Month: November 2019

2019 Annual Allentown, NJ Tree Lighting Celebration

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH) — The annual Allentown Tree Lighting was held on November 30, 2019. The lighting is hosted by the Allentown Economic Development Commission and the Allentown Business Community Association. The Stone Bridge Middle School Redbird Singers were singing Christmas Carols. There was free cider at The Moth Coffeehouse. There was free cocoa and cookies at Bruno’s Bicycles and One Sweet Ride. The Hope Fire Company will escort Santa to the Allentown Public Library.

Photos by: Dennis Symons, Jr. Dennis Symons Photography

Millstone Township BSA Troop 116 Holds Eagle Court of Honor

November 30, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Millstone Township, Boy Scouts of America, Troop 116 held an Eagle Court of Honor today. Six Scouts made the Rank of Eagle Scout, it is the the highest rank in BSA an honor that only 2 to 4% of all Scouts achieve. Luke D. DePinho, Jordan Daniel Lisnow, Nicholas Luke Meier, Noah Lee Meier, Andrew Joseph Raccuglia, and Jared Scott Skidmore obtained the highest rank in the BSA as Eagle Scout.

Updated: Serious Bus Accident on NJ Turnpike, One Fatality Reported, Several Injured

November 29, 2019 (updated 11/30/2019 to include official information from NJSP)

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP–One person has died in a bus accident on the NJ Turnpike and several others had moderate to minor injuries. A bus traveling south on the NJ Turnpike was en route from New York City to Philadelphia, PA., NJ State Police said.

The south bound bus was in the area of mile marker 56.9 lost control and ran off the roadway by the Crosswicks Creek Bridge. It appears the guardrail and barrier had kept the bus from falling off the embankment of the bridge and into the creek below.

The Robbinsville Township Fire Department, IAFF Local #3786, Bordentown Township Fire Department IAFF Local #3091 were dispatched at 8:49 pm, also numerous first aid squads were requested and responded to the scene.

New Jersey State Police said that there were at least 20 passengers on board the bus at the time of crash and some passengers left the scene on their own.

There were seven injuries reported, six were minor and one moderate. The one “moderately” injured person had to be extricated and was transported to Capital Health in Hopewell. One injury was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton and five refused treatment.

The NJ State Police did not release the name of the deceased, pending notification of family members.

The bus was operated by Skyliner Travel and Tours Bus Corp from Astoria, NY

A Hyundai traveling behind the bus was damaged by debris of the crash but did not impact the bus. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the NJ State Police.

Christmas Lighting Ceremony and Santa Parade

November 29, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HIGHSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–The Annual Christmas Lighting of the Highstown Engine Company #1 lights and Santa Parade was held on November 29, 2019. Santa was escorted to the firehouse in a parade of fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and a float of Hightstown High School Softball players. When Santa got to the firehouse he threw the big light switch to light the firehouse Christmas lights. Santa proceeded upstairs to meet children and hear their Christmas wishes and have a photo take with Santa. The Girl Scouts also sang Christmas carols during the event.

The 8th Annual Black Friday Fun Run

November 29, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The 8th Annual Black Friday Fun Run to help the Special Olympics New Jersey was held today at the Robbinsville Town Center gazebo. The run has raised well over $42,500. since 2012 for Special Olympics New Jersey.

The run started at 10 a.m. with runners in the front completing 2 laps around the lake. Walkers started in the back completing 1 lap around the Town Center Lake. This was a “fun run” no official time is kept. Door prizes were held after the event

Traffic Safety Message

November 29, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–A few days ago I received a message and a snap telling me that “the sign got hacked” there is a funny message on it, and that was not the case. The Robbinsville Police Department used some humor to try and bring education to the public about the use of drugs and driving. Hopefully this humorous message reminds people of the seriousness not to drive while using drugs or drinking. This was a great idea and brought good attention to the cause to keep us safe on the roads.

Dancer, Clifton district awarded more than $3.25 million in transportation grants

November 29, 2019
TRENTON, N.J. – Thirteen municipalities in the 12th legislative district will receive more than $3.25 million in grants from the Department of Transportation, Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Rob Clifton announced today.
“This funding will help get vital roadway projects moving and will make much-needed improvements for the benefit of motorists,” said Dancer (R-Ocean).
The towns in Dancer and Clifton’s district will use the money for roadway preservation, one of the seven project categories under the municipal aid program. The others include roadway safety, quality of life, mobility, bikeway, pedestrian safety and bridge preservation.
“Local commuters and families deserve safer roads, resurfaced roads and peace of mind when travelling in our district. These funds will provide a better and safer experience,” said Clifton (R-Monmouth).
NJDOT provides 75 percent of the grant amount when a town awards a contract and the remaining 25 percent upon completion of the project.
The following towns and projects in district 12 have been awarded funding:

Municipality                     Grant Amount         Name of Project
Chesterfield Township $244,000.00 Sykesville Rd Improvements Phase II
New Hanover Township $244,000.00 Cookstown Hockamick Road
North Hanover Township $240,000.00 Schoolhouse Road Phase II
Old Bridge Township $312,338.00 Phillips Drive Improvements
Allentown Borough $180,000.00 Improvements to Waldron Road, Quinn Road, and Hamilton Street
Englishtown Borough $154,000.00 Heritage Drive and Raymond Court Improvements
Manalapan Township $270,000.00 Improvements to Gordons Corner Road
Matawan Borough $200,000.00 Overbrook Lane Improvements
Millstone Township $180,000.00 Nurko Road
Roosevelt Borough $255,000.00 Improvements to School Lane
Upper Freehold Township $330,000.00 Burlington Path Road
Jackson Township $425,000.00 Improvements to Wright DeBow Road, Phase II
Plumsted Township $218,000.00 Tower Road Resurfacing

Basement Fire Leaves Person With Severe Burns

November 28, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Firefighters were dispatched to the 200 block of Windsor Road at 4:11 pm, for a basement fire. Upon arrival of Robbinsville’s “Squad 40” engine they found heavy smoke showing and a large volume of fire coming from the basement. Crews pulled 2 lines to the rear basement access and proceed with an aggressive interior attack.

While Robbinsville’s fire crew was conducting the fire attack a burn victim was being treated by Robbinsville’s EMS crew and was transported to Capitol Health System at Fuld Trauma Unit in Trenton. The person was reported to have severe burns and was flown from the trauma unit in Trenton to St Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ to be treated by their burn unit.

Mutual aid from Hightstown Station 41, East Windsor Station 42, Hamilton Township Fire Departments: Nottingham Station 17, Groveville Station 19, Mercerville Station 12. A tanker task force was called and sending a tanker from Allentown Station 82, Millstone Township Station 32-1, Cranbury Station 48 all responded to the scene.

The fire is under investigation by the Robbinsville Township Fire Marshal

Steinert at Hamilton Thanksgiving Day Football Game

November 28, 2019

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP–The Annual Steinert vs Hamilton Thanksgiving Day Football Game was played at West today. Final Score was Steinert 0 Hamilton West 24. Here is a photo gallery of the game, half time video and post game events:

Hamilton High West Marching Band Half Time Show Thanksgiving Day 2019

Firefighters Battle Truck Fire on NJ Turnpike

November 27, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP–Hightstown Engine Company #1 firefighters were called to the NJ Turnpike at 8:04 pm to Mile Marker 68.5 South Bound for a well involved truck fire.

Upon arrival of the first responding units firefighters found a 53 foot length moving truck fire well involved in fire. Mutual aid fire departments were called from Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Cranbury Fire Department, Monroe Township Fire Department, East Windsor Fire Company.

No further information was available, firefighters were still on scene at time of this report.

NJ State Police Team Up With Mercer County Chapter of Sunshine Foundation for Gifting Thanksgiving Baskets

November 27, 2019 by NJSP

Earlier this week, Sergeant Burek and members from the Central Lab teamed up with the Sunshine Foundation Mercer County Chapter to donate Thanksgiving baskets to some much-deserving families.

The Sunshine Foundation’s mission is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children ages 3 to 18, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to financial strain that the child’s illness may cause.

Sgt. Burek has been a part of this organization for many years—not always from the helping side—but as a recipient of foundation’s genorosity.

At the age of 18 months, Sgt. Burek’s sister was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor in her left kidney. As a family of five with a sick child, his family struggled emotionally and financially. The Sunshine Foundation contacted his family and granted them a trip to their Dream Village in Florida and tickets to Disney World for a week. This trip gave his family the opportunity to have some fun and get away from the daily trips to St. Christopher’s hospital in Philadelphia.

His sister ended up beating cancer, however her kidney stopped functioning due to chemotherapy. She endured 2 years of dialysis before receiving a kidney transplant at the age of 15. She is now 32 years old and married with a child of her own.

Since 2006, Sgt. Burek has had the opportunity to represent the New Jersey State Police as a chaperon on the Mercer County Chapter Sunshine Foundation’s annual trip to Disney World, which departs from the Mercer County Airport on the first Tuesday in May.

Having been a part of this foundation for so many years and personally understanding the impact a sick child can have on a family, members from the Central Lab teamed up with the Sunshine Foundation’s Mercer County Chapter to provide a little help to deserving families for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Sunshine Foundation was started in the 1960’s by a Philadelphia police officer named Bill Sample, who was assigned to a local children’s hospital. He encountered critically and terminally ill children and saw firsthand how their families were burdened not only by mounting medical bills, but also by the frustration of not being able to provide their children’s special dream.

For more info on the Sunshine Foundation please visit

Benson, McKnight & Jasey Bill to Address Disparities in NJ School Discipline Stats Advances in Legislature

Measure to Create Restorative Justice in Education Pilot Programs

(TRENTON) – Working toward addressing the striking disparities found in New Jersey school discipline statistics, legislation that would create a statewide program aiming to reduce racial disparities in school discipline; improve the socio-emotional and behavioral responses of students through intervention; and decrease recidivism rates among students who violate school district code of conduct advanced in the Assembly Monday.

            The bill (A-3519) was approved by the full body, 59-13-2, during an afternoon voting session. It is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Angela McKnight and Mila Jasey.

“As school districts seek to adopt restorative justice practices, it is crucial for the state Department of Education to play a role, through this pilot, to develop best practices and provide guidance,” said Benson (D-Mercer Middlesex). “Ultimately, our goal is reduce truancy and violence in schools by ensuring groups that often are disproportionately affected by school discipline, such as racial and religious minorities, victims of school bullying and violence, as well as those living with mental illness, are seen and heard. Implementing restorative justice practices can ensure not only that discipline is more effective, but that the needs of the school community and those affected by the student’s actions are considered in any post discipline remedy.”

The bill directs the Commissioner of Education to establish a three-year “Restorative Justice in Education Pilot Program” to implement restorative justice practices in the public schools. “Restorative justice” is defined as a system of dispute resolution tools that allows all parties of a dispute to be involved in defining the harm and devising remedies while giving the necessary attention to community safety, victims’ needs, and the need for offender accountability. 

 “The joint Senate and Assembly Education Committees held hearings on school security during this session. The impact of restorative justice programs and how they can help foster safer and healthier school environments was brought to our attention,” said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), who chairs the Assembly Higher Education Committee and sits on the Assembly Education Committee. “We have to look at redefining how we correct our children’s behavior in schools and look into alternative methods such as restorative justice practices.”

“How a child’s behavior is addressed at home and in our schools can either nurture or change the course of their future,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “We raise a child as we want them to go, with the understanding that a mistake does not have to be repeated and it doesn’t have to chart their path in life. Restorative justice programs may be just what we need to change the startling school discipline statistics in New Jersey and create safe, positive school environments for our children and staff.”

The principal of a school selected to participate in the pilot program would be required to limit the number and duration of student expulsions and suspensions to the greatest extent practicable.  The principal must demonstrate a commitment to exhausting other forms of non-exclusionary discipline prior to using out-of-school suspensions or expulsions.  The bill further requires that a school district selected to participate must provide ongoing professional development to teachers and other staff on:

×          The adverse consequences of the exclusion of students from school and their involvement in the juvenile justice system;

×          Effective classroom management strategies; culturally responsive discipline; and

×          Developmentally appropriate disciplinary methods that promote a positive and healthy school climate.

The program would be established within 6 months of the bill’s enactment.  Selected by the Commissioner from applications received by willing school districts, five districts in each of the southern, central, and northern regions of the State would participate in the program.  The Commissioner would provide any necessary guidance, support, and training to participating schools.

The bill will now go to the Senate for final legislative review.

Benson, DeAngelo & Pinkin Bill to Require Boil Water Notices to Be Delivered Expeditiously to Mayor and City Clerk Passes Assembly

Measure Stems from Trenton Water Works Concerns

(TRENTON) – Ensuring municipalities are able to help quickly inform residents of boil water notices, a bill sponsored by Assembly members Dan Benson, Wayne DeAngelo and Nancy Pinkin requiring boil water notices are given to the mayor and the city clerk within one hour of testing cleared the full Assembly Monday, 74-0. It will now go to the Governor for further review.

“Residents should learn immediately of an issue with their water to take the necessary precautions for their families,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “The first step is supplying that information to municipal leaders to help notify families.”

This legislation (A-2423) responds to a series of issues arising from Trenton Water Works (TWW). In January 2018, the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued four violations after the failure of a filter went undetected for more than a month. Benson and DeAngelo are sponsors of multiple bills aiming to address the concerns raised over the last year, including failing to promptly notify residents of boil water notices.

“We’ve been working to improve communication and services for water utilities not just in Trenton but throughout the state,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “This another step in protecting public health and ensuring residents know when, and as soon as possible, there is a concern with their drinking water.”

“A municipality has a better chance of protecting their residents from problems if they are aware of the issue immediately,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “This is common sense legislation that will help residents and municipalities stay informed.”

The bill would require the owner or operator of a public water system to provide notice to the mayor and municipal clerk of each municipality that receives water from the public water system when a boil water notice is in effect, regardless of whether the notice is in effect for that specific municipality.  Notifications would be made via telephone and electronic mail as soon as possible, but no later than one hour after the public water system learns of the contamination.

The notice would be in addition to any other notice required by State or federal law and would contain: name of the public water system affected; geographical area affected; date of the occurrence; consumer corrective measures to be taken; and a telephone number where customers may reach an appropriate party. Upon the boil water notice being rescinded, the bill would also require the owner or operator of the public water system to provide notice via both telephone and electronic mail to the affected municipalities.

Mark Your Calendar, Santa To Visit Robbinsville by Fire Engine on December 14, 2019

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!!


Facebook Event Page

The Robbinsville Township Fire Department and the Robbinsville Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 3786 will escort Santa Claus through Robbinsville Township for his annual visit on Saturday, December 14th beginning at 11am.


Santa will also attempt to make his way to every neighborhood with a schedule reflecting the time/neighborhood.

When posted, the schedule will be a TENTATIVE schedule only and Santa’s arrival times are simply estimates. Santa may arrive slightly earlier or later than listed depending on the duration of prior stops or any emergency calls that we may have to respond to during the event. On the day of the event a “Santa Tracker” will be posted showing his exact location.

The tracker will be posted on this Facebook page and the Robbinsville Professional Firefighters Association – IAFF Local 3786 page.

Additional details to follow.

Hamilton Township Police Ask For Help to Identify Suspect

By: Hamilton Township Police Press Release

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)—On November 25, 2019, Hamilton Police were detailed to Russo’s Music Store at 1989 Arena Drive, on a report of a shoplifting. The pictured suspect was seen via video surveillance inquiring with employees about a guitar then ran from the store with the guitar without paying for it. The suspect fled in the direction of Arena Drive on foot while store employees gave chase. Store employees eventually lost sight of the suspect a short distance from the store.

The suspect is described as a white male wearing a baseball style cap, a gray jacket with a black hood, dark colored pants and light-colored sneakers. The suspect’s baseball cap had a white design on the front.

Hamilton Detectives are asking for the publics’ assistance in identifying the suspect involved in this incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Joseph Lalacci of the Criminal Investigations Section at (609) 689-5822 or via email: The public can also leave a message on the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline (609) 581-4008.

Many East Ski Resorts Are Ready For Your Thanksgiving Holiday

November 27, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HUNTER, NY–Cold air earlier this month and a recent snowstorm has benefited many east cost resorts for early openings and should provide great conditions for your holiday weekend.

On a Pre-Thanksgiving trip to Hunter Mountain, NY snowplows were finishing pushing snow out of parking lots around the resort. Hunter was open with 3 lifts and 14 trails open with a base of 12″ to 36″ and a 7″ natural snowfall this season so far. During this trip weather was in the 50s and conditions were great with coverage edge to edge on open trails.

Some reports from several north east ski resorts, always check the resort’s website for the current conditions and operating hours prior to heading to the mountains.

Blue Mountain, PA will re-open Friday November 29, 2019

Big Boulder, PA will re-open Friday November 29, 2019

Hunter, NY open check report for latest

Belleayre, NY Opening Day Friday November 29, 2019

Gore Mountain, NY will open Friday November 29, 2019

Mount Snow, VT open 21 trails 201 acres open.

Stratton, VT 26 of 99 trails open.

Okemo, VT Check report

Killington, VT Open Check report.

Stowe, VT open check report.

Jay Peak, VT re-open Friday November 29, 2019

Jared Robinson on snowboard checking out conditions

Conover Road Open, Realignment Completed

November 25, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

EAST WINDSOR, NJ–The Conover Road-Hankins Road Realignment Project at Route 130 is completed. The roadway was reopened this evening and construction crews were taking down some of the detour signs this evening.

The project was originally estimated to finish on December 1, 2019 as reported in the previous update on the project, but opened a few days early.

As several residents have stated this was one of the most dangerous intersections in the area and should bring some relief to residents using this intersection.

Conover road was rerouted though an area that once was a driveway for a bar called the “Windsor Manor” and now the roads meet at the traffic light at Hankins Road.

Dancer bill issuing state flags to residents accepted to U.S. service academies advances to governor’s desk

November 25, 2019
TRENTON, N.J. – Following today’s Assembly vote, a bill (A4233) requiring the Adjutant General to issue state flags to all residents enrolling in one of the five federal service academies will go to Gov. Murphy for his signature.
“We are so proud of the young men and women from New Jersey who earn acceptance into one of the nation’s prestigious service academies,” said Assemblyman Ron Dancer, a prime sponsor of the bill.
Acceptance rates for the United States Military, Naval, Air Force, Merchant Marine, and Coast Guard academies range from 9 to 18 percent. Applicants for every academy, except the Coast Guard, need a nomination from the vice president or a member of Congress. In exchange for free tuition, applicants must commit to military service after graduation.
“No matter where their service takes them, home will always be New Jersey. I hope that ‘liberty and prosperity’ reminds them of our state’s gratitude for their commitment to defending our country, and I hope they fly it proudly,” said Dancer (R-Ocean).

The Senate passed the bill unanimously in October.

Assembly passes Dancer bill permitting electronic proof of vehicle registration

November 25, 2019
TRENTON, N.J. – Drivers may soon be able to show electronic proof of registration under a bill (A5752) sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer and passed by the Assembly today.
“We are living in a digital age, so it makes sense that we lessen the stress of finding a paper document and allow drivers to show proof of registration electronically,” said Dancer (R-Ocean).
This is not the first time Dancer pushed to modernize the Motor Vehicle Commission. In 2016, Dancer sponsored a bill that was signed by Gov. Chris Christie to study the feasibility of issuing digital driver’s licenses through a mobile app.
“People are rarely without their phones. We have to keep up with technology and offer drivers the convenience and accessibility they have become accustomed to,” said Dancer. “Allowing drivers to show proof of insurance and registration on their phone makes the process easier and safer for both the officer and driver.”
In 2015, Gov. Christie signed legislation to allow proof of auto insurance to be displayed either physically through a paper card or electronically via a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. The practice is now permitted in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Under this bill, the Motor Vehicle Commission must publish rules and regulations addressing the issuance, design and content of electronic registration certificates, as well as the deterrence and detection of counterfeit or fraudulent certificates.
Electronic proof of vehicle registration is currently permitted in Tennessee and Michigan.
The bill unanimously cleared the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on Monday. It passed the Assembly 74-0 today.

Main Street Robbinsville Closed Due to Car Crash Into Pole

November 23, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ–The Robbinsville Township Police and Fire Departments were summoned to a car crash at Route 33 and Lake Drive. Moments later another crash into a utility pole was reported on Main Street in Robbinsville near Route 33.

Robbinsville Fire Department ambulance transported patients from the first accident, a second ambulance was called from Hamilton to transport the patient from the car into the utillity pole.

PSE&G was called to make repairs and replace the utility pole. Robbinsville Police have Main Street shut down so PSE&G can do their work. There may be some temporary power failures until the repairs are made.

Robbinsville Police Department is still on scene at time of this report conducting their investigation and performing traffic control around main street.

Use caution traffic lights could be out in the area of Main Street and Route 33, and also Pond Road and Robbinsville-Allentown Road until repairs are completed.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Millstone Scouts Collect over 1,250 lbs food

November 22, 2019

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ–Scouts are HELPFUL As we move into the season of giving, the scouts from Pack 116 in Millstone Township held their annual Scouting for Food drive and collected over 1,250 lbs of food and other non-perishable items that were donated to the Caring Hearts Food Pantry, also in Millstone. (

Scouts ranging in age from 5-10 years old collected food from friends, neighbors and family, then sorted and stacked food on the shelves of the food pantry last Friday evening. 

For more information about joining Pack 116, please visit

Multiple Vehicle Burglaries in Upper Freehold and Millstone Township

November 23, 2019

By: NJ State Police


The New Jersey State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a man who committed multiple vehicle burglaries earlier today between the hours of 1 a.m and 4 a.m. in the townships of Millstone and Upper Freehold, Monmouth County.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6 feet tall, stocky build, wearing a green-hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and gray and white sneakers.

The suspect was observed entering unlocked motor vehicles and removing items.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police Hamilton Station at 609-584-8115.

As always, we urge residents to lock their vehicles and keep valuables out of sight.

Anonymous tips are welcome.

Fire Under Investigation at House That Was Being Renovated

November 23, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ–Firefighters were dispatched to a house fire in the 100 Block of Gary Drive this afternoon. It was reported over the radio that the alarm was going off all day and now smoke was coming from the house. Firefighters arrived to find a fire in one of the bedrooms and stretched a 1 3/4″ line to extinguish the fire. The fire was quickly extinguished. Hamilton Township Fire Department Stations 17, 13, 18, 16 as well as Robbinsville Twp Fire Department Station 40 responded to the scene.

Fire Investigators from Hamilton were on scene at the time of this report. The Hamilton Township Building Department was also responding.

Hightstown Engine Co. # 1 Christmas Tree & Wreath Sales

November 23, 2019

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ–The Highstown Engine Co. # 1 received a shipment of fresh Christmas Trees this morning. The Fire Department will be selling those starting this afternoon, and open every day until sold out. Hours Monday to Friday 4:30 pm to 9 pm, Weekends 8 am to 9 pm. The fire department will provide free local delivery for your tree. All trees are $60.00, exception really tall trees which are $100.00 The fire company will also be taking orders for blankets and wreaths. The fire company is located in the center of town at 140 N Main St, Hightstown, NJ 08520

NJ Senate Bill S 4204 Will Harm “Independent Contractors” in Current Form

November 22, 2019


When I started this website I was not going to write opinion pieces or editorials since this directly will harm me here is the first opinion piece:

TRENTON, NJ—I started in the “news business” around 1987 photographing for the now defunct Messenger Press in Allentown, NJ. I was in college at the time and brought some photographs into the Messenger Press to see if they would want to run them and they did, I was now “published” The editor told me to send them a bill for $15. Per photo for a total of $30.

For a college kid at the time that was pretty good money for photographs, I could get a tank of gas and a few rolls of film to keep me going. The editor liked my photographs enough to start sending me on assignments as a “freelance photographer” also known as “stringer” As I would find out this is how many entered into news organizations eventually working their way  up to full time employment or a regular part time employee of the news organization.

On assignments I would meet others from different media organizations and was offered additional jobs as a stringer at the time and ended up working for around 13 newspapers and magazines. As a stringer I owned the rights to my work so when a magazine such as Sports Illustrated called looking for a photograph of a football player, I would then sell my photo directly to SI.

Over the years I would generate enough income to have 1099 forms sent to me at the end of the year for non-employee compensation also known as a “independent contractor” I had to do  lot of things they did not teach you in high school or college such as, register as a business, learn accounting, learn to file taxes, open checking accounts, sales negotiations, contracts, inventory, equipment purchases, collect and pay sales taxes and many other things that it takes to run a small business.

A good majority of people working in the news business are also stringers or freelancers. Photographers, writers, editors, delivery persons, and the list goes on and on of all who are employed to bring you the news.

Over the past few years the news business has taken a massive hit from online publishing and the recession of 2007, and has never really recovered. Many newspapers are no longer published, some larger organizations merged, laying off and consolidating staff, many news organizations no longer send reporters or photographers out for a story, they rarely even use stringers as much anymore. Everyone has a phone with a camera so why not get the photographs for free though social media, and of course used with permission for a “photo credit” that pays nothing.

The news still needs to be reported but, larger traditional news organizations can afford to have several full time and part time regular employees. News gathering, editing and publishing takes a lot of time and most have staff large enough to cover the daily operation. When multiple events happen and there are not enough employees to cover everything, so editors reach out to the stringers. Not to mention stringers usually cover regular employees while they are on FMLA, out sick, on vacation, regular time off or a host of other issues when a regular employee would not be able to make an assignment. Other times stringers are useful are during “spot news” events a stringer can sometimes get there faster and able to cover a breaking news story while a staff photographer is tied up on an assignment.

One of the dangers to our democracy is that as we lose newspapers, magazines and other media, we also lose the watch dog that keeps government and others in check. Losing more freelance journalists will just accelerate the process.

Fresh out of college, a fresh start switching careers, or maybe as a second job just trying to make ends meet, being an independent contractor is a great way to try and make it.

New Jersey State Senate President, Stephen M. Sweeney has proposed Senate Bill S-4204 that restricts the ability of employers to use legitimate services of independent contractors and it appears this bill has been “fast tracked” to rush it though the legislature. It is understandable the Senator is trying to stop misclassification of independent contractors that should be bona fide employees and that is understandable. The wording with the current bill pretty much eliminates most independent contractors and will put them out of business causing harm to this already sensitive economy.

It is time to call and write your legislators to have them modify NJ Senate Bill S-4204 to keep private contractor’s jobs alive.

This issue bleeds over to other industries but I am writing on my experiences as a private contractor since 1987.

The State is after UBER, Lyft, delivery services and private trucking companies by having current private contractors forced to become employees of the company. The current version of the bill applies to most all independent contractors, if they pass a certain level that would require them to become a regular employee rather than be an independent contractor. This could include coaches, referees, fitness trainers, sports trainers, artists, photographers, sales, writers, photographers, entertainment, and the list goes on.

Use this link to find and write your legislature to save “Independent Contractor” jobs and appose NJ Senate Bill S-4204 in its current form.

I have worked 32 years on and off as a stringer/private contractor for news organizations and support our freedoms as Americans to decide whom and when we want to work. Private individuals acting as contractors should not be forced to become an “employee” of the organization and should have the freedom to choose who they want to work for. NJ Senate Bill S-4204 is a classic government overreach in its current form and needs to be changed.

DiMaso calls independent contractor bill ‘economically devastating’
TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Monmouth) issued a statement in response to legislation that would severely impact the number of residents working as independent contractors:
“I’ve had dozens of calls, emails, and text messages from people terrified about what will happen to their livelihood,” said DiMaso (R-Monmouth). “How can we even be considering placing these sorts of economic restrictions on the countless New Jerseyans who are independent contractors? It is further troubling that we are pushing this through the legislature so quickly when it would have economically devastating effects to so many independent contractors.”

Mark Your Calendars for Holiday Events

November 22, 2019 (List will be updated at events are scheduled)

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

Friday November 29, 2019:

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ–Christmas Lighting Ceremony and Santa Parade sponsored by Hightstown Engine Company # 1 Ladies Auxiliary. The event starts at 6:30 pm. The Santa parade will begin at Leshin Lane down South Main Street through the center of town to the firehouse. The “Man in Red” will end up at the firehouse to pull the switch to turn on the holiday lights in the downtown area. Everyone is then invited into the firehouse where the children may visit with Santa and have their picture taken ($3.00 each) and enjoy refreshments.

Saturday November 30, 2019:

10 am to 6 pm:

ALLENTOWN, NJ–ABCA, Allentown Business Community Association–Small Business Saturday. Shop in and around Allentown, NJ for Small Business Saturday on Saturday November 30, 2019 between 10 am and 6 pm As you shop tag your Instagram, Twitter, and other social media with #ShopSmall to help spread the word about Small Business Saturday

6 pm:

ALLENTOWN, NJ– Allentown Annual Tree Lighting on Saturday, November 30th at 6PM at Pete Sensi Park hosted by ACBA, Allentown Business Community Association and Allentown Economic Development Commission. The event will have Stone Bridge Middle School Red Bird Singers, free cider at the Moth Coffee House, free cocoa and cookies at Bruno’s Bicycles-One Sweet Ride, Hope Fire Company will escort Santa to the Allentown Public Library Association and more. Follow this link for more information.  

Tuesday December 3, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ–Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Celebration at the Robbinsville Senior Center 1117 Route 130, Robbinsville, NJ (municipal complex) Events start at 5 pm. Arts and Crafts sponsored by C.A.R.E., Gingerbread House Displays by Girl Scouts, Photos with Santa, Free Hot Chocolate by David Bradley, Robbinsville High School Choir, and Tree and Menorah Lighting.

December 6 & 7, 2019

HAMILTON, NJ–Hamilton Winter Wonderland Event held at Kuser Farm Park, on Friday and Saturday December 6 & 7, 2019 from 5 pm to 8 pm on both nights. This is a free to attend event. This beloved annual event, which is a favorite among families with young children, includes a number of exciting activities for children, such as:      

  • Christmas Tree Lighting Friday, December 6 at 6pm
  • Food Drive: Non-perishable foods to be collected
  • Toy Drive: Collection of unwrapped new children’s toys
  • Visit Santa’s Village (free photo with Santa)
  • Ride our “Holiday Express Train”
  • Petting Zoo
  • Tour historic Kuser Mansion (decorated for the holidays)
  • Jersey Valley Model Railroad Club display (in Mansion basement) 
  • Take in the decorations and lights throughout Kuser Farm Park
  • Visit Santa’s Secret Workshop of crafters
  • Make your own “reindeer food” to help direct Rudolph 
  • Musical Entertainment
  • Food Vendors and more

December 7, 2019

PLUMSTED TOWNSHIP, NJ–An Olde Fashioned Tree Lighting Ceremony, Saturday December 7, 2019 at the Plumsted Township Municipal Building 121 Evergreen Road, New Egypt, NJ 08533. Event starts at 6 p.m. and will be held rain, snow or shine. Santa will make a special appearance by arriving on New Egypt Volunteer Fire Company’s fire engine. Take photographs with Santa. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Pop Warner will be singing carols, The Plumsted Township Council for the Arts will have the Gingerbread Contest from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Please bring a non-perishable food item(s) for the annual School Food Drive at the tree ceremony.

December 7 & 8, 2019

ALLENTOWN, NJ–ACBA, Allentown Business Community Association, Holiday Open House Weekend in Allentown. 10 am to 5 pm

December 8, 2019 (rain date December 15)

WEST WINDSOR, NJ–Annual Community Tree Lighting Ceremony Sunday December 8, 2019 at Ron Rogers Arboretum, Clarksville Road and County Road 571 event starts at 7 pm. Program will include a chior performance from the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, performance by WWP-South High School First Edition, and a fireworks display. There will also be free refreshments during the event.

December 9, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ–Friendly’s is sponsoring Holiday’s at the Foxmoor Shopping Center. There will be a Christmas Tree Lighting, Menorah Lighting, Visit by Santa Claus, Allentown High School Choir, Karaoke, and gifts for the kids. The event is held at Foxmoor Shopping Center and will start at 6 pm.

December 13, 2019

HAMILTON, NJ–Hamilton Little Lads Holiday Shopping Event, 400 Edward Ave, Hamilton, NJ 08610 Event will be from 5 pm to 9 pm

Amtrak Train Strikes Car On Tracks, Pedestrians Narrowly Escape Harm With Quick Action By PD, Toyota, 2 Police Cars Destroyed, Heavy Damage To Train, Driver Charged With DWI

November 20, 2019

WEST WINDSOR, NJ– For complex incidents such as this MidJersey News has decided to post the entire press release provided by the police department to retain accuracy in reporting. Ed Note: Knowing this area and covering many stories in the past, if it were not for the quick actions by the West Windsor Police not getting people out of the way of the train, this incident would of ended with fatalities. Good work WWTPD!

NCIDENT:   2019-32500 DWI, Amtrak Train Striking Vehicle on Tracks, Damage to (2) Marked Patrol Vehicles

DATE & TIME OCCURRED:  11/19/2019 at 11:57 pm

LOCATION OCCURRED:  West Bound Amtrak Train Track underneath Route #64 Bridge (just north of Washington Road at the Princeton Junction Train Station)

ACCUSED:  Amna S. Ahmed 23 year old A/F
                      Resident of Saddle Brook, NJ 07663

OFFICERS:  1)  Ptl. A. Pollini #99
                       2)  Ptl. B. Heath #103
                       3)  Ptl. C. Crawford #108


  1. Traffic Sgt. F. Bal #467
  2. Sgt. A. Magistro #473
  3. Traffic Officer F. LaTorre #68
  4. Det. E. Woodrow #101
  5. NJ Amtrak Police Department Police Officer G. Holman—Lead Investigator of Amtrak Train Collision

DETAILS:   At 11:57 pm on 11/19/2019, Patrol Units were detailed to the West Bound Train Tracks underneath the Route #64 bridge for a vehicle that was disabled on the Amtrak Train Track.  Ptl. Pollini arrived on scene in Car #11 while Ptl. Crawford parked nearby in his patrol car.  Upon arrival, Ptl. Pollini discovered the disabled vehicle, a 2012 Toyota Camry, facing in an easterly direction on the West Bound Amtrak Track.  The vehicle had been driven there by Amna S. Ahmed, who was on scene and met with Ptl. Pollini.  In addition, on an access road next to the train tracks was another vehicle, a white BMW, that was occupied by Amna’s father and sister, who had arrived to provide her assistance.  Dispatch began to make notifications to stop all train traffic due to the Toyota Camry being on a track and the persons in such close proximity to the train tracks.    
                   Immediately afterward, Ptl. Heath arrived on the scene and parked Car #4 directly behind the BMW.   As Ptl. Heath began exiting his vehicle, West Bound Amtrak Train #639 was approaching at a high rate of speed.  Ptl. Pollini began alerting everyone of the impending impact.  Ptl. Pollini, Ptl. Crawford, and Amna took cover behind a building along the tracks.  Amna’s sister & father remained in the BMW and the sister moved the car up slightly.  Ptl. Heath ran for cover behind the concrete bridge abutment as the Amtrak Train struck the Toyota Camry.  The  train struck the Toyota and sent heavy debris flying toward the area where our Officers had just been standing.  The Toyota was destroyed and sent directly into Car #11 which sustained extensive damage.  Car #4 sustained moderate damage, and the BMW had moderate damage after being pelted by a shower of debris from the Toyota.  Train #639 sustained heavy damage to the Engine Car #652 as well as numerous other trailing train cars.  Although the debris field was extensive and sent with such incredible force, no one was struck & there were no reported injuries due to the quick actions of our Officers.  The debris cone extended past Washington Road.  The train traffic disruption lasted approximately (3) hours.  As of the time of this release, all tracks are reportedly fully operational.     
                   Amna was determined to be DWI at the scene and was transported to WWPD Headquarters for processing.  Amna was issued summonses for Reckless Driving & DWI and released pending a future appearance at the West Windsor Municipal Court.    

**NOTE:  The still photographs are from In Car Camera Videos (Car #11 and Car #4) just prior to the impact of Train #639 and the Toyota Camry.    


DATE OF RELEASE: 11/20/2019

*Please note that charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Chief Garofalo has authorized the release of a portion of Video from this incident showing the Amtrak Train colliding with the Toyota Camry on the track track.  The Camry then strikes Car #11 violently as Ptl. Pollini and Ptl. Crawford lead Amna to cover behind a building.  

Lt. Lee

Dash from police car of collision. Viewer Discretion Advised:

Hope Fire Company Toy Collection Until Saturday November 30th for XTU Toy Truck Parade

ALLENTOWN, NJ–This holiday season, members of Hope Fire Company will be partnering with 92.5 WXTU Radio Station and other fire companies in the area to bring joy to families in need this holiday season.

NEW and UNWRAPPED toys collected will be loaded onto one of our decorated trucks and paraded to a designated location where they will then be handed off to representatives of the Military USO and members of The Boys & Girls Clubs.

Hope Fire Company will be taking donations from NOW until SATURDAY NOVEMBER 30th. There will be donation bins located outside of our main doors leading to our main parking lot. Whatever you can donate, no matter how big or small is always appreciated. Should you have any questions, you can message our Facebook Page or email

As always, we thank you for your support.

Update: Bill A-4800 Special Licence Plate for State Animal the Horse Passes Committee

November 17, 2019 Updated November 19, 2019

Update: I have revived a communication from Assemblyman Ron Dancer that Bill A-4800 passed the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee and will advance to the next process. See below:

“I am a co-sponsor of A4800 and am pleased to inform you that the bill passed Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on November 18, 2019. “

Ron Dancer
12th Legislative District

TRENTON, NJ–Assembly Transportation and Committee will hear the Bill A-4800 on Monday November 18, 2019 for creation of a special licence plate for NJ’s State Animal the horse. The bill originally introduced on December 10, 2018 is sponsored by: Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson, Co sponsored by Assemblymen Thompson and Dancer

Catherine Palsho, Beloved Tavern Owner Remembered

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ-Catherine Palsho a long time tavern owner in Robbinsville, passed away Friday at home. She will be remembered with a friendly smile and a warm hart. She loved her poodles and were always by her side while she greeted patrons of Ernie’s Tavern. See obituary below posted by Saul Funeral Homes:


Catherine Marie (McGee) Palsho, longtime and legendary proprietor of Ernie’s Tavern in Robbinsville, passed away peacefully at home with her family on November 15, 2019 at age 95. Her beloved poodle Piper was by her side.

The eldest of five children, Catherine was born in Tonawanda, NY, on June 12, 1924, to Anna (Schwenck) and Herbert McGee, who raised their family in their Victorian B&B and engaged Catherine at an early age in the hospitality industry that would later define her life and legacy.

After graduating from Lowville Academy, Catherine ventured from her hometown of Turin, NY, to attend Rider College in New Jersey. One day, a fortuitous loss of luggage at the Trenton train station put her in the path of Ernest (Ernie) Palsho, who was working at the railroad and helped retrieve her lost bag. The two were married on July 22, 1944.

In 1947 the pair purchased the Robbinsville Hotel, renaming it Ernie’s Old Robbinsville Hotel. Together with her husband, Catherine made Ernie’s a warm and welcoming community spot, while raising five children. A Philadelphia Eagles season-ticketholder, Catherine enjoyed golf and sharing her signature dishes — Buffalo wings and “Ma’s cutlet” – with family and friends. She loved roses and for decades cultivated a stunning garden in her backyard.

After Ernie’s passing in 1999, Catherine was determined that the tavern and its traditions continue. And they did. Patrons have enjoyed decades of lively Christmas Eve sing-alongs, popular Wednesday burger nights, and cold beers with neighbors, all with congenial Catherine at the helm. Catherine also ensured that the tavern actively gave back to the community she loved, sponsoring local sports teams and charity events.

Setting an amazingly high bar for rigor and work ethic, Catherine never entertained the notion of retiring and was in full command at the tavern until just before her passing. Thanks to Catherine, Ernie’s has operated continuously for 72 years, and continues to live on.

Catherine, of Scottish descent, was honored as Irish Person of the Year at the Robbinsville St. Patrick’s Day Parade and received a proclamation from the Robbinsville Mayor commending the longevity of her business. She was a member of the NJ Tavern Association, and a trustee of the Ernest C. Palsho Memorial Fund.

Known as “Ma” to her 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, she enjoyed gathering her large family at her Jersey Shore retreat, where she oversaw great-grandchildren crabbing on the same docks her children once did. She was a longtime member of the Gilford Park Yacht Club.

Predeceased by her parents; her loving husband of 54 years, Ernest C. Palsho; and her sister, Irene Marks; Catherine is survived by sister, Evelyn Moonan; brothers, William McGee (Emily) and Herbert McGee (Chrissy); daughters, Sandra Davall (Barry), Susan Hipple (John), JoAnn Hathazi, Cathy Lubbe (David); and son, Ernest Palsho, Jr. (Allison). She is also survived by grandchildren, Karin Warner (Tim), Jeffrey Davall (Susan), John, Kate and Jason Hipple, Susan (Dodi) Mahnovski (Sergej), Michael Hathazi (Lauren), Morgan and Julianna Lubbe, Ernest Palsho III and Hayley Palsho; as well as great-grandchildren, Katherine, Jack and Ava Warner, Micah Laborde Hipple, Henry, Faye and Benjamin Davall, and Adrian and Sebastian Mahnovski.

Visitation for family and friends will be held on Friday, November 22, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Saul Colonial Home, 3795 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square, NJ. Funeral services will be held Saturday, November 23, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at the Saul Colonial Home, with interment following at Princeton Memorial Park, Robbinsville, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ernest C. Palsho Memorial Fund online or mailed to the Ernest C. Palsho Memorial Fund, Community Foundation of New Jersey, Post Office Box 338, Morristown, NJ 07963-0338, The fund provides scholarships to college-bound Robbinsville students.