Turns out that jME 2 is under active development. Just no releases planned at the moment, so I pulled from svn (though I wouldn't do that with Spring for a production system). And I also pulled jME Physics 2 from svn (though it seems less active).
I had to toy around with things for a while, but I got it all happy in Eclipse and building jars with Ant (some hints, though I didn't follow instructions exactly). I also got the rag doll demo running in a separate project referencing the built jars (and native libs). Just 2 relatively readable files. Much simpler than the JBullet rag doll demo and number of classes I had to copy over there.
So, I think jME looks like a nice way to go, if I continue working on a simulated world environment. (And yes, I know about Player and Gazebo. I'll probably end up using that some, too, though perhaps for different purposes such as simulating more common robot systems.)
Some effort has gone in to supporting JBullet under jME Physics, but it's definitely not under active, public development. I haven't even looked to see if the project is from the same person as in the forum. Still, it could be a start if I care enough. The ODE wrapper seems to work for now, and LWJGL is native anyway.