Friday, February 12, 2016

Archive: August, 2011

POSTED: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 1:39 PM

The wreck of the Blue Comet in 1939 made history (read an account by one of the last eyewitnesses) and now lives on in a chilling Sopranos episode.  The models of the once famous luxury train also sell for thousands on E-Bay and in hobby shops.

In the "Blue Comet" episode of the Sopranos, a mobster gets whacked while buying a Blue Comet model from a collector.  As he crashes to the floor bleeding and groaning, the scene cuts to a train model chugging down a track.  As he takes his last breaths, the train wrecks and flies off the table. 

Jan Hefler @ 1:39 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 1:30 PM
A Blue Comet car that sits on a track in Tuckahoe, awaiting restoration. (Photo by Bob Whipple)

 An eyewitness to the Aug. 19, 1939 wreck of the Blue Comet, a once famous luxury train, recalls how the train was surrounded by waist-high water in some areas when it derailed in Chatsworth after a drenching rain storm.

Walter Brower, who was 12 at the time, said today's heavy downpour reminded him of that day.  The U.S. Weather Bureau said that a record 15 inches fell that day in the Pinelands.    

"This weather takes me back to that day," said Brower, now a retired Rider University dean of education. 

POSTED: Monday, August 15, 2011, 5:57 PM

There was lots of speculation when Palmyra Police reported finding an unidentified body in the Delaware River hours after Philadelphia Marine Police launched a search for a man who went missing after jumping in.

Was he the same guy?

"That's been ruled out," said Pa. Fish and Boat Commission Officer Erin Czech who had requested the ongoing search.  "The description of the body was the opposite of the man we're looking for."

POSTED: Thursday, August 11, 2011, 5:58 PM

Marilyn Schmidt, the owner of the Chatsworth General Store in the Pinelands, has a hunch as to why the mosquitos are so bad this year. 

She's lived above the shop for a dozen years and says this summer is the first time she really noticed mosquitos.  LUCKY!

Her attic used to be full of hundreds of bats.  A wildlife conservation society once counted about 300 of them in the vicinity of her home while conducting a survey. 

POSTED: Wednesday, August 10, 2011, 1:02 PM

Nearly 100  signs that appear unexpectedly along roads in Cherry Hill, Moorestown, Cinnaminson and Pennsauken suggest their neighbor, Maple Shade - nicknamed "Nice Town, Friendly People" - had somehow disappeared.   

"Welcome Back To Maple Shade" the red letters exclaim.  Above that, there's a hint of what might have happened:  "Main Street Bridge Open." 

I never knew Maple Shade, the home of 19,000 people, was an island linked to the rest of the world by a  bridge. 

POSTED: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 12:39 PM
Cranes make their own Arches while cleaning up the debris of a razed 44-year-old McDonald's in Moorestown. (Photo by Jan Hefler)

For 44 years, the Golden Arches have been part of the landscape in the Lenola section of Moorestown. That's a lot of cheap burgers, fries and shakes.

In recent days, bulldozers hungrily gobbled up the aging McDonald's on Camden Avenue.  It was one of the few remaining old-style McDonald restaurants.  It had a sloping orange roof and giant Golden Arches out front that reached for the sky.  They're still standing. 

Debris flew as the arms and claws of heavy cranes formed dingy yellow arches that didn't exactly come together neatly to create a big M.     

POSTED: Monday, August 8, 2011, 10:51 AM
Franklin Moose captains the kayak, while his owner, Aimee James, and her friend, Sean Nichols, paddle up the Delaware River Photo taken by Jan Hefler

Lots of dogs love to swim.  Our yellow lab takes dips in our pool and even dove off the board a few times.  It wasn't her idea.  My children coaxed her to the edge and then threw her favorite squeaky into the water.  Plunk! 

But it is a rare dog that will stand on the bow of a kayak and brave the strong currents of the Delaware River.

I watched in awe last week as Franklin Moose, a spry Jack Russell Terrier, stepped into the water and then clambered aboard a kayak.    

POSTED: Friday, August 5, 2011, 2:41 PM
anatomy of a helicopter

Lots of people in Marlton don't want a helipad to be built on a parking lot off Route 73.  The copters are  noisy.  Geese might fly into the rotors.  Motorists who look up might crash.    

While the complaints swirled, the town council and mayor were messaging each other on smart phones to figure out how to get the project off the ground. 

Now, Burlco's top prosecutor is scolding the officials for resorting to emails to debate the project.  They violated a state law that says town business should be discussed out in the open.  Sure, emails and texts are faster.  But whatever happened to public meetings? 

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

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