ALLENTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–The 68th Annual Allentown Lions Club Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Service was held today. The parade started at 10:30 a.m. at the north end of Main Street and ending at the Newell Elementary School on High Street. Immediately following the parade the annual memorial service was held and concluded around 12:20 p.m.
A list of participants were, Allentown Lions Club Grand Marshal Dr. Joan Ruddiman, The Allentown Hope Fire Company, The Award Winning AHS Redbird Marching Band, The Allentown First Aid Squad, Jerry Rife and the Rhythm Kings, Allentown Borough Police Dept., The Ancient Order of Hibernian Bagpipe Band, Elected Officials from Allentown and Upper Freehold, New Egypt Fire Co., Larry the Lion, The Shamrock and Thistle Pipe and Drum Band, The Allentown Village Initiative (TAVI) The Knights of Columbus AHR Color Guard Dragons Lacrosse Team, Special Music Provided by DJ Nebbs, The Upper Freehold Professional Firefighters, The Allentown High School FFA and their Salute to our Agricultural Heritage, Allentown/Upper Freehold Little League and Softball Teams, Uncle Sam, Allentown Troop 180A Boy Scouts, Allentown Boy Scout Troop 55, Jacobstown Fire Co., Allentown Pack 180 Cub Scouts, Allentown-Robbinsville Girl Scouts, Clever Clover 4-H Horse Association of Millstone, Civil Air Patrol Color Guard, Crescent Temple Provost Guard, Shrine Clowns, Tin Lizzies, Chesterfield Hose and Crosswicks Fire Co., The FEZ Float, The Allentown Garden Club, Mid-Jersey Antique Cars and others.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department, Acting Lieutenant Cynthia Hargis told MidJersey.news that Elber Eustaquio Yuman Davila from Princeton Junction was charged with “leaving the scene of a fatal accident” from an accident on Saturday night.
The accident occurred just after 11:00 pm. Trenton Police, Trenton Fire & TEMS, and Capital Health Paramedics responded to the intersection of South Clinton Avenue and Roebling Avenue on a person struck by a vehicle.
Capital Health Paramedics pronounced the victim deceased on the scene.
Acting Lieutenant. Hargis said in a prior MidJersey.news story that, “An alert was broadcast for the suspects vehicle, which was stopped and detained in Hamilton Township. The suspect is being questioned by the Homicide Task Force investigators.”
“The identity of the victim is still unknown at this time and when known will not be released until after notification is made to the family.” Acting Lieutenant Hargis said.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 9:15 p.m. a vehicle traveling on West State Street near Hermitage Avenue ran off the roadway crashed though a picket fence and onto a porch of a vacant house. Trenton EMS, Capital Health Paramedics, Trenton Fire Department and Trenton Police Department responded to the scene for reported people trapped in the vehicle.
Trenton firefighters were able to stabilize the car prior to patient removal. After the vehicle was stabilized the patient was extricated. It was reported one person was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment for non-life threating injures. The driver of the vehicle was reportedly seen leaving with police.
Trenton Fire Department stood by as a tow truck removed the vehicle that was on the front porch. The Trenton Building Department responded to the scene to evaluate the structure.
The Trenton Police Department is investigating the crash.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Heavy rains could not stop the Mercer County, Memorial Day observance held at Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton Township today.
Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes spoke about his family’s loss and importance of Memorial Day. Mr. Hughes stated that he has three brothers and some of his brothers never got to know his father due to a military plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean. He told that his mother got “the knock on the door” from a general and pastor that every military wife does not want to get. She received notice that her husband’s plane had gone down. It had been flying a route from Massachusetts to the Azores and then to Berlin. The plane was to bring a taste of democracy like that we know here, food, clothes, medicine and the parts of life we take for granted. He talked about how his father stood up every day and said this is going to be his job and he was going to be the one to provide that little level of democracy to a war torn town like Berlin. On that one particular day the plane went into the Atlantic Ocean and was never found or heard from again.
County Executive Hughes thanked all those who came out today to make sure the veterans know that this country is still great and will remain that way for many years to come.
Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin, a U.S. Air Force veteran, delivered the keynote address at the event. Mayor Martin stated that we gather to honor the men and women of our armed forces, those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and community. That is how our country was built by those who are willing to sacrifice for the greater good. From the American Revolution to the Middle East Conflicts over the last two decades countless Americans have answered the call to protect all of us, they have put service before self.
The mayor said, “As a veteran himself when you answer the call to serve you don’t know what is going to be presented in front of you. You don’t know what battle field you will go to, what call you will heed, what flight you will be on that you just hope that is routine and ends up not to be.
“Every flag you see in this cemetery represents someone who did not know what was going to be put in front of them, but answered that call, bravely with honor, with resolve, and the commitment the were answering their counties call to protect their families, to protect their loved ones back home.” Mayor Martin said
County Executive Hughes, Mayor Jeff Martin and the Senior Vice Commander of the VFW placed a wreath at the base of the flag pole in the Veteran’s section of the Greenwood Cemetery. A gun salute and TAPS was played at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Every year the Memorial Day observance is organized by the Mercer County Veterans Council and the Division of Veteran Services.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS were detailed to I-195 East Bound at the ramp to the NJ Turnpike for a truck off the road and on fire. Upon arrival there was no fire and the driver was out of the vehicle and reported uninjured. The truck lost control on a rain slicked road and ran off the roadway. The New Jersey State Police were on scene investigating.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Years ago, my father would take me for a hair cut at Ralph’s Barbershop in Hamilton Township at the corner of South Broad Street and Maple Shade Avenue near the White Horse Circle. In that barbershop that was later renamed to “Ralph’s Hair Styling,” there was a shelf not too far from the barber chair that held a four channel police and fire radio scanner. It was simple back then– four blinking lights, a couple of knobs, a pull up antenna, and “crystals” were inside the scanner to listen to specific police and fire frequencies. On those Saturday mornings at the barbershop, you could read the two local papers, and hear the police and fire activity on that simple radio scanner. Ralph always knew what was going on in the neighborhood though the local media or what he heard live over the scanner and was a regular conversation of what was going on in the barbershop.
Today, radio systems have turned from a simple two-way system to multimillion-dollar trunking systems where radios cost thousands of dollars each and some have digital “encryption” built in at a more expensive cost.
Some agencies such as Trenton Police, Ewing police have used “encryption” for years to keep scanner listeners and the media from finding out what is going on in their town. Recently Hamilton Township has made a switch to an “encrypted” radio system.
For years prior, most day-to-day dispatch operations were not “encrypted” and special channels such as for SWAT, drug enforcement or Special Operations were always encrypted due to safety of the teams. Lately police have been moving to “encrypt” all communications, and not just the special operations channels.
Encryption becomes a policing transparency and accountability problem by restricting the public’s right to monitor public radio frequencies. The encryption is usually set up in the name of police safety and privacy.
Several years ago, I attended a NJ Division of Fire Safety Class called “Media and the Fire Service” and the instructor was a reporter and NBC 10 news anchor in Philadelphia. He normally taught the class to police organizations but also offered the class to fire department organizations. The news anchor stated, when something happens and there is no information available the media will interview someone or ask someone on the street as a source. He said sometimes they will get it right and sometimes they will get it wrong. As a public agency it is best to respond quickly as possible, so the correct information is sent to the public. The news anchor stated that police reported it was a lot easier to report the factual information soon as possible than fix mistakes that “sources” had given the media.
Last night, there was a fatal accident in Trenton, New Jersey around 11:00 p.m. at the Intersection of South Clinton Avenue and Roebling Avenue. Over the EMS Channel, it was broadcast that this was a pedestrian accident and when EMS and the fire department responded they were advised it was possibly a shooting. One of the EMS supervisors also said it was a shooting over the radio no other communications where heard.
Without the ability to listen and back up information that would be heard on police radio in Trenton, most news media that reported on the incident reported it as a “shooting” though reported “sources.”
MidJersey.news covers “breaking news” and goes to several active accidents, crime scenes, and other kinds of events per week to verify information in person. We also heard the report of “shooting” and also the report of a “pedestrian accident” and worded the article as a “possible shooting” since the preliminary reports were unclear. When information is not verified though an “official” police source, we have the information listed as “breaking” “unofficial” and other descriptions of what might have happened until it confirmed by official sources.
MidJersey.news also works with the local police agencies to post the correct information in a timely manner. There have been times when a police department asked to post something quickly because rumors were getting out of control and wanted to get the right information out to as many as possible to prevent a bigger problem.
Here’s what I’m getting at: In today’s media race to be first to report, two major television news outlets from Philadelphia got it wrong by not backing up the story with official information and reported it as fact in their broadcast. These are supposed to be “trusted” news sources and people take what they report over what the local media who does the fact checking first.
To compound the misinformation there are many “armchair” news outlets that scan the Internet for breaking stories and repost those to their sites to gain hits and popularity. These organizations usually do not go out and do their own reporting but work on the backs of other media from a desk or in today’s pandemic quite possibly their couch.
I believe that the major news outlets got caught up in a perfect storm by one emergency channel reporting a shooting that was thought it was at the time and using that as their source. There was no way to back up that information by the ability to monitor police channels due to encrypted radio systems. They did not verify that information by official police sources most likely due to the late hour and holiday weekend. Instead of reporting as fact they should have reported as a possibility of the two things that might have happened.
Most likely reporting like this will continue to happen in the future with the encryption of public safety radios. The Neighbors application by Ring is sometimes used as a trusted source and sometime also gets information wrong and starts rumors rather than fact. Just a couple weeks ago in Hamilton, the Neighbors application reported a person shot on a playground, unofficial sources told MidJersey.news that it was a shots fired call and bullet casings were found but no person shot. No official public information was released by the police department about the incident. In three communities in Mercer County, you can find out more information from the Neighbors application than what is happening on the police radio scanner.
MidJersey.news supports the encryption of Special Operations, SWAT, Drug Enforcement, and other special radio channels that need to be encrypted for safety of police officers. The encryption of day-to-day dispatch and normal radio traffic, in our opinion, does not do anything except prevent transparency, open government, and accountability of policing. The normal day-to-day radio traffic should not be encrypted to prevent law abiding citizens from listening to public safety radio.
Opinion – Editorial
Related information non-MidJersey.news links below about encryption:
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 11:45 p.m. last night (May 29, 2021) a multiple vehicle crash occurred on Route 1 South Bound/Brunswick Pike in front of the Mercer Mall just south of Quaker Bridge Road. The Lawrence Township Police Department, Lawrence Township EMS, Capital Health Paramedics and Lawrence Township Fire Companies responded for reported people trapped in a vehicle.
Upon arrival of Lawrence Township Police and EMS there was no entrapment but they had up to seven injuries from three vehicles. Additional EMS units were called from West Windsor, Hamilton and Trenton to transport the patients.
Radio reports state that five people from the accident were transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.
Lawrence Township Police are investigating the crash.
Route 1 South in front of Mercer Mall was closed for a short time while tow trucks removed vehicles from the roadway.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– One person was transported to the hospital early Sunday morning after a single vehicle crash.
The crash occurred on Yardville-Allentown Road between Yardville-Hamilton Square Road and Route 156. It appears the vehicle flipped over after striking a cinder block wall, trapping the driver. Hamilton Fire Department responded to the scene and freed the driver from the vehicle. He was transported to the hospital by Robert Wood Johnson EMS with non life-threatening injuries.
Hamilton Police are investigating what led up to the crash.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– One person was killed in a hit and run pedestrian accident late Saturday night, according to police.
The accident occurred just after 11:00 pm. Trenton Police, Trenton Fire & TEMS, and Capital Health Paramedics responded to the intersection of South Clinton Avenue and Roebling Avenue on a reported person shot, or struck by a vehicle.
According to Acting Lieutenant Cynthia Hargis, “An alert was broadcast for the suspects vehicle, which was stopped and detained in Hamilton Township. The suspect is being questioned by the Homicide Task Force investigators.”
Capital Health Paramedics pronounced the victim deceased on the scene.
Acting Lieutenant Hargis said, “The victim is not identified at this time and the investigation is ongoing.”
Trenton Police and the Mercer County Homicide Task Force are investigating.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley today announced that a woman who allegedly stole a police vehicle in downtown Trenton and led law enforcement on a chase through Hopewell Township has been taken into custody.
At approximately 5:41 p.m. on May 29, 2021, Cherrelle Cooper, 30, of Morris Plains, New Jersey, allegedly stole an idle police cruiser that was parked on E. State Street in Trenton. Cooper then led law enforcement on a pursuit down Route 29 northbound into Hopewell Township.
The pursuit ended at Washington Crossing Road and Bear Tavern Road when the suspect crashed into a utility pole. Cooper was taken into custody and is being treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Afterwards, she will be transported to Trenton Police Headquarters and processed on several charges.
While the police vehicle was totaled, no one else was seriously hurt. The investigation is ongoing. The incident is also being examined by the Internal Affairs Unit.
These allegations are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Memorial Day Flag Placement Ceremony was held this morning at the Locust Hill Cemetery at 73 Hart Avenue, Trenton. The event was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Trenton and The 6th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops Reenactors. The ceremony honored The Civil War Veterans of Locust Hill Cemetery that are buried there.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Antiques Roadshow 2021 will be at the Grounds For Sculpture filming on Wednesday October 6, 2021. If you think you have something interesting that should be on the show follow the links below:
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW 2021 Appraisal Contest
Want to know if you’ve got junk, or a gem? ROADSHOW wants to see your stuff!
Enter to win an invitation to have your item appraised at ANTIQUES ROADSHOW this summer!
Until we can safely hold ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Tour events again, ROADSHOW will be filming in an all-new way — but we’ll still be visiting five locations in 2021 to film appraisals for ANTIQUES ROADSHOW’s upcoming Season 26, airing on PBS in 2022!
Producers will select up to 130 entries for filming at each of five locations. We’ll notify each selected guest approximately four weeks before the date of the production for which their entry was made.
With a focus on health and safety, all production for ANTIQUES ROADSHOW’s 26th season will be on closed sets, accessible only to ROADSHOW production teams, appraisers, and our invited appraisal guests.
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Partnering with HELPSY, the Board of Directors for Veteran’s Memorial Garden in Jackson, New Jersey recently added a valuable source of revenue to help with the next main phase of construction and maintenance of the memorial park. Three clothing recycling bins have been placed strategically in the park’s main parking lot…which is located at the intersection of Jackson Mills Road and Commadore Blvd. The purpose is not only to prevent unwanted clothes from filling local landfills, but also to provide funds to help support the park. Placed a little over a month ago, the bins are on track to recycle hundreds of pounds of textiles each month.
“We were in the final stretch of construction’s main phase when the pandemic hit and we lost 80% of our funding,” Board President Charles Garofano explains. Because opportunities for fundraising all but dried up, the Park’s Board of Directors looked to new ways to support the park and found HELPSY. HELPSY partners with organizations across ten states to collect unwanted clothing and has helped to raise more than $10 million for non-profits and organizations while also helping the environment. Through a combination of clothing drives, collection bins, thrift store partners and curbside pickups, HELPSY diverts 30 million pounds of textiles from landfills every year.
“HELPSY is dedicated to changing the way people think about clothing recycling while adhering to the highest level of social and environmental performance,” said HELPSY’S CEO and Co-Founder Dan Green. The Company’s efforts have earned it a Certified B Corporation designation…using business as a force of good ™.
Army Vietnam Veteran Charles Garofano and Marine Corp Vietnam Veteran Kenneth Bressi had the idea for the Memorial Park in 2007. They wanted to honor men and women of all five branches of the armed forces… Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. They created a 501C(3) corporation and with the support of the surrounding communities, Veterans organizations and countless individuals, groundbreaking on the 4-acre park began in earnest in 2008. According to Garofano, the memorial garden is truly a grassroots operation… completely staffed by volunteers and 100% of all funds raised go directly to construction and maintenance of the park.
The next phase of park construction is planned for this summer with the proposed erection of several monuments. Each monument will be a replica of the Washington Monument with a 17” diameter and three-dimensional bronze plaque with insignia of each of the five military branches. Residents who are interested in supporting the memorial garden, can bring unwanted clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, bedding, towels, table linens and curtains…all bagged clean and dry to put into the HELPSY Recycling bins. To purchase a granite bench or an engraved paving stone…go to www. JacksonVetsMemorial.org or contact Charles Gasfano at 732-492-3601 or Ken Bressi at 908-692-8817 for more information. Monetary donations are also accepted.
UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP-ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–At the entrance of Stone Bridge Middle School, student Dylan Lacroix, a Cadet Airman 1st Class in the Civil Air Patrol, has set up a “Missing Man Table.” He brought up the idea to Mrs. Folino and Mr. Myslinski.
The missing man table is traditionally part of military dining ceremonies and may also be performed for Veterans Day and Memorial Day services. The table has many different items to symbolize the missing soldiers.
The sign in front of the table reads:
“The table that stands before you is a place of honor. In setting this table, we acknowledge those missing from our celebration tonight. And, we remember them.”
* The table is small, and set for one — symbolizing the vulnerability of a lone prisoner against his captors.
* The tablecloth is white — symbolizing purity of intention in responding to the nation’s call to arms.
* The chair is empty, for they are not here.
* The wine glass is inverted — they cannot toast with us this night.
* The slices of lemon — reminding us of their bitter suffering.
* The grains of salt — representing the countless tears of the families.
* The single red rose — reminding us of loved ones who keep the faith awaiting their return.
* The burning candle and yellow ribbon — symbolizing everlasting hope of a reunion with the missing.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today, Seattle-based artist Sarah Kavage, community liaison and Trenton-based artist Leon Rainbow, and representatives from the Capital City Farm taught about THE FUTURE IS OPEN ENDED, a large, elaborate sculptural garden installation made of straw bales. This is art that will grow food and provide gathering spaces and seating for events, performances, teach-ins, and sharing.
The site of this installation, the Capital CIty Farm, was formerly train tracks and is now Trenton’s first urban farm. The site has undergone environmental remediation and since 2016 has been growing fresh healthy food for the community, largely for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.
The artwork is a large, elaborate straw bale garden, a type of gardening that is well suited to urban settings. In addition to adding a highly visible food growing area, the artwork creates gathering spaces and seating, allowing the CCF to begin providing more community space alongside farm operations. Originally planned for the Tulpehaking Nature Center’s environmental education facility, the installation moved to CCF in support of and alignment with CCF’s mission of urban food growing, local employment, and education.
During the community input session for this project, people shared how they felt that this part of the city, on the border of East and North Trenton, had been punished “by lines that other people put on a map.” These redlining and urban renewal practices had an outsized impact in Trenton, especially on its Black community. The design of the artwork responds to this conversation by attempting to create a space where people feel like they can envision and define their own future.
Many turned out to celebrate the project, offered event ideas, learned about the garden, and the project partners which include the Tulpehaking Nature Center, the Garden State Agrihood Program, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Mercer County Park Commission, and April DeSimone of Designing the We.
Capital City Farm is located at 72 Escher Street Trenton, NJ, 08609 next to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A two vehicle accident occurred just before 9:00 a.m. Parkside Avenue & Stuyvesant Avenue briefly closing the intersection. There were no serious injures in the accident. Trenton Police are investigating the accident. No further information is available.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 5:50 p.m. Trenton Police and Trenton EMS responded to the 300 Block of Adeline Street for shots fired with a possible victim.
According to Trenton Police Detective Sergeant Cynthia Hargis the address they responded to was hit by two rounds. There was no injuries and there was only broken glass from the two shots. The cause is possibly a neighbor dispute.
Hargis said the scene was still active and police are still investigating the incident.
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Freehold Borough man pleaded guilty Thursday to the 2020 sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Elias Juarez Hernandez, 45, of Freehold Borough, pleaded guilty to one count of first degree aggravated sexual assault before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux.
During the plea, Juarez-Hernandez admitted to having sexual intercourse at his home in Freehold Borough with the child on Aug. 10, 2020. A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Freehold Borough Police Department revealed Juarez-Hernandez approached the 12-year-old girl, who had run away from her residence in Marlboro, outside the 7-Eleven store in Freehold Borough in the early morning hours of August 10 and offered her a ride. Juarez-Hernandez told the girl his vehicle was at his residence within Freehold Borough so they walked back there.
When they arrived at the defendant’s home, Juarez-Hernandez pushed the juvenile into the basement and sexually assaulted her multiple times throughout the night.
Juarez-Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 20, 2021. Under the terms of a plea agreement reached after consultation with the victim’s family, Juarez-Hernandez faces up to 15 years in a New Jersey state prison without the possibility of parole, pursuant to the Jessica Lunsford Act.
Additionally, Juarez-Hernandez will be subject to the requirements of Megan’s Law registration and Parole Supervision for Life upon release from prison.
The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Zanzuccki. Juarez-Hernandez is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq., of Neptune.
Aggr Sex Assault Under Age 13
ENDANGERING-SEXUAL CONDUCT WITH CHILD BY CARETAKER
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The 2021 Robbinsville Memorial Day Commemoration was held at Community Park by Robbinsville Township and the Robbinsville American Legion Post 530.
Robbinsville Township Mayor Fried said, “We are a grateful Nation, we always been a grateful Nation, we always appreciated those who sacrificed who have given before us and will continue to give after us and continuing to give right now.”
“This weekend is a day to remember, a day to give thanks, a day to be grateful and this is the greatest place on Earth to live and we all need to be thankful and grateful we have the honor of living here and continue to remember that every day.” said Mayor Fried.
Councilwoman, Deborah Blakely said, “We owe so much to the brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedoms, for our piece of mind and for our safety. Special souls who fought for a country they so loved, freedoms they cherished and for people they did not even know.”
“Today and always Robbinsville, honors you, remembers you and will forever be grateful for the men and women who courageously gave their lives for us.” said Council Woman, Blakely.
Councilman Ron Witt said, “My father went to the United States Naval Academy, and went onto flight school, served on the USS Yorktown and the USS Intrepid. He flew off those carriers in the Vietnam Conflict, an incredible man, and I get goosebumps thinking about my father, who passed away four years ago, but I think about him each and every day.”
“From the bottom of my heart, to every service member, law enforcement, and first responders that are here I thank you for everyone past, current and future that will lay down, support and do what is necessary to preserve our way of live, I sincerely thank each and everyone of you. said Councilman, Witt.
Commander John Poland from the Robbinsville American Legion Post 530 said, “How important for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and sheroes. This recognition must include the approximate 1,400,000 men and women who serve today in our Nation’s military. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and this year most people are looking forward to ridding their selves of their masks and grabbing a burger and a cold one. But first we must remember that those throughout the years who have gone to do our country’s bidding and have not returned home or have come home broken and hurting. We always must remember their sacrifices and be thankful for our freedoms.”
Robbinsville American Legion Post 530 Adjutant Mel Boyce played “Taps”
A wreath was placed at the base of the of the American Flag in Robbinsville Community Park at the conclusion of the commemoration.
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TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a roofing contractor and his companies were sentenced today for fraudulently billing the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (“PVSC”), a state agency, for $10,210 in fictitious expenses under a contract with the agency.
Andrew J. Clark, 54, of Wall Township, N.J., and his companies Roof Management, Inc., and A&S Enterprises, Inc., were sentenced today by Superior Court Judge Sharifa R. Salaam in Essex County. Clark was sentenced to a five-year term of probation, conditioned on him serving 120 hours of community service. In addition, he was ordered with his companies to pay restitution to the PVSC and a $75,000 anti-corruption profiteering penalty. Clark will be debarred for a period of five years from all government or quasi-government contracts, and the two companies will be debarred from such contracts for 10 years.
Clark pleaded guilty on Sept. 4, 2020 to a third-degree criminal charge of false contract payment claims for a government contract. Roof Management and A&S Enterprises pleaded guilty that day to second-degree false contract payment claims for a government contract. In pleading guilty, Clark admitted that he falsely billed the PVSC for equipment rental costs of $10,210 that he claimed Roof Management incurred under the contract with the PVSC. In reality, there were no equipment rentals. The PVSC disputed the equipment rental expenses, but ultimately paid out $5,972 in settlement of that claim.
Deputy Attorney General Samantha McCluskey prosecuted Clark and represented the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) at the sentencing hearing. The charges resulted from an investigation by the OPIA Corruption Bureau that began with a referral from the PVSC.
“We’re sending a loud and clear message to dishonest contractors that this type of crime does not pay,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We’re committed to using all available tools, including New Jersey’s strong criminal laws, to protect the integrity of public contracts and hold bad actors accountable.”
“We will continue to work with government agencies to investigate fraud involving public contracts and prosecute dishonest operators who break the law to increase their profits,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “We urge anyone who has information about fraud in government contracting to contact us confidentially at 1-844-OPIA-TIPS.”
In September 2017, the PVSC entered into a two-year contract with Roof Management to perform roof repairs and improvements at the PVSC Plant in Newark, N.J. The PVSC is a state agency responsible for managing and regulating collection and disposal of wastewater generated in a four-county area along the Passaic Valley River Basin, encompassing parts of Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties.
Under the terms of the contract, if Roof Management required additional equipment beyond what it agreed to supply to complete work under the contract, it was entitled to reimbursement for documented expenses to rent such equipment. As part of an application for payment of $67,327 submitted to PVSC for roof repairs at a PVSC building, Clark, as owner and president of Roof Management, included an invoice for $10,210, purporting to reflect costs incurred by Roof Management for renting various pieces of equipment from A&S Enterprises, including roof kettles, roof cutters, mop carts, and mop poles.
When Clark submitted the invoice for those expenses to the PVSC, he did not disclose that he had any connection to A&S. However, the PVSC questioned the expenses and the fact that the address listed for A&S Enterprises matched a registered address for Roof Management. The PVSC referred the matter to the Attorney General’s Office. The OPIA investigation revealed that A&S Enterprises is merely a shell company set up by Clark that has no assets or equipment. All items of equipment used by Roof Management to perform the roof repairs in question were owned or possessed by Roof Management.
Deputy Attorney General Samantha McCluskey prosecuted the case, under the supervision of Corruption Bureau Chief Peter Lee and Counsel to the Director Anthony Picione. The investigation was conducted for the AG’s Office by the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the leadership of Director Thomas Eicher, and members of the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau.
Attorney General Grewal created the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability in September 2018 to combat corruption and strengthen public confidence in government institutions. In December 2019, the Attorney General issued a directive codifying OPIA and making it a permanent part of the Attorney General’s Office. That directive established the OPIA Corruption Bureau as the lead office within the Department of Law & Public Safety for the investigation and prosecution of state criminal violations involving corruption and abuse of public trust.
OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption. The AG’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted at: http://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.
Defense Attorney: John J. Bruno, Jr., Esq., Rutherford, N.J.
The F/V CARTERS CREEK, formerly known as “Absecon”, is a 140′ decommissioned bunker boat. The vessel now rests in 75′ of water, with a vertical relief of 28′, at the following coordinates: 40* 05.010 x 073* 59.632. OR 40 05.010 -073 59.632
Vessels and structures such as these, after being emptied of all machinery and fluids and thoroughly cleaned, are inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard and DEP before sinking. Due to the thickness and quality of steel used in their construction, staff expect the service life of this artificial reef to last over 75 years.
Artificial reefs are typically made up of concrete, steel, decommissioned ships and barges and provide habitat for a variety of marine life, fishing grounds for anglers and underwater structures for scuba divers to enjoy.
For more information, please visit the Artificial Reef Program page or contact NJ Reef Program Coordinator Peter Clarke at 609-748-2020.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Time and time again, New Jersey residents have shown the world what it means to be Jersey Strong. New Jersey led the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanks to the tremendous self-discipline and sacrifice by our residents, their efforts have finally paid off, because for the first time since May of 2019, the state is open for Memorial Day.
This weekend will kick off the summer season as thousands of motorists will hit New Jersey’s roadways to head to our beaches, lakes, State Parks, or just across town to a friend’s cookout. It has been a long time since we have been able to visit friends and family during this important holiday, so we would like to remind residents and visitors to celebrate responsibly this weekend to prevent a tragedy as a result of driving or boating under the influence.
During the Memorial Day holiday weekend last year, there were four fatal motor vehicle crashes that resulted in five deaths. Alcohol and drugs were a factor in three of those crashes, which claimed the lives of four people. These types of tragedies can easily be avoided by calling a taxi, using transportation services such as Uber and Lyft, making plans to stay with friends or family, or having a designated driver.
The New Jersey State Police plan to increase traffic enforcement details across the state from 6:00 p.m. Friday, May 28 to 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 1. During this period, in addition to our regularly scheduled patrols, more than 160 troopers will be on special details targeting aggressive driving, speeding, seatbelt usage, cell phone usage, distracted driving, and DWI.
Motorists are also reminded to adhere to the Move Over Law, which requires motorists who see emergency lights on the side of the road to slow down below the posted speed limit, and if safe to do so, move over a lane away from police, fire crews, paramedics, and emergency service vehicles.
In addition to our traffic details, the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau will be patrolling the state’s waterways this weekend and throughout the summer looking for signs of boaters under the influence of alcohol or drugs and reckless operation of boats and personal watercrafts. For additional information on boating safety and requirements please visit http://www.njsp.org/marine-services/index.shtml.
“As restrictions are being lifted across the state, we encourage residents and tourists to take advantage of the many great activities New Jersey has to offer, but to do so responsibly. Operating a motor vehicle or vessel under the influence puts lives in danger, which can turn a joyous occasion into a tragedy,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “On behalf of the New Jersey State Police, I would like to wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday weekend.”
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–After spending the last 17 years underground millions of Brood X (10) periodical cicadas have emerged. The insects make their way to the surface usually after a good rain and soil temperatures about 8″ under the surface hit 64F.
When cicadas come out of the ground they are called a nymph, and they try and find a tree to shed their nymph skins. Once the old skin is shed they spread their wings and change color as an adult cicada. Soon after the cicadas make a loud noise to attract a mate. Females will then lay eggs on a tree then after the eggs hatch the small cicadas drink tree sap and make their way back down the tree and start their life for another 17 years below the surface.
Brood X will emerge in Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, DC.
EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 6:30 p.m. Ewing Fire Department, Ewing EMS and NJ State Police responded to an accident on I-295 North around mile marker 75.6 for a car vs tractor trailer. Ewing FD arrived on scene and reported minor inquires in the multi-vehicle accident. Ewing Township ambulance arrived on scene and treated patients. It was unknown if anyone was transported to the hospital.
Traffic on I-295 North Bound was backed up for about 3/4 of a mile due to the accident blocking two lanes of traffic. NJ State Police were investigating the accident.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– Firefighters of the Hamilton Township Fire Department quickly knocked down a fire inside of a home Wednesday evening.
The fire occurred around 6:15 in the unit block of Falmouth Road. The caller reported there was fire in the attic. Crews arrived on the scene with smoke showing, and called the “all hands” upon finding active fire.
Flames became visible from the room as multiple hose lines were stretched into service to quickly gain control of the fire. It was placed under control around 6:30 pm.
It appears that there was ongoing construction at the residence at the time of the fire. The cause is unknown.
CAMDEN, NJ (CAMDEN)–The retired chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department was sentenced today to 28 months in prison for lying to FBI agents who were questioning him about violating an 18-year-old man’s civil rights during an arrest, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Frank M. Nucera Jr., 64, of Bordentown, New Jersey, was convicted in October 2019 of one count of making false statements to FBI agents who were interviewing him about an arrest that occurred on Sept. 1. 2016. Nucera is also charged by indictment with one count of hate crime assault and one count of deprivation of civil rights under color of law; a mistrial was declared on those counts, and he is awaiting retrial.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
On Sept. 1, 2016, two Bordentown Township police officers responded to a phone call from the Bordentown Ramada, complaining that two teenagers had stayed in a room at the hotel without paying. The teens were listed in the indictment as “Civilian 1,” an 18-year-old African American teenager, and “Civilian 2,” a 16-year-old African American girl. After the officers arrived and questioned the teenagers, the situation allegedly escalated into a physical confrontation, with both teens attempting to resist arrest. The officers called for backup, and numerous officers, including then-Chief Nucera, arrived on the scene.
After Civilian 1 was handcuffed and was being escorted out of the hotel by police, Nucera allegedly approached him from behind and slammed the teenager’s head into a metal doorjamb. During a video recorded interview by FBI special agents, Nucera falsely stated multiple times that he did not touch Civilian 1 during the arrest.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Kugler sentenced Nucera to two years of supervised release. He also ordered that Nucera will not begin serving his sentence until the remaining counts are resolved.
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 the charges and today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Molly S. Lorber, Attorney in Charge of the Camden Office, and Senior Civil Rights Counsel R. Joseph Gribko.
The remaining two counts of the indictment on which Nucera will be retried are merely accusations, and he remains innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Rocco C. Cipparone Jr. Esq., Haddon Heights, New Jersey
Benebone Named Recipient of Habitat BMC’s Annual Corporate Philanthropy Award
May 26, 2021
EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties (Habitat BMC) and Benebone are proud to announce a new partnership to help make a greater impact on a local New Jersey community. Through the partnership, Benebone and Habitat BMC will work together to build a new, affordable home for an income-qualified family in Ewing, NJ.
“The missions of Benebone and Habitat BMC align perfectly – just like belly rubs and tail wags,” said Lori Leonard, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties. “Through this new, innovative partnership, we will work together to provide a family with a place of their own to call home, while promoting growth and stability in the Ewing community for generations to come.”
For more than 30 years, Habitat BMC has been offering programs and services for people in need of affordable homeownership opportunities and current homeowners who seek to preserve, repair and improve their homes in Atlantic, Burlington, Mercer and parts of Middlesex counties. Habitat BMC relies on the generosity of its partners – organizations and businesses of varying sizes and different industries and sectors – to build a brighter future through home construction, home improvement/repair, and special event sponsorship.
“Habitat BMC partners, like Benebone, restore hope, help break the cycle of poverty, and ensure that more children are raised in a stable, healthy home environment – a place the family may establish roots and truly thrive,” explained Leonard.
The Ewing neighborhood where the future Habitat BMC/Benebone home is located is very close to the longtime home of Peter and Jim Toolan, the father and son pair behind the company. Founded in 2012, Benebone has enjoyed explosive growth making high quality dog chew toys in the USA.
Benebone’s CEO Peter Toolan said: “At Benebone, there’s more to our story than making great dog toys. Doing good is at the core of our company’s value system. We strive to do right by our customers, employees, business partners and the community. We’re a family business, and there is no more universal family need than that of a home. We’re thrilled to join Habitat for this important cause. And yes, we’re eager to build a doghouse, should the family be so inclined!”
Benebone has previous ties to Habitat for Humanity through Jim, who has been an avid volunteer for Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley (Habitat Lehigh Valley) in Allentown, PA for a number of years. The Toolan’s previously sponsored a home build for a family in Bethlehem, PA. This new partnership with Habitat BMC will further expand Benebone’s commitment to the communities they serve and willingness to support Habitat for Humanity’s vision of building a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
In recognition of the growing partnership with Benebone, Habitat BMC was proud to name Benebone as the 2021 recipient of the Corporate Philanthropy Award at their annual Building Hope Luncheon in late April. This award recognizes extraordinary partnerships that surpass all expectations, which Benebone has done so through the full house sponsorship for the new home build in Ewing.
“Building homes is a costly undertaking – but finding a partner willing to step-up like this is a rare treasure and worthy of recognition,” said Leonard. “We are honored to kick-off our partnership with the Benebone team in 2021 and honor their willingness to support a hard working family in need. Together, we will bring true meaning to the saying ‘Home is where your dog is.’”
Recently Habitat for Humanity and Hamilton Township welcomed the Tarver Family to their new home in Hamilton Township! Ruthann’s homeownership journey led her to Habitat BMC for financial education courses and our Homeownership Program – and the rest is history!
Congratulations again to the Tarver family on your beautiful new home! In case you missed it, you can view the dedication online here:
BORDENTOWN TWP (BURLINGTON)– The Bordentown Township Police Department and Bordentown City Police Department kicked off a rideshare safety campaign yesterday afternoon.
The campaign was kicked off in conjunction with the WHATSMYNAME Foundation and all the alcohol serving establishments located in both Bordentown City and Township.
On March 29, 2019, Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old senior at the University of South Carolina from Robbinsville, NJ, was kidnapped and murdered after being targeted by a person posing as a rideshare driver. Immediately following this unfathomable tragedy, Samantha’s parents, Seymour and Marci Josephson, set out to educate others on the importance of rideshare safety so that no other family would have to suffer this kind of loss, and the “WHATSMYNAME Foundation was established in honor of their daughter.
Yesterday, Seymour Josephson, father of Samantha, discussed safety measures that rideshare users should take before entering a vehicle.
Stop – Plan ahead. Before you request a ride, think about where you’re headed and review the safety features in the app so you know how to use them.
Ask – Ask your driver, “What’s My Name?” to confirm they have booked a trip with you through the ride sharing app.
Match – Match the make, model, and license plate of the car with the one displayed on the app.
Inform – Share the details of your trip with a friend. Utilize the share status function in your ride sharing app.
In June of 2019, Governor Murphy signed “Sami’s Law” which enhances safety for rideshare passengers by requiring additional identification for drivers.
Signs that display these safety reminders were distributed to all of the City and Town’s alcohol establishments and will be prominently displayed to help promote rideshare safety in the area.