Month: August 2022

Health Officials Investigate Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in Hamilton Township,Urge Precautions to Reduce Risk of Legionella Growth in Homes and Buildings

Water samples collected from more than half of the homes served by Trenton Water Works identified the presence of Legionella, including in samples of the cold-water entering homes.

August 29, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP-TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease were recently reported in August 2022 from the section of Hamilton Township, Mercer County, served by Trenton Water Works (TWW). Two additional cases were reported, respectively in April 2022 and December 2021. Of the four, one individual has died.

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that people can get after breathing in aerosolized water (small droplets of water in the air) containing Legionella bacteria. You cannot get Legionnaires’ disease by drinking water that has Legionella. Less commonly, people can get sick when water containing Legionella is aspirated into the lungs while drinking (“goes down the wrong pipe”).

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) receives approximately 250–350 reports of Legionnaires’ disease each year throughout New Jersey. Public health departments routinely conduct disease surveillance to identify suspected clusters or outbreaks. When an outbreak is identified, impacted individuals are notified so they are aware of steps they can take to reduce their risk of Legionnaires’ disease.  

The Hamilton Township Division of Health continues to work closely with NJDOH to investigate these cases. This is part of a larger ongoing investigation to determine potential sources of Legionella contributing to the higher burden of Legionnaires’ disease in Hamilton Township. Health officials continue to conduct surveillance for Legionnaires’ disease in other municipalities served by TWW. 

As part of these ongoing efforts, the Hamilton Township Division of Health and NJDOH recruited 20 homeowners from Hamilton Township to voluntarily have their homes tested for Legionella. Water samples collected from more than half of the homes served by TWW identified the presence of Legionella, including in samples of the cold water entering homes. It is possible for Legionella to enter buildings and homes when receiving treated drinking water. However, health officials are concerned about the number of homes with Legionella in areas serviced by TWW. There is concern that Legionella may be present in other buildings and homes in the area, particularly in the areas of Hamilton Township served by TWW. 

Hamilton Township and NJDOH are partnering with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and TWW to investigate factors that may be promoting the growth of Legionella bacteria and to evaluate actions that can be taken to reduce Legionella in the system. Investigators are also assessing if the other municipalities served by TWW are impacted.

“I want to thank Hamilton’s Division of Health, NJDOH, and NJDEP for their joint and thorough investigation into the causes of Legionnaire’s disease here in Hamilton,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “This has been an issue for many years and their tireless work will hopefully reveal a cause for the high number of cases here in the Township – specifically those in the TWW service area.”

NJDOH recommends that all homeowners and building owners follow best practices to maintain their household and building water systems. However, health officials are especially urging residents and business owners in Hamilton Township served by TWW to take actions to reduce the risk of Legionella growth in their household and building plumbing. Recommendations for homeowners and building owners are available below. 

It is not known whether individuals with Legionella detected in their home are more likely to develop Legionnaires’ disease, but there is no safe amount of Legionella, and individuals at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease are especially urged to follow best practices for home plumbing system maintenance and safe uses of water.  

It is rare for a healthy person exposed to Legionella to become sick with Legionnaires’ disease. However, people who are 50 years or older, especially those who smoke, or those with certain medical conditions, including weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions, are at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches, which are similar to symptoms caused by other respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal but is treatable with antibiotics. It is important that anyone who thinks they have symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease contact their health care provider and seek medical evaluation. 

The Hamilton Township Division of Health and NJDOH want to remind healthcare providers to maintain a high index of suspicion for Legionnaires’ disease when evaluating patients for community-acquired and healthcare-associated pneumonia, especially among residents of Hamilton Township. This is important to ensure patients receive appropriate and timely treatment. Appropriate testing for Legionnaires’ disease includes use of the urinary antigen test and collection of a lower respiratory specimen.

“There are simple precautions that residents can take to help protect themselves – such as regularly flushing water at their taps, cleaning their showerheads, and maintaining their water heaters,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan. “Additionally, home and car air-conditioning units do not use water to cool the air, so they are not a risk for Legionella growth.”’

According to NJDOH, residents, particularly those at high risk, can follow recommended steps to decrease the risk of Legionella exposure and best practices to limit the growth of Legionella in household water systems and devices:

  • Avoid high-risk activities. If you are at an increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease, consider avoiding hot tubs, decorative fountains, power washing, or similar activities, which may generate increased amounts of aerosols or mist. A conversation with your healthcare provider may help you assess your individual level of risk based on underlying health conditions and co-morbidities. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you consider installing specialty biological 0.2-micron filters on your showerhead if you are severely immunocompromised, reside in Hamilton Township, and receive water from Trenton Water Works.
  • Maintain in-home medical equipment. If using medical equipment that requires water for use or cleaning such as non-steam generating humidifiers, CPAP or BiPAP machines, nasal irrigation devices such as Neti Pots, and attachments for nebulizers, follow manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance. This often includes using sterile water instead of tap water in the device. 
  • Clean and/or replace your showerheads and faucet aerators (screens) per manufacturer’s instructions whenever buildup is visible. This is particularly important if you haven’t cleaned your showerheads or faucet aerators recently. Cleaning might require you to remove the showerhead and hose and soak in a solution (such as white vinegar or a bleach solution) to remove buildup. If using chemicals, follow instructions found on the back of the bottle for safe use. 
  • Keep your water heater set to a minimum of 120°F. This temperature will reduce Legionella growth and avoid potential for scalding (hot water burns). Setting the heater to a higher temperature may better control Legionella growth, especially if you have household members at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease. However, if the temperature is set to greater than 120°F, make sure you take extra precautions to mix cold and hot water at the faucet and shower to avoid scalding. If you have household members at increased risk of scalding, such as young children or older adults, you may consider installing a thermostatic mixing valve. A mixing valve allows your water to be stored at a higher temperature within your water heater to help kill bacteria while eliminating concerns with water being too hot at sinks or showers. If you decide to install a mixing valve, be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for routine cleaning and maintenance to avoid bacteria growth within the valve. Consider consulting with a licensed plumbing professional and ensure you are following your local codes and ordinances for home plumbing repairs.
  • After cleaning showerheads and faucet aerators and increasing the temperature of the water heater, thoroughly flush the water at each tap (e.g., sink, showerhead) for 20 minutes. Try to minimize exposure to splashing and mist generation, for example, by leaving the room while the water is running.
  • Conduct routine flushing. Sinks and shower taps that are not used often can increase the risk of Legionella growth in other areas of the home. Let your faucets and showers run for at least three minutes when they have been out of use for more than a week. Minimize exposure to splashing and mist generation, for example, by leaving the room while the water is running. Additionally, you may consider flushing your water following any water disruption to your home, such as low pressure or discoloration, resulting from a water main break or nearby hydrant flushing. 
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining your water heater and expansion tank, including periodic flushing, draining, and removal of sediment. If manufacturer’s instructions are unavailable, seek advice from a licensed professional.
  • Clean and/or replace all water filters per manufacturer’s instructions. All whole-house (e.g., water softeners) and point-of-use filters (e.g., built-in refrigerator filters) must be properly maintained. 
  • Drain garden hoses and winterize hose bibs. Detach and drain the hose, shut the water valve off inside the home, and drain the pipe when not in use for the season. 
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining your hot tub. Ensure disinfectant levels (e.g., chlorine) and maintenance activities (e.g., cleaning, scrubbing, replacing the filter and water) are followed. For more information, be sure to review CDC’s recommendations for residential hot tub owners found here:
  • Operate and maintain your indoor and outdoor decorative fountains according to manufacturer’s instructions to limit your exposure to Legionella. Household members at increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease should avoid exposure to decorative fountains. If manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance are not available, minimum cleaning frequency recommendations can be found in CDC’s Legionella Control Toolkit available at: Controlling Legionella in Decorative Fountains (PDF).
  • Remove, shorten, or regularly flush existing dead legs. Plumbing renovations can lead to the creation of dead legs, a section of capped pipe that contains water but has no flow (or is infrequently used). For future renovations, ensure your plumber avoids creating dead legs. 


  • Complete this quick yes/no worksheet to determine if your building, or certain devices in your building, need a Water Management Program. Resources to help you develop a Water Management Program and for Legionella control in common sources of exposure are available at NJ Department of Health’s Legionella
  • Store hot water at temperatures above 140°F and ensure hot water in circulation does not fall below 120°F (or at highest temperature allowable by local regulations and codes). Install thermostatic mixing valves as close as possible to fixtures to prevent scalding while permitting circulating hot water temperatures above 120°.
  • Clean and maintain water system components. This includes devices such as thermostatic mixing valves, aerators, showerheads, hoses, filters, water heaters, storage tanks, and expansion tanks, regularly per manufacturer instructions.
  • Flush hot and cold water at all points of use (faucets, showers, drinking fountains) at least weekly to replace the water that has been standing in the pipes. Healthcare settings and facilities that house vulnerable populations should flush at least twice a week.
  • Remove dead legs or, where unavoidable, make them as short as possible. Where a dead leg (a section of pipe capped off with little or no water flow) cannot be avoided, it should be flushed regularly to avoid water stagnation. This may require the installation of a drain valve.
  • Monitor water quality parameters such as temperature, disinfectant residuals, and pH regularly. Adjust frequency of monitoring based on stability of values. For example, increase frequency of monitoring if there is a high degree of measurement variability. Pay particular attention to water quality parameters following a water disruption event, such as low pressure or discoloration, resulting from a water main break or nearby hydrant flushing
  • Safely operate and conduct regular maintenance of cooling towers to protect staff, visitors, and the adjacent community from exposure to Legionella. Use a Water Management Program to establish, track, and improve operation and maintenance activities. 
  • Follow recommendations from the NJ Department of Health when reopening your facility following a prolonged shutdown or reduced operation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Recommendations are available at:


Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionella is a type of bacteria found naturally in freshwater environments such as lakes and streams and becomes a health concern when it enters and grows inside human-made water systems. People can get Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in aerosolized (small droplets) water containing Legionella. Aerosolized water can come from plumbing systems and devices such as cooling towers (part of the cooling system for large buildings), hot tubs, cooling misters, and decorative fountains. Less commonly, people can get sick by aspiration of tap water containing Legionella. This happens when water accidently goes into the lungs while drinking (“goes down the wrong pipe”). People at increased risk of aspiration include those with swallowing difficulties. Home A/C units do not use water to cool, so these home units do not aerosolize water and are not a risk for Legionella growth. Legionnaires’ disease is generally not spread person to person. Additional information regarding Legionnaires’ disease and Legionella can be located at NJDOH’s website.

Acting AG Platkin Announces the Indictment of Eight Individuals Allegedly Operating a Prostitution and Human Trafficking Ring in Central Jersey

Victims Include Minor and Women Held Against Their Will 

August 29, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that eight defendants were indicted on first-degree racketeering and conspiracy charges in connection with a prostitution and human trafficking ring they allegedly operated in Mercer and Monmouth counties. During a four-month investigation, detectives from the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) discovered that the defendants ran prostitution houses, where, in exchange for money from patrons, the defendants exposed a minor and at least two women held captive against their will to repeated sexual assaults.

The 20-count indictment, obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice Human Trafficking Unit on August 5, 2022, also charges various defendants with numerous other crimes related to the criminal enterprise – including human trafficking, promoting prostitution, sexual assault, and money laundering.

The charges stem from “Operation Hudson House” an investigation by the NJSP Missing Persons and Human Trafficking Unit that identified victims being shuttled between two houses of prostitution – one on Hudson Street in Trenton and a second on Prospect Street in Asbury Park – where men purchased poker chips entitling them to select a female for sexual activity for a specific period of time. The investigation also identified a third house on Woodland Street in Trenton that was used as the hub of the operation.

“Forcing anyone – let alone a minor – to perform sexual acts for money is a despicable crime and a brutal abuse of power targeting the most vulnerable victims,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “I commend the work of the investigators and prosecutors who put an end to the sexual violence brought upon a minor and women held captive out of greed, and thank the advocates and service providers who now begin the hard work of helping these survivors live past their trauma.”

“This was a well-organized operation with every defendant taking part in the despicable crimes against these victims,” said Director Pearl Minato. “The charges they face reflect the roles they played and we intend to prosecute them fully for their unlawful conduct. Human trafficking is an affront on human dignity that will not be tolerated in New Jersey.”

“Human trafficking victims are subjected to irreprehensible physical and emotional abuse because of the manipulation and fear-based tactics used by their perpetrators,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This investigation shows our dedication to use every resource at our disposal to bring these criminals to justice and dismantle operations that create life-long, damage to victims. We remain committed to working with our partners to aggressively target these offenders but remind everyone to remain vigilant and report these heinous crimes to law enforcement.”

Charged in the criminal enterprise operated between December 16, 2021 and May 11, 2022 are:

Paulino “Pablo” Macolas-Aguirre, 43, of Trenton. As the alleged “boss” of the criminal enterprise, Macolas-Aguirre was responsible for recruiting/luring the female victims to the operation and allegedly gave orders to the workers as to which house each woman should be assigned and when they should be relocated to another house. He was also allegedly responsible for paying the workers and victims at the end of each week, and created and distributed business cards to ensure a steady stream of customers to his enterprise.

Charges – First-degree: conspiracy, racketeering, human trafficking (3 counts), promoting prostitution of a child under 18. Second-degree: facilitating human trafficking (2 counts), sexual assault. Third-degree: promoting prostitution, endangering the welfare of a child, money laundering (3 counts).

Laura Macolas-Aguirre45, of Asbury Park, sister of Paulino Macolas-Aguirre; Edy Villeda-Estrada, 39, of Asbury ParkDaniel Camara-Bonito 55, of Trenton. Alleged employees of the criminal enterprise who were tasked with managing the houses of prostitution. Their responsibilities included permitting customers inside the houses, taking money from the customers and providing them access to the victims.

Charges – First-degree: conspiracy, racketeering, human trafficking, promoting prostitution of a child. Second-degree: facilitating human trafficking. Third-degree: promoting prostitution, endangering the welfare of a child, money laundering. Camara-Bonito is also charged with second-degree conspiracy and hindering apprehension (2 counts) and third-degree witness tampering.

Efran Melo-Castillo, 30, of Trenton. An alleged employee of the criminal enterprise responsible for driving the females to houses and outcall services. He was also allegedly responsible for obtaining necessities, such as food and other supplies for the houses and allegedly paid various expenses of the enterprise, including rent to landlords for the houses, at the direction of Macolas-Aguirre.

Charges – First-degree: conspiracy, racketeering, human trafficking, promoting prostitution of a child. Second-degree: facilitating human trafficking (2 counts). Third-degree: promoting prostitution, endangering the welfare of a child, money laundering.

Daniel Handerson Camara-Perico, 31 of Trenton and Jose G. Camara-Perico, 30, of Trenton, sons of Camara-Bonito. Alleged employees of the criminal enterprise responsible for driving the victims to houses and outcall services, collecting proceeds from the houses and providing the money to Macolas-Aguirre. The pair allegedly monitored operations at the houses via a surveillance system accessible via a phone app.

Charges – D. Camara Perico – First-degree: conspiracy, racketeering, human trafficking, promoting prostitution of a child. Third-degree: promoting prostitution, endangering the welfare of a child.

Charges – J. Camara-Perico – First-degree: conspiracy, racketeering, human trafficking. Second-degree: facilitating human trafficking. Third-degree: promoting prostitution, money laundering.

Daniela Camara-Perico, 29, of Trenton, daughter of Camara-Bonito and girlfriend of Macolas-Aguirre. She allegedly engaged in witness tampering of the juvenile victim in an attempt to insulate the enterprise’s workers from criminal exposure.

Charges – First-degree: conspiracy, racketeering. Second-degree: conspiracy, hindering apprehension. Third-degree: witness tampering.

On January 21, 2022 NJSP detectives conducted surveillance at the Hudson Street house from 5 pm to 9:30 pm and during that time observed approximately 10 men enter the residence through the rear door and then exit approximately 15 to 20 minutes later. At approximately 9:30 pm, a male locked the gate to the residence. Later that night, members of the State Police T.E.A.M.S. Unit, K-9 Unit, Crime Suppression Central Unit, Trenton Police Department, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed a search warrant on the house. Inside, officers found the residence to be fortified, specifically with a high-level padlock on the gate leading to the alley to the rear door, a 2×4 wood plank across the entrance door, and a sophisticated surveillance system.

Villeda-Estrada and Camara-Bonito were both located inside the house and placed under arrest.  The 17-year-old juvenile victim was also located in the residence, where she was assigned to a main level bedroom. The bedrooms in the house each contained a bed, a bedside table equipped with a bottle of rubbing alcohol, paper towels, condoms and lubricant, a trash can and a chair. With the exception of suitcases in the closet and a bicycle in the juvenile’s bedroom, the bedrooms contained no personal effects. During the search, numerous items were seized, including cash and notebook ledgers containing the names of victims, followed by numbers next to each day of the week, suspected to be the number of prostitution clients that each victim saw on a given day.

Through various investigative means, detectives identified Macolas-Aguirre as the alleged ringleader of the human trafficking operation and determined that he was operating out of multiple locations in Trenton and Asbury Park.

On Wednesday, May 11, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons & Human Trafficking Unit, Trenton Police Department, Asbury Park Police Department, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Fugitive Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice executed search warrants at various residences in Trenton and Asbury Park, including Macola-Aguirre’s primary residence on Bridge Street in Trenton. As a result, two additional female victims were located. Detectives also obtained evidence of prostitution, including cash and ledgers believed to be an account of the number of prostitution clients the women saw each day.

Paulino Macolas-Aguirre, Laura Macolas-Aguirre, Efran Melo-Castillo and Jose Camara-Perico were arrested on May 11, during the execution of the search warrants. Following detention hearings, all defendants have been ordered detained pending trial. Daniel Camara-Perico and Daniela Camara-Perico were not present and are fugitives to date.

Deputy Attorney General Heather Hausleben is prosecuting the case for the DCJ Specialized Crimes Bureau, Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Valerie Butler, Bureau Chief Erik Daab, and Deputy Director Derek Nececkas

The investigation was conducted by the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons & Human Trafficking Unit, Trenton Police Department and Asbury Park Police Department.

The first-degree human trafficking charge carries a sentence of 20 years without parole to life in state prison and a mandatory fine of not less than $25,000. The mandatory fine is for direct victim services, and deposited into the “Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund.” The charge of promoting organized street crime carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison, consecutive to the sentence for any underlying crime. The other first-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000, and Second-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Acting Attorney General Platkin, Colonel Callahan, and Director Minato urge anyone who suspects that individuals are engaged in sex- or labor-related human trafficking to confidentially report such activity by calling the Division of Criminal Justice’s 24-hour NJ Human Trafficking Hotline 1-855-END-NJ-HT. In addition, members of the public who suspect improper contact by persons communicating with children on the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children can contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.

Defense Attorneys 

For Macolas-Aguirre: George Somers, Esq.

For Villeda-Estrada: Nicole Carlo, Esq.

For Camara-Bonito: Antonio Martinez, Esq.

For Jose G. Camara-Perico: Jennifer L. Gottschalk, Esq.

For Daniel Handerson Camara-Perico: Unknown

For Daniela Camara-Perico: Unknown

For Melo-Castillo: Louis A. Mangione, Jr., Esq.

For Macolas-Aguirre: Kevin A. Holleran, Esq.

At Long Last: NJDOT and Legislative Leaders Announce Route 129 Pedestrian Safety Improvement project in Trenton

First-in-the-nation technology part of plan to reduce red light running crashes

This comes after the latest serious hit and ron crash at Lalor and Route 129, the “Most Dangerous Intersection in America”

August 29, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, together with New Jersey 15th Legislative District representatives Senator Shirley K. Turner, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, and Assemblyman Anthony S. Verelli, today announced the start of a Pedestrian Safety Improvement project along the Route 129 corridor in the City of Trenton, Mercer County.

The project includes both short-term improvements and long-term solutions to improve safety for both pedestrians and cyclists at three signalized intersections on Route 129, at Lalor Street, Cass Street, and Hamilton Avenue. 

Initial short-term improvements will include a first-in-the-nation Red Clearance Extension system. This smart, predictive technology detects the speed of a vehicle approaching an intersection and automatically adjusts traffic signal changes. Additional improvements include revising the traffic signal timing at each intersection to provide pedestrians more time to cross, adding signal backplates to increase visibility, and installing upgraded, advanced warning signs over the roadway to replace ground-mounted signs. A project to make more extensive safety enhancements to these intersections is currently in the early stages of design.

“NJDOT’s commitment to communities is the driving force behind the Route 129 Pedestrian Safety Improvement project,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “By working closely with the community and employing innovative crash mitigation technology, we can make these intersections safer for the motoring public, pedestrians, and cyclists.”

“Unfortunately, Route 129 has been a dangerous blight on our capital city and now the Lalor Street intersection has been named one of the most unsafe in the country,” said Senator Shirley K. Turner.  “For nearly 30 years, our city residents have lived with a highway that bifurcates Trenton with heavy traffic that threatens the health and safety of residents who live in the area and puts the lives of pedestrians and cyclists at risk.  The safety improvements are being prioritized to minimize the hazardous conditions to prevent future serious injuries and fatalities.”

“These improvements are long overdue. One life taken is too many. Over the past decade, fatalities have increased along Route 129. These road infrastructure improvements will save lives,” said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson. “Whether you walk, bike, or drive, the goal is to reach your family, friends, and destination safely.  It’s my mission to improve the quality of life in our communities through public policy by focusing on and investing in people.”

“One of government’s key functions is making sure that all its citizens can live and thrive safely within their community.” said Assemblyman Anthony S. Verrelli. “These first-in-the-nation technological improvements will ensure that pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists alike have safe and equal access to Route 129. Nobody should have to risk their life when they leave their home, whether they have the privilege of owning a motor vehicle or not. I applaud NJDOT for helping move Trenton and New Jersey forward into a future where walkable communities and motor vehicles need not be at odds with each other but coexist as one.”

23-Year-Old From Hamilton Township Killed In I-195 Crash Early This Morning

August 27, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Trooper Brandi Slota from the New Jersey State Police, Public Information Unit told Midjersey.News that there was a fatal crash on I-195 early this morning. The crash was reported at 12:10 a.m. on I-195 westbound at milepost 0.2 in Hamilton Twp, Mercer County.

A Hyundai Elantra, a Western Star 4700 dump truck, and a Mitsubishi Outlander were traveling westbound on Interstate 195. In the area of milepost 0.2, the front of the Hyundai impacted the rear of the Western Star dump truck. After impact with the Western Star, the rear of the Hyundai was impacted by the front of the Mitsubishi.  The driver of the Hyundai, identified as Torrey Flim, 23, of Hamilton sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash.

Early morning MidJersey.News story here:

No Injuries Reported As Truck Leaves Roadway And Crashes Into Woods On NJ Turnpike

August 27, 2022

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–At 9:11 p.m. the Hightstown Fire Company, Hightstown First Aid, Robbinsville Fire Department and NJ State Troopers were sent to mile post 65.2 south bound outer roadway for a tractor-trailer in the woods with reported injuries. Upon arrival the tractor-trailer was into the woods but there were no injuries or entrapment. NJ State Police and NJ Turnpike Authority were standing by waiting for tow trucks to extricate the vehicle from the woods. NJ State Police is investigating the crash. No additional details are available at this time.

100 Black Vultures Dead Due To “Bird Flu” In Sussex County, New Jersey

The DEP is aware of over 100 black vulture deaths that have been occurring since early August off the Sussex Branch Trail in Lafayette, Sussex County, New Jersey. USDA has confirmed the cause as Avian Influenza (bird flu).

This is a phenomenon that has been observed in many states along the East Coast. Black vultures are seemingly very susceptible to Avian Influenza, and they tend to scavenge the carcasses of dead vultures, which can prolong the duration of a local outbreak such as the one being seen in Sussex County. The birds have been left to decompose on site due to rough terrain causing accessibility issues and a lack of personnel in the State certified to handle infected birds. Improper handling can lead to further spread of disease.

The risk of avian influenza being transmitted to people is extremely low. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and NJ DEP Fish and Wildlife are monitoring the situation. For questions regarding poultry please contact NJ Department of Agriculture ((609) 671-6400).

29-Year-Old Dead, Two Others Injured In Toms River Shooting; Homicide Investigation Underway

August 27, 2022

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Toms River Township Chief of Police Mitch Little announced that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit are currently investigating a homicide that occurred at approximately 1:20 a.m. on August 27, 2022 in Toms River.

At approximately 1:20 a.m. this morning, Officers from Toms River Township Police Department responded to 1723 Hooper Avenue for a report of gunshots fired. Responding Officers found three victims suffering from gunshot wounds. A twenty-nine year-old male was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River and was pronounced deceased. The two other victims were transported to Monmouth County for medical attention. A twenty-nine year-old male victim is currently in critical but stable condition. A twenty-five year-old male victim was treated for his injuries and released.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Little wish to emphasize that this is an active and ongoing investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit. There is no known danger to the public at this time.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation should contact Detective Denis Mitchell of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, or Detective Jennifer Grob of the Toms River Township Police Department at 732-349-0150

BREAKING: I-195 Closed In Hamilton Due To Serious Crash Investigation

August 27, 2022

The roadway has since reopened. Once official information is available the story will be updated.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 12:17 a.m. this morning NJ State Police reported a serious crash involving a car and a dump truck on I-195 west bound at mile post 0.2 near the I-295 overpass. Troopers called for Hamilton Township Fire Department, EMS and Captial Health Paramedics. It was unclear if anyone was transported from the scene to the hospital.

Troopers closed I-195 West Bound at the I-295 “loop” and I-195 East Bound left lane was closed.

From the scene it looks like one of the cars had heavy front end damage and two other cars appeared to be involved with the dump truck. The dump truck appears to be traveling west bound and went through the guard rail into the east bound lanes.

No further information is available about the crash at this time. Once NJ State Police releases official information the story will be updated and any corrections made.

ABC Issues Special Ruling to Allow Third-Party Delivery Services to Deliver Package Goods and Cocktails to NJ Customers’ Doorsteps

Third-Party Delivery Permit” Promotes E-Commerce to Benefit Businesses and Customers

Special ruling today that allows third-party delivery services like DoorDash, Instacart, and Amazon Flex to deliver alcoholic beverages – including cocktails “to go” – from restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to customers’ doorsteps.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Opening a new frontier for growth in New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage industry, Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) issued a special ruling today that allows third-party delivery services like DoorDash, Instacart, and Amazon Flex to deliver alcoholic beverages – including cocktails “to go” – from restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to customers’ doorsteps.

The “Third-Party Delivery Permit” – authorized by ABC Special Ruling 2022-– ushers in a new era of modern technology and e-commerce in New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage industry that benefits businesses and customers, while maintaining safety and preserving the legislative intent of the 89-year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control Act that established the state’s alcohol distribution system.

The permit allows delivery services to enter formal agreements with restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to make deliveries on their behalf.

“Opening the door to allow for third-party services to deliver alcoholic beverages to New Jersey residents will allow our local businesses to adapt to the everchanging world of technology and e-commerce,” said Governor Murphy. “Safety is a key element of this ruling; we want to make sure that those involved in delivering and receiving these products are authorized to do so. As we continue with the COVID-19 economic recovery, we must continue to take steps to evolve and adapt to our new normal.”

“The demand for delivery services exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Third-Party Delivery Permit expands that market in New Jersey and allows retail licensees to tap into it,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “This new permit strikes a balance that has been the hallmark of the Murphy Administration to continue innovation and growth in business but without sacrificing or jeopardizing public safety.  This is also a boon for consumers who have grown accustomed to using smart phone delivery apps to order everything from groceries to gourmet meals.”

Currently, ABC regulations permit only licensed retailers and transporters to deliver alcoholic beverages in New Jersey. The Third-Party Delivery Permit, which carries an annual cost of $2,000, updates those  historic procedures by authorizing a third-party delivery model—that is, allowing independent contractors using their personal vehicles (without transit insignia) to deliver alcoholic beverages to customers’ residences on behalf of New Jersey retail licensees, and charge a fixed fee for their delivery services.

The permitting process comes through collaboration with alcoholic beverage industry entities such as the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association, New Jersey Liquor Store Alliance, and participants in the third-party delivery sector.

“This is a game changer for New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage industry and a tremendous opportunity for growth,” said ABC Director James B. Graziano. “We’ve worked diligently to craft a permit that serves as an economic stimulus for the industry while maintaining the integrity of New Jersey’s robust liquor laws. The Third-Party Delivery Permit includes appropriate safeguards to ensure orderly, controlled, verifiable, and accountable deliveries of alcoholic beverages.”

But safety is key – in order to qualify for a Third-Party Delivery Permit, an applicant must submit a method of operation as part of the application process that describes in detail operating protocols, including procedures for:

  • conducting initial and recurring background checks of delivery workers, including criminal history and driving record;
  • providing alcohol-compliance training and certification to delivery workers who are eligible to deliver alcoholic beverages;
  • verifying that receiving customers are of legal age and not visibly intoxicated; and
  • refusing delivery and returning alcoholic beverages to retail licensee when necessary, such as when a customer is underage or intoxicated, refuses to sign for the delivery, or there is there is reason to suspect the customer is accepting delivery on behalf of an underage person.

Additionally, an applicant must submit a sample formal agreement with a retail licensee as well as a sample formal agreement with a delivery worker.  A Third-Party Delivery Permittee will be required to have formal agreements with retail licensees and delivery workers before any deliveries are made.

Only restaurants, bars, and liquor stores – which operate under retail licenses that have statutory privileges to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption – have the option of using the services of a Third-Party Permittee. Currently, businesses operating under manufacturing  licenses – such as craft breweries and distilleries ­– do not have statutory delivery privileges and therefore cannot use the services of a Third Party Delivery Permittee.

Under the Special Ruling, a Third-Party Delivery Permittee will be responsible for ensuring that its delivery workers comply with its approved method of operation and the permit’s conditions and restrictions, including the following prohibitions:

  • leaving alcoholic beverages unattended or storing alcoholic beverages overnight;
  • subcontracting a delivery of alcoholic beverages;
  • delivering alcoholic beverages to customers who are actually or apparently intoxicated or under the legal age to purchase or consume alcohol; and
  • delivering alcoholic beverages to the campus of any college or university.

Violations of the requirements contained in the Special Ruling could result in suspension or revocation of the Third-Party Delivery Permit.

An application for a Third-Party Delivery Permit will be available exclusively on the Division’s licensing system (POSSE) beginning October 1, 2022.

El Toro Closed For Inspection And Repairs At Six Flags Great Adventure After Multiple Injured Last Night

UPDATE From Last Night’s Story:

August 26, 2022

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–According to the Director of Communications, Tammori Petty-Dixon of the NJ Department of Community Affairs, that Six Flags Great Adventure last night informed DCA via the Department’s amusement ride incident hotline number that witnesses reported hearing a loud bang and seeing a jolting of the El Toro train during operation.

Reports of multiple injuries include: Fourteen people were treated onsite and five people requiring transport to the hospital, one for a neck injury, two for back injuries, and two for mouth and tongue injuries requiring further treatment.

DCA instructed Six Flags Great Adventure to shut down the ride. There is no further information as to the cause of the incident at the present moment. DCA ride inspectors are onsite today to investigate the incident.

According to Six Flags representatives, several guests reported back pain and minor injuries after riding El Toro last evening. Thirteen guests were evaluated at the park, of which five were taken to a local medical facility for evaluation, where they were treated and released. The ride completed its normal cycle and all guests exited the ride without need of assistance. The ride will remain closed for inspection. Any maintenance and repairs necessary will be completed and the ride will be re-inspected by our engineers, maintenance professionals, our 3rd party independent safety inspectors and the state of NJ prior to re-opening.

Six Flags Great Adventure Facebook Photo

Menendez, Booker Announce Over $220K to Protect Trenton’s Firefighters

August 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today announced $226,939.92 in federal Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) funding to improve safety and operations in Trenton’s fire departments. The AFG program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The City of Trenton will use the funds to install exhaust extraction systems in firehouses to improve the health and safety of firefighters.

“This funding is critical and will ensure our firefighters can continue to protect Trenton’s families and businesses,” said Sen. Menendez. “The best way to show our gratitude to the men and women who risk their lives is by providing them with the tools, resources, and support they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

“Trenton’s firefighters run into danger and risk their lives to protect us,” said Sen. Booker. “I’m proud to secure funding that will provide them with the equipment and resources they need to perform their jobs safely and effectively, and protect their community.”

“The men and women who put themselves on the front line to protect this city every day, deserve safe conditions when they aren’t responding to the call. That is exactly what these funds are going to do,” said Mayor W. Reed Gusciora. “These are necessary improvements for our fire houses and I’d like to thank Sentor Menendez and Sentor Booker for continuing to advocate for the City of Trenton.”

The AFG program provides direct financial assistance to eligible local professional and voluntary fire departments, emergency medical services organizations, and state fire training academies to equip and train first responders. Since it was established in 2001, New Jersey has received over $180 million in funding from the AFG program to enhance response capabilities, as well as to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel.

The following departments have been awarded AFG funding:

  • $437,217.96 Teaneck
  • $226,939.92 Trenton
  • $170,870.00 Englewood
  • $170,076.36 West New York
  • $143,032.72 Atlantic City
  • $142,857.14 Westampton Township Emergency Services
  • $123,145.71 Pennsville Township
  • $87,765.71   North Wildwood
  • $84,425.69   Neptune
  • $80,360.00   West Deptford Township
  • $74,214.28   Demarest Borough
  • $63,521.44   Oldwick Fire Department, Tewksbury
  • $61,904.76   Auburn Volunteer Fire Co, Swedesboro
  • $45,000.00   Egg Harbor City
  • $42,857.14   Sergentsville Volunteer Fire Co
  • $38,617.03   Secaucus
  • $38,304.54    Hoboken
  • $37,363.63   Hillside
  • $37,285.71   Quakertown Fire Co
  • $35,238.09   Morristown
  • $29,294.09   Monmouth Beach Fire Co
  • $18,609.52   Absecon City Fire Company 1

Fully Involved Car Fire With Exposure Issues In Point Pleasant

August 26, 2022

POINT PLEASANT BOROUGH, NJ (OCEAN)–Just before 2:00 p.m. yesterday, August 25, 2022, Point Pleasant Fire Departments were sent to the 2400 Block of Willow Street for a well involved car fire with exposure issues. Firefighters arrived and quickly knocked down the fire. No other details are available at this time.

Photos and video provided by: Jersey Shore Fire Response

Multiple Injured Riding El Toro At Great Adventure; 5 Transported To Hospital With Back Pain

August 25, 2022

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 7:30 p.m. Jackson First Aid, Millstone Fire-EMS, Plumsted EMS responded to Six Flags Great Adventure for a reported accident with multiple patients at the El Toro ride. It was reported that there were five transported and several RMA’s taken (Refused Medical Advice with no transport to the hospital). Most injuries were reported as minor in nature.

A person on the Great Adventure Connoisseurs Facebook Group posted, “Just got off El Toro and it felt like it hit a pothole after the 3rd drop before it turns around. A lot of people said they bit their tongue. A few said their backs were hurting and a couple of people said they couldn’t breath for a bit.”

An official statement from Six Flags Great Adventure this evening reads, “Several guests reported back pain after riding El Toro this evening. Five guests were taken to a local medical facility for evaluation. The ride is closed for inspection.”

Six Flags Great Adventure Facebook Photos

Lance and Little League Name New Jersey Native as 2022 Coach of the Year

August 25, 2022

Over the weekend, Joy Magnabouscoa New Jersey native, was honored as 2022 Little League Softball Coach of the Year presented by Lance Sandwich Crackers, the official snack of Little League

One softball player said it best — ‘Coach Joy brings the joy!’ When asked for advice for those hoping to teach little league Magnabousco said, “Treat everyone on your team equal because each player is unique in their own way.  Get to know who they are on and off the field and show that you are interested in them as a person, not only as a player.  Be a positive mentor, be silly, be humble and be their #1 fan!”

For over 12 years, Magnabousco has selflessly volunteered her time to the league and district to teach players about teamwork, hustle and most importantly having fun while doing it. Her impacts on the community show as her players gravitate towards her and continue playing the game thanks to her encouragement. She instills the values of hard work, determination and pride through her teachings and devotion to the league. 

“Although losing a game can be a tough challenge, it’s important for all athletes to learn that good sportsmanship is essential to being a great player. One team must win, and one team has to lose, so if you play your best and give 110% as a team, you are already winners and the score won’t even matter,” she says

Alongside Magnabousco, baseball coach Antonio Colon of Milwaukee, WI, was also honored for the Little League contributions in his own sport. During a plaque ceremony ahead of Saturday’s, 8/20, 7pm Little League World Series game, Colon and Magnabousco ventured to Williamsport, PA to receive the esteemed title and were awarded a $5,000 grant toward future league programming, on behalf of Lance Sandwich Crackers.

Both Lance and Little League are extremely proud of these well-deserving Little League coaches who inspire kids to reach their full potential both on-and-off the field. There’s no better way to honor hometown heroes than a national recognition that brings to light the importance of positive mentors in sports.

Male Shoots At Person On D&R Canal Trail In Lawrence Then Barricades Self In Home For Almost 16 Hours

August 25, 2022 – Updated — Police say there were no injuries as a result of this incident.

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On August 24, 2022, at approximately 9:02 a.m., the Lawrence Township Police Department received a call from a person walking on the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail (Lawrence Twp.) who indicated that he was shot at by an unknown person. This incident took place adjacent to the footbridge connecting the trail system over Brunswick Pike just north of Bakers Basin Road.

Lawrence Township Police Officers heard the sound of gunfire coming from the same wooded area upon their arrival. Officers observed a male suspect run into a nearby home where he was believed to have barricaded himself. During the initial investigation, multiple spent shell casings were located.
Subsequent to the investigation, several search warrants were executed in the 3000 block of Brunswick Pike.

Multiple police units from the area were on scene until 1:00 a.m. August 25, 2022. Lawrence Township EMS and Lawrence Township Fire Department staged nearby at the AAA Building near Bakers Basin Road. Fire and EMS units cleared the scene around 1:00 a.m.

Police say there were no injuries as a result of this incident.

John Kachmar, twenty-two from Lawrence Township was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are expected to be filed.

Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to contact Lawrence Township Police Detective Sean Kerins @ 609-844-7121 / or Detective Ryan Dunn @ 609-844-7125 /

All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.