Thursday, October 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.   

POSTED: Thursday, October 31, 2013, 1:05 PM
Cafe Gallery, a landmark eatery in Burlington City, closed this week.

After being a staple on the Burlington City riverfront for 34 years, Cafe' Gallery closed this week. 

Sigh.  It has long been a popular destination for family celebrations, a savory Sunday brunch, and romantic dinners.  

 The elegant restaurant, with windows that display the scenic Delaware River, was shuttered suddenly on Tuesday, due to the effects of the recession and dwindling customers. 

POSTED: Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 5:14 PM
Vivian Wilson was issued a medical-marijuana card and became the youngest patient in New Jersey to obtain cannabis this week.

Cops were on patrol outside a medical marijuana clinic in South Jersey when a fashionable 2-year-old with hot pink sunglasses got out of a car to pick up an ounce.  Her dad joked that he was a bit fearful when he came out carrying the drug, in plain view, for the little gal in the polka dots and stripes. 

"I expected them to pull us over when we left," said Brian Wilson, explaining that it felt somewhat "weird" to see three police officers in the parking lot of the Compassionate Care Foundation dispensary in Egg Harbor Township.  "They were nice, and compassionate," he quickly added.

Wilson's daughter, Vivian, has a severe life-threatening form of epilepsy and has been approved by doctors to use cannabis to control seizures.  The child, who was wearing an eyepatch to reduce stimuli that could trigger an attack, was among the first nine patients to get a supply of cannabis on CCF's opening day on Monday.  CCF is South Jersey's first dispensary, and the state's second.  

POSTED: Monday, October 14, 2013, 3:01 PM

When Sarah Palin visited NJ, she waxed poetic over tweets, prohibition, the shut-down, and the tightening Lonegan-Booker race. 

Though the tea party celebrity is known for making some outlandish remarks, her comments about Cory Booker's prolific tweets were surprising given her own love of Twitter. 

"We need a leader not a tweeter...That was poem-worthy - I've got to remember that one," she said in her stump speech for candidate Steve Lonegan at the New Egypt Speedway on Saturday.  Lonegan and Booker are running for U.S. Senate in a special election Wednesday to fill the vacancy created by the death of Frank Lautenberg.  

POSTED: Monday, October 7, 2013, 5:50 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in a case involving minority residents in Mt. Holly who say a housing redevelopment plan has the effect of discriminating against them because they are being forced to leave. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in a long-simmering dispute over whether Mount Holly Township's redevelopment plans are unfairly affecting low-income minority residents who are being forced out of their homes.

The high court has scheduled arguments for Dec. 4. The matter is one of several social issues the court will consider as it begins its fall session.    

Mount Holly Mayor Richard Dow says he hopes that there will be a settlement before that time.  He favors ending the litigation that the township initiated under the previous administration by offering the 20 families who live in the Mount Holly Gardens "replacement homes" similar to their rowhomes.     

POSTED: Monday, September 30, 2013, 4:46 PM
At Friendship Firehouse in Woodbury, John Tierney exits the voting booth in the June primaries. In November, the ballot in Burlington County will separate the political races from the school board elections. MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer

Political and school board candidates were placed on the same ballot for the first time last year, sparking complaints from a few Burlington County candidates who said the new format was confusing and had cost them votes. 

Some school board candidates in Willingboro and Edgewater Park complained that their names appeared in the same column as political candidates.  They feared voters went straight down the column, based on the party they favored, without realizing the school board candidates were non-partisan.  

This year the ballot will use the public questions as a buffer between the political and the school board races to make the distinction clearer to voters.  The crowded ballot will include the gubernatorial, legislative, municipal and school board races.  

POSTED: Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 11:33 AM
A giraffe looking over the fence at Animal Kingdom Zoo last week. The site is now for sale for $629,000. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)

The giraffes caused a sensation soon after the small zoo opened in sleepy Springfield, NJ, 25 years ago.  They would pop up their heads and peer over their wooden fence when motorists passed by on a rural road.  For a few extra bucks, visitors to the Animal Kingdom Zoo were invited to feed them.      

What joy!  The gentle giants would slowly lower their heads and come face to face with you, their black tongues twirling around the leafy branch in your hand, their eyes twinkling.  I have fond memories of my encounter with both a female adult and a baby who immediately came over to me when I approached them.     

But behind the scenes, inspectors found the giraffes and other animals were being neglected.  Years ago, some were euthanized and inspectors said a veterinarian was not called in to treat them when they were sick. 

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.

Jan Hefler
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected