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Breaking news & local stories from Camden City, Berlin, Laurel Springs and more

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    The retiring Camden mayor -- and who knows how many others -- are waiting for Santa Steve and others to bring them sweeteners for their pensions.

    Noble motives are not behind many bills that pass the New Jersey Legislature in the waning days of a session. End-of-year vote marathons often include  clunkers that legislative leaders hope will have insufficient time to generate negative momentum before the measures become laws.

    That brings us to S-3620, which is now more than halfway through both houses. A Politico.nj wag has dubbed it the "Get Dana Redd ... a Better Pension Act of 2017."

    The bill revisits the bad old days when people could hold as many elected posts as they could win at the same time, a practice that was abolished around 2008 for most, but not all, multiple officeholders. Upon being elected as mayor of Camden in 2009, then-State Sen. Redd became one of the first lawmakers to have to choose one job over the other. 

    Previous dual officeholders, such as state Sen. Stephen Sweeney --  who served simultaneously as the Gloucester County freeholder director -- could hang on to two posts as long as they'd been elected to both before the one-per-customer rule took effect. It was a "grandfather clause," or, more appropriately, a "Bad Grandpa" clause. S-3620 one-ups the loophole by adding a "Bad Santa" clause.

    What the bill does is put Redd back into the main public pension system, the one that's $90 billion in debt, for all of her time as mayor. Newly elected officials -- and Redd was newly elected as mayor -- were supposed to get retirement credits in a less-costly 401(k)-type fund. Now that she's retiring as mayor, the formerly frozen state pension credits she accumulated before 2010 would thaw out. Her pension would then be based on her higher salary as mayor, and the extra time that she qualified.

    One might argue that Redd's service was continuous, since she jumped from lawmaker to mayor with no break. Certainly, that's what Sweeney argues. It figures that the grandfathered officeholder-in-chief would be behind the new bill, although he's not its sponsor. (Sweeney eventually gave up his freeholder seat once he'd been tapped as Senate president.)

    Redd might not get a lot more money in the overall scheme of things, although we don't know how many other office-switchers also qualify for fattened pensions under S-3620. But this is about entitlement, about heading backwards in shoring up the pension funds, and about hubris. Lawmakers tried to pass nearly identical legislation in 2014, but shelved it after a public outcry.

    Redd knew the score about her retirement when she switched hats. She won't starve if she has to cobble together disbursements from her 401(k) with the public pension she earned before she became mayor. And, who knows what pension-padding public job she'll claim next if she's back in the Public Employees Retirement System?

    S-3620 passed the Senate on Monday, 23-9. It raced through the Assembly appropriations committee the same day. There isn't a full Assembly voting session until Jan. 4, so there's time to make noise and stop this runaway train.

    If our letters to the editor are indicative, Sweeney requires regular praise from those he helped to get jobs on the way up, almost as much as President Donald Trump. So, maybe the senate president will vaguely recognize the appeal below:

    "State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, is absolutely (wrong) to fight for S-3620, which is (not) common-sense legislation that proves that the senator is always working to improve the lives of (Dana Redd, and other well-connected officeholders). His constituents are fortunate to have him represent the (political) class."

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    A look at how Twitter introduced these players.


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    Less than one week in, there's already a new No. 1 team and a new team entering the fold.


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    Where you need to be over the holiday break.


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    The merger would have made Cooper Health System the 4th largest hospital chain in New Jersey.

    When Cooper Health System announced Friday that it was not going through with a planned acquisition of three New Jersey hospitals, it said only that issues had arisen during its "due diligence" review of the hospitals and the deal.

    A lawsuit Cooper filed this week, seeking $15 million it placed in escrow as part of the agreement, revealed the specific issues Cooper found when reviewing the hospitals, Our Lady of Lourdes medical centers in Camden and Burlington, and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, owned by Maxis, a division of Trinity Health. They include concerns about record alteration, ongoing litigation and compliance issues at the Maxis hospitals, according to the suit.

    It also shows that some of the bad blood between the two systems comes from a phone call Cooper claims Lourdes Interim President Reginald Blaber made to "disparage" Cooper to the Bishop of Camden. Cooper alleges Blaber asked the clergyman to intervene in the acquisition.

    Carol Lynn Daly, a spokeswoman for Lourdes, said Cooper's claims in the suit and about the phone call "have no merit."

    "The allegations about Dr. Blaber's conversation with the Bishop are not true. We will present the facts in court," she said. "Our focus remains on our patients and our colleagues, as always."

    Diocese spokesman Michael Walsh said the Bishop did not get involved in the deal.

    "While Bishop Dennis Sullivan was briefed on the proposed transaction between Cooper Health System and Trinity/Maxis Health System, at no time did he intervene in any way, on behalf of either party, in any element of the transaction," he said.

    Cooper filed the lawsuit Monday to compel Maxis to sign an agreement that would return the $15 million in escrow to Cooper. The Camden-based healthcare system claims that it was fully within the rights, set out in a letter of intent signed in August, to terminate the deal, and so should get back every penny in escrow, plus interest.

    Cooper argued that due diligence issues and Blaber's alleged attempt to enlist the Bishop to kill the deal, which Cooper viewed as a violation of the letter of intent's exclusivity clause, were both legitimate reasons to terminate the deal without forfeiting the $15 million.

    Emails attached as exhibits to the civil complaint show that lawyers from both sides were emailing the same day the suit was filed about Maxis' refusal to sign the required escrow paperwork.

    Michael C. Hemsley, a lawyer for Maxis, wrote to Cooper's attorney Monday afternoon that Trinity/Maxis does not believe the reasons cited by Cooper were significant enough to allow them to back out of the agreement they made.

    In the letter of intent, included as an exhibit in the suit, both sides agreed to cooperate with one another's due diligence investigations and work to mitigate any issues that arose. For Maxis, this investigation involved ensuring that Cooper's had the financing to complete the deal.

    The lawsuit states that Maxis found three due diligence issues with Cooper, but did not specify what they were. Cooper found two, the suit said, and after Maxis failed to fully address the issues, Cooper decided not to acquire the hospitals.

    In a formal letter Friday, included in the suit, Cooper attorney Gary J. Lesneski listed more than two issues as reasons Cooper could not go forward with the deal:

    • "Alteration of time records and background checks" on grants funding the Senior Companion and Foster Grandparents program, a program where older volunteers help support children in need.
    • Potential "compliance issues" with the federal government's 340B program to provide drugs at reduced prices, "which have already resulted in substantial paybacks, with a [Health Resources and Services Administration] audit still on the horizon."
    • The unresolved litigation with Joseph Gonnelli, including an "uninsured potential exposure in excess of $20 million." Gonnelli is president of Rosewood Real Estate Enterprises, the company that developed the LourdesCare facility in Cherry Hill in
    • Eligibility for federal funding through the Disproportionate Share Hospital program, which supports hospitals that serve more indigent patients.
    • The financial terms of the management agreement between St. Francis and Central New Jersey Heart Services.

    When he announced the acquisition plans in August, South Jersey powerbroker and Cooper Board Chairman George Norcross said the deal would have made Cooper a $2 billion entity and the 4th largest hospital chain in New Jersey.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Hot takes from the first week of action.


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    The Camden County man was indicted on a robbery charge.

    A Camden County man has been indicted on charges that he shoplifted five chainsaws from a Lowe's store in Deptford and assaulted an employee who tried to stop him.

    Andre Wallace.jpgAndre Wallace, 48, of Lawnside. (Salem County Correctional Facility)

    Andre Wallace, 48, of Lawnside, loaded a shopping cart with more than $1,500 worth of chainsaws in June then headed for the exit, police said.

    An employee saw Wallace and confronted him, according to a police report.

    Wallace hit the woman with the shopping cart, then tackled her, police said.

    The employee suffered leg and ankle injuries but refused medical treatment. 

    Wallace fled the store, though it's not clear from the report if he took the chainsaws with him.

    He was identified though interviews with witnesses and a review of store video surveillance, police said. He was arrested a week later.

    He was indicted recently on a second-degree charge of robbery.

    Matt Gray may be reached at mgray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on Facebook.


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    See what was sizzling throughout N.J. girls basketball in the first week of the season.


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    Sixty-two of the graduates will become members of the Camden County Police Department.

    It was a packed house in the Camden County College gymnasium Thursday as the largest ever class of recruits graduated from the Camden County College Police Academy.

    The 111 new officers will join 17 law enforcement agencies in Camden, Atlantic, Burlington and Salem counties, according to a release from Camden County.

    Sixty-two of the graduates will become members of the Camden County Police Department, which has dealt for years with substantial officer turnover

    "Many of these officers will be deployed to the sidewalks and neighborhoods of Camden to become part of a nationally-recognized policing model focused on community engagement and mutual respect," Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said in the press release. "Our number one priority is to keep the residents of Camden County safe. These new police officers will make a tremendous impact in our county seat, and by doing so are making the region a safer place to live for all residents." 

    Camden is trying to stop police shootings

    The recruits have gone through a six-month training at the the Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center at Lakeland, where, the county said, they learned from veteran officers, federal agents, college professors and civilian experts."

    New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino gave the keynote address at the ceremony for the 71st Basic Police Recruit Class Thursday afternoon.

    Each year the class is dedicated to a fallen New Jersey officer. The 71st class was dedicated in honor of Trooper Sean Cullen, a New Jersey state trooper who was killed in 2016 on Route 295 while responding to a car crash and fire. He was in the academy's 60th class, according to the county.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The single vehicle crash took place around 1:30 a.m. Saturday

    One man died early Saturday morning when his vehicle crashed in Gloucester Township, overturning and ejecting him, according to police. 

    The crash took place near the Blackwood Post Office on Davistown Road around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the Gloucester Township Police Department. 

    At the scene, officers found a single vehicle flipped upside down in a front yard. The driver, and vehicle's sole occupant, was ejected upon impact and found near a tree, which was knocked down by the crash, police said. 

    Footage from 6abc showed a large white van overturned in a front yard.

    The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are withholding his identity pending the notification of his family. 

    The crash remains under investigation. 

     Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Try to guess which one she is

    Check out Cherry Hill's newest sensation. 

    A video of a children's Christmas concert went viral this week thanks to the performance of 8-year-old Lucy Cardillo, a little blonde girl in a bright red dress whose enthusiasm stole the show. 

    During the 2-and-a-half minute song about the reindeer Blitzen, Lucy doesn't miss a single move. From the time the some two dozen kids turn to face the audience, she's front and center, stretching her arms wide for each pose and twisting on cue. 

    As of Saturday morning, the clip had more than 11 million views. 

    "This is my daughter at her school Christmas concert," Kelly Cardillo, of Cherry Hill, wrote along with the video when she posted it on Facebook last weekend. "She brought the house down. See if you can guess which one she is." 

    Lucy is a third grader at Resurrection Catholic School, Cardillo told Philly.com. 

    "That's her personality," she said. "But she doesn't always perform like that. I think she just really felt that song."

     Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption, during the holidays and all year 'round.

    I'm no different than you; the advertisements from the ASPCA get to me no matter how many times I see them. And they help: the famous spot featuring Sarah McLachlan singing "Angel" has raised roughly $30 million for the organization in the last 10 years; it's referred to with reverence in marketing circles as "The Ad."

    But you're maybe also like me in that your budget isn't large enough to allow for regular donations. If you're interested in helping homeless animals but aren't able to adopt one or make cash contributions, there are a number of other ways you can be of assistance.

    * Help out at a local shelter. It's not glamorous work by any means, but it's vital and will be very much appreciated. You can do anything from help walk dogs to bottle feed kittens, help clean kennels or cat's cages or even help with bathing and grooming. Contact your local shelter to find out their policies regarding volunteers.

    * If you're handy, you can lend a hand in many ways. Shelters usually need repairs of many kinds, so fixer-uppers can help out like that. If you sew, quilt or crochet, you can make blankets for your local shelter.

    * Help out at an adoption event. Many shelters and rescue groups participate in local events by hosting a table with pets available for adoption. They also hold these program at malls, pet supply stores and banks, and can always use a helping hand.

    * For galleries like this one and for online adoptions sites, often a shelter or rescue group doesn't have the time or equipment to shoot good photos of their adoptable pets, Something as simple as making yourself available to shoot and provide digital files of pet photos can be a big help.

    * Donate. It doesn't have to be money; shelters need cleaning supplies, pet food, toys for the animals and often even things we don't think twice about getting rid of like old towels and newspapers. Every little bit helps.

    If you don't know where your local animal shelter or rescue group is, a quick online search will reveal a number of results. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to get involved but it provides immeasurable assistance.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    The arrests came the same day police issued a warning to parents about sending teens to the mall alone.

    Five juveniles were arrested at the Cherry Hill Mall Tuesday night after police were called there because of a disturbance and found nearly 1,000 teenagers at the shopping center. 

    As officers worked to disperse the crowd, which was estimated to be between 700 and 1,000 minors, they arrested five juveniles, one from Cherry Hill and four from Camden, according to Cherry Hill Police. They were charged with offenses such as disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, police said.

    No injuries or property damages were reported. Rumors of guns at the mall swirled on social media that night and Wednesday morning, but there were no substantiated reports of such weapons at the scene, said Lt. Robert Kempf, a spokesman for the department. 

    There was no indication Wednesday that any large gathering had been organized by the teens, and Kempf said it was likely just a result of the holiday. Further details of what constituted disorderly conduct were not immediately available.  

    Reached by phone Wednesday, an employee at Piercing Pagoda said an announcement was made over the mall's loudspeaker telling anyone under the age of 18 had to leave the mall.  

    A manager at Old Navy, which sits in the mall wing where police reported responding to a disturbance, recalled hearing the same message. 

    "I did get to see a lot of people rushing out," she said. "There were 100 kids running across the mall." 

    The store then pulled down its gates for safety reasons, securing employees and customers inside, some of whom were teenagers, in the store. The manager said she heard rumors at the time that there was a gun in the mall. 

    Earlier Tuesday, Cherry Hill Police warned against dropping unattended minors off at the mall. 

    "Parents and guardians should not be dropping off their children unsupervised at retail shopping centers," the department said in a statement issued on Facebook. "Although the Cherry Hill Mall does not enforce a parental escort policy, there is a code of conduct that must be adhered to and anyone acting in an inappropriate manner will be asked to leave. The Police will not tolerate juveniles acting in a disruptive manner."

    The department said it planned to post officers around the mall and in the parking lot, noting that fights have broken out at malls across the country on the December 26 in recent years.

    Those who could not "act responsibly" would be taken to the police station, and anyone found to be acting criminally would be arrested and prosecuted, the statement said. 

    A spokesperson for the mall did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The annual New Year's Eve celebration will include performances for all ages.

    Looking for a fun, entertaining, and affordable way to ring in the New Year? If so, Haddonfield is the place to be!

    That's the message from the organizers of First Night Haddonfield, who have assembled a star-studded line-up for the event's 20th anniversary on December 31.

    Headlining the bill, for the first time ever at a First Night, are The Duprees, celebrated around the world for their unique interpretations of classic love songs.

    "You Belong to Me," "Have You Heard," and others were instant hits that still bring audiences to their feet. The Duprees will present two 60-minute shows in the Presbyterian Church.

    Returning by popular demand for the third year in a row, The Trammps will have the audience dancing in the aisles of the Middle School auditorium. The Grammy Award-winning icons of the '70s "Disco Inferno" scene will present two 60-minute shows.

    A Celtic vocal group has always been a standing-room-only feature of First Night. This year the four Diver sisters from County Donegal in Ireland, known worldwide as The Screaming Orphans, will blend old-school pop songs with their unique take on traditional Irish music. Get in line early for two 60-minute shows in the Middle School auditorium.

    Galumpha! combines stunning acrobatics, striking visual effects, physical comedy, and inventive choreography to create a sensory feast of images ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Scheduled for two 45-minute shows in the High School auditorium and sponsored by Archer Law, Galumpha! will appeal to audiences of all ages.

    Most First Night performances take place at a dozen venues along Kings Highway, from the High School to the Methodist Church. Just off the highway, the Comcast-sponsored KidZone (for youngsters to age 8) will occupy the all-purpose room and gymnasium at the Middle School.

    A block away, the Markeim Arts Center will offer Crafts for Kids in the early part of the evening against a backdrop of two exhibits - "Faces of Haddonfield" and the annual Art Educators show.

    Young children might not be able to stay awake until midnight to ring in the New Year, but most will want to be on Kings Highway for First Night's spectacular fireworks show, sponsored by Subaru. Elvis tribute artist Mark Reno will start the countdown at 8:45 p.m. and the rockets will fly at 9 p.m. on the dot.

    Admission buttons for First Night are $15 and are required for all but babes-in-arms.  Buttons may be purchased online, at the Information Center  at 2 Kings Court, and at other outlets around the town.

    Full details of the 30-plus performances, 15 venues, and button outlets are online, at www.FirstNightHaddonfield.org.

    Information submitted by First Night Haddonfield.

    Have community news you'd like to share? Send an email to sjtowns@njadvancemedia.com. Have an event happening you want to share? Go to nj.com/events to submit your information to be included in a community calendar


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    The best of 2017.

    We reach the end of another year and the end of another series of galleries featuring vintage photos from New Jersey; here's a group of our favorites snapshots from 2017.

    Why these? There really isn't any criteria - they're just the photos that touched an emotion as we sorted through thousands throughout the year.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    I know our readers have countless wonderful photos that would be perfect for the galleries we do. And, I invite you to submit them for possible publication.

    At times, people will ask what types of photos we look for. The answer is rather simple - any picture taken in New Jersey prior to 1988.

    Having said that, I will add that we especially like un-staged photos of people going about their daily lives at school, at work, relaxing outdoors or kicking back inside. Photos from going down the shore or enjoying recreational activities in the summer and winter; photos of and from the great bars and taverns around the state. Pictures of patriotic celebrations and observances, photos from proms and graduations.

    The best answer? We're looking for photos that you think others would enjoy seeing. All you need to do is scan them and send them to me at ghatala@starledger.com with as much background information as you can provide, such as the names of the people in the photo, where and when it was taken and memories you have about it.

    Help make 2018's galleries even better than this past year's - send in your vintage New Jersey photos. And here are some favorites from past years.

    Our favorite photos: 2016

    Our favorite photos: 2015

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    The man who was in custody died after swallowing a plastic bag of suspected crack cocaine.

    A state grand jury has voted not to indict State Police troopers in the death of a man while in police custody earlier this year -- an incident that drew protest from family members and the Black Lives Matter movement.

    Marshall Zamor, 39, of Sicklerville, died on March 29 while after being arrested on a drug charge on the Atlantic City Expressway.

    The Attorney General's Office announced in a statement Thursday that a grand jury ended its deliberations earlier this month after hearing testimony and evidence from investigators at the Attorney General's Office's Shooting Response Team -- which handles investigations of deadly force or in-custody deaths involving officers.

    Zamor, according to officials, had swallowed a plastic bag of suspected crack cocaine before losing consciousness in a holding cell.

    An autopsy revealed that a plastic bag had obstructed Zamor's larynx and that a piece of suspected crack cocaine was found in his trachea, according to the statement.

    Zamor's family and members of the Black Lives Matter movement held a news conference earlier this year outside the state justice complex in Trenton demanding answers and alleging that investigators had kept Zamor's widow in the dark for nearly two weeks after his death.

    Zamor was pulled over shortly before 11 a.m. on March 29 on the Atlantic City Expressway in Winslow Township "because the windows of his vehicle had illegal tinting," according to the statement. After smelling marijuana, a trooper "repeatedly ordered" Zamor out of his car, but he refused and was eventually arrested.

    According to officials, video footage from the police cruiser showed Zamor "chewing on something" while being handcuffed and ... at one point, a small white object could be seen" inside his mouth.

    Secaucus High student arrested in school on drug charges: police

    While being held in a cell at the Expressway State Police Station, Zamor collapsed after troopers unsuccessfully tried to remove the object from his mouth, officials said.

    After several unsuccessful attempts to pry his mouth open to retrieve pieces of the suspected crack cocaine, Zamor "began to appear restless and uncomfortable, repeatedly leaning over a sink in the cell," drinking water, wiping his face, clothing and the sink with toilet paper. At one point, he "put a wad of toilet paper in his mouth."

    At about noon, troopers called for EMS and again tried to get Zamor to spit out the suspected drugs, but Zamor continued to resist, the statement said. Six troopers were in the cell at the time.

    Zamor, who continued to struggle, was placed on the ground, handcuffed and held down by the troopers.

    When he began convulsing and eventually becoming unconscious, troopers removed the handcuffs, administered smelling salts and attempted to revive him using defibrillator and CPR. Those attempts, however, were unsuccessful, and Zamor was ultimately pronounced dead at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center around 1:15 p.m.

    According to the attorney general's office, "while the troopers were forceful ... no punches, strikes or kicks were used against him."

    The Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death accidental, caused by cocaine intoxication and obstruction to his airway.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The bizzarre, offbeat stories that could only happen in the great Garden State.


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    Susanne LaFrankie-Principato cheers a long-sought ordinance in Haddonfield that targets irresponsible pet owners.

    My family and I applaud the Haddonfield Board of Commissioners for showing courage, leadership and vision by passing what is believed to be the first "irresponsible dog owner" ordinance in New Jersey. This is a critical public safety issue. 

    In the last decade, we have been vocal proponents for passing such measures. They can protect the public from dangerous dogs by holding the owners responsible, and can protect animals from irresponsible actions by the owners.

    My family has been involved in exhaustive legal action to protect our community from a chronic, irresponsible dog owner. In recent months there have been avoidable dog attacks in Haddonfield, making the borough's new ordinance necessary. The owner needs to be held legally liable, not their dogs -- which is the practical effect of most current animal control laws.

    As residents, we deserve to live peacefully, not in fear for our safety, or that of our pets, from those who don't properly care for or control their animals.

    Many of us are dog owners. The majority of dogs are naturally friendly. When dogs are not, the responsibility behind the viciousness usually rests with their owners. No matter the breed, a dog can present significant danger if mistreated, or not properly socialized. 

    Because Haddonfield's ordinance is aimed at repeat offenders of animal control laws, it puts the focus on the handler's end of the leash -- where it belongs. An inconsiderate or careless dog owner's actions can lead to tragic, even fatal, consequences. 

    It my family's hope that other municipalities throughout New Jersey replicate Haddonfield's action and enact similar legislation.

    Susanne LaFrankie-Principato, Haddonfield

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    First-responders were kept busy on a frigid holiday weekend.

    This holiday weekend hasn't provided much leisure for first responders in Oaklyn, Camden County.

    The day started with a report of a fully involved fire in a backyard chicken coop and then rolled into an ice rescue to save a pooch in peril on a creek that had not frozen solid.

    Good news! No injuries to man nor beast on a frigid winter weekend leading into the new year. 

    "It's a good feeling to have a successful outcome," Oaklyn Fire Chief Scott Carins said. "It's basically the entire reason we're in this business."

    Carins, 40, a police officer, leads the all-volunteer department. He said there are always enough volunteers in town to "help people out when needed."

    The first rescue call today came a 7:45 a.m. when neighbors spotted a chicken coop in a backyard in the block of East Haddon Avenue. The neighbors hopped over a fence and freed about seven birds before they were harmed, Carins said.

    When firefighters arrived, the chickens were huddled in a nearby shed. Carins said the fire was apparently sparked by a heating lamp the owners were using to keep their backyard fowl warm in frigid temperatures under 20 degrees this morning.

    About an hour later, Carins and his crew leaped back in action to rescue a dog that had fallen through the ice on Newton Creek. 

    "We used a sled tied to rope as two of our guys worked their way across the ice to get the dog," the chief said.

    The dog was quickly reunited with its owner after the incident. 

    "It's been pretty busy," Carins said with a sigh. 

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Police found two females dead Saturday, according to county prosecutor's office.

    Police found two people dead in a Collingswood home Saturday, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said.

    Officers went to the residence in the 100 block of East Narbeth Terrace around 5 p.m., according to prosecutor's office spokeswoman Alexandra McVeigh.

    Officials did not say how the two people - identified only as females - died or provide details on what prompted police to visit the residence.

    Citing sources, Philly.com reported the two victims were stabbed in an apparent domestic dispute at the home. 

    The prosecutor's office spokeswoman said additional details were not being released as detectives were in the early stages of the investigation.

    Investigators were seen coming and going from a home on the block, which was blocked by crime scene tape. Police would not comment on the deaths.

    Bill Duhart contributed to this report 

    Noah Cohen may be reached at ncohen@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahyc and on Facebook

     


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