Woolwich Police Department, Fire Company Respond to Gas Leak

WOOLWICH TWP. — Recent difficult work by the Woolwich Fire Company received acknowledgement at the Woolwich Township Committee meeting on March 18. Committeewoman Gina Santore praised the local volunteer firefighters for their presence at the scene of a gas leak at Route 322 and Kings Highway a week earlier. South Jersey Gas personnel finally contained the leak.

During his police report, Woolwich Police Chief Richard Jaramillo stated that no one had been injured. “We managed to keep residents safe,” he noted. “The job took until 3 a.m. to finish.” 

The children at Kingsway Regional High School were kept out of danger, and a shelter in place was ordered. The gas leak was believed to have been caused by a hydraulic excavator striking a line.

In other news, Jaramillio reported that a fatal one vehicle accident had occurred just east of Kings Highway on March 6. Also, the Woolwich Police Department now has two officers in Kingsway High School.

Chief Jaramillo revealed that in the future, the Woolwich Police Department would be teaming with Logan Township at Lockheed Martin to begin an “active shooter” program. Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that mainly works with advanced technology products, services and systems.

“It’s at the lowest level,” pointed out Jaramillo. “We’ll be safe and methodical about it.”

The Chief also mentioned that Woolwich residents can have their home checked while they are on vacation by just filling out a form. “The local police will go out and rattle the doors,” Jaramillo said.

In resolutions, the Committee elevated Patrolman Eric Petroski to the position of 5th Class Patrolman in in the Woolwich Township Police Department.

They also supported Path to Progress for New Jersey recommendations made by the New Jersey Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup. The bipartisan workgroup looked at the fairness, efficiency and affordability of the state’s current revenue structure across all levels of government over seven months to create its findings and 30 recommendations. They called it the first step of the process about how to put New Jersey on the “path to progress.”

During the public portion of the meeting, Woolwich resident Jordan Schlump questioned whether the Path to Progress recommendations had Woolwich’s best interests at heart. “Woolwich’s health plan that we have now is better than the one they are proposing,” Schlump suggested.

The Committee adopted another resolution that made a professional services appointment to the position of Risk Management Consultant with Hardenberg Insurance. One more resolution authorized a shared services agreement between Woolwich and South Harrison Township to provide a Certified Recycling Coordinator and Certified Principal Public Works Manager Services.

“We’re constantly looking for shared services to help the taxpayers,” commented Woolwich Mayor Vernon Marino. “Every little thing helps.”

In liaisons, Committeeman Dan Battisti listed 846 cases as having been heard in the courtroom this year, 411 of them for moving violations. He said 35 zoning permits had been given out, and there were still three code violations.

In her trash and recycling report, Santoro pointed out that local governments had not been picking up as much recycling, and costs had risen from zero to a few thousand dollars per month.

Deputy Mayor Natalie Matthias reported that the recent RiverWinds swim party was a sellout with 105 kids attending. Also, this year’s Locke Avenue Fun Day would take place on June 1 from 1p.m. until 9 p.m. at Locke Avenue Park.

In old business, Marino announced that Woolwich would be forming a seven person committee to look at TDR receiving. Along with Director of Community Development Matt Blake, two would be from the Joint Land Use Board, two from the Committee, and two would be residents.

Woolwich wants to update its original TDR plan due to property and economic circumstances.

Elsewhere, Woolwich has taken on SLK Marketing to improve their own development. “They take an inventory of our overall branding,” Santore commented. “They look at how we are presenting ourselves to the community, and how we can reach more people.”

by Robert Holt

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