Featured News Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr Student Joseph Siefert Recognized for Winning Fire Safety Poster Contest

Bellmawr E.M. Burke student, Joseph Siefert, was recognized at the June, 2017 Council monthly meeting for winning the Fire Department’s annual fire safety poster contest.

E.M. Burke student, Joseph Siefert, was recognized at the June 22, 2017 monthly Council meeting for winning the Bellmawr Fire Department’s annual fire safety poster contest.

Siefert was congratulated by all of the Councilmen.

Councilman Steve Sauter called Siefert a “great kid” and Councilman Jim D’Angelo added “I’ve never seen anyone so excited to win.”

Also recognized during the meeting were Bellmawr Police officers Corporal John Mader and Patrolman Kevin Lokaj who received Proclamations in recognition for separate incidents they were involved in that resulted in the prevention of serious injury or worse.

Officers AJ Thomas and John Reader were promoted to Patrolmen and Officer Mark DeBerardinis, who graduated from the Gloucester County Police Academy on March 22, 2017, was ceremonially sworn in to the Department.

Photo Gallery:

Posted by South Jersey Observer on Thursday, June 22, 2017

Additionally, the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Tiny Division Cheerleader Squad received Certificates for coming in first place during May’s U.S. Finals Cheer and Dance Competition.

Bellmawr Purple Eagles Tiny Division Cheerleader Squad
(All Photos by SJO)

Committee Reports

Council President Steve Hagerty presided over the meeting because Mayor Frank Filipek was absent.

Hagerty congratulated the police officers and said that Chief William Walsh “runs a great department with a lot of professionalism.”

Hagerty said that Emergency Management officials (police, fire, and EMS) trained at a recent exercise in the Industrial Park and said that there were 91 fire calls and 313 EMS calls in May.

The Fire Department was awarded a Citation of Merit certificate issued through the Governor’s Occupational Health and Safety Awards Program.

This program recognizes that the fire department has taken corrective steps to maintain a quality safety and health program for its members, follows national standards with regard to standard operating procedure, holds annual physicals, training and agility tests along with aggressive random drug testing programs.

“These policies ensure the safety of the members and reduces liability to the Borough,” Hagerty said. “This also ensures that the Department is ready for its next emergency. Congratulations to Chief Jim Burleigh and all the volunteers.”

Additionally, Hagerty said that two Bellmawr EMTs — Leidy Mejia Shicay and EMT-Firefighter Rodney Griffith were recently honored by Runnemede Mayor and Council for saving a life. (Credit: Bellmawr Fire Dept.)

Councilman Paul Sandrock

Councilman Sandrock congratulated all of the recent graduates and the police officers who were promoted and received Proclamations. “The Bellmawr Police Department does an excellent job. All of the officers dedicate their time and do a fantastic job.”

Sandrock read from a report (below) regarding the statistics on the Borough’s vacant properties. “This doesn’t go unnoticed. We’ve increased revenue because of our Ordinances that were established to be more stringent that raise the cost to maintain properties in town.”

Councilman Jamie Casey

“Thanks to Jim [Burleigh] for cracking down on those properties,” Casey said.

He also congratulated the police officers. “Fine job by Chief Walsh,” he said.

As for the recent graduation at Bell Oaks, Casey said: “It was a little different, but nice and everything went well.”

The Municipal Building will be getting more of a “face lift” because the building will be closed on Fridays for Summer hours. Borough workers will be in painting, etc., Casey said.

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

Councilman D’Angelo congratulated the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Cheerleaders for winning their recent competition.

He also congratulated the police officers and said of the Bellmawr Police Department: “It’s one professional outfit. I’m impressed.”

The Rec Department is in the property maintenance business and said crews cut grass and trim trees.

As for the playground equipment at the Recreation Center, D’Angelo said they are still waiting to hear about a grant from the County.

With regard to Anderson Avenue, D’Angelo said that a fence was put in and that maybe the Bell Oaks Lady Owls softball team can use that field. “That decision belongs to the school district,” he said.

The Rec Center was recently vandalized. “People broke in. Nothing was stolen and there was minor damage. We’re going to get more cameras,” D’Angelo said.

Summer Rec Program began on June 26 and runs through July 27. Fifty-eight young men and women signed up to work, he said.

Councilman Steve Sauter

Councilman Sauter congratulated the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Cheerleaders and Corporal John Mader and Patrolman Kevin Lokaj for “fantastic policing.”

He also congratulated Mark DeBerardinis for doing a fantastic job and to Patrolman John Reader and AJ Thomas for being promoted to Patrolmen.

Under Public Works, the road projects are going smoothly, on time, and in budget, he said.

Regarding the recent sewage spill at Big Timber Creek, Sauter thanked Water and Sewer Superintendent, George Reinnles for “jumping right on that” to make sure there were no issues with Bellmawr.

Councilman Ray Bider

Councilman Bider credited Chief Walsh and his leadership in making the police department what it is. “Thank you for all you have done for many years,” Bider said.

The Borough is looking to install a drop-box in central location(s) where residents can take their old flags so a proper ceremony can be done. Many people do not know where to put them, Bider said. “Paul [Sandrock] brought up this idea.”

Bellmawr Recreation Enhancement

As for the ongoing Recreation Enhancement project that is going on across from Larc School on Creek Road, Bider said plans are in the works to build a memorial/monument for all wars in the far back.

Bider also said there is now a drop box outside of Borough Hall so people can pay their taxes, water, and sewer bills after hours using a check or money order.

Bellmawr bill drop box

With regard to Resolutions #06:143-17 – $6,000 Private donation shuttle bus and #06:143-17 $23,578.64 Clean Communities Grant, Bider said: “This money is appreciated from Shop-Rite and Clean Communities.”

Regarding the shuttle bus, Councilman Hagerty also thanked Joe Ciano for his help in orchestrating it.

Speaking about the audit, Bider said it should be completed shortly. “A report will be given to the finance committee, sent to the State, and put on We will go over in public any recommendations that the auditors may have,” he said.

As for the tax sales that are now being done online, Bider gave a quick summary. “For taxes, water, sewer, maintenance, advertising, etc., we collected $166,223. [It] was all done under the new procedure and worked tremendously.”

Agenda Items
On the business side, all items on Council’s agenda were approved, including the plenary liquor license for Johnnie’s Liquors and others.

To view the agenda items and the supporting Resolutions, click the image below.

Councilman Sandrock abstained from the bill list and Councilman Sauter abstained from the bill list for those items pertaining to pest control.

Public Portion

A Bell Road resident complained about the traffic on Bell Road saying it has gotten “atrocious.” The resident had letters from her neighbors and said cars speed down the street, despite there being a sign that says 15 mph.

She said her cars have been hit and other neighbors put in driveway space.

Eighteen-wheelers travel down Bell Road at all times of the day and night, even though there is a “no trucks” sign, she said. “It’s not acceptable and they’re not supposed to do that.”

She added: “Something has to be done. It’s worse now with the construction. [Bell Road] is being used as cut-through.”

Chief Walsh said: “We can put the speed sign out there and it will give us a count. I will have the officers out there in the next couple of weeks spot-checking and stopping trucks out there.”

Mark Sharp complimented Code Official Jim Burleigh for helping him get the information he needed about flood insurance.

Sharp also asked Borough Administrator Josh Tregear about the possibility of arranging a tour of the Bellmawr Waterfront front area for an environmental engineering student.

Resident Carmella Risica had a letter containing suggestions for Mayor Frank Filipek and she requested that her letter be read over.

She also spoke about the recent primary election saying: “It was not something I was proud to say that I was from Bellmawr.”

Addressing Council, Risica said: “I am looking at everyone. You represent us. The fighting has to stop. It’s not necessary. You need to find a way to come together. Get a neutral person and sit down and work it out.”

Risica also had a letter from her parents concerning Jim Burleigh that she read aloud and requested that it be placed in Burleigh’s file.

In part, the letter expressed “sincere gratitude” to Burleigh, Councilmen Jim D’Angelo and Ray Bider, the Recreation Department, and Public Works secretary Kim Gallagher for helping with a situation.

Risica said that once Burleigh became aware of a complaint that involved a neighbor, he took the time to speak with her parents.

“Jim responded within minutes of an email that was sent on June 11. Jim came out on the 12th and worked with that neighbor…and was able to foster a line of communication with my parents for the neighbors on Cedar Avenue,” she said.

She continued: “I have to say — He handled the situation like a pro, drove by … and called us. The next thing I know the Recreation Department is out there cutting the lawn.”

There was also a discussion about the rebuilding of Bellmawr Park Fire Department’s membership, which will be the subject of an upcoming article.

One reply on “Bellmawr Student Joseph Siefert Recognized for Winning Fire Safety Poster Contest”

Comments are closed.