There was lots of news in East Windsor over the course of 2016. And the year started off with in full force with East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov taking the oath 0f office for the 21st consecutive year. But there was also tragedy to start off the new year as well as East Windsor had domestic violence incident that resulted in a murder charge against an East Windsor woman.

And so it began . . . .

January

New Year’s Day marked the beginning of Janice Mironov’s 21st consecutive year as mayor as Township Council members unanimously re-elected her to the position.

The morning meeting took place Jan. 1 at the East Windsor Township Senior Center, which was filled with local residents as well as dignitaries from around the state.

Rabbi Jay Kornsgold, of the Beth El Synagogue, led the ceremony with an invocation. Boy Scout Troop 59 presented the colors and led the public in the Pledge of Allegiance. East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 member Harvey Bailey sang the national anthem.

Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello read the certificate of election for Mayor Mironov and council members Marc Lippman, Peter Yeager and John Zoller, who won their bids for re-election in November.

New Jersey State Senator Linda Greenstein, of the 14th District, administered the oath of office to Mayor Mironov.

With the new year comes some changes in the East Windsor Regional School District as one local principal has resigned to take a new job.

Ethel McKnight School Principal Sylvia Zircher submitted her resignation just before winter break. She has accepted a new position as Director of Curriculum and Instruction K-12 at Hamilton Township Public Schools. The district is currently advertising the position in a variety of print publications and professional websites.

Bruce Cowper, a member of East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company 2, was singled out for earning the highest academic score – of all students – in the Firefighter I course held at the Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center.

He accepted an award for his outstanding achievement at a recent meeting of the County Fire Chief’s Association.

A 73-year-old woman was beaten to death, and police are searching for a family member who is missing and who may have information about the incident, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Safia Diwan, 73, was found dead in a front office in a home on Mozart Court shortly after 7:30 p.m., said a spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Police discovered the body after responding to a 911 call.

The preliminary assessment of her injury suggests she was bludgeoned, and an autopsy was scheduled. There was no sign of forced entry to the home, the spokeswoman said.

Police are attempting to locate Tasneem Diwan, 45, who lives in the house and is missing.

Council approved a resolution authorizing an interlocal services agreement for dispatch communication services with Hightstown Borough during its meeting.

“The agreement is a culmination of discussions of resolutions between the Township of East Windsor and the Borough of Hightstown, which underscores the purpose of a shared service agreement, which is to enter into terms that are beneficial for both of the parties that are in the agreement,” said Mayor Janice Mironov.

She said that for East Windsor Township, the deal would provide an opportunity to underwrite costs of its dispatch services as well as to allow additional revenue to be paid for the benefit of the township in its budget.

“Clearly Hightstown, which has already voted on this agreement, believes that as they should, that there is a benefit to Hightstown Borough and us providing dispatch services for them for a cost effective matter,” she said.

Hightstown council approved its resolution in a 4-2 vote on Jan. 19. Council members Seth Kurs and Susan Bluth voted no due to concerns over language in the resolution, as previously reported.

According to the agreement, it was entered into on Jan. 27.

The Township Council recognized the 2015 East Windsor Township Employees of the Year during its council meeting.

Mayor Janice Mironov presented the three employees - Margaret Miloscia, executive assistant to the township manager’s office; Peter Genthe, assistant general foreman in public works; and Police Sergeant Eric Lion with proclamations on Jan. 26.

An East Windsor woman has admitted to authorities her involvement in killing her mother-in-law inside their home on Mozart Court in January, a county prosecutor said in court.

Assistant Mercer County Prosecutor Skylar Weissman, chief of the homicide unit, told a Superior Court judge that Tasneem Diwan allegedly used an “unknown object” to strike Safia Diwan numerous times on Jan. 26. Authorities have said that Safia Diwan, 73, died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Mr. Weissman did not specify a motive for the homicide, although he added that Safia Diwan was found in the house by her son, Nauman, also the husband of Tasneem Diwan, lying in a “pool of blood.” Mr. Weissman said Mr. Diwan previously had tried to call his mother and his wife multiple times but was not able to reach either woman.

Tasneem Diwan went on the run for a few days after the homicide, and was later found at the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City on Jan. 29, authorities have said. She was brought back to Mercer County, where she has been charged with murder and weapons offenses.

February

The number of incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying remained the same for the first three months of this school year as they were last year according to data released at the East Windsor Regional School District Board of Education meeting Feb. 8.

According to Superintendent Dr. Richard Katz, the district is required to report on violence, vandalism and harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) data. A review of the statistics for the three-month period of September through December of the current school year revealed 27 reported acts that would be considered as violence, vandalism, substance abuse and HIB across all the district schools.

“That is actually the exact same number that we had at this point last year, although it breaks down a little bit differently,” said Dr. Katz.

There were a total of eight substantiated incidents that could be considered HIB so far this school year.

“That compares to 13 last year in the same period, so there are slightly fewer cases, which is obviously a good thing,” he said.

Since there have only been those eight cases thus far, Dr. Katz said it is difficult to find any kind of pattern of HIB within the district.

Local Meadow Lakes resident Judith Arnold said her jaw dropped when she was named a recipient of the Mercer County Woman of Achievement Award.

“I was extremely awed by this notification and what it represented,” said Ms. Arnold, who didn’t know she was nominated for the award until she received a letter from the county in January. “ To me, it’s really the epitome of what I hope I can be in the community and achieve making a difference in peoples lives.”

The Woman of Achievement Award was established to honor a Mercer County resident who volunteers time to make the county a better place to live, raise a family and work, according to the Mercer County website.

Claire Walton nominated Ms. Arnold, who has been volunteering in the community for more than 40 years.

An East Windsor man was sentenced to 255 months in prison for transporting an underage boy across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.

Jayme Shannon, 53 of East Windsor, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to an information charging him with interstate transportation of a minor for illicit purposes and doing so while being a registered sex offender. Judge Salas imposed the sentence Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Newark federal court.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court, in September 2013, Shannon met a 15-year-old boy in the Internet chat room“Chatavenue.com,” and continued to communicate with the victim in September and October 2013.

Former Rutgers University and NFL quarterback Ray Lucas has had 19 concussions. That he knows about. And sports-related concussions are a hot topic right now.

The East Windsor Hightstown Youth Sports Parents Group realizes that sports-related concussions are an important topic, particularly among youth sports parents, and it wants to take advantage of the opportunity to educate and inform.

So on Feb. 24, the EWHYSPG sponsored a youth sports panel discussion titled “Concussions & Silent Injuries” at the Erik B. Hanson Field House at the Peddie School, 155 Etra Road, in Hightstown.

“Concussions and silent injuries are something that everybody’s been talking about, from the professional ranks all the way down to youth sports,” said East Windsor resident Dan Klim, a member of the EWHYSPG and an organizer of the event. “What we’re trying to put forth is factual information from top health-care experts. This in an opportunity for parents to be able to get some information about concussions and silent injures, what to look for, how they should be treated.”

Among the panelists will be Mr. Lucas, who will detail his journey through college and the National Football League and present an overview of what happens when concussions are undiagnosed or untreated and how he must now manage his condition.

Joining Mr. Lucas on the panel was Dr. Vincent K. McInerney, assistant dean, professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and director of sports medicine at Seton Hall University; Dr. John Gallucci, president of JAG Physical Therapy and medical coordinator for Major League Soccer; and Jose Roca, head athletic trainer at the Peddie School.

The panel duscussed treating silent injuries on and off the field, concussion awareness and what youth sports parents need to know when their child experiences a concussion or head injury. A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion.

The East Windsor Regional School District Board of Education appointed two candidates to its leadership team. At its Feb. 8 meeting, the board named Laura Vetere to serve as interim principal of Ethel McKnight Elementary School until a permanent replacement is found.

According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Richard Katz, Ms. Vetere has been in education for 34 years, including as elementary principal and director of curriculum and instruction in Millstone.

After her retirement in 2014, Ms. Vetere was elementary interim principal in Little Egg Harbor last year.

The board also appointed Patricia “Pat” Resnyk as the next transportation supervisor.

Business administrator and doard Secretary Paul Todd said that Ms. Resnyk is coming from Freehold Regional High School District, which is a large operation.

March

It was time to turn the page.

Two longtime fixtures of the Twin Rivers Library, Ina Heiman and Nancy Demme, retired last week.

The library hosted a program called “Reception: Celebrating Over 40 Years of Service” at the Mercer County Library’s Twin Rivers branch to honor Ms. Heiman on March 31, the day that she officially retired. Family, friends, library friends, East Windsor Township Mercer County Library Commission representative Phyllis Anker and Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Ann Cannon came out to say their goodbyes and pay tribute.

“Ina is our longest tenured employee in the entire library system, which is one of the only five-star library systems in New Jersey,” said Twin Rivers Library Branch Manager Jeanne Murray. “So today is a happy and sad occasion. We are happy for Ina for all that she is going to experience in her new adventures, but we’re really sad that she is going.”

An East Windsor man was among 16 people arrested in “Operation Safeguard,” a joint operation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations that targeted offenders who used an online file-sharing network to download and distribute child pornography, including videos of young children being raped.

All 16 defendants were charged with second-degree distribution of child pornography, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, and third-degree possession of child pornography, which carries a sentence of three to five years in prison. The arrests were made between Feb. 10 and March 31.

Christian Martinez-Gonzalez, 34, of East Windsor, was arrested and charged March 7. His bail was set at $50,000.

The Township Council unanimously approved a resolution to amend its contract with Robert Wood Johnson Health Network, Inc., Mobile Health Service to expand EMS services to cover weekends.

In a 6-0 vote at its March 22 meeting, the council approved resolution 2016-063. Council member Marc Lippman was absent.

According to the resolution, on May 5, 2015, by Resolution R2015-89, the East Windsor Township Council approved a five-year contract with Robert Wood Johnson Health Network, Inc., Mobile Health Service for an initial three-year term and option for two one-year renewal terms, with the contract beginning June 1, 2015 for daytime EMS services an amount not to exceed $102,000 over five years.

The proposal from RWJ included a proposal to provide additional EMS services to the township as needed by the township, according to the resolution.

The township desires to amend the current contract to expand EMS services to cover weekends, from 7 p.m. Fridays through 5 a.m. Mondays, according to the resolution.

Homebound seniors and residents had their meals delivered by Mayor Janice Mironov as part of the 14th annual “March for Meals,” sponsored by Meals on Wheels of Mercer County.

Meals on Wheels of Mercer County kicked off its annual program on March 1, part of a monthlong and nationwide campaign to raise public awareness of hunger among seniors.

This event is part of March for Meals’ special “Community Champions Week” and was held March 21-March 25. Meals on Wheels programs from across the country invited elected officials, local celebrities and other prominent figures to deliver meals, speak out for seniors and raise awareness for the power of Meals on Wheels.

The Township Council introduced its 2016 municipal budget at $21.5 million, which calls for a no increase in the municipal tax rate for the third year in a row.

According to Mayor Janice Mironov, that means the same municipal tax rate has existed for the past four years.

Mayor Mironov said the proposed budget maintains all existing levels of service.

The tax rate for 2016 would be 43 cents per $100 of assessed value. The average township household, with homes assessed at $258,052, would see a municipal tax bill of about $1,120. The average township household in 2015, homes were assessed at $258,351 and were seeing a municipal tax bill of about $1,115.

The 2016 budget is proposed at $21,552,312.

The Township Council unanimously passed a resolution dissolving its township communication dispatch services and awarded an agreement to IXP Corporation, despite pleas from dispatchers to keep their jobs during its regular meeting.

Mayor Janice Mironov adjusted the format of the meeting and moved the one discussion item from its usual place due to the large number dispatchers, police officers, family, friends, union representative and supporters gathered at the back of the room during the March 8 meeting.

The Evaluation Committee unanimously recommended that the mayor and council award the contract to provide dispatch communication services to East Windsor Township and Hightstown Borough pursuant to the approved shared services agreement to IXP Corporation.

An 18-year-old senior at Notre Dame High School in Lawrence Township was killed when he was struck by a train that was en route from one maintenance yard to another, according to a New Jersey Transit spokeswoman.

Jacob St. Phard, 18, of East Windsor Township, was struck by the train just west of the Hamilton Township train station at 8:20 p.m., the spokeswoman said. The train was traveling west from the Meadows maintenance complex facility in Kearny to the Morrisville maintenance yard in Pennsylvania.

There were no passengers on the train and none of the three crew members were injured.

April

The Cake Walk Indian Bakery & Restaurant opened its second store with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 25.

The event was attended by Mayor Janice Mironov, Deputy Mayor Peter Yeager, and council members Alan Rosenberg and John Zoller in addition to family, friends and employees of the Cake Walk Indian Bakery & Restaurant.

The new restaurant, owned by Pawan Kumar Lanka, is located in the Carduner Center at the northwest corner of Route 571 and Route 130 next to the new Verizon store. Mr. Lanka ran a similar business in India and brought the idea to the United States eight years ago and opened a store in Plainsboro. He is now are offering franchise opportunities.

For its commitment to community forestry, East Windsor Township has been named a Tree City USA community for 2015 by The National Arbor Day Foundation.

It is the 16th time that East Windsor has earned the designation by meeting the four standards set by the Arbor Day Foundation: having a tree board or department; a tree-care ordinance; a comprehensive community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita; and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.

“Once Upon A Time” had a happy ending, according to Better Beginnings Child Development Center Executive Director Liz Horta.

The annual Mayors’ Shining Star Gala for Better Beginnings Childhood Development Center, with a theme this year of “Once Upon A Time,” was indeed an evening of celebration.

East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov and Hightstown Mayor Larry Quattrone hosted the annual gala April 9. Council member Perry Shapiro filled in for Mayor Mironov, who was unable to attend the event.

The Lifetime Achiever recipients were Larry Blake, Pete Bussone and Kerri Peterson; Individual Award recipients were Lee Hutchinson and Denise Daniels; Organization Award recipient was the Rocky Brook Garden Club; Business Award recipient was Dairy Queen; and the Youth Award recipient was East Windsor/Hightstown Boy Scouts Troops 59, 5700 and 6284.

May

Milly K. Brown was presented with the 2016 “Sylvia Weiss Senior Citizen Award for Outstanding Service as a Volunteer” at the May 17 East Windsor Township Council meeting.

Ms. Brown, an East Windsor resident since 1970, has been involved in many area organizations, including: Business and Professional Women; NAACP; Mercer County Office on Aging; East Windsor Local Assistance Board, as well as the First Presbyterian Church of Hightstown, where she has been involved in many types of service over the past 33 years and is an ordained deacon. Ms. Brown has also been a 25-year volunteer with the AARP, was a flood watch coordinator, and was the recipient of the 2014 AARP Andreas Award.

Township council members, along with family and friends, gathered to honor former council member Hector Duke with the unveiling of a stone in his honor and the planting of Blossoming Kwanza Cherry tree.

“It’s a couple weeks off from Arbor Day, but it’s always a good time to plant a tree for such an important and significant purpose as we are doing here today,” said Mayor Janice Mironov.

Participants gathered at the entrance to the Etra Lake Park Pathway May 16 to celebrate the life of Mr. Duke, who died Dec. 3, 2015, at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, PA at the age of 81.

The tree planted at the Etra Lake Pathway was important to the Duke family.

“It’s very close to the home front,” said the mayor. “Lots of his friends make regular use of the pathway. It stands here as part of the gateway to the pathway is very special and a significant way to remember Hector by all of us.

East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Green Team members were presented with the Sustainable Jersey Silver Level Certification award at the May 17 council meeting by Sustainable Jersey Associate Director Renee Haider.

Sustainable Jersey is a certification program for municipalities that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. Launched in 2009, Sustainable Jersey is a 100 percent voluntary certification program for municipalities in New Jersey.

East Windsor, one of only 33 Silver Level Certified towns statewide, was approved for Silver Level Sustainable Jersey Certification with 34 actions in 14 categories for a total of 355 points.

The township earned silver certification action points for many programs and actions undertaken by Mayor Mironov and council members. Among those were the creation of a farmland preservation plan; development of an open space plan; inventory and upgrade of municipal buildings for energy efficiency; community recycling/paper shredding events; business recognition programs; the “Cut it and Leave it” program; the Backyard Composting program; a tree protection ordinance; an environmental assessment ordinance; a sustainable land use commitment; a green building policy; and community outreach programs.

Timothy J. Aveni, of East Windsor and Hightstown High School, has been awarded a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship. The announcement was made Wednesday, May 11.

He is among the 2,500 Merit Scholar designees chosen from more than 15,000 finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship program competition.

The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

Timothy plans a career field of computer science.

Immediate Care Medical Walk-in of East Windsor marked its expansion into Mercer County with a grand opening on Monday, May 23, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 25.

East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov and several local and state officials are scheduled to attend the ribbon-cutting. Immediate Care’s staff and physicians will be on site to answer questions and conduct tours of the facility, which is at 319 Route 130 North in the East Windsor Town Center Plaza.

There were some tense moments for a Twin Rivers homeowner as firefighters quickly doused an out-of-control grill fire, but not before flames rose 15 feet into the air.

Firefighters from East Windsor Vol. Fire Co. 2 and Hightstown Engine Co. 1 responded to the frantic call that briefly threatened the home on Nettleton Drive.

“You have to keep an eye on barbecue grills at all times,” said East Windsor Co. 2 Chief Steve Genthe. “Flare-ups happen all the time, especially due to dripping grease and fat, which actually serve as an accelerant.”

June

After playing from behind the entire game, as they have in many past games, the East Windsor Blue Demons did it one more time.

Down 7-2 at one point, the Blue Demons scored 10 runs on stolen bases, two walks, a few hits, and a bases clearing double to deep centerfield to take their third consecutive Central West Division Championship with a 12-8 win over The Assault from Levittown, PA.

Thee larger than normal crowd, including parents, relatives, friends, the 10U Demons players, and coaches from the local organizations were there to cheer on the team.

Ground was broken on a major expansion project by pharmaceutical company Hovione, which it expects will add approximately 60 new jobs to its current 50-person workforce.

Located at 40 Lake Drive in the vicinity of East Windsor New Jersey Turnpike exit 8, the expansion will add an additional 28,000 square feet to the existing 24,000 square-foot facility. It will allow for a new commercial spray dryer unit to complement the company’s existing pilot unit, which will be specifically designed to handle intermediate drug products.

In addition, the expansion will more than double the drug substance capacity at the site to support the needs of the current and future customer base. The overall investment is part of the company’s strategy to increase its global development and commercial capacity to meet the increasing demands of Hovione’s customers.

The company anticipates the expanded facility to be fully operational by mid-2017.

July

The 4th annual Latino Festival of Hightstown/East Windsor was held July 30 at the Rocky Brook Park in Hightstown.

This multicultural community celebration showcased music and dance, art and crafts displays, children’s games, and food from popular area restaurants.

“We are excited to be able to bring together such a wonderful group of Latino artists to share their traditions, creativity and passion with our community,” Dr. Carlos Fernandez, director for the Rutgers University Center for Latino Arts and Culture and member of the organizing committee.

The festival brought together artists and ensembles from across New Jersey and the Tri-State Area. It will feature live folkloric and popular music and dance representing traditions from diverse newcomer and longstanding Latino communities in our region, including those originating in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Puerto Rico.

Wolde A. Woubneh, Ed.D., of East Windsor, professor for Kean University’s School of Mathematics, received Kean’s Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Service by Faculty.

Kean President Dr. Dawood Farahi bestowed the awards to five university employees during a reception on June 23 in recognition of their exceptional contributions in teaching, service and scholarship.

During Dr. Woubneh’s tenure as the coordinator of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program at Kean, student participation has increased from 10 students in 2009 to 367 in 2016. Supported by the National Science Foundation, Kean’s LSAMP program promotes undergraduate research in biology, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, environmental sciences, mathematics, statistics and architecture.

For a few hours, the green fields at Etra Lake Park were transformed into a sea of red, white, and blue as residents from East Windsor and neighboring towns came out to celebrate our nation’s independence.

An impressive sight, virtually everyone in the park stood in unison to pay tribute, as Natalie Megules sang her beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. The sister of the trumpet player, Natalie is also the daughter of the band leader of Trenton Brass Quintet Plus One.

Many in attendance have been coming to this event for years, including the Simon family from East Windsor, represented by three generations, Susan and John Simon, their daughter Wendy Habeski, and granddaughter Maddie Habeski.

August

Sylvia Weiss and her granddaughter Marci Meixler took a lot of walks together. During those walks, they would inevitably stop and chat with people along the way.

“She knew everyone and everyone liked her,” said Ms. Meixler. “I think she was such a pillar in the community because she was involved in so many activities and had made such a large contribution. She saw a need and filled it and her legacy remains in the many people who are continuing to benefit from her forward-thinking actions and ability to get things done.”

Getting things done. That’s what Sylvia Weiss did for her communities of East Windsor and Hightstown.

Ms. Weiss died Aug. 7 at the age of 101, and family, friends and colleagues spent some time remembering what she meant to her family and her communities.

She volunteered for everything, it seemed, including the PTA of her children’s school, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Hadassah, the League of Women Voters, and more recently, at Better Beginnings in Hightstown.

Ms. Weiss initiated and developed East Windsor’s Senior Citizen program, was an East Windsor Township Council member, chairwoman of the East Windsor Township Commission on Aging, and a long-time national board member of Elder Hostel (now Road Scholar).

In recognition of her groundbreaking work that was a model for senior citizen programs throughout New Jersey, East Windsor established an award in her name called “The Sylvia Weiss Senior Citizen Award for Outstanding Service as a Volunteer,” given annually to a senior citizen who has exhibited outstanding service through volunteerism to the community by way of schools, religious institutions, service organizations or directly to the public.

Ask Joseph Harvie’s friends what they remember most about him and they’ll say it was his infectious laugh, his love of music, his tenacity as a reporter, his empathy and most of all — his humility.

The 36-year-old former reporter for The South Brunswick Post and The Cranbury Press, who was also a dedicated bicyclist, died Saturday after the bicycle he was riding was struck by a car on Route 33/Mercer Street at Airport Road in East Windsor Township, according to published reports. The accident occurred around noon.

Mr. Harvie and the motorist were both traveling south on Route 33/Mercer Street when Mr. Harvie attempted to make a left turn onto Airport Road and was struck by the car, driven by 64-year-old Jake Hopfinger of Hightstown. He was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton Township, where he died several hours later.

Mr. Harvie, who grew up in Monroe Township and graduated from Monroe Township High School, had served as the township’s public information officer for the past nine years. He worked as a staff writer for The South Brunswick Post and The Cranbury Press from 2003 to 2007.

East Windsor Township launched phase three of “Bike at Night – Use a Light,” a multi-month bicycle safety initiative that will continue through Friday Sept. 9.

During this phase, which started Aug. 2, the township will be distributing at no cost to East Windsor residents the required pair of bike lights for the front and rear of the bicycle, along with safety information literature, daily through the Police/Court Building at 80 One Mile Road.

New Jersey law and municipal ordinance require that bicycles be equipped with a white light on the front and a red light on the rear when in use during nighttime hours.

The East Windsor Township 2015 Business Awards were presented to East Windsor Bowl and Recreation Center, Scotto’s Pizza and Restaurant, and RISE: A Community Service Partnership.

The purpose of the annual township awards program is to recognize local businesses that have made special efforts to improve or contribute to the community. The categories of township award recognition are Business Beautification, Community Service, and Community Enhancement.

September

Let’s get ready to have the stomachs grummmmmmmble!

It was a heavyweight championship bout: the top-ranked eater in the world, Joey Chestnut, against the young upstart from East Windsor, Carmen “The Mutiny” Cincotti, currently ranked fourth by Major League Eating, the organization that sanctions these types of events.

The tale of the tape: The Trenton Thunder World Famous Case’s Pork Roll Eating Championship Sept. 24 at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton.

But in the end, the champ proved to be too much. The Mutiny came up three pork roll sandwiches short. The judges’ scorecards had Mr. Chestnut downing 43 pork roll sandwiches with Mr. Cincotti right on his heels consuming 40 pork roll sandwiches. The third place finisher ate only 31 pork roll sandwiches, so it was a two-man bout from the get-go.

The East Windsor Regional School District board of education recognized six staff members for 25 years of service at the board’s Sept. 26 meeting.

Each of the staff members has served the district in various capacities since 1991. The presentations were made by Assistant Superintendent Erin Servillo, and Superintendent Richard Katz. Staff were also presented with certificates from their association - Lori Shupel for EWEA and Jim Scarpetti for EWRSSA.

Among those recognized were Linda Behrens, Perry L. Drew School; Doris Grelis, Hightstown High School; Paul Hewins, Buildings and Grounds; Elmer Reed, Building and Grounds; Linda Scheman, Community Services; and Jack Wilson, Buildings and Grounds. 

Vicki Mack’s classmates threatened to have her lead them in a cheer at their class reunion. After all, Ms. Mack had been captain of the varsity cheerleading team at Hightstown High School her senior year.

But she put a stop to all that cheerleading talk, and quickly.

“I said, after 50 years, forget that!” said Ms. Mack, a Cranbury native.

That was only one of memorable and lighthearted exchanges during the 50th reunion weekend of the Hightstown High School Class of 1966, held Sept. 9-11.The class has the distinction of being the first graduating class from what was then the new Hightstown High School.

What is now Grace N. Rogers Elementary School on Stockton Street in Hightstown was the high school for many from that era. Construction on the new high school began in the early 1960s and was completed in the fall of 1965.

When students — who came from Hightstown, East Windsor, Cranbury and Monroe Township then — came back from Christmas break in January 1966, they were in a brand new school.

East Windsor Township held a wreath-laying ceremony to remember and honor the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The event, which was open to the public, was held at the existing 9/11 Memorial at the EWT Municipal Building grounds.

The EWT 9/11 Memorial was established 30 days after the coordinated terrorist attacks on New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania took place on Sept. 11, 2001. That tragic day, six EWT residents – Lorraine Bay, Colleen Barkow, Debbie Bellows, Anil Bharvaney, Neil Lai and Ruth Lapin – lost their lives alongside many others throughout the course of that day’s events.

Participants in the ceremony included Mayor Janice Mironov and elected officials; East Windsor Township Police Department; East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1; East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company, No. 2; East Windsor Township Rescue Squad, District 1; East Windsor Township E.M.S., No. 2; school district representatives; local boy scout troops; community clergy and others.

October

East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 hosted its annual Halloween party at the firehouse on Twin Rivers Drive Oct. 29. Families from all around the community came dressed in their Halloween costumes and even had the opportunity to see the fireman in action when a fire call came in during the party.

With fall upon us, there was a little chill in the air, but that didn’t stop children and parents alike from waiting on line to ride the fire truck and the hay rides. When they weren’t outside, families were inside having a great time and dancing while the DJ kept the party moving. Children were running around, admiring each other’s costumes and filling up on popcorn, hot dogs and of course, Halloween candy.

Fire Company President Benjamin Thornton said that the Halloween party does take a lot of time and effort to put together for the members, but that the members understand it is a community event that people look forward to every year.

The Hightstown-East Windsor Historical Society 2016 House Tour “Step Back in Time” held Oct. 23 drew an attendance of nearly 300 visitors. This year’s event raised around $6,000 from tickets sold and paid advertisements from local merchants. The tour included seven historic homes dating back to the 1800s.

“Thanks to all who attended and volunteered, but a special thanks to our seven residents who opened their lovely homes for our enjoyment,” said Cappy Stults, historical society president.

House Tour Chairwomen Shirley Olsen and Robin Olsen believed several important factors helped with the success of the event, including the seven homes on the tour, perfect weather and the growing popularity of Hightstown as an attractive town to visit and live.

An East Windsor woman who has battled mental health issues pleaded not guilty to killing her mother-in-law inside their home on Mozart Court in January.

Tasneem Diwan stood at the defense table inside a state courtroom in Trenton for her arraignment on murder and two weapons offenses, the charges contained in a three-count indictment handed up Oct.14. The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office has alleged that on Jan. 26, she used an “unknown” object to repeatedly beat 73-year-old Safia Diwan on the head, with an autopsy determining the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

The Prosecutor’s Office declined to disclose what the motive was for the murder or the object that Ms. Diwan allegedly had used. At a prior court appearance for Ms. Diwan in February, the Prosecutor’s Office indicated that she had implicated herself.

The case is at the very early stages of its progression. But Ms. Diwan, 46, faces the prospect of a long prison term.

East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov, council members Denise Daniels and John Zoller, along with representatives of Trammell Crow and CBRE, recently helped break ground on the Gateway Twin Rivers project, a 410,300-square-foot Class A distribution facility.

The new facility, to be constructed on 28 acres at 159 Milford Road, directly across from Conair Corp. and just off the recently relocated and expanded New Jersey Turnpike East Windsor Interchange 8, will house a state-of-the-art warehousing and distribution center equipped with the latest in industrial features.

Dr. Christine Ibrahim is the new medical director of the Immediate Care Medical Walk-In of East Windsor.

Dr. Ibrahim brings years of experience in both family practice and urgent care to her new position. Over the past four years, Dr. Ibrahim has practiced as an attending physician with Integrated Medicine Alliance, seeing patients at the Red Bank primary care office, and several of their urgent care facilities in Monmouth County. Dr. Ibrahim excels at providing quality medical services in a high volume, urgent care environment, assessing and managing emergency situations with fluidity and care.

The East Windsor Thunder softball team capped off an undefeated regular season in the All-Shore Softball Association’s 10U division with a championship beating the Lacey Storm 10-2. Earlier in the day, the Thunder defeated the Jersey Shore Huskies 10-0 to advance to the championship game. For the fall season, the Thunder went 11-0-1 in the regular season and playoffs combined. The girls relied on solid pitching and defense combined with timely hitting to get the job done. The team is lead by coaches Brian Pignatello, Anthony Benitez and Tom Olsen.

The firehouse bay, where the firetrucks are usually parked, was transformed into several informative and interactive stations, which offered something for everyone as members of East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 closed out Fire Prevention Week by hosting an open house for members of the community.

There were four separate stations set up, each manned by a qualified firefighter who spent some time educating the adults about various fire related topics. Examples included a station devoted to showing the different types of fire extinguishers and the types of fires they would be most appropriate for.

There was another station devoted to the different types of detectors that may be found in people’s homes, as well as potentially valuable life-saving tips about proper maintenance and placement of various detectors in the home. Each household also left with a brand new smoke detector, which has a 10-year life span (as opposed to the normal five years), and never requires a change of batteries.

East Windsor Township and the local alliance for prevention of substance abuse issued a proclamation designating Oct. 6, 2016, as “Knock Out Opiate Abuse” day at the Oct. 4 council meeting.

The proclamation was issued in partnership and recognition of the goals and efforts of the Governors Council on alcohol and drug abuse at the NJ Department of Human Services.

Every October, East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov and town council take time to publicly acknowledge the Firefighter of the Year for both East Windsor Volunteer Fire Companies.

At the Oct. 4 meeting, two individuals received their proclamations from the mayor, with members of their families and respective departments standing by to congratulate them.

From East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, the 2015 Firefighter of the Year is Robert Pycior. Mayor Mironov spoke about Mr. Pycior impressive reputation with the fire company and listed his accomplishments in the five years since he has been a member of the department.

From East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2, the 2015 Firefighter of the Year is Bruce Cowper. Mr. Cowper joined the fire company in January 2015 as a probationary firefighter, having no previous firefighting experience. Shortly thereafter, he attended Burlington Fire Academy, and graduated in June 2015. He was later recognized at the Burlington County Chiefs dinner for having the highest GPA of all the Firefighter I attendees in the county for the year. After only one year in the department, Mr. Cowper took on the role of vice president of the company, where he continues to serve today.

East Windsor Township launched a completely new website featuring a user-friendly format, greater mobile device and tablet compatibility, and easily accessible resources for the public.

Users will find access to municipal government information as well as public documents and forms, including the township code, council agendas and minutes, and various licensing and permit forms.

Additionally, users can sign up for township e-news updates which keep subscribers informed about subjects of public interest as new stores, special events, grants and roadway projects monitor emergency alerts, and readily access prior e-news updates as well as back issues of the township newsletter. The website also gives the township an enhanced ability to put out alerts during emergencies in order to get needed information to residents efficiently.

November

The Holocaust continues to resonate all these decades later with the untold stories of those who suffered through Hitler’s monstrosities. One of those survivors spoke at Beth El Synagogue in East Windsor and his tale was one not of despair but of hope.

Sol Lurie began the journey that would change his life at the tender age of 11. In a four-year period he survived six concentration camps. But why did he survive?

Mr. Lurie was born April 11, 1930, in Kovno, Lithuania. His family traces its Lithuanian heritage back to 1492. The Monroe resident says he’s a direct descendant of King David.

During his four years in concentration camps Mr. Lurie traveled through Dachau, Auschwitz and eventually was liberated in Buchenwald on his birthday, April 11,1945.

But why did he survive? Mr. Lurie, who retains a positive outlook in life, says it was God’s doing. God said now that you have seen Hell, go out and educate people to not hate their fellow man.

That is Sol Lurie’s mission in life. Telling people that not everyone is bad, like the German soldiers that saved his life, and that you should treat people the way you want to be treated. 

Rimon Center clergy couple Cantor Yair Shahak and Yaelle Frohlich were the first married couple to compete in the same bible contest when they participate in the 2016 International Adult Bible Contest (Chidon HaTanach) in Jerusalem.

The two competed in the same Chidon after earning top scores in preliminary rounds. Cantor Shahak will be representing the United States after tying for first place in the National Adult Bible Contest (USA finals) in New York in June. Ms. Frohlich, originally from Edmonton, Alberta, will be one of two contestants representing her home country of Canada after ranking second place among Canadian entrants.

The two are regular educators at the Rimon Center in East Windsor, New Jersey and often lead the center’s explanatory Shabbat Services.

Captain Mario Batista was named acting chief of the East Windsor Volunteer Fire Co. 2, Station 46, replacing former Chief Steve Genthe, who stepped down.

Mr. Batista, a 12-year veteran of the department, will continue in his role as Station 46’s primary training officer, in addition to his wearing the “White Hat.”

“It’s a giant responsibility and an awesome privilege to lead this organization, a group of men who volunteer their time and expertise, day and night, to protect the residents of East Windsor,” said Mr. Batista, who is a full time EMT in neighboring Monroe Township, per diem Homeland Security instructor and National Certified Emergency Manager. 

For the second year, the Hightstown East Windsor Youth Baseball League organized a charity football game the Saturday after Thanksgiving to raise money for the Rise food pantry.

East Windsor resident Tom Walsh, a first-year assistant coach with the Hightstown Rams football team, and 20 of his friends helped organize this year’s event, which raised $1,135 for the food pantry.

Alumni of the HEWYBL 18 years and older who played in the youth league played in the charity game. Last year, between 80 and 90 players participated. This year, 110 men and women showed up to play in the game.

December

In a 5-0 vote, the township council unanimously approved for Boy Scout Troop 5700 to move forward with its project of building three picnic tables to be used at the park on Disbrow Hill Road. Council members Marc Lippman and Denise Daniels were not in attendance.

Alex Loporto, 17, from Troop 5700, came fully prepared with a powerpoint presentation as he laid out his Eagle Project Proposal, a comprehensive plan for the project. Alex addressed the materials that will be needed and the anticipated cost for said materials. He presented a plan for raising the capital to complete the job, and made sure to let Mayor Janice Mironov and the council know that all tools will be handled only by those qualified to do so.

Throughout the holiday season, one could find many different productions of some of the most classic stories ever told.

This holiday season, local firefighter Victor Hom of the East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2, was among those helping tell a classic holiday story.

Mr. Hom will be a guest artist for the production of “The Nutcracker,” which will be performed by the Hamilton Ballet Theater at Rider University on Dec. 17-18.

He is not only a firefighter, but is also a classically trained dancer, and an award-winning dance instructor. Mr. Hom performs contemporary ballet as well as ballroom and Latin dance. He trained from an early age as a scholarship student at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Princeton Ballet School, Nutmeg Ballet, the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and the State University of New York. He has also been featured in the New York Times and Dance Magazine.

If you were looking for a party, Melvin H. Kreps School in East Windsor was the place to be Dec. 10 as Rise, a local non-profit organization, hosted its 50th holiday party and gift giveaway.

And it turned out to be the group's biggest party yet.

The cafeteria at the school was transformed into a winter wonderland, and there were wall to wall people, all in festive moods ready to celebrate. In the distance that familiar sound of Christmas music could be heard. The smell of cookies, cakes and coffee filled the air. There were presents abound, and even a big comfy chair and Christmas tree, where “you know who” would later appear.

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