Category: Robbinsville

Robbinsville Township Professional Firefighters Assoc. IAFF Local #3786 Purchases $10,500. Fire Extinguisher Training Prop

March 3, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local #3786 recently purchased a $10,500.00 fire extinguisher training prop from the annual fund drive money. The extinguisher prop is manufactured by Lion and is the Bullex Intelligent Training System (I.T.S) and uses propane and water extinguishers that is safer and environmentally friendly compared to the old method. In years past the firefighters would mix gasoline and diesel fuel and place in a cut-in-half 55 gallon drum. Firefighters would light the old style prop using roadway flares and use dry chemical fire extinguishers were used to extinguish the fire leaving a mess behind to clean up. The new method is safer using the Bullex ITS prop and is controlled by a firefighter while another firefighter instructs people how to extinguish the fire. No residue is left behind because of use of a water extinguisher using a spray to simulate common fire extinguishers. The mock extinguishers can be refilled on the spot with water and an air hose.

The fire department is called upon several times a year to provide fire extinguisher training for commercial business requiring OSHA fire extinguisher training. Other uses for the prop will be when organizations visit the firehouse and several township events during the year. For several years the Robbinsville Township Fire Department has been training high school seniors on the proper use of fire extinguishers during the “Senior Awareness Day” event held each year at Robbinsville High School.



Robbinsville Night Off 2021 Is A Success

March 3, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Night Off was held tonight. According to the website Robbinsville Night Off is a chance to take advantage of a night of no homework and options for activities that allow you to enjoy an evening filled with family togetherness. The program is presented by Robbinsville Township Schools and the Robbinsville Township Recreation Department.

Several Township organizations and businesses come together to provide a fun relaxing night allowing people to get out and relax enjoy family and give back to the community.

Demonstrations were held at the Robbinsville Township Police Department and Robbinsville Township Fire Department. A Walk For Families In Mercer County was held at the gazebo.

One Project’s event sold out and had 65 families participate in an event to decorate and pack 1,300 snack bags for children. All snack bags will be donated directly to local Mercer County nonprofit organizations and Mercer County school districts to help in the fight against child food insecurity.

Mercer County Library System provided science kits that were available for pickup at the library.

People attending the events were required to wear masks and social distance.

Robbinsville Night Off Website

At the Robbinsville Police Department officers simulated a crime scene and explained how the process it. There were several demonstrations including ballistic processing, fingerprint lift, DNA collection and how blood is collected and other police equipment is used. The Robbinsville Township Police Department Bike Unit discussed bike safety tips.



The Robbinsville Township Professional Fire Firefighters Association, IAFF Local # 3786 used $10,500.00 of donations from the Union’s annual fund drive to purchase a Lion BullEx Intelligent Fire Extinguisher Training System The Intellegent Training System uses a propane prop to simulate a fire you would extinguish with a fire extinguisher. The new prop is not only safer but also environmentally friendly compared to the old way of burning a gasoline and diesel fuel mix. The extinguishers use a water spray that can be refilled on the spot and eliminate the usual messy cleanup after a fire extinguisher demonstration.



Robbinsville Alternative Internet Provider Elawit Is Accepting Pre-Orders, Service Dependent On 500 Subscribers

March 3, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–If you are having trouble with one of the other Internet providers in town you may want to give Elauwit a try for Internet service. Elauwit now accepting pre-orders and the initial launch is dependent on 500 subscribers within the Town Center, Foxmoor, Cubberly Meadows, Sharon Mews and Sharon Meadows areas. If unable to reach its target goal, it will not be able to bring in-home internet service to Robbinsville Township. In that unlikely event, any pre-payment will be refunded.

To learn about this option for selected areas of Robbinsville Township go to this link: https://go.robbinswifi.com/

Robbinsville Township Police Blotter February 2021

March 3, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township Police Department Police Blotter for February 2021.




 Police Blotter
 
 February 2021
 
  
 1.       Narcotics
 Date:  February 5, 2021
 Time:  1248
 Location:  I-195
 Reporting Officer:  Sergeant Scott Kivet
  
 Accused:              Darryl Parkman Age 35
                                 Trenton, NJ
 Charged:              Possession of Ecstasy with Intent to Distribute
                                 Possession of Crack Cocaine
                                 Possession of Marijuana
                                 Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
                                 Suspended Driver
                                 CDS in a Motor Vehicle
  
 Charged and released pending Court. 
  
 2.       Narcotics
 Date:  February 5, 2021
 Time:  2014
 Location:  Gordon Road
 Reporting Officer:  Patrolman James Pica
  
 Accused:              Clarence Semmon Age 36
                                 Robbinsville, NJ
 Charged:              Possession of Marijuana Over 50 Grams
                                 Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute
                                 Driving Suspended
                                 CDS in a Motor Vehicle 
 Accused:              Kali Williams Age 31
                                 Robbinsville, NJ
 Charged:              Possession of Marijuana Over 50 Grams
                                 Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute
                                 Driving Suspended
  
 Charged and released pending Court. 
  
 3.       DWI/Narcotics
 Date:  February 6, 2021
 Time:  1032
 Location:  Route # 130
 Reporting Officer:  Patrolman Robert Morgano
  
 Accused:              Paul Rutzler Age 51
                                 Monroe, NJ
 Charged:              Driving While Intoxicated
                                 Possession of Heroin
                                 Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
                                 Refusal to Submit to Breath Testing
                                 CDS in a Motor Vehicle
  
 Charged and released pending Court. 
  
 4.       DWI
 Date:  February 8, 2021
 Time:  2101
 Location:  Route #33
 Reporting Officer:  Patrolman Ryan Meehan 
 
 Accused:              Brian Kelly Age 45
                                 Robbinsville, NJ
 Charged:              Driving While Intoxicated
                                 Failure to Submit to Breath Testing
 Reckless Driving
                                 Careless Driving 
                                 
 Charged and released pending Court.
  
 5.       Narcotics
 Date:  February 10, 2021
 Time:  1255
 Location:  I-195
 Reporting Officer:  Sergeant Scott Kivet
  
 Accused:              Kyle Witkowski Age 26
                                 Jackson, NJ
 Charged:              Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  
 Charged and released pending Court. 

 6.       Narcotics
 Date:  February 11, 2021
 Time:  1423
 Location:  I-195
 Reporting Officer:  Sergeant Scott Kivet
  
 Accused:              Robert Lagville Age 36
                                 Bradley Beach, NJ
 Charged:              Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
                                 Possession of Hypodermic Needle
  
 Charged and released pending Court. 
  
 7.       Narcotics
 Date:  February 12, 2021
 Time:  1413
 Location:  I-195
 Reporting Officer:  Sergeant Scott Kivet
  
 Accused:              Margareet Keeley Age 52
 Trenton, NJ
 Charged:              Possession of Marijuana
                                 CDS in a Motor Vehicle
  
 Charged and released pending Court. 
  
 8.       DWI
 Date:  February 13, 2021
 Time:  0204
 Location:  Hutchinson Road
 Reporting Officer:  Patrolman Ryan Meehan
  
 Accused:              Peter Glazewski Age 21
                                 Mercerville, NJ
 Charged:              Driving While Intoxicated
                                 Open Container of Alcohol
                                 Reckless Driving
                                 Careless Driving
                                 Speeding
  
 Charged and released pending Court.

 9.       DWI
 February 18, 2021 
 Time:
 Location:
 Reporting Officer:  Patrolman Michael Slininger
  
 Accused:              Daniel McSpedon Age 24
                                 Burlington, NJ
 Charged:              Driving While Intoxicated
                                 Careless  Driving 
                                 CDS in a Motor Vehicle
                                 Reckless Driving 
                                 Failure to Maintain Lane
                                 Speeding
  
 Charged and released pending Court. 
  
 10.   Narcotics
 Date:  February 20, 2021
 Time:  0055
 Location:  Route # 130
 Reporting Officer:  Patrolman David Fegler
  
 Accused:              Devon Barkley Age 30
                                 Willingboro, NJ
 Charged:              Possession of Hashish
                                 Possession of Narcotics with Intent to Distribute
                                                 Possession of Drug Paraphernalia 
                                                 CDS in a Motor Vehicle
                                                 Suspended Driver
  
 Charged and released pending Court. 
  
 11.   Narcotics
 Date:  February 27, 2021
 Time:  2336
 Location:  Walden Circle
 Reporting Officer:  Patrolman Ryan Meehan
  
 Accused:              Mario Flores Age 30                        
                                 Plainsboro, NJ
 Charged:              Possession of Heroin
                                 Possession of Cocaine
                                 CDS in a Motor Vehicle
                                 Speeding
  
 Charged and released pending Court.

 All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a Court of law.  

Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried Along With Police Chief Nitti Release Joint Statement On Recent Marijuana Legalization Law

March 2, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried and Township Police Chief Chris Nitti released a combined statement in regards to recently signed marijuana legalization law. In addition below are statements from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and the NJ State PBA on the marijuana law. Information also provided below from NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and a link to the resource page for NJ police officers.


Statement from Mayor/Public Safety Director Dave Fried and Robbinsville Township Police Chief Chris Nitti on the Recently Signed Marijuana Legalization Law:  

Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed three bills into law decriminalizing marijuana and directs convictions and/or pending cases for marijuana possession be dismissed.

None of this came as a surprise, since an overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents recently voted to have marijuana legalized in our state. As an elected official and the Director of Public Safety for Robbinsville Township, I fully support the will of the people – as does Chief Chris Nitti.

As loving parents, we have the right to know when our children are involved in dangerous situations. Like many of you, we are concerned about some of the other aspects of the legalization bill. When officers now encounter juveniles who are in possession of marijuana and/or alcohol, the following restrictions now apply:

– The odor of marijuana and/or alcohol no longer constitutes “reasonable articulable suspicion” to initiate the stop of a person under the age of 21, and it no longer provides probable cause to search that person’s personal property and/or vehicle.- The unconcealed possession of an alcoholic beverage and/or marijuana observed in “plain sight” shall no longer constitute “probable cause” to initiate a search of a person under the age of 21, or that person’s personal property and/or vehicle to determine a violation of any law.- A person under the age of 21 who possesses marijuana and/or alcoholic beverages shall no longer be arrested, detained, or otherwise taken into custody “except to the extent required to issue a written warning.”- For any person under the age of 21 who possesses marijuana and/or alcoholic beverages as a first offense, these new laws forbid officers to contact his/her parent or guardian to advise him or her of such.To apply these new laws to a “real-life” situation, if an officer observes a juvenile of any age consuming alcohol and/or smoking marijuana in violation of the law, that officer CAN NOT contact the juvenile’s parent or guardian unless this behavior has been previously documented. Unless that child chooses to share this information, his or her parents or guardians will never know.Most problematic is the inability of the police to freely communicate with the parents and guardians of our children. The Robbinsville Township Police Department has always sought to divert juveniles from the criminal justice system by pursuing “non-punitive” measures for the vast majority of offenses. Only in the most serious of situations does it ever pursue juvenile delinquency complaints against children.

Statewide mandates regarding transparency required from law enforcement no longer apply regarding police interaction with kids. The RTPD has always worked closely with school officials to keep our children safe, to ensure there are open lines of communication with parents and guardians, and to provide referrals and access to programs and services that empower healthy, sound and safe decision-making. Aspects of this new law are counterproductive to years of relationship and trust-building. Most importantly, it is a serious detriment to safety and well-being of our children.

One of the RPD’s greatest strengths has been its renewed ability to foster positive relationships within the community, our juveniles in particular. Full-time School Resource Officers (SROs) are in all of our schools, in addition to the implementation of initiatives such as Coffee With a Cop, the Good Behavior Citation program, the RTPD Youth Academy and the S-T-A-R (Stop, Think, Act, Reflect) program, formerly known as D-A-R-E- (Drug Abuse Resistance Education).The priorities of the RTPD will never change, even if the means of achieving its goals of safety and security for all just may have to.
Thank you all. Please stay safe.



Statement of New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police


Today, the NJ Legislature approved, and Governor Murphy signed into law Assembly Bill
5342 in an attempt to decriminalize the use and possession of cannabis. The New Jersey State
Association of Chiefs of Police has been supportive of the decriminalization of cannabis for
adults and has recognized the importance of eliminating racial disparities that
disproportionately impact individuals of color in the context of antiquated drug
laws. However, the enactment of this legislation requires the Association to object strongly.
This legislation will severely impair the ability of law enforcement to surveil and police the
illegal drug market, underage possession and consumption of alcohol and tobacco and
criminalize very common and overwhelmingly non-controversial policing strategies. Under
this new law, a law enforcement officer is subject to criminal prosecution if he or she even
asks a minor or young adult under the age of 21 to consent to a search or otherwise conducts
such a search despite reasonable suspicious activity, such as the odor of alcohol or
marijuana. However, there are no tools available for an officer to know the ages of
individuals that may be encountered. An honest mistake in ascertaining someone’s age,
intentions or degree of impairment subjects the officer to prosecution for a crime. As a result,
an officer risks criminal liability for engaging with a class of individuals who may be breaking
the law or who may be engaged in the illegal drug market by utilizing persons under the age
of 21. We believe this severely limits the ability of our agencies to police our parks, schools,
beaches, and communities effectively, thereby increasing the risks to public safety, the risks to
children from illicit drugs and alcohol and the risks to society from criminal drug activity
cloaked by cannabis.
Although far from perfect, New Jersey has long been a progressive policing jurisdiction. This
Association supports decriminalization for adult use cannabis and our members work daily
across the state to increase positive interactions between law enforcement and the
communities we serve. We strive to increase the professionalism and training of our officers
and agencies while recognizing that there are bad actors in all occupations and walks of life
and such individuals deserve to meet the consequence of the law. However, criminalizing
honest and well-intended law enforcement is not the way to cure our society from the ills of
racial disparities and hundreds of years of systemic racism. Simply put, our communities will
be less safe and our children more at risk.


Marijuana Decriminalization & Cannabis Legalization



NJ State PBA Document: Frequently Asked Questions – Marijuana Decriminalization & Legalized Cannabis As of February 23, 2021

This document contains frequently asked questions (FAQs) to address some of the substantial issues, concerns, and situations that will arise for law enforcement as we all strive to understand, implement, and apply the new cannabis legalization and marijuana decriminalization laws. We anticipate expanding the FAQs as we encounter additional, and more subtle and complex, issues and gain experience and insight into the challenges presented by the new laws.

  1. What should an officer do if they smell marijuana coming from a vehicle during a motor vehicle stop?

    First, the officer should take the traditional investigative steps to determine if there is probable cause to believe that the driver is operating the vehicle while under the influence, in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. If so, the driver may be arrested and the vehicle may be searched. If the driver is not found to be under the influence, the new laws are clear that the odor of marijuana, either burned or raw, by itself does not establish reasonable suspicion to justify a continued stop, nor probable cause to conduct a search of the vehicle or the person, in a marijuana possession case or even in a low-level (fourth-degree) possession with intent to distribute marijuana case. As a result, the vehicle and occupants must be released once the initial reason for the stop has been addressed.
     
  2. May an officer initiate or continue a pedestrian stop of an individual based on the officer detecting the odor of marijuana?

    No, the new laws are clear that the odor of marijuana, either burned or raw, by itself does not establish reasonable suspicion to justify or continue a pedestrian stop. In addition, the odor of marijuana by itself does not establish probable cause to conduct a search in a marijuana possession case or even a low-level (fourth-degree) possession with intent to distribute marijuana case. The age of the person being stopped is irrelevant in these situations.
     
  3. What happens when a law enforcement officer encounters an individual under the age of 21 who is in possession of marijuana, hashish, cannabis, or alcohol?

    Law enforcement officers must be cautious when they encounter an individual under the age of 21 who is in possession of marijuana, hashish, cannabis, or alcohol. The officer can seize the marijuana, hashish, cannabis, and alcohol and issue the appropriate written warning. However, the new law also sets forth the following prohibitions on officers when investigating possession or consumption of marijuana, hashish, cannabis, or alcohol by an underage individual to determine a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15:
    • Officers may not request consent from an individual who is under the age of 21;
    • Officers may not use odor of marijuana to stop an individual who is under the age of 21 or to search the individual’s personal property or vehicle;
    • Officers who observe marijuana in plain view will not be able to search the individual or the individual’s personal property or vehicle.
    • Officers may not arrest, detain, or otherwise take an individual under the age of 21 into custody for a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15 except to the extent required to issue a written warning or provide notice of a violation to a parent/guardian
     
  4. Does the new law alter the use of my body worn camera (BWC) in any way?

    The law requires that whenever an officer is equipped with a BWC, the BWC must be activated when responding to or handling a call involving a violation or suspected violation of the amended N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15, which addresses the underage possession or consumption of alcohol, marijuana, hashish, or cannabis. The BWC may not be deactivated for any reason throughout the entire encounter. Underage refers to people under the age of 21.
     
  5. How does decriminalization and legalization change fingerprinting?

    Marijuana is still by definition pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-2 a “controlled dangerous substance,” and, therefore, appropriately charged violations involving marijuana or hashish are still subject to fingerprint compliance under N.J.S.A. 53:1-18.1. However, when law enforcement officers encounter an individual who has violated N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(12)(b) (distribution/possession with intent to distribute 1 ounce or less) or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(3)(b) (possession of more than 6 ounces), the officer is prohibited under the law from arresting, detaining, or otherwise bringing that individual into the station, which means the officer will be unable to fingerprint the violator at the time of the incident. Therefore, those individuals must be fingerprinted at their first court appearance.

    Individuals under the age of 21 who are in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15(a)(1) are precluded from being fingerprinted under the new law

A21 – Legislation Act

A1897 – Marijuana Decriminalization

S3454 – Underage Possession & Use

AG Directive 2021-1 (Directive Governing Dismissals of Certain Pending Marijuana Charges)

Interim Guidance Regarding Marijuana Decriminalization

FAQs

Firefighter Ryan Frank Hired In Robbinsville

March 1, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Firefighter Ryan Frank who replaced Firefighter Ed Haemmerle who retired on Friday was sworn in at the Robbinsville Township Municipal Building this morning. Firefighter Frank was previously with the Upper Freehold/Allentown Fire Department and the Wilmington Fire Department in Delaware. Additionally, Firefighter Frank is a Robbinsville High School graduate and has been a volunteer firefighter with the Robbinsville Township Fire Department since 2014 and is a Robbinsville Township resident.




Robbinsville Firefighter Ed Haemmerle Retires

February 28, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)– Firefighter Ed Haemmerle of the Robbinsville Township Fire Department worked his last tour on Friday before leaving on retirement with 20 years of service. Ed started his career with the Robbinsville Township Fire Department when the department was being managed by the Washington Township Fire District #1. Haemmerle was sworn in by Mayor David Fried and presented his department badge by Fire Commissioner at the time Deborah Matson. In 2006 the department name was changed to the Robbinsville Township Fire Department along with a consolidation and Township name change.

Firefighter Haemmerle has over 32 years in the fire service starting as a volunteer firefighter in West Windsor before gaining employment with Union City EMS where he served for 8 years, and West Windsor Emergency Services before his career in Robbinsville.

 The Robbinsville Township Fire Department stated that, “During his tenure with the Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Firefighter Haemmerle has always been a committed professional, a trusted firefighter, and a valued member of the department.”






BPU Sets March 16 Hearing in Optimum/ Altice Investigation

ROBBINSVILLE-HAMILTON TOWNSHIPS, NJ (MERCER)–In response to a wave of complaints regarding poor service and unfair consumer pricing by Optimum/Altice USA, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has found sufficient cause to investigate Optimum/Altice USA and convene a public hearing on March 16, 2021.

The BPU said in a February 17 order it had:

“reviewed the various complaints, municipal government official resolutions and requests for Board investigation and intervention in this matter, and HEREBY FINDS that there is sufficient cause to convene a proceeding to afford the municipal officials and Altice customers the opportunity to voice their concerns about the services received from Altice; as well as afford the company the opportunity to respond to these concerns before determining what corrective action may be warranted and should be taken in this matter.”


The Board designated Commissioner Mary-Anna Holden as the Presiding Officer. Holden “is authorized to rule on all motions that arise during the proceedings and modify any schedules that may be set as necessary to secure a just and expeditious determination of the issues.”

The public hearing will be held virtually. Information concerning participation in the public hearing will be posted on the BPU website. Attorneys for the Townships of Robbinsville and Hamilton filed dual letters to Lawanda Gilbert, Director of the BPU Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, requesting an investigation into the under performing utility in August, 2020.

In addition to Hamilton and Robbinsville, the order lists the boroughs of Dunellen and Sayreville, along with the Townships of Green Brook, Howell, Jackson, Montville, North Brunswick and Piscataway. The BPU received complaints and resolutions from at least 10 municipalities and several state legislators concerning various issues their residents and constituents cited alleging inadequacy and lack of service provided by Altice USA. In the complaints, the municipal and legislative officials cited: “Frequent and lengthy service disruptions (across all services), inconsistent connections and fluctuating Internet speeds, long telephone wait times, poor customer service, and an inability to get a satisfactory response to these issues from the company both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”


READ THE ROBBINSVILLE HAMILTON LETTERS TO BPU 

The letters detail just 11 examples from the hundreds of complaints received by the respective municipal offices at Robbinsville and Hamilton over the past several months citing poor customer service, unstable Internet connections, insufficient network capacity and allegations of price-gouging.

“It is the duty of Optimum (Altice USA) as a utility to furnish safe, adequate and proper service for its customers … and they have failed in that duty,” Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said last summer. “We should not have to continuously pressure this provider to do its job.”

Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin also received a flood of complaints regarding Optimum/Altice USA (formerly Cablevision) and requested the BPU immediately commence an investigation into the services being provided to both Robbinsville and Hamilton pursuant to powers vested in the Board.


“Having reliable cable and internet service has never been more of a necessity than this year has proved it to be,” Martin said. “Both municipalities’ residents have experienced similar, unacceptable issues and a lack of timely remediation from Optimum. Mayor Fried and I will fight for our residents by partnering together on this issue and hope that by doing so it will provide for a stronger likelihood of these concerns being taken seriously by the State. “

Related MidJersey.news stories here:

Mayors Testify At NJ Senate Committee On Law And Public Safety About Utility Company Problems

Hamilton and Robbinsville Request BPU Investigation Into Optimum/Altice







Representatives Chris Smith, Tom Suozzi to fight for ‘Sami’s Law’ in new Congress

Bipartisan legislation would improve ride-share safety

February 17, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — With an eye toward a post-COVID easing of restrictions and a return to economic normalcy, a group of bipartisan lawmakers are determined to establish timely and much-needed safety protections for Americans who will be using rideshare companies to help them get to work, school, appointments or social events.

   Authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) with lead Democrat cosponsor, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Sami’s Law will require transportation networking companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft to deploy a verifiable digital access system to match drivers with passengers before the ride begins to enhance safety for the ride-hailing public. A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate by Ben Cardin (D-MD) later this month.

   The legislation, HR 1082, is named in honor of Samantha “Sami” Josephson—who was kidnapped and brutally murdered by a predator pretending to be her Uber driver near the University of South Carolina just months prior to her graduation in 2019.

   “We must establish safety protocols and accountability in the system to protect rideshare customers who remain extremely vulnerable,” said Smith, who represents Sami’s hometown of Robbinsville, NJ.  “As the nation looks to emerge from COVID restrictions, there will likely be a surge in travel and general activities, and thus a corresponding urgency to protect those who rely on Uber and Lyft services.”

   Underscoring the dangers, Smith cited Sami’s tragic murder and pointed to a report released by Uber that found over a two-year period, 2017 to 2018, the company received 5,981 allegations of serious sexual assault in the United States, and 19 people were killed in physical assaults during or soon after an Uber ride.  He also cited a 2019 CNN report that revealed that Lyft has been hit with multiple driver rape and sexual assault allegations. 

   “No family should have to endure what the Josephson’s have” Rep. Suozzi said. We can’t stop every family tragedy, but hopefully Sami’s law will establish safety protocols that protect Uber, Lyft and other rideshare customers.”

   Seymour and Marci Josephson, Sami’s parents, created the #WHATSMYNAME Foundation in ‘‘honor of their daughter to educate the world on rideshare safety.” They also came up with the idea for the legislation to help ensure no one else loses their life or is assaulted by a rideshare driver or a predator pretending to be their driver.

   Last year, after painstaking negotiations with Smith, the Josephsons, congressional leaders, and  Uber and Lyft, Sami’s Law unanimously passed the House with the strong support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. The bill garnered the support of key Senate leaders, but time ran out in the Senate before unanimous consent could be achieved.

   “Lives are at stake and people, especially women, who use rideshare services are vulnerable to sexual assault and other crimes,” Smith said. “The Josephsons have made great progress educating rideshare customers about potential dangers, but none of us will rest until the modest and effective Sami’s Law protocols are enacted and the public is better protected.”

   Sami’s Law not only sets safety requirements for today’s technology and a process for successor technology performance standards, it also:

  • establishes a 17-member advisory council that reports to the Secretary of Transportation—SAMI’s Council—comprised of federal agency and public stakeholders to advance safety standards in the rideshare industry;
  • makes it unlawful to sell, or offer for sale, ride-share signage, making it more difficult for imposters like Sami’s murderer to pose as a driver;
  • requires a GAO report on the incidence of assault and abuse of both passengers and drivers;
  • requires that the GAO also examine the nature and specifics of “background” checks conducted by companies and the varying standards set by States regarding background checks.

   Other original cosponsors of the bill include: Reps. James Clyburn (D-SC), the Democratic Whip; Joe Wilson (R-SC); Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ); and Albio Sires (D-NJ).  The new bill is already endorsed by two groups which originally opposed the legislation last Congress.

   “We thank and commend Representative Smith for working closely with us in crafting this legislation, which will provide a fully nonvisual method for blind and deafblind passengers to identify and verify rideshare trips,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Personal safety is a top priority for our movement and we urge the House to swiftly pass this legislation.”

“The National Sheriffs’ Association supports Sami’s Law… all users of ridesharing programs should have a reasonable expectation of safety, which this bill addresses for both passengers and drivers,” said Jonathan F. Thompson, Executive Director and CEO of the National Sheriffs’ Association.


Robbinsville Board of Education Appoints New Members

The Robbinsville Board of Education is pleased to announce the swearing in of Maxine Fox and appointments of Jai Gulati and Tanya Lehmann.

February 6, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)-Ms. Maxine Fox was elected in the November 2020 election and began serving her term in January 2021.  Fox was officially sworn in on January 13, 2021, she will serve a three year term.

Additionally, at the January reorganization meeting the members of the Board of Education elected Vito Galluccio to serve as president and Christopher Emigholz to serve as Vice President.

The selection of Mr. Jai Gulati and Ms. Tanya Lehmann will fill the unexpired terms of Shaina Ciaccio and Craig Heilman who resigned in December 2020. Both names will be placed on the ballot in November 2021; one for a three-year term and the other for a one-year unexpired term.

Mr. Gulati is Technology Leader at Regeneron Pharmaceutical. His professional background is in the fields of information technology, operations, and program and project management. Passionate about education, Julati has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He has been a Robbinsville Township resident since 2005. Mr. Gulati has three daughters – two who attended Robbinsville Township schools and one who will enter Kindergarten in 2024. He volunteers his time as a member of the Robbinsville Township Diwali organizing committee and a coach with the Robbinsville Soccer Association.

Ms. Leymann has been a teacher since 1993. She is a teacher and student advocate with a passion for facilitating quality education that is equitable, inclusive, and which celebrates diversity and special needs. Ms. Lehmann currently teaches 8th grade language arts at Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg University and a master’s from Rutgers University. She is an active volunteer with the PTA and a past president of the Robbinsville MOMS Club.

“We believe Ms. Lehman and Mr. Gulati will be tremendous additions to our Board of Education,” said Robbinsville Board of Education president, Vito Galluccio.  “Both Ms. Lehman and Mr. Gulati offer tremendous experience and will bring a diverse set of views, skills and insight as our board strives to make Robbinsville Schools even better, now and in the future. With the pandemic impacting the ways that our schools operate each day we will all work together to continue encouraging the district’s leadership to find a path towards offering a safe, fully in-person experience for those students who want it.”

Robbinsville Schools Superintendent, Brian Betze, said, “we are excited to have new members join the board and have a variety of experience and knowledge that they can share and help us work on our long-term goals. Robbinsville like all schools in the County and State are facing a myriad of challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with them now and in the months to come as we work to navigate the on-going short-term challenges and continue to make progress on our long-term goals. The administration looks forward to working with the board in 2021.”

The Robbinsville Board of Education is made up of nine members. Three Board seats are filled through a community election each year for a term of three years. The vacancies left by Ms. Ciaccio and Mr. Heilman were announced by Board Secretary Nick Mackres. Residents were invited to submit an application by noon on February 3, 2021. Applications were considered at a special meeting of the Board of Education help at 5:00 pm that same day.


Accident With Trauma At Copart Robbinsville

February 3, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 10:32 am the Robbinsville Police, Robbinsville Fire Department, RWJ EMS-Hamilton and Capital Health Paramedics responded to 108 North Main Street for an accident. There were unconfirmed reports of a person ejected from a vehicle and pinned along a fence line. The person was located at the rear of the property and removed from the situation. The person was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. The Robbinsville Township Police Department is investigating. No further details are available at this time.

Copart is an online auction that features used vehicles, wholesale vehicles and salvage vehicles for sale.

Storm Updates For Selected Towns

February 1, 2021

For the latest information on your township’s trash collection or town office information visit your local town’s website. Here are current updates for selected towns:

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)– Municipal Offices are closed on Tuesday, February 2 and Tuesday’s trash collection is postponed to Saturday, February 6. Any questions please contact the Public Works Department at 609-259-0422. See Robbinsville Township’s website for all updates here.


ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Borough Hall is closed on Tuesday, February 2nd. Due to a heavy accumulation of snow today, overnight and into tomorrow, Borough Hall will be closed on Tuesday, February 2nd with our municipal office staff working remotely. All calls will go to voice mail. For an email directory click here. We do not have an update on tomorrow’s recycling collection at this time. An update will be posted once it is available. Tomorrow’s Council meeting is still scheduled for 7PM. All elected officials are asked to attend remotely on Zoom.  For Allentown updates see this link.


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Township Offices will be CLOSED tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2nd. Garbage collection scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd will be cancelled in order to assist with the snow removal process. The Hamilton Township Council meeting is still scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Participants may join by visiting: http://www.zoom.us/join or by phone 1-929-205-6099 Meeting ID: 946 3214 8692 Passcode: 444652 Please remember to exercise caution if you must travel. To see when your street is scheduled to be plowed be sure visit Snow Plow Sal.


MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)– Check website for updates here.


EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–For latest East Windsor information check the e-alert section of the website you can access that page here.

Due to current winter storm conditions:

  • No Township Curbside Garbage Collection Will Occur Tomorrow Tuesday, February 2. Garbage Collection for Area #2 residents, normally on Tuesday, February 2, will be on the next scheduled collection date of Friday, February 5.
  • Residents are strongly reminded to remove ALL vehiclesfrom Township roadways to allow for snow removal.
  • Residents are reminded to clear all snow from sidewalks and fire hydrants within 24 hours of the end of the snow fall.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–DUE TO THE INCLEMENT WEATHER, REPUBLIC SERVICES HAS CANCELLED ALL TRASH AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS FOR MONDAY FEB, 1ST AND TUESDAY, FEB 2ND

They are scheduled to resume regular operations on Wednesday, February 3rd. All of Monday’s and Tuesday’s material will be collected next week on their regular day. Sorry for any inconvenience. Any further questions, please call the Garbage and Recycling Dept. at (732)329-4000 Ext 7274

For the latest information for South Brunswick visit the website here.


EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–UPDATED TRASH PICKUP DELAY INFORMATION FOR FEB. 2ND, 2021

Due to the weather conditions scheduled trash pickup for today, Monday February 1st, has been delayed until Friday, February 5th, and the scheduled trash pickup for Tuesday, February 2nd, has been delayed until Saturday, February 6th.

Please do not put out your trash for these delayed pickups until the rescheduled day to help keep the road clear for plows. Thank you for your cooperation and stay warm.

For the latest information for Ewing Township visit the township’s website here.


Accident on NJ Turnpike In Robbinsville

January 30, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 12:02 am the Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS, Hightstown EMS and Fire Department were dispatched to the NJ Turnpike north bound at mile marker 64 for an accident. Upon arrival the accident was minor and the first aid squad reported the person refused transport to the hospital. The NJ State Police is investigating the crash. No other information was available.

BREAKING: Robbinsville Firefighters Rescue Man Trapped In Vehicle

January 26, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Around noon a vehicle lost control on Route 130 south bound near the Robbinsville Fire Department and overturned on the right shoulder of the highway trapping a male driver inside.

The Robbinsville Fire Department and Police Department immediately called in the overturned vehicle and responded to the scene across the street from the firehouse. Robbinsville Police shut down the south bound lanes of Route 130 while Robbinsville firefighters extricated the man from the vehicle.

An ambulance from Allentown First Aid-Capital Health responded to the scene and reportedly transported the man to RWJ at Hamilton Hospital.

Robbinsville Township Police are investigating the crash. No further information is available at this time.

Robbinsville’s 2021 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Cancelled Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

January 26, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–After careful consideration and with much regret, the Robbinsville St. Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for March 20, 2021, has been cancelled due to the ongoing global pandemic. In the interest of safety of everyone involved, including attendees and marchers, Robbinsville Township and the Robbinsville Irish Heritage Association (RIHA) decided the event could not be held safely at this time. We are looking forward to the day when we can all gather together again for the events many of us hold so dear. Anyone wishing to purchase 50/50 raffle tickets to support future parade events are encouraged to contact Dave Doran at davedoran864@gmail.com before Saturday’s drawing at the Senior Center.

Hamilton Township announced yesterday that their 2021 St. Patrick’s Day Parade was also cancelled, you can read the MidJersey.News story here.

Last year’s 2020 parade was cancelled by the COVID-19 Pandemic you can read about the parade at these links:

November 9, 2019 Robbinsville’s Irish Person of the Year and Grand Marshal Announced for St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2020

Cancelation of the 2020 parade was made on March 12, 2020



Recent Banner Placement Indicates Planet Fitness And Stem Academy Still Coming To Robbinsville, NJ Location

January 25, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Recent banners placed at the Foxmoor Shopping Center on Washington Boulevard indicate Planet Fitness is still coming to Robbinsville. According to one store owner in the center the banners were noticed late last week and it was good news that the fitness center and academy were still coming to the shopping center. The store owner believes the delay is because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Planet Fitness has not announced the Robbinsville location on their website yet but once construction starts usually Planet Fitness posts a “Coming Soon” on their Gyms Near Me page.

Read MidJersey.News story about Planet Fitness Coming to Robbinsville from December 19, 2019.


Man Rescued From Peddie Lake In Area Of The Falls

January 23, 2021

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–A man became trapped near the falls when he entered the Peddie Lake under his own volition this morning around 8:36 am. and had to be rescued according to Hightstown Borough Police Department, Sergeant Benjamin L. Miller.

Hightstown Police stated that on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at 8:36 a.m., officers were dispatched to the Peddie Lake, near the waterfalls, Main Street, for a male in the lake.  Upon arrival, officers observed an elderly male subject standing, who appeared disoriented, in the lake; the officers immediately requested the Hightstown Fire Department’s water rescue unit and an ambulance for the extraction and care of the subject.  The subject was assisted by fire personnel up a ladder and removed from the lake.  The subject was transported to Princeton Medical Center by the Hightstown First Aid Squad for evaluation.

Responding the the scene, Hightstown Police Department, Hightstown Fire Company, Capital Health Paramedics, and Hightstown First Aid Squad. Robbinsville Township Fire Department, East Windsor and Plainsboro Fire Departments were dispatched but were not needed and turned around en-route.

Mercer County Sheriff Warns Of Phone Scam

January 22, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Once again, Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler has issued a warning to area residents regarding telephone scammers posing as Mercer County Sheriff’s Officers. Over the past month, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints about suspected phone scams asking residents for personal bank account information or cash payments. Some calls have reached residents throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The scammers identify themselves as Mercer County Sheriff’s Officers along with fictitious badge numbers. The callers state they have an arrest warrant related to money laundering charges and need access to their bank accounts. The scammers also suggest meeting at a location and to bring cash for bail or fines. Otherwise, they will be taken into custody. “I can state with confidence the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office will never call anyone and ask for their bank account number or to meet in an odd location to pay bail or fines with cash,” said Sheriff Kemler.Unfortunately, it is difficult to crack down on telephone scammers because calls are often generated from phone banks located out of state. While the calls remain under investigation, the best advice is to exercise common sense. If a resident suspects a particular telephone call may be a scam, do not give out any personal information and simply hang up. Anyone who receives such a call and is uncertain of its validity should report the call to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office at 609-989-6111.

Robbinsville Board Of Education Seeks Applications For 2 Vacancies

January 18, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)— The Robbinsville Board of Education is seeking two (2) qualified candidates for membership to the Robbinsville School Board. The Board, within the powers delegated to it by law, is the policy-making legislative branch of the School District. These two positions to be filled will replace Shaina Ciaccio and Craig Heilman who resigned in December for personal reasons.

If appointed, the term will run through December 31, 2021. Both positions will be placed on the ballot for the annual election in November 2021; one for a full three-year term and the other for a one-year unexpired term.

Individuals considering applying, must meet the following qualifications:
• A citizen of the United States of America
• At least 18 years of age
• Able to read and write
• A resident of the Township of Robbinsville for at least one (1) year preceding the date of appointment
• Not directly/indirectly interested in a contract with a claim against the Board
• Registered to vote in the District
• Not disqualified as a voter pursuant to NJSA 19:4-1
• Has not been disqualified due to the conviction of a crime or offense listed in N.J.S.A. 18A:12-1

Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest and resume by noon on February 3, 2021 to Nick Mackres Business Administrator/Board Secretary, Robbinsville Board of Education, 155 Robbinsville Edinburg Road, Robbinsville, NJ 08691 or via email: mackres.nick@robbinsville.k12.nj.us

The Board of Education will review all qualifying applicants at the February 3rd Special Board Meeting at 5:00 p.m.

The Robbinsville Board of Education is an organization of elected citizens and residents living in the district. Once a member has been elected to the Board, they gain the right to vote on proceedings concerning the school district. The Board of Education is responsible for a wide variety of transactions and decisions that are made in the district. Robbinsville Township School District is comprised of an elementary school, middle school and high school providing services to over 3,200 students.


Tractor Trailer Overturned On Turnpike And Serious Accident Perrineville Road This Morning

January 17, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE-EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIPS, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township firefighters responded to the 500 Block of Perrineville Road at 6:47 am for a car into a utility pole with injuries. Upon arrival of Robbinsville Police, fire and EMS the person was still in vehicle with wires one the vehicle. Jersey Central Power & Light JCP&L was notified and responded. The person was removed from the vehicle and transported to a local hospital.


At 8:28 am the Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Hightstown Fire Company, East Windsor First Aid, Robbinsville EMS responded to the New Jersey Turnpike for an overturned tractor trailer with reported entrapment. The accident happened in the north bound outer roadway (truck lanes) mile marker 66.0 about 1 mile prior to Exit 8 and blocked all the lanes of the outer roadway. When fire and EMS personnel arrived the driver was able to get out of the vehicle on their own power. Currently the roadway has reopened but one lane remains closed.




COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Planned At CURE Arena And MCCC

January 16, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County plans on opening an COVID-19 vaccination site at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health System. An additional vaccination site is planned at Mercer County Community College and will be managed by the County Health Officer’s Association. See full press rease below from Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes:

Dear Mercer County Community,

The State of New Jersey this week ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and Mercer County is preparing to do the same. The County will open a vaccination site at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health System, which will manage the site. The opening date is dependent on vaccine supply but a soft opening is planned next week.

We had a successful partnership with Capital Health during the COVID-19 testing program we established last spring, and I can’t think of a more fitting partner for this next phase of the pandemic response – the vaccination phase. Like other vaccination locations, this site will be for those eligible under the state’s phasing plan that is designed to ensure that those most at risk are prioritized.

Mercer County also is working on opening a vaccination site  at Mercer County Community College that would be managed by the County Health Officers Association and utilize all of the resources and staffing available from the municipal and county health offices. The arena and MCCC vaccination locations will supplement, not replace, smaller sites including those currently being operated by municipal health departments and other health care facilities in Mercer County. If you have questions about the CURE Insurance Arena or MCCC vaccination sites, please email publichealth@mercercounty.org.

As of this morning, at least 7,342 vaccine doses had been administered in Mercer County, according to the state Department of Health. While we all want to see that number grow exponentially, we are simply not getting enough vaccine from the federal government, and we are using every single dose we receive. 

I ask that everyone be patient throughout what will be a months-long vaccination process and continue to take basic preventive measures to reduce the spread of the virus, which is still rampant in our community and seemingly everywhere else. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; keep a least 6 feet away from other people; practice good hand hygiene; avoid large gatherings; and stay home if you are sick.

Anyone can – and everyone should – pre-register to receive a vaccination by visiting the state’s online portal at https://covidvaccine.nj.gov. The state expects to have a consumer call center up and running soon to assist people without Internet access in scheduling appointments, and to help answer general inquiries and questions. Those who have pre-registered will be notified when they are eligible to make a vaccination appointment. The state is compiling a list of designated vaccination locations for eligible recipients. That list will continue to grow.

For more information on who is eligible, and how to get vaccinated if you are eligible, please visit the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine website.

In addition to vaccinations, Mercer County continues to respond to the pandemic through testing, contact tracing and support. The County, in partnership with Vault Health Services, is offering a free COVID-19 saliva test on the next two Tuesdays – Jan. 19 and 26 – at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. For details, please visit the COVID-19 Testing page on the County website, where you’ll also find information on the County’s at-home testing program.

These are trying times but we will get through them. Let’s continue to support each other and keep each other safe. Let’s continue to work together.

Brian M. Hughes

Mercer County Executive



Mercer County Prosecutor’s Detectives Arrest Trenton’s H-Block in Operation Eight-Ball

January 14, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Six-Month Investigation Yields 18 Arrests, Guns, $228,000 in Drugs

TRENTON (MERCER): Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri today announced that a six month, multi-jurisdictional investigation of narcotics distribution and violent crime in the  Mercer County area has culminated with the arrest of 18 individuals and the seizure of  approximately 1,000 grams of heroin, 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, 15 pounds of  marijuana, 11 guns, six vehicles and more than $22,000 in cash.  

“Operation Eight-Ball was an enormous investigative endeavor and as a result, many  violent offenders have been taken off of the street,” said Prosecutor Onofri. “I cannot  thank our many law enforcement partners enough for their dedication and assistance in  providing safer neighborhoods for the residents of Trenton and Mercer County.” 

“Our law enforcement challenges this year required a coordinated plan, and I’m thankful  for the city, county, state, and federal officers who stepped up to make Trenton a safer  place to live,” said Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley. “In just this operation alone,  their hard work yielded multiple firearms, high-capacity magazines, kilograms of  narcotics, and more than 15 arrests, six of which are connected to several homicides.  This multi-tiered response awaits any criminal group that seeks to plague our streets with  drugs and violence.”

“This investigation makes clear the violence associated with drug trafficking,” said Susan  A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey  Division. “Those targeted in this investigation brought violence and misery to the residents  of Mercer County. Their arrests have made the community safer, and DEA will continue  to work with our partners to pursue those who violate the law.” 

“In the spring of 2020, as the number of shootings and homicides in Trenton began  increasing at an alarming rate, we set out to expose trends and connections that might  be responsible for triggering the uptick in violence,” said Prosecutor Onofri. 

The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and  the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit, along with the Drug Enforcement  Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation,  and many state, county and local police agencies, began their hard-hitting investigation  a short time later and dubbed the job “Operation Eight-Ball,” representing the eight-ball  logo used by Trenton’s H-Block, a violent criminal street gang responsible for numerous  shootings and murders in the city. According to Prosecutor Onofri, the initial investigation  focused on the alleged drug activities of H-Block, and through informant information,  controlled buys, surveillances and intelligence, authorities were able to obtain and  execute more than 40 warrants of individuals, vehicles and locations in New Jersey and  Pennsylvania.  

On November 4, 2020, search warrants were executed and arrests were made as this  investigation progressed. On this day, an undercover officer made arrangements to  purchase a quantity of heroin from Joseph Kaite. After conducting the narcotics  transaction with the undercover detective at a gas station on North Olden Avenue in  Trenton, detectives attempted to arrest Kaite, however, he fled in his vehicle. When  detectives attempted to stop Kaite, he collided with a police vehicle causing heavy  damage to both vehicles. He then attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended after a  brief struggle. Also arrested inside the vehicle were Vincent Bowman and Zaire Jones.  Search warrants related to the investigation were subsequently executed and detectives  located 30 bricks of heroin and a shotgun. At an apartment on Beakes Street in Trenton,  detectives located evidence related to murder of Derek Colley that resulted in homicide  charges being filed against Kaite and Tabika Hale. 

The investigation continued into 2021 and last week, search warrants were executed at  locations in Trenton and Ewing, New Jersey, and Bristol and Morrisville, Pennsylvania.  Prior to the execution of these warrants, surveillance officers followed Deshawn Abner as  he traveled by cab from Bond Street in Trenton to the Extended Stay Motel on Route 1 in  West Windsor where Abner and a second individual, identified as Aziz Stroman, were

observed searching a wooded area around the hotel. After searching the area for about  30 minutes, Abner was seen retrieving a box containing 210 bricks of heroin from the  bushes in the hotel parking lot. After retrieving the package, Abner entered the Mercedes  Benz Stroman had arrived in, and the two men departed the area. Arrest teams converged  on the area and both Abner and Stroman were eventually detained after attempting to  flee. A search warrant for Stroman’s Mercedes Benz was obtained and detectives located  210 bricks of heroin on the front passenger floor. Both Abner and Stroman were charged  with first-degree narcotic offenses. 

After Abner and Stroman were taken into custody, detectives contacted officers in Pennsylvania who had an individual identified as Ricardo Moise under observation.  Through the investigation, authorities had pinpointed Moise as the supplier of heroin to  North Trenton. At that time, Moise was seen moving items out of his apartment on Beaver  Street in Bristol Township, and detectives from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the Bristol Borough  Police Department, arrested him for outstanding warrants as a result of distributing 75  bricks of heroin to an undercover officer in the spring of 2020. Search warrants were  subsequently executed at related locations. 

According to Prosecutor Onofri, the total retail value of the confiscated drugs is $228,000.  The heroin is valued at $60,000; the methamphetamine is valued at $100,000; and the  marijuana at $68,000. 

In addition to the narcotics, authorities also seized 11 guns, six vehicles and  approximately $22,000 in cash. Approximately 24 bank accounts in connection to the investigation were frozen and continue to be investigated by the Mercer County  Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit. 



As a result of this cooperative investigation, the following arrests were made with the  listed charges:  

Ricardo Moise, 31, Bristol, Pa. – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Deshawn Abner, 31, Trenton – Numerous narcotic- and weapons-related offenses

Daishawn Dickerson, 30, Trenton – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Aziz Stroman, 31, Trenton – Numerous narcotic- and weapons-related offenses

Zaire Jones, 20, Trenton – Conspiracy 

Vincent Bowman, 20, Trenton – Conspiracy 

Kashawn Batts, 33, Trenton – Numerous weapons-related offenses

Jaquane Leonard, 32, Trenton – Numerous weapons-related offenses

Joseph Kaite, 19, Trenton – Homicide, numerous narcotic and weapons offenses

Tabika Hale, 26, Trenton – Homicide and weapons offenses 

Aniyah Boone, 20, Bensalem, Pa. – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Casimer Phillips, 22, Newtonville – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Kevonte Bivens, 23, Montgomery, Alabama – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Aleque Williams-Dixon, 21, Blackwood – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Prince Attoh, 20, Trenton – Numerous narcotic-related offenses 

Additionally, information obtained during Operation Eight-Ball directly linked Tyzir Hamilton, 19, Treizon Thompson, 20, and Darnell Davis, 19, to the murders of William  Irizarry and Julius Vargas. Arrest warrants for the three defendants were obtained in  October 2020 and search warrants were also executed at several locations, which led to  the recovery of several weapons. 

Operation Eight-Ball developed over six months of investigation. It initiated with the  Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the  Mercer County Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit, and received support and resources  from 16 additional agencies including: 

  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central
  • Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bucks County District Attorney’s Office (PA)
  • Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ewing Police Department
  • Hamilton Police Department
  • Lawrence Police Department
  • Princeton Police Department
  • Robbinsville Police Department
  • Trenton Police Department
  • West Windsor Police Department
  • Bristol Borough Police Department (PA)
  • The College of New Jersey Police Department

In the interest of investigative security and pursuant to established court requirements,  the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is limited in discussing specific details regarding  the ongoing investigation and the alleged conspiracies. Despite having been charged, all  persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court  of law. 


Mayor Fried Swears In New Councilwoman Deborah Blakely

January 13, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Dave Fried presided over the swearing-in of new Township Councilwoman Deborah Blakely today inside the Municipal Public Meeting Room. Mrs. Blakely, accompanied on the dais by daughters Maggie and Brielle, was selected by Council on January 7 to fill the unexpired seat of Dan Schuberth. Her first meeting as a member of the governing body will be January 28.


BREAKING: Truck Fire On NJ Turnpike

January 12, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 6:41 am the Robbinsville Township Fire Department along with the Hamilton Township Fire Department were dispatched to a truck fire on the NJ Turnpike. The truck was fully engulfed and on the south bound side of the highway just prior to the Exit 7 A ramp. Firefighters called for additional mutual aid tankers to bring water to the scene from East Windsor and Monroe Township. Firefighting foam was also applied to bring the fire under control. Firefighters had the fire knocked down just after 8:00 am but were still on scene at the time of this report. This is a preliminary breaking news report, check back for further details.



Township Council Selects Deborah Blakely to Fill Unexpired Council Seat

January 7, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township Council members selected Deborah Blakely to fill the unexpired seat vacated by Dan Schuberth at their annual reorganization meeting Thursday.

Mrs. Blakely is 20-year resident of Robbinsville and a graduate of Trenton State College (BS) and Saint John’s University (MA). She has worked for Mercer County Special Services since 1996 as a Speech/Language Pathologist, specializing in early childhood communication disorders.

Mr. Schuberth’s resignation became effective on January 1, 2021 and has relocated his family to Washington, D.C.

Also Thursday, Mike Cipriano was elected Council president for the first time. Vince Calcagno, the longest serving Councilperson, was elected vice president for the seventh time.

Because of when that vacancy occurred, Title 40 of the NJ Statute allows Council to make a temporary appointment to the vacancy until an election can be conducted to fill the seat.  This appointment will be for approximately 11 months, until the election results in November, 2021 are certified by the Mercer County Clerk. Council had a window of 30 days to make an appointment.

The law does not require an official application process or formal interviews; it only states that the appointee be a registered voter who has lived in Robbinsville for at least one year. This process is different than in partisan governments.

In partisan governments, Council is given a choice of only three candidates from the political party of the person who vacated the seat.

In non-partisan Robbinsville, any voter who has lived in town for one year was eligible to be appointed.

In a joint statement, Council members said:

“We want to thank everyone who expressed an interest in serving the public on Council. While all the candidates to come forward have a connection to the town and a strong desire to serve, there was one with a history and a connection we felt was unparalleled. Debbie Blakely is highly respected and well known to the entire governing body and Administration, which was an important factor as well.”

Mrs. Blakely has lived in Robbinsville since 2001. She is mother to two daughters, Brielle and Maggie, who are currently enrolled in the Robbinsville School District. Widow to the late Tom Blakely, who previously served on the zoning board. Blakely Park on Meadowbrook Road is named after Tom.

Mrs. Blakely is a strong advocate for grieving children, the special needs population and an animal lover. She in an active volunteer with Ability Tree of New Jersey.

“I am very proud to that Debbie has agreed to serve as a member of our Council,” Mayor Dave Fried said. “I have known Debbie for many years. She is thoughtful, caring and highly respected in the Robbinsville community. She will be a great addition to Council. I am also very encouraged that so many residents expressed interest and were willing to serve on the governing body. We are who we are in Robbinsville because of the willingness of so many to volunteer and serve others.”

Photos and story by: Robbinsville Township


Also tonight at the Robbinsville Council Meeting:


Firefighters Save Robbinsville Home

January 1, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department and Police Department responded to Hibiscus Lane for a chimney fire just after 2:00 am. When police and firefighters arrived they found smoke and fire coming from the walls of the home near the fire place and called for an “all hands” fire sending additional units from Hamilton Township Fire Department, Hightstown Fire Department, Windsor Fire Company and Hope Fire Company of Allentown to the scene.

Firefighters pulled multiple hand lines and laddered the structure to combat the fire. Firefighters found fire in the walls around the chimney and fire was extending up the chimney wrap to the top of the chimney. Firefighters used saws and axes to open walls and the exterior chimney to extinguish the fire. The bulk of fire was quickly knocked down but took an approximately 30 minutes to fully bring the fire under control and extinguishing hot spots.

The Robbinsville Township Fire Marshal was en route to the scene to investigate the fire. No cause will be released until after the investigation is completed. No further information is available at this time.

UPDATE: NJ Turnpike Crash, One Driver Arrested For Suspicion Of DUI And Possession Of Marijuana, 2 Others Extricated Taken To Hospital

December 30, 2020

UPDATE: NJ State Police Sgt. Philip Curry from the NJSP Public Information Bureau told MidJersey.news that the crash scene was still active but was able to give some details. The accident occurred at 5:45pm at MP 57.7 southbound on the outer roadway.  It appears that it was involving three vehicles.  Two occupants from one of the vehicles needed to be extricated and were transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. Another driver was arrested for suspicion of DUI and was found to be in possession of marijuana. That is all the information available at this time.


Earlier MidJersey.news story:

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 5:45 pm, the Robbinsville and Bordentown Township Fire Departments, Robbinsville FD EMS, Capital Health Paramedics, and RWJ EMS were dispatched to the NJ Turnpike for a serious crash at 57.7 South Bound. It appears that a tractor-trailer hit two vehicles, entrapping two in one of the vehicles in the outer lanes. Bordentown and Robbinsville firefighters arrived on scene and started extricating the trapped occupants. Mutual aid was called from Hamilton Township Fire Department for additional assistance. Once extricated, Robbinsville FD EMS and RWJ EMS transported the two patients to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. NJ State Police are investigating the crash.


2 Serious Accidents On NJ Turnpike Just South Of Exit 7A

December 29, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Fire-EMS was detailed to the NJ Turnpike at 12:30 pm for an accident at Mile Marker 59.9 North Bound Outer Lanes just south of interchange 7A. Bordentown Fire and EMS was also detailed, but recalled due to the minor injuries involved. It appeared that a dump truck and a car collided where both went though a guard rail and came to rest in a ditch. Robbinsville Fire Department was also busy with a serious gas leak at the same time, so just the ambulance and Bordentown Township Fire Department responded to the crash.

Then again about 1:45 pm in another emergency call to the NJ Turnpike, this time in front of the Woodrow Wilson Service Area at Mile Marker 58.5 North Bound Outer Roadway. It appeared that a tractor-trailer with a shipping container rear ended a tractor-trailer bulk tank. It was reported the driver was thrown though the windshield and was lying on the roadway right in front of the truck. Since Robbinsville FD was still tied up with the serious gas leak, Bordentown Township Fire Department and Hamilton Township Fire Department responded to the scene. Bordentown EMS, Capital Health Paramedics, and RWJ EMS transported at least one person to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.

This breaking news report is from radio reports and on scene reporting, once official information is received from the NJ State Police Public Information Bureau the story will be updated and any corrections made.

Accident 1 at mile marker 59.9 North Bound Outer roadway:


Accident 2 at mile marker 58.5 North Bound Outer Roadway in front of the Woodrow Wilson Service Area:

Isa Court In Sharon Mews Evacuated Due To Gas Main Struck

December 29, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–An electrical contractor working on an electrical service ruptured a 2″ gas line to a residence on Isa Court around 12:30 pm, causing a natural gas leak. Robbinsville Police and Robbinsville Fire Department responded and found a large quantity of gas coming from the contractor’s excavation. Homes were evacuated due to several gas readings in several houses on the street. Police and firefighters notified PSE&G of the seriousness of the gas leak and they responded with a large crew to shut the gas off and make repairs. The PSE&G gas crew wore supplied air lines and flame proof suits to enter the hole to shut the gas off. Robbinsville firefighters stood by wearing air packs until the gas was shut down. PSE&G was able to control the gas leak in about 15 minutes after arrival.

Prior to letting residents back into their homes PSE&G will have to check all the homes to make sure that any gas that did get in dissipated. Electric service was also shut down to several homes on the court until repairs were completed.


Mercer County Health Officer Association Distribution Of Moderna Vaccine To Health Care Workers

The first Mercer County COVID-19 vaccine clinic was held in Hamilton today at Station 17

December 28, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township in collaboration with the Mercer County Health Officer Association (MCHOA) held the first COVID-19 vaccine clinic earlier today to Phase 1A healthcare workers.

In order to maximize COVID vaccination efforts, the Mercer County Health Officers Association has joined together to serve all communities within Mercer County throughout the four phases of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution. Under CDC and State health guidelines, the Moderna doses will first be distributed to healthcare workers who qualify under Phase 1A and who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 through their employer or the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care (LTC) Program administered through CVS and Walgreens.

This MCHOA is currently planning a series of COVID-19 vaccination clinics to support ongoing efforts to vaccinate healthcare workers which include emergency medical services. The MCHOA will administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations at clinics throughout Mercer County municipalities point of dispensing (POD) locations.  The clinics will be held twice a week on a rotating schedule and have the capacity to handle 500 vaccines per week.. The COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be by appointment only and subject to the availability of vaccine doses on hand or accessible within the supply chain.

“Hamilton Township is proud to partner with the Mercer County Health Officer Association in order to ensure that those on the frontlines in our fight against this virus receive the vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “The arrival of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is a continued step forward to provide protection to more of our community’s critical healthcare workforce and eventually the general adult population.”

“Vaccination is a critical component to protecting our residents,” stated Hamilton Township Health Officer Christopher Hellwig. “Working together to safeguard the citizens of Mercer County is exactly what the founding members of the MCHOA had in mind when they formed in 1972. Our vaccination clinics will continue that ideal and work to protect the public’s health particularly those that have been most impacted by COVID-19, while giving us a clear end to this pandemic.”

Local Health Departments are one piece of the puzzle to vaccinate the State goal of 70% of the adult population in 6 months. This collective effort will ensure that our residents are provided with the opportunity to receive their vaccination in a timely manner and in a safe medical setting.  COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be rolled out in phases determined by the State. The Mercer County Health Officers Association collaboration will continue to work closely with federal, state, and local partners.