Day: March 7, 2023

Robbinsville High School Model UN Brings Home10 Awards from National Conference

Annual Night of Nations Fundraiser Scheduled for March 27


Autonomous weapons raise complicated questions that challenge even the most seasoned diplomats, legal scholars and war ethicists, but Allison Dera wasn’t fazed.

“It’s really balancing state sovereignty, countries’ security interests and humanitarian causes,” said Dera, explaining the geo-political nuances of the topic in a recent interview. “It’s a very difficult balancing act because you have to keep so many factors in mind.”

The Robbinsville High School senior confronted the issue as part of her work in Model UN, an international education program in which students simulate the United Nations General Assembly and debate world affairs.

Dera, vice president of Robbinsville High School’s Model UN club, was in Washington, D.C. in February for the North American Invitational Model United Nations, where she worked to get a resolution passed that outlined how countries can mitigate fully autonomous weapons systems. Her measure sought to codify into international humanitarian law limits on the capabilities of such weapons and when they can be used.

It’s just one example of the complex and urgent problems that Robbinsville students are addressing in Model UN — and their success with it.

Last month, the club brought home 10 awards from BosMUN XXII, Boston University’s Model United Nations Conference. Students won best position paper and outstanding delegate, in addition to verbal recognitions and honorable mentions. The awards highlighted students’ writing and arguments, communication, diplomacy and collaboration with others.

Before the Boston conference, students submitted papers identifying their chosen country’s positions on issues. Topics included global human trafficking, sustainability and the future of Congress. Students then debated the issues and voted on resolutions — policy documents detailing how countries can work together to solve the problem at hand.

The conference, held February 10-12, drew about 1,500 students from schools all over the nation and was the biggest competition the club has participated in since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For the past two years, Robbinsville’s Model UN club participated only in mock events within the school and in virtual competitions.

“It was a pretty big deal for us to do so well because we really hadn’t competed since COVID,” club adviser Mark Iannelli said.

Robbinsville’s team also earned six awards, including two first-place finishes, at the Rutgers Model United Nations conference in November. That competition drew about 800 students, mostly from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

To qualify for travel competitions, Robbinsville Model UN members must do well in mock events at the high school. These events entail writing position papers and debating with peers on various committees.

The experience has been life changing for Hammad Farooqi, the club’s president, who said Model UN has helped him grow as a student, leader and person.

“Model UN is a great club to build your public speaking skills and team-building skills by taking on the roles of different countries tackling important issues,” Farooqi said. “As a freshman I don’t think I was very confident, but through this role I was able to take on a new persona.”

The Robbinsville senior said although the work is demanding, he has enjoyed meeting people and forging new friendships. He plans to attend Princeton University in the fall to study computer science.

“The dream would be to have my own start-up and develop my own software, to be able to apply my love for computer science to the type of leadership roles in a team like we have at Model UN,” Farooqi said.

As for Dera, she is scheduled to travel to Madrid, Spain, later this month to compete in the Harvard Model Congress Europe competition with the All-American Model UN team. After graduation this year, the 18-year-old plans to attend McGill University in Montreal and wants to work in international development.

“I would like to work in economically developing regions of the world, addressing economic systems, public infrastructure systems, maybe even for the World Bank or a non-profit organization,” Dera said.

Robbinsville High School Model UN will host its annual fundraiser, Night of Nations, on Monday, March 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Club members will give presentations about different countries and prepare authentic cuisine.

Robbinsville High School Model UN club members at BosMUN XXII, Boston University’s Model United Nations Conference, in February.

Robbinsville High School Model UN club members who won awards at BosMUN XXII, Boston University’s Model United Nations Conference.

Robbinsville High School Model UN club members at the Rutgers Model United Nations conference in November.

Robbinsville High School Model UN club’s executive team.

Robbinsville High School Model UN club’s fall mock event.

No Reported Injuries When Car Hits Building In East Windsor

March 7, 2023

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 5:30 p.m. the East Windsor Police Department was detailed to the 300 Block of Etra Road for a car into a building. Upon arrival a car appeared to have hit the building but there were no reported injuries. The East Windsor Construction Office was called to the scene to check for structural damages. No other information was available about the crash.

Photos by: Steven Kadir

Monroe Township Resident To Be Honored At Women Of Achievement Event

March 7, 2023

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Karyn Miller, Market Manager and Managing Director of regional commerce banking for Capital One in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, will be honored by the Tri-County Scholarship Fund at their 10th Annual Women of Achievement Luncheon on March 21, 2023 at the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“We are thrilled to be honoring Karyn,” said Tri-County President, Prudence Pigott. “Each year the event recognizes outstanding women whose career accomplishments and community service make them leaders in the community, and role models for our scholarship students.”

The luncheon raises funds to support Tri-County’s Freedom Scholars Program. Candidates for the program are high school students who have demonstrated both great academic potential and financial need. Freedom Scholars is a partnership between high schools, families and the Fund, enabling students to choose values-based, high performing independent high schools. 100% of Freedom Scholars graduate from high school and go on to attend college.

2023 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund Women of Achievement Luncheon. The event will also honor Nikki Sumpter, Executive VP, Chief Administrative Officer of Atlantic Health System; Heather Sperduto, VP of Sales Operations Account Channel for ADP;  and Betsy McNeilly, Executive Director, Wealth Management and Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  

2023 Women of Achievement Honoree, Karyn Miller, Market Manager and Managing Director of Regional Commerce Banking, Capital One

Karyn Miller is Managing Director and Market Manager of regional commercial banking for Capital One, responsible for growing Capital One’s presence in the commercial space, focusing on customized banking solutions for the bank’s commercial clients.

A graduate of the Rutgers University School of Business, Miller has three decades of experience in building business segments and brands, and 25 years working in management positions within the banking business. Prior to joining Capital One, Miller served as a commercial banker for JP Morgan Chase where she was Executive Director and the National Head of Beverage Finance, before also being tasked with rebranding the apparel team to become a national specialized discipline.

Her work in the beverage space connected her to the founder of Bai Brands, who hired her as Chief Strategy Officer for a new line of alcoholic sparkling beverages, Crook & Marker. After establishing a national route to market for the brand, she was promoted to Chief Financial Officer, where she continued building and managing the now national brand’s accounting, finance, legal, and human resources teams.

“As the first in my family to graduate from college, I know firsthand how transformative educational opportunity can be for one’s life and career,” Miller said. “I am impressed with the Tri-County Scholarship recipients and their parents who work hard for this opportunity, and am proud to help raise funds for high school scholarships that open doors for local students.”

Miller is a board member of Family Connections and NJ Chamber of Commerce. Her past service includes serving as a board member and past chairman of Coordinated Family Care in North Brunswick Twp., past member of the Planned Giving Committee for Ronald MacDonald House in New Brunswick and Long Branch, engagement with the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America’s Women’s Leadership Council and CohnReznick’s Women’s Executive Forum.

Miller and her husband and three children reside in Monroe Township, NJ.

About Tri-County Scholarship Fund

Tri-County Scholarship Fund was founded in 1981. Alarmed by the failing public school system and the mounting inequities in educational choice for families in poorer communities, The Most Reverend Bishop Frank Rodimer, Bishop of Paterson (now deceased) and Ed Hennessy, (retired) CEO of Allied Signal, joined forces to create an organization that would provide scholarship assistance based upon financial need, for students to attend independent K-12 schools.

Since 1981, over 34,000 scholarships have been awarded, amounting to more than $36 million dollars. Families in the lowest income levels are able to choose quality educational opportunities for their children in safe schools that offer a sense of family and a disciplined learning environment. For the current school year In 2022, Tri-County has awarded 820 scholarships to financially disadvantaged students in grades K-12.  The waiting list of equally deserving applicants is comprised of 1600 more children, waiting for their opportunity.

Karyn Miller at a recent mentoring session and school visit with Mary Help of Christians Academy students in North Haledon, NJ

Justice Department Sues to Block JetBlue’s Proposed Acquisition of Spirit

Acquisition Would Allow JetBlue to Eliminate Its Largest Ultra-Low-Cost Rival, Further Concentrate the Airline Industry, and Harm American Travelers

March 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC — The Justice Department, together with Attorneys General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of New York, and the District of Columbia, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today to block JetBlue Airways Corporation’s (JetBlue) proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of its largest and fastest-growing ultra-low-cost rival, Spirit Airlines, Inc. (Spirit). JetBlue and Spirit compete fiercely today on hundreds of routes serving millions of travelers. By eliminating that competition and further consolidating the United States airlines industry, the proposed transaction will increase fares and reduce choice on routes across the country, raising costs for the flying public and harming cost-conscious fliers most acutely.

The complaint, filed in the District of Massachusetts, alleges that Spirit’s low-cost, no-frills flying option has brought lower fares and more options to routes across the country, making it possible for more Americans – particularly price sensitive consumers who pay their own fares – to travel. JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit would eliminate the “Spirit Effect,” where Spirit’s presence in a market forces other air carriers, including JetBlue, to lower their fares. The deal also would eliminate half of the ultra-low-cost capacity in the United States. This will lead to higher fares and fewer seats, harming millions of consumers on hundreds of routes.

“As our complaint alleges, the merger of JetBlue and Spirit would result in higher fares and fewer choices for tens of millions of travelers, with the greatest impact felt by those who rely on what are known as ultra-low-cost carriers in order to fly,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Companies in every industry should understand by now that this Justice Department will not hesitate to enforce our antitrust laws and protect American consumers.”

“Our complaint alleges that JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit would particularly hurt cost-conscious travelers,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Ultra-low-cost carriers make air travel possible so more Americans can take a much-needed family vacation or celebrate or mourn together with loved ones. We allege that the proposed merger would lead to fewer seats and higher prices for travelers.”

“JetBlue’s proposed acquisition of Spirit eliminates a disruptive, low-cost option for millions of Americans. Whether they fly Spirit or not, travelers throughout the United States benefit from an independent Spirit because where Spirit competes, other airlines – including JetBlue – are forced to compete more vigorously by lowering fares, offering greater innovations, and delivering more consumer choice,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Doha Mekki of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “This transaction occurs against the backdrop of years of airline consolidation in the United States.”

The complaint, which seeks to block the acquisition under Section 7 of the Clayton Act, alleges Spirit has been a particularly disruptive force, growing rapidly, introducing innovative products, and allowing customers to choose which services to purchase, all while charging customers very low fares. Spirit has forced larger airlines, particularly the already-low-cost JetBlue, to compete for customers by introducing unbundled, customizable ticket options and lowering their own fares, allowing more Americans to travel. If the acquisition is allowed to proceed, prices would increase on routes where the two airlines currently compete. This is particularly the case on the over 40 direct routes where the two companies’ combined market shares are so high that the deal is presumptively anticompetitive.

As further alleged in the complaint, in the last 10 years, Spirit has doubled its network in size and, before this deal, expected to continue expanding at a quick pace. The acquisition stops this future competition before it starts.

The acquisition would also make it easier for the remaining airlines to coordinate to charge travelers higher fares or limit capacity. JetBlue has already partnered with American Airlines, the largest airline in the world, through the Northeast Alliance, which the Department sued to block. Now, JetBlue is doubling down on consolidation, seeking to acquire and eliminate its main ultra-low-cost competitor, depriving travelers of yet another choice.

If allowed to eliminate the Spirit option, JetBlue would likely increase prices on every route where Spirit flies today. As a result, travelers who previously preferred Spirit’s lower-price, no-frills service would either have to pay more for amenities they do not want, or may no longer be able to afford to travel at all.

JetBlue is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Long Island City, New York. In 2022, it flew over 39 million passengers to approximately 107 destinations around the world, earning about $9.1 billion in revenue.

Spirit is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Miramar, Florida. In 2022, it flew over 38 million passengers to approximately 92 destinations in the Americas, earning about $5 billion in revenue.

The Justice Department, together with Attorneys General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of New York, and the District of Columbia, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block JetBlue Airways Corporation’s (JetBlue) proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of its largest and fastest-growing ultra-low-cost rival, Spirit Airlines, Inc. (Spirit). JetBlue and Spirit compete fiercely today on hundreds of routes serving millions of travelers. By eliminating that competition and further consolidating the United States airlines industry, the proposed transaction will increase fares and reduce choice on routes across the country, raising costs for the flying public and harming cost-conscious fliers most acutely.

Fatal Fire Under Investigation In Little Egg Harbor

March 7, 2023

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on March 6, 2023, at approximately 1:45 p.m., multiple fire companies from the Little Egg Harbor Township area responded to a structure fire on Harvest Way in Little Egg Harbor Township.  During a search of the residence, the body of a deceased male was discovered.  The decedent’s body was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River for a post mortem examination and identification.

The origin and cause of the fire are currently under investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Additional information will be released to the public as it becomes available.

Wildfire Alert County Road 539 Closed In Warren Grove Area

March 7, 2023

LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Just after noon today March 7, 2023 the New Jersey Forrest Fire Service responded to a fire in Little Eggo Harbor Township off of Route 539 near Warren Grove after being spotted by the Cedar Bridge Fire Tower. Upon arrival the original fire was around 10 acres in size and quickly growing due to weather conditions. A command post is set up near the Warren Grove Range. The fire has a reported potential to exceed 450 acres. Fire will be known as the ‘Governor’s Branch Wildfire’- Munion Field Road south of the Governor’s Branch.

Local fire departments have been requested for structural protection in the area of the fire.

Further details to follow.

The Queen Amina Music Club Presents Free Jazz Concert Featuring Internationally-Renowned Jazz Recording Artist Tia Fuller

March 7, 2023

Lawrence Township, NJ – With lead funding from the Dorthaan Kirk Foundation and the Eggerts Crossing Civic League, the Queen Amina Music Club (QAMC) will present a free concert featuring internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller at the Lawrence High School Auditorium in Lawrence Township, New Jersey on March 15. Also featured will be pianist Alexis Lombre, bassist Laura-Simone Martin, and drummer Allison Miller.

The concert will culminate Fuller’s teaching artist-in-residency for students participating in the Queen Amina Music Club, a music education and mentorship program for 4th through 8th-grade female instrumentalists in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. A number of these students will perform at Fuller’s concert as well.

“It’s paramount that girls have the opportunity to have these kinds of experiences when they’re young,” said 17-year old QAMC founder Laura-Simone Martin. “They see firsthand just what is possible with hard work, persistence, and believing in yourself, regardless of gender or anything else.”

The all-female quartet will perform standards and jazz classics, as well as contemporary tunes from Fuller’s most recent recordings. Free and open to the public, the concert will begin at 7:00 pm on March 15 in the auditorium at Lawrence High School, 2525 Princeton Pike, Lawrence Township, NJ. For further information, contact

Queen Amina Music Club with saxophonist, Camille Thurman and founder, Laura-Simone Martin with 4-6th grade students at Lawrence Intermediate School in 2023.

Queen Amina Music Club founder and educator Laura-Simone Martin (center) with students participating in the Queen Amina Music Program in Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Tia Fuller (on Zoom) with students participating in the Queen Amina Music Program in Lawrenceville, New Jersey