Holiday DWI crackdown starts this weekend

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MIDDLE TOWNSHIP – Local officers will join a national campaign to crack down on intoxicated driving over the holidays.

Township Committee on Monday adopted a resolution supporting Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2012 Year End Crackdown. Police will step up impaired-driving enforcement Dec. 7-Jan. 2.

Township Committee also pledges to increase the awareness of drinking and driving dangers, in approving the resolution.

According to the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, summer and the holidays are some of the most deadly times on the road because of impaired driving. New Jersey is participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which relies on highly visible enforcement to deter drunken driving.

“Drivers must perceive that the risk of being caught is too high before their behavior will change,” reads a statement from the Attorney General. “Use the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over message to convince audiences that the chance of being caught is too high to risk.”

Committee also approved purchasing a new police car to replace one destroyed in Hurricane Sandy.

One of the Dodge Chargers purchased earlier this year was totaled while being fitted with electronics, such as lights, at Birch's Communications of Mays Landing. The shop was flooded by the late October storm, said Middle Township Police Capt. John Edwards said.

Officials are using $24,615 insurance money to buy the vehicle.

Edwards said the order was being placed Tuesday and is hoping the vehicle would arrive in two to three weeks.

Birch's insurance, Travelers, covers the entire cost of the vehicle, Edwards said. The insurance check arrived Monday, he said.

In May, Township Committee authorized buying three Dodge Chargers for the police department, under state contract.

In other matters, Township Committee:

• authorized shutting down a portion of Boyd Street in Cape May Court House for Christmas in Middle Township event. Boyd Street from Mechanic Street to Hand Avenue will be closed Dec. 7 from 5-10 p.m. The event will include Christmas tree lighting and area businesses setting up displays. Christmas activities will be from 6:30-9 p.m. at Mechanic Street and the township parking lot.

• approved an order to have vehicles removed from the municipal parking lot 4 p.m. Dec. 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 7.

• promoting Mark Higginbottom and Fran Fiore as a township police sergeants, effective Dec. 1. Their salaries are $104,912 each. Mayor Dan Lockwood swore the men in. Township Committee congratulated Higginbottom and Fiore.

• approved paying former township recreation director Chuck McDonnell $4,569 for accumulated vacation time. He resigned from the position effective Nov. 16.

• approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Dan Lockwood to sign an agreement with H & L Systems Inc. of Ocean County for software, hosting and backup services for sewer billing. The two-year agreement starts in January. The first year is $9,500 for data conversion and software set up. The second year is for $4,500 for the sewer billing software.

• renamed Dorothy Mutter as a keyboarding clerk from deputy registrar of vital statistics, effective Dec. 3. She receives $14 an hour. The job is part time.

• approved a resolution for a refinance of an economic development loan for Anisha Hospitality LLC, doing business as the Economy Motel of Rio Grande. The applicant wanted to refinance its loan for an additional two years with a 2 percent interest rate. The township charges a $475 servicing fee. The township’s Economic Development Council approved Anisha Hospitality’s request.

The next Township Committee meeting is planned at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. A work session is scheduled the same day, starting at 4 p.m. Township hall is at 33 Mechanic St. in Cape May Court House, and both meetings are open to the public.

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