Category: Hamilton

Updated: Serious Bus Accident on NJ Turnpike, One Fatality Reported, Several Injured

November 29, 2019 (updated 11/30/2019 to include official information from NJSP)

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP–One person has died in a bus accident on the NJ Turnpike and several others had moderate to minor injuries. A bus traveling south on the NJ Turnpike was en route from New York City to Philadelphia, PA., NJ State Police said.

The south bound bus was in the area of mile marker 56.9 lost control and ran off the roadway by the Crosswicks Creek Bridge. It appears the guardrail and barrier had kept the bus from falling off the embankment of the bridge and into the creek below.

The Robbinsville Township Fire Department, IAFF Local #3786, Bordentown Township Fire Department IAFF Local #3091 were dispatched at 8:49 pm, also numerous first aid squads were requested and responded to the scene.

New Jersey State Police said that there were at least 20 passengers on board the bus at the time of crash and some passengers left the scene on their own.

There were seven injuries reported, six were minor and one moderate. The one “moderately” injured person had to be extricated and was transported to Capital Health in Hopewell. One injury was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton and five refused treatment.

The NJ State Police did not release the name of the deceased, pending notification of family members.

The bus was operated by Skyliner Travel and Tours Bus Corp from Astoria, NY

A Hyundai traveling behind the bus was damaged by debris of the crash but did not impact the bus. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the NJ State Police.

Benson, McKnight & Jasey Bill to Address Disparities in NJ School Discipline Stats Advances in Legislature

Measure to Create Restorative Justice in Education Pilot Programs

(TRENTON) – Working toward addressing the striking disparities found in New Jersey school discipline statistics, legislation that would create a statewide program aiming to reduce racial disparities in school discipline; improve the socio-emotional and behavioral responses of students through intervention; and decrease recidivism rates among students who violate school district code of conduct advanced in the Assembly Monday.

            The bill (A-3519) was approved by the full body, 59-13-2, during an afternoon voting session. It is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Angela McKnight and Mila Jasey.

“As school districts seek to adopt restorative justice practices, it is crucial for the state Department of Education to play a role, through this pilot, to develop best practices and provide guidance,” said Benson (D-Mercer Middlesex). “Ultimately, our goal is reduce truancy and violence in schools by ensuring groups that often are disproportionately affected by school discipline, such as racial and religious minorities, victims of school bullying and violence, as well as those living with mental illness, are seen and heard. Implementing restorative justice practices can ensure not only that discipline is more effective, but that the needs of the school community and those affected by the student’s actions are considered in any post discipline remedy.”

The bill directs the Commissioner of Education to establish a three-year “Restorative Justice in Education Pilot Program” to implement restorative justice practices in the public schools. “Restorative justice” is defined as a system of dispute resolution tools that allows all parties of a dispute to be involved in defining the harm and devising remedies while giving the necessary attention to community safety, victims’ needs, and the need for offender accountability. 

 “The joint Senate and Assembly Education Committees held hearings on school security during this session. The impact of restorative justice programs and how they can help foster safer and healthier school environments was brought to our attention,” said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), who chairs the Assembly Higher Education Committee and sits on the Assembly Education Committee. “We have to look at redefining how we correct our children’s behavior in schools and look into alternative methods such as restorative justice practices.”

“How a child’s behavior is addressed at home and in our schools can either nurture or change the course of their future,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “We raise a child as we want them to go, with the understanding that a mistake does not have to be repeated and it doesn’t have to chart their path in life. Restorative justice programs may be just what we need to change the startling school discipline statistics in New Jersey and create safe, positive school environments for our children and staff.”

The principal of a school selected to participate in the pilot program would be required to limit the number and duration of student expulsions and suspensions to the greatest extent practicable.  The principal must demonstrate a commitment to exhausting other forms of non-exclusionary discipline prior to using out-of-school suspensions or expulsions.  The bill further requires that a school district selected to participate must provide ongoing professional development to teachers and other staff on:

×          The adverse consequences of the exclusion of students from school and their involvement in the juvenile justice system;

×          Effective classroom management strategies; culturally responsive discipline; and

×          Developmentally appropriate disciplinary methods that promote a positive and healthy school climate.

The program would be established within 6 months of the bill’s enactment.  Selected by the Commissioner from applications received by willing school districts, five districts in each of the southern, central, and northern regions of the State would participate in the program.  The Commissioner would provide any necessary guidance, support, and training to participating schools.

The bill will now go to the Senate for final legislative review.

Benson, DeAngelo & Pinkin Bill to Require Boil Water Notices to Be Delivered Expeditiously to Mayor and City Clerk Passes Assembly

Measure Stems from Trenton Water Works Concerns

(TRENTON) – Ensuring municipalities are able to help quickly inform residents of boil water notices, a bill sponsored by Assembly members Dan Benson, Wayne DeAngelo and Nancy Pinkin requiring boil water notices are given to the mayor and the city clerk within one hour of testing cleared the full Assembly Monday, 74-0. It will now go to the Governor for further review.

“Residents should learn immediately of an issue with their water to take the necessary precautions for their families,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “The first step is supplying that information to municipal leaders to help notify families.”

This legislation (A-2423) responds to a series of issues arising from Trenton Water Works (TWW). In January 2018, the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued four violations after the failure of a filter went undetected for more than a month. Benson and DeAngelo are sponsors of multiple bills aiming to address the concerns raised over the last year, including failing to promptly notify residents of boil water notices.

“We’ve been working to improve communication and services for water utilities not just in Trenton but throughout the state,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “This another step in protecting public health and ensuring residents know when, and as soon as possible, there is a concern with their drinking water.”

“A municipality has a better chance of protecting their residents from problems if they are aware of the issue immediately,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “This is common sense legislation that will help residents and municipalities stay informed.”

The bill would require the owner or operator of a public water system to provide notice to the mayor and municipal clerk of each municipality that receives water from the public water system when a boil water notice is in effect, regardless of whether the notice is in effect for that specific municipality.  Notifications would be made via telephone and electronic mail as soon as possible, but no later than one hour after the public water system learns of the contamination.

The notice would be in addition to any other notice required by State or federal law and would contain: name of the public water system affected; geographical area affected; date of the occurrence; consumer corrective measures to be taken; and a telephone number where customers may reach an appropriate party. Upon the boil water notice being rescinded, the bill would also require the owner or operator of the public water system to provide notice via both telephone and electronic mail to the affected municipalities.

Hamilton Township Police Ask For Help to Identify Suspect

By: Hamilton Township Police Press Release

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)—On November 25, 2019, Hamilton Police were detailed to Russo’s Music Store at 1989 Arena Drive, on a report of a shoplifting. The pictured suspect was seen via video surveillance inquiring with employees about a guitar then ran from the store with the guitar without paying for it. The suspect fled in the direction of Arena Drive on foot while store employees gave chase. Store employees eventually lost sight of the suspect a short distance from the store.

The suspect is described as a white male wearing a baseball style cap, a gray jacket with a black hood, dark colored pants and light-colored sneakers. The suspect’s baseball cap had a white design on the front.

Hamilton Detectives are asking for the publics’ assistance in identifying the suspect involved in this incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Joseph Lalacci of the Criminal Investigations Section at (609) 689-5822 or via email: jialacci@hamiltonpd.org The public can also leave a message on the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline (609) 581-4008.

Fire Under Investigation at House That Was Being Renovated

November 23, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ–Firefighters were dispatched to a house fire in the 100 Block of Gary Drive this afternoon. It was reported over the radio that the alarm was going off all day and now smoke was coming from the house. Firefighters arrived to find a fire in one of the bedrooms and stretched a 1 3/4″ line to extinguish the fire. The fire was quickly extinguished. Hamilton Township Fire Department Stations 17, 13, 18, 16 as well as Robbinsville Twp Fire Department Station 40 responded to the scene.

Fire Investigators from Hamilton were on scene at the time of this report. The Hamilton Township Building Department was also responding.

Mark Your Calendars for Holiday Events

November 22, 2019 (List will be updated at events are scheduled)

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

Friday November 29, 2019:

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ–Christmas Lighting Ceremony and Santa Parade sponsored by Hightstown Engine Company # 1 Ladies Auxiliary. The event starts at 6:30 pm. The Santa parade will begin at Leshin Lane down South Main Street through the center of town to the firehouse. The “Man in Red” will end up at the firehouse to pull the switch to turn on the holiday lights in the downtown area. Everyone is then invited into the firehouse where the children may visit with Santa and have their picture taken ($3.00 each) and enjoy refreshments.

Saturday November 30, 2019:

10 am to 6 pm:

ALLENTOWN, NJ–ABCA, Allentown Business Community Association–Small Business Saturday. Shop in and around Allentown, NJ for Small Business Saturday on Saturday November 30, 2019 between 10 am and 6 pm As you shop tag your Instagram, Twitter, and other social media with #ShopSmall to help spread the word about Small Business Saturday

6 pm:

ALLENTOWN, NJ– Allentown Annual Tree Lighting on Saturday, November 30th at 6PM at Pete Sensi Park hosted by ACBA, Allentown Business Community Association and Allentown Economic Development Commission. The event will have Stone Bridge Middle School Red Bird Singers, free cider at the Moth Coffee House, free cocoa and cookies at Bruno’s Bicycles-One Sweet Ride, Hope Fire Company will escort Santa to the Allentown Public Library Association and more. Follow this link for more information.  

Tuesday December 3, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ–Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Celebration at the Robbinsville Senior Center 1117 Route 130, Robbinsville, NJ (municipal complex) Events start at 5 pm. Arts and Crafts sponsored by C.A.R.E., Gingerbread House Displays by Girl Scouts, Photos with Santa, Free Hot Chocolate by David Bradley, Robbinsville High School Choir, and Tree and Menorah Lighting.

December 6 & 7, 2019

HAMILTON, NJ–Hamilton Winter Wonderland Event held at Kuser Farm Park, on Friday and Saturday December 6 & 7, 2019 from 5 pm to 8 pm on both nights. This is a free to attend event. This beloved annual event, which is a favorite among families with young children, includes a number of exciting activities for children, such as:      

  • Christmas Tree Lighting Friday, December 6 at 6pm
  • Food Drive: Non-perishable foods to be collected
  • Toy Drive: Collection of unwrapped new children’s toys
  • Visit Santa’s Village (free photo with Santa)
  • Ride our “Holiday Express Train”
  • Petting Zoo
  • Tour historic Kuser Mansion (decorated for the holidays)
  • Jersey Valley Model Railroad Club display (in Mansion basement) 
  • Take in the decorations and lights throughout Kuser Farm Park
  • Visit Santa’s Secret Workshop of crafters
  • Make your own “reindeer food” to help direct Rudolph 
  • Musical Entertainment
  • Food Vendors and more

December 7, 2019

PLUMSTED TOWNSHIP, NJ–An Olde Fashioned Tree Lighting Ceremony, Saturday December 7, 2019 at the Plumsted Township Municipal Building 121 Evergreen Road, New Egypt, NJ 08533. Event starts at 6 p.m. and will be held rain, snow or shine. Santa will make a special appearance by arriving on New Egypt Volunteer Fire Company’s fire engine. Take photographs with Santa. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Pop Warner will be singing carols, The Plumsted Township Council for the Arts will have the Gingerbread Contest from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Please bring a non-perishable food item(s) for the annual School Food Drive at the tree ceremony.

December 7 & 8, 2019

ALLENTOWN, NJ–ACBA, Allentown Business Community Association, Holiday Open House Weekend in Allentown. 10 am to 5 pm

December 8, 2019 (rain date December 15)

WEST WINDSOR, NJ–Annual Community Tree Lighting Ceremony Sunday December 8, 2019 at Ron Rogers Arboretum, Clarksville Road and County Road 571 event starts at 7 pm. Program will include a chior performance from the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, performance by WWP-South High School First Edition, and a fireworks display. There will also be free refreshments during the event.

December 9, 2019

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ–Friendly’s is sponsoring Holiday’s at the Foxmoor Shopping Center. There will be a Christmas Tree Lighting, Menorah Lighting, Visit by Santa Claus, Allentown High School Choir, Karaoke, and gifts for the kids. The event is held at Foxmoor Shopping Center and will start at 6 pm.

December 13, 2019

HAMILTON, NJ–Hamilton Little Lads Holiday Shopping Event, 400 Edward Ave, Hamilton, NJ 08610 Event will be from 5 pm to 9 pm

Heroin Trafficking Operation Dismantled, 3 Arrested

November 18, 2019

Mercer County Prosecutor’s Press Release:

HEROIN TRAFFICKING OPERATION IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY AND MERCER COUNTY (N.J.) DISMANTLED WITH THREE ARRESTS

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Nov. 18, 2019) —Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, Mercer County (N.J.) Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri and Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub announce the arrest of Sabree Burke, 30, of Huntington Valley in Montgomery County; Roderick McKinney, 24, of Trenton, N.J., and Stanley Akers, 21, of Hamilton, N.J., in New Jersey on charges related to heroin trafficking.

The arrests of the three defendants on Nov. 14, 2019, was the culmination of a multi-jurisdictional investigation into a heroin drug trafficking organization that spanned both states. Burke’s organization operated in and around Hamilton Township and Trenton, N.J., and in Montgomery and Bucks Counties in Pennsylvania. At the time of their arrests, all three defendants had a significant amount of heroin and cash on their person and in their residences. Burke was in possession of 130 bricks of heroin (equal to 6,500 packets), a loaded .40 caliber Ruger with an obliterated serial number and $1,454 cash; McKinney was in possession of 71 bricks of heroin (equal to 3,550 packets) and $500 cash; and Akers was in possession of 50 bricks of heroin (equal to 2,500 packets) and $3,730 cash. The heroin bricks, each stamped with “Louis Vuitton” in red lettering, were worth a combined street value of more than $100,000.

“Burke’s arrest and the arrest of two of his main lieutenants, Akers and McKinney, has cut off a significant source of heroin in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Central New Jersey,” said Steele. “Law enforcement is committed to working together to investigate and dismantle drug trafficking operations like Burke’s.”

“This investigation represents the tremendous good that can be done when law enforcement from all levels come together to work as a team,” said Onofri.  “We will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to stem the flow of illegal drugs into our communities.”

The investigation was led by the Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, Montgomery County Detective Bureau’s Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET), and the Bucks County Detectives’ Strike Force. Also participating in this investigation were the Abington Township Police Department, Hamilton Township Police Division, Princeton Police Department, Trenton Police Department, DEA, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department K-9.

Burke was charged with felony Possession with Intent to Deliver, Person Not to Possess a Firearm, Possession of a Firearm with an Altered Serial Number and related charges. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Christopher J. Cerski, who set bail at $500,000 cash. The defendant failed to make bail and was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing was set for 2 p.m., Nov. 26, 2019, in front of Magisterial District Judge John D. Kessler. Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Samantha Thompson, Captain of the Drug Unit, will prosecute the case against Burke.

McKinney and Akers were each charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with the intent to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute within 500 feet of a park.  They are being held at the Mercer County Correction Center pending detention hearings on November 20, 2019.  Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel A. Matos will prosecute the case against McKinney and Akers in Mercer County.

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CRIMINAL CHARGES, AND ANY DISCUSSION THEREOF, ARE MERELY ALLEGATIONS AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL AND UNLESS PROVEN GUILTY.