The column that asks how was Laurel Heights Drive constructed in order to get the roller coaster effect, because no other road in Cumberland County has that many peaks and valleys, and did the guy get paid?
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM WVLT Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: RA13815980
Google all columns at jackhummelblog
Somebody call Outback and tell them we’ll guarantee a profit for the first 10 years if they locate in the vacant Acme store at Carll’s Corner, then phone Olive Garden and set up a meeting to zoom into the Big Lots location across the street in February.
They call them cold calls.
You hope on Bruce Riley’s jet and fly to their headquarters and call for an appointment from their lobby.
Show them the promotional film done by Keith Wasserman.
Who remembers Charlie Kates?
Everybody remembers his brother the fighter, Richie, but Charlie has made his own mark in the world and will becoming on 92.1 FM Saturday at 1 p.m. by phone to talk about his days as the Bridgeton High basketball coach and life, with another basketball guru, John Fuqua, in the studio with his own guest.
Maybe you can call in at 856-696-0092 and offer some constructive comments.
Charlie still cares, and that’s all we care about.
Bethany Grace Community Church, in partnership with Century Savings Bank, will be distributing new and gently used winter coats during their monthly food pantry and clothing closet that serves over 100 men, women, and children.
The distribution will take place Saturday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Bethany Grace Community Church, 31 N. Pearl St., Bridgeton, NJ 08302.
Bethany Grace Community Church is located in the poorest area south of Camden.
But far from being the poorest in spirit.
And if you don’t believe us, ask Fonzy White.
A little history
Nov. 27, 2014
The smell of turkey and other holiday favorites drifted in and around the Bethany Grace Community Church hall, inviting all those in the area to come in and enjoy a holiday feast.
With doors open to all those in need, the feast was prepared to host more than 500 guests between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Dr. Rob Weinstein, the pastor of Bethany Grace Community Church, alongside Tonya Allen, the coordinator of the Hands of Compassion Ministry, hosted the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the Bridegton community.
“We wanted to host this event to give the community a chance to come together and enjoy all of the holiday favorites and also gives those who aren’t in need a chance to better serve the community and help those who need it the most,” said Allen.
The idea to host a holiday dinner came from a personal experience that Allen shared with the Hands of Compassion Ministry co-president Fonzy White.
“Over a year ago, Fonzy and I were just walking and getting some exercise in when she pointed out a homeless man eating out of a trash can,” said Allen. “God filled my heart and I knew hosting a holiday dinner was the right thing to do.”
Allen, who has always held the idea of helping others in her heart, began organizing the event right away and hopes for this year’s feast to be just as successful as last year’s.
“Last year we had more than 400 people show up to eat and I am just so excited for this year, and so thankful to be given the opportunity to help those in the community who are unbelievable grateful for all of this,” said Allen.
Weinstein shares in Allen’s excitement for helping others and has hosted a holiday dinner for four years at Bethany Grace.
“Last year, we knew Hands of Compassion was doing a dinner and we decided as a whole that working together and combining our efforts would create a more widespread effect on the community,” said Weinstein.
As the time neared 11 a.m., volunteers prepared to welcome in the large group of people waiting outside for the meal. Visitors and guests of the Bethany Grace Community Church entered the hall taking in the festive feel.
The tables were covered in tablecloths with turkey, pumpkin, and various other holiday inspired décor displayed on them. Tables were covered in food with more overflowing from the kitchen area where volunteers continued to work.
Allen worked the room, greeting the guests.
“Good morning, good morning.”
“You all ready to eat?”
“No one’s going to be hungry today,” Allen said, smiling and shaking hands.
Smiles were exchanged and “Happy Thanksgiving” was said among the guests and volunteers as their plates were filled with the warm holidays favorites.
As more people came in and others were leaving, Allen made the rounds yet again but this time with a cart displaying classic Thanksgiving desserts including pumpkin and apple pies.
“What would you like from my goodie cart,” Allen asked each table, spreading the holiday joy.
More than 40 volunteers continued to work, serving food, drinks, and desserts to the continuing lines of guests.
“I’m so completely impressed with the outpouring of support from the community and many different individuals, it’s so overwhelming, and I think we can find ways to spread this during the whole year and not just the holidays” said Weinstein.
“I care, I’m a caring person and my heart is here to help in any way I can because everyone deserves a happy holiday no matter the circumstances,” said Allen.
— Caitlyn Stulpin
Tonya Allen, left, and Fonzy White, with dish in hand, shown at Bethany Grace Community Church with Pastor Robin Weinstein, are the founders of Hands of Compassion in Bridgeton.
“I occasionally get asked how the Bridgeton Area Rocket Club is doing.
“For an organization going into its second year, it’s doing quite well — reaching far beyond the boundaries of Cumberland County.
“In fact, at tomorrow’s launch, a group of college students from Northeastern University (near Boston, MA) will be driving over 5½ hours to launch a 20-pound rocket that is 94 inches long at a BARC Launch.
“Also at that same launch, a person from northern NJ will be launching a complex 4-stage, high-powered rocket, and I will debut my Mini Nuke rocket.
“In the crowd watching, I expect a group of scouts from Ewing, NJ.
BARC’s reach extends into 6 states outside of NJ (VA, MD, PA, DE, NY, & MA). I also have a rocket club in a Newfield elementary school.
“But, locally, there seems to be little interest.”
— Mike Zapolski Sr.
There will be some interest if an 8-foot rocket goes flying over their heads from Rabbit Hill Farms in Shiloh, site of the launches.
“When I travel to Millville, most of the time I take Exit 27 off of Rt. 55, which is the first one for the city when traveling southbound.
“I mentioned it to Sinbad who I recently saw at the Levoy and the significance of No. 27. Coincidentally Major League Baseball star and this years MVP Mike Trout wears No. 27.
“i guess its only a matter of time when we see a nice sign at this exit in Mike’s honor.”
— Bob Rose
Bob Rose wears No. 1 in the music promoting business, and we expect hum back in Bridgeton with the next administration, who could put the city above personal feelings.
And don’t make us run Sam Feinstein for mayor to make it happen.
“I would like to send a check to help for Bridgeton Christmas tour. Please post an address!”
— Cindi Stanger Cooke
31 W. Commerce St.
“Just a brief comment prompted by your reference to the ‘Gem of Jersey’ phrase.
“I have an old license plate topper which reads ‘Bridgeton Gem of Jersey’ and in small print ‘Board of Trade.’
“I wonder if there are any other copies of this item still in existence.”
— Theodore Ritter
Has to be worth a fortune to “American Pickers.”
The Fifth Ward AA Gems of Bridgeton Midget Football are named for “Gem o’ Jersey.”
“Congratulations to the Millville Marching Thunderbolts for a great season!
“Their competition season culminated on Saturday, Nov. 12, with a trip to Hershey Park Stadium in Hershey, PA, where the 120-member band scored their highest score in decades (88.7 and Highest Field Visual and Best Guard).
“Not only have they practiced at least twice a week, attended a competition each week, but they also attended every football game (home and away) and cheered on their fellow Thunderbolts!
“Now they move into their parade season while still cheering on the football team in the playoffs (and Thanksgiving Day).
“Great job, everyone!”
— Newell Branin Jr.
Code Blue KITCHEN wish list: Looks like it’s going to be a longer, rough winter folks for our homeless. Here is a list I’m working on to help our homeless citizens get through it.
Toilet paper, Tissues, Paper Towels, Napkins, Paper Plates, Bowls (Paper works best because sometimes we have to heat up food in microwave.
Disposable coffee cups
Plastic bowls etc for when we have leftovers to stor…e
Plastic Forks, Spoons, Knives
Paper lunch size bags
Plastic Trash bags
Coffee (regular and decaf) Cremora (etc)
Peanut Butter (creamy) and Jelly
Instant Oatmeal in individual packs
Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup, Hot Sauce
Snacks (crackers etc)
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Powdered Gravy mix, Poultry/Beef (I usually get the large size from BJs but any will do)
Powdered Soup base Chicken/Beef
Assorted canned veggies
Cleaning supplies: Dish soap, bleach, etc.
Perishable Items we will need for our first night : (If you are planning on providing any of these items please let me know… as I don’t want to have some that goes bad, because we are not open for some reason or we don’t have a place to store them..
Gift cards from BJ’s or ShopRite for when we need to run out to buy emergency items if I meal falls through.
Thank you Lynn’s Deli for offering to prepare our first meal. You always come through for us. Don’t forget if you are eating out to support the businesses that support the citizens of Millville.
Trying to keep reason on her throne is Dan Mourning.
“Jack, there is so much still edible food thrown out at local grocery stores because of Dept. of Health regulations and fear of litigation if someone gets ill.
“It’s probably their policy that they not give out any leftover prepared food, which in my opinion is a bit asinine.”
— Dan Mourning Sr.
That’s two votes.
When they tell us some restaurants in New York City are overrun with rats, we may be a little over-the-top here.
Have’t seen a rat, except the one Mike Abbott brought with him from Boston.
There are enough eateries in the area to provide the meals when Tonya Allen and Fonzy White aren’t able to put gourmet meals on the table — and they are gourmet!
Quit your bitching long enough to read this.
“Life presents challenges in many different ways … some we overcome, some we don’t, and some we just live with.
“But regardless of the challenges, the key word is ‘LIFE,’ because,” if you have life, everything else will work its way out.
“A year ago today at this time, I had life, but 9 hours later, I lost it for a short period of time. In the last year, I’ve learned so much that if I posted it all, Mark Zuckerberg himself would probably delete it.
“But the most important things are to enjoy every day, keep your head up, hug and kiss your spouse and kids EVERY chance you get, and cherish every moment of living.
“I’ve already gotten calls and texts and I appreciate it, but I’m not in this alone. There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t thought of what this event put my wife, kids, family, friends, and everyone at the soccer field that night through … so if you are one of them, I’m sorry and I love you all.
“If you’re reading this and friends with any of them, please just send them a quick note. Although they didn’t feel my pain, they endured the emotion.
“So some people are calling it my birthday, my anniversary, I just call it another great day to be alive. Everyone have a great day!”
— Pepi Dragotta
A little history
Dec. 13, 2005
Midget football is an exceptionally competitive sport. It has its up and downs of winning and losing. This sport can mean a lot to the young athletes that participate in the action along with the coaches and fans.
The games can be pleasant and filled with good sportsmanship or they become tense and behavior can explode out of hand. Hopefully, it will come out in the positive manner. However, there could often be troubles that get out of control in sports.
This is the situation that the Bridgeton Midget Football organization is involved with. A number of events have led to the Bridgeton Midget football controversy. The Tri-County Midget Football League threatened to have Bridgeton expelled from the league and unable to play in the championship game at the freshman and sophomore level.
If this action were to take place, a valuable lesson would be learned. Along with the lesson learned, perfect seasons would be no more. The freshman team, the Bulls, were on task to win their 70th straight game. On the other hand, the sophomore team, the Whips, were striving for an undefeated season.
Neither of the two championship-bound teams was involved in the incident involving the referees of the junior and senior division teams.
Apparently, referees were attacked by fans of the Cumberland Dairy Packers and Barton F. Sharp Gems.
After Packer fans felt the referees were unfair during the double overtime loss at Penns Grove, they threw rocks at the cars being driven by the referees.
An even more dramatic event took place in West Deptford at the senior division game. Teenagers in ski masks ran onto the field and chased the referees.
Players started to get rowdy along with the supporting fans. The game was called with 2:06 left in regulation, causing Bridgeton to lose 26-6.
This was not the first time there was a problem in West Deptford between the two organizations. The Cumberland Dairy Packers at the junior division were involved in a fracas in 2002. The team was placed on probation by the TCMFL (Tri-County Midget Football League) and unable to take part in playoff action in 2003.
(The Bridgeton league was also fined $1,500.
These events are causing the declining of referees to officiate the Bridgeton games. It also leads to the Bridgeton Midget Football League having an appalling reputation and losing respect.
Bridgeton President Ronnie Marino claims there hasn’t been any problems involving their teams this season. It is unfair to punish the teams that weren’t involved in the events. Sometimes it doesn’t always work that way and Whips coach Pepi Dragotta explains it perfect:
“I don’t think you should punish the kids for something the fans did. I don’t think you should punish the kids in any situation if they aren’t directly involved. But that is not the way the some of the rules are written.”
The meeting with the TCMFL and referees took place and there wasn’t much of a problem deciding on whether the Bridgeton Bulls and Whips should participate in their championship games.
In fact, the decision was made before Bridgeton representatives Pepi Dragotta and Ronnie Marino even got to the meeting. They felt that was iniquitous and deserved better than that.
Pepi Dragotta explains:
“They disrespected us. We didn’t even get a chance to plead our case.
Dragotta stated that he had to tell 35 players that there wasn’t going to be a championship on the upcoming weekend.
The Bridgeton Bulls coach, Dan Miletta had the same problem as Dragotta. He was disgusted that the kids may never get to play football again. He was also afraid of what the reaction of his players would be.
Finally, after the controversy calmed down, referees agreed to officiate the championship games and thus gave a chance for Bridgeton to take the title.
The games took place and the fans behaved like professionals. There were no problems and they gladly supported both teams.
It’s a good thing the TCMFL allowed Bridgeton to participate in the championship because it brought home two trophies to add to the case. The Bulls defeated Salem in overtime, 19-13, and the Whips defeated Gibbstown, 13-6. The Bulls got their 70th consecutive win and the Whips finished with the perfect season.
Bridgeton was on the edge of their seats for a week because of a few problems that led to a threat that had the whole organization at risk. The fans didn’t realize that their actions could penalize their children and the league.
Hopefully this will affect the people of Bridgeton Midget Football and be a lesson to them. It is not certain that Bridgeton will be allowed in the Tri-County League next year but it is unquestionably hoped that the wonderful tradition of Bridgeton Midget Football will continue.
— Bobby M.
We were at the West Deptford game, standing on the Bridgeton sideline when the drunk called for one WD player to be hurt because of an injury to a Gem player and a Bridgeton coach acted like an asshole when he made a sexual remark involving WD to a referee, and a fan threw an empty, plastic bottle at the feet of a referee with his back to the stands.
It was Bridgeton at its worst, and some fans did storm the field, claiming to protect their sons, but we never saw anybody, including kids, in masks.
They couldn’t handle the loss. With all the winning in the team’s history, they still couldn’t swallow the loss like professionals, and it led to a lot of repercussions that lasted for years and spread all over South Jersey.
After getting thrown out of the league, Bridgeton made application to other leagues and they all voted no.
In the middle of all, Pepi Dragotta had to address fans at a meeting at Salvy Blandino Field by starting, “I don’t even know why I’m here”and “I can’t even sell a ticket for our chicken barbecue.”
He was visibly distraught.
The quest was, as laid down by Ted Ritter, these kids are going to play football again even if fans have to be banned from the game.
Bridgeton played no games the next year and in a league the next two years that took them to three states, with the Gems’ championship game in Delaware.
And then, thanks mostly to league officer Carl Hemple Jr., they were let back into Tri-County.
Pepi Dragotta wound up in Pittsgrove and eventually wound up in soccer, where his massive heart attack happened during a fundraising game.
He had six bypasses, and no doubt the thoughtless fans that night at the West Deptford game in 2005, and you know who you are, contributed to some of them.
After a really lean year, Bridgeton Midget Football is alive and well, with teams in playoffs everywhere.
YOU CAN BOOK IT: May we never, ever return to those dark days.