TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Lottery temporarily suspended ticket sales for the Fast Play family of games due to a vendor software issue. Ticket sales were halted upon discovery of the problem. Vendors Northstar New Jersey and IGT are actively investigating the matter and will provide additional information on http://www.NJLottery.com when it becomes available. Players should keep all Fast Play tickets until further information is made available.
Fast Play tickets, which let a player immediately know if they have won, are printed by Lottery terminals and are also available at self-service vending machines.
EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–At 1619 hours, 10-year-old Devin Broach was reported missing by his family. Devin was last seen walking from his residence on Albemarle Avenue. Devin is described as a black male, 5′ approximately 100 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue and yellow shirt, and red/white/black air max sneakers. Anyone with any information is asked to immediately contact the Ewing Police Department at 609-882-1313.
Ewing Township Fire Department was also called to search and once child was found all fire apparatus returned to their stations.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A vehicle on Bruce Park Drive lost control and flipped on its roof near Edgewood Avenue around 9:55 am. Trenton Police, Trenton Fire Department and TEMS responded, it was reported that the driver suffered injuries to both legs.
The car appeared to hit a utility pole prior to landing on its roof in the street.
Trenton Police told MidJersey.news that summonses were issued for reckless driving and failure to stop.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 125 months in prison for nine robberies and two attempted robberies of businesses in Trenton, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Derrick T. Beckett, Jr., 23, of Trenton, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, and one count of attempted Hobbs Act robbery. Judge Thompson imposed sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From July 20, 2017, to Feb. 28, 2018, Beckett committed nine robberies and two attempted robberies of businesses in Trenton. Beckett approached employees of the businesses, brandishing what appeared to be a firearm, but was later determined to be a BB-gun, and demanded money. On multiple occasions Beckett threatened and engaged in violence, both threatening to shoot some victims, and pistol-whipping others when they failed to comply. Beckett stole cash and fled the victim businesses on foot, where he was sometimes met and assisted by a getaway driver. In addition to the prison term, Judge Thompson sentenced Beckett to three years of supervised release and ordered restitution of $9,100.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction and sentence. She also thanked officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Sheilah Coley, and detectives and prosecutors of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Andrea D. Bergman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–It appears that the World War II at Veterans Park located on West State Street across from the NJ State House was desecrated by vandals overnight. It appears that vandals knocked over the “Fallen Soldier Battlefield Cross” breaking it from its weld at the base. The bronze piece weighs hundreds of pounds and was welded to the base.
The damage was discovered by a member of a local Facebook group and shared to its members. MidJersey.news has reached to Trenton Police and they have not had a report of the damage. NJ State Police responded and said it was not their area and referred to TPD. Governor’ Phil Murphy’s Office has put MidJersey.news in touch with New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and they are responding to assess the damage to the memorial.
This is still a developing story and MidJersey.news will post updates about the damage once it becomes available. No official office contacted had any information on the damage and once the agency responsible for maintaining the memorial investigates they will let us know exactly what happened. For now as stated above it appears that it was vandals but could have been another highly unlikely accident of some kind. As always when official information becomes available the story will be updated and any corrections made.
According to Wikipedia “The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross, Battlefield Cross or Battle Cross is a symbolic replacement of a cross, or marker appropriate to an individual service-member’s religion, on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed. It is made up of the soldier’s rifle stuck into the ground or into the soldier’s boots, with helmet on top. Dog tags are sometimes placed on the rifle, and the boots of the dead soldier can be placed next to the rifle. The purpose is to show honor and respect for the dead at the battle site. The practice started during or prior to the American Civil War, as a means of identifying the bodies on the battleground before removal. Today, it is a means of showing respect for the dead amongst the still living members of the troop. It is commonly seen in the field or base camp after a battle, especially among American troops in Afghanistan or Iraq. While it is used less today as a means of identification, it still serves as a method of mourning among the living, as attending the funeral is not always possible for soldiers still in combat.“
The State of New Jersey has taken the initiative to honor and remember our “Greatest Generation” of citizens by creating a memorial in Trenton across from the State House at Veterans Park.
Fittingly, the theme for New Jersey’s World War II Memorial is “Victory.” The memorial honors and pays tribute to the courage and the many sacrifices of the World War II Generation. Over 560,000 New Jerseyans served in the armed forces and the state was an important center of industrial production, military training and related activities in support of the war effort.
The Memorial is accessible at all hours at 125 W. State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley is asking for the public’s help in locating a runaway.
Marlin Selene Licona was last seen by her mother on March 24, 2021 at her home on Bayard Street in Trenton. Licona is described as a 15-year-old girl who is 5’3” tall, weighing 112 lbs. She has brown hair and brown eyes. It is unknown what clothing she was wearing when she left her home. She is known to frequent the area of Second Street in Trenton, but has not been seen since she was reported missing.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Marlin Selene Licona is asked to call or email Trenton Police Investigator Arlene Miranda at 609-989-4083, email@example.com or Trenton Police Communications at 609-989-4170
22-person board as they continue advancing the organization’s mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
Holland has been a Girl Scouts member for more than 35 years. She was in one of the legacy councils from age eight until 18 and became a volunteer after college. In her new role, Holland is making history as the first board chair to serve as a Girl Scout in the council she will now lead.
“Girl Scouts gives girls a way to experience so many different experiences and activities. Whether girls are interested in the outdoors, or STEM, the arts or robotics, or civic engagement, Girl Scouts helps girls find their passion and voice and hone it with the help of wonderful role models and peers who encourage and help them succeed, said Holland.”
As board chair, Holland wants to increase fundraising efforts and integrate some of the key learnings from the pandemic to provide more girls with access to the Girl Scout movement. “We have come out of a year like no other and if COVID taught the world anything, it is to be prepared and gather support from the community. Our diversity and inclusion efforts are also paramount to our success as a movement. Working within our communities and with our girls to acknowledge our differences and similarities teaches them important life skills. Learning about diverse cultures, backgrounds, and abilities, is key to our overall goal of inspiring the next generation of girls who will run the world, said Holland.”
“We are excited to have Rachel bring her passion for Girl Scouts and her wealth of knowledge to lead our board of directors,” said Ginny Hill, GSCSNJ CEO. “As a lifetime member, Rachel knows firsthand the power of Girl Scouts and is a prime example of the type of leaders that come through our movement. We are grateful for her years of dedication to our organization and look forward to seeing her help take us to new heights in the years to come.”
In addition to serving on the GSCSNJ board for the past nine years, Holland is involved with and serves on the boards of a number of other nonprofit organizations. She resides in Hamilton with her husband Kevin Drennan, and two daughters Eva and Jacqueline, who are both Girl Scouts.
JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that the State has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Jackson Township alleging that Township authorities violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by using their zoning powers to make it harder for Orthodox Jews to practice their religion and to deter them from moving there.
The State’s complaint alleges the Jackson’s adoption of discriminatory zoning ordinances and enforcement practices was motivated in part by officials’ desire to appease Township residents who reacted to the Township’s growing Orthodox Jewish population by expressing hate and fear on social media, in complaints to Township officials, and in public meetings.
“We’ve filed this lawsuit because bias and hate have no home in New Jersey, and we will not allow some vocal residents’ intolerance to drive local government decisions,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Like all public servants, municipal officials have a duty to uphold the law, not weaponize it against specific groups because of what they believe or how they worship. Today’s lawsuit should send that message to anyone in New Jersey who needs to hear it.”
Filed on behalf of Attorney General Grewal and the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) in state Superior Court in Ocean County, the four-count complaint names as defendants Jackson Township, the Jackson Township Council, the Jackson Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Jackson Township Planning Board, and Mayor Michael Reina in his official capacity.
Jackson Township borders Lakewood, a municipality that has more than 50,000 Orthodox Jewish residents and that is home to the second largest yeshiva—a type of Orthodox Jewish religious school—in the world.
According to the State’s complaint, starting around 2015, a vocal group of Jackson residents began complaining to local officials about an influx of Orthodox Jews into Jackson Township. Some residents have amplified their views in hateful social media posts, which have included statements like “we need to get rid of them like Hitler did” and “filthy f’ing cockroaches.”
The complaint alleges that some Jackson officials sympathized with residents’ anger and fear that Jackson was “becoming a subdivision of Lakewood.”
In response, officials devised plans to create and enforce rules that would stymie the religious observances of Orthodox Jews in Jackson and, as one former Zoning Board member said in a Facebook post, quell “the tsunami of orthodoxy that is mounting at the border.”
Through ordinances and enforcement actions, the complaint alleges, Jackson Township exploited its power to regulate land use and housing to disrupt vital aspects of Orthodox Jewish life in Jackson and to interfere with the ability of observant Orthodox Jews to live there.
“This lawsuit shows that the Attorney General and the Division on Civil Rights stand ready to address discrimination in all its forms, whenever and wherever it occurs throughout the state,” said Aaron Scherzer, Chief of Strategic Initiatives and Enforcement at the Division on Civil Rights. “We will not allow municipalities to discriminate against residents because of their religious beliefs or to take actions based on residents’ intolerance. Instead, as we confront a rising tide of bias across the state and around the country, we need our local leaders to set an example for how to address intolerance and persistent othering.”
The State’s complaint highlights four strategies deployed by Jackson Township to target aspects of Orthodox Jewish religious practice.
First, Township officials allegedly engaged in targeted and discriminatory surveillance of the homes of Orthodox Jews suspected of hosting communal prayer gatherings. Jackson’s zoning code requires permits for places of worship, but there are constitutional limits on municipalities’ ability to use their zoning authority to restrict the free exercise of religion, and government officials cannot discriminate on the basis of religion.
The State’s complaint alleges that Jackson Township dedicated significant resources to monitoring the homes of Orthodox Jews, at the direction of Mayor Reina and others, even after officials warned that taxpayer funds and government resources were being wasted and that officials were not finding significant code violations. Mayor Reina allegedly has stated that, if these were churches instead of Orthodox Jewish places of worship, he would “absolutely not” be fighting them in the same manner.
Second, the complaint alleges that Jackson Township officials engaged in discriminatory application of land use laws to inhibit the erection of sukkahs by the Township’s Jewish residents, particularly in their front yards. Sukkahs are temporary open-air structures constructed to mark Sukkot, a weeklong Jewish holiday celebrating the fall harvest.
According to the complaint, after residents began to question and complain about the appearance of sukkahs, Jackson Township officials modified their interpretation of a local ordinance to effectively prohibit sukkahs in front yards. The complaint alleges that the Township’s new enforcement policy discriminated against Jewish residents.
Third, Jackson officials allegedly discriminated against Orthodox Jews by enacting zoning ordinances in 2017 that essentially banned the establishment of yeshivas and dormitories, where yeshiva students typically reside so as to avoid the distractions of secular life. According to the complaint, as Jackson officials were considering whether to effectively prohibit religious schools, a former member of the Zoning Board warned Mayor Reina that “Jackson will be sued and it will cost the taxpayers dearly to defend the ordinance, potentially millions.”
Fourth, the complaint alleges that Jackson discriminated against Orthodox Jews by enacting a 2017 zoning ordinance that targeted and effectively banned the creation of eruvim – symbolic, boundary-defined areas in which observant Orthodox Jews are permitted to engage in certain activities otherwise prohibited on the Sabbath (Friday evening to Saturday evening) and during the holiday of Yom Kippur. The boundaries of an eruv are often marked by affixing plastic strips known as “lechis” to utility poles.
The State’s complaint alleges that each of these policies and enforcement actions reflects Jackson Township officials’ acquiescence to – and often solidarity with – anti-Orthodox-Jewish bias voiced by certain residents about Orthodox Jews including that they “refuse to assimilate” and that they will “destroy our neighborhoods.”
Among the places where residents have voiced such animus is the Facebook page for a group called Rise Up Ocean County. DCR called on Facebook to monitor the page in April 2019 after receiving reports of its antisemitic content. Facebook eventually removed the page from its platform in early 2020 for violating the company’s community standards for hate speech.
One of the State’s four claims—involving the allegedly discriminatory enactment of ordinances barring yeshivas and their dormitories—overlaps with allegations in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against Jackson Township in May 2020. The federal lawsuit alleges that the Township passed the ordinances, and the planning board has applied those ordinances, in a manner that discriminated against the Orthodox Jewish community, in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 and the Fair Housing Act.
The State’s complaint asks the court to find that each of the challenged zoning practices violates the Law Against Discrimination, to issue an order prohibiting Jackson Township’s discrimination against the Orthodox Jewish community, and to impose civil penalties, among other relief.
The Jackson Township lawsuit is the second lawsuit filed against a New Jersey municipality by the State in recent years to stop discriminatory zoning practices targeting Orthodox Jews. In 2017, the State sued Mahwah Township after it adopted two allegedly discriminatory ordinances – one banning non-residents from using Mahwah’s public parks, the other banning the posting of “lechis” on utility poles located within the municipality. The Mahwah lawsuit was resolved through a settlement agreement in 2018.
Assistant Attorney General Mayur P. Saxena, and Deputy Attorneys General Renee Greenberg, Joanna R. Loomis, Micauri Vargas, and Eve Weissman, of the Affirmative Civil Rights & Labor Enforcement Section of the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, are handling the Jackson Township lawsuit on behalf of the State.
Luray, VA – Based on a preliminary identification of remains found Monday, April 26, 2021, the search for Ty Sauer conducted by Shenandoah National Park with support from Virginia Department of Emergency Management has been suspended. All trails in the Hazel Mountain area have been reopened. The body of a male believed to be Ty Sauer was discovered by searchers today at 2:55 p.m. The body is being transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for positive ID and determination of cause of death. The remains were found in the park about 2.5 miles from the boundary in Rappahannock County and about 2 miles from where he was last seen Thursday, April 22.
Shenandoah National Park joins Virginia Department of Emergency Management in thanking the many organizations that were involved including DOGS-East, Christian Aid Ministries Search & Rescue, Va. Search & Rescue Dog Association, Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group, Rockingham-Augusta Search & Rescue, Old Rag Mountain Stewards, Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Trot Search & Rescue, Blue & Gray Search & Rescue Dogs, Search & Rescue Tracking Institute, Piedmont Search & Rescue, K-9 Alert, Va. State Police, Louisa County Sheriff’s Department, Shenandoah Nordic/Backcountry Search and Rescue, Mid-Atlantic D.O.G.S., Greene County, Rockingham Fire, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Luray Police Department.
Ty Sauer, 18, from Union Beach, NJ was a Keyport High School Student.
April 26, 2021 Dear Keyport Families, It is with deep sorrow that I must convey some sad news. Late this afternoon we received information regarding the loss of a Keyport High School student. Our sincere condolences and thoughts go out to the family. We are all in shock and to help us grieve, we will have counselors available to our students and staff . In fact, this evening’s Google Meet is in progress and will remain open until 9:30 p.m. The Traumatic Loss Coalition is a community partner and will work collaboratively with us as the school community copes with grief. The Keyport Public School Crisis team has established both in-person and virtual counseling centers throughout Keyport High School. These locations and virtual links will be communicated to all staff and students tomorrow at the start of the school day. Counseling services will also be available to students at Keyport Central School. Students that are struggling are encouraged to utilize these support services at any time throughout the school day. If you feel that your children are having difficulty we are here to support them. Please feel free to contact our counseling office at 732-212-6100 ext 3257 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a difficult time for all and it is important to keep the lines of communication open. Again, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. Sincerely, Lisa Savoia, Ed.D Superintendent of Schools