April 2019

Coming soon: Covering news and community events in Elk and Franklin Townships!!



Four Decades in the Making – Coyle Road Remains a Ball of Confusion with an Undefined Purpose, Price tag or Timeline

The Vietnam War lasted 19 years and 180 days. America’s involvement in the Second World War lasted three years, eight months, and 22 days, and the U.S. war in Afghanistan has so far been going on for 16.7 years.
That’s nothing compared to the Battle of Coyle Road – a partially completed, dilapidated “road” and pathway, named after a brave Vietnam war hero who once called Clayton his hometown.

Coyle Road – formerly know as “Glassboro Road”, has been defined by the Borough on various occasions as a “private road” (2007) on which Clayton promised to post “dead end road signs”, and as a “group of private right of ways” (1977) for which the adjoining homeowners “retained responsibility for maintenance”. In 2011, the Borough paid engineers to draft a design that would make it a “one way road”, promising to post signs (again) to that effect, and in 1990, Clayton invested in repaving and widening the roadway at taxpayer expense, without consulting the actual property owners. At the time, Clayton’s Solicitor was quoted as saying “There is no record of this being dedicated as a public road. There is some question whether any portion is a public road.”

While the battle to determine the role, ownership and future of the roadway has gone on since at least 1977, Clayton Borough Council acted swiftly in February, passing two separate ordinances “authorizing the acquisition of land located within the Borough of Clayton and execution of all necessary documents”. The Ordinance noted that “the Borough of Clayton… has determined that there is a need within the Borough to acquire property necessary for completion of an existing public roadway known as Coyle Road”.

There are no lack of conspiracy theorists in the neighborhood. Several Coyle Road residents are confused, concerned and angry about why, after decades of neglect, Clayton determined there was a need today to “acquire property to complete Coyle Road” – and who is really driving that decision. “What will they buy and build – all of Coyle Road north to Whig, or just the part that connects to Carvin Street“, asked one resident living near the intersection. Other Coyle residents north of Carvin think Clayton will connect their side of Coyle to the Carvin intersection. Residents on the south side of Carvin think the plan is just to connect Coyle to Carvin. And, some residents suggested that the work is related to Clayton’s plan to merge Police Departments with Elk – making it easier to go from Academy to Whig Lane in Elk Township.

Two residents whose home frontage has been targeted for “eminent domain” – Peter Tremper and John Dessin – are concerned because their homes are directly in the way of what the Borough said will be the clearing, widening and paving project. According to Tremper, “the last time the engineer came to our property, he confessed he was unsure where the property lines were – so how could they take property, record a deed and construct a road – without knowing exactly where that road would be located“.

Tremper also noted that the engineer “said the roadwork would require cutting down several old trees on his property, bringing the road to within 30 feet of his home – violating the town’s current zoning requirement of a minimum 50 foot setback.” The suggested plan would also require relocation of electrical wires throughout the area.

And at what cost would all this construction take place?

Both Tremper through his attorney Peter Lang, and the Clayton Free Press have asked the Borough in writing for a copy of the construction plans and cost estimates by way of an “Open Public Records Act” formal request. No information has been received in response to that request as of press time.
We will keep you informed about what we learn.


Pfc. Garry M. Coyle

Coyle Road – a Proud name for a “tractor road”

Garry Michael Coyle was born on July 13, 1946 to Edwin and Margaret Coyle of Clayton, NJ. The second youngest of five children, he graduated from Clayton High School in 1964, and entered the US Army in August 1964. Coyle served in the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, attaining the rank of Private First Class (PFC).

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1966, Coyle was serving as a medical aidman attached to an infantry rifle company. During an assault on Viet Cong positions 30 miles northwest of Saigon in the Cu Chi area, Coyle was wounded, but refused evacuation, repeatedly exposing himself to insurgent fire to treat and evacuate other wounded soldiers. While placing a wounded man in a covered position, he saw another wounded soldier lying in the midst of hostile fire. Leaving the cover of his position, Coyle ran through insurgent fire and attempted to aid his fallen comrade. While carrying this wounded man to safety, the hostile fire increased and Coyle was mortally wounded.

Clayton’s Glassboro Road was renamed “Coyle Road” in his honor. During the February 24th Borough Council meeting, one Clayton resident asked “why would they name a dilapidated one-lane tractor road after a local American hero… it’s insulting to the man and to the Country?”

More information about Garry Michael Coyle can be located at: 



Down 2 Full-Time Officers – Borough “Might” Hire Part-Time Replacements

Imagine working as a Police Officer for the Clayton PD.

You’re already wondering when the Borough will tell you that your Department will be “expunged” and replaced by a newly formed one – made up of Officers selected on the basis of details known only by a few select “insiders” and outside “advisors”. Will you have a job or a pension? How much warning will you receive and when will the Borough “pull the trigger”?

Not to worry – regardless of fatigue, and job – and possible job-loss – stress, you’ve worked hard enough to earn the chance to work even harder – racking up overtime – and more overtime – because the Department is short a few cops due to retirements.

At least, the Borough’s “plan” will “reduce costs and increase efficiency”. Except, that isn’t exactly the way it’s working out.

After the recent retirement of two full time Police Officers – Police Sergeant Mark Konnick and Patrolman Donavun Rhodesk – Clayton Borough officials made the decision to replace them with two part-time Officers. Or, maybe not. So far, there has boon no action. Not surprisingly, overtime hours per Officer – and overtime costs – have increased as a result. In fact, during the last six months of 2018, Police overtime costs have increased by more than $4,600 over the same period last year. And, overtime hours and costs are not decreasing (more on that next month).

According to one Officer who asked not to be identified because of concern for retribution, “the days are still 24 hours long – we still need cops on the streets for safety and protection – but the town decided that two part-time cops are as good as two full-time police, as long as you are willing to pay big in over-time.” He also said that the added pressure “adds more stress to an already stressful job”.

The Officer’s observations keenly match what national police data demonstrates. According to Mike Maciag, Data Editor for the on-line magazine GOVERNING, “research shows long hours and off-duty work can negatively impact officers’ performance and even worsen their racial biases”.

Maciag’s article also noted that “Fatigue’s effects are most prominent in routine situations that otherwise aren’t stressful for police”. He also noted that “from an officer safety perspective, there are serious consequences of fatigue.” The cost of overtime and its residual pressures on an individual can also be measured in other ways, like the increased incidence of depression and suicide.

According to John M. Violanti, Ph.D., author of the U.S. Department of Justice paper “Shifts, Extended Work Hours, and Fatigue: An Assessment of Health and Personal Risks for Police Officers”, more police officers die by their own hand than are killed in the line of duty.  Violanti noted that overtime and its resulting sleep deprivation and burn-out “has a debilitating effect on judgment and decision making processes that depend heavily upon the integration of emotion with cognition”, impacting the brain’s region “most responsible for judgment and decision making. In such situations, persons may be more likely to consider suicide as an appropriate behavior.”

According to Blue H.E.L.P., a nonprofit run by active and retired police officers, at least 159 officers took their own lives in 2018, the same number of suicides tracked in 2017 and 19 more than in 2016. In 2018, eight Police Officers were reported to have died as a result of suicide in the state of New Jersey – ranking the state 7th in the nation.

Where is the Borough going in terms of continued Police overtime, new firings and its plans to “merge” the Clayton Police Department with that of another municipality?

We will continue to ask these questions and will continue to report on Borough Police overtime and Clayton’s plans to merge the Police Department.



While we have ceased direct mail of our newspaper, you can still pick up a copy free of charge at any of the following 18 locations in Clayton:

  • Heritages – 419 N Delsea Drive
  • Doughty’s Furniture – 333 N Delsea Drive
  • Acme – 20 S Delsea Drive
  • Clayton Building Supplies – 734 N Delsea Drive
  • Clayton Branch – U.S. Post Office – 732 N Delsea Drive
  • Dunkin Donuts – 302 N Delsea Drive
  • Kenny’s Liquor – 414 S Delsea Drive
  • Best Food In Town Chinese Kitchen – 232 S Delsea Drive
  • Dollar Stop Plus Convenience – 4 N Delsea Drive
  • The Laundry Place – 4 N Delsea Drive
  • County of Gloucester Offices – 1200 N Delsea Drive
  • Gloucester County Animal Shelter – 1200 N Delsea Drive
  • Clayton Borough Senior Center – 1 Garwood Road
  • Clayton Mews – 865 N Delsea Drive (we will drop-off directly for residents)
  • Clayton School District (For School Administration, Staff and Instructors only)
  • Clayton Borough Hall – 125 N Delsea Drive (Sometimes – not guaranteed)
  • Rustic Village Apartments & Townhomes – 315 S Delsea Drive
  • Trinity United Methodist Church – 351 N. Delsea Drive

We are also offering subscription service to the paper, at $11.99 for May through year-end issues (That about $1.50 per issue).  A subscription form can be printed from our Facebook page, at: 

Of course, each issue will also be available to read on-line, right here (see below).

Thank you for reading the Clayton Free Press – we hope you continue to do so going forward!


Clayton Clippers of the month!

Our 14 Clayton Clippers of the Month included:

  • In Simmons Elementary School, Mason Richardson, Ryan Paden, Sophia Wiseburn, Jayden Hennessey, Faith Peters, Madelyn Gompert, and Benny Dean
  • In Clayton Middle School, special recognition was given to Cecily Crawford, Rebecca Beare, and Demetrius Boyizigies.
  • In Clayton High School, our Clippers of the Month included Sean DeSimine, Samantha Murray, Desiree Scott, and Madison Laganella

Congratulations to these most outstanding students from the Clayton Free Press and the Clayton community!


You can read our April 2019 issue below:

Please don’t forget to visit, like and follow us on Facebook!

CLAYTON FREE PRESS – New Jersey Free Press, LLC
P.O. Box 201, Clayton, NJ 08312
(856) 243-2499

Updated 4-02-2019
Publishers and Editors, The Clayton Free Press

New Jersey Free Press LLC


How to contact your Borough Elected Officials

All of the following can be reached through the Borough switchboard, at: 856-881-2882

Email contacts:

  • Mayor Tom Bianco –
  • Council President Tony Saban –
  • Councilman Charles Simon –
  • Councilwoman Darlene Vondran –
  • Councilman Frank Brown –
  • Councilman Frank Rollo –