Township Committee meeting turns civics lesson 

The Hopewell Township Committee got a healthy dose of girl energy Monday when Brownie Troop 70498 turned up to lead the pledge of allegiance.

The troop of thirteen* girls from Bear Tavern Elementary School are working on the civic engagement requirement for the Democracy for Brownies badge, according to troop leader Christa Eastgate, whose daughter, Hattie, is in the troop. 

The troop also will meet Friday with committee member David Chait, whose daughter, Julia, is a member of the troop as well, in order  to complete the requirements for the badge.

The girls took part in an impromptu quiz by Committee members prior to the meeting during which they assessed the Township size as 50 square miles (it’s just over 58 square miles); the Township population at about 70,000 (it’s just under 18,000, not including the boroughs); and knew that the Township is famous as the place in New Jersey where Washington crossed the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War.

Asked what they thought the Township budget might be, the girls drew the chuckles of some Committee members by guessing “a million billion trillion dollars.” It’s actually just under $26 million.

Township Committee members thanked the troop for their enthusiasm and interest. “This is what it takes to make our Democracy live and viable,” member Kevin Kuchinski said.

In addition to the civics lesson, the girls got treat bags and squishmallows.

During the brief meeting that followed, the Township Committee postponed a public hearing on a revision of the ordinance governing retail cannabis operations. 

The ordinance must be reviewed by the Planning Board before the Township Committee can hold a second reading and enact its provisions. The Planning Board postponed a meeting earlier this month when it was scheduled to review the proposal and will take it up at its meeting December 8. The final public hearing was rescheduled for the December 19 Township Committee meeting.

In other business the Township Committee heard reports that:

  • The election results were formally certified by Mercer County on November 26. Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning and Committee member Chait were re-elected in voting on November 8.
  • The last day for leaf collection in the Township will be December 11. Rather than collecting leaves by zone, the Department of Public Works will pick leaves up across the Township as needed.
  • The Police Department now has an officer trained and certified to do child car seat safety checks. Because of the lack of training and personnel changes, the Department had been unable to conduct the checks in previous months.
  • The Lawrence Hopewell Trail earlier this month hired its first executive director, Lisa Serieyssol, an expert in bike and pedestrian safety and coordinator for the Safe Routes to School in Mercer and Ocean counties, a part of the NJ Street Smart program. Also, former Hopewell Township Deputy Mayor David Sandahl and John Murray, recently retired from Bristol Myers Squibb, will take over as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the LHT board on Jan 1, following the retirements of co-presidents Eleanor Horne and Becky Taylor.

*Edited 12/1 at 10:15am to correct the number of troop members from 10 to 13. Thanks to Troop Leader Christa Eastgate for pointing it out!

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