HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Young Professionals Group (YPG) of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton Foundation is excited to announce their 15th Annual All In Good Taste Virtual Beer and Wine Tasting event. This year, the YPG is honoring Brian Hartmann, CFP and Partner at Granite Bridge Wealth, as Young Professional of the Year.
This year’s event will be held virtually. Attendees will purchase a “Tasting” package, which includes beer and wine vouchers, appetizers and dessert, access to the live event with beer and wine sommeliers, souvenir gifts and more. Tasting packages can be picked up from Blend Bar & Bistro, where vouchers can be redeemed on-site.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Saturday 216 tires and other items were pulled from the D & R State Park area of Duck Island. The cleanup was organized by volunteers from the Central Jersey Stream Team, Hackensack Riverkeeper, D&R Canal State Park Staff and the owner of Tire Disposal Service. The funding for the cleanup event was sponsored by the Mercer County Clean Communities program.
PARTNERSHIPS! This is how we can achieve our goals in creating a healthier environment for all. On this past rainy Saturday morning 10 dedicated volunteers from the Central Jersey Stream Team and the Hackensack Riverkeeper, 3 D&R Canal State Park Service Staff and the owner of Tire Disposal Service pulled out 216 muck filled tires from the canal at the Duck Island section of the park. While these groups provided the muscle power, the Mercer County Clean Communities program funded the responsible disposal of the tires. Some of these tires date back to the 1960’s!!! We can’t thank all of these groups enough for taking on this challenge and look forward to PARTNERING with them again. There is more work to be done but with dedication of organizations like these we can make a difference. Please consider volunteering for a clean up near you, every set of hands is appreciated.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The NJ Public Employment Relations Commission sided with the Hamilton Township Police Benevolent Association Local 66 and Superior Officers Association 66A that Hamilton Township violated the New Jersey Employer – Employee Relations Act in an unfair practice. The Commission granted interim relief to the unions for the Township’s unilateral changes to PBA and SOA’s pay issuance date in December 2020 and January 2021, unilateral changes to PBA and SOA’s bi-weekly base pay paycheck amounts in 2021, and termination of sick leave buyback for 2020, violate sections 5.4a(1), (2), (3), (5) and (7) of the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act, N.J.S.A. 34:13A-1, et seq.
According to the decision, “The Designee determined that PBA and SOA demonstrated the requisite elements for interim relief under Crowe v. DeGioia, 90 N.J. 126, 132-134 (1982), and enjoined and restrained Hamilton from: 1) unilaterally changing the pay issuance date for the pay period of December 14 to 27, 2020, from December 31, 2020 to a pay date of January 1, 2021; 2) unilaterally changing bi-weekly base pay amounts in 2021 to “annual salary” divided by 27, instead of 26; 3) refusing to reinstate sick leave buyback processing for 2020 for all eligible PBA and SOA members; and 4) refusing to rescind any notice to employees that Hamilton would delay or reduce pay in 2020 and 2021, or refusing to process and pay 2020 sick leave buybacks pursuant to the PBA and SOA CNAs.”
The order states, “PBA and SOA’s application for interim relief is granted. Hamilton is enjoined and restrained from:
1) unilaterally changing the pay issuance date for the pay period of December 14 to 27, 2020, from December 31, 2020 to a pay date of January 1, 2021;
2) unilaterally changing bi-weekly base pay amounts in 2021 to “annual salary” divided by 27, instead of 26; 3) refusing to reinstate sick leave buyback processing for 2020 for all eligible PBA and SOA members; and 4) refusing to rescind any notice to employees that Hamilton would delay or reduce pay in 2020 and 2021, or refusing to process and pay 2020 sick leave buybacks pursuant to the PBA and SOA CNAs.
MidJersey.news has reached out to others in the community to reflect on the loss of Jack. Please check back we will have more to add to this story soon.
February 18, 2021 updated with additional reflections from the community, more to follow.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Yesterday, Hamilton Township, Mercer County, and the State of New Jersey lost one of the greats, John K. Rafferty. Jack Rafferty, as everyone knew him, was a well-respected man who dedicated 24 years of his life as Hamilton Township’s first full-time Mayor. Prior to his time as Mayor, Jack served six years on what was then the Hamilton Township Committee (now Council). Jack’s love of public service did not end there, as he also served one term in the New Jersey General Assembly.
Jack’s tenure as Mayor saw Hamilton Township become one of New Jersey’s largest municipalities. Under his stewardship Hamilton Township welcomed Hamilton Hospital (now RWJ Hamilton), the Hamilton Train Station, and the development of Veterans Park. Jack will forever leave his mark on Hamilton Township as Hamilton’s main post office on Route 130 and the YMCA facility on Whitehorse-Mercerville Road each bear his name.
Jack continued to give back to Hamilton Township after retiring from his position as Mayor – serving as the Executive Director of the Hamilton Partnership and remaining active in the New Jersey Republican Party where he served on the New Jersey Republican State Committee. A mentor to many and a friend to all, Jack’s legacy will live on through his children and grandchildren as well as all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
“As Mayor of Hamilton Township and on behalf of our entire community, I wish to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife Doris and the entire Rafferty Family during this very difficult time,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “I trust his family, friends, and loved ones will find solace in knowing Jack’s many years of dedicated service to our community will live on in Hamilton Township, Mercer County and New Jersey for eternity.”
Former Mayor Kelly Yaede commented, “Hamilton Township lost a truly good man, a dedicated public servant who loved his family and his community. He led a growing town into a thriving community during his tenure. He was beloved by residents regardless of party affiliation; a true leader who put the needs of residents first. The collective sadness realized today in Hamilton with the passing of Mayor Jack is palpable.”
In remembering Jack Rafferty, former Mayor John F. Bencivengo stated, “Mayor Jack Rafferty, his name and his life will never be forgotten. We lost our shining star, a friend to all, a great public servant, a family man, and our mayor for more than two generations. Once a mayor, always a mayor. To me, he was my mentor, friend, and a blessing in my life. Hamilton will forever be in his debt. He turned a place into a township, a township into a strong community of families, parks, schools, and thriving businesses – “Safe, Clean and Beautiful.” We shall miss him; I will miss him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Former Mayor Glen Gilmore expressed his condolences, stating, “Mayor Rafferty’s legacy of leadership will forever loom large over Hamilton. He always cared about people more than politics – which is what we could use more of now. He was always a friend to me and I will miss his smile.”
“Mayor Rafferty left an indelible mark on Hamilton Township. We can all learn from his example and strive to be more like Jack,” said Mayor Martin.
Norman Smith, Robbinsville resident and co-founder of Project Freedom said, “Jack Rafferty was a friend; he was a friend to me, a friend to Project Freedom, and a friend to the disability community. I was a small part of Jack’s gubernatorial campaign, and this opened doors for me to co-found Project Freedom. When Jack was in the legislature, he secured seed money that enabled our first complex to be planned. Jack established one of the first Mayor’s Office for Disabilities in New Jersey during a time when we had very limited community visibility. He truly was an angel to Project Freedom, and for that reason we gave Jack our first Angel Award.”
U.S. Representative Chris Smith said, “Jack Rafferty was an extraordinary leader—a visionary and doer of great deeds—especially for the people of Hamilton Township. He was smart, tenacious, selfless and had a sense of humor that always brought a smile to anyone he met. He was kind and caring—and had a great big heart. As the can-do mayor, Jack made Hamilton a great place to live and improved the quality of life for all. All Hamiltonians were his priority I was privileged to work with Jack on many projects including establishing the Hamilton train station and securing Hamilton’s postal identity. Like a great quarterback, he knew how to effectively lead the Rafferty team of dedicated professionals. He and first lady Doris made all of us Hamiltonians proud.
My wife Marie and I considered Jack a good friend who lent his political expertise to many of my campaigns. We mourn Jack’s passing but celebrate a life that has made all the difference in the world. Rest in peace, our friend.”
Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried said, “Jack Rafferty was not only a giant among men in the political arena, he was a husband, a father, a mentor and a friend. Jack was the mayor I always wanted to be. He was a larger-than-life personality who garnered the respect of his friends, as well as his opponents on each side of the political aisle. I was extremely fortunate that he took me under his wing very early in my career and was always there to lend advice, or a helping hand at any hour of the day or night. My deepest condolences and those of my entire Administration and Township Council go out to his family and many friends. Jack was a true legend, and he will be greatly missed.”
Former Senator Bill Baroni said, “Today, a big part of the heart and soul of Hamilton – my hometown – is gone. Perhaps no person since our namesake Alexander Hamilton has done more to make our town what it is today than our Mayor Jack Rafferty.
I have known Mayor Rafferty my whole life. I remember him in my living room at a meeting of our neighborhood association; he came to our little block parties, our school assemblies, our soccer league openings. He was there when my Mom died – and he performed the wedding when my Dad married my stepmom. Everyone in Hamilton knew him – because he knew us. He made our town the perfect place to grow up. Today, because we have lost Jack Rafferty, our town is a little less perfect.
It seems we are losing Hamilton’s greatest generation. Jack Lacy, Jack Zoller, Franny McManimon, Maury Perilli, Paul Kramer, and now our Mayor Jack Rafferty. All of us in politics follow in their footsteps and can only hope to do a fraction of the works they did.
Mayor Rafferty loved the theatre. In the hit musical Hamilton – our towns namesake – the last line sang by all the cast is, “Who tells your story?” Mayor Rafferty, we will tell your story. A story that takes us to Sayen Gardens and Veterans Park; to a library we never had, parks we could only imagine; a police station that helps keep us safe; and the fact that we can use “Hamilton” on our mail. There are thousands of stories we will tell – because you made our town.
Jack Rafferty, Rest in Peace. Or in his beloved Irish, Seán Ó Rabhartaigh, Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.” — Bill Baroni
Governor Phil Murphy said, “Over 24 years in office, former Hamilton Mayor Jack Rafferty helped transform the town into a thriving and growing community. We send our condolences to his family and to every Hamiltonian whose life he impacted.”
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton, 1 Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton, NJ, is pleased to announce new RWJUH Hamilton Foundation Board leaders and members, who assumed their new roles in January 2021. Yolanda Zaffutti Stinger, formerly the Foundation Board’s Vice Chair, ascended to the position of Chair; Foundation Board member Mary Pucciarelli took on the role of Vice Chair; and the Board welcomed two new members, Ryan Kennedy and Christina Spinelli.
Lifelong Hamilton resident Yolanda Zaffutti Stinger has been a committed member of the RWJUH Hamilton Foundation for over a decade; as Vice Chair, she was a natural fit for the Chair position. In addition to her work with RWJUH Hamilton, Stinger is involved in a variety of other community-oriented organizations. “Giving back to the community is so important to me,” she says.
In her new role as Vice Chair, Mary Pucciarelli of Brielle, NJ, a decade-long Foundation Board member, enthusiastically continues her dedication to the RWJUH Hamilton Foundation, which supports the programs and patients of the hospital. “I’ve been so proud,” says Pucciarelli of her tenure with the Foundation, “to work with so many people from the Hamilton community.”
New Board members Ryan Kennedy of Hopewell Borough, NJ, and Christina Spinelli of Hamilton, NJ – a former member of the hospital’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) – are enthusiastic about their upcoming efforts on behalf of the Foundation, as well. With the ascensions of Stinger and Pucciarelli to their new positions and the additions Kennedy and Spinelli, the Foundation Board will continue its work to contribute to the evolution of RWJUH Hamilton in order to best serve its community. Former Foundation Board Chair and Chair-elect of the hospital Board, Nina Melker, says, “I know we have built a strong Foundation Board. These changes will continue to bring us forward and help us grow.”
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A vehicle lost control and crashed though a guardrail and down an embankment seriously injuring at least one occupant this afternoon around 2:25 pm. on Interstate 295. NJ State Police, Hamilton Township Fire Department, RWJ EMS, and Capital Health paramedics responded to the area of mile marker 59 North Bound for a person trapped and unconscious in a vehicle with a reported fire under the hood of the vehicle. The person was extricated and transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, EMS alerted the trauma center they were en route with a person with serious injuries. NJ State Police are investigating the crash, no other information is available at this time.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP-TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today highlighted two programs that will support the transformation of contaminated brownfields into vibrant community assets.
The Brownfield Redevelopment Incentive will provide tax credits to support brownfields remediation projects and the Brownfields Loan Program makes low-interest loans of up to $5 million available to brownfield redevelopment projects for all aspects revitalization, including assessment, investigation, and demolition.
“Investing in communities is one of the pillars of our plan to bring about a stronger, fairer New Jersey,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Supporting brownfields revitalization projects that transform dangerous, contaminated sites into valuable community assets is crucial to building vibrant neighborhoods and spurring equitable economic growth throughout New Jersey.”
The announcement took place at Mill One, a 19th Century shirt mill on the border of Trenton and Hamilton that has been rehabilitated through a collaboration between developer Modern Recycled Spaces and nonprofit Isles, Inc. The redeveloped property includes the “Social Profit Center,” led by Isles, which will house and support a collection of nonprofit organizations, socially conscious businesses, and local artists, as well as mixed-use, office, and other commercial spaces. The project is being restored to historic preservation standards and has been placed on the National Historic Registry, and includes green technology with solar panels on part of the roof, a “green roof” that reduces storm water impacts, and super-efficient HVAC systems.
“Transforming brownfields into productive properties is one of the more potent aspects of the incentive program,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “Changing contaminated land into job-producing projects has environmental, economic, and social justice benefits. The ability to attract and retain jobs and generate economic activity is an urgent need as we work to maintain our competitive edge during the coronavirus. We have to be resourceful and innovative in the face of one of the most challenging crises of our time.”
“These incentive projects are needed to spur business and job growth as we come out of a pandemic crisis that has devastated broad sectors of our economy,” said Senator Sarlo, Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee chair and co-prime sponsor of the program. “Most importantly, it will provide tax incentives to attract the jobs we want – jobs that pay good salaries in industries that will transform communities, partner with our higher education sector on R&D, provide valuable job training and be good corporate citizens. These are investments in immediate needs and future opportunities.”
“Ensuring that brownfields are converted from dangerous tracts of lands into safe and productive properties that create jobs and improve our environment was a pivotal component of the incentive program,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “Equitably boosting New Jersey’s economy while remediating contaminated sites is a win-win for our state and its nine million residents. Job creation and retention was always the critical goal of the incentive program and today’s announcement is just the beginning of more great things to come.”
“With the right resources and support, brownfields can be transformed into thriving spaces that benefit our environmental and economic health,” said Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin. “These investments will remove barriers to funding for organizations looking to make a change in their communities and spur local economic growth. This was a major facet we considered when approving the incentive program.”
“Revitalizing brownfields is essential to achieving Governor Murphy’s vision for a greener, fairer New Jersey. The Brownfields Loan Program is a unique tool that provides much-needed resources to support the planning and remediation stages of brownfields rehabilitation projects,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Brownfield Redevelopment Incentive and the Brownfields Loan Program will play a central role in driving equitable community revitalization and growth across the state.”
“Cleaning up brownfields and replacing them with valuable assets creates new paths for economic growth,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “Brownfields remediation supports Governor Murphy’s environmental protection, environmental justice, and economic growth goals, but they need financial resources to succeed. The Brownfield Redevelopment Incentive and Brownfields Loan Program will open the door to more successful remediation by filling in one of the most pervasive funding gaps that holds back these projects.”
“By transforming contaminated and unused properties into assets that bring in money and create new opportunities, brownfields remediation drives inclusive and equitable development that generates economic growth and supports healthy communities,” said NJEDA Senior Brownfields Advisor Elizabeth Limbrick. “The Brownfield Redevelopment Incentive and Brownfields Loan Program will provide investment resources where they are most needed to have the biggest impact on New Jersey residents’ quality of life.”
Historically, remediation has been a major barrier to successful brownfield redevelopment projects because of the lack of funding sources available to support site assessment, planning, and cleanup. The Brownfield Redevelopment Incentive and Brownfields Loan Program aim to address this challenge by filling in these funding gaps.
The Brownfield Redevelopment Incentive is a one-time tax credit that will be issued to developers in the year they complete a remediation project. The tax credit will support costs associated with assessment, investigation, and remediation activities, as well as hazardous materials abatement, waste disposal, and structural remediation. The program is subject to a $50 million annual cap with a maximum $4 million tax credit per project. Tax credits will be awarded through a competitive application process. The NJEDA will release more details on the program specifics and application later this year.
The Brownfields Loan Program offers low-interest financing of $100,000 to $5 million for all aspects of brownfields revitalization projects, including assessment, investigation, and demolition. Loans will be awarded through a competitive application process, with projects receiving scores based on various details about the brownfield site and the proposed redevelopment project. Projects that provide beneficial end uses that promote environmental resiliency, public health, and community well-being will receive higher scores and may also qualify for interest rate reductions if approved for financing.
Applications for the Brownfields Loan Program are now open. More information about the program and details on the application are available at https://www.njeda.com/bfloans.
The Brownfield Redevelopment Incentive complements NJEDA Community Revitalization, a suite of solutions including the Brownfields Loan Program and the Brownfields Impact Fund designed to support development that transforms underutilized and contaminated spaces into community assets, with the goal of achieving a greener New Jersey. This includes ensuring that residents living in communities that have historically suffered from disinvestment, environmental contamination, and health disparities benefit from brownfields redevelopment.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The management of Sakana Asian Cuisine Restaurant plans to reopen once reconstruction is complete following a kitchen fire Sunday they said in an online statement:
Dear all customers, Recently there was a accident that cause a fire inside the kitchen of our restaurant. We will be closing down the business temporarily. We will begin reconstruction ASAP. We hope that you can come join us again once we reopen. We thank you for your understanding and we appreciate all the support that you have given us. Thank you again, Sakana Management
An aggressive firefight at the Sakana Restaurant in the Clover Square Mall kept flames from spreading out of the kitchen and spreading to the rest of the strip mall on Sunday January 31, 2021. Fire crews from Hamilton, Robbinsville and Lawrence were at the scene. Fire crews were met with fire in the kitchen area of the restaurant and quickly extinguished the fire using an aggressive interior attack using two 2 1/2 inch hand lines saving most of the restaurant, and attached businesses in the mall. Attached businesses in the mall were able to reopen that same day and the restaurant should be able to quickly rebuild. West Windsor and Hamilton’s hazardous materials team also mitigated chemicals that reacted that were creating fumes after the fire was out.
ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Borough Hall is closed on Tuesday, February 2nd. Due to a heavy accumulation of snow today, overnight and into tomorrow, Borough Hall will be closed on Tuesday, February 2nd with our municipal office staff working remotely. All calls will go to voice mail. For an email directory click here. We do not have an update on tomorrow’s recycling collection at this time. An update will be posted once it is available. Tomorrow’s Council meeting is still scheduled for 7PM. All elected officials are asked to attend remotely on Zoom. For Allentown updates see this link.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Township Offices will be CLOSED tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2nd. Garbage collection scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd will be cancelled in order to assist with the snow removal process. The Hamilton Township Council meeting is still scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Participants may join by visiting: http://www.zoom.us/join or by phone 1-929-205-6099 Meeting ID: 946 3214 8692 Passcode: 444652 Please remember to exercise caution if you must travel. To see when your street is scheduled to be plowed be sure visit Snow Plow Sal.
No Township Curbside Garbage Collection Will Occur Tomorrow Tuesday, February 2. Garbage Collection for Area #2 residents, normally on Tuesday, February 2, will be on the next scheduled collection date of Friday, February 5.
Residents are strongly reminded toremove ALL vehiclesfrom Township roadways to allow for snow removal.
Residents are reminded to clear all snow from sidewalks and fire hydrants within 24 hours of the end of the snow fall.
SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–DUE TO THE INCLEMENT WEATHER, REPUBLIC SERVICES HAS CANCELLED ALL TRASH AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS FOR MONDAY FEB, 1ST AND TUESDAY, FEB 2ND
They are scheduled to resume regular operations on Wednesday, February 3rd. All of Monday’s and Tuesday’s material will be collected next week on their regular day. Sorry for any inconvenience. Any further questions, please call the Garbage and Recycling Dept. at (732)329-4000 Ext 7274
EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–UPDATED TRASH PICKUP DELAY INFORMATION FOR FEB. 2ND, 2021
Due to the weather conditions scheduled trash pickup for today, Monday February 1st, has been delayed until Friday, February 5th, and the scheduled trash pickup for Tuesday, February 2nd, has been delayed until Saturday, February 6th.
Please do not put out your trash for these delayed pickups until the rescheduled day to help keep the road clear for plows. Thank you for your cooperation and stay warm.
January 31, 2021, Updated to include hazardous material response by Hamilton and West Windsor
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 7:30 am multiple 9-1-1 calls reported smoke coming from the roof in the 3100 Block of Quakerbridge Road from the Sakana Asian Cuisine Restaurant. Upon arrival of the Hamilton Township fire chief a full first alarm “all hands” fire was called sending additional Hamilton firefighters, and firefighters from Lawrence Township and Robbinsville Township Fire Departments to the scene. Fire crews pulled two 2 1/2 inch hand lines and advanced though the front door to a fire in the ceiling of the kitchen area in the rear of the store. Ladder companies laddered the building and worked on the roof. The fire crews inside pulled down the ceiling and extinguished the fire. A five inch supply line was laid out to Quakerbridge road to the fire hydrant temporarily closing the roadway until the fire was out. A roadblock was set up by the Hamilton Township Police Department and Hamilton Fire Police set up a detour in the area. The fire was under control by 8:00 am. Firefighters were able to hold the fire to the kitchen area at the rear of the restaurant and kept the fire from spreading to the roof and attached stores in the strip mall.
PSE&G, Hamilton Township Building Department, Hamilton Township Health Department also responded to the scene. The fire is under investigation by the Hamilton Township Fire Marshal.
Hazardous materials teams from Hamilton and West Windsor Township responded to the scene after the fire was out to mitigate chemicals that were undergoing a hazardous chemical reaction. Hamilton and West Windsor Hazmat teams mitigated the hazard and contained the chemical without incident.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Once again, Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler has issued a warning to area residents regarding telephone scammers posing as Mercer County Sheriff’s Officers. Over the past month, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints about suspected phone scams asking residents for personal bank account information or cash payments. Some calls have reached residents throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The scammers identify themselves as Mercer County Sheriff’s Officers along with fictitious badge numbers. The callers state they have an arrest warrant related to money laundering charges and need access to their bank accounts. The scammers also suggest meeting at a location and to bring cash for bail or fines. Otherwise, they will be taken into custody. “I can state with confidence the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office will never call anyone and ask for their bank account number or to meet in an odd location to pay bail or fines with cash,” said Sheriff Kemler.Unfortunately, it is difficult to crack down on telephone scammers because calls are often generated from phone banks located out of state. While the calls remain under investigation, the best advice is to exercise common sense. If a resident suspects a particular telephone call may be a scam, do not give out any personal information and simply hang up. Anyone who receives such a call and is uncertain of its validity should report the call to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office at 609-989-6111.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County plans on opening an COVID-19 vaccination site at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health System. An additional vaccination site is planned at Mercer County Community College and will be managed by the County Health Officer’s Association. See full press rease below from Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes:
Dear Mercer County Community,
The State of New Jersey this week ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and Mercer County is preparing to do the same. The County will open a vaccination site at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health System, which will manage the site. The opening date is dependent on vaccine supply but a soft opening is planned next week.
We had a successful partnership with Capital Health during the COVID-19 testing program we established last spring, and I can’t think of a more fitting partner for this next phase of the pandemic response – the vaccination phase. Like other vaccination locations, this site will be for those eligible under the state’s phasing plan that is designed to ensure that those most at risk are prioritized.
Mercer County also is working on opening a vaccination site at Mercer County Community College that would be managed by the County Health Officers Association and utilize all of the resources and staffing available from the municipal and county health offices. The arena and MCCC vaccination locations will supplement, not replace, smaller sites including those currently being operated by municipal health departments and other health care facilities in Mercer County. If you have questions about the CURE Insurance Arena or MCCC vaccination sites, please email email@example.com.
As of this morning, at least 7,342 vaccine doses had been administered in Mercer County, according to the state Department of Health. While we all want to see that number grow exponentially, we are simply not getting enough vaccine from the federal government, and we are using every single dose we receive.
I ask that everyone be patient throughout what will be a months-long vaccination process and continue to take basic preventive measures to reduce the spread of the virus, which is still rampant in our community and seemingly everywhere else. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; keep a least 6 feet away from other people; practice good hand hygiene; avoid large gatherings; and stay home if you are sick.
Anyone can – and everyone should – pre-register to receive a vaccination by visiting the state’s online portal at https://covidvaccine.nj.gov. The state expects to have a consumer call center up and running soon to assist people without Internet access in scheduling appointments, and to help answer general inquiries and questions. Those who have pre-registered will be notified when they are eligible to make a vaccination appointment. The state is compiling a list of designated vaccination locations for eligible recipients. That list will continue to grow.
For more information on who is eligible, and how to get vaccinated if you are eligible, please visit the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine website.
In addition to vaccinations, Mercer County continues to respond to the pandemic through testing, contact tracing and support. The County, in partnership with Vault Health Services, is offering a free COVID-19 saliva test on the next two Tuesdays – Jan. 19 and 26 – at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. For details, please visit the COVID-19 Testing page on the County website, where you’ll also find information on the County’s at-home testing program.
These are trying times but we will get through them. Let’s continue to support each other and keep each other safe. Let’s continue to work together.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Wednesday, January 13th Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin presented three Hamilton Township School District students with the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service and Scholarships Awards. These students each received a $450 scholarship and were selected by the Tribute Committee based on their dedication to public service and clear commitment to academic excellence.
“While we are not able to gather in person for our Annual Tribute Ceremony this year due to COVID-19, I am happy that we as a Township have still found a way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and present three deserving Hamilton Township School District students with a scholarship award that both commemorates their dedication to service and sets them up to further their educational careers,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “I wish Olena, Ryan and Lauren the best of luck in all of their future endeavors. I am proud of the strong spirit of community service we have here in Hamilton”
Lauren McCarthy, one of the 2021 awardees, is a Senior at Steinert High School, maintaining a 4.56 GPA. Lauren participates on the Steinert Lacrosse and Cheerleading Teams. She is a member of the German Club and German Honor Society, Student Government President, Hamilton News, and Key Club. Lauren volunteers in the community through Girl Scouts, and has been awarded Gold Award recipient which is awarded to less than 6% of Girl Scouts. Lauren has also volunteered for the Miracle League of Mercer County, which is a baseball league for children with disabilities, and as a result of her contributions was named the Hamilton YMCA Volunteer of the Year!
“Annually, the Hamilton Township community pauses to remember the life, leadership, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I have been honored to be a part of that celebration for more than a decade. In addition, I have been humbled to be the keynote speaker twice. It is most fitting that we pause each year to celebrate both the dream and the dreamer. In a world where nightmares seem to be the norm, we need to reflect upon a dream that speaks of light, hope, justice, equality, and equity,” said Dr. Joseph E. Woods, Pastor of Saint Phillips Baptist Church. “Today, I join our beloved mayor, the MLK committee, and the entire community of Hamilton Township to lift up the ministry and model of Dr. King as motivation to cast a vision in our day to empower and position people to overcome injustice and inequity in our world. Much has changed since Dr. King walked this earth, yet much remains the same and more still needs to be done. So as we look back at what Dr. King did in the past, may we all be encouraged to do something different today so that tomorrow will be better for us all.”
The second Scholarship recipient, Olena Mykhaylyshyn is a Senior at Hamilton High School West. With a GPA of 4.89 (second in her class), Olena serves as a Peer Leader, and is a four-year member of the Swim and Tennis Teams. She is a member of the Science League, Spanish Club, HEY Club, CASCADE, a cultural awareness and education club, and Unified Programs. Olena is also an active participant in the Ukrainian Church and the Ukrainian National Home, and volunteers for the Hamilton Rotary Club.
“So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?” said Pastor Lance Walker of Faith Baptist Church. “In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. This is the kind of extremist we need!”
The third Scholarship Award was given to Ryan Hardiman, a senior at Steinert High School. Ryan is a Senior at Steinert High with a GPA of 4.51, serves as a Peer Leader and is a member of the Varsity football and baseball teams. His community service includes several years of involvement at the CYO Bromley Center community events including Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Part, Easter Egg Hunt, Spring Clean Up Day, Halloween Parade, and volunteering in the food pantry. Ryan works at CYO Yardville as a Summer Camp and Remote Learning Counselor, and a basketball clinician. His teachers describe him as mature, dependable, and a critical thinker.
The Tribute Committee looks forward to honoring Dr. King and additional scholarship recipients in person again in 2022.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Jeffrey Martin and the Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Commission (HTEDAC) will offer a FREE Virtual Job Fair for residents seeking employment in the greater Hamilton Township area. The Virtual Job Fair will showcase job openings from a range of employers in various fields and skillsets, including representatives from Amazon, UPS, FedEx, local labor unions, and area small businesses. The Virtual Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, March 16, from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
“In these challenging economic times, we are thankful to the Commission for finding an innovative way to help residents learn about local employment opportunities as well as provide an outlet for our businesses and vendors to fill their vacancies,” said Mayor Martin. “Hamilton is a vibrant community with businesses large and small and an eager workforce. I look forward to welcoming all to this Job Fair.”
The Virtual Job Fair will be held using Hop-in, a virtual meeting platform accessible in your internet browser without additional software. Job Seekers will log-in to full-group sessions, then select from Company Showcase sessions with career opportunities in Healthcare, Construction, Professional Services, Information Technologies, Project Management, Courier, and Customer Services.
“Mayor Martin, the HTEDAC, and our partners are working diligently to build a thriving workforce for Hamilton Township. Offering a Virtual Job Fair allows Hamilton Township residents access to numerous job opportunities in a safe and easy way,” said HTEDAC Chairperson Lori Danko.
Represented companies will be available to discuss their open positions and answer questions in a face-to-face video environment, as well as collect resumes from prospective employees.
HTEDAC is currently seeking additional companies interested in participating and has available event sponsorship opportunities. Questions and sponsorship inquiries can be directed to HTEDAC Vice-Chairperson Gretchen DiMarco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Virtual Job Fair is part of the Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Commission’s work to support economic development across the community. HTEDAC is an official municipal government commission comprised of volunteers, serving as an advisory body to the Mayor and Township Council through interaction with the Department of Economic Development.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Sometime before 10:30 am the Trenton Fire Department received a call for a house fire at 824 South Clinton Avenue. First units responding reported a “column of smoke in the air” and upon arrival found heavy fire conditions. Shortly after a 2nd alarm was called calling more city units to the scene and additional firefighters from Hamilton Township Fire Department to the scene. Also multiple cover companies were also dispatched to the City to handle other calls during the firefight.
Firefighters and investigators are still on scene at the time of this report.
Trenton Police Department, Public Information Officer, Captain Peter Weremijenko, told MidJersey.news this afternoon: The fire was in a vacant building and there is no indication that there are any victims. A dog was called to the scene to help locate evidence during the investigation.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Twenty-one days after the first COVID-19 vaccines were given to front-line staff, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, 1 Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton, NJ, administered the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the first high-risk employees to receive it on December 20, 2020. The hospital has taken diligent measures to ensure staff receive plenty of notification to schedule and receive their second dose.
After her second dose was administered, Victoria Bradeis, a respiratory therapist and the first RWJUH Hamilton employee to receive the vaccine, said, “I’m feeling great and I’m so thankful to everyone who contributed to making this vaccine happen.”
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton’s employee vaccine clinic has been running daily since the first doses were administered on December 21, 2020. In the past week, the hospital began vaccinating their non-frontline team workers. Employees continue to wear masks, practice proper hand hygiene and practice social distancing, even after receiving their vaccinations, as advised by the CDC.
About Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Hamilton
Located in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, serves communities within a five-county area and includes an acute care hospital, cancer center, affiliated medical group, Lakeview Child Centers and the RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center. RWJBarnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – brings a world class team of researchers and specialists to fight alongside you, providing close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials. For more information, visit us at www.RWJBH.org/Hamilton.
David Wolfsgruber of Hamilton to lead agency that serves important reentry mission throughout the State of NJ
January 11, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Parole Board announced today the promotion of David Wolfsgruber, who will lead the agency’s day-to-day operations as Executive Director. In this role, Mr. Wolfsgruber will oversee and manage a critical state agency with a total of just over 600 sworn law enforcement and civilian staff who are charged with processing and supervising more than 16,000 offenders currently under state parole supervision.
New Jersey State Parole Board Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr. said, “David is a true leader in every sense of the word and his strong knowledge of criminal justice will undoubtedly be an asset to the State Parole Board. As a dedicated public servant, David has seen many changes within the complex world of parole which makes him the obvious choice to lead this agency as we continue to meet our two-fold mission of ensuring public safety while reducing the state’s overall recidivism rate through our supervision efforts.”
“I am very fortunate to have spent my entire professional career at the State Parole Board and am eager to help lead this agency during a time where New Jersey’s criminal justice system is undergoing transformative changes,” said Mr. Wolfsgruber. “The determined commitment of dedicated agency employees who consistently work to advance public safety measures and successful community reintegration is both inspiring and impressive.”
Prior to his new position, Mr. Wolfsgruber held the position of Assistant Director of the Community Programs Division. In that role he oversaw the development and administration of statewide community programming for parolees at 18 individual contracted residential and community resource center program locations.
Mr. Wolfsgruber oversaw the significant expansion of licensed substance abuse and co-occurring mental health outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment services for parolees within the Mutual Agreement Program, in partnership with the Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Community programming, which plays a significant role in the reentry process, assists individuals in their community reintegration process.
Mr. Wolfsgruber also held several diverse positions within the State Parole Board including coordinator of specialized programs and chief of the Parole Revocation Hearing Unit. Additionally, he is a certified public manager, a title that he received following the successful completion of the comprehensive State Certified Public Manager Program. A graduate of Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey), Mr. Wolfsgruber is a lifelong New Jersey resident. He resides in Hamilton Square with his wife and two children.
The New Jersey State Parole Board is committed to promoting public safety, utilizing effective methods to aid supervised offenders in reentering society, and in reducing the state’s recidivism of offenders while addressing the needs of crime victims. As required by law, appointed parole board members and staff conduct approximately 13,500 hearings per year, solicit input from victims, and decide upon parole matters. Approximately 400 sworn parole officers supervise more than 16,000 offenders and act as New Jersey’s primary law enforcement agency responsible for sex offender supervision. Additionally, state parole officers are also active partners with a variety of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and task forces. The agency’s Community Programs Division partners with government, non-profit, and private agencies to connect former inmates with vocational, mental health, addiction services, and related services.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton, 1 Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton, New Jersey, was presented with the donation of a piece of multimedia artwork, “Healthcare Angels,” by its creator, New Jersey-based artist Joe LaMattina. This original piece, an homage to front line healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be placed on display throughout the hospital units for all staff and patients to enjoy before it finds its permanent home in a place of honor in the hospital’s main building.
During the COVID-19 quarantine in early 2020, LaMattina felt compelled to create something to thank healthcare workers. He says, “I, like most people, found the commitment, dedication to service, and bravery of our first responders and all healthcare workers to be extraordinary. While some people clapped every night in their honor, and some people put up signs and lights, I decided that the very least I could do was to create a piece of art in their honor.”
“Healthcare Angels” was the artwork that came from this desire to recognize those bravely caring for COVID-19 patients. Richard Freeman, Chief Executive Officer and President of RWJUH Hamilton stated, “This artwork is more than paint and materials. It is a reflection of the dedication and hard work put forth by our employees during this pandemic. It will inspire our staff for years to come.”
About Joe La Mattina Joe LaMattina is a prize-winning American painter who has exhibited his work internationally. For 36 years, he was employed as an art educator with the Hackensack Public School System and P.I. Art Center in New Jersey. Upon retirement, Joe decided to continue his journey through art. Numerous pieces of his have been exhibited at venues around the world, one being represented by Agora Gallery in New York City. Learn more about Joe LaMattina at http://www.JoeLaMattina.com
About Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Hamilton Located in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, serves communities within a five-county area and includes an acute care hospital, cancer center, affiliated medical group, Lakeview Child Centers and the RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center. RWJBarnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – brings a world class team of researchers and specialists to fight alongside you, providing close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials. For more information, visit www.RWJBH.org/Hamilton
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)-It was announced today that Trenton Catholic Academy will close its doors in June 2021.
Statement from Mayor Jeff Martin:
“It is a sad day for the Diocese of Trenton, Trenton Catholic Academy (TCA) and Hamilton Township, said Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin. Whether known as St. Anthony’s, McCorristin or TCA, there has always been a great partnership between the school and the Township. Hamilton is committed to helping TCA and the Diocese in the months to come. On behalf of the Township, I thank them for their nearly 60 years of providing a high quality, well-rounded education to those in our greater Hamilton community.”
TRENTON CATHOLIC ACADEMY TO CLOSE IN JUNE; DIOCESE TO OFFER RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS TO CONTINUE CATHOLIC EDUCATION
In the last 15 years, Trenton Catholic Academy’s Upper and Lower Schools in Hamilton Township have built a strong legacy in the areas of academics, athletics, faith formation and service to the community. With limited funding and resources, the pre-K3 through 12th grade school has successfully served tens of thousands of students from diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, aided significantly through diocesan subsidy and a specially-established fund, as well as a strong network of benefactors, community partners and supporters of its mission.
Since opening its doors, the Upper School has graduated nearly 1,000 students, sending many of them to top colleges and universities. TCA alumni have gone on to prestigious careers and several have advanced to play professional sports. Most importantly, the school has succeeded in meeting the hopes of the school’s late founding president St. Joseph Sister Dorothy Payne, who wanted her students to be: “Good kids that live good lives that make the world a better place.”
Unfortunately, the growing cost of providing a quality, innovative education has consistently outpaced tuition and fundraising income, leaving the school with a $2 million deficit each year and a cumulative need for $24 million in financial support over the past 12 years. Additionally, the special fund once established for the school has been nearly depleted. The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a serious blow to families’ abilities to afford tuition and to strategic plans that had aimed to increase revenue. As a result, the Diocese of Trentonhas regretfully accepted the recommendation of TCA president Michael Knowles that the Upper and Lower Schools — which together educate some 550 students — should close this coming June.
Acknowledging that every possible option was considered before reaching this conclusion, Knowles stated, “We have truly been blessed by so many generous people who believed in this mission and backed it up with their ‘sweat equity.’” Knowles, who has served as president since the death of Sister Dorothy in 2019, added, “We have had the most incredible leadership and dedication in our administration, our faculty and our staff. We are very proud of all of our students and the difference they will continue to make in their communities and beyond.”
Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt pointed to steps that the Diocese will take to assist TCA students transitioning to a new Catholic school next year. He said, “TCA students will be welcomed at Notre Dame High School in nearby Lawrenceville and at a number of Catholic elementary schools in close proximity to TCA so that Catholic education might continue to be available in Mercer County.”
Dr. Schmidt also announced that the Diocese of Trenton intends to make some transitional scholarship monies available for the 2021-22 school year to students seeking to continue their education in one of the Catholic schools affiliated with the Diocese or its parishes. Knowles said that with the funds made available by the Diocese, a transition plan will be worked out with TCA families.
A team of diocesan representatives will meet with the 57 TCA employees to review severance and benefits packages, and to offer assistance in finding employment.
Bill Will Provide Aid to Small Businesses and Usher in New Era of Economic Development
January 7, 2021
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed into law the landmark New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, which will provide economic support for small businesses, while propelling New Jersey’s economic recovery and growth for much of the next decade.
“These programs are the product of nearly three years of hard work, during which we received input from hundreds of voices on how best to structure our state’s recovery and growth,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “I am immensely proud of the result, which will not only provide much needed relief for our small businesses, but will also fundamentally change economic development in our state while creating thousands of high-paying job for our residents.”
The legislation includes a host of new initiatives including the Main Street Recovery Finance Program, which will provide a direct $50 million appropriation for grants, loans, loan guarantees, and technical assistance to small and micro businesses.
This bill will also bolster the state’s startup and entrepreneur economy through implementation of the Innovation Evergreen Fund, a first-of-its-kind program that will combine state funds with private capital to support innovative new businesses.
The new legislation also includes several cutting-edge programs designed to promote growth in New Jersey’s urban centers, including the Brownfields Redevelopment Incentive designed to facilitate the redevelopment of environmentally contaminated properties; the Historic Property Tax Credit, which will incentivize the restoration of historic buildings, many of which are located in New Jersey’s oldest and most distressed neighborhoods; and the Community-Anchored Development Program, which will incentivize the construction of innovative new developments by partnering with universities, hospitals, arts, and cultural organizations and give the state an equity stake in the development.
“This incentives package will not only help strengthen our economy, but it will help address some of the longstanding inequities faced by the most distressed communities in our state,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “These renewed incentives are specifically directed toward reviving our local economies and helping main streets thrive throughout this crisis and beyond. I want to commend Governor Murphy and the legislature for their leadership in passing this bill which will put our state on a renewed path to prosperity.”
“The New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 presents a strong recovery and reform package that will position New Jersey to build a stronger and fairer economy that invests in innovation, in our communities, and in our small businesses the right way, with the protections and oversight taxpayers deserve,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Tax incentives and other investment tools are critical to economic development, and when used correctly they can drive transformative change that uplifts communities and creates new opportunities for everyone.”
“Renewal of New Jersey’s tax incentive program was essential to ensuring our state’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining jobs and businesses in our global economy,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “I am pleased that the compromise we reached includes a sufficiently high cap on total incentives to enable New Jersey to compete for mega-projects, and that it ensures that all regions and sectors of our state will benefit from the various programs. I would like to thank Senators M. Teresa Ruiz and Paul Sarlo, former Senator Ray Lesniak, who served as our special counsel, and of course, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Governor Phil Murphy for working together to bring this legislation to fruition.”
“This is comprehensive legislation which will grow new industries and foster innovation around the state. It will create greater investment in our communities by providing further incentives to locate in distressed municipalities, build affordable housing and redevelop brownfields,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, the prime sponsor. “This law will help increase access to employment in high-growth industries, drive sustainable economic development and most importantly help our state to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort is balanced in its approach, it will ensure responsible investment, greater oversight and tangible community benefits.”
“This legislation provides the tax incentives we will need to spur business and job growth as we come out of a pandemic crisis that has devastated broad sectors of our economy,” said Senator Paul Sarlo. “Most importantly, it will provide tax incentives to attract the jobs we want – jobs that pay high salaries in cutting edge industries that will transform communities, partner with our higher education sector on R&D, provide valuable job training and be good corporate citizens.”
“This new law builds a new economic recovery and incentive program that will bolster businesses from Main Street small business to attracting new and larger job-creating corporations to make New Jersey home,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “This legislation also creates programs that address the problem of food deserts giving families fighting hunger greater access to healthy food options in the future as well as others similarly aimed toward historically underserved communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Reauthorization of a large scale job incentive package has been a long time coming in this state. This is a plan that will lead New Jersey to a stronger economic future.”
“We worked to develop a comprehensive piece of legislation that will put New Jersey on a path to economic recovery post-COVID-19 and beyond,” said Assembly Budget Chair Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin. “It includes a wide range of critical business and redevelopment incentives, which will spur growth in many areas that have been longstanding concerns for the state. New Jersey has been without an incentive program for over a year and a half, and this measure will make our businesses competitive with those in other states again. When combined with incentives to invest in technological innovation, developing brownfields, and eliminating food deserts, among others, we can help those struggling and drive the entire state forward.”
The legislation also includes a groundbreaking Food Desert Relief program designed to ensure that all communities have access to fresh, healthy food. Incentives would offset the cost of development of a fresh-food grocery store in an area designated as a food desert, while also strengthening existing community assets like bodegas, corner stores, and mid-sized retailers by equipping them with the necessary equipment and infrastructure to provide healthier food options.
The legislation reforms the state’s two main tax incentive programs, placing caps on the amount of incentives awarded each year, as well as over the life of the programs. The programs, which incorporate many of the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on EDA’s Tax Incentives, greatly enhance compliance restrictions to ensure that money is being well spent and jobs are being created, including the creation of an inspector general post to investigate claims of abuses within the programs.
The New Jersey Emerge program is a job creation tax credit focused on bringing new middle-class and well-paying jobs to our communities, with base and bonus structure for targeted industries and geographies.
The New Jersey Aspire program is a gap financing program to support commercial, industrial, mixed-use, and residential real estate development projects, with an emphasis on higher need communities.
Separate from the Emerge and Aspire program cap is a set-aside for large, transformative projects. There can be a maximum of ten such projects over the life of the incentives program.
This legislation will provide additional protections for organized labor, a longstanding promise of the governor’s, as well as community benefit agreements, which are designed to ensure an award recipient will engage and stay engaged with local government. For the first time, New Jersey’s economic development programs will include prevailing wage for building service work and labor harmony provisions, which will protect building trades and building service workers from unfair practices.
This sweeping legislation revamps several existing programs, including the successful Film and Television Tax Credit, which was expanded and enhanced to attract large studio construction to New Jersey, and the Offshore Wind Manufacturing credit, which now encompasses the entire state and will allow more businesses to qualify.
Several existing NJEDA programs have been folded into the legislation as well, including the Angel Investor Tax Credit, the Net Operating Loss Credit, and the New Jersey Ignite Program.
For a list of over 100 New Jersey leaders – spanning government, the private sector, and organized labor – who urged passage of the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, please click here.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a woman was indicted for allegedly stealing more than $268,000 by fraudulently collecting survivor benefits from her deceased husband’s pension for nearly 10 years after she remarried and allegedly knew she was disqualified for such benefits.
Sandra VonScheven, 44, of Hamilton, Mercer County, N.J., was indicted yesterday by a state grand jury on a charge of second-degree theft by unlawful taking. The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and the Pension and Fraud Abuse Unit of the New Jersey Department of the Treasury’s Division of Pension and Benefits.
In November 2001, VonScheven began collecting survivor spousal benefits from the pension of her deceased husband, who was a retired municipal police officer in New Jersey. Surviving spouses are entitled to widow or widower’s benefits under the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System. Survivor benefits continue for life or until the surviving spouse remarries.
In November 2019, the Division of Pensions and Benefits notified OPIA that VonScheven had continued to receive survivor spousal benefits from her late husband’s pension despite the fact that she remarried on Jan. 15, 2010. It is alleged that VonScheven knew that her survivor benefits ceased when she remarried and nevertheless continued to receive the benefits every month until November 2019. In total, she received more than $268,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled.
Deputy Attorneys General John Nicodemo and Adam Gerken presented the case virtually to the state grand jury for the OPIA Corruption Bureau. Detective Sonya Carney was lead detective for OPIA, and Deputy Attorney General Mallory Shanahan also assisted. Attorney General Grewal thanked the Pension and Fraud Abuse Unit of the Department of the Treasury’s Division of Pension and Benefits for its investigation and referral.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw in Mercer County, where VonScheven will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)—On November 24, 2020, the Hamilton Township Police Division charged a Hamilton man identified as Jonathan Bascio, 30, with multiple accounts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault. It is alleged that on October 25, 2020, Bascio committed an unlawful act of sexual penetration upon an adult Hamilton woman while she was asleep. It is further alleged that Bascio committed multiple similar unlawful acts of sexual penetration upon a second adult Hamilton woman over the course of the last year.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit recently received information that Bascio may have committed similar unlawful acts on additional victims. This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Jonathan White of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at (609) 989-6399 or Hamilton Police Detective Joseph Ialacci at (609) 581-4000.
Despite having been charged, all persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 5:20 pm a vehicle traveling north on South Broad Street near Pebble Creek & Lacy Avenue collided with a trailer attached to a pickup truck. The vehicle overturned, trapping the driver inside. Hamilton Township Fire Department, RWJ EMS and Hamilton Police responded to the scene. The trapped driver was was able to self extricate prior to fire department arrival. One person was transported to RWJ at Hamilton Hospital. Hamilton Township Police are investigating. No further information is available at this time.
Last night, Council President McBride, Councilwoman Vaughn, and Councilman Rodriguez blocked the efforts of Trenton Water Works (TWW) to replace lead service lines throughout our regional service area. TWW has made great strides in its initial phases of lead service line replacement and this $15 million bond ordinance was needed for the third phase scheduled to start later this year. In addition, the third phase would have triggered a program from the N.J. Infrastructure Bank that would have given 50 percent forgiveness on the bonds. The ordinance fell one vote shy of the five needed to pass, which will effectively freeze the service line program for the near future.
The council members who voted against the ordinance have effectively told their constituents as well as customers in other service municipalities that they do not care if lead is removed from their water. The fact remains, TWW is under a Consent Order with the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Trenton faces a lawsuit by NJDEP as well as other service municipalities that TWW is not working fast enough to adhere to environmental standards as well as service line replacement. The three council members who voted against the ordinance have made that worse.
The lack of foresight is staggering. Council’s failure to approve this ordinance jeopardizes our plans to remove all lead services from the TWW system within the next six years. The well-established threat of lead in drinking water did not move the council members who voted against this proposal. Neither did the fact that half of $15 million proposal would have been forgiven under a state grant, which is a tremendous benefit for our city’s strained budget.
So long as homeowners have galvanized lead service lines running to their homes, they could be affected by lead-tainted water. It was time for City Council to take the appropriate action to protect its constituents and TWW service area consumers from these environmental hazards. Blocking this ordinance is nothing less than gross malfeasance.
Council members voting in the affirmative for the bonds were City Council Vice President Marge Caldwell-Wilson and Councilmen Jerell Blakely, Joe Harrison and George Muschal. –Statement from Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township is proud to welcome The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey’s new Early Head Start center to their Liberty Street location.
Earlier this year, The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey (CHSofNJ) was awarded a federal grant to expand its Early Head Start center-based program. Under this grant, the agency has purchased and begun accepting construction bids to renovate 1435 Liberty Street. The building, which previously housed an adult day center, will undergo extensive renovations to now deliver care and education for 80 infants, toddlers, and their families. The center, located on the border of Hamilton and Trenton, will also provide office space for the program’s home visitors, who will serve an additional 147 infants, toddlers, and pregnant women.
The reconfigured space will include ten state-of-the-art classrooms – five infant classrooms and five toddler classrooms; ample indoor play space and an outdoor playground; office space for staff and the program nurse; conference rooms and community meeting space; a laundry room; and a commercial-grade kitchen to prepare daily meals and snacks as well as nutritious food for socialization events for all 541 infants, toddlers, preschoolers and pregnant moms enrolled in CHSofNJ’s Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) programs, including those served at the agency’s existing four sites in Trenton (715 Bellevue Avenue; 1198 Southard Street; 794 East State Street, and 1746 South Clinton Avenue).
Zoning Board approval was received in November 2020, and construction is expected to begin in late December 2020/early January 2021. Construction is anticipated to be completed in July 2021, and the facility will be operational in time for the 2021/2022 school year. This project will create an estimated 50 local construction jobs and ongoing employment for 40 early childhood and support staff.
“We are grateful that The Children’s Home Society of NJ decided to make Hamilton the home for their Early Head Start Center,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “The services provided by Head Start programs are critical for low-income families and children in the most impactful time of their lives and have proven to have immediate and lasting effects across multiple generations. Under the leadership of Mr. Isaac Dorsey, the Hamilton center is sure to help our community thrive under the Head Start model for many years to come.”
The Head Start/Early Head Start program embraces the comprehensive services model to promote school readiness in children from low-income families. The program supports children’s growth and development in a positive learning environment through a variety of services, including: evidence-based early childhood education; health, mental health, and disabilities services; family support services, including help with education/training and employment, and parent engagement in their children’s education; and more. Children enrolled in Early Head Start will transition into CHSofNJ’s Head Start program. As a result of the EHS and HS options, CHSofNJ is able to provide families with education and support from pregnancy through age 5.
“The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey Early Head Start program is proud to provide these important early childhood education services in Trenton, and we are thrilled to now expand our reach to serve families in Hamilton as well,” stated Isaac Dorsey, Executive Director, CHSofNJ Head Start/Early Head Start. “From our conversations with Hamilton’s Mayor, Jeff Martin, it is clear that he shares our vision and goal to strengthen and support families in our community to achieve their full potential. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Cities of Trenton and Hamilton in our mission of saving children’s lives and building healthy families.”
More information on The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey Early Head Start program can be found on their website at www.chsofnj.org.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Water Works, the city-owned public water system that serves nearly a quarter-million consumers in five municipalities in Mercer County, will seek City Council approval on December 22 to accept $15 million in funding from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank). The funding will be used for Phase 3 of its six-year Lead Service Line Replacement Program (LSLRP), Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today.
If approved, Phase 3 of the LSLRP will remove 1,850 more lead services (short for lead service lines) from TWW’s 683-mile water distribution system and private homes in its service area, except for Hopewell Township, which has newer infrastructure. Fifty percent of the funding, $7.5 million, is a grant from I-Bank, an independent state financing authority that issues revenue bonds to make loans to finance the construction of eligible environmental and transportation infrastructure projects.
In the $25 million Phase 1 of the LSLRP, TWW personnel and two vendors operating under publicly awarded contracts with TWW—South State, Inc. and Spiniello Companies—have removed 2,620 lead services in Hamilton Township and Trenton. Phase 1 is on track to remove a total of 3,850 lead services by April 2021.
The $25 million Phase 2, which begins in April 2021, will remove 3,500 lead services by March 2022.
Phase 3 starts in June 2021, with plans to remove 1,850 lead services by May 2022. Also, TWW will utilize personnel from its construction and maintenance operations to remove 900 lead services, bringing the combined total number of lead services removed from TWW’s water-distribution system to 10,000. The LSLRP is a critical capital project that is a part of TWW’s six-year, $405-million capital plan announced in 2020.
“When I took office in July 2018, I pledged to apply the leadership and resources necessary to modernize Trenton Water Works, which has nearly 63,000 customers, and to prioritize this policy goal,” said Mayor Gusciora. “TWW has made substantial progress in regulatory and administrative consent order compliance, developing and executing a $405-million capital plan, implementing corrosion control, removing lead services in the TWW system and at private homes, improving customer service, and strengthening its workforce. Much work remains, particularly addressing lead, and we are determined to remove all lead services from the TWW system within five-to-six years.”
Mayor Gusciora added: “I am asking Trenton city residents to phone your councilperson to request support for this additional round of funding for the Lead Service Line Replacement Program. The removal of lead pipes from the TWW system is contingent on available funding and a nexus of cooperation from state and local leaders, including our City Council. The removal of lead infrastructure from our water system is integral to maintaining high water quality and public health and wellness for many years to come.”
According to TWW’s inventory, there are 17,463 lead services in Trenton, 11,618 in Hamilton Township, 5,236 in Ewing Township, and 2,383 in Lawrence Township. Hopewell Township has no lead services because its infrastructure is newer. TWW regularly revises its overall inventory as it assesses pipe materials at private homes, using internal survey teams, LSLRP contractors, and information from homeowners. Service-line pipe material made of galvanized steel is considered a lead service.
Homeowners who have verified that their pipe material is galvanized steel can still sign up for a future phase of the LSLRP at twwleadprogram.com. Residents can also refer their questions about the program to a hotline – (609) 989-3600 – and will receive a return call from a TWW community-relations team member within 24 hours.
Purchased by the City of Trenton in 1859, Trenton Water Works (TWW) is one of the oldest and largest publicly owned water systems in the United States, supplying 28 million gallons of water per day to approximately a quarter-million consumers in a five-municipality service area in Mercer County, NJ: Trenton, parts of Hamilton Township, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township, and Hopewell Township. TWW operates a 60-million-gallon water-filtration plant and water-distribution system that includes a 100-million-gallon reservoir, 683 miles of water mains, three pump stations, nearly 8,000 valves, 3,517 fire hydrants, and six interconnections between TWW and other water suppliers. TWW has approximately 63,000 metered customers.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–At 6:47 pm the Hamilton Township Fire Department, RJW EMS and Capital Health Paramedics were sent to State Highway 29 North Bound in the area of mile marker 1.2 for an over turned vehicle with entrapment. Upon arrival it was determined that there was no entrapment but multiple people were injured and at least three ambulances were called to the scene. An additional ambulance was called from Robbinsville Township Fire Department EMS to the scene. The roadway was closed for about a half hour and lanes have been reopened since. No further information is available.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township Fire Department and RWJ EMS responded to a reported three vehicle accident on NJ Route 29 North Bound at the 0.2 mile marker (Just past I-295) around 5:20 pm. There were initial reports of entrapment and multiple injuries but once firefighters and rescue personnel arrived there were two minor injuries. It was unclear if the two injures were transported or they refused medical advice and declined transport to the hospital. NJ State Police was on scene investigating. No further information was available.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force resulted in an arrest this weekend of a Hamilton man for the November 29 murder of Omar Billups.
Quintin Thompson, 25, is charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree felony murder, one count of first-degree robbery, weapons offenses and theft of movable property. Search warrants were executed Saturday morning at Thompson’s Whitehorse Avenue apartment in Hamilton as well as an apartment on Oakland Street in Trenton. He was taken into custody without incident by the MCHTF, the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Mercer County Tactical Response Team. Multiple items of evidentiary value were recovered from the Oakland Street apartment of Thompson’s girlfriend, Emoni Henderson, including a 9mm Glock 26 handgun. The weapon was equipped with an extended magazine and was loaded with hollow-point rounds. Henderson’s vehicle was located on Oakland Street and seized pending application of a search warrant. Henderson, 22, was also taken into custody without incident and charged with burglary, theft, and related weapons offenses. The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Thompson pending trial.
At approximately 2:50 a.m. on Sunday, November 29, 2020, Trenton police were dispatched to an apartment at 326 Centre Street on report of a male that was shot. Upon arrival, they located the victim, later identified as Billups, on the living room floor with blood coming from the back of his head. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim’s cellphone and keys were not found inside the apartment during a subsequent search.
During the course of the investigation, task force detectives located area surveillance footage from various sources and spoke with witnesses. They learned that Billups had been driving a white Jeep Cherokee rental vehicle and that Billups had been with Thompson in that vehicle on Friday afternoon, November 28. The white Jeep Cherokee was located and secured by police on South Westfield Avenue on December 4.
Further investigation by detectives tied a second vehicle to Billups’ homicide. At approximately 5 p.m. on Friday, a black Mitsubishi Uplander was seen arriving at the Winding Brook Apartment Complex on Bradford Drive in Hamilton. An individual with similar physical characteristics to Thompson is seen exiting the Mitsubishi and walking toward one of the buildings. That individual returns a short time later and gets back in the Uplander, which then leaves the area.
On November 29, 2020, around 9:10 a.m., Hamilton police responded to an apartment on Bradford Avenue for a reported burglary. When a resident returned from work Saturday morning, she found someone had rummaged through the belongings in the bedroom. The only item missing was a shoe box that belonged to Billups containing a large unspecified amount of cash. Further investigation revealed that Billups had a key to the Bradford Avenue apartment. Both Thompson and Henderson are charged in connection to the burglary and theft of cash in Hamilton.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police have arrested Ronald Green, 34, of Trenton, N.J. as a result of a motor vehicle stop that led to the seizure of $200 worth of heroin. On Saturday, November 28, at 3:34 p.m., Trooper Ronald Brown stopped Green for a traffic violation on Interstate 195 east at milepost 0.6 in Hamilton Township, Mercer County. During the stop, Trooper Brown discovered that Green was in possession of 50 wax folds containing heroin and that his passenger, Darren Barber, 36, of Trenton, N.J. had outstanding warrants for his arrest. Both were arrested without incident. Ronald Green was charged with possession of heroin. Green and Barber were both released pending a court appearance. Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.