Capital Connection

Everything you need to know that’s happening in and around the city

Trenton Councilman Jerell Blakeley to resign by the end of the month

In a letter the councilman wrote to Council President Kathy McBride, he noted that he would be leaving his position as Trenton City Councilman-at-Large, effective January 30, 2022 as a result of accepting another leadership opportunity out of the city. “Serving Trenton in this capacity has been the honor of my life and the culmination of a lifelong desire to make a positive contribution to my hometown. I will be forever impacted by the tenacity, sagacity, and humanity of the many Trentonians I have been fortunate to learn from and serve as their Councilman,” the Councilman explained. Blakeley, a former city educator, announced last summer that he would not seek reelection for a second term. He has not revealed the new position as yet.

Trenton Division of Planning Extends Land Development Ordinance Public Comment Period to Jan. 31, 2022

If you missed the end-of-the-year deadline to offer your comments regarding the Land Development Ordinance (LDO), don’t worry, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora has offered yet another extension. The public now has until January 31, 2022 to provide comments regarding The LDO, which is an impactful, community-driven update for Trenton land use and development that will impact Trentonians for many years. Overall, the LDO regulates the location, size, and types of structures allowed in the city. “We extended public comment for the LDO after several local groups requested additional time to review and provide comments,” said Mayor Gusciora. “We're happy to comply. Public input is the only way this plan will succeed and I encourage every concerned Trentonian to take the time to review the plan on the website and provide their questions, comments, and concerns." The Division of Planning has also set up a Spanish-language virtual webinar session for January 12, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. Make sure your voice gets heard! You can review the draft plan here: Trenton Updated Land Development Ordinance.

After 20 years, Jersey City residents can now get birth certificates from City Hall instead of Trenton

All those born in Jersey City between 1918 and 2015 no longer have to trek to the state’s Capital to get copies of their birth certificate. Back in 2004, an investigation uncovered a scheme where employees would create and sell fraudulent birth certificates. As a result, the state Department of Health (DOH) terminated all operations from the Hudson County Office of Vital Statistics. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight recently announced this information, noting that making birth certificates available at City Hall will eliminate delays and additional costs of ordering them from the State Registrar’s Office in Trenton. For a time after the scandal, the Motor Vehicle Commission refused to issue or renew driver’s licenses and identification cards to anyone providing birth certificates issued before 1965 by the Hudson County Office of Vital Statistics in Jersey City as proof of identity. All operations within the county was halted, forcing Jersey City residents to Trenton. “I have worked with the city, state, and federal government on making birth certificates available in Jersey City since I became elected to office because it truly pained me to know that residents had to go through so much red tape to access something as important and necessary to them as a birth certificate,” McKnight said. You’ll find applications to apply for birth certificates here. According to officials, this new comprehensive database is corruption-proof. The cost is $15 for the first copy and $5 for each additional copy. Those born in Jersey City after 2015 will continue to use the State’s Vital Record Platform.

Are you properly administering your rapid, at-home COVID tests?

Are you avoiding the crowds at the various COVID-19 testing sites? Now that COVID-19 tests are available for at-home use, more and more people are taking advantage of the convenient opportunity. Operated through Vault Medical Services, this federally funded program allows New Jersey residents to request and receive free at-home COVID-19 test kits. The kits are shipped for free with next day shipping, and a health care professional will help walk individuals through the process of using the kit via video. Free shipping is also provided to send the specimen to a lab, and results can be expected within 48 hours. Request your free kit here. Trenton Health Team is also aware of the confusion that some may have when using the at-home testing kits, so they are offering instructions in an infographic to help navigate people through the process.

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