Month: January 2020

Robbinsville Photographer Earns Master of Photography

January 24, 2020

Dennis Symons, Jr of Dennis Symons Photographic Arts and was recognized for superior image making and photographic service with a Master of Photography degree from Professional Photographers of America.

The degree was presented to Dennis Symons, Jr. by PPA President  Audrey L. Wancket, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, at the association’s annual convention, Imaging USA, held January 19-21, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. The master of photography degree is not merely a piece of paper. It means that Symons has met the standards of excellence set by PPA. He has been awarded this degree in recognition of his superior photographic competence demonstrated through photographic competition, advanced education and service to the profession. Symons’s degrees—and all the expertise they require—illustrate his accomplishments and talent as one of a select few.

Dennis Symons, Jr. is the publisher of and provides most of the photographs as seen on this website. Symons has been a photojournalist since 1987 and also provides photographic services for weddings and commercial photography.

About PPA: Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international nonprofit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA’s roots date back to 1869. The nonprofit assists 30,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success. See how PPA helps photographers be more at

Update: Route 1 Has Reopened

January 24, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP AND WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Avoid the area of Quakerbridge Road and Route 1 in the area of Mercer Mall for a gas leak. A contractor has struck a gas line and there is a large leak in the area shutting Route 1 South. Public Service Electric and Gas is en route. Fire police from the area are being called to assist police for traffic control. Traffic is expected to back up into West Windsor Township.

Update: PSE&G Gas on scene working on the gas leak. Fire Departments from Lawrence Township and Hamilton Township on scene. Ramp shut down from Nassau Park Blvd South Bound on Route 1, and Route 1 South remains closed for an extended period of time.

UPDATE: Route 1 has reopened

Robbinsville Twp, Oath Of Office For Reelected Council Members, plus Eagle Scouts and Girl Scout Recognized

January 23, 2020

Photos and story by: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township Council meeting for the swearing in of reelected Council members Christine Ciaccio, Dan Schuberth and Ron Witt was held tonight.

The Council and Mayor David Fried also recognized Eagle Scouts Andy Neumann and Daniel Marincas. Andy ‘s Eagle Scout Service Project was for Veterans Memorial Benches at Community Park. Daniel’s Eagle Scout Service Progject was for the Picnic Pavilion at Meadowbrook.

Girl Scout Samantha DeMartino from Robbinsville was recognized during the meeting for being featured in a photograph on every Girl Scout Cookie Box this year. She started the Pet Rescue Club at Robbinsville High School and will be receiving the Girl Scout Gold Award in May 2020.

Mercer County Police Academy Graduation, Basic Recruit Class # 22-19

Photos and story by: Brian McCarthy

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Friends and families packed the gymnasium at Mercer County Community College for Mercer County Police Academy, graduation exercises held for the Basic Recruit Class # 22-19. Marty P. Masseroni Director, Detective Robert Gioscio Chief Instructor, Inv. Michael Winget Staff Instructor, Rene Mastroianni Staff Secretary, Detective Dennis Schuster (Retired) Range Master Sheriff’s-Liaison, Brian Hughes County Executive, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri, John Kemler Mercer County Sheriff Board Chairman, Chief Lance Maloney President Chief’s of Police Association and Dr. Jianting Wang President of Mercer County College.

Mercer County Press Release:

WEST WINDSOR—Sixty-one cadets who made up the 22nd basic class of police officers took part in today’s Mercer County Police Academy commencement held in the gymnasium at Mercer County Community College (MCCC).

An audience of several hundred family members, friends, Mercer County dignitaries and law enforcement officials from around State of New Jersey saw the cadets receive graduation certificates to officially make them police officers.

The graduates endured 21 weeks of training at the academy in all aspects of law enforcement and will now serve in police agencies within Mercer County and elsewhere (see complete list below). The academy, which was created in October 2006, is located on the grounds of MCCC.

Michael Flanagan, who will join the New Jersey Transit Police Department and was chosen by his fellow graduates as class speaker, told the gathering that he was inspired by a Police Academy instructor’s pep talk in which he asked the cadets if they knew why police officers train so hard. “It’s because we always win … we have to.”

“Mercer Class 22-19, I want you to leave this graduation today with the mindset that we always win,” Officer Flanagan said. “Maintain your physical fitness because we always win. Keep up on your case law because we always win. Take your in-service training seriously because we always win. Know what’s around you 360 because we always win. While on this job, stay locked in and do not get complacent, because you always have to win.”

Also addressing the class were Police Academy Director Martin Masseroni, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, Mercer County Sheriff John A. Kemler, Hopewell Township Police Chief Lance Maloney, president of the Mercer County Chiefs of Police Association; and Dr. Jianping Wang, MCCC president. Also in attendance were Freeholders Ann Cannon, John Cimino and Lucylle Walter.

During training, the class studied in disciplines such as use of force, firearms, vehicle pursuit, hostage negotiation, advanced crime scene processing and domestic violence prevention, among others. Several cadets received awards at the graduation ceremony for their excellence in training. Ethan Fisher, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, was chosen by his classmates to receive the Certificate of Merit awarded by the N.J. Police Training Commission to the best all-around graduate. Officer Fisher also received the academic award; Ayaz Kahn, New Jersey Transit Police Department, and Danae Rebelo, Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, both earned the firearms qualification award with perfect scores; Alyssa DiPierro, Trenton Police Department, and Thomas Tramontana, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, both received the physical training award; and Jonathan White, New Jersey Transit Police Department, received the emergency vehicle operations award.

The Mercer Police Academy consists of two classrooms specially designed for the needs of law enforcement training, and recruits use MCCC grounds, its library and its gymnasium for training purposes. The campus includes a padded training room that is used for “defensive tactics” classes. A shooting range in Hopewell Township operated by the prosecutor’s office is part of the academy as well.

The following is a list of the graduates, their hometowns and the law enforcement agency each will join. (Alternate Route trainees attend the academy at their own expense and now can pursue employment as a certified police officer.)

Alternate Route: Ahmet Ekiz, Hamilton; Arthur Juba, South River; Anthony Leone, Springfield; William Revesz, Montgomery; and Tyler Vandergrift, Hamilton

Hamilton Township Police Division: Gregory Danley, Hamilton

Hunterdon County Sheriff’s Office: Timothy Althamer, Flemington

Lawrence Township Police Department: Nigel Davis and Michael Hammond, both of Lawrence

Linden Police Department: Michael Linebaugh and Antoine Suggs, both of Linden

Mercer County Sheriff’s Office: Tyler Beers, Hamilton; Alesha Bethea, Trenton; Anthony Herold, Lawrence; Dylan Tallman, Hamilton; Thomas Tramontana, Hamilton; and Lawrence Windsor, Lawrence

Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office: Taylor Clanton, Piscataway; Jaquan Cook, New Brunswick; Devin Gray, Milltown; Lawrence Lenahan, Sayreville; Jennifer Lukacs, Perth Amboy; Christian Paez, Sayreville; Helder Paredes, Monroe; Danae Rebelo, Middlesex; Islam Saad, Sayreville; Jessica Tymitz, Woodbridge; Jeremy Vargas, Woodbridge; and Antonios Zaferellis, South River

New Jersey Transit Police Department: Mohammed Ahmed, Haledon; Michael Baloga, North Arlington; Michael Dowdy, Irvington; Michael Flanagan, Jersey City; Sean Gallagher, Belvidere; Paul Gawin, Saddlebrook; Kevin Guy, Fairlawn; Katherine Hormaza, Morristown; Ayaz Kahn, Nutley; Kevin Kolbenschlag, Brick; Joseph Mastropfilipo, Paramus; Christopher Montalvo, Bloomfield; Matthew Reiter, Manalapan; Elias Statham, Bayonne; Jonathan White, Jefferson; and Jonathan Ydo, Bloomfield

Somerset County Sheriff’s Office: Ethan Fisher, Branchburg; and Kyle Lippincott, Milford

Trenton Police Department: Michael Cahill, Lawrence; Julio Casso, Hamilton; Alyssa DiPierro, Hamilton; Austin Fountain, Hamilton; Michael Giovannetti, Ewing; Scott Hussey, Hamilton; Michael Kovacs, Hamilton; Alyssa Mantuano, Hamilton; Matthew Martindell, Hamilton; Jeffrey Pownall, Yardville; Michael Tylutki, Hamilton, Christopher Vitoritt, Hamilton; Brandon Walker, Hamilton; and Justin Walker, Hamilton

Update: GoFundMe Set Up For Injured In Old York Road Accident

January 23, 2020

Update: Road reopened at 9 am

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)-UPPER FREEHOLD TWP (MONMOUTH)–A serious accident occurred just after 7 am this morning in the 1400 block of Old York Road. The Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Allentown Fire Company-Hope Fire Company and Hamilton Township Fire Departments responded for the extrication of the driver and passenger of one of the vehicles. EMS from Capitol Health Systems and RWJ Hospital transported two people to the hospital. The Robbinsville Township Police Department is investigating the accident.

Old York Road between Walters Road and Herbert Road is closed until the accident investigation is completed.

In a string of accidents the past three weeks this is the 3rd time the road way had been closed due to a serious accident.

January 17, 2020 accident

January 10, 2020 accident

According to Facebook posts about the accident a GoFundMe has been set up to help the injured with expenses:

Mercer County Prosecutor Named Advocacy Champion by the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking

January 21, 2020

In recognition for his efforts in human trafficking protection across the state, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri recently received the 2020 Advocacy Champion Award from the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Prosecutor Onofri is vice chairman of the state Commission on Human Trafficking and president of the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey.

“To those who believe that New Jersey does not have a human trafficking issue, that it is only something that happens in the movies or on television, you are sadly wrong,” Prosecutor Onofri said.  “In Mercer County alone, we have four active human trafficking cases and a fifth that recently saw a defendant plead guilty and receive a 10-year prison sentence.  We cannot pretend that human trafficking does not exist.”

Also recognized were Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Morris, Somerset, Union), Senator Joseph Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic), Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) and Atlantic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Buckley.

Ice Hockey: Robbinsville Ravens 5 Hopewell Bulldogs 2

January 17, 2020

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Ravens ice hockey team defeated Hopewell Valley High School Bulldogs with a final score of 5-2.

Note: The Robbinsville Ravens are a cooperative team between Robbinsville High School and Allentown High School.

Photo gallery:

Another Accident On Old York Road Within 7 Days Causes Delays and Power Issues

Breaking crews are still on scene: Expect power problems, traffic delays and detours until repairs are made.

January 17, 2020

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Another crash within the past 7 days on Old York Road creating traffic problems and power problems for the residents of Upper Freehold, East Windsor and Robbinsville as a vehicle cut a pole in half. These accidents are is in a section where two counties and three townships come together. The previous accident was on January 10th and residents were without power close to 10 hours while repairs were made.

Robbinsville Police, East Windsor Police and NJ State Police are on scene, as well as the Robbinsville Township Fire Department, East Windsor Fire Company, Hightstown Fire Company, and Millstone Township Fire Department. Allentown First Aid Squad and Robbinsville FD EMS also on scene.

Update, Robbinsville, East Windsor, and Hightstown Fire has cleared the scene. Millstone Township Fire Department remaining on scene since it is Millstone Township. Expect power problems, traffic delays and detours until repairs are made.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Is Now Open

January 17, 2020

Location: 2465 S Broad Street Suite E2, Independence Plaza, Hamilton Township, NJ 08610

Hamilton, NJ (01/17/2020) – The new year brings tidings of good cheer as Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton opens its second ReStore!  Volunteers and patrons alike are welcome to shop and support Habitat at the new ReStore in Independence Plaza on South Broad Street in Hamilton.  A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Friday, January 17th, at 9:30am!  Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin will be in attendance.

ReStore shoppers can find good deals at affordable prices, all for a great cause!  Each purchase supports Habitat for Humanity’s local affordable housing initiatives. After the ribbon cutting, the Hamilton ReStore will be open 10AM – 6PM Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, as well as 9AM – 6PM on Saturdays.

Habitat for Humanity is excited to bring its ReStore to Hamilton.  The organization has a major presence in the community through its housing programs. In the neighborhood surrounding the ReStore, Habitat has two new affordable homes under construction as well as numerous repair projects for low to moderate-income homeowners. 

Habitat’s CEO, Lori Leonard, is ecstatic. She says, “Hamilton has been a wonderful partner in bringing more affordable homes to the community and stepping up to address the need for repairs for low-income homeowners.  With the ReStore, we can further our partnership with the town by providing jobs, volunteer opportunities, and wonderful home goods for locals to purchase!”

The ReStore is Habitat for Humanity’s retail operation that is open to the public, selling discounted housewares and building materials.  You can find donated items, new and used, from residents and local business.  The inventory is always changing, so every time you visit there is something new and unique to find! Visit the Habitat website, or call (856) 439 – 6717 for more information.

Wrestling: Allentown Redbirds 47 Nottingham Northstars 26

January 16, 2020

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Allentown High School Redbird wrestling team won their match against Nottingham Northstars tonight with a team score of Allentown 47 Nottingham 26. Individual scores are posted below with a W if they won their match and pin time of the winner.

170 lbs. Allentown: Doug Fusco Nottingham Manuel Raman W

182 lbs. Allentown: Paskal Miga W, Nottingham Dorian Henry

195 lbs. Allentown: Walter Diebel Pin 1:07, Nottingham Naeem Rashid

220 lbs. Allentown: Dan Schweitzer Pin 3:32, Nottingham: Jonathan Jupiter

285/Heavy Weight: Allentown: Jake VanDen Bogard Pin 1:02, Nottingham: Jermine Lofland

106 lbs. Allentown: Jasmine Aizley, Nottingham: Stalin Arpi W

113 lbs. Allentown: Vinny Grassvllo W, Nottingham: Curtis Selmon

120 lbs. Allentown: Vin Grassullo, Nottingham: Gurung Sudesh Pin 1:00

126 lbs. Allentown: Joey Lamparelli Pin: 2:32, Nottingham: Melvin Deleon

132 lbs. Allentown: Jack McDonough, Nottingham: David Aboasu Pin 0:24

138 lbs. Allentown: Parker Schloss W, Nottingham: Angel Romero

145 lbs. Allentown: Chris Scheuerman, Nottingham: Anthony Mardoh Pin 2:32

152 lbs. Allentown: Matt Paglia Pin 2:49, Nottingham: Joachim Larose

160 lbs. Allentown: Nick Golden Pin: 0:51, Nottingham: Kwahir Edwards

Team Score: Allentown 47 Nottingham 26

Allentown Over Robbinsville High School Wrestling 37-31

January 15, 2020

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The visiting Allentown Redbirds wrestling team won the match at Robbinsville Ravens with a team score of 37-31 tonight. Individual scores are listed below:

138 lbs. Allentown: Parker Schloss 9, Robbinsville: Isaiah Lederman 17

145 lbs. Allentown: Chris Scheuerman, Robbinsville: Cole Cifrodellii Pin 1:40

152 lbs. Allentown: Matt Paglia Pin 1:32, Robbinsville: Jeremy Murray

160 lbs. Allentown: Doug Fusco, Robbinsville: RJ Stradling Pin 2:24

170 lbs. Allentown: Nick Golden, Robbinsville: FFT

182 lbs. Allentown: Paskal Miga, FFT

195 lbs. Allentown: Walter Diebel, Robbinsville: FFT

Heavyweight: Allentown: Jake VanDen Bogard 4, Robbinsville: Mateo Cruz 3

106 lbs. Allentown: Jasmine Aizley, Robbinsville: Shailen Sovor Pin 4:37

113 lbs. Allentown: Vinny Grassvllo, Robbinsville: Michael Manieri Pin 2:41

120 lbs. Allentown: Vinny Datello 2, Robbinsville: Aiden Weil 7

126 lbs. Allentown: Joey Lamparelli 17, Robbinsville: Dylan Cifrodelli 1

132 lbs. Allentown: FFT, Robbinsville: Drake Torrington

Team Score: Allentown 37, Robbinsville 31

Photo gallery:

Legislation to Combat Age Discrimination Passes House

Smith a Cosponsor of the Bill to Protect Older Workers

January 15, 2020

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), a cosponsor of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (HR 1230), welcomed today’s passage of key legislation pushing reform to provide equal opportunity for older workers in America and legally recognize age discrimination in the workplace.

     “With close to 35 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 50, we must act now to stop discrimination and ensure fairness and equal opportunity in the workplace,” said, Rep. Smith.

     Smith cited the Association of American Retired Persons (AARP) reports that show 3 in 5 workers see or experience age discrimination on the job, and more than half of older workers are forced out of a job before they intend to retire.

     “Discrimination against older workers is real and prevalent despite the fact that more Americans are working harder, contributing more, healthier, and staying longer in the workplace,” said Rep. Smith.

     Smith said that under current law, workers are given close to “impossible hurdles” to overcome in order to demonstrate age discrimination. An individual must show that age discrimination was the decisive and determinative cause for the employer’s adverse action, rather than just a motivating factor in the employer’s adverse action. This burden of proof was significantly raised in age discrimination cases as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2009, Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc.

     “As a cosponsor of this legislation, I am pleased that HR1230 would restore the burden of proof for age discrimination cases in order to be on par with other forms of workplace discrimination,” he said.

     Smith also touted an amendment he cosponsored to address the added disadvantage older women face.

     “I am also a cosponsor of an amendment which would require Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to conduct a comprehensive study on the increased prevalence of age discrimination against older women in the workplace and make recommendations for best practices on combatting age discrimination for women.”

     I am committed to ensuring fairness is returned to older workers, and we must fight to ensure age is not a barrier to those with experience, skill, and desire to continue to contribute to our economy,” said Rep. Smith.

     Smith called on the Senate to swiftly act on and pass HR1230, where it awaits due consideration.

Governor signs Dancer bill allowing contributions to Meals on Wheels through tax return forms

January 15, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. – A bill (A5513) sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer that allows taxpayers to make contributions to Meals on Wheels programs in the state through their income tax return forms was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Person-to-person giving is a more beneficial and civically minded form of charity than any government program,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “We are not a government with communities, but we live in communities that have a government.”
Taxpayers will be able to make voluntary contributions to a state Meals on Wheels fund on their income tax return forms to support local programs in providing meals to homebound seniors.
One in five Americans are aged 60 or older and one in four live alone. Nearly 9.5 million seniors are threatened by hunger. About 16 percent of New Jerseyans are 65 and older.
“Not only does Meals on Wheels help meet the nutritional needs of seniors throughout the state, they support their social well-being and perform wellness checks too,” said Dancer. “Seniors on a limited income, living far away from family or recovering from an illness need our help to live healthy, happy and independent lives. This law will help Meals on Wheels continue to fulfill their very important mission.”
New Jersey’s income tax returns typically generate around $700,000 a year in donations for more than 30 different causes.

Truck Fire on NJ Turnpike

January 15, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township, Bordentown Township and Chesterfield Fire Departments are on scene of a truck fire. The fire is located on the NJ Turnpike North Bound outer lanes also called the “truck lanes” by the Yardville-Allentown Road overpass.

NJ Turnpike north bound outer lanes were temporarily closed until the incident was completed. Traffic was shifted to the inner car lanes. A tanker was called to the scene from Allentown but was turned around once the fire was under control.

$9,000 in Drugs Seized by the Mercer County Narcotics Task Force

January 15, 2020

The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force concluded a week-long investigation on Monday with the seizure of more than $9,000 in drugs, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

Onofri stated that, on Monday evening, January 13, 2020, detectives with the MCNTF initiated surveillance of the investigation’s target, Jeffrey Stewart, as well as his Trenton residence on Morris Avenue.  A motor vehicle stop of Stewart was conducted at the intersection of Bridge and Warren streets and he was taken into custody without incident.  Detectives proceeded to execute the search warrant, and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Sergeant Joe Angarone utilized his K9 partner Bela to conduct a narcotics search.  During the search, detectives located 87 grams of cocaine, 108 bags of heroin, one ounce of marijuana and $1,220 in cash.

Onofri stated that the total amount of cocaine seized has an approximate street value of $8,700.  The heroin and marijuana have approximate street values of $450 and $300, respectively.

Stewart, 54, was charged with second-degree narcotics offenses.  He is being held at the Mercer County Correction Center pending a detention hearing.

Officers with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and the Hamilton 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.

Jeffrey Stewart

Suspicious Fire Remains Under Investigation In 1 Million Square Feet Warehouse

January 14, 2020

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—The Robbinsville Township Fire Department was dispatched at 5:38 pm to 24 Applegate Drive tonight for a fire alarm activation in a 1+ million square feet warehouse. Upon arrival of the first due fire apparatus the occupants of the building were evacuated, and an active fire was in a rack storage system involving pallets and plastics. Two sprinkler heads of the building’s ESFR* fire sprinkler system were activated and operating holding the fire “in check” but firefighters still needed to stretch 450 feet of hose to reach the fire and extinguish it completely. Firefighters from surrounding departments including Hamilton Township Fire Department and Hope Fire Company of Allentown assisted at the fire. Firefighters remained on scene for the investigation and to overhaul the fire. No injuries were reported.

Fire Chief Daniel Schaffener stated the cause of the fire remains undetermined but is suspicious in nature. The fire remains under investigation by Robbinsville Township, Fire Marshal Brian Johnson, Robbinsville Township Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

*An ESFR Sprinkler System stands for Early Suppression Fast Response and releases 2 to 3 times the amount of water compared to a conventional system and commonly used to cover rack storage in warehouses as shown in the one photograph of the interior.

WANTED: NJ State Police See Help With Identification

January 14, 2020


The New Jersey State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a second suspect wanted in connection to an aggravated assault investigation in Monmouth County.

On Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 2:53 a.m., two men confronted an Uber driver who pulled over to rest on Phillip Court in Upper Freehold Township. An altercation began and one of the suspects began to kick the driver’s vehicle. While the driver was attempting to drive away, one of the suspects threw a hammer at the vehicle and struck the victim in his face. The driver dialed 9-1-1 and drove himself to the hospital where he was treated for facial injuries.

On Monday, January 6, during the course of an ongoing investigation, detectives located and arrested one of the suspects, Colin Roy, 20, of Allentown, N.J.

Roy was charged with aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, terroristic threats, criminal mischief, criminal attempt, and harassment. He was lodged at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending a bail detention hearing.

The second suspect is described as a white male and is pictured in the composite sketch below, which was done by a trooper from the New Jersey State Police Forensic Photography and Composite Artist Unit.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hamilton Station Detective Bureau at 609-584-5000 ext. 5286.

Anonymous tips are welcomed.

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

Willingboro Man Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter

January 14, 2020

Virgil R. Howard, 29, of Ebbtine Lane, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Brown on January 13. 

A Willingboro man charged with the April 2016 shooting death of Elliot Simon Jr. pleaded guilty this week to aggravated manslaughter, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced.

Virgil R. Howard, 29, of Ebbtine Lane, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Brown on January 13.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Howard be sentenced to 23 years in state prison under the No Early Release Act.

The guilty plea is a result of an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force.  On April 8, 2016, at approximately 9:08 p.m., Trenton police responded to the area of 37-49 N. Hermitage Avenue after the ShotSpotter system detected gunshots.  Upon arrival, police found 52-year-old Simon in Boudinot Street suffering from gunshot wounds to the chest.  The victim was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Petrucci, chief of the Homicide Task Force, represented the state.  Howard is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13.

Dancer bill excluding horse-boarding services from sales tax goes to governor’s desk

January 13, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. – Both the Senate and Assembly passed legislation (A1045) today, sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer, to exempt horse boarding, maintenance and related services from the state sales tax.

“There has been ongoing confusion in the industry about tax responsibilities, and as a result, stables have closed up shop and abandoned the state,” said Dancer (R-Ocean), who has been pushing the measure since November 2013.

Horse boarding, maintenance and servicing businesses are required to register as a seller with the Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury. Under current law, they are being taxed as “space for storage.” The bill relieves these businesses and services from sales tax obligations.

“Our neighboring states do not charge sales tax on horse boarding services. By leveling the playing field, New Jersey’s equine horse industry will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage,” Dancer continued.  “Establishing clear sales tax guidelines will save New Jersey jobs and businesses. Horses are farm livestock, not ‘storage units’ in a warehouse and are stabled, not stored. I thank the Legislature for advancing this important bill.”

The Rutgers Equine Science Center estimates the horse industry contributes more than $1 billion to the economy in a state with more than $4 billion in equine-related assets.

The bill now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy for consideration.

Power Restored 7:50 AM From East Windsor Accident

January 10, 2020 Updated January 11, 2020

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

EAST WINDSOR, NJ(MERCER) — A vehicle lost control on Old York Road just after 10 pm and took out a utility pole between Sharon Road and Windsor Perrineville Roads. Wires are down on the roadway and Jersey Central Power and Light is en route to make repairs. The driver was temporarily trapped in the vehicle and East Windsor and Hightstown Fire Departments were dispatch along with East Windsor First Aid and Mercer Paramedics. The driver self extricated prior to arrival. Power is out in parts of Robbinsville, Upper Freehold and East Windsor.

Power was restored at 7:50 am January 11, 2020 after Jersey Central Power and Light worked though the night to make repairs.

Allentown FFA Updates

January 10, 2020

By: Kylie Byrne, Allentown FFA Chapter Reporter

November 2019 Update:

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–In November of 2019 the Allentown FFA members and officers participated in many events and held many fundraisers. This month our Citrus sale and Apparel sales came to an end, it was a big success and we would like to thank everyone who helped support us! On November 19th members and officers attended the Hamilton Grange to give a presentation. At this presentation we made an arrangement with the people who attended. At the same time as the Grange presentation, other members were helping out at the Allentown High School ́s National Honor Society induction by passing out programs to the people who attended.

            On November 21st, we had three teams compete at Rutgers for our fall CDEs. The Land Judging team came in Second place overall and team member, Patrick McMahon came in first statewide. The Fruits and Vegetables identification team came in First overall and will be recognized this year at State Convention. The Milk Quality and Products team came in second place overall and team member, Connor Mcneill came in second statewide. All members had a great experience during these competitions and learned lots of valuable information.

            November 21st at seven o’clock was also our monthly chapter meeting. We talked about all of the upcoming and past events and how members can become involved. After the meeting we had lots of food for our friendsgiving and also played a movie for the members. On November 25th and 26th members stayed after school to help construct floral arrangements for our annual Thanksgiving Floral Sale. Members had a great time constructing these arrangements and learned alot about floral design. Overall the sale did very well and we would like to thank everyone who supported us by purchasing one o these beautiful arrangements!

December 2019 Update:

In December of 2019 Allentown FFA participated in many fun events and held many fundraisers. This month we held our annual Poinsettia sale and Holiday Centerpiece Sale. Members stayed after school on December 16th and 17th to construct the holiday arrangements. The event was very enjoyable and members learned a lot about floral design. We would also like to thank everyone who helped support the Allentown FFA by purchasing a poinsettia or one of our holiday floral arrangements.

            On December 6th some members attended Science Night Live at Newell Elementary School. A presentation was given to the students which taught them about the many different pigments within a leaf. The Students were able to do a fun activity to understand this topic and had the opportunity to interact with one of our bunnies, Snowball. December 19th was our monthly chapter meeting. We talked about the various past and upcoming events and afterwards we made graham cracker houses and an ugly sweater contest.

            December 20th was the end of our annual Pet Supply Drive. Throughout the month buckets where placed at various locations around town and pet supplies for Popcorn Park Zoo where collected. After school members helped take all of the items to the Popcorn Park Zoo where they were collected to be used in the animal shelter. Members then had the opportunity to tour the animal shelter and the zoo. The collection was a huge success and the trip was a lot of fun.

Governor signs Dancer’s resolution establishing May as Civil War Veterans Recognition Month

January 10, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. – Today the governor signed a joint resolution (SJR59/AJR21), sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer, that designates May of each year as “Civil War Veterans Recognition Month” and honors the Grand Army of the Republic and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War as two Civil War veterans organizations.

 “It is a fitting time to recognize the importance of the Civil War and its positive outcomes and establish a permanent commemoration of the Union Civil War veterans, and the two organizations that have supported them and their memory -The Grand Army of the Republic and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War,” proclaimed Dancer (R-Ocean). “New Jersey will now honor the sacrifice and contributions of those who served during America’s deadliest armed conflict.”

The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization, established in 1866 and composed of veterans of the Union Army, the United States Navy, the United States Marines, and the United States Revenue Cutter Service. It dissolved when the last member of the organization died in 1956. 

In 1881, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was established, in recognition of the importance of the sacrifice and service of Union Civil War veterans, but separate from the Grand Army of the Republic in deference to the sacredness of the veterans’ personal devotion and the toll of their actual war experience. This organization is the legal successor to the Grand Army of the Republic and is still in existence today.