Month: January 2022

Firefighters battle 2-Alarm house fire in Ewing Township

January 18, 2022

EWING TWP (MERCER)– Fire companies from multiple towns battled a second alarm fire in Ewing Township this morning.

Firefighters responded to a home in the 300 block of Beechwood Avenue just before 9:00 am on a reported light fixture on fire inside of the residence. Companies arrived on scene with visible smoke from the exterior, and the first alarm was placed. Crews began going to work as the fire quickly began to spread through the attic. Within minutes, the second alarm was placed.

Two hose lines were stretched into service to knock down the fire on the second and third floors. Interior crews did have to evacuate for a short period of time due to unsafe conditions.

The fire was placed under control around 9:50 am. It is unknown if anyone was injured in the incident.

The fire was brought under control by Ewing Twp Fire Dept, Prospect Heights Vol Fire Co, West Trenton Vol Fire Co, Hamilton Fire Dept, Union Fire Co, Pennington Fire Dept, Lawrenceville Fire Co, Lawrence Road Fire Co, Slackwood Fire Company, Mercer County Fire Coordinators, and Signal 22 Canteen Unit.

No further information is available.


TSA highlights the top 21 accomplishments in transportation security to close out 2021; 5,972 Guns Discovered in Cary-On Bags in 2021

Agency remains committed to being vigilant, agile, and innovative

January 18, 2022

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) closed 2021 demonstrating the agency’s commitment to the security of the nation’s transportation system, and the ability to drive innovation and address emerging threats.

“In many ways, 2021 was a year of resilience as the dedicated TSA workforce worked diligently to screen near pre-pandemic passenger volumes at the nation’s airports while facing three major waves of COVID-19 across the country,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Despite the challenges, we facilitated freedom of movement for passengers and goods, and we made great progress in security innovation in close coordination with our federal partners and industry stakeholders.”

During the year, TSA recorded the following 21 highlights and accomplishments:

#1 TSA’s 20th Anniversary – In November, TSA recognized the 20th anniversary of the agency’s establishment, which occurred in 2001 when President George W. Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA).

#2 Passenger Volume – In 2021, travel volume increased to near pre-pandemic levels last seen in 2019. TSA Officers screened 585.3 million travelers in 2021, averaging about 1.6 million passengers per day. On average, 97.6% of passengers waited less than 20 minutes at airport security checkpoints, while 96.2% of passengers in TSA PreCheck® lanes waited less than 5 minutes.

#3 Commitment to the Frontline Workforce – Transportation Security Officers serve in uniform on the frontline of transportation security and represent the backbone of the agency. In June, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced new efforts to support the TSA workforce and  expressed the Department’s commitment to improving their compensation. In September, TSA reached an agreement with the Merit Systems Protection Board to handle adverse action appeals and better align TSA standards with other government agencies. Additionally, in 2021, Administrator Pekoske introduced new pay and compensation initiatives. These actions are important steps to more closely match the TSA workforce rights and compensation with that of other federal agencies.

#4 Customer Experience – The TSA Contact Center answered 1.7 million calls and email messages throughout 2021 and @AskTSA responded directly to 1.5 million traveler questions, typically within 2 minutes, over social media. TSA Cares, the agency’s helpline, provided assistance to 26,056 travelers with disabilities, medical conditions, or other special conditions.

As part of TSA’s support of the Presidential Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Service, the agency made significant progress toward a live chat feature with travelers over the agency’s website. Foundational work completed in 2021 will enable the introduction of live chat in 2022.

#5 Transportation Security Officers Stopped Firearms – In early October, TSA officers prevented an all-time record number of firearms from being carried into airplane passenger cabins or the secure area of airports, topping the previous record set in 2019.  

As of December 31, TSA officers stopped 5,972 firearms at our checkpoints, surpassing the previous record of 4,432 firearms caught at checkpoints in the full calendar year 2019. The majority of those firearms (86%) were loaded. Firearms at TSA checkpoints represent an unnecessary risk and an expensive mistake for passengers who do not follow requirements to declare firearms in advance and properly pack them in checked baggage.

#6 Addressing Unruly Passengers – Unruly passengers impact the entire aviation industry as a safety and security risk; incidents escalated in 2021. To address this issue, TSA resumed Crew Member Self-Defense (CMSD) training in early July to equip flight crew members with the skills to defend themselves against attack. In 2021, Federal Air Marshal instructors from across the country trained almost 1,500 flight crew members. Additionally, TSA partnered with the FAA to share information on unruly passengers and rescind TSA PreCheck® eligibility for passengers who receive FAA fines for being disruptive aboard flights.

#7 Innovation – In 2021, TSA leveraged co-creation and crowdsourcing initiatives to broaden innovation and build a pipeline of new security solutions for the agency. Through the Power of the Passengers Challenge, TSA and TechConnect Ventures awarded $215,000 to 11 technology institutions for their innovative ideas. The competition resulted in 125 new concepts geared toward enhancing security throughout the transportation system, several of which are now being tested. A similar effort, called Hacking for Homeland Security, engaged Carnegie Mellon University graduate students on solving complex issues in transportation security and generated 5 graduate presentations, each with commercialization potential.

#8 Technology – Throughout 2021, TSA deployed 1,520 Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units and added to its 320 Computed Tomography (CT) X-ray scanners at airport checkpoints, significantly reducing physical contact, while improving security effectiveness. The agency also awarded a $198 million contract to procure additional CT scanners. At many airports, passengers can scan their own IDs in CAT units at the travel document checker podium, which further reduces physical contact.

#9 Mobile Driver’s Licenses – In September, Apple announced a collaboration with TSA on the development of a mobile driver’s license in Apple Wallet. TSA’s efforts in 2021 laid the groundwork for mobile driver’s license applications and readers that will enable future travelers to transfer license data using their iPhones at equipped checkpoints for ID verification.

#10 Facial Recognition –TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched a new voluntary digital identity program in cooperation with Delta Air Lines at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The technology, which is available to TSA PreCheck and Delta SkyMiles® members who opt-in, compares the passenger’s live photo to a pre-staged gallery of photos previously provided to the government, such as that found on a passport.

#11 Strengthening Pipeline Cybersecurity – When a cybersecurity ransomware attack shuttered a major petroleum pipeline company in 2021, it reinforced the importance of TSA’s mission within the surface transportation sector. Following five private sector engagements and the adjudication of over 360 comments from pipeline industry stakeholders, TSA issued two security directives to help build critical infrastructure resilience against future cybersecurity threats for the most critical pipelines in our country.

#12 Rail and Aviation Cybersecurity – As part of Secretary Mayorkas’s Transportation Cybersecurity Sprint, TSA announced new cybersecurity requirements for higher-risk freight railroads, passenger rail, and rail transit operators to strengthen critical infrastructure and enhance resilience against cyberattacks. In separate guidance, TSA recommended that all lower-risk surface transportation owners and operators voluntarily implement the same measures and updated aviation security programs to require that airport and airline operators designate a cybersecurity coordinator and report cybersecurity incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within 24 hours.

#13 TSA PreCheck Growth – Last year, seven new airlines joined the TSA PreCheck program and over 1.8 million individuals enrolled in the expedited screening program, bringing the total number of Known Traveler Number holders to over 11 million. The agency also reduced the cost to renew online.

#14 Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion – TSA launched a Spanish-language virtual assistant for @AskTSA in September enabling the agency to respond to Spanish speaking travelers’ social media inquiries. During the annual Disability and Multicultural Coalition Conference, TSA honored the Hearing Loss Association of America and the Minority Humanitarian Foundation for their engagement with TSA and their commitment to providing their community members with tips and information to support a positive checkpoint screening experience. In December, TSA published its Inclusion Action Committee report, which represents a 16-month internal review and forges a path to improve diversity, equity and inclusion for TSA employees.

#15 Air Cargo – TSA published the Air Cargo Security Roadmap to provide a 5-year vision and strategic plan for modernizing, streamlining, and securing air cargo transportation operations.

#16 Unmanned Aircraft Systems – TSA selected Miami International Airport for its initial test of technologies that will detect, track, and identify drones entering restricted airspace. Drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), pose a threat to aviation security when flown in restricted airspaces and such tests help TSA assess technological effectiveness in a live airport environment. A similar test was announced at Los Angeles International Airport.

#17 Hiring Surge – In February 2021, TSA launched a recruiting and hiring campaign to support passenger volumes projected throughout the year. TSA continues these efforts nationwide and has introduced unprecedented recruitment, readiness, and retention incentives to remain competitive in the nationwide labor market. For more information and videos about this mission-critical work, visit The Face of TSA.

#18 Strengthening Partnerships – TSA has always welcomed and actively pursued engagement and alignment with our many partners who are vital to ensuring our transportation network remains safe and secure. In 2021, TSA officials conducted over 700 meetings with industry stakeholders and coalition partners across all modes of transportation, in addition to its daily interactions on a variety of issues. These exchanges are essential to working towards our mutual objectives of keeping passengers, cargo and goods secure, while also ensuring a positive travel experience. In 2021, TSA announced the addition of Surface Transportation Security Advisory Committee members with pipeline and cybersecurity experience. The agency also announced new members within its Aviation Security Advisory Committee.

#19 Federal Air Marshals – Throughout 2021, Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) deployed to assess, address and mitigate potential risks and threats to transportation and millions of travelers daily across the various transportation modes. As TSA’s primary law enforcement arm, FAMs comprise the agency’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams and provide inflight security aboard thousands of commercial aircraft to ensure the safety of passengers, flight crew members, and the aircraft. FAMs supported DHS law enforcement partners at special events and humanitarian efforts that included natural disasters and the operation to resettle Afghan refugees in U.S. communities.

#20 Working with Canines – In 2021, TSA trained and deployed more than 1,000 explosives detection canine teams at airports and mass-transit facilities. These teams supported Super Bowl LV, the 59th Presidential Inauguration, and enhanced security operations at airports nationwide. In November, TSA released its 2022 TSA Canine Calendar, featuring winners of the Cutest Canine Contest.

#21 Support for Operation Allies Welcome – Beginning in late August, the Department of Homeland Security led the Nation’s unified effort to resettle vulnerable Afghan nationals who worked alongside the Nation’s Armed Forces during the last two decades. TSA deployed more than 560 employees in support of this mission to overseas transit locations in third countries and to military installations in the United States, also known as safe havens, where Afghans were provided temporary housing prior to resettlement. Other TSA employees provided dedicated support to the effort from their principal duty stations.


Firefighters Quickly Knock Down Fire On 3rd Floor in Hamilton

January 17, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 4:07 p.m. the Hamilton Township Fire Department was dispatched to the 200 Block of Woodlawn Avenue with a 9-1-1 caller reporting flames from the house. Shortly after more 9-1-1 calls were also reporting the house fire and a full first alarm was called for by the fire department.

Upon arrival firefighters reported fire and smoke showing from the 3rd floor of a two-family home. Firefighters stretched hose lines up the stairs and vented the roof, quickly knocking down the flames. Trenton fire department also responded and assisted at the fire. The Red Cross was called to help find temporary housing for the displaced residents.

No further information is available at this time.




Update: Officials Determine Fire Was Accidental in Robbinsville Fire, GoFundMe Set Up for Family

January 16, 2022

UPDATE:

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department was dispatched to the 1st Block of Tindall Road at 1:12 p.m. for a reported house fire. Numerous passersby that called 9-1-1 were reporting heavy smoke and flames from the roof area of the structure.

First arriving firefighters reported they had a large amount of fire showing through the roof and rear of the structure and were in the process of pulling handlines to start to extinguish the fire. A number of mutual aid departments were called to the scene and three lines were stretched and operating to extinguish the fire. The fire was placed under control around 2:00 p.m.

The fire investigation team including Robbinsville Police, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Robbinsville Township Fire Marshal were all on scene this afternoon and worked to determine the cause of the fire. Fire Officials told MidJersey.News that they located the source of the fire and fire was determined to be accidental.

Fire departments dispatched to the scene were Hamilton, East Windsor, Monroe, Hightstown, West Windsor. Bordentown and Allentown covered the township for any additional calls.

Robbinsville Police had the roadway shut down in the area of the fire and was reopened later this afternoon.

Since our earlier report a GoFundMe has been set up for the family that lives in the home, please see the links and information from the GoFundMe below:


Please consider a donation to the DiMeglio family the links to the GoFundMe below:

DiMeglio Family Fire

Hi, my name is Vinny DiMeglio. I am writing on behalf of my parents Susan & Luigi DiMeglio. My parents have always been very selfless and have never extended a hand to ask for anything. As the saying goes, “their door is always open.” They give and give and never ask. This is why I am creating this account for them because even in a time of need, I don’t think they would ask for anything.

Today, our family home since 1994 accidentally caught fire. The damage is extensive and it’s questionable whether or not the house can be saved. Thankfully, and more importantly, no one was hurt. We tried to salvage what we could but so much has been ruined. It’s a funny thing. If you live in Robbinsville, you probably know our home. It’s unique and stands out among the rest. It feels like even if you don’t know me or my family, well, you probably know our house. Who knows if it can be restored to its former self.

Let me tell you about the two amazing and wonderful people that need your help.

My Father, an Italian immigrant since the 1960s has worked every day since he arrived in the US when he was 9 years old. He’s owned many food businesses throughout the years and has fed more mouths than I could ever count. He’s been there feeding you and your family through good times, bad times, or for just a simple meal. But he’s always been there. Sadly, to make matters worse, he’s been out of work since the start of Covid, picking up odds and ends where he can but without work, it’s left him and my Mom in a difficult situation.

My Mother, aside from being a grace from God for raising me and my brothers (Frank & Anthony), was a Speech Pathologist with Mercer County Special Services for nearly 30 years before she retired. The work that she did for many can not adequately be described. A brief example: When I was 14, a woman tapped my Mom on the shoulder to say hello. When I asked the woman how she knew my Mom, she very sincerely said “Your Mom taught my son to speak.” I’ll never forget that moment because until then, I didn’t know how much of a superhero my Mom actually is.

Look, this isn’t easy for me to write. I always think of my parents as being very successful and full of blessings. But the last two years have not been easy and now without their home, the next year is likely to be very challenging. I want to do whatever I can to help. They’ve been members of the Robbinsville community since 1994 and more specifically Mercer County for decades. For the first time, they need your help.

Please consider donating whatever you can. I know it’s cliche but even the smallest amount will help. The next few days and weeks will be extremely challenging for them and if I can take one stress away then well, I’ve done my job. If you can’t donate then a positive thought, text or even a prayer would mean the world to us.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we truly hope for a better tomorrow for all!

Sincerely,

Vinny DiMeglio

Go to this link to donate: https://gofund.me/085da3e9


https://gofund.me/085da3e9





Firefighters Extinguish House Fire in Hightstown

January 16, 2022

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Just before 9:00 a.m. Hightstown Fire Company was dispatched to the 100 Block of Franklin Street for a house fire. Hightstown Police arrived and confirmed that there was a fire in the basement and extending to the second floor. Additional fire departments were dispatched including East Windsor 1 & 2, Monroe Township, Robbinsville, and Cranbury to the scene. There were reported frozen fire hydrants in the area and a tanker was called to the scene for additional water.

No additional information is available at this time.


Firefighters Extinguish House Fire in Robbinsville

January 16, 2022

UPDATE:


Earlier MidJersey.News report below:


Breaking news preliminary report, check back for updates when they become available:

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department was dispatched to the 1st Block of Tindall Road at 1:12 p.m. for a reported house fire. Numerous passersby that called 9-1-1 were reporting heavy smoke and flames from the roof area of the structure.

First arriving firefighters reported they had a large amount of fire showing through the roof and rear of the structure and were in the process of pulling handlines to start to extinguish the fire. A number of mutual aid departments were called to the scene and three lines were stretched and operating to extinguish the fire. The fire was placed under control around 2:00 p.m.

The fire investigation team including Robbinsville Police, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and Robbinsville Township Fire Marshal are currently on scene investigating the cause of the fire.

Fire departments dispatched to the scene were Hamilton, East Windsor, Monroe, Hightstown, West Windsor. Bordentown and Allentown covered the township for any additional calls.

Robbinsville Police had the roadway shut down in the area of the fire.

Tindall Road is closed between Brookshire Dr and Wildflower Trail due to fire department activity.

Tindall Road is closed between Brookshire Dr and Wildflower Trail due to fire department activity. 

Instructions:

Please avoid area.


Firefighters Battle House Fire in Freezing Temperatures in West Windsor

January 15, 2022

January 16, 2022 update: Fire Officials have confirmed that the fire originated from the heater due to malfunction.

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER) – Firefighters from several towns converged on Millstone Road, off Cranbury Road near Grovers Mill Pond, and endured frigid conditions to battle a structure fire this evening (Saturday, Jan. 15). It was about 5:01 p.m. when West Windsor firefighters were dispatched to the blaze in the one-story, multi-family residence at 15 Millstone Road. Heavy smoke was billowing from the roof when township firefighters arrived. Initially there were reports that someone might be trapped inside, so additional fire companies from East Windsor, Plainsboro, Princeton, and Lawrence were sent to the scene. Fortunately, it was quickly confirmed that no one was trapped and that everyone was safely outside. A significant amount of fire was reportedly in the attic area and firefighters had to cut multiple holes in the roof to vent heat and smoke and also access pockets of fire that were inaccessible from the interior below. The blaze was declared under control about 6:07 p.m. With temperatures staying in the teens, water runoff from firefighters’ hoselines quickly froze and created slippery conditions on both the ground and the roof.  A cat that had been inside the burning structure and was reportedly located by firefighters and reunited with its owner. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.


Multi Vehicle Accident on NJ Turnpike in Hamilton

January 14, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville and Bordentown Township Fire Departments and EMS were dispatched to Mile Post 57 for a multi vehicle accident in the outer roadway at 3:23 p.m. It appears that injuries were minor, and it was unclear if the person who reported non-life-threating injuries was transported. NJ State Police is investigating the crash. Traffic was backed up close to two miles until the vehicles were towed from the scene.

Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Well Involved Apartment Saving Multiple Units in Plainsboro

January 14, 2022

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MERCER)–Plainsboro Fire Department was dispatched to a building on Ravens Crest Drive for an apartment fire, originally reported as an oven fire around 10:25 a.m. Upon arrival crews found heavy smoke and fire showing from the roof area and stretched a 1 3/4″ line to the rear 3rd floor unit of large apartment building. Firefighters were met with heavy fire in the apartment and quickly knocked the fire down within 15 minutes containing the fire to one unit and saving the building.

According to Plainsboro Fire Company: Units were dispatched to Raven’s Crest for an Apartment Fire. Engine 49 arrived with heavy smoke and fire showing from the 3rd floor of an occupied multiple family dwelling. Tower 49 arrived behind the Engine, while Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Engine 66 secured a water supply to Engine 49. Monroe Tower 57, Princeton Ladder 60, Rescue 49 arrived and went to work. The bulk of the fire was knocked with-in 15 mins of arriving and heavy overhaul was conducted immediately after. Thank you to the additional units that responded, more specifically Cranbury Engine 48, Monroe RIC 23, West Windsor Rescue/Cascade 43, Middlesex County Fire Coordinators and Fire Marshal’s Office. Also a special thanks to our covers from East Windsor Engine 42 and Monmouth Junction Tower 20.


PUBLIC SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT

On Friday, January 14, 2022, Plainsboro Units were detailed to an apartment fire in Raven’s Crest in Plainsboro Twp. Fire units arrived to heavy smoke and fire from a third floor apartment in an occupied multiple family dwelling. As crews accessed the apartment and began suppressing fire, they witnessed a well involved apartment. Crews conducted searches of rooms and all bedroom doors were closed. Please take notice to how the standard wood doors in the apartment held out heavy smoke and fire conditions that were in the hallway and living room kitchen areas. In the event where you may be trapped in a residence, closing the doors and putting linens under and around the door can save your life!!!



NJ State Police Seeking Public’s Assistance with an Assault Investigation; Occurred on NJ Turnpike After Road Rage Incident

January 13, 2022

CARTERET, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The New Jersey State Police Troop “D” Criminal Investigation Office is seeking the public’s assistance with an assault investigation that occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike on Wednesday, January 12.

Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives determined that at approximately 8:45 p.m., a tractor trailer and two SUVs were involved in a road rage incident in the outer roadway of the southbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike in the area of milepost 96.2 in Carteret Borough, Middlesex County. The two SUVs, one white and one gray, boxed in the tractor trailer in the right lane. The two suspects and the tractor trailer driver then got out of their vehicles and engaged in a physical altercation in the right lane. After the altercation, the two suspects ran back to their vehicles and fled the scene before troopers arrived on scene.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, the events leading up to it or just following, is asked to contact Detective Mike Silvestre of Cranbury Station Detective Bureau at 609-860-9000 ext. 4423. Anonymous tips are welcome.

“Father Jim” Msgr. James Innocenzi, who Served as Trenton Fire Department’s Chaplain Passes Away at 72

January 13, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–It was announced today that Msgr. James Innocenzi passed earlier today at his residence at Villa Vianney in Lawrenceville, NJ at the age of 72.

Msgr. Innocenzi served as Trenton Fire Department’s Chaplain, known as “Father Jim” at calls and around the fire house. He served in the position for many years and would be seen in turnout gear at many calls throughout the city.

According to Trenton Fire Department records held at Trenton Fire Department’s Meredith Havens Fire Museum “Father Jim” became Chaplain in 1983 and served well past 2006 when the last published annual report was issued. According to some senior members at the TFD it is believed he was still Chaplain as of 2022 and that would be nearly 40 years of service to the department.

See MidJersey.News file photos below:


From the Trenton Monitor:

Bishop announces death of Msgr. James Innocenzi

It is my sad responsibility to share the news of the sudden passing of Msgr. James Innocenzi earlier today in his residence at Villa Vianney in Lawrenceville.  He was 72 years old.

Born and raised in Trenton, Msgr. Innocenzi was a member of St. Joachim Parish.  He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Trenton in 1976 and served in a variety of parochial and diocesan positions, currently as Judicial Vicar (head of the Diocesan Tribunal).  Msgr. Innocenzi was the first pastor of St, Michael Parish in Trenton and one month ago attended the 100th anniversary of the Church building.  His next assignment was to serve as St. George Parish in Titusville.  In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II honored him with the title of Monsignor, Prelate of Honor.

Throughout his priestly career, Msgr. Innocenzi remained deeply devoted to his work in the Diocesan Tribunal, serving couples seeking annulments as well as dealing with other matters in canon law.  He was a chaplain for Trenton’s Fire Department and also a beloved chaplain and spiritual advisor for several divisions and councils of central New Jersey’s Knights of Columbus.

Msgr. Innocenzi’s sudden death saddens so many of his brother priests, dearest friends and co-workers and former parishioners.  One priest wrote me, “this news hurts my heart.”  And so it does, indeed, for those of us in the Diocese who knew, admired and loved him. 

May our loving God grant him eternal rest.


https://trentonmonitor.com/Content/News/Latest-News/Article/Bishop-announces-death-of-Msgr-James-Innocenzi/4/38/29865



Governor Murphy Announces Nomination of Victoria Kuhn as Department of Corrections Commissioner

January 13, 2022

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nomination of Victoria Kuhn as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC). Kuhn has served as Acting Commissioner since June 2021. 

“Since Victoria was first asked to lead the Department of Corrections, she has impressed myself and many others with her dedication to reform and integrity,” said Governor Murphy. “As a career corrections staffer, Victoria has the experience and knowledge to lead the Department during this pivotal time. I look forward to her confirmation by the Senate and to continuing our prison reform efforts together.” 

“I am truly grateful to Governor Murphy for entrusting me with leading the NJDOC team as we embark to establish this Department as the national model for leaders in prison reform and reintegration,” said Victoria L. Kuhn, Esq., Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. “I do not take this honor – or responsibility – lightly.  This is the time for new beginnings – to launch new reform and reintegration initiatives, to ensure dignity and safety for our female offenders, and to establish mission-critical relationships with outside stakeholders and advocates. Equally important, we must recognize and re-invest in our dedicated staff, their welfare, and training, as they are integral to the success of the mission of the Department. We have much work to do, and I am proud to be a part of this extraordinary team.” 

As Acting Commissioner of the State’s second-largest Department, Kuhn is responsible for a budget of nearly $1 billion, approximately 8,000 employees, and the oversight of approximately 13,000 state-sentenced people housed across 11 correctional facilities, county jails, and community halfway houses. Ensuring the Department realizes its mission of operating safe and humane correctional facilities is the Department’s core focus, along with the holistic rehabilitation of people who are incarcerated through behavioral therapy, addiction treatment, vocational and educational training, and staff well-being through training and issuance of holistic health resources. 

Kuhn is a veteran corrections official, having worked for the Department of Corrections since 2007. Before she was appointed Acting Commissioner for the NJDOC, Kuhn served as the Department’s Chief of Staff, and previously as the Deputy Chief of Staff, spearheading a number of initiatives. Prior to those roles, Kuhn led the Department’s Equal Employment Division, which is charged with ensuring a discrimination and harassment-free work environment. She also oversaw the Office of Employee Relations, responsible for union labor relations, hearing employee grievances, reviewing misconduct, and imposing related discipline. Her career started as an Assistant Prosecutor, before transitioning to the Office of the Attorney General – Division of Law, where she addressed law enforcement and corrections matters, including federal and state court litigation, excessive force, Megan’s Law, conditions of confinement and the development of the protocol regarding the sexually violent predator and CSL/PSL laws. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Drew University, and earned her J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law.

“In the decades during which we’ve been advocates on behalf of people in prison in New Jersey, we have not – until now – had the experience of prisoner contact, transparency, and genuineness of interest and commitment evidenced by the present Acting Commissioner and her team,” said Prison Watch Program Director Bonnie Kerness. “Indeed, Governor Murphy’s team of “Acting” staff has shown the kind of leadership which should be elevated nationally. Acting Commissioner Kuhn is a model of what a real Department of “corrections” can be. Her outreach to community activists has encouraged appropriate and non-hostile communications within the prison community and improved safety on both sides of the walls.”

“On behalf of those involved with the Department of Corrections, and the State Parole Board through New Jersey Reentry Programs, I am thrilled with the announcement by Governor Murphy selecting Victoria Kuhn as his candidate for Commissioner of Corrections,” said Volunteers of America Delaware Valley President and CEO Daniel L. Lombardo. “In her acting capacity, Ms. Kuhn has been an innovator, and an outcome-driven professional committed to rebuilding the reputation of the Department. The work that Ms. Kuhn has already begun in the reestablishment of relationships with the State Parole Board, community providers, as well as departmental clients and their families is illustrative of what we can expect under her continued leadership. We applaud Governor Murphy and enthusiastically support the candidacy of Ms. Kuhn as the Commissioner of Corrections.”


Woman Saved from Icy Waters at Rosedale Lake in Hopewell Township

January 13, 2022

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hopewell Township Police told MidJersey.News that, at approximately 12:25 p.m. today, Hopewell Township Police responded to a report of woman who had fallen through the ice in Rosedale Lake at Rosedale Park off of Federal City Road. Several callers reported the woman was in the water up to neck. Officer’s Peterson and Pauciullo were the first responding officers on the scene.

Once on scene, the officers located the woman in distress, who was approximately 25 yards from the shoreline.  The woman was flailing around and struggling to keep her head above the water.  Utilizing a water rescue throw rope, officers along with several other responding emergency personnel, were able to safely get the woman to shore.

Once safely on dry land, the woman was treated on scene for potential hypothermia by the Pennington First Aid Squad, Hopewell Valley Emergency Services, and Capital Health Paramedics.  She was later transported to Capital Health Hopewell Hospital in stable condition.          

            Multiple departments arrived to assist.  They were the Hopewell Valley Emergency Services, Pennington Fire Department and First Aid Squad, Union Fire Department, and the Mercer County Park Police.     


       


Governor Murphy Signs Historic Legislation to Expand and Protect Reproductive Freedom in New Jersey   

Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act Codifies Reproductive Choice into State Law   

January 13, 2022

TEANECK – Governor Phil Murphy, alongside Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Alexis McGill Johnson, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and many other legislative sponsors and advocates, today signed the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act (S49/A6260), which codifies the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice in New Jersey. Governor Murphy also signed S413/A4698, which expands the contraception coverage required under private insurance and Medicaid from a 6-month supply to a 12-month supply.   

These laws expand and protect reproductive freedom in New Jersey at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to limit or overturn the ruling in Roe v. Wade. With this legislation, if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the right to reproductive choice would be protected in New Jersey.   

“In New Jersey, we trust each individual person to make their reproductive choices for themselves,” said Governor Murphy. “With Roe v. Wade under attack, today’s historic legislation makes clear that New Jersey’s position in supporting the right to reproductive choice remains protected. Together, with expanding contraception coverage, these two pieces of legislation serve to meaningfully and tangibly increase access to reproductive health care, and ensure that New Jersey residents are now, and will remain, in control of their reproductive choices.”  

“Reproductive health and the ability for women to make medical decisions about their own bodies are fundamental rights that should never be taken away. Today, we are codifying those rights into law in New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. “I want to thank the legislators who have championed this bill and Governor Murphy for signing it into law. Women’s rights are human rights and will always be respected and protected in New Jersey.”

“Today is a historic day for reproductive health in the Garden State,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “By ensuring that reproductive health decisions — about birth control, abortion, and pregnancy — are protected in state law, New Jersey has taken an important step forward for reproductive freedom. We are grateful for the constant advocacy by the governor, legislative champions, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey, the Thrive New Jersey Coalition, and more to ensure the state met the moment and secured access to essential health care in the state. At a time when access to reproductive health care is under attack across the country, New Jersey has shown what it means to stand up for its residents. Planned Parenthood is eager to continue working to ensure that abortion is not only a right, but accessible for all New Jerseyans, regardless of their immigration status, insurance coverage, or income.” 

Primary sponsors for S49/A6260 include former Senate Majority Leader Weinberg, former Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Senators Greenstein and Gopal. Assembly sponsors include former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Assemblymembers Mila Jasey and Raj Mukherji.  

“With a woman’s right to choose under Roe v. Wade under attack in the U.S. Supreme Court, it is critical that we have enacted legislation rooted in the New Jersey Constitution that clearly and unequivocally protects freedom of reproductive choice, including the right to access contraception, the right to terminate a pregnancy, and the right to carry a pregnancy to term,” said former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who was the lead sponsor of the bill.

“January 22nd is the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. With the enactment of S49 into law,  the Legislature and the Governor are sending a clear message to the nation that in New Jersey, a woman’s right to choose is, and will remain, a fundamental right,” said former Senate President Steve Sweeney, a prime sponsor of the bill. “I was proud to join Senator Weinberg in fighting to ensure that the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act would become law.”

“Enacting the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act into statute will help protect the reproductive rights of women in New Jersey against the potential reversal by the United States Supreme Court. It is rooted in the State Constitution, consistent with decisions by the New Jersey Supreme Court and written to safeguard the fundamental right of women to make their own decisions on reproductive care. We will not allow these rights to be lost to forces outside the state that run counter to the core beliefs of the people of New Jersey, including the principle of equal treatment for women by insurance companies. Coverage for contraceptives should be granted the same level of importance as other prescriptions. These laws enshrine protections and make progress for women in New Jersey,”  said Senate President Nicholas Scutari.   

“The Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act is a comprehensive bill that guarantees women will continue to have the right to make their own personal decisions on their  reproductive care, regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules,” said Senator Linda Greenstein. 

“A person’s right of reproductive choice, in effect a right of control over one’s own body, remains a fundamental right enshrined in our Constitution,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “This law, the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, will protect this basic freedom under New Jersey statute and ensure individual choice on when and whether to have children in a time and place that is compatible with their lifestyles and beliefs. Self-determination is one of the founding principles of this state and this nation. That principle should and must extend to any person in New Jersey regarding reproductive rights.”

“Everyone has the right to reproductive choice, yet there have been far too many attempts throughout our country to control the decisions a person can make in that regard. Legal challenges to the reproductive rights of Americans, which have steadily increased in recent years, threaten to limit access to family planning services. This act will promote the health and well-being of the people in our state while showing the country that New Jersey stands for compassion, dignity and freedom,” said Assemblymembers Vainieri Huttle, Jasey, and Mukherji. 

Primary sponsors for S413/A4698 include Senators Shirley Turner and Teresa Ruiz, as well as former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Assemblymembers Mila Jasey and Raj Mukherji.   

“With a woman’s right to safely choose to end an unwanted pregnancy now being threatened, we must counter that threat by putting the policies in place that help to protect the health of women,” said Senator Shirley Turner.  “This law will make it easier for women to access contraceptives to prevent pregnancy from happening in the first place, which is one of the best ways to help women maintain control over their own bodies and their lives.”

“Many other medications are available to order long term supplies to ensure individuals are able to take them without interruption. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not always willing to cover a 12-month supply of birth control,” said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz. “There is no reason contraceptives should not be granted the same level of importance as other prescriptions. This law will ensure residents are able to get their medication in a manner that is conducive to their schedule.”

“Prescription contraceptives safeguard the mental and physical health of countless women by giving them more control over their lives,” said former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. “Ensuring coverage of these prescriptions for up to 12 months will allow more New Jerseyans to prepare ahead. Making it easier and more likely for women to access birth control is a crucial component of the family planning services our state is taking steps to protect.”

“Access to reproductive health care and a woman’s right to choose are fundamental rights in New Jersey,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Now more than ever, the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act is crucial.” 

“Today’s historic legislation affirms the dignity and bodily autonomy of every New Jerseyan,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Further, expanding access to and affordability of reproductive health care, including contraception, is an essential part of our efforts to solve our state’s maternal health crisis. I am incredibly proud to see New Jersey take this important step forward.”

“With Governor Murphy’s signature today, New Jersey reaffirmed and protected the right to abortion,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “In light of ongoing attacks on reproductive rights across the country, codifying a declaration of strong, unwavering rights is crucial. However, far too many New Jerseyans remain unable to access this fundamental right. We urge our state’s leaders, through legislation and regulatory action, to not only affirm reproductive freedom, but make it truly accessible by lifting financial barriers to ensure we do not leave any communities behind.” 

“Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey applauds the strong declaration of reproductive rights in S49/A6260, as well as the expansion of birth control access through S413/A4698,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “This new legislation ensures decisions about contraception, abortion, and carrying a pregnancy to term are protected in state statute. This is a day of celebration in New Jersey. The work is far from over, and we look forward to continuing our advocacy alongside Governor Murphy to ensure that every New Jerseyan can access the reproductive health care they need.” 

“If we are to achieve equality of the sexes, we must trust women and allow them to control their reproductive cycles without governmental interference,” said Anjali Mehrotra, President, National Organization for Women of New Jersey. “Access to comprehensive reproductive health care allows women to plan out their lives, enabling them to pursue education and career opportunities, which leads to increased workforce attachment and wages over time. The codification of the right to abortion in statute is good for women, it is good for families, it is good for business, it is good for New Jersey.”  
 
“Abortion care is just as much about economic justice as it is about reproductive freedom,” said Sheila Reynertson, Senior Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective. “The reality is that, for far too many families, carrying an unplanned pregnancy can have devastating financial consequences. One’s future plans are put at risk, like going to college or building a career. It’s no surprise that those who cannot access this time-sensitive care are more likely to live in poverty, raise children alone, and struggle to afford basic needs. We thank Governor Murphy and the bill sponsors for taking a stand in support of reproductive autonomy, and we look forward to working with the administration on ways to improve access to abortion care for all.” 

“BlueWaveNJ celebrates New Jersey’s passage of the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act,” said Marcia Marley, President of BlueWave. “It is a strong statement guaranteeing the full range of reproductive rights, including abortion, passed at a time when other states are eliminating or threatening these rights.  We are deeply grateful to Governor Murphy, his staff, and legislators –particularly Senator Loretta Weinberg– for their tenacity in the negotiations.  Does this bill have everything New Jersey needs?  No, but it represents an important and essential foundation we can build on. BlueWaveNJ looks forward to continuing to work with the administration and the legislature to ensure that everyone in our state can access and afford all reproductive services.”  

 “The National Council of Jewish Women, New Jersey Sections, (NCJW-NJ) applaud the passage of S49/A6260, Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which codifies in statute the full array of reproductive rights, including abortion, and thanks Governor Murphy for his steadfast support,” said the National Council of Jewish Women, New Jersey Sections. “While personal autonomy and decision-making is a priority, so is the care of others to ensure that their access to these rights is unimpeded.  To this end, NCJW- NJ looks forward to working with the Governor and all legislators to pass needed equity and access provisions.” 

“As independent abortion providers who have served our community for over forty years, and now, through a pandemic, Cherry Hill Women’s Center recognizes that the passage of the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act is a historic moment for the people in our state, the patients who we care for every day.  Today, New Jerseyans who can become pregnant will no longer question our right to make fundamental decisions about our health, our lives, and our futures,” said Roxanne Sutocky, Director of Community Engagement for Cherry Hill Women’s Center. “Every day our fierce and fearless team of dedicated caregivers provides excellent abortion services and are called to guide our patients as they navigate the financial and logistical barriers blocking their ability to exercise their reproductive rights.  We appreciate the efforts of the legislature and the Governor to pass this historic legislation and we call on these representatives to do more to eliminate the remaining barriers which fall hardest on people working to make ends meet, people living in rural areas, undocumented people, and LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities disproportionately impacted by systemic racism and reproductive oppression.” 



New Jersey Student Loan Borrowers to Receive More than $60 Million in Relief from Settlement with Navient Corp. in State’s Lawsuit Alleging Deceptive, Misleading Tactics by the Student Loan Servicer

Settlement Is Part of $1.85 Billion Nationwide Resolution

January 13, 2022

Newark – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that New Jersey student loan borrowers will receive over $60 million in relief from a settlement with Navient Corp. and its subsidiary Navient Solutions LLC (Navient) that resolves a 2020 lawsuit filed by the State against the student loan servicing giant. The State’s lawsuit alleged that Navient engaged in unconscionable commercial practices, deceptive conduct, and misrepresentations when servicing thousands of New Jersey consumers’ student loans over the past decade – boosting company profits at the expense of struggling borrowers.

The Navient settlement includes approximately $57.2 million in debt relief and $3.1 million in restitution payments to New Jersey borrowers, as well as a $3 million payment to the State.

New Jersey’s settlement is part of a nationwide settlement of claims by 38 States and the District of Columbia alleging widespread abuses in Navient’s student loan origination and servicing business. The total value of the nationwide settlement is approximately $1.85 billion.

Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, was one of the nation’s largest servicers of both federal and private student loans, until partially exiting the business in September 2021. Student loan servicers are a critical link between borrowers and lenders. In addition to managing borrowers’ accounts and processing their monthly payments, student loan servicers are responsible for assisting financially struggling borrowers to enroll in alternative repayment plans or request a modification of loan terms from lenders.

“Too many New Jerseyans have struggled to pay off their student loans,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “And too many of those borrowers have had a harder time because their student loan servicer put corporate profits above their best interests. With today’s settlement, we are holding one of the country’s largest student loan servicers accountable, and we are putting millions of dollars back in our residents’ pockets.”

From 1989 to 2016, the average cost of obtaining a degree from a four-year college or university in the United States rose about eight times as fast as the average wage. Faced with the soaring cost of higher education, over 44 million people in the United States have taken out student loans. Total student loan debt is now more than $1.75 trillion nationwide, and the average New Jersey borrower carries $35,730 in student debt, among the highest in the country, according to some sources. 

Statistics show that certain groups of borrowers are particularly at risk. 

In 2019, the New York Federal Reserve found that borrowers in Black-majority zip codes are more likely to borrow to fund their education, have higher average loan balances, and fall into default at almost double the rate of white-majority zip code borrowers. Moreover, the findings show that borrowers who received Pell Grants—most of whom have family incomes below $40,000—were five times as likely to default within 12 years; borrowers whose parents did not attend college were more than twice as likely to default than borrowers whose parents did attend college; and borrowers who began their education at for-profit colleges defaulted at seven times the rate of those who attended public colleges.

“Student loan borrowers who thought college would be a path to success instead found themselves on the road to financial ruin as a result of Navient’s unlawful conduct,” said Sean P. Neafsey, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Navient’s failure to provide fair and honest services to New Jersey borrowers violated consumer protection laws and heaped more debt on individuals who could least afford it. The settlement announced today holds Navient accountable for its unconscionable conduct, and provides meaningful financial relief to the borrowers harmed by it.”

In its civil suit against Navient, the State alleged that instead of fulfilling its legal obligation to student loan borrowers Navient put its own financial self-interests first through deceptive and unconscionable tactics that at various times over the last decade have included:

  • Steering borrowers into forbearance instead of income-driven repayment plans better suited to their financial circumstances. Instead of taking the time (and incurring the operational expense) to assist borrowers experiencing long-term financial hardship choose the most appropriate loan repayment option for them, such as those setting monthly payments based on what they could afford to pay, Navient’s call center representatives steered borrowers toward forbearance—usually a costlier option for such borrowers than income-driven repayment plans. Navient incentivized its call center representatives to adopt this approach because it allowed representatives to handle calls more quickly, at less cost to the company. As a result, borrowers steered into forbearance suffered consequences including the unnecessary accrual of interest, the addition of interest to the principal, and the loss of months of timely payments that would have otherwise counted toward loan forgiveness.
     
  • Failing to inform borrowers of deadlines to recertify their eligibility for certain income-driven repayment plans. Borrowers in income-driven repayment plans typically must recertify their eligibility on an annual basis. Navient failed to clearly communicate to borrowers the deadline to recertify their eligibility and the consequences of non-renewal. As a result, many student loan borrowers’ repayment plans expired unnecessarily, resulting in immediate increases in their monthly payments and other financial harm.
     
  • Enticing borrowers to take out private student loans with a cosigner, and then making it exceedingly difficult to obtain a cosigner release. For loans originated by Navient, the company deceptively encouraged borrowers to have family members or others guarantee their loans as cosigners, which increased Navient’s chances of being repaid if the student defaulted. Navient then set various hurdles to make it difficult for borrowers to meet the company’s requirements for releasing a cosigner from a loan, which benefited Navient by maintaining additional sources of payment if a borrower failed to pay.
     
  • Misleading borrowers about the amount of their delinquency. Navient employees were trained to attempt to collect more than the past due amount from borrowers behind on their loans by using language that misled borrowers about how much they owed. Specifically, Navient sought to collect not only the delinquent amount, but also the next month’s payment by misleadingly calling the amount sought the “Present Amount Due.” This practice resulted in borrowers paying hundreds of dollars a month more than a borrower may have budgeted for the payment.

Under the terms of the settlement, Navient will make a total of $95 million in restitution payments of about $260 each to approximately 350,000 harmed consumers in the 39 jurisdictions, and it will cancel more than $1.7 billion in subprime private student loans owed by approximately 66,000 borrowers nationwide.

Borrowers who will receive restitution or forgiveness span all generations: Navient’s harmful conduct impacted everyone from students who enrolled in colleges and universities immediately after high school to mid-career students who dropped out after enrolling in a for-profit school in the early 2000s. Parents or grandparents who co-signed their children or grandchildren’s subprime loans will also receive relief.

Approximately 2,040 New Jersey borrowers will receive a total of $57,234,256 in debt cancellation and another 11,522 New Jersey borrowers will receive a total of $3,071,421 in restitution payments.

The settlement also requires Navient to notify borrowers of the Department of Education’s important changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which offers millions of qualifying public servants a waiver that may count past payments towards loan forgiveness. The Attorney General encourages all New Jersey residents who work in the government or non-profit sectors to review the PSLF website to determine whether they might qualify for loan forgiveness.

On October 20, 2021, Navient’s contract to service 5.6 million loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education was transferred to Maximus/AidVantage. Following completion of this transfer, Navient will continue to service its existing portfolio of private student loans and legacy Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loans issued before the FFEL program ended in 2010.

Acting Attorney General Bruck filed the settlement as a proposed Consent Judgment today in Superior Court in Essex County. The settlement will require court approval.

Consumers do not need to take any action to receive the benefits required under the settlement. Consumers receiving private loan debt cancellation will receive a notice from Navient, and they will receive refunds of any payments made after June 30, 2021.

Consumers who are eligible for a restitution payment will automatically receive a restitution check of approximately $260 from the Attorney General’s settlement administrator in mid-2022. To ensure the settlement administrator can find you, federal loan borrowers who may be eligible for a restitution payment are encouraged to update their contact information in their studentaid.gov account or create an account if they do not already have one. For additional information, please visit the settlement website at www.NavientAGSettlement.com

Deputy Attorneys General Ana Atta-Alla, Cathleen O’Donnell, Isabella Pitt, Christina Garfield, Peter Van Brunt, and Alex Schmidt of the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, represented the State in the matter. They were supervised by Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section Chief Patricia Schiripo and Assistant Attorneys General Janine Matton and Brian McDonough. Investigators Michelle Davis, Walter Kaminski, and Jared O’Cone conducted the investigation on behalf of the Division of Consumer Affairs and the State of New Jersey.



FAA Implements More Efficient Descent Procedures to Reduce Fuel Burn, Emissions

January 13, 2022

WASHINGTON—Descent procedures that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) put in place across the country in the 2021 will save millions of gallons of fuel and reduce CO2 and other emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons. The 42 new Optimized Profile Descents (OPDs) allow planes to glide down safely from cruising altitudes into airspace for some of the nation’s largest airports instead of the fuel-consuming stair-step procedure.

“These new efficient descent procedures both save fuel and dramatically reduce emissions, moving us closer to our goal of net-zero aviation emissions by 2050,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. 

For each group of descents used at an airport, the FAA estimates that an average 2 million gallons of fuel is saved and 40 million pounds of emissions reduced annually. That is equivalent to eliminating the fuel and CO2 emissions of 1,300 Boeing 737 flights from Atlanta to Dallas.

“When we multiply the impact by thousands of flights, we gain real fuel savings and real environmental benefits,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said.

In 2021, the FAA implemented OPDs for Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Lakehurst Maxfield Field in New Jersey, Love Field in Dallas, Miami International Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, Orlando International Airport, Port Columbus International Airport, Portland International Jetport, Tampa International Airport and numerous mid-size airports.

Under traditional staircase descent procedures, aircraft repeatedly level off and power up the engines. This burns more fuel and requires air traffic controllers to issue instructions at each step. With optimized descents, aircraft descend from cruising altitude to the runway in a smooth, continuous path with the engines set at near idle.



Since 2014, the FAA also has developed OPD procedures at airports in Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Northern California, Southern California and Washington, D.C. More OPD procedures will be added in 2022.

The FAA employs a growing number of new flight procedures that use less fuel and reduce noise. These include NextGen initiatives such as Performance-Based Navigation (PBN). These procedures bring more precision to routes and result in less fuel burn and reductions in CO2 greenhouse gas emissions.

In November, the U.S. released its first-ever comprehensive Aviation Climate Action Plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Earlier in 2021, the FAA announced more than $100 million in matching grants to increase aircraft efficiency, reduce noise and aircraft emissions, and develop and implement new software to reduce taxi delays. The White House also announced its Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge, a government-wide initiative designed to catalyze the production of at least three billion gallons per year by 2030.

Find more information about the FAA and its environmental efforts at its Sustainability Gateway Page




Man Charged with Murder and Arson Which Killed Two on Christmas Morning, Fought with Family Members at a Party Earlier That Night

January 12, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Ronal Ordonez-Lima, 28, has been charged with two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of aggravated arson and five counts of arson. For an early Christmas morning fire that killed two people and left several homeless.

According to police, there were six occupants of 221 Rusling Street at the time of the fire, four of whom escaped the residence.  Firefighters located two deceased adults on the second floor.  The victims have been identified as Selvin Lima and Dilman Canpos, both adult males.

In Court documents, the affidavit submitted by Detective Marc Masseroni of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, stated that on December 25, 2021, at 3:29 a.m. Trenton Police Communications received a 9-1-1 call for a fire at 221 Rusling Avenue. There were reports of people trapped inside the burning structure. Firefighters arrived on scene and began efforts to extinguish the fire. The fire spread to multiple other structures and vehicles in the immediate area.

Once the fire was under control, firefighters located two bodies still inside 221 Rusling avenue on the 2nd floor.

Review of surveillance video of the area detectives observed an individual to be on the porch of 221 Rusling Avenue prior to the fire.

Detective Marc Masseroni stated as he approached 221 Rusling Avenue he observed fire damage from 223 Rusling Avenue to 215 Rusling Avenue. There was also fire damage to 213 Rusling Avenue. Upon an initial walkthrough he observed the most significant damage to the front door of 221 Rusling. Heavy fire damage was seen throughout the entire structure. In the affidavit it stated two bodies were observed in the residence. One body was located on the second-floor mid-bedroom and the other in the 2nd floor front bedroom.

The Homicide Task Force obtained video surveillance showing an individual later identified as Ronal Lima-Ordonez dressed in black shoes, black pants and a black and white colored shirt with a dark colored sweater over top. He walks onto the front porch of 221 Rusling Avenue at approximately 2:55 a.m. At 3:12 a.m. Lima-Ordonez lights a cigarette/cigar and begins to smoke it on the front porch. Lima-Ordonez continues to walk toward the front door and back towards the steps at various times. At approximately 3:18 a.m., Lima-Ordonez flicks his cigarette/cigar onto the sidewalk, walks back toward the door for approximately 30 seconds and then departs the front porch and walks toward Division Street. Immediately following his departure from the front porch, a flickering light can be seen coming from the front porch area near the door. Over the next several minutes, the fire continues to grow and extend toward the windows directly adjacent to the front door.

According to the affidavit family members were interviewed and the sister of Ronal Lima-Ordonez stated that Lima-Ordonez had got into a fight with her husband. She explained that she was pushed by her brother and that was when they began physically fighting.

Another male relative stated that he had gotten into a physical altercation with Ronal LIma-Ordonez at a party on Mott Street. The relative explained that Lima-Ordonez got physical with his wife and he defended her. During the fight he had punched Lima-Ordonez multiple times. After the fight he and his wife walked back to 221 Rusling Avenue.

A full copy of the affidavit is listed below:


Certification in Support of Arrest Warrant – Ronal Ordonez-Lima

On December 25, 2021, at approximately 0329 hours, Trenton Communications received a 911 call for a fire occurring at 221 Rusling Avenue, Trenton, New Jersey with people trapped inside. At approximately 0336 hours, Fire apparatus arrive on scene and began efforts to extinguish the fire. Fire spread to multiple other structures and vehicles in the immediate vicinity and displaced numerous individuals in the area.

At approximately 0346 hours, Trenton Police were dispatched to the area on a report of an active fire. Upon arrival, Officers canvased the area and obtained identifying information of the residents that were displaced from the fire. Individuals identified as occupants of 221 Rusling Avenue included FM, EM, RM, SL, DC, AL, KC. Trenton Officers provided security of the scene until it was later released at approximately 1644 hours.

At approximately 0520 hours Detective Michael Cipriano, Trenton Police Department and Detective Charles Antinoro, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit were notified and responded to the scene. Once the fire was under control, Fire fighters located two bodies still inside 221 Rusling Avenue on the second floor of the structure. Upon initial review of surveillance video from 214 Rusling Avenue, Det. Cipriano and Det. Antinoro observed an individual to be on the front porch area of 221 Rusling Avenue prior to the fire. Mercer County Homicide Task force were advised and responded to the scene.

Based on the above, Det. Antinoro submitted a certification in support of a search warrant for 221 Rusling Avenue. At 0947 hours, Honorable Patrick J. Bartels, J.S.C., electronically signed said search warrant for 221 Rusling Avenue.

Prior to my arrival, Det. Vincent Gribbin arrived on scene to assist with photographs of the scene and evidence collection.

At approximately 1030 hours, I arrived on scene and observed caution tape surrounding the area. Trenton Officers were maintaining security of the scene and logged anyone who entered the scene. After providing my name, I entered the scene. As I approached 221 Rusling Avenue, I observed fire damage from 223 Rusling Avenue to 215 Rusling Avenue. I later learned that there was fire damage to 213 Rusling. Upon an initial walkthrough, I observed the most significant damage to the front door area of 221 Rusling Avenue. Heavy fire damage throughout the entire structure with damage dissipating toward the back of the first floor. Damage increased the higher into the structure I went with the roof and floors ultimately collapsing from the 3rd floor down onto the 2nd floor. I observed a total of two bodies inside the residence. One located on the second-floor mid-bedroom floor and one on the 2nd floor front bedroom floor.

Detective In Charge Reyes, Mercer County Homicide Task Force, and I spoke with FM while at the scene. FM agreed to come back to the Mercer County Homicide Task Force Office, to speak with us. DIC Reyes provided translation while speaking with FM. During his statement, FM explained that he was woken up by neighbors who were throwing objects at his window. He escaped through the front bedroom window and climbed down from a neighboring house.

During a cause and origin search, investigators sifted through debris in attempts to locate evidence and indications of an ignitable liquid being utilized. New Jersey State Fire Marshal Investigator Letts utilized his K-9 “Titan” to attempt to locate an accelerator. K-9 “Titan” made a positive indication on an unidentified item, believed to be a rag, located to the right of the porch steps. This item was collected as Sample one (1) and submitted into evidence. Several other locations on the porch were taken as evidence and submitted under sample two (2), three

(3) and four (4). Item five (5) was a control sample taken as a comparison for testing purposes. It should be noted that a lighter and a cigarette was located along the curb and street in front of 221 Rusling Street. These items were also taken as evidence.

Cause and origin search of the residence showed an origin to be in sill area of the front entryway door with a cause to be undetermined, pending test results from the NJSP Lab for accelerants from samples taken as evidence. It should be noted that witness statements confirmed the area origin to be between the front door and storm door.

It should be noted that simultaneously, Members of the Homicide Task force obtained video surveillance from the area of 221 Rusling Avenue. Upon review of said surveillance, an individual, later identified as Rona) Lima-Ordonez DOB- (also known as Rona Ordonez-Lima) dressed in black shoes, black pants, a black and white colored shirt with a dark colored sweater over top, walks onto the front porch of 221 Rusling Avenue at approximately 0255 hours. At approximately 0312 hours, Lima-Ordonez lights a cigarette/cigar and begins to smoke it on the front porch. Lima-Ordonez continues to walk toward the front door and back toward the steps at various times. At approximately 0318 hours, Lima-Ordonez flicks his cigarette/cigar onto the sidewalk, walks back toward the door for approximately 30 seconds and then departs the front porch and walks toward Division Street. Immediately following his departure from the front porch, a flickering light can be seen coming from the front porch area near the door. Over the next several minutes, the fire continues to grow and extent toward the windows directly adjacent to the front door.

At approximately 0329 hours, multiple individuals exit 227 Rusling Avenue and begin to throw items at the front of the house, breaking windows to alert the occupants of the fire. Two individuals identified as FM and RM jump out of the second-floor front bedroom window onto the roof of the porch and walk down toward 215 Rusling Avenue where they jump to safety. Fire department then arrives on scene and begins efforts to extinguish the fire.

After completing the cause and origin search, DIC Reyes and I spoke with KC, JR, and FM. All agreed to come back to the Mercer County Homicide Task Force office to speak with us.

During the interviews, a video clip obtained from 800 Division Street at approximately 0320 hours (real time) showing Lima-Ordonez walking away from 221 Rusling toward Division Street was placed a laptop computer to be shown to witnesses. This clip was shown to FM who identified the individual in the video an individual he knows as “Leon”. FM further stated that “Leon” is the brother of AL.

On December 26, 2021, Homicide Task Force members proceeded to 43 Busher Alley, Trenton, New Jersey to locate EM and AL. After speaking with them, they agreed to come back to the Mercer County Homicide Task Force office to speak with us.

DIC Reyes conducted the interview of both individuals because of a language barrier. During the interview of EM, He stated that himself, Selvin Lima and JR met his wife AL at 20 Mott Street, Trenton, New Jersey for a party. During that time he had gotten into a physical altercation with Ronal Lima-Ordonez. EM explained that Lima-Ordonez got physical with his wife and he (EM) defended her. During the fight he had punched Lima-Ordonez multiple times. EM explained that after the fight was broken up, he walked back to 221 Rusling Avenue and FM picked up AL from the party and brought her back to 221 Rusling Avenue. EM was shown the video clip obtained from 800 Division Street that was previously shown to FM. While reviewing the video, EM positively identified Ronal Lima-Ordonez. It should be noted that EM confirmed that Ronal Lima-Ordonez is known to smoke cigarettes.

DIC Reyes also spoke with AL. During the interview, AL confirmed that her brother Ronal Lima-Ordonez is her brother. She further stated that Lima-Ordonez had gotten into a fight with her husband EM. She explained that she was pushed by her brother and that was when they began physically fighting. Shortly after, she was taken home by FM. AL was shown the video clip obtained from 800 Division Street that was previously shown to FM and EM. While reviewing the video, she positively identified Ronal Lima-Ordonez on the video. It should be noted that AL confirmed that Ronal Lima-Ordonez is known to smoke cigarettes.

A publicly accessible search on Facebook.com found Facebook account “ronal.lima.37” with associated vanity name “Lima Ronal (Leon)” depicting Ronal Lima-Ordonez. Under the “Ronal’s Photo” tab, I observed Lima-Ordonez post a picture of himself on May 20, 2020 wearing a button-down collared shirt similar in style as that observed on surveillance video obtained from the area of 221 Rusling Avenue.

A Search through Trenton RMS system showed Lima-Ordonez to have a current address of 60 Division St Apt 3, Trenton, New jersey. Members of the Homicide Task force proceeded to 60 Division Street apt 3 in an attempt to locate him. After knocking on 60 Division Street Apt 3, Lima-Ordonez answered the door. Lima-Ordonez agreed to come back to speak with detectives regarding the incident. Lima-Ordonez was transported back by Detectives and placed into interview room 217. It should be noted that Lima-Ordonez had scratches and visible bruising on his face.

Upon reading Lima-Ordonez his Miranda, he invoked his right to have an attorney present. The interview was stopped, and Lima-Ordonez was held pending criminal charges.

I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment.

Dated: 12/27/2021

Detective Marc Masseroni

Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Homicide Task Force




Overturned Vehicle on Route 29 Backs Up Traffic

January 12, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Trenton Fire Department was dispatched to Route 29 near the tunnel and ballpark for a reported overturned vehicle with three entrapped around 3:20 p.m. Trenton firefighters arrived on scene with nothing showing and eventually found the accident on Route 29 on the curve in Hamilton Township with no entrapment or reported injuries. The New Jersey State Police blocked off two lanes so Cranbury Service Center could upright the vehicle and tow it away. NJ State Police is investigating the crash. No further details are available at this time. Traffic in the area was backed up over a half mile until the accident was cleared.

Trenton Man Arrested for December 18, 2021, Homicide

January 12, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Trenton man has been arrested and charged for a December 2021 shooting homicide that occurred on Garfield Avenue, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

Tevin Laster, 27, is charged with murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.  He was arrested on Saturday, January 8, 2022, in Trenton by members of the Mercer County Tactical Response Team, U.S, Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force, Mercer County Homicide Task Force and Mercer County Narcotics Task Force.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Laster pending trial.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department.   At approximately 1:40 a.m. on Saturday, December 18, 2021, Trenton police received a Shot Spotter activation for multiple rounds in the 400 block of Garfield Avenue.  Additional calls were received for a shooting and a male shot.  Upon arrival, officers located the victim, later identified as Quashawn Kelley, in the rear of a residence on Garfield Avenue suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the head, torso, arms and legs.  Kelley was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead a short time later.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.




Governor Murphy Reinstates Public Health Emergency to Respond to Omicron Variant of COVID-19

January 11, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Governor Phil Murphy today reinstated a Public Health Emergency, effective immediately, in order to ensure that the State is able to respond to the continued threat of COVID-19 and the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. Executive Order No. 280 declares a Public Health Emergency and restates the existing State of Emergency across all 21 counties in New Jersey, allowing state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to assist the State’s healthcare system and affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases. Executive Order No. 281 continues Executive Orders Nos. 111, 112, and 207, allows Executive Orders Nos. 251, 252, 253, 264, and 271 to remain in effect, and extends various regulatory actions taken by the departments in response to COVID-19.



“COVID-19 remains a significant threat to our State and we must commit every resource available to beating back the wave caused by the Omicron variant,” said Governor Murphy. “While we hope to return to a state of normalcy as soon as possible, the step I am taking today is a commonsense measure that will protect the safety and well-being of all New Jersey residents while allowing state government to respond to the continuing threat that COVID-19 poses to our daily lives.”

The Public Health Emergency will allow the state to continue vaccine distribution, vaccination or testing requirements in certain settings, the collection of COVID-19 data, implementation of any applicable recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent or limit the transmission of COVID-19, staffing and resource allocation, and other critical components of the State’s COVID-19 response. The new Public Health Emergency will allow for existing orders requiring masking in school and daycare settings to remain in effect.

Governor Murphy’s public health emergency declaration also empowers all State agencies to take all appropriate steps to continue to address the public health hazard resulting from new variants of COVID-19.  

Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, the Public Health Emergency will expire after 30 days, unless renewed. State COVID-19 metrics will be re-evaluated at the time of expiration to determine if an extension will be needed. 



For a video message from Governor Murphy on the Public Health Emergency, please click here

For a copy of Executive Order No. 280, please click here.

For a copy of Executive Order No. 281, please click here.



For the past two years our lives have been upended by this global pandemic. 

Our health care system has been stretched to the limit by variant after variant.

We’ve been forced to change the way we celebrate and gather with our families. 

And the virus altered the trajectory of our economy. 

As I stand here today, we are registering nearly 35,000 new cases a day. In the past two weeks alone, more than 10,000 of our fellow New Jerseyans have required hospitalization due to COVID. 

And though these numbers are a stark reminder of the seriousness of this moment in our history, I have a strong sense of optimism that we are moving forward in defeating this virus. 

Even today, the vast majority of our schools are open. 

We have recovered 70 percent of the jobs lost due to the pandemic.

Our children are back on playgrounds, back in the gym, and back on the ice.

And the vaccines mean we have the tools necessary to finally put this virus behind us … 

The tools required to maintain our best-in-class testing infrastructure and vaccine distribution … 

The tools necessary to keep our kids safe in and out of school … 

The tools necessary to protect our hospital networks and healthcare workers.

These tools all stem from the Public Health Emergency declaration that we made at the pandemic’s start, and which prepared us to carry on through its various heights. 

We have come so far, and we cannot stop now.

Therefore, in consultation with the Legislature, I have taken the necessary step of re-declaring a Public Health Emergency to ensure we keep moving forward in our response against COVID – and so we can put this virus behind us.

I am certain that there are some who are going to do their best to continue to spread misinformation about what this means.

So, I want you to hear it from me. 

This is what this does not mean.

It does not mean any new universal mandates or passports. 

It does not mean lockdowns.

It does not mean any business restrictions or gathering limits.

It does not mean going backward from any of the progress we’ve made together over the past 22 months.

In fact, in your day-to-day life, this step won’t have any new impact at all.

What it does mean is that we can continue moving forward with our coordinated and responsible approach to putting Omicron and COVID behind us.

It means keeping our schools, businesses, and communities open. 

It means we’ll be able to move vaccination and testing resources more easily to the places they need to be and to the residents who need them.

It means that right now – with record-high new cases because of Omicron and more people in our hospitals than at any point since the Spring of 2020 – our hospitals and health-care system will have every tool at their disposal to ensure the best care possible for everyone who needs it.

And, critically, it will mean we continue to stand on a firm base of science and facts, and not politics and conspiracies, to keep your family and your community safe by getting ahead of Omicron and staying there.

This step means getting our state moving to a real and lasting sense of normal.

A little more than a month ago, just as we thought we had finally gotten ahead of COVID, the Omicron variant came along. 

And while Omicron is doing its best to stop us in our tracks and push us back, we’re not going to let it. 

Look, we’ve been together in this fight for nearly two years. And I know you’re all frustrated. I know you’re tired. I know you want nothing more than to get back to normal. Well, so do I.

But together, we’re going to be keep pushing forward – together and we’re going to beat this thing.

So, keep doing everything you’ve been doing. Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Keep masking up. 

And keep moving forward.

Thank you. Happy new year. And God bless you all. 


Update: NJ Transit Moves to Improve Trenton Transit Center

Platform & Canopy Improvements and New Accessible High-Level Platform Will Enhance Safety and the Customer Experience at Vital Transit Hub


Related MidJersey.News story here from October 23, 2020:


January 11, 2021

NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors yesterday, January 10, 2022, approved a contract for full design services and construction support services for canopy, platform, and accessibility enhancements at the Trenton Transit Center. The contract is part of a $29 million effort to rehabilitate two existing platforms, and their associated canopies, elevators, and escalators, as well as to convert a low-level platform into a fully accessible high-level platform with elevator access.  The project will promote increased customer safety and convenience, increase capacity, reduce maintenance costs, and mitigate congestion on platforms.

“NJ TRANSIT is pleased to be advancing significant improvements at one of our state’s most essential multi-modal transit hubs,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “Ultimately, this project will create a safer, more modern, and more accessible Trenton Transit Center – with additional capacity and convenience for the thousands of customers who use it every day.”

In today’s action, the Board of Directors awarded a $1.9 million contract to AECOM Technical Services, Inc. for all design and construction support phases of this project.

The scope of work on the two island platforms will include the replacement of existing deteriorating wooden platform sections with a more durable concrete platform, the addition of new tactile strips and rub rails, the reconstruction of platform deck joints, and the repair of concrete spalls. Deteriorating canopies that were last reconstructed in 1992 will also be restored. The existing low-level platform will be upgraded to a high-level platform with a larger waiting shelter and a new elevator from the concourse above. In the past, NJ TRANSIT had upgraded the main station entrances and pedestrian overpass at the Trenton Transit Center. 

NJ TRANSIT was chosen as one of only 11 other transportation agencies in the nation to receive a competitive Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) State of Good Repair Grant that will be used in part to fund this project. The $18.2 million grant represents the federal share of the nearly $29 million total infrastructure improvement project.

A station has existed at the site since 1863.  New stations have been built to replace old, outdated ones several times through the course of history; in 1893, 1976, and most recently by NJ TRANSIT in 2008 when new station buildings were built on the north and south sides of the tracks including a new passenger concourse over the tracks connecting the two.

About NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 925,000 weekday trips on 253 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines, and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 166 rail stations, 62 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops link


Governor Murphy Applauds Confirmation of Seven Superior Court Judges

Confirmations Further Murphy Administration’s Commitment to Filling Judicial Vacancies

January 11, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– Governor Murphy today applauded the confirmation of seven Superior Court judges. The Senate yesterday confirmed Joanne Cocchiola, Lori Grifa, MeLinda Hawkins Taylor, Heather V. Taylor, Linda Hynes, Jill S. Mayer, and Aldo Russo tothe Essex, Burlington, and Camden vicinages.


“This highly-qualified group of judges will make substantial contributions to our state’s judiciary for decades to come,” said Governor Murphy. “Since the beginning of our Administration, we have responded to vacancies in the courts with 116 nominations, of which 81 have been confirmed. I look forward to continuing to make progress on nominations to the Superior Court.   


“I am especially honored that the Chief Ethics Officer in the Governor’s Office, Heather Taylor, was confirmed as a Superior Court judge today,” continued Governor Murphy. “Heather has served two gubernatorial administrations with an unwavering sense of integrity since 2014, and while I am sad to see her leave our Administration, I know that she will serve our state well in her new capacity.”









Update: New Jersey Transit Police Enter Freezing Water to Rescue Injured Trespasser – Make Life Saving Recovery with West Windsor Township Fire & EMS

2nd Serious Incident Within a Month at Princeton Junction Train Station

January 10, 2022

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–On the night of Tuesday January 4th, 2022, NJ Transit Police Department officers responded to the Princeton Junction Dinky Line for a potentially intoxicated trespasser that was struck by a train. Through the darkness, K9 Officer Roman reportedly heard cries for help coming from a swamp. Multiple officers and emergency personnel began searching through the area.

West Windsor Fire & Emergency Services were dispatched to the Princeton Junction Train Station for a reported pedestrian struck. Upon arrival members of C-Platoon met with Officer Roman & his K9 counterpart of the New Jersey Transit Police Department to look for the reported struck pedestrian. Within minutes Officer Roman and C-Platoon members heard yelling from the swampy marsh near the track.

While utilizing the thermal imaging camera from Fire & Emergency Services, the cadre of responders embarked into the swampy area where unable to definitively locate the injured subject. The air temperature during this time was approximately 28 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 7-10mph wind coming from the south. Considering the possible condition of the patient and the weather conditions, a request for the NJSP Aviation unit was initiated by Sgt. Conrad (NJTPD).

Once overhead, New Jersey State Police Aviation located the patient within 150 yards of the responders, without regard for their safety Firefighter Douglas Frueh, NJTPD Officer Ruocco, and Officer Geoghegan made their way through deep mud and ice-cold water to the patient.

Upon making patient contact Firefighter Frueh rapidly assessed the patient for injuries and what would be needed to safely remove the patient. He radioed to Captain Mitchell & Firefighter Zuber who began the trek into the unfavorable condition along with Officer Roman with equipment for removal. While waiting for the additional support the immediate injuries were tended to, and the patient’s leg was immobilized.

The patient was placed into a Reeves carrying device for extraction from the area.

This operation was a joint effort and may not have had the same outcome if all the resources hadn’t been on the scene.

All personnel sacrificed their safety and worked as a team to rescue this individual. Please remember to stay off the tracks. Every trespasser incident is avoidable!

Original MidJersey.News story here:


At another incident on December 23, 2021, Ptl. Knox and Ptl. Fattibene, were at the Princeton Junction Train Station along with Captain Bain and Firefighter Zuber (West Windsor Fire & EMS) for an intoxicated female on the southbound platform. While attending to the woman, they were alerted to a male who had just fallen from the northbound platform onto the train tracks and was lying face down and motionless across the outside rail. Ptl. Knox, Ptl. Fattibene, and Firefighter Jack Zuber jumped down onto the tracks and ran to victim to render aid while Capt. Bain stayed with the intoxicated female. The victim was found semi-conscious with a laceration to his forehead. Knowing the dangers of being on the tracks for any length of time, especially during rush hour, Ptl. Knox, Ptl. Fattibene, and Firefighter Zuber picked the victim up from the tracks and collectively lifted him back onto the platform, which was no small feat given the victims large size, limp state, and the height of the platform from the tracks. They even picked up his belongings from the tracks before jumping back to the safety of the platform. Barely a minute later, an Amtrak train traveling at a high rate of speed going northbound on the inside rail went screaming by. The victim had serious trauma to his head among other injuries and he was attended to by WW Fire & EMS members; Captain Pope, Captain Bain, Firefighter Zuber, Firefighter Jamison (Fire Marshal’s Office), and Firefighter Table. EMS 45 also transported the victim to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment.





Robbinsville Democratic Club Elects New Executive Board

January 10, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)-– On December 8, voting members of the Robbinsville Democratic Club elected four new members of the executive board to serve two-year terms until December 2023, effective immediately. The President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary are joined by the Robbinsville Democratic Committee Chair in making up the executive board. The new board members include:

Kiran Agrahara, President: Kiran Agrahara has been a resident of Robbinsville for 13 years. He is a senior technologist at the largest semiconductor company in the world, and has held leadership positions at several tech start-ups in the past in the areas of strategy and technology sales.

Amanda Gruber, Vice President: Amanda Gruber has worked in the financial sector for the past 16 years, where she is active with her office’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group. She has lived in Robbinsville for 10 years with her husband and twin boys.

Susan Scibilia, Treasurer: Susan Scibilia has lived in Robbinsville for over two decades. She works in higher education and spends time volunteering for a variety of organizations in the local community.

Melissa Kvidahl Reilly, Secretary: Melissa Kvidahl Reilly moved to Robbinsville in 2017. She is a freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience writing for various trade and consumer publications, as well as higher education and corporate clients.

The executive board can be reached at robbinsvilledemclub@gmail.com.

About the Robbinsville Democratic Club
The Robbinsville Democratic Club was founded in 2019 to give Democrats in Robbinsville a place to discuss issues central to the Democratic platform and get involved to make positive change locally and beyond. Membership is open to students and adults in Robbinsville and surrounding communities. Learn more at www.robbinsvilledemocraticclub.org.

Apartment Fire in Princeton Extinguished

January 10, 2022

PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:15 p.m. the Princeton Fire Department was dispatched to an apartment fire at 37 Wiggins Street. Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire showing from the 3rd floor and roof area in the rear of the building and a full first alarm was called. Fire departments including Princeton Junction, Plainsboro, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, Hamilton, Rocky Hill, Montgomery, Kingston, Kendall Park, Hopewell, West Windsor Fire and Emergency Services and others were sent to the scene. Princeton First Aid Squad and West Windsor Emergency Services stood by for EMS services. Princeton was covered by Lawrenceville and Pennington Fire Departments.

By 3:30 p.m. most of the fire was knocked down but there was extensive overhaul to be done.

There were no injuries reported and five occupants were displaced.

The fire is under investigation by the Princeton Fire Marshal. No further information is available at this time. Check back for further information and updates.