Monday, July 25, 2016

Cancer free, Rabbi Ben David will lead Tri-County Board of Rabbis By Jayne Jacova Feld

Source: PDF 1 & 2

July 20, 2016


When tapped to take over the presidency of the Tri-County Board of Rabbis (TCBR), Rabbi Ben David took a few months to consider whether or not to take on the role.

Although honored to have been asked to lead the group comprised of rabbis from across the denominational spectrum, Adath Emanu- El’s spiritual leader was in between treatments for cancer at the time. A competitive marathoner who has gained some fame as a “Running Rabbi,” David was both emotionally and physically drained after enduring months of grueling treatments to fight the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosed one day before his 39th birthday in January.

“I thought about it for a few months, but I think I was always going to say yes,” said David, who underwent four rounds of chemotherapy, three of them in-patient at the Hospital of the University or Pennsylvania and requiring a week in the hospital, as well as 17 rounds of radiation. “For a long time there, life was pretty difficult, uncomfortable and challenging. But now, I’m walking around with a lot of hope and optimism. I see this new role as part of that—it’s something I’m looking forward to.”

David, who assumes the TCBR presidency this summer, takes over the mantle from Cong. M’kor Shalom’s Rabbi Jennifer Frenkel, who was the first woman to hold the position. Not lost on David is the fact that his father, Rabbi Jerry David of Temple Emanuel, and Adath’s esteemed Rabbi Richard Levine, both served in the position. The elder Rabbi David in fact served two times in his 40- year career at the Cherry Hill Reform synagogue.

“I do remember my dad talking about it and me feeling a sense of pride he was serving in this capacity,” he recalled.

He also considered taking on the role a great honor for his Mount Laurel congregation.

“It brings to the Adath community even greater nachas and pride,” he said. “There’s a sense that, even if we’re in Burlington County and a little removed from Cherry Hill, this is a synagogue of great substance doing incredible work.”

David said the same sense of optimism he feels about working with his rabbi peers has pervaded all aspects of his life.

“It’s such a clichĂ© but I do feel like I have a new lease on life,” he said. “I feel so motivated with regard to my kids and family, my synagogue and with running.”

With regards to running, David said that after competing in 17 marathons—making his best time of 3 hours and 15 minutes in the Philadelphia Marathon in 2013, he is basically starting over.

“The road is long and winding but I’m on it,” he said. “I was left with absolutely no strength or endurance when the treatment ended. I was out of breath going up steps. Luckily I’m patient.”

About a month after ending all treatments, he ventured out for his first post-cancer run. It only lasted five minutes before he stumbled home. At his height of marathon training, David was running 75 to 80 miles. He is now up to roughly 15 miles a week.

His goal at the moment is to get in shape to run the London Marathon in April 2017 with fellow rabbi running mates.

“I think we’re all sort of curious to see how far can I take it now,” he said. “Can I get back to where I was? Can I go further? I’m coming up on 40, post-cancer, a father of three and a senior rabbi now. But I feel highly motivated. I have so much to look forward to.”

In the role as TCBR president, David is looking forward to working with his peers. He sets the agenda and hosts the group’s monthly meetings to discuss matters affecting the South Jersey Jewish community.

“The beauty for me is that this rabbinic group is its own community,” he said. “We respect each other, admire each other and learn from one another. I love my colleagues and am very proud of the work they’re doing.”

He said his goal is to work with the group to continue finding ways to work together for the good of the Jewish community.

“Especially in these times when anti-Semitism and intolerance are growing, it’s important for us to band together,” he said.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

The Great Gator Hoax: The American alligator is thriving—no thanks to the Endangered Species Act By Brian Seasholes

Source: PDF
February 8, 2013

Summary: This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which has been criticized for blocking construction projects, destroying jobs, and allowing the virtual confiscation of people’s property by making land unusable. In the future, the ESA may be used to justify government policies related to “global warming.” Yet one of the most-cited examples of ESA success, saving the American alligator from extinction, simply never happened. The alligator had been well-protected before the ESA was passed. Was it ever endangered at all?

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) lives only in the United States, mainly in the Gulf Coast region. The state reptile of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, it is an emblem of Southern swamplands—and an American icon like the bald eagle, the American bison, the prairie dog, the mountain lion, the wild turkey, and the grizzly bear.
That’s why the story of the alligator’s comeback, from “endangered” status to thriving, strikes an emotional chord with Americans. And that’s why it matters that the story as usually told is perhaps the biggest hoax in the history of wildlife conservation.

For decades, we’ve heard that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) saved the alligator from extinction. Almost as soon as the ESA passed in 1973, environmental pressure groups have credited the act for the reptile’s survival. Today, this narrative appears on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website and the sites of most environmentalist groups.

Examining the true story provides considerable insight into wildlife conservation, the Endangered Species Act, the tactics of environmental groups, the ways those groups sway bureaucrats, and the media’s role in spreading misinformation. The real story involves science, federalism, and the use of markets and commerce to achieve policy goals.

The beginning of the ESA
In 1973, the Endangered Species Act passed the U.S. Senate 92 to 0 and the House of Representatives 355 to 4. Obviously, the act stirred little controversy, and few Americans appreciated the power it would give the federal government. Most politicians and journalists assumed it would be like previous animal protection legislation such as the Lacey Act of 1900 (which prohibited interstate trade in animals protected by states), the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, and the Endangered Species Preservation Act (ESPA) of 1966. The ESPA authorized the Interior Secretary to make a list of endangered fish and wildlife and allowed the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to spend up to $15 million per year to buy habitat for listed species. Federal land agencies were directed to preserve endangered species’ habitat on their lands “insofar as is practicable and consistent with their primary purpose,” and other agencies were encouraged but not required to protect species.

When the ESA was passed in 1973, politicians and the media assumed that the ESA’s scope would be limited to a few animals and that only overt acts such as hunting and trading endangered animals would be restricted. Now, the ESA is considered America’s most powerful environmental law, perhaps the strongest environmental law in the world.

Yet much controversy has arisen over the ESA’s actual record in achieving its purpose of helping species so that they no longer need protection. To date, 26 species and sub-species have recovered, according to the FWS, but a closer look reveals most of these species and sub-species owe much or almost all of their recoveries to factors other than the ESA. In some cases, the act harmed these species. The alligator is a prime subject of the tall tales associated with the Endangered Species Act.

False claims
The alligator never merited the ESA’s protection for two reasons: its population was large and healthy at the time of the act’s passage—around 734,000 and rising—and the threat of large-scale illegal hunting for its valuable hide essentially stopped following the 1969 amendment of the federal Lacey Act, several years before the ESA’s 1973 passage. Even though the alligator never should have been listed, and, on net, the ESA harmed the animal’s conservation, the act’s proponents and most media types make grand claims that the alligator is a success story:

►“The Endangered Species Act is the most innovative, wide-ranging and successful environmental law that has been passed in the past quarter century. I can cite case after case: the resurgence of the American alligator. . . . The opponents of the Act know these facts.”—Bruce Babbitt, then Interior Secretary, currently a trustee of the World Wildlife Fund

►“In concept and effect the [Endangered Species] act is easily the most important piece of conservation legislation in the nation’s history. Its most dramatic successes include the recovery of the American alligator . . .”—Edward O. Wilson, professor of biology, Harvard University

►“Each of the species in this report [including the American alligator] has been saved from near extinction by the Endangered Species Act. Some of these species have recovered so successfully that they have been removed from the endangered species list.”—joint statement by Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, and U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group)

The claim that the alligator recovered due to the ESA is widely accepted in the media. “The American alligator, once listed as an endangered species, has since become one of the Endangered Species Act’s greatest success stories,” the Washington Post’s online magazine Slate claimed last year. The alligator hoax also permeates scholarly literature and educational materials.

What really happened
The true story of the alligator centers on commerce, specifically trade in its skin that is made into some of the most valuable leather goods in the world. States, most notably Louisiana, focused on using this commerce in skins as a conservation tool. Commerce provided people, especially landowners, with strong financial incentives to conserve the alligator and its habitat, and provided jobs and income for others involved in the alligator hide industry. “The best thing people can do for the alligator is to buy alligator products. Buy a belt or bag or boots, and wear them with pride,” says Ted Joanen, Louisiana’s longtime lead alligator biologist and manager, who is also one of the world’s foremost experts in crocodilians. Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of the Interior and environmental pressure groups often oppose commerce for ideological reasons.

States led the way in alligator conservation, beginning with Alabama, which passed legislation in 1941 to protect the creature. Following World War II, concern grew across the Gulf South that large-scale commercial hunting of alligators was taking a serious toll. Because of overhunting, the alligator’s population appears to have reached its low point during the late 1950s and the early- to mid-1960s. In response, a number of states began efforts to study and manage the alligator and control hunting.

In 1958, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries began a long-term and well-organized alligator research program. In 1962, Louisiana banned hunting and trade, and in 1964 the state began a more formal long-term research program. Florida banned hunting and trade in 1962 and began its own alligator research program. In 1969, Texas, with the third largest alligator population, banned hunting and trade. These actions led to a steady population increase.

In addition to research and management, the other main focus of Louisiana’s alligator conservation efforts was to shut down illegal hunting by amending the Lacey Act—a federal law prohibiting interstate commerce of wildlife taken in violation of state law—to include reptiles. Officials in Louisiana determined from years of experience that amending the Lacey Act, which would give federal teeth to state-level protections, was the key to stopping the illegal hunting of alligators. Beginning in 1964, state legislators and members of the U.S. Congress from Louisiana pushed for such an amendment, to no avail.

While Louisiana officials were pushing to amend the Lacey Act, the armchair experts at the Interior Department and environmental pressure groups sat on their hands, even as they issued increasingly dire warnings about the alligator’s possible extinction. Their priority, it seems, was politics, not conservation.

In the mid- to late 1960s Interior Department bureaucrats and their environmentalist allies grew increasingly powerful as public attention to environmental concerns rose. (This period is known as the time of the second environmental movement, following the conservation efforts of the late 1800s and early 1900s.) Environmentalists pushed through a number of major pieces of legislation, including the Wilderness Act in 1964, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968, and the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969. Amending the Lacey Act to cover reptiles would have required much less effort and political capital because it was an amendment to an existing, relatively obscure law, yet environmental pressure groups weren’t interested in taking that approach.

The most logical explanation for this inaction is that pressure groups and Interior bureaucrats were biding their time in hopes of using the alligator’s plight to pass more sweeping legislation, such as the two precursors of the ESA: the Endangered Species Preservation Act (ESPA) and the Endangered Species Conservation Act (ESCA). After the ESPA passed in 1966, the Fish and Wildlife Service put the alligator on the newly created endangered species list, based on data that were non-existent or at least a decade out of date. At that point, the alligator became firmly established as a poster species.

After Congress passed two subsequent laws, the 1969 ESCA and the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service, supported by pressure groups, carried over the alligator to the new list—without bothering to see whether it merited listing. Why bother? All right-thinking people believed as a matter of faith that commerce-induced overhunting threatened the alligator with extinction. As journalists say, the story was “too good to check.”

At the dawn of the second environmental movement, environmental activists and Interior bureaucrats realized that funding, media coverage, prestige, and membership in pressure groups would all increase dramatically if they played their political cards correctly and used public relations effectively. But what if some of the poster species for this new movement, like the alligator, weren’t imperiled because they had healthy, increasing populations? What if the species weren’t imperiled for the reasons activists and bureaucrats claimed? Such fundamental questions were dismissed as inconvenient distractions.

Among pressure groups, the National Audubon Society led the charge to have the alligator listed under federal laws. Charles Callison, Audubon’s point man in Washington, spoke in favor of the 1969 legislation: “The National Audubon Society was founded more than half a century ago, when a fashion for plumes for ladies’ hats threatened to wipe out the egret. Laws were passed then to protect wild birds, and egrets and other herons are plentiful in America today. In the same way, we believe that the alligator and other species threatened by today’s fashions can be saved. To this end we urge prompt passage of this legislation.” Yet, by the time Callison spoke, Louisiana and Florida had been actively managing the vast majority of the alligator population for years, and, if groups like Audubon had bothered to support a reptile amendment to the Lacey Act, illegal trade could have been all but stopped by 1964 or 1965.

The pressure groups, however, were less interested in taking concrete steps to conserve alligators than they were using the animals as a symbol of the perils of wildlife commerce—and as a vehicle for fundraising and legislative advocacy. If Congress just amended the Lacey Act, the problem of illegal commerce in alligator hides would be solved by a relatively obscure piece of legislation unfamiliar to the general public and most members of Congress. On the other hand, if illegal commerce could be harnessed to the larger issue of endangered species legislation, that would substantially raise the profile of both issues and the groups claiming to “solve” them.

Indeed, once the Lacey Act amendment was passed in 1969 (as part of the Endangered Species Conservation Act), large-scale alligator hunting all but ended, just as Louisiana officials predicted. The National Wildlife Federation, in a rare display of candor, later admitted that, “In 1970 and 1971, Florida game commission officials used the Lacey Act to convict a few big-time poachers, and alligator hunting was stopped, as it were, dead in its tracks.”

According to Ted Joanen, Louisiana expert manager for alligators, the Lacey Act, not the ESA was the most critical law for alligator conservation.
From the act’s amendment in 1969 through the mid-1970s, when the few remaining large-scale illegal alligator hide dealers were shut down, almost all enforcement actions, even those that occurred after the ESA’s passage in 1973, were filed under the Lacey Act.

Louisiana officials pushed for the 1969 Endangered Species Conservation Act’s passage because it amended the Lacey Act. But the Law of Unintended Consequences came into play. By backing ESCA, and linking it to the alligator cause, they helped reinforce the alligator hoax being propagated by the Interior Department and pressure groups—the claim that broader federal endangered species legislation was necessary to save the alligator from extinction. That would come back to bite Louisiana.

“Renegade” Louisiana
In 1972 and 1973, as Congress considered the Endangered Species Act, Louisiana held two limited, experimental commercial hunting seasons for alligators, after having banned such activity since 1962. By 1972-73, state officials were confident enough in their research and management techniques that they were ready to test them.

Even though hunters harvested a negligible portion of the population, Interior Department officials and environmental activists were furious. They thought Louisiana’s timing could not have been worse. The fact that alligators were sufficiently abundant to endure commercial hunting undermined their argument that the species was nearly extinction and needed the ESA to save it. Also, they saw commercial hunting as blasphemous, because it violated their long-held belief that wildlife commerce and wildlife conservation are incompatible.

The federal government determined to bring to heel the Louisiana officials they saw as defiant of federal authority. Speaking to an author from the National Geographic Society, an unnamed federal official said bitterly, “You’ve got to understand, we deal with 49 states—and Louisiana.”

The non-endangered alligator
To allay the feds’ concerns, Louisiana officials presented evidence the alligator did not merit ESA listing.

Population data: In 1971 the Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed the alligator’s status and requested information from range states. Louisiana supplied data showing the species was not imperiled, and recommended the alligator be removed from the federal list of endangered species. Louisiana also provided the FWS with information on state conservation legislation that had been passed or was planned. Florida also had data, available to the FWS, showing the state had a large and healthy alligator population. Data released in the aftermath of the ESA’s passage provided more confirmation. In 1974, Louisiana estimated the alligator’s total population at 734,384 and increasing over most of its range. This estimate was the result of a 1973 survey, released in 1974, in what became known as “the Joanen Report” after its author, Ted Joanen.

Expert opinion: “The animal never was endangered,” said Joanen. He blamed the erroneous listing on “ivory tower people in Washington and New York” who were determined to use the alligator to promote passage of the ESA. Around the time of the ESA’s passage, “The general consensus [among alligator experts] was that the alligator population was increasing,” according to Tommy Hines of the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, a biologist and top alligator researcher of the period. In 1971, the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Crocodile Specialist Group, regarded as the world’s foremost authority on crocodilians, unanimously agreed to change the alligator’s status to “recovered.” In short, the alligator’s listing under U.S. endangered species legislation was totally at odds with the available data and opinions of the leading domestic and international authorities. Despite this, and despite the fact that the Lacey Act amendment of 1969 essentially shut down illegal trade, the FWS went ahead and listed the alligator under the ESA because, Joanen says, the agency was “in a period of empire building at that time.”

Timing and the alligator’s reproductive biology: The assertion that the alligator recovered from near-extinction so quickly “is quite phenomenal when one considers the age of sexual maturity is 10 years,” wrote Joanen and his colleague Larry McNease. “The original estimate used to justify the alligator being on the endangered species list must have been grossly underestimated,” because the FWS deemed the vast majority of the species’s population had “recovered” by 1983, ten years after the act’s passage, and four years later delisted the remainder of its range.

In fact, FWS started delisting the alligator soon after the ESA’s passage. In July 1975, the FWS proposed to delist or downlist (from endangered to the less imperiled status of “threatened”) 93% of the alligator’s entire population. The delisting proposal referred to three Louisiana parishes that contained 98,551 alligators, and the downlisting proposal referred to the 583,900 alligators in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and the rest of Louisiana. Given the alligator’s reproductive rate, its turnaround from near-extinction to “recovered” after one and a half years of ESA protection is simply impossible.

And what was the source of the FWS’s 1975 population estimates? None other than the Joanen Report. In 1977, the FWS admitted the report “remains, however, the only comprehensive, state-by-state analysis of alligator population levels and trends,” and “population estimates contained in the original Joanen report are conservative,” while current population levels are significantly higher.” The ESA mandates that the government “shall make determinations [to list species] . . . solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.” Yet even though the Joanen Report and other data supplied by Louisiana and Florida officials constituted the best data available, the FWS ignored that data, listed the alligator anyway, and retained the alligator under the ESA for more than 13 years.

Legalizing commerce: The long fight
After the ESA passed in 1973 and the alligator was improperly listed, proponents of alligator commerce—led by Louisiana and Florida officials and the crocodilian hide industry—waged a six-year battle to legalize international trade in alligator hides. Access to international markets was crucial for the U.S. alligator industry to receive the highest prices because at that time American tanners did not have the ability to tan hides to the highest standards demanded by the international market.

Throughout the process, FWS officials appear to have had little understanding about the fundamentals of trade in crocodilians. This had good and bad effects. First, because Louisiana officials had superior expertise, the FWS eventually adopted much of Louisiana’s management regime, which included a number of innovative and well-tested techniques for tracking alligator hides through the stream of commerce. Second, the FWS’s ignorance, coupled with the agency’s long bias against wildlife commerce, led the FWS to delist the alligator on a piecemeal basis over 13 and a half years, during which time the federal government promulgated absurd regulations. Those regulations were eventually abandoned in favor of Louisiana’s management regime, but meanwhile trade was stymied.

In 1979, the federal government finally ran out of stalling tactics and approved international commerce in alligator hides. Even so, the FWS needlessly refused to grant permission for international trade in alligator meat and parts for another six years, which hurt hunters of wild alligators and producers of captive-bred alligators.

The states and the private sector— not the feds
In reality, the alligator is one of America’s greatest conservation success stories due primarily to the groundbreaking and dedicated work of Louisiana officials, along with those of several other states, and the development of the alligator’s commercial value.

Conserving the alligator required countless hours of hard work under difficult conditions, slogging through hot and humid swamps, handling one of the most dangerous animals in North America, and trying to convince rural landowners, who could be distrustful about or even hostile towards public officials, to tolerate the presence of alligators and even conserve their habitat because the species could be a valuable source of income.

It was cheap and easy it was for environmental pressure groups and federal politicians and bureaucrats to take potshots at Louisiana and advocates of conservation-through-commerce. These armchair conservationists did more harm than good.

The American alligator is probably the most studied crocodilian in the world. The vast majority of alligator research was carried out by state wildlife agencies, especially Louisiana’s, and by a handful of people in academia, many of whom have been associated with state universities in Louisiana and Florida. It was not conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the auspices of the ESA, nor by environmental pressure groups.

The ESA harmed alligator conservation because it halted trade and stymied research efforts. “The only thing the Endangered Species Act did was to slow up research,” says Ted Joanen, because it “took management away from states” and was “a hindrance.” Joanen and McNease assert that “probably the most detrimental effect of the endangered species program at our state level has been the loss of landowner, land manager, and public respect for the program.” And they add that “this relates directly to the way the Act was interpreted and administered. Most private citizens can understand the rationale behind the Endangered Species program. However, they cannot understand why the program is not more responsive to their needs and desires.”

Joanen has also observed that private landowners “are the people who are going to detect a problem” such as illegal hunting or changes in alligator populations. But “if no one’s interested,” because commercial hunting has been curtailed, landowners won’t inform wildlife authorities. As Allan Ensminger of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries put it, “We were the first state to close [the hunting season for alligators]. We invented the idea, rather than the feds. We kind of view ourselves like the guy who threw a snowball off a mountain and the avalanche ran over us.” That’s the reward Louisiana received for its innovative and forward-thinking alligator conservation efforts.
Today, it seems nothing—not the brute fact of the alligator’s reproductive biology, not the population survey data from the time of the act’s passage, not expert opinion, and not the Lacey Act’s role in stopping illegal commerce—can keep proponents of the Endangered Species Act, and most of the media, from claiming the alligator as a success story.

An examination of the alligator hoax raises a number of broader questions: What other environmental issues have been the subject of false and misleading claims by federal officials, pressure groups, supposed experts, and the media? If they can’t get the facts right about something as relatively simple and unambiguous as the resurgence of the alligator—that the animal never should have been listed under the ESA and that the act had essentially nothing to do with its recovery—then how can they be trusted on other, more complex issues such as energy exploration and exploitation, chemical use, biotechnology, and climate change?

Brian Seasholes is an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Elvis Presley Supposedly Needed Life Saving Temporary Colostomy For Chronic Constipation

Joyce Comments: This post is not to embarrass Elvis Presley or his family, it is only intended to help those in a similar situation.

Elvis Presley: Killed by Inflammation By Dr. Gabe Mirkin


Elvis Presley sold more records than anyone else in the history of recorded music. He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, and has been inducted into virtually every music hall of fame. He died at the tragically young age of 42. In the last years of his life, he suffered from obesity, drug addiction, depression, chronic insomnia, glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic constipation and an enlarged colon. Every one of these conditions causes inflammation. He died in 1977, more than two decades before researchers recognized that inflammation is the primary risk factor for heart attacks.

Elvis Died from a Heart Attack, Not Constipation
His final concert was held in Indianapolis at Market Square Arena, on June 26, 1977. On August 16, 1977 he fell off the toilet and lay in a pool of vomit. He was rushed by ambulance to Baptist Memorial Hospital, where he died at 3:30 pm CST. His autopsy was performed at 7:00 pm. Approximately 80,000 people lined the processional route for his funeral.

His personal physician, Dr. “Nick” Nichopoulos, claimed that chronic constipation killed Elvis. The autopsy showed that his colon was full of more than 30 pounds of feces. Chronic constipation enlarges your colon, and Elvis’ colon was twice as long and twice as wide as a normal colon. However, you don’t die of constipation without a dramatic amount of warning beforehand. For constipation to kill a person, the colon dies first. Elvis’ autopsy did not show that his colon died because the pathologist did not notice tissue necrosis, a marker of cell death. Also the autopsy did not show a rupture of the colon itself.

I did find several reports of people who died from drug-induced constipation (BMC Psychiatry, October 19, 2006;6:43). However, all of these people had severe cramping with progressively-worsening belly pain. Virtually all people who die of constipation are in such horrible pain for weeks prior to death that they can do nothing but cry and moan. Elvis played racquetball on the day he died. He did not die of constipation; he died after suffering a heart attack.

Inflammation Led to His Heart Attack
The leading cause of heart attacks is inflammation, an overactive immunity. Your immunity is supposed to protect you from invading germs. However, if your immunity stays active all the time, it attacks you with the same chemicals that it uses to kill germs. The chemicals that your immunity uses to dissolve the outer coats of bacteria, punch holes in your arteries. Then these holes start to heal and plaques form in these areas. Many years after the first plaques form in your arteries, your immunity then knocks off a piece of the plaque from an artery. The broken piece then travels down the ever-narrowing artery to completely obstruct the artery. Also, a clot forms where the plaque has broken off to block blood flow. Then the part of the heart muscle that is deprived of a blood supply dies, causing a heart attack.

Evidence That Elvis Had Extensive Inflammation
The autopsy showed that Elvis was massively obese, had extensive plaques in his arteries and had a very enlarged heart. In the last years of his life, he suffered from many heart-attack provoking factors:
• a high-sugar, high-fat diet,
• high blood pressure,
• chronic insomnia,
• liver damage,
• rheumatoid arthritis, and
• chronic drug addiction. The pathologists found 14 drugs in his body.

Obesity: As a young man he was a sex symbol who wiggled his attractive body to make the women in the audience shriek and howl. In later life, he became obese with a mind dulled by pain-killing and anti-depressant drugs, and was barely able to get through his last few concerts. Full fat cells block insulin receptors to prevent a person’s cells from responding to insulin. Blood sugar levels rise and a high rise in blood sugar causes inflammation that punches holes that start plaques forming in arteries.

Heart-attack diet: All his life he ate lots of high-sugar, low-fiber and high-fat foods: pork chops with mashed potatoes, meat loaf, cheeseburgers, sodas and his favorite, peanut-butter and banana sandwiches fried in lard or butter. He loved Eskimo Pies.

High blood pressure: He had significantly high blood pressure, but nowhere in my reading was I able to find evidence that he took medication to help lower it.

Rheumatoid arthritis: He suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that is characterized by inflammation and is associated with a markedly increased risk for heart attacks.

Chronic insomnia: Chronic insomnia is a major risk factor for heart attacks. It is often associated with obesity.

Liver damage: People who have liver damage are at markedly increased risk for heart attacks. His damaged liver turned on his immunity to cause inflammation. His liver damage was most likely associated with his addiction to drugs.

Chronic drug addiction: The fourteen drugs found in his body included painkillers, morphine, Demerol, and codeine; an antihistamine, chloropheniramine; tranquilizers, Placidyl and Valium; sleeping pills, ethinamate and Quaalude; a barbiturate and an antidepressant. Apparently he also took Amytal, Nembutal, Carbrital, Sinutab, Elavil, Avental, and Valmid. In the first eight months of 1977 his physician prescribed up to 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics in Elvis' name.

What You Should Learn from the Death of Elvis Presley
• Don’t be overweight.
• Eat a diet that restricts red meat, sugared drinks, sugar-added foods, and fried foods. Eat huge amounts of fruits and vegetables. * Exercise. * Try to avoid all drugs, particularly those that can damage your liver.
• Don’t take any pills unless your doctor prescribes them for a specific reason.
• If you have high blood pressure: lose weight, exercise, eat a healthful diet and take medication to lower high blood pressure.
• If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you need to help prevent inflammation by exercising, trying to avoid infections, avoiding overweight and eating a healthful diet.

Here are my reports from 2001 and 2002 on the first major articles linking inflammation and heart attacks:
Journal of the American Medical Association, November 2001
New England Journal of Medicine, November 2002

EXCLUSIVE: Elvis Presley's Doctor Claims He Died of an 'Embarrassing' Case of Chronic Constipation


May 5, 2010

LOS ANGELES –  It has been widely reported that Elvis Presley died in 1977 from cardiac arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat, possibly brought on by drug dependency, obesity and a weak heart. But the music legend's longtime friend and physician, Dr. George “Nick” Nichopoulos, has put pen to paper for the first time and revealed his belief that it was chronic constipation that actually killed the King of Rock and Roll.

“After he died we weren’t sure (of the exact cause of death) so I continued to do some research and I had some doctors call me from different places and different med schools that were doing research on constipation and different problems you can get into with it. I just want to get the story straight – it all made sense with the new research that was done,” the now retired Memphis M.D told Pop Tarts. "Dr. Nick" was by Presley's side for the last twelve years of his life and tried to resuscitate him the day he died. He recently released the book “The King and Dr. Nick” about his time with The King, and his theory on the death that shocked America.

“We didn’t realize until the autopsy that his constipation was as bad – we knew it was bad because it was hard for us to treat, but we didn’t realize what it had done," the doctor explains of Elvis' condition. "We just assumed that the constipation was secondary to the meds that he was taking for his arthritic pain and for his insomnia.” 

According to Dr. Nick, the autopsy revealed that Presley’s colon was 5 to 6 inches in diameter (whereas the normal width is 2 to 3 inches) and instead of being the standard 4 to 5 feet long, his colon was 8 to 9 feet in length. 

“The constipation upset him quite a bit because Elvis thought that he could handle almost anything, he thought he was really a man’s man and he wasn’t going to let something like this … he thought that this was a sign of weakness and he wasn’t going to be weak,” Nichopoulos said. “And it’s not the kind of thing you table talk. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s you didn’t’ talk about constipation much, you didn’t’ hear people complaining about it, or saying what they did or how much trouble they had with it.” 

In 1975, the primary treatment for this kind of problem involved removing part of the colon, known as a colostomy, and at the time Dr. Nick was in talks with a surgeon at the University of Memphis to perform the procedure. However Presley’s “ego” got in the way.

“He would get embarrassed, he’d have accidents onstage. He’d have to change clothes and come back because of the way we were trying to treat his constipation,” Nichopoulos said. “So if they had done the colostomy then, he’d probably still be here. But it wasn’t acceptable treatment at that time. Now the treatment is short.” 

Nichopoulos also believes that Presley’s prominent weight gain in the years prior to his death, was not a result of overeating or eating the wrong foods, as they initially assumed. The doctor reveals that Elvis' bloated appearance was due to his severe constipation.

“It was really a physiological problem. During the last few years we were going back and comparing pictures, some of them were taken just two weeks a part but he looked like he’d gained 20 pounds when the only difference was that he had a good healthy bowel movement and then lost a lot of weight from that,” Dr. Nick explained. “Usually you pass it all in two or three days, but at the autopsy we found stool in his colon which had been there for four or five months because of the poor motility of the bowel.” 

So how would Presley feel about all the details of this “debilitating” disease being made public?

“I still think it’d be embarrassing for him, but that may be because we couldn’t explain it at that time the way we can now. But bowel paralysis is hereditary and you can in fact pass it down to your children,” he continued. “His condition was either something he was born with like Hershberger’s disease, or some viruses cause the paralysis of the nerves in the colon. The nerves weren’t functioning enough in places, or weren’t functioning at all because his colon would not push food out, it would just accumulate.”

And even through all the trials and tribulations of their personal and professional relationship, Nichopoulos will first and foremost remember the captivating yet compassionate person that was our beloved American icon, Elvis Presley.

“He was well-written, a very kind person, a very giving person. He was just one of a kind. You couldn’t ask for a better friend,” Dr. Nick added. “The main thing that he enjoyed in life was doing his shows. He would change from one person to another as soon as he walked on the stage. He would just go through a metamorphosis – all of a sudden he flipped a switch and looked like a toy soldier dancing up there.” 

Severe Constipation and a Slow-Transit Colon: In Plain English

Image Source


August 27, 2012

[Editor’s note: This article was originally hosted on, our sister site.
It’s now featured here as part of our new general-health section.]

by Patricia Raymond, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.G.

Q. Do you have a solution for a slow, lazy colon? Can your colon actually quit? A doctor told me it could and they would take it out and replace it with a bag! How scary. I’d never heard that and wondered if it is true.

— Sharon, Missouri

Some folks just have a sluggish colon. (We call it prolonged colon-transit time.) And the longer the stool remains in the colon, the more the colon does its job and sucks out fluid from the stool—ergo, the dryer and slower the bowel movements are.

Causes of a Slow Colon

If your bowel movements have been few and far between all your life, that may be just how you were wired. People like this generally don’t need treatment unless the fullness is uncomfortable or the straining makes veins pop out all over your head. Ditto for occasional constipation.

But it sounds like you may be having severe constipation, which can be a neverending feedback loop. The problem is, as more and more poo presses against your colon, its wall gets stretched thinner and thinner, and the squeeze force you can generate becomes weaker. Thus, your colon keeps getting fuller—and quite packed.

Consider my pantyhose stripped off after a long, hot day—all stretched out with little elasticity or shape. The dilated, floppy look mimics your colon after prolonged constipation.

Treatment for a Slow Colon

The ultimate solution for this—done rarely—is removal of a portion of the colon, called a subtotal colectomy. This gives the stool less of a length to travel and thus less time to get all dried out and packed in. Although some people have to wear a temporary or permanent colostomy (a bag attached to the intestines through a hole in the abdomen) after the procedure, this is unlikely for someone with your condition.

Before they even consider a colectomy, most people with severe constipation respond to the simultaneous use of several prescription laxatives that work by different mechanisms, such as making the colon squeeze or pulling extra fluid into the bowels. But except for bulk-forming versions like Metamucil, don’t use laxatives (even over-the-counter ones) long-term without a health-care provider’s OK. Certain ones can cause dependency and other side effects.

I also avoid giving fiber until the bowel regimen has been established; when stools aren’t moving, the addition of fiber serves only to increase the bulk of the adobe bricks that are present (straw + “mud” = adobe).

It may take a while to hit on the right combination of meds to establish that perfect bowel pattern. Just try to be patient and work with your gastroenterologist.

Board-certified gastroenterologist
PATRICIA L. RAYMOND, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.G., practices at Simply Screening in Chesapeake, Va., is assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical school and wrote Colonoscopy: It’ll Crack U Up!

Last updated and/or approved: August 2012. Original article appeared in the May 2008 issue of the former print magazine My Family Doctor. Bio current as of that issue. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.

DHS Whistleblower: Deleted Records on Muslims Might Have Stopped Attacks

Jun 14, 2016

Former Department of Homeland Security officer Philip Haney said he believes the Orlando and San Bernardino attacks are related and both might have been prevented had the DHS not deleted records he compiled on Muslims with terror ties.

Haney told Hannity he discovered that the mosque where Omar Mateen worshipped was connected to the same network as the mosque where Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik worshipped.

"Farook would have been put on the no-fly list and not allowed to travel, or his pending fiancé would have been denied a visa because of his affiliation with an organization with plausible ties to terrorism," he said.

He affirmed to Sean Hannity that it was "a fair statement" that the Obama Administration wiped out the work that could have saved American lives.

"Oh, my God," Hannity responded. "This is unconscionable."

Watch the shocking segment above.

Monday, June 13, 2016

On The Delaware - And At Home


Posted: February 23, 1986

They are the neighbors in every nightmare.

They make noise at all hours of the morning, devour whatever is put in front of them and have a noticeably difficult time lifting their rotund bodies when asked to move.

But as long as he lives on his boat, Chris Delaney will get unsolicited visits and wake-up calls from those neighbors - the ducks that frequent the ice in front of his bedroom window.

"Come here," Delaney said in a sing-song voice as he slid open the glass window at the back of his houseboat, the Freebird, one recent afternoon. Just as the most spry of the ducks lumbered over to him, expecting a bite to eat, Delaney slammed the window shut.

"I can't stand them," he confided, almost cattishly, as the unruffled ducks turned back. "But I put up with them."

Such is life on the river.

Delaney, 30, is one of 20 people who live in about 10 boats docked at Delran's Riverside Marina, and one of about 50 people who live in the six local marinas along the edge of the Delaware River.

Known to themselves and marina employees as "live-aboards," those who have docks as sidewalks, salons instead of living rooms and galleys instead of kitchens are a dying breed.

During the last few years, marina owners have tried to discourage those seeking an alternative lifestyle from buying boats to live on all year round. As the economy improves, so does the sale of boats and the rental rate for boat slips. Marina owners know they can get more money in the spring and summer for the rental of slips, and say live-aboards take up too many of them.

The Riverside Marina has been taking live-aboards for about 15 years. But Billie Sejda, who manages storage and dockage at the marina, said the live- aboards now there would be the last.

"It's nice to keep different people coming in and out," Sejda said while seated in her office at the marina. "It seems every year it's getting a bit tighter to rent a slip." The marina now has a waiting list of about 10 people who are hoping to get slips.

"Once you let a live-aboard on, they'll stay," she said.

Sejda said that the marina did a brisk business storing boats for the winter and that it also did repairs, so it needed the extra slips for the extra work. She said that the marina could do more repairs if the year-round residents were not there, but that the live-aboards were not stopping progress.

What the live-aboards may be stopping, however, is crime. Sejda said that because the docks were almost deserted in the cold months, there was a greater chance for a ship to sink, drift or be burglarized without a witness. But because the live-aboards walk the docks daily, the marina has its own live-in security system.

"The live-aboards are really a nice group of people," Sejda said. "It's nice to know that they are around."

Indeed, Chris Delaney said he and a neighbor had more than once noticed a low-floating boat or a loose line along a dock. They also know that they should only climb aboard a stranger's boat together, for safety reasons - neither wants to be accused of attempted theft.

"I was never as aware of my neighbors as I am now," said Delaney, a former private-airplane pilot who is seeking to enter medical school.

He purchased his boat about six years ago. "Live-aboards have an interest in watching out for each other. They know what's normal and they know what's not."

Delaney said fire is the live-aboard's worst fear, because it spreads in less time than it takes for a boat to sink. He has installed four fire extinguishers and a sprinkler system in his 40-foot-long boat.

He stressed that living aboard a boat was by no means cheaper than renting an apartment or buying a house.

On the average, a boat large enough to house a person and his or her belongings costs $30,000 and up. Way up.

In addition, there are the costs for insurance, utilities, fuel, debt service, maintenance and dock fees.

"They are not less expensive than a house," Delaney said. "Not if you want to live like a civilized human being."

Live-aboards at the Riverside Marina pay between $600 and $800, depending on the size of the boat, for the six-month period from October to March. The rates are slightly higher for the period from April to September.

Down the river at the Castle Harbor Marina in Riverside, the rates are slightly less - renters pay $600 for six months for a slip and an additional $15 for every foot over 25 feet, said May Watson, a bookkeeper at the marina.

"It isn't that expensive to live on a boat," Watson said. "But in seven years or so, you are going to have a boat to show for all your money. If you rent an apartment, you're not going to have anything but rent receipts. That makes a big difference."

A person could live aboard and pay less than $2,000 a year in rent. However, that figure does not include the costs of electricity and maintenance, where most boat owners say they feel the tightest pinch.

Lou Caceres, 48, a facilities manager for the Council for Labor and Industry in Philadelphia, a private nonprofit real estate management company, said those who were thinking of moving onto a boat should think carefully.

"Boats are very expensive and very hard to maintain," he said, surrounded by friends on his 47-foot houseboat one gray afternoon.

Caceres, who lived at the Dredge Harbor Marina in Delran until it turned out most of its live-aboards last year to rebuild its dock, has lived at Castle Harbor for eight months.

"Yeah, sure, you don't pay taxes, you live your own way," Caceres said. ''The greatest thing about it is, if I don't like my neighbor, I pick up my damned line and I move. You can't do that if you have a corner lot."

Don Opperman, 43, a Mount Laurel police officer, has lived aboard his boat for five years. He lived at the Rancocas Marina and the Riverside Marina until last year, when he came to Castle Harbor.

"Everything for a boat is big money," Opperman said, taking a long draw from his cigarette. "You take something for a house and times it by three, and you've got the picture. That's no lie."

"The rent is cheap," Opperman said. "That's it. The rent is cheap."

Said Caceres, "If you are going into this lifestyle and people tell you it's cheap, then you are going into it mistakenly, because these things are powered by gasoline or by diesel, and that's expensive. Insurance is also very expensive. The little toys that you want to have in them are expensive. Materials are expensive. So it isn't all, 'Hooray, I don't have to pay taxes.' That's a lot of bull."

Caceres said he had spent thousands of dollars upgrading his boat, which had been custom-built for a former Baltimore Colts professional football player, Gino Marchetti, of the Gino's restaurant chain.

Caceres installed his own bubbler system - a pressurized, underwater hose that prevents the water around the boat from freezing - and knocked out a wall to lengthen the main room of the boat.

In the back of the boat, he installed a full-size washer and dryer and has two refrigerators. Perched on top of one of them is a black-and-white photograph of Caceres, taken in 1956 and showing him as a young, clean-shaven sailor.

He said that he had served in the Navy, and that when he got older, he sold a lot of his belongings and put the money into a boat. The houseboat he owns is his second boat.

"I grew up around the water," Caceres said, as his friend Kathleen Langan watched him intently. "I feel better here. I work in a pressure cooker. When you get here, you are turned loose. As soon as I park the car and I come down the gangplank, I'm done. It's different.

"If I had my way, I wouldn't even have a phone. But you have to say, 'I need this.' "

The pressures of daily life have left many to seek solace by the sea, despite the drastic change in lifestyle. However, they have to get used to the colder temperatures in the winter, despite kerosene heaters. In addition, because very little can be stored on a boat, many live-aboards have learned not to keep anything that does not have multiple uses.

Chris Delaney said that he had always been fascinated by the water, and that he was "touched" by the opportunity to live on a boat.

"Live-aboards are not transient people," he said, referring to the fact that most stay docked at one slip. "This is not a businessman who took off during a midlife crisis and took a boat to Tahiti."

Delaney, a lieutenant in the Delran Emergency Squad, decided to make a career change after working as a pilot for 11 years. He decided that in addition to changing his career, he would also change his surroundings.

He searched for a boat for a long time before choosing the Freebird. The boat's generator maintains 7.5 kilowatts of power and has two tanks, which hold 110 gallons of water.

"I didn't want a half-sunken Winnebago," Delaney joked. He added that he has two 30-ampere electrical lines hooked up to the marina's lines, as well as a phone line.

The roomy, carpeted main room serves as a dining room and kitchen. Delaney has installed a small, wooden table at a windowed corner of the boat, and a microwave oven fills a shelf above the pullout couch. There is a narrow and thin kitchen counter with a small sink at the end. The bathroom has a high ceiling, cabinet space and a full-size shower. The bedroom, in the back of the boat - where the ducks congregate - houses a scaled-down bureau, desk and bed.

Delaney does not seem to need anything. He has an extensive stereo system hooked up on a shelf above his bed, and a microcomputer, including a printer, on his desk.

"This is the quintessential live-aboard boat," said Delaney as he sipped a cold beer. He said that because he is single and has no family, he is very close to the members of the emergency squad, who often come for summer gatherings and rides out to sea.

"Some friends appear only in the summer, but I welcome that," he said. ''I enjoy that very much. The uniqueness of calling a boat my home appeals to me.

"What I don't want to do is get old and look back and say, 'You should have tried living on a boat.' I thought I would be here a year or 18 months, but I'm still here."

Across the way from Delaney's boat, a couple struggled in and out of a sailboat repeatedly in the course of an hour. Delaney said they had only lived in the boat for a few months, and he was casually watching their progress.

"I don't know what they do all day," said Delaney, adding that the day's freezing temperatures had kept even the local ducks from patrolling the docks and gangplank.

"I've been making an effort not to take this all for granted," he said, looking out his back window at the serene and frozen Delaware. "Not many people know what it's like to be on a boat during a quiet snowstorm at night. This is a postcard for most people."

Lou Caceres said that when he decided to live on a boat, it was almost an adventure for him, a challenge.

"We all have it, we all have the Walter Mitty in us," Caceres said. "We want to go and do these things, and then you find yourself one day with a beer too many, in the middle of the river, going the wrong way - and you don't know what the hell you are going to do."

He said the services on the water were almost nonexistent, because there were no marine police officers and the nearest Coast Guard station was about 16 miles downriver, at Gloucester City. However, the Delran Fire Department is considering the purchase of a boat specifically for patrolling the marinas.

"If you are not well-prepared, you can get into a lot of trouble - you can lose a lot," Caceres said. "When I take my home somewhere with me and I hit a rock, where am I going to go?

"It would be nice if I had a corner where I could set my Christmas tree up. That's one of the things I miss."

Caceres said he also missed the space of a house and the freedom to walk from one room to another for privacy.

Live-aboard children do not have much freedom, either, Caceres said, because there is little room for them to scamper about or make noise.

In addition, some live-aboards speculate that they would also have problems putting children in school. Some school boards, they said, might not easily accept a child whose parents do not pay direct taxes and live in the ultimate mobile home.

"But I don't care how well you educate them," Caceres said of children. ''They are isolated. Just the fact that they go to their peers one day and say, 'I live on a boat.' The kids think they are weird, that there is something wrong with them.

"I get that from work. People think that because I live on a boat, it's a yacht and I'm a millionaire. Your bosses find that out and they think you are independently wealthy. I say, if I was, I wouldn't be working for them," Caceres said, causing the boat to sway as a result of the laughter.

"But as far as I'm concerned, I'm on my retirement home," he added. ''This is it. When I retire, whatever boat I am living on, I will be taking it to Florida and I will be following the sun. That's the whole idea."

Riverfront Housing Plan Raises Broader Questions

Posted: June 04, 1986

A proposal to build a riverfront community of more than 250 townhouses in Cinnaminson's industrial park has prompted the township's leaders to rethink the entire master plan for Cinnaminson's development.

Longtime Cinnaminson real estate broker Justin Spain has proposed the development, Del Harbour Marina, for nearly 60 acres of undeveloped land that sits north of the Taylor farm and straddles the Delran Township line in Cinnaminson's northwestern corner.

"It's the best piece of land left in Cinnaminson," Spain said.

It is also zoned "exclusively industrial," which means that any sort of safe industry can go there - but not the townhouses that Spain has proposed. He has negotiated the purchase of the land from the Shell Oil Co., contingent upon the zoning change he is seeking from the township committee. Spain declined to disclose purchase price.

What Cinnaminson committee members must decide is whether they want to change the plans for Cinnaminson by permitting more residential development. Richard A. Alaimo Association of Engineers, Cinnaminson's engineering consultant, said the township committee would have to rethink its municipal master plan, the guide for land use in Cinnaminson, according to the engineer's report, completed last week.

The townhouses could be inconsistent with the surrounding development in northwestern Cinnaminson, the report said. South of the proposed site is Taylor Lane; to the east, past the Conrail railroad tracks and River Road, is the developed industrial area.

Included in the area are Hoeganaes Corp., a manufacturer of iron and steel powders; AFG Industries, a glassmaker, and Airco Inc., a manufacturer of specialized gases.

Of all the land available for development in Cinnaminson, more than 60 percent is zoned industrial. Committee members will be weighing the benefits of the jobs that much industry would create against concerns about providing housing for Cinnaminson's increasingly elderly population, protecting property values and safeguarding the environment.

Spain argued that the townhouses would constitute a better use of the land, since the Taylor farm had been turned into a state wildlife refuge and the property abuts Dredge Harbor marina in Delran.

"The existing zoning is in conflict with what they've got on either side," Spain said.

He said the railroad tracks and River Road made for more than enough buffer between the proposed development and the nearby industry, especially when trees and landscaping that will front the road are planted.

About five acres of the project are in Delran. Spain said current plans called for a restaurant and health club to be constructed there. Present zoning for the Delran portion would allow that, according to the Alaimo report.

Owners of the townhouses would have access to Dredge Harbor, one of the largest recreational boating facilities on the Delaware River, Spain said.

The township planning board will discuss the master plan and Del Harbour when it meets in executive session on June 12. Cinnaminson committee members said that if they endorsed the changes, new ordinances could be ready for approval by the end of the summer.

Delran Township Sets Stage For Riverfront Development

Posted: August 17, 1986

Delran Township officials have announced that they are setting the stage for the development of one of the township's most valuable assets - the riverfront district.

The township received a $10,000 grant from the state in April to prepare a ''waterfront district" plan for the Dredge Harbor area, which is about three miles off Route 130 along St. Mihiel Boulevard.

A professional planning contract for the township-sponsored development will be awarded through an open bidding process and the plan completed by Dec. 19, according to Matthew Watkins, township administrator. He said a master plan for the "maximum development" of Delran's harbor district would be designed.

The project is aimed at taking full advantage of the economic and aesthetic potential of the area by developing it in a manner similar to Philadelphia's Penn's Landing, also on the Delaware, Watkins said.

The harbor's boating industry would be expanded to include more recreational boating facilities, Watkins said. The harbor now accommodates about 625 boats.

"Theoretically, we would be telling the state and the marina owners what potentially could go on this property," Watkins said. He added that the township might attempt to acquire some land, but only for construction of a public park or boat-launching area.

Township officials were hesitant to publicize the fact that they had received the grant before meeting with the marina and land owners who would be involved. But over the past few weeks, Watkins said, officials have received a positive reaction.

"We've heard about the development, and we think it's very good," said Tammy Parsons who, with her brother, Bill, owns and operates the Dredge Harbor Yacht Basin. "It can't do anything but help the marina area."

The Parsonses last month began breaking ground for a dry-stack boat-storage building that would nearly double the number of boats housed at their marina. The building is expected to be completed next month.

Any further development by the marina owners - such as the expansion of the marina or the construction of a shopping or eating area - has not been discussed, Parsons said.

"We talk about a lot of things," Parsons said. "But the storage expansion has been our major plan for the past five years."

A study of the harbor area was started by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Philadelphia District in June 1979, when it sought to develop a dredging project for the harbor.

According to a report prepared for state officials by Delran Township, the harbor would be more accessible to the Philadelphia boating industry if it were dredged. The Army Corps of Engineers then continued to study the feasibility of improving the harbor.

The Army Corps project was halted in 1982 when the township was unable to help pay for the study. Later, the new administration, recognizing the harbor potential, decided to revive and expand the project on its own. That decision led to the grant application.

Township officials plan to form a Mayor's Commission on the Development of the Dredge Harbor District, which will include owners of the marinas, members of the Delran Township Planning Board and the Township Council. The commission, according to Watkins, will direct the planner selected through the bid process in the specifics of development.

The Dredge Harbor area - an irregular rectangle about 2,000 feet by 3,000 feet - was created during sand- and gravel-mining operations in the late 1920s. The properties in the area are a mix of residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural uses, as well as vacant land.

There are five marinas on the harbor: Riverside Marina Inc., Cherubini Boat Co., Dredge Harbor Yacht Basin, Winter's Sailing Center and Castle Harbor Marina.

The major property owner is Amico Sand and Gravel Co., which is between the Riverside Marina and Winter's Sailing Center.

Land Eyed For Townhouses Likely To Remain Industrial

Posted: August 24, 1986

The large chunk of land in northwestern Cinnaminson that had been eyed as a site for a townhouse development is likely to remain zoned for industry for a long time.

The township committee decided at its meeting earlier this month to keep the land zoned industrial, and rejected plans by longtime Cinnaminson real estate broker Justin Spain to build almost 300 townhouses there.

Spain's proposal - which contains a development to be called Del Harbour Marina - had led the committee to re-evaluate Cinnaminson's master plan for development.

The property has been zoned for industry for many years, and changing it would have meant changing the face of the community.

At its Aug. 11 meeting, the committee decided no face lift was needed.

"I think they did a disservice to the community," Spain said in an interview last week. The development "could have been a benefit to the community."

But the committee listened to property owners in the area who objected to the plan.

Among them was Hoeganaes Corp., a manufacturer of iron and steel powders and Cinnaminson's largest taxpayer.

"It's naive to think that industry and residential can live side by side," said Hoeganaes vice president William A. Kauffmann.

The company, as well as other industry surrounding the proposed development, were concerned that the future residents of the townhouses would complain about their businesses.

And, since the industry was there first, the companies contended that would be unfair.

Eventually, they said, they would grow tired of the complaints and leave Cinnaminson.

"It's something the committee could not ignore," said Mayor John Chang. Hoeganaes alone pays nearly $250,000 a year in municipal taxes, he said.

But Spain said his development would have generated more taxes - though a township study disputed that - and would have given the township government more control over the development of the land. New industry would not be as concerned about the environment, he said.

When Spain first made his proposal to the township in December, the committee instructed the township planning board to review it and make a recommendation to the committee, which has control over zoning.

The board voted 6-1 to keep the property zoned industrial.

The 60-acre site is north of the Taylor farm and straddles the Delran Township line.

Del Harbour Marina would have included almost 300 townhouses, a marina at Dredge Harbor, a restaurant and a health club.

A report by Cinnaminson's engineering consultants, Richard A. Alaimo Association, concluded that the proposed change from industrial to residential zoning was inconsistent with the nature of surrounding development.

To make the change, the report said, the township committee would have to rethink its entire municipal master plan, the township's guide for land use.

Shell Oil Co. owns the land, and Spain's purchase of the property was contingent on his being able to obtain the zoning change.

Now, Spain said, he will be the broker for Shell as the company attempts to sell the property. He said there were several prospective industrial buyers.

Buried Ships Lost And Caught In Time And The River

Posted: August 27, 1986

The Sturdy Beggar once again skims over the surface of Burlington County's Crosswicks Creek.

The original Sturdy Beggar was an eight-sail privateer burned by British forces in the Battle of Bordentown in 1778, but today's is busy defending remnants of the past, not defending the Delaware River.

In March, archaeologists for the Philadelphia Maritime Museum and local volunteers found the remains of two vessels. The ships could be part of a fleet of 22 vessels sunk during the Revolutionary War battle for Bordentown.

The springtime survey was conducted by the museum to prepare for the construction of a bridge across Crosswicks Creek as part of a new portion of Interstate 295.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation is reviewing the report, said Deborah Lawler, a department aide, and expects to decide next month whether it should also examine the creek. Bridge construction is to begin in 1988 or 1989.

For the moment, the two wrecks remain secure under about 15 feet of mud and silt, and that pleases Lee Cox, a maritime archaeologist working for the museum, to no end.

"What makes it kind of neat is that this mud has preserved these vessels," he said as he waded through the water to one of the wrecks. "It's created almost a time capsule for us."

A wreck found in Barges Creek, which the Maritime Museum investigated even though the new bridge construction will not endanger its floor, is about 60 percent intact. The ship, apparently designed for speed, had a horsehair and tar finish, an indication that it was used for ocean travel, Cox said. Most of the hull seems to be preserved, and the archeologists hope the ship's nameplate will be intact.

The second wreck, in the Crosswicks, is a much larger ship but is not as well preserved, said Cox, who hopes to find more ships in the creek.

The seemingly inconspicuous nature of the finds is a boon for the archaeologist. No souvenir seeker is likely to believe that the first wreck is historically important enough to venture into the water and remove part of it. The wrecks hold no treasure.

To historians, the remains will provide valuable insight to everyday shipboard life, Cox said.

For Don Stokes, a volunteer archaeologist who owns the modern Sturdy Beggar and lives in the river community of Delran, the wreck is a clue to what actually happened May 8, 1778, when the British sailed up the Delaware on a seek-and-destroy mission, then burned and sank ships harbored in Bordentown.

After Philadelphia fell to the British in 1777, ships from the Colonial and the Pennsylvania navies sought safety in the creeks and rivers of New Jersey. Many ships, both merchant and naval, found shelter in Crosswicks near Bordentown, Stokes said.

Under Washington's orders, the guns were to be removed from the ships harbored at Bordentown and the vessels scuttled or burned, to keep them out of British hands.

In those days, holes were bored in a ship to sink it, Stokes said, and because the crew knew where the holes were, there was usually hope that the vessel could be salvaged by the crew, Stokes said.

Although some ships at Bordentown were successfully scuttled, many were taken by surprise when the British arrived ready for battle. The remaining ships were either sunk in small waterways along the Crosswicks or burned by the British, Stokes said. Only one of the burned ships is known by name: the original Sturdy Beggar.

"I just thought it would be fitting that the one known name of a ship that we know is here is what I named it," Stokes said. The new one is a small outboard motor boat he purchased in the spring.

Stokes spends his weekends probing the muddy banks and bottoms of the creeks with two fellow New Jersey Bell workers, Gary Bykowski and Tim Murphy. They work under the direction of Cox, Stokes said.

Cox's goal is to raise the remains of the two ships eventually and shed light on the battle for Philadelphia. "It's an understated battle," he said. ''Very little is known about it. We haven't found any American records - not that they were likely to keep them while they were hightailing it out of here."

The Maritime Museum has funded the survey because the remains may be those of Pennsylvania ships. "Nobody from New Jersey has given us any money," Cox said. "New Jersey has a lot of submerged cultural resources."

Burlco Township Has Big Plans For Tiny Amico Island

Posted: January 27, 1987

From overhead, Amico Island looks like a cartoonist's version of a moose head in profile, gazing westward across the Delaware River from its location just off the Delran shoreline and north of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.

It is a humble place, without water or sewage service. Parts of the island, composed of leftovers from 50 years of sand and gravel dredging that created the Dredge Harbor Yacht Basin to the island's south, are soggy wetlands.

A map notes two wrecked vessels in the shallows offshore, and a northeast section of the 50-acre island has the unappealing label: "the wet borrow pit," referring to the results of dredging.

Access to the remainder of Burlington County is provided by a muddy track that carries gravel trucks to Riverside Drive and Norman Avenue in Delran. Technically, Amico Island is not really an island, because the narrow track is a tiny isthmus that links it to the mainland.

It's obvious that nobody lives here.

Yet Amico Island is the subject of increasing interest to Delran, which is just across the river from the Torresdale section of Philadelphia. As in many communities on the Jersey side of the Delaware - places within an easy commute of Philadelphia - Delran's visionaries see Amico Island and the nearby mainland waterfront as a key to the township's prosperity.

They imagine public parks, luxury housing and a boardwalk-like area with high-quality restaurants and new public access to waterfront areas that are now hard to get to and not too interesting.

The major enterprises now in the harbor area are marinas that accommodate about 625 boats. There is virtually no other recreational use along the shoreline.

Using a $10,000 state grant, the township council last fall hired Trednnick/Waetzman Associates, planning consultants from Havertown, to design a blueprint for the harbor area's development.

The plan is to be presented at a public hearing tomorrow night, when township officials expect to hear complaints from some residents near the Dredge Harbor area, the residential neighborhoods nearest Amico Island.

But council members, who have approached the planning process with collegiality and speed, feel confident they can allay residents' fears. Although council members acknowledge that traffic will increase if Amico Island and nearby areas are developed, they also expect current residents' property values to soar.

And, to counter what is potentially the most potent opposition issue in the community of 14,000, council members propose to promote the redevelopment through a township master plan and rezoning, requiring private developers to bear most of the cost.

"I view this as 95 percent private development," Delran Mayor Richard J. Knight said at a recent meeting on the plan.

Some other riverfront communities, such as Gloucester City in Camden County, moved to formulate development plans after they were approached by developers.

But Delran officials hope to write their plan first, then find developers willing to conform to it.

The consultant was working to complete the plan yesterday so that council members could get an advance look at it today. The main points were presented to council members and other township officials two weeks ago.

"We're clearly not talking about low- and moderate-income housing on the island," consultant Larry Waetzman said. "People pay top dollar for riverfront location, and that's what you're going to see on that island."

Waetzman has been directed by the council to prepare a plan that would permit public access to the southern part of the island, where there would be parkland and, possibly, a private sports club.

At the center of the island would be expensive single-family homes. On the north side would be high-quality, low-rise multifamily housing. The number of units has yet to be determined.

On the mainland, the Riverside Park neighborhood east of Norman Avenue and south of Riverside Drive would be unchanged. And, to protect that neighborhood from increased traffic, the main access to the island would be via Chester Avenue and Riverside Drive. The north end of Norman Avenue would end at a cul- de-sac south of what is now the access road to Amico Island.

Although many details remain to be worked out, the biggest potential stumbling block is Amico Island's owner, Merle Ambler, whose family has long operated the sand-and-gravelmining operation that formed the island. Ambler's cooperation is essential because council members say they do not want to use public money to condemn major pieces of land.

Ambler could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon. But, in a recent meeting with the consultants, the owner expressed interest in using the island for residential development, Waetzman said.

Obstacles May Block Island's Development

Posted: February 15, 1987

On a warm day earlier this month, the ice along Norman Avenue in Delran was giving way to mud, and after the heavy January snows, the street fronting on the harbor was again easily passable. But in these depths of the off- season, the pace of life among the marinas remained slow.

A dog, one ear erect and the other drooping, sat squarely in the center of Norman Avenue and watched with bored, unyielding defiance as an occasional car approached, honked and swerved around.

Out in the harbor, ice covered the few hundred yards of water separating the mainland from Amico Island, a low-lying, uninhabited parcel covered with brush and small trees. A few yachts sat at anchor. Hundreds more had been hauled ashore and covered with tarps.

The only sign of humans was a boat-yard worker lounging near a gate. Behind him was a sign painted with the face of a clown covered with a red circle and slash. The lettering stated: "No Bozos."

"Yeah, the Bozos are gone," the man said.

Maybe the yacht owners think the sign refers to non-boating types they don't want hanging around the docks. But from the man's tone and gestures, it was clear that he was referring to the yachtsmen.

The "No Bozos" sign is the kind of inside joke, tinged with resentment, that townsfolk reserve for the demanding outsiders who may bring needed money, but only at the price of a kind of jostling and congestion that can be difficult to live with.

That kind of resentment may greet other proposals that would upset a familiar lifestyle in this Burlington County township.

Town Council members want Delran residents to start thinking about the future of the harbor area and the undeveloped 50 acres of scrub and gravel that make up Amico Island. Redevelopment is inevitable, several council members have warned, and the township had better plan for it.

Three weeks ago a consultant hired by the council, using a $10,000 state grant, reported on several months of studying of the harbor area's potential. The consultant proposed that about 200 units of expensive housing be built on Amico Island, along with 10 acres of commercial development, probably on the southern end of the island near an area set aside for public access to the shoreline.

Rezoning on the mainland waterfront, now occupied almost exclusively by marinas with space for about 640 boats but virtually inaccessible to the public, would bring development that would broaden the area's public appeal with restaurants, shops and promenades, the consultant said.

The harbor area development would enhance the tax base and beautify the township. Nearby residents who might have to endure heavier traffic on local roads would be compensated by the increase in their property values, said the consultant, Larry Waetzman of Tredinnick/Waetzman Associates of Havertown, Pa.

The proposal got a cool reception at a Township Council meeting Jan. 28. Residents were especially concerned about the estimated 1,300 vehicle trips a day to and from the island that would be generated by 200 homes.

Redevelopment of the Delran waterfront, if it happens at all, is a long way off.

In addition to local resistance, there are sure to be problems arising from strict state environmental regulations. Some people who have studied the harbor doubt that a plan that is acceptable to residents and the state would be profitable enough to attract a developer.

About two weeks before the consultant's study was presented to the public, several council members, including Mayor Richard J. Knight, met with Waetzman. Knight, who had instigated the study, praised the consultant's work.

He was especially pleased about the prospect of rezoning to attract developers, who would then set aside land or money for the public aspects of the harbor redevelopment, minimizing the public expense.

"I view this as 95 percent private development," he said.

Two weeks later, advanced word of the proposal had drawn about 40 people to the council meeting, an event that usually has sparse attendance. Before an audience, Knight was more cautious.

"Let me emphasize that there is no commitment to do any of this," Knight told the audience while introducing the topic.

And his view of the public financial involvement had become even more conservative.

"There is no plan or no desire in this government to spend one dollar of public money," he said.

Of the nine residents who addressed the issue during the question-and- answer period - most of them from the neighborhood adjacent to the harbor - none took a favorable view of the proposal. Seven were clearly hostile to it, and two were neutral. Many who didn't speak nodded in agreement with the critics, although Knight said last week that he had since received "a great deal of positive comment."

As in many such meetings, as much is revealed from what is not said as from what is. And in this meeting, the deafening silence came from Merle Ambler, the man who holds the strongest hand.

Ambler, a Center City Philadelphia resident who describes himself as, first and foremost, a sportsman, owns Amico Island and much of the mainland area covered in the consultant's study.

Ambler did not attend the meeting, convinced that the consultant had failed to divine a route through the labyrinth of obstacles that has, for more than a decade, stymied Ambler's dream of developing Amico Island.

"I'm afraid this thing is getting studied to death," Ambler said in an interview last week. "I've only been working on this thing for 15 years, and I've seen, in my day, many pretty pictures."

Ambler's doubts are all the more striking because he is the person with the most to gain if the consultant's vision becomes bricks and mortar.

Ambler's family has been mining sand and gravel from the island since 1953. That business is petering out, Ambler said, and he is eager to develop the island.

But residents of the adjoining middle class and working class neighborhood will oppose any exclusive, luxury development that would turn the site into ''Snob Island," Ambler said. Because such development would require rezoning and support from the council, opposition from that sizable neighborhood would be significant.

"I think that concept would rub so many people the wrong way that it might not be the right thing," he said.

Even if such an idea could be sold to the public, he said, the state requires that waterfront development include provisions for public access, and the consultant has proposed that about 10 acres be used for shops and restaurants, while other areas be left as open space available to the public.

Ambler said he was skeptical about whether a developer facing these requirements would risk building a community that, because of its cost, would be marketed to people who can afford truly exclusive neighborhoods elsewhere.

Part of that concern is based on his belief that any development on the island would be extremely expensive because there are no utilities there and because state environmental regulations governing wetlands probably would impose hard-to-meet restrictions that developers don't face inland. To be profitable, a development would have to include far more than the 200 units proposed by the consultant, he said.

"I don't know where the break-even point is," Ambler said, "but it would be more than 200 units."

The consultant's report did not include any evaluation of the cost of developing the site. And the consultant's 200-unit figure was derived from its compatibility with the township's zoning ordinance, rather than on any financial basis.

Ambler said that during the last few years, he had talked to several large developers, and none had been interested in the island. That hasn't changed, despite the council's well-publicized interest in attracting developers, he said.

"I haven't received any calls," he said. "To me, that's the bottom line. Show me somebody who likes the pretty picture and would like to put up some bucks."

Of all the problems, the state regulations are most serious, Ambler said, and the more he talks to the Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies, the less encouraged he becomes.

"They give you enough input to scare the life out of you," he said. "I can't underscore enough how important it is for the state to give an opinion on this."

Lynn Froehlich, the planner who did the lion's share of the work on the Waetzman study, agrees that environmental considerations are the main potential obstacle to developing the Delran harbor area, which is included on a state list of critical habitats for endangered plant species.

And no one knows for sure how much of the island falls within the flood plain - less than 11 feet above the waterline - where development is prohibited. Existing topographical studies predate much of Ambler's family's dredging, which has raised parts of the island. The consultants estimate that about 40 of the 50 acres are above the flood plain.

Last week the consultants presented their Delran study to officials of the state Division of Coastal Resources, a branch of the Department of Environmental Protection. The result was neither high praise nor condemnation, Froehlich said.

"They just reinforced the fact that there are these special regulations which apply to coastal areas," she said. "It's like 230 pages of rules and regulations."

Knight said last week that the council may consider carrying out some of the zoning changes the consultants proposed but that the issue had taken a back seat to the annual budget process.

There have been three or four "exploratory" inquiries from potential developers about the status of the township's plans for Amico Island, he said, and the developers have been referred to Ambler.

Merle Ambler said he had yet to hear from anyone.

Boaters Fear For Safety As Water Gets Crowded

Posted: May 11, 1988

Last weekend after nearly a fortnight of clouds and rain, the sky cleared, the sun shone, and more boaters than ever flocked to Burlington County marinas.

At the Dredge Harbor Yacht Basin - an irregular rectangle of about 2,000 by 3,000 feet created by sand and gravel mining in the 1920s - business was bustling.

As the economy improves, so do boat sales, and as the number of boats increases, so does traffic on the Delaware River and its tributaries. And so does concern about boating safety and a general lament that driving a boat is not like driving a car. In boating, there are no licensing requirements.

Though the Coast Guard Auxiliary offers voluntary safety education for power boats and sailboats, there is no mandatory boating test.

But with the addition of a dozen recruits to the New Jersey State Police Marine Law Enforcement Bureau, known as the marine police, this year for the first time in almost a decade the river will be a changed place.

Some marina owners are ambivalent about having a police presence; others welcome the change.

"It's fantastic. It's the best thing that will happen on the river," said Lee Cherubini, owner of the 50-year-old Cherubini Sailboat Co. that borders the basin.

"Last year I was unable to go out on the river on Saturdays and Sundays. I own a 21-foot sailboat and I'm on the water with a 7-year-old kid on board, and here comes this bozo in a power boat going 50 (57.5 knots) or 60 miles an hour (69 knots). He nearly cut me in half. Boats have no brakes.

"The marine police are going to have a field day," Cherubini said. ''Anybody with 10 or 15 grand can get into a boat and drive away. There is no regulation, and these guys have no regard for the rules at all.

"By 1 in the afternoon, most of these guys have had it. They'd have to be drunk to drive the way they do. In the evening I don't go to the river after 7 o'clock after these bozos have had their cocktails. The river sounds like Atco Raceway."

Cherubini is concerned that the increase in power-boat traffic will result in a major boating accident. He prefers to sail during the early morning, from 5 to 8 a.m., when only bass boats are out on the river.

"More and more people are getting into boating. You don't have to go to the seashore to have a hell of a good time. The seashore is getting expensive," said Chuck Dahmer, general manager of the Big D Valley Marina on the Rancocas Creek in Willingboro. "There are a lot of river rats. People may not regard themselves in that way, but that's what they are.

"But I think the state should require a little question-and-answer test," said Dahmer. "They should ask 10 or 15 questions. And they don't have to grade it, just raise awareness. There are crazy, stupid boaters just as there are crazy, stupid drivers."

But at least two marina owners are afraid the marine police will become more like "the Gestapo" than friends to the recreational boater.

"I'm ambivalent," said Constans Curtin, owner of Curtin's Marina in Burlington City. "We've had them before, and they were abusive, abrasive, and dictatorial. I've been told that it's going to be different this time. They are not going to carry guns on their person. If they follow the rule - enforcement with courtesy - that is fine. It's one of those necessary evils of civilization.

"Water is a different medium," he said. "You have to go past the docks very, very slowly or you'll cause a wake. People compare everything to driving a car. The state has got to come up with something that will teach boaters some common sense."

At the Ran-Del Marina in Delanco, owner Jack Thompson said his biggest headaches were not drunks, but people who sped through his marina on the Rancocas causing wakes that rock the boats against the docks. Without a police patrol, he keeps control by sounding a siren at offenders.

Thompson, who anticipates an increase in business again next year, has constructed eight new docks and added showers and a marine store. Next year, he will open a restaurant, the Sandbar, and try to obtain a club license so that he can sell cocktails, even though Delanco is a dry town.

"There are a lot of advantages to keeping a boat on the river rather than the ocean. They'll get more use of the boat. Many people are tired of the two hours, each way, to the shore. People here can come out to their boat in the evening after work and just relax," Thompson said.

But the crowded waterways of the Delaware are the reason Rich Sabo of Marlton goes out to the ocean:

"We go 100 miles offshore. You'd be surprised, even at 65 miles out around the canyons, where we fish for marlin - even there it's crowded."

Cinnaminson Rezones Land

Posted: May 21, 1989

The Cinnaminson Planning Board has approved an updated township master plan rezoning two parcels of land by the Delaware River to allow the construction of affordable housing in compliance with the state's Fair Share Housing Law. The parcels represent the last substantial parcels of undeveloped land in the township.

But because at least part of the land, on the 1.6-mile strip between the Riverton and Delran borders, lies in a flood plain consisting of undeveloped wetlands, it is questionable whether construction is even environmentally possible.

The 6-3 vote on Tuesday came after more than three hours of sometimes contentious discussion among board members, township lawyers, planners and the more than 30 people who attended the meeting, most of them residents opposed to the zone changes.

Board members voting in favor of the proposal cited Cinnaminson's need to comply with the Council on Affordable Housing's quota of 377 low- to moderate- income units and the requirement under the Municipal Land Use Law that townships update their master plan every six years.

The parcels, a 50-acre plot owned by Cinnaminson real-estate agent Justin Spain and a 100-acre plot owned by the Riverfront Development Corp. of Gloucester City, had both been zoned for industrial use.

Those voting against the plan cited the uncertainty over whether the land, particularly Spain's plot between the Delaware and River Road, can be built on. Environmental impact studies will have to be conducted with the state Department of Environmental Protection eventually deciding on the feasibility of construction.

The possibility that the land is unsuitable for construction raised the specter of future lawsuits against the township for non-compliance with the housing council and was cited by others as a reason for their negative vote.

Although he stressed that he had not yet seen Cinnaminson's plan, Preston Pinkett, a senior planner at the Coalition on Affordable Housing, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that "if it is all wetlands and is in flood plains, it would seem to me that that is not reasonable compliance with the spirit and intent of the law.

"Our regualtions specifically say that we want the land to be suitable and developable," he added. "We don't want sites zoned that cannot be developed. That does not provide for affordable housing."

However, Planning Board solicitor Ron Morgan and the Planning Board consultants who drew up the master plan, from Thomas J. Scangarello and Associates, said at the meeting that the zone changes show the township is complying with the "spirit and intent" of the affordable housing act.

"This master plan is to follow the spirit and intent of the Fair (Share) Housing Act which says that the opportunity has to exist for developers to build low-income housing," Morgan said.

Dust Settles, And Boaters Erupt Mysterious Grit Falls On Delran's Dredge Harbor

Posted: July 29, 1989

Edward Newell, 45, of Philadelphia, started his weekend at Delran's Dredge Harbor yesterday aboard his 29-foot power boat the way many boaters do - washing, waxing and polishing.

But he had done the same thing Tuesday.

He doesn't have a fetish. Like the owners of hundreds of other boats here, Newell this week had discovered a gritty, rust-colored film coating every surface on his craft. Many boat owners said the paint on their boats - some worth hundreds of thousands of dollars - was being destroyed.

By yesterday afternoon the state Department of Environmental Protection's regional air pollution office said it had received seven telephone complaints from Delran boaters. Boat owners said earlier, however, that a DEP official told them the agency had stopped counting the calls.

Greg Walker, the DEP assistant environmental engineer investigating the complaints, said he had not yet determined where the grit is originating. He said he would visit the area a second time Monday to look for the source. He confirmed that some of those complaining had named Hoeganaes Corp. of Cinnaminson as a suspect.

Hoeganaes, a sprawling facility with rust-colored steel sheds about a half mile from Dredge Harbor, is "the world's largest manufacturer of powdered metals," said company director William A. Kauffmann.

"I don't find anything that's unusual at all in any of our operations" that would cause the rash of complaints, Kauffmann said. "I'm going to look into it in depth. We are continuing to try to be good neighbors."

He said Hoeganaes, which employs 400 workers in Cinnaminson, had several bag houses used for catching airborne dust to keep it from polluting the air. The bag houses "are inspected routinely by (government) environmental people," he said.

"Some of the boat owners and neighbors ought to keep in mind, however, that Hoeganaes is one of several businesses and industries along the riverfront and a number of industries and construction sites" that could be the source of the grit, Kauffmann said. He said neighbors focus on Hoeganaes because it is easily seen from the road.

Boat owner Newell said he had gone through "five different kinds of cleaners" by 10 a.m. yesterday and still hadn't found one that would remove all the grit from his boat.

"This happens every year," Newell said of the grit deposits, which become embedded in fiberglass. But he added, "this is definitely the worst I've ever seen it."

"The stuff's so abrasive," said George Krajci, 42, of Warminster, "if you take a sponge . . . it actually works as a sandpaper."

Krajci, a mechanic at a Philadelphia scrap yard, said that he had had a boat at Dredge Harbor for 10 years and that the grit problem had existed that long. But he agreed that something happened Tuesday night to deposit more grit than he had ever seen.

"I've got $160,000 sitting there," Krajci said, referring to his 38-foot cabin cruiser. "I can't afford to just sit and wait," he said, so he has tried to find some method of cleaning his boat. He pointed to swirls on the white fiberglass where, he said, the surface was scratched by the grit during cleaning.

On Thursday, William G. Major Jr., who with his wife, Patricia, lives on a 57-foot wooden cabin cruiser called Beachcomber and charters a 60-foot wooden boat, Elegante, circulated a flyer at Dredge Harbor Yacht Basin, one of four major marinas in the harbor.

"If you are interested in joining a class action lawsuit in regards to recent air pollution damage to your boat & property please contact Bill Major Jr.," the flyer reads.

"We're in the process right now of taking samples, to be taken to a testing lab," Major said.

Major said he had cleaned the teak bow of one of his boats Sunday. "It looked great until I came home last night and saw this mess all over it. Now it has to be stripped down again. I hit the ceiling," he said. "I have a brand new Corvette sitting in the parking lot which is all mottled."

DEP engineer Walker said he would visit area companies to see whether any are discharging the type of grit he found during an earlier visit to Cinnaminson. If he cannot narrow the suspects in that way, he said, the alternative would be to search company records to see whether anyone had had an equipment failure.

The only other method to track the source of the grit, Walker said, would be to "stake out" a suspect company, but that is done "very rarely."

"A lot of times, we've been able to eliminate every (other) company within a reasonable distance of (the pollution.) Then," he said, "the company takes responsibility for it and says: 'Yeah, that's our stuff.' "

Dep Probe Focuses On Cinnaminson Firm

Posted: August 16, 1989

Hoeganaes Corp. of Cinnaminson has until today to forward maintenance records to the Department of Environmental Protection as part of an investigation into the source of corrosive powder that has damaged boats in Delran's Dredge Harbor Yacht Basin.

A DEP spokeswoman, Jenine Mosley, said that although the department was not accusing Hoeganaes of the July 25 emission of corrosive powder, the state is focusing its investigation on the company, which manufactures powdered metals at River Road and Taylors Lane, about a half-mile from the yacht basin.

"All the other companies deal with other things that aren't relative to what was found on the boats," she said. "Hoeganaes is somewhat similar to it. We're not saying they are the responsible party."

The company was notified Aug. 2 that it would be required to forward maintenance records to DEP.

DEP investigators will examine the company's maintenance data for indications of equipment failure or changes in manufacturing processes that could have led to the emission, Mosley said. The DEP did not request information from any other companies in the area, she said.

But William Kauffmann, Hoeganaes company director, said last week that an in-house investigation determined there were no manufacturing accidents or equipment breakdowns on Tuesday, July 25, that would have led to emissions.

He said that Hoeganaes uses sweepers, containers and cleaners to control dust.

"On the other hand, we do continue to have a nuisance dust problem," he said. "We make powdered metal and there is dust, but it is around our facilities here."

"Our investigation is complete and nothing unusual happened on that Tuesday," Kauffmann said. "But our efforts at doing a better job are not complete, so we are continually doing what we can to make sure that we do not contribute to a pollution problem."

The powdered metals made by the company are used to manufacture parts for automobiles, tractors and farm equipment.

During the manufacturing process, Hoeganaes produces a black powder that turns brown or red when it hits the air, Mosley said. The DEP sent an investigator to the area on July 27 and July 31 after receiving at least seven complaints about a gritty, rust-colored film coating surfaces and corroding the paint of boats in the harbor.

Seventy-five boat owners who said they suffered damages as a result of the powder met last week with attorneys to discuss possible legal action to reclaim their losses and to stop emissions. They have complained that the caustic coating has occurred periodically during the last 10 years, although the July 25 incident was particularly severe.

Attorney Alan Milstein said he has already sent a letter on behalf of boat owner William Major Sr., and other boat owners to Hoeganaes, the Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Gov. Kean alleging that Hoaganaes violated the Clean Air Act. The letter is the first step in the process of filing any type of court action under the federal law.

Business As Usual As Silt Builds

Posted: July 08, 1990

Where Delran Township fronts the Delaware River, miners and mariners have built the state's largest freshwater boating center. And it's growing: On a given summer morning, 700 hulls ranging from 14-foot Capri sailboats to 45- foot Bayliner yachts and beyond rest peacefully as pile drivers extend docks to include dozens more.

No one adds up how much the four privately held marinas' owners and a dozen related businesses rake in yearly from boat sales, repairs, slip rentals and other goods and services produced on Dredge Harbor, so-called from its origin in a Depression-era sand mine. Dock rentals alone are estimated at more than $1 million annually - none of which is tapped for township coffers, despite recent Delran property tax hikes.

Delran Councilman Andrew Ritzie said the harbor more than pays for itself through "a lot of invisible business," including local fuel, food, repair and liquor purchases.

Despite all the prosperity, Dredge Harbor is silting up. But marina owners, jealous of their independence, have failed to cooperate in search of a remedy. Township officials, limited by the harbor's private ownership and unwilling to antagonize the owners, tread lightly.

"I won't support any new fees or taxes on the harbor," said Ritzie, himself a boat owner. "If we put a new tax on, people will go elsewhere."

"It's a frustration to me," said Merrill Ambler Jr., owner of the Amico Sand and Gravel Co., which includes two-thirds of the harbor. "There's less and less water. There's more and more siltation. There's bigger and bigger boats.

"Nobody wants to do anything. You stand here and see all these new boats, all these new slips. You can ignore there's a problem. They're waiting for (someone else) to deal with it."

Ambler is bitter over his inability to develop the 80-acre island shielding the harbor despite a series of condo, commercial and recreational plans in recent years. If a developer lets a $10,000 annual development option lapse in August, Ambler said he may have to resume mining.

Marina owners admit, as 1978 and 1986 studies confirm, that Dredge Harbor is silting up. From a depth of 40 feet during World War II, parts of the harbor are now less than a yard deep - barely enough for power boats, insufficient for deeper-drawing sailboats.

Right now, the marinas are more worried about making money.

"This is a boom-and-bust industry," said Billie Sejda dockmistress at her family's 180-slip Riverside Marina on Norman Avenue. "My uncle got out when there was a gas shortage in 1978-79. That was hard times. He thought that was the end of it.

"Now he's down in Florida. He sees what's going on here, and he wants to kill himself."

Despite concerns about declining boat sales and channel conditions, Riverside Marina is adding 20 slips on property recently bought from Ambler. Slips rent from $900 a year for a 17-foot boat to $2,300 for a 50-footer.

Next door, at Glenn Winter's Sailing marina on Reserve Avenue, Brian Winter took time out from a lucrative sales operation to talk about sediment. ''Everyone says the channel was deeper 10 years ago," he said, noting sailboats need at least five or six feet of water. "At low tide, we get a little mud." Winter hopes the new traffic from slips his marina is adding will help preserve the channel.

Sixty years ago sediment wasn't a problem: The harbor was dry farmland. Ambler's father bought and obliterated most of the 300 acres between Taylor Lane and Chester Avenue on the Riverside line.

Around 1940, Bill Parsons Sr. bought a piece of the new harbor's south rim and began docking boats there. From this and later deals, he created the Dredge Harbor Marina, whose acres of docks and "One of the Largest Indoor Boat Showrooms in the World" dominate the harbor.

Twenty years later, the Army Corps of Engineers replenished the Amblers' gravel supply and built Amico Island with material blasted from the river bottom as part of a channel for U.S. Steel's Fairless Works.

The island protected the infant harbor marinas. Studies showed it also trapped light, muddy tidal silt and creek runoff. By 1975, when Ambler laid off the last of his 55 employees and began taking bids on the island, the Corps was being asked to dredge the harbor channel.

Township correspondence shows a series of meetings in the early 1980s almost produced an agreement among the marinas to contribute money and right- of-way to the project. Then-Mayor Lorraine Schmierer lent township support, asking the owners to grant rights to the channel draining Swedes Run and Lonnie Lake Parks in return.

After four years of meetings, "we were ready to go," said Ambler. "Then Parsons reversed his position at the last moment." Dredge Harbor Marina refused to give up its right of way. Disgusted, Schmierer withdrew her support and the project foundered.

Parsons did not respond to requests to be interviewed.

The current mayor, Richard S. Knight, said he still hoped to secure Corps dredging and was willing to separate the question of the lakes. Despite the township's continuing lack of public access and low harbor-tax receipts, Knight believes its importance in generating business and "giving us an identity" warrants municipal support for marina dredging.

Dredge Harbor is not the only place to launch a boat in Burlington County. Unlike the tightly controlled Dredge Harbor slips, four small marinas in Delanco and Riverside allow the public to use Rancocas Creek boat ramps. Delran owns a small site on the Rancocas above Bridgeboro that Knight hopes to clear as a public boat ramp.

Better known is the Riverton Yacht Club, whose Victorian gingerbread boathouse stands off Bank Street in a neighborhood of fine old mansions.

At Riverton, eight-foot Optimist prams bobbed like bathtub toys on the open river as an early July thunderstorm rose out of Philadelphia. Three miles away, the all-weather Dredge Harbor navy sat passively at anchor, protected by Amico Island.

"We have to take most of our boats out in the winter," said Riverton sailing instructor Patrick Frisch. But Riverton members aren't concerned about the future of their club: The boathouse has ridden out all kinds of weather since 1881.

The fate of Delran's more recent, artificial harbor is less certain. "No doubt about it," said Sejda. "It's closing in."

They Rode Out Storm On Board Their Boats During The Storm, One Couple Overcame Cabin Fever By Cooking, Eating, Watching Tv.

Posted: March 16, 1993

Like most people, you probably spent the weekend in the walled security of your home, a little stir-crazy but content to wait out the blizzard.

Then there was Dale LeClare and his girlfriend, Nancy Fallon. They rode out the storm in a boat.

And guess what? It wasn't that bad.

"I was just being bored, putzing around, doing nothing," LeClare said yesterday as the midafternoon sun filtered in to the lounge of his roomy, 47- foot motor yacht, tethered at the Riverside Marina, Delran. "We knew the storm was coming, so we went out to West Coast Video."

Fingering a cigarette, LeClare leaned over the stairwell leading to the other rooms - the living room, the kitchen, the two bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms - and checked the temperature inside the Pendragon.

The thermometer read a cozy 70.

"I really didn't think it was windy," he said. "We never got the winds they were talking about."

During the storm, he and Fallon overcame cabin fever by cooking, eating, watching television, pumping videos into the videocassette recorder and, most of all, staying warm.

They even drove to dinner Saturday night during a lull. All the diners on Route 130 were closed, so they settled on a pizza place in Palmyra, LeClare said.

"We had more trouble getting in and out of the (marina) parking lot than the boat," LeClare said.

LeClare and Fallon are "live-aboards" - those who live on their boats year-round. LeClare has been docked at the Riverside Marina for 14 years.

Along with about seven other large boats nearby, the Pendragon was more than ready to brace the storm.

The yacht, which normally receives its power from electricity lines running along the docks, was backed up by a generator and a 200-gallon water tank. The yacht was tied to the dock on both sides by heavy rope.

"You get used to it," according to William Given, a longtime live-aboard upon the 40-foot trawler Losuki, which was docked a short distance from Riverside Marina at Clarks Landing Marina. The facilities are both in Delran Harbor, a man-made cove in Delran that has "by far the largest concentration of boats on the Delaware River," said Dave Wrigley, owner of Riverside Marina.

Live-aboards are a fiercely independent bunch and know how to get by, said Bill Hero, an employee of Clarks Landing Marina.

"As far as the live-aboards go, they know it gets cold on the water," Hero said. Some shield their windows with plastic to keep the warmth in.

People, even friends, are often surprised by the secure, even comfortable, existence of a live-aboard.

"Living in a boat is more or less like living in an efficiency," LeClare said. "It's kind of like camping out with the luxuries."

Like all live-aboards, LeClare and Fallon love the water, and the freedom to traverse it, when the mood hits them. Yesterday, the two already had put the storm behind them and were talking about boating the Chesapeake Bay and the Trenton area during the summer.

But boats, water and bad weather inevitably spawn dark thoughts.

Krystine Lee, whose husband, a trucker, was stranded in Ohio, rode out the storm with her dog in the 35-foot General Lee.

"It wasn't too bad," she said. "I was up when (the boat) was rocking, but it was nice and warm inside."

Her friends, who were concerned about her and placed a lot of calls to her boat, were less confident, Lee said.

The main worry?

"If we sank," she said with a smile.

Burlco Freeholders Approve $2 Million To Buy Open Space The State Money Will Purchase Land On Rancocas Creek, Mainly For Parks.

Posted: October 13, 2000

MOUNT HOLLY — In an effort to rejuvenate the Burlington County parks system and expand it to include bicycle and walking trails, freeholders Wednesday approved the use of a $2 million state grant to purchase more open space along Rancocas Creek.

The county has preserved 987 acres since 1996, when voters approved a tax to preserve farmland and open space. Most of that property is in the Rancocas greenway.

The county received the $2 million grant in August 1999 after the Garden State Preservation Trust Act was passed, said Freeholder William S. Haines Jr., who supervises the county's land-preservation programs.

"Earmarking the funds for greenway property is consistent with the county's Open Space Strategic Plan, as well as its current pursuit of potential parklands," he said.

The strategic plan includes the Delaware River Heritage Trail, which is expected to be 25 miles long and pass through 15 municipalities along the Delaware River; a Rails to Trails project to create a hiking and biking trail; watershed management; and a local open-space grant program.

Susan Craft, county land-use coordinator, said the county was seeking to purchase nine other properties.

If all the properties on its list are acquired, Burlington County will have preserved 1,851 acres in nine municipalities, most of which can be tied to the parks system, Craft said.

Haines said there were a limited number of undeveloped parcels along Rancocas Creek that the county could buy for parkland.

"By allocating these funds for the anticipated acquisition of creek-front property, we are ensuring that we are in a position to move quickly with purchases when the opportunities arise," he said.

The county has already preserved the 105-acre Olympia Lakes site in Willingboro and the 134-acre Pennington Farm in Delanco.

Freeholders have entered into an agreement to purchase the 130-acre Anderson Farm in Delran. They have also targeted Amico Island in Delran, Hawk Island in Delanco, and a portion of Holiday Lakes in Delanco.

Melanie D. Scott's e-mail address is

Officials glimpse waterfront's future Burlco freeholders and others cruised Rancocas Creek to view land they hope will be part of a park. "Pretty, isn't it?" one asked.

Posted: September 20, 2001

DELRAN — It was the picturesque view of the lush grass and towering trees hiding the bustling towns and highways that Vincent R. Farias liked to see and talk about.

"Pretty, isn't it?" the Burlington County freeholder director asked as he rode a boat up and down a portion of the Rancocas Creek. "You'd never think that you were driving through the most populated area of Burlington County."

Yesterday, Farias, three fellow freeholders and several other county officials got on the 39-foot boat to survey land that the county either owns or would like to as part of its future parks system.

The vision is to connect the waterfront properties and make them more accessible with hiking and bicycle trails.

So far, the county has purchased 1,300 acres along the Rancocas Creek, including the Pennington Farm in Delanco and the Anderson Farm in Delran. The properties that the county has its sights on include 125-acre Amico Island in Delran, which may cost nearly $1 million, Freeholder William S. Haines Jr. said.

Taking off from the Dredge Harbor in Delran and curving around Amico Island, the tour went under Route 130 and the new light-rail bridge; past Newton's Landing and Holiday Lakes in Delanco and Olympia Lakes in Willingboro; and all the way to the Anderson Farm.

"Today is an opportunity for the freeholders to see what the park system is going to look like," said Haines, who has been a strong supporter of preserving open space in the county.

Jeff Kerchner, the county parks director, said the freeholders had been "very fortunate" to acquire prime property along the creek.

"It's fabulous, quite frankly," Kerchner said of the view. "I'm very excited to see it from this water side. It's an extremely exciting opportunity to build a parks system from the ground up."

Farias said he did not cherish the thought of what the land would look like in five years without preservation.

"I suppose you'd be seeing housing development beginning and construction all around," he said. "You'd probably not see walking and biking trails and muskrats and all the other things nature gives us."

Freeholder Theresa Brown lives in Willingboro but said she had never been on the Rancocas in a boat. She brought her camera along.

"This is great," she said. "I think when we get it all done, the people are going to love it."

Leonard N. Fleming's e-mail address is

A lovely shade of green The strip-center-weary are reveling in new parkland.

Posted: May 01, 2005

On a recent 75-degree afternoon, John Tyira emerged from a woodsy trail on a previously off-limits Delaware River peninsula. He clutched an odd aluminum walking stick, wiped a perspiring brow, and grinned widely when he saw a visitor studying a colorful trail map posted on the bulletin board.

"I just love it here. What do you want to know about this place?" said Tyira, 79, a retired tractor-trailer driver who frequently hikes and fishes on the 55-acre peninsula, known as Amico Island, in Delran, his hometown.

John Woolan, 61, an accountant who also lives in Delran, bicycled by, swiftly disappearing down the dirt paths of the peninsula. The peninsula, named after its former owner, a sand and gravel company, sits at the confluence of the river and the Rancocas Creek, just off the Riverside Marina.

Last fall the Burlington County Board of Freeholders opened Amico Island Park to the public - one of several parcels that the county acquired in recent years expressly for open space. Two more new parks with hiking trails are scheduled to open soon in Hainesport and Eastampton.

The new open spaces, in Burlington as well as other counties, are inviting. Saved in many cases from the bulldozer, they form a patchwork quilt of green scattered along assorted waterways. They create an oasis from pavement, a place to hike, bird, fish, picnic or just enjoy nature.

In Gloucester County, Wenonah environmentalists have also been working feverishly to preserve open space. They are busy carving new trails out of a "ring of green" that nearly surrounds the one-square-mile borough, said Chuck Forsman, a township committeeman and former chairman of the borough's Environmental Commission.

In the last three years, three new trails have been carved out of woods that surround six crystal-clear lakes and ponds, Forsman said. There are now 5.9 miles of woodsy trails winding through the borough's open spaces.

Ambitious plans call for restoring the dried-up Synnott's Pond, now a silt-laden trickle, and creating even more woodsy paths for people to enjoy a retreat from the hustle-bustle of suburbia. The project is being funded through donations and seed money from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

"We have a herd of deer, two fox families, a coyote, turtles. . . . We have all kinds of wildlife here," Forsman said.

Ellen Hummel and Leah, her 3-year-old daughter, visited the Wenonah woods and Comey's Lake on a warm morning last week. They sat on a stone bench and gawked at the scenery. "This is beautiful. And it's so nice to have this so close to home," said Hummel, 39, of Wenonah.

Harry A. Schroeder, 90, appeared in the clearing after his hike. "I try to get out here every day," he said.

Back at Amico Island, Tyira said he too tried to hike the new trails every day. He recalled one morning when a deer family, including a six-point buck, dashed past him. Then there was the crane with the seemingly six-foot wingspan. And the 19-inch catfish he caught and released so that "someone else can have the fun of catching him."

"This island was made when they dredged the Delaware River. That's how this island was born," said Tyira, who has lived nearby for 50 years. Then it became the private property of Amico Sand & Gravel, which closed about 20 years ago.

Tyira recalled how in his younger days he would sneak onto the island to fish. He's thrilled that it is now public land and that the underbrush has been cleared to allow easier access.

"When Amico closed, there was a plan to build big condominiums on this island. The people fought it. Then, when the state got money, it acquired the island," Tyira said.

The county freeholders spent nearly two years clearing and preparing the peninsula for public use.

The tale was told and Tyira wandered home. Soon, Woolan was back. He had bicycled a loop around the peninsula, past its two freshwater ponds, its river vistas, its upland forests and meadows. "I just think it's a great thing to have this," he said, puffing. "It's a place where there are no strip shopping centers, traffic lights or jug handles. I used to bike through the streets, but to be here, so close to nature, is so nice."

Contact suburban staff writer Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or

Contact Information

Burlington County Parks system at 609-265-5858 or

Camden County Parks system at 856-795-7275 or

Gloucester County Parks at 856-468-0100 or

Wenonah Environmental Commission 856-468-5483 or 468-2934, or