Friday, May 09, 2014

Delran High School Class of 1994 Alum Articles

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 6, 1970
[Jason Pfeffer's father Fred and Uncles George and William]

Putting Prose In The Mouths Of His Students

Source: Posted: March 15, 1987

The guest speaker at the Cambridge School in Delran had a question for members of the fifth-grade class: What had they been doing just before he came in?

"Classwork," they said.

"Was anyone daydreaming?" asked the speaker.

A couple of hands went up, but most of the class kept silent. (These youngsters weren't born yesterday - more like 11 years ago.)

"I'm glad some of you were daydreaming," said the speaker. "And now you can turn the switch - the daydream switch. You can daydream all through what I'm doing."

This was not an ordinary speaker, the children were discovering. He was a poet.

Daniel Lusk, 42, is part of the poet-in-residence program. He was hired, using money from a state grant, to teach at the school for a week and to help pupils love words. By the end of the week, the children's poems were due to be published.

Lusk began with alliteration.

Devin Marden, 10, took up the lesson with gusto, reciting "The Soup That Sounds Silly."

Devin's work, in homage to the letter S, goes: "Soup sounds so slurpy on a spoon, so I suggest soup should not be sold at a supermarket because it sounds so sloppy. Soup sits staying up, so don't be silly. Soup can't stay sitting up so long or the soup should go stale."

After a few alliteration exercises, the students were working on actual poetry.

Once they were warmed up, the fifth-graders were pumping out all manner of verse. Hulk Hogan was the muse that spawned one poem; the Phillies were the inspiration for another.

For Pat Duff, 11, the exercise meant recounting an unusual episode:

In the huge horizon

What did I see?

A fat funny man

Looking down at me.

So I said, would you please move?

He said, "Shut up, before I sit on you."

I said try it, you fat, funny man.

So he tried it. So I tripped him."

While they scribbled away, Lusk quietly paced the aisles, sprinkling soft- spoken words of encouragement.

"Why not?" he said to Richard Gibson, when the 11-year-old balked at a line. "Who said you have to make sense?"

If Lusk had any message, it was that: The poems didn't have to make sense.

"You're ridiculous," he told the class after a round of reading out loud. ''And you know that. And I'm glad. And you know that, too."

Grownup poets can be a lot like children, Lusk told the class.

"I know how it feels when you first finish something and just don't want to read it," said Lusk.

Jimmy Haines, 11, knew how it felt, too, at least judging from the hearty, ''No way!" that he bellowed when asked to read his poem, "The Blue Moonlight."

Yet a few moments later, Jimmy reconsidered and read.

The lake's water was bright

because the blue moonlight was

shining on it while

the stars twinkled in the light.

And the trees howled in the wind.

At the end of last week, Lusk was to have made up an anthology that would include poems the children had written during the week.

A Lambertville resident, Lusk, 47, has been participating in various poetry-in-residence programs for 15 years. He also does the newsletters and other publications for the Solebury School in New Hope, Pa.

He's written two small volumes of poetry, Wild Onions and Doors, as well as a novel, O, Rosie, and a book called Homemade Poems, which tells teachers how to use poetry in the classroom.

"Most of their schoolwork teaches them (pupils) to think reasonably, to learn correctly, to remember right answers," he said. "So what I'm really trying to do is get them to use the other part of their brain, so they can work more intuitively and so they learn how to invent."

He said he wanted students to develop their sense of music and language, so they could learn to love words.

Lusk said he was especially taken with some of the children's poetry.

Second-grader Jennifer Christopoulus' poem was a standout, Lusk said.

The music is coming from a cemetery, and people are singing a song.

The name of the song is goodbye.

In fact, said Lusk, the quality of some of the young poets' work came as a revelation to their teachers.

"I had a workshop with teachers," he said. "They were surprised at the people I picked to read, because those were the kids who don't do well with language arts. And yet they were the best poets in the class."

For Coach, Soccer Not Just For Kicks

Source: Posted: July 05, 1987

By the time Cris Errazuriz arrived, all the players had donned their jerseys and soccer shoes. They were ready to go to work.

Errazuriz wasted no time removing soccer equipment from the trunk of his car. He nodded toward his assistant coaches, Jim Garvey of Cinnaminson and Larry Urwiler of Delran, and his manager, Chuck Harrison of Delran.

"We're going to use the nets," Errazuriz announced.

Without a word, the men grabbed the bulky nets and trudged toward the goals to pull and stretch them into place.

The scene took place two weeks ago at a field owned by the New Jersey Public Service Electric and Gas Co. It's about 1,000 yards from the Delaware River in Burlington Township where two soccer teams, the Avengers 71s and the Avengers 75s, practice soccer nine months out of the year.

The field is well manicured even though it is engulfed by 10 towers supporting electric cables and signs that read, "Danger, High Voltage," while other signs caution, "Use Fields at Your Own Risk."

"The PSE&G people have been good to us," Errazuriz said. "They keep the grass mowed and the field cleared. I don't know what we would do without their help."

Errazuriz, 40, is in his third year as the Avengers' head coach. The Cherry Hill resident organized the club for serious, no-nonsense soccer players willing to give up such diversions as baseball, basketball and football. The Avengers is a year-round commitment, each team playing 120 games a year, not including out-of-state tournaments.

"Since we haven't been able to get a sponsor, each youngster must pay about $3,000 in expenses during the year," Errazuriz said.

As the nets were being stretched into place, Errazuriz strolled to the middle of the playing field. He paused and smiled.

"OK, everybody over," he said, simply.

There was no shouting, no yelling. Yet, there was an immediate response. Thirty athletes stampeded within seconds to surround the 6-foot-2 Errazuriz.

Sandi Camper of Willingboro stood on the sidelines and shook her head. Her 12-year-old son, Keith, plays on the Avengers 75s.

"I call him the eighth wonder of the world," she said, gesturing toward Errazuriz. "Such a remarkable soccer coach. Such a remarkable man. Tough. Firm. Yet gentle. They love that man like a father."

Another mother, Barbara Harrison of Delran, nodded in agreement.

Both of her sons, Gregory, 12, and Kevin, 16, are on the Avengers.

"He treats everyone the same," Harrison said. "If his own boys get out of line, he will scold them in the same manner as any other boy.

"But he is always quick to come back with praise, a loving concern. The boys all know that he is dedicated to them."

Beverly Molinaro of Cherry Hill, whose 12-year-old son, Joe, also plays for the Avengers, attempted to explain Errazuriz's relationship with his players.

"He knows when to be tough," she said. "But he has the kind of charisma and gentleness that his toughness never hurts anyone . . . the boys know he means business and that's enough."

The Avengers 71s, comprised of players who were born in 1971, won the 16- year-old New Jersey championship in May, defeating Hamilton, 3-0. The Avengers 75s, comprised of players who were born in 1975, won the 12-year-old state championship last November, defeating Green Tree, 5-0.

Such a double championship for South Jersey in soccer is unprecedented. Through the years, such North Jersey clubs as Union, Neptune and Mount Clair have dominated the state soccer playoffs. But not so this year.

In a sense, Craig Errazuriz, 12, and Cris Errazuriz, 16, both members of the Avengers, are responsible for encouraging their father's return to the sport of his childhood.

During the 1940s when the elder Cris Errazuriz was growing up in Santiago, Chile, he said his thoughts and activities were dominated by soccer.

"It's comparable to your own baseball here," Errazuriz said. "I remember going to the stadium every Friday, Saturday and Sunday to watch doubleheaders. Then, I'd go out and play soccer. Just like kids here play stickball."

When Errazuriz was 18 years old, however, he had an opportunity to attend the University of Texas at El Paso on an athletic scholarship. The scholarship was not for soccer because the university did not offer the sport at that time. The scholarship was in track and field because Errazuriz had distinguished himself in the high jump.

"I had a big decision to make and my education was riding on it, so I knew I would have to forget about soccer for a while," Errazuriz said.

In his sophomore year at the University of Texas at El Paso, Errazuriz cleared 7 feet in the high jump, the first athlete from South America to do so. In fact, Errazuriz's 1962 effort stood as a South American record 11 years, although he would never again equal his best jump.

Errazuriz briefed his players on upcoming scrimmages and practices. He warned them that there is a lot of hard work ahead of them before they compete in the regional soccer championships in their respective age divisions at Amherst, Mass., July 10-12.

At Amherst, five age divisions from 14 states will compete in the U.S. Youth Soccer Association's Eastern Regional Championships. Winners will advance to the national championships in St. Louis, July 25-26.

Errazuriz said the Avengers have a chance. He said his teams have the talent. The Avengers, for example, recently placed four players - Lance Beiker of Delran, Dan Beaney of Cherry Hill, Jeff Zaun of Medford Lakes and Errazuriz's oldest son, Cris - on the USA Team East, candidates for the U.S. Olympic team.

"We need a lot of hard work," Errazuriz said. "But my kids are tough. Disciplined. They know how to work. That's what it takes."

With A Pool, Life Goes Swimmingly

Source: Posted: August 16, 1989

Mark and Irene Recuber of Evesham expected their children to clock a lot of hours with the family's latest recreational toy, but the youngsters have spent so much time splashing around in the new back-yard swimming pool that they threaten to mutate into amphibians.

How bad is it?

"We come out once a night and sprinkle food over the pool and the kids come up and bob for it," Mark Recuber said last week, his exaggeration summing up how a new swimming pool can affect a family.

Economic indicators may dip and climb, but when Mom, Dad and the gang get swimming pool fever, all systems are go, especially when the summer sun begins bearing down. Backyard pools are part of what some have described as "the American dream."

"It's a big decision but once they've made it, as long as financing is available, they will get one," said pool builder Charles Ragonese. "A lot of people hem and haw but . . . they will get it. They like to swim, they always want to be around water and the shore is a turnoff for them."

Raymond S. and Pat Zebrowski of Delran are on their third pool.

The last one expired after 13 years in place at their Montclair Drive home, Raymond Zebrowski said, and even though their children are 24, 23, 21 and 20, they're still at home and still enjoy a dip.

People don't buy swimming pools on a whim, and usually there are well- considered reasons for taking a plunge that can cost more than $16,000. .

The Recubers, for example, put in a 14-by-26-foot pool "because we were fighting over the lounge chairs at our swim club," Mark Recuber said. He works late, "and every time I got there, there was no place to lay down except the worst places."

With a solar cover, he can crank up the thermometer in his backyard pool to 85 degrees many days. Sons Tim, 11, and Nick, 8, "will swim in ice water, but I won't go in if it's not 80 degrees."

Actually, Mark Recuber wanted a hot tub, but was outvoted by his wife and children.

"But," he said, "I'm happy with the pool," which arrived at the family's Kingsley Avenue home by crane in a one-piece fiberglass shell. "The kids can bring their friends. We'd rather have our kids in our back yard watching them than not knowing where they are. When they're teenagers, hopefully they'll have parties here and I can watch them."

When Bob Keeler of Medford bought a home on Lexington Court, "One of the drawing cards was that it was so close to the shore," he said. "We're only 20 miles from Long Beach Island."

Pleasant memories of growing up in North Jersey and having fun in the surf motivated the purchase of a Jersey home instead of one in Pennsylvania, but Keeler and his wife, Debbie, and children Doug, 16, and Melissa, 9, hadn't been back from the Midwest long when medical waste hit the beaches. That was it. They ordered a free-form, in-ground pool, and have been using it since July 1988.

Moving from Willingboro to Delran was traumatic for the older son of George W. and Joan Ward, who live on Rutgers Drive.

"Willingboro had community pools and our 13-year-old was used to swimming. When we moved to Delran, they had no community pools and we thought joining a swim club was very expensive," said Joan Ward, mother of George 3d and Joseph, 4.

"We moved here two years ago and that first year we really missed a pool," she said. "A couple of times George went swimming with a friend who belongs to a swim club," but otherwise he was high and dry.

Even though Joan Ward is no big swimmer - "I don't like the cold water," she said - this spring they sprung for an above-ground pool, their first, and son George uses it once, twice, three times a day.

For David J. and Madelyn McGuire's family, a new pool met social needs.

"We live in Mount Laurel and we like to socialize," said Madelyn McGuire, ''but we don't have access to any town pools and there are no lakes in the area. The closest public lake is 45 minutes away. So my husband said if we had a pool, we would be able to have our friends and guests over, and it would be very good for our children."

The McGuires' move in 1986 to Knotty Oak Drive persuaded them to install a pool. Since 1980, they had lived in a townhouse complex that had a pool.

Now, with a pool of their own, their children, Lauren, 8, and Ashley, 5, can swim at all hours.

"I allow my girls to play in the shallow end while I am in the family room and breakfast area, which looks out on the pool, and I can get to them very quickly from there," Madelyn McGuire said.

For the adults, it quickly became Club Med McGuire.

"We have had company every . . . weekend" since the pool opened July 21, Madelyn McGuire said. Last week, "I said to my husband - enough. And we took a break."

For two years, Anthony Dydek of Delanco rented a plot of ground at the shore and hauled his trailer there for family recreation. He even considered buying a place at the shore.

"But too much stuff comes up, birthday parties and so forth, and I said to my daughter, let's get in the car and go get a pool," he recalled.

Jackie, 5, was all for it. She told her father, "Let's get one that fits in the car and go right home."

Her dad and mother, Susan, who live on Magnolia Lane, had something a little more substantial in mind, however, and for the last three weeks they've been swimming in their in-ground pool.

They went for in-ground "because you can't see into the above-ground as easily" to determine if someone is in trouble, Anthony Dydek said. "With the in-ground, you can look right out the window and see if somebody has fallen in." That's important to him because he witnessed a pool tragedy years ago. ''I'm not crazy over pools that aren't watched," he said.

The Genzanos of Third Street in Riverside decided they had enough know-how and handy relatives to do it themselves.

"My husband installed it himself," said Sandra Genzano, "and he had never done one before." Pete Genzano is a contractor. And a lot of cousins pitched in.

"All my life I wanted a pool," Sandra Genzano said. "It was my dream. I've been swimming since I was 2. My family belonged to Riverdel Swim Club and my mom loved the water."

When he lived in Philadelphia's Mount Airy section, Frank M. Woods didn't have enough room for a pool, but that changed when he and his wife, Sharon, and daughter, Monique, 10, moved to Haines Mill Road in Delran a year ago.

Father and daughter are the aquaphiles and have been enjoying the pool for almost a month. A rainy spring stretched what was to have been a 10-day construction project into two months and turned their yard into muck and mire, a common complaint among pool buyers this year.

For years, June Hamblin of Larchmont Drive in Delanco owned a pool, then five years ago she had it removed.

"In the old days I was in it constantly," she said, but now she's disabled. Still, the family decided to put in a new pool this year. The principal users are her son and daughter-in-law, Ernie and Marlene Hamblin, who live with her.

"They really wanted a pool and . . . it gives me something to do to break the monotony," she said. She uses the whirlpool in the shallow end.

Besides, "I found that I did miss it. I'm a Pisces. I just have to know water is there."

'Babies' Of Zurbrugg Hospital Celebrate Their Common Bond

Source: Posted: June 13, 1990

When Frances Collins rose to be introduced at Zurbrugg Hospital's 75th anniversary celebration - held under a tent in the hospital parking lot last Wednesday - she looked as if she could win, hands down, as the slimmest, trimmest woman ever to bear 19 children.

Collins, of Cinnaminson, was there because the anniversary was pegged to a Zurbrugg babies birthday reunion theme. All those born at the hospital from its inception in 1915 were invited, and more than 500 "babies," relatives and friends showed up to chomp on chicken wings and cake and cheer a program emceed by Channel 3 news correspondent Dick Sheeran of Delran.

No one knows for sure how many babies came into the world at Zurbrugg, but Dr. Alan Schaefer estimated that he delivered at least 5,000 himself.

Sixteen of Collins' children were born at Zurbrugg from 1954 to 1973, before the hospital closed its maternity ward after 1975.

And before you ask, here are some answers:

The children are named Denise, Charles Jr., Cynthia, Valerie, Cheryl, William, Lisa, Barbara, Brenda, Sandy, Frances, Andre, Gerry, Dana, Phillip, Jason, Aaron, Heather and Christine.

"No, we didn't have trouble coming up with names," Collins said.

Her daughters dislike having their ages bandied about, but Collins said her eldest son was 34. The baby of the babies, Christine, is 11.

Collins, 54, and her husband, Charles A. Collins, 60, a self-employed paperhanger, have reason to be proud of their progeny.

"We've had 11 college graduates," said Frances Collins, and the family is in the middle of a football dynasty.

Andre, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound Penn State linebacker and co-captain, was drafted in the second round by the National Football League's Washington Redskins this spring after being named a first-team All-American by the U.S. Football Writers Association. Gerry, a running back, has two years left at Penn State; Phillip, a wide receiver at Cinnaminson High School, is going to Penn State, too, and Jason and Aaron both play for Cinnaminson.

Frances Collins and five others received special plaques denoting their uniqueness among those who attended the Zurbrugg anniversary celebration.

Collins won the "Most Frequent Zurbrugg Mother" award.

As the oldest Zurbrugg baby to attend, Dr. John Rogers of Riverton was named "most seasoned baby." Rogers was born Jan. 22, 1921, in the original hospital building, the former mansion of industrialist Theophilus Zurbrugg.

David and Deborah Richmann of Edgewater Park received the "married Zurbrugg babies" award. They were born within three days of one another at Zurbrugg, grew up, met, married and have a set of 5-year-old twins. David works in the Zurbrugg maintenance department.

Jennifer Edwards of Delran was "most recent" baby. A Chester Avenue Middle School student, she was born May 19, 1975, one of the last born at the hospital.

Peg Hansen of Delran was "Zurbrugg birthday baby" because last Wednesday was her birthday. She's a mammography technician with the Center for Women and Health at Zurbrugg, and her four children were born at the hospital.

Parents Push For More Buses

Source: Posted: December 02, 1990

On most afternoons when school is in session, Suzanne Brooks climbs into her van and travels to the Delran schools to pick up two of her three children, usually collecting five others in her car pool. Often, she picks up more.

Even though Brooks is one of five families participating in the car pool, she is the only parent in the group who has time to drive children home after school. The rest of the parents, like Louise Puglise, are at work.

It's an arrangement that Brooks and Puglise say would not be necessary if the school system better responded to the changing work habits of Delran's families and increased the number of children eligible for busing.

"The days of June Cleaver are over," said Puglise, a single mother of three who works for an advertising agency in Philadelphia. "Today, one of four or one of three families in Delran are single-parent homes."

To pressure school officials for a response, Brooks and Puglise presented the school board a 444-signature petition at its last meeting asking the school district to increase busing. Their requests are for a bus to drive children home after their afternoon activities and for the board to lower eligibility requirements for children to qualify for busing.

State regulations require the Delran system to provide busing for every elementary and middle school student who lives more than two miles from school, and for every high school student more than 2 1/2 miles away.

Brooks and Puglise would like busing for children who live 1 1/2 miles away.

The school board said that since the meeting, it had identified some inefficiencies in bus routes that might allow for a bus following after-school activities.

But officials say that their biggest obstacle to providing more busing is in finding more money - a difficult proposition in a township that voted down last year's proposed school board budget because of its highertaxes. "We've tried to get a (bus following after-school activities) for the last few years," said school board member Kathleen "Bunny" Hewko. "Then we got our budget defeated."

The Delran schools meet state requirements for busing and exceed the state regulations for children who must cross dangerous roads such as U.S. 130, Hartford Road or Creek Road on their way to school. The school board buses parochial school students in the same way.

"Only about 18 percent of the kids we bus are required under state guidelines," said Joseph Picogna, business administrator for the school board. "The local public is picking up the tab for 82 percent of the transportation."

Picogna said that the board did not have enough money in its current budget to provide busing for children living more than 1 1/2 miles from school, but that it might be able to streamline morning routes to allow a bus to take children home following after-school activities.

For instance, six buses are now needed to serve Delran High School in the morning, but officials are trying to consolidate the routes to four.

The board must work with a restriction in the drivers' contract that permits no more than 3 1/2 hours of actual driving time in a day per driver. To provide additional service would require more money, either in overtime or by hiring more drivers - money that Picogna said the schools did not have this year.

Puglise, however, said that the dangers presented by Delran's increasingly crowded roads were another reason for added busing. "There are no more country roads," she said. "We're looking at secondary highways."

Both Puglise and Brooks credit the board for responding to their requests, even if they say they are doubtful that anything will change this year. "In the past, people have come in and made their request on a singular level," Brooks said.

"This is the first time the community has come together and said that this is a strain on us."

Riverside Sisters Turn Family Ties Into Team Wins

Source: Posted: April 23, 1991

In his 13 years as softball coach at Riverside High, Harry Johnstone had fielded his share of competitive teams, but never one that could challenge for a Burlington County League Freedom Division championship.

Some good fortune has changed that this season.

When Johnstone gathered his team for preseason practice, he noticed four newcomers who had the same last name. They were sisters Aimee, Audrie, Jodie and Mindy Powell, who had transferred from Delran and brought a new attitude to the team at Riverside.

"The Powells are competitive," Johnstone said. "They love to win, and it's rubbing off on the other players."

With the Powells and Nancy Asay leading the way, Riverside has won seven of its last eight games to bring its record to 8-2 and already has clinched its first playoff berth since 1988. The Rams have outscored the opposition 142-55.

Aimee Powell, a junior, is the Rams' ace pitcher, with a 6-2 record while batting .333. Audrie Powell, Aimee's twin, plays first base and is hitting .612. Jodie Powell, a sophomore second baseman, is batting .645, and freshman catcher Mindy Powell is hitting .222 in her first year of varsity play. Asay, the Rams' third baseman, has a batting average of .515. Jodie Powell bats second in front of Asay (third), Audrie (fourth), Aimee (fifth) and Mindy (eighth).

Riverside returned nine letter winners from last year's 8-14 team, but Johnstone said he hadn't been expecting a whole lot. Until he added the Powells to the mix.

"Realistically, we would have just tried to make the playoffs, but it would have been a struggle," Johnstone said. "But the Powells came, and they were a complete surprise. They didn't play at Delran last year, so I didn't have any information on them. They can hit and field, and they have softball savvy."

Riverside, 5-1 in the league, trails Northern Burlington (6-0) and Florence (5-0). The Rams dropped a 3-2 decision to Northern but will play the Greyhounds again. Riverside has two meetings scheduled with Florence.

"This is the first shot we've really had" at the league title, Johnstone said. "I feel we can play even with Florence and Northern. We have worked to be better, and it's showing. We just hope the good things continue, and we're looking for good things in the playoffs. It's a matter of keeping our momentum going."

Burlco's First Family Of Politics

Source: Posted: May 16, 1991

Blame it on John F. Kennedy.

Satisfied with his status as a Republican, Dennis Foy was living and working happily in Burlington Township when Kennedy, who was to become the first Irish Catholic president, announced his candidacy.

That did it.

Dennis Foy, a loyal son of the Old Sod, changed his allegiance and his registration, declared himself a Democrat, and spawned what has become the county's most prolific family of officeholders - the Foys.

As a result of that 1960 flip-flop, Burlington County today is served by three elected officials who are all children of the late Dennis and Sarah Foy - State Sen. Thomas P. Foy, Burlington Township Mayor Joseph D. Foy and Delran Township Council President Mary Ann Foy-Rivell.

Democrats all, and as outgoing and gregarious a bunch as you would want to meet. Pretty charismatic at the ballot box, too.

"It is kind of unusual that three of us have had successful careers," said Tom, an attorney by profession but a hail-fellow-well-met by genetic coding. "We always had a strong commitment to public service."

His father, Tom said, "was a great source of inspiration. He was an electrician by trade. We were working class people. The children of immigrants who came up the hard way. . . . My father's grandfather came over from County Sligo; my mother's father came from Italy - actually Messina, in Sicily."

Dennis Foy's enthusiasm over his newfound loyalty infected his children, Tom as much as any of them.

"My father was an Irish Catholic and Kennedy was an inspiration to him, and it got us all enthused and excited," Tom said. "The bug bit me and it's been with me ever since.

"I came up through the ranks, the traditional stuff, putting up signs, bumper stickers, stuffing envelopes, anything to help out the party."

Not even the folks on his newspaper route were safe. When he handed out the papers, he also profferred political fliers.

"I was president of the County Young Democrats as a teenager, at 15 or 16," he said.

Even marriage conspired to catch up Tom in politics. He married Jamie Mullin, daughter of the late Joe Mullin, who was the mayor of Willingboro back in those fleeting months when it was known as Levittown, and they have produced two children who probably think everyone's mother or father holds government office.

Actually, it was Joe Foy who was the first to be elected to office, winning a council seat in Burlington Township on his second try, in 1969, only to be swept right back out in the Nixon landslide of 1972. Then came Watergate, which put Joe and a slate of six Democratic council candidates right back into office.

In the rest of that decade, he left the council briefly in anticipation of an employment move that never happened, then played council musical chairs with Tom until Tom moved on. Later still, Joe, who had been heading the council as president, more or less permanently took up the new post of mayor, in which he is now serving his ninth year - with three more to go.

Mary Ann started later than any of them, but that was because the Holy Cross High School graduate was rearing three children and did not move to Delran until 1976.

Now 47, she plunged right into Delran politics that Bicentennial year, becoming a member of the Delran county committee, then municipal chairwoman. She tried to impress on others that, if asked, they had an obligation to serve. In 1984, when they asked her to run for council, her only consideration was "the time it would take to campaign. I didn't aspire to be on council. There was a vacancy, and my county committee asked me to run."

She ran on a slate that promised change and was elected handily to a four- year term. In 1988, when she ran a second time, no one even filed to oppose her. She was elected by fellow council members to the rotating one-year position of council president for the first time in 1987 and again last year; her current term expires June 30.

She has a rare gift of detachment that serves her well.

"I don't think that because somebody is happy with a decision I make that they are personally happy with me. I don't take a win personally, but I don't take a loss personally. I hope people find me receptive to what they think. I try to pay close attention to what they're saying - to be sure to represent them and not myself. It's important to know what people want instead of what I want."

Nor does she espouse confrontation.

She learned negotiation from Tom and Joe, she said. "I think they are very willing to compromise. Tommy said something once to our council when we were trying to decide what to do. He said, 'I always hate to back somebody into a corner unless it's one of their own making. You always come further if you're able to work something out.' Sure, you can go for the jugular, but you should weigh the greater good. You get more results if two people cooperate rather than if one person wins."

Mary Ann has no higher political aspirations.

"This is enough work," she said.

However, who knows where Tom's ambitions may lead?

He turned 40 on March 13, exactly three months after being appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Cathy Costa, and has an impressive resume.

From Burlington Township High School, he went to Duke University, graduating magna cum laude in political science and earning a fellowship to seek his master's degree.

"I did the course work, but never wrote the thesis because my father passed away and I left school to go to work because I was broke," he said.

Democrat Brendan Byrne had just been elected governor, and Tom got an appointment as special assistant to the commissioner in the Department of Labor.

"I was always interested in becoming an attorney," Tom said, and he enrolled at Rutgers University's law school in Camden.

Appointed to fill Joe's Burlington Township Council seat when Joe resigned in 1975, Tom won another term on his own, but by 1977, he had passed the bar. He resigned his seat, and Joe, by now back on council as president, appointed Tom municipal prosecutor and, later, administrative solicitor.

They got a lot of static over that, Joe said, but he was trying something new and "the concept worked. Instead of having a lawyer charge for every hour, I put them on salary and I was able to keep a handle on costs." They even carried over the idea into another department. "We were the first community in the county to have our own engineer," Joe said.

Tom also would bristle at the suggestion of anything improper about his appointment.

"I am very scrupulous," said the senator. "My integrity is very important. My life is an open book. People are willing to examine it as they see fit."

His response to insinuations of nepotism was, "Who is (Joe) supposed to appoint? I am competent. Wouldn't you appoint your friends, family if you could?" Tom himself appointed Mary Ann as his principal aide and said, "I challenge any member of the legislature to show me a more competent administrative assistant than my sister. And please quote me on this. It's mind over matter. Those who mind don't matter. Those who matter don't mind."

Tom was elected a state Democratic committeeman in 1981 and won his first term to the state Assembly in 1983, representing the Seventh District (13 lower Burlington County communities and Pennsauken). He served in the Assemby until his Senate appointment.

In 1990, Tom left private practice after 13 years, the last 10 with the firm of Schlesinger, Schlosser & Foy, to become vice president of a multinational firm and a collector of frequent-flyer points.

Since joining Hill International Inc., the construction and management/ consulting company with headquarters in Willingboro, he has endured prolonged absences from his Burlington Township home.

"I'm basically responsible for major, worldwide and national sales," he said, "and I schedule my travel when the legislature is in recess," which is six weeks in April-May and July-August. "That means the six weeks we are out of session, I'm usually on the road half that time." His wife, he said, ''takes care of the kids and manages me. Logistically, I don't live at home, I light at home, like a fly."

The Foys have traditionally been involved with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 269. Sister Catherine, who lives in Delran with Mary Ann, is the only nonpolitical member of the tribe. Catherine is an electrician, as was Joe; Tom was a unionist, too, but it was with the Laborers International Union of North America.

"I worked as a construction laborer in high school and college," he said. ''I joined in 1968. I'm a 23-year member of Local 369 in Trenton." He still pays his dues and keeps his union card because, he joked, "You never know when this business is going to get slow."

It has already gotten slow for Joe, who turned 52 yesterday.

His employer, MMR Foley, an electrical construction company in Philadelphia, went bust.

It's the second time the company left him up in the air, so to speak.

"I left council in 1975 for about 1 1/2 years because I thought I was going to Alaska to work for my company. We had subscribed to newspapers, we had catalogues coming, we had arranged for friends to ship us things. My kids were all charged up. My guys are hunters," he said, and were fantasizing about riding sleds and hunting moose and all that other manly northern stuff.

"We never went. My company thought it had the job, but a California company came in and took over the entire project. It never materialized."

Not that he has not had a good ride.

As a newly minted Trenton Catholic High graduate in 1956, he began a five- year electrician's apprenticeship that launched an occupational climb that took him to positions of vice president and regional manager with MMR Foley.

"I still have my tools around," he said. "I'm not letting them get rusty. Like bike riding, you don't forget."

Joe and his wife, Carol, who have reared four children, share ownership with Tom of a liquor store in Burlington City, so the wolf is not exactly at the door.

Besides, he could get good references from the National Guard. He joined at 17 and was active for 32 years, getting a commission in 1964. He attended infantry, armored, command and staff schools and rose to lieutenant colonel.

Both brothers are given to expressing themselves colorfully. Joe describes relaxation time at the Shore, where he and Tom both have homes, as "Hey, you" time.

"We go down there all throughout the year," said Joe, "and it's just 'Hey, you, do this.' 'Hey, you, do that.' "

When grandchildren must be chauffeured to a sports event, he says, "I do windshield time."

Two qualities characterize the Foys, Tom said.

"We are willing to work hard - we dedicate lots of hours we could be spending on other pursuits to public life - and we're among the people, not above the people."

Tom is probably the best at putting names with faces, a great gift for an elected official.

"I try to do a good job with it," he said. "I've always had a good memory and an ability to recognize people. I'm a people-oriented person. If there's a key to my success, it's that I'm not pretentious." Despite his success, he said, "I'm the same guy everybody knew the day before."

Delran Wins Sectional Duff Brothers Lead Wrestlers

Source: Posted: February 21, 1992

For most of the season, Delran High sophomore Pat Duff has wrestled in the shadow of his heavyweight brother.

Last night, both Pat and Bill Duff played major roles in the Bears' 30-19 victory over visiting Buena for the South Jersey Group 2 championship.

Pat Duff, who entered the match with an 8-12-1 record, pinned Bruce Hall in the second period at 145 pounds in the most significant bout of the evening. Then junior Bill Duff clinched the championship with a pin in the first period at heavyweight to improve his record to 24-0.

It is the second sectional championship for Delran, which also won the South Jersey Group 2 title in 1986. The Bears, No. 8 in The Inquirer's South Jersey ratings and the top-seeded Group 2 team in South Jersey, improved to 18-2. They will wrestle in tomorrow's sectional semifinals at North Jersey II champion Jefferson. Central Jersey champion Somerville and North Jersey I champion Garfield will also be in the field. No. 4-rated Buena, which was seeded second in South Jersey Group 2 and used just three seniors, finished its dual-meet season 17-3.

Pat Duff appeared to be the underdog against Hall, who entered the bout with an 11-4 record. Clinging to a 9-8 lead early in the second period, Duff reversed Hall, got him in a headlock, and pinned him, giving Delran a 21-9 lead.

"I think he saw my record and maybe didn't take me as seriously," said Pat Duff. "He was really strong and I knew he was coming out there to pin me."

Duff's record is a bit deceptive. He competed at 160, while weighing 148, early in the season against wrestlers from state powers Phillipsburg and Brick Memorial. He had confidence entering last night's bout and got extra incentive from his brother.

"Bill told me to wrestle smart and don't get pinned," said Pat, smiling.

He also said it is OK that Bill has received most of the accolades.

"I don't mind that Bill has gotten a lot of the attention," said Pat. ''He deserves it. He is undefeated and he is older."

Delran, which won seven and tied one of the 13 bouts, got rolling with a 5-0 decision at 103 by Brett Matter (21-3) over Paul Castellini (19-3).

After Buena won the next two, Delran tied the score at 7 when Josh Lashley (18-3-3) won a 15-5 decision.

Delran's other victories were decisions by Mark Christensen at 130, Clint Matter at 135 and Brian Hamlet (24-0) at 160.

Buena freshman Bob Hanson, at 112, and senior Ron Roberts, at 189, remained unbeaten. Hanson is 22-0 after a hard-fought 8-6 win over Greg Harrison (16-7-1). Roberts scored a 15-4 major decision over Scott Barber (16-7) to improve to 20-0.

Delran definitely wrestled better than we did," said Buena coach Doug Castellari. "Delran is very physical, very tough. We're very young and feel that we can be better next year."

At 69, Pemberton Twp. Woman Has A Commanding Presence

Source: Posted: April 11, 1993

Violet Mack is no land baron, but her fondest memory of the last year has to do with acquiring a piece of property.

The Pemberton Township resident, 69 and a great-grandmother, completed in March a one-year term as commander of the Disabled American Veterans' Burlington County Chapter 27 - the first woman ever elected to that post.

The chapter, which meets at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6805 in Browns

Mills, had tried for years to acquire land to build itself a home. During Mack's tenure, the township finally sold the chapter about three acres for $1.

"The fact that I was able to be a part of a 17-year search (for) a piece of land to eventually build a home on" was the highlight of her tenure, said Mack.

Township Mayor T.C. Kay credited Mack's persistence for the land deal. Mack credits her building and land committee. "I just got the right people to work with me," she said.

Leading the post, she said, "was quite an experience. It was very enlightening. I felt like a queen (as the) first female to have all these men under me."

Among her duties, she appointed committees to handle various projects and fielded phone calls from people in distress.

No female member before her had run for commander, she said. A past commander, Arthur Jackson, and other men in the group encouraged her to seek the position. "We were long overdue," said Jackson, who left the Army as a sergeant first class.

"She was one of the better ones," said her successor, Leroy Wilkins Sr., who left the Air Force as a captain.

Mack became post commander after holding several other chapter positions. She was chaplain for five years, then second junior vice commander, first junior vice commander, and senior vice commander.

While members generally move up through the ranks, the positions are all elected. "It's not just automatic (that) you move up. You just hope you do," Mack said.

The Browns Mills chapter has close to 900 members from around the corner and around the world, Mack said. About 40 to 50 show up for the monthly meetings.

The veterans group is open to men and women who have service-related disabilities or Purple Hearts.

Mack joined the Women's Army Corps in 1944. She had graduated from Palmyra High School and received some nursing training at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.

In the WACs, she trained at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., before being sent to Valley Forge General Hospital in Phoenixville, Pa., to work as a medical- surgical technician.

From there, she went to Camp Lee, Va., where she again worked as a technician. A corporal, she received a medical discharge after injuring her back at Camp Lee.

After the service, Mack attended the Franklin School of Science and Arts in Philadelphia, where she studied to be a medical lab technician and medical secretary.

Since then, she has held a number of jobs in the medical field, including phlebotomist on both sides of the Delaware River. From 1976 to 1992, she conducted insurance physicals in homes and offices for a Haddonfield firm.

As for the future, Mack plans to stay active in the DAV. She is also involved in First United Presbyterian Church in Medford and is a champion bowler.

Still, she misses her commander's post. "I wished I was still doing it, really," she said. "I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the fact I was accepted by all these men."


David Bigge hopes to talk his way into a college education.

Bigge, 16, a junior at Delran High School, won the state American Legion National High School Oratorical Contest - and a $4,000 college scholarship with it - in February.

"You had to speak on the United States Constitution, paying special attention to obligations of the average citizen," said Bigge, of Delran. "I spoke specifically on the First Amendment - specifically, freedom of press and freedom of speech. I felt that we had the responsibility to protect those rights, and also we had the responsibility to assert them."

Bigge made it to the state level after winning the round sponsored by Riverside American Legion Post 146, then the county and district levels. He will travel to the regional competition April 19 in Binghamton, N.Y. If he wins there, he would qualify for the sectional stage of the contest the same day in Dover, N.H. There, he could qualify for the national level April 23 in Cary, N.C.

"I'm not looking too far ahead," said Bigge.

His speech for the state level ran 9 1/2 minutes. He had to memorize it and could not use a podium or props.

"You have no idea who the judges are," he said. "You just speak to the audience and hope that your judges like you."

Bigge completely rewrote the last paragraph backstage, said George Bozarth, past commander of American Legion Post 146 in Riverside.

"This boy is fantastic," he said. "He had it all in his head when he came out on the stage."

Bigge said he was "not totally comfortable with public speaking." One thing that helped him gain confidence in the months before the contest was rehearsing the role of Sir Lancelot in a school production of Camelot and participating in advance-placement history class.

Bigge is also the editorial-page editor for his school newspaper; a varsity swimmer; the school band drum major, and a member of the National Honor Society, chorus, jazz and concert bands, and mock trial and debate team. He is an honor roll student.

"He's an excellent student," Delran High School principal Michael Gallucci said. "We're very proud. He's a real Renaissance young man."

Bigge is planning to enter more competitions - including essay contests - to try to gain college financing.

His list of prospective colleges includes Rutgers University, the University of Virginia and several Ivy League schools.

Besides hoping to win more scholarship money, Bigge has begun to enjoy the competition.

"I have kind of caught a fever," he said.

Officer Got By With A Little Help From His Friends He Was Near Death Two Years Ago, Suffering From A Skin Disease. Now, He's Back On The Force.

Source: Posted: April 23, 1993

DELRAN — Russel Aitkens looked wondrously at his fingers, then wiggled them.

Months ago, he could barely cup his hand.

"By a miracle and the grace of God, things have turned around," Aitkens said, shaking his downturned head as though it doesn't all make sense. "I'm going to start a new life all over again."

There was a point about two years ago when Aitkens, an 18-year veteran of the Delran Police Department, nearly died of kidney failure as a result of scleroderma, a rare skin disease.

In November 1991, fellow officers organized a benefit to help pay his medical bills. A few months later, he and his wife sold their house in Tenby Chase and moved to an apartment because they weren't sure when the first Social Security disability check would arrive.

But in the Aitkens household, they no longer live on the edge. Aitkens, 48, has made a miraculous recovery, rising from the depths of a ravaging illness and accompanying depression.

The Township Council reviewed his medical reports on April 7 and voted unanimously to reinstate him as a Delran patrolman. He is scheduled to return June 1.

Aitkens first became ill in May 1990. A connective-tissue disease that affects 200,000 to 250,000 people, scleroderma thickens and hardens the skin and damages the lungs, heart, intestines and kidneys in its most serious forms.

The disease rarely affects children and is four times more likely to strike women than men. There is no known cure, only treatments.

When doctors diagnosed scleroderma in December 1990, Aitkens was close to kidney failure brought on by severe hypertension, his doctors said. He stayed on dialysis for six months.

"Probably the miraculous part is after six months, you think nothing much is going to happen, but it did," said his physician, James Burke, chief of nephrology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Over the last several months, Aitkens has regained his agility and can again wiggle his fingers, a skill most people take for granted.

News of Aitkens' recovery has rippled through the department, where Aitkens remains a well-liked officer.

"He's a good man," Chief Arthur Saul said. "Glad he's recovered. Everybody's waiting for his return."

Patrolman William Pfeffer can still envision Aitkens' deterioration and the hardening of the hands.

"Sometimes I would look at Russ and feel so sad," said Pfeffer, president of the 15-member Delran Patrolmen's Association. "Russ was always such a healthy-looking guy. It's just fantastic he's been able to recover."

The onset of the illness was a sudden loss of energy, which puzzled Aitkens, his wife, Barbara, and their two teenage children.

"We thought maybe because I was working so many hours it got progressively worse," Aitkens said during an interview Friday at his new home in Delran. ''I was working a day, off three, work two, off four. I was just exhausted.

"He was a workaholic, and that's what was so difficult to accept . . . going to an invalid," Barbara Aitkens said.

For half a year, six or seven doctors came up with as many diagnoses, including rare conditions such as Lyme disease and lupus and the more common mononucleosis.

When scleroderma was diagnosed, Aitkens began the first of many hospital stays, beginning around Christmas 1991, first at Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital in Riverside and then at Jefferson. By that time, his kidneys were failing and his 165-pound body bloated to 210 pounds. The dialysis treatments started - three 5 1/2-hour sessions per week. When not hospitalized, Aitkens was driven to Jefferson for the sessions by the Delran Emergency Squad.

Friends, even casual acquaintances, were supportive.

By the summer of 1991, Aitkens had exhausted his paid sick leave. Then his colleagues showed him a rare expression of caring.

Each officer received permission from the Township Council to donate up to five days of sick time to keep Aitkens on the force, allowing his health coverage to continue. His colleagues' efforts gave him 100 extra days, Pfeffer said, and then Aitkens had no choice but to retire.

A benefit was held at the township's Firehouse No. 2 and raised $7,300. All proceeds went to Aitkens.

"The medical bills were really starting to mount," Pfeffer said. "We wanted to help Russ all we could."

Barbara, who had learned to give Russ the injections that cost $500 per month, was forced to take on a second job. Though his state pension kicked in, Social Security had not.

The couple sold their house in February 1992.

Suddenly, less than a year ago, Aitkens began feeling better. Whether it was the medication he took - Vasotec and Procardia - not even doctors know for sure.

Peter Callegari, chief of clinical rheumatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, called Aitkens' recovery rare.

"There have been reports of people whose scleroderma has just up and left," Callegari said. "Nobody knows why."

"I don't even feel like I was sick," Aitkens says today, but it takes little effort to recall that "I had to work just to get out of the tub. I couldn't put my clothes on by myself."

The experience has turned the Aitkenses and their two children Scott, 18, and Kellie, 16, into a close-knit family of survivors.

Now that Aitkens has been reinstated, their purchase of a new house in December appears to be less of a financial gamble. Still, paying the bills is a balancing act.

"You learn to appreciate life," Barbara said. "My mother kind of taught me you take what life has to give you and make the best of it. We're thankful for it all."

Delran Students, Parents Get Lesson On Evils Of Abuse Big Al Is A Man With A Message. "Do Hugs, Not Drugs," He Says. He Only Wishes More Were Listening.

Source: Posted: May 30, 1993

DELRAN — "Big Al," his taut 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame illuminated under a bright Delran High School auditorium light, was disappointed at the turnout.

"I guess this goes to show why our problems in communities and schools are (increasing) . . . because of the apathy of parents," he said to about 200 students and parents seated in the auditorium.

After two days of preaching his highly emotional "Do Hugs Not Drugs" message to Delran's middle and high school students, Big Al - his real name is Al Szolack - had invited parents to join their children in a large support- group session May 18 to air problems and bridge emotional gaps. Szolack, a Mullica Hill resident and former professional basketball player, had spoken to 900 parents and students here three years ago.

"I had to get that off my chest," he said, microphone in hand.

Then he proceeded with his talk.

The introduction embodied Szolack's aggressive style, which explodes upon a rapt audience. Honesty, confrontation and resolution are some of the bywords of Do Hugs Not Drugs, which he founded six years ago not long after overcoming his own seven-year encounter with drug and alcohol abuse.

Szolack, who gives out hugs the way professionals distribute business cards, named his one-man show Do Hugs Not Drugs because it was a stranger's hug and a compassionate ear that saved his life, he told the group.

Do Hugs Not Drugs also stresses communication, affection and self-esteem.

While school officials and students said substance abuse was not a major problem in suburban Delran, a small stream of teenagers vented their deepest pains before the group.

The night before, a frustrated 14-year-old student at Delran Middle School had learned that the father she had sought out for the last three years had been racked by drug and alcohol abuse.

"It's not worth getting into drugs, because it's going to hurt you in the long run," the eighth grader told a silent audience.

As he did with every speaker, Szolack stood behind the student and placed his large hands on her shoulders.

Delran High School junior Amy Hullings, 17, had a message for her brother John, 19, a senior who acknowledged having alcohol problems but who said he was turning his life around with the help of Big Al.

"I just want him to know I love him," Amy Hullings said before breaking down in tears.

"There's a lot of pain," Szolack said. "My program allows them to feel. That's why it's so successful."

Do Hugs Not Drugs has been presented at many New Jersey schools and places as distant as Bloomington, Ind., and Tulsa, Okla. The newly formed Community Liaison Committee, a group of residents and township and school officials, received $2,000 from Frito-Lay Inc. to bring the program to Delran.

Starting in September, Szolack will be paid from funds raised by local businesses and residents to conduct monthly counseling sessions with students as he is already doing in Hammonton, Lenape, Shawnee and Haddon Heights, committee member Barbara Clauser said.

Delran High principal Michael Gallucci said Do Hugs Not Drugs was a useful message that had to be put into perspective.

"I don't think we have any major drug or alcohol problem," Gallucci said. ''I think we're very fortunate. Perfect, no."

Mary Anne Edwards, who lost her 18-year-old son, Kenneth, to a drug overdose in 1991, was the only parent to speak.

"I never knew he was doing drugs," she said. "If any of you kids are doing drugs, please don't do them."

Audience members found the program emotionally trying but worthwhile.

"You also feel bad for them (victims) because you know what kind of pain they're in," said Delran senior Ron Vandermark.

"He gets right into your heart," Vandermark said of Szolack.

Delran Quarterback Commits To Rutgers

Source: Posted: December 07, 1993

Delran quarterback Ralph Sacca has orally committed to Rutgers University, where he will become the third Sacca brother to join a Division I football program and the first to play somewhere other than Penn State.

Sacca, 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, follows in the footsteps of siblings Tony, now with the Phoenix Cardinals, and John, who left Penn State this fall, frustrated with spotty playing time.

"I'm excited," Ralph Sacca said last night. "I can't wait to get out on that field. They've got a lot of young talent up there (in New Brunswick), and they showed a lot of confidence in me."

Sacca, who also was recruited by UCLA, Miami and West Virginia, was a two- year starter at Delran, compiling career totals of 1,324 yards passing and nine touchdown passes.

He made a recruiting visit to Rutgers last weekend, when he informed the coaching staff there of his decision to attend the school. He cannot sign a letter of intent until Feb. 4.

Sacca said that he had discussed the choice with members of his family, including John, whose college football experience has been less than satisfactory.

"They told me to go where you feel comfortable with the school and then think about football," Sacca said. "My parents were very impressed with everything (at Rutgers), not just the football. We were just very comfortable with everything that went on."

Sacca said he would be redshirted his first year, which he will spend running the third-string offense, traveling with the team and signaling plays in from the sideline.

"I'll need to improve on everything," he said. "I talked to my brother John (on Sunday) night, and he said that your first year, you basically stink. It takes an exceptional athlete to be a freshman starter. I don't think they'll be shocked if I don't come in and break all their records. I think they'll work with me."

After leading Delran to the South Jersey Group 2 championship as a junior, Sacca endured a tougher senior season. The Bears finished 6-3 but failed to qualify for the playoffs, and Sacca's passing numbers were down. To make matters worse, the only game a Rutgers assistant saw Sacca play was a 22-0 loss at home to Buena.

"It was frustrating because I knew what I could do, but things weren't going well for the team," he said. "I was disappointed because I knew I could do better than my stats showed, but none of the schools backed off. (Rutgers) told me they ranked 40 East Coast quarterbacks and had me at the top. That told me they had a lot of confidence in me."

A Big Test For Bears' Johnson Delran Is Looking For Leadership. The Senior Point Guard Is Expected To Supply It.

Source: Posted: December 13, 1993

If Delran is able to repeat as the South Jersey Group 2 champion in girls' basketball this season, it's certain that Nicole Johnson will have had a lot to do with it.

Johnson, a 5-foot-11 senior point guard who can play any position, averaged 13 points and five assists a game last season and was named to The Inquirer's all-South Jersey third team.

"She's the player who makes things go for us," coach Jim Weber said. ''She's our point guard on offense and she always plays the other team's best offensive player on defense."

Johnson started her freshman year and never gave up her spot.

"She's improved a lot since then," Weber said. "She can drive to the basket, take the jumper, shoot the three - and she handles the ball very well. She does it all."

Johnson, the Bears' captain, will have to add a role this season: leadership. Delran lost center Melissa Roberts and guard Becky McKeen to graduation, which left Johnson as the team's most experienced player and its only senior.

"If other teams want to key on me it won't work, because on any given night, any one of us can score 20 points," Johnson said. "I see my role as seeing what's happening on the floor and getting the ball to the open person."

Johnson, a member of the National Honor Society, last month committed to attend the Maryland-Baltimore County, a Division I school in the Big South Conference.

"I really liked the people connected with the program," she said. "It's far enough away, but close enough for my parents to see me play."

Johnson said she was undecided about a major, but is interested in teaching, sports medicine and sports management.

But that's next year. This season, the goal is a second straight trip to the state Group 2 final. Or more.

"I don't think this year will be that much different from last year," Johnson said. "We could do it again. I'd love to get back, because I think we blew it last year in the final. I think we can repeat as South Jersey champion and go on from there. I'd definitely like to leave here a champion."

Delran rallied to defeat Middle Township, 48-42, to win the South Jersey title last season. The Bears eliminated Allentown, 53-32, in the state semifinals before losing to Mahwah, 34-27, in the final.

"I think our success will carry over," Johnson said. "We're looking good so far. Maybe we won't be 26-1 again because we have a tougher schedule, but going so far last year has to help us this year.

"We have a very young team, but I don't think we'll panic this year. As the point guard, I'm supposed to keep us together. We have to play as a team. If we don't, we won't win."

Johnson plays no other sports at Delran. Basketball is pretty much a full- time job.

"I play year-round," she said. "When I'm not playing, I lift weights, even though I don't look like I do. It helps my strength, endurance and quickness. I used to be real skinny and I got nudged around a lot. Each year, I've noticed a difference because of the weights."


* In charge: Jim Weber has compiled a record of 305-99 in 16 years, and guided the Bears to a 26-1 record and a berth in the state Group 2 final last season. Delran, which defeated Middle Township, 48-42, in the South Jersey final, lost to Mahwah, 34-27, in the state final.

* Comings and goings: Center Melissa Roberts (Iona) and guard Becky McKeen (La Salle) are gone, but replacements abound.

Expected to see action are juniors Joanna Dusza, a 5-foot-10 center and forward; Nicole Reiner, a 5-9 forward; Michelle Bayne, a 5-10 guard and forward; Chrissy Olivo, a 5-5 guard, and Jamie Schoeffling, a 5-7 guard. Sophomores Danielle Karpen, a 5-7 guard, and Mandy Krause, a 5-9 forward, also should get time.

* What can go right: The Bears may not open the season with a 26-game winning streak as they did last season, but they appear to have 20-victory potential. Delran has size and speed as well as excellent ball handlers and shooters.

Nicole Johnson, selected for The Inquirer's all-South Jersey third team last season, heads the list of returning starters. Johnson, a 5-11 senior who averaged 13 points a game last season, will run the team from her point-guard slot. She'll be joined in the backcourt by April Pilenza, a 5-11 junior who averaged 10 points a game in last season her second year as a starter, and Kim Brown, a 5-6 sophomore. Pilenza and Johnson form one of South Jersey's better defensive combinations.

Lynette DiLuzio, a 5-9 junior center and forward who has recovered from a knee injury suffered late last season, and Allison Peirce, a 5-9 sophomore, will set up in the frontcourt.

* What can go wrong: Delran is a young team - with seven juniors, four sophomores and one senior - and Weber expressed concern about how long it would take the Bears to emerge as a unit. Without Roberts, a second-team all- South Jersey center, rebounding could be a problem, too.

* Outlook: Delran is favored over Rancocas Valley and Moorestown in the Burlington County League Patriot Division. The Bears are a threat to win the South Jersey Group 2 title, and compare favorably with the other powerful Group 2 teams, Middle Township and Sterling. The Bears will rely heavily on Johnson. She will decide when to push the ball upcourt or set up in a half- court offense. The Bears seem able to compete either way.

* Footnotes: Delran has never won a state title, but won South Jersey Group 2 titles in 1987 and 1993. . . . The Bears walked off with Burlco Freedom championships in 1980, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990 before entering the Patriot Division in the 1990-91 season.

Another Duff Stepping Forward At Delran Bill Is Gone. Younger Brother Pat Is Ready To Make His Own Name. He's 9-1 This Season.

Source: Posted: January 18, 1994

Get this straight:

Pat Duff might be Bill Duff's brother, but he is absolutely not merely Bill Duff's brother.

Pat Duff, who wrestles for Delran, has a 9-1 record this season. His older brother Bill, of course, won the state heavyweight championship the last two seasons before graduating and going to the University of Tennessee, where he is a freshman.

So Pat Duff has this problem: He's proud to be Bill Duff's brother, but he doesn't want to be known by it.

"I could never be jealous of my brother," he said. "But now it's my time to shine."

"Bill's not around now," Delran wrestling coach Dennis Smith said. "Pat has emerged as one of the team leaders, and he likes that role."

He's had plenty of success this season. Duff, a senior, took his first loss Saturday, losing to Northern Burlington's Neil Bergren, 9-8, at 160 pounds. Duff promptly decided, once and for all, to move up to 171 pounds, where he won't have to make the drastic weight cuts that he said were partially responsible for the loss.

"I think I'm going to win states," said Duff, who was upended at last season's super-region, finishing at 23-6. "People look at me sometimes like I'm just some kid, just Bill's brother. But I think I'm wrestling more aggressive this year; I'm a lot bigger this year. I feel great."

But as Pat Duff goes about the business of establishing a name for himself, he also feels a responsibility - putting a stamp on the Delran team, something his brother did before him.

"This year is my team, my last year," he said. "Every senior knows we've got to do something with this team. With all the tradition here, we don't want to go down as just another Delran team."

Or as just a certain wrestler's brother.

A 4th Sacca Reaches 1,000 For Delran Ralph Sacca Joins Siblings Tony, Tricia And John In Reaching 1,000 Points. Combined They've Scored 5,742.

Source: Posted: February 21, 1994

Ralph Sacca continued an impressive family tradition when he scored his 1,000th career point last week against Burlington Township. The 6-foot-4 Delran senior became the fourth member of his family to reach that milestone.

His brother Tony is Delran's career leading scorer with 1,896 points. His sister Tricia is Delran's career leading girls' scorer with 1,711. For good measure, Tricia also scored more than 1,000 at Fairfield University, where she is an assistant coach.

The other 1,000-point Sacca scorer was John, who finished with 1,107 points. Ralph has totaled 1,028 points and counting. That's 5,742 high school points. And this is from a family that is more noted for its football prowess.

"I was kind of relieved that I finally did it," said Ralph Sacca, who will attend Rutgers on a football scholarship. "It's kind of neat to have everyone in our family reach 1,000."

Sacca injured his left knee in the final football game and underwent arthroscopic surgery. He said the knee is sound, but it forced him to miss Delran's first three basketball games.

"I wanted to get back as soon as possible to basketball," Sacca said. "I didn't want to miss many games."

Sacca is basically a low-post player who frequently goes up against bigger centers. He has no illusions about trying to play basketball in college.

"I'll be plenty busy with football, and quite frankly I don't think I could play at that level," he said. "My brother Tony could have. He was the best high school basketball player I've ever seen."

One game that would be worth watching is a two-on-two game involving the four Saccas. With all the scoring firepower, there probably wouldn't be much passing.

"With all our different schedules, I can't remember the last time all four of us were together," Ralph Sacca said. "But it would be fun if we all got together for a game."

Delran Gets By Cinnaminson, 5-4, Behind Newill Newill Went The Distance. Ralph Sacca's Infield Single With Two Out In The Bottom Of The Seventh Decided It.

Source: Posted: April 20, 1994

Max Newill says he would rather start games than finish them, but yesterday he got to do both.

The Delran senior lefthander, who is a converted reliever, pitched a complete game to beat visiting Cinnaminson, 5-4, in a Burlington County League Patriot Division baseball game.

Delran won the game in the bottom of the seventh on Ralph Sacca's infield single with two out and the bases loaded. The hit scored Mike Romello, who had singled. Sacca ended the day 3 for 5 with three RBIs.

Delran now is 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the division.

Cinnaminson, which fought back from a 4-1 deficit with three runs in the seventh, fell to 1-4 and 1-2.

"I never want to lose a three-run lead in the seventh," said Delran coach Rich Bender, "but, in the long run, it could be beneficial to be in a close ball game."

Delran had won its three previous games by a combined score of 48-17. Yesterday, however, the Bears needed tighter pitching.

At 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds, Newill isn't the type of pitcher who will blow away hitters with his fastball. Last year, Bender decided to use him strictly out of the bullpen. He pitched just 20 innings all season, but earned seven saves and had a 2.92 ERA with an 0-1 record.

Still, Newill wanted to be a starter. He began preparing last summer as a starter for Delran's American Legion team. Now he is 2-0 and gives the Bears a formidable starting staff, along with Sacca and Jim Hansen.

"I really wanted to solidify things in the starting rotation," Newill said. "I put on about 15 pounds in the off-season. Relieving last year was a different experience, but my main goal was to be a starter and help the team out that way."

Before the season, Newill was considered a potential No. 2 or No. 3 starter. Now Bender says he might have to reevaluate that thinking.

"He might be our number one," Bender said. "Last year we kept him in relief because it was a matter of him getting stronger. Now he is showing that he is a quality starter."

The game included a series of missed opportunities for both teams. Delran stranded 11 runners, while Cinnaminson left nine on base. Both teams had two runners thrown out at the plate - Delran twice failed on suicide-squeeze attempts, while Cinnaminson was unsuccessful on one suicide squeeze and had another runner gunned down at home after a single to right.

Cinnaminson's Jared Elias led off the game with a home run to left field, but Delran retaliated by scoring single runs in each of the first four innings. Sacca knocked in two of the runs with an RBI single and a home run; Newill drove in a run with an infield hit, and Scott Gutelius homered.

Cinnaminson tied the game in the seventh on an RBI double to deep center by Tom Shank and a two-run single by catcher Bob Meier.

"I was tiring a little," Newill acknowledged. "When you are a little tired and throw the ball over the middle of the plate, a good-hitting team is going to take advantage of it."

Project To Raze School 'In Limbo' In Delran Residents Say The Closed Cambridge School Is A Trouble Spot. Paperwork Is Holding Up Demolition.

Source: Posted: December 17, 1995

DELRAN — Shawn Bennett is proud of his car - and rightly so. Since he bought the white 1989 Mustang LX a few months ago, he has added chrome exhaust tips, a sailing wing and tinted windows.

So imagine his unhappiness when he went to take his cream puff out for a spin one day and found silver spray paint along the passenger side and the hood, a slashed front and flattened back tire, and the gas tank shield removed.

His car hadn't been parked at a nightclub or a bar, but in front of his home in the sleepy Cambridge section of town, across the street from Cambridge Elementary School.

Neighborhood residents say what happened to Bennett is an example of what has been happening in the area since the school, at Third and Main Streets, was boarded up and marked in June for demolition. Besides being an eyesore, the empty building has become an unofficial hangout for young people and an invitation for trouble, ranging from fires in leaf piles to broken seesaws.

"We want it in, down and done," said Henry Shinn, a resident of the area for the last 10 years. "It's just a matter of time before someone gets hurt."

The school board originally promised that the building would be torn down by November. The underground fuel tanks were removed, the asbestos was cleared away, and the plumbing system was moved to other township schools in October. It's now December, and as a school board member told Shinn, "the project is in limbo."

"We're extremely frustrated," Shinn said. "I don't know if it's the administration, the school board, or if there's some other complication they're not telling us about."

According to School Board President Morris Burton, the board still needs to receive reports from the state Department of Environmental Protection before proceeding with the demolition. It must then wait to receive bids for the project, which is being paid for by the same $7.8 million bond issue being used to build the new intermediate school.

Burton has heard complaints about juveniles loitering and trash accumulating, but mostly what he hears are "friendly inquiries about when it's coming down."

"We've tried to get the maintenance people over there as quickly as possible and direct (complaints) to the police," Burton said. "It's not a large problem."

Delran Police Lt. George Pfeffer said he did not think the juvenile problems in the Cambridge area were related to the school.

"A particular group in that area used to hang out there even before it was boarded up," Pfeffer said. "They're not very destructive."

But resident Walt Albasi, who lives along Main Street, disagreed. He said the boarded building had become "a magnet for gangs of kids." He no longer allows his children to play there.


Posted: April 22, 1996

VALUED LOYALTY LOST IN SALE I have been an employee of Clover, in Cinnaminson, for two years and I have really enjoyed working there. But it is evident that Messrs. Peter, Francis and Stockton Strawbridge do not care what happens to their loyal employees.

The owners of Strawbridge & Clothier could have worked something out so the Clover stores could remain open or we could, at least, keep our jobs. They are only concerned about their name.

Little do they know, they have lost thousands of loyal Clover customers in the process.

Noelle Reuther


S&c Sale Is One Chapter That Is Not Quite Closed Why Did The Chain's Stock Drop Before The Sale? Will The Ftc Approve? Wait, There's More.

Source: Posted: April 24, 1996

The banner headlines have come and gone - at least for now - in the dismantling of Strawbridge & Clothier's retail legacy.

Nearly three weeks ago, Strawbridge & Clothier moved to the top of the news when it announced that the May Department Stores Co., which recently bought John Wanamaker, would purchase its 13 department stores. The Clover discount stores would be closed and sold as empty boxes to Kimco Realty Corp., a New York shopping-center developer.

But much remains to be done before shareholders meet on July 31 to vote on Strawbridge's proposal to sell its stores:

* On Wall Street, questions are being raised about why a stock that traded as high as $27.75 six weeks before the stores' sale was announced would command just $20 a share in the deal.

* In a Center City office building towering above the blossoms on the Parkway, Strawbridge's lawyers at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius are busy filing papers with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC must decide whether May, which already operates 11 Hecht's and two Lord & Taylor stores here, would gain too much power in the market when it buys Strawbridge's 13 department stores.

* In suburban Long Island, Kimco officials, working with Strawbridge management, expect to finalize the deal for Clover this week.

* And closer to home, 10 floors above Strawbridge's bustling Food Hall, the company's personnel office has been swamped with concerns from employees who will lose their jobs when the deal is closed.

Getting the ax are all of Clover's 4,000 employees and most of the corporate administrative staff, which may number as many as 1,000. That number includes everybody from advertising copywriters to buyers to merchandising executives to clerks and bill collectors.

``The big question in everybody's mind is what we should do,'' said a member of the central administrative staff. Strawbridge workers are under strict orders not to speak to reporters. ``All of us have done this for so long, we don't have a clue about what we want to do.''

Those who may have the toughest time are buyers and merchandise managers because there are few retailing headquarters in the Philadelphia area.

Some central-office staff are transferring into department-store jobs, as vacancies arise.

Laid-off hourly workers will get one week's pay for every two years of seniority. Middle managers will get three months' pay or one week for every year, whichever is higher. Upper-level managers will get six months' pay or one week for every year, whichever is higher.

Above that, in the executive stratosphere, some 80 or 90 executives will get one year's pay.

And finally, at the very top, about 19 corporate officers and highest-ranking executives will not get severance pay, but will continue to work under their contracts, which guarantee them three years' pay and benefits.

``It is evident that Messrs. Peter, Francis and Stockton Strawbridge do not care what happens to their loyal employees,'' Clover employee Noelle Reuther of Delran wrote in a letter to the editor published in The Inquirer on Monday. ``The owners of Strawbridge & Clothier could have worked something out so the Clover stores could remain open, or we could, at least, keep our jobs.''

``We're being sold down the river,'' said one distraught worker, who was afraid to give his name.

Others, though, have described the severance as ``fair'' and ``generous.''

Most of Strawbridge's workers aren't unionized and have no contracts guaranteeing severances.

But the severances may provide at least part of the answer to what is troubling Wall Street - the difference between what May is paying for Strawbridge's department stores and what shareholders are getting.

Sources close to the deal said that the proceeds from the sale of Clover should be just enough to cover all of its liabilities - including some employee severance.

``I had heard the severance was a big issue in the price they took,'' said one Wall Street observer who followed the deal closely. ``That's the reason the price was so low.''

May's $600 million payment includes the assumption of about $390 million in debt, including severance, said sources close to the deal. That left about $210 million for shareholders, or about $20 a share. Six weeks before the deal was announced, the stock reached a 52-week high of $27.75 per share.

``It's a good deal for the family. It's not a good deal for the shareholders,'' said analyst Terence J. McEvoy, of Janney Montgomery Scott in New York. ``But this is the offer they had, period.''

Family members and a handful of non-family executives own more than one-third of the 10.6 million outstanding shares, but control more than 70 percent because they hold shares with more voting power.

``It's a tax-free deal, so they [the family members] don't have to worry about it. The price is lousy. It should be higher. May is paying a low price for an asset that has a lot of value,'' McEvoy said.

``Some of the major shareholders aren't happy about it,'' he said. McEvoy said he didn't know whether any of them would mount a fight to squelch the deal.

One of the unhappy shareholders is likely to be Fidelity Investments, of Boston. In February, it increased its stake to nearly 11 percent, after glowing reports by analysts, including McEvoy and UBS Securities' Todd Slater, now with Lazard Freres. Fidelity paid about $25 a share.

Shortly before the deal was announced, Slater pulled in the reins on his predictions, and the stock dropped.

Fidelity spokeswoman Teri Kilduff declined to comment on Fidelity's plans.

Also declining comment was Henry Jackson, who handled the Strawbridge deal for Peter J. Solomon Inc., the New York investment-banking firm Strawbridge hired in October.

But others say Solomon's representatives have been defending the deal behind the scenes.

``Yes, they are trying to defend the price,'' said one analyst who has been following the deal. ``They are thinking about the next deal, too, so they want people to think they did a good job for Strawbridge.''

Others applauded the transaction.

Among them was New York retail consultant Howard Davidowitz. ``For Strawbridge, it's a bailout,'' he said. ``I think they had a risk of losing it all.

``I think this will help May crack the market,'' he said.

And it may explain why May, which in August paid $725 million to buy 25 John Wanamaker and Woodward & Lothrop stores, was willing to pay $600 million for just 13 Strawbridge & Clothier stores.

``If you own the market, that drives the price up,'' said Howard Ross, a retail specialist at Arthur Andersen in Philadelphia.

It can also raise questions about competitiveness when the Strawbridge & Clothier deal goes before the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC will determine whether May's owning so many stores in the market will hurt consumers by reducing competition.

May has 11 Hecht's - all former John Wanamaker stores - and two Lord & Taylor stores in the region. It plans to close one Hecht's in Jenkintown.

After the Strawbridge deal is completed and nameplates are shifted, May will have 25 stores: four Lord & Taylors, and 21 Hecht's, which will change names to Strawbridge. While the Hecht's name will disappear, Hecht's management won't.

``The key question is: How do you define the market?'' said former FTC Commissioner Dennis Yao, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

For example, if one defines Strawbridge & Clothier's competition as mid-range department stores, such as Macy's, then the deal might considerably reduce the field, giving consumers limited choices. Macy's has little more than a half-dozen stores in the region. Sears, Roebuck & Co. has slightly more than a dozen stores, but does Sears directly compete with Strawbridge?

Another way to pose the question, Yao said, would be to ask if there are other places to buy the same products Strawbridge sells. The more sources for the products, he said, the less likely that any one retailer could exert undue influence on the market and the less likely that the FTC would block the sale.

Athletics And Academics Unite, Make Gallagher An All-american

Source: Posted: June 26, 1998

Brian Gallagher is one of the most decorated track athletes in La Salle University history.

The Sterling graduate recently was named an all-American by the National Track and Field Coaches Association of America and was recognized as a GTE/COSIDA Academic all-American, while also earning 1997-98 Atlantic Ten male scholar-athlete-of-the-year honors.

The last all-American male track athlete for La Salle was John Uelses, who won the NCAA championship in the pole vault in 1964.

A postgraduate student at La Salle, Gallagher won the Atlantic Ten Conference and IC4A outdoor titles in the 1,500 meter run and qualified for the NCAA meet.

Holding a dual major in psychology and Spanish, Gallagher has a 4.0 grade point average. He was named to the academic all-American spring at-large team, which includes athletes in track, tennis, and other sports.

He was the first Explorer ever to run a sub-four-minute mile at 3 minutes, 59.91 seconds in the Valentine's Invitational at Boston University.

MORE FROM LA SALLE * Glassboro High graduate Carla Camino recently was named head softball coach at La Salle University.

``I'm excited by the new challenge of being a head coach at a Division I school in such a strong conference as the Atlantic Ten,'' Camino said. ``My commitment to the balance between academics and athletics will always be a priority.''

Camino had been an assistant coach at Drexel University since her graduation from Rutgers in 1993. As a senior for the Knights she batted .487, finishing fourth among NCAA Division I batters that season.

She set career records for batting average at .368, 233 hits, 38 doubles, 16 triples , 84 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. She was a four-time all-Atlantic Ten selection and made the conference all-tournament team in 1992 and 1993.

CREW CHATTER * Audubon's Jennifer Wesson and Holy Cross High's Terry Schmidt, both seniors, were members of the Rutgers women's crew varsity-four boat that qualified for the NCAA championships May 29-June 1 in Gainsville, Ga. The Scarlet Knights failed to place at the NCAA meet but had some big victories during the regular season, including a win at the Eastern Spring Championships held in Connecticut in May.

* Dan Joffe, a Delran graduate, recently ended his rowing career at Johns Hopkins University. He served as a team captain this spring and helped the school's lightweight four make the finals at the Dad Vail Regatta.

SOFTBALL SHORT * Camden Catholic's Andi Johnson earned all-Pennsylvania Athletic Conference academic honors as a softball player for College Misericordia.

A senior physical therapy major, she played all 41 games for the Cougars (30-12) and hit .361. She ranked No. 21 in the nation among NCAA Division III players in the toughest-strikeout category with just one strikeout in 108 at-bats.

To be eligible for the all-Academic teams, student-athletes need a mininum grade point average of 3.20.

TRACK TALK * Pennsgrove's Victor Mallory was sixth in the high jump at the IC4A track meet hosted by George Mason in May with an effort of 6 feet, 10 1/4 inches. A junior at Rutgers, he won that event at the Big East championships hosted by Villanova in May with a leap of 7-0 1/4.

* Art Dreher, a junior from Edgewood, was seventh at the Big East meet in the shot put with a throw of 49 feet, 8 1/2 inches.

Kingsway graduate Celeste Battle, a senior on the Rutgers women's team, was second in the hammer throw at the Big East meet with a throw of 175 feet, 9 inches and took third at the ECAC meet, hosted by George Mason in May, with a throw of 173 feet, 3 inches.

* At the Patriot League track championships hosted by Holy Cross in May, Camden's Medinah Salaam, a junior at Lafayette College, finished seventh with a time of 13.07 in the 100-meter dash.

AT LYNCHBURG * Jen Magee, a Holy Spirit graduate, started 33 games as a freshman infielder for the Lynchburg College softball team. Playing first and third base, Magee hit .309 for the Hornets (21-17) and led the team in walks with 14.

Starting 14 games as a freshman attacker on the Lynchburg women's lacrosse team was Pennsauken's Melissa Caruso. She was fourth in scoring for the Hornets (4-11) with 17 goals and five assists.

Room To Be Cool Dorm Decor Whether Cheaply Chic Or A Big-budget Redo, Home-away-from-home Needs To Be Fun

Source: Posted: August 20, 1999

If you're tired of having your dorm room mistaken for a prison cell, read on.

One of the best suggestions: Try to furnish it for free.

Some college students aren't only smart when it comes to their studies - their tight budgets force them to come up with innovative ideas to decorate their dorm rooms.

"The best thing is to go through your mother's house and just find things that she's not using," Kristy Hills said as she pointed out several items she managed to spirit away from her home West Springfield, in Erie County.

The Drexel University junior dug up a 27-year-old beanbag chair she covers with a blanket, a large leaning pillow her mother used in college and an Oriental rug her family had stored away. Her mother also made matching blue curtains that add color to the room and cover the windows.

Aside from electronics - alarm clock, computer, telephone, refrigerator, television and VCR - "I spent about $100, tops," said Hills, who is an international area studies major.

(Though some students wait until they meet their roommate to see what she/he has in the way of electronics before buying these higher-ticket items, Hills suggests you enter this arrangement with caution. It usually works only if the roommates get along, she said.)

One thing she purchased was a snake light that conveniently wraps around bedposts or desktops. "There isn't a lot of lighting in the dorm, so you want to be able to move it around," she said.

Her roommate, Malia McAndrew, from Bradford, Pa., uses a shop lamp she bought at Sears for a few dollars. McAndrew spent under $100 on her room gear; half of that went toward a purple cloth with a printed design that covers a large portion of one wall. She spotted it at Urban Outfitters amid a lot of other "cool stuff for dorm rooms," such as candles, picture frames and glow-in-the-dark decals. The rest went for plastic storage bins, available at Wal-Mart for $9 to $13, depending on the size.

Her secret? Garage sales, her attic - and creativity. Instead of buying a typical tack message board, McAndrew used an old pegboard and hooks from a home-supply store and - voila! - she has a practical message board her roommates share that indicates if they are in or where they are if they are out.

"If you're buying things specifically catered for college students' dorm rooms, you're going to pay more," warns McAndrew, who has a double major in history and psychology.

Colorful clocks, lamps, CD racks, pencil trays and picture frames can pump up the "cool" quotient in your dorm room. But "look throughout the entire store, not just the section designated for `back to school,' " McAndrew advised.

If you've got more cash to spend, you could consider stores that specialize in home accessories, such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Pier One, Wal-Mart and Lechter's.

We gave three employees from Bed Bath & Beyond free rein to decorate two dorm rooms at Drexel. They spent about $700, and the results were extraordinary, right down to the color-coordinated pencil holders. After about five hours, Stephanie Melillo, Karen Jesunas and Susan Branco transformed the cell-like spaces, at North Hall on Drexel's West Philadelphia campus, into a college student's paradise.

Before decorating, however, they moved the furniture around to maximize the space. "It's a matter of trying to make the most of a small space," noted Jesunas.

In one room, they made more room by transforming the two twin beds into a bunk set. Then they hid storage crates under the bed and hung decorative hooks on the walls to hang wet towels or bathrobes. In the other room, they pushed the furniture against the walls to open up the center space.

The decorators used bright purple and green colors for one room and mellow blue and gray for the other.

Personal touches included beaded curtains ($19.99), a lap desk ($9.99), storage blocks ($14.99), a reversible comforter ($29.99), a carryall shower tote ($4.99), a gooseneck lamp ($9.99) and a foot locker ($19.99), which can be used as a table as well.

They completed the rooms with plush comforters ($39.99 to $59.99) with matching sheets ($13.99 to $34.99) and large fluffy pillows ($9.99), a matching purple ottoman for visitors to sit on ($19.99), a practical magnetic/felt bulletin board ($19.99), a cordless blender ($49.99), a desk organizer ($19.99) and a chrome three-tier trolley ($19.99).

One warning from students who've been there: Whether you buy lavish dorm decorations or find bargain items, don't forget the size of the room.

Another tip: "Don't bring everything you own - you don't need it," said Dana Humbert, 20, a chemical engineering major at Drexel who's from Connellsville, in southwestern Pennsylvania.

"If you bring furniture, bring very little because the room is already supplied with furniture," said Antoinette Reid, 23, a resident program director at the University of Pennsylvania.

If furniture is a must, easy-to-transport butterfly chairs ($19.99, plus the cover, $14.99-$19.99 at Target) and inflatable furniture ($14.88-$39.88, also at Target) are ideal. They're fun, but easy to store if you have to make room, and easy to pack at the end of the year.

They are "a good idea for someone who actually has to pack up and move to another state," said Debra Fritz, home decorator consultant for Target.

Margaret Owens agrees. And after living in a dorm for four years, 15 miles away from her Mount Laurel, N.J., home, she should know.

"It's amazing all the stuff you get in a year," she said, reminiscing on her days at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. Owens is now a manager-trainee at the Wal-Mart off Woodhaven Avenue in the Northeast.

She would have liked to reuse accessories from year to year, "but some things got tossed," she said. Large objects and items that are easily replaceable are hard to hold onto. Worn-out rugs, mirrors, posters, message boards, laundry baskets and hangers tend to get thrown out. It was impossible for Owens to stuff everything in her Saturn when the school year ended.

Some students admit that buying the basics is inevitable, but most agree that the warm, homey atmosphere is created by the special items unavailable in stores.

Pictures of friends and family, beloved stuffed animals and gifts from relatives are priceless, especially when away from home.

Said Penn's Reid: "It's not so much the things you go out and buy, it's the little things you bring from home that make you feel comfortable."


* Sheets (sometimes extra-long) and comforter

* Mattress pad

* Pillows

* Towels

* Laundry bag or basket

* Shower caddy to hold and transport toiletries

* Shower shoes

* Bulletin board

* Under-the-bed storage

* Mirror for the door

* Electronics (computer, printer, microwave, radio, mini-refrigerator, phone)

* Iron and ironing board

* Rug

* Stacking bins

* Lamps

* Foot locker

* Surge protectors

* Extension cords

* Light bulbs (white or colored)

It's Greek - And More - For This Embroiderer

Source: Posted: August 06, 2000

DELRAN — You may have seen Darlene Newill's handiwork if you have been on a college campus in California recently.

Or at a wedding in New Jersey.

Or a medieval reenactment in Philadelphia.

Or halftime of a football game at Delran High School.

Newill is the founder and sole artisan of the businesses Greekroom and Bridal Specialties. She embroiders sweatshirts, banners, teddy bears, pillows, napkins and just about anything a sorority sister, fraternity brother or bride-to-be can dream up.

"I just tell them, I can make anything you want," said Newill, 52.

Her Greekroom business started about five years ago when her daughter, Koryn, was pledging a sorority during her sophomore year at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. Koryn wanted to buy an Alpha Phi T-shirt, but her mother had other ideas.

"I was, like, '$28 for a T-shirt?' So I said, 'Let's go home and see if I can make one,' " Newill said.

Next, she designed T-shirts for her daughter's sorority sisters, and the business took off from there. What was once son Max's bedroom became Greekroom headquarters in the Newill household.

Now Newill ships Greek accessories to campuses in about 30 states. She gets some of her campus clients through e-mails to Greek organizations, she said, but many of her orders come through word-of-mouth and her Web site,

The Web site for Bridal Specialties should be up and running in about a month, Newill said.

When Koryn's sorority sisters started getting married, Newill created Bridal Specialties to fill the new requests from some of the same people.

"It's a repeat business that way," she said.

But Newill waited until the Greekroom business was profitable enough to bankroll the purchase of embroidery equipment (including computer design programs) worth $3,000 to $4,000.

"I didn't want to go into debt with this business with two kids in college," she said.

Some of Newill's projects aren't related to campus life or bridal parties.

Upon request, she has made banners for high school sports events and costumed medieval reenactments.

Geri Jordan of Delran has called on Newill to embroider hats for her son's college friends in Springfield, Mass., and a fish-themed shower curtain for a family member's house at the Shore.

"Her wares have been well-traveled by us," Jordan said.

Jordan said she also uses Newill to help turn a plain purchase into a special gift.

"You can buy something more reasonable and then have her embroider it so it's more personal," said Jordan, who has asked Newill to decorate baskets and towels, among other items.

Newill is preparing to launch a third business in what she sees as the logical next step: babies.

She already embroiders bibs, clothing and blankets from her dining room work-space. She is searching for a name for the new business.

Local newborns can be bundled in a Newill original by the time they leave the hospital. Proud grandparents are usually generous and excited, she said, and they don't mind spending $60 on a personalized blanket. The wraps are embroidered with the baby's name, weight and anything else that can be sewn on in just a few hours, Newill said.

Lauren Mayk's e-mail address is

Newill stays cool in the heat

First inning action in the RVL game between Willingboro and Delran, Thursday evening had on the mound for Delran, Max Newill.
Nancy Rokos/Staff Photographer

Source: Posted: Jul 22, 2011

WILLINGBORO — It was hot, but Max Newill didn't sweat.

Newill has been around for about 15 years in the Rancocas Valley League and, while he isn't the same dominating pitcher he was back in the early 1990s for Delran High School, he's now as poised as they come. That poise paid off for Delran's RVL team on Thursday.

Newill gave up seven hits and allowed three runs, but came out on the winning end in Delran's 5-3 win over Willingboro in a five-inning game played in scorching 90-degree heat. Delran (23-6) moved within one point (50-49) of first-place Cinnaminson.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Newill allowed two infield hits to start the inning and then gave up an RBI single to Jared Turner. After that, he induced an infield popup, made a nice play in the field to get Mike Loffredo at home and struck out Mike Stumpf to get out of the inning. Turner went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

"They got some baserunners, they started to get a few infield hits," Newill said. "It's just important to stay composed when that happens."

Newill found himself in trouble again in the fifth inning. After getting the first out, he gave up two singles and with two outs, gave up a two-run double to Turner. But Newill didn't start to sweat, at least not more than normal on a muggy 90-plus degree day, he simply settled down and struck out Evan Plys to retire the side.

"I don't have dominating stuff anymore, I just have to pitch the way I can," Newill said. "Part of that is being able to pitch out of trouble."

Unbeknownst to Newill at the time, his strikeout against Plys was the last out he needed. Plys was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Since Willingboro dressed only nine guys, the game was over.

"Normally, we have 20 guys," Willingboro player/manager Mike Stumpf said. "Today we only have nine and it came back to bite us."

But make no mistake, the game was frustrating for Willingboro far before the shortened finish. Willingboro (12-18-1) committed several errors and wasted another great pitching performance from Ryan Derry, who gave up only two hits. Last week Derry pitched five shutout innings at Vincentown before losing.

"It's frustrating that we lose with Derry on the mound," Stumpf said. "He was dealing today. We just made him work that much more."

The only guy who was able to touch Derry was cleanup hitter Dave Kittle, who knocked in runs with a double in the third and a single in the fifth.

"Derry always seems to have good stuff against us," Kittle said. "He struck me out in the first at-bat, so I had to adjust. Against him, you always have to stay back. He's one of the most underrated pitchers in this league."

In the beginning of the game, Newill matched Derry inning for inning, but after giving up only one hit through the first three innings, he gave up three in each of the fourth and fifth innings.

"We were starting to get to him toward the end," Stumpf said. "We were all starting to wear down in the heat. When it's that hot out there, it's hard to stay focused."

While Willingboro was committing errors and letting their tempers get the best of them, Newill was working, just like he has been for a decade and a half in the RVL.

"Whether we hit for him or not, (Newill) always has a good game," Kittle said. "He attacks the strike zone and that's why he wins so much."

The 35-year-old Newill was just happy to get a win. What made this one even sweeter, is that he did it in front of his parents, Darlene and Bill, who are moving to North Carolina next week. Bill has been helping with the team for years and will be in New Jersey until September and will be around for the playoffs.

"It's always nice to pitch in front of them," Newill said. "He'll be sticking around here and will be here for the playoffs. She'll probably come up for a game sometime to see me pitch."

Dave Zangaro: 609-871-8081; email,; Twitter, @dzangaro

Playoff fever for the Rancocas Valley League

Source: Posted: Aug 5, 2011

Can Delran cap its regular-season title with a playoff championship?

Can Cinnaminson ride the league’s deepest bench and pitching staff to the title?

Can Burlington repeat as playoff champions?

Can Vincentown get its whole team to show up?

Can Willingboro, Riverside, Mount Laurel or Pemberton manage to unseat any of the “Big Four”?

Those questions will be answered over the next two weeks, when the 65th Rancocas Valley League championship playoffs are held at Southampton Memorial Park. The games start with a quadrupleheader Saturday.

The opening round (quarterfinals) are best-of-three matchups, with the semifinals and finals using a best-of-five format.

(Opening ceremonies, featuring a color guard and National Anthem singer from McGuire Air Force Base and a Gold Star Mom to throw out the first pitch, are at 9:30 a.m.)

Here’s a look at the matchups:

Mount Laurel (7-21-2) vs. Cinnaminson (25-10)

Saturday, 10 a.m.; Sunday, noon

No team can match Cinnaminson’s pitching depth: Ryan Varga, John Meadus, Nick Melchiorre, Bob Diepold, Jim Goodwin, Corey Mingin, Jeff Singer and Brett Miller. And the team is loaded in the field, too, with Matt Cann, Mike and Bob Osborne, Frank and Joe Sirolli, Mike and Tim Wasco, Dennis O’Hanlen, John Dockins, Casey Donahue, Geoff and Greg Gilbert, Gary Herron and Tyler Powell.

Looking for its sixth championship this century, having won in 2001, 2004-05-06 and 2009.

Mount Laurel has a good team, when the whole team is there, which hasn’t been often this summer. Bret Jenkins, Matt Szukics, Pat O’Reilly, Brandon Burke, Dan Rella, Kevin Diamond and John Montemurro are all solid guys. Newcomer Paul Meagher has been solid at 2B. And Ernie Covington, Mike Cooper, Sean McNeil, Dave Smith and Trevor Sotell have all had their moments pitching.

Seeking first title after finishing second in 2006 and ‘07.

Pemberton (4-30) vs. Delran (27-8)

Saturday, 1 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 p.m.

It’s been a long season for Gerry Lamola’s Greenies, and drawing the top seed doesn’t make things any easier. But when a team has pitchers like Ronnie Krankowski and Mike Kondrath, plus Kyle Brown, Chris DelleMonache and Mike Oliver, well, anything becomes possible. Bobby Henderson, Vince and Gerald Gares, Mike Lamola, Kyle Paparteys, Mike Jewell, Frank Pierce, Tyler Veterano, Ian McCleaf, Shawn Diamond and Andrew Lugo have been contributors through the long, hot summer.

Delran has four top throwers: Jason Ronca, Eric Gertie, Max Newill and Chris Maull (plus 3B Mark Wickersham and C Mike Delellis). The Dooks have been getting by without injured SS Kyle Ballay and 2B Matt Ulmer, though Aaron MacKenzie, Chris Cooper and John Iacovelli have filled in well. Defensively, 1B Rocky Petrone, CF Ryan McFadden and RF Dave Kittle are among the league’s best, and Rex Workman is a veteran DH.

Delran won back-to-back titles in 2007 and ‘08, and has won eight titles overall.

Riverside (12-20-3) vs. Burlington (22-11-1)

Saturday, 4 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m.

This could be the most intriguing opening-round matchup, despite the fact the Mets won all five regular-season games. The scores of the three most recent matchups were 4-3, 1-0 and 4-1. And Riverside was 4-1-1 in its last six games, the lone loss being in nine innings to Burlington.

Riverside has a solid catcher in Joe Knazek, which is very important when you’re playing steal-happy Burlington. It also has solid starters in Jake Still, Kevin Joo and Matt Leith, and one of the league’s top relievers in Mike Hiem. Brett Knazek, Gabe Mastrangelo Jr., Matt Mount, Justin Ely, Donnie Strain, Jim Caparelli, Jason Sabol and Dave Sorrentino have all provided big plays, on offense and defense.

Riverside teams won RVL titles in 1957, 1961 and 1963.

The Mets have three of the RVL’s best starters — Shaun Babula, John Harvey and Carl Taylor — plenty of offense with Babula, Dave Jost, Dan Graham, Garrett Mull, Vinnie James, Dan Torres, Jon Reiner, Kyle Semmel and Zach Skidmore, and returning playoff MVP Jeff Vitale anchoring an infield that could include outstanding youngsters like Vince Corbi, Josh Limon, Pedro Perez and Justin Edge.

Burlington is the defending champion, having ended a 59-year championship drought last summer.

Willingboro (13-21-1) vs. Vincentown (20-9-1)

Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

This is another could-go-either-way matchup, with two usually offense-minded teams.

The Boro Boys lost a dozen heart-breakers. Though they’re known for offense, the team has strong-armed Ryan Derry, Ace Robinson, Mike Loffredo, Nick Berardinucci and Neil DeMarco. Matt Moceri, Kellen Peter and Jamie Schwantes are the lineup’s thumpers, though it’s table-setters Mark Stumpf and Jon Wetzel who figure to be key. Jose Martinez and Mike Gulli are solid backstops, and Mike Juckett and Mike Stumpf are defensive whizzes in the outfield.

Willingboro won 3-2 in the teams’ final matchup, after losing three straight by a single run.

The big question for veteran Merchants coach Harry Thompson is simple: Who will show up? The full-strength Merchants started the season 13-1, then crawled to a 7-8-1 finish as key players stopped showing up. But when John Bujanowski Sr. and Jr., Stefan Kancylarz, Mike Ferrara, Jesse Pappler, Al Roach, Greg Miller, Chris Murray, Andrew Lydon, Sam Pepper, Owen Boles and Troy Foster are all present, the lineup is almost frightening. Especially with pitchers like Damon Valloreo, Matt Viarengo, Alan Hasher, Joe Argow and Ryan Walter.

V-town, which last won in 2003, has captured 11 league titles.

This and That

After the opening weekend, the schedule calls for single games Monday through Thursday nights at 7. Doubleheaders are planned for Friday (Aug. 12), Saturday (Aug. 13) and Sunday (Aug. 14) at times to be announced, then it’s back to single games during the final week.

Bruce Johnson: 609-871-8076; email:

Newill gives Delran edge against Mount Laurel

On the mound for Delran in Wednesday's RVL game against Mount Laurel was 3 Max Newill.
Nancy Rokos

Source: Posted: Jul 12, 2012

DELANCO — Age triumphed over youth on Thursday night as Delran defeated Mount Laurel 4-3 in a Rancocas Valley League baseball game.

Thirty-six-year-old starting pitcher Max Newill pitched all seven innings for Delran to outduel Austin Papp, his 16-year-old counterpart.

When they’re not on the mound, Newill spends his time as a teacher and baseball coach for Bridgewater-Raritan High School in Somerset County, and Papp as a student at Bordentown High School.

“I’m the elder statesman on the team,” said Newill, who gave up three runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking four.

Newill was glad that on this day he wasn’t the only veteran on the field for Delran. Mark Wickersham played a rare game at catcher.

“Wick’s been with us for a while, too,” Newill said. “It was a lot of fun to throw to him. It’s funny, the guy I usually throw to, we just realized he was born the year I graduated college.”

Although the 20-year age gap between Newill and Papp was apparent from the stands, it wasn’t from the box score.

Papp stepped up to fill a need for his team and pitched four innings, allowing four runs off six hits. He struck out two batters and walked three before Mike Cooper took over.

“He didn’t know he was starting,” said Dean Johnson, the Mount Laurel manager. “At 16 years old, I’d say he did admirably. He was my relief tonight but that’s how it works.”

Cooper, who pitched three hitless innings in relief, was scheduled to start the game but when he didn’t arrive on time, Papp was called on.

Both starting pitchers had their rough spots. It took Papp an inning to settle in, giving up two runs in the first inning, but he only allowed two hits over the next three.

Newill ran into trouble in the third. After serving up a one-out solo home run to Matt Szukics, John Burns doubled to deep left, scoring two more runs and tying the game at 3.

“The home run was a fastball down the middle of the plate and the double was a hanging curveball,” Newill said. “I know I just need to avoid going down the middle.”

Kyle Ballay led off the fourth inning with a double and scored two batters later on a single by Wickersham.

Delran is now in second place at 16-9 after the win. Mount Laurel falls to 7-11-2 for the year.

Delran manager Rocky Petrone thinks his team’s playoff chances will rest on the shoulders of their younger players.

“We’re right behind Burlington,” Petrone said. “We need to keep hitting though. We’ve been a little inconsistent on offense all year. Our young guys, and we have a lot of them, need to step up.”

Johnson thinks that his team’s record does not accurately show what they’re capable of.

“Eleven of our 20 games have been tied or decided by one run. That leads me to believe we can compete with any team we face,” he said. “We’re young but confident and they’re gelling pretty well now.”

The young Mount Laurel team was one hit away from winning the game. Brian Black, who earlier doubled, had a chance to give his team the lead in the sixth inning, but flew out to center with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Ballay’s double in the fourth was the only extra-base hit for Delran. He also scored two runs.

Vincentown bats come alive in win

On the mound for Delran in the first game of five in the RVL championship finals playoffs against Vincentown Merchants AA was Max Newill.
Nancy Rokos

Source: Posted: Aug 16, 2012

SOUTHAMPTON — It was only a matter of time.

The Vincentown bats were virtually silent through five innings of play Wednesday. Delran veteran Max Newill held them to six hits and just two runs through those first five innings.

After Stefan Kancylarz led off the sixth with a single, Newill’s night was over and so was Delran’s.

Vincentown had six hits in the sixth inning, scored nine runs and turned a one-run deficit into a runaway victory in an 11-4 win in the first game of the best-of-five Rancocas Valley League championship series.

“Eventually,” said Zeke Boren, who picked up the win for Vincentown and even hit an RBI single in that important sixth inning. “I was happy we were finally able to get some hits. We just started hitting the ball. It’s been happening a lot in the sixth inning.”

Delran actually had a 3-2 lead entering the top of the sixth inning before Vincentown put up the nine-spot, mostly on relief guy Mark Wickersham. Newill gutted out a nice performance even with a bone spur in his throwing elbow.

“It’s tough,” Delran player/manager Rocky Petrone said. “I just feel like we wasted a good outing by Max.”

Boren pitched five innings, giving up five hits and three runs. He also went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. But Boren was caught up in a pitchers’ duel with Newill for most of the game.

“He knows how to pitch,” Boren said of Newill. “He just knows how to pitch.”

In the all-important sixth inning, after Kancylarz led off with a single, John Bujanowski Jr. walked. After a flyout for the first out, Kevin Carty (in the eight-hole) hit an RBI double, which was followed by Boren’s double.

Leadoff guy Dan Williams walked and was brought home on a Sam Pepper two-run triple. Later in the inning, after Vincentown had already batted around, Mike Ferrara hit another two-run double for some extra insurance.

Before the sixth inning, Vincentown had two runs on six hits. In the sixth inning, Vincentown (23-13-1) had nine runs on six hits, which included four extra-base hits.

This isn’t the first time Delran (22-16-1) has been blown out in the first game of a playoff series. In fact, it’s become all too familiar. It lost the first game in the first series 11-0 to Willingboro and came back to win the next two.

In the semifinals, Delran lost 11-3 to Cinnaminson before winning the next two games to advance to the finals. Now they’ve lost 11-4 in the first game of the championship series. Can they do it again?

“Yeah,” Petrone said. “We’ve been there before.”

Vincentown and Delran will meet for Game 2 of the best-of-five series Thursday night, again at Harry W. Thompson field, at 7:30. Game 3 will be Friday, same time, same place.

If a Game 4 is needed, Saturday will be an off day and the series will pick up on Sunday, again at Harry W. Thompson field.

Dave Zangaro: 609-871-8081;

email:; Twitter: @dzangaro

RVL: Burlington takes lead in championship series

Max Newill pitches in the 3rd inning of the Rancocas Valley League Championship Final against Cinnaminson, Monday, August 11, 2014. Burlington won 10-1. (PHOTO Bryan Woolston / @woolstonphoto)

Source: Posted: Aug 11, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON — The Burlington Mets need one win to repeat as Rancocas Valley Baseball League champions.

Burlington’s 10-1 victory Monday night lifted the Mets into a 2-1 lead over Cinnaminson in the RVL championship series.

Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday, 7 p.m. back at Harry Thompson Field. If necessary, Game 5 would be Thursday at the same time and site.

The series has featured timely hitting and crooked numbers, such as the Mets’ seven-run sixth inning that expanded on a 3-1 edge. The Burlington offense offered plenty of support to winning pitcher Max Newill.

“I featured a fastball, curveball and changeup,” the veteran southpaw said. “The guys did a good job and made some great defensive plays to keep the game where it was at early on; I didn’t throw my changeup for a strike the first four innings. The offense got me some runs in the fifth, so from there it was my job to throw a shutdown inning and close it out.”

Newill struck out four, walked one and scattered seven hits. He is completing his first season with Burlington, having joined the Mets when Delran did not field a team this season.

Burlington plated a run in the top half of the first inning, thanks to an RBI single from Marshall Harden. In the bottom of the first, the Mets escaped a bases-loaded jam as Newill induced a fly ball to retire the side.

The Reds would knot the score when Greg Gilbert brought home Bill Dove (walk) with a base hit. Cinnaminson, however, left the bases loaded once again and the score remained 1-1 headed to the fifth.

“We were talking about this being the game that we needed to come out and hit the ball hard,” Burlington’s Zach Skidmore said.

That’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Mets in the fifth and sixth innings, as nine runs crossed the plate in the two frames.

In the fifth, Matt Hill plated Pedro Perez (walk) with an RBI single to give the Mets the lead. Skidmore followed with an RBI double to left-center to cap the scoring for that inning.

In the sixth, the floodgates opened. Garrett Mull (single) and Vinny James (walk) got aboard to start the inning. A swinging bunt from Perez and a throwing error enabled Mull to score.

A walk to Casey Donahue loaded the bases and Shaun Babula walked to send James home. Two batters later, the powerhouse, Skidmore, busted it wide open with a grand slam to deep right-center field. An RBI single from Mull finished the scoring for the night.

“I’ve been hitting the ball all series,” said Skidmore, who was 4-for-4 with five RBIs. “(Mike Wasco of Cinnaminson) has caught about eight of my balls out there. It was nice to finally get one over the fence; I’ve been waiting for it.”

Memorial to King proposed in Maple Shade

Patrick Duff at the Maple Shade Municipal Building
Todd McHale

Source: Posted: Jan 25, 2015

MAPLE SHADE — Patrick Duff has a dream.

He believes a memorial should be built in this community to mark the site that, some say, helped spark the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights activism.

The proposed park would show where the future civil rights leader and three of his friends were refused service from a local bartender in 1950.

“To memorialize something like this, it’s not a wound. It’s not a bad thing,” said Duff, 38, of Haddon Heights, Camden County. “It’s a good thing. If you go down to the Freedom March, every single mile is memorialized. The bridge is memorialized. Where Martin Luther King was shot is memorialized.”

Duff, a car salesman and activist, made his pitch to township officials Thursday night to create a park with benches, plaques and possibly a statue of King on a tract near Main Street and Route 73 where Mary’s Café once stood.

Since razed, the establishment, most recently known as the Moorestown Pub, was where King and some friends stopped in the early morning hours of June 12, 1950. When King tried to order beer, the bar owner refused to serve him and his friends, threw them out, and fired a gun into the air.

The incident occurred when King was living in Camden while attending the Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, Pennsylvania.

According to the police report, the bartender “willfully refuse(d) to serve beverages of any kind, used profane and obscene language, and intimidation by weapon to (King and his friends).”

The bar owner said they were turned away because he didn’t want to violate a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sunday. King said they were turned away because of their race and reported it to the police.

Even though the incident took place long before King became a civil rights leader, it’s known as a pivotal moment in the formation of the movement.

“Later, when he became very active and interested in civil rights for all people, King was testifying before a Senate committee,” the late Thomas McGann, a retired judge and lawyer who lived in Moorestown and represented the Maple Shade bar owner in 1950, recalled to the Burlington County Times in 2003.

“He acknowledged that this incident was what got him so very interested in civil rights. He indicated that he thought it was a shocking violation of civil rights, and thereafter, he became more conscious and sensitive to such behavior,” McGann said.

Sixty-five years later, Duff and others believe the time has come to formally acknowledge the site as part of history.

“I think the people would want to come and see where it started,” Duff said.

Crystal Charley, president of Southern Burlington County chapter of the NAACP, agreed.

“I was really intrigued once I found out about the history of Maple Shade,” Charley said of the incident that had such a profound impact on the civil rights movement.

“I know a lot of times when people associate civil rights, they think of the Deep South and they don’t always think of the ways the North contributed to civil rights,” she said.

The township made no decision on Duff’s proposal, but Board of Education President Charles Kauffman told him that he would do whatever he could to assist in the effort.

“It should be memorialized,” Kauffman said. “It’s history.”

Todd McHale: 609-871-8163;


Twitter: @toddmchale

Area activist working on two MLK memorials

Patrick Duff, of Haddon Heights, peeks through a boarded-up window at 753 Walnut St. in Camden on Tuesday.
Nancy Rokos

Patrick Duff, of Haddon Heights, speaks with Jeanette Lily M. Hunt, whose family owns the home at 753 Walnut St. in Camden, on Tuesday.
Nancy Rokos

Patrick Duff, of Haddon Heights, speaks with Shirley J. Hunt and her mother, Jeanette Lily M. Hunt, whose family owns the home at 753 Walnut St. in Camden, on Tuesday.
Nancy Rokos

Source: Posted: Jun 10, 2015

MAPLE SHADE — In 1950, 21-year-old Martin Luther King Jr.’s experience with a local bartender led to a police report and, some say, the influential figure’s introduction to civil rights work.

King and friends were refused service at a Maple Shade bar called Mary’s Place. King felt that the conflict, in which the bartender fired warning shots, was based on race. He filed a police report.

Almost 65 years later, last fall, Patrick Duff, of Haddon Heights, Camden County, came across the story while researching the history of Maple Shade. Since then, Duff has been trying to get the site of the incident off Route 73 turned into a memorial commemorating the birth of King’s civil rights career.

Three months of research went into proving the truth of the story, which Duff said was seen as a local legend.

A 1950 police complaint was one of Duff’s most helpful discoveries, he said. It bore a crucial piece of evidence: King’s signature.

Duff also read newspaper articles quoting Thomas McGann, the bartender’s lawyer. McGann alleged that he heard King say that the Mary’s Place incident led to his civil rights work.

These documents, Duff said, show the significance of that night: It was a turning point in King’s life and in American history.

In February, Duff approached the Township Council and proposed erecting a memorial where Mary’s Place once stood.

“Some type of bronze statue of a young King,” Duff said of his vision for the memorial, “with a sturdy plaque, maybe an engraved stone, explaining that this was King’s first civil rights action.”

After seeing proof of the land’s historical significance, the council agreed to the project. Township Manager Jack Layne wrote the New Jersey Department of Transportation requesting to use the land for a memorial.

“(You) have to do things properly,” Layne said. “That’s why it takes so much time to do something that seems so simple from the outside.”

Layne said the department told him it would allow the use of the land, but he does not plan to formally move forward until receipt of written permission.

Duff and the council are discussing the form of the memorial, he said. The Department of Transportation must approve their plan before the memorial can be placed.

Also, while researching King’s night at Mary’s Place, Duff discovered that the future civil rights leader lived in Camden at the time. The discovery led him to another King-related project.

King is believed to have lived at 753 Walnut St. in Camden as a seminarian. The building currently is uninhabited.

In February, Duff told NBC10 News that he wants to renovate King’s former lodging for use as a home base for activists.

He said he wants to create a center to teach people about economics, civil rights, and how to become politically active.

Members of the Hunt family, who own the house, are working with Duff to develop the property into this kind of facility, he said.

Haddonfield architect Jefferson Moon, who offered his help to Duff, visited the Walnut Street site with a colleague. They removed boards from the windows and assessed water damage from a leaking roof as they collected data with which to plan repairs.

Their plans are hypothetical; steps such as obtaining grant money to fund repairs must precede renovations.

Duff and the Hunts are working to put the house deed in a nonprofit’s name, as receiving grants depends on nonprofit status. Acquiring grants could be easier if the house was on a historic register, Duff said.

On Thursday, he will go before Camden’s Planning Board to formally propose restoring the house to its 1950s condition and declaring it a historical place. His research also has been sent to the National Register of Historic Places for review.

In addition to revitalizing the house, Duff hopes to build a park beside it. He proposed the idea to Frank Moran, president of the Camden City Council.

Moran said he would like to support the restoration and preservation of the house, and added that the project could attract visitors to the city should it come to fruition.

Funding, property assessment and acquisition, and other details must be discussed before the project moves forward, he said.

Although work on the Maple Shade memorial and Camden building will take time, there will be a ceremony Friday to acknowledge the Burlington County event that is said to have changed King’s trajectory.

The public is invited to the hourlong ceremony at the former site of Mary’s Place. It begins at 12:30 p.m.

Parking will be available at 853 E. Main St.; police will provide security. Attendees should RSVP Patrick Duff by email at

Lisa Ryan: 609-871-8077; email:

Ceremony held at Maple Shade site of pivotal MLK moment

Haddon Heights resident and civil rights activist Patrick Duff stands on the site of the former Mary's Cafe in Maple Shade, Friday, June 12, 2015, during a ceremony remembering 65 years ago that Martin Luther King was denied service at the cafe.
Nancy Rokos

Haddon Heights resident and civil rights activist Patrick Duff stands on the site of the former Mary's Cafe in Maple Shade , Friday, June 12, 2015, where 65 years ago, Martin Luther King was refused to be served by cafe owner, Ernest Nichols.
Nancy Rokos

Source: Posted: Jun 13, 2015

MAPLE SHADE — If you don’t know where to look on Route 73, you could drive past the site of the incident that started the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights career without a second glance.

Once home to the demolished Moorestown Pub, formerly called Mary’s Place, or Mary’s Café, the land now looks like any other stretch along a highway: patchy grass, a dozen tiny trees.

In 1950, King and several friends stopped at Mary’s Place and ordered a meal and drinks. The bartender wouldn’t serve King or his friends, and threatened them with a gun. King filed a complaint with the police.

According to statements made after the fact by the bartender’s attorney, Thomas McGann, King credited this event with inspiring his civil rights career.

Patrick Duff, of Haddon Heights, Camden County, is working with the Township Council to have a memorial placed on the land to honor King’s first civil rights action.

Duff held a commemoration ceremony on Friday afternoon, the 65th anniversary of the historic event.

Members of McGann’s family were among the approximately 15 people who attended the ceremony, including his daughter, Joan Legath. Legath, of Moorestown, sent articles written by her father to Duff as he compiled information and researched the conflict at Mary’s Place.

“(My father) would’ve thoroughly enjoyed being there today, because he took the time to piece together all the details (of King’s involvement),” Legath said. “(My father) was a very fair-minded man and a big advocate for civil rights.”

She said she gives credit to both her father and Duff for publicizing the information about King’s life.

Duff talked about his process and progress on the memorial and said that Winner Ford, the company for which he works, will fully fund the project.

Crystal D. Charley, president of the Southern Burlington County chapter of the NAACP, was one of the event’s speakers.

“Today was a very memorable day,” Charley said after the ceremony. “I think that to bring something to life after 65 years spoke to how the way you treat someone can have a profound impact.”

During his research about the event in Maple Shade, Duff found a home in Camden where King stayed at the time while he attended seminary school. He hopes to refurbish the property and turn it into a center for civil rights activism.

Duff said he became interested in this point in King’s life after learning of racism that occurred in the United States during the Ebola outbreak. He compared certain players in that issue to the bartender in King’s conflict.

Kelly Francis, president of the Camden County branch of the NAACP, spoke mainly of issues of racial inequality that were prevalent in the past that he still sees in Camden, namely inequality in education and voter disenfranchisement.

Other speakers, such as Michael Coard, founding member of the Philadelphia-based Avenging the Ancestor Coalition, which was created in 2002 to urge the National Park Service and Independence National Historical Park to create a Slavery Memorial, also related King’s experience in 1950 to 2015.

“The more things change, the more they tend to get worse,” Coard said.

Elaborating, he said the conflict at Mary’s Place was a racist action involving a gun that could be compared with a recent conflict at a pool party in Texas that was also a racist action involving a gun.

However, he said Duff’s efforts and the predominantly white turnout at Friday’s event show positive change.

“We need more events like this,” Coard said. “If everyone takes it upon themselves to bring blacks and whites together ... the closer we come to making Dr. King’s dream a reality.”

Moorestown resident Greg McCloskey, son-in-law of McGann and second cousin of the case’s prosecutor, George Barbour, also spoke. He summarized the importance of the site where Mary’s Place used to be.

“Certain events shape our view of the world around us and shape our path in life,” McCloskey said. “For Dr. Martin Luther King, one of those events took place right here.”

Lisa Ryan: 609-871-8077;


Classic champions

Posted: Jul 14, 2015

Cinnaminson won the title in the 8U bracket of the Maple Shade Summer Classic baseball tournament, compiling a 4-0 record. Team members are (front, from left) C.J. Hunter, Gavin Prendergast, Andrew Mozi, Thomas Lorimer, Michael Kulyk, Michael Beers, Shane McDevitt, Anthony Alessandroni, Danny Stavalone, Luis Sanchez, Blaise Biello, Michael Dlug, Jude Zarnawski, (back) coach Shane McDevitt, head coach Mike Dlug and coach Steve Mozi. Absent is coach Art Alessandroni.

RVL: Burlington 10, Delran 0 RVL: Burlington uses simple tactic to blank Delran

Burlington's Max Newill throws a pitch during the RVL baseball game in Burlington Township on Monday, June 11, 2016.
Carl Kosola / Photojournalist

Source: Posted: Jul 11, 2016

COLUMBUS -- When you’ve been pitching in the Rancocas Valley League as long as Max Newill has, you know how easy success can come on the mound.

Newill’s simple approach during his five-inning pitching stint helped Burlington cruise to a 10-0 win over Delran on Monday.

The Burlington trio of Newill, Dan Hill and Justin McFadden gave up one hit over seven innings.

“I was just trying to throw strikes, command the baseball, get ahead and just pitch,” Newill said.

The lone hit conceded by the Mets' pitching staff came in the top of the first inning when Tyler Melia’s pop up dropped on the right side of the infield.

After that bloop fell into the infield, Newill went to work on the bump for the Mets.

“I was just trying to execute my pitches,” Newill said. "I’ve been pitching in this league longer than some of these kids have been alive so just go at them and see what they can do. We have guys that play some good defense so just let them hit the ball and make plays and we’re fine.”

Newill induced eight flyouts, five strikeouts and one double play against the young Delran team before Hill and McFadden closed out the contest.

The Mets created more run support for Newill in each inning as five of their six at-bats produced at least one run.

Dave Viselli crossed the plate for the first run in the second on a passed ball. Matt Jolly brought in a run on an RBI single and scored on an error in the third.

In the fourth inning, Sean Gusrang received a second chance during his third plate appearance of the night.

“I check swung on the pitch before, it could’ve went either way,” Gusrang said.

With new life from the check swing and a missed catch in foul territory, Gusrang drilled a three-run shot over the right-center fence to open up the advantage.

“I was just trying to stay back,” Gusrang said. “You just try to get a good pitch to hit. Just trying to be aggressive and I was lucky enough to get one over the plate and able to hit one out.”

Two more runs were plated in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, for the Mets.

Mark Stumpf provided two runs on a single in the fifth, and Vinny James and Paul Guerrieri knocked in runners on a single and sacrifice fly, respectively, in the sixth.

“We have a great lineup and now with the addition of Stumpf, (Jon) Wetzel and Hill along with the guys we already have, we have a strong team,” Gusrang said.

Riverside 9, Burlington Twp. 0: Devon Hedgepeth came within two outs of a perfect game as Riverside (11-9) defeated Burlington Township (6-13). He allowed just a one-out single by Wayne Feret in the seventh inning and struck out eight.

Chaz Briggs was 3 for 3 with two doubles and four RBIs. Tommy Walters was 3 for 4 and Donnie Strain added a two-run triple.

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis visits MLK's onetime home in Camden

From left, local historian Patrick Duff, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st of Camden, Jeannette Lilly Hunt, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia and Camden Mayor Dana Redd stand in front of the Rev. Martin Luther King house in Camden on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. Hunt owns the home on Walnut Street.
William Thomas Cain / For the Burlington County Times

Source: Posted: Sep 19, 2016

CAMDEN — The man who marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s is lending his voice to an effort to preserve a piece of King's legacy in South Jersey.

Rep. John Lewis, a longtime Democratic representative in Congress and the man whom King affectionately called "the boy from Troy" during their legendary Freedom Rides and civil rights marches, visited 753 Walnut St., a long-vacant row home in the city where King lived for two years while studying at the former Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, Pennsylvania.

At the site, Lewis spoke about the importance King played in America and his own life, and how preserving the house can help inspire future generations to learn about King and the civil rights movement.

"This piece of historical real estate, it must be saved for generations yet unborn," Lewis said Monday at a news conference. "For Martin Luther King didn't just help change America, he helped change the world."

Lewis was joined by Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st of Camden; Mayor Dana Redd; Camden NAACP President Kelly Francis and historian Patrick Duff, a Haddon Heights resident credited with discovering the home's connection to King.

Duff said he was researching Maple Shade history when he first learned about a June 12, 1950, incident in the Burlington County town that is credited with helping to spark King's activism.

King and several friends stopped at a Route 73 tavern known as Mary's Café (most recently known as the Moorestown Pub) but was refused service by the owner, who later pulled a gun and ordered them to leave.

When King refused, the police were called.

"In a sense, the first official sit-in that Dr. King had ever been involved in was in Maple Shade, New Jersey," Duff said, recounting that King was assisted in the case by Ulysses Wiggins, the late president of the Camden NAACP, and attorney Robert Burke Johnson, who later became the first black member of Camden's Board of Education.

"You're talking about people in history who helped change the world and changed the city who were directly involved in this first civil rights movement that Dr. King was ever involved in," he said.

Duff later located a police report of the incident that listed King's address as 753 Walnut St. in Camden. With Francis' help, he found the owner, Jeanette Lily Hunt, who remembered King renting a room there.

Ever since, Duff has made it his mission to see the home preserved.

"The only remaining property we can attach to Dr. King and teach about the important significance of his time in this area is 753 Walnut St.," he said, noting that the tavern was razed, along with other area sites where King lived and preached nonviolent protest.

Lewis, who was in the region to accept the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Monday night, recalled his first meeting with King when he wrote to him after he failed to get accepted into a white college.

Lewis said King called him "the boy from Troy" because he was raised on a sharecropper's farm in Troy, Alabama.

"He was a wonderful, unbelievable human being. If it hadn't been for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I wouldn't be standing here today as a member of the United States Congress. He inspired me to stand up by sitting in, by sitting down," he said.

He promised to work with Norcross, Redd and other leaders to make sure the home is preserved, even pledging to contact King's sister to help search for any old letters or papers that might list the Camden address.

"I think it's important for this city, this state and this nation to save this noble place," he said. "I say to you, don't give up. Don't get lost in a sea of despair. Keep the faith."

Norcross has personally lobbied the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office to have the home designated a historic site. On Monday, he said the designation would make it eligible for grant money to make numerous repairs and upgrades.

"The historic places not yet designated erode to nothing. We're going to make sure that doesn't happen here," Norcross said.

Preserving Camden's history was a crucial part of the city's turnaround, the congressman said.

"For too many years, Camden was known for crime and poverty. But we're seeing that change," he said. "We're here today in Camden and see Camden on the rise."

David Levinsky: 609-871-8154; email:; Twitter: @davidlevinsky

RVL, league sponsor Stratus ip team up to establish scholarship

Source: Posted: Jul 12, 2017

The Rancocas Valley League and sponsor Stratus ip have established a scholarship to be awarded to an active RVL player attending college in 2017-18.

Stratus ip, founded by former RVL player and manager Mike Dlug, is a regional sales and support organization that provides and manages voice, data and cloud services, and solutions to businesses of all sizes. Dlug is the chief executive officer.

The company has donated a scholarship worth $2,000. Any current RVL player who will attend college during the coming fall semester is welcome to apply by Aug. 1. The scholarship will be awarded in mid-August during the RVL championship series at Harry Thompson Field in Southampton.

Dlug played for Delran from 1999-2005 and was player-manager from 2006-09, earning league MVP honors in 2007. Delran won three RVL championships (2002, '07 and '08) and a Colonial York Tournament Championship (2003). Dlug retired after the 2009 season to develop Stratus ip.

The RVL established a scholarship program in 2004 and two awards each year were presented to players who were collegiate undergraduates. Dlug was involved, organizing and operating various fundraisers.

Winners will be chosen by a committee of RVL alumni organized by Stratus ip and based on the applicant’s character, scholarship, need and baseball achievements. The $2,000 will be the largest single award given since the inception of the program.

Burlington 14, Delran 4: Shaun Babula, Casey Donahue and Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and two RBIs apiece for the winners in a game Wednesday night.

Sean Gusrang (home run) and Dan Hennigan also had two RBIs each. Paul Guerrieri had three hits and scored three runs. Winning pitcher Zach Youngberg had 10 strikeouts and one walk in six innings, allowing one earned run.

Dylan Butler hit a two-run double for Delran. Tyler Malia had an RBI double and Ryan Albertson's groundout plated the fourth run.

Coaches, report scores to:

New Jersey Lottery launches new 'keno-style' game at bars, gathering spots

Source: Posted: Jul 17, 2017

Michelle Otto, a bartender at Dadz Bar and Grill in Lumberton, fills out a New Jersey Quick Draw ticket Monday, July 17, 2017. New Jersey Lottery launched Quick Draw, a keno-style game, at 400 taverns and restaurants across New Jersey on Monday. Carl Kosola / Photojournalist Michelle Otto, a bartender at Dadz Bar and Grill in Lumberton, submits a New Jersey Quick Draw ticket Monday, July 17, 2017. New Jersey Lottery launched Quick Draw, a keno-style game, at 400 taverns and restaurants across New Jersey on Monday. Carl Kosola / Photojournalist

LUMBERTON — The numbers light up yellow on the screens at Dadz Bar and Grill until a total of 20 are selected. Bobbie King scans the paper ticket in front of her, frustration starting to show on her face.

"This is why I don't usually gamble," said the Mount Laurel resident, one of a handful of customers at the bar Monday afternoon.

Not to worry, though. The time clock on the screen was already quickly ticking down the 5 minutes before the next drawing — and the next chance to make or lose a few bucks.

Welcome to Quick Draw, the newest form of legal gambling in New Jersey.

Dubbed a "keno-style" game by the New Jersey Lottery, Quick Draw was quietly launched in 400 taverns, restaurants, bowling alleys and fraternal organizations across the state Monday, including at Dadz, one of 13 retail locations in Burlington County where customers can play.

Quick Draw is keno in every way but name. There are 80 numbers to choose from, and players select up to 10, with 20 total drawn. The more numbers a player chooses correctly, the greater the payout.

Players can bet between $1 and $10 per drawing, with maximum payouts of $1 million for customers who wager $10 and hit on all 10 of their selected numbers.

Drawings are every 5 minutes, and players can wager on up to 20 consecutive drawings at a time.

"It's another way to get bang for your buck at a bar. It's something to entertain you," Dadz bartender Michelle Otto said.

The game is being launched shortly after New Jersey lawmakers approved dedicating all state lottery proceeds to the chronically underfunded pension system.

Gov. Chris Christie and his treasurer conceived the idea as a way to immediately improve the pension system's financial standing, but the plan depends largely on lottery sales growing at a modest rate.

The New Jersey Lottery is anticipating at least $20 million in revenue from Quick Draw keno, describing it as the state's first "social space lottery game" because it's played in bars and other places where people gather for entertainment and social interaction, rather than at convenience stores, gas stations and other stores where lottery tickets are traditionally sold.

Retail locations, which keep a small percentage of sales and winnings, were selected by the lottery because they fit that criteria, and about half of the 400 locations are new lottery retailers.

Dadz owner Jim Filler said he jumped at the opportunity to offer the ticket sales. He recalled organizing a group ski trip in upstate New York, where keno was launched in 1995, and winning close to $2,500 at one of the bars.

"We had a ball. And of course we ended up buying a round," Filler recalled.

New Jersey also considered launching keno in the early 1990s.

The Lottery Commission planned to establish a trial run of the game in 1993 before Gov. Jim Florio asked the commission to hold off in favor of performing a broad study of gambling in New Jersey, including keno.

At the time, there was intense pushback from New Jersey's casinos, which considered it an expansion of legal gambling in the state. Donald Trump, who at the time owned three casinos in Atlantic City, threatened legal action if the state moved forward with the plan.

In the years since, the commission has revisited the idea, but it wasn't until last spring that it gave the green light.

Lottery Commission Executive Director Carole Hedinger presented the idea in March, telling the commission that the rules for the keno game were approved in 2007 but that there would need to be some small changes to bring them up to date, according to the meeting minutes.

Hedinger anticipated the game would launch close to August and generate about $20 million in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year.

The commission voted to adopt the rule changes the following month.

There were no public hearings and no need for legislative or voter approval before Monday's launch because the game is considered an extension of the lottery rather than an expansion of legal gambling, such as video slots.

Neva Pryor, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, described it as a significant "expansion" of the lottery that the council plans to monitor.

"It is a different style of lottery," Pryor said Monday, adding that her group has a close working relationship with the lottery to make sure safeguards are in place and that the group's helpline and website (800-GAMBLER and are displayed at lottery retailers and on materials.

"My mission is to make sure everybody knows where to go for help. We work very closely with the lottery. … I'm not overly concerned because I know it will be done responsibly," she said.

But Pryor was taken a bit by surprise by the quiet launch, saying she had spoken to Hedinger about the game but was unaware it was starting so soon.

"I knew it was being launched. I didn't think it would be this quick," she said.

The winning numbers for each drawing are posted on the New Jersey Lottery's website, along with information about the rules and a video explaining how to play.

The commission also plans to hold a news conference and launch party in Hoboken on Tuesday afternoon. Dadz is hosting a South Jersey launch party Thursday between 6 and 8 p.m.

Filler is optimistic the game will become a draw at Dadz and other bars.

"It makes (the lottery) more interactive and lets customers have some fun," he said. "Connecticut projected close to $80 million in revenues its first year (in 2016), and we've got a lot bigger population than Connecticut."

As of 1:30 p.m. Monday, 3,148 tickets had been sold with a combined winnings of $5,021 divided among 735 winners.

That amounts to about $7 per winner. And while that payout is far removed from the multimillion-dollar Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots that typically draw legions of lottery players, Filler and other tavern owners believe the game can be a fun diversion that helps keep customers in bars and restaurants longer.

"We've wanted to do things like video lottery terminals (a form of slot machines) for many, many years, but we've never been successful," said Diane Weiss, executive director of the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association. "(Keno) isn't something we necessarily lobbied for, but we certainly welcome it.

"It keeps people interested so maybe they stay a little longer, eat or drink a little more," Weiss said. "It'll be interesting to see how it does."

Back at Dadz, King isn't sure she will be a loyal player after striking out on her first go. But she was confident that plenty of others would be willing to fork over a few bucks for even the slightest chance of winning a small fortune.

"I'd rather play darts or pool. But people are silly. ... If I won, I'm sure I'd be rolling around on the floor."

David Levinsky: 609-871-8154; email:; Twitter: @davidlevinsky

League leader Burlington extends advantage in Rancocas Valley League standings

Burlington Mets pitcher Max Newill throws a pitch against the Vincentown Merchants in Rancocas Valley League action on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
Carl Kosola / Photojournalist

Source: Posted: Jul 25, 2017

FLORENCE — There’s no panic this time of year for the Burlington Mets.

Even when they admittedly didn’t put in their best performance of the season on Tuesday, it was good enough to knock off the second-place Vincentown Merchants 4-1 in a game shortened to five innings by darkness.

The Mets (20-3) are embarking on a busy end to the regular season, like the rest of the teams in the Rancocas Valley League. The season is scheduled to end Aug. 2 with playoffs beginning Aug. 5.

After Tuesday’s win over Vincentown, Burlington holds a five-point lead over the Merchants. The Mets have 41.5 points and Vincentown (16-6-1) has 36.

“It’s always good to go in as the No. 1 seed and get a bye and a little break,” winning pitcher Max Newill said. “It’ll give us some confidence going in. But we’re a veteran team. You play the regular season to get tuned up for the playoffs.”

“It’s crunch time,” Burlington cleanup hitter Marshall Harden said. “I think we have seven games in nine days before the playoffs so hopefully we can get the bye to give some bodies a break.”

Burlington hopped on Vincentown starter Jarrad Delarso early as it pushed across a pair of runs in the first and a third run in the second inning.

Shaun Babula and Mark Stumpf scored after reaching base in their first at-bats in the opening frame. JoJo Alvarez drove in Kyle Semmel with a sacrifice fly in the second.

The early run support helped Newill, who admittedly didn’t have his best stuff.

“A little bit off tonight,” Newill said. “Effectively wild, I guess. I didn’t walk that many guys. You just have to fight through it. We got some runs early so that helps. And we played good defense.”

Vincentown was only able to push one across against Newill. That came in a fourth inning that featured two walks and an error.

The final Mets run of the game came in peculiar fashion. With runners on first and third, Harden appeared to hit a three-run home run over the left-field fence. It was ruled a ground-rule double, so only Babula was able to score.

“I hadn’t been seeing the ball well all day," Harden said. “I got an up-and-in fastball and I just got a good swing.

“I think everyone on the left side of the home field saw a home run and everyone on the right side of the field saw a foul ball.”

“That was unique, but it was getting dark and it was right in the corner there,” Newill said.


Burlington and Vincentown have one more regular-season meeting, Thursday night at Harry Thompson Field, before the two begin a potential ride to a collision course in the playoff finals.

Vincentown, the defending league champion, is on track for the second seed. After Thursday's game with the Mets, the Merchants' remaining schedule includes two games against last-place Burlington Township and one against third-place Riverside.

Coaches, report scores to:

Burlington edges Pine Barrens, advances to RVL finals

Source: Posted: Aug 10, 2017

Burlington Mets' Ryan Bell shakes hands with Stratus ip CEO Mike Dlug after receiving a scholarship Thursday, August 10, 2017.

Burlington Mets' Ryan Bell received a scholarship from Stratus ip CEO Mike Dlug Thursday, August 10, 2017.

SOUTHAMPTON — They made it a little more interesting than it should have been, but the Burlington Mets still got their sweep.

Burlington advanced to the Rancocas Valley League finals with a 5-4 win over Pine Barrens in Game 2 of their best-of-three series on Thursday night.

The Mets survived a pair of late rallies by the Phantoms to advance to the best-of-five finals against Vincentown, which defeated Cinnaminson 10-6 late Thursday night to complete their own sweep.

Unlike Game 1 on Wednesday night, Burlington jumped out to an immediate lead on Thursday.

Scott Carcaise drove in Mark Stumpf on with a single in the top of the first inning and Dan Hennigan crossed home on the same play after an error.

Pine Barrens got one back in the bottom of the first when Ronnie Krankowski drove home Tyler Kaiser with a sacrifice fly to right field.

After that, the Mets started tacking on runs. Ben Youngberg's double to left in the third plated Carcaise. Two more runs scored in the fourth.

"Right now I'm real confident in my swing. I'm getting good reps before the game," Youngberg said. "At this point, I just try to stay consistent through everything."

Following a balk by Krankowski, in relief of starter Tom Giunta, that pushed runners to second and third, Matt Fischer dropped a two-run single into short left that scored Hennigan and Carcaise.

"I'm not sure if it was a fastball or changeup but I got it off the end of the bat and got it down the line," Fischer said.

Pine Barrens made it a tight ballgame in the sixth, tacking on three runs after loading the bases. Tyler Powell's sacrifice fly brought in the first run and John Szwajkowski plated two more with a line drive single to center.

Sam Guckin tossed 5 1/3 solid innings on the mound for the Mets before Ryan Bell closed out the sixth. Prior to the game, the league presented its scholarships to Bell ($2,000 Stratus ip/RVL) and Guckin ($500 RVL).

Burlington Mets' Max Newill came in as a relief pitcher against the Pine Barrens Phantoms Thursday, August 10, 2017.
Dave Hernandez / For the Burlington County Times

Lefthander Max Newill entered in the seventh to close the game out for the top seed. Pine Barrens loaded the bases thanks to consecutive errors. Newill finished the game by retiring Krankowski on a groundout.

"Max was throwing the ball real well. He didn't make a bad pitch," Fischer said. "There were a couple infield singles and an error, but he's a bulldog and he's out there to battle. He makes pitches when he needs to."

Now the focus turns to the finals that will begin Saturday night at Harry W. Thompson Field.

"We'll be ready to go," Fischer said.

Vincentown 10, Cinnaminson 6

Kyle Cichy hit a three-run double to spark a second-inning outburst that lifted the defending champions back into the final.

Cichy also came into the game in relief and ended a fifth-inning threat.

Billy Dove hit a two-run home run for the Reds.

Coaches, report scores to:; Phone: 609-871-8081; Twitter: @BCTGameOn, #BCTsports​

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