On his recent people-to-people horticultural study trip to Cuba, Michael Herman said he learned that Cubans love Americans.

“In school, they were taught to hate the (U.S.) government and love the people,” said Herman, of Egg Harbor Township, who traveled in a group led by National Public Radio’s Mike McGrath, of “You Bet Your Garden.”

He loved seeing national parks, farms and gardens, but was really bowled over by all the old cars on the island.

“Before I thought it would just be a few taxis,” he said. But he found that the majority of vehicles in Cuba are old American cars from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

“I saw a ’47 Ford go by with 12 people in it on their way to work. And that was normal transportation,” he said. “One night we went out to dinner in a ’37 Ford, and I sat in the rumble seat. Another night we took a ’55 Dodge convertible taxi.”

They keep them running by making their own replacement parts, he said.

“There are a lot of machinists and tool and dye shops,” he said. “It’s the only way they can do it,” because they can’t get American products because of embargoes.

Everyone in the tour had been told to bring little gifts to give people as part of their service tips.

“A musician brought guitar strings,” Herman said. “I brought baseball hats and baseballs. I gave a Yankee hat to a porter, and the look on his face was like I gave him $100.”

For photos of Herman’s trip, click on this story at

Thomas DePaul in Naval Academy

Wildwood Catholic High School senior Thomas DePaul has received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy for the Class of 2018, said the school’s director of development, Kevin M. Quinn.

Thomas will join David Von Savage, a member of Wildwood Catholic’s Class of 2011, in Annapolis, Quinn said.

Alumni award nominees sought

Atlantic Cape Community College’s Alumni Association Advisory Committee is seeking nominations for the college president’s Distinguished Alumni Award, recognizing graduates for professional, personal, public or community-based accomplishments.

To nominate an Atlantic Cape graduate by Friday, March 21, visit atlantic.edu/alumni/. The recipient will be announced at graduation May 22.

Past recipients include psychologist Valerie Travis-Reese; Katherine M. Morris, a partner at Cooper Levenson, Attorneys at Law; Michael R. Rann, of Michael R. Rann Law Offices LLC; and Janice DeCicco Fipp, superintendent of the Northfield School District.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

609-272-7219, MPost@pressofac.com

Worked as a reporter for various weekly newspapers in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties before joining The Press many moons (and editors) ago as a business copy editor. Passionate about journalism, averse to serial commas.