Day: June 11, 2021

Smith’s bus, road improvement projects for Mercer advance in transportation bill

June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — Two projects for Mercer County advocated by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)—including new buses for the county’s Transportation Resources To Aid The Disadvantaged And Elderly (TRADE) services—cleared their first hurdle Thursday, after the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) adopted Smith’s proposals and added it to a major transportation bill.

   Smith worked tirelessly with county and state officials to propose and insert their prioritized local transportation projects into the INVEST in America Act, a nation-wide surface transportation reauthorization bill.

  The bill, passed out of committee 38-26 yesterday, must still be passed by the full House, negotiated in Senate, then sent to the White House prior to September 30, 2021 when the current federal transportation surface projects authorization expires. So there are more steps along the way but it helps to be on the base bill.

   “Working together and seeking input from local officials, we were able to identify projects that address immediate transportation needs and potential hazards on our roadways,” Smith said. “The Mercer projects are solid investments and would yield benefits for years to come, in both improved lives of seniors and the disabled, as well as greater safety of all drivers and their passengers. The new TRADE buses would help people with no transportation get to their doctors appointments, grocery stores and other destinations. The road safety improvement project will protect and save lives. I appreciate the county for working with me to seek federal funding.”

   Smith, working with local officials, requested $732,000 to be added to the bill, or 80 percent of the $915,000 cost, for 11 new buses for the TRADE program that particularly services seniors and the disabled.

   He also coordinated with local officials to include in the bill $640,000 for the Roadway Safety Improvements in Mercer County to fund the installation of reflective road features, guide rails and other road safety measures. The project is estimated to cost $800,000, and Smith’s request would fund 80 percent. 

Hamilton Township Introduces Cannabusiness Ordinances: Will Ban Cannabis Retail Locations, But Permits Two Cultivation Facilities In Certain Zones

June 11, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Tuesday, June 15th, Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin will present three cannabis related ordinances to Council. The ordinances will ban cannabis retail locations in Hamilton, but permit a maximum of two cultivation facilities in certain zones. 

Last year, in a Statewide referendum, Hamilton residents voted in favor of legalizing adult-use cannabis by a 2:1 margin. Under legalization law, municipalities have until August 21st to take action to either allow, or limit, or ban cannabusiness. Failure to take action would force a municipality to permit all cannabusiness to operate and would not be able to take any action for five years. 

The ordinances will set forth the taxation, zoning, and permitted use for cultivation, manufacturing, wholesaling, and distribution cannabusiness. 

There will be a maximum of two establishments of each permitted type of cannabusiness and would only be permitted in industrial, manufacturing, or research and development zones. They would be prohibited from establishment within 1,000 feet of a school, and 500 feet of either a childcare center, residential zone, house of worship, or public park. To help offset additional law enforcement costs, such as training, Hamilton will charge the maximum permitted fees on any licensed facility. 

The Township will also ban retail or dispensary locations as well as the use of cannabis on public property – including public parks. 

“Hamiltonians voted overwhelmingly last year to approve adult-use cannabis,” said Mayor Martin. “As we take our first steps in listening to their voices, we do so cautiously by banning retail locations and limiting other types of licenses to a maximum of two and to only certain zones that would be away from our schools, parks, churches, and homes. Additionally, we are also banning use of marijuana on any public lands – including our parks.” 

Hamilton Township Council will meet at 6:30 PM Tuesday at the Hamilton Township Library located at 1 Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. Way.

Burlington City Police Requesting Assistance Identifying 4 Persons of Interest in Arson Investigation

June 25, 2021 UPDATE: 4 Charged With Arson And Related Offenses To U.S. Pipe Foundry and McNeal Mansion Property Fires

BURLINGTON CITY, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The City of Burlington Police Department is requesting the public’s assistance in identifying four (4) persons of interest in reference to an Arson Investigation that occurred on Monday, June 7, 2021.

On June 7, 2021, at approximately 3:30am, the City of Burlington Police Department and several fire departments responded to the 800 Block of East Pearl Street for a structure fire. It was found that two buildings were fully engulfed, and two other smaller fires were found in two other buildings. No firefighters or emergency personnel were injured during the response.

While reviewing surrounding videos, a white or light-colored vehicle, believed to be a Nissan Murano, with a dark colored hood and front bumper, occupied with three males and one female parked in the area of the McNeal/U.S. Pipe Foundry Property. Approximately one hour later, the individuals were observed returning to the vehicle, with one of them taking photos, and then they leave the area prior to emergency personnel arriving on scene.

This was the second arson on the McNeal Mansion/U.S. Pipe Property in 6 weeks and investigators are concerned that an emergency responder will be injured or killed if these individuals are not identified and in the event of another incident.

Any person with information regarding this investigation is urged to call the Criminal Investigation Division, Det. Jamie Lambing, at 609-847-9280, or City of Burlington Fire Marshall’s Office, Ross Kownatsky, at 609-386-0200, Ext. 171. Confidential Tips can be received through a message on Facebook or

Agencies assisting with the investigation include the City of Burlington, Burlington County, and NJ State Fire Marshall’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Philadelphia Police Department, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Single Mother Who Escaped Neighborhood Violence Now Enjoys Home Ownership With New Habitat for Humanity Home in Hamilton Township, NJ

New home is a dream come true for woman and her family

June 11, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Ruthann Tarver, newly of Hamilton Township, is the latest recipient of a home built and provided by Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties. As a teenage mother struggling to raise her children, Tarver dreamed of one day owning her own home. Her homeownership journey led her to securing a job with the state of New Jersey and eventually to Habitat BMC for financial education courses before applying to the Homeownership Program.

Perhaps the primary impetus for this journey was the need for somewhere safe for her family to live, as gun violence was highly prevalent right outside the doors of her prior residences.

“In our past apartments, it was getting more violent,” Tarver said. “Our family witnessed things we shouldn’t have witnessed.”

A “safe home” being of the utmost importance, Tarver made the brave decision to remove her family from that situation. She secured a good job with the state of New Jersey, but still knew that her credit could potentially be an obstacle in purchasing a home. So she enrolled in Habitat’s financial education courses before even applying to the Homeowners Program. Once in the program, Tarver wound up eventually co-teaching financial workshops and exceeding her sweat equity requirement (250 hours), where she learned skills such as painting houses to installing microwave ovens.

“This is a great community and provides better education,” said Tarver. “It’s a lot of work and a process, but you have to be patient and be willing to do it,” said Tarver. “There’s a lot to be learned. … Now I can teach my boys the value of owning.”

After completing the program and through the support of Habitat’s donors, Tarver was able to purchase a beautiful 3-bedroom, 2-bath home with an affordable mortgage. She was presented the key to her new Hamilton Township home by Mayor Jeff Martin, who welcomed her and one of her sons to Hamilton, and thanked Habitat and its supporters.

“I want to thank Habitat for Humanity and their volunteers and supporters for all the work they’ve done to make a new home ready for one of our Hamilton families to move into,” Mayor Martin said. “This is a great partnership between Hamilton, Habitat and all of their supporters to make sure our families here in Hamilton have a safe place to live and a home for many years to come.”

The Tarver’s home was also blessed via a Zoom call with Dr. Joseph E. Woods, pastor of St. Phillips Baptist Church in Hamilton, followed by a presentation of gifts by the Habitat for Humanity Homeowner Services Department, which included Family Services Director Deserie Hill, Homeownership Coordinator Taquana Wright, and Mortgage Specialist Rob Brandt.

Tarver’s new single-story home has hardwood floors, a gorgeous kitchen,  tons of storage space, and an extra bedroom that will be used as a TV-and-game room for one of her sons.

“This home is just one piece of Habitat’s investment in Hamilton, and we’re so excited for Ruthann and her kids to experience this wonderful community that we’ve gotten to be a part of,” said Lori Leonard, CEO of Habitat BMC. “Believe it or not, this is our third home dedication in Hamilton in two months.”

Tarver, who was clearly moved by the events of the day and her family’s new life, ended the housewarming with this: “Our new house will be a great relief to my son, he’ll get a better education … and we’re just looking forward to the best.”

This is an update to the May 26, 2021 story posted on MidJersey.News to read the previous story click here: Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties and Benebone Partner to Build Affordable Home in Ewing, NJ

New Egypt Man Charged With Distribution And Possession Of Child Pornography

June 11, 2021

NEW EGYPT – PLUMSTED TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on June 9, 2021, Richard Knight, 40, of New Egypt, was charged with Distribution of Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A, 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), and Possession of Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii).

This investigation, which began in December 2020, was the result of numerous referrals from the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Task Force detected a user of the program Google Meets was uploading images of child pornography to the internet. An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit identified a residence in New Egypt as the source of the uploaded images of child pornography. On June 9, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, United States Homeland Security Investigations, and Plumsted Township Police Department executed a court authorized search warrant on Knight’s residence in New Egypt. As a result, Detectives seized two cell phones from the residence. The investigation remains ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming.

Knight was subsequently arrested at his place of employment in Browns Mills. Knight was processed at the Plumsted Township Police Department, and transported to the Ocean County Jail where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Plumsted Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and United States Homeland Security Investigations, for their collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation leading to Knight’s arrest.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and 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.
R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6). 

Man Burglarizes Jackson Township Home, Teenage Female Home Alone Hides, Calls 9-1-1; Man Flees Scene On Motorcycle

June 11, 2021

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–The Jackson Police Department is seeking assistance from the public to identify and locate a suspect involved in a daytime burglary and vehicle pursuit on Thursday June 10, 2021.

At 12:51 pm, officers responded to a residence located on Leesville Road on the report of an unknown suspect who was inside the residence. A teenaged female was home alone when she heard someone knocking at the front door and ringing the doorbell repeatedly. She called a parent to see if it was known who this might be when she heard a loud bang which was later determined to be from the suspect kicking the front door in to force entry to the residence. She then hung up with her family member and called 911 while hiding in a room in the residence. The suspect entered the residence and went directly to her parent’s bedroom and then walked down the hall to the room she was in. When the suspect discovered the teenager in the room, he ran out of the house and was observed leaving on a motorcycle.

The suspect was described as a white male wearing a long sleeve black shirt, tan pants, gray gloves and a helmet with multiple stickers on it. The motorcycle was determined to be a gray or silver Harley Davidson Road Glide (photo included as sample).

While enroute to the location, Police Officer Daniel Scharff observed the suspect on the motorcycle traveling on Leesville Road approaching him from the opposite direction at a high rate of speed. The officer turned and attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop but the suspect refused to stop and fled at a high rate of speed initiating a vehicle pursuit. The suspect continued on Leesville Road where he encountered and avoided other officers and crossed West Veterans Highway onto Don Connor Boulevard. The suspect continued to Bowman Road and then toward East Veterans Highway and then into a residential area on Reagan Drive. As multiple officers followed and the suspect discovered that he had traveled into a cul de sac, he turned and drove across several yards to avoid the officers and then around the patrol vehicles as they were turning to follow him. He then fled back to Bowman Road where he reached speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour. The suspect was last observed turning onto Toms River Road (571) northbound as the officers began to lose sight of him. At that time the pursuit was terminated for safety reasons.

Photos of the suspect and motorcycle are attached with this release. We are asking that anyone who may know the identity of this suspect to contact the Jackson Police Department at 732-928-1111 or through the department’s StopIt app online.

– The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

Brood X Cicada Invasion 2021 Update

June 11, 2021

PRINCETON – WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–It has been a little over two weeks since the last Brood X cicada update. At West Windsor in the area of Van Nest Park in the Grover’s Mill section cicadas could be heard at the park and around the memorial to the War of the Worlds.

Driving from the park to Princeton on Washington Road cicadas could be heard very loudly. Near the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association parking lot and and along the lake cicadas were so loud they were reaching 91decibles at times.

91decibles is very loud and louder than a smoke alarm. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulates fire codes and mandates that a smoke alarm emit a sound that is a minimum of 75 decibels. The average smoke alarm in North America exceeds that by emitting an 85-decibel alarm. The cicadas were 6 decibels louder than the average smoke alarm.

If you have not seen or heard cicadas now is the time since they will only be around for a couple more weeks.

May 26, 2021 MidJersey.News story on Brood X Cicada Invasion 2021

2021 Robbinsville Township Municipal Budget Adopted by Council

Includes 9th Straight Year of Flat or Reduced Taxes

June 11, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township Council members adopted the 2021 municipal budget of $25,920,553.33 – a budget featuring a flat or reduced tax rate for the ninth consecutive year – following a public hearing and vote.

The 2021 rate remains steady at 51.8 cents per $100 of assessed value (also 51.8 in 2019 and 2020), with the average assessed home in Robbinsville valued at $378,500. A penny in the Robbinsville tax rate is worth $264,254.59.

Among the key investments is $200,000 ($600,000 over three years) to join the Mercer County Police Radio System, which will expand coverage to ensure officer safety. The current system is at the end of its useful life and the new system will allow immediate communication ability with other municipal, county and state agencies. If the Mercer County Rapid Response partnership is activated, the RTPD’s new radios will provide interoperability with other responding agencies.

“Considering everything we’ve all been through and emerging from a pandemic, nine straight years of flat or reduced taxes is just remarkable,” Township Council President Mike Cipriano said. 

Other allocations include $1.67 million for water main improvements at Newtown Village, approximately $2 million to construct an all-purpose recreation facility near the old pool at Miry Run, $220,000 to expand the existing and very popular volleyball courts at the Municipal Complex behind the library and funding for a new all-abilities playground at Tantum Park. As part of a three-year project, $350,000 from the open space fund has been allocated for walking and biking paths, along with other elements at Miry Run. Funds also have been earmarked for additional affordable housing programs and road restoration projects, including the completion of Voelbel Road and the developments at Hillside and Windswept.

Hold On To Your Tickets: Winning Power Ball Claims On Hold Due To Technical Difficulties In Another State For June 9, 2021 Drawing

June 11, 2021– Update 9:10 a.m.

UPDATE: NJ Lottery reports issue with other state involved in Power Ball has resolved technical issues and everything back online.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–If you happen to win a prize and try and make a claim, go onto the NJ Lottery website or use the Lottery or Jack-pocket applications you will notice under Power Ball results that “Results Not In” or “Pending” posted in red.

MidJersey.News reached out to the NJ Lottery to ask the question what was going on with the results since some time had passed since the drawing. According to Missy Gillespie of NJ Lottery Communications the problem stems from technical difficulties in another state and results are delayed. Please hold on to your tickets and NJ Lottery will let you know when retailers are able to make claims on winning Powerball tickets from the June 9, 2021 drawing.

See full statement below including Cash 4 Life drawing information:

“There is a delay in finalizing the draw results for the drawings of Powerball and Cash 4 Life held on June 9, 2021.  The delay is the result of technical difficulties in another state.   The Lottery notified our retail network of nearly 7,000 retailers this morning that results were delayed because of technical difficulties in another state.  Please hold on to your tickets, and we will let you know when retailers are able to make claims on winning Powerball tickets from the June 9, 2021 drawing.  The Lottery is processing winning tickets for the Cash 4 Life drawing held on June 9, 2021.  We apologize for the delay.” –Missy Gillespie, Communications, NEW JERSEY LOTTERY