Stronger Families program in place; Apologize to the hooker?; SHINE camp sees the aquarium; Finally, rain that hits the ground; Bodine wants recking ball; Breaking down park vs. downtown

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The column that says there is nothing like the threat of rain to put a damper on the city park activities except for the group “welcomed by Mayor Kelly” on a sign on the overhang over the picnic tables.

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!

One more program initiated by United Advocacy Group, 40 E. Commerce St., Bridgeton, on the third floor of the Ashley-McCormick building.

“The Stronger Families project is focused on improving outcomes among incarcerated individuals and their families.

Stronger Families operates within the Cumberland County Jail, where individuals are connected with a Family Advocate to establish plans for employment, housing, and family visits upon release.

“Stronger Families also coordinates family-focused events for families of incarcerated individuals, allowing these individuals to spend more quality time with their children and significant others than they would in a traditional jail setting.

“Stronger Families also facilitates outreach events throughout Bridgeton, providing mentoring opportunities for youth throughout the area.”

It’s headed by none other than Linda Solanik, of Bridgeton Midget Football fame, who once got in the face of a gang leader at Salvy Blandino Field and said, “You may get him after he’s done here, but, while he’s here, he belongs to me!”

If more people did that, we’d have a lot less gang problems in the city.

In the mail …

Catching up on past columns I ran across the below. What the heck? I believe you owe her an apology. What does her appearance have to do with finding a respectable job.

Yes, we waved off the hooker trolling a downtown street whose face told us there is no other way for her to make a living — God help her.
— Steven Kawajiri
Face like 3rd and three, Steven.
Tough yardage.

 

Checking in at SHINE camp at First United Methodist Church in Millville …

“Today after our Bible lessons we headed out for a fun day at the Atlantic City Aquarium.

“The kids were great, they were so excited to see the fish and all they had to offer. Our tour guides did a great job.

“Thank you to all the volunteers who braved the trip! 108, hard work … THANK YOU! Special thank you and love to Clara Thomas.

“After a very full day at camp, we had the cities ‘Pop up’ event in the parking lot of FUMC. The cast from Peter Pan, which will be at the Levoy Theatre in August, came and performed. They were fabulous! Our kids really loved their performance! As a special treat, Brett Clendaniel and Heather Santoro have given the kids/families tickets to attend the show! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR LOVING OUR KIDS!

“Tomorrow is the last day of Kids Camp and it will be a great ending to the week.

“Asking for God to speak into the hearts of the kids, for them to leave with a love and hunger to learn more.”

— Shaun Connors

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SHINE AT ATLANTIC CITY AQUARIUM.

Let us say something about rain hitting the ground …

It’s a term used when a grant is given and the money either doesn’t reach the intended purpose, or the part of the grant that is swallowed up by the people appointed to administer the grant.

That rain never hits the ground.

We can tell you that the money collected by the M25 Initiative, which is named for Matthew 25 in the Bible, goes to help those less fortunate than us — every penny of it.

They just got another matching grant to give to churches helping out with Code Blue. They’re going to eventually house 42 homeless and provide the kind of help to hopefully make them productive citizens.

We’ll tell you a story about how people can stand by and do nothing.

A man living in Vineland served in Vietnam as an officer, came home with PTSD and decided he wanted to live in the woods.

Everybody knew about it. He had red hair and he would hop into Dumpsters outside pizza places and throw out boxes of pizza thrown away for whatever reason. It went on for years and nobody lifted a hand because that’s how he wanted to live.

Then, one day, somebody said, this is not normal and they got him the necessary help.

This is how Pastor Robin Weinstein felt a few years ago about the homeless, spending a well-documented weekend outside.

The homeless feel the same way the red-headed Army veteran felt. They have learned how to survive the elements. Carl Hemple Sr. knew of a homeless man who lived for seven years in a tent along the railroad behind buildings on Pearl Street.

Hemple finally helped get him an apartment, but he died soon after, but his family knew what Hemple did for the man and expressed it. You never read about that.

And so Code Blue and M25 pushes on into unchartered waters, with Weinstein testifying in Washington, D.C., hoping to loosen purse strings.

Andrew Bodine comments on $18.7M rehab of Villas in Bridgeton …

“I can’t be quiet on this one. Why? The Bridgeton Villas and Glen Park have devalued that side of town since they where built. That side of town has some wonderful old homes. If the apartment complexes were torn down, it would instantly increase property value on that side of Bridgeton.

“It would allow strong families to buy the wonderful homes near that area. That area has been a drug depot since I can remember. I had friends murdered there. The police station is right there and I recently had a Bridgeton Police detective tell me that ‘he sees the junkies walking over that way every day when he goes to work.’

“So, even with the Bridgeton Police station right next to it, nothing has changed. If you wanted a better Bridgeton, you can’t keep on the same path. You get rid of something that is destroying a whole area of your town — an area with old, beautiful homes that strong families will not buy simply because of its proximity to a known drug and crime area of this town.

“It might create some job opportunities currently, but it’s not good for the long term success of Bridgeton. I have 17 years experience in real estate, so I feel highly justified with my opinion in the matter.”

— Andrew Bodine

Andrew Bodine is a Bridgeton Main Street stalwart who is cooking at the crabfest in September.

The story on the redevelopment of The Villas broke over two years ago. It took this long to complete the transaction. They do this for a living and haven’t misfired yet.

The law says you have to find shelter for every one of the people living there before you can tear them down, but the city doesn’t own them, anyway.

When they razed Millville Gardens in Millville, they had to find homes for everybody still left.

The one place we don’t have drugs is downtown. The Underwear House on East Commerce Street next to the former Benjamin’s was a “drug” store, but it’s gone.

And stop saying there is no one downtown, because it’s not true. The legendary Weber’s Candies is gone because you bought there twice a year, and who can survive on that? In fact, Fred Weber cooked turkey reuben sandwiches in the stifling heat out his back door at the weekly farmers market.

He wasn’t a diner, but he supported his downtown.

What happened to the Bridgetowne? Fear didn’t close it the first time! Fear didn’t close it the last time!

When Owens-Illinois was still operating, when there were banks in town, the Bridgetowne was loaded every weekday at noon. At 12:05, you couldn’t get a seat.

The Bridgeton News back then had 50 employees who had to eat lunch.

Did whiskey take us down? There is not a single bar in Salem City. What do we have now, the El Rodeo?

What will happen when Billy Sharp decides to retire at Tracy’s Corner? What will happen when Randy Colle closes the doors at Randy’s Bikes Plus? When Woodruff Drugs packs it in?

Nothing.

Because Police Chief Mike Gaimari and Tom and Mike Speranza and Jaime Battavio will keep the downtown the safest place in Cumberland County.

What the city has to do is turn the park into a big-time money maker so the downtown can feed off it — and that’s not happening. Some say it won’t help the downtown. Some say it can never help because you can visit the city park without even seeing the downtown.

When you visit the city park, what do you do with all those brochures they hand out hyping new bicycles and great deals on new appliances, or tires, or great multi-cultural food?

Haven’t seen those brochures? Don’t see those deals in the newspaper anymore?

It’s OK if they don’t want trash the city park with commercial ads. But, if you believe in what you are offering downtown, you had quickly better find a way to transpose it to the zoo.

A company is coming in for an $18.7M rehab of Bridgeton Villas, which is falling apart, and Facebook suddenly lights up about what’s wrong with the city, but certainly not their fault.

It’s sad.

YOU CAN BOOK IT: And no one says they are willing to spend a dime.

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Stronger Families program in place; Apologize to the hooker?; SHINE camp sees the aquarium; Finally, rain that hits the ground; Bodine wants recking ball; Breaking down park vs. downtown

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