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While road conditions postponed the Hopewell Township tree lighting, the Township was lit by the 18th annual Womanspace Communities of Light event Monday evening. Members of the Hopewell Township Committee and Hopewell Township Police Department, along with Township Police Chief Lance Maloney, and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Tracey McKeown lit luminaries as a symbol of hope and solidarity for those affected by domestic and sexual violence in our community. Matthew Rhodes, Womanspace, board of director vice president, and Lauren Nazarian, director of development, were also in attendance and spoke on behalf of the organization. Communities of Light events were held simultaneously in municipalities throughout Mercer County.

Committee member Julie Blake at event on Monday evening (Photo by Renata Barnes)

At the luminary event and the subsequent Committee meeting, Committee member Julie Blake read a proclamation in support of the Communities of Light program, and spoke high praises of Chief Maloney who served as honorary chair of the event this year. 

At the Hopewell Township Committee meeting, which immediately followed the Womanspace event, long-time Committee member John Hart, who recently lost reelection, announced that that meeting would be his last and took the opportunity to reminisce about his past Township successes and counsel the Committee about his position on several current issues.

“This is going to be my last meeting and I thought I’d thank the Committee for serving with me and sitting with me on the planning board or this capacity for 26 years and I’ve enjoyed it,” began Hart during Committee reports.

Hart urged the Committee to make haste in providing a permanent facility solution for current Township senior citizens, and also spoke about his passion and commitment to open space which began with the preservation of his farm in the Township and inspired his interest in local government. Hart also shared that his support for local agriculture will continue in his new role as a member of the Mercer County Board of Agriculture.

“It has been a pleasure serving with you and I want to thank you personally as a member of the Township… for being a such a good leader,” said Blake who applauded Hart’s boots-on-the-ground approach.

Mayor McLaughlin also implored Hart to attend the December 16 meeting, hinting that “something” was planned for him and thanked him for his service. 

“Everyone up here knows that it means to be a public servant and expose yourself to being the person that the public approaches in the grocery story and it takes a certain type. It is a testament to how much you care about your hometown. Thank you very much for your years of service and I anticipate that you will continue to keep us apprised of what you know,” McLaughlin remarked. 

Mayor McLaughlin also spoke about Hart’s local business Rosedale Mills describing it as“an institution in the community not just for the products to be bought there but as a community meeting place.”

Public comment was limited to one round due to weather conditions. Residents in attendance spoke about affordable housing objections. One resident asked the Township, when scheduling 2020 meeting, to consider the other local meetings in particular the School Board.

The Hopewell Township tree lighting ceremony has been postponed until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 6pm. 

The next Hopewell Township Committee meeting is on Monday, December 16, 2019 at 7pm. The Township Committee also will meet to discuss budget planning on the December 9 at 7 pm, immediately following the tree lighting.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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