Shrine’s expansion looks great; Looking for the key to N. Laurel St. revival: Who are the key?; Nail House revival nailed; Cisrow Family presented MLK award; ‘Messiah’ sing-along; Code Blue volunteer needs help; Race stats don’t add up in Bridgeton; Deanna Speranza-Murphy going back in hospital; Where to find Derick Glenn

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The column that says the addition to the All Sports Museum of Southern New Jersey next to Jim Hursey Stadium in Bridgeton built by CCTEC and given to Bridgeton is beautiful and a tremendous asset to the shrine that was packed to the roof with the city’s sports legacy as well as South Jersey’s.

By Jack Hummel

Radio: 92.1 FM 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!

Great show on 92.1 FM this afternoon with Steve Paul, director of Bridgeton Main Street, charged with improving the economic condition of the downtown.

He told us about the men’s store — M&B — where you can buy a suit, and the Christmas House Tour that happens on Saturday, Dec. 3, starting at the historic, 18th century Sheppard House where you get a list of addresses on the tour and you can visit them in any order you want.

Why spend the $20?

Because you will see homes preserved for over 100 years built with Victorian gingerbread in mind, beautifully decorated and brimming with tasty treats that will fill you with energy as you go on your way.

Kevin and Sheila McCann will have the history of Woodruff Energy on display, put together by Bob Woodruff at the office of Chance & McCann on West Commerce Street.

They always go overboard.

East side of Cohansey River from 1-5 p.m. and the West side of town from 3-7 p.m., as well as a horse-drawn wagon ride.

The Off Broad Street Players will be Christmas caroling.

You can also call them for more information or to order tickets at 856-453-8130.

So we were talking about the downtown and how we need more ratables, and how to make that happen BEFORE city council ever decides to move on the city park project, and we talked cold calls on businesses that could be talked into relocating, and Steve said it would be too time consuming.

We zeroed in on the two big buildings on the southside of North Laurel Street, namely those abandoned by Woolworth and JC Penney back in the days before Owens-Illinois shut down.

Covered with as much gingerbread near the roofs as any buildings in town.

As well as the historic Bank of America on the corner.

What is it going to take to fill these gems? How can be make sure the bottom floors are as inviting as the third floors, much like the redeveloped Hopewell Shopping Center.

“We have to offer something unique in the downtown that you can’t find in the malls,” offered Paul. “You’re never going to have department stores again.

“Know who I want to contact? Bob Thompson.”

The Thompson family of Thompson Plaza and Jim Hursey Stadium has $2 million worth of skin in the game. The Murads of the Ashley-McCormick building have $1 million. The Martins of Martin Corp. are just as embedded.

Those are the people we want to talk to.

Steve Paul added to the list: Curtis Edwards, Bruce Riley, Father David Rivera, John Fuqua Jonathan Cummings, Bill Whelan, Mike Zapolski, Bill Spence, Cindy Williams, Wade Sjogren, Jerry Young, Tony Stanzi0ne, Bryan Real and Lynwood Mosley.

Are those the 17 brains to pick to get past the excuse: “It takes time.” We believe so.

Saturday is Mayor Albert Kelly’s day of worship and his church also feeds the hungry on both Saturday and Sunday every week.

Can we get the rest two at a time on the radio with Paul, since that is all the studio holds?

Meanwhile, on another front …

A project partnership aimed at restoring a treasured 200-year-old city-owned structure known as the “Nail House” at the entrance to Bridgeton’s vast City Park is finally underway, with a plan to transform it into a 21st-century welcome center for both the park and the Bridgeton historic district, the State’s largest.

Representatives of the Bridgeton-based non-profit known as CHABA (the Center for Historic American Building Arts) say a contract for engineering services, awarded via competitive bidding to J&M Engineering of Swarthmore, PA, will analyze and supervise restoration plans over the coming months.

With the support of CHABA’s own professional volunteers and participation of Bridgeton-based Watson & Henry Associates, authors of a preservation plan for the structure,

J&M will define and supervise needed repairs that can return the structure, closed to the public now for 5 years, to active public use as soon as possible.

“This is a strategic collaboration,” said Dr. Flavia Alaya of CHABA, “made possible only by joining the forces and funds of City, County, State and the private 1772 Foundation with discretionary and donated services of both the City and CHABA.”

She points out that the diminutive size of the building belies its deep historic significance. The clapboard-sided, T-shaped one-story–unceremoniously tucked under towering old sycamores where the edge of the downtown meets the entrance to the City Park goes back to the 1815 startup of the Cumberland Nail & Iron Works, the industry that basically founded the city.

Local historian and historic craftsman Jim Bergmann, assisting with analysis and repair, says it’s actually a big story for a little building to tell. “The Works dominated industrial development here through the 19th century and helped make Bridgeton ʻthe most prosperous city in the stateʼ for a time.” Nineteenth-century maps and photos, he says, show the tiny “countinghouse” overshadowed by massed industrial structures–now gone–along with the bustling river wharves and ships that brought in the raw iron and carried manufactured goods out to the Bay and beyond.

CHABA is seeking additional grants for the repair phase as well as for cutting-edge interpretive strategies that will make the most of the building’s small footprint. Project literature emphasizes preservationʼs futuristic goals, bringing green and sustainable historic resources together to tell of the past use (and abuse) of the environment as well as to make a commitment to the future of region and planet.

“We like to say: ‘This little building is huuuge,'” Alaya says, tagging a phrase CHABA has made the title of a crowdsourcing little “children’s book” that tells the Nail House’s big story= in lively text and pictures. “And so is the task,” she adds.

“But with everyone pulling in the same direction, weʼre excited and confident about making make this vision a reality.”

Contact: Flavia Alaya at 856-369-1300 or 201-321-3813 (cell) email: centerhabarts@gmail.com.

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NAIL HOUSE MUSEUM.

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“The legendary Cisrow Family 1975 thru 2016 is one of the proud recipients of the 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award. Look at those children of 41 years ago. With God, all things are possible.

“We did not begin to sing looking for fame. We sing because we love the Lord

“As God’s word says, ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.’

“That is all we do. Love it!”

— Cisrow Family

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BACK IN THE BEGINNING.

“Millville High School Chorus Alumni:

“Join us downtown at the art center for a ‘Messiah’ sing-along on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.

“Bring your score if you have one, and see you during Soul of the Season!”

— Cindi Stanger Cooke

“P.S.: We have a Code Blue volunteer that is in desperate need of some bedroom furniture. This is a person that has totally turned their life around and in turn donates an extremely large amount of time to Code Blue, usually double shifts at night when it’s so hard for us to get volunteers. This person has the first apartment. With help from family and friends, he has managed to furnish the rest of the house, but he’s sleeping on a youth bed that his feet hang off, and he doesn’t have any dresser drawers. If anyone can help or knows of some for sale real cheap, please let me know. I really want to help them out! They do so much for Code Blue and deserves a little reward. Thanks.”

 “The race stats don’t add up because the numbers include both race and ethnicity.

“For example, Hispanic/Latino is an ethnicity not a race. You can be Hispanic and also white, or black or other race. Thus a person of say Cuban ancestry could claim black and Latino both, while a person with Portuguese background may claim white and Hispanic both.

“A person of Egyptian ancestry is classified as white, no matter the color of his/her skin. Lots of vagaries. These things account for the numerical differences.

“But they really underscore how ridiculous this ‘self-separation’ of human beings is — folks should read the historical accounts of why we separated ourselves into groups.

“Enlightening.”

— Debbi Boykin-Greenberg

You having a bad day? 

Read on.

“Yes, I’m going in the hospital tomorrow!

“Frankly, I hate it! I am pretty miserable the whole time I am there. I cry every day, especially when my family leaves. More chemo, which doesn’t bother me, but I miss my family.

“Cancer has taken my career, gardening, running, working out the way I like, Duathalons, motorcycle riding, hair and fingernails, spending time out with friends when I want to and helping my husband as an equal partner.

“It will NEVER take my sense of humor, love for my husband and kids, my friends, my brothers, their wives my nieces and nephews, my family, my soul, my heart, my stubbornness, ability to love, fishing (very important), my dogs, my love of music and music trivia, history, my ability to look for the silver lining no matter what, my ability to keep moving forward even if I can’t walk and my faith in God!

“Take time to look around so you understand what is truly important and what you should not sweat! People are important, not things!”

— Deanna Speranza-Murphy

A little history.

June 17, 2016.

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In the beautiful life of Deanna Speranza-Murphy:

“Beautiful job presenting Luke his diploma.

“It really caught him by surprise.

“Thank you for all your help at Deerfield Township School over the years. You got this, Deanna!”

— Lisa Marie

Will you still be there on Tuesday, Deanna?

“What does Mr. (Derick) Glenn need? How to reach him?”

— Peggy Gentile-Van Meter

A little history.

June 21, 2105.

Celebrating Our Veterans, Inc. had plenty to celebrate on Saturday as it marked the grand opening of its official headquarters and the near completion of the first home in the organization’s affordable housing program.

Veterans, volunteers, elected officials and interested citizens gathered amid the backdrop of patriotic melodies played by Christine Sheil of Sharing the Joy of Music to commemorate the milestone.

“We are blessed to be able to do the mission that we are doing and that’s helping the veterans in this community,” said Derick I. Glenn, founder and CEO of Celebrating Our Veterans, Inc.

“Remember the value that these veterans have provided for us, what they have given to us,” said Mayor Michael Santiago. “Our veterans are at a disadvantage. They are hopeless; they are hungry; they need clothes on their back. The City of Millville is partnering up with Derick and his team to give back to the veterans.”

Glenn says the family that will live in the rehabilitated house is full of hope. Roberto Ortega served a nine-month deployment in Iraq with the U.S. Navy in 2004. Since his return, it has been a constant struggle for his family, including his wife, Yolymary Ortega and their five children Damien, 12; Arianna, 10; Yanelly, 7; Sergio, 6; and Sophia, 1.

Finally one day, Ortega called Glenn and said he needed help. The family was iving in a rental unit that had human waste backing up into the basement. Three of them were hospitalized because of respiratory illnesses.

Celebrating Our Veterans, Inc. stepped in. Ortega completed the commercial truck driving program and now works locally. Although the family moved into a different rental unit, they still couldn’t get ahead.

But within weeks, the Ortega family will move into the first unit in the organization’s affordable housing program with a reduced rent so they can continue to provide for their family.

“When you hear their story, you know why we chose to help this family,” said Glenn. “It has been a continual up and down for Roberto.”

“It’s a constant battle every day, and if it wasn’t for my wife, I don’t think I would be here today,” Ortega said.

Ortega said he loves how big the house is and is anticipating how cozy it will become once they move in.

The children can’t wait to move into their new home. They ran from room to room, imagining where things would be, and their imaginations went wild in the backyard.

“It’s exciting and emotional,” said Yolymary Ortega. “We finally have something stable, something beautiful.” She said she is looking forward to getting settled and focusing on helping others.

Several elected officials spoke at the ceremony, including Congressman Frank LoBiondo, state Sen. Jeff VanDrew, Assemblyman Bob Andrzeczak, Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella and Millville City Commissioner Joseph Sooy.

Celebrating Our Veterans, Inc. began in 2011. It offered assistance and resources to veterans by appointment. At the new headquarters, they will be able to connect veterans with resources for job hunting, education, clothing, food, paperwork, housing and medical treatment.

Also, the organization just received a $2,300 grant from Gannett that they will use to purchase computer equipment so that veterans have a place to do research on the Internet, print forms, make copies or send faxes.

COV is leasing the building from the city for $100 for one year. The house was given to the non-profit organization by Wells Fargo and will be rented to the Ortego family at a reduced monthly rate.

The house needed a lot of work. The electric and plumbing had to replaced; doors and windows needed attention and the siding also had to be replaced. The project was completed through donations and hours of volunteer manpower.

Aside from several community volunteers, the following businesses donated supplies or services: Ace Hardware in Vineland, Ashley Construction, Babbitt Manufacturing Co., BJ’s Wholesale Club, Brynn Speaks Promo, Coia’s Garden Market & Greenhouses, EDM Constulting, Elwyn Partners in Caring, Plowman’s Windows & Doors, Pitchin’ Tents, Pepsi, Premier Services, Real Deal Electric, Reverie Dance Theatre, Sharing the Joy of Music, TriCity Kitchens, South Jersey Landscape Supply, Tri-City Products, Weinstein Supply, Woodruff Decorating Center, Viet Bistro and Wells Fargo.

COV is currently collecting items for its distribution site located at the American Legion, 220 Buck St., Millville. Items needed range from non-perishable food to toiletries to shoes.

To donate, volunteer for the organization or inquire about services, call (856) 327-4142 or visit http://www.celebratingourveterans.com The new office, 1011 Buck St., will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and by appointment.

— Jodi Streahle

YOU CAN BOOK IT: Where if you haven’t learned to appreciate life yet, just give it time.

 
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Shrine’s expansion looks great; Looking for the key to N. Laurel St. revival: Who are the key?; Nail House revival nailed; Cisrow Family presented MLK award; ‘Messiah’ sing-along; Code Blue volunteer needs help; Race stats don’t add up in Bridgeton; Deanna Speranza-Murphy going back in hospital; Where to find Derick Glenn

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