CHEERS to the first fallen pebbles. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn't call Camden home for long — just a few years while he studied at Crozer Theological Seminary, in Pennsylvania. His former house at 753 Walnut St. isn't much — a "non-distinct three-story row home" even to its boosters. But on a blighted block in Camden, the push to preserve King's former home as a historic landmark is a worthwhile venture and even drew the support of civil rights movement icon and current Congressman John Lewis. Neighbors may complain that there's plenty of other work in the area that can be done; why focus on this place King merely passed through? Because, to paraphrase Rep. Donald Norcross at Monday's gathering, an avalanche starts with the smallest pebbles.
JEERS running on empty. It's unfortunate that New Jersey's off-road riding enthusiasts have very few places to actually practice their hobby. Some of their current plight may have been self-inflicted — leaving garbage in state parks or trespassing on private property — but we think Atco resident Dave Demsey is onto something when he suggests opening up a decent trail system within Wharton State Forest. Self-policing, classes to qualify for use, working with environmental groups to restore the damage done and more are some of the touted benefits. We've all got hobbies and, more likely than not, plenty of options of where to go practice them. These folks deserve the same variety.
CHEERS: To the start of a great project that offers hope for veterans struggling with PTSD. Amazing Grace Ministries is developing a retreat where combat veterans can receive help as they adjust to life after war. They plan to build at least 60 microhouses as part of this project at a former Franklin Township campground. The first house has arrived and should be ready for the first veteran in about a month. Minister Donnie Davis and his Amazing Grace colleagues have identified a serious need — aiding struggling veterans — and are working hard to help. Vets will spend two years at this site while they receive counseling, care and compassion. Many citizens have rallied to offer their support through financial contributions and donations of materials and volunteer labor. Find out how you can help by calling 856-513-6114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
JEERS: To an idiot on the prowl in Glassboro. Rowan and borough authorities issued an alert this week after an incident at an off-campus house in which a man in green face paint allegedly threatened Rowan students. The man approached students shortly after midnight on Tuesday and "made statements that can be perceived as being threatening," according to the Rowan police notice. Glassboro police later indicated that a suspect was identified and police are investigating. In matters involving public safety, we would like to see more information provided. Was someone charged? Do students — or borough residents in general — have any reason to worry that this character could cause trouble? We are thankful Rowan officials have a good system for notifying students of potential issues, but let's complete the job by sharing the outcome of these matters. If the man involved was located and charged with something, that should be announced. If it turned out to be a huge misunderstanding, say that, too. Don't leave people wondering if they still have a reason to worry about their safety.
CHEERS: To helping those touched by strategy. The chiefs of Pennsville Township's two fire departments and police department have donated $3,000 to the three children of the late Seema Singh. The money will go into a trust fund for the children whose mother was allegedly killed by their father in July. Deepwater Fire Co. Chief Joseph Hogan, Pennsville Fire and Rescue Co. No. 1 Chief Larry Zimmerman and Chief of Police Allen J. Cummings took part in a fundraising event during the grand opening of the new township Wawa in August. Each was presented with a check for $1,000 to go to their charity of their choice. They all decided that helping the Singh children was the right thing to do. The childrens' caretaker said the gesture by the chiefs "shows what a real family the community of Pennsville is."
JEERS: To the dangers our police officers face while performing their duties. On Wednesday afternoon two Vineland officers accompanied a state child services worker on what should have been a routine well-being check on a local child. But it left two policemen hospitalized. The incident took place on South Valley Avenue. A man in the house, Johnny E. Flores, allegedly stabbed one of the officers in the face and inured the other cop. Flores faces attempted murder and other charges. Fortunately, both of the injured officers are now out of the hospital. Each day officers head out on duty, they never know what dangers they will face performing their duty protecting the public.