Kyale Simonson, 32, of East Windsor was charged with two counts of first-degree Attempted Murder, one count of second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of second-degree Possession of a Handgun without a Permit.
October 26, 2020
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that an East Windsor man was arrested and charged in connection with a shooting that occurred on September 2, 2020.
Kyale Simonson, 32, of East Windsor was charged with two counts of first-degree Attempted Murder, one count of second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of second-degree Possession of a Handgun without a Permit.
Simonson was charged following an investigation by Detective Brandt Gregus of the New Brunswick Police Department and Detective Sean Sullivan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which identified Simonson as the gunman in a non-fatal shooting of two men near the intersection of Lee Avenue and Seaman Street.
Simonson is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center pending a Detention Hearing in Superior Court.
The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Gregus of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5200, or Detective Sullivan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4060.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Simonson are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
NEWARK, NJ –A Colorado man will make his initial appearance today on charges that he smuggled approximately two kilograms of cocaine into the United States, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Leandre Kemont Jefferson, 23, of Denver, Colorado, was arrested on Oct. 23, 2020. He is charged by complaint with one count of importation of controlled substances and is scheduled to appear by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Oct. 23, 2020, Jefferson arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport aboard a flight from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. During a screening, law enforcement officers discovered that Jefferson possessed approximately two kilograms of cocaine concealed inside of 12 vacuum packed bags, which were themselves wrapped in foil, and which was further concealed inside of clothing.
The count with which Jefferson is charged carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a potential maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina; and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Troy Miller, director of Field Operations, New York Field Office, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean M. Sherman of the Criminal Division in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Peter Carter Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark
HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A week has gone buy since we celebrated National Move Over Day when Howell Police investigating an accident scene on Route 9 North Bound near Casino Drive with emergency lights activated when a North Bound Driver on their cell phone ran into their patrol vehicle that was at the accident scene. Luckily no one else was injured at the emergency scene.
HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–This evening, Howell Police were investigating a collision on Rt.9 in the northbound lanes near Casino Drive. While the officers were out of their vehicles, another motorist who admittedly was using her phone struck one of the unoccupied patrol vehicles. The other motorist who is a Howell resident was not impaired or injured. Thankfully no one else was injured at the scene. The motorist was issued summonses. This is another reminder that it only takes a second to possibly ruin the rest of your life or someone else’s. We all are guilty of it on occasion but when there’s an active emergency scene that’s definitely not the time to be doing so. Move over or significantly slow for stopped emergency vehicles. This includes our tow/wrecker services.
New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2
Procedure for motorist approaching certain stationary vehicle.
1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:
(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or
(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light, a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights, or a stationary sanitation vehicle displaying a flashing amber warning light pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2011, c.3 (C.39:3-54.27) shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:
(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle, or sanitation vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or
(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.
October 25, 2020 Updated October 26 at 2:50 pm. to add official press release from Jackson PD below original story:
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 7:20 pm tonight a vehicle left the roadway near Top Gun Paint Ball near Great Adventure on Route 537 and crashed into a tree pinning the occupants. The Jackson Township Police, Jackson Township Fire Department, Jackson First Aid Squad and Millstone Township Fire Department, along with paramedics responded to the scene of the crash.
The fire departments performed the extrication, two medical helicopters were called to fly to a landing zone at Hurricane Harbor. The helicopters were canceled due to weather conditions. The vicitms were transported by ground to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton for treatment.
No further information is available at this time and the Jackson Township Police Department is investigating the crash. An e-mail was sent to the department and once public information becomes available about the crash the story will be updated and any corrections made.
Official Jackson Township Police Press Release:
The Jackson Township Police Department is currently investigating a single vehicle motor vehicle crash causing two occupants to be hospitalized.
At approximately 1920 hours, officers responded to Monmouth Road for a report of a motor vehicle crash involving a single vehicle into the wooded area off of the right side of the road. Upon officer’s arrival, a 1994 green Mercury Cougar was located off of the road which struck multiple trees. Both occupants were entrapped within the vehicle and needed to be extricated by responding emergency personnel. The occupants were identified as:
Driver: Ronald Nastasi Age 23 of Toms River, NJ
Passenger: Lauren Citrano Age 22 of Toms River, NJ
Initial investigation revealed that driver one was traveling north bound on Monmouth Road in the right lane when for unknown reasons he left the roadway (right). Vehicle one continued through the grass area where it struck a tree and was brought to rest. Both occupants were sent via medevac to the hospital as a result of injuries sustained.
At this time, the crash remains under investigation by Officer Lasko #252, Officer S. Cilento #274 and Sergeant Vidalis #251 of the Traffic Safety Unit.
Anyone having witnessed the crash is asked to contact Officer Lasko at 732-928-1111 ext. 2406
-The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police called out the Trenton Fire Department around noon today to continue the search for a missing person in the Delaware-Raritan Feeder Canal near Old Rose Street, Route 1 and Southard street. The Trenton Fire Department uses side scan sonar that could locate a body beneath the water. There was no word on if anything was found this afternoon.
The Police and Fire Departments were out from around 11:00 pm last night until 12:15 this morning when the search came up empty and was suspended for the night. See last nights story below:
UPPER FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The New Jersey State Police, Hope Fire Company, Capital Health EMS, New Egypt Fire Company and First Aid Squad all responded to a serious accident yesterday afternoon. Millstone Township Fire Department was called for a landing zone for a medical helicopter.
According to NJ State Police Spokesperson Sgt. Lawrence Peele, the crash occurred Saturday afternoon at 4:33 pm on Arneytown-Hornerstown near Millstream Road in Upper Freehold Township. Preliminary information indicates that the driver of a Nissan Maxima lost control and overturned. The driver was transported by medevac to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton with non-life-threatening injuries.
Radio reports indicate that the fire department and EMS had to remove the person from the overturned auto that was in a gully. Fire and EMS set up a rope system with a stokes basket to get the person out of the gully.
The NJ State Police report the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Trenton Fire Department and Trenton Police were sent to the Delaware and Raritan Canal, Feeder Canal long Route 1 between Old Rose Street and Southard Street. There was reports of a person in the water around 11:00 pm.
The fire department searched with boats and divers in the area. Nothing was found and the search was called off at 12:15 am early Sunday Morning.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora, North Ward District 5 Committeewoman Crystal Feliciano, and Bernard McMullan, President of the Trenton Council of Civic Associations, will host the “Trenton’s March to the Ballot Box” on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at noon.
The march is meant to motivate Trenton residents to complete their mail-in ballot and return it to one of the four secured drop box locations in the city. In a call for unity and increased voter turnout, Mayor Gusciora, Mercer County Clerk Paul Sollami Covello, County Commissioner Samuel Frisby and other Trenton residents and community leaders will deliver opening remarks for the occasion.
“During the July 2020 primary election, there was only one secure drop box in the entire Capital City,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Now we have four in advance of the upcoming general election on November 3, making it easier than ever for our residents to express their right to vote by proactively completing and returning their ballots.”
Organizers and participants will meet at the Trenton War Memorial for a brief program and then begin to march to the secured drop box location at City Hall. Everyone is encouraged to participate, even if they have already voted.
“Given everything that has been taking place around us in the City as well as the nation, this is a positive step for everyone to come together and stand united for a common cause” said Crystal Feliciano.
The drop boxes are located at the following locations:
County Clerk’s Office – Courthouse Annex – 209 S. Broad Street, Trenton N.J., 08608 (in front)
Trenton City Hall – 319 E. State Street, Trenton N.J., 08608 (in back / near Municipal Clerk’s Office)
Henry J. Austin Center – 321 N. Warren St, Trenton N.J., 08618 (Corner of Tucker)
Trenton Central High School – 400 Chambers Street, Trenton N.J., 08609 (across from McDonald’s)
Participating organizations include Trenton Council of Civic Associations, Project M.O.V.E, Top Ladies of Distinction – Trenton Chapter, Operation Rebuild Trenton, Trenton Democratic Committee, The Blue Wave Committee, Moms Demand Action – Mercer County, and NAACP – Trenton Branch.
ROBBINSVILLE-HAMILTON TOWNSHIPS, (MERCER)–The Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton held a bike drive event today for the Mercer County Bike Exchange that supports Boys and Girls Clubs of Mercer County. The event was held in front of Friendly’s Restaurant in the Foxmoor Shopping Center from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Many bikes were collected during the event.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County Bike Exchange is a volunteer-led enterprise that repairs donated bicycles and sells them at modest prices at its Ewing location at Capitol Plaza, raising funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County and promoting biking for transportation and pleasure among low-income families. Proceeds from the Bike Exchange sponsor the Club’s after-school programs.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Hamilton Township Animal Shelter held their open open house and pet adoption event today at their headquarters at 2100 Sylvan Avenue. There were several really nice pets up for adoption cats, dogs and even a rabbit. Tours were given of the shelter and the process of receiving the animal to adoption.
Animal control officers usually pick up the animals then bring them to the shelter, they are cleaned, checked and treated for anything they need prior to adoption or returning to their owners.
The shelter is also looking for volunteers to help and care for the animals waiting for adoption. Volunteer orientation events are on October 29 at 4:40 pm and November 7th at 11:30 am.
When visiting the shelter you will see all kinds of pets up for adoption if on your first visit you do not see a pet that fits what you are looking for make additional visits and you will find a shelter pet that you can bring into a loving home.
The hours of operation are Monday-Wednesday 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, Thursday 10:30 am to 7:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 10:30 am to 3:30 pm. Sunday the shelter is closed. Phone number of the shelter is 609-890-3550
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton firefighters responded to well involved set of row homes on fire early this morning around 6:00 am. The fire in the 200 block of Tyler Street was well involved on arrival and spreading to a total of 5 homes.
Compounding the problem is a TWW fire hydrant out of service right across from the buildings. Trenton firefighters quickly established water supplies from surrounding hydrants in three different directions by laying large diameter hose down the street in multiple directions.
Two firefighters were transported to the hospital, one for a burn and the other a minor injury. No occupants reported injured.
The fire went to 3 alarms before being brought under control.
The fire is under investigation. No further information is available at this time.
Dam repairs to take place at Stone Tavern Lake and Rising Sun Lake though December 1, 2020.
October 23, 2020
UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP-MILLSTONE TOWNSHP, NJ (MONMOUTH) –The Division is currently working on two dam repair projects on the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area. Stone Tavern and Rising Sun Lakes have been lowered approximately four feet to provide construction crews access to the dam and water control structures. Concrete work will be completed on the spillways and repairs to trash gates.
Both projects should be completed around December 1, at which time the lakes will be returned to their normal water levels. Access is currently open to these locations, however, it may be impacted by construction activities during the project. The Division will provide updates on the website should any changes regarding the completion date or access occur.
Both lakes have adequate depths to fully support the fish population during the duration of the project.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that the Mercer County Homicide Task Force has charged a man and a woman in this week’s murders of Gustavo and Johnny Perez on Mulberry Street in Trenton.
Dajuan Kelley AKA “Bando,” 26, of Ewing, and Destanie Ellis, 29, of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree conspiracy. Ellis was arrested Thursday night in Trenton. Kelley was arrested today in Hampton, Georgia, by the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force. The prosecutor’s office is filing motions to detain both defendants.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force. Ellis conspired with Kelley, who ultimately shot and killed Gustavo and Johnny Perez, who were standing in front of a second floor kitchen window of their residence on Mulberry Street.
The shooting occurred around 10:30 p.m. on October 20, 2020. Kelley shot into the second floor of the Perez residence in the 200 block of Mulberry Street. Upon arrival, police located Gustavo, 16, and his brother Johnny, 8, in the kitchen suffering from gunshot wounds. The victims were taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where they were pronounced dead a short time later.
Officers located eight spent shell casings on the opposite side of Breunig Avenue, approximately 50 feet from Mulberry Street. HTF detectives reviewed numerous surveillance videos from the area of the homicide and identified two vehicles of interest and two persons of interest. A blue Chevrolet Malibu was observed making a left turn onto Enterprise Avenue, turn around toward Mulberry Street, and park in a no parking zone with its headlights off as Gustavo Perez and his older brother walked toward Breunig Avenue. Moments later, a black Ford Expedition was observed driving at a slow speed following the brothers on Mulberry Street. The driver of the Ford Expedition was observed to be a black male.
The investigation revealed that Destanie Ellis was the driver of the blue Chevrolet Malibu following Gustavo and his older brother, and Dajuan Kelley was identified as the shooter. Prior to the shooting, Ellis and Kelley were sitting in the Ford Expedition on New York Avenue when the brothers walked past her vehicle and attempted to gain entry. A verbal dispute ensued between the brothers and Kelley and Ellis.
Ellis left the area in her blue Chevrolet Malibu and called other individuals to her location as she followed Gustavo and his older brother to their residence. Ellis, Kelley and other individuals arrived on Mulberry Street in separate vehicles, and Ellis pointed out the house where Gustavo and his older brother entered. Then Kelley began shooting at the males who were in standing in front of the window.
Prosecutor Onofri thanked the all of the members of the Mercer County Homicide Task Force, comprised of assistant prosecutors, detectives, officers and agents with the prosecutor’s office, the Trenton police, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and the New Jersey State Police.
“Law enforcement is always working tirelessly to protect the public and solve crimes, but the work accomplished by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force over the last few weeks has been nothing short of extraordinary,” Prosecutor Onofri said. “To be actively investigating multiple cases, tracking down witnesses and leads, reviewing hours and hours of surveillance footage, obtaining and executing search warrants, all the while responding to new crime scenes as they develop, and be able to make several arrests in multiple cases is an example of unrelenting fortitude and dedication to public safety. I could not be more proud and I can only hope that the community continues to recognize their effort, and remain vigilant and involved.”
Prosecutor Onofri also expressed his gratitude to Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler, the Trenton Police Department, the New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service for their continued support, shared resources and manpower.
The shooting remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Bills Establish Minimum Staffing Ratios and Require Policies to Prevent Social Isolation of Residents
October 23, 2020
RED BANK, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed two bills (S2712 and S2785) ordering reforms to the long-term care industry. The bills implement recommendations from the Manatt Health Report, released on June 3, 2020.
S2712 requires minimum direct care staff-to-resident ratios in New Jersey long-term care facilities. Additionally, the legislation will establish the Special Task Force on Direct Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment. S2785 requires long-term care facilities to institute policies that prevent social isolation of residents, addressing issues experienced by LTC residents and their families as a result of prohibitions and limitations on visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sadly, too many nursing homes are run by companies more interested in making money than protecting patients,” said Governor Murphy. “These long-sought reforms will help bring accountability to the industry and protect residents, staff, and family members with a loved one living in a long-term care facility. I am proud to have worked with our partners in organized labor, health care advocates, and legislative sponsors to finally implement safe staffing ratios in our nursing homes, as well as other long overdue reforms.”
“Staff caring for our most vulnerable residents in long-term care settings are the backbone of these facilities,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “As a nurse, I know there is no more important role than as a caregiver and all of those working in these facilities are healthcare heroes. We have to support this workforce and give them an opportunity to grow and advance in their careers, so it is not only a more rewarding job, but also results in improved care.”
Primary sponsors for S2712 include Senators Brian P. Stack, Patrick J. Diegnan, and Joseph F. Vitale, and Assemblymembers Angelica M. Jimenez, Gordon M. Johnson, and Pedro Mejia.
“New Jersey got an F rating and was ranked 43 out of 50 in direct care staffing hours per nursing home resident. These gaping problems have become even more apparent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is unacceptable and we all know we can do better,” said Senator Brian Stack. “These are our parents and grandparents and soon, they will be us. This law will ensure that every resident in our nursing homes receives the care and attention we all deserve.”
“Increasing the amount of staff in nursing homes will improve the quality of services provided to the elderly in the state,” said Senator Patrick Diegnan. “Because nursing home patients often need close supervision, increasing the amount of staff will ensure that these senior citizens have the attention and care they need.”
“By establishing a task force, we will be able to develop the best strategies for recruiting new direct care staff,” said Senate Health Committee chair, Senator Joseph Vitale. “It is imperative to develop a viable and robust pipeline of workers in order to meet the requirements of this bill and provide better care to the senior citizens of this state.”
“There isn’t a more important time than now to act to ensure New Jersey’s nursing homes have adequate staffing of direct care professionals for their residents. The onset of Covid-19 quickly illuminated the numerous inefficiencies in staffing, preparedness, and medical equipment in our nursing homes. They were dangerously unprepared for the rapid response needed to address the demands of a public health crisis,” said Assemblymembers Angelica Jimenez, Gordon Johnson, and Pedro Mejia in a joint statement. “Nursing home care has, for far too long, been under scrutiny in the state and it’s time now to address the concerns. A mandatory minimum for staff-to-patient ratios in these facilities will be critical to fixing the long term healthcare system in the state.”
S2712 establishes minimum direct care staff-to-resident ratios in nursing homes. The Manatt Report cited longstanding staffing shortages as one of the systemic issues that exacerbated the industry’s COVID-19-response challenges. Specifically, the law requires:
One CNA to every eight residents for the day shift;
One direct care staff member (RN, LPN, or CNA) to every 10 residents for the evening shift; and
One direct care staff member (RN, LPN, or CNA) to every 14 residents for the night shift.
The bill also establishes the Special Task Force on Direct Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment, which will evaluate job supports and incentives, training opportunities, wages and benefits, educational initiatives, and certification reciprocity rules. The Task Force will be required to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature within one year of its first meeting, which must occur within 180 days of signing.
Primary sponsors for S2785 include Senators Vin Gopal and Nellie Pou, and Assemblymembers Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Angela V. McKnight, and Carol A. Murphy.
“One of the debilitating effects of the spread of the coronavirus has been the heightened sense of isolation it has placed on residents of long-term care facilities. There is little doubt that the limits on physical visitation have had a harmful effect on residents’ mental and physical well-being,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “Many residents in these facilities are already susceptible to loneliness and potential isolation. Facilities should act now to implement plans to prevent such isolation in the event of a public health emergency and be able to mitigate its worst effects on both residents and their loved ones.”
“Long term care facilities can be lonely places for our elderly residents. The limitations we saw on visitation early on in the pandemic, while in the best interest of patients, had an immense impact on their mental wellbeing,” said Senator Nellie Pou. “This program will help to ensure our facilities are better equipped to prevent feelings of social isolation in the event of future public health emergencies that require them to go into lockdown to prevent the spread of illness.”
“For months at the start of the pandemic, family and friends were not allowed to visit their loved ones in long-term care facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle,chair of the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee. “Though this precaution was intended to protect the physical health of residents, for many the sustained social isolation took a toll on their mental health. Eight months into this crisis, we’ve learned social distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation or loneliness. Whether it be a natural disaster or a public health crisis, we must ensure that residents in these facilities can stay connected to their families and loved ones remotely when in-person visits are not feasible.”
“Even before COVID-19, many residents in long-term care felt socially isolated and lonely,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight. “The pandemic has exacerbated this problem. Most of us at one point or another have leaned on family and friends for support in these uncertain times. We must make sure those in long-term care – many of them elderly or disabled – are able to stay in touch with their support systems.”
“Mental health and physical health are equally important. During COVID-19 and beyond, the mental health of long-term care residents must be a priority,” said Assemblywoman Carol Murphy. “Now more than ever, we must keep residents connected to their families, both for the sake of their mental health and to ensure families are able to advocate for their loved ones.”
The bill requires long-term care facilities, as a condition of licensure, to implement policies to prevent social isolation of residents. The bill is intended to address the tremendous strain experienced by long-term care residents and families of residents as a result of the prohibition of and limitation on visitation during the pandemic. The bill requires facilities to create social isolation prevention policies to authorize residents of the facility to engage in in-person contact, communications, and religious and recreational activities with other facility residents and with family members, friends, and other external support systems, except when prohibited, restricted, or limited. The bill further requires policies to consider means to promote virtual visitation and resident recreational activities during periods where in-person engagement is limited/prohibited, and requires facilities to maintain the appropriate technology to implement that mandate.
“Today New Jersey enacts one of the most meaningful pieces of nursing home legislation our state has seen in decades,” said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “This law will fundamentally improve standards of quality care in nursing homes by ensuing that facilities hire sufficient frontline staff to meet the basic needs of residents. We commend Gov. Murphy and our legislative leadership for taking this step which establishes New Jersey as a national model for compassionate staffing levels in nursing homes.”
“Today I care for nearly twice as many residents as I did when I became a CNA seventeen years ago,” said Margaret Boyce, certified nursing assistant and member of 1199SEIU. “This law means that I will again be able to give my residents the type of care that they deserve. After all they have gone through during this pandemic, no nursing home resident should ever again have to miss a meal, or a shower, or feel lonely because there’s no one available to assist them.”
On behalf of the members I represent, I applaud Governor Murphy and the NJ Legislature for their support of long term care patients and workers. This has been a very difficult time for patients and their caregivers at NJ nursing homes,” said Susan Cleary, President of District 1199J, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees. “It is my sincere hope as President of District 1199J, representing 10,000 workers which include 35 long term care facilities, that as a State we will protect our most vulnerable citizens, recognize and compensate those who provide quality and compassionate care, and continue to work toward policies that keep our long term care community safe and strong.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–According to witnesses gunshots rang out in the 300 Block of Lamberton Street before 5:00 am this morning as gun violence continues to plague the City. Witnesses say that it appeared that a man was shot in the back with non-life threating injuries. The person was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. No further information is available.
This is a breaking news report from on scene reporting and witnesses. In the City of Trenton shootings happen regularly and very little if any information is ever released unless it is a fatal shooting. The gun violence continues and without public information on shootings made available the residents don’t know how bad the situation really is, unless they leave their windows open at night and hear the gun shots in the distance. If information becomes available the story will be updated.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 4:25 pm the Robbinsville Township Police Department and Robbinsville Township Fire Department responded to the Foxmoor Shopping Center for a vehicle into the building. Upon arrival it was determined that it was minor damage and there were no injuries. The Robbinsville Township Police Department investigated.
EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Last night at approximately 7:20 pm the Ewing Township Police Department responded to the intersection of Olden Avenue and Prospect Street for a report of a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle. Officers located a 19-year-old male with head injuries, lying on the ground on Olden Avenue. The vehicle which struck the male did not remain on scene. The male was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center for Treatment.
Due to the seriousness of the crash, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Serious Collision Response Team was notified and assisted with the investigation. The striking vehicle is described as being a black sedan which was last seen traveling on Olden Avenue towards Parkside Avenue. At this time, the male is in stable condition.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Officer David Danley at 609-882-1313 or the confidential tip line at 609-882-7530.
TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–An alleged crime family associate today admitted possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Jason Vella, 39, of Toms River, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
On Sept. 19, 2019, investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutors Office executed a search warrant on Vella’s residence and recovered in excess of 150 grams of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, $2,295 in cash and pieces of jewelry.
The charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2021.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the members of the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O=Malley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Dennis Carletta Esq., Cedar Grove, New Jersey
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Early this afternoon a 2 vehicle t-boned style accident occurred at Perry Street and N. Clinton Avenue. There were no life threating injures reported in the accident. Hawks Towing removed the two vehicles. Trenton Police Department is investigating the crash.
FORT DIX, NEW HANOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–A Union County, New Jersey, man has been charged with conspiring to use drones to smuggle contraband, including tobacco, cell phone chargers, and a cell phone, into the federal correctional facility at Fort Dix, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Johansel Moronta, 27, of Linden, New Jersey, an inmate at Fort Dix from April 2018 to March 2019, was charged by complaint, unsealed today, with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into the prison and to defraud the United States and one count of being a federal inmate possessing and obtaining, and attempting to possess and obtain, contraband. Moronta will be scheduled to appear on a date to be determined by the court.
Three other men, Adrian Goolcharran, a/k/a “Adrian Ahoda” and “Adrian Ajoda,” Nicolo Denichilo, and Jason Arteaga Loayza, a/k/a “Juice,” previously have been charged with participating in the scheme to use drones to smuggle contraband into Fort Dix.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) obtained evidence that in October 2018, while incarcerated at the federal prison at Fort Dix, Moronta participated, along with Arteaga, a former Fort Dix inmate, Goolcharran, and others, in a scheme to use unmanned aircrafts, or drones, to deliver contraband to inmates. Moronta’s role in the scheme was to coordinate the drone drops with Goolcharran and Arteaga from within the prison, and then retrieve the contraband after the drone, piloted by Goolcharran, had dropped the contraband inside the facility.
On Oct. 30, 2018, at approximately 1:40 a.m., Fort Dix officers observed a drone with fishing line hovering above the rooftop of an inmate housing unit. Officers found Moronta leaving a bathroom in the area where the bag of contraband dropped from the drone had been found, along with bolts that secured an open rooftop hatch used to access the delivery. Officers also found a cell phone that Moronta used to coordinate drone drops with Arteaga and Goolcharran. The phone contained numerous text messages and phone calls exchanged between Moronta, Goolcharran and Arteaga in the days leading up to the drop. On Oct. 27, 2018, Moronta sent a text message to Goolcharran referring to himself as “Joe [expletive] in fort dix on the rooftop.” On Oct. 30, 2018, at 12:07 a.m., Moronta sent a text message to Goolcharran asking “U in the area,” and Goolcharran responded “Yea.,” likely meaning that Goolcharran was near Fort Dix and available to make the drone drop. At 12:36 a.m., Goolcharran messaged Moronta “How we lookin,” and Moronta responded a few minutes later with “It ok.” Moronta also sent messages to Arteaga at 12:57 a.m., stating “Two trip,” likely referring to the number of drone flights planned, and “Same cop from last week,” likely referring to the corrections officer on duty.
Moronta also coordinated other drone drops with Arteaga and Goolcharran. Location data from Goolcharran’s cell phone confirmed that Goolcharran’s cell phone was in the Fort Dix area during the early morning hours of October 24, 2018, and began to depart the area by about 1:54 a.m. that same morning. In addition, evidence obtained from Moronta’s cell phone revealed numerous communications between Moronta, Arteaga, and Goolcharran on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24, 2018, showing the three men coordinating multiple drone drops.
The offenses charged in the complaint carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy count and one year in prison and $100,000 maximum fine for the possessing or obtaining contraband count.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited agents of DOJ-OIG, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Guido Modano; DOJ-OIG’s Cyber Investigations Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Keith Bonanno; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 307 under the direction of Superintendent Jonathan Jackson; and the U.S. Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Douglas Shoemaker, with the investigation leading to the charges.
He also thanked Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel at Fort Dix, under the direction of Warden David Ortiz; agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; investigating agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas J. Mahoney; and officers with the Pemberton Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief Edward Hunter; the Pemberton Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Jantas; and Chesterfield Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Kyle Wilson, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jeffrey J. Manis of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township Department of Community and Economic Development announces the Township’s CARES Act Grant. The Township has appropriated $400,000 of New Jersey’s CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF Funds) to support this initiative. Earlier this month Hamilton Township was awarded $1,877,299 in aid from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Division of Local Government Services CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The Hamilton CARES Act grant objective is to provide additional aid, of up to $5,000, to the community’s businesses economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program application will be made available online through December 1, 2020. This initiative is in addition to the $90,000 previously allocated for the Hamilton Small Business Assistance Program and an additional $200,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which was approved by Council on Tuesday evening. Together, these programs will total nearly $700,000 in assistance for our local businesses.
“As we all know, COVID-19 continues to both be a health and economic crisis and our small businesses need help to weather the storm,” stated Mayor Jeff Martin. “Each business in Hamilton provides an important piece to our overall economy. Hamilton Township is committed to ensure that our local business community is supported, as they have supported our residents, throughout this difficult time in our history.”
“Our small businesses and our restaurant establishments are the backbone of our local economy,” said Council President Rick Tighe. “Council is happy to support this allocation of funding to our business community in a time of need. We are grateful to Mayor Martin and our state partners for the quick disbursement of this aid.”
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County grand jury returned an indictment this week charging a Lawrence Township police officer with two counts of second-degree official misconduct, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.
Andres Mejia, 42, was charged in September 2020 with unsworn falsification and tampering with records, both disorderly persons offenses, following an internal affairs investigation conducted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor’s office and the Lawrence Township police discovered the falsification of records during an unrelated criminal investigation in August 2020.
The internal affairs investigation revealed that Mejia submitted an official arrest report to his superior officers at the Lawrence Township Police Department on August 16, knowing that it contained false and misleading information regarding a fictitious witness in an incident that he had responded to in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer.
The two-count indictment, returned on October 20, alleges Mejia failed to investigate a claim of domestic violence assault and made a false statement in a police report.
Mejia has been suspended indefinitely from the police department without pay pending the outcome of his criminal case.
Despite having been indicted, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–MidJersey.News is aware of a few incidences of people getting “unemployment notices” in the mail. We contacted the NJ Governor’s Office and NJ Department of Labor on what actions you can take. They suggest using the link below and/or calling the numbers below to report fraud:
Report a case of suspected fraud via phone or email by visiting:
Out-of-state claims: 888-795-6672 (you must call from a phone with an out-of-state area code)
New Jersey Relay: 7-1-1
Also file a police report for identity theft with your local police department. Take the usual steps to protect your credit though credit bureaus, etc.
Since there is a lot of personal information in the document it would not hurt to take standard identity theft precautions while this is worked out. Once identity theft occurs it is good to contact your local police department since they can file an official report of the incident. The local police are good sources of other information and tips on how to protect your identification.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill to allow housing for employees at facilities that board horses passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee Thursday.
The bill (A2768) would amend the Right to Farm Act to allow housing for equine-related farm employees as long as the newly constructed housing is in a separate area or level from the horses and meets all Uniform Construction Code standards, including fire ratings.
The bill also makes providing this housing an act that falls under Right to Farm protections.
“Farm employees often need more access to the horses they care for,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “They will be able to take better care of these animals if they can live on the same farm.”
Dancer’s bill will require the state agriculture development committee to adopt rules and regulations to implement the bill. The committee would adopt an agricultural management practice that permits the housing of equine-related farm employees in the same building where the horses are boarded either in a separate area or level from the horses.
“Taking care of a horse is one of the most demanding and worthwhile jobs one could do,” said Dancer. “The horse industry is important to New Jersey’s economy, and we must keep this industry thriving.”
ALLENTOWN-ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MONMOUTH-MERCER)–Last night October 20, the Robbinsville Township Police reported a driver, driving erratically in Robbinsville. RTPD tried to stop the vehicle and after a short pursuit Robbinsville Police broke off the chase.
In Allentown, at 9:37 pm, Patrolman Daniel Dascoli attempted to initiate a motor vehicle stop of a 2010 Red Nissan Maxima, which was driving erratic in the Borough of Allentown. The driver who was later identified as Hector Rentas of Allentown, PA, failed to stop his vehicle and subsequently crashed on Old York Road in the area of Cliffwood Drive. The vehicle ended up crashing on the Robbinsville Township side of Old York Road.
Through the investigation Ptl. Dascoli discovered a loaded 9mm handgun with a high-capacity magazine within reach to the driver in plain view, as well as controlled dangerous substance in his possession.
Ptl. Dascoli observed several possible indicators of alchol consumption present. Rentas was transported to Captial Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton for a medical evaluation. Once released, Rentas was later charged with Unlaful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a High-Capacity Magazine, Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances and Eluding Police. Rentas was later lodged in Monmouth County Correctional Institution.
The Robbinsville Township Police Department was reviewing the incident and some charges could be pending in Robbinsville Township with same driver.
*** The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. ***
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Councilwoman At Large and City Council President Kathy McBride was joined by a group of City residents demanding action from the Mayor, Police Director and Mercer County Prosecutors Office about the shootings in Trenton. McBride, calls for comprehensive aggressive plan and officials to do their jobs to solve crimes in the City. Full video and press release below.
The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are investigating a shooting that occurred in Trenton Tuesday night that resulted in the death of two brothers, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.
At approximately 10:30 p.m. on October 20, 2020, suspect(s) shot into the second floor of a residence in the 200 block of Mulberry Street. Two brothers, Johnny Perez, 8, and Gustavo Perez, 16, were struck and killed.
There is no suspect information at this time and no motive for the murders. Anyone with information is asked to call (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to email@example.com.
Trenton is making unfortunate history in the year 2020. During an 18-day period between May and June, Eight Trentonians lost their lives in a rash of violence. In July, August and October Trenton experienced multiple double homicide incidents, and on multiple occasions Trenton has experienced two unrelated homicides in the same day. Many of these suspects remain at large. We are on pace to reach the sad milestone of the deadliest year in our long history.
We as Trentonians have an obligation to ensure that our children are safe. Where can our children be safe if not in their homes? As you may know, my son Kenneth McBride was a victim of gun violence while attending college on March 21, 1993. I now worry for my surviving children, my 19-year-old son, my twin boys, and my niece. I should not have to worry whether they are safe in the sanctity of their home.
Our parents, our mothers and fathers, have an obligation to ensure that their children are not carrying guns, dealing drugs; and to hold their children accountable for their actions. We must all do our part.
Recently, Police Director Coley stated in an interview “Until Trenton
Police adds more personnel and better technology, it can’t take a big bite out of crime” and she indicated that Trenton is “way behind other agencies” with regard to technology and staffing and that it was not even considered a “21st Century Policing Agency.”
Trenton is facing many financial issues, now more than ever. Unfortunately, our present oversight by the Department of Community Affairs does not allow for an increase in officers currently.
We have an unknown financial future in the face of Covid19 and the health and financial impacts it is having on the City of Trenton. At this time it is hard to envision a path in which the Department of Community Affairs will approve funds to acquire the technology and officers Director Coley has requested.
Accordingly, we are required to work with the technology and dedicated officers we have to address this violent year. The responsibility lies with those in the City of Trenton who are responsible for leadership of our police force and for enforcing our laws and keeping our citizens safe.
Without additional resources leadership must be the answer.
We cannot have children murdered feet from their beds in the safety of their homes. Trenton requires action now from those who can provide a plan to address the significant issues of violence in our City with the resources approved in accordance with our state oversight. Thank you.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Continuing its efforts to support and connect with local businesses, Hamilton Township announced today the launch of its Business Registry.
Having a Business Registry will benefit both the Township and our businesses in several ways. The Registry is designed to allow the Township to have greater communication with business owners. By email or phone, it will allow the Office of Community and Economic Development, especially the Division of Economic Development the ability to offer assistance and resources valuable to their success and business growth. Collecting information such as emergency contacts and operations allows our first responders to better assist in emergency situations.
Once this information is collected, it can be used to further our mutual economic interests, accurately measure growth and gauge the variety and quantity of businesses that the Township is home to.
“This new Business Registry will transform the way that Hamilton is able to interact and communicate with our local businesses so that we can be a better resource,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “Not only this, but it will provide the Township a unique opportunity to formally measure our success and opportunities for growth with a system that can put us on a path for even greater economic prosperity moving forward.”
Very early on in the pandemic, we realized our inability to quickly and effectively communicate with our businesses on critical info. This registry is designed to fill that gap at no-cost to our businesses.
This project is being spearheaded by the Township Department of Community and Economic Development, who will connect with local business organizations such as the Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Commission, Shop Hamilton and the Hamilton Partnership to further their reach.
“It is essential that all Hamilton businesses receive information efficiently from the local government,” said Hamilton Councilman Anthony Carabelli. “Especially faced with this current pandemic, there are programs and incentives announced frequently that could be missed if not for the Business Registry. I applaud the efforts of the Mayor and his Economic Development team for launching this worthwhile initiative.”
While registration is free, businesses are required by Township Ordinance 20-24 to register. Fines will be imposed should businesses fail to register by the December 31, 2020 deadline. The registration form is available online as well as hard copy. For more information and to register a business, visit www.hamiltonnj.com/businessregistry.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Another victim has fallen to senseless violence in the city. The Mercer County Prosecutors Office confirms that on October 16, 2020 Rudy Alvira Jr. of Hamilton died from gunshot wounds sustained on October 9, 2020. — Information was released today October 21, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police, Trenton Fire Department, and Trenton EMS responded to a shooting in the 1st block of Oak Street around 7:50 pm. The shooting sounded critical as a “trauma alert” was called en route to the hospital. The vicitm was transported by TEMS and Capital Paramedics to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.
Update at 11:15 pm the Trenton Fire Department was detailed back out to Oak Street for a “washdown” to clean up body fluids.