Day: February 6, 2021

Robbinsville Board of Education Appoints New Members

The Robbinsville Board of Education is pleased to announce the swearing in of Maxine Fox and appointments of Jai Gulati and Tanya Lehmann.

February 6, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)-Ms. Maxine Fox was elected in the November 2020 election and began serving her term in January 2021.  Fox was officially sworn in on January 13, 2021, she will serve a three year term.

Additionally, at the January reorganization meeting the members of the Board of Education elected Vito Galluccio to serve as president and Christopher Emigholz to serve as Vice President.

The selection of Mr. Jai Gulati and Ms. Tanya Lehmann will fill the unexpired terms of Shaina Ciaccio and Craig Heilman who resigned in December 2020. Both names will be placed on the ballot in November 2021; one for a three-year term and the other for a one-year unexpired term.

Mr. Gulati is Technology Leader at Regeneron Pharmaceutical. His professional background is in the fields of information technology, operations, and program and project management. Passionate about education, Julati has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He has been a Robbinsville Township resident since 2005. Mr. Gulati has three daughters – two who attended Robbinsville Township schools and one who will enter Kindergarten in 2024. He volunteers his time as a member of the Robbinsville Township Diwali organizing committee and a coach with the Robbinsville Soccer Association.

Ms. Leymann has been a teacher since 1993. She is a teacher and student advocate with a passion for facilitating quality education that is equitable, inclusive, and which celebrates diversity and special needs. Ms. Lehmann currently teaches 8th grade language arts at Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg University and a master’s from Rutgers University. She is an active volunteer with the PTA and a past president of the Robbinsville MOMS Club.

“We believe Ms. Lehman and Mr. Gulati will be tremendous additions to our Board of Education,” said Robbinsville Board of Education president, Vito Galluccio.  “Both Ms. Lehman and Mr. Gulati offer tremendous experience and will bring a diverse set of views, skills and insight as our board strives to make Robbinsville Schools even better, now and in the future. With the pandemic impacting the ways that our schools operate each day we will all work together to continue encouraging the district’s leadership to find a path towards offering a safe, fully in-person experience for those students who want it.”

Robbinsville Schools Superintendent, Brian Betze, said, “we are excited to have new members join the board and have a variety of experience and knowledge that they can share and help us work on our long-term goals. Robbinsville like all schools in the County and State are facing a myriad of challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with them now and in the months to come as we work to navigate the on-going short-term challenges and continue to make progress on our long-term goals. The administration looks forward to working with the board in 2021.”

The Robbinsville Board of Education is made up of nine members. Three Board seats are filled through a community election each year for a term of three years. The vacancies left by Ms. Ciaccio and Mr. Heilman were announced by Board Secretary Nick Mackres. Residents were invited to submit an application by noon on February 3, 2021. Applications were considered at a special meeting of the Board of Education help at 5:00 pm that same day.

Somerset Man Charged in New Brunswick Double Homicide

February 6, 2021

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that a Somerset man has been charged for his involvement in a shooting that left two dead and seven injured.

          Jeron Pitt, 19, of Somerset, was arrested and charged today with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, seven counts of first-degree attempted murder, one count of second-degree conspiracy to possess a firearm for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, and one count of fourth-degree tampering with evidence. 

On September 13, 2020, at approximately 1:18 A.M., the New Brunswick Police responded to the area of 32 Delafield Street following multiple reports of gunfire.  Lionel Macauley, 28, of Somerset, and Anthony Robinson 23, of New Brunswick. were later pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. 

An investigation by Detective Erika DiMarcello of the New Brunswick Police Department as well as Sergeant Julissa Alvarado and  Sergeant David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office revealed Pitt and other individuals drove to a party on Delafield Street where they shot into a crowd of people, killing Macauley and Robinson. The car used in the shooting was later recovered. 

          At present, the shooting does not appear to be a random act.  The investigation has determined there is no affiliation with Rutgers University or its students. 

Pitt is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court. 

The investigation is active and is continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective DiMarcello at (732) 745-5200 or Sergeant Abromaitis at (732) 745-4436.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Pitt are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Juveniles Charged in Fatal North Brunswick Shooting

February 6, 2021

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX) — Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Joseph Battaglia of the North Brunswick Township Police Department announced today that two juveniles have been charged with the shooting death of Mark Atkins, 18, of Plainfield.

          Since the shooting on February 3, 2021, two male juveniles, both 17 and of North Brunswick, have both been charged with one count of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and one count of possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.  One juvenile has been taken into custody.  The other has yet to be apprehended

On February 3, 2021, at approximately 7:30 P.M., authorities responded to Marc Drive following reports of a shooting.  Upon their arrival, officers located one of the male juveniles who had sustained a non-fatal gunshot wound.  Upon further investigation, officers later found Atkins who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Errol McCalla of the North Brunswick Police Department at (732) 247-0922 ext. 311 or Detective Sean Sullivan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4060.

As is the case with all defendants, the charges against the juveniles are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Governor signs Dancer bill removing civil service exam obstacle for entry-level law enforcement

February 6, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s legislation making it easier for police departments to hire more diverse and qualified officers was signed into law this week.

The law (A5122/S3220) permits a municipality or county police department to exempt entry-level officers from the required civil service law enforcement exam, provided they successfully completed the full basic course for police officers as prescribed by the New Jersey Police Training Commission. 

“Any police officer who obtains full certification certainly has demonstrated the administrative capacity and skill sets to pass months of police-related training exams without an additional civil service test,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “If they can pass the physical requirements and rigors of the full basic course for police officers, they have demonstrated they can handle the responsibilities that come with the badge.” 

Dancer explained that the law is permissive and can only become operative in a town if it adopts an ordinance or resolution to permit such hiring, and the police department has a conflict of interest and nepotism policy. The bill does not affect a town’s ability to offer a hiring preference for veterans.

“This law will open a lot of doors for aspiring police officers and create departments that are more representative of the towns they serve,” said Dancer.

The state administers the civil service law enforcement exam every two years. Approximately 28,000 applicants took the exam in 2019.