Month: February 2023

Fatal Amtrak Train Pedestrian Strike Near Princeton Junction Station Under Investigation

March 1, 2023 Update:

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The person who was struck Tuesday night was a 39-year-old man per Plainsboro police Lt. John Bresnen. His identity is not being released pending notification of family.

February 28, 2023

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–According to Amtrak representatives, on February 28, 2023, Amtrak train 178 was traveling from Washington D.C., to Boston at approx. 6:54 p.m. when an individual who was trespassing on the track came into contact with the train east of Princeton Junction. There have been no reported injuries to the passengers or crew onboard. Amtrak is working with local law enforcement to investigate the incident. There was a hold on all four tracks as far as PHL. Track 4 was opened at 8:47 p.m.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), trespassing along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America, and railroad crossing incidents are the second leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. These incidents can affect everyone involved—those who are injured or die and their families, our train crews, and our passengers. They also serve as critical reminders about the importance of obeying the law and of exercising extreme caution around railroad tracks and crossings. Amtrak continues to work closely with Operation Lifesaver (OLI) to #STOPTrackTragedies by emphasizing the obvious dangers of being on railroad property or disregarding warnings at rail crossings. For more railroad safety information, please visit

AG’s Office Investigating Shooting at NJ Turnpike’s Clara Barton Service Area

February 28, 2023

PEDRICKTOWN, NJ (SALEM) — The Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the circumstances of the shooting of one male civilian today at approximately 1:45 p.m. in the presence of law enforcement at the New Jersey Turnpike’s Clara Barton Service Area in Pedricktown, Salem County, New Jersey.

The incident involved members of the New Jersey State Police and the United States Marshals Service.

This review is being conducted by the Integrity Bureau within the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4.

The review is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.

Two Drunk Drivers Arrested After Crashes and Driving the Wrong Way on the Highway

February 28, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police make arrests of drunk drivers after they crashed into cars and drove the wrong way on the highway this weekend.

On Friday, February 24, 2023, at 8:53 p.m., Yurii Kotiash, a 28-year-old man from Feasterville-Trevose in Bucks County Pennsylvania, was traveling southbound on Route 1, north of Henderson Road, in a 2018 Maserati, when he struck the rear of a 2019 Nissan, driven by a 23-year-old Kendall Park man, which had been stopped in traffic. Kotiash left the scene of the crash and continued southbound on Route 1. Moments later, he ran a red light at Henderson Road at a high rate of speed and struck a 2010 Honda driven by a 36-year-old man from North Brunswick, who had been traveling westbound on Henderson Road, crossing Route 1 with a green light. Kotiash’s Maserati went off the highway into the woods, but he escaped any injury. The driver of the Honda was transported to the hospital for treatment of moderate injuries.

Officer Daniel Stoddard administered field sobriety tests and determined Kotiash was under the influence of arrested him. At South Brunswick Police Headquarters Kotiash refused to supply breath samples for analysis. Kotiash was charged with DWI, Refusing a Breath Test, Failure to Observe Traffic, Right of Way at an Intersection, Careless Driving, and Reckless Driving, Failing to Report a Crash, and Leaving the Scene of a Crash.   

On Sunday, February 26, 2023, at 3:22 a.m. officers were clearing from the fatal accident investigation on Route 130 when a drunk driver came at them driving the wrong way. Patrolman First Class Jason Gassman was on Route 130 northbound when a grey BMW came at him traveling south in the northbound lanes. PFC Gassman was able to get the BMW to stop and questioned the driver Eric Timmons, age 47 from North Brunswick. Timmons admitted to drinking and was given roadside sobriety tests. He was arrested by Officer Kent English for drunk driving.  Timmons was charged with DWI and Careless Driving.
Chief Raymond J. Hayducka said, “This weekend was tragic with one woman being killed in a crash unrelated to these two incidents. These two cases could have created even more tragedy. To crash into cars and drive the wrong way on the highway is reckless, and it was all preventable. Each of these men faces $5,000 in costs as well as a loss of license for seven months for senseless driving while impaired. The message is simple, Don’t Drink and Drive.”

South Brunswick Police Say Fatal Crash Maybe Related To Medical Issue

February 28, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On Monday, February 27, 2023, at 7:05 p.m., South Brunswick Police Department officers were alerted to a car under a trailer at the rear of a warehouse on Chris Court. Officers found a red 1999 Volkswagen Beetle with a driver unconscious. Monmouth Junction First Aid Squad, Monmouth Junction Fire Department, and paramedics responded to the scene and pronounced the driver John Kosarowich age 69 of Howell dead.

South Brunswick Police Traffic Safety Bureau investigators examined the scene and recovered video evidence. Investigators believe the driver was in the rear of the warehouses and may have suffered a medical issue that caused him to strike the trailer.

Anyone with information is asked to call the lead investigator PFC Bryan Sites at (732)329-4000 ext. 7472.

Rubber meets the Road for Central New Jersey’s First Mobile WIC

February 28, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey (CHSofNJ) held an open house for the public to climb aboard its newly outfitted and USDA-approved mobile WIC van. Dubbed the WOW (WIC on Wheels), this mobile unit represents the second one in New Jersey and the only one serving Mercer County. 

Dubbed the WOW (WIC on Wheels), this mobile unit represents the second one in New Jersey and the only one serving Mercer County. 

“Our WIC Mobile Unit will be a traveling, fully-equipped WIC Satellite Clinic that will recruit, enroll and serve WIC eligible participants in safe, convenient, and welcoming community locations close to their neighborhoods and within walking distance to the mobile unit,” said Maritza Raimundi-Petroski, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Prevention and Community Engagement for The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey (CHSofNJ). 

In 2022, CHSofNJ’s overall WIC program enrolled 8,251 women, infants and families in WIC services for nutrition benefits, nutrition counseling and breastfeeding support through multilingual breastfeeding peer counselors. CHSofNJ’s WIC Program formed Partnership with Farmers Against Hunger and distributed 660 bags of food in 2022, weighing 23,100 pounds, with an estimated value of $26,400. 

The WOW accommodates five WIC professionals and can be on-location for Mercer County families to get easy access for nutrition benefits and education. Additionally, the vehicle is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, as it has been outfitted with roof-mounted solar power and is electric battery operated. For more information, visit  

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Recognized by New Jersey Sharing Network for Record-Breaking Organ Donation Efforts

RWJBarnabas Health Has Most Donations and Transplants Among All NJ Health Systems in 2022

February 28, 2023

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The New Jersey Sharing Network, the federally-designated non-profit organization responsible for the recovery of donated organs and tissue in New Jersey, has recognized Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) for achieving the most-ever organ and tissue donations by a New Jersey hospital in a single year in 2022.

According to its end-of-year report, RWJUH worked closely with the NJ Sharing Network to fulfill the wishes of 33 individuals who gave the gift of life donating 102 organs for transplantation. RWJUH is one of the three state-designated Level I Trauma Centers for adults in New Jersey, and The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at RWJUH holds a Level II Pediatric Trauma designation. The hospital has quaternary-level capabilities for the critical care of patients for trauma, stroke, cardiovascular and medical conditions.

As a health system, RWJBarnabas Health hospitals work closely with the NJ Sharing Network and had 68 donors with 195 organs transplanted.

“As a state-designated Level I Trauma Center for Adult Acute Care medicine, a Level II Pediatric Trauma center, a certified Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, and a regional leader in transplantation for heart, kidney and pancreas, our partnership with the NJ Sharing Network and shared mission of saving and enhancing lives through organ donation runs deep in the RWJUH culture,” said Bill Arnold, President and CEO, RWJUH. “As an academic medical center through our longstanding partnership with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and as one of only seven nursing programs in the world to achieve Magnet recognition six consecutive times, RWJUH is committed to facilitating the gift of life in the face of tragic circumstances. We are deeply honored to support the families of donors through this journey.”

RWJUH has an active Donor Council comprised of leaders across the hospital involved in the care of donor patients and families. The hospital also has a Donor Team, which is a volunteer, nurse-driven committee representing both the adult and pediatric emergency departments and all intensive care units throughout RWJUH. The committee provides specialized training to RWJUH’s clinical care team on the process to facilitate organ donation with the NJ Sharing Network.

Staff never approach patient families about consenting to a donation. Rather, they make a referral to the NJ Sharing Network to work directly with families if the potential exists for organ donation. There are specific criteria developed for when the NJ Sharing Network can be called in for a referral.

The Donor Team also conducts many outreach events to raise awareness and educate staff and the public about organ donation. This includes hosting an information table outside the Employee Dining Room during Donate Life Month. The Team also shares information at Somerset Patriots games, Rutgers Day, JCCs, YMCAs and National Night Out among other events. The Donor Team Committee is co-chaired by Nancy Lipschutz, RN, BSN, CCRN-CMC. and Mary Lynn Dupuis, RN, BSN, CCRN, CNIV.

“I have worked in the CCU forever and I have seen people with end-stage heart failure waiting for hearts,” said Lipschutz. “I have also seen heart transplant patients come back to visit us living and enjoying life. They treasure and honor the gift they have received – it’s never in vain.”

The Donor Team also pays tribute to organ donors and families by illuminating RWJUH’s East Tower in blue and green (the designated colors promoting organ donation awareness) for 24 hours each time a donation occurs. An image of the lit tower will also be pinned on the RWJUH Facebook to acknowledge this profound gift in 2023.

“Whenever people in our communities drive by RWJUH and see those colors illuminated on our buildings, they should know that something profound has occurred here. We can all be proud of this partnership with NJ Sharing Network and our team’s commitment to saving lives amidst grief,” Arnold added. “Publicly acknowledging this gift is healing for both our clinical teams and the donor families.”

For more information about becoming an organ donor, please visit:

Booker Introduces Bill to Protect Farmers and Ranchers

February 28, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mike Lee (R-UT) led a bipartisan effort to reform agricultural checkoff programs. Joined by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act will make checkoff programs more responsive to the farmers who are required to contribute to them. Checkoffs are mandatory Department of Agriculture fees assessed on a per-unit basis that fund boards designed to promote the commodity as a whole. However, checkoff funds are frequently coopted against the interests of some or even a majority of contributors. Countless farmers, ranchers, and other producers have seen their checkoff dollars squandered or used against their interests. This bill would prohibit certain wasteful, anti-competitive, and deceptive behavior from checkoff boards.

“Farmers and Ranchers are being forced to pay into checkoff programs that often advocate against their best interest and support food system consolidation. These programs need transparency and oversight so a farmer can be sure they aren’t required to fund their own demise,” said Senator Booker. “That is why I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will help increase transparency and prohibit conflicts of interest and anti-competitive practices in these programs.”

“Checkoff programs are filled with waste and often abuse those who are forced to contribute to their coffers,” said Senator Lee. “These common-sense reforms will ensure that checkoff funds promote and protect all ag producers (big and small) who are meant to be served by these programs.”

“The current checkoff system does not provide enough transparency to our farmers on how their hard-earned dollars are used,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am committed to ensuring the checkoff programs are modernized and reflect the best interests of our farmers.”

“The decades old beef checkoff program is ill-suited to meet the needs of today’s cattle farmers and ranchers,” said Bill Bullard, CEO, R-CALF USA. “In fact, the program promotes corporate control and globalization over the interests of America’s cattle producers. We applaud Senators Lee and Booker for introducing this legislation to meaningfully reform the beef checkoff program so it can begin working for, rather than against, the American cattle producers.” 

“For far too long, America’s farmers and ranchers have been forced to pay into government checkoff programs, only to see their dollars used against them by trade and lobbying organizations representing the world’s largest meatpackers and grain traders,” said Farm Action Fund President Joe Maxwell. “We applaud Senators Lee and Booker for their continued effort to bring transparency and accountability to these corrupt programs.”

“American family farmers are in peril and today, every cent counts,” said Taylor Haynes, president of the Organization for Competitive Markets. “If we’re going to be forced to pay into USDA’s checkoff programs then the very least we should expect is transparency, accountability, and oversight of our hard-earned dollars, and the OFF Act accomplishes just that.”

 “The OFF Act was first introduced in the 115th Congress and here we are in the 118th Congress still working for transparency and accountability to reform the USDA’s commodity checkoff programs,” said Deborah Mills, chairwoman of the National Dairy Producers Organization. “This speaks volumes about what frustrates producers who are paying into checkoff programs. The recipients of the checkoff dollars are the greatest proponents of maintaining the status quo. Producers are being denied the basic right to have their questions about their investment answered.” 

“I don’t want my hard-earned dollars funneled to a quasi-governmental organization that works against my best interest and represents industrial agriculture’s continued movement toward the monopolization of farming,” said Will Harris, past president of the American Grassfed Association and proprietor of White Oak Pastures. “We’ve farmed the same land in Georgia since 1866, and I want to ensure that future generations are able to continue to do the same.”

“We applaud Sens. Lee, Booker, Paul, Warren, and Gillibrand for their tireless work and leadership on the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “USDA’s commodity checkoff programs remain under fire because of their lack of transparency, misuse of funds, and damaging anti-competitive practices that have bankrupted millions of American farmers.” 

Audit, State Review Shows the Robbinsville Public Schools Are Well-Run and Accountable

February 28, 2023

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Mandatory financial audits and a comprehensive review by the state Department of Education show the Robbinsville Public Schools are financially strong and operating a peak performance.

This is the third annual audit under Schools Superintendent Brian Betze and Business Administrator Nick Mackres, each year showing tight accounting practices and clean financial records. The independent audit was completed by Holt McNally & Associates of Medford, a certified public accounting firm, which presented its findings at the February school board meeting for public discussion.

“All school districts in New Jersey are required to undergo a detailed audit each year to ensure funds are accepted and disbursed properly,” Betze said. “Over the summer, auditors spent three weeks studying the school district’s accounting mechanisms. The final report was just released, showing for the third year in a row a clean audit, with absolutely no issues or concerns.”

As part of the detailed review of the 2021-22 budget, auditors matched up random samplings of purchase orders to ensure expenditures are in the correct budget lines. They also examine the funding stream for students’ sports and clubs, as well as ensure incoming funds are being properly transferred to the right places within the budget. There is also a compliance check to ensure the school district’s accounting practices meet all state guidelines.

Betze attributed the positive audit report to Mackres and his team in the school district’s business office, who handle all financial matters for the three district schools.

“The taxpayers of Robbinsville entrust the school district with managing an annual budget of $61.3 million, of which $45 million is generated by local property taxpayers,” said School Board President Richard Young. “It is critical that every dollar is wisely spent, in accordance with state guidelines, to ensure we are providing a thorough and efficient education to each and every student. That is why this audit result is so important. It shows our school administrators are right on task as financial stewards.”

School officials also received good news from the state Department of Education, which conducts the Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) assessment every three years. The state reviews five different areas of the school district, including 55 curriculum documents and 189 indicators.

Under the leadership of the district’s new directors of curriculum/instruction, as well as their supervisors, the Robbinsville Public Schools are now 100% compliant in curriculum. It is expected the school district will be compliant in all areas when the state issues a final report in the beginning of April.

“The state wants to ensure full compliance within all of our operations,” the superintendent explained. “Auditors examine finances, operations, governance, procedures, curriculum, instruction and facilities. It is a very deep dive, to the point in which state inspectors ensure fire extinguishers are up to code. They even check to see if closet doors close properly and flush all the toilets.”

The state also looks at long-term planning as part of a comprehensive assessment. Betze is coordinating a strategic planning process through the winter and spring, which includes a community survey that residents are asked to submit by Monday, March 13. The survey, which should take about 15 minutes to complete, is available at the school district website,

There are nearly 110 residents and other stakeholders who have volunteered for the strategic planning process this winter, in which monthly meetings are held to set a long-term direction for improving student achievement. Community recommendations will be incorporated in a draft Robbinsville Public Schools 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, which the school board is expected to adopt at its June meeting.

“We have received tremendous input from all sectors of our community as we plan for the long-range success of our public schools,” Young said. “It is important that as many stakeholders as possible participate in the community survey, thus ensuring the final, approved plan truly reflects direction dictated by the people of Robbinsville.”

Man Wanted In Hamilton For Lewdness Incidents

February 27, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Hamilton Township Police Division Major Crimes Unit has been investigating multiple acts of lewdness conducted by the above listed individual (Carlos A Villedamelchor). The investigation spans dates from November of 2022 till February of 2023. The current areas that have been affected are: Field Ave., Camp Ave., Newkirk Ave. and Berg Ave in Hamilton Township.

            There were two vehicles associated with this investigation the one shown above a 2013 Ford Escape Blue in color, and a grey Toyota Corolla unknown year.

            The above listed individual has been charged with multiple counts of lewdness in association with this investigation. The suspect would pull up to an intended victim and either masturbate or expose his genitalia in full view of same.

            All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation please contact Det. Russ Newborn at 609-581-4128.

The Hamilton Township Police Division Major Crimes Unit has been investigating multiple acts of lewdness conducted by the above listed individual (Carlos A Villedamelchor). The investigation spans dates from November of 2022 till February of 2023. The current areas that have been affected are: Field Ave., Camp Ave., Newkirk Ave. and Berg Ave in Hamilton Township.

There were two vehicles associated with this investigation the one shown above a 2013 Ford Escape Blue in color, and a grey Toyota Corolla unknown year.

Police Seek Suspect In Fatal Hit And Run In South Brunswick

February 26, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Raymond Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announced today that a fatal hit and run is under investigation.

On February 25, 2023, at approximately 9:58 P.M., authorities responded to the intersection of Route 130 and Route 32 following the report of a crash. Upon their arrival, authorities located Kerri Lynn Shea, 43 of East Windsor, who died as a result of the crash. The driver of the other vehicle fled the scene on foot.

The investigation is active and continuing. At this time, law enforcement is actively pursuing the identification and apprehension of the other driver and assistance from the community is being sought. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Bryan Sites of the South Brunswick Police Department at (732) 329-4000 X 7485 or Detective Matthew Colonna of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3354.

Two Extricated From Crash In Upper Freehold Township With Non-Life Threating Injuries

Updated: February 27, 2023

Update from the New Jersey State Police Public Information Unit.

Tpr. II Charles Marchan told MidJersey.News that Troopers responded to an motor vehicle crash on Saturday at 4:54 p.m. at the intersection of County Road 524 and Sharon Station Road, Upper Freehold, Monmouth County. 

Based on a preliminary investigation a vehicle was traveling on 524 and another vehicle was traveling on Sharon Station Road.  The vehicles were involved in a collision in the intersection causing one of the vehicles to overturn.  The occupants were transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

February 25, 2023

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–At 4:54 p.m. Hope Fire Company of Allentown and Millstone Township Fire Department was dispatched to County Road 524 & Sharon Station Road for an overturned into a utility pole with entrapment.  Enroute Chief 82-66 requested the rescue from Millstone and additional BLS from Robbinsville due to confirmed report of multiple trapped. Upon arrival there was a two-vehicle crash with two trapped patients in the overturn both requiring ALS-Advance Life Support care sending a second medic to the scene. Upon arrival of first due ALS unit, a medevac helicopter was requested to fly. The first victim extricated around the 25-minute mark and second around the 40-minute mark. Robbinsville Ambulance 40 transported first patient by ground to Captial Health System Trauma Center in Trenton. RWJ Barnabas medevac landed in field adjacent to the scene and transported the second patient to RWJUH New Brunswick with serious injuries. No further details about the crash are available. (See Update Above from NJSP)

Photos sent into

Firefighters Battle Multi-Alarm Fire On Spring Street In Trenton

February 25, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– A firefighter was injured while battling a multi-alarm blaze that gutted two homes on Spring Street today (Saturday, Feb. 25). It took firefighters nearly two hours to bring the fire under control.

                It was just before 11:55 a.m. when Engines 1, 8 and 10, Ladder 4 and Rescue 1 were dispatched to the 300 block of Spring Street in response to multiple 911 calls reporting a house fire. Engine 1 quickly arrived on scene and reported heavy fire showing from the rear of the three-story duplex occupied by 305 and 307 Spring Street.

                The “All Hands” signal for a working fire was transmitted and the remainder of the full first alarm – Engine 9, Ladder 1 and Special Services 1 – was dispatched.

                A short time later the incident commander provided the following progress report: “Dispatcher, the original fire building is going to be 305 [Spring Street], a three-story semi. We have heavy fire on Divisions 1, 2 and 3. We have three [hose]lines in service. We also have fire in 307 [Spring Street] on the third floor. We have an interior attack line in there.”

                Shortly after 12:30 p.m., with firefighters still operating multiple hoselines to extinguish fire on all three floors of the 305 Spring Street and on the top floor of the attached home next door, the incident commander called a second alarm for additional manpower. Engine 7 and Ladder 2 (which had just returned to the city after helping out at the fire on Scotch Road in Ewing) both responded.

                Around 12:50 p.m. a “Mayday” radio signal was transmitted, indicating a firefighter in distress. Fortunately, the emergency was cleared quickly and the injured firefighter was removed from the building and transported by ambulance to a local hospital. The nature of the firefighter’s injuries were not released but they were not believed to be life threatening.

                With pockets of fire still burning within hard-to-reach void spaces inside the structures, an extra engine company and extra ladder company were summoned to the scene. Those units were Engine 7 and Falls Township Ladder 30 (which had relocated into Trenton with other mutual aid units to help cover empty city firehouses).

                The blaze was finally declared under control at 2:42 p.m.

                A special unit from Hamilton Township Fire Department was also called to the scene to help refill firefighters’ air breathing air cylinders after Trenton’s air truck (Special Services 1) exhausted its air supply.

                Signal 22, the city’s volunteer police and fire canteen unit, also responded with refreshments for weary firefighters.

                Other mutual aid companies from Hamilton, Bordentown City, and Morrisville (Pa.) responded into Trenton and handled other assignments while the Spring Street fire was still being fought.

Photos above by Brian McCarthy On Scene News

Photos below by: NJ Public Safety News Alerts

Photos below by: Anthony Greco

2-Alarm Fire Reported In Ewing Township

February 25, 2023

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Just after 11;00 a.m., all Ewing Township Fire Departments including Mercer County Airport Fire Department were dispatched to the 300 Block of Scotch Road at Maintenance Building 10 for flames reported from the roof from a 9-1-1 caller. Airport firefighters responding reported seeing smoke from across the airport and called for a first alarm sending additional equipment to the scene. Upon arrival Airport Fire Department Engine 34 reported flames from the roof and a 2-Alarm was called. Engine 34 quickly knocked the bulk of fire using the boom on the engine and multiple hose lines were pulled to the building to hit the rest of the fire.

Firefighters are still on scene fighting the fire and numerous surrounding departments have been called to the scene or to cover the township.

Command reported fire under control at 11:48 a.m.

Further details to follow when the become available. This is a breaking news report from the scene.

Photos below by: NJ Public Safety News Alerts

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Fire In Trenton

February 24, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (Mercer) – City firefighters this evening (Friday, Feb. 24) tackled another working structure fire, this time in a commercial building at 809 East State Street, near the corner of Chambers Street. It was shortly before 6:40 p.m. that the city’s 911 communications center received reports that the roof was on fire and dispatched Engines 7, 10 and 6, Ladder 4, and Rescue 1. While enroute, firefighters spotted a column of smoke looming up into the night sky. The “All Hands” signal for a working fire was immediately transmitted and Engine 3, Ladder 2 and Special Services 1 were dispatched as the balance of the first alarm. A short time later, Battalion Chief Dave Smolka ordered a second alarm and Engine 1 was dispatched to assist with operations. Firefighters used multiple 2.5-inch hose lines and the aerial master stream from Ladder 2 to bring the smoky blaze under control in about an hour’s time. One person suffering from smoke inhalation was reportedly transported by Trenton EMS ambulance to a local hospital. The cause of the blaze is under investigation by authorities.

Photos below by: Anthony Greco

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health Facility, Hosts Heart and Soul Community Event for Heart Month

February 24, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On February 23, 2023, in honor of Heart Health Awareness Month nearly 100 residents came out to participate in the Heart & Soul, Slide into Better Health event held at the RWJ Fitness and Wellness Center on Quakerbridge Road in Hamilton New Jersey. It was a fun filled evening for all with line dancing provided by instructor, Kenny J., and Live DJ music compliments of DJ Transit. A part of the organization’s efforts to End Racism Together, the event was sponsored by RWJBarnabas Health in partnership with Trenton Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Braven, the Trenton Health Team and the American Heart Association. Richard Freeman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton and DeAnna Minus-Vincent, Executive Vice President and Chief Social Justice and Accountability Officer, RWJBarnabas Health, came out to enjoy the evening of heart healthy line dancing, heart healthy education and health screenings for the community.

Heart disease disparately impacts communities of color. For example, 47%of Black or African American adults are diagnosed with heart disease, compared with 36% of their white counterparts,” said DeAnna Minus-Vincent.” “Hispanic women are more than twice as likely as white women to have diabetes, another risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” she adds. Ms. Minus-Vincent recently shared her own personal story to encourage women to be strong, relentless advocates for their own heart health in a video.

Shakil Shaikh, DO, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (RWJUH Hamilton), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, provided the opportunity for folks to “Ask the Cardiologist.” RWJUH Hamilton Community Education Team were on site to perform blood pressure readings and provide information about coronary calcium scoring, “knowing your numbers” when it comes to your risk for heart disease, how to make an appointment and where to call. Call 609-584-2890 to make an appointment at RWJUH Hamilton and with one of New Jersey’s top cardiac specialists to determine if a calcium score if right for you.

 “To improve the health outcomes of the hardest hit communities, it’s important to increase awareness about health disparities, what causes them, and how we can work together to remedy them, and the Heart & Soul: Slide Into Better Health was designed to empower the community to do just that,” says Richard Freeman, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton.

To view and register for new and upcoming Hamilton Programs, visit or click here.

To schedule an appointment with one of New Jersey’s top cardiac specialists, visit

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, RWJBarnabas Health

One Hamilton Health Place

Hamilton, New Jersey 08690


Visit us at

In front, DeAnna Minus Vincent, Executive Vice President and Chief Social Justice and Accountability Officer and Richard Freeman, President and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

(Left to right) Richard Freeman, President and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, DeAnna Minus Vincent, Executive Vice President and Chief Social Justice and Accountability Officer RWJBarnabas Health and Shakil Shaikh, DO, cardiologist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

Trenton Health Team at Heart and Soul Event

Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Concludes That Use of Force was Justified in March 22, 2021 Non-Fatal Police Shooting in Hamilton

February 24, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) has completed its investigation into the March 22, 2021, use of force by a federal agent, and has concluded that the use of force was legally justified.  The MCPO determined that it is not necessary to present this matter to the grand jury because there were no material facts in dispute regarding the lawfulness of the use of force.  The investigation was conducted in accordance with the Attorney General’s Independent Prosecutor Directives (July 28, 2015, Supplemental Law Enforcement Directive Regarding Uniform Statewide Procedures and Best Practices for Conducting Police Use of Force Investigations) (“Directives”).  Pursuant to the Directives, the Attorney General’s Office conducted an independent review of the use of force and agreed with the MCPO’s determination that there were no material facts in dispute and that the use of force by the special agent in this case was justified.  The Attorney General’s Office concurred with the MCPO’s conclusion to forego presentation of this matter to the grand jury. Because this was a non-fatal shooting, presentation to the grand jury was not required under Senate Bill 1036, which modified N.J. Statutes 52:17B-107, and requires the Attorney General to conduct investigations of fatal police encounters and present them to the grand jury.

On March 22, 2021, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were conducting a joint undercover investigation involving the purchase of handguns. During the undercover transaction, the suspect pointed a handgun at an ATF special agent and demanded the money. During this robbery, the agent turned over United States currency and was ordered to exit the vehicle. The agent exited the vehicle, stepped toward the rear of the undercover vehicle, and fired his weapon at the armed suspect. The suspect also fired his weapon at the undercover agent and then exited the vehicle and fled on foot on Atlantic Avenue. While fleeing on Atlantic Avenue, there was an additional exchange of gunfire. Minutes later, Jabree Johnson arrived at Capital Health Regional Medical Center with a non-fatal gunshot wound to the shoulder.  Johnson was determined to be the suspect. Johnson was charged with one count of assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon, one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon of an individual with custody of federal property, and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in which the firearm was discharged.  That federal case is currently pending.

Personnel from the Mercer County Homicide Task Force responded and investigated. Additionally, statements were taken from the federal agents present and civilian witnesses. The statements were consistent with each other and the physical evidence.

Applying the Directives to the undisputed facts outlined above, the use of force by the special agent was justified pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:3-4, Use of Force in Self-Protection and N.J.S.A. 2C:3-5, Use of Force for the Protection of Other Persons. The statute states that “the use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor reasonably believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.” N.J.S.A. 2C:3-5(a) provides that, “the use of force upon or towards the person of another is justifiable to protect a third person when “the use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable to protect a third person when, the actor would be justified under section 2C:3-4 in using such force to protect himself against the injury he believes to be threatened to the person he seeks to protect, and under the circumstances as the actor reasonably believes them to be, the person whom he seeks to protect would be justified in using such protective force, and the actor reasonably believes that his intervention is necessary for the protection of such other persons.”   The law defines a “reasonable belief” as one which would be held by a person of ordinary prudence and intelligence situated as the actor was.

The ATF special agent stated he was in fear for his own life and that of his partner when Mr. Johnson pointed a loaded firearm at him during the robbery. The agent believed that discharging his weapon was necessary for the protection of his life and that of his partner.  An independent analysis of the undisputed material facts led to the determination that the agent’s beliefs were reasonable, and the use of force in this matter was justified pursuant to all applicable laws and the Attorney General Guidelines. This statement was prepared and disseminated to the public in accordance with Section 8 of the Directives.

Jabree Johnson, Trenton resident was charged with one count of assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon, one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon of an individual with custody of federal property, and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in which the firearm was discharged.  That federal case is currently pending.

Hamilton Township Man Charged With Criminal Sexual Contact During Massages At Fitness Center In Plainsboro

February 23, 2023

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Brendan McIntyre of the Plainsboro Police Department announced today that a Hamilton man has been arrested and charged with Criminal Sexual Contact.

On February 23, 2023, Jonathan Saloka, 33, of Hamilton, NJ, was arrested and charged with four counts of Criminal Sexual Contact. Saloka was charged following an investigation involving multiple women alleging that Saloka touched them inappropriately while receiving a massage at the Lifetime Fitness Center located in Plainsboro, NJ.

This is an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone with information asked to call Detective Lauren Leyva of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s Unit at 732-745-4499 or Detective Justin Kowalczyk of the Plainsboro Police Department at 609-799-2333 ext. 1644.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Jonathan Saloka are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

On February 23, 2023, Jonathan Saloka, 33, of Hamilton, NJ, was arrested and charged with four counts of Criminal Sexual Contact. Saloka was charged following an investigation involving multiple women alleging that Saloka touched them inappropriately while receiving a massage at the Lifetime Fitness Center located in Plainsboro, NJ.

South Brunswick Police Car Totaled By Distracted Driver; Slow Down Move Over It’s The Law

February 24, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–A police car was totaled late Thursday night after a motorist ran into the back of it on Route 1. At 11:30 p.m., 17-year veteran Patrolman First Class Sean Roberts stopped a truck on Route 1 south near Raymond Road. PFC Roberts exited his patrol car and approached the passenger’s side of the truck. As he was speaking with the truck driver he heard screeching tires and a loud crash. He went to the rear of the truck and saw a vehicle had struck his patrol car and spun along the driver’s side of the truck. The vehicle a 2015 Volkswagen ended up in the lane of travel facing the wrong way with airbags deployed. PFC Roberts aided the driver and notified dispatch.

An investigation determined that the driver of the Volkswagen, George Eckert age 47 of New Brunswick, had failed to stay in his lane and struck the rear of the 2018 Ford Explorer police vehicle that was on the shoulder of the highway. There were no injuries in the crash. Eckert was issued a careless driving summons.

Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “PFC Roberts followed his training and made a passenger-side approach on his car stop which prevented this from being much worse. We were lucky last night, a patrol car was destroyed but no one is injured. Drivers must pay attention and move over.”

MOVE OVER LAW – Drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks, garbage trucks and other highway safety vehicles displaying red, blue and/or amber flashing lights must now move over one lane or, if not safe to move over, then slow down below the posted speed limit

A South Brunswick Police vehicle was hit last night by a distracted driver. Slow Down Move Over It’s The Law

New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2

Procedure for motorist approaching certain stationary vehicle.

1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light, a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights, or a stationary sanitation vehicle displaying a flashing amber warning light pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2011, c.3 (C.39:3-54.27) shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle, or sanitation vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.

L. 2017, c.43, s.1.

Past stories on Slow Down Move Over

East Windsor Police Blotter Though February 22, 2023

February 23, 2023

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–The East Windsor Township Police Department initiated the following police reports through Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

1) DUI
Location: Stockton Street

Time/Date: 1:43 AM, 02/16/2023

The officer conducted a motor vehicle stop after observing the vehicle driving with no headlights. The driver exhibited signs of impairment and was placed under arrest after failing field sobriety tests. The driver was later released pending court action.


Oscar Lopez-Gutierrez Hightstown, NJ
28 Years of Age


Careless Driving Reckless Driving Driving with No Lamps
Consumption in Motor Vehicle Unsealed Container in Vehicle

Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer Bryan Butchon

2) Shoplifting

Location: 319 Route 130 (ShopRite)

Time/Date: 2:47 PM, 02/18/2023

The officer responded to ShopRite for a reported shoplifting. Investigation revealed that two individuals left the store without paying for $519.98 worth of merchandise. Both individuals were later identified and charged on a complaint summons.

Defendants: Charges:

Marcus Stevens-Donnell Elkins Park, PA
29 Years of Age Shoplifting

James Robinson-Dunston Elkins Park, PA
28 Years of Age Shoplifting

Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer John Cate

3) DUI
Location: Route 33
Time/Date: 9:34 PM, 02/19/2023

The officer conducted a motor vehicle stop after observing the vehicle failing to maintain its lane of travel. The driver exhibited signs of impairment and was placed under arrest after failing field sobriety tests. The driver was later released pending court action.


Luke Seiter-Magsamen East Windsor, NJ
26 Years of Age


Reckless Driving Careless Driving
Failure to Maintain Lane

Arresting Officer: Sergeant Troy McWhorter

City of Trenton Jump Starts Redevelopment Process for Roebling Block 2

Mayor Reed Gusciora Takes Major Step to Spur Growth in Capital City

February 23, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The City of Trenton is seeking qualified developers to submit proposals for the redevelopment of the historic Roebling Block 2 in response to the Capital City’s release of a Request for Proposal (RFP).

The site compromises seven industrial buildings and large open space; the city owns all properties within the site with a small portion of the site currently leased to a third party for parking. Roebling Block 2 is part of the historic John A. Roebling Wire Works, located within the Roebling Complex Redevelopment area, and zoned for mixed-use.

Mayor W. Reed Gusciora stated, “We are excited that there has been so much expressed interest in redevelopment of our city.  With economic incentives from the state, developers will be able to imagine this landscape and help spark economic growth in our city.  This will mean jobs for our citizens and expanded opportunities for local businesses.”

The RFP constitutes an invitation for responsive submissions to the City, which will be evaluated by the City’s Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED).  Ultimately the new Trenton City Council will decide which developer is chosen after invitations are made to present before Council.  Gusciora noted that five developers had previously submitted such proposals, but the prior Trenton City Council was slow to act on them.

North Ward Councilwoman Jenn Williams remarked, “The new Council is serious about economic development, and we understand the importance of bringing in new jobs and opportunities to our city especially to reduce poverty in our city.”

Sources to incentivize the redevelopment of Roebling Block 2 may include: Private funds, existing state grant funds, USEDA grants, tax credits (historic or economic development), Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) funds, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

Trenton City Council President Teska Frisby affirmed, “While we recognize the importance and urgency of this new redevelopment process, we will hear all of the proposals in good faith and weigh each proposal on its merits. In the end, we want to do what’s best for the city’s future.”

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) have expressed interest in assisting the City in this process along with the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority that have the following assistance programs that may be applicable to the redevelopment of the site: Brownfields Impact Fund, Emerge Program, Aspire Program, Historic Property Reinvestment Program, Community Anchored Development Program, direct loans, New Jersey Redevelopment Investment Funds, and the New Jersey Site Acquisition Fund.

East Ward Councilman Joe Harrison stated, “Even though our prior Council missed an opportunity to redevelop the site, especially with the prior proposal by Princetel, we look forward to working together to ensure that this project takes off.”

In 1848, John Roebling purchased a 25-acre site along the Delaware & Raritan Canal in the historic Chambersburg section of Trenton for his wire rope business. By World War I, the factory was the largest wire rope plant in the world and the company grew considerably in response to the steadily increasing demand for its products; the steel cables produced on this site are featured on the Brooklyn Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, and other historic sites.  The site has been abandoned for more than fifty years.

Mayor Reed Gusciora affirmed, “If you are interested in making a noteworthy investment in a historic site, near the Delaware River, in the Capital City, we encourage you to submit a plan for consideration. With a new and welcoming Trenton City Council, the redevelopment of Roebling Block 2 is a major priority of my administration and an important milestone in the revitalization of our local economy.”

Proposals will be due by April 11, 2023, at 12:00 PM. More information can be found at—Roebling-Block-2. Questions can be emailed to and responses to all questions will be posted on the City of Trenton website.

Above photos provided

File photos below:

The site has been the location of several fires and needs redevelopment:

Fire Quickly Extinguished In Manchester

February 23, 2023

MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN) – On Thursday, February 23, 2023, at approximately 9:01 a.m., members of Manchester Township Police, Fire, and EMS along with members from each of the Manchester and Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Companies responded to a Pine Acres Manor residence for a report of a structure fire. 

Upon arrival, smoke and flames were observed emanating from the rear of the residence and it was quickly determined that the occupants of the residence had self-evacuated.  As a result of the fire, the residence sustained fire and water damage to the rear interior of the residence and the building inspector subsequently deemed the residence uninhabitable.  There were no injuries as a result of this fire. 

Preliminary investigation revealed that the fire was not suspicious in nature but the exact cause and origin have yet to be determined.  This case is being investigated by Detective Richard Conklin of the Manchester Township Police Investigations Bureau and the Ocean County Fire Marshall.          

Assisting at the scene were members of the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company, Manchester Volunteer Fire Company, Ocean County Fire Marshall, Manchester Township Building Department, Manchester Township OEM and the American Red Cross. 

Manchester PD photos

Millstone Firefighters Extinguish Pickup Truck Fire

February 22, 2023

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Just after 10:00 a.m. the Millstone Township Fire Department and NJ State Police were dispatched to Route 33 West Bound near Prodelin Way for a vehicle fire with reported flames showing. Upon arrival Millstone firefighters used a hose like to knock the fire down. Firefighters remained on location for a short period of time until the vehicle could be towed away. The New Jersey State Police closed Prodelin Way until the roadway was clear. No further details are available about the fire.

Trenton Man Charged With First Degree Murder In Shooting Death Of Chron Jenks of Ewing

February 22, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department has resulted in the arrest of a Trenton man for last year’s shooting death of Chron Jenks.

Trayvon Stokes, 31, of Trenton, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, first-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree certain persons not to possess a weapon.  Stokes was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon in Trenton.  A subsequent search warrant was executed at his residence by members of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mercer County Tactical Response Team and the Trenton Police Department.  At the time of the search warrant execution, Breeyon Jones, 34, was present and detained.  Jones was charged with second-degree certain persons not to possess a weapon after a handgun was recovered from his bedroom.  The prosecutor’s office will file motions to detain both defendants pending trial.

At approximately 5 a.m. on September 11, 2022, Trenton police responded to a Shot Spotter activation for multiple rounds in the 300 block of Garfield Avenue.  Upon arrival, officers located the victim on the sidewalk suffering a gunshot wound to the chest.  Jenks, 34, of Ewing, was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The charges are a result of an investigation by the MCHTF and TPD, specifically lead task force Detective Karl Johnston.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the MCHTF at (609) 989-6406.

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

Trayvon Stokes, 31, of Trenton, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, first-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree certain persons not to possess a weapon.  Stokes was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon in Trenton.

A subsequent search warrant was executed at his residence by members of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mercer County Tactical Response Team and the Trenton Police Department.  At the time of the search warrant execution, Breeyon Jones, 34, was present and detained.  Jones was charged with second-degree certain persons not to possess a weapon after a handgun was recovered from his bedroom.  The prosecutor’s office will file motions to detain both defendants pending trial.

New Jersey Receives $995,000 Federal Grant For Wildfire Mitigation Efforts In Area Of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

The award is among 13 given for environmental protection initiatives at military installations

February 22, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is set to receive $995,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to reduce wildfire risk in the areas surrounding Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Warren Grove Range, Naval Weapons Station Earle and Sea Girt National Guard Training Facility, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.

The New Jersey grant is one of 13 projects funded nationally with $24 million from the DOD’s 2023 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Challenge Program, which facilitates long-term partnerships to improve resilience to climate change, preserve habitats and natural resources, and promote sustainable land uses near military installations and ranges.

”The Murphy Administration is grateful to our federal partners for this grant funding, which will help us mitigate the increased risk of wildfires that are one of the many adverse impacts of climate change in New Jersey,“ Commissioner LaTourette said. ”Partnerships such as this help us ensure healthy forests that provide shade and shelter to visitors, keep open spaces green to sequester carbon, and also limit the greenhouse gas emissions that can increase ocean acidification.“

”Warmer springs and hotter, drier summers may lengthen New Jersey’s wildfire season and increase the occurrence of large fires. Reducing wildfire risk is a key aspect of ensuring that our farms, forests, and communities that are vital to our state’s economy and identity are resilient to a changing climate,“ said Nick Angarone, New Jersey Chief Climate Resilience Officer. ”This REPI Challenge award supports the New Jersey Forest Fire Service in some of its most critical wildfire mitigation and protection projects in the state.“

Funds from this grant round will be used to construct a strategic firebreak adjacent to the Warren Grove Gunnery Range in Bass River State Forest, with project work expected to begin in April 2023. Firebreak work will consist of reducing hazardous forest fuels on a strategic strip of land bordering Allen and Oswego roads, in Bass River Township, Burlington County, and in Egg Harbor Township, Ocean County. By reducing the forest fuels, firefighters may more safely control the forward progress of wildfires that may start in this area. The firebreak will also provide improved access to fight any fires that may occur in the area.

Additionally, forest thinning on 1,305 acres will reduce combustible vegetation known as ladder fuels and improve wildlife habitat. Ladder fuels are small trees and low vegetation beneath the forest canopy. Most large trees in the project area will remain, which will keep the canopy intact. Thinning allows for a healthier forest, reduces competition among trees and provides greater resource availability. The likelihood of a catastrophic wildfire burning through a thinned forest is reduced.

Additional REPI funds will go toward the ongoing Greenwood Triangle Forest Fuels Maintenance Project in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest and Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management area. This project entails firebreak maintenance and underbrush removal to protect residents in Burlington and Ocean counties and to create safe conditions for firefighters during wildfire suppression efforts.

This funding will help the New Jersey Forest Fire Service continue to build a network of strategic firebreaks across the landscape and improve resilience.

Ongoing partnerships like this through the DOD, Naval Weapons Station Earle continues to strengthen the relationship between DOD and DEP. New Jersey’s rich history of cooperation with its military installations is reinforced through the funds the DEP has received through the REPI Challenge Program.

”The wildfire management activities outlined in these projects not only benefit the military installations, but the natural resources and residents of New Jersey,“ said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner for State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. ”Without funding provided through the REPI Challenge Program and additional funding leveraged through the DEP and other partners, these projects would not be possible.“

The REPI Challenge Program cited a surge in forest fires adjacent to the Joint Base and Warren Grove Gunnery Range properties, in part due to dry weather conditions and dense accumulations of forest undergrowth, that can fuel wildfires. The New Jersey Forest Fire Service responded to 1,175 wildfires that burned 12,664 acres in 2022. When a wildfire encroaches a military installation, operations at the properties must be suspended, impacting various base and range activities and missions.

In 2019 the Spring Hill Wildfire burned 9,021 acres just north of the Warren Grove Gunnery Range in Bass River and Penn State Forest in similar forest fuel conditions. This fire highlighted the potential of a major wildfire threatening surrounding communities and military installations.

Combined, the 13 REPI Challenge projects will benefit 26 installations and their communities across the country. In addition to New Jersey, the DOD is funding projects in Guam, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, California, Washington and Virginia.

To date, the REPI Challenge Program has leveraged more than $144 million with more than $417 million in partner contributions to protect more than 51 locations. REPI projects promote compatible land use, restore important habitats, promote species recovery and enhance climate adaptation efforts.

Warren Grove Gunnery Range is one of the most heavily used Air National Guard training ranges in the United States, and its location provides operational capabilities for all branches of military service. Naval Weapons Station Earle operates a receipts, storage, segregation and issue ordnance facility to support the Atlantic fleet, which includes the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and DOD conventional ammunition requirements.

For more information about this year’s REPI recipients, visit

Learn more about the DEP’s Bureau of Climate Resilience Planning at and other climate resilience initiatives at

To learn more about wildfires in New Jersey, steps to protect property and other resources, visit

Like the Forest Fire Service’s Facebook page at

Follow the Forest Fire Service on Twitter @njdepforestfire and Instagram @newjerseyforestfire

Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep and LinkedIn @newjerseydep

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Fire In Beach Haven

February 22, 2023

BEACH HAVEN, NJ (OCEAN)–Just after 9:00 a.m. Beach Haven Fire Company was dispatched to 313 Iroquois Avenue for a reported working structure fire. The first arriving engine reported heavy fire throughout and called for a 2nd Alarm sending additional resources from other Long Beach Island departments as well as from the mainland. The fire was extinguished and is currently under investigation. No other details are available at this time.

Ship Bottom Fire Company

National Weather Service Confirms EF2 Tornado In Mercer With 115 MPH Winds And Path Almost 6 Miles Long

February 22, 2023

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–The National Weather Service has confirm that a tornado was in Mercer County, NJ yesterday. The tornado was an EF-2 with 110-115 mph winds, with a path 200 yards wide and just short of 6 miles in length.


353 PM EST Wed Feb 22 2023

...NWS Damage Survey for 02/21/23 Tornado Event ...

Thunderstorms developing ahead of a cold front developed rotation
over Mercer County. In addition to wind damage and hail reports,
a tornado occurred in Mercer County.

.Lawrence Township and West Windsor Township Tornado...

Rating:                 EF-2
Estimated Peak Wind:    110-115 mph
Path Length /statute/:  5.8 miles
Path Width /maximum/:   200 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start Date:             February 21, 2023
Start Time:             3:35 PM EST
Start Location:         Lawrence Township, Mercer County, NJ
Start Lat/Lon:          40.2785/-74.7028

End Date:               February 21, 2023
End Time:               3:41 PM EST
End Location:           West Windsor Township, Mercer County, NJ
End Lat/Lon:            40.2701/-74.5931

Sporadic minor tree damage was observed west of Interstate 295. A
continuous path of tree damage was observed near Lawrence Station
Road, particularly in a housing development along Fountayne Lane.
Additional tree damage and damage to roofing occurred in a housing
development at Lawrence Square. Estimated maximum wind speeds in
this area were 105 to 115 mph. In a straight line from this
damage, there was roofing damage at a residence and a commercial
building as well as additional tree damage along Quaker Bridge
Road. Tree damage continued at a park across the street and
through the 2nd and 11th holes at the adjacent golf course.
Additional sporadic tree damage occurred in residential areas east
of the golf course in West Windsor Township. The last tree damage
was observed near the intersection of Old Trenton Road and Village

The National Weather Service would like to extent our
appreciation to New Jersey State Police, Mercer County Office of
Emergency Management, and Lawrence Township Police Department for
their help with the survey.


EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes into the
following categories:

EF0...Weak......65 to 85 mph
EF1...Weak......86 to 110 mph
EF2...Strong....111 to 135 mph
EF3...Strong....136 to 165 mph
EF4...Violent...166 to 200 mph
EF5...Violent...>200 mph

The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to
change pending final review of the event and publication in NWS
Storm Data.

See yesterday’s story here:

Tornado Update from County Executive Brian M. Hughes: I met today with officials from the National Weather Service who confirmed that a tornado swept through portions of Mercer County Feb. 21 at about 4 p.m. Fortunately no injuries were reported despite the serious damage to homes, buildings, cars and landscape, including at our Mercer Oaks golf course. In Lawrence, the Lawrence Square Village neighborhood has been particularly hard hit. I’d like to thank Lawrence Police Chief Chris Longo, Mercer OEM Coordinator Bob Hartman, Lawrence OEM Coordinator Jack Oakley, the New Jersey State Police liaisons to Mercer County Emergency Management and the Red Cross for their partnership. Please keep the families who have been displaced in your thoughts, and on behalf of the entire county, thank you to all the responders who are still on the scenes at various locations.

Mercer County Photos

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Mount Holly NJ

1016 AM EST Wed Feb 22 2023

…Tornado Confirmed in Mercer County, New Jersey…

The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ has
confirmed that a tornado occurred yesterday, February 21, 2023,
in the Quaker Bridge area of Mercer County, New Jersey.

More details, including the path length and path width, will be
available later this afternoon or early this evening via an
updated Public Information Statement.

The storm survey information will also be available on our website

Scenes from Lawrence Square Village this morning.

NJ Route 29 North At I-195 West / I-295 In Hamilton Reopened

February 22, 2023


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Troper II Charles Marchan of the New Jersey State Police, Office Of Public Information stated that Troopers responded to an motor vehicle crash at 8:20 a.m. on State Highway 29 northbound milepost 0.2, Hamilton Twp., Mercer County. Based on a preliminary investigation a dump truck carrying dirt was traveling on State Highway 29 when the driver lost directional control causing the dump truck to overturn. As a result of the crash debris was scattered across lanes of travel. The driver did not sustain any life-threatening injuries. The crash remains under investigation and there is no additional information available.


The roadway reopened at 11:45 a.m.

NJ DOT – TOC South: Overturned Dump Truck on NJ 29 northbound I-295 (Hamilton Twp) to NJ 129 (Hamilton Twp) All lanes closed and detoured 20-25 minute delay use caution

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 8:23 a.m. NJ State Police, Hamilton Township Fire Department, and Hamilton EMS were sent to I-195 West Bound at Mile Post 0, NJ 29 North at I-295, for a motor vehicle crash with reported entrapment. Upon arrival of the first units from Hamilton Fire Department they reported an overturned dump truck and the driver was out of the vehicle. All lanes are temporarily closed for clean up. At 8:50 a.m. a request was made to notify NJ DOT inspectors that there were “cracks in the bridge”

This is still a developing story check back for further details.

511NJ photo

66-Year-Old New Jersey Man Among Three Dead In Washington State Avalanche

February 21, 2023

WASHINGTON STATE — Sheriff Mike Morrison reports on February 20th, 2023 Deputies were contacted at the CCSO Leavenworth substation about an avalanche that occurred near Colchuck Lake the previous day. The reporting party, a 53-year-old Maryland man reported the group he was with had attempted to climb Colchuck Peak on Sunday February 19th. There were six climbers in that group and the reporting party had stayed at their base camp that day.

The lead climber triggered an avalanche while attempting to climb the Northeast Couloir of Colchuck Peak. Four of the climbers were swept down the couloir approximately 500 feet. Three of the climbers died as a result of trauma sustained in the fall. They were a 60-year-old female from New York, a 66-year-old male from New Jersey, and a 53-year-old male from Connecticut. The fourth climber, a 56-year-old male form New York sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was able to hike back to base camp with the remaining two. They were a 50-year-old male from New York and a 36-year-old male from New Jersey. When they arrived at camp, they sent the reporting party for help.

When Deputies took the report, A SAR coordinator started gathering resources. A total of 22 rescuers responded to the trailhead to assist with this effort. They were from Chelan County Mounty Rescue, Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue and ORV unit, Seattle Mountain Rescue, Tacoma Mountain Rescue, and Yakima Mountain Rescue. A group of four from Chelan County Mountain Rescue responded to the lake driven part of the way by the CCVSAR ORV unit. They reached the base camp at approximately 1:30 pm. They were able to determine avalanche conditions were too hazardous to continue to the deceased climbers. They escorted the surviving climbers back to the trailhead.

Rescuers were not sent back in to the scene today due to hazardous conditions. CCSO continues to work with Northwest Avalanche Center to assist in a recover plan.

Colchuck Peak sits at the South end of Colchuck Lake approximately 8 miles South of Leavenworth, WA

From the North West Avalanche Center:

Colchuck Peak, WA

A group of six climbers attempted to climb the Northeast Couloir route on Colchuck Peak. At approximately 1:15pm, while ascending the route, the lead climber triggered a slab avalanche that caught and carried four members of the team approximately 500ft to the base of the climb. Three of the climbers suffered fatal traumatic injuries, and a fourth sustained lower extremity injuries. The remaining climbers attempted to evacuate all individuals but were unsuccessful. Subsequent natural avalanches impacted the accident site in the hours following the event. The Chelan County Sheriff’s office was notified of the accident on Monday, February 20th. Chelan County Mountain Rescue traveled to the site and assisted the injured party member to the trailhead.

Recovery efforts will be ongoing this week as weather and avalanche conditions allow. NWAC is working with Chelan County Sheriff’s office, and will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Moon over Colchuck Peak at sunrise, with Colchuck Glacier at left file photo from Creative Commons ShareAlike  by: Laurel F

NWS Investigates Tornado That Leaves 60 People Homeless And Over 100 Properties Affected

National Weather Service Confirms Tornado In Mercer County, NJ

February 21, 2023

LAWRENCE, WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:40 p.m. this afternoon (February 21, 2023) the National Weather Service, Mount Holly issued a Tornado Warning for a large portion of Mercer County with the warning stretching in to parts of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties.

Shortly after the Tornado Warning was issued Lawrence Township Police, EMS and Firefighters responded to Quakerbridge Road for a person reported trapped in a car with live wires on the vehicle. Upon arrival the person was able to exit the vehicle unharmed.

Firefighters were quickly diverted into Lawrence Square Village where several buildings were damaged and trees were down throughout the area. At least two dozen units were deemed uninhabitable by Township Officials in Lawrence Township. The Red Cross was called to set up a shelter.

Moments after Lawrence storm damage was reported West Windsor Police started receiving 9-1-1 calls about wires and trees down in the area of Edinburg Road and Conover Roads. Several trees were into homes and wires were down on several streets in the area.

The National Weather Service will be sending survey crews tomorrow to confirm any tornadic activity and a statement will be issued later in the day if indeed it was a tornado that hit the area.

West Windsor Police reported that at 3:44 p.m., numerous calls flooded the Communications Center of WWPD in regard to a significant weather event that was occurring.  The following has transpired: Road Closures (as listed below), Power Lines Down, Trees into Houses.  

     1)  Conover Road–Entire Stretch
     2)  Edinburg Road–From New Village to Old Trenton Road 
     3)  Village Road–From Old Trenton Road to Twp. Line (East Windsor Twp./Robbinsville Twp.)

**Approximately (10) houses damaged by fallen trees

The Emergency Operations Center has been opened.  Chief Garofalo, his command staff, and WW Dept. of Fire & Emergency Services have met.  Stations 43 & 44 have been going door to door to check on affected residences.  Officers have been assisting the community at large with the trees down, road closures, power lines down.  Assume all downed wires are live.  

     Dr. Aderhold, the Superintendent of West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional Schools has been in constant contact with Chief Garofalo.  All buses are accounted for and late buses are on schedule.  Assessments of affected school buildings are ongoing by Dr. Aderhold’s staff. 

     No injuries have been reported from this weather event in West Windsor Township.  Damage assessments are ongoing.  PSEG has staff on the scene.  JCPL has been contacted.  The WW Department of Public Works have been out in force to assist clearing the roadways of downed trees.  The Developments of Dutch Neck Estates (southern portion) and Jefferson Park have seen extensive activity from the event.  More updates to follow.

West Windsor Police Update:

 *Approximately 300 PSEG Customers have affected service
         *Approximately 100-500 JCPL Customers have affected service
**Most PSEG/JCPL Customers due to be restored by 12 am**

          *Roadways should be re-opened by approximately 12 am (exception:  Village Road from Old Trenton Road to South Lane to remain closed until approx. morning rush hour–plan accordingly).
          *No residences sustained structural damage.
          *Approximately (100) properties affected with damage of some sort from debris and/or fallen trees/branches.
          *No injuries were reported to any persons. 

      Chief Garofalo & Chief Lynch wanted to express their gratitude to the following who answered the call for action during this event:

WWPD Communications Center, Command Staff, Patrol Division, Drone Unit, Detective Bureau, & Traffic Unit
WW Division of Fire & Emergency Services
Stations 43/44 & Fire Police
WW Dept. of Public Works
WW Construction Office
American Red Cross
The Media
Community at Large

From Lawrence Township Police, Captain Joseph Lech IV:

At approximately 3:45 pm on February 21, 2023, Lawrence Township, located in Mercer County New Jersey, experienced a severe weather event through the center part of the Township. The areas affected are located along the Route 1 corridor. Hail, and high winds, caused extensive damage to the condominium complex of Lawrence Square Village, commercial buildings, and several vehicles.

The Lawrence Police Department responded to the events with the Lawrence Township Fire Departments and Emergency Services.

Trees were uprooted and knocked over. Utility lines were brought down, causing the closure of Route 1 in both directions, from Interstate 295 to Bakers Basin Road.  Downed trees also caused the closure of Quakerbridge Road, in both directions.  Approximately 60 residents have been displaced. The Red Cross is on scene as well as Volunteers of America, helping to find temporary housing for the displaced residents.

Police Departments and Fire Departments from surrounding agencies within Mercer County responded and assisted with the road closures and scene safety. The extent of the damage and any hazards will be better assessed in the daylight hours.  Residents are reminded to use extreme caution and stay away from any downed wires. Motorists are asked to avoid the area of Quakerbridge Road until the hazards can be addressed. No injuries were reported as a result of the storm damage.

The National Weather Service has been contacted. They are aware of a weather event that entered the Lawrence Township area and they are indicating that it was a possible tornado.

A better assessment may be done during daylight hours, to better define the event. 

Route 1 has been opened to traffic in both directions. Quakerbridge Road remains closed in both directions due to the trees across the road.

 Red Cross and Volunteers of America are on scene and providing assistance for displaced residents. Any resident seeking assistance should contact the Lawrence Police or 1-800 Red Cross.

Mercer County Park Commission:

A tornado touched down in the area of Village Road and Quakerbridge Road around 4 pm today. As seen in photos, it appears to have caused significant damage to homes in the area and to Mercer Oaks West golf course. Thankfully, there were no injuries to golfers or Park Commission staff, additionally there was no damage to buildings. We did however lose many trees primarily on the West course, and as many as 100 trees were downed by this storm.

Our tree crew will begin cleanup in the morning. For tomorrow, Mercer Oaks East course will be open for play, the West course will be closed and remain closed until the cleanup is complete. We expect that will take the remainder of the week and possibly into next week. Detailed information on course closings will be posted on our golf and county website.

We are getting reports from around the county of wind-related damage, downed trees and building damage. Our Mercer County road crews are en route to assist in local clean-ups, and I ask you to please stay off the roadways if possible. Attached is video of damage at Mercer Oaks golf course in West Windsor where thankfully, no one was injured. — Brian M. Hughes, County Executive

*Updates to come as available.

National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for the area at the time of the damage. National Weather Service Graphic

Screen grab of the Radar Now application showing the National Weather Service Tornado Warning Box at the time of the storm damage.

Here is a map highlighting where survey crews are expected to survey tomorrow. Details, determination, and any potential damage ratings will be updated late tomorrow via social media and the Public Information Statement on our website as more information becomes available.

The blue line represents the path of destruction from this weather event. From reporters on the ground the destruction starts near Lawrenc Square Village, goes though West Windsor and terminates at the East Windsor/Robbinsville border. Google Maps Image