Sunday, December 21, 2014

POSTED: Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 3:42 PM
Vonte Skinner / FACEBOOK PHOTO

The Supreme Court is deciding whether to "Like" a defense argument in a case involving an Allentown man who posted violent threats against his estranged wife on Facebook.  

Anthony Elonis' lawyers are comparing his postings to rap lyrics and artistic expression protected by the First Amendment.

In his postings, Elonis had written that he would like to see his wife's "head on a stick" and that he would cut her until her body was "a mess, soaked in blood, and dying."  He hit "submit" and later was arrested and sentenced to 44 months in prison for making threats.   His lawyers appealed. 

POSTED: Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 3:55 PM
Matthew Yook, a field organizer for Measure 91, celebrates early returns that favor the Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative with Elvy Musikka, a medical marijuana recipient, at their downtown headquarters in Eugene, Ore., on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Brian Davies)

Voters in Washington D.C., Oregon, and Alaska approved legalizing marijuana on Tuesday, opening doors that before now were only ajar in the West.

At the start of the year, Colorado became the first to allow adults to purchase pot for recreational use. Washington state followed a few months later.

As the nation was abuzz with that news, a New Jersey state senator proposed a bill to legalize the drug in this state, and another legislator introduced a plan to put the question on the ballot. But with the threat of a Chris Christie veto, neither bill got any traction.

POSTED: Friday, October 31, 2014, 2:52 PM
(Jan Hefler/Staff )

They looked innocent enough, those chubby-faced suspects with boyish cowlicks. 

But cops weren't taking chances.  Police corralled them behind yellow tape as the wind whipped.  Investigators arrived at the scene, just outside a tiny Burlington County church topped with a witch's hat and flanked by a graveyard with wobbly stones.   

The suspects' faces flushed, turning orange.  These celebrities weren't used to such treatment.     

POSTED: Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 6:31 PM
Battling for a U.S. House seat, Republican Tom MacArthur and Democrat Aimee Belgard enjoy a lighter moment at their debate in Moorestown. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)

At an exclusive Mount Laurel golf club where a tense political debate was unfolding, the moderator suddenly stiffened and began barking out orders.

But the relentless mudslinging between Congressional candidates Aimee Belgard and Tom MacArthur during a forum last week at the Laurel Creek Country Club was not the cause of the moderator's ire.

It was a single heckler at the back of the room.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 2:33 PM

A playful gust of wind kicked up during the suspenseful unveiling of a three-story Marilyn last week in New Jersey, as if it could compete with the breeze that famously lifted the “blonde bombshell’s” skirt in "The Seven Year Itch."

“Forever Marilyn,” created by renowned New Jersey sculptor Seward Johnson, will tower over the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton Township until Sept. 21.  Also on display are other Johnson works, including a 25-foot-tall interpretation of a snapshot that captured a sailor in Times Square passionately kissing a nurse as World War II officially ended.

But the big draw is Marilyn, a painted 17-ton figure that was forged of steel and aluminum in New Jersey four years ago for display in the hip downtown of Palm Springs.  She recently returned to the East Coast on flatbed trucks in awkward pieces – a head and torso, a piece of her wavy skirt, legs – as crowds gathered along the highways to gawk.

POSTED: Thursday, May 1, 2014, 5:49 PM
Delanco mayor Bill Dillenbeck walks through the Delaware River area in his township known as the "Dunes." A judge recently decided the area belongs to the state of New Jersey, not Delanco, and can be cleared of its woods and hiking trails so that a dumping ground for dredge spoils can be created. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Though a judge recently ruled that much of Delanco's Dunes belongs to the state of New Jersey - and not the township - the town's recreation commission is holding its third annual nature celebration on Saturday, May 3.  

"Our solicitor told us to proceed as usual," said Township Committeewoman Marlene Jass, adding that the town is appealing last month's court decision. 

State Superior Court Judge Karen L. Suter upheld the "riparian rights" of the state to claim lands that are submerged by tidal waters or that were underwater in the past, and based her decision on a 1946 aerial map of the Dunes.  The 35-acre area sits on the banks of the Delaware River.  Riparian claims can date back to the '40s. 

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.

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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