Month: December 2019

Robbinsville Fire Department, IAFF L-3786 Assists With Meals On Wheels

December 31, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–International Association of Fire Fighters, IAFF-Local 3786 members with the coordination of Robbinsville Twp. Meals on Wheels Executive Director, John Ward and Meals on Wheels volunteer Paul, delivered prepared meals to our home-bound residents. On some holidays the regular kitchen where the meals are prepared is closed. IAFF Local 3786 members, with the gracious assistance of Dolce & Clemente’s and The Robbinsville Starbucks helped prepare the meals so our members could deliver them this New Years Eve Day.

Crane Topples Over During Tree Removal

December 27, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP NJ (MERCER)—A crane being used for a backyard tree removal on Miry Brook Road lost its footing and toppled over causing it to crash into the home and a neighbor’s home during the process. The Hamilton Township Special Operations Command team and Hamilton Township Police Department Hazardous Materials Team were on scene controlling a fuel leak and overseeing the operation. Another crane was called to the scene to upright the toppled over crane as well as heavy duty tow units from Hawks Towing & Recovery. Hamilton Township Fire Department stations 12, 13, 19 and 16 responded to the scene.

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SUV Runs Off Bridge Crashing Into Creek Below

December 27, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HIGHSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)—A sport utility type vehicle traveling North Bound Outer Lanes just prior to Exit 8 (Highstown-East Windsor) lost control, crashed though a barrier, went over the retaining wall of the bridge and crashed into the “Rocky Brook” creek below a tributary of Peddie Lake. Highstown and Robbinsville Fire Departments and EMS were detailed to the scene at 10:52 a.m. December 27, 2019. Firefighters gained access to the vehicle using ladders to climb down to the patient in the vehicle. The patient was carried out from the area along the banks of the “Rocky Brook” to an area off Ward Street to a waiting ambulance. The patient was transported to the hospital. No other information is available at this time. Check back for further details when it becomes available.

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Santa Arrives In Allentown On Christmas Eve

December 24, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Santa has a long standing tradition of visiting Allentown just prior to embarking on his world wide tour on Christmas Eve. According to Hope Fire Company life member Buddy Farmer the tradition started around 1955 and has been a yearly tradition in the borough since.

Santa is known to land his sleigh in the sod field just behind the firehouse. While reindeer snack and get ready for their Christmas Eve duties Santa hitches a ride on the back of Hope Fire Company’s engine and delivers special gifts throughout town. By the time Santa completes his special visit to Allentown Borough the reindeer have been fed and are well rested to start their world journey on Christmas Eve.

Smith, Local Officials, Vets & Law Enforcement Honor Marine Vet Presented w Keys to ‘Smart Home’

December 23, 2019

HOWELL, NJ — Congressman Chris Smith today joined representatives from the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation, local elected officials, members of law enforcement and local veterans in honoring United States Marine Corporal Scott Nokes. Nokes received the keys from the foundation to a new “smart home” which was built specifically for him and his needs as a blind double amputee resulting from his service in Afghanistan.

   In 2003, Smith authored the Veterans Benefit Act (PL 108-183) that increased government funding to $50,000 for Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) programs for severely disabled servicemembers. The SAH government program helps veterans like Cpl. Nokes live independently but doesn’t cover the entire cost of home ownership. That’s where the Tunnels to Towers Foundations stepped in. Through a strong and committed network of donors and corporate partners, the Tunnels to Towers Foundation conveyed the home to Cpl. Nokes free of mortgage.

   “No one deserves this more than Corporal Nokes,” Smith said.  “He is a courageous marine with an indomitable spirit.”

Scout Pack 180 Holiday Activities

December 24, 2019

Allentown, NJ (MONMOUTH)– Allentown-Upper Freehold, Scout, Pack 180 had some busy scouts at the December meeting. Scouts participated in the NJ101.5 Better Bears collection, creating beaded candy canes, one to keep for a family tradition and one to pass along to the Princeton Hospital’s Cancer Center, and distributed to patients.

Scouts also assembled small wooden Christmas Trees for local first responders.

Here are some photos of our boys hard at work, our amazing volunteer parents and the some of our first responders recipients, Allentown Police Department, Hope Fire Company, and Allentown First Aid Squad. Pack 180 wishes all our scout families a happy holiday break! Pinewood Derby season is next!!!

Driver Flees Scene

December 23, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township Police and Fire Departments as well at the Robbinsville Township Fire Department were sent to the area of 8 Marlen Drive for a serious accident around 4:30 pm this afternoon. A car driven at high speeds in a 25 mph zone collided with a parked car and the driver fled the scene. A manhunt continued and it appeared an arrest was made as fire trucks were clearing the scene. It was unsure if the arrest being made was the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident.

No further information is available at the time of this report. Once more information becomes available an update will be given. Please check back for corrections and updates.

Ability Tree New Jersey Hosts Christmas Celebration in Robbinsville for Individuals & Families with Disabilities

Robbinsville, NJ– Robbinsville’s Pond Road Middle School was filled with laughter and cheer as Ability Tree New Jersey hosted its annual Christmas Party.  More than 200 guests and 50 volunteers from across the state created beautiful crafts, snapped festive photos in the photo booth, played games, caroled with the Lifetree Community Church choir, shared a meal from Chicken Holiday and coffee from the Robbinsville Starbucks, received gifts, played with therapy dogs from The Golden Halo Outreach, and of course spent time with the big man himself, Santa! Even Frosty the Snowman made an appearance this year! Toys for Tots and Autism NJ (with help from Amazon) generously donated hundreds of gifts!  

A faith-based, community-focused, 501c3 organization, Ability Tree New Jersey envisions families impacted by disability being accepted and supported in their local community, and enjoying healthy relationships in their neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and churches.  Ability Tree reaches out to families with special needs through recreation, education, support, and training (R.E.S.T.). Programs include recreation and respite nights for children with special needs and their siblingssibling scholarships for graduating seniors, and helping community organizations and events become more accessible. For adults with disabilities, Ability Tree NJ offers their hallmark Ability Camp each summer (July 13-17, 2020) and SociAbility events throughout the year. 

Robbinsville resident Dr. Natalie Schuberth, a practicing psychologist and Ability Tree New Jersey’s President, worked with a great team to organize the Christmas celebration.  “The Ability Tree NJ Christmas party one of my favorite days of the year and feels like a family reunion where we can connect with old friends and make new ones,” explained Schuberth.

To participate, volunteer, or donate to Ability Tree New Jersey, visit their website at 

More than $100,000 in Heroin Seized by the Mercer County Narcotics Task Force

December 20, 2019

The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force concluded a month-long investigation recently with
the seizure of more than $100,000 in heroin, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri
Onofri stated that, on Wednesday morning, December 18, 2019, detectives with the MCNTF
initiated surveillance of the investigation’s target, Bryan Capellan, as well as two residences he
utilizes in Hamilton. Detectives proceeded to execute search warrants at both locations, and
Mercer County Prosecutor’s Sergeant Joe Angarone utilized his K9 partner Bela to conduct
drug searches. Bela gave positive indications for the presence of a narcotics in a 2007 Crown
Victoria located at the residence in the 100 block of Marshall Avenue. During the search,
detectives located 11,650 bags of heroin, 400 grams of raw heroin, 50 grams of fentanyl, three
grams of marijuana and $19,291 in cash.
Onofri stated that the total amount of heroin seized has an approximate street value of
$107,000. The fentanyl has an approximate street value of $800.
Capellan, 31, was arrested at his residence on Deutz Avenue, Hamilton, and charged with
first-degree narcotics offenses. He is being held at the Mercer County Correction Center.
Officers with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, U.S.
Homeland Security Investigations, and the Hamilton, Princeton and Trenton police, under the
command of the prosecutor’s Special Investigations Unit, assisted with the investigation.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond
a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Planet Fitness Coming To Robbinsville

December 19, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—After over a month of rumors and speculation of another tenant coming to Foxmoor Shopping Center it is now official, Planet Fitness is coming to Foxmoor Shopping Center. Planet Fitness will occupy at least half the space of the former Marrazzo’s Thriftway after signing a 10 year lease with , Pennmark Properties. The building will be shared with the STEM Academy a school and childcare facility.

The project is expected to cost $4 to $5 million to renovate the building and get the space outfitted for both tenants, the project could be completed as early as May 2020.

As of September 30, 2019 Planet Fitness has 14.1 million members and 1,899 locations in 50 states,  District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Mexico. The Company’s mission is to enhance people’s lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which they call the “Judgement Free Zone”

At Planet Fitness standard membership fees run $10. Per month with access to the local location. To access all 1,899 clubs, all amenities, and bring a guest every workout, the PF Black Card runs $22.99 per month. Many Planet Fitness locations are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, while some locations are open 24 hours a day 5 days a week with a modified weekend schedule.

Ed Note: Author is a member of the Hamilton Township, NJ Planet Fitness. In the spring several e-mails were sent to Planet Fitness for suggesting club locations, including contact information for Robbinsville-Foxmoor Shopping Center and also information was given to a regional manager at the Morrisville, PA location. Earlier last month (November) reached out to the press office at Planet Fitness and has not received any communication back about the Robbinsville, NJ location.

West Windsor Man Under Indictment for 40 Burglaries

December 18, 2019

TRENTON — A Mercer County grand jury returned a nine-count indictment this week charging Billy M. Woodard, 54, in connection with five residential burglaries in Mercer and Middlesex counties, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced.  The charges include three counts of burglary in West Windsor Township and two counts of burglary in Plainsboro Township.

In September 2019, a Mercer County grand jury returned a 55-count indictment charging Woodard with 19 burglaries in West Windsor, four in Robbinsville, six in Princeton, four in Lawrence and two in Hopewell.  He was also indicted on many third- and fourth-degree theft charges related to the burglaries.

Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen M. Petrucci presented both cases to the grand jury.

Prosecutor Onofri stated that, between June 2018 and May 2019, West Windsor Township and surrounding jurisdictions were inundated with a rash of residential burglaries.  A comprehensive and massive investigation was conducted by the West Windsor Police Department’s Detective Bureau, under the leadership of Chief Robert Garofalo, to determine if they were the acts of the same person or persons, and to identify those responsible and apprehend the culprits.  The exhaustive efforts led to identifying Woodard as the lone actor in more than 20 residential burglaries during the aforementioned time frame. In almost every single case, the burglaries took place while the residents were at home and asleep.

During the extensive investigation, lead West Windsor Detectives Eric Woodrow and Jason Jones sought assistance from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit (SIU).  Ultimately, Woodard was apprehended during the commission of a residential burglary in Lower Makefield Township, Pennsylvania, on May 30, 2019. He remains in custody in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and is charged with numerous burglaries in that jurisdiction.

“Although Woodard has been linked to 22 residential burglaries in West Windsor Township, the investigation is ongoing,” Chief Garofalo said.  “The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the WWPD ask residents to continue your vigilance and be observant and considerate to your neighbors.  If you feel something is abnormal in your community, please don’t hesitate to contact your local police department immediately.”

Prosecutor Onofri and Chief Garofalo thanked the following agencies for the support and resources provided during the investigation:

  • West Windsor Police Department
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Hopewell Township Police Department
  • Lawrence Township Police Department
  • Princeton Police Department
  • Robbinsville Township Police Department
  • Plainsboro Township Police Department
  • Lower Makefield Township (PA) Police Department

Despite having been indicted, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

A Mercer County grand jury returned a nine-count indictment this week charging Billy M. Woodard, 54, in connection with five residential burglaries in Mercer and Middlesex counties, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced. Photo provided by: Mercer County Prosecutors Office

Chris Smith’s TICK Act and End Neglected Diseases Act to become law

Two major health bills authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) were attached to an end-of-year, must-pass spending package today and will become law by the end of the week.

The first bill—the TICK Act—creates a “new whole-of-government national strategy to combat Lyme” and other tick borne diseases.  It authorizes $150 million in federal funding for Centers of Excellence and important Lyme initiatives at the local level.

“It’s taken 21 years—and over a dozen bills I’ve introduced in Congress beginning with the Lyme Disease Initiative Act of 1998 to get here.” Smith said. “This marks a major victory for hundreds of thousands—especially and including children—who suffer from this horrific disease.”

Smith introduced the TICK Act earlier this year joined by Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN) in the House and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tina Smith (R-MN) in the Senate. As included in the end-of-year bill, the legislation is now named for former Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) who tragically passed away from a tick-borne disease in October.

“The national strategy provision coupled with $150 million for research, prevention and treatment programs will enable additional federal agencies to step up and coordinated their efforts in the fight against Lyme,” said Smith, the co-chair of the House Lyme Disease Caucus. “The new law will open doors to innovative therapies, treatments, better diagnosis and more accurate information for doctors, and their patients with Lyme.”

“With a whole-of-government approach, all patients, including those suffering with chronic Lyme will get more answers and hopefully relief from this debilitating disease.”

According to the  Department of Health and Human Services 2018 Report to Congress, there are approximately 300,000 new cases of tick borne disease each year—with an estimated 40,000 new cases annually in New Jersey alone.

Smith’s second bill to become law this week, the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act(HR 3460), supports the treatment, control, and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). It ensures that that United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) programs effectively integrate NTD treatment, control and elimination efforts with other development issues, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, water and sanitation and education.

“More than 10 million Americans living in extreme poverty—and 1.4 billion people worldwide—are currently infected with at least one of these awful, but preventable diseases which blind, disable, disfigure and sometime kill victims” Smith said.  “My bill breaks down silos and integrates critical therapies USAID is already doing to help those suffering from NTDs such as West Nile Virus, Zika, dengue or severe dengue fever, leprosy, scabies and soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH) (roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm).”

Photo from Chris Smith Press Release from C-Span

Santa Visits Robbinsville

December 14, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department, IAFF Local #3786 escorted Santa via fire engine though town. A “Santa Tracker” was available to help residents know when Santa would be in their area. The fire department also collected can goods and other items for the Robbinsville Food Pantry.

Truck Fire Carrying 7 Vehicles Near Exit 7A

December 12, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—Firefighters from Robbinsville and surrounding towns battled a truck-car carrier fire on the New Jersey Turnpike around 11:53 am today. The fire was at Mile Marker 61.6 South Bound outer lanes (truck lanes) just prior to Exit 7A. Robbinsville “Squad 40” Highstown and Groveville (Hamilton Twp. Station 19) responded with engines, tankers responding were Allentown, East Windsor, Cranbury and Monroe Township. The truck was carrying several vehicles at the time of the fire and all were consumed. Firefighters were still on scene at time of this report. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Video by: Dennis Symons, Jr.

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Alternative Approaches To Pain Presentation At Robbinsville Township Senior Center

December 11, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–A presentation on “Alternative Approaches to Pain” was held at the Robbinsville Township Senior Center today. The event was sponsored by Prevention Resources, Inc. and the Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and over 40 seniors were in attendance.

Seniors learned about the risk of opioids such at Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Codeine. The presentation to seniors also went over Rx misuse and safety suggestions. Alternative options for pain management were presented such as acupuncture, yoga, physical therapy, chiropractics, massage, meditation and more.

The Robbinsville Township Police Department was also there with Project Medicine Drop Box for seniors to dispose of expired and unused medicines.

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Smith Veterans Amendment Approved in National Defense Authorization Act

Helps Service Members Transition to Civilian Life

December 11, 2019

Today Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) voted for—and the House passed—the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA; S. 1790) which authorizes $738 billion for defense programs to continue to rebuild readiness, advance modernization, develop emerging technologies, enhance missile defense and confront our adversaries. The defense package also assures a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops—the highest pay hike for members of the Armed Services in a decade.

Smith Veterans Amendment Adopted

  Included in the bipartisan conference package, which passed in 377-to 48 vote, is an amendment authored by Smith to modernize the Department of Defense (DoD) Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and help more than 20,000 of service members each year who transition to veteran status and return to civilian life.

  “I have seen how vital TAP is in preparing all eligible members of the armed forces for transition to civilian life,” Smith, said.  “Yet, this program designed to help more than 20,000 transitioning to veteran/civilian life has proven a bit out dated and limited because of the multiple websites used to shared needed information.

  “My amendment aims to provide servicemembers with a single-source, comprehensive, online application accessible through smart technology and a mobile app to assist vets with their transition and needs after separation.”

  The former chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee said under the current mandatory TAP program, servicemembers undergo four hours of pre-separation counseling, five days of classroom-based instruction, and an optional two-day Transition Goals, Plans, Success program.

  “It’s all good and helpful—but abundant—information provided in multiple sessions that can become an organizational challenge especially for servicemembers who are relocating and starting new lives,” Smith said.

  “Additionally, there is currently no avenue for TAP officials to follow servicemembers’ progress in completing their TAP requirements and ensure that all support systems are being used. My amendment enables the sharing of information and tracking progress with immediate and accurate reports,” he said. 

  Smith offered his amendment to the defense authorization bill when it was originally considered by the full House in July. Because the Senate companion bill had no similar provision, keeping the Smith amendment in the final package marks a great success.

  Now section 570G of S. 1790, Smith’s slightly modified amendment, authorizes the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Labor to work collaboratively on a three-year pilot program develop an online app that would address the current shortfalls in the TAP program and streamline online resources given to them upon separation.  

  “Our goal is to create a one-stop source for online applications to assist servicemembers and veterans participating in the TAP and enable and ensure the valuable information provided by TAP is always at veterans’ fingertips.”

  Other critical provisions include in the overall bipartisan package:

  • Smith’s proposal to require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an investigation by the Comptroller General of the United States to study the contracting practices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in order to address independent contractor misclassification on federal projects. 
  • A $75 million authorization for the Office of Economic Adjustment’s Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP), which could provide grants, conclude cooperative agreements, and supplemental funds available under other federal programs to assist states and local governments in addressing deficiencies in community infrastructure projects or facilities that are located outside of military installations but that support military installations like JB-MDL. Smith cosponsored an amendment and cosigned letters supporting DCIP.
  • A three-year phased repeal of the Widow’s Tax
  • Up to 12 weeks of Paid Parental Leave for the Defense Department, Intelligence Community, and across the federal government
  • Increasing the reimbursement amount for professional state licensure expenses incurred by military spouses as they move their families around the country, and also authorizes a cooperative agreement with the Council of State Governors to assist with funding the development of interstate compacts to improve spouse professional license portability, which has been an issue at JB-MDL.

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2019 Officer and Dispatcher Of The Year Announced

December 10, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Police Department announced Officer Shawn Emmons for being awarded Officer of the Year and Dispatcher Vivian Salguero-Cincilla for being awarded Dispatcher of the Year. Thank you for for your dedication and service to the community.

Robbinsville FD Santa Ride Schedule Update

December 10, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Fire Department has released the schedule for the Santa Ride this year. (the save this date we told you about last month) The Santa Ride will take place this Saturday, December 14, 2019 between 11 am and 4 pm.

We are excited to provide live GPS tracking of Santa. The day of the event links will be posted which will provide live tracking of Santa’s progress (Santa has more than one helper). You will be able to track, in real time, Santa’s location and when he will be approaching your neighborhood/street.

The tracker will be posted on the Facebook pages of the Robbinsville Township Fire Department and the Robbinsville Professional Firefighters Association – IAFF Local 3786.

There will be no listed schedule by street this year. Santa’s arrival often depends on the duration of prior stops or any emergency calls that we may have to respond to during the event, making the schedule inaccurate. On the day of the event the “Santa Tracker” will be posted showing his exact location which will assist in estimating arrival.

Robbinsville Ice Hockey Defeats Steinert 9-0, Photo Gallery

December 9, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville-Allentown Ice Hockey Team defeated Steinert at Mercer County Park Ice Rink tonight with a final score of 9-0. There was heavy fogging due to the high humidity and temperature causing photos to be a little hazy.

Serious Accident Involving School Bus In West Windsor

December 9, 2019

This is the full unedited press release from West Windsor Police Department:

INCIDENT:   2019-32225 Serious Motor Vehicle Collision involving School Bus
DATE & TIME OCCURRED:  12/9/2019 at 3:02 pm
LOCATION OCCURRED:  New Village Road Westbound at Village Road Southbound
OFFICERS:     1)  Chief Garofalo #143
                        2)  Det. Sgt. Skwierawski #465
                        3)  Sgt. Lai #470
                        4)  Traffic Officer Sabatino #83—Lead Investigator
                        5)  Traffic Officer LaRocca #85
                        6)  Det. W. Jones #84
                        7)  Det. Woodrow #101

  1. West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company (Station #43)
  2. West Windsor Division of Fire & Emergency Services (Squad #45)

DRIVER #1:  54 year old W/F
                        Resident of Trenton, NJ 08610

DRIVER #2:  17 year old W/F
                        Resident of East Windsor, NJ 08520

DETAILS:  At 3:02 pm, Patrol, Traffic, & Administration responded to the intersection of New Village Road at Village Road on a report of a Serious Motor Vehicle Collision involving a School Bus.  Upon arrival, a passenger of Vehicle #2, a 9 year old female, sustained a head laceration.  Driver #2, a 17 year old female sustained a wrist injury, while another passenger, an 11 year old female complained of back pain.  Station #43 and Squad #45 responded to the scene for the injuries.  In addition, the intersection was closed as a result of the crash. 
                     The following was determined:  Vehicle #1, a 2019 yellow School Bus, was traveling South on Village Road, stopped at the stop sign for the intersection of New Village Road and was turning left.  Vehicle #2, a 2005 Dodge Neon, was traveling West on New Village Road and approaching the intersection of Village Road.   Vehicle #1 began its left turn, entered into the intersection, and into the direct path of Vehicle #2.  The vehicles collided in the West bound lane of New Village Road.    
                      All (3) occupants of Vehicle #2 were transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center (Trauma).  There were no reported injuries reported by any occupants of Vehicle #1.  The collision is still under investigation of the WWPD’s Traffic & Detective Bureaus.  The Lead Investigator, Traffic Officer Sabatino, requests that if anyone has any information into this incident to please contact him at, (609) 799-1222, or on our Anonymous Phoneline (609) 799-0452. 

The roadway was closed for approximately 45 minutes. 

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

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December 6, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)– was officially open about month month ago. Since making the site public it has received 62,400 page views by 13,167 visitors. Visitors read an average 4.7 stories per visit.

On this site there are 107 stories/posts all written in the past month or so.

If you have been reading the site regularly so much news happens that things move down the news feed quickly so use the following to help navigate the site so you don’t miss a story.

Eight stories were published yesterday and stories within the past week are still relevant so sign up for e-mail and check the Latest 50 stories in the right reading pane.

If you are a first time visitor or you want to see stories related to your town, use the category buttons at the top of the page to help navigate to the town or news interest.

Other ways to navigate the website is the search box on the left reading pane for a detailed search of all stories posted. There is a “category” drag down box just below the search box to help locate what you are looking for.

Social Media: Facebook MidJerseynews and Twitter MidJerseynews YouTube right now just has advertising that is provided by the web hosting company. In the future once established local advertising will be available. I want to get the site up and going and produce a great product before launching advertising.

You can support this website now by every so often clicking on the advertisements on the web page.

Another way to support the website and to see all the videos first is “subscribe” to my YouTube Channel. There are over 100 videos posted on that channel some videos are from my archives of news videos back when working for WZBN in Hamilton. The YouTube Channel needs to get to 1,000 “subscribers” so take a second and hit the subscribe button on there.

95% of the photography on this page comes from myself and I have art available for sale at Dragonfly Design Studio at 6 Church Street in Allentown. There is also a large canvas of the old mill available in the Moth Coffee House. Stop in and check out those local businesses and my other work. I am also available for photography check out my website and Facebook site.

Why call it “MidJersey” news? Central Jersey seems to be hijacked by an area well north of our area and even areas well above the Rartain River. Years ago we had a trivia argument where the exact center of the State of NJ was. I e-mailed the USGS US Geological Survey were the exact center of the State of NJ is and they thought that was a great question and responded after some researching the topic. The reply I received that stated that if you used a computer model with the area and shape of New Jersey and filled it with liquid the balancing point would be in Hamilton Township along the marsh lands of the Crosswicks Creek. Hamilton Township would be the mid-point of New Jersey and the scientific center of New Jersey. Sorry to the folks north of the Raritan River you are “North Jersey”

Affordable Housing Consultant Retires

December 5, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)– Shirley Bishop is retiring after serving as Robbinsville Township’s affordable housing consultant for 15 years.

Ms. Bishop had opened her own private consulting firm in 2002 and prior to that served as the Executive Director of the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) for eight years and served as president of the Board of Professional Planners.

For the past 15 years Ms. Bishop has been invaluable in helping Robbinsville Township remain compliant regarding its lawful affordable housing obligation. Her guidance in preparing two “Third Round” plans for the Township in 2008 and 2018 the latter after the New Jersey Supreme Court vacated all prior substantive certifications, has been widely applauded as a master class in town planning. As stated in the proclamation.

Robbinsville Township Mayor David Fried on behalf of the Township Council recognized Shirley Bishop for her 15 years of expertise, professionalism and dedicated service to the Robbinsville Community and issued a Proclamation at the Town Council Meeting on December 5, 2019.

Robbinsville Township Police Raise $3,000 For No Shave November

December 5, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Police Department presented a check to Thea’s Star of Hope to help benefit children with brain tumors. The money was raised during “No Shave November” where officers participate by writing a $100 personal check to participate. The annual fund raiser raised $3,000. during this years No Shave November campaign.

Tonight the Robbinsville Township Police Department presented a $3,000. check to Thea and her family at tonight’s Robbinsville Township council meeting. 

Robbinsville Township Council Visits RTPD Gun Training Range

December 5, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—The Robbinsville Township Council payed a visit to the Robbinsville Township Police Department’s new police training facility, shooting range. The modular, pre-fabricated indoor range manufactured by Shooting Range Industries, LLC features 4 lanes and a video training system so police can practice different scenarios.  Council members Ron Witt, Mike Cipriano, Vince Calcagno, Chris Ciaccio and Dan Schuberth listened to the police department members talk about the value of the facility and the importance of the training they will receive with the new facility. Also there was a demonstration to the amount of sound that comes from the new facility, video below you will hear a lightly muffled sound from live firing inside the range first with a hand gun then with a high power rifle. Then further back in the parking lot again with the rifle. Some residents were concerned with loud noises coming from the facility but that was not the case as demonstrated by RTPD.

Robbinsville Township Council Members given tour of new police gun range.

Avoid Route 130 in Robbinsville– Update: Road Reopened at 2 pm, Expect Delays Due To Utility Work

December 5, 2019


ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)– A traffic accident took down a utillity pole in the area of NJSIAA in Robbinsville. The roadway is closed between Sharon Road and Woodside Road. Avoid the area.

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Fire Department Quick Action Saves Home

December 5, 2019

Information from Hope Fire Company:

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Last evening the Hope Fire Company was dispatched to the 100 block of Sharon Station Road for a smoke condition in a residence. Smoke was visible from the rear of the structure when the fire chief arrived and backup was immediately dispatched from surrounding departments. The occupants were safely evacuated from the two family home upon fire department arrival.

The first fire engine on scene from Hope Fire Company located the fire at the top of the stairwell and was spreading to the attic. The fire crew quickly knocked down the fire saving the home from further damage. Fire crews then checked to make sure fire did not extend thought the rest of the building.

Responding the the fire were: Hope Fire Company, Hamilton Township Station 19 Groveville, Highstown Engine Company #1, Millstone Township Fire Company, Robbinsville Township Fire Department, and New Egypt Fire Department. Investigating the fire are the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Upper Freehold Township Fire Prevention Bureau.

There were no injures reported in the fire and the cause remains under investigation.

NJ Set to Enact Plastic Ban and 10 cent Paper Bag Fee Tax

Editorial, Opinion

December 5, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–State Senators Bob Smith and Linda Greenstein have proposed S2776 that bans several plastic items and adds a 10 cent fee tax to paper bags that are the alternatives to plastic.

The intent of the legislation by enacting a “ban” of items is the way to go but any “tax” should be eliminated from bill.

If plastic is really harming the environment lets ban it rather than tax it. Lets not tax the alternatives such as “paper” bags since they break down in the environment, can be recycled and composted and do not cause harm like plastic.

Lets make this bill about the “environment” and not about the money and fee taxes by eliminating the tax language on paper bags in the bill.

I belong to an organic CSA and for the past couple of years they have provided “Compostable” faux plastic bags as an alternative to regular vegetable bags. I tried to compost the bags in the summer of 2018 and they did not break down well and in the spring of 2019 I found them in the garden wrapped around the tines of the rotor tiller.

In the summer of 2019 the CSA ran out of regular plastic vegetable bags and the only choice was to use the compost bags so when I returned home I proceeded to start an experiment to see how long it would take to break down the “compostable” bag.

Results of the experiment is that paper bags break down and the faux plastic also breaks down but takes a little longer than paper to break down. Paper bag will also break down in the environment in a similar way not causing harm to the environment like plastic bags do:

Video final results after 3 months: November 21, 2019:

7 Weeks October 7, 2019

10 Day Compost Update, August 30, 2019:

Start of composting experiment August 20, 2019:

Composting video on how to compost:

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Robbinsville 2019 Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Celebration

December 3, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Township celebrated the lighting of its Christmas Tree and Menorah at the Robbinsville Township Senior Center tonight. The event was well attended and included: Arts and crafts, Photos with Santa, Gingerbread House Display by the Allentown-Robbinsville Girl Scouts, Robbinsville High School Choir Performance, Free Hot Chocolate (by David Bradley). The Robbinsville Township Police Department was on hand and the Robbinsville Township Fire Department escorted Santa to the tree via Robbinsville’s fire engine.

Winter Storm Ezekiel Dumps 27 Inches Of Snow on Hunter

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HUNTER, NY–You have to wake up early on a Sunday morning to beat a snowstorm and holiday traffic one of the most busiest travel days of the year. Leaving the area at 6 am, I arrived at Hunter, NY around 9 am the snow had not begun to fall yet. Winter storm warnings were forecasting two feet or more for the region so it was worth leaving early to beat chaos on the roadways.

Sunday was spent riding Hunter Mountain Resort, as the storm approached snow began covering the trails and high winds were felt at the summit. This was a multiple day event so rooms were booked at the Holiday Inn Express back at the Thruway Exit. The ride back to the hotel was a little sketchy since the storm started to really produce some nice snow on Sunday evening and though the night.

Monday was used to explore Catamount Resort on the New York, Massachusetts Border in the Berkshire Mountains. The radar was looking good over there so it was worth the new adventure to visit a mountain on a multi resort pass called the Indy Pass. (See story on Catamount Resort Visit)

Snows remained light most of Monday but snow started to pile up again Monday night so the alarm was set for an early wake up for Tuesday morning, knowing Tuesday would be a powder day.

Upon arrival on Tuesday morning at the Hunter Mountain parking lot staff were using the mountain’s groomers to plow and open the parking lots. Making my way to the lift the line was long at the ticket window so it is one of the days it pays to have a season pass and walk right by the ticket line.

The first run down that morning was on Racers Edge a double black, Hunter has not even begun to make snow on that trail yet this year. I was able to find some spots of fresh snow but many of the runs were tracked out pretty quickly on this powder day.

With all the recent snow the time is now to get out there just in case the weather happens to take a turn for the worst. The weekend ahead looks like a great skiing and snowboarding weekend. Monday and Tuesday next week there is a chance of rain but snow makers will be able to lay down another coat of snow on Tuesday night according to the forecast Get out there and put in a day or two before the rain comes.

Catamount Mountain Resort Visit

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HILLSDALE, NY, S. Egremont, MA—I arrived at Catamount Mountain Resort Monday December 2, 2019 during Winter Storm Ezekiel that was providing north east ski resorts with plenty of fresh powder. This happened to be Catamount’s 3rd operating day of the season. During my visit it appeared they had about 8 or more inches at the base and their three-day storm total by Tuesday December 3 was over 20 inches of new snow from the storm.

Never have been to the resort before but upon arrival you could immediately tell that improvements have been made and construction is on going in the base area. There is a new Catamount Lodge under construction and is scheduled to open after Christmas according to one local that was riding the lift. The ticket windows and offices in the new lodge are under construction so a temporary ticket operation is set up in the updated Berkshire Lodge.

I was visiting Catamount for the first time using the Indy Ski Pass set up by numerous “independent” resorts to help them compete against two large corporate passes the IKON and EPIC. For as little as $199 (preseason) and with a current price of $219. You could ride a total of 46 destinations for a total of 2 days each, additional discounted tickets apply after you use your two days at many of the resorts. It was simple to use the Indy Ski Pass, I told them my name they looked me up in the system showed ID and printed me a lift ticket on the spot. It was an easy experience using the Indy Ski Pass. Currently 46 resorts are involved with Indy Ski Pass but that almost seems to change weekly as more independent ski resorts jump on board with this great pass making it an even better value.  

After putting my RFID pass in my pocket, I proceeded to the Ridge Quad, there was no wait or no line to board the lift for several runs, and snow quality was great. After a bunch of runs and a short break in the lodge I went to the left side of the mountain and did a few runs off the Promenade Triple Chair. Snowboarded a total of 18 runs for the day. Trails open on that day were Upper Glade, Lower Glade, Off Stage, Upper Sidewinder Walter’s Way, Racing Slope, On Stage, Catamount, Kelli’s Run, Esplanade and the snow sports learning area.

Catamount opened a couple weeks earlier than planned. With the help from mother nature the snow was in great condition for being open so early in the season. Check the website and snow reports for current operating schedules. The local snowboarder riding the lift told me that weekends can get busy at times but weekdays the lines are empty. The resort is off the beaten path so that also helps keep the lift lines minimal. Overall great experience for a first visit and will be back once the new lodge opens.

Catamount has 1,000 feet of vertical that straddles the States of New York and Massachusetts in the Berkshire Mountains. Catamount boasts 43 trails and the longest run is 1.75 miles in length. The resort has steepest double diamond trail in the Berkshires called the Catapult. There are a total of 8 lifts, two chairs and it appeared 2 wonder carpet surface lifts were open during my visit. There is night skiing on 15 trails with more than 4 miles of coverage including two terrain parks.