Month: March 2021

City of Trenton to Receive $73.8 Million in Direct Federal Aid

Gusciora Administration Forming Advisory Committee to Evaluate Project Proposals

March 25, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today that following the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the City of Trenton will assemble a committee of city officials, policy experts, and community leaders to evaluate upcoming projects that will take advantage of $73.8 million in federal aid coming to Trenton over the next year.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve taken advantage of every funding source we could to provide free testing for Trenton residents, offer emergency loans to support local businesses, hire critical first responders, and launch new online platforms to ensure remote access to essential services,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Imagine what we can do with nearly $74 million in funds dedicated to helping communities like ours get back on our feet. We’re grateful for the Biden Administration and our congressional delegation in securing these funds for the Capital City. We want to make sure every penny brings the maximum possible benefit to our residents, and this added expertise will help us get started as soon as we receive the funds and more guidance from the U.S. Treasury.”

The Trenton American Rescue Plan Advisory Committee will include the following:

  • Chair: Brenda Ross-Dulan, President and CEO, Ross-Dulan Group
  • Brandon McKoy, President of N.J. Policy Perspective
  • Marge Caldwell-Wilson, City Council Vice President
  • Elvin Montero, Director of Communications, Chemistry Council of New Jersey
  • Jeannine LaRue, Senior Vice President of the Kaufman Zita Group
  • Kelly Ingram, I Am Trenton
  • Adam E. Cruz, Business Administrator
  • Dr. Adela M. Ames-Lopez, Director of Health and Human Services
  • Maria Richardson, Director of Recreation, Natural Resources, and Culture
  • Wahab A. Onitiri, Director of Public Works
  • Andre McNair, owner of Octobers Vintage in Trenton
  • Shereyl Snider, UrbanPromise Trenton

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan contains $360 billion in state and local aid to help employ essential workers, assist struggling families and small businesses, and make critical infrastructure investments. U.S. Treasury guidance outlining specific allowable expenditures is still pending.

The State of New Jersey will receive approximately $6.4 billion plus another $189 million to expand broadband internet across the state. Each of the 21 county governments will split $1.8 billion, with another $1.7 billion divided among all 565 cities and municipalities.

Trenton is due to receive $73.8 million of that aid, with the first half arriving within 60 days of the bill being signed into law. The other half will arrive within the next 12 months.

BREAKING: Vehicle Explodes In Hamilton

March 25, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On March 25, 2021 at approximately 8:02 AM, Hamilton Police and Hamilton Fire were dispatched to the 100 block of Route 206 on a report of vehicle that exploded in the parking lot.  Upon arrival, Officers were notified that one person was injured and already taken to the hospital by ambulance.  An investigation was conducted by the Hamilton Fire Marshal, Hamilton Police, and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and it was found that an acetylene tank was inside the vehicle and had leaked into the compartment area.  When the vehicle’s ignition was engaged the spark caused the gas to ignite causing extensive damage to the vehicle.  The injured party was treated and released from the hospital.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Chris Pullen of the Hamilton Police Division’s Criminal Investigations Section at 609-581-4080 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.

A similar incident happened in Upper Freehold Township, NJ Monmouth County on September 30, 2020 when a passenger vehicle exploded on I-195 East Bound leaving a man in critical condition. Sources said that the cause was from an acetylene tank being transported that leaked. Once the leaking acetylene found an ignition source an explosion occurred inside the moving vehicle.

October 1, 2020 story here: Man Critical But Stable After Car Explodes And Catches Fire On I-195 In Upper Freehold Township

September 30, 2020 MidJersey.News story here: TRAFFIC ALERT: Serious Fire On 195 East In Upper Freehold Township

Bordentown Fire Companies, mutual aid companies battle well-involved garage fire

March 24, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP (BURLINGTON)– Bordentown Fire Companies along with mutual aid fire companies from Hamilton and Chesterfield battled a first alarm fire on Groveville Road tonight.

The fire happened around 9:55 pm. Fire crews arrived on the scene of 62 Groveville Road with a well-involved two car garage, detached from the home. The “all hands” was called for additional resources and manpower to the scene.

Two hose lines along with a master stream were put into operation to bring the fire under control.

The fire was placed under control around 10:30 pm. The incident remains under investigation.

State Police Arrest Four and Seize $150K worth of Heroin, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Cash, Seized Narcotics Stamps Linked to Two Fatal Overdoses and One Non-fatal Overdose

March 24, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police have arrested Lawrence Priester, 39, of Morrisville, PA, Deniece Reeves, 26, of Browns Mills, N.J., Rosa Lind, 36, and Tyran Kelsey, 35, both of Trenton, N.J., for drug offenses and money laundering during an investigation that led to the seizure of $150,000 worth of narcotics and stamps linked to two fatal and one non-fatal overdose.

During a four-month investigation, detectives with the New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit and the Opioid Enforcement Task Force (OETF) began investigating the distribution of narcotics in and around the City of Trenton. Through various investigative means, detectives determined that Priester was involved in narcotics trafficking in Pennsylvania and in the Trenton area of New Jersey. Additionally, detectives were able to identify narcotics mills located in Bucks County, PA and in Trenton, N.J. where Priester was allegedly packaging heroin and fentanyl for distribution. 

On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, detectives with the Crime Suppression Central Unit, Opioid Enforcement Task Force, along with members of the Trenton Police Department SWAT, West Windsor Police Department, agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and detectives from the Bucks County Prosecutor’s Office executed search warrants in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Evidence seized as a result of the search warrants included approximately $150,000 worth of narcotics and more than $5,000 cash.

During execution of a search warrant in Trenton, detectives seized several different stamps used to brand packaged narcotics. Drug traffickers market their “brand” of drug by ink-stamping the outside of a wax fold with a unique image, word, or phrase such as “Facebook,” “187,” and “Completed” which are examples of stamps that were recovered. “Facebook” has been linked to two fatal overdoses in New Jersey and “187” has been linked to one non-fatal overdose in New Jersey.

Lawrence Priester was arrested on March 16, 2021 at a residence in Pennsylvania and charged with the following:

• Maintaining/ Operating a CDS production facility

• Possession of drug paraphernalia

• Possession of heroin and fentanyl with intent to distribute

Rosa Lind was arrested on March 16, 2021 at a residence in Trenton and charged with the following:

• Maintaining/ Operating a CDS production facility

• Possession of drug paraphernalia

• Possession of heroin and oxycodone with intent to distribute

Tyran Kelsey was arrested on March 16, 2021 after a motor vehicle stop in Trenton and charged with the following:

• Possession of heroin with intent to distribute

• Money laundering

Deniece Reeves was arrested on March 16, 2021 following a motor vehicle stop in Trenton and charged with the following:

• Possession of heroin with intent to distribute

• Money laundering

Kelsey and Reeves were lodged at the Mercer County Jail pending detention hearings. Lind was released pending a future court date. Priester was lodged at Bucks County Jail.  The case is being prosecuted by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

“Through their innovative strategies, the State Police have dismantled over 40 opioid mills over the last two years and arrested nearly 370 suspects involved in criminal activity. In the process, they have seized over $12 million worth of dangerous opioids and more than $3 million in illegal drug proceeds, while recovering 165 firearms used in furtherance of drug activity,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “They have undoubtedly saved lives and improved communities, but the State Police’s enforcement efforts are only one part of our fight against the opioid epidemic, which also focuses on prevention and treatment strategies. I commend the State Police and all of the law enforcement partners that contributed to this operation.”

“Oftentimes massive, bulk seizures make the headlines, but the most vital component of a narcotics trafficking network is the processing mill. Through collaboration with our partners, we were able to identify and assist with shutting down a Pennsylvania mill producing brands of narcotics linked to fatal and non-fatal overdoses here in New Jersey,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “The opioid epidemic recognizes no borders, jurisdictions, or state lines, which is why we will continue to work together with our partners across the river to shut down processing mills and bring those responsible to justice.” 

“Drug dealers don’t stop at state borders, and neither do we, thanks to our highly effective law enforcement partnerships both inside and outside New Jersey,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “I commend all of the agencies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that worked together to take down these alleged interstate drug traffickers.”  

To date, the OETF has conducted 168 enforcement operations and seized more than 843,862 individual doses of packaged opioids valued at $4,219,310, more than 82 kilograms of raw heroin valued at $4,920,000, more than 30 kilograms of fentanyl valued at $1,500,000, more than 51,000 fentanyl-based pills valued at $510,000, more than 42 kilograms of cocaine valued at $1,512,000, more than $3,424,430 in U.S. currency, and 165 firearms. The OETF has also disrupted or dismantled 39 fully operational opioid packaging facilities, four fully operational fentanyl pill pressing operations, and arrested 370 suspects during this time.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.

BREAKING: Trenton Police Investigate Another Shooting Tonight, Reported Person With Non Threatening Graze Wound To Head

March 23, 2021 — Updated 11:36 pm.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department, Detective Captain Peter Weremijenko told At 6:58pm officers responded to the 100 block of Hoffman Ave after receiving reports of shots fired.  Officers found several vehicles were struck by gunfire.  While investigating, officers were notified of a victim at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.  The victim suffered a non-life-threatening graze wound to his head.  

At this time we have nothing to indicate that these shootings were related to each other.  We have no suspect information to provide, but we ask that anyone with any information contact our confidential tip line at 609-989-DRUG (3784)

All of these incidents are being investigated by the Trenton Police Shooting Response Team.    

Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

BREAKING: Trenton Police Investigate Shooting On St. Joes Avenue and Find 2 Discarded Firearms

March 23, 2021 — Updated 11:31 pm

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department, Detective Captain Peter Weremijenko told At 5:23pm Trenton Police Officers responded to the 300 block of St. Joes Ave after receiving reports of shots fired.  Police Officers found spent shell casings and 2 firearms discarded in the area.  They also noticed several vehicles struck by bullets.  No injuries were reported.  

The Trenton Police Shooting Response Team is investigating the incident.  

Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Hamilton Township Republican Committee Announces Council Candidates

March 23, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Statement from the Hamilton Township Republican Committee.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– Hamilton Township Republican Committee Chairwoman Ileana Schirmer announced their 2021 committee nominated council candidates.

“Republicans and I are excited about our newly nominated council candidates,” said Schirmer “We are proud to have Robert ‘Bob’ Diszler, Joe DeMarco, and James Boozan as our council candidates. Each candidate represents a segment out of our beautiful town and have spent their lives giving back tothe community.”

Bob Diszler is a life-long Hamiltonian and a proud father of two girls. Bob served 26 years as Hamilton Township Police Officer. During his 26 years of service, Bob has served as a patrol officer, swat team member, field training officer, detective in criminal investigations, and school resource officer at Steinert High School. Bob was also elected PBA local 66 president for 2 terms, and even awarded Police Officer of the Year. Bob retired in July of 2019 from the Hamilton Police Department, where he is now currently working towards his CPA exam.

Joe DeMarco has been a long-time Hamilton resident. He has been a Sports Performance Trainer for the past 25 years. He owns a sports performance training center in Hamilton with the main goal of providing kids with a place and avenue where they can succeed both academically and athletically. As a business owner, he knows first-hand the struggles that come with owning a small business in New Jersey and in Hamilton. Throughout his business ownership and career, Joe has worked with many Hamilton school children and has seen the overall benefits of children participating in sports. He has seen them become successful adults who contribute back to our community and many who, themselves, have opened their own small businesses. To Joe, giving back to the community he loves and restoring pride back in Hamilton is essential.

James Boozan is a life-long resident of Hamilton. He is a family man and a proud father of four girls. He is an Executive for several Behavioral Health facilities throughout the country, with one located in North Jersey. James also volunteers for various non-profits to help with the growing substance abuse and mental health issues in our society especially among children. James is getting involved with politics to help make a change in his local community. There are many pressing issues we face as a society, as well as Hamiltonians, but with the right people in office, James believes we can make a positive change and work to enhance Hamilton’s history of being a safe, small town, families gravitate to.

This year, Hamilton residents will have a choice to continue with the special interest, insider deals or a choice to return to traditional values, public safety andrecreation, the Hamilton we deserve.

Shots Fired In Trenton

March 23, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department responded to a shots fired call in the 300 Block of Brunswick Avenue near Sanford Street around 2:15 pm.

Trenton Police Department, Detective Captain Peter Weremijenko stated that the police responded to the shots fired call and found empty bullet casings but no victims were found.

Trenton Police had a crime scene set up for the investigation.

No other information is available at this time.

The Trenton Police Shooting Response Team is investigating the incident.  

Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Chick-fil-A Announces New Hazlet Restaurant to Open on April 1

Restaurant to Bring Approximately 100 Full- and Part-Time Jobs to Community

March 23, 2021

HAZLET, NJ (MONM0OUTH)–Chick-fil-A Hazlet, located in Monmouth County, on the boarder of Hazlet and Holmdel, is slated to open for business on Thursday, April 1. Chick-fil-A®, Inc. has selected Brandon Jones as the independent franchised Owner/Operator of this new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Hazlet. Jones will be responsible for all day-to-day activities of the business, including employing approximately 100 full- and part-time Team Members, cultivating relationships with local organizations and neighboring businesses, and serving Guests. Chick-fil-A Hazlet is located at 2819 State Route 35 and will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

At Chick-fil-A, safe service is our first priority. New Chick-fil-A restaurants will take additional time to review operations and make sure appropriate precautions are in place before opening their dining rooms, to ensure the safety of Guests and Team Members. Currently, Chick-fil-A Hazlet will open via drive-thru only. Guests can take advantage of contactless ordering and payment through the Chick-fil-A mobile app. To learn more about Chick-fil-A’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our safe service page.

In place of the traditional Chick-fil-A First 100® Grand Opening celebration, Chick-fil-A Hazlet will be surprising 100 local heroes making an impact in Monmouth County with free Chick-fil-A for a year. Additionally, in honor of the new restaurant opening, Chick-fil-A will donate $25,000 to Feeding America. The funds will be distributed to partners within the greater Hazlet area to aid in the fight against hunger.

Locally Owned and Operated

Born and raised in Monmouth County, Brandon Jones has been determined to bring a Chick-fil-A restaurant to his community. So much so, that he began the process of becoming an Operator more than 10 years ago, holding off on moving into this role until there was an opportunity in Monmouth County. Prior to joining Chick-fil-A, Jones held a number of sales and marketing positions at industry-leading organizations, such as ZOLL Medical Corporation and Hologic Inc.

“Becoming an Operator in Monmouth County is a dream that has been a decade in the making and I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally see it come to life,” said Jones. “I look forward to making this restaurant a cornerstone of the community, creating a place that delivers great food with excellent service and provides personal and professional growth opportunities for Team Members.”

Team Member Investment

Chick-fil-A franchised Operators are committed to hiring, developing and retaining top talent, and providing a great work environment for people of all ages and backgrounds. They also offer their Team Members opportunities for flexible work hours and leadership growth, competitive pay and benefits, hands-on training and mentoring, and the chance to apply for scholarships to support their continuing education. As with all Chick-fil-A restaurants, Team Members are guaranteed Sundays off.

Quality Ingredients; Delicious Food

Chick-fil-A focuses on serving customers great-tasting food made with high quality ingredients. The produce we use in our recipes – from whole lemons and chopped apples, to fresh romaine lettuce and tomatoes – is delivered to our restaurants up to six times a week. Chick-fil-A Lemonade is made from three simple ingredients: lemon juice, sugar and water. All U.S. Chick-fil-A restaurants now serve chicken raised with No Antibiotics Ever, starting from the egg. By not allowing antibiotics of any kind, Chick-fil-A chicken meets the highest commitment for non-antibiotic use. For more information about the Chick-fil-A No Antibiotics Ever commitment, visit

Commitment to Customer Service

With a longstanding tradition in the restaurant industry for setting high standards in customer service, Chick-fil-A earned recognition for providing the “best fast food customer service in America” according to America’s Best Customer Service 2020 report by Newsweek, among other honors. 

            For more information about Chick-fil-A and stories about the Brand’s food, people and customers across the country, visit For the latest news and updates on Chick-fil-A Hazlet, visit the Chick-fil-A Hazlet Facebook page.

About Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a family owned and privately held restaurant company founded in 1967 by S. Truett Cathy. Devoted to serving the local communities in which its franchised restaurants operate, and known for its Original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A serves freshly prepared food in more than 2,600 restaurants in 47 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.

A leader in customer service satisfaction, Chick-fil-A was named top fast food restaurant in Newsweek’s 2019 America’s Best Customer Service report and received several honors in QSR’s 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards, including “The Most Respected Quick-Service Brand” and “Best Brand for Overall Experience”.  Additionally, Glassdoor named Chick-fil-A one of the top 100 best places to work in 2020. More information on Chick-fil-A is available at

Introducing Mercer County Military Action Council

March 23, 2021

TRENTON (March 23, 2021) – Two Mercer County residents with ties to the Armed Forces have founded the Mercer County Military Action Council (MCMAC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the service members and the mission of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL), as well as active-duty personnel, reservists, guardsmen, veterans and their respective families living in local towns.

Regina Arcuri of Robbinsville and William “Bill” Cleave of Pennington, both honorary commanders at JB MDL, created this nonprofit organization in January 2021.  They joined forces with Alan Gilmore, an attorney from Pennington, and David A. Lauer, CPA of Hamilton to complete the council’s executive board. The council launched its website this week.

Arcuri, chairwoman of MCMAC, encourages Mercer County area business owners, local government officials and residents to join the organization. “We need a military support organization here in Mercer County not only to support the service members and the mission of the base, but also to inform local businesses that they can tap into a highly skilled and responsible workforce.”

Arcuri has been active in other military support organizations based in Ocean and Burlington counties for years. She soon realized that many military families live and work here in Mercer, many of whom silently struggle to fit into their adopted (and often temporary) communities. “These families would benefit from a military support organization located close to home,” she said.

“Supporting the base and these families helps everyone who lives in our county. We all need each other,” she added.

Cleave, vice chairman of the organization, noted that his father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, including the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach, and then in the reserves during the Korean War. His parents, he said, taught him to honor the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform and their families. “Helping to establish this organization is my way of paying it forward,” he said.

Both Arcuri, who retired last year as a deputy director of New Jersey Lottery after more than 30 years with the state agency, and Cleave, co-owner of Flagship Insurance Agency in Pennington, have been involved in the Honorary Commander Program at JB MDL for several years. Arcuri joined the installation’s first group of honorary commanders inducted into the emeritus program when it was created in 2017.

The purpose of the Honorary Commander Program is to increase public awareness of the installation’s mission and to foster a supportive relationship between military commanders and civic leaders. The goal is to educate civilian volunteers on the various missions of each service branch and to encourage communication between installation commanders and surrounding towns. Honorary commanders are required to complete condensed training exercises that mimic those of service members in their respective branches, tour base operations to learn the mission of each branch, attend base ceremonies, and spend time with service members to understand how local communities can better assist them.

MCMAC will allow Arcuri and Cleave to continue the important work of communicating the base’s mission and goals, as well as the needs of service members and military families, to its membership, who, in turn, will further the message to their friends and family.

Arcuri said it has been their privilege to serve as honorary commanders. “Through that program Bill and I became acutely aware of the base’s economic impact on New Jersey,” Arcuri said. “It’s now up to MCMAC to educate local government officials, business leaders and residents as to how they can help maintain this valuable asset that benefits all of us.”   

Gilmore, of The Gilmore Firm LLC, serves as secretary of the organization, while Lauer serves as treasurer.

 “Joining MCMAC is an easy way to show that you care about the people who help to protect our country,” Gilmore said, adding that his father was a Marine who fought in the Pacific Rim during World War II. “His service is a source of pride that should be recognized by everyone and should not be taken for granted, which will hopefully promote and continue the tradition of service.”

Lauer, a partner in Five Points Financial in Hamilton, has worked with many military personnel during his accounting career. “Without fail, I have found them to be the most respectful, appreciative, and forthright group of individuals to work with,” Lauer said. “Paying it back by joining the Mercer County Military Action Council’s executive board was a decision I made without hesitation.”

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst was formed in 2009 as the nation’s only tri-service installation – uniquely capable of projecting air, land and sea power in support of our nation’s defense. The base serves as an economic engine for our entire region. The base is the second largest employer in New Jersey, contributing $6.9 billion annually to our state economy. More than 42,000 active-duty personnel and civilians work and live on and around the base.

“The installation is an incredible resource and we’re lucky to have it in our backyard,” Cleave said.

Aside from hosting fundraisers and military appreciation events, MCMAC will hold networking events so local business leaders can meet base commanders and procurement agents. The organization will also encourage local businesses to tap into the talent on base and offer transitioning service members an opportunity to use their skills in the civilian workplace.

MCMAC is now accepting sponsorships and memberships through its website. For more information about the Mercer County Military Action Council, visit

Mission Statement: Mercer County Military Action Council serves as a liaison between Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst commanders and the civilian community to foster a meaningful dialogue of their shared interests, and to collectively meet the needs of service members on base as well as active-duty personnel, reservists, guardsmen, veterans and their respective families living in our communities.

Former Laurita Winery Manager Charged With Theft

March 23, 2021

PLUMSTED TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Plumsted Township Police Chief Earl Meroney announced that on March 22, 2021, Nancy Proctor, 62, of Ortley Beach, was charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Unit and Plumsted Township Police Department revealed that Proctor – a former manager at Laurita Winery in New Egypt – stole in excess of $40,000 from the winery during the course of her employment spanning the time period from January 24, 2019 through November 1, 2019.  Proctor was responsible for collecting payments from food vendors for events taking place at Laurita Winery, but instead diverted the monies intended for Laurita Winery to her own personal PayPal accounts, for her own personal benefit.

On March 22, 2021, law enforcement located Proctor at her current place of employment in Seaside Heights; she was subsequently transported to the Seaside Heights Police Department, where she was processed and released on a summons pending a future court date.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Meroney commend the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Unit, Plumsted Township Police Department, and Seaside Heights Police Department for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.

The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

UPDATE: Trenton man charged with attempted murder of federal agent after officer-involved shooting

March 23, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

See related story here: UPDATE: One injured in officer-involved shooting during multi-agency investigation

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– The Mercer County Homicide Task force and the New Jersey State Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting, criminal attempted murder, and robbery involving a Trenton man. It occurred in Hamilton Township, around 9:00 pm on Monday.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, at approximately 9 p.m., agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were engaged in an undercover operation. During the operation, two undercover agents were at Krauszer’s Food Store on Greenwood Avenue. During the operation, a black male wearing a black mask approached the undercover vehicle after one of the agents exited the vehicle. The black male, identified as Jabree Johnson, 26-year-old Trenton resident, entered the vehicle and pointed a handgun at the second agent demanding money. The second agent exited the vehicle and fired shots at the black male. As the suspect exited the vehicle, he fired shots at the agent before fleeing down Atlantic Avenue and out of sight.

Trenton police officers were contacted by Capital Health Regional Medical Center at 9:05 p.m. and advised a gunshot victim was brought in by personal vehicle. At the hospital, it was determined that the gunshot victim was a black male wearing bleached blue jeans, a white shirt soiled with blood, and brown boots. The gunshot victim was identified as Jabree Johnson. Johnson told a detective with the Mercer County Shooting Response Team that he was shot in the area of Walnut Avenue and declined to provide further information. Trenton police informed HTF that no reports of shots fired in that area were received during this timeframe. It should also be noted that Johnson had a large amount of cash with him.

Video received by HTF detectives from the undercover vehicle located at Krauszer’s captured the exchange. It depicts Johnson entering the vehicle with the second undercover agent, pointing a handgun at the agent, and telling him to hand over the money. The agent tosses an amount of bundled United States currency at Johnson who then orders the agent out of the vehicle. The agent fires at Johnson, striking him in the shoulder area. As Johnson exits the vehicle, he fires multiple times at the agent before fleeing down Atlantic Avenue.

Johnson, 26, of Cleveland Avenue, remains hospitalized in stable condition. He is charged with attempted murder, robbery, aggravated assault, resisting arrest and weapons offenses. The prosecutor’s office will be filling a motion to detain Johnson pending trial.

The incident remains under investigation.

Despite having been charged, all persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law

UPDATE: One injured in officer-involved shooting during multi-agency investigation

March 23, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

We have another update. Check it out. UPDATE: Trenton man charged with attempted murder of federal agent after officer involved shooting

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that an officer-involved shooting occurred Monday night in Hamilton.

It occurred around 9:00 pm in the parking lot of Krauszer’s Food Store on Greenwood Avenue. It took place during a federal investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Preliminary investigation suggests a suspect entered a vehicle with an undercover officer. The suspect engaged in an altercation with the two federal officers, and at some point, an officer’s weapon was discharged. The suspect, identified as a Trenton man in his 20s, fled the scene on foot.

The suspect ended up at the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center suffering from a gunshot wound, where he is currently listed in critical but stable condition.

The shooting is currently under investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at the direction of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.

Sources also tell that the male went to the Krauszer’s to purchase a firearm illegally, and shots were fired. After the shots were fired, the suspect fled the scene and got into a vehicle with New York plates, which was occupied by two other subjects.

The sources added that Trenton Police have the hospitalized suspect and the two other subjects in custody at this time.

This remains a developing story.

See related story here: DEVELOPING: At least one person shot, multi agency investigation in Hamilton/Trenton

DEVELOPING: One person shot during multi-agency investigation in Hamilton/Trenton

March 22, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

We have another update. Check it out. UPDATE: Trenton man charged with attempted murder of federal agent after officer involved shooting

BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This report is made up of on scene information, sources, and radio reports. If we receive official information, the post will be updated and corrections will be made.

See update here: UPDATE; One injured in officer-involved shooting during multi-agency investigation

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– One person was shot in the parking lot of the Krauser’s Food Store on Greenwood Avenue around 9:00 pm, Monday.

It appears that this shooting occurred during a multi-agency investigation that includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Hamilton Police, Trenton Police, and possibly other agencies.

Sources tell that a male went to Krauszer’s to purchase a gun illegally, when shots were exchanged and the suspect drove away in a car with New York plates. The vehicle, which was occupied by the suspect who was shot and two other suspects, escaped the perimeter that was set up by law enforcement.

The gunshot victim transported himself to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

Trenton Police currently have three people in custody related to this incident. reached out to local police departments and were referred to the FBI as the lead agency. We have reached out to the FBI and are awaiting comment. Please check back for an update.

$30K Mega Millions Ticket With Megaplier Option Sold At Bordentown Acme

Mega Millions Jackpot Rolls to $122,000,000

March 22, 2021

TRENTON (March 22, 2021) – There were two third-tier prizewinning tickets sold for the Friday, March 19, drawing that matched four of the five white balls and the Gold Mega Ball drawn winning the $10,000 prize. One of those tickets was purchased with the Megaplier option, multiplying the prize to $30,000. Those tickets were purchased at the following locations:

Burlington County ($30,000): ACME #3961, 260 Dunns Mills Rd., Bordentown; and,
• Passaic County ($10,000): Jackpocket, 355 Warwick Tpke., Hewitt.

In addition to the third-tier prizes won, 11 players matched four of the five white balls drawn making each ticket worth $500. Three of those tickets were purchased with the Megaplier option, multiplying the prizes to $1,500. Moreover, 28,593 other New Jersey players took home $117,736 in prizes ranging from $2 to $600. The winning numbers for the Friday, March 19, drawing were: 09, 14, 40, 58, and 69. The Gold Mega Ball was 08, and the Megaplier Multiplier was 03.
The next drawing will be held Tuesday, March 23, at 11:00 pm. All New Jersey Lottery Mega Millions tickets must be purchased before 10:45 pm to participate in the drawing. Mega Millions tickets cost just two dollars; by adding the Megaplier option for an extra dollar per play, players can increase their non-jackpot winnings up to five times. Mega Millions tickets are sold in 46 participating jurisdictions. Drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Hamilton Township Firefighters Extinguish Stove Fire

March 21, 2021

Photos and story by: Colin McCormick

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)—Around 10:30 this morning, the Hamilton Township Fire Department responded to the Alvin E Greshen Apartments located at 1655 Klockner Road for a smoke condition in an apartment.

Squad 12, Engine 18, Engine 14, Truck 17, Battalion 10 responded to the scene. After an investigation, crews found a fire on the stove in a 2nd floor apartment. Upon entry, it was found that the fire was contained to a pot on the stove.

Hamilton’s fire crews quickly extinguished the fire, preventing the fire from extending, but a heavy smoke condition remained. Fire crews used natural ventilation to remove smoke from the apartment.

The fire department remained on scene for around a half hour.

Another Accident On Route 524 Curve Near TSC

March 21, 2021

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A car lost control struck a utility pole on CR Route 524 severing it, causing wires to fall to the ground this morning at a curve known for serous accidents over the years.

The Hope Fire Company of Allentown, NJ State Police and Capital Health EMS were dispatched around 9:35 a.m. for an overturned vehicle near Tractor Supply Company. Upon arrival of EMS it was determined that there were no injures in the accident but wires from the down pole were across the roadway. Hope Fire Company and NJSP closed the CR Route 524 roadway from the 2nd driveway at Tractor Supply to Sharon Station Road. Barricades were called for from Monmouth County Highway Department to shut roadway until the repairs can be made.

A known curve with serious accidents over the years and recently on November 21, 2020 a similar accident occurred. The curve is posted at 35 MPH it is unknown why the vehicle lost control at this time.

November 21, 2020 accident here: Crash Knocks Out Power In Part Of Upper Freehold

Trenton Firefighters battle 2-alarm blaze, 3rd fire in under 12 hours

March 21, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

TRENTON (MERCER)– Trenton Fire Department battled a two alarm fire after receiving a 911 call for smoke in the area, early Sunday morning.

The fire broke out in the 1000 block of Franklin Street around 12:50 am. Firefighters arrived on the scene with heavy fire conditions throughout the vacant 2.5 story semi-family dwelling. The “all hands” was called, but was then quickly upgraded to the second alarm for extra assistance in knocking down the blaze.

A master stream and multiple hose lines were put into operation. The bulk of the fire was knocked down around 1:30 am. It is unknown if anyone was injured in the incident.

This fire remains under investigation.

Trenton firefighters also battled a fire in the 400 block of Cuyler Avenue around 5:40 pm on Saturday. Prior to the Cuyler Avenue job, firefighters responded to a porch fire with extension to the inside of a home in the 800 block of Quinton Avenue, around 4:00 pm.

Trenton Firefighters respond to Cuyler Ave house fire

March 20, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

TRENTON (MERCER)– Trenton Fire Department responded to a house fire that damaged two homes, Saturday afternoon.

It happened around 5:40 pm in the 400 block of Cuyler Ave. The caller reported fire was shooting out of the windows of the duplex. Firefighters arrived on the scene, and the “all hands” was called, sending additional manpower, resources, and apparatus to the scene.

At least three hose lines were stretched into operation to extinguish the fire. It was placed under control just before 6:30 pm.

This is Trenton’s second fire of the day. Firefighters battled a porch fire with extension into a home in the 800 block of Quinton Avenue just after 4:00 pm.

This incident remains under investigation.

UPDATE: Three vehicle crash leaves several injured on I-195

March 20, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– Several people were injured after a crash involving three cars on I-195, Friday night.

The crash occurred at approximately 9:15 pm. The three vehicle wreck, originally reported to be at least five vehicles, was reportedly caused by a couch that was laying in the middle of the Interstate near Milepost 5.4 on the Westbound side.

Hamilton Fire Department, along with Robbinsville Fire Department, responded to the scene for initial reports of people trapped inside of a vehicle. When crews arrived on scene, it was determined that no one was trapped in any of the vehicles.

Multiple people were injured in the incident, four of the patients injured were transported to local hospitals. All injuries were non-life threatening and all patients are expected to recover.

The left lane of the highway was closed for the investigation and removal of vehicles. All vehicles have since been removed and the left lane has been reopened.

5+ car crash on I-195 send multiple people to the hospital

March 19, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

See’ update here: UPDATE: Three vehicle crash leaves several injured on I-195

BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This report is based on radio reports, on scene information, and sources. Once official information is available, the post will be updated.

ROBBINSVILLE/HAMILTON (MERCER)– At least a five car crash occurred Friday night on Interstate 195 on the Westbound side.

The crash occurred around 9:20 pm. Multiple vehicles reportedly struck a couch that was in the middle of the interstate between the Turnpike and Exit 5B, near the Hamilton/Robbinsville border.

Hamilton Fire Department and Robbinsville Fire Department responded to the scene for initial reports of people trapped inside of at least one vehicle.

Multiple people were transported to the hospital with at least one “trauma alert” called.

We have reached out to State Police for information on the incident. Please check back for an update.

BREAKING: Investigation reveals Lakewood wildfire was intentionally set, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office says

March 19, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

LAKEWOOD (OCEAN)– Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Squad-Arson Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, has determined that the wildland fire which occurred in Lakewood Township and advanced into Brick Township on Sunday, March 14, 2021, was intentionally set.

“We have located the origin of the fire and have concluded that the fire was intentionally set,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

On Sunday, March 14, 2021, at approximately 1:15 p.m., the New Jersey Forest Fire Service Observation Tower in Lakewood reported a wildland fire in the area of Cedarbridge Avenue and Airport Road in Lakewood. As the fire quickly spread, firefighters battled through the night – in the face of 20 mile-per-hour winds – in an effort to contain the blaze. During the course of the fire, a firefighter from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service suffered cardiac arrest. He was transported to Hackensack Meridian Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township where he is reported to be in stable condition. Approximately 167 acres of land were destroyed by the fire, and it was finally deemed under control on Monday, March 15, 2021, by approximately 1:00 p.m.

“The significance of this wildland fire cannot be overstated. We have a firefighter that suffered cardiac arrest while battling this fire. Three homeless people living in the woods were saved from the advancing fire. Numerous residences and commercial properties were damaged and hundreds of people were evacuated. It is only by the grace of God that no one was killed,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “This remains an active and ongoing investigation, and anyone with knowledge of information concerning this fire is urged to contact Sergeant Thomas Haskell of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, extension 3953,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Prosecutor Billhimer expresses his gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their thorough and collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation. Prosecutor Billhimer also commends the following agencies for their bravery and collective support in fighting and controlling this horrific fire: Ocean County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey Forest Fire Service; New Jersey State Police; New Jersey State Police Traffic Incident Management Team; Ocean County Fire Coordinators; Ocean County EMS Coordinators; Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office; Lakewood Township Police Department; Brick Township Police Department; Toms River Township Police Department; Jackson Township Police Department; Howell Township Police Department; Chaverim of Lakewood; Hatzolah; Brick Township Bureau of Fire Safety; Brick Township EMS; Lakewood Township Fire Department; Lakewood Township EMS; Barnegat Township Fire Department; Beachwood Fire Department; Bayville Fire Department (Berkeley); Manitou Park Fire Department (Berkeley); Pinewald Pioneer Fire Department (Berkeley); Laurelton Fire Department (Brick); Breton Woods Fire Department (Brick); Pioneer Hose Fire Department (Brick); Herbertsville Fire Department (Brick); Toms River Fire Department Company No.1; Toms River Fire Department Company No. 2; Ocean Beach Fire Department (Toms River); East Dover Fire Department (Toms River); Silverton Fire Department (Toms River); Pleasant Plains Fire Department (Toms River); Manchester Township Fire Department; Whiting Fire Department (Manchester); Ridgeway Fire Department (Manchester); Mantoloking Fire Department; Waretown Fire Department; Ocean Gate Fire Department; Pine Beach Fire Department; Point Pleasant Borough Fire Department; Point Pleasant Beach Fire Department; Seaside Heights Fire Department; Seaside Park Fire Department; Island Heights Fire Department; Jackson Township Fire Department Company No.1; Jackson Mills Fire Department (Jackson); Cassville Fire Department (Jackson); Whitesville Fire Department (Jackson); Forked River Fire Department (Lacey); Lanoka Harbor Fire Department (Lacey); Lakehurst Fire Department; Joint Base McGuire-Dix Fire Department; Lavallette Fire Department; Eatontown Fire Department; Wanamassa Fire Department (Ocean – Monmouth County); Oakhurst Fire Department (Ocean – Monmouth County); West Long Branch Fire Department; Hamilton Fire Department (Neptune); Shark River Hills Fire Department (Neptune); Neptune City Fire Department; Colts Neck Fire Department; Southard Fire Department (Howell); and Goodwill Hose Fire Department (Belmar).

Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin Selects New Chief Financial Officer

March 19, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin is pleased to announce Elizabeth Peddicord as the new Director of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for the Township.

Peddicord most recently served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Township of Evesham, where she prepared the annual budget, managed accounts payable, assisted with contract negotiations, and supervised employees. Previously the Treasurer for Evesham for eleven years, Peddicord also has experience as an auditor for other municipalities and associations working in the private sector.  Peddicord is also licensed as a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Tax Collector and Qualified Purchasing Agent. 

“I am looking forward to serving the residents of Hamilton Township. This is an exciting opportunity, between the pandemic and the recent local aid, to set Hamilton up for short and long term financial success,” said Peddicord.   

Peddicord is a graduate of Stockton University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and received her Masters of Arts in Corporate Public Relations from Rowan University.  She is mother of four young children and enjoys running in her spare time.

“I am thrilled to have Liz join the Township,” said Mayor Martin.  “I am thankful for her willingness to serve and am confident that Hamilton Township is in good hands with Liz as part of our Finance team.”

“I would also like to thank our Business Administrator Kathy Monzo for filling the position of Acting CFO and Tax Collector Danielle Peacock for assuming the position of Acting Director of Finance while we searched for a new hire.”

Peddicord will assume the role of Director of Finance/Chief Financial Officer on Monday, March 22, 2021. This nomination requires, and is expected to receive, the consent of the Hamilton Township Council.

Trenton Police bust alleged Trenton heroin dealer

March 19, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

TRENTON (MERCER)– Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley today announced that a Trenton man had been arrested for multiple drug offenses on Mar. 17, 2021 after a two-week operation seized 50 bricks of heroin and more than $1,000 in suspected drug proceeds.

Anthony Z. Jackson, 28, of Trenton, was charged with possession of heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession with the intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school, and possession with the intent to distribute within 500 feet of a park.

The arrest was carried out following complaints of narcotic activity at 125 N. Hermitage Ave, which led to a two-week surveillance investigation of the location by the Violent Crimes Rapid Response Unit.

After executing a search warrant on March 17, 2021, members of the Street Crimes Unit entered the property and apprehended Jackson without incident.

During a search of the premises, officers confiscated 50 bricks of heroin and $1,343 in suspected drug proceeds.

“While our community seeks to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot lose ground to the other disease  that has claimed far too many lives for years,” said Director Coley. “The opioid crisis is still very real, and I thank the residents who report these crimes and the TPD officers who are out there every day ridding the streets of dangerous narcotics before they harm more Trentonians.”

These charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. This is an ongoing investigation.

Single car crash in Bordentown takes down traffic light poles

March 19, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP (BURLINGTON)– A single car lost control, knocking down traffic light signals in Bordentown Township, yesterday afternoon.

The crash occurred around 4:45 pm on March 18. Bordentown Township Police responded to the single car collision on Route 206 at Carmen Avenue.

Investigation revealed that a 2013 BMW 3 series, operated by Tyquell Lee, age 33, of Reeves Avenue in Hamilton, was traveling on Route 206 when he lost control of his vehicle and struck two light standards at the intersection of Carmen Avenue. The light standards were rendered inoperable as a result of the collision.

Fire Police responded to assist Township Police with traffic control. NJDOT responded to the scene and replaced the traffic light standards.

No one was injured in the crash.

This crash still remains under investigation by Bordentown Township Police. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Ptl. Zackman of the department’s Traffic Safety Unit at 609-298-4300, ext. 3288.

Gusciora Admin and Trenton Water Works celebrate first ever water job training and apprenticeship program in the Capital City

March 18, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

20 Employees will be enrolled in the program by June 2021

TRENTON (MERCER)– Mayor W. Reed Gusciora and Trenton Water Works (TWW) Director Mark A. Lavenberg today announced a second semester of the TWW Training and Apprenticeship Program (TAP), which for the first time in the utility’s history provides current employees with the education necessary to advance their careers and pursue higher-level jobs in water treatment and distribution.

TAP is a two-year program that is available to TWW employees of all ranks and various educational backgrounds. Ten students are already enrolled in this program – six from the water-filtration plant, three from construction and maintenance, and one from engineering. Ten additional students are scheduled to begin June 2021.

Five of those students participate in an apprenticeship component that is managed by the N.J. Water Association (NJWA) with support from Mercer County Community College and the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) Growing Apprenticeships in Non-Traditional Sectors (GAINS) program. The GAINS program promotes the expansion of apprenticeship programs that drive economic development by providing the skills and education necessary for advanced credentials and better-paying jobs. Thanks to the GAINS program, half of the apprentices’ salaries are covered by NJDOL.

Apprentices are assigned water system licensed mentors who are TWW employees. Apprentices receive 290 hours of training, including 180 for the Operator Prerequisite Course at Mercer County Community College, which is being taught onsite at TWW headquarters on 333 Cortland Street by Andrew Pappachen, a water-industry executive with 46 years of experience in water system operation and management.

The TAP curriculum includes OSHA and FEMA emergency response training. Participants will ultimately become water system operation specialists or water treatment specialists who will be eligible to take the related state exams once they complete the required work hours.

“Having a major public utility right here in the Capital City puts us in a unique position to provide quality, high-skill jobs to our residents and the training to help them get there,” said Mayor Gusciora. “I’m grateful for our partners at Mercer County Community College, the N.J. Water Association, and the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development who all came together to make this elite apprenticeship program available for the Trenton residents who work at TWW.”

“TWW always has a need for certified operators, and this program ensures that Trenton residents who already work at the water utility have the opportunities and resources to grow into those roles,” said TWW Director Mark Lavenberg. “We’re proud of the work TWW does for its service area and believe there isn’t a better place to develop a long-term water career than right here at one of the largest public utilities in the country.”

“My career as a carpenter didn’t give me just a job – it gave me a career,” said Assemblyman Anthony S. Verrelli. “I know for a fact that there are people like me who are studying at undergraduate institutions as we speak but who are not making the most of the skills and talents that they have – and they are there because college is too often the only post-secondary path presented to high-school students. This is misguided. We need a strong, vibrant economy that works for everyone – not just the wealthiest and most privileged people. We will not achieve that goal if we do not present working people with good career opportunities that have few or no barriers to entry and that offer mobility. We need to connect our students to well-paying, fulfilling professions that don’t require a college degree and a lifetime of debt. Trenton Water Works is doing exactly that by giving Water Works employees the training and education necessary to advance their careers by giving them marketable, transferable skills. The Trenton Water Works Training and Apprenticeship Program is exactly kind of program we need for working people – barrier-free, on-the-job, credentialed training that can transform a job into a career.”

“The Murphy Administration is proud to have gone all-in when it comes to investing in partners like the City of Trenton and their new Water Job Training and Apprenticeship Program,” said N.J. Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “This is another example of how our Office of Apprenticeship has been working to change the way our state’s businesses and young workers think about the viable and valuable career pathway of apprenticeship.”

“Mercer County Community College is proud to be part of this initiative to provide valuable education that directly leads to gainful employment,” said Dr. Jianping Wang, MCCC President.

“The N.J. Water Association appreciates the opportunity to partner with the City of Trenton and the N.J. Department of Labor,” said NJWA Executive Director Richard P. Howlett. “Through our partnership, we are providing on-the-job learning and technical instruction that leads to the development of a highly skilled, licensed workforce. These licensed water and water operators will possess the qualifications required to provide clean, safe drinking water, and to protect New Jersey’s environment. Also, importantly, our partnership with Trenton and NJDOL will create and support good jobs and will increase the pool of licensed water and wastewater operators in New Jersey.”

Trenton Water Works is among the largest publicly owned, urban water utilities in the United States. It supplies an average of 27 million gallons of Delaware River-sourced drinking water per day to 63,000 metered customers. It services more than 200,000 people in Trenton, parts of Hamilton Township, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township and Hopewell Township in Mercer County, New Jersey. Established more than 200 years ago, TWW operates a 60-million-gallon water-filtration plant and water-distribution system that includes a 100-million-gallon reservoir. TWW’s system has 683 miles of water mains varying in size from four to 48 inches in diameter, three pump stations, and six interconnections between TWW and other water suppliers.

Photos by City of Trenton.

AG Grewal announces first-in-the-nation settlement with Ghost Gun company

March 18, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Distributor agrees to pay $70,000 and stop shipping untraceable weapons into New Jersey

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced a first-of-its-kind settlement with a ghost gun company that the Attorney General and New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs sued over the company’s advertising and marketing of ghost guns to New Jersey residents and delivery of an assault firearms kit to a New Jersey buyer.

The March 2019 lawsuit against James Tromblee, Jr. d/b/a U.S. Patriot Armory (U.S. Patriot Armory) also was the country’s first such lawsuit against a ghost gun distributor.

“Ghost guns” are partially assembled firearms sold with the parts needed to create a fully-operational gun, often with the instructions on how to do so. Because “ghost guns” are incomplete when sold, companies do not require purchasers to go through background checks, allowing prohibited persons—including terrorists, fugitives, and felons—to obtain firearms that they otherwise would not be able to purchase.

Completed “ghost guns” lack traceable serial numbers, making it harder for law enforcement to trace them to their owners and solve gun-related crimes.

In a final consent judgment approved by the court today, U.S. Patriot Armory has agreed to stop advertising and shipping ghost guns and untraceable parts to New Jersey consumers, and to pay $70,000 to resolve the State’s lawsuit, among other relief.

“Protecting New Jerseyans is one of my primary responsibilities as chief law enforcement officer, and to do that, we must keep untraceable firearms off our streets,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We put ghost gun vendors on notice about the consequences of violating our State’s laws over a year ago. Many responded by blocking ghost gun sales to New Jersey residents. Companies that refuse to comply with our laws voluntarily will be held accountable in court.”

Today’s settlement is the latest development in the State’s ongoing efforts to keep ghost guns out of New Jersey.

In November 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation making it illegal in New Jersey to purchase parts to manufacture or distribute information to print “ghost guns,” homemade or 3D printed firearms that are untraceable by law enforcement.

In December 2018, Attorney General Grewal sent cease-and-desist letters to ghost gun companies across the country, ordering them to stop advertising and selling their products to New Jersey buyers and promising to sue any that failed to comply. In response to the cease-and-desist letters, fifteen ghost gun companies agreed to block all New Jersey sales.

The State’s complaint against U.S. Patriot Armory alleged that the California-based distributor continued to deceptively and unconscionably advertise, offer and sell ghost gun kits to New Jersey residents without warning them that untraceable firearms are illegal in New Jersey, exposing buyers to criminal prosecution. To the contrary, U.S. Patriot Armory represented on its website, “Is it legal?: YES!” The lawsuit also alleged that on February 14, 2019, an undercover investigator for the Division of Consumer Affairs accessed the U.S. Patriot Armory website and purchased a ghost gun kit for the creation of an AR-15 assault rifle, which was delivered to an undercover New Jersey address the following month.

In addition to making a monetary payment and agreeing to stop advertising and shipping ghost guns to New Jersey buyers, U.S. Patriot Armory has agreed to include on its website’s home page and checkout page a conspicuous disclaimer making clear that it does not ship ghost guns or parts to New Jersey.

In addition to today’s ghost gun settlement, Attorney General Grewal recently resolved two lawsuits against firearms dealers over their advertisement and sale of large capacity magazines (LCMs). In September 2020, a Nevada-based firearms dealer agreed to stop advertising, offering for sale, and selling LCMs to New Jersey residents, and to pay the State $50,000, to settle the State’s civil lawsuit against the company. And in January 2021, a Florida company agreed to stop advertising, offering for sale, and selling LCMs anywhere in the United States, and to pay $135,000 in civil penalties after the company sold LCMs to an undercover investigator and delivered the prohibited ammunition to a New Jersey address.

Deputy Attorney General Jesse J. Sierant, Assistant Section Chief of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group represented the State in the matter. Investigator Aziza Salikhova of the Office of Consumer Protection within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted the investigation.

Study: Smith is most effective Republican lawmaker on healthcare in House

March 18, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Independent study by UVA, Vanderbilt measures legislative effectiveness in 116th Congress

A newly published, independent analysis on the legislative effectiveness of members of Congress ranks Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) as the most effective Republican lawmaker on healthcare issues in the House of Representatives. The study also shows that Rep. Smith is the second most effective House Republican lawmaker overall.

The Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL)—a nonpartisan, joint partnership between the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Vanderbilt University—said Smith “can be effective at lawmaking, even in a Democratic-controlled House.” They added that Smith has continued his streak of “exceeding expectations” in Congress compared to his colleagues, ranking in the top five for the longest streak of all members in the House.

“Effective law making requires working across the aisle in good faith—and respecting others even when there are fundamental disagreements—in order to achieve fair and sustainable solutions to problems,” said Rep. Smith. “I have always searched for areas of agreement to enact laws that make a positive difference, and I will continue to work tirelessly to help the people of New Jersey and those across the country on a wide-range of important issues.”

The CEL measures the effectiveness of congressional lawmakers by using a combination of fifteen metrics that track the number of bills sponsored by a member, the substance of the proposed policies, and how far they move through the lawmaking process.

Smith—who has the second most bills enacted into law out of the 435 members of the House according to a compilation of the data available through the  Library of Congress—has a notable reputation for working across the aisle to pass laws that protect the vulnerable, especially women, children, individuals with autism, veterans and others in need.

The study is not the first to show that Smith has a keen ability to get things done in Congress. Last year, Smith received recognitions from two other independent groups—Georgetown University’s Lugar Center and McCourt School of Public Policy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—for his bipartisanship and leadership in working across party lines on important legislation.

When Smith received the inaugural Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship from the U.S Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Vice President Jack Howard said: “Many are looking to our nation’s government and elected leaders for answers during this time. We need pragmatic political leaders who have the courage to solve huge business and economic growth issues through common sense solutions built from a durable political center, not ideological corners.”

And when the Lugar Center and McCourt School ranked Smith as one of the most bipartisan members of Congress, Georgetown’s McCourt School Dean Maria Cancian said: “While hyper-partisanship continues in Congress, our latest Bipartisan Index––a nonpartisan and data-driven tool––points to a crosscurrent of cooperation among lawmakers. This offers hope, as our future depends on our ability to work together across the aisle and across differences for the common good.”

Benson announces NJDOT award of $590,000 to Hamilton Township in local freight impact fund grants

March 18, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Program funds improvements on Thomas J. Rhodes Industrial Drive and Industrial Drive to keep trucks off residential streets.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– Assemblyman and Transportation Committee Chairman Dan Benson today announced $590,000 in Local Freight Impact Fund grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation that will help Hamilton Township provide for the safe movement of large truck traffic away from residential areas. The grant will fund improvements to Thomas J. Rhodes Industrial Drive and Industrial Drive, two roads that are designed to divert truck traffic away from residential areas.

“The trucking and freight traffic network has been critical to New Jersey’s response to the coronavirus, moving life-saving supplies to support medical personnel and sustain the public through this crisis,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson. “However, truck traffic also poses an added risk to our communities, especially when their routes are close to residential areas. Investing in necessary improvements to heavy truck routes is key to ensuring the safety of residents and truck drivers alike. This grant also takes the burden to fund this project off the shoulders of local taxpayers who will reap the benefits of safer streets and sustained economic development.”

The Local Freight Impact Fund is a competitive program which was created as part of the Transportation Trust Fund reauthorization in October 2016. The grants awarded to Hamilton Township will fund improvements to the pavement condition in support of truck traffic on

Industrial Drive and Thomas J. Rhodes Industrial Drive, two main thoroughfares for trucks to keep them moving on appropriate roads and off of smaller, local streets.

“I am excited to announce that for the very first time Hamilton Township was awarded a Local Freight grant that will contribute to sustaining our economic growth,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “As Hamilton continues to grow as a regional commercial hub, we are grateful for the partnership with NJDOT and Chairman Benson and thank them for working with us to improve our freight traffic infrastructure so that we can continue to support economic development while maintaining the first-rate safety of our local roadways.”

Under the program, projects fall into four categories that are eligible for funding: bridge preservation, new construction, pavement preservation, and truck safety and mobility. The grants are administered by the NJDOT Division of Local Aid and Economic Development. NJDOT staff evaluate projects using a variety of criteria including existing conditions, overall traffic volume, percentage of large truck traffic, crash frequency, and connectivity to freight nodes, among others.

Hamilton man being held at Mercer County Workhouse on multiple criminal charges following burglary

March 18, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– A Hamilton man was arrested early Thursday morning following a burglary on Ward Avenue.

At around 5:30 am, Hamilton Police Officers Ryan Fratz and Paula Welsh were dispatched to the 400 block of Ward Avenue on a reported suspicious person. The reporting party advised officers that they observed a white male dressed in all black clothing in their backyard, attempting to open their car door, via their Ring Camera.

Officers Fratz and Welsh were in the area and located the man walking near the corner of Ward Avenue and Archer Court. The suspect was identified as 32-year-old Hamilton resident, Jerome H. Friedman Jr.

Further investigation revealed that Friedman Jr. was in possession of various suspected stolen merchandise including power tools and hand tools. He was arrested and transported to Hamilton Police Headquarters, where he was processed. Jerome H. Friedman Jr. is currently being held at the Mercer County Corrections Center on various criminal charges in relation to this arrest.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or Jerome H. Friedman Jr., or may have been a victim of a burglary on this date (March 18, 2021), in the immediate or surrounding area of Ward Avenue, is asked to contact Detective Thomas Clugsten of the Hamilton Township Police Division Criminal Investigations Section at 609-581-4027 or via email at The public can also leave anonymous information via the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.