Wednesday, October 30, 2019

ONLY WE CAN CHANGE THINGS

As we've said before, Love Lindenwold is a Community Advocacy organization looking out for the greater good and future of Lindenwold. We are not a political entity nor do we provide a political voice. We would be naive though, to not recognize the ongoing impact that politics and politicians have on our community. 

Some comments were recently made on one of Facebook posts that we feel deserve a deeper dive. While it's true that property values are up more than 30% in Lindenwold over the last two years, the same can be said for all of Camden County. 


In Lindenwold specifically, the property value increase is most likely as a result of the hard work of Codes Enforcement Supervisor, Wayne Hans, who with his team, has reassembled their operation, quickly finding more than 6,000 non-compliant properties in just the last two years. Thank you Wayne! 

Remember, it was Councilman Strippoli's dismantling of our Codes Department through Patterson v Strippoli that insisted on upholding a level of Community Standard at one house, on one end of Elm Avenue, that is still not upheld on the other - or throughout the rest of the community. This cost us millions in marketshare and $110,000 in settlement. http://bit.ly/36cmg12

And lest we forget that Mayor Roach's idea of Codes and Community Standards involves using his position of power to illegally park a 30-foot RV on the sidewalk and then convincing both the Codes and Police Departments to look the other way. It seems whether or not you're allowed to park on the sidewalk continues to be an issue of who you are and/or where you live. If there is any question, try walking, or better yet maneuver a wheelchair, up or down the sidewalks of West Park Ave in the evening. https://6abc.cm/2Wqk4yw



Beyond property values, there is a whole host of metrics that attribute to the viability of a community. When New Jersey Monthly Magazine, for example, compiles its bi-annual list of the Best Towns to Live in New Jersey, it examines 10 different qualifiers including average residential tax bill; change in average property tax bill; effective property tax rate; median home-sales price; change in median home-sales price; average days homes were on the market; total crime rate; violent-crime rate; ranking in New Jersey Monthly’s Top Public High Schools chart; and a lifestyle factor that considers the number of acute-care hospitals and live performing-arts theaters within 10 miles of the municipality’s main zip code, number of restaurants within two miles of the municipality’s main zip code, and average commute time for those working away from home.

According to their research, in 2015 Lindenwold came in at 454. In 2017, we fell to 502 and in 2019 we dropped again to 509. To illustrate that a little clearer, we're not fighting for first, second or third. Not even 100th, 200th or 300th. Where 1st is best, Lindenwold's current ranking is 509th and falling on a list that ends at 513. When looking at this more comprehensive picture, it certainly doesn't appear that Lindenwold is headed in the right direction.


Then, because it's election season, we'd be remiss to not mention the democratic process. We have been contacted by a number of business owners who report wanting to post campaign signs but won't out of fear that Borough officials will then give them trouble when trying to renew their licensing. Multiple Borough employees, both past and present, have reported that their voting records were used against them - being openly called out for not voting for the incumbents. And we've spoken with members of the fire department who've stated that if they don't vote for those in power, they won't get support for their new fire hall come the new year. Just to be clear voter intimidation is illegal. http://bit.ly/2WksDdS

That may have something to do with why, as tenured incumbents, our local leaders are running on a campaign slogan of 'Vote Blue, No Matter Who.' Is this really the most effective way to elect leaders who will improve our community?

Friday, October 25, 2019

TRANSFORM SOUTH JERSEY

#FridayFeeling is #TransformLindenwold
About a month ago a small team began forming to see if they could get Lindenwold selected to apply for the Transform South Jersey Community Heart & Soul Program. In a nutshell, it's an amazing opportunity to grow your community in meaningful ways by going through a series of community building exercises. With it comes $100,000 in grant money, expert training, and tools to share stories, and connect. Great News! This team succeeded in having Lindenwold selected as one of the towns invited to move forward.

What comes next is the formal application process. There are quite a few steps involved, some of which include hosting a few brainstorming events. Everyone in the community will have an opportunity to have their voice heard. Stay tuned for details. In the meantime, feel free to visit https://transformsouthjersey.org/ to learn more. There you find information about the Heart & Soul Program as well as webinars and downloads. Take a look. Get involved.
From their website: "Community Heart & Soul is a catalyst for positive change in small cities and towns. By actively seeking the collective wisdom of all residents, including those whose voices are often missing, Community Heart & Soul brings people together to build stronger, healthier and more economically vibrant communities. This resident-driven model helps build trust while taking into account the unique character of a town and the deep emotional connection of the people who live there—a town’s “Heart & Soul®.” These collective insights into what truly matters most guide a community in making the best decisions about its future."

Monday, September 23, 2019

LINDENWOLD DAY 2019


Lindenwold Day 2019 was held on Saturday, September 21, at Carlton Rouh Field. There were lots of local vendors, community resources, churches and political candidates represented. This year marked Lindenwold's 90th anniversary of incorporation and the 75th anniversary of hometown hero Carlton Rouh's day of action, for which he later received a Congressional Medal of Honor, a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts.

Hundreds of people gathered on a beautiful day for our Borough's equivalent of Family Day. Residents talked and laughed as they walked around the event, stopping in on the various booths, meeting new people, sharing stories, connecting with neighbors - a great time had by all.





We tried to interview event organizer and Mayor's wife, Brenda Roach, about the day's festivities including how the participants were selected and what it takes to put an event like that together. We were told, no comment.

This year being an election year, there were also political candidates in attendance who are running for local Lindenwold office. The election will be held on Tuesday, November 5th.

On the ballot are three incumbent Democrats up for election: Mayor Richard Roach, Councilman Joseph Strippoli and Councilman Joseph DiDomenico. We asked for interviews and were told no comment. For more information on them, call Borough Hall at 856-783-2121 or Google each of their names.

Also running this year are three new independent candidates who've launched a write-in campaign: Joe Dacciaio for Mayor, Diane Veteri for Council and Joseph Hammell for Council. We met with each one at Saturday's event and asked the following three questions.

Why have you guys decided to run for Mayor and Council in Lindenwold?

We have decided to run for office in Lindenwold because we believe that this is the right time for change. I (Joe D.) was a union rep for 10 years and was told that it would be a thankless job. I wanted to bring change and unity to the workers and the company. Similarly, if we didn't step up now then who would make this change. We want the best for our families just like everyone else does. My wife and her family are from Lindenwold, born and raised. We are invested and determined to return Lindenwold to its former glory.

What do you see as Lindenwold's biggest challenges?

Lindenwold's biggest challenge as we see it right now is the old regime. We think that when people begin to serve in public office, they generally have good intentions. As time goes on they become complacent, swayed or even fatigued by other people and/or parties. Mind you, our current incumbents have been serving for 20, 30 years. Unfortunately it seems, they forget who they are serving. We need to let our residents know that WE work for them and not the other way around.

What would you like to see happen in Lindenwold?

We think that our Borough's overhead needs to be reduced. We believe that new thinking, new ways of doing things and a fresh new outlook for the town could reduce spending on certain areas of the budget and increase it on other fronts. We would like to reduce taxes not only for residents but also for our local businesses. We would like to make Lindenwold a more attractive town for people to want to move here and raise their families. We would like to create better programs that serve more of our residents. The crime in Lindenwold needs to be a focus. We need to greatly reduce and/or eliminate crime by working hand in hand with our police force. Look what Camden has been able to do about crime in just a few short years. This will increase safety and security for our residents and town visitors. It would also spur outside investment and rateables. We would like code enforcement to be more involved in reducing community problems. We'd like that team to help whether it be one of our many apartment complexes, a homeowner who needs help or a landlord of a neglected rental property. Let's bring back businesses to Lindenwold along the White Horse Pike. If we had new business this would attach growth and revenue to Lindenwold. We would like to see better infrastructure improvements for going green to reduce costs and repairs. Let's help bring back industry to Lindenwold. This will bolster blue collar jobs in our town and will be great for the families who live here. We are supporters of better wages for the workers so they have the means necessary to buy the home they want. While the current Mayor supports affordable housing, we are not big supporters of our increasing number of rental properties. It's ironic that we reduce the cost of some homes while raising the cost of others through taxation. It is a delicate and difficult balancing act and one that should no longer be placed on the residents. We would love to better support our veterans and senior citizens in our town. As we spoke to veterans and seniors on Saturday at Lindenwold Day, they seem to feel as they have been forgotten. We would like to create easier pathways to home ownership. We would love nothing more than to have better, more effective communication with our residents. We will have an open door policy at all times. We can welcome change for the better with strong new directions. This will be a more secure path forward for the residents. The biggest issue that we heard and keep hearing is that "no one cares about problems in Lindenwold". Well, let us be clear, WE CARE.

Joseph Dacciaio, long-time resident, Write-in Candidate for Mayor

Diane Veteri, long-time resident, Write-in Candidate for Council

Joseph Hammell, long-time resident, Veteran, Write-in Candidate for Council

For more information contact Joseph Dacciaio for Mayor of Lindenwold.



All in all Lindenwold Day provided our community a wonderful opportunity to come together. Family, friends, neighbors and newcomers all enjoyed the activities, refreshments and fireworks. Already looking forward to next year.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

PRIDE OF PLACE SHIRTS

We are excited to announce the launch of custom made Love Lindenwold t-shirts. Your $20 donation will not only help show your pride of place, it will also directly help the students of Lindenwold (see below). And for a limited time, you get to choose your shirt and lettering colors. There are thousands of possibilities. Want a blue shirt with yellow lettering? Done. How about a green shirt with black lettering? No problem. Just let us know, size, color and quantity.

Love Lindenwold t-shirts support our students and community

*Keeping it local: From each $20 t-shirt purchase, $2 will be used for future programming, $8 will go to a Lindenwold vendor for the shirt and printing and $10 will be donated to a soon-to-be-announced Education Foundation currently being created to support the students of the Lindenwold School District.

If you have questions or would like to place an order, please contact us directly at 1.888.498.6788 or love@lovelindenwold.org.  **Sizes 2X and larger are $2 extra.

Friday, September 20, 2019

LINDENWOLD DAY IS ALMOST HERE

#FridayFeeling is Lindenwold Day! Getting ready to celebrate our community, your home, and 90 years of history. Come out to the field tomorrow, Saturday, Sept.21st - it's supposed to be a beautiful day! #LoveLindenwold
PS: Who's "Carlton Rouh" - he's a veteran, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and an American hero who hailed from Lindenwold and for whom the field is named. https://bit.ly/2m3U4uq

¡#FridayFeeling es el día de Lindenwold! Celebrando nuestra comunidad, su hogar y 90 años de historia. Sal al campo mañana, Sábado 21 de septiembre ¡se supone que es un hermoso día! #LoveLindenwold
PD: ¿Quién es "Carlton Rouh"? Es un veterano, un ganador de la Medalla de Honor del Congreso y un héroe estadounidense que proviene de Lindenwold y por el que se nombra el campo. https://bit.ly/2m3U4uq


Sunday, September 1, 2019

CRIME, CAMDEN AND COMMUNITY

From our Facebook Page's Wednesday Wisdom Series:


There is little dispute that one of the biggest ongoing factors negatively impacting life in Lindenwold, is our crime rate. This unfortunate truth affects more facets of our lives' than we can even imagine including our quality of life, safety, property values, mindset, outlook, school funding, outside investment, rateables, reputation, tenant base, etc, etc, etc.

It also causes many residents to offer Gibbsboro, Laurel Springs or Voorhees when asked where they live - too embarrassed to admit they live in Lindenwold. Sad but true.


For our #WednesdayWisdom series - each week we share a resource to help the greater good and future of Lindenwold. Today, we highlight the Camden County Police Department. Currently celebrating its lowest crime rates in 50 years, Camden has become a model for new police behavior being rolled out nationwide.
How best can Lindenwold leverage that National model to lower the crime rate and improve the quality of life for the 18,000 residents who live in Camden's high-crime, county cousin? #LoveLindenwold
One of the things we notice in looking at force.nj.com (first two pics), is that Camden employs one police officer per 220 residents while Lindenwold employs one officer per 474 residents (approx).
And as we've reported in the past, about 8,000 of our rental tenants, who live in our apartment complexes, are "filtered" through 23+/- property managers. What role do these 23 people play in contributing to our crime rate and quality of life? #ChamberofComplexes


 










Wednesday, August 7, 2019

CHAMBER OF COMPLEXES PART 2

#WednesdayWisdom this week is about crime in Lindenwold. Someone recently asked about a Youtube video that ranks Lindenwold as the 9th worst place to live in New Jersey. First of all, we disagree. But equally important is our response which offers informational resources on crime and more thoughts on the idea of a Lindenwold #ChamberofComplexes.
LoveLindenwold.org is a resident-run, community advocacy organization whose mission is to build programs and partnerships that bolster Lindenwold's assets and image.
As others have noted and as the YouTube video suggests, Lindenwold doesn't have the best reputation and crime continues to be an enormous influence and issue.
We've recently written about how crime is not so much a police issue as it is a community issue. Camden for example, in the midst of its rising, is experiencing its lowest crime rate in 50 years.  https://bit.ly/2YlCHU9
Lindenwold Police provide weekly reporting of borough crime using CrimeReports(TM) available for free at https://bit.ly/2KzbCK5. You may also learn more about the violence police experience and exhibit while on duty in Lindenwold at http://force.nj.com/
Most of Lindenwold's crime does occur within the complexes. The apartments themselves though, and the communities they encompass could be an enormous resource to Lindenwold, and to #CamdenCounty.
The prevailing trend in housing is denser, walkable communities that provide tremendous amenities. The 'leg up' Lindenwold has is that the bones of that desirable, dense infrastructure already exist here. Thousands of apartments, close to everything, award-winning public transportation, and choice schools.
The fact is, many other communities across the country have flipped the script on their burdensome, crime-ridden housing by turning it into the enormous asset it was built to be. Lindenwold could do the same thing. https://www.strongtowns.org/
Because the 23+ complexes make up so much of the Lindenwold community, investor owners need to be strongly encouraged to continually enhance their portfolio properties. There needs to be fierce competition among the complex owners as they fight to provide the best in amenities to the best of the South Jersey tenant pool.
Giving apartment complex owners and managers an opportunity to excel at the quality of life they provide is a huge part of it. These 23 figures 'filter' more than 8,000 people who live in Lindenwold's apartments. They also dictate the conditions of their communities, and provide either an overall resource or liability to Lindenwold and the rest of our residents.
This is one of the conceptual strategies behind our idea of creating a first-of-its-kind Chamber of Complexes. You may find Part 1 of this post below.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

CHAMBER OF COMPLEXES

We feel our unique infrastructure and density call for an equally unique approach. We will soon be publishing our plan for a first-of-its kind Chamber of Complexes.

Similar to a Chamber of Commerce, this Chamber would be made up of all of the Apartment Complex property managers and its mission would be to collaborate on recruiting the best of the tenant pool, create the best quality of life within each community and work to ensure that "bad" tenants don't move from one complex to another.

In the meantime, here's another take on how to help reduce crime in Lindenwold, written nearly 3 years ago by a long-time Lindenwold property owner. Courier-Post Letter to the Editor: https://bit.ly/2YdEriu.

As an ironic sidenote: we would be remiss in not acknowledging that Camden is currently experiencing its lowest crime rate in more than 50 years. It goes without saying that the model of success Camden County police have created on the other side of the County could be extracted and applied to our community. Stay tuned for more on crime in Lindenwold.

#reducecrime #CamdenCounty








Wednesday, June 12, 2019

PEOPLE, POWER & PLACE

#WednesdayWisdom: Please play a part in this important community improvement endeavor and invite your friends, family and neighbors to do so as well.

Do you know how the people of Camden got new parks, recreation centers, community gardens and more? They did so by first mapping out their current assets to see where their community was abundant and where it was lacking. During a recent workshop, Hope Works and Rosy Arroyo of the Community Planning & Advocacy Council, brought the same technology to Lindenwold.




Please click here to answer a brief survey about Lindenwold. Enter all of the assets you believe our community already has. Be sure to include obvious resources like parks and libraries but also assets like neighborhood mentors, artists willing to share their talents, walking paths, fishing holes, food banks and others. #AssetMapping #CommunityVoice #LoveLindenwold

PS: We are working to get the survey made available in Spanish

Monday, May 20, 2019

ENCOURAGED BY LOCAL SUCCESSES

Very good article. Well worth a read. We are so happy for, and inspired by, Camden's successes! All of the metrics are very impressive! There is little doubt that the meaningful changes going on in Camden have positively affected thousands of people and families for years to come. Kudos to everyone!

As Camden's equally impoverished, high-crime County cousin, we find these to be some of the most encouraging and significant comments:

“Camden residents have not seen critical public and social health indicators like education, public safety, and public spaces, at levels this beneficial in a generation," stated Former Governor Jim Florio.



 “Everything is interrelated. When I look at Camden, I see an example of how a struggling community can be revitalized," said Former Governor, Jon Corzine. "The City of Camden may be on the rise, but the fact that peoples lives themselves are improving is most encouraging.”


"This is real progress, and these are real opportunities for Camden residents," said Mayor Francisco Moran. "As a lifelong resident, it makes me proud to say Camden has become a model for urban revitalization.”

“I’m proud to stand with the real leaders of New Jersey and declare that Camden is flourishing,” Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. said. “The tangible progress being made in this city is nothing short of amazing and we are not going to allow any roadblocks to slow our renaissance down.”

At roughly a quarter of Camden's size, we in Lindenwold, look forward to hopefully benefiting from a small part of Camden's momentum.

Click here to read the article on Camden County's site.

#ModayMotivation #CamdenCounty #LoveLindenwold

#revitalize #reducecrime #increasegraduationrates #createjobs #celebratecommunity #celebrateculture 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

LINDENWOLD LITTLE FREE LIBRARY MAKES NEWS NATIONWIDE

#ThursdayThought is thankful. Thankful to the students of Lindenwold Elementary School No. 4. Thankful to principal Dana Lawrence, teachers Nancy Bragg, Marie Aberant, and Larry "the book man" Abrams of BookSmiles and everyone else involved in the making of their Little Free Library.


Photo credit: Courier-Post (provided)

A special thank you to Sheri Berkery of the Courier-Post for telling their story, which has now spread a positive message about Lindenwold across the country.



Here is the original Courier-Post story (with video). If you're unable to view the link above, here is a link to the story on the AP Wire.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

DISTRACTED DRIVING=DEADLY DRIVING

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month so starting tomorrow, April 1st, Lindenwold Police will begin cracking down on people who text and drive.





Wednesday, March 20, 2019

GIVE OUR STUDENTS BACK THEIR MONEY

Last week, we reported on our Facebook page that Governor Murphy generously awarded the students of Lindenwold School District an additional $2.4 Million in state aid funding. Monday night however, the Lindenwold School Board voted (not unanimous) to take $120,000 of the students' money in the form of tax relief back to residents. What this boils down to is that the school board is stealing approximately $42 from each and every Lindenwold student in order to save each taxpayer approximately $24. Does this make sense?

It would be one thing if our school district was fully funded, but even with the $2.4 Million increase from Governor Murphy, our district still remains more than $12 Million in the whole. If, on the other hand, the school board kept our taxes flat and utilized that $120,000 to create distinguishable district programming, our potential property value increase could far offset the $24 shortsighted savings. Our taxes are already some of the lowest in Camden County. 

In a decade's long, severely under-funded, disadvantaged school district, our students deserve all the opportunity they can get. Give the students back their money! Feel free to share your thoughts with school board president, Cathy Moncrief. Her email address is cmoncrief@lindenwold.k12.nj.us  P.S. Thank you to the school board members who voted on the students' side of this issue!

Friday, March 8, 2019

GOV MURPHY HIGHLIGHTS LINDENWOLD GRADUATE, ENTREPRENEUR

ICYMI: Budget Address 2020: Worth a watch for every New Jersey resident but extra special for Aurelio Sotelo, a graduate of Lindenwold High School, whom Governor Murphy recognized for outstanding achievement. Thank you Governor Murphy! 

Congratulations to Aurelio, his family and the Lindenwold education system! #shoutouttoLindenwold #StrongerFairerNJ #LoveLindenwold


To hear the nod to Aurelio and Lindenwold, fast forward to 29:15.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

ONLY WAY IS UP!

Thank you to everyone who contacted us regarding last week's ABC News story. While embarrassing for the town as a whole, this incident provides an excellent opportunity for us to grow as a Borough and community. For those who aren't familiar, below is a link to Chad Pradelli's investigative piece.

Despite complaints, N.J. mayor refuses to move illegally parked RV 


Click the image to enlarge or the link above to watch the story.

We as the residents, the taxpayers - the ones who pay the bills - can harness this tremendous opportunity to generate growth for our beloved Borough of Lindenwold. 

To help answer the many questions we are getting, we offer a long-winded update. Feel free to share with other concerned citizens. The RV was moved.

As many of you noted, Lindenwold has a bit of history with Code Enforcement issues.  While many challenges still exist, we are happy to report, Mayor Roach announced at this year's Reorganization meeting, that our borough officials enforced 2700 Code Compliance issues in 2018.  It seems we may finally be on the right track. See video here.

Be that as it may, to help save taxpayers money and to ensure an unbiased operation, many surrounding towns now utilize PROCHAMPS to help with codes problems, handle foreclosures and fight blight. 


Click image to enlarge or zoom.

That being said, Lindenwold has an established set of Community Standards (Codes), and your property taxes pay the salaries of your Borough officials, who are tasked with upholding said standards. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions to help make your taxes work for you and the greater good of Lindenwold.

First, compile a list of the offending properties. Include pictures* and the code violation** if you can (see below). Then, email that list and pictures to your Codes Official, Wayne Hans, at whans@lindenwold.net and "copy" the following people: your Mayor, Richard Roach, at rroach@lindenwold.net, your Codes Councilman Liaison, Justin Jackson, at jjackson@lindenwold.net, your Borough Administrator, Dawn Thompson, at dthompson@lindenwold.net and your Borough Solicitor, Dave Capozzi, at david@daclaw.net. This process will document your request and ensure that it doesn't fall through the cracks. If there's no improvement after 30 days, forward a copy of the email to your Camden County Board of Freeholders at: freeholders@camdencounty.com and ask that they look into the matter.

*Images of properties that have been non-compliant for more than 2 years are freely available via Google Maps using the "satellite" or "street" view. Dates in the upper left corner will indicate when the picture was taken and also provide evidence of how long the property has been non-compliant.

**Borough of Lindenwold Codes can be found here

Second, consider a tax appeal, which are heard at the county level. According to research, between 30 and 60 percent of taxable property has an inflated assessment. Any financial advisor worth their weight, recommends that homeowners appeal their tax assessment annually. The strategy being, that for a little bit of time and effort you just might get an assessment reduction, which will lower your taxes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. In addition to appropriate "comps," in the evidence section, be sure to include pictures of all of the offending properties and argue that your property (and everybody else's) aren't worth what they're assessed because our Borough officials aren't upholding our Community Standards. The deadline for appeals is April 1st. For more information, click here

Good luck! Here's to a Better Borough!


Sunday, February 3, 2019

A ROAD DIET?

A Road Diet - "almost always slowing traffic and improving safety and economic vitality alike." Sounds like the perfect prescription for Gibbsboro Road and the White Horse Pike. #strongtowns #roaddiet #slowthecars #lovelindenwold

We bring this up for a few reasons. Lindenwold could certainly benefit from improved safety and economic vitality, and because the New Jersey DOT is currently re-designing one of the Most Dangerous Intersections in the state, which happens to be in Lindenwold at the crossroads of Gibbsboro Road and the White Horse Pike. We wrote about their Information Session a few months back.

Check out this article from Strong Towns about how the forward-thinking Iowa DOT is helping educate people about the benefits of Road Diets.






Friday, January 25, 2019

VISIT AREA'S BEST ATTRACTIONS FOR FREE

Did you know that as a resident of #Lindenwold, you and your family are able to visit some of the area's best attractions for FREE?? Grounds For Sculpture, the National Constitution Center, Battleship New Jersey, the Mutter Museum of Medical Oddities and all New Jersey State Parks...these are just a few of the many places you and your family or friends can explore for free. To learn more, click here.

#DYK #FridayFinds #LoveLindenwold #CamdenCounty #PublicLibraries 

#StateParks #MuseumPass