Day: March 25, 2021

Rutgers University To Require COVID-19 Vaccinations For Fall 2021 Semester

March 25, 2021

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–In a statement earlier today Rutgers University stated that all students planning to attend the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated. See the statement below:

Members of the Rutgers Community:

We write to share news of our plans to welcome back all members of our community to our campuses this fall. The anticipated additional availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is enabling Rutgers to take steps to protect the health of our academic community and to move toward a full return to our pre-pandemic normal as a vibrant institution in Fall 2021.

President Biden recently announced that he is encouraging all states to open their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements to include all adults and, further, that he expects that all adults could have access to at least one inoculation dose by the early summer. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently issued helpful guidance for those individuals who have been fully vaccinated. These announcements have provided us with the opportunity to clarify what our path forward will entail as we plan for the Fall 2021 academic semester.

In support of Rutgers’ commitment to health and safety for all members of its community, the University will be updating its Immunization Requirements for Students to include the COVID-19 vaccine. This health policy update means that, with limited exceptions, all students planning to attend in the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated. In parallel, we continue to strongly urge all Rutgers faculty and staff to get immunized against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination include prevention of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect our University community. Benefits specific to the Rutgers community include:

  • An expedited return to pre-pandemic normal
  • Additional face-to-face course offerings and academic experiences
  • Opportunities for a wider range of events and activities offered at our campuses
  • Expanded dining and recreation options at Rutgers
  • Greater interpersonal collaboration among faculty, students, and researchers

Most important, a safer Rutgers community supports a safer New Jersey for our families, our friends, and our neighbors across the state.

The University has also been approved by the State to offer Rutgers clinics for on-campus administration of vaccines to faculty, staff, and students when vaccine supplies become available. However, we have not yet been given vaccine to administer. Thus, the University urges all members of its community currently eligible to receive a vaccine not to wait and to register with the State in order to get vaccinated as soon as possible, wherever you can, if you have not done so already.  

Proof of vaccination will be required for all students planning to attend this fall. Any vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. (currently Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson) is acceptable.  It is understood that some incoming students may be 17 years old, and may be only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

Students planning to attend the fall 2021 semester may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students enrolled in fully online degree programs (typically defined as having no access to on-campus facilities), as well as individuals participating in fully online or off-campus Continuing Education programs, will not need to provide proof of vaccination.

Should you have any questions about the vaccination program or Rutgers’ requirements, please see the FAQs at For general questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit and

From the onset of the pandemic, the safety of the broader Rutgers community has been our shared responsibility. This has never been more true. The importance of an effective vaccination program to make our community safer for all cannot be overstated.

Please look for additional information and instructions regarding Rutgers vaccine clinics and exemptions in the coming days from Brian Strom, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. Chancellors and their staffs will follow with additional information about fall planning as well.

We appreciate your patience, understanding, and commitment to health and safety during these challenging times, and we look forward to seeing you on campus this fall.


Jonathan Holloway
President and University Professor    

Prabhas V. Moghe
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Distinguished Professor

Antonio M. Calcado
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer   

Indictment Charges NJ State Trooper With Official Misconduct For Allegedly Unlawfully Stopping and Following a Female Motorist in His Patrol Vehicle

March 25, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a New Jersey state trooper was indicted today for allegedly stalking a female motorist in his patrol vehicle while on duty.

The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) today obtained a state grand jury indictment charging Trooper Michael Patterson, 29, of Bayonne, N.J., with the following offenses:

  • Official Misconduct (2nd Degree)
  • Stalking (4th degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records (4th degree)

The New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards initially investigated this matter and referred it to the OPIA Corruption Bureau.

The investigation revealed that on January 28, 2020, Trooper Patterson conducted a motor vehicle stop of a female motorist on the New Jersey Turnpike at approximately 9:30 p.m. Patterson let the woman go with a warning, but he allegedly conducted a second, unwarranted stop of her vehicle a few minutes later when she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11.

Patterson allegedly conducted the second motor vehicle stop in order to make advances on the woman. Patterson allegedly disabled the Digital In-Vehicle Recorder (DIVR) in his vehicle to prevent his conduct from being recorded during this second stop. It is further alleged that Patterson subsequently put the victim in fear by following her to her home in his patrol vehicle.

“The New Jersey State Police maintain the highest standards of conduct for their state troopers, standards which the vast majority uphold as faithful and honorable guardians of the public,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Trooper Patterson allegedly violated those standards and the law, using his authority not to act as a guardian, but to put a female motorist in fear.  This indictment reflects our resolve to hold officers accountable if they betray the public’s trust with this type of conduct.”

“One of the primary missions of OPIA is to root out official misconduct that undermines faith in law enforcement and government,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “This is not the first time we have encountered conduct of the type alleged in this indictment involving a law enforcement officer, but we hope that our criminal prosecutions will deter such conduct going forward.”

“The New Jersey State Police holds its troopers to the highest level of professional standards of any law enforcement agency in the country through a robust system of checks and balances that is designed to not only hold its members accountable, but to serve as a tool to provide training and counseling through early intervention,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The alleged conduct revealed in this investigation stands in stark contrast to the core values of the New Jersey State Police and is a betrayal to the public and to the entire law enforcement community.”

Second-degree official misconduct carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory minimum term of five years parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $150,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The fourth-degree charge of tampering with public records carries a mandatory minimum term of one year of parole ineligibility.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Deputy Attorneys General Adam Gerken and Jonathan Gilmore are prosecuting the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. Attorney General Grewal thanked the New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards for their investigation and referral.

Defense Attorney: Jeffrey Ziegelheim, Esq., Dvorak & Associates LLC, Metuchen, N.J.

Related story here: NJ State Trooper Charged With Unlawful Stopping And Following A Female Motorist In His Patrol Vehicle

Group To Save TCA Plans To Reopen As “Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy”

March 25, 2021

An announcement from the Diocese of Trenton

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Since the establishment of Trenton Catholic Academy in Hamilton more than 15 years ago, the Diocese of Trenton has provided substantial support to make this Catholic educational experience available to students who live in and around the wider Trenton area.  However, the growing cost of providing this experience has consistently outpaced tuition and other revenue, requiring diocesan subsidy of more than $20 million over the last 12 years.  No other school in the Diocese of Trenton has received such substantial support.

Due to these chronic difficulties, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., accepted the recommendation made by TCA leadership that the school must close this June.  The Diocese announced the decision Jan. 8, 2021 and has since been assisting the school in winding down operations at the end of the school year.

Shortly after the announcement, the Diocese was approached by a group interested in establishing an independent Catholic school replacing TCA. Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy, the new school, would continue the mission of providing a Catholic educational experience for the students who currently make up the TCA community, as well as others in the area who might consider enrolling.

After several meetings with representatives of this group, the Diocese has indicated its conceptual support of the proposal to open an independent Catholic school where TCA is now located, but distinctly autonomous from the Diocese, financially and otherwise.  Diocesan officials have extended a lease agreement for the school facility that is significantly below market value. The school will be required to meet all terms of the agreement and is solely responsible for all financial obligations it incurs. The school will also be required to commit to adherence of Catholic doctrine and provide a Christ-centered environment in which students may learn.

Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy is a New Jersey, not for profit corporation. The group aims to open Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy for September 2021 pending final approvals.

To support Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy go to  or email at to join their team

Related stories here:

Iron Mikes Strong: “Please save our school, Trenton Catholic Academy, from closing”

Trenton Catholic Academy Will Close Its Doors In June

City of Trenton to Receive $73.8 Million in Direct Federal Aid

Gusciora Administration Forming Advisory Committee to Evaluate Project Proposals

March 25, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today that following the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the City of Trenton will assemble a committee of city officials, policy experts, and community leaders to evaluate upcoming projects that will take advantage of $73.8 million in federal aid coming to Trenton over the next year.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve taken advantage of every funding source we could to provide free testing for Trenton residents, offer emergency loans to support local businesses, hire critical first responders, and launch new online platforms to ensure remote access to essential services,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Imagine what we can do with nearly $74 million in funds dedicated to helping communities like ours get back on our feet. We’re grateful for the Biden Administration and our congressional delegation in securing these funds for the Capital City. We want to make sure every penny brings the maximum possible benefit to our residents, and this added expertise will help us get started as soon as we receive the funds and more guidance from the U.S. Treasury.”

The Trenton American Rescue Plan Advisory Committee will include the following:

  • Chair: Brenda Ross-Dulan, President and CEO, Ross-Dulan Group
  • Brandon McKoy, President of N.J. Policy Perspective
  • Marge Caldwell-Wilson, City Council Vice President
  • Elvin Montero, Director of Communications, Chemistry Council of New Jersey
  • Jeannine LaRue, Senior Vice President of the Kaufman Zita Group
  • Kelly Ingram, I Am Trenton
  • Adam E. Cruz, Business Administrator
  • Dr. Adela M. Ames-Lopez, Director of Health and Human Services
  • Maria Richardson, Director of Recreation, Natural Resources, and Culture
  • Wahab A. Onitiri, Director of Public Works
  • Andre McNair, owner of Octobers Vintage in Trenton
  • Shereyl Snider, UrbanPromise Trenton

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan contains $360 billion in state and local aid to help employ essential workers, assist struggling families and small businesses, and make critical infrastructure investments. U.S. Treasury guidance outlining specific allowable expenditures is still pending.

The State of New Jersey will receive approximately $6.4 billion plus another $189 million to expand broadband internet across the state. Each of the 21 county governments will split $1.8 billion, with another $1.7 billion divided among all 565 cities and municipalities.

Trenton is due to receive $73.8 million of that aid, with the first half arriving within 60 days of the bill being signed into law. The other half will arrive within the next 12 months.

BREAKING: Vehicle Explodes In Hamilton

March 25, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On March 25, 2021 at approximately 8:02 AM, Hamilton Police and Hamilton Fire were dispatched to the 100 block of Route 206 on a report of vehicle that exploded in the parking lot.  Upon arrival, Officers were notified that one person was injured and already taken to the hospital by ambulance.  An investigation was conducted by the Hamilton Fire Marshal, Hamilton Police, and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and it was found that an acetylene tank was inside the vehicle and had leaked into the compartment area.  When the vehicle’s ignition was engaged the spark caused the gas to ignite causing extensive damage to the vehicle.  The injured party was treated and released from the hospital.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Chris Pullen of the Hamilton Police Division’s Criminal Investigations Section at 609-581-4080 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.

A similar incident happened in Upper Freehold Township, NJ Monmouth County on September 30, 2020 when a passenger vehicle exploded on I-195 East Bound leaving a man in critical condition. Sources said that the cause was from an acetylene tank being transported that leaked. Once the leaking acetylene found an ignition source an explosion occurred inside the moving vehicle.

October 1, 2020 story here: Man Critical But Stable After Car Explodes And Catches Fire On I-195 In Upper Freehold Township

September 30, 2020 MidJersey.News story here: TRAFFIC ALERT: Serious Fire On 195 East In Upper Freehold Township