Send Hunger Packing Food Drive (#2)
Thank you to members who volunteered for our food drive at Shop Rite 33 today, especially several who had not originally signed up. We collected a LARGE amount of food (we’ll know the weight early next week) and a generous amount of cash donations. Joe Jones from MSFFB picked up the food with his truck which was a great help to us. Now on to Acme Hamilton Sq. next Saturday to continue our quest for a new club record for annual food drive collections !!
New Member Induction
We are pleased to announce the addition of a third new member to the club – Wendy Sturgeon. Wendy, a resident of Hamilton Township, and past member of the Rotary Club, is the Executive Director of EASEL Animal Rescue League. Pictured, from left, are new member ceremony officiator Doug Conkling, club president Chris Reetz, Wendy and her sponsor Greg Blair.
New Member Induction
The Rotary Club is pleased to announce the addition of another new member – Wayne Mernone. Wayne, a Hamilton Township resident, is a Personal Financial Representative with twenty-five years of experience with several major financial services companies. Wayne serves on the board of directors of UIH Family Partners, a non-profit providing job development and search assistance as part of its efforts to empower fathers and strengthen families. Pictured, from left, are Wayne’s membership sponsor Dave Aust, Wayne Mernone, club president Chris Reetz and new member ceremony officiator Doug Conkling.
Hamilton School Superintendent Speaks on Planned Improvements
Scott Rocco, Superintendent of Hamilton Township Schools, was the club’s guest speaker at the August 25 club meeting. Mr. Rocco, a long-time Hamilton resident with three children in the district, outlined planned improvements to the township’s 24 schools. The facilities average over 70 years in age – with 5 of them over 100 years in age – and the administration and BOE have identified the construction priorities as those dealing with student/staff safety, security, critical infrastructure and ADA access. A referendum vote to approve funding for the improvements will be held on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 from 2:00 to 8:00 PM.
New Member Induction
The Rotary Club is pleased to announce the addition of a new member – George Ott. George is a retired manufacturing professional, a member of the board of directors of the Roebling Museum and a member and past president of the Antique Automobile Club of America, Mid-Jersey Region. He and his wife Kim reside in Hamilton Square.
Backpacks for Children in Need
Members of the club, led by Margaret Grazer and Sharon Lucidi, collected and assembled 133 backpacks for children in need. Each backpack was stocked with school supplies. Backpacks will be donated to the following: 53 to the Wilson school, 63 to Family Guidance Center, and 17 to children residing in the Kingsbury Apartments (a low income housing complex). Wilson teacher Jason Pascal and his principal Bobbie Panfili thanked the club for its continuing support.
The club kicked off its 2017 Food Drive campaign for the Mercer St. Friends Food Bank’s “Send Hunger Packing” program at Risoldi’s Market in Mercerville on Sat. Aug. 19. Several hundred pounds of key food items and cash donations were received from generous shoppers to feed hungry kids on weekends during the school year. Club members and volunteer (and prospective member) George Ott collected the food for pick-up by Chad Johnson (and son Chad, Jr.) from the food bank. The campaign will continue with collections from 11 am to 2 pm at Shop Rite, Rte 33, Hamilton Sq. on Sept. 16; Acme Market, Rte 33, Hamilton Sq., Sept. 23; and Shop Rite Hamilton Marketplace, Rte. 130, Sept. 30.
National Night Out Bike Drive
Donated bicycles are repaired and resold to fund after-school programs.
Officer and Director Installation
The club installed its officers for the 2017 – 2018 year. Pictured are David Navazzio (ADG), Scott Biondi (2016 – 2017 president) and Chris Reetz (2017 – 2018 president).
Paul Harris Award recipient Danely Gonzales (left).
Paul Harris Award recipient Bill Coleman (right).
Presidential Citation Award recipient Joe Giambelluca.
George Prutky Vocational Service Award
The club was pleased to recently present the 2017 “George Prutky Vocational Service Award” to the Family Guidance Center. FGC operates programs to provide affordable services in mental health, addictions, financial literacy and special education to a diverse population in our community. The award, named for a late founder of our club, is given to an organization (public, private or corporate) which is dedicated to serving the community, or which gives back to the community outside of its regular course of business. Pictured with Beth Hart of FGC is award committee chairperson Margaret Graser.
Hamilton YMCA Donation
The Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation recently donated $500 for the Hamilton Area YMCA’s 2017 Annual Campaign. Scott Biondi, club president, presented a check to Diana Zita, Interim CEO of the Y, and Ms. Zita spoke to club members about the history of the YMCA and the Hamilton organization’s many programs.
Mercer Elementary School Cookout
Each June, members of the Rotary Club cook hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs and serve Italian Ice for about 500 students at the Mercer Elementary School, part of the Mercer County Special Services School District. The children enjoy a picnic-type lunch as part celebrating the end of a successful school year.
Bike Exchange Donation
Club members Bill Coleman, at left, and Chris Reetz are pictured on June 6 delivering the last load of bicycles to the Boys & Girls Club Bike Exchange from our Spring Bike Drive. A total of 48 bikes and 7 scooters were donated so far this year, with another bike drive scheduled for August 1. The bikes will be rebuilt by volunteers and sold to the public at modest prices to raise money for Boys & Girls Club after-school programs.
Robbinsville High School Scholarships
Robbinsville High School celebrated its “Senior Scholarship Awards Night” on June 6. Club president Scott Biondi presented RHS senior Brian Wojton with a $1,000 scholarship from our Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation.
Steinert High School Scholarships
On June 6, at Steinert High School’s “Senior Awards Night,” member Bill Coleman presented Rotary Club scholarship checks and certificates to, from left, Emily Clark, Riley Smith, Julianna Bell and Kelsey Espenhorst. Each year the club awards about $6,000 in scholarships to high school seniors who reside in Hamilton and Robbinsville Townships.
Rotarun 5K Run
At our second annual Rotarun, approximately 100 runners and walkers enjoyed a beautiful day in Veteran’s Park.
This event benefits the National Guard State Family Readiness council.
For race results, Click Here
Megan’s Place Spring Event
Members of the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary had their annual spring flower planting at Megan’s place Park. Fifth grade students from Sayen School enjoyed lunch and then planted flowers.
A good time was had by all, and the park looks beautiful!
Police Community Service Award
Our Rotarians were pleased to honor Det. Steven A. Gould with a police “Community Service Award” at the May 26 club meeting. Pictured with Det. Gould is Chris Reetz, award committee chairman and club president-elect.
A native Hamiltonian, Det. Gould has been a member of the Hamilton PD for 14 years; is president of the Hamilton Police Athletic League (PAL); and was a founding member of the John J. Harvilla Tinman Foundation, named in honor of a fallen police officer and which raises money for local children with serious medical issues. He also organizes an annual event to raise money for Ryan’s Quest, a local charity devoted to funding research to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Det. Gould was presented with a $250 donation from our foundation for Ryan’s Quest.
May Students of the Month
Our May 19 meeting featured Students of the Month for the final time this school year. Pictured with member Greg Blair, are, from left, Gregory Buda, Robbinsville High School; Kara Podgurski, Steinert High School; Hailee Zola, Hamilton West High School; and Anjali Patel, Notthingham High School. Many thanks to the guidance counselors from the four public high schools for nominated an impressive group of students this year for our Student of the Month program.
Camp Fire NJ Donation
Club president Scott Biondi recently presented a $500 donation check from our foundation to Jessica Nitti, executive director of Camp Fire New Jersey. The non-profit group partners with NJ school districts to educate and empower youth. They currently provide programs in over 120 schools within and surrounding Mercer County. Camp Fire’s programs are developmentally and age appropriate and range from pre-K through 12th grade. Programming is offered outside the classroom in afterschool programs and summer camps. For more information visit campfirenj.org.
Police Community Service Award
We were pleased to honor Sgt. Thomas Egan of the Robbinsville Township Police Department with our “Community Service Award” at the May 12 club meeting. From information received with his nomination by the department, we learned that Sgt. Egan has always been involved in community events and has played a large part in implementing programs in Robbinsville such as Coffee with a Cop, Lunch at the Senior Center, Ice Cream Ticket Reward and Bus Stop Safety. Sgt. Egan recently spearheaded a relationship with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and several officers have agreed to participate in their Big’s in Blue program. He is also in the process of developing a youth academy and possibly a senior academy. Pictured with Sgt. Egan, are, at left, Police Chief Chris Nitti, and award committee chairman Chris Reetz.
Hamilton Mobile Meals
The April 21 club meeting featured Eileen Eversheim, exec. dir. of Mobile Meals of Hamilton Township, Inc. who spoke to us about the funding challenges faced by her organization. The non-profit group, organized in 1975, delivers hot, nutritious meals to Hamilton residents whose physical, mental or social condition require a home-delivered meal service. The service enables them to maintain health and independence in their home for a longer period of time. Meals are delivered five days a week by a group of caring and dedicated volunteers. To volunteer with them or make a donation to them, visit http://mobilemealshamilton.weebly.com/ . Pictured with Eileen is club president Scott Biondi who presented her with a $1,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation, Inc.
2016-17 Literacy Project
Congratulations to Edna Stout on the completion of our 2016-17 Literacy Project !! About 50 children were given books at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) yesterday. That follows our donation last fall to the library at Wilson Elementary School. Special thanks to Heidi Coleman and Nils Stout for their help yesterday. These donations were made possible with a District Grant.
The kids also enjoyed an egg hunt, face painting and crafts, assisted by Bonner Scholars from TCNJ and Rider University. The Bonner Scholars Program provides a service-learning scholarship for students who have high financial need and a commitment to service.
April Students of the Month
Pictured with Greg Blair, Rotary Club coordinator of student activities, are our April 2017 Students of the Month, from left, Brittany Bennett, Nottingham High School; Etai Clyde, Robbinsville High School; Alex Venutolo, Hamilton West High School; and Christopher Routh, Steinert High School.
Guest speaker Hon. John Cimino
The Rotary Club’s April 7 meeting featured an address by the Hon. John Cimino, Mercer County Freeholder. Freeholder Cimino spoke about the many positive things going on in Mercer County and the county government’s role in helping move things forward. Examples cited were the expansion of Mercer County Airport, including a proposed new passenger terminal; a bus line put in between Hamilton Marketplace and the new Amazon warehouse for its employees; the county park system; and others. Also, he told high school students attending the meeting about the importance of public and community service.
Guest Speaker Dr. Kathie Foster, acting superintendent of Robbinsville Schools
Our guest speaker at the March 31 meeting was Dr. Kathie Foster, acting superintendent of Robbinsville Schools. Dr. Foster told us about an effort by school administrators to identify critical skills and personal characteristics that will be important to the future success of district students. High school students and parents drew human figures on chart paper and wrote down their ideas, e.g. “digital citizenship,” “multiple languages,” and others.
Club members also voiced their ideas and Dr. Foster led a discussion on how those critical factors might be included in the educational curriculum. Pictured with Dr. Foster is club president Scott Biondi.
March Students of the Month
Each month from October through May, our club recognizes “Students of the Month” from area high schools. The students tell our club members about their achievements in school, community service they perform, and their academic and career plans. Pictured with club member Wally Sawka are, from left, Arianna Durling, Steinert High School; and Danielle Coscio, Robbinsville High School.
Vern Applegate Community Service Award
Our March 17 club meeting honored Andrew (Andy) Santoro with the annual “Vern Applegate Community Service Award,” named for the late Rotarian and active community volunteer Vern Applegate. Andy was nominated by club member Dave Aust for his volunteer work as the baseball game announcer with The Miracle League of Mercer County. Nicknamed “The Voice of The Miracle League,” Andy has a special way of making each ballplayer feel special as they come to bat. The Miracle League features a specially built field so that children with disabilities can enjoy playing baseball. Pictured, from left, at Dave Aust, club president Scott Biondi, Andy Santoro and Dan Sczweck, league executive director.
February Students of the Month
Pictured with member Greg Blair, from left, are Austin Lloyd, Nottingham High School; Riley Smith, Steinert High School; Victoria Mysholowsky, Robbinsville High School; and Joselyn Fallas, Hamilton West High School. The students were given information about our scholarship program and an online application available at rhrotary.org/scholarships.
Club members enjoyed a brunch at Killarneys.
A good time with Food and fellowship was had by all.
Recovery Advocates of America
At the Club’s February 3 meeting, representatives from Recovery Advocates of America gave members an update about new proposed legislation to combat opioid and heroin addiction, spoke about the CARE program ( Community Addiction Recovery Effort), and received a $1,000 donation check from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation Inc. Pictured, from left, are Scott Biondi, club president, Joe Ricci, Mike Zicciardi and John Mincarelli.
From their website: “Recovery Advocates of America is a 501(c)(3) not for profit peer to peer center that strives to provide education around the disease of addiction, tools to sustain recovery through engagement, and reduce the stigma of addiction within our community.”
For more information, visit https://www.recoveryadvocates.org/
January Students of the Month
Our Students of the Month for January and their parents shared breakfast with club members and learned more about our charitable work. Pictured with Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities, from left, are Mathyide Pluviose, Hamilton High School West; Elizabeth Murdry, Nottingham High School; Chandler Stachowski, Robbinsville High School; and Patrick Byrne, Steinert High School. Each month during the school year, guidance counselors nominate students to speak at a club meeting about their school activities, volunteer efforts and what they plan to do after graduation from high school.
Winter Survival Kits
Our December 16, 2016 club meeting was dedicated to assembling dozens of “Winter Survival Kits” with items chosen to comfort homeless individuals during a harsh season of the year. The kits, and additional pairs of socks, hats, scarfs, gloves and blankets, were presented to Mary Gay Abbott-Young, CEO of the Rescue Mission of Trenton, along with a $500 donation from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation, Inc.
Mary Gay then addressed the club members, telling us about the Mission’s work to provide a safe, clean, warm, refuge for the homeless, the hungry, the transient and the addicted. Among numerous other things offered there is TEACH, a comprehensive adult education program that offers GED preparation, basic literacy tutoring, parenting classes, and computer/word processing skills, plus a job placement program for residents who have completed their TEACH program requirements. Mission resident John Hampton gave the club a first-hand account of his background and how the Rescue Mission of Trenton is helping him re-build his life.
Salvation Army Red Kettle Day
Rotary members volunteered to ring the bell for The Salvation Army Red Kettle Day at ACME on Rte 33 in Hamilton.
Students of the Month
Our Students of the Month for December and their parents shared breakfast with club members and heard Hamilton Township Councilman Dave Kenny talk about current developments in the town. Pictured with Greg Blair, club coordinator of student activities, from left, are Brian Chesko, Hamilton West High School; Bonvie Fosam, Robbinsville High School; Will James, Steinert High School; and Matthew Knappenberger, Nottingham High School. Each month during the school year, guidance counselors nominate students to speak at a club meeting about their school activities, volunteer efforts and what they plan to do after graduation from high school.
Self Defense Seminar
On November 30th, the club held a self defense seminar at the Hamilton Township Public Library. The seminar covered parking lot safety and self defense techniques of Israeli Krav Maga. Approximately 30 members of our community attended the event.
Students of the Month
The Rotary Club recently honored its Students of the Month for November. Pictured with Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities, are, from left, Stephen Buonamassa, Robbinsville High School; Tay-Sha Jones-Jacobs, Hamilton West High School; Andrew Bentz, Nottingham High School; and Giavanna Barbiero, Steinert High School.
Our ongoing literacy program again included donating a large number of books to Wilson Elementary School to help re-build their library. Pictured with students from the school’s Early Act Club are, at rear from the left, Karen Mihalow, Early Act Advisor; Greg Byrne, librarian; club member and books project chairperson Edna Stout; Bobbie Panfili, school principal; and Scott Biondi, club president.
Students of the Month
Each school year guidance counselors nominate students and they speak to us about their high school achievements and community service, and their plans after they graduate.
Pictured, from left, are club member Greg Blair, coordinator of student activities; Braith Dicker, Robbinsville High School; Juliana Bell, Steinert High School; Nicholas Christie, Nottingham High School; and Michael Carbone, Hamilton High School West.
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive
Food collected is used to fill backpacks for children to take home on weekends to ensure they get nourishment when school lunches are not available.
Great job Rotarians!
New Member Induction
Lifetime Achievement Award
At this morning’s meeting we honored Bob Barrett with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Sim Rochonchou and others did a great job recounting the numerous Rotary, Rider U., Re-Max and Hamilton Township awards received by Bob, and with great affection told stories about Bob’s service to our Club.
Congratulations, Bob !!
Robbinsville National Night Out Bike Drive
Our first year exhibiting at Robbinsville’s National Night Out – combined with a Bike Drive for the Boys & Girls Club – was a great success. Over 25 bikes were collected there and more will be added from those in storage and from residents who asked us to pick them up from them. The overall haul should be well over 30 !
Special mention is needed for Bill Coleman who organized the event with the RPD and who is handling delivery of the bikes this week.
This picture was taken as the event was being set up, many more members came to help out.
Margaret Graser and Chris Reetz.
1st Annual Rotarun
The club is held its first annual 5K race and fundraiser – “ROTARUN” – in Veterans’ Park.
Over 90 runners participated in the event which benefits local and military charities.
For race results, click here: rotarun_results.pdf
Donation to Megans Place
The club’s foundation board recently approved a $2,000 donation to Megans Place Fund, Inc., the foundation which owns and maintains Megan’s Place Park in Hamilton Township. Pictured with club president Tom Lanigan (center) are, from left, Megans Place Fund, Inc. board members Sim Rochonchou, Greg Blair, Sharon Lucidi and Doug Conkling. Megan’s Place is dedicated to the memory of Megan Kanka for whom “Megan’s Laws” nationwide are named.
2016 Vern Applegate Community Service Award
Ed Drag, Rotary Club founder, driving force behind the club’s major projects and generous supporter of our foundation through his company, Selective Insurance, was recently honored with the Vern Applegate Community Service Award for 2016. The late Vern Applegate was a long-time club member and community volunteer. Pictured, from left, are Greg Blair, Ed Drag and club president Tom Lanigan.
2016 George Prutky Vocational Service Award
A recent club meeting included honoring the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) with the 2016 George Prutky Vocational Service Award, “…In Recognition of Programs to Feed the Hungry in our Area, Educate Adults, Encourage Talented Artists and Provide a Variety of Social Services.” The late George Prutky was a club founder and prominent area businessman.
2016 Vern Applegate Community Service Award
The same meeting included awarding the 2016 Vern Applegate Community Service Award to Dennis Micai, club member and executive director of TASK, “…In Recognition of Dedication to Providing Social Services to the Most Deserving Among Us, and for Development of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen Into a Vibrant Community.” The late Vern Applegate was a long-time club member and community volunteer.
Pictured with Dennis and club president Tom Lanigan are Jaime Parker, TASK program manager and Jim Parker, the TASK board chairman.
Club Scholarship Awards
Rotary scholarships this year totaled $6,500 and were awarded to Matthew Kalczynski, Alexis Cettina and Jillian Testa from Robbinsville High School; Jeremy Conover, Laura Paragone, Taylor Marcinkowski and Isabel Shin from Steinert High School; and Dale Laird from Hamilton High School West. Pictured is club member Bill Coleman presenting the awards to the Steinert High students.
Hamilton Area YMCA
Mercer Elementary School
Christopher Harris, principal of the Mercer Elementary School, was presented with a $500 donation by Club President Tom Lanigan. The school is part of the Mercer Special Services School District which provides programs for preschool disabled, multiple disabled, autistic and emotionally disturbed students.
Rotarians provided lunch and a snack. A good time was had by all, and the park looks beautiful!
Spring Bike Drive
Our Spring Bike Drive at the Robbinsville Green Fair/Community Festival was a success, with 28 used bikes donated to the Boys & Girls Club Bike Exchange. There, the bikes are refurbished and sold to the public, with the proceeds used for after-school and other programs. Our donation is worth about $1,200 in potential sales revenue to them.
Club Members Prepare Barbeque for Mercer Elementary School
Approximately 400 hamburgers and hot dogs were prepared.
Community Police Award – Robbinsville Township Police Department
At its May 27 meeting the club honored Detective Scott Kivet of the Robbinsville Police Department with a Community Service Award for his long-time service to citizens of the township. Det. Kivet works closely with groups, including City of Angels and Recovery Advocates of America, helping individuals recover and rehabilitate from drug addiction. He also runs “Operation Smashed”, an effort to teach students at Robbinsville High School about the dangers of driving while impaired with alcohol or drugs. Further, he has served as Plainsboro Township’s Deputy Fire Chief and a volunteer Fire Coordinator in Middlesex County, and worked as a coordinator with the Office of Emergency Management.
Community Service Award – Hamilton Police Division
The club honored Lt. Joseph D. Mastropolo of the Hamilton Township Police Division with a 2016 Community Service Award for his efforts to foster close police-community relations. Lt. Mastropolo, a 30-year police officer, has been the executive director of the Hamilton Township Police Athletic League since 2000. The Hamilton PAL serves upwards to 2,000 children in various programs and they award college scholarships. Lt. Mastropolo was also given a $250 donation for PAL from our foundation.
Club Donates to Recovery Advocates of America
At our May 6 meeting, representatives from Recovery Advocates of America were presented a $1,000 donation from our foundation and spoke about the work of the group to combat drug addiction in our area. Pictured below are club president Tom Lanigan, RAA Recovery Coaches John Mincarelli and Mike Zicciardi, and Sim Rochonchou, club member and RAA board member.
New Club Members
Guest Speaker: The Mayor of Hamilton Twp.
Our guest speaker at the February 26 meeting was The Honorable Kelly A. Yaede, Mayor of Hamilton Township. Mayor Yaede gave the club an update about new developments in township government, including police department initiatives, new businesses moving into the area, communications with residents through social media, the HAMSTAT Call Center system, and more.