The column that says anyone who discourages you from going to the best college you can find does not have your interest at heart, and, just so you know, the ones saying that did go to college, including the freeholders pushing the new technical school, and if you really want to get into it about Cumberland County lagging behind, no holds barred!
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM WVLT Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: RA13815980
Google all columns at jackhummelblog
“The more education you have shows a prospective boss that you are able to learn for a job, BUT, education does NOT mean you an learn a SKILL to do a job.
“For example, a person with a degree in mathematics does not mean they can pull wrenches and be a good mechanic. All depends on what the job is.”
— Cindi Stanger Cooke
The last two years of college, you go into your major.
The first two years, you get a well-rounded education about things you would never know in a trade school.
Karen Cox knows how dangerous driving can be.
“I was in a head-on collision in Carneys Point in August 2014.
“I was in the intersection when an oncoming vehicle made a sudden left turn in front of me … no slowing down, no turn signal.
“The driver said she was ‘listening’ to her GPS and it ‘suddenly’ told her to turn left. (I said, it’s a good thing you weren’t on a bridge).
“Anyway, totaled my brand new car. I spent a few hours in the ER, but, by the grace of God, no serious injuries. She was found to be 100 percent at fault, but that was cold comfort because it could have been avoided if not for her stupidity.
“And just look at the accident on 55 where the state trooper was killed by someone coming across the median and hitting him head-on! I will be thinking about drivers like that when I do get behind the wheel again.”
— Karen Cox
We assume you got a new car out of it, but doctor bills paid for, but no pain and suffering because New Jersey doesn’t have it, and Delaware does.
You can get rammed from behind at a light and collect $4,500 in Delaware.
You can also be at fault and have a mother of the other driver haul you into court and make up big-time doctor appointments and call the mother of the causer an unfit mother.
“Jack, our discount cards are in for 2017. Only $5.”
— Lisa Marie
DiLisi’s 8-inch pizza with 5 toppings on it?
Cindy Zirkle formal dinner on it?
Steph Bacon planned dinner on it?
Mel and Maryanne Glick every-hour sticky buns at Amish Market on it?
Dr. Robin Weinstein, pastor of Bethany Grace Community Church, announced that the church will be holding its 4th annual Christmas Morning Breakfast with Santa from 9 to 10 a.m. on Christmas Day.
The breakfast serves over 100 men, women, and children in the heart of Bridgeton.
The Christmas breakfast includes a visit from Santa Claus, who provides gifts to the children and gloves/hats to the adults who attend. Members of the community are invited to volunteer and/or donate at www.faithinactioncentral.com.
If you can’t find a place anywhere to donate to kids, ask!
“The Phenom Factory, together with a small group of community members, is hosting a holiday party for deserving teens and their families. Our hope is that we can get your support to help make sure that every family will be blessed special gifts for the holidays.
“Gifts for the Family
“• Gift Cards (any value) – Walmart, Five Below, Target, ShopRite; We will use these to purchase a gift for each family and gifts for the kids and to provide a small food basket.
• Socks – NEW! Any type, size or color preferably warm/high tops for winter)
• Books – Things families can enjoy together, possibly holiday stories
• Blankets – for both the kids and their caregivers
• Wrapping Paper
• Scotch Tape
• Soda (Cans) – Any flavor
And we can arrange to pick up your donation.”
— Tim Carty
How many people know Genie DeCou came from Pittsburgh?
They grow Steelers out there, not apples and peaches.
“I’ve got to rant …
“I get so many calls a day people asking me to take their cats.
“I cannot take them to put up for adoption unless they are combo tested for aids/ leukemia/heartworms and up-to-date on shots and spayed or neutered.
“The cost is close to $200 for all this per cat .
“When you don’t donate to non-profits how do you expect them to have the necessary money to do all this to get your cat adopted out? I barely make my food bill each week.
“Wake up, pay it forward and donate to help these cats get homes.
“When you contact me, I keep a journal of your info. If a cat is reported abandoned matching the cat you called about, I will turn you in .
“It is illegal to abandon any animal at any time, and you can be fined and do jail time.”
241 Dafodil Road
Laurel Lake, NJ
A little history
It all started when Carol Hickman had a cat when she was young.
One day, her father decided he didn’t want Tinker around anymore and she lost her cat.
“I poured out my heart and soul to that cat,” said the owner of Carolscatz in Laurel Lake.
She always wanted another cat.
But it got worse before it got better.
“My father and mother both died and there were 14 of us,” she explained. “I was No. 7. My older sister took all the children younger than me.”
Carol was placed in foster care.
“It was totally 100 percent better,” she said. “I had the most wonderful foster family.”
She was the only foster child at the time, but over the years, they took in over 70 foster children
And Tom and Martha Eller always referred to her as his daughter.
“My husband was always his son-in-law,” she smiled. “But they didn’t care for cats, either.”
That all changed when her and Gary married.
“As a child, Gary was my next door neighbor in Delmont,” she explained. “He always kidded me about my weight. I weighed 350 pounds then, and I chased him around unmercifully.”
She came back to the area to visit her grandmother when she was 16 and 122 pounds and went to the ball diamond where they always played.
Gary took one look at her and they were never separated again.
Gary was also a cat hater.
Fast forward 41 years and there are 65 cats on the Hickman property.
“Seven or eight years ago, we would open the door and seven or eight skinny cats would be hanging around,” she recalled. “There would be litter after litter of kittens two times a year.”
Carol would socialize the kittens and animal control officer Ron Sutton would take them.
“And he made sure they were adopted,” said Carol. “I know him that well. They gave me their word and that’s good enough for me.”
That took care of at least two dozen.
Five years ago, her daughter was fishing in Cedarville and somebody threw three kittens out of a car window.
“She brought them home and they were so sick,” said Carol. “Despite giving police the tag number of the car, nothing was ever done about the tosser.”
One of them, R.J., wasn’t supposed to make it.
But Carol nursed him day and night and, today, R.J. Is the huge black cat that is the welcoming committee at 241 Daffodil Lane, Laurel Lake
“He brings me all the sick kittens,” said Carol of the black cat the size of a medium-size dog.
She has socialized most of the 65 cats on her property.
She proved it by opening the door on the big pen out back of an immaculately-kept yard with not a weed in it, and each cat walked out.
They are all named.
They have all their shots.
They eat out of a trough fashioned from a gutter spout.
“There are about 35 or 40 not confined,” she estimated on the 100-foot by 80-foot property, “between here and my neighbors. They all stay within this block.”
Her daughter lives across the street.
The other neighbors are no problem.
“The cats hide well,” she explained of her cat colony.
The newer, feral cats won’t let her touch them, but they know when it’s time to eat
“But I’m working on it,” she said.
It costs about $75 a week to feed all the cats.
Carol has an autistic granddaughter that you wouldn’t think would get along with any cats, let alone feral.
“She tends to be rough with animals,” said Carol. “Grab at them. But the feral cats love her, and I’ve taught her how to hold them.”
Feral cats can be socialized, and Carol is the proof.
With all this menagerie, she has two she calls “my personal cats.”
They can’t be let out.
One ran up and hid in the dashboard of her car for four hours when she was trying to bring it home.
“When I finally gave up waiting and went inside, I came back out and Gizmo was sitting on my seat,” she laughed.
But that is not the real story.
Carol Hickman wants desperately to cut into the 20,000 homeless cats living in Commercial Township, part of the estimated 300,000 in Cumberland County.
“People don’t want to pay to have their cat altered,” she said.
Any cat surgery that is performed through Animal Friends Foundation at the surgical facility in Cape May Court House will be free.
Make appointments by calling 856-503-5572.
Surgeries are performed every Thursday.
So Hickman travels once or twice a month to the clinic in Cape May County with a load of cats.
“You trap the animal and I will pick it up and transports it to the clinic,” she said. “I try to get more than one. And I try to get people to make the trip.
Commercial Township will vote this month on an animal welfare board and support for TNVR
She’s applying for 501c(3) status, which could lead to grants.
Hickman says the saddest situation is when a domesticated cat that can no longer can be afforded is dropped off at a remote spot.
“That cat will sit there in that spot for three for four days,” said Hickman, “because it believes the owner is coming back for it.”
A lot of fur has flown since we wrote that story.
But not a lot of funding.
Petsmart has opened up its grant season again, but since the company has been bought out, nobody knows what the parameters will be.
Under the old company, there were grants for feral cats.
If the Millville government wants to write a grant for feral cats, the CCSPCA will assist them. If the Millville government — animal control officer — doesn’t want to be part of a feral cat grant, we want to know why not try?
If he does, let’s get started, as has happened in Vineland and Bridgeton. Contact the Vineland animal control officer Diane Starn and find out how it should be done.
A little history
Feb. 28, 2013
The Cumberland County will never forget when Diane Starn first became the animal control officer for Vineland.
“Suddenly, we were swamped with dogs,” recalled now-Executive Director Bev Greco.
That was in 1991.
“She was cleaning up the streets,” said Greco. “You can see how well it has worked in Vineland.”
“Yes, I worked for the SPCA for five years,” recalled the 54-year-old Starn. “Vineland had part timers at that time. They would be in court and they were always calling us for help.”
So she decided to apply.
“In 1991, it was nothing to see an animal running on the streets,” she remembered in the city of 60,000. “Some 50 to 60 animals a week. Now, it’s 50 to 60 a month. People tell me it’s not like that anymore.”
“I hope I do it right. We’re there more than any other city. There are two officers Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 at night.
“I’ve worked with every SPCA cruelty agent since 1991.”
She’s seen the good, the bad, but not that much ugly over two decades.
Her superior officer, Sgt. Charles Garrison, remembered the bear.“We had to tranquilize a bear,” he said.
“Yes, the day of the derecho,” said Starn. “Bear in the morning and winds at night.
“It wound up on Howard Street in center city. We got calls every day.”
They put a net under the tree it had climbed and tranquilized it. It was a young male weighing 235 pounds.
“The fire department helped me save puppies in a storm drain,” said Starn. “They made a giant Q-Tip out of a pokin’ pole and pushed them out. Mom was nowhere to be found.”
A few years ago, Cedar Crest trailer park had to be evacuated in a storm and Starn was in a rowboat rescuing animals while other responders were saving people.
She cried at one scene.It was an older dog that was being eaten alive by maggots.
“I couldn’t find a vet to put it down, so I cried,” she said.
The owner was blind and didn’t know until somebody heard the dog howl.
“I found a dog frozen to death on the end of his chain,” she recalled. “It belonged to a blind woman.”
If the job bothers her, Diane Starn keeps it inside.
“I try not to let it stress me out,” she said. “I like a lot of calls better than a boring day.
“Animals running loose, hit by cars, rabid animals.”
A cat once came up positive for rabies.
The cat had bitten two people, then died on its own.
“A rabid raccoon once charged me,” she said. “I hit it with a stick to change its direction.”
If a rabid raccoon drools into your cat’s food, that virus will stay alive for two hours and if your cat eats the food, it can be affected, she quickly educated.
She’s been charged by pit bulls, but “I had backup.”
“And I once looped a goat leaping a fence.”
She’s an expert on emus.
“You walk up behind them slowly, slip a pillow case over their head and tackle them,” she laughed.
She’s had to deal with everything from alligators to a Brahma bull.
She said people have alligators in their houses.
SHE LOVES HER JOB
She doesn’t take the job home.“I have two German shepherds of my own and when I go home, I forget about my day,” she said.
“I am not responsible for putting animals out on the street. My job is to save them. And that’s what enables me to get through the day.”
On this day, she collected three dogs in three hours that went to the SPCA.
“All three are adoptable, but one will probably be reclaimed,” she figured
“I love my job,” she said. “I will do it until I can’t do it anymore.”
The police department backs her to the hilt.
Said Garrison, “We just ordered a new vehicle. They’re sharing one now because the other van is down.”
The animal control officers average 150 miles a day.
“I can’t speak for the county, but Vineland has gotten a whole lot better,” said Starn.
“They know we do our job.
“I’ve lost maybe three or four cases in my time. If I file charges, I knew they’ve done wrong.”
She worked by herself for the longest time, and still does two days a week.
“I’ve become more relaxed at this,” she admitted. “You stay calm and you handle your case and you have a better outcome. Better to stay calm and focused.”
Garrison said he couldn’t do it.
“I’m sensitive with animals,” he said. “I couldn’t do her job. Not the bad stuff. You have to have a special kind of temperament. You don’t want to see an animal suffer like that.”
Starn said the pleasure stops at sick skunks.
“I got called out at 11:30 the other night for a rabid animal,” she said. “And we’ll get called out for animals hit by a car or to secure an animal involved in a car accident.”
If an animal needs treatment, it has to be taken to Blackwood.
“That’s the closest vet available,” she winced. “I wish we could have a vet available.
“It would be my dream to set up something like that. Even for people with a sick dog.”
She said Dr. Sima, on Main Road, used to be available out of his house no matter what time of the night. But no one since he passed away.
“I live at my house, but I live here, too,” said Starn. “This is my other family, not everybody can do that. If I were a vet, I would do that.”
They could even rotate.
“I’m still working on it,” she said. “Maybe, some day.”
The interview took 45 minutes of her lunchtime.
She pulled a power bar out of her pocket.
“This is my lunch,” she said and headed out on more calls.”
YOU CAN BOOK IT: It is time to unite.