EWING TWP (MERCER)– Fire companies from multiple towns battled a second alarm fire in Ewing Township’s Hillcrest section this morning.
Firefighters responded to a home in the 300 block of Beechwood Avenue just before 9:00 am on a reported light fixture on fire inside of the residence. Companies arrived on scene with visible smoke from the exterior, and the first alarm was placed. Crews began going to work as the fire quickly began to spread through the attic. Within minutes, the second alarm was placed.
Two hose lines were stretched into service to knock down the fire on the second and third floors. Interior crews did have to evacuate for a short period of time due to unsafe conditions.
The fire was placed under control around 9:50 am. One dog was rescued from the home unharmed. It is unknown if any people were injured in the incident.
The fire was brought under control by Ewing Twp Fire Dept, Prospect Heights Vol Fire Co, West Trenton Vol Fire Co, Hamilton Fire Dept, Union Fire Co, Pennington Fire Dept, Lawrenceville Fire Co, Lawrence Road Fire Co, Slackwood Fire Company, Mercer County Fire Coordinators, and Signal 22 Canteen Unit.
EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP. Mayor Janice S. Mironov along with Council Members Denise Daniels, Alan Rosenberg and John Zoller joined local owner and management staff for the grand opening ribbon cutting of Singas Famous Pizza in East Windsor Town Center Plaza.
Mayor Mironov stated, “We welcome and congratulate locally owned Singas Famous Pizza as it expands its footprint into a major shopping center in East Windsor. Singas brings a long history and reputation in its pizza concept and product, which interestingly is marked by a unique Greek approach to the ingredients. Their Greek-inspired thin pizza crust and signature sauces are unique and a lighter alternative to other pizza offerings in the area.”
Singas Famous Pizza, an American based franchised restaurant chain, first opened in 1967 in Elmhurst, New York and has since expanded its chain of restaurants to 20 locations along the East Coast, including 8 New Jersey locations, 11 New York locations, and 1 North Carolina location. The menu, in addition to their signature 10” pizza, includes wings, meatballs, mozzarella sticks, bread bites, salads, burgers, sandwiches and pasta dishes.
Singas Famous Pizza offers dine-in, delivery and take-out service. Current hours are daily from 11 A.M. to 9 P.M. For more information, visit http://www.singaspizzas.com or call (609) 642-1000.
Agency remains committed to being vigilant, agile, and innovative
January 18, 2022
WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) closed 2021 demonstrating the agency’s commitment to the security of the nation’s transportation system, and the ability to drive innovation and address emerging threats.
“In many ways, 2021 was a year of resilience as the dedicated TSA workforce worked diligently to screen near pre-pandemic passenger volumes at the nation’s airports while facing three major waves of COVID-19 across the country,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Despite the challenges, we facilitated freedom of movement for passengers and goods, and we made great progress in security innovation in close coordination with our federal partners and industry stakeholders.”
During the year, TSA recorded the following 21 highlights and accomplishments:
#2 Passenger Volume – In 2021, travel volume increased to near pre-pandemic levels last seen in 2019. TSA Officers screened 585.3 million travelers in 2021, averaging about 1.6 million passengers per day. On average, 97.6% of passengers waited less than 20 minutes at airport security checkpoints, while 96.2% of passengers in TSA PreCheck® lanes waited less than 5 minutes.
#3 Commitment to the Frontline Workforce – Transportation Security Officers serve in uniform on the frontline of transportation security and represent the backbone of the agency. In June, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced new efforts to support the TSA workforce and expressed the Department’s commitment to improving their compensation. In September, TSA reached an agreement with the Merit Systems Protection Board to handle adverse action appeals and better align TSA standards with other government agencies. Additionally, in 2021, Administrator Pekoske introduced new pay and compensation initiatives. These actions are important steps to more closely match the TSA workforce rights and compensation with that of other federal agencies.
#4 Customer Experience – The TSA Contact Center answered 1.7 million calls and email messages throughout 2021 and @AskTSA responded directly to 1.5 million traveler questions, typically within 2 minutes, over social media. TSA Cares, the agency’s helpline, provided assistance to 26,056 travelers with disabilities, medical conditions, or other special conditions.
As part of TSA’s support of the Presidential Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Service, the agency made significant progress toward a live chat feature with travelers over the agency’s website. Foundational work completed in 2021 will enable the introduction of live chat in 2022.
#5 Transportation Security Officers Stopped Firearms – In early October, TSA officers prevented an all-time record number of firearms from being carried into airplane passenger cabins or the secure area of airports, topping the previous record set in 2019.
As of December 31, TSA officers stopped 5,972 firearms at our checkpoints, surpassing the previous record of 4,432 firearms caught at checkpoints in the full calendar year 2019. The majority of those firearms (86%) were loaded. Firearms at TSA checkpoints represent an unnecessary risk and an expensive mistake for passengers who do not follow requirements to declare firearms in advance and properly pack them in checked baggage.
#6 Addressing Unruly Passengers – Unruly passengers impact the entire aviation industry as a safety and security risk; incidents escalated in 2021. To address this issue, TSA resumed Crew Member Self-Defense (CMSD) training in early July to equip flight crew members with the skills to defend themselves against attack. In 2021, Federal Air Marshal instructors from across the country trained almost 1,500 flight crew members. Additionally, TSA partnered with the FAA to share information on unruly passengers and rescind TSA PreCheck® eligibility for passengers who receive FAA fines for being disruptive aboard flights.
#7 Innovation – In 2021, TSA leveraged co-creation and crowdsourcing initiatives to broaden innovation and build a pipeline of new security solutions for the agency. Through the Power of the Passengers Challenge, TSA and TechConnect Ventures awarded $215,000 to 11 technology institutions for their innovative ideas. The competition resulted in 125 new concepts geared toward enhancing security throughout the transportation system, several of which are now being tested. A similar effort, called Hacking for Homeland Security, engaged Carnegie Mellon University graduate students on solving complex issues in transportation security and generated 5 graduate presentations, each with commercialization potential.
#8 Technology – Throughout 2021, TSA deployed 1,520 Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units and added to its 320 Computed Tomography (CT) X-ray scanners at airport checkpoints, significantly reducing physical contact, while improving security effectiveness. The agency also awarded a $198 million contract to procure additional CT scanners. At many airports, passengers can scan their own IDs in CAT units at the travel document checker podium, which further reduces physical contact.
#9 Mobile Driver’s Licenses – In September, Apple announced a collaboration with TSA on the development of a mobile driver’s license in Apple Wallet. TSA’s efforts in 2021 laid the groundwork for mobile driver’s license applications and readers that will enable future travelers to transfer license data using their iPhones at equipped checkpoints for ID verification.
#10 Facial Recognition –TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched a new voluntary digital identity program in cooperation with Delta Air Lines at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The technology, which is available to TSA PreCheck and Delta SkyMiles® members who opt-in, compares the passenger’s live photo to a pre-staged gallery of photos previously provided to the government, such as that found on a passport.
#11 Strengthening Pipeline Cybersecurity – When a cybersecurity ransomware attack shuttered a major petroleum pipeline company in 2021, it reinforced the importance of TSA’s mission within the surface transportation sector. Following five private sector engagements and the adjudication of over 360 comments from pipeline industry stakeholders, TSA issued two security directives to help build critical infrastructure resilience against future cybersecurity threats for the most critical pipelines in our country.
#12 Rail and Aviation Cybersecurity – As part of Secretary Mayorkas’s Transportation Cybersecurity Sprint, TSA announced new cybersecurity requirements for higher-risk freight railroads, passenger rail, and rail transit operators to strengthen critical infrastructure and enhance resilience against cyberattacks. In separate guidance, TSA recommended that all lower-risk surface transportation owners and operators voluntarily implement the same measures and updated aviation security programs to require that airport and airline operators designate a cybersecurity coordinator and report cybersecurity incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within 24 hours.
#13 TSA PreCheck Growth – Last year, seven new airlines joined the TSA PreCheck program and over 1.8 million individuals enrolled in the expedited screening program, bringing the total number of Known Traveler Number holders to over 11 million. The agency also reduced the cost to renew online.
#14 Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion – TSA launched a Spanish-language virtual assistant for @AskTSA in September enabling the agency to respond to Spanish speaking travelers’ social media inquiries. During the annual Disability and Multicultural Coalition Conference, TSA honored the Hearing Loss Association of America and the Minority Humanitarian Foundation for their engagement with TSA and their commitment to providing their community members with tips and information to support a positive checkpoint screening experience. In December, TSA published its Inclusion Action Committee report, which represents a 16-month internal review and forges a path to improve diversity, equity and inclusion for TSA employees.
#15 Air Cargo – TSA published the Air Cargo Security Roadmap to provide a 5-year vision and strategic plan for modernizing, streamlining, and securing air cargo transportation operations.
#17 Hiring Surge – In February 2021, TSA launched a recruiting and hiring campaign to support passenger volumes projected throughout the year. TSA continues these efforts nationwide and has introduced unprecedented recruitment, readiness, and retention incentives to remain competitive in the nationwide labor market. For more information and videos about this mission-critical work, visit The Face of TSA.
#18 Strengthening Partnerships – TSA has always welcomed and actively pursued engagement and alignment with our many partners who are vital to ensuring our transportation network remains safe and secure. In 2021, TSA officials conducted over 700 meetings with industry stakeholders and coalition partners across all modes of transportation, in addition to its daily interactions on a variety of issues. These exchanges are essential to working towards our mutual objectives of keeping passengers, cargo and goods secure, while also ensuring a positive travel experience. In 2021, TSA announced the addition of Surface Transportation Security Advisory Committee members with pipeline and cybersecurity experience. The agency also announced new members within its Aviation Security Advisory Committee.
#19 Federal Air Marshals – Throughout 2021, Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) deployed to assess, address and mitigate potential risks and threats to transportation and millions of travelers daily across the various transportation modes. As TSA’s primary law enforcement arm, FAMs comprise the agency’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams and provide inflight security aboard thousands of commercial aircraft to ensure the safety of passengers, flight crew members, and the aircraft. FAMs supported DHS law enforcement partners at special events and humanitarian efforts that included natural disasters and the operation to resettle Afghan refugees in U.S. communities.
#20 Working with Canines – In 2021, TSA trained and deployed more than 1,000 explosives detection canine teams at airports and mass-transit facilities. These teams supported Super Bowl LV, the 59th Presidential Inauguration, and enhanced security operations at airports nationwide. In November, TSA released its 2022 TSA Canine Calendar, featuring winners of the Cutest Canine Contest.
#21 Support for Operation Allies Welcome – Beginning in late August, the Department of Homeland Security led the Nation’s unified effort to resettle vulnerable Afghan nationals who worked alongside the Nation’s Armed Forces during the last two decades. TSA deployed more than 560 employees in support of this mission to overseas transit locations in third countries and to military installations in the United States, also known as safe havens, where Afghans were provided temporary housing prior to resettlement. Other TSA employees provided dedicated support to the effort from their principal duty stations.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Governor Phil Murphy today signed several pieces of legislation (A-259, A-1121, A-5694, and A-6012) which support and protect New Jersey’s veteran and armed forces communities. These bills will expand civil service preference for veterans, upgrade penalties for misrepresentation of members of the armed forces, ease public school access for dependents of armed forces members, and provide funding to support the commissioning of the new USS New Jersey.
“Our veterans and members of the armed forces have selflessly dedicated their careers and their lives to serving our country and our state,” said Governor Murphy. “The legislation I am signing today will benefit these brave New Jerseyans and their families. Today, and every day, we are grateful for the sacrifices made by New Jersey’s veterans and reserve and active-duty soldiers, and we will continue to support them in every way we can.”
“These bills expand support for families planning military moves to New Jersey, as well as veterans aspiring to the civil service,” said Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Brig. Gen. Lisa Hou, D.O. “A1121 toughens the stance against veteran status fraud, which is disrespectful to the more than 325,000 proud veterans of our great state. Finally, I hope all residents will share in excitement for the commissioning of the USS New Jersey this year.”
Primary sponsors of A-259 include Assemblymembers Wayne DeAngelo, Raj Mukherji, and Daniel Benson, and Senators Vin Gopal, and Joseph Pennacchio.
“This bill signing will help veterans find employment more quickly after leaving the armed forces. Stable employment in a steady job is one of the best ways veterans can assimilate into life outside of the military,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio. “It is a well-deserved benefit for the courageous men and women making the transition from military to civilian life.”
“Veterans who participated in a military campaign for which a medal has been designated or supported combat operations without direct presence in the actual theater of war should not be denied civil service preference for their faithful service to our country,” said Assemblymembers Wayne DeAngelo, Raj Mukherji, and Dan Benson, in a joint statement. “This legislation will address an unnecessary distinction to assist certain service members in their quest for civilian employment.”
This legislation provides civil service preference to military service members who did not serve in a theater of operation, but did serve during a war or conflict for which the federal government authorized a campaign or expedition medal.
Primary sponsors of A-1121 include Assemblymembers Carol Murphy, Ronald Dancer, and Sterley Stanley, and Senators Joseph Lagana, and Joseph Pennacchio.
“Current and former members of our military have protected and served our country to earn their much-deserved benefits,” said Assemblymembers Carol Murphy and Sterley Stanley in a joint statement. “Those who unjustly misrepresent themselves as US veterans, through ‘stolen valor’ to take advantage of our system deserve a harsh penalty. This measure will ensure that those who break the law and impersonate a war hero receive the proper and upgraded punishment.”
“No one should get a mere slap on the wrist for putting on the uniform to defraud someone,” said Assemblyman Ron Dancer. “As a veteran myself, I find it abhorrent that anyone would deceive others for gain by impersonating our proud men and women who sacrificially serve our country. It’s my goal that these tougher penalties will deter would-be frauds.”
“Impersonating a member of our volunteer military or a veteran who has faithfully served this country and helped to protect the freedoms and institutions we hold dear is a shameful act, and one that should bring the highest possible penalty within reason,” said Senator Joseph Lagana. “With this law we hope to curtail this cynical activity, and make the punishment for this deceit better fit the crime.”
“It is inspiring to see veterans who honorably served our nation return home and continue serving their community. Unfortunately, there are scammers who portray veterans to claim benefits reserved for those who truly served,” saidSenator Joe Pennacchio. “This new law increases punishment and helps discourage this despicable behavior.”
This legislation upgrades certain crimes of misrepresenting oneself as a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces or organized militia. Under current law, it is a crime of the third degree, subject to a minimum fine of $1,000, for any person to knowingly, with the intent to impersonate or deceive for the purpose of obtaining money, property, or other tangible benefit, to misrepresent oneself as a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces or organized militia or a recipient of any decoration or medal created by Federal and State laws and regulations to honor the members or veterans of the United States Armed Forces or the organized militia. Under this legislation, these crimes have now been upgraded to a second degree if the actor obtains money, property or other tangible benefit in the amount of $75,000 or more. If the actor obtains money, property or other tangible benefit less than $75,000, then the crime would remain as a crime of the third degree, subject to a minimum fine of $1,000.
Primary sponsors of A-5694 include Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, and Senators Vin Gopal, and Fred Madden. Former Assemblymembers Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey were primary sponsors of this legislation in the prior legislative session.
“It’s a stressful time for families when they receive relocation orders,” said Assemblyman Ron Dancer. “Military families already face so many challenges, and the children of those moms and dads in our armed forces face additional difficulties moving to a new school district where everything is unfamiliar. Allowing these students to walk into that new school knowing who their teachers are, and what classes they will be attending, can offer peace of mind to them and their parents.”
“Our military families undergo a great deal of stress when they receive relocation orders, and strict school registration requirements only add to their burden,” said Assembly sponsors Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey. “Not allowing service members to enroll their children in their anticipated school district until they physically move puts those children at risk of missing important deadlines, which can have serious repercussions such as summer school or delayed graduation.
This legislation permits the dependents of a military member to enroll in a public school district in advance of the military member’s relocation to the district. Under current law, such dependents cannot enroll in the district until proof of residence can be provided. This legislation allows enrollment upon the presentation of a copy of the military member’s relocation orders even if the family has not yet physically relocated to the school district. Once enrolled, the child shall be permitted to attend classes and receive services free of charge in the same manner as if they were already a resident of the school district.
Primary sponsors of A-6012 include Assemblymembers William Moen, Carol Murphy, and Roy Freiman, and Senators Paul Sarlo, and Vin Gopal.
“This appropriation to support the commissioning of the USS New Jersey and the officers and crew assigned to the boat is the right thing to do,” said Assemblymembers Bill Moen, Carol Murphy, and Roy Freiman, in a joint statement. “A ship’s commissioning is an historic event that brings together our military, veterans, and local community with significant economic benefits for the surrounding region. We’re proud that the Battleship New Jersey is now a museum and memorial moored on the Camden City Waterfront. We will continue to do everything possible to honor our veterans and their families”
This legislation appropriates up to $500,000 from the General Fund to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for the USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee. The purpose of the appropriation is to support the commissioning of the USS New Jersey and the officers and crew assigned to the ship. Contributions to the USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee support traditional Commissioning Week activities, visits to the state by crewmembers, and habitability upgrades to the boat for the crew. Expenditure of the amount appropriated is subject to approval by the Adjutant General of an itemized plan for the expenditure to be submitted by the USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee. Any amount unexpended shall be donated for the support of personnel and their families and for the funding of existing or the creation of new United States Navy scholarship programs.
“First, I would like to take and moment to applaud the Governor and state legislatures for acknowledging the sacrifices made by veterans and those who are currently serving,” said Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of New Jersey Commander Luddie H. Austin. “As veteran and resident of our great state I am thankful for the Governor in recognizing our heroes in the workforce and society, as he seeks to enhance the benefits and entitlements of veterans. I look forward to our healthy relationship as we continue to advocate on behalf of all veterans.”
“The Veterans of Foreign Wars is grateful for the passage and signing of this legislation which will greatly enhance employment opportunities for veterans and ensure the children of our military service members receive an uninterrupted education,” said Veterans of Foreign Wars State Adjutant and Quartermaster Ken Hagemann. “The VFW has advocated for decades that a vet is a vet regardless of era or conflict. We are pleased that these arbitrary barriers are finally coming down for state benefits and that all veterans are now becoming equally entitled to those benefits. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to make New Jersey a place where veterans will want to live and thrive.”