Archive: December, 2011
An estimated 33 million evergreens are sold at Christmas every year. While many municipalities pick up of the discarded trees, some are cutting back on the service.
Medford Township, wrestling with a huge budget deficit, is one of the towns that eliminated curbside pick-up this year. Residents must take their trees to the town garage Monday through Friday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. (or Thursday until 7 p.m.)
If that's inconvenient, the Burlington County Resource Recovery Complex in Florence/Mansfield Townships will accept the trees, free of charge. The hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 7-2 (except New Year's Eve).
New Jersey American Water says it is proposing an average 15 percent rate hike to cover its $30 million investment in infrastructure this year. The rate increase would have to be approved by the state Board of Public Utilities before it's put into effect.
Under the proposal, a ratepayer who pays about $596 a year for water would see a $92 increase. That's less than a penny per gallon of water, according to the water company.
But Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio questions whether the water company is spending its money wisely. He says the company is reporting large profits and says the shareholders should pay for some of the costs.
Bill Thomas is diplomatic when he describes what happened in March when he proposed growing pot and selling it to sick people at a warehouse in Bellmawr. His company, Compassionate Care Foundation, is one of six non-profits that the state of New Jersey has selected to run a licensed medicinal marijuana business.
"The mayor was surprised" when he learned of the plan, Thomas said. Then, the landlord backed out.
In October, Thomas' non-profit focused on an empty LED light factory in Westampton. At first, the mayor and other officials were unfazed and said special permission would not be necessary.
Burlington County Freeholders passed a resolution Wednesday opposing a 20 percent rate hike planned by New Jersey American Water Company.
"This increase is coming out a time when homeowners and businesses are struggling financially,” said Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio. Twenty-three Burlco municipalities are served by the water company.
Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert warned the prosecutor and defense on Tuesday to follow the Supreme Court's detailed instructions when handling the Marie Hess murder case. The two sides in the high-profile case are struggling to reach a plea agreement.
In July, the state's high court overturned Hess' 30-year sentence, saying her lawyer failed to properly defend her. Hess pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for shooting her husband, James, while he slept. But her attorney never raised the defense she suffered from battered wife syndrome. (Read the Inquirer report on the ruling here: http://bit.ly/vWNLyV)
Covert wants the prosecutor and defense to make a deal and resolve the matter. But First Assistant Burlco Prosecutor Ray Milavsky said there is a "fundamental disagreement" over whether Marie Hess' was actually abused by her husband.
Ruslan Burshteyn asked a poignant question after his mother, Lyudmila, was carjacked and murdered by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record.
How did Lenroy Laurance, who hails from Jamaica, escape deportation when he was released from a Brooklyn jail years before the murder? (See my previous post here: http://bit.ly/sME6qi)
If Laurance had been banished, he would never have crossed Lyudmila's path in Philadelphia on Sept. 2, 2009. Laurance had forced her to lie on the floor in the back of the car for six tortuous hours before he shot her to death in a Burlco field.
The man who carjacked Lyudmila Burshteyn, a Russian immigrant, and then shot her to death in a Burlco field, will probably get life when he is sentenced Friday.
But if he is ever released, on appeal or whatever, he would face deportation.
Lenroy Laurance, 29 is an illegal immigrant from Jamaica. He is due in court to find out his fate after a jury convicted him of murder, kidnapping and carjacking in a gruesome October 2009 incident.
The Battle of Iron Works Hill in Mount Holly - actually a skirmish in which cannon fire was exchanged for a day - will be recreated Saturday, Dec. 10. There will be artillery fire, cannon demonstrations, reenactors, an encampment, history lectures, colonial dance, a blacksmith exhibit and more.
The annual event commemorates the Dec. 24, 1776 skirmish between 600 Continental forces and 2,000 Hessian troops who fired on each other from small hilltops in the area, according to Burlington County historians.
The Colonial troops and militia retreated at the end of the day to Moorestown, but were successful in diverting enemy troops away from Trenton one day before George Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware.
Medford's mayor, accused in a Rentboy.com posting of paying a male escort $500 for sex, has stepped down.
Chris Myers' submitted a letter to the town clerk and manager saying his work commitment has increased. He did not mention the scandal or the fact that he had left his job as an executive with Lockheed Martin.
Myers, a family man and a former Republican Congressional candidate, denied the allegation he had paid for sex after a link to the posting was e-mailed to the Medford Council and the Burlington County Times. He refused comment on how an image of a man who resembled him, wearing underwear and lying on a bed, appeared on the site along with an image of his mayor's badge.
The price of water could jump 20 percent in Burlco. A hearing is set for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Westampton Municipal Building.
Burlington County Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio is asking New Jersey American Water Co. to reschedule the hearing after the holidays so residents can attend. He said the company should send all ratepayers a notice about the proposed increase and the date and time of the hearing along with next month's bills.
Last year, the utility company raised rates 6.8 percent.