The Camden County Board of Freeholders held its monthly Freeholder Meeting on Thursday, June 15th at the Cherry Hill Community Center on Mercer Street. At this meeting, a number of Awards and Proclamations were presented including:
- Nicolette Raleigh, Young Community Leader, presented by Freeholder Young
- Cherry Hill Mayor, Chuck Cahn, Sustainability Champion, presented by Freeholder Young
- Tom Weaver, Courage in Theater Award. presented by Freeholder Nash
- JoAnne Negrin and Susan McGunnigle, “Hate Has No Home Here” Campaign. presented by Freeholder Nash
- Shruthika Padhy , 2017 Scripps Spelling Bee Finalist, presented by Freeholder Nash
- Nina Staiman, Take the Wheel Veterans Program, presented by Freeholder Moen
- Sergeant Robert Borger, Employee of the Month, presented by Freeholder Cappelli
Read more about these outstanding Camden County residents below.
The next Freeholder Meeting is scheduled for July 20, 2017 at the Bellmawr Fire & Rescue Ballroom 29 Lewis Avenue, Bellmawr All Camden County Residents are invited. Click here for more information.
AWARD & PROCLAMATION BIOGRAPHIES
Young Community Leader
Nicolette “Nikky” Raleigh has a deep seeded spirit and love for the environment. She attends Drexel University where she is earning her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, while volunteering on a variety of Cherry Hill Environmental Board (CHEB) projects. A few of those projects include helping plant the Pollinator Meadow at Cherry Hill Valley Trails, trail maintenance & improvement at a variety of Cherry Hill Trails, leading the CHEB Nature Station at the 2017 Cherry Hill Earth Fest where she helped develop and present 5 separate nature activities at the Earth Fest. She has taken extraordinary steps to be installed as the youngest member ever serving on the Cherry Hill Environment Board.
Sustainable Camden County – Sustainability Champion
Chuck Cahn has served as Cherry Hill’s Mayor since 2012. Since he has been Mayor, Cherry Hill has remained a statewide leader in sustainability efforts and local policy-making aimed at creating a cleaner, healthier community. Cherry Hill has maintained Sustainable Jersey Silver Certification (its the highest-level certification for municipalities in New Jersey 7 years. Mayor Cahn created Cherry Hill’s Mayor’s Wellness Campaign and by promoting free and low-cost programs and events aimed at healthy living, active lifestyles, and good nutrition for all ages secured the Township a “Healthy Town” designation – the first in South Jersey. The Township has dedicated millions of dollars to preserving open space and its vast network of parks, playgrounds, and trails, created a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian Master Plan and Complete Streets program, banned smoking on all public lands, public buildings, and public recreational spaces to improve air quality and protect the public, and has installed solar panels on municipal properties. The town has more energy-efficient upgrades in other areas and the Township’s residential recycling program is one of the most successful in NJ and supported an annual Earth Festival to educate thousands of South Jersey residents on how to Love The Earth every day. Last year, Cherry Hill and its Green Team released the “Roadmap to the Future” one of the first municipal sustainability plans in the state, to formally set the community’s visions and priorities, and to set a path toward a more sustainable future. Two weeks ago, when our President announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, Mayor Cahn took a strong, vocal stance against the decision, and with the support of the members of Town Council, publicly reaffirmed Cherry Hill’s commitment to sustainability. As of this week, Mayor Cahn is a member of U.S. Climate Mayors, a nationwide network of Mayors dedicated to strengthening local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support efforts for binding federal and global policies to that same end.
Courage in Theater Award
Tom is the Theatrical Director of Cherry Hill East’s presentation of Ragtime. Ragtime is the fictional story of a black family, a Jewish immigrant family and a wealthy white couple living in New York city at the turn of the century. The story contains themes of racism, intolerance, injustice and racial slurs against other ethnic groups. The theme caused the school to contemplate changing the words of the play, however that would have been an unauthorized change to the script under copywrite laws. This resulted in a discussion with local leaders, parents and students and opened a dialog of inclusion. Dr. Joseph Meloche and Mr. Tom Weaver had the support of an original cast member, Mr. Brian Stokes Mitchell who came from New York and spoke to all concerned about the importance of the play and the times in which it was set. The Actor spoke about the necessity of keeping the play as written and how we as a society can learn from it. The play went on as written and became a teachable moment for all. Cherry Hill High School East students, Tom Weaver and the school district were awarded the Courage in Theater Award from Music Theater International for their production of Ragtime. They were spotlighted for the courage it took to persevere with their production and to use this lesson as an instrument of education.
JoAnne Negrin and Susan McGunnigle
“Hate Has No Home Here” Campaign
The “Hate Has No Home Here” campaign began in Chicago last November to calm some of the hatred directed at people of different ethnicities where posters and signs were produced with the slogan “Hate Has No Home Here” written in multiple languages. After a bomb threat was called into the Katz JCC, JoAnne wanted to give back to her community so she and her co-organizer, Susan, began a campaign using the signs. They charge $5 for each sign and orders have been brisk. They also have reached out to other communities with the hope that the message will spread. Both JoAnne and Susan believe the unifying action will help spread the message that Cherry Hill values everybody.
2017 Scripps Spelling Bee Finalist
Shruthika is a sixth grader at the Rosa International Middle School in Cherry Hill. She competed last year in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and tied for 22nd place, and this year placed 7th out of 291 spellers from across the country. Shruthika loves to solve math problems and is a voracious reader, loves learning Indian classical music, sings in her school chorus and plays the piano and flute. She is a member of her local swim team, runs cross country and track and field amongst other sports in the summer. Shruthika likes to watch basketball, football and her favorite TV show “Shark Tank”
Take the Wheel Veterans Program
Nina Staiman is the Assistant Director of Volunteers at the Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) of Southern NJ. Since 41 percent of the veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system reside in rural areas and not in major cities, Transportation is a big issue for veterans. The lack of transportation often prevents the veteran population from obtaining necessary healthcare. “Take the Wheel” is a program offered by JFCS to assist veterans in getting to their appointments. The program volunteers are also veterans which provides a positive and supportive piece to the transportation service and encourages a positive experience for the volunteer and the recipient. Many County and municipal transportation services have had to cut back because of budget constraints and Take the Wheel helps to fill that void. The State of New Jersey has over 472,000 veterans with over 33,000 in Camden County alone. These veterans have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the recent Iraqi and Afghanistan wars and their ages range from 20 to 90 years old
Sergeant Robert Borger
Employee of the Month
Sgt. Borger is the supervisor of our SRT Unit (Shooting & Robbery Team). His unit is tasked with investigating all shootings, robberies and arsons that take place within the City of Camden. Under the supervision of Sgt. Borger, his detectives, through a team led approach, utilizing social media analysis, mobile phone location plotting systems, facial recognition software, National Integration Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), fingerprints for bullet casings, victim, witness and suspect interview and interrogation practices and police Department, residential, business and housing complex surveillance systems review and old fashioned investigative canvas methods.
The unit solved over the calendar year of 2016, 92 shooting incidents and 165 robberies. Over the 4th of July weekend when 16 separate fires cropped up in succession on the south side of the city, Borger and his detectives recognized a distinct pattern of clusters as the dwellings were within walking distance of one another when ignited. Sgt. Borger’s investigators gathered surveillance video and sifting through hundreds of hours of video created a timeline and tracked the suspect. They used facial recognition software to identify the serial arsonist. The suspect was arrested and confessed to the arsons and heir efforts solved the mystery and ending the panic of it all for the residents of Camden. The relentless investigatory and supervisory practices of Sgt. Borger along with his community ties and technological expertise have led to many successful case closures.