Dr. Kane says hi to Paul Ritter III; Tough waitresses; Bridgeton Villas bought? What do we do with Sunset Lake?; Public pools don’t fare well; Love Where You Live; Damaged Bridgeton Library progressing; Historian Jim Bergmann turns 80; Pastor Steve Harris rattles chains


13418881_10210129312377989_5948417533190413720_n.jpgThe column that says Dr. Gregory Kane, head of pulmonology at Jefferson Hospital, says hi to Paul Ritter III of Bridgeton, his classmate at Notre Dame, and we can’t wait for the second sleep apnea test Thursday night into 5 a.m. Friday because it has already been documented as severe, so it’s just a matter of how severe.

By Jack Hummel

Radio: 92.1 FM WVLT Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.

Email: jhummel9794@gmail.com

Phone: 856-237-6645

U.S. Army: RA13815980

Google all columns at jackhummelblog

Good evening!

D0n’t you love waitresses who work to support themselves while yawning and lurching their way through college and graduate school.

It shows what they’re made of.

What has happened to the Winn Corporation, who ww still believe baked-bean native Mike Abbott talked into investing here?

Winn has an option to buy Bridgeton Villas for between $30,000,000 and $35,000,000 and getting rid of the leaky roofs and the mold, and providing security and building a community center.

That’s what they offered at the last city council meeting we attended.

Who does that?

Can you imagine the same thing happening to Delsea Gardens?

To the Vineland Walnut Road apartment complex fiascos?

To any of the jammed together, cheaper-is-better apartment complexes where poverty rules and crime festers, and Section 8 is the catalyst?

If you can’t have grass all around, build in another town.

What are we going to do with Sunset Lake?

Use it simply for canoeing, kayaks, paddle boats, sports that shouldn’t be affected by recurring pollution because the lake is too shallow?

The same council meeting where Winn Corporation proposed a miracle,

A little history.

July 12, 2015

The rains came, and with them came the true rebirth of Sunset Lake.

The lake that’s been dry since August 2011 is now full, just a month after city and state officials ceremonially closed the last gate needed for the body of water to refill.

Acutally, the lake, bolstered by some heavy rains, filled in about a week after the gate was shut on June 1. That was several weeks earlier than city officials expected.

Coupled with additional rainy weather, the lake is now brimming with water. A stiff breeze had small waves lapping against its shores on Friday.

Salem County resident Lindsey Coslop was at the lake on Friday with her 3-year-old daughter, Emma. The two held hands as they splashed through the water near a new sandy beach.


“She really loves it,” Coslop, a stay-at-home mom, said of her daughter walking through the water.


Coslop said she intends to bring Emma back frequently, and plans to make it a point to clean up trash that is accumulating on the beach. Coslop said the clean-up won’t be part of an organized effort, just a mommy-daughter project.


Sunset Lake was empty since August 2011. That’s when floodwaters from heavy rains overwhelmed the Cumberland County lake’s dam and spillway. Water from the lake drained into an adjoining raceway that links the lake with the Cohansey River.

Sunset Lake began to fill after the completion of about $4 million worth of work. The project included a new cutoff dam, a raceway whose level is now consistent for its entire length between the lake and the river, and a spillway to control water levels. The work was financed from insurance companies and federal sources, officials said.


The finished project resulted in more than just a rejuvenated Sunset Lake.


A walking path runs along the raceway to at least the nearby Cohanzick Zoo, which is part of the municipality’s more than 1,000-acre City Park. People, including a group of children on a summer trip, were strolling the walkway on Friday.


One of those residents was local resident Patti Zoyac, who said she spent lots of time swimming at the lake in her youth.

“It’s really great to see the water again,” she said.


Sharon Cassidy, of Cedarville in Lawrence Township, said while it’s good that Sunset Lake is again filled with water, the time it was emptied provided some new views of wildlife. Eagles would occasionally land on the dry lake bottom, she said.


A stream that branches off the raceway runs through the zoo. The stream dried up when Sunset Lake drained.


Water is now flowing through the stream and the zoo. Ducks, geese and other birds are once again using the stream.


And, the stream in once again turning the zoo’s water wheel, which underwent some refurbishing several years and has been a sort of landmark at the facility’s entrance.

— Tom Barlas

More history.

July 20, 2015

Empty for nearly four years, Sunset Lake is refilled, but those wanting to take a dip will have to wait until next summer.

“There will be no public swimming in Sunset Lake this year,” said Bridgeton Recreation Department Director Melissa Hemple.

The decision had to be made for two reasons, Hemple said Monday.

First, since officials did not know how long it would take to refill the lake this summer, the recreation department did not have the time to hire the needed lifeguards.

The second issue was water quality. Stormwater runoff, including that from farms upstream, along with vegetation now under water that is rotting can impact water quality readings.

Sunset Lake water is tested each week by the Cumberland County Department of Health each week.

Hemple said that despite heavy rains this summer, the water has mostly tested acceptable, failing only a couple of times.

— Bill Gallo Jr.

The biggest real estate mogul in town, Bob Thompson, whose family owns 600 properties, has promised the city “a swimming pool everyone can use.”

He made that promise at a city council meeting and backed it up with a start of $1,000.

Public swimming pools have not fared well in Bridgeton. One that was built in the Second Ward was filled in because it was too popular and people sneaked over the fence on hot nights to swim unattended.

Because of insurance concerns, it was filled in.

There was an indoor pool next to the Everett Marino Center on Washington Street that was so little used that it was abandoned.

Deepening Sunset Lake would cost an estimated $2,000,000.

More history

Aug. 3, 2012

In the interest of proposing some sort of dredging process to clean the lakebed of its existing contaminants, Blake Maloney, who lives on Sunset Lake and serves on the Upper Deerfield Township Environmental Commission and the county Agriculture Development Board, in addition to his post as president of the Cohansey Area Watershed Association (CAWA), mapped Sunset Lake to show 89 acres of lakebed with about 20 acres of silt at an average depth of 4 feet, beneath the vegetation.

“Calculate that out, and you’ve got about 200,000 cubic yards of silt out there,” said Maloney.

“Then I contacted a local contractor, who said it would probably be $5 to $10 per cubic yard to remove the silt.

“You figure the $10 times 200,000, and you’re looking at $2 million to remove it all.”

Filling the lake is not a problem.

It has gone out before and it has refilled.

But what is the DEP saying about the lake being pollution prone?

That it’s too shallow to prevent pollution?

That they won’t touch it until it’s dredged?

Does this make sense:

“How does a lake, natural or manmade, die a natural death?

“A lake becomes shallow (as a matter of course) when substances enter it.

“These substances provide a favorable environment for the growth of different organisms which use up the water.

“In turn, these organisms die and collect on the lake bottom.

“Then more nutrients are available for the growth of even more organisms.

“The cycle keeps repeating itself until finally it gets to the point where higher plant growth replaces the water.

“As the process is stimulated by the synthetic pollutants, this man-made problem can only be remedied by human interference once again: dredging.’’

— Vassar College Library


“Love Where You Live.

“A group of 10 volunteers, ages 10 to 93, helped spread mulch around newly planted flowering perennials in the Bridgeton City Park opposite the Cohanzick Zoo.

“The half-dozen gardens were donated and planted by Overdevest Nurseries as part of their commitment to ‘Love Where You Live,’ a project of the Cohansey Area Watershed Association.

“They will be dedicated at a special ceremony in the park at 2 p.m., Friday afternoon,Nov. 18.”

— Caroline Owens

Age 93?

Warren Robinson?

Caroline Owens?

“Good news!

“Progress is being made at the Bridgeton Public Library!

“Carpet is being removed so the new carpet can be installed.

“Stay tuned for more updates!”

— Courtenay Reece,


“Water, water everywhere and all the rugs did stink.

“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”

— Rhyme of the Ancient Hummel

“Happy 80th birthday to my dear husband, caretaker, and special guy who I have known for 60 years and will have been married to for 59 years this coming March.

“Wishing you many more years as we age together (not always the happy part) but most of the time we try to make the best of it.

“Love you!”

— Mary Bergmann

A little history

Jan. 22, 2013

Jim Bergmann moved to Maine for 16 years, restored a railroad and took apart a dozen historic homes, numbered every piece and put them back together again.Then he came back home to Bridgeton to create an entire historic library.

Including concentrating on the once-famous Cumberland Nail & Iron Works located in what is now Bridgeton City Park, he also can tell you everything you’d want to know about Old Broad Street Cemetery.

Bergmann has brought them both back to life. He has written copy, old photos and overlays. He can tell you where every building was located.

Cumberland Nail & Iron Works made 200 kinds of nails, from tiny brads to spikes. The owner — a man named Reeves — came from Camden.

“It’s interesting to try and find out what existed at one time,’’ said Bergmann.

What is Morningside Park now was all filled in from river dredges. At one time, that land was all the Cohansey River. Bergmann has photos of every building that comprised Cumberland Nail, on both sides of the river. The nail company faded in the 1880s due to competition, peaking with 450 workers. They produced 800 kegs of nails in one day.

“They had nail machines of all shapes and sizes,’’ said Bergmann.

Two guys in Bridgeton — Dare and Jefferson — patented nail machines. Bergmann has their patents.

The first fire department in Bridgeton was located at the nail company, complete with a fire bell.

Bergmann has collected all this since his return from Maine in 2000.

There are more than 5,000 books in his collection.

What lit the spark?

“I’ve always been interested in history,’’ he said.

It has spread to Old Broad Street Cemetery in Bridgeton.

“It’s the only cemetery in the area that has a chapel,’’ he revealed. “It was not just a place to store tools.’’

Yes, the present-day tool shed was once a chapel.

And Bergmann is fascinated by the cemetery’s fancy tombstones.

“There were at least three stonecutters in the Bridgeton area to make these tombstones,’’ he said.

There is a monument to somebody named Stow who was an Alloway farmer and buried in Alloway under a 20-ton monument.

“When his widow moved to Bridgeton, she brought her husband and the monument with her,’’ said Bergmann.

He says the cemetery is now in good shape after it was earlier threatened with growth.

The chapel has a basement.

“It’s a beautiful basement,” he said. “They wound up storing firewood down there. It was a mess until we cleaned it out.”

The largest tombstone in the cemetery belongs to a blacksmith.

“It was very influential and worked for the Shoemakers of Cumberland Glass,” he said.
Joseph H. Brown was a sailor in the Civil War who was a slave until he was emancipated.

He’s buried there with a tombstone paid for by a senator.

“Half of it had sunk into the ground before we pulled it out,’’ said Bergmann.

Three hundred veterans from nine wars are buried in the cemetery through the Korean War.

There are over 10,000 graves.

“A lot of them are unmarked,” he said. “There’s an infant buried somewhere in the footpath between the church and the cemetery. But nobody knows where.’’

He wants to write a book on the cemetery.

George Agnew Chamberlain, who is buried there, is the subject of Bergmann’s latest book.

“He was a Salem County author who brought Amelia Earhart and Jimmy Doolittle to Bridgeton,” he said.

He wrote 40 books.

“I have all of them,” said Bergmann of the one-time international diplomat. “He was an interesting guy.’’

He also has his personal letters. As for his stay in Maine, the Alna railroad operated until 1933. Four miles of track have been restored. It was a project that went worldwide with donations, but included few local folks.

“And now we’re restoring an old steam engine,” he said.

In Bridgeton, he will get excited about the Nail House Museum — all that is left from the Cumberland Nail & Iron Works — “if they would restore it.

“It should house strictly Bridgeton industrial history,” he said. “I’m pretty sure we could fill it up.

“When I say history, I’m including boats that came up the river and barges that brought in the coal. And it could have something to go with the glass houses in town.”

Who will head it?

“Good question,’’ said Bergmann. “You have to find something from the younger generation who will start now.

“You get people who want to help.’’


“Put an ad in the paper,’’ he joked.

Maybe 10 people came on historian Bob Crowe’s walking tour of the park.

“It’s always the same 10 people,’’ he said. “That’s the problem.”

Six people pulled off the railroad restoration in Alna, Maine.

Bergmann relocated buildings himself.

“Between barns and houses, a dozen of them,” he said.

Jim Bergmann is 76 years old with ambitious plans of a man half his age. He spent a January weekend pulling vegetation from Bridgeton’s Morningside Park. He restores old picture frames in his spare time. He also wants to restore the Old Broad Street Cemetery chapel into a museum. It was built in the early 1900s.

“But it’s a question of money,” he said.

They put a new roof on Old Broad Street Church, didn’t they?

“The state was involved in that,” he said. “They’ve still got a lien on it.”

Oh, and then there’s his photo collection. He opened a large drawer filled with photos.

“This is a collection from 12 different Bridgeton photographers,” he said.

And then he held up a large, framed photo of the entire Cumberland Nail & Iron Works in its heyday.

It takes your breath away.




“I want to personally clear something up that I have been hearing on the street.


“1. Rumor has it that the last M25 Initiative fundraiser was somehow put together to raise money for politicians due to the fact it was $100 a plate.

“Let me say this. Yes, there were politicians in attendance and also business leaders, law enforcement and other organizations who stand with us. NO MONEY was given to them. THE MONEY WAS GIVEN FROM THEM TO M25. If you would like to know the financials of M25, please click on this link http://www.m25initiative.org and then roll your mouse over the “about us” tab which will show you two choices. The second one is the financial statements. Click on that and you will get a .pdf

“2. Rumor has it that the government has taken over Code Blue. False. There has been something in the works to actually pass a bill to mandate that EVERY county in NJ have a code blue program. It has yet to pass and Dr. Rob Weinstein is working closely to make sure we maintain that we are Faith Based. Not Government based.

“3. Rumor has it that a few volunteers were upset with the way I handle things in Code Blue. I have told EVERYONE. If you have any issues, please see me personally. We will address them. If you still don’t like the answer, you can either continue to help or leave. Nobody is paying or forcing anyone to do this. This is a volunteer effort.

“Final note. It’s one thing if you have issues with the program, then that’s on you. It’s another to tell people false things to discourage them from being a blessing to someone and someone to them.

“Lives hang in the balance.

“I am Reverend Stephen P. Harris and I approve this message.”

YOU CAN BOOK IT: And that’s the name of that tune!

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Dr. Kane says hi to Paul Ritter III; Tough waitresses; Bridgeton Villas bought? What do we do with Sunset Lake?; Public pools don’t fare well; Love Where You Live; Damaged Bridgeton Library progressing; Historian Jim Bergmann turns 80; Pastor Steve Harris rattles chains

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