Author Archives: Crystal Feliciano

Dress for Success Partners with Trenton Central High School

May 17, 2022 (Trenton, NJ). Today, Dress for Success Central New Jersey (DFSCNJ) and Trenton Central High School (TCHS) held a Grand Opening event attended by Mayor W. Reed Gusciora for DFSCNJ’s new satellite program, the DFSCNJ Business Academy, at the high school.

The satellite program will provide free career clothing and accessories such as shoes, handbags and jewelry to female students to encourage them to take advantage of career mentoring, job preparedness and financial literacy workshops offered by DFSCNJ. Students will take their new skills, with their new career outfits, to college and/or job interviews. Students will be required to attend one or more DFSCNJ workshops in order to have access to the clothing boutique. The goal is to hold a workshop on Personal Branding and Image Enhancement and a Latina Empowerment workshop.

“The day that was discussed and planned over a year ago is finally here,” said Mary Courtney, Principal, TCHS. “Dress for Success is a great organization with programs that will help develop our girls personally and professionally while channeling them to build their self-esteem.” TCHS Finance Teacher, Crystal Feliciano, said, “I am excited for what’s to come and I am grateful to Principal Courtney, the School Board, and the administration for allowing this wonderful opportunity for our students here at Trenton Central High School. Most of all, I’m so glad that when I discussed the possibility of a partnership with Melissa at Dress for Success, her immediate response without hesitation or reservation was yes!”

As the young women looked at the selection of styles and accessories in the suite during the ceremony, Melissa Tenzer looked on with pride. “It is really inspiring to watch these students get to the next level,” Tenzer said. “To see their confidence grow, to know that they can go on an interview and make their dreams come true is truly amazing to witness. Leadership is born when women are given the tools to succeed. These students are our future, we are honored to be helping to prepare them to be the next generation of leaders.”

“I am extremely grateful for this wonderful opportunity,” Feliciano said. “This is what it’s all about, working together to help one another to grow stronger; I’m so happy for our students and for the exciting journey ahead.”

For more information about DFSCNJ visit centralnj.dressforsucess.org

An Op-Ed written by Trenton Resident, Brother Gene Bouie Regarding Trenton Police Director Wilson and Trenton City Council

I write this as a Trenton taxpayer who lives in the Hiltonia section of the city. I am very concerned about the repeated effort to fire the current Police Director, Steve Wilson. This is not the effort of the Mayor, who hires the director and ultimately has the responsibility of firing him for lack of performance. This action is being driven by the City Council. The question for me is what has revived this effort after all the pushback from residents in support of the Director? The initial effort was tabled and now, without any evidence proving the Director is not meeting expectations of our city’s residents, the Administration or the Police Department, the City Council plans to vote for his removal.

Is this about the number of homicides resulting from gun violence, or is something else at play? As a resident of the City of Trenton, I believe we the residents deserve an explanation. Such a critical decision should be made based on data and not emotion. Yes, public safety is a very emotional topic but resolving the issue of gun violence will never be accomplished by emotional decision making. What I find difficult to understand is blaming Director Wilson for a problem that he did not make. The Director has only been in office less than a year.

Let’s look at the facts, for two consecutive years Trenton has experienced 40 homicides resulting from gun violence. In a city where 30% of the residents live at or below the poverty level a high crime rate can be expected. The hopelessness, desperation and trauma cause people to make very bad choices. In 2020, I was commissioned by the 4Cs (Capitol City Community Coalition) to facilitate an activity to uncover the root causes of Trenton gun violence. With the assistance of (6) Six Sigma and process volunteers and nearly 70 residents and stakeholders of Trenton, over multiple days, a total of six hours in a fishbone (root cause) analysis determined that the primary causes of Trenton gun violence were:

1. Childhood Trauma

2. High Levels of Poverty

3. The Need for Business Relationships to Create Good Paying Jobs

4. Collaborative Policing and Community Engagement

5. Prison, Community Reform/Culture Change

2020 root cause diagrams of violence in Trenton

Of the five causes determined to be at the root of Trenton gun violence, only number four had to do with policing. Police Director Wilson attended the very first presentation of the findings at a 4Cs meeting attended by the Acting AG Andrew Bruck and other leadership in law enforcement. Upon seeing the results, he immediately approached me about community engagement efforts of re-establishing the Police Explorers and the Police Activities League formerly known as the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) by working with Trenton School District and community volunteers. The Director said, “The way to support the students in the city was to ensure the program was more than just sport and play but also about learning and skills development”.

As for collaborative policing and partnerships, Director Wilson reestablished relationships with multiple agencies. The Mercer County Prosecutor’s office and the Sheriff have dedicated personnel to the Shooting Response Team raising the solve rate from approximately 12% to 55%. The Director has solidified relationships with the FBI, NJ Division of Criminal Justice, State Police, Ewing and Lawrence Police (they help out with patrol) and the DEA. The data indicates that Director Wilson has solved a greater percentage of homicides than his predecessor.

Director Wilson-from 7-1-2021 to 4-25-2022, there were 36 shooting Homicides/20 Solved with a 55% clearance

Director Coley-from 7-1-2020 to 4-25-2021, there were 27 Shooting homicides/12 solved with a 44% clearance

(This data was provided by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office)

I am troubled by the actions of the City Council. If someone in authority takes a position based solely on opinion, emotion and vengefulness with no basis or grounding in fact or truth; data or evidence, it can be viewed as an abuse of power and authority. My teacher, in a lecture in 2007 entitled, “The Use and Abuse of Authority,” said, “One cannot exercise authority properly in ignorance. He asked, “Do we exercise our authority in conformity with morality, reason, justice and truth, or do we just exercise it because we have it?”

For me, the ignorance here refers to not having a clear knowledge and understanding of issues, the subject matter, the rationale or the potential pain and consequences of making a poor decision. The question that needs to be asked is, “What drives the decision making?” My prayer is that the City Council will reconsider their plan, listen to the citizens and stop the persecution of Director Wilson. We really need the branches of our city government to work more collaboratively in making Trenton a safer place to live.

Trenton Man wanted by Trenton Police for Impersonating an officer

****ALERT, THE OFFENDER WAS CAUGHT ***

TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) Trenton Police were looking for a wanted man accused of impersonating a Police officer in Trenton. According to the wanted poster John Heredia was wanted for operating a decommissioned police car with working lights and sirens, specifically using said vehicle to initiate motor vehicle stops on persons, including an off-duty Trenton Police officer. The vehicle is an unknown tag ford interceptor Taurus 4-door sedan silver in color with black wheels, black front push bar, and tinted windows.

****ALERT, THE OFFENDER WAS CAUGHT ***

Mayor Gusciora Issues Executive Order Addressing Emergent Concerns for Health and Public Safety

Trenton, N.J. – Mayor W. Reed Gusciora today issued an executive order to fulfill City obligations concerning the health, wellbeing, and safety of residents of the City of Trenton.

The order covers various obligations including measures ensuring uninterrupted emergency medical services for underinsured and uninsured residents; delivering COVID-related supplies and services; and conducting preventative public utility maintenance in compliance with the Administrative Consent Order governed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

“Today, I am issuing Executive Order 22-01 authorizing numerous emergency actions to maintain the health, safety, and wellbeing of the city,” said Mayor Gusciora. “There are limited circumstances when it becomes proper for the executive to use such executive powers. Emergent threats to the health, safety, and wellbeing of our residents are thresholds we cannot cross as stewards of the City.”

“Each one of the items contained here meets that criteria. Inaction would result in failure to comply with consent orders. Inaction would compromise our ability to deliver safe and clean water to the region. Inaction would restrict access to certain health care services vital to our residents,” Gusciora said. “For the good of our residents and in the name of public safety, I’m obligated to take action. We await the return of the City Clerk, or Council’s appointment of a substitute or assistant clerk, in order for the Council to address other unresolved issues before the City.”

A full copy of the Executive Order is available here: bit.ly/TrentonEO2201

Trenton Public Schools to Rename Columbus and Wilson Schools, Community Input Wanted

Trenton Public School is renaming Columbus and Wilson schools.
In order to do this, residents may download the “School Renaming form for Columbus Elementary School” and/or “School Renaming form for Wilson Elementary School” from the district website http://www.trenton.k12.nj.us.

Included with all submissions should be a statement no more than 500 words as to why the person/entity is qualified to have the facility named after them/it.
The following criteria should be taken into consideration when submitting a name:
• Each name shall be known to, and significant to, the people of the district.
• The names submitted shall not conflict with the names of other schools in the district or surrounding districts; and
• The use of names of living persons shall be avoided unless circumstances warrant an exception.

Completed forms are to be returned to the Business Administrator/ Board Secretary no later than March 24, 2022.

City of Trenton to Celebrate Black History Month!

Visit https://www.trentonnj.org/Calendar.aspx for dates and times

Trenton, N.J. – The City of Trenton is hosting a series of events throughout the month of February celebrating the lives of Black Trentonians and other pioneers through exhibits, lectures, dance performances and more.

Below is a list of this month’s events:

Starting on Feb. 1, 2022, City Hall visitors can see a Black History Month Display in the Atrium showcasing African American historic landmarks and inventions, as well as several of Trenton’s unsung heroes. This display will stay up until Feb. 28.

A Visual Tour Through History – Friday, Feb. 4 and Friday, Feb. 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Presented by Ms. Beverly Keese-Kelly in the City Hall Atrium. Common everyday objects such as the doorknob and doorstop that were invented by African Americans will be on display and discussed. Residents can learn the names and faces behind some of the simple items taken for granted on a daily basis.

Storytelling Events in collaboration with the Trenton Public Library on 120 Academy St, Trenton, N.J. 08608. Visitors can meet Trenton African American authors at the library on the following dates:

February 4 at 3:45 p.m. – Brittany Johnson, author of the children’s book “I Am, I Can, I Will”

February 8 at 4:00 p.m. – Dr. Adela M. Ames-Lopez, author of “It Hurts (From A Child’s Perspective)”

February 8 at 5:00 p.m. – Teska Frisby, author of “Different, Just Like You”

Africa and the Diaspora – Friday, Feb. 11 and Feb. 25, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Presented by Ms. Virginia Farquharson in the City Hall Atrium. The exhibit will feature a discussion on the journey from Africa to America and include a look at African culture, music and art.

Black History: A Celebration – Friday, Feb. 18, at 5:00 p.m. – Presented by the Egun Omode Performing Arts Collective at the West Ward Recreation Center on 451 Prospect Street, Trenton, N.J. 08618. This event will celebrate and honor Trenton’s African American heritage through dance, drums music, magic, historical interpretation and more.

Gusciora Administration Extends Business License Registration for 90 Days City Clerk’s Office No Longer Able to Perform this Function

Trenton, N.J. – Mayor W. Reed Gusciora issued an Executive Order extending the annual Business License Registration for 90 days into the new year for existing and new businesses.

The deadline for 2022 business registration and renewals has been extended to March 31, 2022. Business registration forms can be acquired online at the City’s website: https://www.trentonnj.org/317/Business-Registration.

Payments may be made through Police Records at Police Headquarters, 225 North Clinton Avenue. There is an auxiliary parking lot with free public parking located at 272 North Clinton Avenue. Businesses that have questions or require assistance may call (609) 989-4155 and ask to speak with Shirley Lopreato.

The executive order was necessary due to the City Clerk’s Office being unable to perform this function.

“Reduced capacity at the Clerk’s office shouldn’t get in the way of making the Capital City a welcoming environment to do business,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Since my administration established the COVID-19 business loan program last year we have strived to be as flexible as we can with our business community and give them every chance to succeed. This extension will go a long way in helping our entrepreneurs ensure their documents are in check so they can start off 2022 on the right foot.”

Gusciora: Videos of Mothers of Gun Violence Victims Deliver Powerful Message to “Put the Guns Down!”

Trenton, N.J. – Mayor W. Reed Gusciora today announced the release of two powerful videos recorded during a prayer vigil on the front steps of City Hall on Oct 30, 2021, featuring local pastors, mothers of gun violence victims, and the Mom’s Demand Action organization.

Each two-minute video includes testimonies from Regina Thompson-Jenkins and Delma Nazario, both of whom lost their sons to gun violence in Trenton. They spoke of the devastation of losing their sons and a message to youth to “put the guns down!” Additional speakers included Rev. Ernest D. Wormley, Jr, New Salem Baptist Church, Rev. John H. Harris, Galilee Baptist Church, and Rev. Erich Kussman, Saint Bartholomew Lutheran Church.

“Trentonians understand all too well that violent crime victims are more than names in a paper or numbers on a report,” said Mayor Gusciora. “As we approach the holiday season and express our gratitude for the loved ones still in our lives, we must also remember the ones we lost to gun violence.”

The videos’ purpose is to start a dialogue with at-risk youth and their families in the City and throughout urban America about the devastating toll left by gun violence.

“Public safety has to start with us,” concluded Gusciora. “In the coming months, we will continue to work with pastors and community leaders as well as victims’ families to reach out to at-risk youth. We can’t do it with increased police measures alone.”

Like many cities across the country, Trenton has experienced an uptick of homicides throughout the pandemic, despite other major crimes trending downward.

To view the videos, click the links below:


Video 1 – Regina Thompson-Jenkins, mother who lost her son to gun violence, along with Mayor Reed Gusciora, Rev. Jose Rodriguez: Pentecostal Church Assembly of God , and Rev. Erich Kussman: Saint Bartholomew Lutheran Church

Vigil video 1

Video 2 -Delma Nazario, mother who also lost her son to gun violence, along with Rev. John H. Harris: Galilee Baptist Church and Rev. Ernest D. Wormley, Jr.: New Salem Baptist Church

Vigil Video 2

Trenton Free Public Library Selected to Participate in Statewide Digital Literacy Certification Program for Adult Residents

Trenton, NJ – 11/10/2021 – The New Jersey State Library announced that the Trenton Free Public Library has been selected to participate in its Hub & Spoke Libraries pilot project, a statewide effort that will provide uniform digital literacy training and credentialing for adult residents at 14 public libraries across the state. Through a competitive grant process, the State Library selected three hub libraries that will serve as regionally-based training labs, and 11 spoke libraries that will provide additional digital literacy support. Trenton Free Public Library will participate in the program as a Spoke library. Services will begin being offered to the public at select library locations in January 2022.

The project aims to create a standardized and replicable library-based digital literacy certification program to assist New Jersey’s workforce. Participants will visit on-site training labs,with certified trainers offering digital literacy workshops and other workforce-related services. The Trenton Free Public Library will connect with its local Workforce Development Board and American Job Center, as well as other libraries in the area, to create a referral and sending system that accounts for client intake, record keeping and data sharing. Participants will have access to free, high quality training materials, videos, classroom aides, and mini lessons. 

“Digital literacy skills are fast becoming an essential component to navigating everyday life. We are thrilled with the award of this generous grant that will provide our community the opportunity to learn or increase their digital skills and allow access to digital resources,” said Director FrancoMartin. “As a ‘Spoke’ library there will be a dedicated staff member with access to the tools necessary to provide basic digital instruction in our Computer Lab and the partnership with the State Library supports further increasing those skills at the ‘Hub’ libraries.”

“We are proud to partner with the Trenton Free Public Library in this effort to build a cohesive system for digital literacy training and credentialing for New Jersey’s workforce,” said Jen Nelson, New Jersey State Librarian. “Currently, these services are non-standardized, and offered through a decentralized patchwork of disparate service providers. We hope that this library-based model will be replicated throughout New Jersey, and beyond.

The program will be facilitated by the Plainfield Public Library (PPL), and will model PPL’s proven system for providing literacy programming. This project was made possible through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds made available to the New Jersey State Library through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). For more information about the Hub & Spoke Libraries pilot project, visit: www.njstatelib.org/ARPALiteracyProject. To learn more about services available at the Trenton Free Public Library, contact Shanshan Ming at 609-392-7188 & ssming@tfplibrary.org.

Trenton Police Department Launching Explorer Program for Youth Interested in Law Enforcement Careers

First Information Session this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at TPD Headquarters

Trenton, N.J. – Acting Police Director Steve E. Wilson today announced that the TPD is bringing back its Explorer Program, which gives teenagers and young adults the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in law enforcement while learning important life skills.

The TPD has scheduled open house information sessions for Nov. 6, 2021 and Nov. 20, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Both sessions are located at TPD Headquarters on 225 North Clinton Ave.

The program is open to teenagers age 14 and over who have completed the eighth grade and adults age 18 through 20. All applicants must live in Mercer County.

Full program descriptions and applications can be found at the links below and will be available at the information sessions. Completed applications can also be submitted to Detective Tamika N. Veal at tveal@trentonpolice.net. All applications must be received by Dec. 3, 2021.

The TPD program is a part of a nationally recognized career education program chartered through Learning for Life. Law Enforcement Exploring is a hands-on program open to young men and women who are interested in a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system.

The program offers young adults a personal awareness of the criminal justice system through training, practical experiences, competition and other activities. The program also promotes personal growth through character development, respect for the rule of law, physical fitness, good citizenship and patriotism. For more information, visit https://www.exploring.org/law-enforcement/.

“We’re really excited to bring this program back to the Capital City,” said Director Wilson. “In fact, The Trenton Police Department in previous years won the N.J. State Youth Law Enforcement Competition. This is a great youth engagement tool and helps get more local residents excited about serving their community as law enforcement officers.”


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