banded together to sign a collaborative sustainability resolution, “Educate for Sustainability.”

According to the resolution, there will be actions to “support student participation in authentic service, project based, and academic learning experiences dedicated to educating for sustainability, including those that are part of the Sustainable Jersey program.”

“Educating for sustainability broadens the lens through which we look at how the decisions we make and the actions we take impact the world around us,” said Reusche in a statement following the meeting.

December

December, at least thus far, has been a time of celebration in the township.

Many, many community events have taken place to welcome the holidays, from live nativities to Cherry Hill’s own Pine Barons Chorus entertaining the masses.

Schools have remained active with holiday concerts, and on Dec. 3, Reusche held a Community Conversations session in town hall. Those talks will continue with dates into 2013.

Reusche gave a roughly hour-long synopsis of changes in population, diversity, programs throughout the district, as well as hitting a variety of other issues important to parents and the community alike.

From late November to early December, a Cherry Hill native, Scott Chernoff, took to the 18th annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar, as one of 15 youth delegates from the United States.

“My ultimate goal in studying environmental studies currently is to be able to work to change current environmental practices and climate policy to make the planet a cleaner and safer place for future generations,” said Chernoff.

On the township level, a special meeting was to be held last week to discuss the appeal from Barclay Farms residents from a zoning board decision.

“(The) project is proposed residential housing at Brace and Kresson, the now-vacant former Pro-Build/Haddonfield Lumber site,” Palmer said.

Throughout the township, extending to Jan. 2, the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign has been in effect.

Chief of Police Rick Del Campo said at the Dec. 10 council meeting that patrols would be doing spot checks.

Also this month, Friendship Grove was dedicated behind the Cherry Hill Public Library.

“It’s a wonderful place behind the library,” Council Vice President Sara Lipsett said.

Stay with us

Know of community events going on in 2013? Let us know. Send The Sun an email at news@cherryhillsun.com with any information.

Happy New Year!

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