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.”