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Covering Hamilton and Robbinsville townships in-depth for The Trentonian. I can be reached at (609) 989-7800 ext. 207 or (609) 468-6962. Email me at or follow me @awisefool.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hamilton Tree lighting

Hamilton Township officially welcomed in the holiday season with its annual tree lighting Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Kelly Yaede lead the event at the township building on Greenwood Avenue. Several dozen residents and township employees attended the ceremony, which included a performance by Steinert High School’s choir and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The choir performed several songs and carols, including “Ding, Dong, Merrily on High,” “Fesitval Deck the Hall” and “Here Comes Santa Claus,” for the crowd before Yaede lead a countdown to light the tree.

Yaede and the Clauses also took time to give candy canes to children from nearby Greenwood Elementary School. The children lined the fence to greet the mayor

Yaede said she attended Greenwood and encouraged the students to reach for their goals.

“Don’t ever let your dreams go,” she said.

Rich Schneider, the director of the Steinert choir, said he enjoyed having the choir perform at the annual tree lighting. He said they have sang there since former Mayor Glen Gilmore’s administration.

“It’s always fun, its always positive and its nice to give the mayor a good start,” he said.

The lighting marked the biggest public event so far for the town’s first female mayor. She took office two weeks ago following a contentious council meeting that voted her in to replace former Mayor John Bencivengo.

A jury convicted Bencivengo of taking $12,400 in bribes from the government’s cooperating witness, Marliese Ljuba, in exchange for his influence with the Hamilton Board of Education, so that she could keep her lucrative health insurance brokerage for her employer, Allen Associates.

“When I took office I promised it would be a new day in Hamilton and it is a new day,” she said.

At the end of the ceremony, several students from the choir asked to pose with the mayor for photos, saying they were inspired by her example as the town’s first female mayor.

You can find more photos from the event here.


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