Friday, May 09, 2014

Police Union In Delran Calls For An Arbitrator


Posted: January 05, 1986

The Delran Patrolmen's Association has called for the appointment of an arbitrator in a renewed effort to resolve an unsettled portion of its 1985 contract with the township.

William Pfeffer, association president and a patrol officer, said last week that the association had filed for binding arbitration about a proposed transfer of the pension fund after negotiations broke off on Dec. 6 without a settlement.

At that meeting on Dec. 6 - the date on which the association had expected completion of the transfer of the pension fund from the state Public Employees Retirement System to the Police and Firemen's Retirement System - the township offered a 3 percent salary increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 1985.

Talks on the portion of the contract began after legislation that would have transferred the pension fund was not approved by the Legislature by Nov. 1, the deadline contained in the 1985 contract. That contract expired Dec. 31.

The transfer of the pension fund would have allowed officers to retire at age 55 or after 20 years of service - they now retire at age 60 - and would have provided additional benefits, according to Mayor Richard J. Knight. It also would have cost employees twice what they now contribute to the pension fund, and the township an additional $35,000 a year.

The one-year 1985 contract, approved in March, granted patrol officers a 5 percent salary increase retroactive to Jan. 1 and an extra personal day. It also stipulated that the association could seek to transfer the pension fund.

Knight said the transfer could be approved through a referendum by township voters or through passage of a measure in the Legislature.

But the bill never made it out of committee in the Assembly, according to township solicitor Thomas P. Foy, also a Democratic assemblyman from Burlington County.

Foy said the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Daniel J. Dalton (D., Camden), failed because it "provided something special for a single municipality."

Knight also said the township would attempt to make up for the failure of the legislation by reopening the 1985 contract and negotiating an additional, retroactive wage increase. That increase would include payment for overtime.

But Pfeffer called the 3 percent increase offered by the township "a slap in the face."

Pfeffer said the association was disappointed not only that the transfer legislation did not pass, but that the township did not lobby harder for the bill. "The township never made an effort to put this through," he said. ''They never pushed hard enough, they backed away."

Pfeffer said the association, which represents 14 patrol officers, one detective and three sergeants, approached the township with a counteroffer on the retroactive increase a week after the Dec. 6 negotiating session, but got no response.

"We told the mayor that we were willing to negotiate and move if they were willing to, but they completely stonewalled us," he said.

Pfeffer said that once the arbitrator was appointed, the association planned to push for an 8 percent retroactive salary increase. He said that the police were at the bottom of the township list in salary increases and that he feared that the association's members would fall far below the police salary scales of surrounding communities.

The five-step pay scale for Delran patrol officers ranges from a $15,719 starting salary to $24,127 after five years. Salary increases are annual.

"Every year, we have to go through the same thing to catch up somewhat" with other townships, Pfeffer said.

"We would love to see the township adjust the police salary scale," he said.

Pfeffer said the township's four full-time police dispatchers received a 23.5 percent salary increase - about $3,000 - this year.

"We are not asking for anything near that," Pfeffer said.

Knight said the 1985 contract also included increased disability coverage, from $200 to $250 a week, as well as the legislative action and the promise to go back to the bargaining table if the action was not passed.

Knight said the employees would have to pay 15 percent of their salaries in pension fees to the Police and Firemen's Retirement System fund - double the 7.5 percent they pay for the Public Employees Retirement System. Of that additional $35,000 a year the township would have to pay, he said, "It mortgages the future. Because of that added cost, that's why it became part of the negotiations."

He said that, with the legislation dead, he did not know whether the township would consider a referendum on the transfer in the 1986 contract negotiations.

"If it's part of 1986 (negotiations), well, it might be and it might not be," the mayor said. "My feeling right now is that it will not be."

Pfeffer said that under state law, the mayor was required to set a date for contract negotiations with the association 150 days before presenting the 1986 budget to the council. Knight said last week that he planned to present the budget to the council on Jan. 15 and Pfeffer said that he had yet to hear from the mayor.

Knight said that he planned to be in touch with the association this week and that he had been delayed by preparations for the arrival of township administrator Matthew Watkins.

But the association's relationship with the township has been aggravated. If things do not improve, Pfeffer said, association members will use every legal job action they could to ensure better treatment, including picketing the township building and council members' homes.

In Delran, Police On 3 Shifts Call In Sick

Source: Posted: January 08, 1986

Reports of a "blue flu" that had each shift of the Delran Township Police Department call in sick at least once last month will be met with no action by township officials.

Mayor Richard J. Knight last week called the incidents a sickout and said that they were spurred by the stalemated 1985 contract renegotiations with the Delran Police Association last month and by the fact that negotiations for a 1986 contract have yet to be scheduled.

"It doesn't upset me at all. I'm pleased to see that the union is together," Knight said.

The mayor said the first of three incidents occurred Dec. 13, when all five members of the 4 p.m.-midnight shift called in sick. Knight said three off- duty officers were called in to replace them and received overtime pay.

Three days later, all five members of the 8 a.m.-4 p.m. shift called in sick and were replaced by Police Chief David Banff and two lieutenants. The same routine was followed on Dec. 21, when the five-member, midnight-to-8 a.m. shift called in sick.

"Each shift has had their turn," Knight said.

But Patrol Officer William Pfeffer, the association's president and representative in the contract talks, denied the mayor's allegation that the incidents were planned and were in response to the failed - or lack of - contract talks.

"We don't go along with any job action that's illegal," Pfeffer said of the association's members, who include 14 patrolmen, a detective and three sergeants.

When asked whether he had called in sick on one of the three days cited by the mayor, Pfeffer said, "I think I did."

Last week, the association called for the appointment of an arbitrator in an effort to resolve an unsettled portion of the 1985 contract with the township.

The arbitrator was requested when renegotiations broke down after the state Legislature failed to act on a bill that would have increased benefits for police officers in a few scattered departments statewide.

The bill, which never got out of an Assembly committee, would have transferred the police pension fund from the state Public Employees Retirement System to the Police and Firemen's Retirement System.

It would have allowed officers to retire at age 55 or after 20 years of service - they now retire at age 60 - and would have provided other benefits, according to Knight.

The transfer also would have cost employees twice what they now contribute to the pension fund - about 7 percent of their salaries - and the township an additional $35,000 a year.

Negotiators in Delran had hoped for approval by Nov. 1, and had set that date as the deadline for the 1985 contract.

In renegotiations Dec. 6, the association expected the pension-fund transfer and a 3 percent salary increase; township officials offered only a salary increase, retroactive to Jan. 1, 1985. The increase would have given the association a total increase of 8 percent for the year.

But the association said the offer was a "slap in the face" and expressed disappointment that the township had not lobbied harder for the legislation.

Pfeffer said that when the association and the township returned to the bargaining table, the officers would ask for an 8 percent increase over the 5 percent they received in March.

Pfeffer said that last weekend there was movement toward renegotiations on the 1985 contract and that the association was determined to receive the 8 percent increase.

"Settlement depends on what is proposed," he said. "If there is no agreement, then we are right back where we started. But we hope this is not the last and final meeting."

Pfeffer said the association recently suggested three dates to Knight when the 1986 contract could be negotiated. The mayor has yet to get back to the association on those dates, he said.

Under the state law, the mayor is required to set a date for contract negotiations with the association 150 days before presenting the 1986 budget to the council. Knight said last week that he planned to present the budget to the council on Jan. 15.

The present five-step pay scale in effect for Delran patrol officers ranges from a $15,719 starting salary to $24,127 after five years, with increases occurring annually.

The Long Road Toward Joining Police Forces

Source: Posted: January 12, 1986

At least five times in the last dozen years, clusters of neighboring communities in New Jersey have officially discussed starting joint police forces. Four times they investigated the idea. Four times they said no.

In the fifth instance, two North Jersey municipalities actually created a joint police department - the only such consortium in state history history - and it lasted four years.

Now, a sixth group of communities is considering a regional police force. Officials of Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park last month passed resolutions asking the state to study the feasibility of a single police force to serve all three municipalities.

There is a reason the idea of regional police departments is continually raised: money. Tax revenue is always difficult to raise, especially in older, heavily developed communities with little room to expand. And police and public safety are usually the largest part of any municipal budget.

Because municipal money problems are not likely to disappear soon, some local officials wonder why the concept of regional police departments is so difficult to sell. There are plenty of reasons given, especially from the ranks of law enforcement. Every police officer contacted for this article said he believed that municipal officials rarely inform uniformed officers before embarking on a regional police study.

The police complain that their insight and expertise are never sought, which they consider a serious oversight. Some officials believe that it is the failure to win the support of the local police, coupled with the traditional home-rule fervor in local government, that has doomed virtually all regionalization proposals.

Typical was the comment of Chief Gerald Mingin, of Eastampton Township, whose department was studied in the early 1970s for possible merger with the police departments of Hainesport, Lumberton, Mount Holly and Westampton Townships.

"One of the problems was, they did not ask the police," Mingin said, ''either to confront them or to ask their support. . . . The study was done solely by politicians."

Mingin said that in the state study of that possible merger, "It was learned that the cost would be more, with fewer officers per shift, and at that, Lumberton and Westampton withdrew."

Because the remaining three municipalities were still interested, Mingin said, "former Mount Holly Township manager Robert Casey realigned the study and there were a number of meetings, including public meetings. And again, the costs were higher and there were less police employed per shift."

Placed on the ballot, each of the three communities voted the issue down overwhelmingly, Mingin said.

The impact of consolidation on cost and service are the keys in such studies, said Ralph Franciosi, a member of the township committee in Edgewater Park. Franciosi said he would be willing to try to "sell" a joint venture to the citizenry "if it shows we don't decrease service and if we do decrease the tax dollars spent."

After school taxes, Franciosi said, "the next highest expenditure is the police force. My suggestion is that maybe we can consolidate some of these services and buying powers . . . see if we can shave off some thousands (of dollars) here and there to make our tax rate more compatible with the people living in the township. Townships in proximity can have (joint) road service and police service and cut down on the equipment. Why duplicate?"

Many municipal officials insist that consolidation can save money. James Mash, the township administrator and treasurer, and for 18 years the police chief, in New Hanover, said the township's agreement to provide police protection for tiny Wrightstown borough, in force for eight years, has worked ''very well. It has cut down a lot of unnecessary overhead. We don't need two (headquarters) buildings, two chiefs, two secretaries. We don't need double the amount of cars. Between the both of us, we've saved a lot of money."

There is a difference, however, between buying protection from a neighboring police force and abolishing one's own department to merge it with another. According to a 1967 study by the President's Commission of Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, "the desire of municipalities to retain and exercise all of the powers of local government" is the main reason why consolidation proposals are consistently defeated.

The report said fears of the loss of local autonomy "tend to be among the most formidable for the police, principally because police service is generally among the most local of governmental services and because even the smallest local governmental jurisdictions like to believe that they can provide at least minimal needed police service."

Franciosi said that in Edgewater Park, clinging to autonomy in law enforcement is not consistent with other township services. "If they're talking about home rule, well, we don't have our own fire department, we don't have our own high school," Franciosi added. Fire protection in Edgewater Park is provided by the Beverly fire companies, and the township sends its students to Burlington High School.

Even some police officials who have reservations about the methodology of forging a joint department do not deny the possible benefits.

George Moyer, Bordentown Township chief of police and president of the Burlington County Police Chiefs Association, said the group did not have a viewpoint on consolidation because the question had never been formally put before it.

But speaking personally, he said, "I'm for it. I think it makes economic sense," especially where adjacent communities are all staffed by part-time officers.

Moyer also faulted elected officials for the common failure to discuss the issues with their police. "I think police officers would like to have some sort of input, because they're the people on the street encountering the problems," he said.

This year's study for Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park, expected to take six months, is the second for the three communities. They were in a 1979 study that originally included Delran and Riverside. Delran pulled out before things got serious, however, and in November 1979, voters in three of the four remaining communities defeated by substantial margins a referendum question on a joint police force. Only in Beverly did the question pass, by a vote of 301-230. But in Delanco it was defeated 613-379, in Edgewater Park 845-750 and in Riverside 781-526.

Another study, done for six communities on Long Beach Island, Ocean County, in 1983-84, also came to naught.

"Long Beach Island was a good prospect (for regionalization)," said Bill Struwe, of the state's Division of Local Government Services, which will conduct the Beverly-Delanco-Edgewater Park study. "It's 19 miles long and a half-mile wide." But, Struwe said, the governing bodies did nothing to lobby for the regional force, even though five of the six had asked for the study. Struwe attributed the proposal's defeat to citizen pressure and reluctance to surrender autonomy.

Beverly, Delran and Edgewater Park, Struwe said, are "geographically perfect for this. The towns are close together, the area is small and there are no particularly unusual problems in one community as opposed to another."

Struwe warned that if the heads of the local governments "want to sell it, they're going to have to sell it to the people if they're going to put it on a referendum."

Struwe said the division's study would include public meetings in each community. Although no proposals will be put before citizens at those meetings - he said, "We won't even be well into the study" at that point - Struwe said the agency wanted "to get input on how they feel the police services are, how they ought to be, how they feel about regionalization."

In addition to the political difficulties of forming a regional force, there are organizational problems. The normal procedure for forming a joint police force is for each community to pass an ordinance abolishing its present police department and then to adopt a new ordinance establishing the joint venture.

Because Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park already have their own chiefs, only one of the three could be chosen as chief of the new joint force. The others would have to become captains, an approach suggested in the 1979 study of the five communities. There are also other problems to be solved. The police pension plans in the three communities, for example, are administered by two different state agencies.

There would be start-up expenditures for items such as new insignias on uniforms and patrol cars, creation or modification of a headquarters and an entirely new table of organization into which the various officers would have to be melded.

Delanco has seven full-time officers, Edgewater Park has 13 and Beverly four. Part-time or so-called special officers help complete staffing in each town.

Job security appears to be a prime concern of the police. Although the 1979 study suggested that "no police officers in any of the existing police departments should lose his job," it also pointed out that the state's 1973 Interlocal Services Act did not "mandate that present police officers employed by the five municipalities be appointed to the regional force."

Still, some local officials point out what could be benefits for the officers. Beverly Mayor Frank Costello said that with regionalization, "there certainly will be more opportunity with a large department for some of the young fellows to move up, particularly in the areas of specialization. We don't need a detective in Beverly at present, but if we had the three departments mingled, I'm sure there would be a recommendation for this." He said there might also be recommendations for specialized jobs like photographic expert or investigator.

As for the current chiefs and local police in the three communities, opinion on a regional force varies.

"The (three) chiefs have worked their way up from nothing," said Gene DiFilippo, 42, who has been chief for three years in Beverly and on the force for 13. "I even started part time. I sure wouldn't be willing to give that up and I think the rest of the guys feel the same way. To be honest, I feel I have done my job and don't have to worry about it. And so have my men."

In Delanco, Robert Raber, 43, chief for the last five years, said he was worried about how a single regional police force would deal with what he perceives as a difference in community lifestyles.

"I'm looking at it from Delanco's side," he said. "I feel Beverly and Edgewater Park have a lot to gain and we have a lot to lose. I mean the town itself, not the policemen. Delanco is sort of a laid-back community. The Delanco police department does a lot of service to the community that others do not.

"Beverly is very undermanned, so it's almost impossible for them to give the service to the people that we give because they devote all their time to street calls. Edgewater Park has a bigger police department, but has a more complex problem because of businesses and (covering) Route 130. Also, they're shorthanded for the size of their community.

"All the men here feel that Delanco is going to come up on the short end unless they (the joint force) hire more people," Raber said, "because more of Delanco's strength would be devoted to Beverly and Edgewater Park."

Raber said he believed that when regionalization did come, it would not be in the form of a single force for the three communities. "I feel that somewhere down the line, it's going to happen," Raber said, "but I feel it's going to happen on a county scale, not a local scale. I feel we are at least 10 to 12 years off."

Raber's fears about the dilution of the strength of the current individual departments was shared by David Banff, Delran's chief. "We were the biggest department (in the 1979 study)," he said. "We had the most men, the most cars, and we felt very strongly that we would be shorting our residents by spreading our patrols out. Our mayor (at the time, Lorraine Schmierer) and council . . . felt we'd get the short end of it in the long run."

Joseph Baranoski, 48, Edgewater Park police chief since 1972, also has reservations.

"I think the concept of regionalization is fantastic, but the way they're going about it is all wrong," he said. "They're looking at it financially, but if you look at it logistically . . . I cannot foresee any initial savings. . . . To me, it's going to be an (added) expense.

"I've got 12 men. According to FBI studies, there should be 1.5 to 2.0 per 1,000 of population. Based on my 10,000 population here, it (the Edgewater Park force) should be 15."

As for the feasibility study, Baranoski predicted that the elected officials would have a difficult time solving their own political problems. ''I haven't been privy to these things," he added. "It's stricly a move by the politicians. They did it before and it was shot down before. We (will) need a regional police station. Where's that going to be? You know the politicians are going to fight over that."

Beverly's DiFilippo said he saw advantages to regionalization. "Manpower, if the department is run properly," he said. "You would have more people roaming the different areas. As for equipment, we would probably all be better off because we could purchase more equipment that we need. We don't have a detective bureau - Delanco and Edgewater Park both have - and that would be a lot of help. It would solve some of our problems if we had a detective full-time.

"Our town is not the easiest to work in. We have several bars, housing projects, and we are a low-income district. We have four full-time, and eight part-timers who pitch in and work a lot of hours to make things work right. Some of our part-time guys have been around 20 years."

DiFilippo also said a regional force could help solve Beverly's problems with police turnover by making salaries more competitive with its neighbors'. ''We lost two full-time patrolmen in the last year and a half to other departments," he continued. "We completely trained and uniformed them and gave them street experience. And it didn't cost the other departments (one of the officers went to Edgewater Park) anything except to put them on the road. They are starting them at $3,000 to $4,000 more than we are paying. These guys have families and responsibilities and they have to live like anybody else. You can't expect them to do the same job as the guy next to them for . . . less."

No matter what the outcome of the new study of police consolidation in Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park, the debate is certain to be watched carefully throughout Burlington County.

The rumor of regionalization has been sweeping into other communities, such as Hainesport, where police department problems included a six-month suspension of the chief last year.

"When the rumors started," said Charles W. Gray, a township committee member, "we had to let everybody know it was not our (the committee's) doing. We did discuss it with Bob Shinn," a former county freeholder and current Republican member of the state Assembly, "and he said he had all the information (the study done in the early 1970s) in boxes in his attic. I really hadn't thought too much about it. It was turned down and I don't think it has progressed since. We're happy with our police department."

Talk of alternative police coverage has also been heard in Medford Lakes. Council member Michael Levinsky, director of public safety there, said she had been informally discussing the possibility of purchasing contract police service from Medford Township. "For Medford Township to cover its southern end," Levinsky said, "it has to go through the Lakes" anyway.

"Service costs(the buying of police time), which are rising faster than population growth, have placed a tremendous burden upon the taxpayer," said the 1979 report, and that has certainly not changed.

That report quoted the County and Municipal Government Study Commission's report on joint services: "The alternatives to such interlocal cooperation are stark: either chronically inadequate services or eventual mandatory regionalization - or both."

The 1979 riverfront study, however, included a statement that probably struck at the heart of the citizens' fears: "While people in the individual communities know and have confidence in the members of their respective local police departments, such confidence would not be easily transferred to a regional police agency, which could be impersonal and less responsive to the needs of the people."

Resolving that concern will not be easy.


The first public hearing on the suggested consolidation of the Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park police departments will be at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Delanco municipal building, on Burlington Avenue.

Additional hearings will be conducted on Jan. 22 in the Edgewater Park municipal building and on Jan. 27 in Beverly City Hall. Both also will be at 7:30.

The state Department of Community Affairs will conduct the hearings. At the three municipalities' requests, the agency is beginning a six-month study of the feasibility of combining the three departments.

Fire-prevention Efforts Bear Fruit In Delran

Source: Posted: January 26, 1986

It looks like a spendthrift's bank book.

A listing of the estimated amount of property loss due to fire in Delran Township dropped from $226,000 in 1981 to $217,000 in 1982. The next year, the loss plummeted to $49,000 and declined to just over $18,000 in 1984.

Someone is doing his job.

The figures, provided by the Delran Fire Company, reflect some of the proudest moments and the hardest work shared by the company since it started in 1967.

Previously, Delran firefighters operated as two entities: Delran Fire Company No. 1, on the Bridgeboro side of the township, and Delran Fire Company No. 2, on the Riverside Park side. Back then, the firefighters had a bit of a hard time getting used to working together and not competing against each other.

"The rivalry was always outside the fire grounds," said Captain Daniel Paolini 2nd of the Delran Fire Company as he sat in the Hartford Road headquarters.

"But we've been well beyond that stage for many years."

The department, which now has more than 80 members (only about 50 or 60 of them are active), has just celebrated 15 years of teaching fire prevention in the township schools and was honored with a resolution passed by the township council at Wednesday's meeting.

The prevention program, according to Paolini, fire official Jim Turcich and Chief James Bauer, has contributed to the decrease in the number of fires, hazardous conditions and especially, the number of false alarms answered by the company.

"The grade school kids who we taught years ago are now in junior high," Paolini said.

"We are seeing a reduction in the number of grass fires, garbage-can fires and false alarms. You can see a pattern."

Bauer said he has heard of schoolchildren, after being visited by firefighters, warning their parents about the dangers of cigarette smoking and of not extinguishing matches before throwing them away.

More importantly, he said, children are learning that a firefighter in full uniform is not someone to run away from in a burning house.

"In the long run," Paolini said, "we are raising a generation of people who are fire safe."

The company's efforts have not stopped there, however. Early this year, the fire district, which oversees the fire company, implemented a program designed to educate township business owners on the requirements of the new, state- mandated fire code.

"We are trying to show people that we are more than fire trucks and equipment," said Turcich.

The code, for example, requires that all buildings have smoke detectors. It also requires that a fire safety enforcement agency, preferably the local fire district, conduct fire-safety inspections.

Cinnaminson Township officials are awaiting a state appellate court's decision on whether the fire district or the township will have the authority to conduct the inspections on township residences and businesses.

The Delran company also has strived to improve the quality of its volunteers by sending them out of the county for additional training. In the recent past, volunteers attended the National Fire Academy in Maryland and took a course in Philadelphia.

"We've raised our level of firefighting ability," Paolini said.

Like many departments across the nation, Delran's is struggling with membership problems. New volunteers are few and far between, firefighters say.

"You have to get them while they're young," said Bauer. "Then out of five volunteers, one will become a long-term, active member."

The company operates with four pumpers, an aerial ladder truck, a light rescue unit, a brush truck and a 1964 van, which it hopes to replace this year, It also hopes to buy a rescue boat, if the fire budget is approved by voters.

The current $322,600 fire budget calls for a tax of 9 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Paolini, as budget officer, said he did not see next year's budget increasing that tax by any more than a penny.

The company is trying to keep costs down while improving services. The establishment of the fire district in 1981 has helped to bring more money to township fire services, but more members are needed to provide those services.

"There was a time we had enough people who could literally stomp a fire out, standing side by side," said Paolini.

"We didn't have the training, but we had the people and the equipment. Now we have the equipment, but we don't have the people."

7 Areas To Hold Elections Sat. To Decide Issues In Fire Districts

Source: Posted: February 12, 1986

Voters in seven local communities are to participate Saturday in annual fire-district elections, selecting candidates to serve on district commissions, approving or disapproving of the districts' operating budgets, and, in one community, considering two bond issues.

Polling will take place in Beverly, Cinnaminson, Delanco, Delran, Eastampton, and Edgewater Park and Tabernacle Townships.

Unlike a large community such as Cherry Hill, which has seven separate fire districts, the Burlington County communities have only one fire district in each municipality.

Two bond issues are on the ballot in Edgewater Park - one for $300,000, for the purchase of new firefighting equipment, and another for $100,000, for the purchase of a plot of land on Green Street that would be used for a fire company substation.

"Basically, we're planning ahead," said M. Glenna Goff, who heads the fire commission in Edgewater Park, which has no fire department of its own but is covered by the two companies in Beverly. The companies receive almost 80 percent of their funding from the commission.

"Suppose the Beverly fire companies go out of business," said Goff. ''There is virtually no property available in Edgewater Park. Even if we never need the property, we can deed it over to the township. We have no intention of building in the next 10 years, but if we had to, what would we do?"

Goff said that Edgewater Park has no intention of pulling out of the mutual protection system in the near future, but that the picture could change.

W. Paul Guidry, a member of the Edgewater Park Township Committee, said the bond-issue questions were inappropriate now.

"It's not that I'm opposed to a new fire hall ever being built," he said. ''I just feel the timing is poor."

Guidry cited "a big tax burden" that the community will be facing because of increases in the cost of waste removal and insurance and the increase in tuition being charged for the high school students the township sends to Burlington City.

Goff argued that the timing was proper. "If we don't put it up for a vote, how are we ever going to know what direction to go?" she said.

In urging support for the bond issues, she added that much of the firefighting equipment is "reaching the over-the-hill stage."

The $100,000 bond issue would be used to purchase a 6-acre site on the south side of Green Street just east of Beverly-Mount Holly Road. Don Evans of March Realty said that the property, which is 450 feet deep with a 57-foot frontage, is owned by Ray Maute of Riverside, and that the asking price is $120,000. The fire commission is having it appraised.

Although the $300,000 bond issue is listed simply as being designed to enable the community "to acquire fire apparatus," Wylie Johnson, captain of Beverly Fire Company No. 1 and chairman of the Beverly fire commission, is recommending purchase of a $300,000 multipurpose ladder truck. The truck would carry a built-in hose and air lines on its 75-foot ladder and would be capable of pumping its own water.

Any equipment purchased with Edgewater Park funds would become the property of Edgewater Park. All current equipment is owned by the Beverly fire companies.

Here are the polling times, candidates and budgets to be voted on:

Beverly - Polls will be open from 2-9 p.m. at City Hall. Candidates for two three-year seats are Joseph Rudnicki and Wylie Johnson; for two-year unexpired terms, Richard Morgan and Bruce Herbst, and for a one-year unexpired term, Alfred Desjardins. The operating budget to be voted on is for $48,250, the same as last year.

Cinnaminson - Polls will be open from 2-9 p.m. Voters in Election Districts 1-8 will vote at the community center on Manor Road, behind the Municipal Building. In Election Districts 9-16, voters will cast their ballots at the New Albany School, on New Albany Road. In Districts 17-22, voting will take place at the Cinnaminson Middle School, on Fork Landing Road.

Three candidates are vying for two seats. Incumbent John Stokes is seeking re-election. Also on the ballot are Larry Gerlock, a building contractor and volunteer firefighter, and Mark Parker, an executive with an investment firm who is not a volunteer firefighter.

The operating budget to be considered is for $340,000, up from the $328,000 of last year.

Delanco - Polls will be open from 1-7 p.m. at the firehouse, on Union Avenue. Candidates for one three-year term are Frederick V. McQuade Sr. and Edward A. Reynolds. The operating budget to be voted on is for $114,835.

Delran - Polls will be open from 2-9 p.m. at the Municipal Building, on Chester Avenue. Candidates for two open seats are President Wes Espenschied and Commissioner Charles Forssell. The budget to be voted on is for $452,600. Of that, $322,600 is to be raised by taxes - $22,600 more than last year - with the rest coming from reserves that would be used for the purchase of a utility van and a rescue boat.

Eastampton - Polls will be open from 2-9 p.m. at the Eastampton firehouse on Smithville Road. Candidates for two open seats are Matthew Chudoba and incumbent Axel Anderson. The operating budget to be voted on is for $76,564, a slight decrease from last year.

Edgewater Park - Polls will be open from 1-9 p.m. at the Municipal Building. Candidates for two three-year terms are Robert W. Clancy, an incumbent, and Susan C. Meredith, a firefighter who was appointed in October to complete the unexpired term of Marty Genett. The operating budget to be voted on is for $126,000, the same as last year. Also before the voters are bond issues of $300,000, for acquisition of fire apparatus, and $100,000, for a plot of ground for fire-protection purposes.

Tabernacle - Polls will be open from 2-9 p.m. at the Tabernacle Town Hall, at Route 563 and Carranza Road. The legal advertisement for the election says the balloting will take place at the firehouse, but a scheduling conflict required it to be moved to the Town Hall. Two seats are open in the election, with John Burger, William Singer and incumbent Michael Callaghan vying to fill them. The total budget to be voted on is for $77,300, a slight increase from last year.

Seeking Volunteers For Emergency Aid

Source: Posted: February 12, 1986

It had been a busy Saturday night for the Willingboro Emergency Squad, which was not surprising, considering the rain-soaked chill outside.

The first call of the 12-hour shift had been a house fire with people trapped inside, but it turned out that the residents were not home and the fire was brought under control easily.

Then there had been an unfounded report of an unconscious person, followed by a head-on collision north of the turnpike on Woodlane Road. The crew helped the Westampton squad on that call, and it took 30 minutes to cut an injured driver out of his car.

And then, Lt. Joe Strang, Mike Zielinski and Joe Stringfellow were standing on the sidelines of a state drill-squad competition in the John F. Kennedy High School gymnasium, covering for two colleagues who were transporting a high-stepper to the hospital with a knee injury.

It was 9:32 p.m. For Strang and the others, the next 8 hours and 28 minutes could be frantic hell or tedious boredom. Such is the unpredictability of emergency medical work.

It is work done free of charge in sometimes difficult circumstances and at inconvenient times. The volunteers say their services are often taken for granted. Increasingly, they say, it is attracting fewer people. And that is creating problems.

Emergency squads throughout New Jersey - a state rooted in volunteer emergency medical care - are finding themselves harder pressed than ever to answer calls, especially during weekdays. Many worry that service, and eventually a life, will be compromised. The era of paid staff members is no longer probable but inevitable, they say.

The Kennedy gymnasium was not the place to discuss such issues, though. As batons, rifles and flags went spinning through the air, Strang, the duty chief of the Willingboro squad, leaned against the gym wall and suggested that his crew enjoy the show.

They got little chance.

At 9:52, over the blaring music, Stringfellow hears the squad's call tones from the walkie-talkie in his hand.

Suddenly, everything changes: Run from the gym. Forty seconds later, on the road. Strang driving, Zielinski copiloting. Lights flashing, siren screaming.

"Unconscious person, Gardenbrook Lane," informs the dispatcher at central communications in Westampton. That is all: no age, no sex, no explanation.

"Sixty-five responding," answers Stringfellow from the back of the ambulance.

Across Levitt Parkway, left on Garnet, right on Gardenbrook. Zielinski searches for house numbers; Strang curses. The ambulance passes a Willingboro police car heading up the street; seconds later, the dispatcher advises, ''Police say you have passed the house."

Three minutes later, out of the ambulance. Stringfellow grabs a green first-aid bag. Party-goers line the sidewalk. Low conversation. A house crowded with other party-goers - a wedding reception.

The 17-year-old girl, reported to be unconscious, is sitting on a stool at one end of the living room.

Everyone offers comments: "She's had the flu;" "She just broke up with her boyfriend and hasn't eaten all week;" "She looks 100 percent better now;" "You got here so fast."

The three men check her pulse and heartbeat. Strang asks the girl if she has been drinking. Is she pregnant? No, she says, to both.

She says she is feeling better. Her parents say taking her to the hospital is unnecessary. The squad crew files out of the house and back into the ambulance. Back to the squad building to await the next call.

10:17 p.m.


"Knights in shining armor" is what Nathaniel Evans, emergency room physician at Memorial Hospital of Burlington County, calls them. "Unsung heroes" is the description by Jaime Pitner, coordinator of the hospital's Mobile Intensive Care Unit.

At the center of the admiration are the hundreds of people across the county who respond to the ominous beeps and sirens of medical emergencies.

Last year, the county volunteers answered more than 18,000 calls. The 85- member Willingboro squad volunteered 37,117 hours on about 2,500 calls.

"They perform a vital service," said state Rep. William P. Schuber (R., Bergen), who last year held hearings on the problems of volunteer emergency and fire squads. "We could not afford . . . to convert these squads to paid services." Most emergency medical squads receive a portion of their budgets from municipal governments and raise the remainder on their own.

Riding the ambulances are people such as Joe Stringfellow, 16, a Willingboro student who has been known to arrive at a scene on his bicycle; and Nancy Cooper, 30, a swing-shift worker at a cranberry plant whose four- member Pemberton squad answered 47 calls in January's first 26 days, and Howard Dickerson, 62, a volunteer for 32 years and captain of the Beverly squad for 19 of those years.

Titles vary. Depending on the program they train under, the volunteers are called either emergency medical technicians, five-pointers or first-aiders. Each designation speaks to basic life support - the administration of oxygen, the start of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of bandages, splints, collars and dressings. The EMT program is the most rigorous, requiring 120 hours of state training and recertification every three years.

People often use the terms interchangeably. But in an emergency, the only thing that matters is that someone is coming to help.

"When it hits home, then they realize, 'My God, we need these people,' " Dickerson said.

For the squads, the realization that they, too, need help has been hitting home with equal force in recent years. They need people to volunteer.

The problem has led to longer response times and a greater reliance of squads on each other. The most difficult period, squads say, is daytime, when it seems that virtually no one is home to respond to a neighbor in need.

"It's a very serious situation," said Jerris Martinez, director of county central communications, who on occasion has watched dispatchers ring three and four squads before finding one available. "The lack of volunteers is, I think, taking a great toll on the effectiveness and efficiency of the squads."

"We always have people say, 'Gee, I'm glad you can do that. I can't,' " said Gus Maier, president of the Willingboro squad. Invariably, those people are the same ones questioning why an out-of-town squad truck was in front of a local resident's house. "Obviously there's a need," Maier said.

The shortage of volunteers has led to such situations as these:

* In Willingboro, police officer Paul Hernandez was on regular daytime patrol duty last month when he was sent to a report of a drug overdose.

Hernandez reached the house within three minutes and relayed back to the dispatcher that the person was still conscious. He was told that Delran's squad was coming. Five minutes later, he told the dispatcher that the man was beginning to slip in and out of consciousness. Five minutes later, paramedics from Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital-Rancocas Valley Division showed up. Still another five minutes passed before the Willingboro Emergency Squad arrived to transport the patient; they had been in Delran on a call.

* In Beverly, a late-night alarm went out last month that a woman was unconscious and not breathing. Dickerson rushed to the squad building and waited, as required, for a second person to respond. No one did. The call was repeated. Dickerson made a quick decision: "I took an ambulance out. I figured, Howard, they can do with you what they want, but I'm going." He was the last to arrive, after a police officer, paramedics and the Burlington City Endeavor squad, which also had been summoned. The woman died; Dickerson said he believed that her death was inevitable. Still, "It hurts inside. Did you ever have a 62-year-old man with tears coming down his cheeks?"

* In Pemberton Township, Nancy Cooper has watched squad ranks dwindle from 30 to 4 within the last five years. "We're constantly on the go," she said. ''We try to run 24 hours, day and night, no matter what the weather." When a call comes in, she meets two members at the neighbor's house where their one ambulance is parked. In winter, they have to brush off snow and warm up the engine before they can get rolling. On occasion, equipment has been frozen. "We pick up the fourth guy on the way." Many times, she said, ''We're not even to our rig by the time (central communications is) ready to go to another squad."

Some communities are becoming alarmed about the situation.

"We have to find some alternate means of inducing people to join," said Pemberton Township Councilman Charles L. Meyers. He said he planned to focus on emergency-service needs during this year's budget negotiations.

To many people, however, the only answer is money.

"There's really no solutions as far as volunteers are concerned," said Martinez. "I think the handwriting is on the wall. In the not-too-distant future, something will have to be done to pay these people."

In fact, two Burlington County squads already have begun paying members. In September, Mount Laurel Township hired two EMTs, at a salary of about $15,000 each, for its Fellowship Emergency Squad. In October, the Delran Emergency Squad started paying an EMT about $12,000.

"We had to make a move," said Donald Horner, captain of the Delran squad. ''We didn't want it to get to the point where we weren't making calls."

The Fellowship squad had reached that point when it hired the two EMTs, said Capt. Charles Kritz Sr. At the time, nearly a third of its calls were being diverted to other squads.

Still, the squad debated the move for almost a year, especially whether having paid staff could cause morale problems among volunteers or dilute the volunteer spirit. He said the change has done neither.

"We're very proud we're volunteers. We're trained well to do this. It's not the days of yesteryear where you swoop, scoop and run," he said.

However, he predicted that paid staff would become more common. "I don't ever envision being without paid staff again."

Eager from training, Janine Maier was ready to save lives. But on her first call as a Willingboro squad member, she hit reality hard.

The victim, a 27-year-old epileptic with four small children, had suffered a seizure, vomited and choked. She was already dead.

"I went charging in there with all my oxygen and training and there was nothing I could do," Maier recounted recently. She said she walked out and ''bawled my eyes out." When a police officer at the scene asked Maier to dress the woman's children, she did so.

"There's a time when it hits you, the enormity of a situation, the horror of a situation. Even after many years of doing something, it hits you," said Alan Pollon, a 25-year veteran from Willingboro.

Pollon and his daughter, Terri Pollon, and Maier, and her father, Gus Maier, are only two of the many family combinations on squad rosters. Volunteers must be at least 16, but there is no upper age cutoff. Husband- wife, sister-sister - each joins and then remains for different reasons.

Some repay what they see as debts - lifesaving calls others have made for their families. Some have medical interests or seek companionship. Still others, it must be said, gravitate toward sirens and bells and breakneck pressure.

Squads, which in the past have tended to sit back and wait for members, are beginning to use those individual reasons in increasingly active recruitment efforts.

"Squads need to make a community aware that the squads exist because the community supports it," said Willingboro member Peter Ingerman, contemplating the membership drive that the squad plans for the spring. He said he envisioned involving churches and service organizations, and planned to advertise in a big way.

The Beverly squad is thinking along similar lines and is hoping that a push for its own building will attract attention. The Delran squad, which last year advertised in local papers, put out brochures and appeared before civic groups, recently organized a medical Explorer's Scout Troop and hopes to recruit from that.

At the state level, the First Aid Council has produced public-relations literature for squads to use. The state Office of Emergency Medical Services also is responding and, on Feb. 3, it began a pilot project for students at Lenape Regional High School in Medford.

In the project, 25 students, whose class schedules allow them to end their school days at noon, began a 10-week afternoon program leading to certification as EMTs.

"Once the first class is through, I think it will grow by leaps and bounds," said the project founder, Pat Cone, a supervisor in the state office and a volunteer with the Medford Emergency Squad. "Hopefully, we'll do it throughout the state."

And in Trenton, assembly member Schuber said he planned to reintroduce legislation drafted last year to assist fire and emergency squads in attracting volunteers. His proposals include providing members with state income-tax credits, homeowner mortgage insurance and pension and educational assistance. In addition, employers would be given financial incentives through tax credits to allow employees to answer local calls during working hours.

"Sooner or later, we're going to be in a crisis situation," Schuber said.

Three weeks ago, on a miserably icy Monday evening, Janine Maier and three other Willingboro squad members signed up for emergency duty and, in sleeping bags, spent the night at the squad building.

Normally, the two people scheduled for duty would have run from their homes, but both were sick and, given the weather, the others decided to stick close to the ambulances.

In a six-hour period, they went out on three respiratory-distress calls, a motor-vehicle accident, a drug overdose and a fire.

All in a night's work.

Dealing Justice With A Stern Hand

Source: Posted: February 19, 1986

In the municipal court of Bennett E. Bozarth, it's the little things that count.

Take, for example, some incidents from several days spent observing Bozarth's court last month:

* A little tardiness cost James Nash of Burlington City a contempt-of-court charge that has not yet been resolved. He was charged in Edgewater Park for missing the judge's explanation of the rights of a defendant in a disorderly persons case.

* A little talking in court cost Heather Ashcroft of Medford Township a $40 contempt-of-court fine.

* And a little resistance to arrest cost a disabled Willingboro resident, Tom Lewis, four months in jail and more than $1,000 in fines, although several hours after imposing the sentence, Bozarth relented and suspended the imprisonment.

These are some of the penalties that have given Bozarth a reputation for being one of Burlington County's severest magistrates - a reputation that prompted one Pemberton Township politician, former township committee member Jean Dwane, to make a passing reference in a public meeting to Bozarth as ''our hanging judge."

Hanging, of course, is not within the authority of Bozarth or any other municipal court judge. But what these judges can do - and how they do it - is something that not many citizens know about, according to some court observers.

No matter who is on the bench, the observers say, a day in court can be a sobering and costly experience for a person without proper knowledge of municipal-level justice.

In the area, chances are good that the day in court will be before Judge Bozarth, 39, of Delran, a descendant of one of the county's oldest families.

He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1972 and collects Oriental rugs. But he makes his judicial rounds in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

When he was still a trial lawyer, he helped his family, which is involved in the Delaware River shipping industry, on the docks in Camden. He gave it up after being persuaded by his lawyer friends that that was unprofessional.

On different days, he is the municipal court judge in seven of the area's 27 communities: Edgewater Park, Hainesport and Riverton, and Medford, Pemberton, Shamong and Woodland Townships. He had been judge of an eighth, Cinnaminson, but his appointment was not renewed last month.

State officials involved in the courts said they were unaware of his reputation for sternness.

But those who have spent time before his bench agree that there are few courts outside Bozarth's circuit where justice has a sterner ring. Bozarth sees his role as that of an upholder of law and order.

"His bedside manner is not the best," said Emilie Himm, the Pemberton Township court clerk.

"If you sneeze, he'll charge you with contempt," said Ed Minor, a Pemberton Township resident who has appeared before Bozarth at different times as defendant, complainant and witness.

"He is much sterner," said Ernest De Stefano, an attorney who is the prosecutor in Woodland Township and the public defender in Pemberton Township. ''He's not going to allow defendants to run his court."

It is not that Bozarth is unfair, unkind, inattentive or harsher in his decisions than the other 11 judges who preside over the county's 40 municipal courts. If he were, it would soon come to the attention of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, a state watchdog panel.

No, the stuff of Bozarth's sternness is subtler.

For instance, take the opening moments of court, when judges typically read off the names of defendants, most charged with motor-vehicle offenses, to see if they are present.

After reading the defendants' names in Cinnaminson a couple of weeks ago, more than half of whom were absent, Judge Gregory McCloskey, Bozarth's successor, murmured an order to the court clerk to make sure that they were issued warrants.

Bozarth's style is more dramatic. On several occasions in various courtrooms, Bozarth called out a name, paused, and when no one answered, he said, "Warrant," repeating the word until it seemed to echo like the clang of a jailhouse door.

Contempt is another word that recurs in Bozarth's court. Soon after charging Nash with contempt for tardiness in Edgewater Park, Bozarth charged another couple with contempt for talking in court.

He also charged Ashcroft with contempt, although she later explained that she simply had been telling the time to her boyfriend, who is functionally illiterate. Bozarth later suspended the fine.

Bozarth even fined a lawyer, Ed Magram of Mount Holly, for contempt for talking with his client in court, although officially the incident has been expunged from court records.

Magram was fined $40, but the fine was vacated.

Bozarth's sternness is not limited to courtroom discipline. In Mount Holly, Judge Vincent D'Elia sent off a man he had just fined for driving while intoxicated with a kindly "Good luck to you, sir." That benediction was never heard during visits to Bozarth's court.

In another case, a woman in Edgewater Park pleaded guilty to shoplifting $92 worth of merchandise from a Pathmark supermarket. She said she had been ''under a lot of distress and under a doctor's care."

"That hardly constitutes a defense," Bozarth replied. He then gave her a year's probation, a $300 fine, a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail and an order to perform 40 hours of community service. When the woman said scheduling the community service would be difficult because she has children, Bozarth replied: "How you do it is between you and the probation department. If you don't, you can be sure I'll see you again."

A man who missed an appointment with his probation officer was ordered by Bozarth to return to court with a letter from the officer. In an aside to nobody in particular, the judge added, "It better be a good letter, or he better bring a toothbrush."

To Mount Holly attorney Paul Latterman, Bozarth is familiar for his phrase to defendants who ask for extensions of their cases so they can hire attorneys. According to Latterman, Bozarth generally gives them until the next court session in that municipality to hire one and adds the warning: "If he can't be there then, get another attorney."

In some courts, a plea of guilty with extenuating circumstances is allowed.

In Cinnaminson, for instance, McCloskey patiently heard such a plea in a traffic case, ignoring not only the law's technical requirement that a defendant plead either guilty or not guilty, but also the occasional buzz of conversation in the courtroom.

Bozarth is not so pliant, permitting a defendant to tell his story only before sentencing, as prescribed by law.

If, after being denied the chance to plead guilty with an excuse, the defendant hesitates, Bozarth usually tells the defendant that he is entering a plea of not guilty on the defendant's behalf. Then, so the defendant will have time to obtain counsel, Bozarth tells him he is rescheduling the case for the next court session - a prospective ordeal to which the get-it-over-with appeal of a guilty plea may seem preferable.

It was small wonder, then, that Tom Lewis Jr. refused an attorney and pleaded guilty before Bozarth to charges stemming from an altercation on Nov. 10, 1985.

According to statements given to the court by Pemberton Township police Officer Robert Willits, police were summoned to Lewis' residence after a report that he was involved in a fight. Although Lewis is physically handicapped, walks with a limp and allegedly was intoxicated at the time of the incident, he took a swing at Willits, police said.

Willits was not injured, and by the time the case reached Bozarth's court the charges had been reduced from aggravated assault and threatening a police officer to simple assault and a disorderly person charge of harassment. When asked if he had anything to say for himself, Lewis was silent.

Bozarth was not. "It doesn't appear that any mitigating factors apply," the judge said. Then, saying, "Such behavior won't be tolerated," Bozarth sentenced Lewis to four months in the county jail on the assault charge. He also fined him $800, plus $25 in court costs, and ordered him to pay another $25 to the New Jersey Crime Compensation Fund.

After that, he fined Lewis $200 plus $25 in court costs and $25 in compensation-fund costs on the disorderly person charge.

Lewis, his right hand bunched up at his side, his legs visibly shaking, heard the sentence and then hobbled off to a seat at the side of the court to await being taken to the lockup. To some in the courtroom, it seemed as if mercy was a word whose meaning Bozarth did not know.

That is not the case, according to state and court officials. Such sternness, they say, is necessary to the dignity of the court itself - and often required by law. And if there are any serious complaints about cold- heartedness in Bozarth's court, nobody has made them public.

"We get complaints about all judges," said Steven Traub, the assistant court administrator for Burlington County Superior Court who oversees the county's municipal courts. But Earl Josephson, a spokesman for the state court system, said, "A lot of complaints are from people who really disagree with their decision."

If the complaints pertain to a judge's competence or honesty, he said, they are handled by the Judicial Ethics Committee, which in its 10 years of existence has issued 17 presentments - six involving state judges, 10 involving municipal court judges, and one involving a surrogate. They resulted in three removals from office; one public reprimand; nine private reprimands; two resignations, and two presentment dismissals.

Unresolved complaints about judges at any level, however, are kept confidential, these officials said.

"Even if I had any knowledge of this judge's courts, I could not give that information," said Patrick Monahan, staff counsel for the ethics committee.

Obviously, said one state official who declined to be identified, if the file of complaints about a certain judge gets a lot thicker than the other files, state officials are aware of it. But if such information were indiscriminately publicized, he said, it would tarnish the image of the courts themselves, which, regardless of the human failings of the people who run them, must remain above suspicion.

Even many who acknowledge Bozarth's sternness in the courtroom say it is necessary if he is to combine justice with efficiency.

"When you have a docket with over 100 individuals on it, the only way you can run a court efficiently is to set guidelines and rules, " said De Stefano, who sees such dockets every week in Pemberton Township.

Even though as public defender he often challenges Bozarth in court, De Stefano said he stands up for the stiffness of the penalties. "What he's trying to get across is that when you are convicted, a penalty is not supposed to suit your pocketbook," De Stefano said. A fine, he said, "is not supposed to be a free ride to Great Adventure."

Bozarth is aware that he has his critics. He said both his office and his car had been vandalized. He also claims supporters, including Cinnaminson Police Chief Thomas Adams. In December, Adams unsuccessfully endorsed Bozarth, a Republican, for reappointment by the Democrat-dominated Township Committee.

Bozarth said he does not know if he is unusually stern or not. He is forbidden by the state Code of Judicial Conduct from attending other municipal courts to make comparisons.

Bozarth became a municipal judge four years ago after handling both prosecutions and defenses for 10 years as a trial lawyer.

He said that one of the reasons he liked being a judge was that he believed he had made society a safer place, particularly for the aged.

And it is significant that, when asked which side of trial law he had preferred, his answer was the prosecution.

Now that he is on the bench, he said, he demands "a rigid adherence" to punctuality in the court and to silence - and is quick to give his reasons. He recalled an earlier municipal judge whose court was supposed to begin at 8:30 a.m., but who did not show up until about 10. The waiting period gave "people a chance to seethe," he said.

In addition to preventing courtroom participants from feeling that "their time and anxiety are not appreciated," punctuality keeps Bozarth's courtroom calendar moving at the rapid pace that is required, he said. State law, for instance, requires that driving-while-intoxicated cases be tried in 60 days, which can impose scheduling difficulties. "I step on a lot of toes," he said, "not only the toes of defendants, but also attorneys."

Bozarth has equally pragmatic reasons for insisting on silence. Municipal- court proceedings are tape-recorded so that transcripts can be prepared in the event of an appeal.

Courtroom chatter, he said, can make the proceedings impossible to transcribe, forcing the cost, the trouble and the uncertain outcome of a retrial. That uncertainty, in turn, makes the operations of the judicial system "look like rolling dice."

For talking in court, Bozarth said, he imposes a contempt fine of no more than $40, "except in outrageous cases." For tardiness there is more flexibility, depending on the validity of the excuse.

"The price of my 'Draconian' measures," Bozarth said with a smile, "is that we move cases efficiently in comparison with a looser court."

As to the sternness of his rulings, Bozarth said many of the penalties he imposed - such as entering a not-guilty plea for a wavering defendant - were required by the spirit or the letter of law.

"I'm more concerned about justice being done than with the defendant's desire to have it over and done with," he said.

Bozarth also said that he was more flexible than many courtroom observers realized, reducing sentences upon a subsequent request from a defendant. But, as a judge, he added, he is limited in the amount of help he can provide to a defendant who does not understand what is happening.

"There's an end to how much I can involve myself," he said.

For that reason, Bozarth said, he frequently calls upon the public defender to look into a defendant's problems.

For example, on the day he sentenced Lewis to jail, he later called De Stefano to the bench and asked him to look into the case further. When De Stefano said that, in view of Lewis' physical condition, he should not be jailed, Bozarth suspended the sentence.

Such last-minute reprieves are not automatic, however. And Bozarth, like other officials involved in municipal-court justice, expressed dismay at the lack of awareness on the part of the public about the importance of an adequate legal defense, particularly when a jail sentence is possible.

Few defendants, for instance, seemed to know that a jail term often can be served on weekends or tailored to permit them to keep a household intact or to keep a job.

"I might take a splinter out of my own finger," Bozarth said, drawing an impromptu analogy with court cases of varying severity. "But if it got infected, I'd want a doctor."

Delran Arbitration Postponed To March

Source: Posted: February 23, 1986

Efforts at resolving a dispute concerning the Delran Police Association's 1985 contract have been postponed until March 4 by arbitrator Thomas F. Carey.

Carey canceled a session scheduled for Feb. 13 to "take more time to prepare his position," according to township administrator Matthew Watkins.

The state arbitrator was called in by the association in early January in a renewed effort to resolve the unsettled portion of its 1985 contract with the township.

The association, which represents 14 patrol officers, a detective and three sergeants, had filed for binding arbitration after negotiations broke off Dec. 6 without a settlement.

At that meeting - the day on which the association had expected the transfer of its pension fund from the state Public Employees Retirement System to the Police and Firemen's Retirement System - the township offered a 3 percent salary increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 1985.

Talks on the 1985 contract were reopened after legislation that would have transferred the pension fund was not approved by the state legislature by Nov. 1, the deadline contained in the contract, which expired on Dec. 31.

The one-year 1985 contract, under which members of the association are still working, granted patrol officers a 5 percent salary increase retroactive to Jan. 1 and an extra personal day. It also stipulated that the association could seek to transfer the pension fund.

At the time the pension transfer failed, Mayor Richard Knight said the township would make up for that failure by reopening the 1985 contract and negotiating an additional, retroactive wage increase. That would include pay for overtime.

But when the township offered a 3 percent wage increase, disappointed members of the association called in the arbitrator.

Patrolman William Pfeffer, association president, said the group would press for an 8 percent increase in the arbitration proceedings.

"We just have kind of gotten stuck," said Watkins. "Obviously, I'm kind of confounded that we are still arbitrating the 1985 contract. But that's the way (arbitration) is, and I can't change that."

To add to the association's and township's woes, negotiations aimed at settling the 1986 police contract have yet to be completed.

Township officials and association representatives met Feb. 10 for the first time, and have scheduled additional talks for Wednesday.

Watkins said both sides had informally agreed not to discuss the specifics of the negotiations.

A Jury Sticks It Out - To The Bitter End

Source: Posted: April 20, 1986

Sometime after the first of the year, the captives began to settle in and relax. They began to joke with each other. They took to playing cards during free time. They even developed a liking for their captors.

"After two months, we had really become used to it," observed Barbara Robinson, speaking in retrospect. "In the beginning, we grumbled and we mumbled. But as time went on, we got used to each other. . . . We talked. We learned about each other's families."

Robinson, of South Philadelphia, and 12 others were for five months captives of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court as jurors in one of the longest trials on record here - a trial that ended April 11 in a private settlement, the terms of which were kept secret even from the jurors.

Although the jurors had grown to enjoy one another's company during the long and often tedious trial, none was happy at being denied the opportunity to render a verdict or at being denied information on the settlement.

"I don't know how to describe it. It's like being raped or something," said Randall Fogel, one of the jurors. "We sat there all that time waiting to make a decision. Then they made the decision on their own and they're not telling us what it is."

"We wanted to know, why make us sit here all this time if at the very end you're going to close the door in our faces?" said Robinson. "We looked forward to making a decision. That was the reason for us being there."

The matter on trial, had it gone to a verdict, would have been a precedent- setting case in Pennsylvania. It was an industrial lead-poisoning case that was the first of its kind to be tried in the state.

The case was that of Timothy Stephens, 59, of the Olney section, who contended that his health had been ruined by slow lead poisoning at a lead smelter in the Frankford section where he had worked for 33 years.

Stephens filed a lawsuit in 1981 to hold responsible the former plant owners, Julian Bers of Jenkintown and Gould Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., for various maladies he suffered, including kidney failure.

His was the first of 80 cases in which workers or families of workers sought damages for health problems or death from lead poisoning at the former lead smelter at Ashland Street and Adams Avenue. The plant operated from the 1930s to 1981. All 80 cases were settled in conjunction with the Stephens case.

It was evident from the length and magnitude of the case that the settlement was substantial, but Judge Abraham J. Gafni, who presided at the trial, said the attorneys agreed that the terms were to remain secret.

Dante Mattioni, attorney for Stephens, said he agreed to settle the case to enable Stephens and other former plant workers, many of whom are aging and suffering damaged nervous systems and organs, to receive immediate financial benefits. Otherwise, Mattioni said, the case could have taken years to wend its way through the appeals process while the workers waited for their money.


Mattioni and other attorneys in the case said the settlement probably would not have occurred had it not been for the steadfastness of the 12 jurors and one alternate who kept coming to court through the long trial.

"In my 26 years as a lawyer, it was the finest jury I've ever seen," said Mattioni. "They were a magnificent group."

G. Wayne Renneisen, attorney for Gould Inc., said that simply by its silent presence, the jury helped to focus the issues of the case and bring the parties to a settlement. "Without this jury," he said, "we would not have a resolution of these 80 cases."

In dismissing the jury a week ago Friday, Gafni issued special certificates to each juror to express his gratitude for their service.

Gafni's court officer, Mort Hoskin, who had been responsible for keeping tabs on the jury from day to day, gave each juror an imported sugar spoon

because, Hoskin said, "they were so sweet."

And the jurors in turn said their disappointment at the outcome of the trial was offset by bonds of friendship that developed during the five months they sat together in a ninth-floor courtroom at 5 Penn Center. Several jurors said they had become almost like a family.


At the conclusion of the trial, the jurors went to lunch at McGillin's Old Ale House, 1314 Drury St., where, in the words of one, "We toasted each other - several times," and they set a date for a reunion six months from now.

"It's not like were going to be totally lost," said Robinson, who works in the records department at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. ''We have each other's phone numbers and addresses and we're going to keep in touch, because that was five months out of our lives. . . . We gained a lot of friends. We became a big family."

Robinson said she has invited all the jurors and Judge Gafni to her wedding in June.

During the trial, the jurors were permitted to return home each day. But even so, they said, their lives were turned upside down by jury duty. Some tried to keep up with jobs during lunch breaks and in the evenings. Others had to make special arrangements for child care. And the joys and sorrows of their individual lives were shared by all.


Relatives of two jurors died during the trial. Two jurors had birthdays. Two jurors made wedding plans. Several became ill, requiring the trial to be recessed until they recovered.

One juror, Bas R. Encarnacion, of Northeast Philadelphia, who emigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1973, followed the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in his homeland - which he cheered - as the trial unfolded.

Throughout, the jurors were under instructions not to discuss the case with each other, or with anyone.

The trial began Nov. 18 with 12 jurors and four alternates who were picked

from 140 jury candidates during more than a week of jury selection.

Mattioni employed a psychologist, Arthur H. Patterson, from State College, to assist in jury selection.

Patterson, who operates a consulting firm called Jury Analysts Inc., said in an interview, "We were looking for people who were going to care about the case and stay with it."

By attrition, three jurors dropped out as the trial proceeded, leaving only one alternate. But the rest of the jurors did exactly what Patterson had hoped: They stayed with it. Had more of them dropped, there was an agreement between the attorneys to let the case proceed with a jury of 10.

The jurors arrived for trial in fall clothing, soon switched to winter garb and did not depart until they were in spring attire. They were paid $25 a day and served about 100 days of trial duty. Jury Commissioner Nicholas Kozay said the total payment for the jury was $31,400.

Kozay said it was the longest civil jury trial in his 14 years as jury commissioner. Gafni and the attorneys in the case said they knew of no case that had been as long in Common Pleas Court.

The jurors said their employers made up the difference between the $25 a day jury rate and their normal daily wages. Most said their employers were understanding about the long period away from work.

After returning to work at a graphic design firm in Delran, N.J., last week, Randall Fogel, of the Mayfair section, said his colleagues asked the outcome of the long trial. It was dismaying, he said, to have to answer: "I don't know."

Fogel said he tried to keep up with his job during the trial by going to work in the evenings.

Paula Hoffmann, another juror, said she kept up with her job as editor of a magazine for Strawbridge & Clothier employees by working at lunch time and in the evenings and focusing one issue of her magazine on life in the department store at night.

By contrast, Bas Encarnacion, who normally works two full-time jobs, found more time to be with his wife and five children during the trial. But Encarnacion said he lost about $500 a month in income because both of his employers deducted his $25-a-day jury fee from his paycheck while he was absent from work.


The first four months of trial were consumed with the painstakingly slow presentation of Timothy Stephens' case. Health studies, medical records and documents from the Frankford lead smelter were entered in the record. Witnesses included doctors, chemical engineers and former plant workers.

The defense had been in progress only about a month when the case was settled.

The jurors said there were times when the tedium of the trial became agonizing. Everyone, at one time or another, wanted to abandon it.

"People would say, 'What did I do in my lifetime to deserve this?' " said Hoffmann, of South Philadelphia. "But everybody sort of helped each other to pull through. . . . I think we realized it was a really important case. I think we all accepted the responsibility."

"I guess we all felt it was our duty," said Catherine Oswald, another juror. "So we stuck to it. I think we were all there to the end."

In about the third month, Gafni and several lawyers observed that the jurors seemed to have settled in for the long haul. They had relaxed and jelled together. They were joking with one another. During breaks, they played cards and games in the jury room.

Privately, the judge and the attorneys speculated that perhaps the jury had been affected by the syndrome that sometimes occurs in hostage situations where the captives begin to identify with their captors.

Indeed, it was true. The jurors were unanimous in their fondness for Gafni, who as their principal "captor" tried constantly, they said, to be considerate of them.

Dale Bernstein of Oxford Circle said that when she became ill at trial one day during the SEPTA strike, Gafni sent her home in a taxi.

Robinson said Gafni bought a cake so the jury could celebrate her birthday March 27.

"He knew were were under a lot of stress and strain," Robinson said, ''but he made it comfortable for us to be there."

All the same, Bernstein seemed to echo the unanimous sentiments of others when she said: "It is frustrating, I must admit. . . . We really would have liked to be in on the settling and giving (Stephens) what we thought he deserved."

"Sometimes you wonder if you served a purpose," said Catherine Oswald of Southwest Philadelphia. "I hope we served some purpose. . . . They tried to tell us we did."

Arbitrator Favors Delran In Police-salary Dispute

Source: Posted: May 18, 1986

A state arbitrator ruled last week in favor of Delran Township in a 1985 contract dispute with the Delran Patrolmen's Association.

In his decision, made public Tuesday, arbitrator Thomas Carey ordered the township to award the patrolmen's association a 2 percent increase in addition to the 5 percent increase agreed to by both sides in March 1985. The arbitrator's award will be added to the current $15,719 annual starting salary of a patrolman. The salary scale rises to $24,127 after five years.

But the 7 percent salary increase was far below what the association's 14 patrol officers, three sergeants and detective anticipated when they called for arbitration in December.

"All I can say is, naturally, everyone is disappointed and disillusioned," said William Pfeffer, the association's president and a patrolman.

Township administrator Matthew Watkins said officials regretted having to resort to arbitration and hoped that it would not happen again.

"It's expensive and time-consuming," Watkins said of the arbitration, adding that each party had to pay $549 for Carey's services.

Negotiations broke off Dec. 6, when the township offered an additional 3 percent salary increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 1985. The association turned down the offer, Pfeffer said, because members felt that it did not compensate them for the failure of an expected pension-fund transfer promised by the township.

In March of last year, the township granted police officers a 5 percent salary increase retroactive to Jan. 1 and an extra personal day. The township also said that the association could seek to transfer its pension fund from the state Public Employees Retirement System to the Police and Firemen's Retirement System, a move that would have allowed police officers to retire earlier.

But legislation that would have transferred the pension fund was not approved by the state Legislature by Nov. 1, the deadline contained in the 1985 contract, which expired on Dec. 31.

At the time the pension transfer failed, Mayor Richard Knight said the township would make up for that failure by reopening the 1985 contract and negotiating an additional, retroactive wage increase that would include overtime pay.

The 3 percent increase that was eventually offered by the township caused the association to call for arbitration, setting its sights on an 8 percent increase, in addition to the 5 percent already awarded.

Those sights, Pfeffer said last week, were too high.

"We got a raw deal," Pfeffer said. "I hope the council is proud of themselves, because they now have the Delran police as one of the lowest-paid forces around."

Pfeffer said the settlement had "totally demoralized" association members.

"It's ridiculous when you can go out and collect trash for $3,000 or $4,000 more than what we are earning," he said.

The association's last offer to the township was for a 7 percent increase, Pfeffer said, adding that that was comparable to the loss of the pension transfer.

"I guess the arbitrator didn't think the pension fund was a critical issue," he said.

Both parties, Watkins said, have learned from the process and will bring their new knowledge to the 1986 police contract negotiations. Representatives have met four times over the last three months, he said. In the meantime, police officers are working under the 1985 contract terms.

Watkins said both sides have formally agreed not to discuss the specifics of the negotiations.

Delran Council Hears Complaints About Its Support For Police Force

Source: Posted: May 29, 1986

During a heated meeting last night, the Delran Township Council and about 25 residents squared off over the training, equipment and salaries provided to the township's police force.

In what may have been a response to a recent salary-arbitration settlement considered unfavorable to the police, several officers attended the meeting, in addition to residents, and they asked the council about what they said was a lack of first-aid training and equipment and problems with portable police radios. They also questioned the council's commitment to the safety of township citizens.

Delran resident Michael Myers said he was appalled that the salary dispute between police and the township had gone to arbitration.

"Officers should be paid a decent, livable salary. I don't mind paying taxes for a good reason," he said.

On the matter of radios, he said, "I think the mayor and council should take a step back and readjust their priorities in such an area as radios, which could be a life-saving device."

Officer Bill Pepfer said, "The township was not taking on full responsibility for the safety of its citizens."

Mayor Richard Knight said that he and the council were aware of the need for upgrades in some police equipment, such as radios, but he was quick to defend his record concerning the police department.

He said he would replace poor equipment when money became available, but he pointed out that he had been elected after campaigning on a platform calling for fiscal responsibility.

Police Contract And Equipment Criticized By Residents, Officers

Source: Posted: June 04, 1986

The Delran Township Council faced stiff criticism from residents and members of the Delran Patrolmen's Association last week concerning the 1985 police contract, maintenance of police equipment and security.

During the council's monthly meeting last Wednesday, resident Michael Myers expressed dissatisfaction with the 1985 contract calling for increases of 7 percent for the 21-member police force. He said the contract, reached May 12 through arbitration, underpaid the officers.

"I'm embarrassed that you cannot or choose not to be more responsible, to be more cooperative in paying the police force," Myers said.

"Security should be a priority," Myers continued. "Take a step back and see the total picture."

In addition, Myers said, police radios were faulty. Officers were having difficulty, he said, transmitting and receiving messages on their portable radios.

"Be aware that this possible life-threatening situation has been brought to your attention," he said. "You have been warned."

Mayor Richard Knight said township officials were aware of the need for new equipment and had plans to replace some police radios with funds from this year's capital budget.

"I will spend taxpayers' money wisely," the mayor said. "I will replace the equipment when the money is there to replace it."

He refused, however, to discuss the police contract, saying that the arbitrator's decision was final and "history." Negotiations on the 1986 contract are still under way.

But Knight's response did not satisfy some residents and a few members of the DPA, who stood to argue points that eventually encompassed first-aid equipment and training as well as the lack of a holding cell in police headquarters at the township building on Chester Avenue.

Knight agreed that security facilities were lacking, mostly because of money problems. Prisoners are handcuffed to a pipe or to folding chairs, a police spokesman said.

"We have to deal with the physical plan that we have," Knight said, noting that the township building was constructed in 1968.

Resident Tony Caracci told Knight of watching a police officer try to administer first aid to a traffic accident victim a few weeks ago.

"He went to the trunk of the car and pulled out a box that looked like it had been around for 30 years," Caracci said. "Inside it were three band aids and a roll of tape."

Knight said that he was unaware of the need to upgrade first-aid equipment.

Council President Walter Shultz, however, had his own solution - take the first-aid kits out of the police cars altogether.

"That's brilliant," one resident said.

"So let the guy die, right?" another resident said of an imaginary victim in need of first aid.

Speaking as a resident, William Pfeffer, who is also president of the patrolmen's association, accused the council of ignoring its responsibility for the protection and safety of the citizens by not replacing needed equipment.

Council member Maryann Rivell said that two years ago, new council members were "stunned" by the lack of equipment. But since then, she said, the council had made efforts to improve the situation.

In December 1984, the council approved the appointment of two new officers and appropriated $55,000 for weapons and equipment. In 1985, the council allocated $59,000 for equipment for the police department and this year, $73,200.

"I'm not embarrassed for what I have done," Knight said. "Nobody works harder than this mayor and council. We are at (the police department's) beck and call."

Car Hits Cycle; Trooper Injured

Source: Posted: June 06, 1986

A New Jersey state trooper remained in critical condition yesterday with massive internal injuries suffered when his motorcycle was struck head-on by a sports car Wednesday in Burlington County.

The trooper, William Smith, 23, was driving west on Hartford Road in Delran Township shortly after noon when he was hit by a car driven by Mark Perry, 17, of Medford, who had received his driver's license two days earlier, police said.

Smith, a Delran resident who was off duty at the time, was thrown about 40 feet, police said. He was taken to the the Cooper Hospital-University Medical Center's Trauma Center in Camden, where he remained yesterday.

Police said Perry, who was traveling east on Hartford Road, had tried to pass a school bus from Holy Cross High School in Delran and had misjudged the distance between his car and Smith's motorcycle. Perry was charged with reckless driving and improper passing.

Perry suffered an injured elbow, and a 16-year-old passenger in his car suffered facial cuts and bruises, police said. Both were treated at Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital's Riverside Division and released.

Dinner, Parade Mark Fire Company's 100th

Source: Posted: June 15, 1986

Beverly Fire Company No. 1 officially marks its 100th anniversary this week with a dinner on Thursday honoring its life members and a parade on Saturday that is expected to attract more than 75 pieces of apparatus from fire companies and emergency squads in surrounding communities.

The parade will start at noon in Edgewater Park at the Bowl-O-Mat on Cooper Street, near Route 130. It will then follow Cooper Street to Beverly and wind through Beverly before breaking up at the Beverly No. 1 Firehouse.

Marching on foot will be the Riverside String Band, members of the fire company and its color guard, and members of Hope Hose Co. No. 2, Beverly City's other fire company. Hope Hose will be marking its 100th anniversity later this year.

In addition, the procession will include units from Burlington City, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Delanco, Delran, Florence, Hainesport, Hamilton Township, Masonville (Mount Laurel), Mount Holly, Palmyra, Riverside, Riverton, Rancocas (Westampton) and Willingboro, according to Dominick Gioffre, chairman of the parade committee.

The parade route follows Cooper Street to Penn Street near the river in Beverly, goes west on Penn to Broad, south on Broad to Pine Street, east on Pine to Laurel and north on Laurel to Fire Co. No. 1's firehouse at Oak and Laurel Streets, where the marchers will pass a reviewing stand. County fire marshal Evan Kline will announce the fire companies as they pass. Trophies will be awarded for top equipment in 16 categories.

The officials on the reviewing stand will include state Sen. Catherine A. Costa of Willingboro (D., Burlington), Assemblyman Thomas P. Foy of Edgewater Park (D., Burlington), and Assemblywoman Barbara F. Kalik of Willingboro (D., Burlington). Costa will read a proclamation from the state.

Beverly Mayor Frank Costello and Edgewater Park Mayor John R. Snively will march in the parade, Gioffre said, as will Beverly Fire Chief Pat Richards of Hope Hose and assistant chief Vern Jackson of Fire Company No. 1.

After the parade ends, No. 1's 100-year-old brass bell, newly refurbished, will be unveiled atop the monument erected for it alongside the firehouse, and a four-tier, 200-pound birthday cake will be cut and served along with other refreshments for firefighters and officials.

Parade coordinators will be Capt. Wylie Johnson and Lt. Fred Desjardins of No. 1 and Capt. Barry Petty of the No. 1 emergency squad.

Thursday's catered dinner will be held at the No. 1 firehouse at 7 p.m. and will honor 49 life members with 25 years or more service and 19 with 50 years or more of service, including the eldest living life member, Edgar Heisler, 98, of Walton Avenue, who has been on the rolls for 72 years.

About 150 are expected at the dinner, during which Costello will make surprise presentations. Guests will include officials of both Beverly and Edgewater Park and fire commissioners from both communities. Dilwyn Stevenson, a life member of No. 1, will be master of ceremonies.

Ex-officer Testifies He Bought Cocaine

Source: Posted: June 18, 1986

A former Delran Township patrolman testified yesterday in Burlington County Superior Court that he and a neighbor bought and tried to sell 10 ounces of cocaine in the fall of 1984.

James Stach is testifying against Paul Porto, both of Hunters Glen Apartments in Delran, as part of a plea agreement reached with the Burlington County prosecutor's office in February 1985. Porto is being tried on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to possess the narcotic with the intention of distributing the drug.

Stach testified that he agreed to purchase the cocaine from a friend, Michael Elkins, because of Stach's financial problems. Elkins, of Miami, pleaded guilty in the case and is serving a 12-year prison term.

The former patrolman pleaded guilty last year to charges of official misconduct and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. In return for his assistance in the investigation and testimony, Stach testified, he will receive a 20-year prison term and special security measures while incarcerated.

Elkins wanted $14,000 for the cocaine, Stach said, adding he did not have the money. The former patrolman testified he needed someone to help finance the purchase and sale of the cocaine.

"I did not have the connections, personally, and I knew Paul probably would," Stach said.

Porto said he could line up buyers in Pennsylvania and share the profits, Stach said. The two Delran men met Elkins to pick up the cocaine at a hotel room in Baltimore, Stach testified. The men paid Elkins $1,000 and promised to pay the remainder within a day, Stach said.

Porto stored the cocaine in his apartment, Stach said. However, Porto's buyer refused to purchase the drugs. "We reached a point when Mr. Porto said he could not find anyone to buy it," Stach added.

At that point, Stach said, he arranged the sale of the cocaine. After he got off duty on Oct. 27, 1984, Stach said, he got the cocaine from Porto and made the sale. However, he sold the drug to an informant for the county prosecutor's office and was immediately arrested, Stach said.

At first, Stach told investigators he acted alone in the drug deal. But, several hours later, he decided to cooperate with the prosecutor's office and named Porto and Elkins, Stach said. "Basically, I gave the second statement after I had the chance to sit and think," he said.

Stach arranged a meeting with Porto on Nov. 19, 1984. The former patrolman testifed he wore a transmitter under his clothing and taped the conversation. Portions of the conversation, played in the Mount Holly courtroom, contained the voices of Stach, Porto and his wife, Stella. Stella Porto is not facing any criminal charges.

Stella Porto's voice was left on the audio cassette in order for the conversation to make sense, Superior Court Judge Cornelius P. Sullivan told the jury.

On the tape, Porto can be heard instructing Stach how to handle a proposed meeting with the drug suppliers in Florida. "Sure, tell them we'll meet them," Porto could be heard saying on the tape.

Because of the amount of the cocaine and the purity of the drug, Porto could face a possible life term in prison. Stach is expected to be cross- examined by defense attorney Richard Friedman this morning.

Ex-officer Admits He Sold Drugs Before His Arrest

Source: Posted: June 19, 1986

A former Delran patrolman admitted yesterday in Burlington County Superior Court that he had sold drugs on six occasions before he was arrested for a cocaine deal in the fall of 1984.

James Stach of Delran is the primary state witness in the conspiracy trial of Paul Porto, also of Delran. Porto is charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine. On Tuesday, Stach testified that the two men bought and tried to sell 10 ounces of cocaine in October 1984.

Stach was arrested after he sold the cocaine to a county drug informant on Oct. 27, 1984. Yesterday, under cross-examination by defense attorney Richard Friedman, Stach admitted that he had not disclosed earlier methamphetamine sales in his statements to investigators.

Those earlier sales were the reason he decided to sell the cocaine to the female informant, Stach said. "I knew that she could probably buy it because I had sold her methamphetamines on several occasions prior to that," he said.

Stach is testifying as part of a plea agreement reached with the Burlington County prosecutor's office last year. In return for his testimony, Stach will receive a 20-year prison term and protection while he is in prison.

On Tuesday, Stach testified that he and Porto picked up the cocaine from Michael Elkins of Miami at a hotel room in Baltimore. Elkins pleaded guilty in the case and is serving a 12-year prison term.

According to Stach's testimony, Porto's prospective buyers refused to buy the cocaine. At that point, Stach testified, he arranged to sell the cocaine.

In his first statement to investigators, Stach did not mention Porto's involvement. Stach said he later changed his mind and decided to tell everything. However, he admitted he never told investigators about the other drug sales.

"Which statement are you trying to follow truthfully?" Friedman asked. ''At the time of the statement, you certainly never told them you had any other drug dealing. That was a lie."

"Yes, sir," answered Stach, adding that he told the assistant prosecutor, Frank Hughes, about the other drug sales before the trial began.

Out of the presence of the jury, Stach testified that he obtained the methamphetamine from Porto.

The former patrolman also admitted that he had not initially named Porto as an accomplice for fear that Porto, a neighbor, would harm his family.

"I know he has a bad temper," Stach said. "I've seen him when he's mad and I've heard him make statements about what he's going to do to people, and I've seen him beat his wife when he's mad."

Stach said that his vehicles have been vandalized since his arrest. In addition, his wife has received telephone calls from an unidentified person warning that he should not say anything, Stach said.

Despite Friedman's argument that Stach's statements would be prejudicial to Porto, Judge Cornelius P. Sullivan permitted the jury to hear the testimony. The former patrolman was explaining his hesitation in naming Porto and not making allegations, the judge said.

The attorneys are expected to make their closing arguments to the jury this morning.

Delran Auction Clears $1600 - And Some Space

Source: Posted: July 16, 1986

The auctioneer didn't discuss what had happened to the cars that sat mangled, twisted, smashed, sideswiped and stagnant along the fence. Their headlights, if they were still intact, had probably shed light on a gruesome scene or two, or the face of a disoriented driver, a police officer's notepad, or had maybe reflected off splinters of shattered glass.

ut the people that stood scattered about the yard in the back of the Delran Township Building weren't interested in the history of the cars. To them, the vehicles were just the excess metal around healthy transmissions or the holders of salvageable engines.

Whatever they were worth, the township wanted to get rid of them. So the 14 township-owned vehicles and 41 other items were put on the block at an auction Saturday morning. Some of the items and the cars had been impounded by the police.

One of the vehicles, a mangled 1976 Toyota that had been hit head-on, was sold to Richard B. Argenti of Burlington City for $1.

"I'm nuts, I needed the carburetor," Argenti said with a smile. I buy and sell cars anyhow." He said he had some friends who would drag the silver- colored car out of the yard and to a place where the transmission would be removed. The rest of the car, he said, would be sold for scrap.

"I saw the accident the car was in," Argenti said, noting that the driver was killed. "I drove by that night. It bothered me at the time that it happened, but now. . . ."

Just a few yards away, Dan Nieder, of Brooks Trucking and Parking Service in Delran had just bought the township-owned car that had rammed into the Toyota.

"I'm gonna tow it and take the engine out," Nieder said, while behind him, a few of his friends milled about the blue sedan. The keys were still in the ignition, and clean squares of the upholstery had been removed.

Across the lot and out of the way, sat a green 1960 International Harvester van. It had been the object of a few jokes from the 15 people who had come to the auction - nobody wanted to buy it, nobody wanted to get stuck with it.

The van had seen better days. According to Officer Leonard Mongo, who ran the auction, it was once used by the Delran Marksmen's Club to transport guns to and from the township rifle range on Taylor's Lane.

"Now it's been sitting around for at least three years," Mongo said. "I thought somebody would fix it up. It's got racks in there," he said.

But when the van came up for sale, there were no takers. Mongo asked to start the bidding at $1. The men just looked at each other. Some laughed.

Finally, at the last minute, when everyone had gone into the township building to bid on other pieces of equipment, someone bought the van for 25 cents.

"They bought it just to get rid of it," Mongo said with a laugh.

The auction was called after township officials realized they had to get rid of some of the ancient office equipment and vehicles that had accumulated behind and below the township building. Some of the items, specifically, a set of sports car headlight covers, were confiscated by the police after an arrest. But Mongo said if someone had come to the auction and recognized something that had been stolen, it would be returned without question.

"There's no hassle," said Mongo, who mastered his auctioneering skills during years of township bicycle auctions. "If someone can show proof of ownership, if it's theirs . . . it's theirs."

According to township administrator Matthew Watkins, the $1,600 raised at the auction will go into the township's general fund and be put toward the purchase of equipment for the police department.

"This is all surplus property from the township," Watkins said. "This is stuff that isn't worth anything anymore . . . nothing of major value."

But to some of the buyers, the dusty equipment was worth much more. All it needed was a good cleaning, a little oil, a new wire. If anyone could, the folks gathered at the auction could bring the items back to life. And then sell them for twice what they paid.

"This is a real Jim Dandy," Mongo said, lifting a worn, dirty plastic kitchen clock from one of the many boxes that littered the basement floor of the township building. Laughter rippled through the room. After a few half- hearted attempts to start the bidding, Mongo dropped the worn clock into the box containing the sports car headlight covers, as a bonus prize. Easily worth more than $50, the covers had gone for $1.

From there, the bidding picked up. A fleet of typewriters, both manual and electric - one that typed in Russian was sold for less than $5 - went quickly. Copiers were sold for $10 each. One ancient typewriter was sold with an equally dated adding machine - 50 cents for the pair.

"What was that, Daddy?" asked a little girl who watched the proceedings from her father's lap.

"That was a spark-plug cleaner, honey."

"Oh," she said.

When all the items were sold - with the exception of two pieces of microfilm equipment - the buyers carted their treasures out to their pickups and their sedans, set on some intense repairs.

"I enjoyed it," Mongo said. "And I think the people did, too."

Tracking The Mob In Cherry Hill

Source: Posted: July 20, 1986

As far back as 1945, when a gang of armed men burst into the former Casablanca nightclub and turned the place upside down in search of the reputed racketeer, Marco Reginelli, the area now known as Cherry Hill appealed to mobsters.

The history of the township includes episodes of mob violence that seem to come right out of gangster movies.

There was the time in 1965 when real estate developer Frank Adamucci was gunned down in the lobby of the Rickshaw Inn as customers milled about. And there was the unsolved murder in 1972 of a clerk at the Country Squire Motel - also believed by police to be a mob hit.

Whether organized crime still thrives in the township, though, is a matter of debate.

In 1983, President Reagan formed a commission to study the patterns of organized crime in this country, and in April, the panel released its findings.

In a brief reference, the report said the Cherry Hill area continued to be a center of activity for the Sicilian Mafia, or La Cosa Nostra, meaning, loosely translated from Italian, our thing.

The mention of Cherry Hill refers not only to the township, but also to the area surrounding it. Cherry Hill is but a portion of the mob scene in the area, which includes the home of a reputed mob leader in Pennsauken, a restaurant in Voorhees hit by a suspected mob-related arson, alleged mob residences in Delran and purported hangouts in Gloucester Township.

However, because members of the Gambino crime family (Until 1976, Carlo Gambino was the reputed head of the family, the largest of New York City's five organized-crime families, and was believed to be the model for the main character in The Godfather) lived in Cherry Hill Township during the 1970s and 1980s, the township gained a reputation as a center of mob activity.

That reputation, and the fact that it has persisted, irks Richard Tomlinson. He says Cherry Hill is no longer a center for the mob.

Tomlinson should know.

Since the early 1970s, when members of the Gambino crime family began to settle in Cherry Hill, Tomlinson has tracked the movements of mob figures in the township.

He has sat outside their homes late at night and inspected their bodies in the morgue. He has memorized the names of their children and wives, the colors and models of their cars.

Tomlinson is an investigator for the Cherry Hill Township Police Department's Special Investigations Unit - the only suburban police unit in South Jersey formed primarily to investigate organized crime.

Cherry Hill police got into the business by necessity.

Since the days when Reginelli reputedly controlled the numbers rackets in South Jersey, the township occasionally has been home to mob figures. And although the mobsters were no doubt reluctant to bring their violent activities to their doorsteps, some of it naturally came with the territory. With the Gambino crime family in the 1970s came a sharp increase in mob- related violence. The township Police Department found itself handicapped.

In 1972, the Special Investigations Unit was set up. Between 1978 and 1983, when mob-related violence was at its peak, it was Tomlinson who was called to investigate suspicious fires at some local pizza parlors suspected of being connected to the mob or to help identify a corpse stuffed into a car trunk.

Recently, with local leaders of the Gambino crime family dead, living elsewhere or serving time in jail, things are slower for the investigator, he said. But Cherry Hill has not rid itself of the threat of organized crime.

"It's like General Motors - if two or three of the directors die, that doesn't mean the company is going to fold," said Lt. Arthur Saul, an investigator for the Delran Police Department who has studied the activities of the Gambino crime family. "The things that attracted (the Gambinos) are still here."

Tomlinson basically agreed. "We've reduced (the Gambinos') influence here," he said. "But there's always somebody around to fill (their) shoes."


Tomlinson's office seems far removed from the violent world of mob crime - unless one looks on the wall behind his desk. There is a gruesome photograph of Salvatore Testa, whose body was found on a roadside in Gloucester Township on Sept. 14, 1984. Testa, 28, of Philadelphia, was a close ally of Nicodemo ''Little Nicky" Scarfo, the reputed head of organized crime in Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

Fourteen years ago, Tomlinson, now 42, was a detective for the township police department before he was appointed to start the organized-crime unit. His interest in the subject had already been sparked by a series of unexplained murders.

For instance, William Baglivo, 42, of Camden, a clerk at the Country Squire Motel on Route 70, was found shot to death in the motel's rear office on July 29, 1972. Tomlinson said an investigation revealed that Baglivo owed a considerable amount of money to mob loan sharks.

"We found that with these kinds of murders, we were lacking intelligence about these individuals involved," said Lt. William Moffett, 37, now head of the unit.

At the time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Jersey State Police and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office were in charge of organized- crime investigations. The Cherry Hill Police Department rarely participated.

"Here we were relying on outside agencies to come in and fill us in about things going on in our own town," Moffett said. "The unit was formed because we felt we should get on top of things."

Tomlinson, who measures his words carefully and talks in the dry tone of a detective who has seen it all, has gained most of his knowledge of the workings of organized crime through experience. "The real nuts and bolts of it is really participation," said his supervisor, Moffett. "It's the experience that makes the difference."

Relative to Philadelphia, New York and Atlantic City, Cherry Hill has never been a big center of mob activity. However, mob figures have occasionally set up their homes and businesses in the township.

(Many families with the same surnames as reputed mob figures but who are in no way involved in mob activities also live in the area. Law enforcement officials use the Gambino name to loosely describe a confederation of organized-crime associates and crime members - some related by blood and some named Gambino, but not all carrying that name - who followed the late Carlo Gambino or John Gotti, the reputed current head of the crime family.)

Before the 1970s, organized crime in South Jersey took directions from the Angelo Bruno crime family in Philadelphia and, before that, from Reginelli in Camden, according to law enforcement officials.

Its main activities were loan sharking, illegal gambling and labor racketeering. Mob figures had been attracted to South Jersey since the 1940s because of its proximity to Philadelphia and major highways to New York and Atlantic City, periods of booming construction and the high number of establishments with liquor licenses, according to law-enforcement officials. No doubt, such attractions as the race track, and even the resort life at the shore, enhanced the area's appeal.

In its 407-page report, the President's Commission on Organized Crime said in April, "Among the most important new developments in our understanding of organized crime is the disclosure that an element of the Sicilian La Cosa Nostra is operating in the United States.

"The number of Sicilian La Cosa Nostra members in this country is unclear," the report said. "However, they are believed to be concentrated mainly in the northeastern U.S., particularly in New York City and around Cherry Hill and Sayreville, N.J."

The members of the Gambino crime family belong to the Sicilian faction of the Mafia and specialize in drug trafficking, according to Tomlinson.

In the late 1970s, reputed local members of the crime family moved from Delran to Cherry Hill. They included Giuseppe and Rosario Gambino, brothers, and their brother-in-law Erasmo Gambino, all of whom settled in the Northwoods section of Cherry Hill, according to law-enforcement officials.

Reputed Bruno family member Raymond "Long John" Martorano lived only a few blocks away, and other members of the Bruno crime family reputedly lived in Cherry Hill.

Law-enforcement officials believe that the Gambinos struck a deal with the Bruno crime family to operate in South Jersey. Carlo Gambino was a close friend of Bruno's.

According to law-enforcement officials, Bruno acknowledged that he met with Carlo Gambino's successor, Paul Castellano, at the former Valentino's restaurant on Haddonfield Road in 1978 to discuss the future of the Gambino crime family in South Jersey.

The Gambinos were given free rein to absorb lucrative drug markets in South Jersey, the officials said.

Both Tomlinson and Moffett said members of the Gambino crime family were attracted to Cherry Hill for many of the same reasons that lawyers, doctors and business executives have been drawn to the area.

"They like the affluence," Moffett said. "They send their kids to Catholic schools. They are regular community members. You talk to their neighbors and they say they're great."

However, they said the Gambino crime family was also attracted to Cherry Hill because of its proximity to major highways to New York and Atlantic City, a good location for drug trafficking.

Saul, the investigator for the Delran Police Department who has studied the movements of the Gambino crime family, had other explanations. "Look at the runaway growth, the potential for labor infiltration, business protection and infiltration of (construction) labor unions," he said.

The Gambino crime family did little business in Cherry Hill itself, Tomlinson said. However, it sometimes set up pizza shops, a common mob method for laundering money, he said, although it was never proved that the Gambinos were using them for that purpose.

And with the crime family's presence came more violence, Moffett said. ''The level of violence they used was greater than in the past," he said.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Cherry Hill organized-crime unit was called to investigate a number of crimes that police have linked to the Gambino crime family or its associates:

* In January 1982, the body of Pietro Inzerillo Jr., 32, was found in the trunk of a car in the parking lot of a Mount Laurel hotel. Law-enforcement officials identified Inzerillo as a Gambino crime associate. The murder was never solved.

* The body of Salvatore Sollena, 34, was found in the trunk of a car in a parking lot on the Collingswood Circle on Nov. 10, 1983. A few days later, Matteo Sollena, 37, his brother, was found in Evesham in the trunk of a car left on the roadside. Both murders remain unsolved.

* Valentino's restaurant, owned by Giuseppe and Rosario Gambino, burned in 1982. The day before the fire, Franchin's, a disco and restaurant, located a short distance away at the Ellisburg Circle, was damaged in a fire. Franchin's owner has not been connected to the mob. Both fires were believed to be mob-related arsons, although no one was charged with the crimes.

* Rudy V's Pizza in the Ellisburg Shopping Center, owned by Rosario and Erasmo Gambino; Rocco's Pizza on Church Road; Scotto's Pizza in the Cherry Hill Mall, and Sbarro's in the Echelon Mall were all either destroyed or burned in fires between 1978 and 1983. They were all suspected arsons, and the Gambino crime family, though never charged, was believed to be involved in at least two of the fires, according to police.

* A woman was suspected of helping launder mob money through a Cherry Hill bank in 1978. With the help of information provided by the organized-crime unit's investigation, the FBI filed federal charges against the woman.

Reminders of that era still exist. Valentino's stands on Haddonfield Road, its windows boarded up. For-sale signs still stand on the lawns of some former Gambino residences.

However, the Gambino crime family is mostly gone. Rosario and Erasmo Gambino are both serving time in prison; they were convicted in October 1984 of marketing wholesale quantities of heroin in South Jersey. Giuseppe Gambino, convicted in absentia of heroin trafficking in Italy, has moved back to New York.

"Their legitimate businesses have closed," Tomlinson said. "You don't see them pursuing any others in the area."

According to Moffett, organized-crime activity in Cherry Hill has dropped significantly. "I don't know of any businesses (the mob) controls right now," he said.

Today, Tomlinson, who supervises two undercover agents, spends less time on the streets.

With the departure of the Gambino crime family, he spends more time looking into problems - drug trafficking, prostitution and illegal gambling - that may be tied to organized crime.

However, Tomlinson's job is also preventive, and, in that sense, his work on organized crime is never through.

As Saul of Delran put it: "The things that attracted the Gambinos are still here."

"Our best weapon in dealing with organized crime," Moffett said, "is to do a good, thorough investigation and background check on incoming licenses for businesses and find out who's behind the curtain."

The unit can recommend that the Township Council deny approval for a liquor license and thus prevent suspected mob figures from establishing roots in the area.

In 1978, for instance, the Township Council withdrew an amusement license for the Late Show, a Route 70 dinner club owned by Rosario Gambino, after the unit investigated Gambino's background.

The unit is hampered because, although its members often relay information to the FBI, they do not have access to many of the federal agency's files, Moffett said. It also is not free to follow a lead into other municipalities. ''Involvement in drugs is difficult for us, as a small municipal department, to control because you're talking an international operation," Tomlinson said.

The Sicilian Mafia is not the unit's only concern. Groups such as the so- called Black Mafia have also been known to operate in the area.

Tomlinson attributed to the Black Mafia the 1973 gangland-style murders of Major B. Coxson and three members of his family at their home in Cherry Hill. Coxson was a wealthy business executive and ex-convict and was reputedly killed over debts and narcotics dealings, police said at the time.

"When we talk organized crime, we're not just talking about the Black Mafia or the Gambinos," Tomlinson added. "It could be Chinese, Hispanics, anyone organized where two or three people or more get together to conspire to commit a series of crimes."

Ex-officer In Delran Gets Prison Sold Cocaine To Undercover Agent

Source: Posted: July 30, 1986

A former Delran Township police officer, arrested after he sold cocaine to an undercover agent in 1984, was sentenced to 18 years in prison by a Burlington County Superior Court judge yesterday.

James E. Stach, a 17-year veteran of the township force and a resident of Hunters Glen Apartments, Delran, received the sentence on the charge of distributing more than 1 ounce of cocaine. Testing conducted by the county forensic laboratory on the 10 ounces of cocaine sold by Stach showed the drug to be 88.9 percent pure.

Concurrently with the longer term, Stach will serve a seven-year sentence for a charge of official misconduct, said Judge Cornelius P. Sullivan.

Stach, who pleaded guilty to the charges last year, willingly testified against his former conspirators, said Frank Hughes, assistant county prosecutor. Last month, Stach testified against Paul Porto, a neighbor who had fronted the money to buy the narcotic. Porto was convicted and is to be sentenced in about six weeks. Stach has testified against five other people in the case.

"Mr. Stach's evidence and cooperation was crucial to the state," said Hughes, who called the former police officer's conduct "outrageous."

The two men had bought and tried sell 10 ounces of cocaine in October 1984, Stach testified at Porto's trial last month.

Stach said he had made arrangements to sell the cocaine while on duty. When Porto's prospective buyers refused to purchase the cocaine, he decided to try to sell the drug after he got off duty. The former patrolman was arrested on Oct. 27, 1984, after he sold the drug to a county drug informant.

Stach decided to sell cocaine because he wanted his sons to attend college, defense attorney James Rosenberg said before sentencing. One son, who was seated in the audience, cried silently as the attorney spoke.

"At a point in time, James Stach made a very, very serious error in judgment," Rosenberg said. "That does not excuse the conditions that bring Mr. Stach before this court."

However, Rosenberg said Stach had fully cooperated with the prosecutor's office and even wore a recorder to tape conversations with Porto. Stach's testimony makes him a target of possible violence, both in prison and after his release, the attorney said.

"He will never know the relative security that the rest of us know," Rosenberg said.

Sullivan agreed with the attorney that the former patrolman might be in danger while he serves his term. The state Department of Corrections will ensure that Stach will be placed in a secure environment, the judge said.

However, the judge denied a request by the defense attorney to release Stach for 72 hours so Stach could complete several business matters. Last month, Sullivan had permitted Porto several days to tend to his business of restoring antique cars.

The former patrolman, whose parents, wife and children attended the sentencing, remained emotionless during the proceeding. "I'm sorry for what I did to my family," Stach said.

Delran Man Gets Jail In Cocaine Case

Source: Posted: August 06, 1986

A Delran man, found guilty in June of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine in 1984, was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison by a Burlington County Superior Court judge.

"It does not give me pleasure to sentence you as severely as I intend to do," Judge Cornelius P. Sullivan said to Paul Porto, 39, before pronouncing sentence. Porto, of Hunters Glen Apartments, must serve 10 years of his term before he is eligible for parole, the judge said.

On June 19, a jury found Porto guilty of conspiring with a neighbor, former Delran Township patrolman James Stach, to sell 10 ounces of 88.9 percent pure cocaine in the fall of 1984.

The evidence against Porto came almost exclusively from Stach, who testified against his neighbor and co-conspirator. The former patrolman agreed to assist authorities after he was arrested and charged with selling cocaine to an undercover narcotics agent on Oct. 27, 1984.

According to Stach's testimony, Porto had agreed to put up the money for the purchase of the cocaine and to line up buyers for it. However, Porto's buyers refused to buy the cocaine, and Stach, while on duty, made arrangements to sell the drug, according to testimony.

Before pronouncing sentence, Sullivan said to Porto, "I think you are a professional criminal. I think you've masked a life of crime with a layer of respectability."

Earlier, defense attorney Richard Friedman reminded the judge that Porto, who has three prior convictions, had not served time in prison for 14 years. ''He is a person who, once he comes through this ordeal, will avoid the criminal courts," Friedman said.

However, the judge noted that eight years ago, Porto received probation for an offense. "You were not leading a crime-free life," Sullivan said to the defendant.

"This was a scheme generated by Mr. Stach to distribute a large quantity of cocaine," Sullivan said. "It's clear to me that Mr. Stach knew you as an underworld character. If you were out on the street, I would expect you to commit more crimes."

Both Stach and Porto could have been sentenced to life terms because of the high purity and quantity of the cocaine, said Frank J. Hughes Jr., assistant prosecutor. He urged the judge to give Porto a lengthy term to deter others from dealing in drugs. "A lengthy period of incarceration is just here," Hughes said.

The judge also denied Friedman's motion for a new trial and his application for bail pending appeal.

Last week, the judge sentenced Stach to an 18-year prison sentence. Yesterday, Sullivan said Stach's prison sentence could have been longer. "If not for his cooperation and lack of criminal record, it would have been more severe," the judge said.

Police-study Report Due In September

Source: Posted: August 06, 1986

The report of the state Division of Local Government Services on the feasibility of creating a joint police department for Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park will be released in September.

The field work on the study is "virtually finished," said division official Bill Struwe, "and the report is in the writing process. I think we got the last piece of information we needed in June."

Struwe would not divulge what the report would recommend. "I'm not saying a thing about it," he said. The three communities "don't know what we're going to say, and I don't want anything to leak out."

Struwe said that the report would be delivered to the three communities in September "barring unforeseen circumstances." The director of the department must approve the report before it is released, he added.

The governing bodies of the three communities passed resolutions in December requesting the jointure study, but a great deal of opposition to combining the three police departments surfaced at subsequent public meetings.

A previous jointure study, conducted in 1979, involved the three municipalities as well as Delran and Riverside. Delran pulled out, however, and, in November 1979, only voters in Beverly approved forming a joint police force. So the plan was dropped.

The state agency will be assisting a jointure study this fall involving the Boroughs of Hillsdale and Woodcliff Lake in Bergen County, said Struwe.

"They have a citizens committee doing the study," said Struwe. The Division of Local Government Services will be a resource center for them, he said.

Delanco To Dedicate Firehouse With A Parade And Ceremonies

Source: Posted: October 08, 1986

Delanco's Washington Fire Company will dedicate its new $585,000 firehouse on Saturday with a parade, ceremonies at both the old and the new firehouses and the housing of the Delanco Emergency Squad's new ambulance. There will be an open house after the ceremonies.

Nineteen fire companies from 10 communities will participate in the parade, which begins at 1:30 p.m. at the old firehouse on Union Avenue and proceeds up Burlington Avenue to the new station.

Construction of the new firehouse, which is built of concrete block with a brick facing and a metal roof, began in spring of 1985.

The new station was built on a tract of more than 10 acres in the 1800 block of Burlington Avenue that was donated by the fire company.

The project was principally financed through a $350,000 bond issue and $109,000 from the fire company's building fund.

The fire company moved in its equipment in February, although landscaping did not begin until May, and contractors completed the trim and electrical work through the summer.

Saturday's ceremonies will begin at the old firehouse with prayers by the pastors of Dobbins Memorial Church and Delanco Presbyterian Church, followed by reminiscences from several life members of the Washington Fire Company. Then, an old American flag will be lowered from the flagpole at the site, folded and placed in the company's 1953 Seagraves pumper, the old fire station's siren will be blown, and all the life members will board the pumper and ride it in the parade to the new firehouse.

Fire units in the parade will include both Beverly City fire companies, four from Burlington City, three from Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Delanco, Delran, Riverside, Riverton, two from Westampton and three from Willingboro, according to Ed Reynolds, parade chairman. In addition, there will be ambulance squads from Beverly, Burlington, Riverside, Palmyra and Willingboro. John Zuber, a Delanco exempt fireman, is parade marshal and chairman of the dedication cermonies. (An exempt fireman is one with seven years membership who has answered at least 60 percent of the fire calls.)

Bands that will march in the parade include the Liberty Band of Cinnaminson, the Golden Eagle Band of Mount Holly, the Delanco Township School Band, and the Riverside String Band.

At the new firehouse, a new American flag will be presented to Delanco Fire Chief Gary Stahl. William Gamble, chairman of the township's board of fire commissioners, will be master of ceremonies.

Refreshments will be served at the open house, and the public will be able to inspect the facility. The fire station has five vehicle bays, a meeting room, a lounge, a chief's office, a large kitchen, a storage room and a utility room.

The station has five pieces of equipment in addition to the chief's car and van: the emergency squad's two ambulances and three pumpers.

The old firehouse is up for sale, and, according to Reynolds, a potential buyer is considering the facility for use as a food-distribution warehouse and an apartment.

The old station's siren will be removed, but it will not be reinstalled at the new firehouse. Firefighters are alerted to fire calls by pagers, Reynolds said.

Community Help Credited In Ending Delran Break-ins

Source: Posted: March 18, 1987

The vigilance of Hunters Glen Apartments employees and some Baylor Street residents has helped police put an end to a string of burglaries and thefts in Delran Township that began in January.

Twelve burglaries occurred at the Hunters Glen complex and eight took place in the Delcrest and Cambridge sections of the township. Suspects have been arrested, and police said the two series of break-ins were unrelated.

Calm was restored among residents of Hunter's Glen, on Route 130, after weeks of anxiety and a dozen burglaries, most of them believed to have been committed in the daytime, since Jan. 1, said township police Officer Leonard Mongo.

During the burglary spree, $4,000 in jewelry, cash and electronic gear were stolen from 12 apartments in the 88-building complex, which has 1,200 apartments. The spree ended after two residents of the complex were arrested and charged with one count each of burglary and theft

Tony Williams, 18, of Building 85, and Kenyon Matthews, 21, of Building 14, were charged in connection with the morning burglary of an apartment in Building 51 on March 3.

Williams admitted to theft of almost $500 worth of jewelry from the apartment and led police to where it was kept, police said. Williams also identified Matthews as his accomplice, police said. Matthews also was identified by maintenance workers as having been in the area of the apartment at about the time of the break-in, police said.

"We are commending our employees," said Elizabeth Drake, Hunters Glen office manager.

Drake said the 100-member maintenance crew began taking note of suspicious activity around the complex after the break-ins started.

Debbie Walker, whose apartment was burglarized in late February, said that the break-ins produced concern among neighbors.

"People began looking out for each other more," Walker said. After the break-in, Walker said, she installed alarms on her windows and doors. All the apartments burglarized were on the first floors, and the burglars apparently gained entry by forcing open front doors, rear windows and sliding glass doors, Mongo said.

"We stepped up our patrols in the area as soon as we realized what was going on," Mongo said. Police also praised residents in the 700 block of Baylor Street for their help in stopping burglaries committed in the Delcrest and Cambridge sections.

Several Baylor Street residents called police the morning of Feb. 23 after seeing some people knock on doors at homes and then break the windows of one home.

Those calls led to the arrest that night of three Willingboro residents, each charged with eight counts of burglary and seven counts of theft in connection with the burglaries. A fourth suspect later was apprehended and charged, Mongo said.

Arrested were Dion Ashley, 18, of Ballad Lane; Joseph Smith, 18, of Buckeye Lane, and Kenneth Mewborn, 18, of Briardale Lane, all of Willingboro. Also arrested was a 16-year-old male from Willingboro whose name and address were withheld because of his age.

An estimated $25,000 in cash and items were stolen, but none has been recovered, Mongo said. One of the suspects told police that all of the stolen items were sold in Camden.

"If they get $25 for a $200 VCR, they're satisfied," Mongo said. "That's a $25 profit."

Officer's Extra Jobs Secure A Few Extras

Source: Posted: August 12, 1987

As a veteran officer with the Delran Township Police Department, Len Mongo, 37, makes nearly $30,000 and still moonlights for extra money.

He has worked on the Delran force for 17 years, and his wife, Dorothy, is an English teacher in the Riverside school system. After 18 years of marriage, they have three children. They bought a home in the township a year ago. The upkeep of the home is typical, often leaving Mongo to reflect on where the money goes.

"The money is everywhere," he said, "the carpets, the curtains, who knows. I just give it to my wife."

"Right now the bathroom needs to be remodeled," he said. "With the new red lights they're putting in on Route 130, I might work a few days on traffic for them (the private contractor). With that money I can buy the bathroom fixtures."

This is the third home owned by the Mongos, and the money he earns moonlighting, about $1,500 annually, helped with the down payment. In some years, he has earned more than $3,000 by working security jobs.

For some, moonlighting is a habit that dies hard, and Len and Dorothy Mongo know their expenses are about to go up again. Daughter Shannon, 16, is almost ready to leave the nest and go to college. Sadye, 6, will be entering first grade, and she and her brother, Scott, 14, will need back-to-school clothes and supplies.

"It's always nice to have extra money," Mongo said. "But when you've got kids ready to go to college . . . " Mongo can intone a list of financial demands and their priority the way a child recites the alphabet. "C" is a big letter. It stands for college, clothing and crayons.

"Life isn't bad, don't get me wrong," Mongo said, "but it's nice to pick up the extra money when it's there."

It wasn't always that way. "We've worked hard for years, and now Len moonlights for extra money," Dorothy Mongo said. "A lot of other cops work 40 hours on the side because they have to," she said.

Mongo began moonlighting to help Dorothy Mongo finish her college education. After that he worked at his father's Cinnaminson gas station. He has since taken security jobs at high school dances, football games and local grocery stores.

"People think you're working on township time when they see you in uniform in the grocery store," Mongo said.

But look closer, and one sees that the officer is not in a township police uniform. The trousers look the same, but the sleeve patches, the tin, the hats, the leather holsters are all private issue. The sidearms are not service revolvers. They are the off-duty weapons owned by many police officers. The look-alike uniforms are used because of the township's policy prohibiting officers from wearing the official uniform when moonlighting on a security job, officials said.

"We get a lot of verbal abuse," Mongo said. "People say, 'Those cops are always hanging around at the ShopRite. Don't they ever work?' "

Delran, like all the other county departments that were contacted, places limits on officer moonlighting. Working 40 hours as a police officer and 30 additional hours on another job can get to a person, police officers say.

"That's where the chief comes in," Mongo said. "We try not to work more than 20 hours a week (on a second job).

"While they were working on the Bridgeboro Bridge (construction) all Delran officers were there at first," he said. "Then Riverside, Delanco and Edgewater Park cops. You see these big dollar signs in front of your eyes, but then you really start dragging."

Although there have been no moonlighting-related disability or insurance claims among township police officers, Mongo said, there was an officer who burned the candle at both ends and found there was no middle. He was suspended for calling in sick too often.

This year Mongo has made about $600 moonlighting and expects to earn at least $200 more. He will report the extra income, he said, and then his bathroom will be completed.

Fire Districts Oppose Water-rate Increase

Source: Posted: August 26, 1987

Dominic Sacca Jr., a fire commissioner with District 3 in Cherry Hill, admitted that he is hot under the collar about recent rate increases proposed by the New Jersey Water Co. (NJWC).

"I have no problem with the increases proposed for households and businesses," Sacca said. "But I do object to the manner in which fire companies are charged."

Sacca has company. During a public hearing at Cherry Hill Township's municipal building last week, three Cherry Hill fire districts - Districts 1, 3 and 5 - emerged as vociferous opponents to NJWC's proposed $5.7 million rate increase.

Although the increase, if approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), would increase residential customers' water bills by an average of $25 a year, dozens of New Jersey fire districts, departments and volunteer fire units who rely on water supplied by NJWC may be particularly hard hit.

The proposed rates would increase flat fees that fire departments are assessed each quarter for hydrants. The assessment for each hydrant would rise from $60.75 to $67.50, a rate compilation based on a study commissioned by the NJWC.

Sacca, who estimated the number of hydrants in his district at 300, said the new rates would increase quarterly payments from about $18,225 to about $20,250, representing an annual increase of more than $8,000.

"It just isn't fair to pay for the rental of hydrants that are seldom used," Sacca said. "If we bought water based on actual usage, our bill would be a drop in the bucket compared to what we use now."

NJWC provides 130,000 connections to household and commercial users in communities scattered throughout six New Jersey counties, serving an estimated 270,000 people who do not have access to municipal water service or rely on their own well water.

The proposed overall increase of 11 percent would affect users in 23 communities in Camden County, 13 in Gloucester County and nine in Burlington County. Portions of Atlantic, Cape May, Ocean and Warren Counties also would be affected.

The company's Haddon District provides service to Audubon, Audubon Park, Barrington, Bellmawr, Camden (11th and 12 Wards), Cherry Hill Township, Clementon, Gibbsboro, Gloucester Township, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Haddonfield, Hi-Nella, Laurel Springs, Lawnside, Lindenwold, Magnolia, Maple Shade, Mount Laurel, Oaklyn, Pennsauken Township, Runnemede, Somerdale, Stratford and Voorhees.

It also provides water to Mount Ephraim, which has its own equipment and resells it to users.

The company's Delaware Valley District provides service to parts of Burlington County, including Beverly, Bordentown, Delanco, Delran, Edgewater Park, Florence, Palmyra, Riverside and Riverton.

A second public hearing on the NJWC request will be Sept. 2 at the Township Building in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County.

Michael Chern, community relations director with NJWC, said any reduction in the flat fees for fire hydrants would result in higher increases for residential and commercial users.

NJWC's current proposal would raise quarterly payments of the average household or commercial user from $44.64 to $49.59 - or about $20 a year.

"The increases are important to our ongoing program of preventive maintenance," Chern said.

"If we don't replace old equipment when it is needed, water waste increases and users wind up paying for water they don't use . . . water lost through such things as leaky pipes," Chern said. Rate increases also are necessitated by increased labor costs, higher insurance rates and interest payments on $14 million the company already has borrowed for construction projects.

The BPU will consider the NJWC request and any objections, including those already filed by the Cherry Hill fire districts, at the Office of Administrative Law in Newark on Sept. 23, beginning at 2 p.m.

A final decision is expected in March.

A Thief Attracts Unwanted Attention

Source: Posted: December 21, 1987

An alleged thief who stuffed his clothes so full of money that his shirt buttons popped left a trail of dollar bills yesterday that attracted the attention of busy holiday shoppers - and eventually the police - at the Millside Shopping Center on Route 130 in Delran.

The shoppers scrambled to pick up $1,000 in wet loot that Bruce Wright left in his wake as he fled in the rain from a 7-Eleven store yesterday morning, Delran Patrolman Russ Aitkens said. There was so much money, a police spokesman said, it "dripped out of the shirt and parka."

But it wasn't the loose loot that got him in trouble.

Aitkens said he realized something was wrong when he noticed a 7-Eleven employee chasing Wright. Wright, 35, of Camden City, was charged with stealing several thousand dollars from the convenience store. A bail hearing was set for today.

The shoppers turned over their early Christmas presents to police. All the missing money was accounted for, Aitkens said.

Man Rounds Up Loose Robbery Loot

Source: Posted: December 22, 1987

A Burlington County man recovered thousands of dollars in stolen money that was clutched in the hands of passers-by and lying on a 7-Eleven parking lot, where it had been dropped Sunday by an unlucky holdup suspect who was fleeing police.

"There are still honest people in this world," said Officer Leonard Mongo of the Delran Township police, speaking of George Carucci, whom he identified as "an elderly man" from nearby Riverside Township.

Minutes after a robber assaulted the store's manager and stuffed his shirt with the store's daily receipts, Carucci picked the rain-sodden money up from the ground, collected it from onlookers and then gave it back to store manager Pat Rossi, Mongo said.

Later, Rossi was stunned when he counted the money and found that all but $40 was accounted for. The remaining $40 was later found inside the store.

A witness said that although some people were reluctant to give back the money, Carucci managed to talk all of them into doing so.

About 9 a.m. Sunday, Rossi was counting the day's receipts in a back room of the store on Haines Mill Road, police said. He left the room for less than a minute, and when he returned, he was knocked down by a man whose shirt was stuffed with the money.

With Rossi shouting and pursuing him, the robbery suspect, Bruce B. Wright, 35, of the 3100 block of Westfield Avenue, Camden, ran from the store and directly in front of a police car. All the while, he was dropping the loot, police said.

Wright doubled back and tried to get into a car that he is believed to have stolen earlier in Moorestown. As police from several municipalities arrived, he tried to run off but was halted in the parking lot by Robert Frumento, the deputy police chief of Oaklyn, who was off duty and there by chance.

Meanwhile, Carucci was collecting the money.

"This guy really deserves some credit," Mongo said. "I can't believe he got it all back. You know, it's Christmastime and people can use the money."

Carucci could not be reached for comment yesterday. Edward Linsley, the store's owner, said he had not decided how to reward him or the police officers involved. Linsley and police declined to disclose exactly how much money was taken.

Wright was being held yesterday in the Burlington County Jail awaiting a bail hearing. He was charged with theft, simple assault, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a hypodermic syringe.

Guidelines For Delran Police Set Racial Complaint Brings Response

Source: Posted: July 09, 1988

Responding to charges that a township detective discriminated against a youth last year because he was black, Delran police have established a set of guidelines aimed at improving relations between police and the black community, officials said yesterday.

The guidelines, consisting of six "operating principles," spell out the responsibilities of the township police officers to uphold the law in the township and to treat all citizens equally "without regard to race, color, creed or sex."

Their adoption came as a result of talks conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice involving the police department, township officials and the Southern Burlington County Chapter of the NAACP, which filed the discrimination grievance with the Justice Department last year.

The original NAACP complaint grew out of an incident on Feb. 9, 1987, in which a black youth, Omar Jackson, then 15, said he was unfairly treated in a police investigation of a credit-card fraud.

The NAACP's complaint said that Det. Edward Perrino, who is white, targeted Jackson as a suspect in the matter based on faulty evidence. Perrino than conducted an investigation into the case in a manner that was "permeated with racism," according to the NAACP.

Jackson was later arrested on charges of theft by deception, but the charges were eventually dropped, said Roosevelt Nesmith, president of the NAACP chapter.

Township officials said the Justice Department inquiry cleared Perrino and the Delran Police Department of any wrongdoing in the case. "The investigation showed no negative problems inherent in our police department. It received a clean bill of health," said Delran Mayor Richard Knight.

Knight said the township supported the adoption of the principles as a way to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

"Anything that helps the police department and the community work together is a good thing," said Knight.

Nesmith, who disputes the township contention that the inquiry found no negligence on the part of the police, called the adoption of the principles a step in the right direction.

"They've changed a lot of their attitudes since our approach," he said, ''Now it's a matter of waiting to see what happens."

Senate Studies A Bill To Aid Fire Companies

Source: Posted: October 02, 1988

A bill designed to relieve the financial straits of many volunteer fire companies recently was approved by the New Jersey General Assembly and has a good chance of becoming law, according to its sponsors.

Co-sponsored by Assemblymen Thomas P. Foy (D., Burlington-Camden) and Edward H. Salmon (D., Cape May-Cumberland), the legislation raises the maximum amount that a municipality may contribute to fire companies to $90,000.

There are 76 fire companies in Burlington County, most of which depend on their local municipal government for an annual contribution to their budgets. The Foy-Salmon bill passed in the Assembly by a 69-to-1 vote Sept. 8.

A municipality may contribute up to $30,000 of its budget toward its volunteer company. But, Foy and others argued that with the rising costs of fire equipment, local governments should be able to allocate more money to firefighters.

According to a Senate spokesperson, the bill is in the Senate County and Municipal Government Committee and is not yet scheduled for a vote.

Tom Vincz, the Assembly's Democratic spokesman, said the bill permits local governments to give more money if they choose; the $90,000 maximum is ''permissive, not mandatory."

Some local firefighters were unaware of the bill but said they think some kind of legislation increasing funds is definitely needed.

Robert Hoffman is the fire chief in Burlington City, one of the many townships that rely on municipal allocations for funds. Hoffman said that his department's biggest problem is the cost of buying new equipment. Beginning next month, firefighting equipment must meet certain standards set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

"With this new law, our gear must meet standards, and that's the biggest problem we have because gear is expensive," Hoffman said. "Any extra money we can get is really welcomed."

Cinnaminson's Fire Capt. Bob Martens agreed with Hoffman's assessment, but he added that the fire company would not benefit from its enactment.

Cinnaminson is one of about a dozen Burlington County municipalities that does not rely on municipal governments for contributions, but instead is funded through a local purpose tax. Martens praised the legislation, however. Cinnaminson's fire company recently purchased a new pumper truck for about $200,000, and now less than one year later, the cost for the same truck has risen to $263,000.

Jim Turcich, treasurer of Delran's fire district, said there are many costs to fire companies that people are not aware of. For example, he said that each fire company must pay a hydrant rental fee for its water supply. This can cost from $50,000 to $100,000 each year.

Assemblyman Salmon said he is optimistic that the Senate bill will pass.

"We need to send a strong message that we are supportive of our volunteer workers. . . . It's been a long time since there's been an increase," Salmon said.

The Foy-Salmon bill is similar to one that was approved by the Assembly in 1986, but died in the Senate. It was sponsored by the late Assemblyman Guy Muziani. (R., Cape May-Cumberland).

Salmon and Foy altered the original bill slightly and are both optimistic that this time it will become law.

Delran School Fires Were Set, Officials Say

Source: Posted: October 25, 1988

Two suspicious fires that occurred during the weekend at Holy Cross High School in Delran were intentionally set, officials said yesterday.

The fires caused minor damage to the school at Route 130 and Chester Avenue but did not interrupt classes, said Delran Patrol Officer Leonard Mongo.

"It looks like we have an arsonist on our hands and he's got a grudge against Holy Cross," Mongo said. Investigators had no suspects in the case yesterday, officials said.

The most recent fire was discovered at 3:35 a.m. yesterday when Patrol Officer John Johnston 3d saw smoke billowing out the windows of the school cafeteria, Mongo said. Two Delran fire companies were called and quickly contained the fire to a storage room near the cafeteria, said James McKendrick, an assistant Burlington County fire marshal.

The fire destroyed field-hockey equipment and decorations kept in the cinder-block room, McKendrick said.

The remnants of a second fire, which had begun after 6 p.m. Saturday in the concession stand at the school's football field, were discovered about 7 a.m. Sunday by school maintenance workers, officials said. The fire was set in six areas of the cinder-block building, but did not spread, McKendrick said. Damage to the roof, a bench and desks was estimated at $500, Mongo said.

Delran Supports Move To Build New Firehouse Behind Old One

Source: Posted: December 28, 1988

Delran Fire Company No. 1 has won preliminary approval from the Township Planning Board to replace its 70-year-old firehouse.

No estimate was available for construction costs on the new firehouse, which would be built immediately behind the existing structure.

Fire company officials said they did not know how long the construction would take.

The existing firehouse and the property at Bridgeboro and Cleveland Roads is owned by the fire company. But construction costs will be paid for by the township because the fire company has agreed to give the township title to the land the old firehouse occupies.

"We're so cramped for space now that we have no more storage room," said Mal Anderson, who serves as chairman of the fire company's building committee.

"The building is of the age where major repairs are imminent."

The new building would contain a meeting room in the rear that could also be used as an election polling place and would be accessible to the handicapped. The exterior will be stucco and brick.

The Planning Board accepted the application with a few waivers of local zoning ordinances.

In accordance with one of the waivers, for example, the fire company will not be expected to pave a parking overflow area that would be located to the side of the new building.

According to fire company attorney Robert Rogers, "The majority of the time, the (existing) paved area is sufficient.

"The overflow area is for rare instances and need not be blacktopped," Rogers said.

An ordinance that requires a total of 25 feet of space from the sides of the building to the property line, with at least 10 feet on each side, was also waived. The fire company is allowed to have only an 18-foot space, with 10 feet on the side that borders residential property and eight feet on the side facing Cleveland Road.

One problem that the fire company will have to research is removal of an oil pipe and tank behind the building. State regulations require testing to determine if the soil is contaminated. If so, the soil would have to be removed also.

Board members Dan Paolini and Ron Hubbs were disqualified from hearing the issue because they are both members of the fire company.

Board member George Scimeca was absent from the meeting.

New Firehouse Sought In Delran

Source: Posted: June 18, 1989

A $1 million bond referendum to finance the construction of a new firehouse for Company No. 1 has been authorized for Sept. 9 by the Delran Board of Fire Commissioners.

The current firehouse on Bridgeboro Street was built in 1917, with additions made in 1925 and 1958. An engineering study conducted by the Haddonfield firm of Ambruster-Grana Associates shows it to be structurally unsound.

Chuck Kendra, board president, said last week that the engineering study indicated that the floor in the engine room had sunk about two inches from the weight of heavy equipment and that the meeting room on the second floor could collapse if more than 50 people assemble in it.

Ironically, the fire company's meeting room is also a fire hazard. The room has only one exit, a violation of township building codes.

Donald Anderson, president of Company No. 1, said another problem is a lack of space. The company now has five fire trucks crammed into a 7,000-square- foot structure built when trucks were half of their current size.

"If you built a garage to fit a Volkswagen in and then you put a Cadillac in it, you couldn't get the door open," he said.

"It's an old, old building," Anderson added. "The plumbing is old. The electrical system is old."

Nick Duca, a partner with the architectural firm of Duca & Thorn in Moorestown, said the new firehouse will be one-level, with a planned exterior of masonry and stucco. It will have 11,100 square feet devoted to equipment space, offices, work rooms and a meeting room. Each truck bay will be set back 10 feet from the preceding one, giving the building a graduated appearance.

The new building will be built 5 feet behind the existing one, thus enabling the fire company to continue to operate out of its old quarters during construction.

Kendra said Company No. 1 owns the current firehouse, but that the new building will be a public structure.

The 98-member volunteer fire company has retained a public relations firm, Synergy Communications of Cheltenham, Pa., to publicize the bond issue. Carol Mueller said her firm will conduct a direct-mail campaign and hold speaking engagements, complete with a slide show, to demonstrate the need for a new firehouse.

Deputy Fire Chief Paul Matlock said the firefighters have spent between $25,000 and $30,000 for the services of the public relations, engineering and architectural firms. The company paid for the services with money from the sale of its old fire trucks, which were replaced with equipment bought by the Board of Fire Commissioners.

The board, created in 1970, is composed of five elected members who represent the taxpayers and the fire companies. Board revenues are generated from a fire tax, which is assessed on each home to buy equipment for Delran's two fire companies.

Company Puts Out Fire Call

Source: Posted: September 06, 1989

After hearing sales pitches for a new firehouse for the last two months, Delran voters will decide on Saturday whether the township needs one.

Township officials have unanimously - and glowingly - supported the proposed $1 million project, which would replace the Company No. 1 firehouse. The council passed a resolution backing the plan Aug. 23.

Residents will be able to vote on the $1.2 bond referendum between 2 and 9 p.m. at the township municipal hall. If the 20-year bond is approved, a taxpayer with a home assessed at the Delran average of $58,243 would pay an additional 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, or $29.12 a year. Residents may tour the firehouse between 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday.

Building a new firehouse has been a priority among the township's 98 volunteer firefighters for the two years. In 1987, an engineering survey by Camden-based Ambruster/Grana Associates underscored what firefighters have said all along: Not only was the building inadequate to house ever-bigger fire engines, but it was literally sinking under the increasing weight.

"The most compelling reason (to build) is that the building is structurally unsafe," said firefighter Chuck Kendra. "The building's old. In the second floor meeting room they told us not to put more than 25 to 50 people. New-style trucks have sunk the engine room floor by two inches."

The original two-story section - built by firefighters in 1917 - is used only for an office, kitchen and meeting hall. A 1957 addition houses a ladder truck, two pump trucks, a rescue unit truck, a 4-wheel-drive brush-fire truck and a 12-foot rescue boat. Trucks are fit together like pieces of a jigsaw, with just enough space to walk between.

"This building is not lavish," said Mal Anderson, 42, who has been a Company No. 1 firefighter for 25 years. During a recent tour of the firehouse, he talked about the care the fire company gives its equipment. Tools, handles of which have been repainted, laid in order in truck compartments. Hoses and ropes were painstakingly coiled and placed in symmetrical rows.

Anderson reached under the wheel well of a pump truck. "See this?" he said, swiping his hand from the inside of the wheel well. "No dust! We take pride in these trucks.

"The firefighters built this place. The parking lot came from bingo and dinners and things like that," he said. "For years we tried to provide service at no cost to the taxpayers. We only switched to tax support because we had to."

That change happened in 1971, when the township paid for a fire engine, Anderson said. Taxes provide the annual $390,000 operating budget, which also covers a second firehouse on the other side of the L-shaped township.

In two years, the Delran fire commissioners have spent nearly $30,000 on the engineering study, architectural fees and a public relations campaign.

Ambruster/Grana Associates and architect Nicholas Duca proposed three remedies for the fire company: To refurbish the firehouse and build an addition would cost an estimated $916,000; to tear down the office and meeting hall section, build a fire engine room and move the office into the engine room would cost $936,000; to tear down everything and start over would cost $961,000.

"We really tried to prove we needed a new building," said Anderson. ''That's why we did the study, to show that these problems exist."

Duca's design for an 11,000-square- foot building has a "staggered" front, like a staircase lying on its side. It would angle off so that its construction would not interfere with use of the existing firehouse, Duca said. The new firehouse would be set farther back on the company's 1-acre lot, which is on the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Bridgeboro Street.

If approved, construction could start as early as March and take up to one year, said construction board member Carlton Ely.

If interest rates rise, the price of building the firehouse could go as high as $1.2 million, said Donald Anderson, president of Company No. 1.

Delran Fire Company Grabs The Bragging Rights

Source: Posted: October 01, 1989

They're No. 1 in New Jersey.

Delran's Fire Co. No. 1 prevailed as the best-looking outfit in the state, winning six first-place trophies at the 112th annual New Jersey State Fireman's Parade this month in Wildwood.

"It's a lot of hard work," said Deputy Chief Paul Matlack, who rode in the parade along with 20 other members of the volunteer department. "It takes a lot of dedication by the members."

More than 300 fire companies entered the parade, riding and marching on a Saturday afternoon through Wildwood and Wildwood Crest as part of the annual New Jersey State Fireman's Convention.

Wearing double-breasted navy blue dress uniforms and black shoes, the Delran Fire Co. displayed their two sparkling red and white pumpers and one Cascade Utility Truck - used for refilling air bottles - along the three-mile parade route. The New Jersey State Fire Chief Judge's Association reviewed the companies for cleanliness, appearance and equipment.

Delran won first place awards for best-appearing company; best-appearing 1,000-gallon permanent pumper, 0 to 5 years old; best-appearing pumper, 6 to 10 years old, and best-appearing utility truck.

The company also won a first-place trophy from the Burlington County Fireman's Association and a first-place award from the Burlington County Freeholders.

"It takes a long time, we have to work on it all summer long," Matlack said of the continual process of maintaining the equipment. "And if we have a fire, we have to start all over again."

Some volunteers spend their summer vacations working on the trucks, said Matlack, who is also in charge of fire and ambulance communications for the Burlington County Communications Center. "But you win the best in the state, it really makes it worthwhile."

A Crash Course In Emergency Rescue Teens Play Victims In Mock Five-car Accident

Source: Posted: October 29, 1989

Karen Guidobaldi got a jump on Halloween yesterday morning on a remote dirt road in Mount Laurel.

At 9:30 a.m., she was wedged into an old, brown Oldsmobile with five other teens, each to some degree battered and bloody-looking, some with ghoulish, chalky complexions, some with clotting rivulets of red oozing from their ears, noses, mouths or limbs.

They were victims in a mock, five-car automobile accident, staged to give area volunteer rescue squads training in how to respond to what they refer to as a "mass casualty incident." Each of the youths had been told what injuries he or she had - and how, therefore, to scream, moan or otherwise act out the part.

Guidobaldi, 17, of Riverside, sitting in the left-rear passenger seat of the Oldsmobile, had been assigned fewer injuries than most of the 20 victims, but she had the kind of role that, around Halloween, had possibilities.

"I'm bruised and battered, and I'm on drugs," explained Guidobaldi, a member of Medical Explorer Post 231 in Delran, a scouting organization for teens who want to go into health careers.

Her job, she said, was to hold a plastic bag of white powder (corn starch substituting for cocaine) and act crazy when rescuers arrived.

This would be one of a score of problems the volunteer rescuers would face any moment when they arrived.

The "accident" was set up at 7:45 a.m., when trucks from a couple of towing companies hauled the hulks of five wrecked cars onto Walton Avenue. It was the culmination of two months' planning by members of Mount Laurel's Masonville Rescue Squad.

Jay Appleton and Douglas Dickel, officers in the squad, had created a script - kept secret from the volunteers - describing how the accident was supposed to have occurred:

An old Mercury Capri coupe, driven by Adam Fitzpatrick, 14, of Fort Dix (who had been recruited as a victim on Friday night) and packed with four of Fitzpatrick's real-life friends, was heading north on Walton Avenue when the Capri forced another vehicle into a ditch. The Capri traveled a quarter- mile farther, where, in the middle of a concrete bridge on a sharp curve, it hit the Guidobaldi Oldsmobile head-on. A red Datsun, heading south, swerved to avoid the accident and flipped into a ditch to the west. An Opel heading south then slammed into the rear of the Oldsmobile.

The exercise began when the first passersby, recruited for that role, discovered the accidents and called police, who sent a patrol car to the scene and then summoned the rescue squads. Emergency teams arrived at the bridge to find all but three of the victims still in their cars.

Thomas Miller, 15, of Delran, was lying beyond the Datsun on a bank against a tree where, the script said, he had been thrown and paralyzed.

Kim Booth, 9, of Fort Dix, was lying on the east side of the road, her face chalked. She was, the script said, dead.

A mannequin was pinned beneath the Datsun.

For the next two hours, dozens of rescue workers examined the victims, attached braces and splints, and carried them away. They used the tools of the trade - pneumatic prying devices, inflatable bags to lift the Datsun, backboard stretchers, neck braces, inflatable pants.

Inside the Oldsmobile, Guidobaldi, the "addict," became frantic.

"I've got to get out. Let me out," she screamed while rescuers tried to pry open the Oldsmobile's doors. She climbed over the laps of Carol Cebik, 17, and Chris Pisarek, 15, both of Browns Mills, who sat oozing red fluid from their faces and necks.

The rescuers tried to talk Guidobaldi out of her anxiety, not yet recognizing that her acting reflected her scripted drug use.

Guidobaldi eventually climbed out of the car, shrieking and walking away. A rescue worker and then a police officer tried to restrain her, but she kept up her ranting. The officer guided her to an ambulance, but she bolted and momentarily escaped.

For her effort at realism, Guidobaldi was placed in the rear of a police cruiser.

Later, when the drill was over, she would describe her "caged" feeling in the police car.

Almost shuddering, she said: "I'll never be in there again."

A Cornucopia Of Holiday Events

Source: Posted: December 03, 1989

Some legendary characters of the holiday season will be dropping by South Jersey in the coming weeks, visiting with residents in an effort to make the holiday season much more festive.

Scrooge, with Tiny Tim and a spirit or two in tow, will be taking up residence at the Ritz Theater in Oaklyn. He will also be part of a performance of A Christmas Carol in Glassboro.

The Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier, along with Drosselmeyer, Clara and other Nutcracker favorites, will be appearing in Glassboro and Voorhees as part of the Children's Ballet Theater's production.

Finally, one of the biggest stars of the season, Santa Claus, will be very much in evidence in the coming days as he visits craft fairs and other holiday programs, eats lunch with area children, and takes up residence in several area malls - simultaneously.

The following is a listing, in chronological order, of some of the Christmas and Hanukah events to be celebrated this month. When an event occurs over more than one day, it is listed under the day on which it begins.


The Santa's Workshop display at Main Street in Voorhees will be open Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. and Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 8 p.m., now through Christmas. The 3,500-foot animated exhibit includes various spots on Santa's estate, including the kitchen, workshop and doll department, as well as animals and elves. For more information, call 424-8751.

The third annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony sponsored by Delran Township and the Recreation Advisory Committee, will be held at 7 p.m. at the Delran Municipal Building, Chester Avenue, Delran. Light refreshments will be served, and Santa will arrive on a firetruck at about 7:15 p.m.

The annual Driedel Shop sponsored by the Sisterhood of B'nai Tikvah Synagogue will be held from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. today, 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow, and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the synagogue, Fishpond and Spring Lake Roads, Turnersville. The shop will feature Hanukah items such as menorahs, candles, toys and wrapping paper. For more information, call 227-3988.

A Christmas Bazaar will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Clementon Ambulance Association Fire Company, Gibbsboro Road, Clementon. For more information, call 783-4095.

The sixth annual Craft Show sponsored by the Colonial Manor Ladies Auxiliary, featuring craft tables, food and Santa Claus (visiting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Colonial Manor Fire Hall, Academy Avenue, West Deptford. For more information, call 848-6916.

A Holiday Open House will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the shelter of the Animal Welfare Association Inc., 509 Gibbsboro-Marlton Rd., Voorhees. The event will include handmade crafts, baked goods, pet portraits with Santa and more. Visitors are asked to bring a gift for the animals, such as food, cat litter, toys, treats, blankets or towels. For more information, call 424-2288.

A Hanukah Bazaar will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Congregation Beth Tikvah, Evesboro-Medford Road, Marlton. The event, sponsored by the Sisterhood of the Congregation, will feature gift items, foods and games. For more information, call 983-8090.

Scrooge, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, will be presented today and next Sunday at 2 p.m., and Friday and Saturday evenings through Dec. 16 at 7:30, at the Ritz Theater, 915 White Horse Pike, Oaklyn. Tickets are $5; free tickets will be given in exchange for foodstuffs for the needy after one ticket is purchased. For more information, call 858-5230.

A Holiday Concert titled "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," will be presented at 3 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center at Gloucester County College, Tanyard Road, Deptford Township. The free program will feature the College Community Chorus and the Washington Township High School String Quartet performing sacred and secular pieces ranging from "White Christmas" to selections from Handel's Messiah. For more information, call 468-5000, Ext. 274 or 207.

The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky's classic holiday ballet, will be presented by Ballet South at 3 p.m. today and next Sunday, at 8 p.m. Friday, and at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Performances will be in the Wilson Concert Hall at Glassboro State College, Route 322, Glassboro. Tickets are $10 and $8, with discount prices of $8 and $6 for children, senior citizens, and alumni, students and staff of Glassboro State. For more information, call 863-7388.

A Holiday Art Show and Sale is being sponsored by the Willingboro chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. from 2 to 5 p.m. at Burlington County College's Outreach Center in the Willingboro Plaza, Route 130 North, Willingboro. The show, by Life Presentation, will feature African-American fine art prints by such artists as Joseph Holston, Varnette Honeywood, Annie Lee, Ray Batchelor, Ernie Barnes and Romare Bearsen. For more information, call 291-9024.


A drive to collect Christmas Toys for the Needy continues now through Thursday at the Gloucester Township Municipal Building, Chews Landing Road, Gloucester Township. Residents may drop off toys for the township-sponsored collection between 8 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. The toys will be distributed to needy youngsters in the township between Dec. 11 and 19.

A Holiday Bazaar featuring Christmas items, wooden crafts, ceramics, and knitted and crocheted items, as well as food and white-elephant items, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the sixth floor of Evergreen Manor, on Collier Drive in the Camden County Health Services Center, Lakeland Campus, in Blackwood. For more information, call 757-8000, Ext. 3340.

Beginning chefs can make a No-Bake Cookie Log Cabin at a workshop scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cook N School at the Main Street Super Shop 'n Bag, 8000 Gibbsboro-Marlton Rd., Voorhees. The "cabins" are edible, and also can be used for display. The fee for the workshop is $20. For more information, call 751-8066.

Holiday Stress is the topic of a lecture to be presented at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Rancocas Hospital, Sunset Road, Willingboro. Clinical psychologist Victoria Handfield will offer advice on coping with family conflicts, the tendency to overspend and other common sources of stress during the holidays. The program will be repeated at 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 in the Zurbrugg Hospital Education Center, Hospital Plaza, Riverside. Register in advance for both programs by calling 1-800-654-GRAD.


The ninth annual Holiday Gift of Art Exhibition will open today at the Center for the Arts in Southern New Jersey, 5 Greentree Center, Route 73, Marlton, and continue through Dec. 20. The exhibit will include jewelry, pottery, wearable art, paintings and crafts, which will be available for purchase. The show is open Mondays through Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and next Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 985-1009.

Children ages 3 through 6 can have some Christmas Fun with a program featuring stories, a craft project and the movie Max's Christmas, to be held today from 1:30 to 2 p.m. and tomorrow from 10 to 10:45 a.m. at the Margaret E. Heggan Public Library, Chapel Heights Road, Washington Township. For more information, call 589-3334.

The annual House Tour sponsored by the West Jersey Health Systems Women's Auxiliary of Haddonfield will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., and will feature four Haddonfield homes decorated in Christmas themes. The auxiliary also will sponsor a Noel Shop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Tea Room of the Tavistock Country Club, with handmade items and baked goods. Tickets for the tour are $5, and are available at the Tavistock Country Club or from auxiliary members. For more information, call 342-4460.

The yearly Luncheon and Craft Show sponsored by the Tatem School Home School Association will feature country, folk art and Victorian items, as well as porcelain dolls, quilts, baby clothes, jewelry, tree-trimming items, toys, baskets and more, with a luncheon of soup, chicken salad and Greek spinach pie available (lunch served noon to 2 p.m.). The event will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, Kings Highway and Chestnut Street, Haddonfield, from noon to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, call 428-7449.


Christmas Movies, including Nearly No Christmas and Max's Christmas, will be shown from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Margaret E. Heggan Public Library, Chapel Heights Road, Washington Township. The program is open to children 6-10. For more information, call 589-3334.

A Christmas Craft Show and Sale sponsored by the Perkins Center for the Arts will be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, at the center, Kings Highway and Camden Avenue, Moorestown. The juried event will feature more than 70 artisans from eight states displaying such items as stained glass, jewelry, dolls and Christmas ornaments. There also will be homemade soups, sandwiches and cookies available, and the house will be decorated for the holidays. Admission is $2. For more information, call 235-6488.

The 27th annual Cook's Tour of Moorestown will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and will feature five houses of various architectural styles and interior designs decorated for the holidays. There also will be a Noel Shop, held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, Bridgeboro Road, Moorestown, with handmade crafts, wreaths, baked goods and flowers. Tickets for the tour are $8 in advance and $10 on the day of the tour, and are available at various Moorestown businesses (in advance) and at the Presbyterian Church (today). For more information, call 261-7020.

A Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Singing program will begin at 7 p.m. at the Lindenwold Public Library, 310 E. Linden Ave., Lindenwold. Refreshments will be served, and there will be entertainment by elementary school choruses. For more information, call 784-5602.

"Healthy Holiday Cooking" is the topic of a free class to be held from 7 to 8 p.m. at the South Jersey Gas Co.'s Natural Gas Advantage Store, The Center at DoubleTree, Delsea Drive, Glassboro. For more information, call 589-5500.

A concert of Classical Holiday Music will be presented by the five-piece Festive Brass, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Medford Friends Meeting, Union Street, Medford. Admission is free. For more information, call 654-4302.


A Hanukah Bazaar will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Beth Jacob-Beth Israel Synagogue, Evesham Road, Cherry Hill. The event is sponsored by the Congregation's Sisterhood. For more information, call 751-1191.


Snacks with Santa will be available from 10 a.m. to noon at the Senior Citizen Center, Union Avenue, Stratford. Tickets for the event, sponsored by the GFWC Woman's Club of Stratford, are $2 for children and adults and are available at Prudential Applewood Realtors, 64 Warwick Rd., Stratford.

A Christmas Bazaar, sponsored by the Combined Auxiliaries to Zurbrugg Hospital, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the main lobby of the hospital, Hospital Plaza, Riverside. The event will include arts and crafts, plants, books, baked goods and a raffle. For more information, call 829-7514.

The 1989 Christmas Arts & Crafts Bazaar at St. Thomas Parish House, Focer Street and Delsea Drive, Glassboro, will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow. Besides arts and crafts, there will be baked goods, soups and sandwiches; a Santa's Secret Shop, where children can buy gifts, and Santa Claus himself. For more information, call 881-9144.

The annual Woodbury Holiday House Tour will be conducted from 6 to 10 p.m., beginning at the Woodbury High School cafeteria, Broad Street, Woodbury, where there will be wassail and cookies, singing and crafts. From there, tour-goers may drive or take a free bus to the six tour sites: two 18th-century homes, three modern homes and a church, all specially decorated for Christmas. Tickets are $5 in advance and are available at Woodbury City Hall or by calling 848-2461; day-of-tour tickets are $6 and are available at the high school.

Tchaikovsky's holiday ballet, The Nutcracker, will be performed by the Children's Ballet Theater with a cast of 99 youngsters aged 5-17 and a supporting cast of 17 adults. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 tonight and 2:30 p.m. tomorrow and next Sunday at the Voorhees Middle School Theater, Holly Oaks Drive, Voorhees. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for those 18 and under. For more information, call 546-9270.

The annual Christmas Concert of the Cinnaminson Community Chorus will begin at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Cinnaminson High School, Riverton Road, Cinnaminson. The 50-voice chorus will present religious and popular songs from the past and present. Tickets are $3, with students and senior citizens admitted for $1.50 and children under 12 for free. For more information, call 461-6330.

The annual Christmas Concert of the 75-voice Lewis Shearer Chorale will be held tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Pennsauken Senior High School, Hylton Road, Pennsauken. The program will include sacred and secular Christmas songs, plus a carol sing-along. Tickets are $6. For more information, call 854-6639.


Children aged 8-12 can make Holiday Cookies at a cooking program to be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the South Jersey Gas Co.'s Natural Gas Advantage Store, The Center at DoubleTree, Delsea Drive, Glassboro. Advance registration is required for the free program. For more information, call 589-5500.

A Santa's Secret Gift Shop, where children can purchase inexpensive gifts to give to family members, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Jude's School, Black Horse Pike, Blackwood. A Lunch With Santa will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the same day. For more information, call 582-5740.

The Lumberton Senior Citizens Club will sponsor a Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, South Main Street, Lumberton. For more information, call 267-3958.

A Pet's Picture Party With Santa will be sponsored by the Animal Orphanage of Voorhees. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kresson Fire Station (next to the Animal Orphanage), Cooper Road, Voorhees. For a $5 donation, participants can have a picture of their pet or child taken with Santa. Holiday crafts and baked goods will be available. For more information, call 627-9111.

A Visit with Santa Claus will be available from noon to 2 p.m., as the jolly old elf visits the Stratford Library, 303 Union Ave., Stratford. Parents are invited to bring their cameras and take pictures. For more information, call 783-0602.

Help Wanted: Santa, a holiday comedy for children, will be presented by the Sketch Club Players at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. today and tomorrow, in the Little Theater, 433 Glover St. (at Logan Street), Woodbury. Tickets are $2. For more information, call 848-8089.

The seventh annual Lunch With Santa & Mrs. Claus, sponsored by the Audubon Young Women's League, will be held from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Holy Maternity Church Hall, 431 Nicholson Rd., Audubon. Tickets are $1.50 and include pasta, juice, a cupcake and a candy cane. Reservations are required, and children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 547-4277.

Gloucester County College will hold its annual St. Nicholas Day celebration from noon to 5 p.m. in the school's College Center and Fine Arts Center, Tanyard Road, Deptford Township. The annual event will feature a crafts exhibit, magic and puppet shows, a cartoonist, dancers, a barbershop and music, food and St. Nicholas. For more information, call 468-5000, Ext. 274.

Lunch With Santa will be served at 12:30 p.m. in the Harrison Township School, Route 45, Mullica Hill. Tickets are $2.50 and include hot dogs, chips, a beverage, dessert and a gift from Santa. Parents should bring a camera if they wish to have their children's pictures taken with Santa. For more information on the event, sponsored by the Home and School Association, call 478-2787.

Holiday Tours of the historic Whitman Stafford Farm House, 315 Maple Ave., Laurel Springs, will be available today and Dec. 16 and 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. The house, which was once the summer home of poet Walt Whitman, will be decorated for the holidays. Admission is free. For more information, call 783-8040.

A Candlelight Christmas Tour, sponsored by the Mount Holly Historical Society, will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. The tour will include several private homes, some historic public buildings and a church, and refreshments will be served. Tickets/brochures are $5 and are available in advance at several businesses in town, and from 2 to 7 p.m. today at the Historic Court House, High Street, Mount Holly. For more information or to order tickets, call 267-1689.


The ninth annual Holiday Showcase of Homes, Home Tour and Craft Bazaar will be held today, with the bazaar running from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pennsauken Middle School, Park Avenue, Pennsauken, and the tour running from noon to 8 p.m. The event, sponsored by the GFWC Junior Woman's Club of the Merchantville Area Inc., will include tours of four 19th-century homes, all decorated and within walking distance of each other, plus a bazaar with crafts. Tour tickets are $5 and are available in advance at several area businesses. They will be available the day of the tour at the Pennsauken Middle School, or at tour homes (40 E. Walnut Ave., 20 E. Gilmore Ave., 41 W. Walnut Ave. and 137 E. Park Ave., Merchantville). For more information, call 665-9499.

A House Tour featuring nine homes in Roebling will be conducted from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets for the event, sponsored by the Roebling Historical Society, are $5 and will be sold today at the Roebling library. For more information, call 499-0471.

A Holiday Luncheon for Merchantville senior citizens will be given by the borough's mayor and council at 1 p.m. in the Community Center, Greenleigh Court, Merchantville. The event is free, but those planning to attend must respond by Tuesday. For more information, call 665-9240.

A concert of Seasonal Music, including excerpts from Handel's Messiah, will be presented at 3 p.m. in the Student Lounge, College Community Center, Camden County College, Little Gloucester Road, Blackwood. The concert will presented by the college's Community Choir, as well as by the Haddon Township High School choir and the Glassboro High School choir. Tickets are $4, with students admitted for $2 and senior citizens for free. For more information, call 227-7200, Ext. 353.

"The Joy of Christmas" is the theme of the annual Christmas concert of the Florence Township Community Singers, to be held at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of Florence Township Memorial High School, Front Street, Florence, with an organ prelude at 2:45 p.m. Carols, religious songs and excerpts from Handel's Messiah will be featured. Tickets are $3, with students and senior citizens admitted for $1.50. For more information, call 786-1060.

A "Wenonah Christmas" House Tour will be held from 3 to 8 p.m., and will include tours of five private homes, three churches, the community center and library, plus a Civil War encampment on the grounds of the Old Wenonah Military Academy across from the park on South Clinton Avenue. Tickets for the event, sponsored by the Wenonah Fire Company Auxiliary and Woman's Club of Wenonah, are $5 in advance and $7 today. Advance tickets are available at the library, borough hall, and several area businesses; day-of-tour tickets are available at the Wenonah Railroad Station and the Wenonah Free Public Library, both on Mantua Avenue, which are the starting points of the tour. Call 468-6065.

A Christmas Home Tour sponsored by the Wedgwood Women's Club of Washington Township will be conducted from 3 to 9 p.m. Four homes will be toured. Tickets are $6 and should be purchased in advance at Duffield's Farm Market on Greentree Road or Tussie Mussie Country Store, Hurffville-Cross Keys Road. For more information, call 227-6806.

A Christmas Concert, featuring the cantata Bethlehem, by J. H. Maunder, will be presented at 4 p.m. by the choir of Grace Episcopal Church, 7 E. Maple Ave., Merchantville. Admission is free.

A Christmas House Tour will be conducted in Burlington City from 4 to 8 p.m. and will feature 12 homes, an old school and a boat club, all within a four-block area. Tickets for the event, sponsored by the City of Burlington Historical Society, are $5 and are available in advance at several area businesses and today at the Friends School on York Street. For more information, call 386-3993.

A Messiah Community Sing-In will be held for the eighth consecutive year, beginning at 5 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, Camden and Pleasant Valley Avenues, Moorestown. Participants will be seated by vocal group (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). Participants may bring their own music or purchase a score at the door for $6.95. Child care is available. Call 235-0450.

DEC. 11

The Mansion at Smithville, Smithville Road, Eastampton Township, will be decorated for the holidays and open for guided tours today through Dec. 30. The rooms of the historic homestead have been decorated by local garden and woman's clubs and civic organizations. Tours will be conducted Mondays through Fridays at noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. (no tours will be conducted on Dec. 24 or 25). Admission is $4, with students up to age 18 and senior citizens admitted for $3. Group rates are available. Special candlelight tours with refreshments will be conducted on Dec. 17, 20 and 22 at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Admission is $6. For more information, call 265-5068.

DEC. 12

A Holiday Bazaar will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. at the synagogue of Congregation Sons of Israel, Cooper Landing Road, Cherry Hill. The event, sponsored by the Congregation's Sisterhood, will feature toys, stationery, crafts, clothing, jewelry and Judaic items. There will also be blood-pressure screenings, face painting, baked goods and other food. Hoagies are available if ordered in advance. For more information, call 667-7483.

"Cherry Hill Celebrates the Season of Goodwill" is the theme of the Annual Holiday Party sponsored by the township. It will be held at 7 p.m. at the Community Center, 820 Mercer St., Cherry Hill. Entertainment will be provided by youths from various cultural and religious organizations; Santa Claus will visit, and refreshments will be served. For more information, call 488-7878.

A Christmas Concert will be presented by the Collingswood Community Chorus at 8 p.m. in the Collingswood Middle School, Collings Avenue, Collingswood. More than 60 singers from South Jersey and Pennsylvania will sing 22 traditional and contemporary holiday songs. Admission is free, and seating is on a first-come basis. For more information, call 854-6024.

DEC. 13

The annual Winter Concert of the Countryside School, Mount Laurel, will be presented at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Harrington Middle School, Mount Laurel Road, Mount Laurel. The program will feature students in kindergarten through third grade singing traditional holiday songs, plus a performance of songs on the recorder. The program is free and open to the public.

A Christmas Craft program for children aged 6-12 will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Margaret E. Heggan Public Library, Chapel Heights Road, Washington Township. For more information, call 589-3334.

A concert of Christmas Music will be presented by the Rutgers-Camden Choir and Brass Ensemble, starting at noon in the Fine Arts Theater, Rutgers University-Camden, Fourth and Linden Streets, Camden. The free event will include the "Hallelujah Chorus" (with audience participation), carols and classical selections. For more information, call 757-6176.

Make-Ahead Holiday Goodies will be the subject of a cooking demonstration to be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Cook N School at the Main Street Super Shop 'n Bag, 8000 Gibbsboro-Marlton Rd., Voorhees. The menu of dessert and snack items includes Chocolate Raspberry Streusel Crumb Bars, Double-Dose Apricot Squares and White Chocolate Chunk Toasted Macadamia Cookies. The fee is $18. For more information, call 751-8066.

"Family Stress of the Holidays" is the topic of a series of lectures, to be presented at 7 p.m. in the Medford Memorial Community Center, 21 S. Main St., Medford. The program, sponsored by the Medford Family Therapy Center, will include presentations on seasonal depression, handling children's frustration, holiday stress and more. For more information, call 654-6970.

DEC. 14

A Holiday Musical, A Computer for Father Time, will be presented by the fourth- and fifth-grade students of the Countryside School, Mount Laurel, at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Harrington Middle School, Mount Laurel Road, Mount Laurel. The free musical is based on the play Computerized Christmas. The program is open to the public.

DEC. 15

A Christmas Concert will be performed by the 42-piece Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, and its 12-voice chorale, beginning at 8 p.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Main Street, Moorestown. Music for Advent and Christmas will be presented. Tickets are $25. For more information, call 234-6835.

A musical adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol will be presented by the Nebraska Theater Caravan at 8 p.m. in the Wilson Concert Hall, Glassboro State College, Route 322, Glassboro. Tickets are $17.50 and $12.50, with discount prices of $15.50 and $10.50 for children, senior citizens and staff, students and alumni of Glassboro State. For more information, call 863-7388.

DEC. 16

A Special Holiday Workshop for children will be presented from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cook N School in the Main Street Super Shop 'n Bag, 8000 Gibbsboro-Marlton Rd., Voorhees. Young people may make such edible crafts as a Christmas or Hanukah Cookie Tree, Graham Cracker Greeting Cards and Holiday Cracker Wreaths. There is a fee of $1 per craft. For more information, call 751-8066.

Farmer's Hall, an 18th-century structure being restored by the Mount Laurel Historical Society, will be decorated by the County Garden Club for the holidays and open for touring from noon to 4 p.m. today, 1 to 4 p.m. tomorrow, and 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 20. Many of the decorations are made of materials indigenous to the Mount Laurel area. Refreshments will be served, and admission is free.

DEC. 17

The annual Holiday Concert sponsored by the Gloucester County Parks and Recreation Department will be held at the Washington Township High School auditorium, Hurffville-Cross Keys Road, Washington Township. Doors will open at 2 p.m. for senior citizens and handicapped people, and at 2:30 p.m. for all others. The program will feature performances by the Washington Township High School band, orchestra and choir. For more information, call 589-0047.

A Classical Christmas Concert will be presented at 3 p.m. in St. Cecelia's Church, 49th Street and Camden Avenue, Pennsauken. The program will feature performances by vocalist Frank Nardi, keyboardist Maryalexis Ulrich and the King's Quartet. The free concert is sponsored by the Up With Pennsauken Committee. For more information, call 663-9122.

A Christmas Concert will be presented by the New Sound Choir of Haddonfield United Methodist Church, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the church, 29 Warwick Rd., Haddonfield. The group of 50 high school students will perform Christmas music. For more information, call 429-0403.

DEC. 19

The Churches of Laurel Springs' annual Holiday Concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Park Avenue, Laurel Springs. Admission is free, but food donations for the church's pantry are appreciated. For more information, call 783-8040.

DEC. 23

First Day of Hanukah.

Santa's Last Visit to Merchantville will be conducted from noon to 4 p.m. Santa will be escorted through town on a Niagara Fire Company fire engine.

Ex-lawyer Admits Guilt In Deception

Source: Posted: September 06, 1990

Leslie Ray Smith, the disbarred Burlington County lawyer who eluded authorities for five years until his case was featured on the television program America's Most Wanted last year, pleaded guilty yesterday to deceiving clients by investing thousands of dollars in risky ventures that went out of business.

Smith, 56, a former Delran resident, admitted that he took $350,000 from 16 clients and invested it in three companies speculating in oil and coal fields in Pennsylvania. Smith, who has been in Burlington County Jail for eight months, told Superior Court Judge Paul R. Kramer that clients did not know about the high-risk investments, where Smith expected to double his clients' money within four years. Instead, two of the companies went bankrupt and one ''disappeared," Smith said.

Defense attorney David Jacobs said that Smith had not profited from the money nor lived an extravagant lifestyle while he resided in Burlington County or after he left the state.

Under Smith's plea agreement, he would face no more than seven years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 10, according to First Assistant Prosecutor Michael E. Riley.

Smith's case was featured on the Fox Television program a year ago. The program was rerun on New Year's Eve and the former attorney was arrested three days later in Tucson, Ariz. A viewer had recognized Smith and told the show's producers, who notified Arizona authorities.

Smith, who was disbarred in 1985, had been using the name Laurence Whitlow and working for about $4 an hour at a dry cleaner. Riley said Smith would not be charged with eluding authorities because he was indicted after he had left town.

Smith skipped an ethics hearing before the state Supreme Court in December 1984 and left the area soon afterward. He was indicted by a county grand jury in 1985 and charged with taking $493,000 from 16 South Jersey residents between May 1980 and September 1984. Riley said there would be a restitution hearing to determine exactly how much of the clients' money is missing.

Some clients have received reimbursements from the Clients Security Fund of the Bar of New Jersey. The agency, set up by the state Supreme Court and funded by mandatory contributions from the state's lawyers, compensates victims who lose money due to dishonest lawyers.

The fund has so far paid $159,380 to 11 former clients of Smith's, according to Marian B. Copeland, the fund's deputy counsel.

Two Men Follow Trail To Honors For Work With Indian Guides

Source: Posted: March 31, 1991

Matthew Kenney had such fond memories of his days as an Indian Guide that when the YMCA of Burlington County asked him several years ago to help organize a youth chapter in Moorestown, he jumped at the opportunity.

As a youngster, Medford resident Don Lightfoot was never an Indian Guide, but when the Y asked him if he would help out, he volunteered to become a leader because he wanted to spend more time with his four children.

To honor their commitment to the YMCA Indian Guide and Indian Princess programs for parents and children, the Burlington County YMCA gave the two its Joe Friday award earlier this month to acknowledge their years of service and leadership. They are the first New Jersey recipients of the national award the Y gives in recognition of longtime service to the Indian Guides.

The Indian Guide and Indian Princess programs were started in 1926 by the director of the YMCA in St. Louis and today are among the most popular programs the YMCA offers, said Kristen Mahoney, a Burlington County Y official.

"I got involved with the program years ago because my father was a tribal leader (in Indian Guide)," said Kenney, of Moorestown, who works for a hydraulic lifting equipment company in Philadelphia. "I had so many good memories of those times, and I wanted my own my children to enjoy the program."

Now that his oldest son, Michael, is 13, Kenney said he would start a new group, the Trailblazers, for young teenage boys.

And Kenney will wear the same vest his father wore in leading the meetings.

Lightfoot, a manager with Smith Kline Beecham who first volunteered 10 years ago when his oldest daughter, Andrea, wanted to join, will assist Kenney with the program.

"One reason why I've stayed so involved with the program is that it's been so beneficial to all my children and to me," said Lightfoot.


Although he gets a paycheck for only one of his professions, Delran Police Officer Leonard Mongo still enjoys his other work, which does not pay a cent: teaching.

In fact, he is so good at teaching that the Delran school board earlier this month made him an honorary teacher in the district. The honor was in recognition of Mongo's years of service as a speaker for drug and alcohol programs and for other events.

"I really like working with kids," said Mongo, a 20-year veteran of the police force and a resident of Delran. "Whenever they want someone to talk to the kids about drugs, alcohol or bicycle safety, or for any other event, I like to come to the schools," he said.

But it took a bit of subterfuge to get Mongo to the high school where the school board was meeting so he could receive the award.

"I thought my daughter Sadye and a lot of other kids were to be honored, but when I got to the school, I saw my brother there and a lot of other family members, but few kids," said Mongo.

The primary reasons for his involvement, said Mongo, are his three children: Shannon, a recent Delran High School graduate who now attends Glassboro State College; Scott, a senior at the high school, and Sadye, a fourth grader at Millbridge Elementary School in the district.

What was a loss for Morris County's Association of Retarded Citizens chapter was the Burlington County chapter's gain.

Immediately after moving to Westampton three years ago, Michele DiFalco enrolled her son Anthony in Learn-A-Way, a learning program for profoundly retarded infants and children that is run by the Burlington County chapter of the Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC).

Now she is on the chapter's board of directors. In addition, she has been head of the board's Parent Liaison Committee and has organized several fund- raising events. She recently was named volunteer of the year by the Burlington County chapter of ARC.

This award marks the second time the Burlington County ARC has honored DiFalco. Two years ago, she received the group's parent of the year award.

"It's really hard to say no," said DiFalco, who works part time as a pastry chef at Cafe Gallery in Burlington City. "Helping ARC is a way of saying thank you for the help they have given my son."

In addition, the Burlington County chapter has cited Thelma Mathis of Ewing Township and her church sewing group at Church of the Covenant near Trenton. The sewing group makes baby bibs for the chapter's infant stimulation program.

After she started a nonprofit organization for ex-offenders who are homeless, Blonnie Hobbs of Willingboro wanted to take some leadership courses to give her the skills she needed to make her organization successful.

But when she checked out what was offered, "the bottom line was $900," said Hobbs, a social worker for the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Clinton. "That's how much it would have cost to take leadership courses."

Because that amount was out of her price range, Hobbs forgot about taking any courses until she found out about the New Jersey Family Community Leadership Institute, part of a nationwide leadership program to encourage local participation in public issues, particularly those affecting families.

Like Hobbs, Barbara Smith of Burlington Township, an advertising sales manager for the Mount Holly Gazette, was looking for leadership courses to help her strengthen community involvement in the Mount Holly area.

"It was probably the best $30 I ever spent," Smith said of the 30-hour seminars held last month. "With the skills we learned, we hope to make others aware of the importance of community involvement."

Since they have participated in the seminars sponsored by the New Jersey Extension Home Economics Council and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the two women will teach the skills they learned at workshops planned by Burlington County's Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

For information about the leadership institute call 265-5051.

HONORABLE MENTION: Frank Salicandro of Medford has been named the recipient of the Italian Navigator Award from the Enrico Fermi Lodge 2229 in Mount Laurel.

A former band leader who entertained U.S. troops during World War II, Salicandro was cited for founding the Burlington County Pops, the Medford String Band, the Chamber Players and other musical groups.

The award is named after Enrico Fermi, the winner of a Nobel Prize for his work in physics. Fermi got his nickname, the Italian Navigator, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The girls' basketball team at Indian Mills School in Shamong has won the championship of the Eastern Burlington County Middle School League with an overall record of 17-1. This marks the seventh consecutive season that Indian Mills girls' basketball teams have either won or shared the regular-season championship.

Members of this year's team were Stephanie Daniels, Julie DiGiacomo, Suzanne Whitehead, Casey Jiampetti, Jen Breaux, Nicki Mace, Diana La Rocca, Julie Kimball, Anna Shimonis, Stacie Yates, Charlene Heinsinger, Jodie Taylor, Beth Duffy, Lynael Matthews, Angel Aristone, Jodie Denn and Krystyn Stratton.

Ernest Levin of Pennsauken has been named teacher of the year at the Riverton School. Levin, who was selected by teachers and parents for the honor, has taught at the school for 17 years. He teaches reading in grades five through eight and also is a track coach at Holy Cross High School in Delran.

Young Heroine Shuns Notoriety As Prosecutors Present Awards

Source: Posted: May 18, 1991

Six-year-old Jamie Formisano of Lindenwold clutched a white rose in her hand and tried to hide in her father's arms. She clearly did not relish the limelight.

But relish it or not, the moment was hers as she and more than 35 other people or groups were presented awards yesterday and Thursday night by the Prosecutor's Offices in Camden and Burlington Counties for recognition of their actions during the past year.

Jamie was only five when she dialed 911 for help after her mother collapsed in their apartment from an epileptic seizure. Sally Ann Bowen, a New Jersey Bell operator, was able to keep the child on the phone while the number she was calling from was traced through a computer.

Jamie and Bowen,also of Lindenwold, both received citizen awards from Camden County Prosecutor Edward F. Borden Jr.

After yesterday's ceremony in a Camden County Hall of Justice courtroom, Jamie was congratulated by her parents, John and Diana Formisano, her grandparents and sister.

Formisano said his wife had been teaching Jamie for some time how to use the phone if there was an emergency.

A Valor Award was given to Sgt. Daniel Vautier, of the Camden police, who captured a man who had pointed a loaded gun at him during a foot chase.

Burlington County Prosecutor Stephen G. Raymond presented Procops awards to four police officers, a medical examiner, four citizens and one group. He also presented recognition awards to two organizations during a banquet Thursday at the Kove Caterer in Edgewater Park.

Awards for performance above and beyond the call of duty went to three police officers and the Burlington County medical examiner.

In July, Lt. Ronald Rossi of Delran removed live electric wires that had fallen on a car after a traffic accident and were endangering a passenger.

In October, Sgt. Frederick O. Brown of Bordentown responded to a burglary and sexual assault call at an apartment complex and arrested a suspect on the scene.

Detective Stephen Endt of Medford developed several crime prevention and education programs in his community.

Dr. Joseph DeLorenzo, the Burlington County medical examiner, was cited for being helpful in numerous criminal investigations that resulted in arrests.

Other awards included:

Service awards: Detective Sgt. Robert J. Rusin of Haddonfield; Lt. Robert J. Fair of Gloucester City; Detective Michael Crowther of the PATCO Police Department; Patrolman Robert Raio of Berlin Borough; Sgt. Roy Whitmore of Merchantville; Detective Robert Morley of Pennsauken, and Detectives John Greer and Thomas Brutschea, both of the Pine Hill Police Department.

Unit citation: Collingswood Police Department.

Commendations: Patrolmen Richard Nelson and Patrick Waninger of the Delaware River Port Authority, and Patrolmen Vincent Brunick, David Richman, Edward Glassman, and Sgt. George Knight Jr., all from the Camden Police Department.

Merit awards: Camden patrol officers Louis DiRenzo; Gary Hunt; Patrick M. Hall; Keith Johnson; Magdalena Zambrana, and Daniel Vause.

Heroism awards: Capt. Augustus Balzano of the Camden County Prosecutor's Office; Lt. John Spavlik of Collingswood, and Investigator Edward H. Slimm of the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

Career recognition award: Retired Col. Eugene Olaff of the New Jersey State Police.

Certificates of recognition: Deborah Lee Brock and Eva Ramos, employees of Memorial Hospital of Burlington County; Kelly Dinardi, a volunteer with the Division of Youth and Family Services, and Dr. Martin Finkel, who has assisted law enforcement efforts in cases of suspected child abuse.

Also cited were the Mount Holly Police Department, NFL Films and the Burlington County Times.

State Aids Police In Battling Dwi

Source: Posted: August 15, 1991

Five Burlington County police departments have received more than $21,000 in state funds to help them fight drunken driving.

Burlington City, Willingboro, Delran, Delanco and Pemberton Borough were among 68 police forces in the state that were awarded a total of $486,000 by the Division of Motor Vehicles in the most recent round of funding, state officials announced July 23.

The funds, which are distributed quarterly in amounts corresponding to the number of drunken-driving convictions a police department obtains, must be used for training, overtime or equipment relating to the enforcement of drunken-driving laws.

"It gives us another avenue to . . . address the problem in a more aggressive way - so drivers beware," said Burlington City Police Chief Lee Breece, whose department received about $10,000, the highest amount in the county.

Willingboro received about $4,800, Delran got about $2,600, Delanco got about $2,100, and Pemberton Borough got slightly more than $1,600.

Breece said his department would use the money to set up a special task force featuring either specific DWI patrols or DWI roadblocks. With the high cost of overtime pay, police budgets often do not allow for specific drunken- driving patrols, he said.

"It's at no cost to the taxpayer and doesn't mess up my budget," Breece said.

He said the program would not be designed "to harass the public or ambush or intimidate, but to raise awareness."

The program, called the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund, was established in 1984. For each police department, the Division of Motor Vehicles keeps an account that includes a certain amount of money for each drunken-driving conviction. Each quarter, police departments can apply for the funds.

The funds can be used for such practices as overtime for DWI patrols and court appearances, audiovisual equipment, blood-testing kits, training programs, police cars specifically designated as DWI patrol cars, or computers.

"Police departments have come to depend on this money as a way to supplement enforcements and as a source of revenue," said Lisa Guide, director of communications at the DMV.

Sgt. Ted Paulson, who runs the training program for the Willingboro police, said his department had used thousands of dollars worth of the state funds to buy in-car video equipment. The equipment allows officers to videotape cars they suspect are operated by drunken drivers and videotape suspects while they take the balance test.

He said the equipment had helped police officers prove their cases in court.

"It tells no lies," he said. "When the defendant and a defense attorney watch the operation of a vehicle and the balance test, a lot of times we'll get a guilty plea because they actually see the defendant was under the influence. A picture tells a thousand words. If I describe (in a police report) watery eyes, argumentative . . . it's one thing. But if you see it on a videotape, you see what he looks like exactly. Nothing is left up to the imagination."

Some police officials, however, said the amount they get back from the state was not enough to make a significant difference in drunken-driving enforcement.

"They're not giving us anything. We're going out and making the arrest," said Art Saul, acting chief of the Delran Township Police Department. "The average drunken driver on first offense pays $3,000 in fines and surcharges by the time he's done, so we don't get the lion's share."

Saul said that about six years ago, the department ran a drunken-driving program with federal funds distributed through the state. But now, budget constraints have left his and other departments without the resources to devote as much attention to drunken driving.

Still, Saul said, the state funds were helping his department save up for new computers.

Delran Tries To End Space Problems

Source: Posted: September 01, 1991

Delran officials are trying to figure out a way to gain more office space for municipal workers without straining the township budget.

Township Council members are exploring two options: building an addition to the present municipal building at 9 Chester Ave. or buying a building nearby, at 1835 Underwood Dr., from developer Tim Whitesell.

The present municipal building was constructed in 1967 and is now too cramped to handle everything the township needs it to do, Council President Andrew Ritzie said recently. He said the township needed more space and new electrical wiring for the countywide 911 emergency system, as well as space for the township's emergency squad.

Council members discussed the space problem with architects Nick Duca and Rich Huder of Duca/Huder, a Moorestown-based architectural firm, at a conference meeting last week. They want the architects to determine whether constructing an addition behind the 10,000-square-foot municipal building or buying the 24,000-square-foot office on Underwood Drive and tailoring it to township needs would be less expensive.

Duca told the council he would have an answer on the cost of new offices by the beginning of October. He said he and Huder then would conduct the second phase of their study to evaluate the township's needs in terms of space for the future.

Whether the council builds or buys, Ritzie said, the new space could cost as much as $1 million. Council members expect a new municipal building to be a touchy issue in Delran, but council members say township employees have been struggling for more than a year in cramped quarters.

Ritzie said the Police Department, which occupies 4,000 square feet in the basement of the municipal building, is a good example.

The holding cell in the station is a small cushioned bench next to an iron rod where prisoners are restrained. The bench is across from the police officers' bathroom, and in the opposite corner from police cameras. Ritzie said the department had had to buy new cameras twice after prisoners in the ''cell" knocked the camera over. The Police Department also violates state law because it isn't accessible to the handicapped, Ritzie said.

Not only will the Police Department and the 911 emergency system require more room, council members said, but agencies such as the sewerage authority, tax collector and the zoning board already are packed together like sardines.

Ritzie also said there was a problem of space for the Delran Emergency Squad. The squad, housed in the Fire Company No. 2 station on Alden Avenue, will have to move out of the fire station in May when the company gets new fire equipment.

Party Set For Delran Fire Station

Source: Posted: September 05, 1991

Sometimes history has to take a back seat to pragmatism, even for a fire company that runs on tradition.

"You miss the history, but you've got to advance with the times," said Delran Fire Chief Paul Matlack, who is also a member of Company No. 1. "If you don't progress with the times, you fall behind."

This year, the all-volunteer company put up a new glass-and-concrete building where the old brick station stood at 9 Bridgeboro Ave. It's a big change for the 75-year-old company, whose membership lists read like a family tree, with whole families on the active-duty rolls. But members are pleased with a station that fits all their needs.

On Saturday, the fire company plans a party for Delran residents with a guest list that includes everyone from U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R., 13th District) to the high school jazz band.

The ceremonies start about 1 p.m., and the building will be open for residents to view from noon to 4 p.m. The celebration will feature clowns, a hot air balloon and free sandwiches and soft drinks, said Wesley Espenschied, an administrator of Fire Company No. 1 and Delran fire commissioner.

The event is part of the company's yearlong 75th anniversary festivities. It also is a reward to residents who voted two years ago for a $1 million fire district bond that paid for the building, Matlack said. "They (the voters) approved it overwhelmingly and we told them when we built it we'd have a big party," he said.

Fire Company No. 1 took up residence this spring in the new building, which was erected directly in front of the old fire station. . Demolishing the old firehouse where they had stayed in the interim was the last step in the construction, Espenschied said.

Even though the company members value the past, Espenschied said, they wanted a new building that would better suit their needs to replace its precarious 75-year-old ancestor.

The old building had been altered since it was first built in 1916, Espenschied said, but the original structure remained. Over the years, the floor had sunk and cracks opened in the walls that were almost big enough for company members to put their hand in, Matlack said.

The new station's 11,000 square feet will easily accommodate the two class- A pumpers, 100-foot ladder truck, brush-fire unit, Cascade utility unit and a Memorial County of Burlington Hospital paramedic unit based in Delran, Matlack said. He said the building also included a sprinkler system, training room with videocassette recorder, a kitchen and an equipment maintenance room.

Vechesky's Retired - Well, Officially He Is

Source: Posted: March 22, 1992

The last time Dave Vechesky played 18 holes of golf was two years ago. Last year, he played nine.

"I don't want that to happen again," he said. "I used to play six or seven times a year."

1992 will be different.

He says.

Vechesky, 62, officially retired in February after serving 17 years as clerk of the City of Burlington and before that 14 years on the Common Council, and now he's supposed to be going into the office one day a week to help the transition to a new clerk and a new administrator, although that ''one day" has been known to expand exponentially.

Nevertheless, he said, "I should finish by the end of September. I'm trying to catch up on things that I didn't have time to do through the years," plus orienting his successor, Alexander Shultz, and moving the purchasing and personnel procedures and records into the administrator's realm.

His title may have been clerk, but you could say Vechesky was the de facto administrator.

Because there was no administrator, Vechesky did the purchasing, personnel work and public relations, and was secretary to the council and liaison to the public. And handled the licenses and elections and served on the labor negotiation team and dealt with grievances. So the city got its money's worth.

It was 1960 when he got into government.

"My golf and bowling was terrible (and) there was an opening in the fourth ward for a candidate and the Democrat Party approached me," he said. ''I was a registered Democrat. I was an admirer of FDR and Harry S. Truman."

He served on the council through 1974, when he was asked to become clerk because of his background, which includes a degree from Rider College and a job as a supervisor at the Roebling steel mill.

At Roebling, he said, "I started as a mailboy at 17, went on to college, then I was working nights as summer relief and watchman." He worked there 25 years.

He had come out of Florence High School, where he was a three-sport star, and won an athletic scholarship to Rider, playing guard on the football team. He left for the Marines during the Korean War. When he came back to Rider for his senior year, it had given up football.

"I was the first and only member of my family to go to college," he said, ''not counting my children." Vechesky and his wife, Jessie, sent all four - Daniel, Donna, Diane and Michael - to college.

As for leaving the clerkship, "There comes a time when you have to lean back and smell the roses. After 31 years with the city, I'll work on the autograph collection, work on the golf course."

The autograph collection belongs to his son, Michael, 20, a student at Villanova University, who has amassed more than 8,000 signatures of the famous.

Just a week ago, Dave Vechesky said, they acquired their most recent celebrity - "Tony Randall. He's doing a show in New York. We sent him a clipping from a newspaper about himself and he autographed it and sent it back."

During years of being keyed up for council meetings, he had to deal with the fact that "when you get home late on a Tuesday night, you can't sleep." To this day, he said, "I sleep very little."

So he listened to old radio shows. "I have big-band music as well as old shows on record - Fibber McGee, the Lone Ranger, Tarzan, Terry and the Pirates. I liked those shows."

Or if he still can't drop off, he can switch on Benny Goodman, Harry James or the Dorsey brothers.

Failing that, maybe this year he can replay some golf shots in his mind.


In Moorestown, when in doubt, they ask Harry Koons to do it.

Koons' inability to say no to a worthwhile endeavor was recognized in February, when the Interservice Club Council named him Moorestown's citizen of the year, taking note of his work on behalf of at least eight civic projects or organizations in recent years.

Koons, 66, runs a computer consultancy and a package drop-off service in a building opposite the Friends School on Main Street, but his heart also resides in the Moorestown Rotary, the Moorestown Business Association and the House Committee of the Moorestown Community House.

He served on the school redistricting committee a couple of years ago, on the committee to rehabilitate Memorial Field, and he chaired the committee that initiated the popular Moorestown calendar. He's a member of the Moorestown Appearance Committee and president of the Tollgate Condominium Association.

A busy agenda, he said, is "not too bad if you make up your mind to do it. And do it right away. If you put it off, it never gets done. If people call me during the day and ask me to do something and I have the time, why not? I guess I never learned to say no."

Koons is a transplant from Perth Amboy. The Army sent him in 1943 to Syracuse University, then Ohio State University under a special program to cram four years of engineering into two. "Of course, I ended up in the infantry," he said, serving in Europe until 1946.

Once back home, "I decided I was going to be an accountant" and enrolled at Seton Hall, only to transfer to the University of Kansas, from which he graduated in 1950 after majoring in personnel management. "It only took me six years to get out of college."

He moved to Moorestown when he was transferred by his employer, Hess Oil, in 1954, and moved on to Banner Moving & Storage in 1976. He was a partner in an indoor tennis facility in Delran for a decade.

"I sold it in 1982 and I was sitting around the house and my children - they were both in college - got tired of seeing me doing nothing and gave me an old Atari computer and said, 'Here, learn.' I was as afraid as anyone else to turn it on, but I always did like math in school and it was fun and it's still fun."

Expertise came through osmosis. "Both of my children are computer programmers. My son-in-law is a computer programmer and my daughter-in-law has her own business and is involved with computers."

Koons also has another passion.

"I had some eye operations in the late '60s, couldn't work," he said, so his wife, Jackye, suggested that hooking rugs could rehabilitate his sight. Not only is he working on his "third or fourth rug," but "not too long ago, I made the mistake of telling her that needlepoint was easy and she said 'I'm working on this chair; here, finish it.' "

He does not contemplate retirement.

"I don't like getting up early in the morning, but I enjoy going to work every day. I would go crazy sitting around the house."

Besides, he doesn't bring business home.

"I don't have a computer at home," he said. "I get enough of it during the day."

For some of us, history is a seven-letter word and a subject we took in high school.

For Arthur Saul, it's much more. He relishes walking the battlefields at Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain or Chattanooga, imagining the crack of musket fire, the belch of cannon smoke, visualizing the blue or gray ranks charging into a hail of lead.

That's how he spends vacations.

"I like the Civil War," Saul said. "I have a large library, mostly history and World War II. My wife and I have visited a lot of battlefields all through the South. It's fun to read a book, but when you go through the national parks and see where it happened, it makes it that much better."

That's one aspect of the man who last month succeeded David Banff as head of the Delran police department. After 18 months, Saul dropped the "acting" part of the "acting chief" title and was sworn in to head the force of 22 officers and 21 dispatchers, clerks and crossing guards.

Saul, 45, has always been in police work.

After graduating from Riverside High School in 1965, he enlisted in the military police. "I figured I would like police work," he said.

"I ended up spending a year in a military police battalion in Vietnam that was in charge of the security of Saigon. Saigon had three to four million people then. We had over 1,000 MPs, so we handled narcotics, murder, security, terrorist activity."

When his enlistment ended in 1969, Delran hired him as a patrolman. In two years, he made detective, and in 1982, lieutenant.

He earned two degrees in justice - an associate diploma from Burlington County College and a bachelor's from Glassboro State College. He served two years on the Delran Board of Education in the early 1980s. He and his wife, Gloria, an office manager, have three daughters - Kelly Bader, of Riveside, 23; and at home, Sherry, 20, and Buffy, 19.

He also has a second diversion - old cars.

"I always liked old cars," he said. "When I went to school all they thought about was their cars. Kids today don't really know what a good car is."

In the domain of good cars, he'd place a '67 Mustang, a '64 Fairlane and a '67 Ford pickup, which is what constitutes his collection. "The Mustang has been restored," he said, "the Fairlane is halfway there and I'm just starting to work on the pickup."

He labors on them when he can find time. "I do all the motor work, some of the body work," he said. "Parts are readily available for the Mustang," he said, "but Fairlane parts are not reproduced anymore. The two-door Fairlane sports coupe is getting to be fairly rare."

That's one of his biggest headaches. The other is a common one: "Finding the money to buy the parts."

Police Can Go In Style To The Scene Medford's New Bus Has Been Used Five Times. None Of The Trips Was In Response To A Crime.

Source: Posted: July 05, 1992

Parked behind the unassuming building that houses Medford's 34-member Police Department is a sight that seems out of place in the quiet township - a full-size bus bristling with state-of-the-art communications technology and SWAT-team equipment.

The bus, used five times since its debut in May, boasts an impressive array of features: a shower; a kitchen; an advanced alarm system; weapons cabinets; a compartment where police, fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel can coordinate operations; radios; phone lines; a map board; a television, and an AM/FM stereo.

And it is yet to be fully equipped.

When it is, in the next few months, according to Capt. Steve McGarvey, it will also have its own generator, two computers and a VCR, as well as a new paint and lettering job on the exterior.

This bus replaces one the department had used since 1982.

Why, you may wonder, does a town like Medford need a sophisticated mobile command unit of this magnitude?

The answer, according to McGarvey, is not that crime in Medford has increased dramatically. Rather, it is that the bus can make even the most routine situation more efficient or easier on the staff.

"We've gotten so many unusual uses out of (the old bus). . . . It's not a toy, it's an investment," he said.

For example, when the station's phone lines were accidentally cut, the bus became the department's communications lifeline to the community. When Nancy Reagan visited Camp Ockanickon in July 1984, the bus was on the scene.

Of the new bus' five outings, three have been for training, one was to coordinate radio communications during a bike-a-thon, and the other was to provide a rest spot for department members during Medford's recent arts festival.

The department bought its first bus in 1982 specifically to hasten the response to possible drownings, McGarvey said.

Since then, the bus' uses have gradually expanded to include large fires, parades, water main breaks, missing-person searches, stakeouts, suicide attempts and hostage situations, of which McGarvey recalls two or three in his 19 years on the force.

While the department has always informally lent the bus to neighboring communities, a 1990 directive from the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office formalized that arrangement.

The towns reimburse Medford for the cost of labor, but Medford covers maintenance, estimated by McGarvey at $500 a year.

Willingboro, Mount Laurel and the county police have similar emergency- response vehicles. With the exception of a new bus bought by the county for $125,783, the vehicles have not been much of a burden on taxpayers. Medford, for example, bought and refurbished its bus in 1990 with just more than $30,000 in drug-forfeiture money awarded to the department. To economize, police and residents customized the bus themselves, McGarvey said.

Are all these buses necessary? "It's a necessary evil, if you will," said Lt. George Pfeffer of Delran. "Redundancy is often the best route to go with emergency services," added Mount Laurel's director of public safety, Sandy Weinstein.

But Sgt. Ted Paulson of the Willingboro Police Department said he believed maintenance costs alone justified consolidation to one or two vehicles under the auspices of the county.

"The idea of a mobile command unit is good, but how many of them do we need in the county?" he asked.

Delran Says No To Joint Policing Riverside Had Asked About Combining Their Forces To Save Money.

Source: Posted: October 11, 1992

In July, the Riverside Township Committee approached Delran with a proposition to save both townships money: In a brief letter, the committee asked its neighbor whether it would be interested in exploring a combined police force.

Recently, Delran's five-member Township Council mailed a perfunctory response: Thanks, but no thanks. We're fine the way we are.

"Basically, what the committee is looking at is options to cutting the budget," Riverside Deputy Mayor Robert Renshaw said.

The Riverside Police Department was a logical place to start for two reasons, he said. First, it has been rocked by crises, including the indictment of Chief Harry Collinsworth in June and the removal of Sgt. Donald Horner as acting chief amid allegations of domestic violence. Second, the department's projected $639,000 in expenditures is the largest part of the township's $3.06 million budget this year.

While township officials are quick to say they have regained confidence in their 13-member police force, they add that at some point Riverside is likely to revisit the issue of combining, or regionalizing, its force because of tighter budgetary constraints.

"With the state taking away the money they've been taking away and mandating (more services), it's been harder and harder to meet the budget," Renshaw said. He added that regionalization of the police force might come ''down the road," but only if the township could be assured that it would improve police protection while saving money.

"Police services have historically been the toughest nut to crack in terms of regionalization," said Jay Johnston, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. His agency has been helping municipalities look into the practicality of providing joint services.

"People like having their own police departments," he said. "It gives them a sense of security and identity. . . . The thought of having their streets patrolled by a car with some other municipality's name on it leads on a subconscious level to people thinking they are no longer the master of their own fate."

Other obstacles to combined forces include the power of police unions, the reluctance of entrenched hierarchies to share authority with other departments, the likelihood of layoffs and the public's perception that service would suffer.

As for Delran, Mayor Thomas DiLauro said, "We saw no benefits to our residents and a lot of extra problems for our already overworked policemen." Specifically, Delran council members were concerned that Riverside's 11 bars would add to the workload of its 21 officers.

Michael Carroll, Riverside's acting police chief, agreed: "I don't ever worry about it (a merger) because I know what kind of work this place does." Carroll said the 1,084 arrests his department made last year would deter other towns from combining with it.

Delran's force made 672 arrests in the same period, according to Delran Lt. Robert Kraemer.

Few municipalities are considering regionalization now, but tight budgets and rising police costs will compel many more to do so, said Leo Culoo, a consultant to police departments. Culoo recently completed a study indicating that three Morris County towns could save $200,000 a year in salaries by combining - in part by reducing personnel from about 50 to 42 officers.

"I think we're going to see a consolidation. Once it's proven effective, you'll see a floodgate," Culoo said.

Study On Delran Town Hall Cites Various Shortcomings Many Would Violate Current Codes. And A Major Renovation Could Make Meeting New Standards Necessary.

Source: Posted: December 27, 1992

DELRAN — If the township municipal building were a person, it could be facing a judge.

Pick any state law governing handicapped access, fire protection, building construction or police department layout, and the 25-year-old structure would be in violation of some aspect of it.

The architectural firm Duca & Huder, which is being paid $9,500 to survey the township's needs for municipal office space, made the point as clear as the clap of a judge's gavel during a preliminary report to the Township Council on Dec. 16.

At times, the list of items that don't meet current code standards was overwhelming.

"Some of these things are so bad you either laugh or you cry," Councilman Andrew Ritzie said.

"I kind of expected them (the violations). I didn't expect that many," Councilman Anthony Ogozalek said later.

How to remedy the space problems - and upgrade the building to present-day codes - has been a nagging problem for this council, as it was for the previous one, which was turned out of office in May.

Duca & Huder finished a similar but much less detailed survey late last year that compared the town hall with a vacant structure owned by the Whitesell Construction Co. Inc. on Underwood Court.

Both councils have considered buying the Whitesell building and converting it into a new town hall. But the present council, which has asked Mayor Tom DiLauro to negotiate a purchase price with Whitesell, is clearly afraid of upsetting taxpayers with proposals for new expenditures before the township's needs are clear.

Many of the deficiencies listed by Duca are violations of the state code requiring handicapped-accessible restrooms, drinking fountains and doors.

The building also doesn't have proper lighting, firewalls or a fire- detection system with a strobe light for the deaf, Duca said. Although the building met standards when it was built in 1967, he said, all those problems would violate the state's building codes today.

"Public Safety is in, what I consider, the worst condition," Duca told the council as Police Chief Art Saul sat nearby. The cramped station is inaccessible to handicapped people and violates standards set by the state Department of Corrections, Duca said.

Other deficiencies would not violate codes but could use improvement anyway, he said, mentioning an out-of-date sprinkler system, inadequate ventilation, a roof in need of repair and an electrical system that has reached capacity.

The township may not be required to make all of the modifications, said Duca. Under state law, the building would have to meet current standards only if the council decided to renovate 5 percent or more of it.

The preliminary report also estimates the township's future municipal-space needs, based on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's estimate that Delran will have a population of about 20,000 in the year 2012.

According to Duca, the local government will need 9,000 square feet as opposed to the present 5,400 square feet. The Police Department's needs will rise fivefold, from the present 1,320 square feet to 7,400 square feet in 2012.

And the Public Works Department, currently crowded into 2,268 square feet, will eventually require 6,160 square feet, Duca said.

A final report containing options and cost estimates is expected by mid- January, Duca said.

Female Firefighter Is Headed For A New Title Delran Woman Is Set To Be The County's First Female Chief.

Source: Posted: January 17, 1993

DELRAN — The firefighters at Delran Fire Company No. 1 know Dorothea Bennett as ''Dottie" and sometimes they call her "Mom," but in two years they should be addressing her by a title no woman in the history of Burlington County has ever carried.


No woman has ever been chief of a Burlington County fire department, and no other holds as high a rank as Bennett's, although she will not be the first woman chief in the state.

Bennett, 47, has been deputy chief of Delran No. 1 for two years, since taking over without fanfare when Paul Matlack stepped up to the job of chief of the Delran Fire Department, leading both of the township's fire companies.

Because the chief's job is alternated between the two companies, the top officer at each company - the deputy chief - is always a chief-apparent.

Thus, Bennett stands to follow Craig Manning, the former deputy chief of Fire Company No. 2, who succeeded Matlack this month.

If nominated by her station and appointed by the district fire commissioners, she will make chief in January 1995.

"She W-I-L-L be chief of the department," County Fire Marshal Dick McKendrick flatly predicted. And there will be no foul-ups. "That's not going to happen," McKendrick said. "She's going to be chief of the department."

There are 76 fire companies among the 40 county municipalities, and high- ranking female officers are not numerous. They include Karen Shontz Irick, who served last year as a captain in Vincent Fire Company No. 1 in Vincentown, and Kathy Kirvan, who held the rank of lieutenant in the Masonville Fire Company in Mount Laurel last year.

Bennett probably would be the second woman to attain the title of chief among New Jersey's more than 500 companies. The first was in 1985, when Debra Garvin, now Debra Stoms, became chief of Lower Alloways Creek Township Fire and Rescue in Salem County at age 27.

Getting into the firefighting business wasn't easy for Bennett, but from the beginning, she had the support of her husband, Joseph, a former chief. Later, two of her three children joined the company - Theresa, 26, and Joseph A. Jr., 19. Only Suzanne, a 21-year-old student at Trenton State, battles no blazes.

When Bennett joined the company 24 years ago, sexism existed, even if it wasn't called that.

She doesn't like to dwell on it - "That's all behind," she said - but when she came aboard, "females were few and far between. The firehouse was the place guys went to get away from home," and a woman could expect verbal and physical hazing.

It was once rocky for her children, too. As teenagers, Bennett said, "they were embarrassed because their mom was a firefighter. It was harder for the girls." Today, fortunately, "the firehouse is their family, too. A lot of friends they made belong to the firehouse."

Bennett, an office manager for an oral surgeon, belonged to the fire company's auxiliary when she decided in 1978 to join the company itself because her husband was there. He was chief 20 years ago and is today the company's engineer.

"Being spouses and also best friends, we do everything together," she said. "The fire company became our second family. I wouldn't be here if not for him. He's my mentor."

Bennett said she spends 40-hour weeks at the fire company on paperwork, planning, drills and cleaning, in addition to firefighting. "We have to maintain our trucks. It takes time to plan drills," which are held at least once a week.

She keeps herself physically conditioned, too. "I power walk three times a week, 12-minute miles, to try to keep in shape. The demands are great." Plus, she added, "I'm a Type-A personality."

Continued training is a must. "You never know it all. The day you think you know it all is the day you better hang it up."

She nearly did that back in the early 1980s. She and two others were battling a blaze at an apartment complex.

"We were on the second floor, and the building started to deteriorate." Although the roof came down on them, they escaped unhurt.

Delran No. 1 answered about 325 calls last year. Bennett guesses she was on at least a third of those. Sometimes, the people at her regular job have to bend with her. "I don't like to do that, but sometimes I've had to go in late because I've been out at an early-morning fire."

She sees more and more female career firefighters. "I went to a class in Florida, and it was all women from all over the country. It was a nice feeling to see how many there are in the paid fire service."

One problem for women firefighters seeking advancement is that the job can demand they make more sacrifices than men. For example, "when it comes time to have a family, obviously you cannot expose your unborn child to the (toxic substances) you might face," said Kirvan, the former lieutenant in Mount Laurel.

For personal reasons, Irick and Kirvan decided not to seek more responsibility in their fire companies in 1993. Kirvan is getting married in November and surrendered her lieutenancy at the end of last year.

Irick, 24, who served the last three years as second lieutenant, then first lieutenant, then captain, will cut back to company photographer and secretary this year for two reasons. She and her husband, Chris, a member of the state forest fire service, are thinking of starting a family, and Chris may be transferred to another location.

Some members of her company wanted Irick to run for second assistant chief, but, she said, "I wasn't sure I could be there for a full year, and I didn't think that would be fair."

Irick said she had joined the company "because I saw a friend's barn burn down, and I got upset because I couldn't help. I joined the next day."

That was in August 1987.

In her own company, Irick said, she has seen no resentment, but "once in a while I got shocked looks from people in other companies asking: Who is this? How did she get to be so high? My own company defended me, took pride in me."

When other companies boasted of their female members, she said, her own firemen would remark, "You should see our captain."

Delran's firefighters may well be making the same kind of remark in 1995 about Bennett, but she's not letting it go to her head.

As the ranking officer at No. 1, Bennett appreciates that "I will rotate, God willing, into the position of chief." But she is chary of being singled out.

"I am just one of many," she said, "doing a job."

New Delran Firetruck In The Works The Ladder Truck Will Be Safer, More Versatile Than The Old One. Expected Cost? About $500,000.

Source: Posted: August 15, 1993

DELRAN — In a special election, township residents have approved a proposal by the local fire district to spend up to $575,000 for a new ladder truck.

By a 142-59 vote, residents accepted the Fire Commission's contention that the current ladder truck, a 1967 American LaFrance bought secondhand in 1980, was too costly to maintain and did not meet the safety standards set by the National Fire Protection Association.

The Aug. 7 approval of a bond issue reversed the rejection of a similar proposal two years ago.

"It just shows the residents of the township recognize the firefighters are an integral part of the township," Fire Commissioner James Bauer said.

At a meeting scheduled for Aug. 24, the commissioners will probably vote to solicit bids, Bauer said. The new truck, which district officials hope will cost no more than $500,000, should arrive by next summer and is to be housed at Delran Fire Company No. 1 on Bridgeboro Road.

The commission wanted the ability to raise an extra $75,000 because of uncertainty about the truck's final cost and the professional fees associated with bond issues, Bauer said. The commission expects low interest rates to help keep down the cost of the truck.

Having spent the last two years assessing the district's need for a new ladder truck, the commission already knows what it wants and has been discussing designs with the Sutthen Co., Bauer said.

Several features will make the new truck superior to the American LaFrance, Bauer said.

It will meet NFPA standards by including a fully enclosed four-door cabin, which the American LaFrance does not have. Stronger and better engineered, it will be easier to operate. Larger hydraulic outriggers will prevent the ladder truck from budging.

The truck's most conspicuous improvement will be the ladder itself, Bauer said.

It can be angled in various directions as opposed to the straight stick ladder on the American LaFrance, which could be difficult to maneuver, Bauer said. The ladder platform on the American LaFrance was not turning well and completely malfunctioned during a fire last winter on Bridgeboro Road, said Joseph Bernotas, chief of Company No. 1.

A bucket on top of the ladder, which the current truck does not have, will improve safety for the district's 60 to 80 volunteer firefighters. In addition, he said a water gun built into the ladder will eliminate the dangerous practice of hauling a high-pressure hose up the ladder.

"No matter what angle you're at, you can flow the same amount of water and have the same amount of weight" in firefighters, Bauer said, "and not worry about collapsing the ladder or tipping over a truck."

The new truck, which must be fed by a pumper, will be able to push more water: 1,000 gallons per minute compared with 700 gallons per minute, Bauer said.

Impasse Continues On The Issue Of Improving Delran's Town Hall Three Council Members Want To Spend $2 Million To $3 Million. Too Much, The President Insists. They Need His Vote.

Source: Posted: August 29, 1993

DELRAN — Council President Anthony Ogozalek is the lone holdout on several plans to replace the town's 27-year-old municipal building - a structure that lacks space and violates many state and federal codes.

Ogozalek wants a less costly solution.

Without his support, the four-member council cannot seek bond money for the project. Four proposals, each costing between $2 million and $3 million, call for buying a building or making major renovations to the town hall.

Ogozalek, who favors relatively minor renovations to the existing building, maintains that major renovations or the purchase of a new building would cost too much. "I don't want to tax people out of Delran."

Under Delran's form of government, four of the five council members must agree on a bond issue. Thus, members predicted that any action on the municipal building would be delayed until January when the fifth council seat is filled. Even then there would be no guarantee of a block of four votes.

"Prior to that, I don't see any movement" on the issue, Councilman Andrew Ritzie said. The issue has been lingering on Delran's agenda since the late 1980s.

Councilman Henry Shinn criticized Ogozalek's stand.

"It's pretty clear that three members of council feel we should move on a new building," Shinn said.

Ogozalek said he wanted to spend about $1 million to expand the building and fix the 15 code violations cited in a $9,600 study commissioned by the council.

The study, completed in May, listed violations such as lack of handicapped access, poor jail facilities, insufficient parking, and poor ventilation and lighting.

A $2.5 million project would cost the owner of a home assessed at $130,000 an extra $44 each year over the life of a 20-year bond, Township Administrator Jeffrey S. Hatcher said.

Two options for expanding and renovating the existing building would cost about $2.7 million, Hatcher said.

But Eileen McGonigle, Ritzie and Shinn favor buying a new building - either the Whitesell Enterprises building at 1835 Underwood Blvd. or the empty Dee's building next to the township offices.

The three say only a new building will satisfy Delran's present and future space needs. They envision a completely new police facility, extra storage space for equipment used by the Public Works Department, and a new Emergency Squad headquarters.

"There are things that are going to have be done in the municipal building that I feel are going to cost a lot more" than buying a new building, McGonigle said.

According to a 1991 study requested by the previous council, the Whitesell building would need about $900,000 in renovations after purchase, Hatcher said.

The council has not studied the whether it would be practical to buy Dee's, but the owner has offered to sell the building for an undisclosed price.

Ritzie said he favored buying Dee's because it is 200 feet from the township building and is 13,000 square feet larger than the Whitesell building.

McGonigle and Shinn said they would be in favor of buying either building.

By delaying a decision on the project, the town remains vulnerable to state fines or lawsuits from residents and employees over unsafe conditions at the current building, Shinn said.

Meeting Tonight On Fire Budget

Source: Posted: February 28, 1994

Following the resignation last week of all but one of the community's volunteer firefighters from Company 202, Cinnaminson's Township Committee will meet tonight with fire district officials to go over the defeated fire district budget.

The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at the municipal building on Riverton Road.

Fueled by criticism of fire district spending by a taxpayer revolt group, the local chapter of NJ Hands '91, the budget was defeated, 632 to 261, on Feb. 19. The proposed $1,022,258 budget would have increased taxes from 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 11.5 cents per.

As a result, 27 of the 28 volunteer firefighters from Company 202 on Taylors Lane resigned in protest. So far, firefighters from Company 201 on Cinnaminson Avenue have agreed to stay.

The resignations, effective March 10, would leave Company 202 with two paid firefighters and one volunteer.

Regardless of what happens, Cinnaminson Township Administrator John Ostrowski said, the committee must submit a budget to the state within 30 days of the Feb. 19 election. The fire district budget, he said, could be identical to the one voters rejected or could be an amended version.

Elsewhere, voters in Bordentown Township defeated the two proposed fire district budgets. In District 1, the $313,934 budget proposal lost, 116-55. In District 2, the proposed $265,165 budget was defeated, 24-17. No date has been set to discuss the budgets.

Budgets in all other communities passed. And, with the exception of Cinnaminson, voter turnout was typically low for the 19 fire district elections held across the county. The results are as follows:

Bordentown: In District 1, Salvatore Guido was elected to a three-year term. He defeated Chris Chmiel. In District 2, Commissioner Diane Robinson ran unopposed and received 35 votes for another three-year term.

Beverly: Incumbents Richard Morgan and George Hahn were re-elected to three-year terms. They ran unopposed.

Burlington Township: Incumbents Edmund Cook and Terry Field were re-elected to three-year terms.

Chesterfield: In District 1, Joseph Dubell and Stanley Lewis ran unopposed and were re-elected to three-year terms. In District 2, incumbents Donald Longstreet and Charles Jones ran unopposed and were re-elected to three-year terms.

Cinnaminson: Incumbent William Craney and newcomer Charles Carpenter were elected to three-year terms. They defeated Warren Lamon, Ray Osowski and Clifford Richards.

Delanco: Incumbents John Van Emburgh and Melvin McCloskey ran unopposed and were elected to three-year terms. Newcomers Ralph McCullough and Norma Mohrmann ran unopposed and were elected to two-year unexpired terms.

Delran: Incumbents Charles Kendra Sr. and James Turcich ran unopposed and were re-elected to three-year terms.

Eastampton: Incumbent Ray Markley and newcomer Daniel Paolini ran unopposed and were elected to three-year terms.

Edgewater Park: Incumbent John Loftus defeated newcomer Edward Gitto for a three-year term.

Evesham: Incumbent Edward Snyder and newcomer Larry Sole were elected to three-year terms. Ken Hall also ran.

Florence: Newcomers Robert Carey and Gregory Fransckiewich were elected to three-year terms. Charles Marshall lost.

Moorestown: Incumbent Fred Moriuchi ran unopposed and was re-elected to a three-year term in District 1. In District 2, incumbent Robert Dye and newcomer Jacqueline Grant were elected to three-year terms over incumbent Thomas Brown.

Mount Holly: Challengers Edward Hunt and William Wright defeated incumbents James Miller and James Woodul for three-year terms.

Mount Laurel: Incumbent Joseph Appleton and newcomer Richard Horner were elected to three-year terms, defeating Bryan Schwartz.

Riverside: Incumbent James Rae was re-elected to a three-year term. He ran unopposed.

Tabernacle: Incumbents Donald Perkins and Kevin Zebrowski defeated challengers James Smith and George Rotenburg Sr. for three-year terms.

Flashy On Top, But Fashionable Below Notice Police Cars? More And More, The Good Guys Drive White.

Source: Posted: September 18, 1994

It may be easy enough to tell a cruller from a cream puff, but it's not so easy anymore to tell the difference between police cars.

That's what Pennsauken Police Sgt. Robert Hermansky tells indignant callers who think they've seen a cliche on wheels.

"If someone sees one department's car sitting outside a doughnut place, and a few hours later they look again and there's another car there, they won't know the difference. Somebody's going to call up and say, 'Did you know your guys have been eating doughnuts for four hours?' " Hermansky said.

Don't blame a hungry police officer, said Hermansky. Blame it on the cars, which today more than ever are likely to look alike.

In and around Pennsauken, all the police cars are white. Camden and Maple Shade have white cars. So do Riverton and Palmyra. Only colored striping and city or township decals distinguish one fleet from another.

"Almost everybody right now is running with Chevy Caprice, and most are basically white," Hermansky said.

Even a real cream puff - the state police's Drug Abuse Resistance Education car, which is a confiscated Chevy Corvette that is driven to grade schools for drug-education programs - is basic white with a few identifying decals.

"It's cheaper to get them all white than to have them painted," pointed out Hermansky, who said the cost of painting cars to look like the old two- tone black-and-whites could add up.

The story is the same around the country, said Scott Kingwell, publisher of Law & Order magazine, which has held a police car design contest for the last four years. The reason many departments choose white cars has a lot to do with budget, he said.

Pemberton Township's new, mainly white design helped cut expenses, Police Lt. Hector Gonzalez said. Though officers miss their old green and gold cars, which echoed the township's high school colors, he said, decorating with decals is cheaper.

"Now I believe white police cars are like red firetrucks," Gonzalez said.

The old paint job would now cost as much as $500 per car, he said. The present design, which includes a township decal on the door and stripes in three shades of blue, costs less than $150 per car.

"It's important we look at things other than spending money on looking pretty," Gonzalez said.

Kingwell said the Law & Order contest, which requires entrants to use highly reflective decals and distinctive markings, had helped reform what was once a "ragtag bunch" of cars.

The competition, which promotes originality as well as safety, even gave its top honor this year to an entrant wearing white: Philadelphia's recently redesigned squad cars, which are accented with blue and yellow reflective stripes.

This year's contest also attracted 10 New Jersey entrants, including Camden, Atlantic City, New Jersey Transit and Willingboro, Kingwell said.

Atlantic City Police Sgt. Ernest Jubilee said his department's design - a white patrol car with red, white and blue reflective decals - was hardly low- budget. Its entry, he said, promotes safety.

"We did that at a considerable expense," Jubilee said. The department bought a highly reflective tape that went on the market two years ago, and has seen a drastic reduction in accidents as a result, he said.

According to Detective Joe Bell, fleet manager, the department has not had a night intersection accident in two years. "Before that, we were averaging three or four a year with major damage," he said.

The trend in police-car designs has changed the way business is conducted at the Salmon Signs in Pitman, which Dick Salmon and his father established in 1961.

Today, departments find most of their variety in the custom-made vinyl decals that decorate their cars, like those Salmon designs and produces.

For 10 years, Salmon, 58, has used a computer to help cut the designs from vinyl. And today he uses a computer program to help officers and municipal officials visualize designs before they're on the car.

It's not the way his grandfather, who also painted signs, once did it.

"Sign painting involves a lot of reflection. You get to know the personalities of the brushes," said Salmon. But today he rarely picks up a brush anymore, he said.

That's fine with Salmon, because the computer also lets people preview the designs he produces, such as the new Gloucester County Police Academy's large gold decal and the Deptford Township Police Department's yellow, blue and black design of a hot-air balloon.

For the most part, Salmon said, the day of the black-and-white police car has passed. But there are exceptions, including Logan Township, where new Chief Bill Angelini recently had its four squad cars repainted to look like the black-and-whites so common in the 1950s.

Vive la difference, said Delran Police Chief Art Saul, who is proud of his township's all-black cars. "The black cars are kind of a trademark for us," said Saul, who designed the cars, black Ford Crown Victorias with yellow and white markings.

State police say they like the attention their sports car brings. The department uses the confiscated Corvette to teach grade schoolers a lesson about drug dealers: "Ultimately they will be caught and they will go to jail. Everything they own will go to the state," said John Hagerty, communications director of the state police.

Children are intrigued by the car, said Sgt. Ronald Small, unit supervisor. ''First of all, they want to know is it for real, because they're not used to seeing state police markings on a car like that," he said.

Rutgers University psychology professor Jack Aiello said, "If it makes the police force feel better about the fact their leaders are doing something they prefer be done, it's a positive thing."

So, when in Delran, watch for Chief Saul's "aggressive traffic force" of black cars.

But in most parts of the country, you might want to take it as a hint. If your next look at the rearview mirror reveals a white, American-made sedan: Slow down.

Delran Moves To Buy Site For New Town Hall The Building, On Chester Avenue, Also Would House Police. A Tentative Agreement Has Been Signed.

Source: Posted: December 25, 1994

DELRAN — After more than five years of discussions, the Township Council has signed a tentative agreement to buy the former computer operations building of MacMillan Publishing Co. Inc. to turn it into a new municipal building.

The one-story brick building, on Chester Avenue, will be purchased for $900,000 if certain contingencies are satisfied, said Jeffrey Hatcher, township administrator. Renovations could boost the final cost to $2.5 million, he estimated.

The township's architect, Duca & Huder Professional Associates of Moorestown, has two months to determine whether the building will meet the town's growing needs and how much renovations will cost, Hatcher said. After that, the township has two more months to float a bond and secure financing before the deal can be completed.

"The soonest we would be able to move would be about a year," Hatcher said. He said the existing, 5,000-square-foot municipal building, about 300 feet from the proposed new site, is overcrowded and outdated. It houses about 65 full-time and 35 part-time workers, he said.

The local emergency squad and fire commissioners, which lease two other buildings, also plan to move to the new site to save the township rental expenses.

The purchase would include the 52,000-square-foot building and 9.5 acres of land, across from the Chester Avenue Middle School. The agreement was reached with the MacMillan Holding Co., a New York firm that had acquired the property in bankruptcy proceedings, Hatcher said. The building has been vacant about two years.

"The majority of people are for this," Council President Eileen McGonigle said. She said the 27-year-old municipal building is not accessible to handicapped people and had been cited for fire code violations.

A study that the council commissioned in 1991 found that the building has poor police facilities, insufficient parking, poor ventilation and lighting, and a lack of handicapped access, among other problems.

"Our Police Department has no holding cells, and they have to handcuff people to a pipe downstairs. It's very unsafe," McGonigle said. "The roof in the building leaks, and we've just outgrown it."

In the last three years, council has considered buying two other sites - the former Dee's Appliance Store, next to the municipal building, and the Whitesell Enterprises building on Underwood Boulevard. The council decided that renovating and expanding the existing municipal building would be too costly, McGonigle said.

Two years ago, some council members were ready to look for new quarters, but lacked the four votes needed to adopt a bond ordinance to finance the purchase. At the time, there was a vacancy on the five-member council, and Councilman Anthony Ogozalek opposed the move, saying he didn't want to overtax residents.

Since then, new members have been elected, and McGonigle believes there is enough support to proceed this time. In fact, the council two weeks ago voted unanimously for the sale agreement.

A Firefighter Of 17 Years, She Has A New Title: Chief Dorothea Bennett Is Now Delran's Top Fire Official. It's A Post Rarely Held By A Woman In New Jersey.

Source: Posted: January 03, 1995

DELRAN — When Dorothea Bennett first started driving firetrucks as the only female member of the Delran Fire Department, several male colleagues refused to ride with her.

You know how women drivers are, they reasoned.

Yesterday, Bennett, 49, had the last laugh when she took the oath of office to become the first female fire chief in Burlington County and only the second ever in New Jersey.

Clad exactly like her male colleagues in a double-breasted navy uniform blazer, white shirt and tie, Bennett mingled with friends before the swearing- in ceremony in Delran's sparkling-clean Station 231.

And in the shadow of the red behemoths over which some men once shunned her, Bennett reflected on her accomplishment.

Even after 17 years, Bennett, who speaks in no-nonsense, clipped sentences, could tick off the fires and accidents she remembered most.

Many involved children. A Christmas morning blaze one year claimed the lives of a mother and child. Another child died after being struck by a car while riding a bicycle. A man burned inside his car after it struck a guardrail on the old Bridgeboro Road Bridge at Route 130.

In the aftermath of many of those tragedies, Bennett remembered, victims' families and fellow firefighters turned to her for comfort.

"They have a tendency to relate to me," she said. "They can let it go easier to a female than to a male."

But Bennett's contributions as unofficial station psychologist are matched by those as a firefighter, colleagues said. She exercises regularly and can carry ladders and lift heavy fire hoses as well as the men.

Politically, she rose steadily through the department ranks, becoming second lieutenant in the early 1980s. She served as deputy chief - the head of her station - for the last four years. She also is president of the Burlington County Fire Fighters Association.

Only one department in the state, Lower Alloways Creek in Salem County, has ever before had a woman serve as chief.

Firefighting is a family affair for Bennett, whose day job is managing an oral surgeon's office. Her husband, Joseph, is a longtime member of the department and former chief. Her son, Joseph Jr., was sworn in yesterday as a second lieutenant.

And Bennett's daughter, Theresa McSweeney, 28, said her mother's success has encouraged her and the three other women among the 60 active firefighters in the Delran department.

"It's thanks to her that we are where we are," she said.

Delran Mayor Thomas A. DiLauro said he would encourage fire companies that continue to exclude women to rethink their position.

"Wake up," he said. "Maybe you can have a future Dottie Bennett sitting out there who could do your township proud."

Delran Gets Estimate On New Complex

Source: Posted: January 05, 1995

DELRAN — Renovations on a newly acquired building that is to be converted into a municipal complex could cost between $1.5 million and $2.2 million, council learned last night.

Nicholas A. Duca, a Moorestown architect, presented drawings of the work that would need to be done at the former MacMillan Publishing Co.'s computer operations center on Chester Avenue. He said the estimated pricetag included furnishings, carpeting and other expenses.

Also included in the project are roof repairs, asbestos removal and the installation of jail cells, Duca added.

Duca estimated the whole project would take about 18 months to complete. The new municipal complex is to include administrative offices, a police station, emergency medical services and, eventually, the public works and fire departments.

The new township complex will sit on 9.5 acres near the current municipal building and across from the Chester Avenue School.

Council signed an agreement last month to purchase the 52,000-square-foot one-story building for $900,000. Officials said the existing 5,000-square-foot municipal building, which houses about 100 employees, was overcrowded and outdated.

Councilman Jerry Savidge, who was involved in the purchase negotiations, said a special meeting would be held Wednesday to introduce a bond ordinance to finance both the acquisition and the renovations. At that meeting, council expects to have a clearer idea of how much the project will cost.

Delran Board Backs Bond, 3-1

Source: Posted: January 12, 1995

DELRAN — By a 3-1 vote, the Township Council last night introduced a $2.8 million bond ordinance to finance the purchase and renovation of a building that would be used as a municipal complex.

Last month, the council signed an agreement to buy the former MacMillan Publishing Co.'s computer operation center on Chester Avenue for $900,000.

Renovations on the 52,000-square-foot, one-story structure are estimated at $1.9 million.

Councilman Jim Wujcik said the proposed complex, which sits on 10 acres, would meet the township's needs for at least the next 30 years. It would include administration offices as well as a police station, ambulance and fire services, and public works.

Councilman Anthony Ogozalek voted against the bond ordinance, saying the project was too expensive "at a time when everybody is trying to save money."

Ogozalek said he favored trimming the project cost to $1.5 million by renegotiating the sale price, by eliminating items that he said where not necessary, and by finding a more inexpensive way to finance it.

Councilman Jerry Savidge said a tax increase probably would be needed to help pay for the project. He said it would have cost $2.5 million to renovate the existing overcrowded 5,000-square-foot municipal building and to provide space for other township needs, which are now housed in various rental properties.

A public hearing and final vote on the bond ordinance are scheduled for Jan. 25. For the measure to pass, four of the five council members must vote for it.

Council President Eileen McGonigle, who was absent last night, said when contacted at home by phone that she planned to vote for it, ensuring passage.

Delran And Riverside Ponder A Merger The Two Municipalities Are Looking Into Sharing A Public-works Department.

Source: Posted: July 23, 1995

Delran and Riverside officials are taking another stab at regionalizing, this time with a proposed merger of their public-works departments.

Last year the two municipalities failed in an attempt to combine their police forces because their salary scales were too different. But officials from both communities say the prospects of sharing a public-works department are brighter for a number of reasons.

At a joint meeting last week in Riverside, representatives of the two governing bodies, both mayors and both township administrators discussed how the task might be accomplished.

"If we can give the same amount of service for less money by combining our public-works departments, then we should do it," said Riverside Mayor Robert Renshaw. Because Riverside's three and Delran's 15 public-works employees all have contracts that expire Dec. 31, the groundwork has already been laid, he said.

It's an ideal time," Renshaw said. "It's very workable. It sounds great."

Delran Township Administrator Jeffrey Hatcher said the salary scales of both departments were also similar. The main obstacle to the proposed police merger was that Delran's police salaries were higher than Riverside's, and Riverside could not afford to raise wages, he said.

Delran Mayor Thomas DiLauro also believes the new proposal is more feasible than the police regionalization plan. "We must take into consideration any possibility of saving taxpayers any money. At this point, this looks like a do-able project," he said.

But Hatcher and Riverside Township Administrator Gary LaVenia also cautioned that the discussions are preliminary and that nothing has been decided.

Delran Councilman Anthony Ogozalek also raised the issue of who would be in charge of the public-works department and whether any employees would be laid off.

Renshaw said control was not a real issue if the two towns could come up with a plan for sharing equipment and personnel, and could cut costs in the process. "This is the best shot we have at combining services," he said.

Officials from both towns do not anticipate layoffs from a merger. LaVenia said his township laid off one public-works truck driver in May and didn't replace two other laborers when they retired earlier this year. He said the department was scaled back and the township hired a private contractor last month to clean the streets.

Under a regionalization plan, Delran could use Riverside's two-year-old street sweeper, which is currently sitting in the public-works garage, LaVenia said. Delran officials also submitted a list of about 30 pieces of the municipality's public-works equipment, some of which could be shared with Riverside.

Officials still need to deal with the issue of building a public-works facility in each town. LaVenia said Riverside has set aside $110,000 in bond money to build a new public-works garage. But if the departments were combined, this expenditure might be unnecessary. "We're debating whether to build or not," he said.

Meanwhile, Delran is planning to settle this week on a new $850,000 municipal complex that eventually would include a new public-works facility. Nearly $2 million in bonds has been set aside to buy and renovate the complex.

The administrators of both townships will meet and share details of their public-works operations before another joint meeting is scheduled. No date has yet been set.

Delran Reaches Agreement On New Municipal Hall The Township Is Set To Buy The Former Macmillan Building For $850,000. Current Quarters Are Cramped.

Source: Posted: July 29, 1995

The seven employees of Delran's Finance Department jam into a room packed with desks, filing cabinets and computer equipment.

The air conditioning makes little difference on this hot, humid July day. ''Excuse me" is heard often as the workers attempt to maneuver around the furniture, jumbles of wires, and each other.

"Some days, it's chaos," one employee said over her shoulder as she squeezed between two people to get out the door.

No wonder these workers are so happy about the new municipal building.

The Township Council formally announced Wednesday that it had reached a settlement to purchase a new municipal building for $850,000. The former MacMillan building, expected to open in September 1996 as the new town hall, is right down the street from the current town hall on Chester Avenue.

When its renovations are completed, the new building will offer ''amenities" such as air conditioning that works and a roof that doesn't leak. The future municipal complex will cost approximately $2.8 million, the money coming from a May bond issue, Township Administrator Jeffrey Hatcher said. It will house the Public Works Department, the Police Department, the fire commissioners, and the emergency squad, as well as the government offices.

Public works will move out of a small garage behind the current municipal building and possibly have space to store its equipment indoors.

The police will get roomier quarters, larger holding cells, and an escape from the dark, poorly ventilated basement of the municipal building.

And for the fire commissioners and the emergency squad, the new town hall means an end to paying rent in private buildings. The Fire Department pays its own rent, about $18,000 a year, but the township picks up the emergency squad's rental costs, between $30,000 and $35,000 a year, Hatcher said.

He jokingly said the township had needed a new building since "the day after this one was built" in 1967. The township had been negotiating with the new building's sellers since January, and looking for a new home ever since Hatcher started in Delran more than six years ago.

The added possibility of renting some space to other groups and the competitive price paid for the building has Township Council members crowing.

"Look at the numbers and what we got for our money, and we really got a steal," said Councilman Brian McDermott at Wednesday's meeting. "Delran stole this building."

State Senate Panel To Contend With Barrage Of Gun Measures The Law And Public Safety Committee Will Consider At Least 7 Measures. Among Them: Tighter Controls.

Source: Posted: May 19, 1999

TRENTON — Cash rebates for handgun trigger locks. Sales-tax exemptions on firearm storage vaults. Guns equipped with so-called childproofing devices.

Those are just three of at least seven gun-related measures to be considered by a New Jersey Senate committee tomorrow.

The reason? It's obvious, said Jim Pricolo, a retired Baltimore police officer who sells guns at Walt's Reloading in Delran.

``It's politically advantageous to bring it up now because of the Columbine High thing,'' Pricolo said yesterday.

Most of the measures were introduced before the events in Colorado, and Gov. Whitman mentioned childproof guns in her State of the State address in January. But like their counterparts in the U.S. Senate, which last week considered requiring background checks on those who buy guns at gun shows, New Jersey legislators appear to have been spurred to act by the April 20 shootings that left 15 dead in Littleton.

Still unclear is which measures will emerge tomorrow from the state Senate's Law and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Sen. Louis F. Kosco (R., Bergen).

The rebate and tax-exemption bills are not controversial. The proposed childproofing of handguns also has drawn wide support, but it has sparked the ire of the National Rifle Association. Yet a group of gun-control advocates says it has the necessary support on the committee for a childproofing measure that would be the first of its kind.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph A. Palaia (R., Monmouth) and Senate Minority Leader Richard J. Codey (D., Essex), would immediately require that all handguns sold in the state be equipped with trigger locks. After three years, all guns would have to be sold with a childproofing device, such as a fingerprint activation system or a computer chip that would allow the gun to be used only by its owner.

Some advocates of gun ownership contend that the technology is not ready or is dangerous. Kosco has endorsed a far less restrictive measure that would require only that guns be equipped with trigger locks or a childproofing device.

Bryan Miller, executive director of Ceasefire New Jersey, said that measure does not go far enough. A trigger lock works only if people remember to use it, he said.

Republican leaders are negotiating a compromise that would turn the matter over to the Attorney General's Office, according to people familiar with the discussions.

At first, handgun purchasers would have to buy trigger locks. After two years or another set period, the attorney general would have the power to mandate the use of fingerprint systems or other childproofing devices when those technologies are ready.

Sen. James S. Cafiero (R., Cape May), one of three Republicans on the five-member committee, said he would support such a measure, and the committee's two Democrats are expected to go along.

Marking 100 Years Of Worship At Chatsworth `Country Church'

Source: Posted: June 25, 1999

CHATSWORTH — What the Rev. Ray Carter likes best about Chatsworth United Methodist Church is how timeless the interior of the building feels.

``This is a little country church that looks as though it hasn't changed,'' said Mr. Carter, 75, of the church he led for 23 years. ``It's like turning the years back every time I step inside.''

This month, the church, considered by some Chatsworth residents to be the capital of the Pine Barrens, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. While it may not be the oldest house of worship in the Pinelands, it remains a country church with an old-time feel, Mr. Carter said.

The minister has continued to attend services since his retirement in 1990 and is now on the administrative board of the church, which has about 25 active members.

``It was never difficult being a minister here,'' Mr. Carter said. ``Whatever we lacked in size, we made up for in the loving and friendly group of people we had here in Chatsworth.''

The first church on the site was a Presbyterian church built in 1875. After that church was struck by lightning and destroyed in a fire in 1893, the congregation built a church measuring just 28 feet by 42 feet on the original foundation.

A few years later, Methodists started meeting at the church and took over the building as the number of Presbyterians dwindled. On June 3, 1899, the church was incorporated as a Methodist church, said the Rev. Steven Elliott, the current pastor.

``What we're celebrating this year is 100 years of Methodism in Chatsworth,'' Mr. Elliott said.

Throughout its history, the church has been an integral part of Chatsworth, said Julia Mantell, 84, one of its oldest members.

``There was a potbellied stove in the middle of the sanctuary and kerosene lights,'' said Mantell, a lifelong Chatsworth resident. ``The church was the place for everyone in the community to congregate, and at Christmas we always had a party for the community.''

The church is part of what is called the Tabernacle-Chatsworth circuit, with Mr. Elliott, like Mr. Carter did before retiring, dividing his duties between Tabernacle United Methodist Church and the Chatsworth church.

In addition to Mr. Carter and Mantell, other longtime members include Albertus Pepper and William Sloan, both for 70 years; Virginia Ranalli, 68 years; Rita Stewart, Russell Dunfee and Betty Carter, all 59 years; Selena Dunfee, 47 years; and Constance and Norman Wills, Gertrude Applegate and Charles Leek, all 45 years.

``This is my first pastoral appointment, and it's been an exciting year. Through our centennial celebration, we've been able to reach out to the community,'' said Mr. Elliott, 31, a former lawyer from Millville who has been the minister for both churches since July.

The Chatsworth church's interior was remodeled in 1955 when members, doing the work themselves, replaced two aisles with a center aisle, built pews from Philippine mahogany, and installed knotty-pine paneling, two pulpits and an altar rail.

In 1983, 18 stained-glass windows featuring animals or flowers that are native to the Pinelands were installed, much to the delight of Mantell.

``When I was a little girl, I would say, `If only we had colored windows,' '' she said. ``I thought I'd never live to see the stained-glass windows here in the church.''

Shortly after the windows were installed, Betty Carter, the church's organist and the wife of Mr. Carter, saw there was a need for a new organ.

``Unfortunately, there was no money in the budget for a new organ, but by the grace of God and Bennett Bozarth, we got a new organ,'' said Carter, 73. ``Since then, Mr. Bozarth has donated dozens of organs to churches, but we were the first church to receive one.''

Bozarth, a Delran lawyer and former municipal judge for Woodland Township, where Chatsworth is located, said he had decided to give the church his own organ after worshiping there.

``I enjoy worshiping at different churches, and since I've played the organ since I was about 10, I tend to notice the quality of organs wherever I go. Theirs wasn't in good shape,'' he said. ``My father had given me an organ, and after his death I thought giving the organ to the church would be an appropriate way to honor him.''

Since then, Bozarth has donated 109 other organs to churches throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

``When I was growing up, I frequently heard my father say to my mother, `I'm going to Chatsworth,' whenever he wanted to be by himself, Bozarth said. ``With this gift, now the spirit of my father really is in Chatsworth.''

Top officer ready to call it quits "I've accomplished all my goals," Delran chief says.

Source: Posted: May 18, 2003

Delran Police Chief Arthur Saul is California dreaming.

After 34 years on the police force, he has started to plan for a life after law enforcement. That includes a leisurely trip to California to visit an old Army buddy.

What will be different about the trip, Saul said, is that after he retires May 31, there will be no time constraints. He and Gloria, his wife of 36 years, will not have to be home at any particular time.

"I don't have to be back any more," said a smiling Saul, who remembers hurried vacations that limited the time he could spend with friends or just relaxing.

"I could stay out in California and be a surfer dude," he chuckled.

Having time on his hands has been a long time coming for Saul, 56, who has spent most of his adult life in law enforcement.

In the Army, he served with the 716th Military Police Battalion and spent a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1966-67.

Saul joined the Delran department in 1969 and was promoted to detective in 1972. He was named chief in 1990.

It has been a career of twists, turns and intrigue. As a detective, Saul, working with state and federal officials, was instrumental in bringing down the "pizza connection," an organized-crime operation that stretched from the United States to Italy.

Saul said that several members of the Gambino crime family lived in the township and that it was a tough, but interesting, case to work.

"There were 180 homicides between the United States and Italy. It involved members in New York, Philadelphia families. It was very interesting. I made a lot of friends in law enforcement."

Saul said he did not fear for his life because there was a "code of respect" for law enforcement in those days.

"There was a little bit more respect for police. Today, there are no rules anymore," he said.

Saul also recalled the 1977 rapes and beatings of a woman and her 12-year-old daughter and the burglary of their apartment at Millside Manor, now Hunters Glen, a 1,200-unit complex on Route 130.

A television set stolen from the residence cracked the case, Saul said.

After five years of detective work and with the help of an informant and other law enforcement officials, two suspects were arrested in Philadelphia.

To this day, Saul, who remembers the case vividly, marvels at one thing: The pair held on to the television for so many years. The TV was traced to the crime.

"Jail is not full of the smartest people in the world," he said, almost as an afterthought.

Saul, who could tell endless stories about police work in the seven-square-mile community, said he has tried to put many of the bad memories aside.

"They're like water under the bridge. There were tough times," he said.

Jeff Hatcher, township administrator, said that Saul had been the type of leader who makes decisions and takes full responsibility for them, and that the welfare of the police department was his main concern.

"He never asked for anything for himself, but for the men and the department," said Hatcher, who has worked with the chief for 15 years. "He's from the old school. There is a sense of honor. The department came first."

Saul said the decision to hang up his hat is coming at a time when he is still healthy and can still pursue other interests.

"I've accomplished all of my goals. It's time for me to go," he said.

He has been innovative to the end, instituting a school-resource-officer program and establishing an emergency-service unit that can handle chemical and biological warfare.

"There is no one around that has the capability that we have," he said of the emergency-service unit. "That was my last goal. We're equipped to handle everything."

As for the future, with his law enforcement background and a degree in law and justice from Glassboro State, now Rowan University, Saul said he could teach. Or, he can just restore old cars, his hobby.

"If something comes up that interests me, I'll consider it," he said. "I've done enough police work."

But for at least the next six months, he will be perfectly content to do nothing.

Contact staff writer Rosalee Polk Rhodes at 856-779-3237 or

Allen foe says their ideas are far apart Carole Lokan Moore, running to unseat the senator, says Republicans are meant to be conservative - and she is.

Source: Posted: May 19, 2003

This is the first of two articles looking at the candidates in the Republican primary for the Seventh District state Senate seat.

Carole Lokan Moore and State Sen. Diane Allen both live in the small riverfront town of Edgewater Park, but they are worlds apart when it comes to political ideology, says Moore, who is challenging Allen in next month's Seventh District primary.

"Republicans are supposed to be conservative," said Moore, a retired biology teacher and a firearms instructor who operates a bed-and-breakfast. "I am, and she's not."

Allen, 55, has made a name as the legislature's most prolific bill writer.

Moore, 57, believes that government is too meddlesome, making needless laws, and that more effort should be put into enforcing the criminal code instead of plea-bargaining.

"I know we have more people per capita than any other state, and we have to have a lot of laws, but there are too many of them," Moore said. "I vow not to write any more laws until the ones we have are upheld."

Allen has said that her job is to represent constituents, and that proposing bills to fix problems and improve lives is part of it. She won reelection in 2001 by touting herself as one of the busiest legislators in Trenton.

Moore said most New Jersey legislators were not concerned about constituents. Instead, she said, they become obsessed with staying in office and lose their sense of purpose.

"Politicians say what gets them reelected," she said. "It doesn't matter how they really feel. People know that I mean what I say."

Her opponent is also outspoken, especially in support of issues such as abortion rights and gun control. Those stands have won Allen support in the Seventh District, where Democrats hold both Assembly seats. Diane Gabriel of Cinnaminson is running unopposed for the Democratic Senate nomination.

The district covers Burlington County's river towns and the Camden County towns of Merchantville and Pennsauken, a Democratic stronghold.

Moore said her lack of political experience allowed her to present herself as someone untainted by the political process.

She has stayed busy since retiring from the Willingboro school system 11 years ago, helping to found groups such as the New Jersey Landlord Association, the South Jersey Bed and Breakfast Association, the Home for Wayward Animals, the Riverfront Historical Society, and the committee that organizes Civil War Remembrance Day at Beverly National Cemetery.

She grew up in Willingboro on her family's farm, attending township schools before heading to Burlington County College and then Glassboro State College, now Rowan University.

Her twin daughters, 31, are teachers in Willingboro.

Years ago Moore and her husband, William, also a retired teacher, began buying properties to restore during summer breaks.

They live at the Whitebriar Bed & Breakfast and own two other long-term-lodging houses nearby, along with seven other properties in area towns.

"All my life I have worked. I have never sat idle, and I don't now," Moore said. "I clean toilets, I scrub floors, I make beds, and I love it."

She also teaches people how to shoot rifles, shotguns and pistols at a Delran range. She does not hunt, but her husband does. This year, for the first time, she took a deer he killed and butchered it - on the dining room table.

"It took about eight hours. My daughter said I was nuts," she said. "It was very exciting for me, having been a biology teacher. I made venison chili. I've always been hands-on."

Moore said that, if elected, she would serve without a salary as long as the state had trouble balancing its budget. The state could further save money by cutting welfare benefits, she said.

Acquiring and managing properties has prepared her to be a legislator, Moore said.

"I know what it is like to scrape and save. I know the value of a buck," she said. "The people in Trenton do not."

She becomes angry when talking about state budget increases in recent years, from $16.8 billion in 1997 - the year Allen was elected to the Senate - to the current $23.4 billion.

Taxes are still the most important issue to voters, Moore said. "People are moving out of the state because they can't afford to live here," she said.

In a letter sent to Moore asking her to abandon the primary challenge, county GOP chairman Glenn Paulsen said Allen had a solid record on taxes, voting for reductions more than 30 times.

This is Moore's second primary challenge. In 2000, she ran for the Assembly against the party's endorsed ticket as a member of gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler's slate.

Most area Republicans do not view Moore as a party regular, said Chris Russell, executive director of the Burlington County Republican Committee.

"We need to conserve our resources to run against the Democrats. Sure, there are different kinds of Republicans, but most of them try to solve their differences instead of take each other out," he said.

Burlington County has more than 423,000 registered voters. About 135,000 of them are unaffiliated, and the rest split between Republicans and Democrats.

Contact staff writer Joel Bewley at 609-261-0900 or

Bennett E. Bozarth, 61, former judge in Burlington County

Source: Posted: May 31, 2008

Bennett E. "Bud" Bozarth, 61, a controversial former judge who sat on the bench for 17 years in more than nine Burlington County municipalities, died at his Delran home on Tuesday.

He was in remission from a long battle with leukemia and had multiple health problems, according to his family. Judge Bozarth also had a heart condition, which he cited as his reason for retiring from his court appointments in 1998.

He had a reputation as an uncompromising judge whose orders once led to a woman's being handcuffed to a bench for more than two hours for arriving late to court. The state Supreme Court publicly reprimanded him in 1992, saying he harbored an obsession with decorum and demonstrated a "draconian" adherence to rules.

His courtroom behavior was also blamed as the reason he was passed over for elevation to a Superior Court judgeship in 1988.

But he was well respected in legal circles for his sharp mind, his astute knowledge of the law and his ability to discern facts.

"We all knew him to be exceedingly brilliant," said attorney Mark Molz, who frequently tangled with him. "He was a fixture in Burlington County and a lot of us learned how to practice law from him."

Judge Bozarth also was a former prosecutor, public defender, a trial attorney and a solicitor for various towns. Former Pemberton Mayor Thalia "T.C." Kay, who hired him in the early 1990s to be the town's judge, said that after his retirement, he also handled police arbitration hearings. "He was multitalented," she said.

In a 1998 interview with The Inquirer, Judge Bozarth said he regretted some of his more controversial decisions, but still felt it had been important to maintain order in the court.

"There's considerable disruption that ensues from a failure to maintain order. People can't hear what's going on," he said.

Judge Bozarth had a hobby of finding organs for churches that were unable to afford them, and donated more than 200. He also founded the Rainbow Gospel Ensemble and would often perform at services.

"He was very spiritual," said lawyer Bill Menges, a longtime friend. "And he was very witty. I'm going to miss Buddy."

In his later years, Judge Bozarth played keyboard and sang with a rock-and-roll band called Rubber Johnny at bars in Riverside and Hainesport. He often regaled friends with colorful stories and wisecracks.

As a child, he attended Valley Forge Military Academy. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University and received his law degree in 1972 from Columbia University. He served as a captain in the Army Reserve.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; son Earl; daughters Josette Coyle and Sara; and a granddaughter.

Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. today at Christ Baptist Church, 950 Jacksonville Rd., Burlington, with a service at 10. Interment will follow at Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Contributions may be made to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey Foundation, 120 Albany St., New Brunswick, N.J. 08901.

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