The Hopewell Township Committee tackled some big subjects at its meeting Monday January 11, 2021, starting with the Township’s response to last week’s events at the Capitol.
“Wednesday’s unlawful attack on the United States Capitol is a violent affront to the Constitution and to democracy. Despite the best efforts of a mob, however, the Congress of the United States has certified the electoral votes and confirmed the will of the American people,” read Committee member Michael Ruger into the record. For the full text, click here.
The Committee heard presentations by Township Health Director Dawn Marling and Police Director Robert Karmazin. Both will offer presentations again in two weeks. You can send questions to Township Clerk Laurie Gompf in advance here.
Marling stated that the Township is “seeing the post-holiday surge” of COVID with 43 new cases last week, bringing the Township’s total case to 453 cases since the pandemic began. Seventy percent of new cases have occurred since November 1. She added that Capital Health is expecting that hospitalizations will peak in the next couple of weeks.
“Many people don’t know where they contracted COVID,” Marling warned. “Limit interactions with those outside the household, practice social distancing, and stay home if you’re sick. We really have to pretend we have the restrictions we had in the spring.”
“You have to assume everyone is exposed. It’s one of the worst incidianary parts of this disease,” said Mayor Julie Blake.
Marling reported that there is a newly developed cluster of cases at the Mercer County Correction Center in Hopewell Township, “Right now we have a situation newly brought to my attention at the jail about a group of COVID positive inmates who are all in the same living quarters.”
In vaccination news, Marling said that the State is moving through phases and there is no estimate yet for 1b, a group that includes seniors 75+ and front-line essential workers. Marling stated that, locally, there will be at least one large-scale vaccination site as well as smaller sites. (NOTE: for updated NJ vaccine information, click here.)
The Township will post vaccine updates on its website and social media and urges residents to sign-up on www.covidvaccine.nj.gov, which identifies your category, sends you updates, and lets you know when you can schedule appointments.
Police Director Robert Karmazin presented a current snapshot of the Police Department in the first of two planned public updates.
Karmazin, in his review of the HTPD, described the Department as an “ethical, progressive, and professional organization” a description he said was shared by the consultant was brought in to assess the PD. “[The consultant] assessed that the Department has the highest standards in policing,” said Karmazin.
Karmazin presented 2020 traffic data, including racial breakdown, and 2020 use of force statistics. See HTPD website for information. He also shared numerous PD accomplishments including accreditation in 2017, instituting body worn cameras also in 2017, providing publicly available traffic stop and use of force data as of 2020, and partnership with the citizens equity advisory committee, which was convened in 2020.
Upcoming, the County will be soliciting input from the community regarding the futures of Mine Road Bridge and the Moores Station Quarry. With regard to the Mine Road Bridge, Blake urges residents to participate in the upcoming public meeting scheduled for January 27meeting “if they have an opinion about whether the road will be open or not.” Mark Kateryniak, Township community development director and engineer, shared that the County is working on data-gathering and “Hopewell will be an integral part of assisting the County with this process” suggesting that the Township form a subcommittee to coordinate communication between Township and County. For more about the Moores Station Quarry, click here.
Christmas trees must be placed curbside no later than January 15, 2021, reminded Ruger, who said that the trees are sent to the Jersey shore to be used to restore dunes. Click here for tree pick-up info.
The next Hopewell Township Committee meeting will be held on Monday, January 25 at 6pm. For agenda and zoom details, please see the Hopewell Township website.