HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–At 2:07 p.m. all Lawrence Township Fire Companies, Lawrence EMS, Captial Health Paramedics and NJ State Police were detailed to I-295 for a serious crash originally reported as in Lawrence Township. Firefighters found the accident well off the roadway into the woods behind a guardrail near the 71.6 South bound mile marker and it was determined that the accident was in Hopewell Township.
A New Jersey State Police Spokesperson told MidJersey.news that at 2:07 p.m. troopers responded to a motor vehicle crash in which a vehicle had run off the road on I-295 southbound Mile Post 71.6 in Hopewell Township. Preliminary investigation revealed that a Kia Optima exited the road to the left and struck several trees. The driver, Michael Manne, 26, of East Brunswick, NJ, sustained fatal injuries. The cause of the crash remains under investigation and there is no further information available.
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–At 2:07 p.m. all Lawrence Township Fire Companies, Lawrence EMS, Captial Health Paramedics and NJ State Police were detailed to I-295 for a serious crash originally reported as in Lawrence Township. Firefighters found the accident well off the roadway into the woods behind a guardrail near the 71.6 South bound mile marker and it was determined that the accident was in Hopewell Township. Capital Health Paramedics were called to the scene for a “pronouncement” Firefighters started a recovery extrication at 4:20 p.m. The New Jersey State Police is currently on scene with an active accident investigation as of 5:45 p.m.
A New Jersey State Police spokesperson told MidJersey.news that Troopers are investigating a serious motor vehicle accident with life threatening injuries on I-295 southbound at milepost 71.6, Hopewell Twp, Mercer County. This is an active investigation and the only information that is available at this time.
PEMBERTON, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Pemberton Township Police Chief David King announced that six members of a Sunbury Village-based street gang have been charged with operating a criminal enterprise that is accused of carrying out multiple shootings – including two homicides – along with committing burglary, intimidating witnesses, possessing numerous firearms and fraudulently obtaining more than $125,000 in pandemic relief funds from the federal government.
Eight others have been charged for their role in helping the organization, known as the Gotti Boy Movement (GBM), perpetrate the COVID-related financial scam.
Those accused of running GBM were charged with Racketeering, a first-degree crime that alleges they conspired to commit violent crimes to further their criminal enterprise. They are:
Tayron Brown, 25, of Heather Street in Pemberton Township
Kavon Carter, 24, of Rancocas Road in Mount Holly
Brandon Clifton, 23, of White Pine Court in Pemberton Township
Javon Forman, 21, of Delap Court in Pemberton Township
Kyree Weathers, 24, of Lawrence Drive in Pemberton Township
Sylas Young, 19, of Cornell Avenue in Pemberton Township
The criminal actions identified in support of the racketeering charge began in September 2014, when shots were fired at a Pemberton Township police officer who was sitting in a cruiser in Sunbury Village. Brown and Carter are alleged to have participated in the shooting.
Clifton is waiting to be tried on murder charges for the March 2017 fatal shooting of Shaquille Williams in Sunbury Village. Clifton’s co-defendant in that case, Douglas Lewis, was found guilty in September 2021 and sentenced to 58 years in New Jersey state prison.
Weathers is awaiting trial on a 2020 firearms charge. Forman was found guilty that same year of burglary and a weapons violation, and was charged in February 2021 with possession of an assault weapon with a 40-round magazine containing armor-piercing rounds.
More recently, violent acts allegedly committed by GBM members have occurred in other communities, not just Pemberton Township.
Carter and Young have been charged in connection with the slaying of 18-year-old Yahsinn Robinson in April in Willingboro. Young was charged with Murder (First Degree), and both he and Carter were charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder (First Degree) and Gang Criminality (First Degree).
The investigation into Robinson’s death revealed that GBM had a long-running dispute with certain residents of the Buckingham Park section of Willingboro, where Robinson lived. Robinson, a Willingboro High School student who was returning home from his part-time job when killed, was not involved in the conflict.
A week later, in the same section of Willingboro, a woman was hit in the leg and a toddler was grazed across his backside by shots fired into their home. Young has been charged with both shootings.
Carter and Young have also been indicted on firearms charges from a separate incident earlier this year, and Forman was charged in October 2021 with witness tampering for making multiple threatening phone calls from the Burlington County Jail.
“The substantial charges we have brought against these members of the Gotti Boy Movement and their associates should make clear that we will not allow anyone to engage in indiscriminate gun violence and run roughshod over innocent people in Pemberton Township or any other part of Burlington County,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “Yahsinn Robinson’s family should be celebrating Christmas with him right now instead of mourning him, and babies should never be exposed to gunfire coming into their homes. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep families safe throughout the County, and bring to justice those who put our neighborhoods at risk.”
Carter, Clifton and Weathers have also been charged with Promoting Organized Street Crime, as has Brianna Scott, 28, of White Pine Court in Pemberton Township. Scott and other defendants are alleged to be responsible for filing multiple fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications. The PPP is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act of 2020, which is designed to provide economic assistance to small businesses that suffered a financial hardship due to the pandemic.
The investigation revealed that the scam yielded $124,996 in funds from PPP applications that were filed in the name of GBM members and their affiliates. Carter submitted an application claiming he was a barber with an annual income of more than $105,000 in 2019, even though Carter was incarcerated throughout 2019. He received a check for nearly $21,000, as did five of his associates.
Scott was additionally charged with Conspiracy to Commit Computer Criminal Activity (Second Degree). Others charged in connection with the PPP scam include:
Wanya Anderson, 25, of Jarvis Street in Pemberton Township, who was charged with Computer Crimes with the Purpose to Defraud (Second Degree), Forgery (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and False Swearing Under Oath (Fourth Degree).
Chad Boone, 30, of Grant Street in Camden, who was charged with Computer Crimes with the Purpose to Defraud (Second Degree), Forgery (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and False Swearing Under Oath (Fourth Degree).
Adam Clark, 28 of Atsion Road in Shamong, who was charged with Conspiracy, Computer Crimes with the Purpose to Defraud (Second Degree), Forgery (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and False Swearing Under Oath (Fourth Degree).
Jaquan Crawley-Pitts, 25, of Garden Street in Mount Holly, who was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Computer Crime (Second Degree), Computer Crimes with the Purpose to Defraud (Second Degree), Forgery (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and False Swearing (Fourth Degree).
Altauron Jean, 27, of Press Avenue in Pemberton Township, who was charged with Computer Crimes with the Purpose to Defraud (Second Degree), Forgery (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and False Swearing (Fourth Degree).
Shalaiyha Jean, 20, of East Lakeshore Drive in Pemberton Township, who was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Computer Crime (Second Degree), Computer Crimes with the Purpose to Defraud (Second Degree), Forgery (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and False Swearing (Fourth Degree).
Zion Powe, 22, of Ashton Street in Pemberton Township, who was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Computer Crime (Second Degree), Computer Crimes with the Purpose to Defraud (Second Degree), Forgery (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and False Swearing (Fourth Degree).
Clifton and Carter were also charged with Conspiracy to Commit Computer Crime (Second Degree), and additional charges against Carter include Computer Crimes with the Purpose to Defraud (Second Degree), Forgery (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and False Swearing Under Oath (Fourth Degree).
“This financial scheme by the defendants to obtain small business relief funds by ‘inventing’ fake businesses, phantom income and fraudulent loan applications, is merely further evidence of this group’s belief that the rules of society simply don’t apply to them,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “They are wrong, and will be held accountable.”
The cases will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment. The defendants will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutors Michael Angermeier, Jamie Hutchinson and Joseph Remy. The investigation was conducted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from the Pemberton Township Police Department and the Willingboro Township Police Department.
The majority of the defendants were apprehended during a December 16 sweep that involved the BCPO, Burlington County Sheriff’s Department, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Special Response Team, Mount Holly Township Police Department, New Jersey Division of Taxation – Office of Criminal Investigation, New Jersey State Police, Ocean County Special Response Team, Pemberton Borough Police Department, Pemberton Township Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, and Westampton Township Police Department.
All persons are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
An indictment is an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.
Program Widely Supported by Advocates, Health Care Providers, and Insurers
December 21, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order #277, launching the New Jersey Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program, joined by Governor’s Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency Director Shabnam Salih, Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, New Jersey Hospital Association CEO Cathy Bennett, New Jersey Association of Health Plans President Wardell Sanders, and Sandkamp Woodworks owner Tony Sandkamp. The Governor also announced a stakeholder compact that unites New Jersey insurers, health care providers, and health care advocates in support of the new program and the goal of working together to provide more affordable health care for all New Jerseyans.
“The COVID-19 pandemic underscores just how important it is that New Jersey continues to work to lower the cost of health care for residents, and we recognize that affordable, quality health care is a critical part of our COVID-19 recovery,” said Governor Murphy. “Making New Jersey a more affordable place to call home for our residents and businesses means working to address the cost of high health care prices. New Jersey has world class health care institutions and providers, and we want to ensure that New Jerseyans have more affordable access to these services.”
“New Jerseysans deserve the piece of mind of quality and accessible health care and we know that access often begins with being able to afford the care you need without sacrificing other critical needs,” said Governor’s Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency Director Shabnam Salih. “As we continue our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and think about our collective recovery, I’m proud that my Office has been able to support the development and launch of this important program so we can establish a future for a comprehensive health care affordability work in New Jersey for years to come.”
“Today we are coming together with health care partners and employers to say that we are all committed to the shared goal of providing relief to residents in our state as they seek the quality care they need,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride. “The health care cost growth benchmark program will promote increased transparency and accountability for health care spending, and slow the rate of growth to make health care more affordable and sustainable for families, individuals, employers, and the state.”
“In many ways, today’s announcement is a fitting end to 2021. No industry has been more tested than healthcare and more committed to caring for our patients and communities,” said New Jersey Hospital Association President and CEO Cathy Bennett. “But cost should never become a barrier to people accessing the healthcare services they need. We are committed to the Governor’s vision of making healthcare affordable to consumers and ensuring access to quality care. We also will continue supporting the state’s efforts to identify and understand the many factors that contribute to healthcare cost trends.”
“NJAHP appreciates the multi-stakeholder work that has gone into developing a mechanism to examine and stem rising health care costs, which remain the greatest barrier to access to care for New Jersey residents,” said New Jersey Association of Health Plans President Ward Sanders.
“This compact is an important recognition that making health care more affordable can only occur when everyone is at the table with the patient’s best interests – health and financial – as their priority,” said Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey President and CEO Gary D. St. Hillaire. “From our early work developing patient centered medical homes to launching the OMNIA Health Alliance, this kind of collaboration has been at the heart of Horizon’s work with our provider partners for more than a decade. On behalf of our 3.8 million members and the thousands of employers who trust Horizon to provide coverage for their most important asset – their people – I thank Governor Murphy for his leadership and all of my colleagues and the organizations they represent for their commitment to rolling up our collective sleeves to do the hard work it will take to make health care more affordable.”
“The New Jersey Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program represents a significant first step in ensuring that quality and affordable healthcare remains available for all New Jersey residents and businesses,” said Mitch Livingston, NJM President, and Chief Executive Officer. “For over a century, NJM Insurance Group has remained committed to offering our employees comprehensive healthcare benefits as they serve the needs of our policyholders. We applaud the Administration’s efforts and the work of the Task Force to ensure that businesses like NJM can continue to meet that commitment.”
“At AmeriHealth New Jersey we are dedicated to the people and communities across the Garden State. We are pleased that Governor Murphy is focused on bringing stability and affordability to the New Jersey health insurance market,” said AmeriHealth New Jersey Market President Mike Munoz. “The Murphy Administration and the legislature have worked to expand access to health insurance. Now we must commit to reducing the cost of care to ensure the health and well-being of many New Jersey residents are not at risk. I will continue to be an active member of the Health Care Affordability Advisory Group as we work together on lowering health care costs in our state.”
From 2010 to 2016 in New Jersey, health care premiums and deductibles have grown roughly three times faster than residents’ incomes and in 2016, premiums equaled almost a third of median household income. Further, a survey of more than 900 New Jersey adults, conducted from May 7, 2020 to May 12, 2020 found that more than three-quarters (77%) are worried about affording healthcare in the future.
Recognizing the unsustainability of these trends and the economic hardship on residents and businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, on January 28, 2021, the Governor signed Executive Order #217 directing the development of a health care cost growth benchmark program to mitigate the rate of health care cost growth in the State. With Executive Order #277, the Governor formally establishes the New Jersey Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program and takes a concrete step toward curbing health care cost growth. The benchmark program also offers an important opportunity for the implementation of market-based strategies rooted in broad stakeholder commitment and industry- wide collaboration to support benchmark attainment.
The New Jersey Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program will provide everyone in the state with a shared understanding of how much health care costs are growing and factors contributing to high costs and cost growth. Over time, the benchmark program aims to decrease how much health care costs grow each year, and to contribute to making health care more affordable. The Governor’s Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency and the Department of Banking and Insurance will lead the efforts of the benchmark program, along with committed partners at the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Treasury, and the Division of Community Affairs. The Health Care Affordability Advisory Group, developed per EO #217 has also been critical to the development and launch of this program.
The program is also bolstered by a stakeholder compact organized by the Murphy Administration consisting of advocacy groups, hospitals and health care providers, leading insurers, a union, employers and other stakeholders across New Jersey and is a collaborative agreement memorializing the collective commitment of stakeholders to work toward implementing the benchmark program, it sets forth the benchmark plan and establishes a commitment to take actions to make health care more affordable and to participate in the data collection, validation, analysis and reporting processes.
The following organizations, advocacy groups, and businesses have signed onto the compact:
AmeriHealth New Jersey
Atlantic Health System
Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers
Cooper University Health Care
Hackensack Meridian Health
Horizon Blue Cross / Blue Shield of New Jersey
New Jersey Association of Health Plans
New Jersey Citizen Action
New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute
New Jersey Hospital Association
NJM Insurance Group
Rutgers University AAUP-AFT
RWJ Barnabas Health
St. Joseph’s Health
“Health care affordability is a critical issue that must be addressed in our State and one that requires a collaborative team effort,” said Atlantic Health System President & CEO Brian Gragnolati. “I thank Governor Murphy for his leadership in pulling together key stakeholders on behalf of patients and caregivers. Atlantic Health System looks forward to continuing to participate in this essential work.”
“Cooper is honored to be part of Governor Murphy’s NJ Health Care Cost Growth Program as we all work to mitigate unsustainable health care cost increases while ensuring our system continues to provide advanced, high quality care for our state’s residents,” said Co- CEO of Cooper University Health Care Kevin O’Dowd, JD.
“As part of our longstanding commitment to ensuring affordable, quality and equitable care to our communities, we are proud to sign on to this compact,” said Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert C. Garrett. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the state and other key leaders.”
“This important project will shed light on what is driving New Jersey health care costs higher and enable us to craft solutions to address the problem at its source,” said New Jersey Citizen Action Health Care Program Director Maura Collingsgru. “Controlling costs while not diminishing access is critical if we are to achieve our shared goal of universal health care for all New Jerseyans. We look forward to continue working alongside the Governor, Legislature and all our allies to lower costs and increase access until that goal is reached.”
“The New Jersey Healthcare Cost Benchmark Program is the most significant attempt to bring together all health care stakeholders to the benefit of our caregivers and those needing care,” said Rutgers AAUP-AFT Executive Director Patrick Nowlan. “We commend Governor Murphy and his Team for their leadership in controlling healthcare costs while improving healthy outcomes. New Jersey’s working families need relief from the burden of high healthcare costs and this is our best opportunity yet. Labor is ready to take these benchmark goals and, in partnership with providers, payers and the State, drive meaningful cost savings results that positively impact the mental and physical well-being of our members and all New Jerseyans.”
“RWJBarnabas Health is committed to making healthcare affordable for all the residents of New Jersey while continuing to enhance patient care and increasing access,” said President and CEO for RWJBarnabas Health Barry H. Ostrowsky. “I applaud Governor Murphy and thank him for his efforts in bringing providers, insurers and the business community together to work collaboratively on this critical issue. We couldn’t be more excited to be an integral part of this process.”
“On behalf of Summit Health, I am honored to join this important cross-sector initiative and support the NJ Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program to help advance the shared goals of improved health care affordability, accessibility, and transparency,” said Summit Health CEO Jeff Alter.
“Everyone in New Jersey should have access to quality, affordable, and equitable health care. Virtua Health is proud to participate in Governor Murphy’s Health Care Cost Benchmark Program and work toward sustainable solutions that support individuals and families in our region,” said Virtua Health President and CEO Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE.
For more information about the program please click here.
UPDATE: CAPITAL PHILHARMONIC POSTPONES CONCERT SLATED FOR DEC. 31st
Trenton, N.J. – Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey (CPNJ) announced today that due to increasing challenges from the pandemic and concerns about ensuring the safety of orchestra members and its devoted audience, it has postponed its concert scheduled for New Year’s Eve, 2021.
“This is certainly disappointing to all of us, especially as it concerns this long-standing Trenton tradition.” said Gloria Teti, president of CPNJ. “Throughout this pandemic the board of trustees has consistently and proactively implemented policies that prioritize the health and safety of our orchestra members and our audience. But recent developments involving new COVID variants have raised the possibility that these steps may not be adequate to safeguard our orchestra and audience.”
CPNJ has not yet selected a date for the postponed event. Music Director Daniel Spalding will consult with the orchestra’s board about setting a new date for the postponed concert in Spring 2022. As details are finalized, ticket holders will be notified and offered options for returning or exchanging tickets.
December 21, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–On Friday, December 31 at 8:00 p.m., hundreds of music-lovers will ring in 2022 with an extraordinary Trenton tradition: the annual New Year’s Eve concert with Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey (CPNJ). The evening kicks off with a special preconcert recital by Brett Miller on the massive theatre organ beginning at 7:10 p.m., with WWFM radio personality David Osenberg as the host for the evening. Featured selections include works by Strauss, Gershwin, and Leroy Anderson’s clever and witty “The Typewriter” (yes, an actual typewriter!)
Mayor Reed Gusciora recently received his tickets for the event, historically hosted at the Patriot’s Theatre in the Trenton War Memorial. He expressed his appreciation that the New Year’s Eve tradition has been revived.
“It’s excellent news that Capital Philharmonic is holding its annual New Year’s Eve concert at the Trenton War Memorial. I really missed this event in 2020! I hope that as many people as possible join in the fun. This concert is always exciting and enjoyable—just what we need to start a new year.”
Amid growing concerns of the growing variant, CPNJ board members and artistic leadership have kept a diligent watch on best practices for performing arts organizations as they approach another winter with the coronavirus. All performers are vaccinated, and masks and proof of vaccination are required of audience members.
“We are so excited to be playing great music for live audiences again!” Music Director Daniel Spalding notes. “New Year’s Eve is the hallmark calendar day during which we look forward with hope to the start of something new in our lives and our community.”
Gusciora echoed these sentiments. “Trenton is coming back from COVID and CPNJ has been doing what it can to offer our city wonderful concerts—indoors and outside. It is appropriate that they are doing what they can to keep us safe by requiring proof of vaccination for everyone in the theatre and mandating wearing of masks, too. I hope our community will join me for a safe event to welcome in 2022. May it be a turning point for our great city.”
This concert—held on the anniversary of the launch of the orchestra in 2013—is the third concert of the 2021/22 season for the orchestra, which suspended its series in March 2019 in response to the COVID pandemic. Tickets are available by calling 215-893-1999 or at www.capitalphilharmonic.org.
Capital Philharmonic is the anchor performing arts organization in residence at Patriots Theater in the historic Trenton War Memorial (1,800-seat venue) and produces a full season of symphonic programming. CPNJ presently presents a six-concert season (October to May) at the War Memorial with occasional smaller orchestra performances elsewhere. Its 70+ professional musicians are drawn from the region between Philadelphia and New York City and are led by Music Director Daniel Spalding. The orchestra is governed by a board of directors from the greater Trenton area.