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Year In Review

by Editorial Staff--South Jersey Magazine
Before we can formally close the door on 2011 and embark on 2012, we wanted to take our annual trip down memory lane to recall some of the more memorable events of the past year. South Jersey certainly had its share of excitement, and in these pages you’ll get to relive all the greatest moments.

You’ll also find a comprehensive re-packaging of all our award winners from 2011, from the Best of the Shore to Top Physicians. Finally, we also tapped some local leaders to give us their predictions for what lies ahead, and it looks like it’s shaping up to be another terrific 12 months.


We started off 2011 by introducing you to some prominent faces that have come from local places. First, we caught up with Cherry Hill native Matt Bush, a young actor you may remember from a certain series of AT&T commercials. Bush was part of the ensemble cast leading TBS’ Glory Daze, but poor ratings forced the show’s cancelation after just one season. Currently, Bush is working on several film projects with the likes of Anna Paquin and Ving Rhames. We also talked hoops, both Cherry Hill East and NBA, with sports agent Leon Rose. Absecon’s Robert Irvine chatted with us about his new Food Network show Restaurant: Impossible and told us we just may find him venturing into the A.C. dining scene in the future.

South Jersey resident Jonathan “Super” Squibb won his third consecutive “Wing Bowl” Championship by eating 255 chicken wings, one more than the runner-up.

“South Jersey labor markets should slowly improve in 2012. Although the national unemployment rate fell in 2011, the rate actually increased from October 2010 to 2011 in almost all South Jersey areas. The national economy should grow by 2.5 percent in 2012 and New Jersey’s should grow faster. This growth, coupled with strong consumer spending, will help the South Jersey economy. Inflation should be low, but watch out for two potential flies in the ointment. Increases in the price of oil can hurt growth, and shocks to the financial system from the Euro zone could bring significant pain.” – Jack Woorall, Professor of Economics, Rutgers University – Camden


For the third installment of our annual Golden Fork Awards, we put the spotlight firmly on the best restaurants in South Jersey. From high-end Indian cuisine at Monsoon to the sleek sushi at Fuji, these 25 places were recognized for their outstanding culinary achievement and for helping to elevate the local dining scene. Pat Croce, master motivator and summer resident of Ocean City, was more than willing to talk business, fitness and even pirates with us—just don’t ask him about meditating: “I love the working-out part, but the chilling-out part at the end—that’s not for me,” the always-energetic Croce said. And we hung out with The Queen of Mean, comedian Lisa Lampanelli, who clued us in to exactly what it takes to a be a professional roaster.

Nipper, the RCA dog, was stolen in Moorestown and found a week later behind a local nursing home. It was the third Nipper-napping since 2005.

Cara and Gibson Reynolds of Collingswood sued E! after images of them were used on the show Talk Soup, during a segment which made light of little people.


We upped the ante for March’s Spring Fashion spread, from the gorgeous Moorestown manse that served as our backdrop to the Flyers’ wives who posed as our models. Outfitted in the hottest looks of the season, Lauren Pronger, Nadine Coburn and Laura O’Donnell made the pages pop with beautiful photographs. Stage performer Kevin Chamberlin, a Moorestown native, chatted about life on Broadway, while local lawmakers discussed their safety in reaction to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Forty local golfers, a mix of both amateurs and PGA pros, helped us rank the best private and public courses in the area on a series of criteria, from best Par 4 to best restaurant, spotlighting favorites like Scotland Run and Laurel Creek.

After a Moorestown teen was arrested and brought to the police station, he allegedly tried to escape using the building’s ventilation ducts. He was re-apprehended minutes later.


Ruben Amaro Jr., the architect of the Phillies, talked with us for our April issue in advance of one of the most highly anticipated seasons in team history. The popular general manager outlined the behind-the-scenes negotiations that landed Cliff Lee back in Philadelphia and shared his desire to win another championship. Though the team fell short of the World Series, Amaro is one of the main reasons the team expects to compete for the foreseeable future. A former school teacher from Cherry Hill, folk singer Amos Lee saw his fourth album, Mission Bell, climb to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. It was quite the debut for Lee, whose previous albums never cracked the Top 25. “It was super exciting just to have that sort of thing that people value very heavily,” he said in the April issue.

Ted Johnson, an 18-year-old graduate of Woodbury High School, was elected to the Board of Education last april. Three months later, Johnson was arrested for assault after fighting with another man over a girl.

John Adler, a former United States Representative from Cherry Hill, passed away at the age of 51 after complications from an infection after emergency heart surgery.


Toms River’s Piper Perabo graced our May cover as her hit show Covert Affairs was returning for a second season. The former Coyote Ugly star has transformed herself into one of television’s leading heroines, thanks to her gritty role as C.I.A. agent Annie Walker, but her Hollywood dreams haven’t clouded her South Jersey memories. “I used to love to walk up and down the boardwalk … families, salt water taffy, fireworks—it was dreamy,” she recalled. In December, USA Network announced the show will be returning in 2012 for its third season. Niranjan Pati, dean of the Rohrer College of Business at Rowan University, again helped us in ranking our Top Towns, where Haddonfield remained atop a list that also featured seven newcomers. Before kicking off his first-ever comedy tour at the Borgata, retired CNN host Larry King spoke with us, as did TV producer J.D. Roth. The one-time Cherry Hill resident is responsible for several programs, including The Biggest Loser.

Eagles players including Mike Vick, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek worked out at the Blue Barn in Marlton during the NFL lockout.

Osama Bin Laden was captured and killed on May 1.

“This year, I see a number of opportunities to enhance and improve by working closely together with our business community. My objectives this coming year will be to support our strong neighborhoods as well as attracting new business into the township and filling vacant properties with new tenants. I’m looking forward to the challenges and rigors and I’m expecting great things for 2012.” – Chuck Cahn, Cherry Hill Mayor


We found 175 reasons to love the beach in 2011’s Best of the Shore recap. From boardwalk staples to fine dining options, we took readers on a journey from L.B.I. to Cape May with several stops in between. Some of the Top Dentists featured in the issue let us in to their world away from the office during a photo shoot showcasing their hobbies which varied from fishing to fencing. And to help kick off the summer, former teen idol Bobby Rydell spoke to us about those unforgettable “Wildwood Days.”

Dr. Donald Farish stepped down as president of Rowan University after a 12-year tenure. Dr. Ali Houshmand was named as the interim president.

Katharyn Nicolle, a 20-year-old woman from Wenonah, was crowned Miss New Jersey in June. She will compete in the Miss America competition in Las Vegas this month.


With 173 winners earning Best of the Best honors, this was one of our biggest lists ever. From the best sandwich (West Side Gravy’s club) to fine jewelry (Billig Jewelers), we celebrated the good life in South Jersey. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan sat down for an interview to discuss his love of the Shore and his charitable foundation, which has funded more than $1.6 million in scholarships and housing in the area. Sculptor John Giannotti, the man responsible for several area landmarks including Haddonfield’s famed Hadrosaurus Foulkii, gave us an up-close look at his creative mind. Finally, we examined beleaguered religious leader Rev. Amir Khan and his battle with the Ashland community over his efforts to help ex-offenders get back on their feet. These days, the Solid Rock pastor is centered in another community controversy over his proposed plans to open up a secular charter school in Cherry Hill.

New Jersey drivers who travel into Philadelphia on one of the four bridges—Ben Franklin, Walt Whitman, Betsy Ross, and Commodore Barry—saw the toll rise to $5.


In the midst of a drawn-out legal fight, Olympic gold medal winner and Willingboro native Carl Lewis sat down with us to discuss his on-again, off-again campaign run for state Senate. Despite his vocal determination and several appeals, Lewis never got on track and was ultimately left off the November ballot. With tensions heating up in some area towns, we examined the state of NIMBY-ism in our communities and unveiled a whopping 432 Top Physicians. Orel Hershiser, former Cherry Hill East and Major League Baseball pitcher, opened up about his new life as an ESPN analyst and some of his favorite childhood hangouts. “Some people would laugh, but there was an ice cream place called the Strawberry Patch,” he mused, before telling us that he also pumped gas on Route 70 as a teen.

Hurricane Irene ripped through the area in late august, closing down roads and airports, and forcing evacuations. It took days for some to get power back and return to some type of normalcy.

An earthquake hit New Jersey on Aug. 23, shaking (figuratively and literally) all who felt it. The earthquake’s epicenter was in central Virginia, with a magnitude of 5.9; however, the effects were shared far beyond that, including South Jersey.


Embattled Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick fronted our September issue as we geared up for a football season that once had so much promise. Vick’s off-the-field troubles have been well documented, but as he worked to rebuild his badly damaged image, we got to know the man away from the gridiron with the help of beat writer Les Bowen. In an effort to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, we talked to area politicians, families that lost loved ones, and the locals who volunteered their time in the wake of the tragedy. This month also featured our annual public high school report card and the finals of our Top Chef competition—The ChopHouse’s Markese Beverly outlasted RiverWinds’ Ian Palagye in the finale.

A Tavistock resident complained the Census was two people short when it pegged the borough’s population at five.

“With historic unemployment, New Jersey’s families are struggling in tough economic times. In 2012, I predict you will see the Legislature continue to focus on putting middle-class families first, by working to create jobs, provide property tax relief, and make New Jersey more affordable for middle-class families and seniors. I hope the governor will join with us in these efforts.” – Assembly Majority Leader-Elect Louis Greenwald

“With New Jersey’s unemployment still above 9 percent, the Congress must continue to focus on job creation. Congress has passed many pieces of legislation that could help stimulate hiring by both small and large businesses. It is critical that Washington move beyond the partisan politics and do what is best for the country’s long term economic health.” -U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan


October was all about the ladies, from the 35 Super Women we selected for their outstanding achievement in business, medicine, philanthropy and more to our cover girl, Dr. Jill Biden. The Second Lady is a dedicated career educator and was quick to share memories of her childhood in Hammonton as well as the thrill of life in The White House. “Some parts of my life basically stayed the same, but have sort of gotten bigger,” she quipped. Legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer may have made more than $400 million thanks to his trademark “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!”—but he still remembers his early days begging for work in Atlantic City: “It was 1982 when I got my foot in the door and my performance was quite horrible,” Buffer said.

A.C. Moore, which originated in Moorestown, sold the company to supplier Sbar’s for $41 million.

Jeanne DelColle, a resident of Marlton, was named New Jersey’s Teacher of the Year. DelColle has taught at the Burlington County Institute of Technology in Westampton since 2003.


For our first-ever Men of the Year issue, we tapped political commentator Chris Matthews to lead the way. The Philly-born Matthews spent his youth at his family summer home in Ocean City, working odd jobs, but today, the six-time author is one of the most respected TV analysts thanks to his work on MSNBC nightly and Sunday mornings on NBC. This month, we also shared burgers with Bobby Flay as he opened his fast-casual spot Bobby’s Burger Palace at the Cherry Hill Mall; we scored big in our interview with Flyers’ young gun James van Riemsdyk; heard from several teachers fed up with new evaluation regulations; and visited Zeppoli—the latest Italian eatery to dot Collingswood’s dining landscape and only the second restaurant ever to receive 5 Forks from our reviewing critics.

Moorestown voted to finally allow liquor sales in the township, marking the first time since 1915 that the sale of liquor has been permitted in Moorestown. However, liquor will only be available to be purchased at “fine-dining” restaurants in the Moorestown mall.


We closed out 2011 with a bang, thanks to our cover story with the legendary Wolfgang Puck. The famed chef recently partnered with Campbell Soup on a line of sauces and continues to see steady growth at his A.C. outpost, despite a decline in gaming revenue across town. Our annual Best of the Casinos feature got a facelift thanks to the introduction of some new properties across the Pennsylvania border, and we could hardly keep a straight face while catching up with Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers.

In the midst of allegations of a sex scandal, Chris Myers resigned as mayor of Medford.

“I anticipate that continued activity in larger scale retail development will move forward. Although the industrial market will most likely remain stable, food processing will continue to boom with some expansions and job growth expected this coming year.” – Lisa Morina, Economic Development Director for Gloucester County

Below are links to our Best of articles in 2011. Click on the header to go to the complete article.

Best of the Best
There’s one thing we can say about South Jersey—whenever we think we’ve found the best anything (wine bar, pasta maker, dress shop or day spa), something even better turns up around the corner. That’s what drives us to keep hunting for each year’s best of the best list—and if it means we have to endure some pizzas, a few bottles of wine, and a massage or two along the way, well, so be it. On the following pages are this year’s winners. We hope you’ll be as impressed as we were!

Top Physicians
From cardiology to dermatology, the South Jersey doctors on this year’s Top Physicians list not only treat patients with the utmost care, but they are also breaking new ground, advancing health care technology and furthering the future of medicine. Here, you’ll find a list compiled by Best Doctors, an independent organization that polls the country’s physicians, as well as readers’ choices. Read on to see if your trusted family physician made the list, and meet 12 local doctors worthy of the spotlight.

This list is excerpted from The Best Doctors in America® 2011-2012 database, which includes over 45,000 doctors in more than 40 medical specialties.

Top Women’s Physicians
Whether they’re interested in karate or cooking, carpentry or crocheting, South Jersey women all share one thing in common—they’re extremely discriminating when it comes to their physicians. Fortunately, our region boasts outstanding medical professionals across a broad range of specialties. This year’s roster of top doctors for women, compiled by third-party medical information provider Best Doctors, includes the best of the best.

Top Children’s Physicians
Because pediatricians are involved in a patient’s life for many years, they become a part of the extended family, vested not only professionally but emotionally as well. Improving the health of children and easing the fears of parents are not easy tasks, which is what makes our 2011 list of the area’s top pediatricians so special. This group, compiled by leading third-party medical-information provider Best Doctors, is full of great doctors doing great things in South Jersey. We’ve also included our first-ever readers’ list to create a comprehensive directory of the names to know when it comes to pediatrics in South Jersey. And, we’ve highlighted a few outstanding local doctors, getting to know them and—since it’s our Golden Forks issue—finding out where they’re eating these days.

Top Dentists
We asked our readers who’s tops when it comes to dental care in South Jersey, and you voted in droves. The results are in, and these general dentists and specialists represent the region’s most trusted dental professionals, known by generations of patients for their caring, most trusted dental professionals, known by generations of patients for their caring, dedication and skill. Read on to discover the top dentists in your community, and to find out what hobbies and passions make these professionals smile.

Awesome Attorneys
No matter the circumstances, no matter the situation, people living in South Jersey have a wealth of resources for qualified legal counsel and representation. The challenge comes in finding the right attorney to help one navigate the always-changing, sometimes-choppy waters of the U.S. legal system. We’re here to help. Thousands or South Jersey Magazine readers visited to cast their vote for 151 specialists in 46 categories, ranging from Family Law to Workers Compensation. On the following pages, meet many of the area’s top attorneys who are fulfilling the legal needs of South Jersey and read on for a full listing of Awesome Attorneys.

Best of Home and Garden
Your house is way more than just the place where you live: it’s a social hub, a weekend retreat, a utilitarian workspace and an incubator for the modern family, all wrapped up in triple-glazed windows and luxury vinyl siding. But whether you’ve purchased a fixer-upper or you’re finally getting around to turning your house into the ultimate dream home you’ve always wanted, you’ll need help to get it picture perfect. That’s why we turned to our readers for the most trusted source of referrals—your neighbors’ own recommendations. Here’s a directory of South Jersey’s very best, as determined by our readers’ poll on

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 10 (January, 2012).
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