Bellmawr Gloucester Mt. Ephraim News Recent News

3rd Annual Ryan Coyle Memorial Softball Tournament Raises $7,000 for Scholarship Fund

A jokester who was always laughing.

That’s how Kyle Wright describes his childhood friend, Ryan Coyle.

Growing up in Bellmawr, the pair played baseball and basketball together at Bell Oaks and remained tight during their days at Gloucester Catholic. As Rams, Wright played football while Coyle, a left handed pitcher, stuck with baseball.

After graduating in 2010, Coyle enrolled in Camden County College and played ball for the Cougars.

A little over two years after graduating from high school, Coyle’s life was tragically cut short when he passed away on August 31, 2012 as a result of injuries he sustained from being punched at a concert.

As a way of keeping his friend’s memory alive, Wright wanted to “start something.”  So he had t-shirts made up and sold them in Coyle’s honor. The proceeds from the t-shirts were used to raise scholarship money for baseball players from Bell Oaks and Gloucester Catholic.

Because the t-shirts were such a big hit, Wright stepped it up and came up with the idea of hosting an annual softball tournament at the Bellmawr Recreation Center.

The first Ryan Coyle Memorial Softball Tournament was held in 2014. The tournament provided a way of raising even more money for the scholarship fund and also brought people together to celebrate Ryan’s life.

All photos by SJO. The Babe Ruth field at the Bellmawr Recreation Center was re-named and dedicated in memory of Ryan Coyle.

Prior to the start of the 2014 tournament, the Babe Ruth field was dedicated and renamed the “Ryan W. Coyle Memorial Field” as a further tribute to Ryan and his passion for the sport and also for the many games he played there.

This year’s tournament took place on August 6. Since the first games were played in 2014, the tournament has grown larger and has garnered more support. The first year of the tournament, there were 11 teams registered to play. This year, there were 20 teams and games were played at two locations – at the Bellmawr Recreation Center and on the Anderson Avenue field.

Kyle Wright prior to the start of the games. Wright thanked his mother, Fran and sister, Kaitlyn, and the many other volunteers who helped him put the tournament together.

Wright said: “[This year] was the best by far. Everything went very smoothly and we had a great time remembering Ryan. My team ended up winning the noncompetitive bracket.”

Before the start of this year’s games, Ryan’s parents, Ginny and Dennis Coyle, joined their son-in-law, Mike Ryan, in a moment of prayer.

Ginny and Dennis Coyle stand with their son-in-law, Mike Ryan, during a moment of prayer.

Bellmawr’s own, AJ Gonzales, was an honored guest who was invited to throw out the first pitch. Wright introduced AJ as Bellmawr’s next “rising baseball star.”

After throwing out the first pitch, “rising baseball star” AJ Gonzales takes some photographs with Kyle Wright.

Rhian Schofield sang that National Anthem.

Rhian Schofield as she sings the National Anthem.

Saturday’s tournament raised about $7,000. Gloucester Catholic’s Eric Grafton is one of this year’s recipients and additional scholarships are expected to be awarded to seven students from Bell Oaks.

Wright was humbled by the level of support shown for the tournament and expressed his thanks: “This day is very special to me and my friends, as well as Ryan’s family. The past two years when I get up here and talk about Ryan, I usually get emotional but I know Ryan wouldn’t want us all standing around crying. He’d much rather us be drinking beer and having fun. So, let’s celebrate Ryan’s life today and keep his memory alive.”

In addition to food and other donations, lawn signs were added this year as another way of showing support for the tournament.

To see more photos from the day, click below:

Posted by South Jersey Observer on Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bellmawr Gloucester Mt. Ephraim News Recent News

Girl Scouts Host Appreciation Luncheon for Bellmawr Police, Fire & EMS

Today, Bellmawr Girl Scout Troops #30215 and #30082 hosted an appreciation luncheon to honor Bellmawr Police, Fire, and EMS for their dedicated service to the community.

Troop leader Debbie Allen said that the business community and the families of the Girl Scouts were “very generous” with their food donations for the luncheon.  Because of the amount of donations, the Girl Scouts were able to serve a full lunch that featured a large assortment of entrees and desserts.

The luncheon was held in the Bellmawr Ballroom. Among the offerings were ziti, meatballs, salads, hoagies, wings, stromboli, rice, hot dogs, cookies, brownies, candy bars, tiramisu, and water ice.


The members of the departments took time to meet and talk with all of the Girl Scouts.



Alexis Blackson, 13, has been a Girl Scout for five years says being a part of the luncheon today was “important.” She said: “I want to show my appreciation. They risk their lives for us so we wanted to do something special for them.”


Megan Gordon, 13, has been a Girl Scout for six years said: “I don’t think people today realize how much Police, Fire, and EMS do for us. I took today to appreciate the sacrifice they make for us.”




The Police, Fire & EMS brought out their apparatus so the Girl Scouts could get an up close look.



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Group Photo: Bellmawr PD Facebook

Pastor Vincent Kovlak of Bellmawr Baptist Church came to the luncheon to offer a prayer of gratitude and safety.

Pastor Kovlak prayed:

Our Heavenly Father, how grateful we are for these civil servants whom you refer to as ministers of God, who daily jeopardize their lives to preserve and protect our lives. We honor them today. We pray that as they keep us safe, so you will keep them safe – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Especially at a time when so many of them are targets of those who have no fear God or the law. May they accept our thanks for the tremendous job that they do for our good. Grace this luncheon with Your presence and bless this food. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.  


*Article updated on 7/25/2016 at 9:00 a.m.
Bellmawr Gloucester Mt. Ephraim News Recent News

Bellmawr Zoning Board Approves Royal Farms’ Site Plan

The Bellmawr Zoning Board unanimously voted to approve, with conditions, the site plan for the new Royal Farms that will take shape at the old Walgreens on the corner of Browning Road and Black Horse Pike.


Tuesday night’s meeting lasted for over two hours and the Board heard testimony from several witnesses.

Highlights from the testimony:

Royal Farms will be looking to add 40-50 jobs, with benefits, and hiring preference will be given to local residents.

Royal Farms will be open 24/7 and will offer its guests both indoor and outdoor seating, with 14 tables inside and 8 outside.

With the exception of the fuel trucks, deliveries to the store will be from box trucks during non-peak hours.


Several residents expressed concerns about a proposed driveway that will be added on Walnut Avenue. Primary concerns involved headlights shining in windows and additional traffic, trash, and noise. Regarding the driveway, Royal Farms will look into relocating the driveway closer to the Black Horse Pike.

There was a question about Royal Farms signage potentially blocking Cundiff Oil’s sign on the Black Horse Pike. Royal Farms will reach out to Cundiff Oil regarding sign placement and size.

SJO will provide additional updates on the progress of the new Royal Farms as information becomes available.



Mt. Ephraim News Recent News

Leslie Koller To Remain As Mt. Ephraim School Superintendent

Leslie Koller will remain as the superintendent for the Mt. Ephraim School District for the next three years. As for her contract, it automatically rolls over and terms will still need to be worked out and agreed upon.

Ms. Koller was absent from the Board of Education (BOE) meeting on Monday night. SJO asked Board Solicitor, Michael Pattanite, Jr. for a status of the superintendent’s contract after the meeting was over. He said: “Statutorily, the superintendent’s contract rolls over until her new contract is negotiated and agreed upon. Her previous contract will roll over and she will be the superintendent for the next three years.”

The superintendent’s contract did not receive the required five votes needed to either approve it or reject it when the matter was voted on at either the June 6 during the Committee of the Whole meeting or during the June 20 Regular Meeting.

In other matters, Board member Rocco Vespe gave a brief update about the status of the teachers’ contract because Carl Ingram was absent. Vespe said that another meeting will be scheduled to continue negotiations.

Board President, Pat Blaylock, asked about two board members [Mario Alibrando and Diane Vilardo] who are no longer conflicted and can now vote and participate in negotiations. “We have two board members whose spouses are no longer in the union and no longer work in district, so can they now vote because they are no longer conflicted?” she asked.

Solicitor Pattanite responded: “They will be able to vote on the teachers’ contract and also be involved in negotiations once the clause that creates the conflict is eliminated.”

Agenda Items Approved:

In other matters, all business on the meeting agenda was approved, with the exception of approving the establishment of a petty cash food service account. That item was tabled.

July 11 Regular Meeting Public Agenda

Other approvals included:

Payment of the July bill list in the amount of $47,685.58

An agreement with the Bancroft School for the period of July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017 on an as-needed basis. Fees are outlined in the contract.

A contract with Bancroft School for the period of July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017 for one student at an estimated cost of $67,502.92, with the final rate being determined after the completion of the 2016-17 N.J. Department of Education Cost Report.

Fiscal Year 2017 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title I A Improving Basic Skills Grant in the amount of $78,708 for the period of July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Fiscal Year 2017 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title II A Class Size Reduction in the amount of $21,349 for the period of July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the New Jersey State Police, Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM).

Next Meetings:

The Mt. Ephraim BOE will meet as a Committee of the Whole on Monday, August 1 at 7:00 p.m. and again on Monday, August 8 for its Regular Meeting at 7:30 p.m. The meetings will be held in the Mary Bray Media Center.

Bellmawr Gloucester Mt. Ephraim News Recent News

Bellmawr Walgreens Targeted for Royal Farms Store

Royal Farms appears to be eyeing Bellmawr for its newest location, this according to a Legal Notice that was recently published in the Courier Post. Mark Bellmawr, LLC is seeking preliminary and final site plan approval from the Bellmawr Zoning Board of Adjustment to replace the Walgreens with a Royal Farms 5,371 square foot convenience store with eight fueling pumps. Royal Farms is based in Baltimore, M.D.

Source - New Jersey Press Association (
Screenshot Source: New Jersey Press Association (

Dine In

According to its website, Royal Farms touts itself as “your go-to place day or night for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, gasoline and diesel fuel, and all the things you need. Dine in our seating area or take out.”

Royal Farms has been satisfying the mid-Atlantic area’s hunger for real fresh food served real fast since 1959, its website states. The Royal Farms Kitchen serves their “World-Famous Royal Farms chicken” that is always fresh, never frozen, lightly breaded and pressure-cooked in store in using trans fat free cooking oil. Their Western Fries are also cooked in-store and made from hand-cut and breaded from Idaho potatoes.

1.5 – 2.0 acre 5,371 square foot prototype by Royal Farms

Other offerings will include custom-built hot and cold sandwiches, wraps and Royal Farms 100% Colombian Coffee. The Royal Farms Good-To-Go case will feature freshly prepared sandwiches, wraps, salads, fruit and veggie cups, all natural juices, and much more.

The Royal Farms website site offers a site plan for a representative 5,371 square foot store, which matches the size of the one being proposed for Bellmawr.

Site Plan Standard Layout Provided by Royal Farms

Second Location

In January, 2016, CNBNews announced that Amit Patel, who owns the Quality Inn on Route 130 & Market Street has leased half of his site to Royal Farms. CNBNews reported that to make room for the new store, half of the rooms at the motel will be demolished. The remaining 64 rooms will be located behind the new convenience store.

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The site of the old Walgreens on Browning Road & the Black Horse Pike looks to be Royal Farms’ second location in the area. The other site in Gloucester City is currently undergoing renovations.


*Special thanks to Mark Matthews of 42 Freeway for his help with this story.