TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora’s statement: “My condolences go out to the friends, family, and colleagues of TWW Human Resources Manager Rafael Valentin, who passed away over the weekend. Given the huge outpouring of support we’ve seen from employees at City Hall and Trenton Water Works, along with the countless lives he has touched throughout the Trenton community, it’s clear his passing will leave a huge hole in the collective heart of this city. I wish his loved ones all the best through these troubled times. He will be missed.”
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on April 12, 2021, the Honorable Steven F. Nemeth, J.S.C., ordered that Roberto Alcazar-Sanchez, 27, of Jackson, shall remain detained in the Ocean County Jail pending trial on charges of Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1, and Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended Driver’s License while being involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-22a. These charges relate to a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Jackson Township on December 24, 2020 – resulting in the death of Phyllis Shtab, 81, of Howell Township, two days later on December 26, 2020.
Initially a fugitive from justice, Alcazar-Sanchez surrendered himself to United States Customs and Border Patrol Protection Agents in Laredo, Texas on March 3, 2021. He was extradited from Texas to New Jersey, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since March 31, 2021. The detention hearing was handled by Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy.
The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Earlier Today the Trenton Department of Health and Human Services is launched a homebound vaccination program that will bring 1,000 Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccines to Trenton residents who are unable to get to a vaccine clinic on their own. City officials and health personnel met at a staging area Monday morning at Mott Elementary before heading out to several locations in the South Ward.
In-home vaccinations will be provided to individuals – age 18 or over – who are immobile due to underlying medical conditions or transportation limitations. All in-home vaccinations will be administered by qualified medical professionals who will use the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, which is easier to transport and requires only one appointment. City medical staff will wait 15 to 30 minutes with each patient after administering the vaccine to monitor for side effects.
The city already has a list of 400 individuals for the program and is scheduled to visit multiple senior and high-density housing locations over the next few weeks including South Village, Luther Arms, Kingsbury Towers, Trent Center East, Trent Center West, North 25, and numerous residential properties throughout Trenton.
Homebound residents or their relatives can call (609) 815-2556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an in-home vaccine appointment.
MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–NJ State Police tells MidJersey.news that at 10:36 am a crash occurred involving a Toyota and a Volvo XC40. The vehicles were traveling east bound on I-195 just prior to Exit 16B (County Road 537) at mile marker 16.6 one of the vehicles overturned.
Millstone Township Fire Department Fire and EMS responded to the scene. Upon arrival there was no entrapment but 1 person was injured from the Volvo and was transported to Centra State Medical Center in Freehold.
NJ State Police was on scene investigating and appeared to have one person under arrest but it was unclear what involvement that person had in the crash.
NJ DOT closed the left lane until the vehicles could be removed.
The driver of the Toyota was arrested at the scene for suspicion of DWI. The crash remains under investigation.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Bronx, N.Y., man was sentenced to state prison today for stealing a total of $142,900 from eight older adults in New Jersey using a “grandparent scam.”
Osvaldo Thomas, 41, of the Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced today to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Buck in Middlesex County. Thomas pleaded guilty on Feb. 19, 2021 to a second-degree charge of theft by deception.
In pleading guilty, Thomas admitted that he participated in a scam – commonly known as a “grandparent scam” – in which a caller claimed that the victim’s grandchild was in jail and that he was an attorney representing the grandchild. The caller told the victims that in order to get their grandchild out of jail, they needed to provide him with large sums of money for bail. The thefts occurred in April and May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, in at least one instance, the victim also was told the grandchild had the coronavirus. Thomas or another individual posed as a “courier” to pick up the funds at the victim’s residence. He stole sums from the victims ranging from $10,300 to $27,000. Under the plea agreement, Thomas is responsible for paying full restitution of $142,900 to the victims.
Deputy Attorneys General Derek Miller and Aaron Witherspoon prosecuted the case and represented the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau at the sentencing hearing.
“Grandparent scams cause losses totaling in the tens of millions of dollars each year to victims in the United States,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This prison sentence sends a clear message that we will not tolerate criminals who prey on older adults, particularly con artists who scam victims by exploiting their love and concern for their grandchildren. What is more egregious, this defendant callously took advantage of the victims’ isolation from their families during the pandemic and their fears about the coronavirus.”
“Our Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau works diligently to investigate all types of scams and bogus investment schemes, so as to guard the financial security of New Jersey residents,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge members of the public to notify us or their local police if they believe they are being targeted in a fraud scheme.”
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free tip line 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to confidentially report fraud and other illegal activities. The public also can log on to the Division’s webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.
Lieutenant Frederick Weidman and Deputy Attorneys General Miller and Witherspoon investigated the case for the DCJ Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter and Deputy Bureau Chief Mark Kurzawa.
Attorney General Grewal thanked the following detectives and agencies for their collaborative work on this investigation:
Detective Anthony Sorrentino, Cherry Hill Police Department
Detective Randy Patner, East Hanover Police Department
Detective Joseph Zeppetelli, East Hanover Police Department
Detective Thomas Laird, Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office
Detective Nicholas Aumendo, Gloucester Township Police Department
Detective Anthony Zamora, Clifton Police Department
Lt. Robert Baracken, Clifton Police Department
Detective Peter Ricciardi, Boonton Township Police Department
Detective Domenick Delucia, South Brunswick Police Department
Sgt. Sasha Higazi, Bound Brook Police Department
Detective Jonathan Berger, Essex Fells Police Department
Detective Alex Burchardt, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
Detective Sgt. M. Braccioforte, New Jersey State Police
Thomas Carroll Blauvelt, Esq., of East Brunswick, N.J.
Legislation is Part of a $100 Million Relief Package for New Jersey Small Businesses
April 12, 2021
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed into law A-A5446, which provides $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for small businesses throughout New Jersey. The bill – sponsored by Senators Linda Greenstein and Joseph Lagana and Assembly Members Joann Downey, Andrew Zwicker, and Sterley Stanley – provides aid in the form of grants to small businesses and non-profits in need. The bill is part of a five-bill, $100 million relief effort aimed at helping New Jersey’s small businesses recover from the year-long pandemic.
“New Jersey’s small businesses were particularly hard hit by the ravages of COVID-19, ” said Governor Murphy. “This legislation, along with three additional bills I signed last week and one I will sign in the near future, will go a long way toward helping hundreds of state businesses keep their doors open as we recover from this year-long ordeal.”
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, supporting small businesses has been central to Governor Murphy’s response. These businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and ensuring they not only recover but come back stronger and better prepared for future challenges is critical to achieving a sustainable, equitable recovery,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The funding announced today, in addition to the other funds for specific industries announced over the past week, will provide much-needed support for businesses as they overcome the remaining pandemic-related challenges and set the stage for a stronger, fairer recovery.”
“Providing our support during this difficult time will not only allow these organizations to remain in operation, but will help preserve and create jobs while spurring the economic recovery we aim to achieve,” said Assembly Members Downey, Zwicker and Stanley. “Investing in our businesses and non-profits will have a direct, beneficial impact on families throughout our state for years to come.”
“Throughout the last year, COVID-19 has placed a serious strain on many of our local businesses and nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, a number of beloved businesses in our communities were unable to weather this storm and sadly closed their doors for good,” said Senator Greenstein. “This $15 million in federal funding will provide a big sigh of relief to so many business owners and nonprofits throughout our state, as well as their employees and individuals that rely on their services.”
“Providing financial support to businesses and nonprofits is fundamental to their survival during the pandemic,” said Senator Lagana. “Local businesses create vibrant downtowns and communities, while nonprofits can efficiently and effectively provide services for people in need. Together, they will play a central role in New Jersey’s economic recovery and the quality of life for our residents.”
The relief aid will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which will announce when the application for the aid is open. To date, the NJEDA has distributed more than $250 million in aid to some 55,000 businesses across the state.
The signing was held at Jammin’ Crepes, a business that began its journey at a farmers market in the local train station parking lot and in 2014 opened its first brick and mortar location in downtown Princeton.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley announced that officers and civilian employees with the Trenton Police Department are being invited to wear denim jeans on April 28, 2021, in support of Womanspace Inc. and its observance of Denim Day to increase awareness of sexual violence.
Denim Day was born out of a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction of an 18-year-old student, finding that the denim jeans she was wearing were so tight that she would have had to help take them off, implying consent. The decision sparked international outrage, and as a result, wearing jeans has become a symbol of awareness that what someone wears is never an excuse for rape or sexual assault.
Trenton Police Department employees who plan to wear jeans on April 28 have been asked to explain the significance of the choice to anyone who asks about it.
As annual supporters of Denim Day and lifetime supporters of Womanspace Inc., the Trenton Police Department aims to change attitudes toward sexual assault, including corrections to common misconceptions about rape, such as “Women ask to be raped because of the way they dress or act.” A life free from sexual violence is a basic human right that should be accorded to all members of our society.
We ask that the community participate alongside of us and share their support on social media using hashtag #DenimDay.
Anyone suffering from sexual violence can contact the Trenton Police Department at 609-989-4000, also WomanSpace has a 24/7 crisis line (609) 394-9000.
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov announced that East Windsor Township has been named a 2020 Tree City USA community by the National Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to community forestry. East Windsor, for the 21st year, has earned this recognition by meeting the four standards set by the Arbor Day Foundation: having a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
East Windsor Township also has been awarded a Tree City USA Growth Award for 2020, a recognition awarded to communities that “demonstrate higher levels of tree care and community engagement.” The Growth Award recognizes Tree City USA municipalities that achieve major milestones and annual activities that build upon their Tree City USA designation and combine to build sustainable community forestry programs over the long term.
Mayor Mironov stated “trees are a vital component of our community that provide long term environmental and economic benefits. Trees help clean the air, conserve soil and water, moderate temperature and bring the beauty of nature into our daily lives.” Mayor Mironov continued, “East Windsor Township remains committed to a healthy community environment, and we are proud of our long term 21 year designation as a Tree City USA community. Significantly, East Windsor has earned the prestigious Tree City Growth Award in recognition of our efforts toward a long term sustainable future and the dedication of East Windsor’s elected officials, staff and citizens who work to grow and enhance our forestry and preserve our environment.”
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.
MARLBORO TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On Sunday, April 11, 2021 at approximately 9:10pm, the Marlboro Township Police Department received a 911 call about a motor vehicle crash in which a pedestrian was struck.
The crash occurred on Route 9 Northbound in the area of Willow Lane. The pedestrian, identified as Nathanial Martinez, (unknown age and hometown) was crossing the street when he was struck by a Kia Seltos driven by Lauren Wlodarski, 26 years old of Rockaway, NJ.
Mr. Martinez was transported by ambulance by the Morganville First Aid Squad to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital with broken bones and internal injuries.
The cause of the crash is still currently under investigation, but we do not believe drugs or alcohol are factors.
It is possible that Mr. Martinez was struck by a second vehicle. If anyone has information regarding the crash or anyone believes they may have struck something on Route 9 Northbound in the area of Willow Lane at approximately 9:10pm on Sunday evening, they are asked to contact Cpl. David Ruditsky of the Marlboro Township Police Traffic and Safety Bureau at (732) 536-0100 ext. 1090 or email@example.com.
Route 9 Northbound was closed for approximately 3 hours while the crash was being investigated.