Eagles did OK; Councilman can’t hear show; Donate blood and tell them Deanna Speranza-Murphy sent you; Top Dog Pizza Millville PAL sponsor; Great people in Millville named!; Shep bolted first day of school; Go see ‘Aladdin’; Bianca’s Kids’ Debbie Savigliano wonderful; John Fuqua five years ago; Thanks, Jerry Young!

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The column that says if the Eagles played all year like they did today, they’d be in the playoffs, regardless of the last play of the game, and who else believes that they let Washington score their last TD so they would have time to answer instead of letting the Redskins run down the clock and kick a winning field goal?

By Jack Hummel

Radio: 92.1 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!

DiLisi’s now delivering as far west as Shiloh.

“Hi, Jack,

“Just an FYI to let you know that for the past month I’ve tried to listen to 92.1 FM WVLT on Saturday (from 7 a.m. onward) via the internet (using WINAMP), but it’s not working —nothing but silence.
“WINAMP ‘says’ something about a error syncing to some IP address.
“I mentioned this to Carl after the last council meeting, but it wasn’t working today.”
— Mike Zapolski Sr.
Assassins! Assassins everywhere we go, Mike!
“For the many friends of Deanna Speranza-Murphy who would like to help in some way, consider donating blood in her honor. She is alive today due in part to the generosity of blood and platelet donors.
Inspira Health Network Elmer Medical Center
American Red Cross Blood Drives

Thursday, Dec. 22, 1 to 6 p.m.

*All donors will receive a Free Long Sleeve Red Cross T-shirt!

Monday, Jan. 30, 2 to 7 p.m.

*All donors will receive a coupon for a Free Medium Hot Coffee and Donut at Dunkin’ Donuts!

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Appointments are preferred. Please contact Susan Krassow | 856-363-1738.

“Another new sponsor for Millville PAL.

“Thank you, Top Dog Pizza, for your support and thank you for the great food.”

— Alfred Ripa

“P.S.: I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of great people in Millville, from being a coach to being a president. There are so many great people in our city that don’t get enough thanks and I know some of them don’t even look for it.

“But I’m going to thank them anyway:

James Cobbs

Rick Kott

Melissa Kuhlen

Coach-Joe LaBonne

Millville Pal

Kenneth Scott

Rob Ennis Sr.

Jeffrey Mills

Gerald Ortiz

Sharron Ortiz

Brian Hunter

Patty Schneider

Ervin Bogan

Bob Petty

Jerry Pagan

Johnny Gomez

Mike Fonseca

Jake DeMaio

“These are some of the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with supporting the youth in our community and they all deserve a big thanks. If I forgot anyone, I’m sorry. I’ve met so many of you along the way.”

“‘Thank you, Al.

“There’s one thing that every city commission has always gotten right. They have never closed our fields or shut our doors. They have always invested in your kids. And because of them and those you have mentioned and many, many more, Millville has always produced some of the best athletes and accomplished young men and women.

“Proud to be a part of that.”

— Mike Fonseca

“I appreciate the kind words, Al.

“We always shared the same mindset of seeing these kids become something and not another statistic. Keep doing great things, brother. You really are one of the truly great guys of this city.”

— Brian Hunter

The college debate rages!

Shep didn’t get his HEART OF GOLD IN COLLEGE!”

— Reva Christian

“Jack ,

“$1,700 was not my best, but enough to keep me banging the bell.

“As for sending me back to school, too late. First day I went to school, a 2-room school house still on Main Street, I was there about 5 minutes, walked back home, got my ass tore up and dragged back.

“Never liked school. Outside nature was my school, plus the University of Parris Island and post-grad in the bush. Learned a lot of lessons.

“Tell me how many unemployed collage grads out there — a lot, Jack.

“Learn to work with your hands. Hard work and getting dirty won’t kill anyone.

“Not rich or famous, but the only degree I have is University of Parris Island, and never had to push a time clock. Not much I haven’t done to make a living, but we got by.”

— Shep

 —

“We have disagreed before, so I am sure this won’t be the last time.

“I have explained my reasons over and over about why college isn’t always the answer. Education is very important. Does not have to be in the form of college. College is not the road for everyone.

“Don’t you think we need to concentrate on keeping kids in high school first and give them a well-rounded education so they are shown options?

“Trade schools and tech schools should always be an option. I still think it offensive to think that only college-degree people can contribute to society and the economy.”

— Peggy Gentile-Van Meter

But you don’t encourage someone to not strive for college in elementary school!

Don’t talk for anybody else! Let them be encouraged to settle for more. They call it higher education for a reason.

Yes, it is not for everybody. Yes, people can make a good living working with their hands. If we say people working with their hands make the best in trades, is that offensive to college graduates?

Of course not.

Don’t ever say a student having trouble learning in the third grade is not college material!

“Come see a JR pilot production of the Broadway smash :”Aladdin.” Tag everyone you know would be interested:
Dec. 15, 7 p.m., Red Carpet 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 16, 7 p.m., Red Carpet 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 17, 2 p.m., Red Carpet 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 17, 7 p.m., Red Carpet 6:30 p.m.

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Nobody does it better, and, if they do, they came through Spencer Lau’s program!

We notice a couple of Nakai women involved. Always found everything good a Nakai was involved in, from Little League to the Puffer Basketball League, where Chet Nakai never saw a shot he didn’t like.

And the angels sing …

“BIANCA’S KIDS GRANTS WISH FOR MAN FIGHTING FOR INNER CITY KIDS IN MEMORY OF HIS MURDERED NEPHEW.

“Yesterday, a bit of divine intervention occurred. We were invited to appear on a radio show at 92.1 FM and so was John Fuqua.

“John spoke of his fight to create a safe, a fun basketball league for boys 14-17 to enjoy & to keep 70 kids off the dangerous streets of Bridgeton.

“John works so hard for the kids in his community as he doesn’t want anymore families to suffer the senseless loss his did when his nephew was murdered.

“John was there trying to raise the remaining $2,000 of the $5,000 he needed to satisfy the fees and costs associated with his league. To see a man fighting so incredibly hard for 70 kids was so touching and inspiring. Bianca’s Kids is donating $1,000 toward John’s league. We couldn’t be happier to grant this wish.

“If you are interested in making a donation to this great cause, please message us.

“John, keep up the great work! I’m a firm believer in divine intervention. While you work for kids in memory of your nephew, I do the same in memory of my niece.”

“Our angels guide us.”

— Debbie Savigliano,

founder, Bianca’s Kids

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JOHN FUQUA BROKE INTO TEARS WHEN, FIRST, BIANCA’S KIDS DONATED $1,000 AND THEN LAWANDA REID DONATED $1,000 ON BEHALF OF REID MANOR FOR WOMEN FOR THE $2,000 FUQUA STILL NEEDED TO START HIS BASKETBALL LEAGUE. 

 —

A little history

Jan. 21, 2011

In the cafeteria of the Hope Academy on Pearl Street, several dozen grade schoolers sat at rapt attention Thursday morning as Michael DeLeon scrolled through PowerPoint slides of teens and young adults from New Jersey whose lives have been either lost or forever changed due to gang violence.

“Michael Hawkins and Muriah Huff. He was 23 and she was 22, and now they are both dead. They were tortured, murdered, and then the people who killed them buried them in the yard behind a rowhouse in Camden,” said DeLeon. “Here we have the 14-year-old girl who was recently convicted for strangling Hawkins. She was just sentenced to 30 years.”

DeLeon’s message is simple and unadulterated: Becoming involved with a gang will lead to death, prison, misery for friends and family, or a mix of all three.

That is not to say it is inevitable because through the Steered Straight program he has founded with several others, he shows the schoolchildren numerous positive alternatives to the violent lifestyle.

Steered Straight Inc. has been a labor of love for DeLeon. He began to work with the organization shortly after leaving prison in 2006.

DeLeon had been sentenced to 10 years in 1995 for committing aggravated manslaughter. He was released after five years, but was sent back for another four for violating terms of his release.

After he was released in 2006, he had to comply with three years of parole, though it appears the parole may not have been necessary.

During the last two years of his sentence, DeLeon was fortunate to be placed in a halfway house, an opportunity he did not waste. For the two years, he worked a full-time job and attended Cumberland County College, receiving associate degrees in criminal justice and public administration.

As of 2011, his associate degree in criminal justice is a bachelor’s that he received from Wilmington University, and he is working on turning it into a master’s. He is also working on a bachelor’s degree in business.

DeLeon uses the examples of his own post-prison drive to establish a respectable life, as well as the drive of many others to succeed by legitimate means, to motivate the kids he talks to.

John Fuqua, who DeLeon says is his partner in Steered Straight, spoke to the schoolchildren Thursday morning about the successes and unfortunate tragedies of his life. Fuqua grew up in Bridgeton and recently returned.

“I lived in Amity Heights in the ’80s and ’90s. My first day of high school, when I got off of the bus, I could have gone left or right, and me and 12 other guys chose to go left, away from the school,” said Fuqua. “One of them pulled out a bottle of Hennessy, and I drank for the first time.”

Fuqua said he could have continued this behavior, but due to the support of a vice principal, and not wanting to follow in the footsteps of his mother who was addicted to crack cocaine, he decided to change his ways.

“I told myself I wanted to succeed, so I went to class every day that year, and at the end of the year I had perfect attendance,” said Fuqua. “I wasn’t always the smartest, but I played football and worked hard in my classes, so when I graduated I was accepted to every college I applied to.”

After graduating from William Paterson University, Fuqua became a teacher in Jersey City and related how the steady, well-paying job allowed him to live a life most gang members only dream of.

“On the weekends, I could hop on a train and be in Manhattan in seven minutes, or Hoboken. I could send my mom six or seven hundred dollars every month if she needed help. I was living the dream and I said as long as God gave me breath I wouldn’t come back to Bridgeton,” said Fuqua.

That was until his cousin Rakeem Lamar Stubbs called him in 2006 and asked to move with him to Jersey City because Bridgeton’s gang problem was so severe. Fuqua refused at first.

Stubbs called again in 2007, and not wanting to see him descend into a criminal lifestyle, Fuqua moved back to Bridgeton.

Stubbs drifted into trouble despite Fuqua moving back, receiving seven assault charges in a matter of two years, and even beating up a family friend unwittingly.

Everything changed for Fuqua on Dec. 24, 2008.

Instead of being home with his family, Stubbs was out with friends. He was shot and his grandmother rushed to see him at Bridgeton Villas where it occurred. She had a chronic heart condition and died of a heart attack upon seeing Stubbs, who died later that night in surgery.

Though he grieves losing his two family members, Fuqua says he’s an example for how the kids can succeed despite the challenges they face in Bridgeton.

“I’m tired of hearing kids say they have nothing to do. I went to college with kids from Africa who had to walk 20 miles to school and 20 miles back. You are lucky enough to live in a place where you can basically walk anywhere,” said Fuqua.

Without applying himself as much, it seems the future could have turned out differently for Fuqua.

“Of the 12 guys I drank with on the first day of school, five of them are dead now, and four are never coming home,” he says. “They are in prison for life. They were my best friends.”

In addition to Fuqua, Steered Straight has 16 other speakers throughout New Jersey including Thomas Tapeh, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Steered Straight is a sort of alternative to Scared Straight, the program in which convicts and ex-convicts tell horror stories to children about their incarceration with the goal of making them too scared to commit any crime that could potentially land them in prison.

“A lot of the kids who were participating in Scared Straight actually ended up incarcerated themselves,” said DeLeon.

“The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again,” said Darla, his wife.

Since DeLeon began with Steered Straight, accolades are rolling in from those who think the program is exactly what at-risk kids need.

Michael Dindak, CEO of the Vineland Children’s Residential Center, said they did an “… excellent job communicating positively with our residents.”

Assemblymen Matt Milam and Nelson Albano and Senator Jeff Van Drew said in a joint letter to Middle Township High School that read “… we urge you to take advantage of this real life educational program.”

Congressman Frank LoBiondo also offered his endorsement.

DeLeon, Fuqua and the other members of Steered Straight are not resting on their laurels though.

DeLeon said they are planning a youth day during spring break at the ALMS Center in Bridgeton. There will be basketball as well as the aforementioned Thomas Tapeh.
They are also planning several college tours, during which DeLeon will take 15 kids in a van to tour a college they could potentially attend. He said he will take any student who wants to tour a college, regardless of the number who sign up.

“I hate to take any credit. I do what I do because I feel like I got a second chance from God. I was in a gang and it ruined my life. I don’t deserve any of this,” said DeLeon.

“I just want to teach the kids that everything in the world comes down to what you do and what you don’t do. If you do good things, good things will happen to you. Everything has consequences.”

— Stephen Smith

Debbie was on 92.1 FM because of what she had done for, first, the niece of Jerry Young and, second, Jerry’s plea for hats, gloves, etc. for needy kids in Bridgeton.

Thanks, Jerry.

Debbie even said, “What do you mean you can’t find a place for Tri-City Boxing to train?” like, how is that a problem?

And she’s right, especially when they’re willing to pay rent. We have met every boxer they have ever had and not one was anything but polite and marched in every parade the city held.

YOU CAN BOOK IT: Don’t tell us about how bad this area is because of the 1 in 5 living below the poverty level or the 5 percent who have lost their way, because the other 95 percent are going to make up for it. 

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Eagles did OK; Councilman can’t hear show; Donate blood and tell them Deanna Speranza-Murphy sent you; Top Dog Pizza Millville PAL sponsor; Great people in Millville named!; Shep bolted first day of school; Go see ‘Aladdin’; Bianca’s Kids’ Debbie Savigliano wonderful; John Fuqua five years ago; Thanks, Jerry Young!

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