The column that says Bridgeton, Millville and Vineland police departments all report their drug arrests, but what about the state police, who never tell us about a burglary spree in a neighborhood, let alone drug arrests that happen in our cities, and they do make some there, and isn’t it also important to know those statistics, which has nothing to do with the fine job they do.
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM WVLT Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: RA13815980
Google all columns at jackhummelblog
It’s good to be a veteran when you eat at Texas Roadhouse because the grilled chicken caesar salad is free.
Thank you, Val! Thank you, Katelyn!
Only 2,000 people showed up to hang from the rafters, wait inside, wait outside, wait in their cars like they used to on Friday nights before the recession.
Must be the 4 of 5 in Cumberland County who aren’t living below the poverty level.
Why we don’t want you to call us anything more than a veteran today:
Tip: In the Newark, Del., shopping center behind McDonald’s is a Brazilian steakhouse that also brings you the whole filet and you take a cut from it, like Philly.
But we are told the meat is better by someone with no skin in the game.
But they don’t have better meat than Amos Lapp has at the Bridgeton Amish Market, the best thing to happen to Hopewell Township since Country Rose opened in Dutch Neck Village.
Amos imports it from the Midwest.
But that’s just the tip of the farm in his 72-foot meat counter.
Pick up some Philly potato salad from Sam the Salad Man next door, fudge from Marty’s now that the shore is closed and, oh my!, those sticky buns coming out of the oven every hour at Mel and Maryanne Glick’s pastry shop.
Then spend a half-hour at Jonas King’s Dutch Family Restaurant eating all greens like Mike Abbott, breakfast like Jorje Romero or a fruit cup or three like us.
Ask the waitress to summon Jonas King and he’ll tell you his life story.
Now we need another farmers market that is open Sunday through Wednesday.
We love you, little Kenny Harris of Marlboro Farm Market, still in the Amish Market.
According to a lot of people, Al Gore and not George Bush should have been our president.
Gore got the most votes.
And Bridgeton, Vineland, Millville and Commercial Township would have enjoyed $25,000,000 every year for 10 years plus another $150,000 in credits thanks to Lou Magazzu., father of the Cumberland Empowerment Zone.
But the Republicans wiped that out and the county has suffered ever since.
And, still, no one repealed the electoral college.
“Drove thru Bridgeton Park a few weeks ago.
“Many years ago, I remember when my brother, during a summer job, painted the inside of the bridge standing on a row boat.”
— David Weir
THE BRIDGE BOB WEIR PAINTED WHEN SUMMER JOBS WERE AVAILABLE.
You came back! You were curious!
The bridge is still there, but no longer used because freeholder Jim Sauro almost had an accident, and since it was a county road back then, declared it unsafe and the road was rerouted with a new, expensive bridge.
The old one needs to be decorated to the point that it is the centerpiece of the city park.
That was suggested a few years ago, but still lies in the mind.
It’s Pepsi Pete’s birthday!
A little history
Jan. 29, 2013
They called him “Pepsi Pete.’’
Few knew his real name is Randall Garrison.
Any day of the year, you would see him walking the streets of Bridgeton tossing a Pepsi can from hand to hand.
To be downtown was to see him.
They didn’t know where he came from.
And, then, in the late 1980s, he was gone.
When the Bridgeton “Down Memory Lane” Facebook group found him before Christmas, all 2,100 members lit up like Christmas trees.
They all thought he was dead.
For the last three years, he has been living at Extended Care Nursing Home in Bridgeton.
Down Memory Lane threw him a Christmas party, complete with presents.
They made a Christmas tree out of Pepsi cans.
They gave him a Phillies hat and clothes and watches.
And an Eagles wallet.
He loves gadgets.
He loves to take them apart.
Last week, Alan Ayars and Gailyn Ward revisited the man who is the star of the nursing home.
“All the nurses knew him as soon he came in here,’’ said nursing home assistant administrator Stephanie Ridgway. “They remember him helping to load groceries into cars at Shop ‘n’ Bag.
“Even in here, he helps out people.’’
When Gailyn Ward used to go downtown “to hang out’’ when she was a teenager, Randy would always stop and talk to her.
“One time when he was swinging his Pepsi, he missed and it went through a store window,’’ she said.
Coralee Halter, out of Dr. Mark Levitsky’s office, found him in the nursing home.
After lunch last week, they ushered him into the nursing home conference room.
Gailyn handed him two boxes of candy, including one with a Teddy bear attached to it.
“Are you having a happy day?” Gail asked him. “We always want you have a happy day.”
“Do you want a new watch band?’’ asked Alan. “I brought you a new watch band.’’
Randy handed him the watch, but the pins to hold the band on were missing.
Randy loves to take things apart.
“It needs a new battery,’’ he said.
He handed him a key chain that was part of fundraiser for Down Memory Lane.
He took off his Phillies hat and kept pointing to the shiny button inside.
All the while, cameras kept flashing.
“Is this going to be in the paper?” he focused. “Would you send me a picture?
“Framed,” said Gailyn. “We’ll bring you a big framed picture and a copy of the paper.”
“I would have been a good pitcher, wouldn’t I?” said Randy about his Pepsi tossing prowess.
“For the Phillies,’’ said Gailyn.
He doesn’t drink Pepsi anymore, just coffee and tea at the home.
And Gailyn doesn’t hang downtown anymore.
Ruth Hall, Randy’s niece who lives in Florida, filled in the missing blanks.
“Our family lived at 71 Myrtle St. and then at 226 Bank St. 20 years ago,” she said in a phone conversation. “Randy stayed with us. My dad, his brother, took care of him.”
Then he lived with Ruth’s sister in Upper Deerfield for 10 years.
“They called him Pepsi Cola Pete for his drinking of Pepsi sodas,” said Hall.
“His sister, Helen Stidham, says he used to rock in a rocking chair and used to hit his head on the wall.
“The school system stopped him from going to school at the age of 6 because of his mental state … .
“His parents fought get him back in school and lost.
“He used to smoke cigarettes for short period of time.
“He fixed appliances at home.’’
She said the places Pepsi Pete hung out included Fisher’s Meat Market, Stanley’s Deli and candy store, Chick’s Corner Store, Capt. Bill’s.
“Randy would go to Immaculate Conception Church on North Pearl Street every Saturday and hold the door for parishioners,’’ she recalled.
“Then he would go across the street to Benny’s Pizza and get pizza and a soda.’’
It was the same at the town A&P.
“He would hold the door again and help senior citizens load their groceries and they would give him a couple of dollars,” she said.
Warren Robinson remembered Randy riding his bike through the city park.
That led to his niece remembering a dark moment.
“They beat him up and took his money one day when he was riding in the park,” she said of some local thugs. “He always carried about $200 in one-dollar bills with him. They left him for dead.”
The next morning at home, his brother, as he did every day, went to Randy’s room to check on him.
He wasn’t there.
Police located him injured in the park and he was taken to the hospital.
“They caught the guys who did it,” she said. “One got seven years, but got out in five.’’
That was in the early ’80s, she guessed.
The family attended Sunday services at the Salvation Army.
“He would hold the door for people there, too,’’ she said.
Back at the nursing home, Alan Ayars attached the keychain to Randy’s belt.
“Take out your wallet, Randy,” said Alan, handing him a dollar.
The cameras continued flashing.
“Your picture will be on Facebook,” Gailyn told him.
“We’re coming back on Valentine’s Day. And we’re definitely coming back on his birthday, May 4.”
Memories of Bridgeton came flooding back.
“We skated at Cubby Hollow and when the pond would get low, Mr. Schrank would fill it back up,’’ said Gail.
“And he had a fabulous sleigh. When it snowed, he would hook up a horse to it and go around the neighborhood.
“And, of course, Mr. Schrank had the fairgrounds on Fayette Street.”
“Pepsi Pete,’’ now 82 years old, does that to you.
“The Petsmart grant funds for spay/neuter cats for 08302 is done!
“My sister just secured the last 3 spots! Ugh! So happy for her, but sad no more free kitties!”
— Millville Community Cat Program
Who landed that grant?
Who landed the grant for all of Vineland?
“The Bridgeton Police Department continues to get bruised up.
“It’s a shame that the bad actions of a few can tarnish and derail all the good work done by all the other honest and hardworking officers.”
— Jorje Romero,
45 years old with 10 years as a Camden City cop looking for a job where his experience counts more than his age
Run for mayor, Jorje, in a city where 43 percent are Latinos.
You’ve got enough time to mobilize your forces
Don’t ever call us deplorable after how you’ve disgraced your ancestors by letting this country struggle to again find a middle class, and you’ve set back and let congress get away with doing nothing — and now you complain?
“I just visited my uncle living at the Vineland Veterans home today.
“Most of the residents seemed to not view today as a holiday! I thanked each one that stopped to say hi to my Unc. And I got many stories about their service. What a great place to visit!
“Stop in any day and thank them for their service.”
— John Tisa
If you’re talking Pete Tisa, he came within one number — either one up or one down from the correct number — of winning millions, we think, in the Lottery.
Then he could have built his own veterans home.
We remember he had lawn furniture at the edge of his yard for teachers to sit on from the school across the street, and the sign offering rest was taken by someone to take home free furniture.
So they did.
YOU CAN BOOK IT: To think of all the things to get excited about when there is so much to be done!