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Lawrence Township, Cumberland County, NJ

Community News


Got News for Your Community?  Email stories and photos to ruthdawson@comcast.net .

The Township Committee of Lawrence Township reserves the right to edit all materials submitted for publication in this website.



For daily news from Lawrence Township and around Cumberland County and Slaem County, see the South Jersey Times online.  www.nj.com/cumberland






Lawrence Township Business Meeting Held in Feb. 2013



By Jean Jones

Maurice Cobb Sr. was recognized for his many, many years of community service Monday at the May township committee meeting.

Cobb was appointed building inspector on Jan. 6, 1966, and served until he resigned in July 1997.

At various times he also served the community as zoning officer, special officer, constable and deputy emergency management coordinator. He was appointed to the combined planning and zoning board in June 1998 and served until he resigned earlier this year.

He also served as clerk of the works during construction of the Senior Citizens Center and was a fireman for many years. How many? Committeeman Erwin Sheppard said he remembered serving as a firemen with Cobb 40 years ago.

Cobb was presented with a plaque in recognition of his long years of service to his community.




By Jean Jones


Santa Sweets, one of the nation’s leading tomato growers, unveiled its new 2 megawatt solar panel farm in Cedarville, Tuesday.

It is one of the largest renewable energy investments for any East Coast tomato grower.

Over their 35-year life expectancy, the panels will provide the equivalent carbon dioxide reduction of planting more than 261,000 trees, and will prevent 86,000 tons of carbon dioxide, more than 380 tons of sulfur dioxide and 120 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions.

The 11,000-panel solar photovoltaic array is adjacent to the Santa Sweets packing house, at 20 Duffield Ave.

U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, NJDEP Assistant Commissioner Michele Siekerka, Office of Economic Growth and Green Energy, along with Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Alfred Murray and BPU Commissioner Nick Asselta joined leaders from Santa Sweets, including CEO Joseph Procacci and J.M. Procacci, chief operating officer, of Procacci Brothers Sales Corp./Santa Sweets.

The company is one of the country’s leading organic tomato growers, specializing in grape and heirloom varieties. J.M. Procacci said the facility was built by the company, from the ground up. The solar facility provides energy for the company’s packing operation.

“Another solar field, around the corner, went online in December,” he said.
Procacci said his father always said, “Without our employees, we’d be nothing.” He reminded his audience that farms are needed to feed future generations. The solar array was built on land that was not suitable for farming. The next move will be solar panels on rooftops, he said.

LoBiondo congratulated the company for “doing the right thing, even when there are not cameras and reporters around,” and for employing hundreds of people in an area where jobs are needed.

Freeholder Tom Sheppard, himself a local farmer and part owner of the 1600-acre Sheppard Farms, said it was a great project on a piece of ground that was ideal for the purpose. Sheppard said his family has been here for 320 years and agreed that it was the workers in the fields that were important.

“Without them there would be no need for a packing house,” he said.

Siekerka said that the perception of the farmer as being someone out in the field wearing a straw hat is not true today.

“There is more and more competition and they need more and more ways to cut costs,” she said. “The green movement is going to endorse producing food locally and should endorse producing energy locally.”

One problem in western South Jersey is a lack of space on transmission wires to accommodate everyone who would like to connect to “the grid.” The system produces direct current electricity when sunlight hits the solar modules. The current then passes through inverters and is converted into alternating current electricity. If the panels are producing more energy than needed, the excess power flows to the utility grid and credit is given to the producer, but the amount of space on the transmission lines is limited.

Asselta said the Board of Public Utilities will be trying to get Atlantic Electric to increase its transmission capability in this area.

“You can accomplish so much more when agencies talk to each other,” he said. “Some of the good you create becomes a problem.“

Asselta said there are about 5,000 solar installations in New Jersey.

Procacci called for all employees to gather for the cutting of a wide green ribbon, which symbolized the beginning of operations from the solar array.

There was a display of grape tomatoes and “UglyRipes,” an heirloom tomato which is less easy to ship than more recent hybrids, each in its own mesh “sweater” to protect it during shipping.

Santa Sweets is headquartered in Plant City, Fla., and intends to expand its solar initiative to other packing facilities in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey and Mexico.
The company operates with a focus on food safety, social responsibility and environmentally friendly growing practices. Among other initiatives, it established an internal sustainability team to share best practices and has joined the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program, through which the company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint.

It also has partnered with nonprofit organizations to provide health services and English classes to its employees.


Lawrence Township Municipal Contact Information

856-447- 3055
Postal and Street address

PO Box 697

357 Main Street

Cedarville, NJ 08311

Electronic mail
General Township Information: Ruth Dawson, Municipal Clerk
Website changes and information: Tony Stanzione, CDC

This website and its contents are the property of Lawrence Township in Cumberland County, NJ. The Township Committee has final control over the design and content. Design, maintenance, hosting and administration provided by Cumberland Development Corp., the Township's Economic and Community Development consultant in cooperation with Lawrence Township Clerk Ruth Dawson. This website is funded in part by the CDC / Atlantic City Electric Marketing Fund.

Last modified: 08/10/18