From the mayor: On the death of Sarah Dash

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Trenton music legend Sarah Dash died Sept. 20 at age 76.

Following the death of music legend Sarah Dash on September 20 at age 76, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora issued the following statement:

“I grieve with the city of Trenton and a worldwide community of fans ... My heart goes out to her family and friends.

“Our motto, ‘Trenton Makes, the World Takes’ was alive and well with Sarah. What Sarah made was beautiful music refined by a lifetime of experience and numerous contributions to the arts and the community. What the world takes is a timeless inspiration of a woman who touched the highest peaks of stardom and never forgot where she came from.

“This one hurts. We just worked with her earlier this year on an awareness campaign to motivate more Trentonians to get vaccinated. She didn’t hesitate to help us when we needed her the most.

“I’m looking forward to embracing my fellow Trentonians as we privately and collectively celebrate her music and humanitarian works. While she may have passed from this life to the next, her star will never fade from this city and the hearts of its residents.”

Police tackle quality of life issues

Acting Police Director Steve E. Wilson recently announced the formation of a Daytime Task Force to provide additional resources to address quality of life issues throughout the City of Trenton, including aggressive panhandling, prostitution, speeding, illegal dumping, and open-air drug dealing.

The task force has been operating out of the Patrol Bureau and is being reinforced by partner agencies, including the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

“This is about taking our neighborhoods and business districts back, block by block,” Wilson said. “Every day residents and businesses reach out to us about these issues, including when I toured the downtown district on Friday. Well, we hear you loud and clear.”

The task force will augment current Trenton Police Department (TPD) efforts to combat the city’s drug trade and address quality of life complaints throughout Trenton. On August 20 the TPD conducted a prostitution sweep operation in the area of Hamilton and South Clinton avenues, which resulted in six arrests. In addition, on September 6 and 7 TPD officers arrested six individuals from outside of Trenton who allegedly engaged in aggressive panhandling targeting motorists at intersections in the city.

Meanwhile the TPD continues to step up enforcement against street-level dealers and gun crimes. From August 25 through 30 TPD detectives arrested six individuals on gun and drug-related crimes, which resulted in the seizure of four firearms, 200 doses of heroin, and more than $14,000 in suspected drug proceeds.

Since July 1 the TPD has made 690 arrests and seized 40 guns, 2,539 grams of cocaine, 4,694 decks of heroin, 1,500 grams of raw heroin, and $402,766 in suspected illegal proceeds.

The TPD has also recently formed a burglary task force, which will continue its efforts to reduce property crimes. On August 21, TPD detectives arrested Juan Obando-Murillo, 39, of Trenton, who is suspected of carrying out three recent burglaries in Trenton.

Trenton Arts Foundation awards grants

The Trenton Arts Fund at the Princet­on Area Community Foundation has awarded a total of $25,000 in grants to eight nonprofits working to make the arts more accessible to the community.

The Trenton Arts Fund was created in 2018 by John Hatch and his husband, David Henderson, to support arts, culture, and history organizations because they believe that when the arts thrive, cities thrive. A seven-person grants committee, whose members live locally and have a background in the arts, reviewed and evaluated all applications and recommended funding eight finalists.

“Our goal was to support emerging and established arts, culture, and history organizations in Trenton as they reopen and emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hatch said. “We also wanted to support and recognize those organizations that focus on our young people in the city.”

This is the second and largest round of grants made by the fund. Grants were awarded to:

Artworks Trenton to help rebuild youth and teen art education programming for the benefit of Trenton’s diverse communities.

Passage Theatre Company to support the in-school residency and subsequent production of “Junior High #2: The Hedgepeth-Williams Story.”

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church for artistic and mentoring personnel to develop and produce “The Sermon, a Pray on Words from 1770,” a live public presentation drawn from an original manuscript from 1770.

Trenton Children’s Chorus for its satellite program: choral music at International Charter School of Trenton.

Trenton Circus Squad for its service-learning program.

Trenton Museum Society for the Trenton Forward: Youth and Arts Together program.

Trenton Music Makers for its Open Strings: Amplifying Youth Voice and Storytelling through Collective Composition program.

A separate award was made to the James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts, which is headquartered in Hamilton, but works primarily with Trenton students. The nonprofit, which teaches young people the art of filmmaking while providing life-skills training, received an operating support grant.

To learn more about the fund, visit www.pacf.org/trenton-arts-endowment.

Trenton Literacy moving up

Thanks to the nonprofit Trenton Literacy Movement (TLM) a group of Trenton second graders bucked national trends by not only increasing their reading level this past Covid year but also, in some cases, ratcheting their reading skills above their grade level.

Now incoming Trenton second grade students who need to bring their reading up to speed have been invited to enroll in the TLM program for this school year. All 14 elementary schools participate in the after-school program, which consists of in-person coaching as well as computer work on the proven Lexia program. Periodic prizes and incentives are given out.

Interested parents are encouraged to contact their child’s second grade teacher for enrollment information.

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