Day: December 20, 2021

Hospitals in Urgent Need of Blood Donations

RWJBarnabas Health Makes Call for Blood Donations This Holiday Season; Urges Donors to Return to Address Emergency Shortages 

RWJBarnabas Health urges everyone to donate blood and platelets to help overcome a national blood shortage this winter. Blood collection in New Jersey is down more than 25 percent since late summer, compounding the effect that the COVID-19 lock downs had on reduced donations in 2020. Life-saving blood donations are given to patients in a wide range of circumstances including cancer care, trauma events such as car accidents and home accidents, childbirth, and mass casualty events.

“We need New Jersey residents to give the gift of blood this holiday season as blood supplies have yet to catch up since the height of the pandemic,” said Sally Wells, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Blood Services Business Development Liaison. “There are less blood drives being organized at workplaces, schools, houses of worship and community organizations. Our hospitals rely on the support of individuals to provide much of the blood we use, and we need your help now to address this blood shortage and prevent potential delays in lifesaving medical care for patients in New Jersey.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on people’s habits and daily lives and as a result, a profound impact on blood donations and collection nationwide. Prior to the pandemic, high school and college blood drives supplied about 40 percent of donations across the country. Many drives have not returned to these settings, challenging the industry to keep up with demand, which has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

RWJBarnabas Health is calling for blood donors of all types, especially type O, the universal blood type, and platelet donors.

Here’s how you can donate:

Schedule an appointment at one of our fixed site Donor Rooms.

RWJBarnabas Health has two fixed locations, one at RWJUH in New Brunswick, located on the 4th floor of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Clinical Academic Building (CAB) at 125 Paterson Street in New Brunswick, and one at RWJUH Somerset, located at 110 Rehill Avenue in Somerville. Both Donor Centers are open Monday -Friday and select Saturdays.

To make an appointment at a fixed RWJBH Donor Room or to find a blood drive location near you, please visit: or call 732-235-8100 ext. 221.

Attend a local blood drive.

 RWJBarnabas Health is hosting several blood drives across the state this holiday season including the following:

The Community Medical Center “Gift of Life” Blood Drive

Monday, December 20th from 10am-6pm

Community Medical Center Auditorium A & B

99 Hwy. 37 West

Toms River, NJ 08755

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset Blood Drives

Friday, December 24th and Friday, December 31st from 8am-2pm

110 Rehill Ave, Somerville, NJ 08875 

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital “Holiday Blood Drives”

Tuesday, December 28th and Thursday, December 30th from 10am to 4pm

Arline & Henry Schwartzman Courtyard

1 Robert Wood Johnson Place

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Free parking is available for all blood donors. Donors must be at least 16-years old (16 -year-olds require written parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds (120 pounds if 16-years old). Donors must also present photo identification at the time of donation.

Donor Centers and all RWJBarnabas Health Blood Drives have rigorous safety protocols in place to protect all donors. These include temperature checks of staff and donors, required face coverings, social distancing requirements in waiting areas and donation spaces, as well as strict sanitary protocols including disinfection of donor areas. Donors must also wear masks or face covering.

To organize a blood drive in your community, please call Sally Wells at 732-558-4983 or email  

Acting AG Bruck, JJC Announce Rules Establishing Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youths and Communities Pilot Program

$8.4 million in Funding to be Distributed to Implement 2-Year Pilot Programs in Camden, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton

December 20, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck and the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) today announced rules and opened the grant application process for a pilot program establishing restorative justice hubs and community-based wraparound services for at-risk youth in four target cities, paving the way for a new approach to juvenile justice in New Jersey.

“New Jersey once again stands out as a national leader in juvenile justice reform through the creation of the restorative justice hubs pilot program,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “Thanks to the support of the Murphy Administration, we are taking steps to end the cycle of incarceration for youth – especially youth of color – and help equip them with the services and skills they need to succeed.”

Legislation signed into law in August 2021 established the two-year pilot program within the JJC to reduce initial and repeat youth involvement with the youth justice system, and appropriated $8.4 million to assist the implementation of the program in four pilot cities: Camden, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton.

Restorative justice hubs will be physical spaces within the community where youth and families can heal, reconnect, and build healthy relationships, and where local conflicts can be resolved through dialogue instead of punitive measures. An array of social support services – including employment assistance and mentoring – will be available in addition to mental health services, substance abuse treatment and recovery, education and housing support, and financial literacy and life skills. The restorative justice hubs will serve both at-risk and court-involved youth in the community and those discharged from a juvenile justice facility.

The services will be available to youth who reside in the pilot municipalities in five primary circumstances through referrals by:

  • School administrators for school-based incidents in lieu of suspension, expulsion, or referring the matter to law enforcement.
  • Local law enforcement officials as a stationhouse adjustment or in lieu of formal charging.
  • The court as part of a diversion, detention alternative, deferred disposition, or probation disposition.
  • The JJC or a county youth detention center to provide transitional support for youth returning home from a juvenile justice facility.
  • The Children’s System of Care (CSOC), Department of Children and Families, for youth who are aging out of or not eligible for CSOC services.

And for the first time, through the program rules announced today, the JJC will provide up to 25 percent of the grant funds up-front to cover program start-up costs. This policy reflects the Acting Attorney General’s racial justice initiative announced on December 16 for the Divisions within the Department of Law and Public Safety to promote racial justice and address historic inequities. The JJC’s action here recognizes that in the past, small businesses and local non-profit organizations – many of which are operated by members of communities of color – did not have the resources or access to funds to provide services first and wait for reimbursement later. The regulations also direct the counties to prioritize funding to service-providers located in and employing residents of the four municipalities implementing the pilot program.

“The rules announced today will allow the Juvenile Justice Commission to continue to fulfill its mission to lead the reform of New Jersey’s youth justice system. The JJC looks forward to working with the target communities – those most impacted by the justice system – to implement this significant investment in our youth, an investment that represents a significant expansion of funding for community-based programs,” said Dr. Jennifer LeBaron, Acting Executive Director of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission. “We recognize that there are many grassroots and community-based organizations that have thoughtful and meaningful programs to offer as part of New Jersey’s important reform efforts. We’re breaking down barriers that previously prevented some of our valued community partners from participating in our efforts and being active participants in building stronger families and communities.”

The JJC today posted a Notice of Availability of Funds and the Program Administration and Guidelines for this funding opportunity on its website.

The program rules will be published in the January 3, 2022 edition of the New Jersey Register.

The JJC was established in 1995 to serve as the single agency of State government with centralized authority for planning, policy development, and provision of services in the juvenile justice system. The JJC is committed to implementing and promoting policies and practices that improve outcomes for young people involved with the juvenile justice system, their families, and their communities.

The JJC’s three primary responsibilities are providing care, custody, and rehabilitative services to youth committed to the agency by the courts, supervising and coordinating services for youth released from custody on parole, and supporting local efforts to provide prevention and early intervention services to at-risk and court-involved youth.

Across a continuum of care, which includes secure care facilities, residential community homes, and community-based parole and transitional services, the JJC provides programming, supports, and opportunities designed to help youth grow and thrive and to become independent, productive, and law-abiding citizens.

Colts Neck Man Arrested in Connection with Series of Bank Robberies

December 20, 2021

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Colts Neck man has been arrested and charged with committing a series of three bank robberies in various local municipalities over the course of a little more than a month, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Monday.

Conor Kavanagh, 29, is charged with three counts of first-degree Armed Robbery.

An investigation was initiated immediately after the first bank robbery, which took place shortly after 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, November 13 at the PNC Bank inside the Stop & Shop supermarket on Route 36 in Keyport. At that time, a man later identified as Kavanagh approached a teller window, passed over a note indicating he was in possession of a weapon, and made off with a quantity of cash, leaving the scene in a green Toyota pickup truck.

At approximately 4 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14, a bank robbery occurred at the Wells Fargo branch on Newman Springs Road in the Lincroft section of Middletown. The bank robbery was committed in identical fashion to the earlier one in Keyport, with the suspect wearing similar clothing, and he left the scene in a green Toyota pickup truck.

Three days later, on Friday, December 17, the Wells Fargo branch on Route 36 in Eatontown was robbed. Again, a suspect passed a note demanding money, indicating that he was in possession of a weapon.

Following the bank robbery in Middletown, Detectives from the Middletown Police Department developed information that led to Kavanagh to being identified as a potential suspect. After the bank robbery in Eatontown, Middletown Detectives and assisting members of the FBI observed Kavanagh driving a green pickup truck that matched the description of the vehicle used in the earlier bank robberies, and placed him under arrest for unrelated charges.

Detectives searched the pickup truck and located proceeds from the Eatontown bank robbery and the clothing the suspect was seen wearing on surveillance footage. They also located information pertaining to a storage unit in Shrewsbury, and a search of that location revealed proceeds from the Keyport and Middletown bank robberies.

Additionally, a search of the cell phone Kavanagh was using contained evidence of online searches for local bank branches.

Kavanagh was lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending a first appearance and detention hearing, to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court.

The Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank its partners with the Eatontown, Keyport, and Middletown police departments, as well as members of the FBI’s Newark office, for their invaluable assistance in this investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan. Information regarding Kavanagh’s legal representation was not immediately available.

Convictions on first-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by terms of 10 to 20 years in state prison.

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. 

Dancer Bill Creating Permanent State Firefighter Museum and Memorial Advances to Governor’s Desk

December 20, 2021

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–TRENTON, NJ –Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill establishing a permanent New Jersey museum and memorial honoring the history and sacrifice of firefighters was back in the Assembly today to concur with Senate amendments.

The bill (A5075/S4001) removes the New Jersey Fire Museum from Department of Environmental Protection oversight and creates an independent commission to take over those responsibilities.

Since 2015, the fire museum has displayed its donated memorabilia in a private warehouse provided by Upper Freehold Township. The state has been unsuccessful at obtaining funding or finding a permanent location for the museum for the last 50 years.

“A commission that is committed to New Jersey’s firefighting history will be in a better position to procure a stable home for the museum, which will provide more opportunities to engage and educate the public,” Dancer (R-Ocean) explained. “From preserving historic fire equipment to honoring our fallen heroes, the museum serves an important mission and deserves a dedicated space.”

Under the bill, the museum and memorial will have the ability to manage its own affairs by adopting rules for its governance, utilizing state offices and hiring staff, and entering into state contracts for the museum and its projects. The commission can address budgeting issues and oversee the museum’s expansion and development.

The bill appropriates $200,000 to help fund the museum and its projects. It was advanced to the governor’s desk by a unanimous vote in the Assembly on Monday.

Route 130 Crash in Robbinsville Sends Four to Hospital

December 20, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Police, Robbinsville Fire Department and EMS, Capital Health Paramedics were dispatched to Rt 130 and Windsor Road for an overturned vehicle at 4:13 p.m. Upon arrival multiple vehicles were involved in the crash and four injuries were reported. Additional ambulances were called from Hightstown and East Windsor, RWJ EMS. The injuries appeared to be non-life threatening and the injured were transported to local hospitals for treatment. NJ Department of Transportation was on scene making repairs to the traffic light that was damaged and the roadway closed down for the repairs. Currently the roadway is backed up south bound with close to one mile delay.

Robbinsville Township Police Department is investigating the crash. No further information is available at this time.

At 5:29 p.m. the roadway has reopened, and traffic is getting by, be prepared for some delays while crews finish their work repairing the traffic lights.