Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 3:49 PM
Numerous rowhouses in the Mount Holly Gardens were bulldozed after town officials declared the area blighted and asked property owners to move out so a new housing development could be built. Ed Hille/Staff Photographer)

The Castle Coalition, a non-profit that fights eminent domain abuse nationwide, is turning its attention to Mount Holly - again. 

In recent years, the coalition lobbied for 27 property owners whose homes were being bulldozed by the township so that a new housing development could be built.  The mostly poor Latinos and African Americans who lived in the Mt. Holly Gardens sued for discrimination and the coalition filed a brief supporting their position.  That case settled last year as it headed for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Now, a mixed zone with businesses and homes is about to be designated as another redevelopment area that would be subject to condemnation.

POSTED: Monday, February 3, 2014, 6:43 PM
Marijuana plants grow under special lights inside the grow facility at Medicine Man marijuana dispensary in Denver, where weed is legal. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A new poll says New Jerseyans would rather legalize pot, following Colorado's lead, than allow online gambling, a vice that is now legal in the state. 

A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey revealed 41 percent would support the recreational use of marijuana if it became legal.  But only 32 percent of those surveyed were okay with the practice of gambling over the Internet.

In November, New Jersey began allowing online gambling.  More than 150,000 gambling accounts have been established, according to AP.

POSTED: Thursday, January 30, 2014, 4:01 PM
Employee Lara Herzog harvests marijuana buds for sale in Denver. The recreational sale of marijuana is legal only in Colorado but other states are looking into following suit. (BRENNAN LINSLEY / Associated Press)

As the debate over the legalization of marijuana gathers steam, newly-invigorated pro and anti-weed groups are erecting catchy billboards outside the MetLife Stadium as the Big Game nears.

The Marijuana Policy Project is launching two billboards Thursday night near the stadium to tackle a billboard put up on Wednesday by Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group  that wants marijuana to remain illegal.   

The competing billboards play with images of footballs, the brain, weed and alcohol to score  points on the eve of the Superbowl. 

POSTED: Wednesday, January 8, 2014, 6:00 PM
Diane Fornbacher. (Photo: Denise Guerin)

Diane Fornbacher, a nationally recognized marijuana legalization activist from Collingswood, is moving her family to Colorado. She says she needs cannabis to alleviate a health condition that NJ's medical marijuana program doesn't cover.

Fornbacher, who sits on the national board of NORML, an organization that has fought for legalization for decades, says she has complex PTSD, which is not one of the dozen ailments that qualify for cannabis in N.J.

POSTED: Thursday, January 2, 2014, 6:21 PM
Employees help customers at the crowded sales counter inside a legal recreational marijuana retail outlet in Denver on Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Legalizing recreational marijuana is expected to inject $208 million into Colorado’s economy this year, but New Jersey will have to settle for the potential $1 million it could get by taxing the 1,500 sick people who qualify for the medical version of the drug.

Gov. Christie has promised to veto any legislation that would expand the state’s four-year-old medical marijuana program and has said he would never approve the complete legalization of cannabis.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 4:41 PM
The Tacony-Palmyra Bridge sits in the background of the River Route. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer)

Burlington County officials want to know the public’s views on revitalizing the Route 130 corridor, a 17-mile swath along the Delaware River. But beware: The survey the freeholders recently posted online is no easy pop quiz. Its 13 questions require a profound assessment of life in the burbs and much soul-searching, or at least more patience than I suspect many residents will be able to muster.

In the end, you find out whether you should marry the River Route. That’s the new name marketers gave the corridor while it went through a much-needed makeover.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 1:24 PM
Porta restaurant in Asbury Park, N.J., attracts throngs on weekends. Another is planned for Burlington City in 2014.

A group of Asbury Park entrepreneurs who plan to launch a hip restaurant district in Burlington City are also buying homes there.  Some of them are relocating - the group's architect, a head chef at one of their bustling eateries at the Jersey Shore, and a project manager.  Future plans call for a culinary school or test kitchen in the Delaware River community.

The group, which simply calls itself Smith, owns and operates six trendy restaurants, mostly in Asbury Park, known as the place where Bruce Springsteen got his start and now as a popular destination.  Smith also has plans to open two other restaurants in that area over the next six months.  After that, it hopes to open three to four restaurants in Burlington City, now a depressed community with many vacant storefronts and several boarded-up homes. 

The group sees Burlington as ripe for revitalization and wants to tap into its scenic waterfront and rich colonial history.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 11:27 AM
The multi-alarm blaze at the Dietz & Watson warehouse in Delanco was destroyed in a spectacular Sept. 1 blaze that smoldered for weeks. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer

After a blaze gutted a Dietz & Watson meat warehouse in Delanco, company officials are recommending neighbors submit claims to the firm's insurance carrier to get lingering stench and soot cleaned up. 

Weeks after the Sept. 1 blaze, residents were complaining that the neighborhood near the warehouse in the tiny riverfront community smelled like burnt hot dogs and rancid meat.  Some  complained about a haze that hung over the smoldering plant for several weeks and about blobs of  burnt debris and broken solar panels that had landed on their properties.  

But now that the building's remains have been completely removed, after more than 35 tons of spoiled meat were hauled away, the company is reaching out to neighbors to offer help with any issues they still may have.  In a message posted on the Delanco Township website, the company announced it had set up a system for neighbors to contact one of two preferred cleaning companies to evaluate any problems the blaze caused and to provide an estimate to be submitted to the company's insurance company.  A liason will help in processing the claims.   

About this blog

Written by Inquirer staff writer Jan Hefler, the Burlco Buzz blog covers breaking news in the the county, as well as its quirky characters, crime cases, politics, outdoor recreation and environment. Contact Jan at jhefler@phillynews.com.

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