CRANBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 11:30 pm a fire broke out inside the Amazon Warehouse TEB6 located at 22 Hightstown-Cranbury Station Road. Firefighters arrived and found a heavy smoke condition pushing from the south-west side of the warehouse. Employees were outside and evacuated to the parking lot covered in space type blankets to keep warm. Firefighters put two lines in operation and the fire was reported “extinguished” at 12:27 am. Two or three aerial units laddered the building to open sky lights and any possible vents in the roof to remove smoke. There was extensive overhaul of the fire and units were still being called to the scene at 2:00 am.
The warehouse by Google Maps satellite measurement is approximately 560 feet wide by 1,765 feet for an estimated 988,400 square feet in size.
The partial list of fire departments dispatched and/or involved so far are and fire is quite possibly a 2 or 3 alarms in size equivalent: Cranbury Fire Company, Hightstown Fire Company, East Windsor # 1 and # 2, Robbinsville Township Fire Department, West Windsor Fire Company, Princeton Junction Fire Company, Plainsboro Fire Department, Monroe Township Fire Department, South Brunswick-Monmouth Junction and Kendall Park, Jamesburg Fire Company, North Brunswick and East Brunswick. More departments were still being added as of 2:18 am. for covers. Hamilton Township Fire Department was added at 2:39 am for a cover.
MidJersey.news has emailed Amazon Corporate Public Relations for comment. Once we receive comment from them and other sources the story will be updated and any corrections made.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–There were reports of a stabbing tonight in the 1200 Block of South Broad Street near Liberty Street around 9:30 pm. Sources said a man was found stabbed in the side and a group of individuals were on scene trying to control the bleeding. Sources also said that the main was hit over the head and stabbed for $50.00 Trenton EMS and Trenton Police responded to the scene. The main was taken to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. No other information is available at this time. If official police information becomes available the story will be updated.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–On President Trump’s last full day in office, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that New Jersey has filed nine new lawsuits challenging a series of environmental rollbacks rushed through during the waning days of the Trump Administration. The announcement comes on the heels of a major litigation victory, in which a federal appeals court agreed with New Jersey that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted unlawfully in 2019 when it repealed the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan for addressing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The nine lawsuits announced today touch on issues including protections for clean air, energy efficiency requirements for appliances, and measures to protect migratory birds and endangered wildlife species.
All nine challenges to the Trump Administration’s “midnight rules” are being pursued by coalitions of states that share New Jersey’s commitment to protecting the environment and public health. Attorney General Grewal is leading one of the six lawsuits, which challenges a rule that weakens Clean Air Act protections for major sources of emissions.
“The environmental impacts of the Trump Administration’s lame duck rulemaking will be devastating if all of these rules remain in place,” said Attorney General Grewal. “So last week, we promised that the last-minute rules would not go unchecked. With today’s lawsuits, we’re making good on that commitment. Between these lawsuits and the policy changes expected in the Biden Administration, the Trump Administration’s environmentally disastrous actions won’t last long.”
“We will not allow Trump loyalists to continue to undermine science and threaten our State’s and nation’s air, water and wildlife in the waning hours of this Administration,” said Shawn M. LaTourette, Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “While we are confident that brighter days are ahead for environmental protection, New Jersey will continue to join our sister states in fighting the short-sighted Trump legacy of environmental ignorance and degradation.”
The federal rules challenged in the nine environmental protection lawsuits filed by Attorney General Grewal since Friday, January 15, are:
An EPA rule that will allow major sources of hazardous air pollutants to reclassify themselves as less regulated “area sources” under the Clean Air Act, abandoning the “once-in, always-in” policy that had been in place for 25 years. Among other things, the state attorneys general contend that the rule increases Americans’ risk of cancer and other serious health problems traceable to hazardous air pollutants like cyanide and hydrochloric acid by reducing the number of pollution sources using maximum available control technology; violates the Clean Air Act and the Administrative Procedure Act; and is unsupported by the necessary evidence and analysis. The petition for review on behalf of 13 states and the cities of New York and Chicago was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
An EPA rule on greenhouse gas emission standards for airplanes that fails to adequately mitigate public health and environmental harms from such emissions, including the environmental justice impacts on residents living near airports, which disproportionately include disadvantaged minority and low-income communities. Among other things, the attorneys general have argued that EPA’s rule does not reflect a reasonable assessment of aircraft-related pollution and the technological feasibility of more effective emissions controls. The petition for review on behalf of 12 States and the District of Columbia was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
An EPA rule maintaining the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone at a level that fails to protect public health and welfare based on the existing scientific evidence. State attorneys general have alleged that the EPA’s decision not to strengthen the primary or secondary ozone NAAQS is the result of a flawed and hasty process that gave short shrift to the evidence showing that more protective standards are necessary to protect human health and public welfare. The petition for review on behalf of 15 states, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit/
An EPA rule that will skew how the agency weighs the costs and benefits of rules under the Clean Air Act by excluding important public health benefits from the analysis while inflating the costs. In particular, the rule will cause future EPA rules to undercount the harmful effects of carbon emissions that lead to climate change and distort the value of “co-benefits,” the often-substantial benefits of rules that addresses more than one pollutant. Among other flaws, this biased approach is contrary to EPA’s core mission to protect human health and the environment, as well as to economic principles and the legal requirement that EPA base its standards on the best available information. The petition for review on behalf of 17 States, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
An EPA rule weakening the Clean Air Act’s new source review program for major modifications to existing major stationary sources of emissions. The rule will subject New Jersey residents to lower air quality and will make it more difficult for downwind States like New Jersey to attain or maintain federal air quality standards. The petition for review on behalf of seven states and the District of Columbia was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Rules from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service that will make it harder to protect endangered and threatened species by narrowly defining critical “habitat” and establishing a skewed process for excluding areas from critical habitat designations. The lawsuit alleges that the rules violate the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act; lack a reasoned explanation; and violate procedural requirements for rulemaking, among other flaws. The complaint on behalf of 18 States and the City of New York was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
A rule from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that rolls back protections for migratory birds. The lawsuit alleges that the rule will increase the risk of death for birds that migrate within and through New Jersey and other States, depriving residents of scientific, recreational, and birdwatching opportunities, and undermining the ecological balance that the birds help maintain, including by controlling insects and rodents, pollinating, and dispersing seeds. The complaint on behalf of 12 States was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and alleges that the rule violates the Endangered Species Act, other laws, and principles of international comity.
An EPA rule that unlawfully and arbitrarily limits the scientific evidence that the agency can consider when adopting rules and standards to protect human health and the environment. Rather than enhance the integrity of EPA’s regulations, the rule undermines EPA’s core responsibilities to implement environmental laws through use of the “latest,” “generally accepted,” and “best available” science. The lawsuit alleges that in adopting the rule, EPA not only violated its duties under those laws but also exceeded its legal authority, acted arbitrarily and capriciously, and impermissibly made the rule effective immediately. The complaint on behalf of 18 states, the cities of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and King County, Washington as filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
A U.S. Department of Energy rule that will weaken federal energy efficiency standards for consumer appliances and industrial equipment by making it easier for manufacturers to obtain waivers from product testing requirements. While national efficiency standards have been highly effective in reducing consumer and industrial energy costs, and reducing the environmental impacts associated with energy production, the new rule will undermine energy efficiency standards to the detriment of consumers and product manufacturers who comply with existing test procedures. State attorneys general contend that the rule violates the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, among other legal flaws. The petition for review on behalf of 14 states, the District of Columbia and the City of New York was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni is urging residents to beware of becoming victims of COVID-related scams, especially those scams targeting senior and elderly residents.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, scams targeting citizens, in particular the elderly, have taken a new twist and a new sense of urgency. Con artists are calling senior citizens offering early access to the COVID-19 vaccine for some form of payment, offering to ship the vaccine directly to you for a deposit or fee, offering to place you on a waiting list, or offering added medical testing and treatment when obtaining the vaccine. The offers come from scammers pretending to be a doctor’s office, insurance company or COVID-19 vaccine center. The scammer will ask for personal or medical information to determine if you “qualify” for the vaccine. Information sought will often include a social security number, Medicare ID number, date of birth, credit card or bank account information, or other personal information.
“We live in a world where scammers will try anything to get your personal information, medical information, and even your life’s savings using devious tactics. They are willing to pretend to be anyone just to take advantage of you. Please be vigilant – if it seems questionable, then trust your instincts that it is,” warned Prosecutor Gramiccioni.
Other scams are found on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular platforms showing ads from unknown sources advertising access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Federal authorities have created a public awareness campaign that includes useful information below to help identify these scams and where to find other information about the schemes.
“The most important piece of advice during this unusual time is to be overly skeptical of any unsolicited offers of any kind, to stay vigilant no matter how convincing the voice on the other side of the phone may be. Just because it is on the internet does not make it safe or true. Do not share personally identifiable information ever over the phone – social security numbers, Medicare ID numbers, your date of birth, credit card or bank account information – obtaining this information to defraud you is the ultimate objective,” Prosecutor Gramiccioni added.
Federal authorities are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines after receiving complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information and money through various schemes. We continue to work diligently with law enforcement partners and the private sector to identify cyber threats and fraud in all forms.
The public should be aware of the following potential indicators of fraudulent activity:
• Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee
• Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list
• Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine
• Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee
• Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine recipients’ eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine
• Claims of Food and Drug Administration approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified
• Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources
• Individuals contacting you in person, by phone, or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
Tips to avoid COVID-19 vaccine-related fraud:
• Consult your state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtaining a vaccine through such channels.
• Check the Food and Drug Administration’s website (fda.gov) for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.
• Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination.
• Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
• Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly reporting any errors to your health insurance provider.
• Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted medical professionals.
General online/cyber fraud prevention techniques:
• Verify the spelling of web addresses, websites, and email addresses that look trustworthy but may be imitations of legitimate websites.
• Ensure operating systems and applications are updated to the most current versions.
• Update anti-malware and anti-virus software and conduct regular network scans.
• Do not enable macros on documents downloaded from an email unless necessary and after ensuring the file is not malicious.
• Do not communicate with or open emails, attachments, or links from unknown individuals.
• Never provide personal information of any sort via email; be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.
• Use strong two-factor authentication if possible, using biometrics, hardware tokens, or authentication apps.
• Disable or remove unneeded software applications.
If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it to your local police department.
For accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit:
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER): Hamilton Police are seeking information in regards to a man that hasn’t been seen since August of 2020.
On January 14, 2021, Todd Dekis was reported missing by a family member. The family member told police that they have not seen Dekis since August of 2020. Dekis’ family also reported seeing anonymous Facebook posts suggesting that Dekis may be hospitalized. Police contacted all local hospitals, but Dekis was not located.
Dekis is described as a 35 year old white male, 6’0”, 140 lbs., blue eyes and black hair. It is unknown what Dekis is wearing and the family does not believe he has a cell phone. Dekis may be homeless at this time and may be in the Trenton area.
Anyone with any information regarding the missing person is asked to contact Detective Dan Inman of the Hamilton Police Criminal Investigation’s Section at 609-581-4035 or the the Hamilton Police Division Tip Line at 609-581-4008.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced proposed changes that, if adopted, would bring more accountability to the youth justice system in New Jersey, transferring juvenile parole responsibilities to the authority of the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) and allowing parole decisions to be made by those who are most closely involved in the day-to-day rehabilitation of youth.
Integrating juvenile parole release authority within the JJC completes the consolidation of executive branch juvenile justice responsibilities originally envisioned when the JJC was legislatively established more than 25 years ago. The proposed rules underscore and reflect New Jersey’s commitment to maintaining a truly separate system of justice between adults and youth. And this shift also joins New Jersey with 32 other states that place release authority with the jurisdiction’s youth corrections agency. Overall, this change allows those who are most closely involved in the day-to-day progress of youth, JJC professional staff, to make and execute decisions regarding parole.
“With today’s proposed rules, our Juvenile Justice Commission continues to push forward towards the systemic transformation of New Jersey’s youth justice system,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Placing release responsibility entirely with the JJC and those most closely involved with our young people ensures that the focus remains on rehabilitation, personal growth, and fairness – priorities that have made New Jersey a leader in youth justice reform.”
“Every step in the reform of New Jersey’s youth justice system has been carefully implemented to create a fair and just structure that recognizes the individual needs of youth while ensuring consistency and equity in decision-making. The standardized parole processes being put in place by the JJC incentivize prosocial behavior and engagement in rehabilitative programming and increase positive outcomes among youth,” said Jennifer LeBaron, Ph.D., Acting Executive Director of the JJC. “The core principles and data collection requirements that we are embedding in our work will allow us to measure the outcomes of these changes. While there is more work to do, the JJC, in partnership with advocates and stakeholders, is creating a system that is more equitable and transparent and that expands opportunities for growth and success among youth.”
The JJC has implemented a team approach to release decision-making. Staff from various disciplines directly involved with youth assess each youth’s behavior and progress and craft reports that are shared with various partners including the courts, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. These reports, as well as specific recommendations regarding parole, are also provided to a review panel authorized to make parole decisions, in order to create individualized reentry plans and to set release conditions consistent with each youth’s specific circumstances and rehabilitative goals. The panel is comprised of at least two members from the JJC and one member of the State Parole Board.
In order to fully implement this change, the JJC’s Executive Board voted to readopt rules with proposed amendments related to P.L.2019, c.363, signed by Governor Murphy in 2020, which transfers administrative functions related to juvenile parole from the State Parole Board to the JJC. Additionally, the law calls for principles that include utilizing objective criteria, processes, and tools to be incorporated into the juvenile justice system and specifically requires such objective processes to be used to determine the length of time a juvenile should remain in custody. This system will enhance fairness and consistency in decision-making, as youth displaying similar behaviors will receive similar parole outcomes.
The JJC’s Office of Juvenile Parole and Transitional Services provides supervision and support to youth once released from custody, assisting them with enrolling back into school, finding employment, and connecting with appropriate counseling and related services, in accordance with the individualized reentry plan. Youth and their families are active partners in the community reentry planning process.
The transformation of New Jersey’s juvenile justice system has earned the JJC national acclaim and made New Jersey a model state for youth justice reform.
Comprehensive reform includes:
a reduction of approximately 80% in the use of secure detention as the result of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a nationally recognized reform effort;
a drop of almost 90% in the number of youth of color in the detention center population since the implementation of JDAI;
the designation of New Jersey by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a Model Site for other states seeking to implement statewide reform;
a reduction of 80% in the number of Court-ordered commitments of juvenile offenders to JJC custody, resulting in the virtual elimination of reliance on incarceration with the JJC for minor offenses;
the closure of one non-secure facility and downsized staffing at its secure facilities, with significant budget savings; and
supporting a statewide Attorney General Directive to law enforcement to divert juveniles away from law enforcement and toward social or familial support whenever possible.
The proposed new rules, which were published in the NJ Register on December 21, 2020, are now subject to public comment.
The proposal, and information on how to submit a comment by February 19, 2021, can be found here.
The JJC was established in 1995 to serve as the single agency of State government with centralized authority for planning, policy development, and provision of services in the juvenile justice system. The JJC is committed to implementing and promoting policies and practices that improve outcomes for young people involved with the juvenile justice system, their families, and their communities.
The JJC’s three primary responsibilities are providing care, custody, and rehabilitative services to youth committed to the agency by the courts, supervising and coordinating services for youth released from custody on parole, and supporting local efforts to provide prevention and early intervention services to at-risk and court-involved youth.
Across a continuum of care, which includes secure care facilities, residential community homes, and community-based parole and transitional services, the JJC provides programming, supports, and opportunities designed to help youth grow and thrive and to become independent, productive, and law-abiding citizens.
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A serious crash involving a Nissan Murano and a pedestrian occurred at the intersection of Princeton Avenue and Spruce Street sometime before 8:30 am. Lawrence Township Police, Lawrence EMS and Capital Health Paramedics responded to the scene. The person was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. The Lawrence Township Fire Department responded to help clean up and wash down the accident scene.
Information contained in this story is breaking news and from on scene reporting, witnesses and radio traffic. An email was sent to Lawrence Township Police for official press information once received the story will be updated and any corrections and additions made.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A 65-year-old science teacher at Long Branch Middle School was arrested this morning and charged with one count of third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.
Jesse Rosenbaum was taken into custody during a motor vehicle stop near his home in Manalapan by detectives with the prosecutor’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit and Special Victims Unit (SVU). He is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center pending a detention hearing.
Rosenbaum was the subject of a recent ICAC investigation into the sexual exploitation of children online. The investigation revealed he was soliciting underage males online to participate in sexual acts and also sexual conversation. The complaint alleges Rosenbaum engaged in sexually explicit emails, text messages and phone conversations with an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old male.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this investigation should contact Sgt. Joe Paglione of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at (609) 273-0065.
MANALAPAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–At approximately 9:31 p.m. on Saturday January 16, Manalapan police responded to a single motor vehicle crash on Route 9 North, just south of Smallwood Lane. The investigation by the Monmouth County SCART Team and Manalapan Police Department revealed that a 2004 Infiniti G35, was travelling northbound when the driver lost control and left the roadway. The vehicle collided with a curb, utility pole and a guiderail, prior to coming to a final stop in a wooded area approximately 100 yards from where the vehicle left the roadway.
There were 2 occupants in the vehicle, the driver, Jonathan Ramirez, 20, and Justin Rochford, 20, both of Spotswood. Rochford was pronounced dead on the scene. Ramirez was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced deceased, at 1:24 a.m.
If anyone witnessed the crash, please contact Monmouth County Detective Kristian DeVito at 800-533-7443 or Manalapan Police Department Patrolman Matthew Porricelli or Detective Dominic Donatelli at 732-446-4300
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)— The Robbinsville Board of Education is seeking two (2) qualified candidates for membership to the Robbinsville School Board. The Board, within the powers delegated to it by law, is the policy-making legislative branch of the School District. These two positions to be filled will replace Shaina Ciaccio and Craig Heilman who resigned in December for personal reasons.
If appointed, the term will run through December 31, 2021. Both positions will be placed on the ballot for the annual election in November 2021; one for a full three-year term and the other for a one-year unexpired term.
Individuals considering applying, must meet the following qualifications: • A citizen of the United States of America • At least 18 years of age • Able to read and write • A resident of the Township of Robbinsville for at least one (1) year preceding the date of appointment • Not directly/indirectly interested in a contract with a claim against the Board • Registered to vote in the District • Not disqualified as a voter pursuant to NJSA 19:4-1 • Has not been disqualified due to the conviction of a crime or offense listed in N.J.S.A. 18A:12-1
Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest and resume by noon on February 3, 2021 to Nick Mackres Business Administrator/Board Secretary, Robbinsville Board of Education, 155 Robbinsville Edinburg Road, Robbinsville, NJ 08691 or via email: email@example.com
The Board of Education will review all qualifying applicants at the February 3rd Special Board Meeting at 5:00 p.m.
The Robbinsville Board of Education is an organization of elected citizens and residents living in the district. Once a member has been elected to the Board, they gain the right to vote on proceedings concerning the school district. The Board of Education is responsible for a wide variety of transactions and decisions that are made in the district. Robbinsville Township School District is comprised of an elementary school, middle school and high school providing services to over 3,200 students.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Several streets and bridges in downtown Trenton were closed off with concrete blocks weighing thousands of pounds on Sunday. State offices closed, NJ Motor Vehicle Commission Offices closed, and some businesses boarded their buildings for reports of a possible nationwide armed protest in all state capitals today.
Police were seen patrolling empty streets, while one anti-protest protester, seen wearing an Obama mask with a sign reading, “GO HOME,” and a few skateboarders were seen about in Trenton, NJ.
NJ State Police patrolled areas in front of City Hall and the NJ State House on mountain bikes. The closures stem from rumors and Internet chatter of a nationwide protest against the presidential election by right wing extremists that never materialized today. The armed insurrectionists were a no-show in Trenton.
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–A motorcycle lost control on the entrance ramp to I-195 east bound at Exit 21 around 12:15 pm. NJ State Police and Jackson First Aid responded to the scene. There was no word on the condition of the motorcycle driver. No other information is available.
ROBBINSVILLE-EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIPS, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township firefighters responded to the 500 Block of Perrineville Road at 6:47 am for a car into a utility pole with injuries. Upon arrival of Robbinsville Police, fire and EMS the person was still in vehicle with wires one the vehicle. Jersey Central Power & Light JCP&L was notified and responded. The person was removed from the vehicle and transported to a local hospital.
At 8:28 am the Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Hightstown Fire Company, East Windsor First Aid, Robbinsville EMS responded to the New Jersey Turnpike for an overturned tractor trailer with reported entrapment. The accident happened in the north bound outer roadway (truck lanes) mile marker 66.0 about 1 mile prior to Exit 8 and blocked all the lanes of the outer roadway. When fire and EMS personnel arrived the driver was able to get out of the vehicle on their own power. Currently the roadway has reopened but one lane remains closed.
BRICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Brick Township Chief of Police James Riccio announced that a 14 year-old juvenile has been taken into custody and charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), in connection with a stabbing that occurred in Brick Township during the afternoon of January 16, 2021. The juvenile was also charged with Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d; and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d. The juvenile is currently being detained in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center.
On January 16, 2021, at approximately 2:45 p.m., the Brick Township Police Department responded to a residence in reference to a 911 call for an apparent stabbing. Responding Officers found a 38 year-old male victim with a stab wound to the right side of his abdomen. The victim was transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. The victim has been identified as Mohammed Khater of Brick Township.
Due to the fact that the individual charged with these offenses is a juvenile, N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60 prohibits the release of any additional information.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Riccio are grateful for the hard work and collaborative efforts of all law enforcement personnel involved in this thorough investigation leading to the juvenile suspect’s apprehension, including officers and detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, the Brick Township Police Department, and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit.
The press and public are reminded that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County plans on opening an COVID-19 vaccination site at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health System. An additional vaccination site is planned at Mercer County Community College and will be managed by the County Health Officer’s Association. See full press rease below from Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes:
Dear Mercer County Community,
The State of New Jersey this week ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and Mercer County is preparing to do the same. The County will open a vaccination site at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health System, which will manage the site. The opening date is dependent on vaccine supply but a soft opening is planned next week.
We had a successful partnership with Capital Health during the COVID-19 testing program we established last spring, and I can’t think of a more fitting partner for this next phase of the pandemic response – the vaccination phase. Like other vaccination locations, this site will be for those eligible under the state’s phasing plan that is designed to ensure that those most at risk are prioritized.
Mercer County also is working on opening a vaccination site at Mercer County Community College that would be managed by the County Health Officers Association and utilize all of the resources and staffing available from the municipal and county health offices. The arena and MCCC vaccination locations will supplement, not replace, smaller sites including those currently being operated by municipal health departments and other health care facilities in Mercer County. If you have questions about the CURE Insurance Arena or MCCC vaccination sites, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of this morning, at least 7,342 vaccine doses had been administered in Mercer County, according to the state Department of Health. While we all want to see that number grow exponentially, we are simply not getting enough vaccine from the federal government, and we are using every single dose we receive.
I ask that everyone be patient throughout what will be a months-long vaccination process and continue to take basic preventive measures to reduce the spread of the virus, which is still rampant in our community and seemingly everywhere else. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; keep a least 6 feet away from other people; practice good hand hygiene; avoid large gatherings; and stay home if you are sick.
Anyone can – and everyone should – pre-register to receive a vaccination by visiting the state’s online portal at https://covidvaccine.nj.gov. The state expects to have a consumer call center up and running soon to assist people without Internet access in scheduling appointments, and to help answer general inquiries and questions. Those who have pre-registered will be notified when they are eligible to make a vaccination appointment. The state is compiling a list of designated vaccination locations for eligible recipients. That list will continue to grow.
For more information on who is eligible, and how to get vaccinated if you are eligible, please visit the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine website.
In addition to vaccinations, Mercer County continues to respond to the pandemic through testing, contact tracing and support. The County, in partnership with Vault Health Services, is offering a free COVID-19 saliva test on the next two Tuesdays – Jan. 19 and 26 – at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. For details, please visit the COVID-19 Testing page on the County website, where you’ll also find information on the County’s at-home testing program.
These are trying times but we will get through them. Let’s continue to support each other and keep each other safe. Let’s continue to work together.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Fire Department’s third serious call in a matter of a couple of hours, this time 9-1-1 calls reported a fire in the 300 Block of Commonwealth Avenue around 1:45 pm. First arriving Trenton fire units reported heavy fire on the third floor. An “all hands” was called sending additional fire apparatus and personnel to the scene. The fire was brought under control in less than a half hour. No further details are available.
All this after firefighters responded to an 11:00 am fire on MLK Blvd near Calhoun Street and 12:10 pm rescued a man from a Trench. See other MidJersey.News stories at links below:
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The NJ Motor Vehicle Commission announces due to heightened security measures the Trenton Regional-Vehicle Center will close on Saturday January 16 and Wednesday January 20, 2021. Check the website for further details here: http://bit.ly/MVCLocations.
Due to the state’s heightened security measures, TRENTON REGIONAL/VEHICLE CENTER will CLOSE Saturday, Jan. 16 and Wednesday, Jan. 20. For the most up-to-date information on MVC facility closures and openings, check http://bit.ly/MVCLocations.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Around 11:00 am., the Trenton Fire Department responded to 1200 Block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard near Calhoun Street for a fire in a two-story building. First arriving crews reported heavy smoke and fire on the second floor and called for an “all hands” sending additional equipment and personnel to the scene. The fire was located next to the old Jo Jo’s Steak House on MLK Blvd. The building appeared vacant and the fire was quickly brought under control.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—At 12:10 pm., Trenton Fire Department, Trenton EMS and Paramedics responded to a reported man stuck in trench at 61 Hobart Avenue. Trenton Fire Department quickly pulled the man out of the trench. The man was treated by Trenton Fire, Trenton EMS and Capital Paramedics on scene. No further information is available.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Members of the New Jersey State Police Mounted Unit were seen around noon patrolling West State Street near the Governor’s Office and the State House. A few children got to meet the members of the mounted patrol and pet the horses. Today’s weather was cloudy with a high of 51F in the area.
TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force joined forces with Toms River Police Department Special Enforcement Team (SET) to conduct an investigation into the distribution of Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine in Ocean County. The joint investigation identified an apartment in the Hampton Gardens Apartment complex in Toms River as being utilized to store and distribute quantities of Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine. As a result of the investigation, Detectives obtained a search warrant for the apartment and also obtained probable cause to arrest Rizjoun Smullen, age 20, of Lakewood, for Distribution of Heroin and Fentynl.
On January 13, 2021, Detectives, observed Smullen leave the residence on foot. Smullen was detained and placed under arrest without incident. Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, and Toms River SET, executed the search warrant at the apartment. As a result of the search warrant, Detectives seized approximately 150 dosage units of Heroin and $2,100 in cash.
Smullen was arrested and charged with Distribution of Less Than One Half Ounce of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); two counts of Possession of Less Than One Half Ounce of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); and two counts of Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1). Smullen was transported to Toms River Township Police Headquarters and charged on a summons pending a future court date.
Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the cooperative efforts of Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit, Toms River Police Department Special Enforcement Team and the Point Pleasant Borough Police Department Detective Bureau in this investigation.
The press and public are reminded that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Wednesday, January 13th Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin presented three Hamilton Township School District students with the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service and Scholarships Awards. These students each received a $450 scholarship and were selected by the Tribute Committee based on their dedication to public service and clear commitment to academic excellence.
“While we are not able to gather in person for our Annual Tribute Ceremony this year due to COVID-19, I am happy that we as a Township have still found a way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and present three deserving Hamilton Township School District students with a scholarship award that both commemorates their dedication to service and sets them up to further their educational careers,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “I wish Olena, Ryan and Lauren the best of luck in all of their future endeavors. I am proud of the strong spirit of community service we have here in Hamilton”
Lauren McCarthy, one of the 2021 awardees, is a Senior at Steinert High School, maintaining a 4.56 GPA. Lauren participates on the Steinert Lacrosse and Cheerleading Teams. She is a member of the German Club and German Honor Society, Student Government President, Hamilton News, and Key Club. Lauren volunteers in the community through Girl Scouts, and has been awarded Gold Award recipient which is awarded to less than 6% of Girl Scouts. Lauren has also volunteered for the Miracle League of Mercer County, which is a baseball league for children with disabilities, and as a result of her contributions was named the Hamilton YMCA Volunteer of the Year!
“Annually, the Hamilton Township community pauses to remember the life, leadership, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I have been honored to be a part of that celebration for more than a decade. In addition, I have been humbled to be the keynote speaker twice. It is most fitting that we pause each year to celebrate both the dream and the dreamer. In a world where nightmares seem to be the norm, we need to reflect upon a dream that speaks of light, hope, justice, equality, and equity,” said Dr. Joseph E. Woods, Pastor of Saint Phillips Baptist Church. “Today, I join our beloved mayor, the MLK committee, and the entire community of Hamilton Township to lift up the ministry and model of Dr. King as motivation to cast a vision in our day to empower and position people to overcome injustice and inequity in our world. Much has changed since Dr. King walked this earth, yet much remains the same and more still needs to be done. So as we look back at what Dr. King did in the past, may we all be encouraged to do something different today so that tomorrow will be better for us all.”
The second Scholarship recipient, Olena Mykhaylyshyn is a Senior at Hamilton High School West. With a GPA of 4.89 (second in her class), Olena serves as a Peer Leader, and is a four-year member of the Swim and Tennis Teams. She is a member of the Science League, Spanish Club, HEY Club, CASCADE, a cultural awareness and education club, and Unified Programs. Olena is also an active participant in the Ukrainian Church and the Ukrainian National Home, and volunteers for the Hamilton Rotary Club.
“So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?” said Pastor Lance Walker of Faith Baptist Church. “In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. This is the kind of extremist we need!”
The third Scholarship Award was given to Ryan Hardiman, a senior at Steinert High School. Ryan is a Senior at Steinert High with a GPA of 4.51, serves as a Peer Leader and is a member of the Varsity football and baseball teams. His community service includes several years of involvement at the CYO Bromley Center community events including Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Part, Easter Egg Hunt, Spring Clean Up Day, Halloween Parade, and volunteering in the food pantry. Ryan works at CYO Yardville as a Summer Camp and Remote Learning Counselor, and a basketball clinician. His teachers describe him as mature, dependable, and a critical thinker.
The Tribute Committee looks forward to honoring Dr. King and additional scholarship recipients in person again in 2022.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced an Edison man was sentenced today for the murder of a 23-year-old New Brunswick man who he fatally shot in the City.
Christopher “C-Dub” Thompson, 29, of Edison, was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas J. Buck, J.S.C. to thirty years in prison for the murder of Larenz O’Garro. Thompson was sentenced to an additional eight years in prison for the attempted murder of another man. This term is subject to the No Early Release Act, meaning he must serve 85% before being eligible for parole. Thomson was also sentenced for his unlawful possession of a handgun, and the hindering of his own apprehension for fleeing to Georgia after the murder. Those sentences are to run concurrent to the murder and attempted murder. He was also convicted of possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.
Thompson was also separately sentenced to ten years in prison for being a certain person not to be in possession of a handgun due to a prior conviction with a five-year period of parole ineligibility. In total, Thompson will have to serve forty-one years and eight months of his forty-eight-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.
At trial, Executive First Assistant Prosecutor Bina Desai and Assistant Prosecutor Deanna Himelson presented evidence and testimony establishing that, on October 26, 2018, Thompson fatally shot O’Garro shortly after an altercation involving the second victim and codefendant Eric “E-Z” Inman who was ultimately sentenced to three years in prison.
Thompson fled after the shooting, leading to an extensive search which included the coordinated efforts of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the New Brunswick Police Department. On November 15, 2018, members of the U.S Marshals Service apprehended Thompson in Lithonia, Georgia.
Thompson and Inman were charged after an investigation by Detective Kenneth Abode of the New Brunswick Police Department and Sergeant David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. Agent Jennifer Morelli and Victim Witness Counselor Marlene Valdez were also vital to the prosecution.
“My new law will raise the Special Envoy to the rank of Ambassador-at-large, a high-level position that will allow the Special Envoy to report directly to the Secretary of State,” Rep. Smith said. “The official rank of Ambassador comes with greater seniority and diplomatic access not only here in Washington, but equally important, overseas in dealing with foreign governments. In short, it gives the Special Envoy the clout required do the job more effectively.
“Anti-Semitism is on the rise in many countries around the globe over the past 10 years. We’ve seen members of the Jewish community harassed, intimidated, assaulted and even killed. We’ve seen sacred places like synagogues and graves desecrated. We’ve heard the use of anti-Semitic slurs and threats, and the open targeting of the State of Israel with what the great Soviet refusenik and former religious prisoner Natan Sharansky told me are the ‘three Ds’– demonization, double-standards and de-legitimization of Israel.
“With the rise of on-line anti-Semitism, hate abroad knows no borders and poisons our communities here at home. We need to integrate our efforts both in the United States and abroad to stop the hate and keep our communities safe,” said Smith, a founding member of both the House Anti-Semitism Caucus and the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism, which is comprised of legislative-branch members from Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
The Special Envoy ‘s mission is to combat discrimination and hatred toward Jews, and develop and implement foreign policy to fight anti-Semitism. Under Smith’s new law: the Special Envoy position would also:
be the primary advisor to the U.S. government in monitoring and combating anti-Semitism;
not be saddled with duties irrelevant to combating and anti-Semitism, nor “double-hatted” with other positions or responsibilities that distract from the central focus of anti-Semitism.
Smith was especially grateful to one of his bill’s the 87 co-sponsors, Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL), for working to pass the bipartisan bill, as well as Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jackie Rosen (D-NV) and Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), along with their staffs, for their hard work in securing passage on the Senate side, and numerous Jewish groups who fought hard for this legislation.
Rabbi Aaron Kotler, President and CEO of Beth Medrash Govoha, said, “Congressman Smith has been a world leader in the effort to combat anti-Semitism, keeping the spotlight on the scourge of global hate. In our troubled times, we need his leadership more than ever. Smith led the 2004 Congressional effort to create a U.S. Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism. Now he has strengthened the position of Special Envoy by legislation that accords the Envoy ambassadorial rank. Good people of all faiths owe him a debt of thanks for helping keep racism at bay and for protecting civilized society.”
Nathan Diament, Executive Director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center,said, “The Jewish community is very grateful for Rep. Chris Smith’s leadership in getting this legislation enacted. Sadly, we have seen a surge of anti-Semitic incidents around the world in recent years. With the passage of this legislation, Congress is providing powerful new tools to the State Department to lead impactful international efforts to combat what has been aptly called ‘the world’s oldest form of hatred’ and roll back the tide of anti-Jewish hate.”
Chaplain Yaakov Wenger, of the National Chaplains Association, stated, “The National Chaplains Association applauds President Donald J. Trump for approving Congressman Chris Smith’s important bill which will help battle the scourge of anti-Semitism worldwide. Cong. Smith has been a staunch fighter of global hate and bigotry for decades, and true advocate for human rights. The president’s signing of the bill is a welcome step in battling divisiveness and hate.”
Rabbi Avi Schnall, director of the New Jersey office of Agudath Israel, said, “We are very grateful for Congressman Smith’s persistence with seeing and ensuring this that bill became law,” At a time when anti-Semitism is on an alarming increase, now more than ever we need the Special Envoy to have the stature to be able to combat and do whatever we can to fight anti-Semitism.
Lakewood community leaders Eli Tabak and Eli Liberman, who spearheaded Special Envoy Elan Carr’s historic visit to Lakewood in 2019, said, “Congressman Smith’s success in elevating the position of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to that of Ambassador is but the latest in a long and distinguished history of his efforts to lead the global fight against hate. We greatly appreciate his focus on rooting out anti-Semitism, and the need to address it publicly and forcefully. Seeing Congressman Smith take this initiative, especially during such tumultuous times is so important to all people of good will. We are grateful for his leadership and proud that this champion of human rights represents Lakewood.”
On two separate occasions, the House voted overwhelmingly to approve Smith’s new law to elevate the U.S. Envoy to Ambassador-at-Large, once in September 2018 and the second time in January 2019. Each time, the Senate stalled the bill despite widespread support from numerous organizations, including the Agudath Israel, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and the Jewish Federations of North America the Orthodox Union.
The Senate finally approved the bill on December 16, 2020 and it was signed by the President this week.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today that the State is suing the federal government over its contamination of groundwater and drinking water resources on and around U.S. military bases and other federal facilities in New Jersey through long-term use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a fire-suppressing substance that contains toxic chemicals proven harmful to human health.
The State’s two-count complaint centers on excessive levels of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) emanating from the federal facilities. PFAS substances – also called “forever chemicals”– are manmade substances desired for their ability to repel water, oil and fire, and were commonly used to make products like Teflon and Scotchgard. Highly resistant to environmental degradation and known to accumulate in the human body, PFAS are associated with serious adverse health effects such as cancer. The chemicals are also known to negatively impact the immune system and decrease vaccine response.
Specifically, today’s complaint alleges that the routine use of AFFF at U.S. military and other facilities throughout New Jersey over time caused the contamination of public and private drinking water sources that provide drinking water to those facilities, as well as to communities located near the military installations, where both military and civilians families live.
“During Commissioner McCabe’s tenure, New Jersey has become a national leader in responding to the scientific evidence of PFAS chemicals’ impacts on human health,” said Attorney General Grewal. “With today’s lawsuit, we are inviting the federal government to finally take the risks posed by PFAS chemicals as seriously as New Jersey does, and to take appropriate steps to protect the health of military and civilian families who live near our military bases.”
“Federally owned facilities in New Jersey that polluted the environment through the use of aqueous film-forming foams must do the right thing by properly investigating and remediating PFAS-contaminated water supplies,” said Commissioner McCabe. “Governor Murphy and I are proud of New Jersey’s accomplishments in leading the nation by taking strong health- and science-based actions to protect the health of our residents from PFAS chemicals. Through this legal action, we are demanding that the federal government follow New Jersey’s lead.”
Affected U.S. military facilities listed in the complaint include Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), a tri-service, joint-installation military complex made up of McGuire Air Force Base, the Naval Air Engineering Station-Lakehurst, and Fort Dix Army Base. More than 45,000 active duty, guard, reserve, family members and civilian personnel live and work on and around JBMDL. The combined population of municipalities surrounding JBMDL is approximately 600,000 people. Also listed in the complaint are the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County, and the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Trenton.
Among other demands made in today’s lawsuit, the State asserts that the United States should be required to address contamination of drinking water supplies when present above New Jersey’s own safe drinking water standards for PFOS and PFOA – a maximum contaminant level of 13 parts-per-trillion for PFOS, and 14 parts-per-trillion (ppt) for PFOA – instead of using the significantly higher federal standard of 70 ppt. Limited sampling of drinking water supplies in the area around JBDML has identified, so far, three private drinking water wells with combined levels of PFOS and PFOA well in excess of even the federal limit – ranging from 152 ppt to 1,688 ppt.
The excessive PFAS levels can be traced to the use of AFFF products at federal facilities. AFFF products are mixed with water to form a foam solution, which is then used to extinguish fuel and other flammable liquid fires. Spraying a fire with AFFF creates a film that coats the fire, blocking its oxygen supply and preventing re-ignition.
According to the State’s complaint, the U.S. government is one of the nation’s largest users of AFFF, with its usage dating back to the 1970s, when it was employed for firefighter training activities and to extinguish fuel-based fires at federal government facilities.
AFFF is discharged directly on the ground and/or tarmac during emergencies, as well as during training exercises, and ultimately reverts from foam to a liquid solution. In liquid form, AFFF travels to surrounding groundwater, causing contamination onsite and also migrating offsite to contaminate nearby wells.
Today’s complaint notes that, in addition to AFFF’s routine use in suppressing fires at U.S. military bases, additional, inadvertent discharges of AFFF have occurred – and additional releases of PFOS and PFOA have taken place – at U.S. military facilities through the testing of equipment, equipment malfunctions and “other incidental releases.”
Among other things, today’s lawsuit seeks to recover costs to the State associated with DEP’s investigation of the PFAS contamination caused by U.S. military installations, as well as expenditures made by the State or to be made by the State to remediate the contamination.
The complaint also seeks a court order requiring the federal government to remediate the affected areas to levels that comply with State safe drinking water and water quality standards for PFOS and PFOA, conduct medical monitoring of residents whose drinking water supplies have been contaminated in excess of those levels, and provide alternative water supplies to New Jersey residents whose drinking water has been contaminated. The complaint is being filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, which is handling litigation from around the country relating to AFFF, but the case may ultimately be decided in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Deputy Attorney General Gwen Farley, of the Environmental Enforcement and Environmental Justice Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, handled this matter on behalf of the State.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 14, 2021, Alonzo Legrande, 18, of Asbury Park, was sentenced by the Honorable Wendel E. Daniels, P.J.Cr.P, to ten years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1). This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2., meaning that Legrande will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility. Additionally, Judge Daniels sentenced Legrande to ten years NJSP relative to his previously entered guilty plea to Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a. The sentences will run concurrently. Legrande entered his guilty plea to both charges on September 17, 2020 before Judge Daniels. Legrande’s guilty pleas were contemplated in connection with his voluntary waiver of the Family Court’s jurisdiction in this matter, and his further agreement to be charged and prosecuted as an adult in Criminal Court.
On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at approximately 1:45 p.m., Brick Township Police were summoned to Brick Memorial High School for a report of a student who had sustained a gunshot wound. Investigation revealed that the student was walking home from school with three friends when he was shot approximately one-quarter mile away from Brick Memorial; he then ran back to the school for help. As a precaution, Brick Township Police and school officials locked down the high school as well as neighboring schools before determining there was no immediate danger to students. The victim was treated at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township and released.
As part of their investigation, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office reviewed video surveillance footage from nearby residences. The video surveillance depicted Legrande, who was 17 years-old at the time, and Luis Rivas, who was also a juvenile, acting together and in support of one another in carrying out the shooting. Further investigation revealed that Legrande was, in fact, the individual who fired the weapon. He was apprehended on October 23, 2019, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center since his apprehension. Rivas, who likewise agreed to be prosecuted as an adult, previously pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1), and was sentenced by Judge Daniels on October 2, 2020 to four years NJSP subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act.
“Our law enforcement partners at the local, county, state and federal levels displayed tremendous teamwork and cooperation in connection with this very thorough investigation,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “As a result of their exceptional efforts, both Rivas and Legrande been held accountable for their brazen lawlessness with these state prison sentences,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Chief Juvenile Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro and Assistant Prosecutor Madeline Buczynski who handled the case on behalf of the State. Additionally, Prosecutor Billhimer is grateful for the hard work and persistence of all of the law enforcement agencies involved in securing this these state prison sentences for Rivas and Legrande: Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit; Brick Township Police Department; Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit; Toms River Township Police Department; Lakewood Township Police Department; Bay Head Borough Police Department; Point Pleasant Beach Police Department; Asbury Park Police Department; Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Monmouth County Emergency Response Team; Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center; and the United States Marshals Service.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER): On January 14, 2021, at approximately 2:00 PM, Hamilton Police Officers were detailed to a residence on the 800 block of S. Olden Avenue on a suspicious item located in the residence. Responding officers observed a cell phone picture from the owner of the residence, of what appeared to be an explosive device in their tenants’ bedroom.
The New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit and a Mercer County Sheriffs’ Bomb Detection Dog was dispatched to the seen, as well as detectives from the Mercer County Prosecutors Office. The residence was then cleared of the suspicious device. Upon further inspection of the item, it was determined that it was an imitation explosive device.
No criminal charges were filed in this case.
Hamilton Police Detective Nicholas Schulte, of the Criminal Investigations Section, was assigned this investigation. Detective Schulte can be contacted at (609) 689-5825 or via email at email@example.com
The NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the election of its 2021-2022 Board Officers to lead its strategic efforts to increase the number of lives saved through innovative research, family support, public awareness and education about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Effective January 1, 2021, the new officers include:
Chair – Christopher J. Bautista of Spring Lake Heights, NJ
Christopher J. Bautista first became involved with NJ Sharing Network in 2016, shortly after his son Luke passed away at age 15 and donated his heart, both kidneys, liver and pancreas to save the lives of five people. This past year, Bautista served as Chair of NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Celebration of Lifein Long Branch. He used his advanced web development and event management skills to spearhead an online program that inspired thousands of viewers from 18 different countries, 38 states, and all across New Jersey, making it one of our state’s largest online community events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bautista and his family also created Team Luke, a 5K team that has raised nearly $300,000 since 2016 to support the NJ Sharing Network Foundation.
Bautista is the Director of Digital Services at altered image in Matawan, NJ. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he was the first basketball manager/player in NCAA Division 1 history.
Vice Chair – Jane A. Buckiewicz of Point Pleasant, NJ
Jane A. Buckiewicz has served as a member of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board since 2018 and currently serves as Chair of the Annual Golf Classic & Tennis Tournament to honor the memory of her son Dan, who passed away in 2009 and saved the lives of three people through organ donation and enhanced the lives of 70 more through tissue donation. Thanks to Buckiewicz’s leadership, this year’s event raised more than $150,000. Buckiewicz and her family also honor Dan with a team at the 5K Celebration of Life. Team Buck has participated every year since the inception of the event in 2011, raising more than $115,000.
Buckiewicz is retired after serving as Vice President of Finance and Human Resources at Blue Buffalo Co., Ltd. in Wilton, CT. She earned an MBA from Pace University and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.
Vice Chair – Ron Oswick of Freehold
Ron Oswick recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of his wife Tanya’s life-saving heart transplant by speaking at the 22nd Annual Golf Classic & Tennis Tournament. Oswick has been a member of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board since 2018. The Oswick’s also celebrate Tanya’s gift of life with a team at the 5K Celebration of Life. Their team, Second Chance, has participated since the inception of the event in 2011, and they have raised more than $65,000.
Oswick is a Senior Operations Analyst at Seix Investment Advisors in Park Ridge, NJ. He earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Management at Loyola College in Maryland.
Treasurer – Bhavna Tailor of Clifton, NJ,
Bhavna Tailor has served on the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board since 2015 and is a tireless advocate for organ and tissue donation. With 25 years of experience in education, Tailor is Vice President of Operations at Eastwick College & HoHoKus Schools directly assisting the president, overseeing marketing and technology, and managing the day-to-day operations to ensure the campus runs smoothly. Tailor plays a key role in leading Eastwick College’s student and community education programs that work throughout the year to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.
Tailor serves on the Board of Trustees for Eastwick College and the Essex and Newark Workforce Investment Board. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU). She began her career in Nutley at the HoHoKus School of Rets Institute as a Financial Aid Officer, serving as Career Services Advisor, Corporate Director of IT and School Director.
Secretary – Elizabeth Stamler of Scotch Plains, NJ
Elizabeth Stamler is a lifelong resident of Scotch Plains, NJ, where she serves as an elected member of the Township Council and as Deputy Mayor for 2021. Stamler has been touched by organ and tissue donation in more ways than one. Her brother, aunt and father, the late Union County Prosecutor John H. Stamler, each received a life-saving heart transplant. Her other brother later passed away and gave the gift of life as a tissue donor, enhancing the lives of over 30 people. Stamler is a longtime volunteer at NJ Sharing Network and has served on the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board of Trustees for four years.
Stamler is employed as a Procurement Specialist with Union County Emergency Services. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting from New Jersey City University and a certificate in Public Administration from Kean University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from The College of New Jersey.
The NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board of Trustees is comprised of a diverse group of individuals from both public and private sectors, many of whom have been touched by donation, including donor families and transplant recipients.
“Chris, Jane, Ron, Bhavna and Elizabeth are all dedicated volunteers and advocates who hold a true passion for organ and tissue donation,” said Elisse E. Glennon, Executive Director, NJ Sharing Network Foundation. “They are respected leaders who bring a wealth of diverse experience, talent and expertise in their fields to further our mission to save and enhance lives.”
About the NJ Sharing Network Foundation
The NJ Sharing Network Foundation is committed to help increase the number of lives saved through innovative research, family support, public awareness and education about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
About NJ Sharing Network
NJ Sharing Network is the federally designated non-profit organization responsible for recovering organs and tissue for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. With headquarters in New Providence, NJ, the organization is part of the national recovery system, serving the 110,000 people on the national waiting list. NJ Sharing Network was selected by NJBiz as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for the third consecutive year. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org
BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This is a breaking news story from on scene and radio reports. Once official information is available, the story will be updated and corrections will be made
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER): Hamilton Police along with New Jersey State Police Bomb Squad responded to the area of South Olden Avenue and Liberty Street around 2:00pm.
A source close to the investigation told MidJersey.News that police received a call for some sort of bomb threat in the vicinity, which called for an explosive response incident.
Police have evacuated the area and roads have been shut down until they figure out further. Hamilton Fire Police also assisted in shutting down the roads.
Police were also seen investigating two individuals at South Olden Avenue and Ellwood Street after they rolled up to the scene on bicycles, however it is unknown at this time if they are related to the situation.
The area is still shut down as of 4:45 pm.
BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This is a breaking news story from on scene and radio reports. Once official information is available, the story will be updated and corrections will be made.
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 1:00 pm, Hopewell EMS and Hopewell Fire Departments were detailed to the Mercer County Correctional Center at 1750 River Road for a victim with chemical burns to the face. A New Jersey State Police helicopter was requested to fly an inmate with chemical burns to a trauma center. NJSP North Star helicopter responded and picked up the patient for transpor.
A Mercer County spokes person told MidJersey.News this afternoon that they could confirm an incident took place a short while ago involving an inmate scalded from an unknown substance. The victim suffered burns and is being airlifted to a hospital. The matter is under investigation.
This is a breaking news story check back for further details when released.