Update: Two dump trucks involved traffic is a mess in the area. Avoid the area. Also, two cars were involved.
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–NJ Department of Transportation is reporting a overturned dump truck on I-295 Southbound in the area of US Route 1 DOT expects at least 15-minute traffic delays in the area.
Update: From the scene two dump trucks are on their sides. Both trucks lost their loads of gravel across the roadway and there were some minor fluid spills from the overturned trucks.
Both drivers self extricated. One driver was reported to have a minor neck laceration and was transported to Captial Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.
Trenton Fire Department Haz-Mat Team responded and applied oil absorbent to help clean up the spilled fluids.
Lawrence Fire Department Engine 20 is on scene.
There were two other cars involved and appeared to have side damage to their vehicles.
NJ DOT – TOC South: Overturned Dump Truck on I-295 southbound at Exit 67 – US 1 (Lawrence Twp) All lanes closed 10-15 minute delay use caution 11:51:20 AM
NJSP is monitoring roadway closure on I-295 SB at MP 67 in Lawrenceville, Mercer Co. The accident involves two overturned commercial vehicles. No fatalities or serious injuries reported at this time.
Please avoid the area if possible. Estimated time for reopening is 3-5 Hrs.
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — The Atlantic County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit and Atlantic City Police Department Violent Crimes Unit are cooperatively investigating the fatal shooting of a man late Thursday evening.
On Thursday, March 16, 2023, at approximately 10:40 pm, the Atlantic City Police Department responded to reports of a shooting on the unit block south Texas Avenue. Officers located a male identified as Jamar Square (29 years old) of Lawrence Township, NJ, suffering from gunshot wounds. Square was transported by medical personnel to AtlantiCare Medical Center, City Division where he was subsequently pronounced deceased.
Anyone with information involving this incident is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609- 909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office website at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658- 8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www/crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.”
According to a Rider News October 20, 2011 article a Jamar Square then 18 years old was a reported intruder on the TCNJ campus and was charged with burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and credit card theft, as a result of incidents reported at TCNJ.
According to an October 18, 2016 article by Homicide Watch Trenton. On Jan. 30, 2012, Jamar Square was involved in a shooting homicide in Trenton on Route 29. According to the article Square was initially charged with murder along with three others Romero, Mitchell and Marks. A grand jury ended up only indicting him on gun charges.
“Square had also caught charges in three other cases. He faced counts of robbery, terroristic threats, burglary and theft in those cases – for allegedly holding up residents in his hometown of Lawrence and also targeting College of New Jersey students.”
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is aware of a scam using letters claiming to be from a fictitious Tax Assessment Securities division of Mercer County. This is not an official notice from the Mercer County Board of Taxation.
It is believed that this is an attempt to scam residents into paying a fake tax debt. The fraudulent notice has a bold heading claiming the notice is a distraint warrant and a toll- free number listed on the letter, which may lead recipients to believe this is a legitimate piece of communication. These letters attempt to scare residents to respond by stating it is a final judgmental notice and that the recipient must call within 15 days of receiving the letter to avoid enforcement and additional penalties, fees or interest.
Residents should not take any action or call the number listed on the notice.
Property owners with questions can contact the Mercer County Board of Taxation at (609) 989-6704, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lawrence Township, NJ – With lead funding from the Dorthaan Kirk Foundation and the Eggerts Crossing Civic League, the Queen Amina Music Club (QAMC) will present a free concert featuring internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller at the Lawrence High School Auditorium in Lawrence Township, New Jersey on March 15. Also featured will be pianist Alexis Lombre, bassist Laura-Simone Martin, and drummer Allison Miller.
The concert will culminate Fuller’s teaching artist-in-residency for students participating in the Queen Amina Music Club, a music education and mentorship program for 4th through 8th-grade female instrumentalists in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. A number of these students will perform at Fuller’s concert as well.
“It’s paramount that girls have the opportunity to have these kinds of experiences when they’re young,” said 17-year old QAMC founder Laura-Simone Martin. “They see firsthand just what is possible with hard work, persistence, and believing in yourself, regardless of gender or anything else.”
The all-female quartet will perform standards and jazz classics, as well as contemporary tunes from Fuller’s most recent recordings. Free and open to the public, the concert will begin at 7:00 pm on March 15 in the auditorium at Lawrence High School, 2525 Princeton Pike, Lawrence Township, NJ. For further information, contact email@example.com
Queen Amina Music Club with saxophonist, Camille Thurman and founder, Laura-Simone Martinwith 4-6th grade students at Lawrence Intermediate School in 2023.
Queen Amina Music Club founder and educator Laura-Simone Martin (center)with students participating in the Queen Amina Music Program in Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Tia Fuller (on Zoom) with students participating in the Queen Amina Music Program in Lawrenceville, New Jersey
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–The National Weather Service has confirm that a tornado was in Mercer County, NJ yesterday. The tornado was an EF-2 with 110-115 mph winds, with a path 200 yards wide and just short of 6 miles in length.
353 PM EST Wed Feb 22 2023
...NWS Damage Survey for 02/21/23 Tornado Event ...
Thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front developed rotation
over Mercer County. In addition to wind damage and hail reports,
a tornado occurred in Mercer County.
.Lawrence Township and West Windsor Township Tornado...
Estimated Peak Wind: 110-115 mph
Path Length /statute/: 5.8 miles
Path Width /maximum/: 200 yards
Start Date: February 21, 2023
Start Time: 3:35 PM EST
Start Location: Lawrence Township, Mercer County, NJ
Start Lat/Lon: 40.2785/-74.7028
End Date: February 21, 2023
End Time: 3:41 PM EST
End Location: West Windsor Township, Mercer County, NJ
End Lat/Lon: 40.2701/-74.5931
Sporadic minor tree damage was observed west of Interstate 295. A
continuous path of tree damage was observed near Lawrence Station
Road, particularly in a housing development along Fountayne Lane.
Additional tree damage and damage to roofing occurred in a housing
development at Lawrence Square. Estimated maximum wind speeds in
this area were 105 to 115 mph. In a straight line from this
damage, there was roofing damage at a residence and a commercial
building as well as additional tree damage along Quaker Bridge
Road. Tree damage continued at a park across the street and
through the 2nd and 11th holes at the adjacent golf course.
Additional sporadic tree damage occurred in residential areas east
of the golf course in West Windsor Township. The last tree damage
was observed near the intersection of Old Trenton Road and Village
The National Weather Service would like to extent our
appreciation to New Jersey State Police, Mercer County Office of
Emergency Management, and Lawrence Township Police Department for
their help with the survey.
EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes into the
EF0...Weak......65 to 85 mph
EF1...Weak......86 to 110 mph
EF2...Strong....111 to 135 mph
EF3...Strong....136 to 165 mph
EF4...Violent...166 to 200 mph
The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to
change pending final review of the event and publication in NWSStorm Data.
See yesterday’s MidJersey.news story here:
Tornado Update from County Executive Brian M. Hughes: I met today with officials from the National Weather Service who confirmed that a tornado swept through portions of Mercer County Feb. 21 at about 4 p.m. Fortunately no injuries were reported despite the serious damage to homes, buildings, cars and landscape, including at our Mercer Oaks golf course. In Lawrence, the Lawrence Square Village neighborhood has been particularly hard hit. I’d like to thank Lawrence Police Chief Chris Longo, Mercer OEM Coordinator Bob Hartman, Lawrence OEM Coordinator Jack Oakley, the New Jersey State Police liaisons to Mercer County Emergency Management and the Red Cross for their partnership. Please keep the families who have been displaced in your thoughts, and on behalf of the entire county, thank you to all the responders who are still on the scenes at various locations.
Mercer County Photos
Public Information Statement National Weather Service Mount Holly NJ 1016 AM EST Wed Feb 22 2023
…Tornado Confirmed in Mercer County, New Jersey…
The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ has confirmed that a tornado occurred yesterday, February 21, 2023, in the Quaker Bridge area of Mercer County, New Jersey.
More details, including the path length and path width, will be available later this afternoon or early this evening via an updated Public Information Statement.
LAWRENCE, WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:40 p.m. this afternoon (February 21, 2023) the National Weather Service, Mount Holly issued a Tornado Warning for a large portion of Mercer County with the warning stretching in to parts of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties.
Shortly after the Tornado Warning was issued Lawrence Township Police, EMS and Firefighters responded to Quakerbridge Road for a person reported trapped in a car with live wires on the vehicle. Upon arrival the person was able to exit the vehicle unharmed.
Firefighters were quickly diverted into Lawrence Square Village where several buildings were damaged and trees were down throughout the area. At least two dozen units were deemed uninhabitable by Township Officials in Lawrence Township. The Red Cross was called to set up a shelter.
Moments after Lawrence storm damage was reported West Windsor Police started receiving 9-1-1 calls about wires and trees down in the area of Edinburg Road and Conover Roads. Several trees were into homes and wires were down on several streets in the area.
The National Weather Service will be sending survey crews tomorrow to confirm any tornadic activity and a statement will be issued later in the day if indeed it was a tornado that hit the area.
West Windsor Police reported that at 3:44 p.m., numerous calls flooded the Communications Center of WWPD in regard to a significant weather event that was occurring. The following has transpired: Road Closures (as listed below), Power Lines Down, Trees into Houses.
**ROAD CLOSURES AVOID AREA**: 1) Conover Road–Entire Stretch 2) Edinburg Road–From New Village to Old Trenton Road 3) Village Road–From Old Trenton Road to Twp. Line (East Windsor Twp./Robbinsville Twp.)
**Approximately (10) houses damaged by fallen trees
The Emergency Operations Center has been opened. Chief Garofalo, his command staff, and WW Dept. of Fire & Emergency Services have met. Stations 43 & 44 have been going door to door to check on affected residences. Officers have been assisting the community at large with the trees down, road closures, power lines down. Assume all downed wires are live.
Dr. Aderhold, the Superintendent of West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional Schools has been in constant contact with Chief Garofalo. All buses are accounted for and late buses are on schedule. Assessments of affected school buildings are ongoing by Dr. Aderhold’s staff.
No injuries have been reported from this weather event in West Windsor Township. Damage assessments are ongoing. PSEG has staff on the scene. JCPL has been contacted. The WW Department of Public Works have been out in force to assist clearing the roadways of downed trees. The Developments of Dutch Neck Estates (southern portion) and Jefferson Park have seen extensive activity from the event. More updates to follow.
West Windsor Police Update:
*Approximately 300 PSEG Customers have affected service *Approximately 100-500 JCPL Customers have affected service **Most PSEG/JCPL Customers due to be restored by 12 am**
*Roadways should be re-opened by approximately 12 am (exception: Village Road from Old Trenton Road to South Lane to remain closed until approx. morning rush hour–plan accordingly). *No residences sustained structural damage. *Approximately (100) properties affected with damage of some sort from debris and/or fallen trees/branches. *No injuries were reported to any persons.
Chief Garofalo & Chief Lynch wanted to express their gratitude to the following who answered the call for action during this event:
WWPD Communications Center, Command Staff, Patrol Division, Drone Unit, Detective Bureau, & Traffic Unit WW Division of Fire & Emergency Services Stations 43/44 & Fire Police JCPL & PSEG WW Dept. of Public Works WW Construction Office American Red Cross The Media Community at Large
From Lawrence Township Police, Captain Joseph Lech IV:
At approximately 3:45 pm on February 21, 2023, Lawrence Township, located in Mercer County New Jersey, experienced a severe weather event through the center part of the Township. The areas affected are located along the Route 1 corridor. Hail, and high winds, caused extensive damage to the condominium complex of Lawrence Square Village, commercial buildings, and several vehicles.
The Lawrence Police Department responded to the events with the Lawrence Township Fire Departments and Emergency Services.
Trees were uprooted and knocked over. Utility lines were brought down, causing the closure of Route 1 in both directions, from Interstate 295 to Bakers Basin Road. Downed trees also caused the closure of Quakerbridge Road, in both directions. Approximately 60 residents have been displaced. The Red Cross is on scene as well as Volunteers of America, helping to find temporary housing for the displaced residents.
Police Departments and Fire Departments from surrounding agencies within Mercer County responded and assisted with the road closures and scene safety. The extent of the damage and any hazards will be better assessed in the daylight hours. Residents are reminded to use extreme caution and stay away from any downed wires. Motorists are asked to avoid the area of Quakerbridge Road until the hazards can be addressed. No injuries were reported as a result of the storm damage.
The National Weather Service has been contacted. They are aware of a weather event that entered the Lawrence Township area and they are indicating that it was a possible tornado.
A better assessment may be done during daylight hours, to better define the event.
Route 1 has been opened to traffic in both directions. Quakerbridge Road remains closed in both directions due to the trees across the road.
Red Cross and Volunteers of America are on scene and providing assistance for displaced residents. Any resident seeking assistance should contact the Lawrence Police or 1-800 Red Cross.
Mercer County Park Commission:
A tornado touched down in the area of Village Road and Quakerbridge Road around 4 pm today. As seen in photos, it appears to have caused significant damage to homes in the area and to Mercer Oaks West golf course. Thankfully, there were no injuries to golfers or Park Commission staff, additionally there was no damage to buildings. We did however lose many trees primarily on the West course, and as many as 100 trees were downed by this storm.
Our tree crew will begin cleanup in the morning. For tomorrow, Mercer Oaks East course will be open for play, the West course will be closed and remain closed until the cleanup is complete. We expect that will take the remainder of the week and possibly into next week. Detailed information on course closings will be posted on our golf and county website.
We are getting reports from around the county of wind-related damage, downed trees and building damage. Our Mercer County road crews are en route to assist in local clean-ups, and I ask you to please stay off the roadways if possible. Attached is video of damage at Mercer Oaks golf course in West Windsor where thankfully, no one was injured. — Brian M. Hughes, County Executive
*Updates to come as available.
National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for the area at the time of the damage. National Weather Service Graphic
Screen grab of the Radar Now application showing the National Weather Service Tornado Warning Box at the time of the storm damage.
Here is a map highlighting where survey crews are expected to survey tomorrow. Details, determination, and any potential damage ratings will be updated late tomorrow via social media and the Public Information Statement on our website as more information becomes available.
The blue line represents the path of destruction from this weather event. From reporters on the ground the destruction starts near Lawrenc Square Village, goes though West Windsor and terminates at the East Windsor/Robbinsville border. Google Maps Image
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Lawrence Township Police say that on December 28, 2022 at approximately 1:35 p.m., the Lawrence Township Police Department received multiple 9-1-1 calls of a car that had crashed into a building in the 2600 block of Lawrence Road (Route 206).
Responding officers found a 2018 Mazda sedan crashed into the north side of the building, dislodging a staircase leading to second floor apartments. The driver (72-year-old male from Bucks County, Pennsylvania) was found to be unconscious and trapped inside of the vehicle. The driver was extricated from the vehicle by the Lawrence Township Fire Department and transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, NJ. Several residents were assisted from the second-floor apartments above the crash, and were uninjured.
At the time of this Press Release, the extent of injuries to the driver were still being evaluated.
A portion of Lawrence Rd (Route 206) was closed in both directions during the incident. Damage to the building is being evaluated by the Lawrence Township Building Inspector.
The crash is being investigated by Lawrence Township Police Officer Shareef Hardin. Witnesses to the crash, or anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Hardin at 609-896-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Notre Dame Ice Hockey scored within the last 15 seconds of the 3rd period winning the game against Robbinsville-Allentown this afternoon at Mercer County Park Skating Center. The final score was Notre Dame 3 Robbinsville-Allentown 2. See below for today’s photo gallery:
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported today this his Cyber Crimes Unit is investigating recent telephone scams where callers spoof the non-emergency telephone numbers for various police departments within Mercer County in an attempt to scam residents. The scammers falsely claim the resident has a warrant for their arrest. As a reminder, law enforcement will never ask for payment of any type over the phone nor will they ask for personal identifying information that could be used for fraudulent purposes. Law enforcement and government agencies will also never ask you to pay by unusual methods, such as gift cards, wire transfers or cryptocurrency.
Scammers research potential victims on the internet and social media. Then they call and deceive their victims into thinking the callers are law enforcement officers, prosecutors or police employees. Scammers may spoof a law enforcement telephone number, falsely showing on the victim’s caller ID. They threaten victims with arrest for outstanding warrants or other legal issues.
Should you receive a call from a police department within Mercer County or the Prosecutor’s Office, please confirm who you are speaking with. If you believe you received a scam telephone call, hang up and call the number back. If the call is legitimate, you’ll be connected with a police dispatcher or receptionist who can verify the caller’s identity. Report any scam calls to your local law enforcement agency. Please share this message with your family and friends, especially the elderly, to help prevent phone scams.
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Lawrence Township Police report that pn November 9, 2022 at approximately 9:56 p.m., Lawrence Police Officers responded to a fight in progress inside the QuickChek located at 303 Brunswick Circle Extension, Lawrenceville, NJ.
On scene investigation revealed a 25-year-old victim was assaulted inside the store and his cell phone and cash were stolen during the altercation. After the robbery, the suspects exited the store and fled the area with the stolen property. The victim suffered serious bodily injury during the physical altercation.
Through the investigation led by Lawrence Township Police Detective Sean Kerins, the suspects were identified as Breon Phelps, 23-years-old of Trenton, NJ and Anthony Bethea, 21-years-old of Trenton NJ. The incident stemmed from a verbal argument between the victim and suspects days prior in Trenton, NJ.
On December 8, 2022, Anthony Bethea was taken into custody and charged with Robbery (second degree), Aggravated Assault (second degree) and Theft (third degree). On December 19, 2022, Breon Phelps was taken into custody and charged with Robbery (second degree), Aggravated Assault (second degree) and Theft (third degree). Phelps and Bethea have been transported to the Mercer County Correctional Center awaiting a Detention Hearing.
The Lawrence Township Police Department was assisted by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Trenton Police Department.
** Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. **
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–In the wake of numerous issues with voting and counting on Election Day, challenges that are still under investigation, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is calling for a thorough public review of what went wrong and a comprehensive overhaul of the elections process in Mercer County.
“After issues in the last two elections, I have come to the conclusion that we must fundamentally change the management of the election process in Mercer County because it is clearly not working,” the County Executive said. “There are legal limits to what I can do as County Executive but rest assured that I will do everything within my power to ensure the integrity of elections in Mercer County and will tolerate nothing less.”
In Mercer County, three separate entities, the Board of Elections, the Superintendent of Elections, and the Office of the County Clerk each plays a role in elections. Board of Elections commissioners are appointed by the respective County Chairs of the Republican and Democratic Parties, the Superintendent of Elections is an appointee of the Governor, and the County Clerk is an elected position.
“I am happy that Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello requested that the County Prosecutor look into the election. But we also need a more thorough and public review. We’ve got too many people in control and the quality of our elections has suffered as a result, undermining peoples’ faith in the democratic process,” Mr. Hughes said.
Moving forward, County Executive Hughes proposes the following:
Request a special meeting of the Commissioner Board to bring together the Clerk, Superintendent and Election Board Chair explain to the public what went wrong.
Reform and simplify our election process by merging and unifying the Office of the Superintendent and the Board into one, and having an experienced Executive Director oversee our elections.
Call on legislators to enact changes that will allow Mercer County to reform our system.
Pledge any county resources needed to ensure every vote is counted and help get to the bottom of what went wrong hasten and conclude investigation.
“I pledge to you that we will get to the bottom of this and that every vote will be counted,” Mr. Hughes said. “I have listened to the people of Mercer County and have spoken with election officials, and we are committed to finding out how we can improve the election process and to prevent future incidents as the one on Election Day.”
In Mercer County, the Office of the County Executive does not supervise the Board, their offices, nor does it have jurisdiction. The board is responsible for selecting polling places, training board workers, receiving and counting vote-by-mail ballots, and counting and certifying provisional ballots. The Superintendent of Elections handles voter registration, renews registration records, investigates provisional ballots, and is the custodian of voting machines. The County Clerk designs and prints all election ballots, processes vote by mail applications, and officially certifies the election results.
File photo: Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes
File photo: Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried
Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said in a Facebook post:
“Regarding the events of Election Day, here is what we know so far.
Either the machine scanners did not work, or the ballots were printed incorrectly and the machines did their jobs and correctly spit them out as invalid. An investigation is reportedly under way, and Robbinsville will join other elected officials across Mercer County to see that the investigation is complete and transparent.
Let me be clear: I am not blaming anyone. Honestly, I do not know how this happened. Pointing fingers without all the facts is not productive. We do know that this is the second straight year the County process did not work as it should have, and I am not happy with much of what I saw.
One of the basic tenets of our democracy is the right to vote, and that every vote will be counted.
As of today, it appears our District 5 ballots (Library) have been found after having been misplaced. That information was given directly to our Municipal Clerk Michele Seigfried from the County.
Just a quick note about our clerk’s office. Michele and her team of Deputy Clerk Kaitlyn Macellaro and Sandy DeLorenzo performed exceptionally under extremely difficult conditions this past week. I cannot thank them enough for their service to our Township. The same goes for our Administration team, led by B.A. Joy Tozzi, each of whom worked all hours of the day and night in the chaotic aftermath of Election Day.
Over in Princeton, it seems they discovered ballots still in their machines. During in-person voting on Election Day, two slots for placing ballots were used. The first was the so-called emergency slot. This was used in the early part of the day because officials had hoped the scanner problems could be fixed before polls closed. As the day went on, that emergency bin became full and the scanners were removed so the main bin could be used. They discovered Princeton’s ballots were still in some of those containers since both sides were not emptied. It also appears that the documentation of the chain of custody regarding our ballots was quite poor, allowing the ballots to be apparently misplaced for a time.
The courts have ordered all the machines returned to the Mercer County Board of Elections for inspection to ensure there are no more ballots in those machines, including the ones deployed in Robbinsville.
I DO NOT believe there was any type of fraud, and I DO NOT believe there are any conspiracies at work here. I do believe mistakes were made at a time in our nation when it can ill-afford to stumble on Election Day.
We have spent millions of dollars on these machines and ballots, and they clearly did not work as advertised. It is time to reassess and come up with a better system. Those of you who voted early did not seem to have any issues. Perhaps we need to consider moving entirely in that direction. I will be attending all upcoming Mercer County Commissioner’s meetings until we have a real and fortified plan. Together, I am hopeful we will come up with a solution. Robbinsville has no intention of paying for this process unless real change is implemented.
I have no reason to believe, even with ballots that may or may not still be out there, that our local results will change.
Thus, I sincerely congratulate our three new Board of Education members – Jeffrey Pierro, Raghu Nandan and Peter Oehlberg. I wish each of you the best of luck, and I am sorry your first election was fraught with so much turmoil.
I have always said putting your name on a ballot is one of the most difficult – but potentially rewarding things – a person can do. Although no candidate should have to wait days for results in 2022, each of you earned your rightful place among your other BOE members.
While Ballot Question #1, which sought to combine our Planning and Zoning Boards into a consolidated Land Use Board, did pass, Ballot Question #2 regarding an increase in our Open Space tax to preserve more land and slow development did not. I know times are tough. That is why we put items such as these questions on the ballot. Sometimes we think we know what the residents want, but this process helps us know for certain.”
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello told MidJersey.News in an email, “Although this is under the board of elections, I have been informed that they were all found by them and are being counted.”
As reported yesterday by MidJersey.news a bag of Robbinsville emergency ballots went missing, and also 3 Princeton districts also appeared to be missing as of this morning.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Spokesperson Casey DeBlasio, told MidJersey.news in an email, “I can confirm the county clerk did reach out to the prosecutor today. We are reviewing her concerns to determine what further action should be taken.”
MidJersey.news did reach out to Mercer County Board of Elections this morning and have not received a reply yet.
Check back with MidJersey.news we will update as information becomes available.
*Results are not official until all votes are counted and certified. This includes ballots cast by mail, provisional, and ballots requiring a signature cure. These first two reports above must be ADDED for a cumulative total (until further notice)! –Note the PDF files below and the above link must be added together to get the most accurate until updated by County Clerk’s Office
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Lawrence Police reported that at approximately 12:35 p.m. on Monday, November 7, 2022, Lawrence Township Police Officers were dispatched to the campus of Rider University for a report of a suspicious male. The suspicious male was reportedly loitering on-campus prior to following two female students on foot toward their residence hall. As the girls entered their residence hall, the suspicious male was able to enter behind the girls, following them toward their dorm room.
Once the girls entered their dorm room, the male remained in the hallway and approached their room door. The male was observed to be standing directly in front of their room, and was observed to be bending over, and attempting to look under the door and into the girl’s dorm room.
The students contacted Rider University Public Safety who responded and located the male in the residence hall. The male identified himself as a food delivery driver and was escorted off-campus.
Detective James Steimle of the Lawrence Police Department was able to identify the suspicious male as Johnny Rodriguez-Brito, (26 years old), of the 700 block of River Rd, Ewing, NJ. At the completion of Detective Steimle’s investigation, Rodriguez-Brito was charged with Burglary: 2C: 18-2a(1) 3rd degree offense, Criminal Trespass – Peering: 2C: 18-3C 4th degree offense, and Harassment: 2C: 33-4C, (P.D.P.) offense. Rodriguez-Brito was arrested at his residence on November 7, 2022, he was subsequently transported to Mercer County Correctional Center awaiting a detention hearing.
This incident is under investigation by Detective James Steimle, Detective Ryan Dunn and Officer Kamil Zander of the Lawrence Police Department. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Lawrence Township Police Detective Steimle at email@example.com or 609-844-7135.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township reported on social media that due to a Mercer County-wide system outage, all voting machines are currently down in each district across the County.
Voters can still report to their respective polling locations and vote on a standard ballot and insert their ballot into the “emergency slot” in the machine. However, Mercer County officials will be unable to tally those votes tonight and are working to fix the system issue.
8:00 a.m. UPDATE:
Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello posted on Facebook that there is a glitch with the Dominion scanners. Voters can still vote by completing their ballots and placing them in the top of the scanning machine in the slot where the emergency ballots are placed. Everyone can vote manually, so rest assured no one will be disenfranchised.
8:08 a.m. UPDATE:
Mercer County reports: The Board of Elections has advised the county of issues with voting machines. Poll workers will be on hand to walk voters through the process. The board is working with Dominion, the machine maker, to resolve the issue.
“All votes cast in this General Election will be scanned on high capacity scanners by the Mercer County Board of Elections, at their central location, instead of at the polling locations by the voters. The Board of Elections is a bipartisan commission. Fortunately, we have hand-marked paper ballot system.
The Mercer County Clerk’s Office does not oversee voting machines or the voting equipment, but all three offices work together to make sure that the process is secure and transparent.
We made it through Hurricane Sandy, through 2020 and we will make it through this one too and no one will be disenfranchised.”
Update from the Mercer County Superintendent of Elections Nathaniel Walker
November 8, 2022 – 2 p.m.
Soon after polls opened this morning, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, poll workers became aware of an issue with the voting machine scanners. Voters are being asked to fill out the ballot as they normally would. A contingency plan is in place for all ballots cast at all locations to be scanned at the secure Board of Elections office.
Again, ballots will be scanned just as they would at the polling location. Every ballot that has been cast will be counted, no voter will be disenfranchised, and the integrity of the election is intact and secure.
Additionally, provisional ballots are available to those who would prefer to vote provisionally. A provisional ballot can be obtained at a voter’s polling location.
Further information will be reported as it becomes known.
– Nathaniel Walker, Mercer County Superintendent Of Elections
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER) – Traffic along Route 1 was reduced to a crawl in both directions for several hours today after a traffic collision involving a dump truck and a sport utility vehicle took place in the area of Quaker Bridge Mall. As traffic backed up and ground to a near standstill, several secondary accidents occurred along Route 1 in Lawrence and West Windsor that added to the traffic nightmare.
The initial accident occurred about 3:10 p.m. along the southbound side of Route 1 just prior to the Kelly Viaduct (the overpass linking Route 1 South with Quaker Bridge Mall). During the crash, the dump truck reportedly struck the Jersey barrier that separates the southbound lanes of Route 1 from the northbound lanes. That impact tore down several lengths of chain link fence that sit atop the barrier and punched several holes in the barrier itself, sending chucks of concrete and other debris scattering into the northbound lanes. The dump truck and SUV then came to rest near the Kelly Viaduct ramps.
The driver of the SUV reportedly complained of pain following the crash but declined medical aide. The dump truck’s saddle fuel tank was ruptured at some point in the crash and started to leak diesel fuel onto the roadway. Lawrence Township firefighters were called out to try to contain the diesel fuel as it spilled and prevent it from running into a nearby storm drain. The tank reportedly contained as much as 70 gallons of fuel. A large portion of that amount reportedly spilled onto the roadway. Firefighters used absorbent pads, booms and other materials to build a berm around the storm drain to keep the spilled fuel from flowing into the drain and any local waterways that might be connected to the drain.
A New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection response team and the hazardous materials task force from the Trenton Fire Department were later called out to help contain and cleanup the diesel and minimize any potential impact from the spill. A heavy-duty tow truck was used to remove the wrecked dump truck. The cause of the accident is under investigation by Lawrence Township police.
NJDOT was also on scene assisting with traffic control, lane closures and debris cleanup.
Lawrence Township NIXLE Alert: Major Crash Route 1 in the area of Quakerbridge Mall.
Avoid Route 1 in the area of Quakerbridge Mall due to a motor vehicle crash with much debris on the roadway. Major delays in both directions.
Trenton Fire Department responded to the scene for the hazardous material incident. Firefighters used booms, oil absorbent and pads to help keep additional fuel from spilling into the waterway.
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–At 10:22 a.m. Lawrenceville Fire Departments, EMS and Lawrence Police were dispatched to Franklin Corner Road near Lewisville Road for a motor vehicle crash with reported entrapment. Upon arrival of emergency services, it was determined that there was no entrapment and fire departments were recalled. EMS remained on scene tending to non-life-threatening injuries. Lawrence Police Department is investigating the crash. No additional details are available at this time.
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A driver having a medical event lost control of his vehicle on Lawrence Road and crashed into a home on Lawrence Road. Lawrence Township Fire, Lawrence Township Police, Lawrence EMS and Captial Health Paramedics responded to the scene at 10:00 a.m. The person was transported to Captial Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton for treatment, a “trauma alert” was called en route to the hospital. Lawrence Township Police are investigating the crash. No further details are available at this time.
Back on September 22, 2021, four cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in Hamilton Township, Mercer County between May-August 2021, along with an additional reported case from November 2020. On August 29, 2022 Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in August 2022 from the section of Hamilton Township, Mercer County, served by Trenton Water Works (TWW). Two additional cases were reported, respectively in April 2022 and December 2021. Of the four, one individual has died.
Today the NJ Department of Health made this announcement: The presence of Legionella bacteria was identified in water samples collected from more than half of 30 homes within several municipalities served by Trenton Water Works (TWW), the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) announced today. This includes homes from Trenton, Ewing, and parts of Lawrence and Hopewell Township served by TWW.
The testing was conducted in September 2022 following the detection of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, in several homes that were voluntarily tested within the Hamilton Township area served by TWW in July 2022. The homes tested in Hamilton Township were part of an ongoing investigation to determine potential causes of Legionnaires’ disease previously detected in Hamilton Township, with five cases including one death reported since December 2021. The most recent case was reported to health in September 2022.
To determine if other municipalities served by TWW were affected, health officials recruited an additional 30 homeowners from across the TWW distribution area, focusing on areas outside of Hamilton Township, to voluntarily have their homes tested for Legionella. NJDOH has notified all volunteer homeowners of the results from this sampling.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that people can get after breathing in aerosolized water (small droplets of water in the air) containing Legionella bacteria. Individuals cannot get Legionnaires’ disease by drinking water that has Legionella. Though uncommon, people can get sick when water containing Legionella is aspirated into the lungs while drinking (“goes down the wrong pipe”). NJDOH receives approximately 250-350 reports of Legionnaires’ disease each year throughout New Jersey.
NJDOH is now urging that all residents and building owners who receive water from TWW to take actions to reduce the risk of Legionella growth in their household and building plumbing. These recommendations are available below.
It is not known if individuals with Legionella detected in their homes are more likely to develop Legionnaires’ disease. While it remains rare for a healthy person who is exposed to Legionella to become sick with Legionnaires’ disease, people who are 50 years or older, especially those who smoke, or those with certain medical conditions, including weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions, are at increased risk.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches, which are similar to symptoms caused by other respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal but is treatable with antibiotics. It is important that anyone who thinks they have symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease contact their health care provider and seek medical evaluation immediately.
Health officials are urging healthcare providers to collect lower respiratory specimens for Legionella PCR and/or culture, in conjunction with use of the urinary antigen test, when suspecting Legionnaires’ disease. This is especially important among residents who receive water from TWW. The urinary antigen test is the most common diagnostic method but can only detect Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1. PCR and culture of lower respiratory specimens can detect all Legionella species and serogroups.
NJDOH continues to partner with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and TWW to investigate factors that may be promoting the growth of Legionella bacteria and to evaluate remedial actions that can be taken to reduce Legionella in the system.
Following NJDEP’s finding of significant concerns with TWW’s operations and management, including intermittent failures to fully maintain treatment processes, monitor water quality, employ adequately trained operating personnel, and invest in required maintenance and capital needs such as upgrades to aging infrastructure, Governor Phil Murphy NJDEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette issued a Unilateral Administrative Order that will, among other things, facilitate the immediate deployment of a capacity-building force comprised of managerial and technical experts who will focus on improving routine operations and maintenance, as well as resolving immediate capital needs.
According to NJDOH, individuals, particularly those at high risk, can follow recommended steps to decrease the risk of Legionella exposure and best practices to limit the growth of Legionella in household water systems and devices:
Avoid high-risk activities. If you are at an increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease, consider avoiding hot tubs, decorative fountains, power washing, or similar activities, which may generate increased amounts of aerosols or mist. A conversation with your health care provider may help you assess your individual level of risk based on underlying health conditions and co-morbidities. Your health care provider may recommend that you consider installing specialty biological 0.2-micron filters on your showerhead if you are severely immunocompromised and receive water from Trenton Water Works.
Maintain in-home medical equipment. If using medical equipment that requires water for use or cleaning such as non-steam generating humidifiers, CPAP or BiPAP machines, nasal irrigation devices such as Neti Pots, and attachments for nebulizers, follow manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance. This often includes using sterile water instead of tap water in the device.
Clean and/or replace your showerheads and faucet aerators (screens) per manufacturer’s instructions whenever buildup is visible. This is particularly important if you haven’t cleaned your showerheads or faucet aerators recently. Cleaning might require you to remove the showerhead and hose and soak in a solution (such as white vinegar or a bleach solution) to remove buildup. If using chemicals, follow instructions found on the back of the bottle for safe use.
Keep your water heater set to a minimum of 120o This temperature will reduce Legionella growth and avoid potential for scalding (hot water burns). Setting the heater to a higher temperature may better control Legionella growth, especially if you have household members at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease. However, if the temperature is set to greater than 120o F, make sure you take extra precautions to mix cold and hot water at the faucet and shower to avoid scalding. If you have household members at increased risk of scalding, such as young children or older adults, you may consider installing a thermostatic mixing valve. A mixing valve allows your water to be stored at a higher temperature within your water heater to help kill bacteria while eliminating concerns with water being too hot at sinks or showers. If you decide to install a mixing valve, be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for routine cleaning and maintenance to avoid bacteria growth within the valve. Consider consulting with a licensed plumbing professional and ensure you are following your local codes and ordinances for home plumbing repairs.
After cleaning showerheads and faucet aerators and increasing the temperature of the water heater, thoroughly flush the water at each tap (e.g., sink, showerhead) for 20 minutes. Try to minimize exposure to splashing and mist generation, for example, by leaving the room while the water is running.
Conduct routine flushing. Sinks and shower taps that are not used often can increase the risk of Legionellagrowth in other areas of the home. Let your faucets and showers run for at least three minutes when they have been out of use for more than a week. Minimize exposure to splashing and mist generation, for example, by leaving the room while the water is running. Additionally, you may consider flushing your water following any water disruption to your home, such as low pressure or discoloration, resulting from a water main break or nearby hydrant flushing.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining your water heater and expansion tank, including periodic flushing, draining, and removal of sediment. If manufacturer’s instructions are unavailable, seek advice from a licensed professional.
Clean and/or replace all water filters per manufacturer’s instructions. All whole-house (e.g., water softeners) and point-of-use filters (e.g., built-in refrigerator filters) must be properly maintained.
Drain garden hoses and winterize hose bibs. Detach and drain the hose, shut the water valve off inside the home, and drain the pipe when not in use for the season.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining your hot tub.Ensure disinfectant levels (e.g., chlorine) and maintenance activities (e.g., cleaning, scrubbing, replacing the filter and water) are followed. For more information, be sure to review CDC’s recommendations for residential hot tub owners.
Operate and maintain your indoor and outdoor decorative fountains according to manufacturer’s instructions to limit your exposure to Legionella. Household members at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease should avoid exposure to decorative fountains. If manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance are not available, minimum cleaning frequency recommendations can be found in CDC’s Legionella Control Toolkit.
Remove, shorten, or regularly flush existing dead legs. Plumbing renovations can lead to the creation of dead legs, a section of capped pipe that contains water but has no flow (or is infrequently used). For future renovations, ensure your plumber avoids creating dead legs.
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS FOR BUILDING OWNERS
Complete this quick yes/no worksheetto determine if your building, or certain devices in your building, need a Water Management Program. Resources to help you develop a Water Management Program and for Legionella control in common sources of exposure are available at NJDOH’s Legionella website.
Store hot water at temperatures above 140°F and ensure hot water in circulation does not fall below 120°F (or at highest temperature allowable by local regulations and codes). Install thermostatic mixing valves as close as possible to fixtures to prevent scalding while permitting circulating hot water temperatures above 120°.
Clean and maintain water system components.This includes devices such as thermostatic mixing valves, aerators, showerheads, hoses, filters, water heaters, storage tanks, and expansion tanks, regularly per manufacturer instructions.
Flush hot and cold water at all points of use (faucets, showers, drinking fountains) at least weekly to replace the water that has been standing in the pipes. Healthcare settings and facilities that house vulnerable populations should flush at least twice a week.
Remove dead legs or, where unavoidable, make them as short as possible. Where a dead leg (a section of pipe capped off with little or no water flow) cannot be avoided, it should be flushed regularly to avoid water stagnation. This may require the installation of a drain valve.
Monitor water quality parameters such as temperature, disinfectant residuals, and pH regularly. Adjust the frequency of monitoring based on stability of values. For example, increase frequency of monitoring if there is a high degree of measurement variability. Pay particular attention to water quality parameters following a water disruption event, such as low pressure or discoloration, resulting from a water main break or nearby hydrant flushing.
Safely operate and conduct regular maintenance of cooling towers to protect staff, visitors, and the adjacent community from exposure to Legionella. Use a Water Management Program to establish, track, and improve operation and maintenance activities.
Follow recommendations from the NJ Department of Health when reopening your facility following a prolonged shutdown or reduced operation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Recommendations are available at: https://bit.ly/3CG2s8S
ABOUT LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE AND LEGIONELLA
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionella is a type of bacteria found naturally in freshwater environments such as lakes and streams and becomes a health concern when it enters and grows inside human-made water systems. People can get Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in aerosolized (small droplets) water containing Legionella. Aerosolized water can come from plumbing systems and devices such as cooling towers (part of the cooling system for large buildings), hot tubs, cooling misters, and decorative fountains. Less commonly, people can get sick by aspiration of tap water containing Legionella. This happens when water accidently goes into the lungs while drinking (“goes down the wrong pipe”). People at increased risk of aspiration include those with swallowing difficulties. Home A/C units do not use water to cool, so these home units do not aerosolize water and are not a risk for Legionella growth. Legionnaires’ disease is generally not spread person to person. Additional information regarding Legionnaires’ disease and Legionella can be located at NJDOH’s website.
Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and LinkedIn /company/njdeptofhealth.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Following a months-long compliance evaluation of conditions affecting Trenton Water Works (TWW), Governor Phil Murphy, Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette, and Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora today announced the launch of a new Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) initiative to better support and improve TWW. Through this initiative, the State will work with the City to enhance TWW’s technical and managerial capacity with the goal of improving the operations and maintenance of TWW to ensure that the system reliably produces safe drinking water that meets all requirements of the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act.
Despite many recent efforts at the local level to improve operating conditions and advance long-overdue capital improvements at TWW, the system continues to struggle in maintaining compliance with regulatory obligations and requirements. To ensure that maintenance and operational needs crucial to the protection of public health are met, and that long-overdue capital improvements may receive the benefit of new and considerable state and federal funding, DEP has determined that a capacity-building program with direct operational oversight is necessary to ensure TWW’s near- and long-term success in meeting the needs of the 200,000+ residents served by the system in Trenton, as well as portions of Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell, and Lawrence.
“Since the outset of my Administration, the provision of clean, affordable drinking water and the promotion of healthy communities have remained among our foremost priorities,” said Governor Murphy. “Protecting our children, families, and businesses is a responsibility that all levels of government share, and one that we must leverage every existing partnership to fulfill. Under the leadership of the DEP and in coordination with the City of Trenton, we will work tirelessly to safeguard our residents and return water system quality to the level our communities deserve.”
“The health of the residents is of paramount importance and we want to see Trenton succeed at all levels of government,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Ensuring public health and safety is a core principle of municipal services. The Division of Local Government Services, which has some fiscal oversight of the City, will assist DEP in any way it can to ensure TWW succeeds in providing safe drinking water for its residents.”
“Clean and safe drinking water is a human right but delivering this public good is a far more complex undertaking than one might expect,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “The depth of managerial, technical, and financial expertise required to ensure consistent operation, maintenance, and improvement of a water system is significant. Yet, not all systems are created equal, and we must invest more time, attention, and resources in those that need our help. Through direct operational oversight, DEP will help Trenton Water Works build the capacity necessary to better serve the public. Through this initiative, DEP and the City will more fully assess the system’s needs, meet its challenges, and ensure its long-term success for the benefit of the people of Trenton and the surrounding communities that this system serves.”
“We are committed to strengthening Trenton Water Works, improving its operations, advancing capital projects, and maintaining high water quality in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental,” said Mayor Gusciora. “As we’ve dealt with City Council obstruction, we are resolute and determined in our efforts to build on the substantial progress we’ve made, fulfilling the promise I made to modernize the TWW system to ensure clean and safe drinking water for our customers and service-area residents for generations to come.”
TWW draws water from the Delaware River to provide water to more than 200,000 people in Trenton, as well as portions of Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell, and Lawrence. The system has intermittently struggled to fully maintain critical treatment processes, monitor water quality, employ adequately trained operating personnel, and invest in required maintenance and capital needs, including significant upgrades to aging infrastructure such as the seven-acre, open-air finished water reservoir that stores and provides already treated water to about 70 percent of TWW’s distribution system. The initiative launched by the Murphy Administration today with the support of the City is intended to remedy these concerns.
This initiative, which will be implemented in accordance with an administrative order issued by DEP, has two primary phases that will be pursued concurrently: (1) immediate retention and deployment of a capacity-building force comprised of managerial and technical experts who will focus on improving routine operations and maintenance, as well as immediate capital needs; and (2) a full-scale assessment and preparation of organizational and operational recommendations.
To effect Phase 1, TWW will facilitate the direct oversight and monitoring of the system by DEP and its consultants, including a third-party adviser that will be embedded in the system for the purposes of monitoring and assessing all system operations and maintenance, adding necessary technical and managerial capacity to the system, and making technical, managerial, and financial recommendations necessary to bring the system into full compliance with applicable law.
To effect Phase 2, the third-party adviser will undertake a comprehensive technical, managerial, and financial capacity assessment of the system that will result in a report of organizational and operational recommendations, as well as short- and long-term asset management and capital improvement recommendations that will serve the basis of future action and investment.
DEP and the City will collaborate to ensure that the progress and outcomes of this initiative are open and transparent to the public.
As of October 12, 2022, water quality sample results submitted to DEP by TWW reflect that the water system meets applicable water quality standards. DEP will continue to closely monitor water quality parameters and other indicators of the status of the TWW system. If TWW exceeds a regulatory standard for drinking water quality, or if DEP otherwise determines that an acute risk to public health exists, the public notification would be issued to all TWW customers.
“First, I want to thank Governor Murphy and NJDEP Commissioner LaTourette for their decision today to bring Trenton Water Works (TWW) under direct oversight of NJDEP,” said Mayor Martin. “I want to also thank my fellow Mayors, State Legislators, County Officials, and the Hamilton Township Council who have remained steadfast in their focus on ensuring TWW meets their most basic obligations to their customers.” Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin
“Said in a more simple way – today the State is taking over running TWW,” continued Mayor Martin. “This is a major step towards reaching our simple goal: to ensure all TWW customers have reliably clean and safe drinking water. Further, the Order from NJDEP requires the City Council to approve all items necessary to ensure our goal is reached; guaranteeing a road block to progress is neutralized.” Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin
“Hopewell Township residents, particularly those in Brandon Farms, depend on Trenton Water Works for safe drinking water. We are grateful to the state Department of Environmental Protection for their quick response to our concerns about the facility,” says Hopewell Township Mayor Peters-Manning. “Thanks go to Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin for his leadership on this issue. The staff at Trenton Water Works has been nothing but professional in their dealings with the Township, and we look forward to continuing to work with them and the DEP to safeguard the future of our water supply.”
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Trenton Water Works (TWW) Director Mark Lavenberg today responded to a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) letter and report this week discussing ongoing compliance obligations and TWW’s water quality improvements.
“First and foremost, Trenton Water Works has acted with full transparency in self-reporting ongoing assessments to NJDEP. Many details in the report come directly from our staff. We speak daily and meet weekly with NJDEP,” Director Lavenberg said. “Given that level of coordination, the letter and report issued this week unnecessarily seem like snapshots from the past. Many areas of concern in this report are currently being or have been addressed. Forward strides made by TWW are not reflected in the least in these documents.”
TWW’s ability to correct some of the deficiencies in the letter has been diminished by City Council decisions regarding dozens of major legislative approvals for project funding and awarding of bids. The NJDEP letter points out City Council’s rejection of a $15 million bond request as a destabilizing decision.
This decision adversely effected TWW operations and projects, but discussions with NJDEP regarding alternative options or revised timelines have been ongoing. Many of the items declined by Council this year can be presented to a newly-formed body in 2023.
“We are addressing specific requirements from NJDEP. We have been lead-compliant since 2019 and have made major upgrades, for instance the raw water intake which was a recommendation in the 1976 report quoted by NJDEP,” Lavenberg said. “We are being asked to correct nearly 50-year-old problems in four years, which included a global pandemic. Through all of that, we never once had an interruption in service.”
“We want to set the record straight: our drinking water is safe and, day by day, we are working to make it safer. The health of our customers and residents is our primary concern,” he said.
HAMILTON – TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Mayor Martin, State Senator Greenstein, Assemblymen DeAngelo, and Benson, Mercer County Executive Hughes, Mercer County Board of County Commissioners Chair Nina Melker, Ewing Mayor Steinmann, Hopewell Township Mayor Peters-Manning, and Lawrence Township Mayor John Ryan are joining together to call on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to take over direct supervision and operation of Trenton Water Works (TWW) after years of failure to comply with safe drinking water obligations.
TWW supplies approximately 29 million gallons of drinking water daily to more than 200,000 people, including residents of Trenton and four neighboring municipalities – Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell, and Lawrence Townships.
In 2020, the Attorney General and DEP filed a lawsuit against TWW, which the municipalities served by the water utility joined, seeking to compel the City of Trenton and the water utility to take the necessary actions after failing to comply with Administrative Consent Orders to provide safe drinking water. These failures include but are not limited to filling vacancies critical to running the treatment plant and the covering of the Pennington Reservoir, which funding for was denied by the Trenton City Council months after the lawsuit was filed. This week, the NJDEP sent the City and TWW a letter again citing failure to comply with these orders and stating that the DEP is “disturbed by the current City Council’s continuing failures or refusals to authorize resolutions necessary to advance critical capital improvements and ensure that ordinary maintenance and operational needs crucial to the protection of public health are met.”
“The residents of Hamilton have suffered far too long due to the failures of Trenton Water Works and left us with absolutely no confidence in their ability to operate the utility,” said Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin. “The Trenton City Council’s refusal to authorize public safety projects is putting people’s lives in danger and has prevented TWW’s ability to provide safe and clean drinking water. I call on the Governor and the State of New Jersey to immediately place TWW under direct state control to end the years of gross incompetence.”
“The most recent inspection report from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection validates the charge that, time and time again, the residents of this region have been failed by the Trenton City Council and Trenton Water Works,” said Senator Linda R. Greenstein. “Despite the actions of some to try and resolve these long-standing issues, it is readily apparent that a change in leadership is desperately needed. I call upon the State of New Jersey and NJDEP to immediately take all steps necessary to establish state control of Trenton Water Works, to ensure the health and safety of our residents remain top priority.”
“We shouldn’t wait for another disaster before taking action, the safety of our residents must come first,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson. “The NJDEP letter shows that the current operation of Trenton Water Works is unacceptable, it’s time for action,” added Benson.
“Trenton City Council has showed us time and again that they are not interested in bringing Trenton Water Works up to the standards set up by the Department of Environmental Protection,” stated Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo. “At this point, the gross negligence that they have shown has led to an increased risk of waterborne pathogens that threaten the safety of not just Trenton but also the neighboring towns that it serves. I cannot, in good conscience, watch as this continues to escalate. That is why I believe that the control and maintenance of Trenton Water Works should be given to the State so that they can properly bring Trenton Water Works up to the standards of the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act.
“Access to safe drinking water and a well-functioning water system is not an unreasonable expectation by the Mercer County residents who have no alternative to the city-operated Trenton Water Works,” said Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes. “While I am encouraged by Mayor Reed Gusciora’s determination to address the ongoing compliance issues and substandard water quality noted by the NJDEP, I condemn the irresponsibility and recklessness of the City Council for its egregious neglect of the water system, its disregard for the directives set forth by the NJDEP and the injustices it has placed on communities of color and on all Trenton Water Works customers.”
“The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s latest Compliance Evaluation and Assistance Inspection dated September 27, 2022, of Trenton Water Works, is extremely disturbing and concerning,” stated Mercer County Board of County Commissioners Chair Nina Melker.” It is now evident that an intervention is needed at a state level to ensure that Trenton Water Works can fulfill their obligation to provide safe and clean drinking water to the residents throughout Mercer County in their service designation.”
“The findings in this report confirm why Ewing joined with its neighbors Lawrence and Hamilton to protect its citizens from this failing authority,” said Ewing Township Mayor Bert Steinmann. “ It is time for legislation that will provide a meaningful remedy to the suburban ratepayers being held hostage to the Trenton City Council’s intransigence. On behalf of the citizens of Ewing, we implore DEP to act immediately to compel TWW to correct these deficiencies and ensure the safety of the water provided by TWW to its more than 200,000 consumers.”
“Residents deserve safe drinking water. We are deeply disturbed by DEP’s findings regarding the lack of progress on long-term projects necessary to keep the residents of Hopewell Township and Mercer County safe,” said Hopewell Township Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning. “Hopewell Township has appreciated our working relationship with the professional staff at Trenton Water Works. However, change is necessary,” continued Peters-Manning.
“On behalf of the Trenton Water Works customers within Lawrence Township, it is time for the operations of the water utility to be taken from the City of Trenton,” stated Lawrence Township Mayor John Ryan. “For far too long, the customers of TWW have lived with the fear, and at times reality, that the water they drink and use daily is unsafe. The report from the NJDEP dated September 27, 2022, demonstrates that the City of Trenton cannot meet the needs of its water utility customers by producing clean and safe water. We stand with the other municipalities fighting for their residents’ health and safety. We must do better.”
Mayor Gusciora Responds to State and Local Concerns Regarding TWW
TRENTON, NJ – Mayor Reed Gusciora issued the following statement today regarding progress made at Trenton Water Works (TWW), compliance with State agreements, and attempts by state and local officials to enact a “major shakeup” at the City-owned utility.
“I share the concerns expressed by area officials that we want safe drinking water for our constituents. However, the comments made by those elected officials do not recognize the substantial progress made at Trenton Water Works over the last four years. I wholeheartedly agree that if the Trenton City Council had done their job, we would not find ourselves in this position. They voted down critical projects including decommissioning the reservoir, replacing water mains, lead remediation, heavy equipment, facility upgrades, chemical purchases, and debt service. Council leaders even engaged a court battle to stop executive action in support of various water quality improvements at TWW.
In addition, one of the main items I ran on was improving Trenton Water Works. In 2019, we developed a $405-million, six-year capital plan to undertake critical projects within its central pumping station, water-filtration plant, and distribution system. These projects are designed to maintain high water quality and make the 163-year-old public water system more resilient.
Despite the efforts of City Council to undermine TWW as a utility of the City of Trenton, I welcome working in tandem with the State DEP to resolve any outstanding issues and ensure safe drinking water for our consumers for years to come. In that vein, I will announce shortly our proposed plan to address the issues raised by the DEP and to give comfort to our ratepayers and residents by showing demonstrative improvements in our water delivery system.”
Purchased by the City of Trenton in 1859, Trenton Water Works is one of the oldest and largest publicly owned water systems in the United States. TWW supplies approximately 28 million gallons of water per day to a quarter-million consumers in a five-municipality service area comprised of Trenton, Ewing Township, parts of Hamilton Township, Lawrence Township, and Hopewell Township.
TWW operates a 60-million-gallon water-filtration plant and water-distribution system that consists of 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 serves approximately 63,000 metered customers.
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Lawrence Township Police reported that on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at approximately 9:21 a.m., Lawrence Township Police Officers were dispatched to the Volvo dealership located on Brunswick Pike in Lawrence Township on a report of a Burglary that occurred in the early morning hours.
During the on-scene investigation, it was determined the suspect had entered the building at approximately 3:16 a.m. Once inside the building, the suspect proceeded to steal items from the service area and main office area. The suspect then exited the Volvo dealership with the stolen property. A short time later, the same suspect attempted to enter the Midas Muffler also located on Brunswick Pike in Lawrence Township.
On Thursday, September 22, 2022 at approximately 5:48 a.m., Officer Wells of the Lawrence Township Police Department was patrolling the Township and spotted a vehicle exiting a business that was closed on Brunswick Pike in Lawrence Township. Officer Wells conducted a motor vehicle stop and the operator, Jeremiah Kramer, 28 years old of Sycamore Court, Lawrenceville, NJ was subsequently taken into custody for outstanding warrants for his arrest.
Officer Steimle of the Lawrence Township Investigative Division completed an extensive follow up investigation and charged Jeremiah Kramer with Burglary, Theft and Criminal Attempt Burglary for the two separate incidents detailed above. Kramer was lodged at the Mercer County Correction Center pending a court appearance.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Lawrence Township Police Department @ 609-896-1111.
Police Officers arrested Omari Cartwright (18 years old) of the 800 block of Carteret Ave, Trenton, and a 17-year-old juvenile. Cartwright was charged with Hindering Apprehension, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Possession of a High-Capacity Magazine, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, Burglary, Possession of Burglar Tools and Criminal Mischief. Cartwright was lodged in the Mercer Country Correctional Center pending a Detention Hearing.
The juvenile was charged with Burglary and Criminal Mischief, and was released.
September 17, 2022
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Lawrence Township Police say that on September 17, 2022 at approximately 3:00 a.m., Lawrence Township Police Officers arrested Omari Cartwright (18 years old) of the 800 block of Carteret Ave, Trenton, and a 17-year-old juvenile. The two were arrested during a proactive initiative to address ongoing vehicle break-ins that have been reported throughout Lawrence Township.
While Officer Kraszewski and Officer Bystrek were patrolling Township neighborhoods during the overnight hours, they observed two individuals walking in dark clothing and full-face coverings in the area of Wittenborn Dr in the Society Hill South neighborhood. While Officers Kraszewski and Bystrek kept surveillance of the two individuals, additional officers found several vehicles in the area that appeared to have been entered, one with a window shattered.
Officers Kraszewski and Bystrek made contact with the two individuals on Wittenborn Drive and conducted an on-scene investigation. The two individuals were quickly identified as being responsible for shattering the window of a vehicle on Sherman Place just prior to having contact with the officers.
Both were arrested. During the arrest, Omari Cartwright provided a false name and was found to be in possession of a Glock handgun with a high-capacity magazine.
Cartwright was charged with Hindering Apprehension, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Possession of a High-Capacity Magazine, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, Burglary, Possession of Burglar Tools and Criminal Mischief. Cartwright was lodged in the Mercer Country Correctional Center pending a Detention Hearing.
The juvenile was charged with Burglary and Criminal Mischief, and was released.
The two-alarm fire in Lawrence Township is now reported under control, firefighters are still on scene investigating the fire.
September 16, 2022
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Fire Departments were dispatched to well involved vacant homes in the 1100 Block of Route 206 (Lawrenceville Road) near Carter Road at 4:40 a.m. Upon arrival the buildings were approximately 600 feet off the roadway in the rear of the property and firefighters had to lay hose up a long driveway to the rear of the property. Additional fire departments were called to the scene and the fire went to two alarms before being brought under control. A water tanker shuttle was set up to bring water to the scene.
Fire crews are still on location at this hour for the investigation. Further details are expected be released later.
Street and satellite views from Google Maps appears that the buildings on that property have been abandoned for quite some time.