Saying the community lacks information, activist returns with new Cherry Hill paper

April 25, 1996|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,SUN STAFF

Beginning next month, Baltimore's Cherry Hill neighborhood will have a new monthly newspaper with a familiar publisher.

Shephard H. Burge, 77, will announce the formation of the Cherry Hill Connection during a kick-off session at Harbor Hospital today.

Mr. Burge, a longtime neighborhood activist and former City Council candidate, published the monthly Cherry Hill News from 1957 until 1992, when he fell ill.

"I didn't want to stop in 1992, but I had old-age pains," he said. "And I didn't have anyone else to carry on."

Mr. Burge said he was restarting the paper because of "conflicts in the community" he believes are caused by a lack of information.

He cited in particular a dispute between Harbor Hospital Center and Cherry Hill residents over the hospital's plan to build low-income housing for senior citizens on its waterfront property. Mr. Burge supported the project because the housing is badly needed, but residents opposed it, saying the housing would block their viewof the Patapsco River.

Mr. Burge says he has a mostly volunteer staff of 22 reporters, editors and photographers. The first issue will appear May 1 and will have a circulation of 4,000. He said he has commitments for advertising from the hospital and the South Baltimore Family Health Center, and that eight neighborhood churches have committed to distributing 200 issues each. The paper will sell for 25 cents.

A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Mr. Burge first moved to Cherry Hill shortly after completing a tour of duty in the Army during World War II.

He was the mayor's representative to Cherry Hill during the Schaefer administration, and he conceded that one of his motives for restarting the newspaper is political. In his eighth decade, he still harbors hopes of being elected to the City Council.

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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