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 StayOffTheTracks.org
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.
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, 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.
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 www.chsofnj.org.
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.”
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.”
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, http://www.Robbinsville.k12.nj.us
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.”