CRANBURY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Firefighters were dispatched to mile marker 70.7 north bound outer truck lanes on the NJ Turnpike for a truck fire this evening around 5:45 pm. Upon arrival firefighters found a well involved tractor on fire with no trailer. Firefighters from Cranbury Fire Company, Hightstown Fire Company, Monroe Township Fire Department and East Windsor Fire Company responded to the scene. Cranbury First Aid was standing by on a bridge on Cranbury Half Acre Road.
WASHINGTON, DC — The House of Representatives passed an amendment authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) to boost Lyme disease research funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just before the end of the July session.
“My amendment adds $4 million, for a total of $20 million, for Lyme disease research at the CDC for FY 2021. Just three years ago CDC’s Lyme budget was only $11.7 million,” said Smith, a longtime leader on Lyme as co-chair of the bipartisan Lyme Disease Caucus in Congress with Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN). “The increase in funding achieved through my amendment will help CDC develop better diagnostic tests for Lyme, expand tick surveillance activities across the US and strengthen the federal government’s overall strategy to combat Lyme.”
Rep. Peterson, is the lead Democrat cosponsor of the Smith Amendment which has also been cosponsored by Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Max Rose (D-NY), and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).
Pat Smith (no relation to Rep. Smith), President of the Lyme Disease Association, a leading national Lyme advocacy group founded in 1991 and headquartered in Jackson, NJ, said Rep. Smith’s funding amendment is an important step in the fight to reign in Lyme disease.
“The rising case numbers and increasing spread of tick-borne diseases are alarming and require a sustained focus from Congress to try to control this epidemic,” said Pat Smith.
“We are grateful to Congressman Smith for his continued dedication to this effort and his success along with his colleagues to acquire an additional $4M in funding for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. In these difficult times for our country, that is an outstanding accomplishment,” she said.
Earlier in July, the House agreed to another Smith Lyme disease amendment to investigate possible origins of modern-day Lyme. The amendment mandating a GAO investigation into possible use of ticks in a Department of Defense bioweapons program could shed more light on the massive increase in modern-day Lyme disease in recent years, and its heavier concentration in certain regions in the country. Said Smith, “If the investigation concludes our government’s bioweapons program did not contribute to the proliferation of Lyme, we turn the page. If it did, hopefully this investigation and research will contribute to a cure.”
Rep. Smith introduced the House version of the recently enacted law, the TICK Act (Ticks: Identify, Control, Knockout Act—HR 3073), which implements a whole of government approach to combat Lyme disease. “With Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases exploding in the United States—there are an estimated 300,000 to 427,000 new cases each year and 10-20 percent of all patients are suffering from chronic Lyme disease— the federal government needs to provide more funding for research, surveillance, treatments and a cure,” he said.
Enacted in December as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 omnibus appropriations bill, the Tick Act calls for a national strategy to aggressively fight Lyme disease and authorizes an additional $150 million to increase funding for Lyme research, prevention and treatment programs. Smith said the bill provides $50 million over five years to codify the Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector Borne Disease which have led the scientific response against tick-borne diseases. And the bill authorizes new CDC grants for a total of $100 million over five years, to build a public health infrastructure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
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FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Ocean County man pleaded guilty yesterday for his role in the shooting death of a Manalapan man in October 2019, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Gerard A. Grimes Jr., 24, of Jackson, pleaded guilty to first degree Aggravated Manslaughter and second degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux. Grimes admitted shooting five times at the three men who were chasing after him, one of the shots struck and killed 43-year-old Narcisco Rodriguez-Corona.
Grimes is expected to return for sentencing on Nov. 20, 2020. As part of his plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a 12-year sentence in a New Jersey state prison on the Aggravated Manslaughter charge, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of his imposed sentence before becoming eligible for release on parole. Grimes would also be under parole supervision for five years following his prospective release from state prison. There will also be a recommendation for a seven-year state prison term to run concurrent with the other sentence included in his plea agreement.
The case involving Grimes co-defendants, Zoey S. Monte, 21, and Tyler J. Martucci, 23, both of Jackson, are still pending. The case stems from an Oct. 5, 2019, call reporting shots fired with a victim. Manalapan police officers responded to the 9:34 p.m. call reporting a fight at 25 Fawn Run in the township. Several minutes later, police received another call for a confirmed shooting victim. Manalapan police officers arrived on scene and discovered Rodriguez-Corona suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced deceased.
After receiving initial information regarding the incident, police began to search the area. A few hours later, police attempted a motor vehicle stop of Grimes’ vehicle, but he failed to stop. Thereafter, Grimes fled the vehicle. Monte and Martucci were also onboard the vehicle and were arrested at that time. A short time later, Grimes was found in the backyard of a neighborhood residence.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Manalapan Township Police Department revealed Grimes came to the Manalapan residence armed with a handgun. Grimes attempted to enter the residence while Monte and Martucci remained outside. Residents of the home were alerted to Grimes’ presence and attempted to stop him from entering, resulting in a brief confrontation outside the home. Shortly thereafter, a second encounter occurred nearby, where Grimes ultimately shot the victim. Grimes, Monte and Martucci all fled the area.
Monte was indicted on charges of one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
Martucci was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Lawrence Nelson and Merlin Thomas.
Grimes is represented by Glenn Kassman, Esq. of Tinton Falls.
Monte is represented by John Perrone, Esq., of Long Branch.
Martucci is represented by Albert Kapin, Esq., of West Orange.
Despite these charges included in the indictment against Monte and Martucci, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.