Friday, May 09, 2014

For Coach, Soccer Not Just For Kicks


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

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

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.

Riverside Sisters Turn Family Ties Into Team Wins

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

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

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."

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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)

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, league sponsor Stratus ip team up to establish scholarship

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

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

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