A community celebration of Flags for Heroes is scheduled for Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. on the grounds of Robert Wood Johnson University (RWJU) Hospital at the intersection of Klockner Road and Whitehorse-Hamilton Square Road, Hamilton. The public ceremony will include a short program with guest speakers and community leaders, including Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin.
Flag sponsorships were purchased by area residents and businesses through the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton to honor heroes in their lives, including members of the military, COVID-19 essential workers, family members and others. Medallions with heartfelt messages from the sponsors to their heroes are attached to the flags, which are flying on the hospital grounds – a football field long – from Nov. 1-19.
Update from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office:
A shooting occurred at approximately 12:45 a.m. in front of Diamond in the Rough bar in the 500 block of Lamberton Street. Police responded to a Shot Spotter activation at that location and arrived to find an adult male suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he is in critical condition. A second adult male victim was brought into Fuld hospital with gunshot wound to the neck. He is in stable condition.
The incident is being investigated by the Shooting Response Team and the Mercer County Homicide Task Force.
UPDATE: A Trenton Police Department spokesperson told MidJersey.News that two individuals were shot. One was shot in the head and is extremely critical and the other was shot in the neck and is responsive. No further details were available at this time.
Note: It is reported “male shot”
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–At 12:50 a.m. Trenton EMS, Trenton Police, Fire and Capital Paramedics responded to the area of 550 Lamberton Street for a report of a male shot in the head. Police arrived on scene and secured the scene. EMS arrived and treated the injured person. TEMS and Capital Paramedics were transporting to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center at 1:00 a.m. a “Trauma Alert” was called. Trenton Police Department Shooting Response Team was on scene at the time of this report and investigating. No further information is available at this time.
There have been 8 murders in the City of Trenton in October so far with a total of 32 for the year 2021.
This is a breaking news story once official information becomes available the story will be updated and corrections made. This is based off emergency radio reports from the scene and not official until it comes from authorities.
MidJersey.News stories on recent gun violence in Trenton:
TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced the culmination of a four-month-long cooperative, multi-jurisdictional investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, United States Drug Enforcement Administration – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Group 5, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, and New Jersey State Police – Trafficking Central Unit, in concert with many other state, county, and local law enforcement agencies. “The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force managed and directed three simultaneous multi-agency investigations into high level cocaine distribution in Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex Counties, as well as New York City. During the course of these investigations, approximately 50 additional law enforcement personnel were assigned to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force on a full-time basis. Multiple agencies – both within and outside of Ocean County – assisted in every aspect of all three investigations. The investigations, identified as “Operation Checkmate,” began in July 2021 and concluded this week,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
The three cocaine networks were responsible for the import of more than three kilograms of cocaine per week into the Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex County areas. Through sophisticated surveillance methods and undercover operatives, “Operation Checkmate” was successful in disrupting and dismantling illicit controlled dangerous substance (CDS) distribution activities in these three counties, as well as New York City, by the following individuals: Luis Feliz, 41, of New York; James Hemenway (also known as “King James”), 43, of Morganville; Dale McCord, 44, of Manalapan; Mark Capichana, 54, of Hazlet; Mark Kelber, 44, of Manalapan; and Andrew Contaldi, 47, of Brick. On October 26, 2021, “Operation Checkmate” closed with the apprehension of 24 individuals for various offenses involving distribution of controlled dangerous substances. Additionally, 24 search warrants were executed resulting in the seizure of more than four kilograms of cocaine, over 15 pounds of marijuana, in excess of $650,000 in United States currency, seven firearms (three handguns, three “ghost guns,” and one pistol grip shotgun), ten vehicles, and additional illegal narcotics.
The following individuals were arrested as a result of Operation “Checkmate”:
Luis Feliz, 41, of New York, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; and Financial Facilitation. Feliz is presently in custody in New York City, pending extradition to New Jersey.
James Hemenway, 43, of Morganville, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of MDMA in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms; two counts of Financial Facilitation; and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Hemenway is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Dale McCord, 44, of Manalapan, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms; Possession of Marijuana; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Possession of a Weapon During Controlled Dangerous Substance Activity; Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm; three counts of Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine; and two counts of Financial Facilitation. McCord is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Mark Capichana, 54, of Hazlet, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility; Possession of Cocaine; and Financial Facilitation. Capichana is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Mark Kelber, 44, of Manalapan, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute; two counts of Possession of Marijuana; Possession of Oxandrolone; Possession of Trenbolone; Possession of Drostanalone; Possession of Mesternolone; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm. Kelber is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Andrew Contaldi, 47, of Brick Township, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; six counts of Distribution of Cocaine; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and Financial Facilitation. Contaldi is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Andre Johnson, 45, of Freehold, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Cocaine; Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility; Financial Facilitation; and Witness Tampering. Johnson is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Brian Contey, 41, of Brick Township, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce, and Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. Contey is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Tyrone Finch, 36, of Parlin, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Financial Facilitation; Possession of a Weapon During Controlled Dangerous Substance Activity; Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm; and Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine. Finch is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Alex Johnson, 47, of Brick Township, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Johnson was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.
George Sirleaf, 47, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Sirleaf was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.
Terrence Brown, 44, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Brown was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.
Irene Patelaros, 46, of Morganville, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Patelaros was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.
John Dolan, 46, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Dolan was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.
Shawn McCord, 25, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. McCord was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.
Daniel Jeandron, 41, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Jeandron was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
Alexander Nagy, 42, of Laurence Harbor, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Nagy was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
John Sozomenou, 46, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Sozomenou was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
Joseph Horvath, 33, of Toms River, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Horvath was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
Christopher Lyons, 42, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Lyons was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
Robert Dazinski, 59, of Hazlet, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Dazinski was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
Diana Roman-Porpora, 54, of Howell, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Roman-Porpora was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
Bobbie Parsells, 42, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Parsells was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
Daniel Votapek, 36, of Point Pleasant, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Votapek was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.
“An investigation of this magnitude requires the cooperation of numerous law enforcement agencies and officers.” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “Law enforcement officers at the local, county, state, and federal levels demonstrated outstanding teamwork in connection with this very wide-ranging, comprehensive investigation. This team of professionals literally worked around the clock for the last several months with a singular goal in mind: removing dangerous drug dealers from our streets. I am so grateful for the resolve and dedication exhibited by all the Officers and Detectives involved in “Operation Checkmate,’” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Prosecutor Billhimer recognizes the following agencies for their collaborative assistance and cooperation with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force in connection with this investigation:
– Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit
– Ocean County Regional SWAT Team
– United States Drug Enforcement Administration – HIDTA
– Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force
– New Jersey State Police – Trafficking Central Unit
– New Jersey State Police Teams Unit
– New Jersey Air National Guard Counter Drug Task Force
– Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Unit
– Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force
– Matawan Borough Police Department and
– Matawan Borough Police Department K-9 Unit
– Keyport Borough Police Department
– Manalapan Township Police Department
– Ocean County Sheriff’s Office
– Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Field Services Unit
– Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit
– Barnegat Township Police Department
– Brick Township Police Department Street Crimes Unit
– Brick Township Police Department Special Response Team
– Brick Township Police Department K-9 Unit
– Beachwood Borough Police Department
– Berkeley Township Police Department
– Jackson Township Police Department
– Lakewood Township Police Department Drug Enforcement
– Lakewood Township Police Department Special Response
– Lakewood Township Police Department K-9 Unit
– Manchester Township Police Department Special Enforcement
– Ocean Township Police Department (Waretown)
– Point Pleasant Borough Police Department
– South Toms River Police Department
– Stafford Township Police Department
– Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement
– Toms River Township Police Department Emergency Services
– Toms River Township Police K-9 Unit
– Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office
– Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit
– Aberdeen Township Police Department
– Asbury Park Police Department
– Hazlet Township Police Department
– Hazlet Township Police Department K-9 Unit
– Keansburg Borough Police Department
– Marlboro Township Police Department
– Middletown Township Police Department
– Sea Bright Borough Police Department
– Old Bridge Township Police Department – Bureau of Narcotics
– Union Beach Borough Police Department
– Union Beach Borough Police Department K-9 Unit
– New York City Police Department – 50 Precinct Field
– City of New York Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and 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.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — A multi-alarm fire broke out in the early morning of September 25, 2021 at Big Snow American Dream. A multitude of firefighters were on scene for hours extinguishing a fire in a hard to reach area. Since the fire the indoor ski area has been closed for repairs. In a statement released yesterday it states that Big Snow is looking towards an early 2022 re-opening.
The statement reads:
We know you are all as eager as we are for us to get back up and running. Our team has made great progress in the reopening process; however, we are not yet ready to welcome you back to Big SNOW as there are still several items that need to be addressed. Based on current timelines, we are tracking towards an early 2022 re-opening. We remain optimistic that this can change for the better, but we wanted to be transparent with you.
We will continue to update our community on our progress and are looking forward to announcing an official date when Big SNOW will be back up and running. As always, thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding.
For any guests who booked for visits through the end of December, we will automatically refund your purchases and there is no need to contact us. Refunds can take up to 3-5 business days to post.
If you purchased a multi-visit card within the last year, we will extend your expiration date to use your visits by the amount of our closure time.
BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–At 7:22 p.m. a traffic collision was reported on Route 206 north bound in front of Mastoris Restaurant that left one vehicle with front end damage and another on its side. Initial reports that there was one person with a leg injury, it was unclear if that person was transported to the hospital. Bordentown Township Fire Department was on scene providing lighting. Bordentown Township Police Department is investigating the crash. No further information is available at this time.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Joseph Battaglia of the North Brunswick Police Department announce today that a man has been sentenced for his role in causing a serious crash that left multiple people injured on August 8, 2020.
An investigation by Patrolman Jason Zier of the North Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that on August 8, 2020, at approximately 8:50 pm Christopher L. Mertens, 42, of Monmouth Junction was driving while intoxicated. The investigation determined Mertens, accompanied by his two young children, was travelling southbound on Route 1 at a high speed when he rear ended a 2003 Chevrolet Blazer causing it to roll over and catch on fire.
The driver of the Blazer, a nineteen-year-old man, sustained burn injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. The sole passenger of the Blazer, a twenty-one-year-old woman, along with Mertens’ children were also transported from the scene for medical treatment.
On August 9, 2020, Mertens was arrested and charged with second- degree aggravated assault, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, third-degree assault by auto, third-degree endangering another person by knowingly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death, three counts of fourth-degree assault by auto, and fourth-degree obstruction.
On October 27, 2021, following sentencing arguments from Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams and Assistant Prosecutor Kaitlyn Poggi, the Honorable Craig Corson, J.S.C. sentenced Mertens to eleven years in state prison on one count of second-degree aggravated assault, two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, one count of third-degree aggravated assault, and one count of fourth-degree causing serious bodily injury. Mertens must serve 85% of his sentence, approximately nine-and-a- half years, before he is eligible for parole. Upon his release, Mertens will be subject to an eight-year loss of license.
The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are investigating an overnight shooting homicide in Trenton.
At approximately 3:25 a.m. on Saturday, October 30, 2021, Trenton police received a Shot Spotter activation for multiple rounds in the 900 block of Brunswick Avenue. Upon arrival, officers located the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The victim, identified as 41- year-old Dartanian Ames of Lawrence, was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead a short time later.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406. Tips can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE ON FRIDAY’S DOUBLE HOMICIDE ON CLEVELAND AVENUE: The victims of yesterday’s double homicide in Trenton have been identified as Edwin Obdulio Gomez Interiano, 41, of Trenton, and Everth Barrera, 56, of Ewing. There are no additional updates in that investigation.
This morning’s breaking news story here:
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police, Trenton EMS, Fire, and Capital Health Paramedics were dispatched to 900 Block of Brunswick Avenue near Olden at 3:26 a.m. for a shooting. EMS arrived on scene and raced the victim to the trauma center only two blocks away but the person was pronounced dead a short time later. Trenton Police and the Mercer County Homicide Taskforce are on scene investigating this morning.
October has been Trenton’s bloodiest month in 2021 with eight murders so far after this morning’s drive by shooting.
This is a breaking news story and once more information becomes available the story will be updated.
Names of 2021* homicide victims:
2/18/2021 Jabree Saunders, 26, from shooting on May 14, 2018
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The State of New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry, State Park Service has released a map earlier today showing that fall foliage conditions are mid-point, near peak or peak conditions in the Mid-New Jersey area. With the storm tonight, with heavy winds and rains predicted, areas in the northern part of the state will be pushed past peak. Hopefully the center part of the state holds onto the leaves since most trees are just turning their fall colors. If you want to see peak conditions this weekend most likely you won’t have to drive far.
FREEHOLD NJ (MONMOUTH)–Following a successful gun buyback held in Asbury Park last weekend, a second such event will be held next month, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.
The second gun buyback in as many months is scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 20 at the Bethel AME Church on Waterworks Road in Freehold Township.
The event is being sponsored by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Shaun Golden; the Freehold Borough Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Craig W. Dispenza; the Freehold Township Police Department, under the leadership of Chief George K. Baumann; and the Bethel AME Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Ronald L. Sparks.
The payment schedule for the Freehold gun buyback will differ slightly from that of the event in Asbury Park; assault weapons will be collected in exchange for $250 in cash, handguns for $100 apiece, and shotguns and rifles for $25 apiece. There will be no cash compensation for ammunition, replica guns, or BB and pellet guns. All weapons must be transported to the gun buyback safely, unloaded, in a secured box or carry case, or with a trigger lock.
As with the Asbury Park event, the gun buyback will be strictly anonymous, with no questions asked of those surrendering firearms. There will also again be no limit on the number of firearms that can be turned in per person.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a New Jersey Office of the Attorney General press conference hosted yesterday at the National Guard Armory in Lawrenceville, where Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that nearly 3,000 firearms were turned in by residents at state- and locally sponsored gun buyback events held across the state on Saturday, October 23 at 10 locations, including Asbury Park.
A total of 360 firearms, including 159 handguns, 133 rifles and shotguns, and three assault weapons were surrendered over the course of about eight hours in Asbury Park.
“We couldn’t be prouder of our results in Monmouth County, where more firearms were collected at a single site during a gun buyback event than at any point in more than eight years,” Acting Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael Wojciechowski said. “Those results illustrated obvious and robust interest in the availability of such programs, and we are pleased to offer yet another chance, on the other side of the county, for individuals to safely and anonymously rid themselves of unwanted firearms in exchange for cash.”
The two gun buyback events in Asbury Park and Freehold marked Monmouth County’s first such events since 2017.
Monmouth County (Asbury Park) Acting County Prosecutor Lori Linskey Total weapons: 360 Assault weapons: 3 Rifles/shotguns: 133 Handguns: 159
Acting AG Bruck and 9 County Prosecutors: New Jersey’s Largest Ever Single-Day Gun Buyback Yields Nearly 3,000 Firearms
Speaking at a press conference yesterday October 28, 2021 at the National Guard Armory in Lawrenceville, Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that nearly three thousand firearms were turned in by residents at state-and locally-sponsored gun buyback events that were held on Saturday, October 23 at ten locations in partnership with Bergen, Camden, Cumberland, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Salem, Somerset, and Union Counties.
Acting AG Bruck made the announcement with county prosecutors and law enforcement leaders from participating locations. The “Guns for Cash” events in Englewood, Camden, Bridgeton, Trenton, Somerset, Asbury Park, Carneys Point, Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Westfield yielded 2,806 firearms.
Acting AG Bruck noted that the weapons collected at the ten locations included 1,196 handguns, 1,206 rifles/shotguns, and 29 assault weapons. A breakdown of the firearms collected by county is as follows:
Bergen County (Englewood) County Prosecutor Mark Musella Total weapons: 248 Assault weapons: 1 Rifles/shotguns: 95 Handguns: 119
Camden County (Camden City) Acting County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer Total weapons: 249 Assault weapons: 2 Rifles/shotguns: 101 Handguns: 120
Cumberland County (Bridgeton) County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae Total weapons: 391 Assault weapons: 10 Rifles/shotguns: 142 Handguns: 168
Mercer County (Trenton) County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri Total weapons: 194 Assault weapons: 2 Rifles/shotguns: 102 Handguns: 58
Middlesex/Somerset Counties (Somerset) County Prosecutors Yolanda Ciccone & Michael H. Robertson Total weapons: 621 Assault weapons: 2 Rifles/shotguns: 274 Handguns: 239
Monmouth County (Asbury Park) Acting County Prosecutor Lori Linskey Total weapons: 360 Assault weapons: 3 Rifles/shotguns: 133 Handguns: 159
Salem County (Carneys Point) Acting County Prosecutor Kristin J. Telsey Total weapons: 223 Assault weapons: 3 Rifles/shotguns: 92 Handguns: 86
Union County (Elizabeth, Plainfield, Westfield) County Prosecutor William A. Daniel Total weapons: 520 Assault weapons: 6 Rifles/shotguns: 267 Handguns: 247
New Jersey residents were invited to turn in up to three firearms of any type “no questions asked,” and could earn a maximum of $750. Under standardized pricing set for the buybacks, gun owners were paid $25 for inoperable firearms and BB/pellet guns, $125 for rifles and shotguns, $200 for handguns, and $250 for assault weapons. The buybacks were funded predominantly by forfeiture dollars obtained by the local police departments and County Prosecutors’ Offices, as well as forfeiture funds from the Division of Criminal Justice.
Each of the gun buybacks represented a collaboration between law enforcement and community stakeholders, who promoted and assisted with the events. The nearly three thousand guns collected at the buybacks were rendered inoperable by local police who staffed each event, and will be melted down.
“Every single gun recovered represents a potential life saved,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “Our gun buyback events are a great example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies work together with the communities they serve.”
“We are committed to doing everything in our power to reduce gun violence in New Jersey,” said Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We saw an outpouring of support from community members and leaders this past Saturday, and the latest results are proof positive that the gun buyback is a successful way for us to actively, collaboratively, and successfully participate in a united violence reduction effort.”
Statements of support from local leaders:
“Like so many public safety efforts, reducing gun violence requires a variety of strategies. In addition to our traditional and core law enforcement functions, we know that reducing the availability of guns, community engagement, and tackling addiction and poverty are just some of the ways we can make an impact,” said Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella. “Thank you, Acting Attorney General Bruck, for inviting the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and our local partners in the Englewood Police Department and Bergen County Sheriff’s Office to participate in the gun amnesty program.”
“The CCPO is proud to have been a part of this statewide initiative that resulted in thousands of guns being collected,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer. “Those guns will never make it to the streets or fall into the hands of a child because of the outstanding team effort, spearheaded by Acting Attorney General Bruck, and his vision for a safer New Jersey. This gun buy back was just one chapter in our mission to reduce gun violence in our county and state.”
“We are pleased with the results of the Gun Buy Back in Cumberland County,” said Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae. “391 firearms were collected and will not fall into the wrong hands as a result of this program. We see this as one piece of an ongoing initiative to promote gun safety and eradicate gun violence in our community. I would like to thank the Cumberland County Chiefs and Sheriff for their support in making this very important program a success.”
“Mercer County is proud to have played a part in such a successful collaboration,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri. “To see such a turnout from our citizens and community leaders was so encouraging and demonstrates people really want to make a difference. Mercer County pledges to continue to put the work in every day to combat gun violence and remove illegal guns from our neighborhoods.”
“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is proud to have shepherded this important endeavor undertaken by Middlesex and Somerset law enforcement and made possible by the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone. “With nearly 3,000 firearms safely recovered from across our State, these are weapons that can never find their way into the hands of those who would do harm to our communities.”
“We couldn’t be prouder of our results in Monmouth County, where more firearms were collected at a single site during a gun buyback event than at any point in more than eight years,” Acting Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael Wojciechowski said. “Gun violence being a monumentally daunting public-safety concern, it is so deeply encouraging to consider that none of the 360 weapons turned in last weekend will ever be used to harm anyone. On behalf of Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey, we extend our sincere thanks to our trusted partners with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Board of Monmouth County Commissioners, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, and Asbury Park Police Department for their assistance, and in particular to the Second Baptist Church of Asbury Park and Pastor Semaj Vanzant Sr. for their hospitality.”
“This program was a tremendous success for Salem County, allowing us to collect five times as many guns as at prior events,” said ActingSalem County Prosecutor Kristin J. Telsey. “Every gun collected represents the possibility that a life has been saved by removing the potential for a tragic accident or an act of violence as a result of that firearm. While these programs alone will not end gun violence, the removal of 223 guns from Salem County alone does make a real difference. Thank you to all of our partnering agencies and to every person who came out to make this effort such a success.”
“We welcome the opportunity to participate in the gun buyback program with our law enforcement partners throughout the State,” said Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson. “Reducing the amount of firearms that could potentially cause violence in our communities is a top priority for all of us and we will continue to participate in initiatives that make our neighborhoods safer.”
“I am pleased to share that Saturday’s gun buyback event in Union County netted a total of more than 520 unwanted firearms,” said Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel. “Through our partnerships with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Union County Board of County Commissioners, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Union County, Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Westfield police departments, local houses of worship, and with the enthusiastic participation of community members, countless acts of gun violence and unanticipated tragedy have been prevented.”
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy and Acting AG Bruck are leading a comprehensive, statewide effort to reduce gun deaths, which pairs the latest evidence-based policing strategies with innovative, community-based prevention programs. The three-pronged approach to tackling this public health crisis includes addressing the root causes of violence; keeping guns away from those most likely to harm others; and taking swift action against those who break the law.
Residents with questions about the buyback effort can call the Attorney General’s Office of Constituent Services at (609) 984-5828 or visit www.njoag.gov/gunbuyback/.
In conclusion, while it is true that a police response is not warranted to address the everyday misconduct perpetrated by juveniles and other societal issues, a response to the conduct engaged in by the youth in this case was necessary and should have taken place. Accordingly, the actions of the Perth Amboy Police Department were justified under the circumstances presented. The officers would have been in dereliction of their duties if they had acted otherwise.
October 29, 2021
PERTH AMBOY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–As part of any county prosecutor’s supervisory authority over all law enforcement activity in the county, he or she from time to time is called on to review the actions of local law enforcement officials and the exercise of their duties. In this case, the Governor and the Office of the Attorney General requested that Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone review the conduct of the Perth Amboy Police Department as it related to the arrest of one youth and the seizure of bicycles resulting from community complaints that the juveniles were riding bicycles in an unsafe manner within the City of Perth Amboy on April 17, 2021.
In response, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office thoroughly reviewed all information relating to this incident, including video footage, community complaints, police reports and officer interviews. The Prosecutor concludes the members of the Perth Amboy Police Department acted within their lawful authority by stopping the youths on bicycles because they were engaging in dangerous conduct that created a risk of injury to motorists, pedestrians, and the youths themselves. The community caretaking role of the police extends to protecting the welfare of children in the community. Indeed, that responsibility is a reflection of the State’s general parens patriae duty to safeguard children from harm. In this case, members of the Perth Amboy law enforcement community were duty-bound to act immediately to prevent harm to the youths involved as well as members of the community. There is no indication or suggestion that the incident was racially motivated or that State law or local ordinances were selectively enforced in a discriminatory fashion. Moreover, there is no indication or suggestion the police used excessive force in addressing the situation. The officers’ actions were, at all times, within their lawful authority, comported with the enforcement of local ordinances, and in compliance with established police procedures.
Moreover, the investigation did not reveal any evidence that any of the youths involved were unaware of the local ordinance at issue. In fact, the videos reviewed depicted a recurring pattern of reckless behavior on bicycles Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300 News Release Date: October 29, 2021 and evasive interaction with law enforcement attempting to enforce the law. Furthermore, the law enforcement officers involved used great restraint by not issuing summonses for violations of state law and/or any local ordinance on the day in question.
Since June 2020, members of the Perth Amboy Police Department had been dispatched to thirty-three calls for service directed at groups of juveniles riding their bicycles in an unsafe manner on the city streets. The first of these calls came in on June 6, 2020, and the most recent call was on April 20, 2021. On fourteen occasions when officers responded, the group of riders could not be located and were gone upon arrival. In another thirteen incidents, the officers located a group of bicyclists and appropriately warned them. The other six incidents resulted in escalated police action in response to the bicyclists’ conduct.
On April 17, 2021, yet another call was received at approximately 2:25 P.M. Upon responding to the call, a police officer employed by the City of Perth Amboy took a juvenile into custody for a petty disorderly persons offense after being warned by officers to discontinue the unsafe operation of their bicycles and disregarded those previous warnings. The officers had been dispatched to the area after a woman called to report “a whole gang of boys riding bicycles by the hospital and they’re taking up the whole street.” She continued to state “there must be fifty of them and they’re riding bicycles in the middle of the street and they’re backing up all of New Brunswick Ave., a business thoroughfare. They’re not letting cars pass.” Pursuant to the interviews conducted, it was determined the officers had previously dealt with the same group of juveniles earlier in the day. Previously, officers ultimately came upon the group of about thirty youths on their bicycles in the area of Pulaski and State Streets. Those officers warned the group about their unsafe conduct and that they were blocking both lanes of traffic on State Street, from outer State Street all the way to Hall Avenue. Officers were able to make contact with the same group of riders, right before the entrance to Harbortown Complex and they were advised that they needed to stop blocking traffic and ride safely on the street.
Prior to the arrest of the juvenile on April 17, 2021, there were four calls for service, regarding groups of juveniles riding bicycles in the middle of the street swerving in and out of traffic and creating a hazardous condition. The police department responded to these calls for service and contacted the bicyclists who were warned of the dangers associated with riding their bicycles in such a hazardous and risky manner. They were also warned of the consequences of continuing to operate their bicycles in a similar fashion. The warnings were issued by law enforcement officers in order to prevent anyone from getting hurt or an automobile accident from occurring. The juveniles disregarded the warnings, their reckless behavior continued, and their conduct did not ease.
The police response on the day in question was the culmination of an effort by members of law enforcement to deescalate the situation and issue verbal warnings to the youth involved. Those efforts were unsuccessful, and, without viable alternatives, a decision was made to enforce the city ordinance to ensure the safety of the juvenile bicyclists and the citizens of the City of Perth Amboy.
On April 21, 2021, subsequent to the arrest of the single juvenile and the seizing of several bicycles, a parent of one of the bicyclists came to Perth Amboy Police Headquarters to speak with the supervising sergeant. That parent arrived along with their child who was part of the group of bicyclists, to extend their apologies and express their gratitude to the Sergeant involved. The juvenile expressed to law enforcement that he and his friends were wrong and that the Sergeant was doing her job.
On May 5, 2021, the parent of the juvenile who was taken into custody was interviewed. The juvenile’s parent was happy that the situation did not escalate and indicated that the police took the bicycles as a result of her child’s actions. That same parent indicated that she has instructed her son to learn from the situation. Moreover, it should be noted the complaint signed against her child was diverted from the system and was the subject of a Station House Adjustment (SHA), a diversion program which results in the complaint being dismissed upon successful completion.
During the investigation, it was determined the members of the Perth Amboy Police Department are aware of and endeavor to comply with the provisions of the Attorney General’s Juvenile Justice Reform Directive No. 2020-12. It was further determined the Perth Amboy Police Department attempts to handle every juvenile matter in a professional and thoughtful fashion.
To support these assertions, the Perth Amboy Police Department touts its record of diverting ninety-five juveniles from the Family Court system in 2019 and entering them into the City’s Station House Adjustment Program. Of the ninety-five participants, fifty participated in their enhanced SHA Program which mandates attendance at counseling sessions. Furthermore, of the ninety-five participants, eighty-two were Hispanic, twelve were African American and one was Caucasian. In 2020, due to the pandemic, the police department was only able to divert twenty-one juveniles, seventeen were Hispanic and four were African American. Of the twenty-one participants, eighteen attended their enhanced SHA Program. Currently, in 2021, the Perth Amboy Police Department diverted eleven juveniles, ten were Hispanic and one was Asian/Pacific Islander.
Prior to concluding, Prosecutor Ciccone wanted to commend Acting Chief Lawrence Cattano as well as the women and men of his department for sponsoring a “Family Bike Day by the Bay,” on October 16, 2021. The event was well attended and addressed bike safety issues with the City’s youth. In conclusion, while it is true that a police response is not warranted to address the everyday misconduct perpetrated by juveniles and other societal issues, a response to the conduct engaged in by the youth in this case was necessary and should have taken place. Accordingly, the actions of the Perth Amboy Police Department were justified under the circumstances presented. The officers would have been in dereliction of their duties if they had acted otherwise.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–October 29, 2021 Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co is pleased to announce the auction of 90+ properties throughout the City of Trenton, New Jersey. The city-owned properties, including residences, mixed-use properties, commercial lots, and several large redevelopment sites, will be sold in online auctions on Tuesday, December 7th and Wednesday, December 8th. Bidders may bid on their computer or through the Max Spann phone app.
Some highlights of the sale are the former Cook School on Cuyler Avenue. The school is in disrepair and ready for a redeveloper to bring the property back to life. 320 Spring Street is a grand former house, most recently used as a rooming house, and prime for redevelopment for a myriad of residential uses. Directly adjacent is the former Prospect Street Presbyterian Church, built in 1875. Black Jack Lounge, a former prominent social club for professionals, elected officials and prime for redevelopment. The previous owner Mr. Alvin Bowen (Black Jack) was one of the originators of the Trenton Jazz Festival.
Trenton, a city on the rise, is located in the center of New Jersey on the Delaware River, directly between Philadelphia and New York City. Trenton is the State and County Capital of New Jersey and offers history, culture, entertainment, sports, industry, arts, and education. National and local economic incentive programs are available to help buyers invest in the Capital City.
“Successful auctions are key to our redevelopment efforts, especially when they get promising properties into the hands of tax-paying residents who can renovate them for the benefit of the surrounding community,” said Mayor W. Reed Gusciora. “We attracted unprecedented interest in Capital City properties last year, so we’re offering an even greater variety to choose from for this year’s auction.”
Property Previews for the Five-Year Owner-Occupied Restricted properties and select Redevelopment properties will take place on November 2nd, 3rd, 9th, and 10th. Visit www.maxspann.com for the List of Properties and specific preview dates and times. The Online Auctions for the Redevelopment Sites and Vacant Lots will conclude on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Online Auctions for the Residential and Five-Year Owner-Occupied Restricted properties will conclude on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Sign up for the Property Information Package today at www.maxspann.com, which includes additional property details and online bidding instructions.
“The auction list has something for everyone, vacant lots for builders, large projects for redevelopers, rehab houses for small-business people, and restricted houses for future homeowners,” said Bob Dann, Executive Vice President and COO for Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co. “Great things are happening in Trenton, now is the time to invest in the Capital City.”
Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Company has helped over 120 New Jersey Municipalities put their properties back on the tax rolls, reduce expenses and revitalize vacant and abandon structures that are no longer needed for public use.
Max Spann Real Estate and Auction Company is America’s premier real estate auction and advisory company and has been an industry leader in accelerated marketing for more than 50 years. The company’s Accelerated Auction Marketing Program creates urgency in the marketplace and allows sellers to control the terms and the timing of the sale of their real estate assets. Learn more at www.maxspann.com.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora today announced that he is expanding public input in his strategic demolition plan by creating a more streamlined portal that Trenton residents can use to report dangerous neglected properties directly to City officials.
Users can now report crumbling roofs, squatters, illegal activity, fire hazards, vermin, or other conditions that make a neglected property dangerous to nearby homeowners, children, and pedestrians. The properties will then be evaluated by inspectors from Trenton’s Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) for consideration in upcoming rehabilitation, demolition, or redevelopment efforts.
Demolitions for more than 20 properties on Fountain Ave, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Wilson St, North Clinton Ave, Frazier St, and Stuyvesant Ave. So far, the six properties on Fountain Ave have been taken down.
The City is also finalizing a contract for a project that was just greenlit by City Council and will remediate an entire block of eight hazardous properties on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd between Miller St. and Chadwick St.
Trenton also has active bids out for 11 imminent hazards all over the city, most of which were reported directly by Trenton residents.
There are also active bids for a cluster of 29 properties between 6 and 54 Sanford Street that have been a notorious center of urban blight in Trenton for years.
Successful bids for the last two items would still need to go before City Council for final approval.
“Taking down abandoned properties isn’t just a redevelopment issue: it’s key to our long-term public safety strategy,” said Mayor Gusciora. “They can cause fires, injure pedestrians with falling debris, and provide havens for dangerous criminal activity. This new reporting tool will help residents ensure that this issue gets the urgent attention it demands.”
The Department of Economic Development (HED) uses two parallel tracks for demolitions: imminent hazards and long-term strategic demolitions of city-owned properties. Imminent hazards are evaluated and taken down on a case-to-case basis according to their immediate threat to nearby residents and property. Strategic demolitions are targeted based on several factors:
Proximity to attractive development areas
History of complaints from residents, subcode officials, and first responders
Cost effectiveness due to ability to be bundled with adjacent or nearby properties of similar condition
Location within ‘hot zones’ of historically high abandonment
“We’ve talked with community groups, prospective developers and city planners – they all agree: a vacant lot is much more attractive than a hopeless abandoned structure when it comes to redevelopment,” said HED Director C. Andre Daniels. “By maximizing our resources and focusing on large clusters of blight, we can help bring new jobs and opportunities to where they are needed the most. And community input is critical if we want those efforts to succeed well into the future.”
Today’s Court Ruling Gives Gusciora Administration, City Council More Time to Evaluate Alternative Solutions
October 29, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The City of Trenton and its radio service provider, MPS Communications, have consented to an injunction halting shutoff off the city’s radio system until Dec. 31, 2021, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today.
N.J. Superior Court Judge Robert T. Lougy granted the order following a status conference earlier this afternoon. The ruling follows a City of Trenton complaint filed yesterday morning to halt the shutdown, warning of grave public safety risks should the system be terminated with no alternative plan in place.
Trenton was on a trajectory to have its entire radio system shut off by the end of the month. MPS said that it would shut off service on Oct. 31, 2021, after City Council indefinitely tabled a resolution to pay MPS for services rendered.
A shutdown would cripple the ability of police, fire, water utility and other essential personnel to dispatch emergency communications to responders in the field or talk with one another during an active crisis.
“When it comes to this issue, everyday counts, and this order provides critical time for my Administration and City Council to continue working together on a long-term solution,” said Mayor Gusciora. “While the Halloween deadline has been avoided for now, we still need to use every resource at our disposal to ensure that communication issues do not prevent our first responders from doing their job in a city where crime is the number one concern.”
Keeping the MPS system running was always a temporary fix. The Gusciora Administration has proposed allocating American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to replace the police department radio equipment and 911 dispatch center so it’s compatible with the Mercer County radio system, which Trenton can use at no additional cost. A President Biden administration memo in July 2021 encouraged police technology investments using ARP funds, of which Trenton will receive $73 million.
UPDATE ON FRIDAY’S DOUBLE HOMICIDE ON CLEVELAND AVENUE: The victims of yesterday’s double homicide in Trenton have been identified as Edwin Obdulio Gomez Interiano, 41, of Trenton, and Everth Barrera, 56, of Ewing. There are no additional updates in that investigation.
Update from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office:
Double Homicide in Trenton Under Investigation
TENTON, NJ (MERCER)– The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are investigating a double homicide that occurred Friday morning in Trenton, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.
At approximately 9:30 a.m. on October 29, 2021, Trenton police received a Shot Spotter activation for multiple rounds in the first block of Cleveland Avenue. Upon arrival, officers located two adult male shooting victims. One was pronounced dead at the scene, the other was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective John Menafra of the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to email@example.com
This morning’s breaking news report here:
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–This morning shots rang at approximately 9:30 a.m. killing two people near Wilmar Alley and McAvoy Alley between Cleveland and Garfield Avenues.
Witnesses at the scene told MidJersey.news that one of the victims was an older gentleman and “That man never bothered nobody.”
Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that there were two victims of a shooting this morning. The Trenton Police Department as well at the Mercer County Homicide Task Force are on scene investigating.
There have been a total 31 homicides counted for 2021 and of those 30 have been from crimes committed in 2021. Full list is below:
Photos and video by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News
Names of 2021* homicide victims:
2/18/2021 Jabree Saunders, 26, from shooting on May 14, 2018
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–As permit seasons begin, and out of state hunting trips are planned, hunters are reminded of New Jersey’s Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Whole Deer Carcass Ban and the Deer-Derived Scent and Lure Ban.
Whole Deer Carcass Ban
Hunters are banned from bringing a whole carcass from any member of the Cervid family (including but not limited to white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, wapiti, caribou, reindeer, roe deer, red deer, sika deer) into New Jersey from ANY other state or country.
Hunters are banned from bringing a non-taxidermied head of any member of the Cervid family harvested into New Jersey from ANY other state or country.
ONLY completely boned-out meat (meat with all bones removed), cleaned skullcaps and hides, shed antlers, and clean upper canine teeth of any member of the Cervid family may be brought into New Jersey.
Deer-Derived Scent and Lure Ban
Lures and scents made from any member of the Cervid family are banned for sale, possession, and use while hunting in New Jersey, including deer urine and deer glandular secretions, as infectious prions that cause CWD can be found in these fluids.
ONLY synthetic scents or natural lures made from species not in the deer family are legal for deer hunting in New Jersey.
Many synthetic products are readily available at sporting goods stores and online retailers. Hunters must use these products as part of New Jersey’s effort to keep CWD out of the state.
One of the most important ways of slowing the spread of CWD is early detection. The Division of Fish and Wildlife tests hunter-harvested deer every year, along with symptomatic wild or captive deer. Please report deer that appear sick, weak, or starving to Dr. Nicole Lewis, Wildlife Veterinarian at (908) 735-6398 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH) – A Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned an eight-count indictment against three defendants charged in connection with a botched robbery that resulted in a shooting earlier this year, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.
Kingphess Gomez, 21, of Woodbury, 21-year-old Thaddeus West Jr., and 27-year-old Suncere Smith, 27, both of Neptune City, are all charged with first-degree Armed Robbery, first-degree Conspiracy, first-degree Attempted Murder, second-degree Certain Persons Not to Possess a Firearm, and other related second-degree weapons offenses.
Moments before 1:30 a.m. on Friday, January 22, 2021, a ShotSpotter notification indicated multiple shots fired on the 300 block of Fisher Avenue in Neptune City, and minutes later, members of the Wall Township Police Department stopped a vehicle and discovered the 19-year-old shooting victim in the front passenger seat. The victim was then rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for emergency treatment.
A joint investigation by detectives in the Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Bureau and the Neptune Township Police Department led to the discovery that the three co-defendants lured the victim to the area in a conspiracy to rob him at gunpoint before the shooting incident ultimately occurred. With the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force, the defendants were arrested on these charges in August.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.
Gomez is being represented by Robin Kay Lord, Esq., with an office in Trenton; West is represented by Courtney Schneider, Esq., based in Freehold Borough; and Smith is represented by Glenn D. Kassman, Esq., based in Tinton Falls.
All three defendants remain incarcerated pending the adjudication of the cases against them.
If convicted of Attempted Murder or Armed Robbery, the defendants will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (NERA), requiring them to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. They would also be under parole supervision for five years following release from state prison.
If convicted of Certain Persons Not to Possess Firearms, the defendants will face sentences of five to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison, with mandatory periods of five years of parole ineligibility. If convicted of the other second-degree firearm offenses, defendants will face sentences of five to 10 years in prison, subject to the Graves Act, which requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)—After the investigation West Windsor Police today, charged driver Ddjena Elysee of Newark, NJ with Death by Auto and (3) Counts of Assault by Auto for an accident on Route 1 on June 26, 2021. Elysee was processed at West Windsor Police Headquarters and was turned over to the Mercer County “Workhouse” Correction Center pending a court date at the Mercer County Superior Court.
*Please note that charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.*
June 26, 2021
WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–On Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 3:30 a.m., West Windsor Patrol Units were detailed to a two vehicle crash on U.S. Route 1 South, approximately one quarter mile north of Carnegie Center Blvd.
When responding officers arrived on scene, they found a black Volkswagen Passat and a black Chevrolet Cruze in the roadway, both with heavy damage and injuries to the occupants. The front seat passenger of the Volkswagen Passat was also heavily entrapped in the car. Additional emergency resources were requested and responded to the scene.
The initial investigation revealed the following: The Volkswagen was traveling south on US Route 1 approaching Carnegie Center Blvd. The Volkswagen drove off the roadway to the right where it struck a utility pole, followed by a road sign, and then a second utility pole, before spinning back onto the roadway, disabled in the center lane with its passenger side exposed to oncoming traffic. The Chevrolet was traveling south on Rt. 1 in the center lane and struck the front passenger side of the Volkswagen.
After the front seat passenger of the Volkswagen was extricated from the vehicle, he was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center initially in critical condition, however, he later succumbed to his injuries.
The driver of the Volkswagen and the two other passengers of the car were also transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.
The driver of the Chevrolet was transported to the Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.
U.S. Route 1 South between Alexander Rd. and Carnegie Center Blvd. was closed for approximately four (4) hours to conduct the investigation.
This crash remains under investigation. No charges have been issued at the time of this release.
If anyone has any additional information, please contact Traffic Officer LaRoccca at LaRocca@westwindsorpolice.com, Traffic Sgt. Bal at Bal@westwindsorpolice.com, or by calling (609) 799-1222. In addition, persons can Reply with TIP to this Nixle or call our Confidential Tip Line at (609) 799-0452.
Responding to the scene were: WWPD Patrol Division, Administration, Detective Bureau, & Traffic Unit (Lead Investigators), West Windsor Division of Fire & Emergency Services (WWDFES), Princeton Junction Volunteer Fire Company (Station #44), West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company (Station #43), Capital Health Paramedics, Plainsboro EMS, Princeton EMS, Lawrence EMS, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab EMS, Plainsboro Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutors Office Serious Collision Response Team (SCRT).
Driver #1 – 24-year-old Ddjena Elysee Resident of Newark, NJ 07106 (Was originally reported as Hamilton, NJ)
Front Seat Passenger of vehicle #2– 23 year old **DECEASED** Resident of Hamilton, NJ 08620
Rear Seat Passenger of vehicle #2– 24 year old Resident of Trenton, NJ 08611
Rear Seat Passenger vehicle #2– 26 year old Resident of Trenton, NJ 08610
Driver #2 – 50 year old Resident of Willingboro, NJ 08046
New Jersey Becomes Second State in the Nation and First in the Region to Provide Medicaid Expansion to Improve Maternal and Infant Health and Decrease the Racial Disparity in Birth Outcomes
October 28, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– First Lady Tammy Murphy and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra today announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will expand Medicaid coverage for 365 days postpartum to improve maternal and infant health and decrease the racial disparity in birth outcomes in New Jersey. By extending this critical coverage, approximately 8,700 postpartum New Jerseyans annually will receive comprehensive access to healthcare for a full year through Medicaid. Today’s announcement makes New Jersey the second state in the nation and first state in the region to provide this Medicaid expansion with the goal of preventing postpartum related illness and death.
In January 2021, First Lady Tammy Murphy unveiled the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan, which aims to reduce maternal mortality in the state by 50 percent over five years and eliminate the racial disparities in birth outcomes, in which expanding Medicaid coverage was a key recommendation of the strategy. Additionally, Governor Murphy’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget allocated funding to enable New Jersey to submit the federal request for the Medicaid extension.
“New Jersey is committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our mothers and babies,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Expanding Medicaid coverage for a full year after delivery is an essential step toward solving our Black maternal health crisis and making sure that every mom and baby gets off to a healthy start. We are grateful for the leadership and vision of the Biden Administration, our federal partners, my wife First Lady Tammy Murphy, and so many others who championed this critical and commonsense policy change which will guarantee health care for nearly 9,000 mothers across New Jersey every year.”
“As the second state in the nation to expand Medicaid coverage for mothers for a full year after delivery, New Jersey is now another step further on our mission to become the safest and most equitable state in the nation to deliver and raise a baby,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “This expansion was a key recommendation in the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan, but any mother could tell you that access to health care for a year after delivery is a commonsense, necessary, and moral imperative for any state that values healthy families. I am grateful to the Biden Administration, our federal partners, and my husband, Governor Phil Murphy, for their vision, compassion, and dedication to the mothers and babies of New Jersey.”
“Becoming a parent is among life’s greatest milestones, but sadly paired with significant challenges for many in low-income communities,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “I applaud New Jersey for taking action to provide vital care for new parents and their precious babies. Expanding postpartum coverage will not only improve health outcomes among families of color— it will save lives. The Biden-Harris Administration encourages states across the country to follow New Jersey’s example to support healthy parents and infants.”
“Our country is facing a maternal health crisis, and it is disproportionately harming people of color,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Access to postpartum care is critical to keeping our nation’s families healthy. That’s why CMS is proud to partner with New Jersey today to expand postpartum health coverage and advance health equity for thousands of low-income people covered by Medicaid and CHIP.”
This amendment to the New Jersey FamilyCare Comprehensive Demonstration aligns with coverage options available under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Beginning on April 1, 2022, states will have the option to extend coverage for postpartum individuals beyond the required 60-day postpartum period through the end of the month in which a 12-month postpartum period ends.
Medicaid covers nearly one in five women of reproductive age nationally and makes pregnancy-related care accessible for more than 40 percent of people giving birth. Currently, a third of maternal deaths occur between one week to a year after childbirth, and in New Jersey Black women suffer over seven times more pregnancy-related deaths than white women. Providing continued Medicaid and CHIP coverage helps ensure access to the ongoing care people need during the postpartum period. The continuity of coverage available through this demonstration can help postpartum people manage chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, and provide access to behavioral health and other mental health care services.
This demonstration amendment will also ensure that the state can receive the enhanced funding for expenditures related to eligible people who remain covered through the demonstration and who would otherwise qualify for the Medicaid expansion adult group.
As part of this approval, New Jersey has agreed to undertake monitoring and evaluation of the demonstration for the extension period, in alignment with any applicable CMS-provided technical assistance.
“One of our aims with the American Rescue Plan was to address racial inequities in our health care system that the pandemic made worse but in truth have long plagued our country. The data is indisputable: racial bias against pregnant Black women and mothers has deadly consequences,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “Turning around America’s dismal maternal health record will demand multidimensional solutions, from better training for health providers to more investments in preventative care. But there’s no question that gaps in health care coverage are a significant contributor to the problem. I am confident that this tiny provision tucked inside the American Rescue Plan will have a big and positive impact on maternal health outcomes in our state.”
“In a nation where nearly half of all births are covered by Medicaid and where one-third of all maternal deaths occur up to a year post-birth, expanding Medicaid postpartum coverage from the current 60 day limit to 365 days is a common sense solution whose time has come,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Since I first introduced the MOMMIES Act, I have been leading the push in the Senate to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage, including by securing a pathway in the American Rescue Plan Act for states to expand this coverage. This is especially critical for communities of color as Black and Indigenous people are significantly more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than their white peers. I applaud HHS and Governor Murphy for their leadership on this issue, and as Congress continues working on the Build Back Better Act, I remain committed to ensuring that pregnant people in every state have access to postpartum Medicaid coverage.”
“I’m proud that New Jersey is leading the way on improving maternal health care in America,” said Congressman Frank Pallone. “This announcement will allow our state to increase and strengthen health care coverage for new mothers and reduce the rate of maternal morbidity and mortality and builds on provisions I helped pass in the American Rescue Plan in Congress earlier this year. It’s simply unacceptable that the United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality among the world’s economically advanced countries. Thanks to Governor Murphy’s leadership, this transformative coverage expansion will help protect the health and well-being of new moms, especially in communities of color. It’s my hope that New Jersey will serve as a model of success that other states will soon adopt.”
“Too many women are dying from preventable conditions and complications due to labor and delivery. In many instances these threats are compounded by race and income gaps,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “Since my arrival in Congress I’ve worked to ensure new mothers had the resources they need to thrive. This extension of Medicaid benefits to new mothers, when combined with other efforts like those championed by the Governor and First Lady, will go a long way toward making New Jersey the best place to start and raise a family.”
“We’re very excited that the Biden Administration has approved our request to extend Medicaid coverage to 365 days postpartum,” said New Jersey Department of Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “Under the leadership of First Lady Murphy, New Jersey is working to become the safest and most equitable place in the nation to deliver and raise a baby. This extended coverage will be a critical step forward in that effort. Healthy moms with quality health coverage promote healthy families with access to the care they need to thrive.”
“Today marks an important step forward in our efforts to improve maternal care throughout New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson. “Pregnancy’s impact on a person’s health doesn’t always end once their baby is brought into the world. From mental health issues to chronic pain, new parents often need follow-up care from trained healthcare professionals to achieve a full recovery. Now that our state’s Medicaid program will cover post-partum care for an entire year after a child is born, more New Jerseyans will be able to receive the care they both need and deserve.”
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office would like to remind the community that we are here to help. Domestic violence transcends all boundaries: age, gender, race, ethnic, geographical, economic and sexual orientation. Applications for temporary restraining orders are available Monday through Friday during business hours at the Mercer County Civil Courthouse located at 175 South Broad Street in Trenton. After business hours and on weekends, TRO applications can be made at your local police department. Our Office of Victim Witness Advocacy is here to assist you at (609) 989-6428. If you are in imminent danger or an emergency situation, always call 9-1-1.
ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–It’s the time of year again for the Allentown FFA Fruit and Cheesecake Sale (formerly the Citrus Sale). You can place an order with any FFA member or adviser or place an order through the online form (the online form allows you to use a credit card). If you would like to pay with cash or check, please email email@example.com. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us! All orders due by 11/22/2021! 2021 Fruit Pricing: . All indications are pointing to an excellent crop this year!
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–An Ocean County, New Jersey, man was arrested today on charges that he distributed, received, and possessed images and videos of child sexual abuse downloaded from the internet, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Jared Faircloth, 24, of Cream Ridge, New Jersey, is charged in a criminal complaint with one count of receiving and distributing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. Faircloth appeared this afternoon by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert in Trenton federal court and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From September 2020 to July 2021, Faircloth received and distributed material containing images of child sexual abuse via the BitTorrent Network, a publicly available online peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing network of linked computers. Users must download P2P software, which is widely available for free on the internet. The software allows the user to place files into a designated “shared” folder on his or her hard drive, from which other BitTorrent users can then download those files directly to the “shared” folders of their own computers. Users can then search, select, and directly download, those files.
Law enforcement used investigative software to access the BitTorrent Network and downloaded video files containing images of child sexual abuse from a device or devices assigned to IP addresses linked to Faircloth. On July 22, 2021, law enforcement searched Faircloth’s residence and found a device belonging to Faircloth that contained more than 2,800 images and videos depicting child sexual abuse, as well as BitTorrent software. Of those approximately 2,800 files, law enforcement identified at least 30 files that law enforcement had previously downloaded from IP addresses linked to Faircloth.
The charge of knowingly receiving and distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, and a statutory maximum fine equal to $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss, whichever is greatest. The charge of knowingly possessing child pornography carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, and a statutory maximum fine equal to $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss, whichever is greatest.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark, with the investigation leading to the arrest. She also thanked the Department of the Air Force, Office of Special Investigations, for its assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Super Pitts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Benjamin West Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department announce a Pennsylvania man has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of a Township man.
On October 26, 2021, at approximately 3:38 A.M., authorities responded to a residence on Briardale Court following a report of shots fired. Upon their arrival, officers located Sree Aravapalli, 54, of Plainsboro who sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Aravapalli was transported from the scene to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An investigation by Detective William Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department and Detective Paul Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Aravapalli was fatally shot in his home during an attempted robbery. The investigation ultimately determined Jekai Reid- John, 27, of Norristown, PA targeted Aravapalli in Pennsylvania and followed him home to his Plainsboro residence where the offense occurred.
Although the investigation is continuing and other charges are expected, Reid-John was arrested and charged yesterday with one count of first-degree murder.
Reid-John was taken into police custody by local authorities in Pennsylvania where he remains pending an extradition hearing. Upon his return to New Jersey, he will be lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799-2333 or Detective Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732)745-3330.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Reid- John are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Ocean Township Police Chief Michael Rogalski announced that on October 25, 2021, the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Megan Campana, 42, of Seaside Heights, whose body was found in Waretown on June 4, 2021, died of natural causes.
On June 4, 2021, the Ocean Township Police Department received a report of an unresponsive female located in a wooded area of the Barnegat Branch Rail Trail near County Line Road in Waretown; responding Officers located the body of a deceased female. On June 5, 2021, the Ocean County Medical Examiner positively identified the body as that of Ms. Campana. On October 25, 2021, the Ocean County Medical Examiner released the results of a forensic toxicology report issued in connection with the post-mortem examination performed on Ms. Campana. The Medical Examiner ruled the manner of Ms. Campana’s death to be from natural causes.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Rogalski acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean Township Police Department Detective Bureau and Patrol Division, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, for their collective assistance relative to this investigation.
BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Burlington Township Public Safety Director James Sullivan announced that four Willingboro residents have been charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old male and the wounding of his father in the Walmart parking lot on Route 541 in Burlington Township earlier this month.
Those charged include:
Kayhree Simmons, 19, of Windsor Lane in Willingboro, with Felony Murder (First Degree), Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Second Degree), Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Second Degree), Conspiracy to Commit Robbery (Second Degree), Hindering (Third Degree) and Obstruction (Fourth Degree).
Jayviyohn J. Earley, 19, of Echohill Lane in Willingboro, with Felony Murder (First Degree) and Conspiracy to Commit Robbery (Second Degree). Earley also was charged on October 13, 2021, with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (Third Degree) and Possession of a Firearm in Relation to a Drug Offense (Second Degree) based on evidence uncovered in the course of the investigation of the Walmart shooting incident.
Kweli L. McCants, 20, of Evergreen Drive in Willingboro, with Conspiracy to Commit Robbery (Second Degree) and Hindering (Third Degree). McCants also was charged on October 14, 2021, with Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine (Fourth Degree) and Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Third Degree) based on evidence uncovered in the course of the investigation of the Walmart shooting incident.
Azza Kamnaksh, 19, of Echohill Lane, Willingboro, with Hindering (Third Degree) and Obstruction (Fourth Degree). Kamnaksh also was charged on October 13, 2021 with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (Third Degree) and Possession of a Firearm in Relation to a Drug Offense (Second Degree) based on evidence uncovered in the course of the investigation of the Walmart shooting incident.
Simmons, Earley and McCants are being held in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly. Kamnaksh is lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility in Mays Landing. Earley was detained pending trial during a hearing today in Superior Court. The other defendants are awaiting detention hearings.
The case will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.
The investigation began the night of October 7, after officers from the Burlington Township Police Department responded to a report of shots fired in the Walmart parking lot at approximately 10:15 p.m.
Upon arrival, they discovered Dion E. Williams Sr., 44, and his son Albert, 17, both of Hammonton, suffering from gunshot wounds. Both victims were transported to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where Albert Williams, who was struck in the chest, was pronounced dead. Dion E. Williams Sr. was treated and released.
The investigation, which is continuing, revealed that the parties involved had previously planned to meet in the Walmart parking lot. Upon arrival, there was an argument, followed by gunfire.
The investigation is being conducted by detectives from the Burlington Township Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from the Willingboro Township Police Department, FBI Trenton – Greater Safe Streets Task Force, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Police Department, Willingboro SWAT Team (Members of Willingboro Police Department and Burlington County Sheriff’s Department), Mount Holly Police Department, and City of Burlington Police Department.
The lead investigators are Prosecutor’s Office Detectives Brian Cunningham and Sean Tait and Burlington Township Detective Steven Cosmo.
All persons are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
HAMILTON, NJ (MERCER)– The Hamilton Township Council unanimously voted to accept a donation of a parcel of land on Route 33 at no cost to the Township with the intention of preserving it as open space.
The 2.02-acre wooded property, donated to the Township by Anthony Palagano, sits adjacent to the Cross and Shamrock on Route 33. The Township intends to continue to keep the property undeveloped through open space.
“I want to thank Mr. Palagano for his donation to Hamilton,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “It is a win-win for Hamilton – help to control development on Route 33 at no expense to our taxpayers.”
Hamilton Township currently has over 5,700 acres of combined preserved land – a total that is greater than the entire City of Trenton. For more information on Hamilton Township Land Use and Planning, visit http://www.HamiltonNJ.com/CED.
Funds Will Support Safety, Infrastructure, and Quality of Life Improvements
October 26, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy and New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti today announced $161.25 million in Fiscal Year 2022 Municipal Aid grants, with 541 cities and towns across the state receiving funds to advance road, bridge, safety, and quality-of-life improvements, demonstrating the Murphy Administration’s Commitment to Communities.
The competitive Municipal Aid grant program attracted 625 applications from 547 different municipalities with a total of $363 million requested. Project applications were evaluated and rated on their merits by NJDOT staff and reviewed by an independent panel of New Jersey municipal engineers. This process resulted in 546 awards to 541 municipalities, totaling $161.25 million. The 2016 Transportation Trust Fund renewal has made it possible to continue to award $161.25 million annually – more than double the $78.75 million that was available before the TTF renewal. In addition, the extra funds have allowed the Department to increase the number of municipalities receiving grants from about 370 a year prior to the TTF renewal to 541 municipalities this year.
“These funds are crucial to municipalities for the completion of projects that improve quality of life and safety for New Jersey residents,” said Governor Murphy. “Under our Administration’s leadership, the Transportation Trust Fund continues to bolster infrastructure statewide. I congratulate all municipalities that have received grants and look forward to them putting these dollars to use.”
“The Murphy Administration is committed to improving local communities by providing millions of dollars in aid to municipalities to make important safety, infrastructure, and quality-of-life improvements without burdening local property taxpayers,” said NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “We are pleased to award grants to nearly every municipality in New Jersey.”
Under the Municipal Aid grant program, each county is apportioned a share of the total funding based on population and the number of local centerline miles. Municipalities compete for portions of their county’s share. NJDOT provides 75 percent of the grant amount when a town awards a contract and the remaining 25 percent upon completion of the project. Of the $161.25 million, $10 million is allotted for municipalities qualifying for Urban Aid as defined under state law, with the amounts determined by the Department of Community Affairs.
Applications for Municipal Aid grants were submitted to NJDOT by July 1, 2021 and have been judiciously reviewed. There are seven project categories within the Municipal Aid grant program eligible for funding: Roadway Preservation, Roadway Safety, Quality of Life, Mobility, Bikeway, Pedestrian Safety, and Bridge Preservation. Past performance in connection with timely award of projects and construction close-out factors were part of the evaluation of the proposals. When evaluating applications, NJDOT also verifies if the municipality has adopted a Complete Streets policy. A Complete Streets policy establishes guidelines that require consideration be given to pedestrians and bicyclists when local transportation projects are being planned, designed, and built.
PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department announced today that a fatal shooting is under investigation.
Earlier this morning, at approximately 3:38 A.M., authorities responded to Briardale Court following the report of shots fired. Upon their arrival, officers located Sree Aravapalli, 54, of Plainsboro who sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Aravapalli was transported from the scene to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to call Detective William Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799-2333 or Detective Paul Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732)745-3330.
Groundbreaking under Murphy Administration Marks Official Start of the Largest Critical Infrastructure Project in the United States
New Portal North Bridge Will Improve Reliability, Capacity and Spur Economic Growth throughout New Jersey and Beyond
KEARNY – President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Governor Phil Murphy, and federal, state, and local officials broke ground yesterday on the critical Portal North Bridge. The project is finally moving forward after a collaborative effort by the Murphy Administration, the Biden Administration, New Jersey’s Congressional members and Senators, and other key partners, after many years of delays. The Portal North Bridge, which is part of the larger Gateway Program, will greatly reduce gridlock caused by critical operation and maintenance issues of the existing 110-year-old swing bridge and improve service, reliability and capacity for rail travel between New Jersey and New York City.
“Governor Murphy, so many of the national challenges we are confronting, are areas where you are already leading. The infrastructure bill is about rebuilding the arteries of America, and the Portal Bridge Project is showing why investments like this are so important. When the Portal Bridge was built, it was state-of-the-art, and it was, 110 years ago,” said President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. “Today, it’s been called something different, a chokepoint, a bottleneck, an Achilles’ Heel to the Northeast Corridor. Since the Portal Bridge was built, it has become the busiest rail span in the entire Western Hemisphere. Today, we are moving forward on a new bridge so that it will be higher over the water, so it won’t need to open and close, and allow us to increase speed, safety, efficiency, and capacity. It’s going to make life a lot better for New Jersey’s commuters.”
“Today is a great day for New Jersey and the entirety of the Northeast Corridor,” said Governor Murphy. “This momentous groundbreaking is the culmination of years of hard work, planning, and relentless lobbying undertaken by our Administration, our federal delegation, and so many dedicated partners across government. The Portal North Bridge is the beginning of the largest critical infrastructure project in our nation, and with President Biden’s leadership, we are embarking on the path to completion of the Gateway Program. I am honored to have President Biden here today for this historic event and I look forward to continuing our work with his Administration on rebuilding our regional infrastructure to serve New Jersey residents and commuters.”
“It has been a remarkable year of progress for the Gateway program with a new president and administration committed to getting the project funded and built,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I have prioritized directing billions to USDOT grant programs that will actually fund the construction of Portal North Bridge, the Hudson Tunnels, and the rest of the Gateway program, and will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to deliver more. Once the infrastructure bill is enacted, we will have more than enough money to fully fund these projects. I applaud President Biden and Gov. Murphy on highlighting this project that is key to the future of our states, our region, and the entire country’s economic well-being.
“After years of fighting for federal funding, I’m happy to see that we are well on our way towards replacing the century-old Portal Bridge,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “I appreciate having a partner in the state like Governor Murphy who recognizes the importance of the Gateway Project and who has worked tirelessly to ensure we get the job done. Thanks to the support and determination of the Biden-Harris Administration, I’m confident that we’ll get Gateway completed and keep our commuters, economy, and state moving forward.”
“After years of work alongside our partners, I am proud to see the groundbreaking of the Portal Bridge, a vital project that will provide much-needed relief to New Jersey commuters by enhancing the safety and reliability of the Northeast Corridor,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “I am especially grateful for the sustained efforts and partnership of federal and state officials, including the leadership of President Biden and Governor Murphy to further the progress of Portal Bridge. This project demonstrates that investing in our nation’s infrastructure not only creates jobs and enhances our quality of life, but also grows the economy. I look forward to continuing to work with President Biden to advance the Gateway Program and other critical New Jersey infrastructure priorities.”
“Improving and modernizing our infrastructure is critical to our vitality as we emerge from the pandemic. Replacing the Portal North Bridge is a significant milestone for the region’s efforts to improve and expand rail service,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “In addition to the Gateway Hudson Tunnel project, this bridge will provide safe and reliable access to New York and will help support our economic recovery.”
“The Portal North Bridge will make life easier for millions of commuters in New Jersey and throughout the Northeast Corridor,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. “It is a critical project to me because I have been an outspoken advocate for the entire Gateway Program and worked tirelessly to support the bridge. I helped secure $900 million in federal funding for the bridge from the very beginning. In addition, I have written letters to President Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio to prioritize approval processes for the bridge several times this year. I have spoken with Secretary Buttigieg about the entire Gateway Program several times and even visited the Hudson River Tunnel with him to show the immediate need for a new tunnel and repairs to the current one. As always, it is an honor to work with Governor Murphy and New Jersey officials to complete the new Portal North Bridge. Now, we need to shift our focus to funding and approvals for the Hudson River Tunnel project.”
“The Portal Bridge was built when William Howard Taft was sitting in the Oval Office,” said Congressman Bill Pascrell. “But thanks to our federal-state partnership, transit commuters and Amtrak passengers will no longer be reliant on this relic. This is no hyperbole: The Portal bridge project will ease millions of lives. New Jerseyans waited a long time for this day. Today’s announcement is a testament that leadership matters. Prior administrations here in New Jersey and Washington derailed our progress. They let the Portal and Gateway projects languish. But thanks to President Biden, Governor Murphy, and our united congressional team, we are finally moving forward.”
“I applaud President Biden, Governor Murphy, and NJ Transit on the groundbreaking of the Portal North Bridge, which is a huge step towards reducing gridlock and improving safety for rail commuters between New Jersey and New York City,” said Congressman Albio Sires. “As a senior member of the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have long advocated for funding to replace the bridge and to complete the other parts of the Gateway Program, and I am committed to working with my federal and state partners to get this project over the finish line.”
“Thanks to President Biden, Governor Murphy, and Congressional Democrats, plans to rebuild the Gateway Tunnel and Portal North Bridge are no longer just empty promises,” said Congressman Frank Pallone. “The time to build back better is now and will help the thousands of commuters traveling between New Jersey and New York each day. This project will ensure the long-term growth of our region’s economy as well as safe and efficient transportation for New Jersey commuters.”
“The Portal North Bridge is an instrumental part of the larger Gateway Project, which is the most crucial infrastructure project in the nation. I’m thrilled to be here for today’s event and to see the incredible support for this project from President Joe Biden, Governor Phil Murphy, and my Congressional colleagues,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. “I’ve fought tooth and nail to ensure this project moves forward alongside many of the federal and state officials here this afternoon. Today, we’re closer than ever to delivering this badly needed investment to the people of New Jersey and the entire nation.”
“With the Gateway Tunnel, SALT, accessible child care, climate provisions and two million jobs a year on the line, it is great to join President Biden and Governor Murphy today to highlight the importance of getting both the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and a smart reconciliation bill across the finish line,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “I am optimistic that we will see all these critical Jersey priorities move forward this week, helping to get shovels in the ground and people to work. For New Jersey and for the whole country, we simply can’t afford to wait any longer.”
“Completing a project as large and essential as Gateway and the Portal Bridge takes commitment from people at all levels from the designers, engineers and builders, to local, state and federal leaders,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. I’m grateful to President Biden and Governor Murphy for their focused efforts to replace this 100-year-old bridge and see this project through as we Build Back Better.”
“Today is a momentous day for New Jersey — we’re breaking ground on a critical component of the Gateway Program by replacing a bridge that has slowed down commutes for decades, and keeping our promise to start bringing home the tax dollars we send to Washington,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski. “I’m grateful to President Biden and Governor Murphy for their partnership on the Portal Bridge, and I look forward to working with them to get the all-important Hudson River Tunnel done quickly, too.”
“This historic infrastructure project will expand rail capacity and reliability, reduce wait times and emissions, and create good-paying jobs moving New Jersey’s economy forward,” said Congressman Donald Norcross.
“I’m glad to see New Jersey investing in much needed infrastructure that will bring more jobs and more opportunity to our great state,” said Congressman Andy Kim. “This project can help people throughout the state and I look forward to seeing the positive effects come to Burlington and Ocean Counties.”
“This groundbreaking represents a monumental step forward towards improving the overall customer experience and quality of life of the many Northeast Corridor riders that rely on NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak to take them safely to their destinations each day,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “I would like to thank Governor Murphy, and all of our Representatives for never giving up on this critical project that is so vital for New Jersey’s businesses and families.”
“This is a historic day for NJ TRANSIT, for our region, and for our entire nation,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, NJ TRANSIT has been laser-focused on advancing this project of national significance, and today, we proudly begin construction to replace this critical link between New Jersey and New York, which will improve service reliability for the millions of NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers who depend it on every year.”
“I welcome President Biden and the federal support he brings for this vital project. The Portal North Bridge is a an essential component of the larger Gateway project that will dramatically improve passenger service to and from New York City for New Jersey passengers,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “Gateway will provide one-seat rides on every NJ Transit line and double commuter capacity at New York’s Penn Station. Breakdowns at the existing Portal drawbridge have been the biggest source of train delays for New Jersey commuters, causing disruptions in their quality of life as well as the regional economy. That’s why today’s ground-breaking is so important.”
“Today’s groundbreaking marks the advance of long-awaited Gateway Project improvements needed to bring our transportation infrastructure into the 21st century,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “An investment that is hugely significant in sustaining our nation’s economic vitality, modernizing the Portal Bridge will keep commuters safe and create jobs that are altogether consequential for countless regional communities and the lives of thousands of New Jersey residents. It is thanks to the combined efforts of government working together at every level that brings us to this historic juncture.”
“The Gateway Program is the most urgent infrastructure need in the United States, and we are incredibly fortunate to have a President and a Governor in New Jersey who recognize this and are fighting to bring 21st Century rail travel to our region and nation.” said Gateway Development Commission Co-Chair Balpreet Grewarl-Virk. “The jobs, economic growth, and most important improved quality of life Gateway brings will pay dividends for generations to come.”
“The start of construction on Portal North Bridge – the first major project of the broader Gateway Program – is a milestone decades in the making and a huge accomplishment for New Jersey, the Northeast Corridor, and the nation. Amtrak is pleased to partner with NJ TRANSIT on this important project and thanks Governor Murphy, Senators Booker and Menendez and the New Jersey Congressional delegation for their unwavering support of the project over the years,” said Amtrak Board Chairman and Gateway Development Commission Vice-Chair Tony Coscia. “Replacing a century-old moveable bridge with a modern one that does not have to open and close will make life better for hundreds of thousands of Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT riders on the Northeast Corridor while putting Americans to work building 21st century infrastructure we can be proud of.”
“I thank President Biden, Governor Murphy, and state legislators for their leadership in recognizing, and raising the money necessary for replacing the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, a bridge which confounds commuters’ trips several times a week on the busiest rail corridor in the nation,” said Gateway Development Commission Member Janine G. Bauer. “As a NJ TRANSIT commuter, I know what this disruption really costs, and I am ecstatic for commuters who will benefit from this improvement.”
“We stand here today at the groundbreaking for the Portal North Bridge because, after a decade of dithering and divisiveness by others, Governor Phil Murphy said ‘damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead’,” said Gateway Development Commission Member Jerry Zaro. “He courageously provided full funding for this project. Further, after four lost years under the last administration, we cannot fully express our gratitude to President Biden for his steadfast and resolute support of the Gateway tunnel project. The economic health of the entire northeast is dependent upon this vital and long overdue project. The President has truly earned the moniker ‘Amtrak Joe’ for his leadership on this endeavor. President Biden and Governor Murphy have shown us what true leadership looks like and we at Gateway are most grateful.”
The project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak. In January 2021, Governor Murphy announced the signing of a Full Funding Grant Agreement which secured $766.5 million in Federal Transit Administration funding to support the project’s construction.
NJ TRANSIT also advertised the Invitation for Bid (IFB) for the construction contract for the Portal North Bridge in January 2021. The procurement was a two-step process, the initial step being the Special Pre-Qualification of Bidders. In May, NJ TRANSIT pre-qualified four bidders and conducted a pre-bid conference and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise outreach. Two of the pre-qualified bidders submitted proposals on September 2. Skanska/Traylor Bros Joint Venture of Queens, New York was deemed the lowest responsible and responsive bidder.
Earlier this month, Governor Murphy and NJ TRANSIT Board Members announced the approval of a $1,559,993,000 construction contract for the Portal North Bridge. The massive infrastructure investment represents the single largest construction award in NJ TRANSIT’s history and further exemplifies the Murphy Administration’s commitment to funding projects that will help New Jersey continue to grow and prosper for generations to come. It was Governor Murphy’s commitment to invest up to $600 million through a financing agreement with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, approved by the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors in June 2018, that solidified New Jersey’s local share of the project cost and revived this critical, yet long-stalled project.
The Portal North Bridge project spans 2.44 miles of the Northeast Corridor line and includes construction of retaining walls, deep foundations, concrete piers, structural steel bridge spans, rail systems, demolition of the existing bridge, and related incidental works. Construction is anticipated to take approximately five and a half years.
The new bridge is a modern two-track, high-level, fixed-span bridge that will improve service and capacity along this section of the Northeast Corridor. The new bridge will rise 50-feet over the Hackensack River and will allow marine traffic to pass underneath without interrupting rail traffic.
The Portal North Bridge project is an important initial element of the broader Gateway Program which will eventually double rail capacity between Newark and New York. The project will eliminate the existing 110-year-old swing bridge which has been the enduring source of major service disruptions for NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers traveling on the Northeast Corridor.
EDISON, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announces an Edison Township man has been charged in connection with the theft of an election campaign sign.
On October 25, 2021, Rajendra Joshi, 71, of Edison was served with a complaint-summons and charged with one count of disorderly persons theft by unlawful taking.
An investigation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that, on October 21, 2021, Rajendra Joshi removed a campaign sign from the lawn of a residence on Dolores Drive without receiving permission of the owner to do so. The investigation is closed.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Joshi are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.