FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ (SOMERSET)—Around 7:10 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to Route 27 and South Middlebush for an abandoned structure on fire. Responding units reported smoke in the area and upon arrival smoke was reported from the second floor. A second alarm was called and there were also reports of hydrant/water main issues. The fire was reported knocked down around 7:38 p.m. No other information is available.
TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Alex Sauickie’s bill promising fairer farmland assessments conducted for preservation was unanimously approved by a Senate panel this week where it earned the praise of agricultural leaders.
“This legislation is easily a home run and helps level the playing field for farmers,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said in testimony during the Senate committee hearing Thursday. “It will help the state meet its goal to preserve 500,000 acres of farmland and keeps the Garden State the state that it should be.”
The bill (A4729) makes changes to the Farmland Preservation Program’s appraisal formula to include other relevant factors such as the value of farmland in nearby towns and counties and the importance of preserving farmland in the area. The State Agriculture Development Committee, which oversees the preservation program, would be required to use the appraisal process that results in the higher value as the basis for negotiations with the landowner.
Paul Hlubik, of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture, cited a Rutgers analysis in his testimony to compare farmland value to real estate. The 20 years of data in the study revealed a 20% decrease in easement values while real estate values increased by 3% a year, peaking at 15% in 2021, he said.
“I am keenly aware of growers in my surrounding community hoping to preserve but suffering from inordinately low skewed appraisals due to current methods,” Hlubik said. “It’s imperative that we focus on farmland preservation efforts today, not several decades into the future, if we wish to preserve those farms worth preserving.”
Brian Wilson, the administrator for the Burlington County Agriculture Development Board, said he has been involved in the state’s farmland preservation program for 18 years and sees the legislation having a great impact.
“I believe that this legislation is perhaps the single most important positive piece of legislation to come around in my 18 years here,” Wilson said. “It will certainly lead to an increase in both the numbers of applicants for the farmland preservation program and the number of farms that will be preserved here in the immediate future.”
The bill is also supported by the North Hanover and Jackson Township councils, the Ocean County Agriculture Development Board, and the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey.
“This measure is an investment in the Garden State. It ensures farmers are getting a fair deal and purchase offers reflect the true value of their land. As it already passed the Assembly unanimously, I look forward to its passage in the Senate and encourage the governor to sign it into law as soon as it gets to his desk,” Sauickie said.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Lawrence Cattano of the Perth Amboy Police Department announced today that a juvenile male pled guilty to offenses which if committed by an adult would constitute Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
On February 22, 2023, at approximately 2:37 PM, an 11-year-old male assaulted another 11-year-old male with a knife while they were on their way home from school. The victim sustained serious injuries.
The juvenile male was taken into custody and a preliminary hearing was held on February 23, 2023, where it was determined that the juvenile would remain detained. On April 19, 2023, the juvenile pled guilty before Honorable Judge Venezia to offenses which if committed by an adult would constitute 2nd degree aggravated assault and 3rd degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
On May 24, 2023, a Middlesex County Family Court Judge, imposed a disposition of three years’ probation and a condition of that probation was attendance and successful completion of a residential treatment program.
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is on scene of a wildfire burning in the area of City Line Road and Butler Place Road in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.
The wildfire is 85 acres in size and is 0% contained.
Upon initial attack crews were met with a fire that was rapidly spreading with numerous spot fires reported.
Currently, Forest Fire Service crews are improving containment lines and are utilizing a backfiring operation to burn fuel ahead of the main body of fire. This operation will be ongoing throughout the night.
ROAD CLOSURES Local forest roads in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Please avoid the area.
STRUCTURES THREATENED 2 structures threatened
BROWNS MILLS, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is reporting that they have a Wildfire in Browns Mills, Burlington County. This is a developing situation check back for updated information.
WILDFIRE ALERT: City Line Road – Browns Mills, Burlington County The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is responding to a wildfire burning in the area of City Line Road in Browns Mills, Burlington County. Please avoid the area at this time.
BARNEGAT LIGHT, NJ (OCEAN)–More than a year after closing for an extensive $1.3 million exterior and interior renovation project, Barnegat Lighthouse will fully open on Saturday, June 10 for park visitors to climb or tour the iconic structure, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.
Effective Saturday, the lighthouse will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting, through Labor Day.
“Barnegat Lighthouse is once again ready to welcome visitors who want to climb it and enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of the Jersey shore,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “And, for the first time in its history, the lighthouse’s views will be inclusive for all, thanks to a new video feed system, continuing Barnegat Light’s storied tradition as a community beacon.”
The structure underwent a complete exterior restoration, masonry recoating and repairs to the brick facade, repairs to the interior lantern steel platform, roof repairs, interior painting and the installation of new windows.
New cameras installed at the top of the lighthouse are now connected to a monitor in the park’s interpretive center, providing an ADA-accessible view that previously could only be seen by climbing the lighthouse. In the coming weeks, this live feed will also be viewable on the State Park Service’s website.
“The State Park Service looks forward to the complete reopening of the lighthouse, which has been a guiding light for sailors, visitors and families for much of its 166-year history,” said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner for State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “Visitors can now add a lighthouse climb or viewing to the many other activities available at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, including fishing, hiking, birding and picnicking.”
The Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse donated a new beacon light for the lighthouse, as well as new security fencing and security cameras. The new beacon light can be seen for 26.5 miles and was lighted during an Oct. 29, 2022 ceremony.
After being decommissioned in 1927, Barnegat Lighthouse remained dark until 2009, when the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse donated the previous light, which was activated on Jan. 1, 2009 – exactly 150 years after the structure’s original lighting in 1859.
Constructed in 1856, the Barnegat Lighthouse is a signature destination along the Jersey shore and is listed on the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places. Located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island in Ocean County, the location was regarded as one of the most crucial “change of course” points for coastal vessels. Ships bound to and from New York along the New Jersey’s Atlantic coastline depended on Barnegat Lighthouse to avoid the shoals extending from the shoreline. The swift currents, shifting sandbars and offshore shoals challenged the skills of even the most experienced sailors.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Reed Gusciora and North Ward Trenton City Councilwoman Jennifer Williams highlighted the 32nd Annual Historic Mill Hill Garden Tour, which will take place tomorrow, Saturday, June 10, 2023 by visiting some of the gardens that will be on display. The garden tour begins at Artworks, located at 19 Everett Alley Trenton, NJ 08611, and self-guided walking tours will be available between 12 pm-5pm.
Mayor W. Reed Gusciora stated, “I want to encourage both those who live in Trenton and those who live outside of the Capital City to attend the Mill Hill Garden Tour tomorrow. Today, I got a preview of the beautiful gardens that will be on display Saturday, and I can guarantee a great day for all who are interested in attending.”
Residents of Trenton’s Historic Mill Hill Neighborhood will open their unique gardens, big and small, to any and all visitors, garden lovers, and architecture buffs. Over 15 gardens and public spaces will be open, which include new gardens that have not been a part of tours in the past. Tickets are available online for the top of every hour or you can purchase tickets the day-of at Artworks. Children under 12 can attend for free. The Old Mill Society advises potential registrants to please respect any masking preferences indicated by signage at each garden entrance at the owner’s discretion. Free parking is available in the Artworks lot at the beginning of the tour.
Councilwoman Jennifer Williams remarked, “The Mill Hill Garden Tour is such a wonderful and beautiful annual event and I’m glad that so many Trentonians have opened up their gardens this year to welcome everyone. The Mill Hill neighborhood is a diverse on which shows its pride each year by showing so many ways to garden in an urban setting. I’m sure that a lot of folks will get great ideas for their gardens from coming to the Mill Hill Garden Tour.”
The tour is run and organized by the Old Mill Hill Society and the residents of Mill Hill. It has played an important role in the historic restoration of the neighborhood. Money raised by the garden tour funds preservation grants that assist homeowners in maintaining the Trenton Landmarks Commission for Historic Preservation Standards that have helped make the neighborhood what it is today.
Mill Hill is one of the most historic neighborhoods in Trenton, as it is located on the “high ground” alongside the Assunpink Creek. During the American Revolution, General George Washington utilized Mill Hill as a defensive location for the Second Battle of Trenton, which was fought on January 2, 1777. The night before this battle, General Washington met with his leaders at the Douglass House, which has been relocated to Mill Hill Park to serve as an anchor attraction. In the nineteenth Century, Mill Hill transitioned into an upper middle-class neighborhood characterized by handsome Victorian brick townhomes and Gothic Revival wood-frame houses.
AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Avon-by-the-Sea Police Department was dispatched to reports of two swimmers in distress at the Sylvania Avenue Beach at 8:35 a.m. Upon arrival, officers and members of the ANSWER water rescue team entered the water and began searching for victims.
Approximately 10 minutes later, rescue swimmers located a female juvenile in distress and successfully removed her from the ocean. She was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center by First Aid members. At approximately 10:00am, a second victim, later identified as a 39-year-old male from Teaneck was located submerged and brought to the shore where lifesaving efforts began. He was subsequently transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.
Avon-by-the-Sea Police Neptune City Police Bradley Beach Police
New Jersey State Police Marine Division
Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office United States Coast Guard
Avon-by-the-Sea First Aid Squad
Area Network of Shore Water Emergency Responders (ANSWER Team)
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are investigating a shooting that occurred early Friday morning June 9, 2023, in the city, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.
At approximately 12:03 a.m., Trenton police responded to the area of Aspen Alley and Evans Avenue in response to a Shot Spotter activation. Upon arrival, officers located a male victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso area. He was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment. The victim was identified as Markell Biggs, 20, of Trenton, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MANCHESTER, NJ (OCEAN)–Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today that a suspect has been arrested on numerous charges in connection with a fire that gutted a house and anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on several homes in Manchester Township late Tuesday, June 6, and into the early morning on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
Ron Carr, 34, of Manchester, was charged with 36 criminal counts, including charges of Bias Intimidation (First and Third Degree), Aggravated Arson (Second Degree), Arson (Third Degree), and Criminal Mischief (Fourth Degree). The charges stem from damage done to more than a dozen homes, including Carr’s alleged use of an accelerant to set a fire that razed a house in the township’s Pine Lake Park section. The investigation revealed that he also scrawled Nazi symbolism on homes, residential fences and elsewhere, and was targeting Jewish residents.
Manchester Township Police responded to calls about vandalism of homes in the Pine Lake Park area at about 11:45 p.m., Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Manchester Township Police determined that 14 homes were vandalized. The locations of the defaced properties are not being released to protect the victims’ identities.
At about 3:11 a.m. on June 7, 2023, authorities responded to a structure fire in the same neighborhood and received reports regarding a suspicious person on foot in the vicinity of the fire. That individual matched the description of the suspect in the criminal mischief incidents, who had been captured on security-camera footage. Manchester Township Police located the suspect in the area of Commonwealth Boulevard and Larchmont Street and took him into custody.
The house was destroyed in the fire, three additional homes suffered heat damage and flames spread to a wooded area behind the house. No injuries were reported.
Carr is currently in a medical facility and will be transported to the Ocean County Jail in Toms River pending his detention hearing.
“This crime spree and the antisemitism that it expressed caused pain, destruction, shock and fear among the residents of Manchester Township,” said Attorney General Platkin. “No community in the State of New Jersey should feel vulnerable or anxious in the face of acts of intolerance. No resident should feel their personal safety or their home is threatened by bigotry, persecution and violence. This will not stand, and I commend the law enforcement professionals from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the Manchester Township Police Department, and the Division of Criminal Justice for their dogged pursuit of the suspect and this quick arrest.”
“I am thankful no one was injured in these senseless acts of bigotry and hate. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in Ocean County and the seriousness of these charges reflect our unwavering commitment to prosecuting bias crimes to the fullest extent of the law,” said Prosecutor Billhimer.
First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges can lead to a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree offenses could lead to up to 18 months in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Deputy Attorney General Valerie Butler is prosecuting the case for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice in conjunction with Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Ashley Angelo. The investigation is being conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Major Crime Unit, Arson Squad, and Bias Crime Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit and the Manchester Township Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Robert M. Dolan Jr.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The Bordentown Township Police Department announces the arrest of Christian Stacey, age 18, of Humboldt St. Trenton NJ, and a 17-year-old juvenile from Trenton, NJ in connection with a motor vehicle theft and multiple motor vehicle burglaries in the Tree Street Development thanks to a vigilant resident.
The investigation began on the morning of 6/8/2023 when a resident of Van Drive observed a suspicious person peering into vehicles. This subject then fled on foot upon officers’ arrival. While searching the area, a vehicle reported stolen from Morrisville PA was located by officers occupied by a juvenile male from Trenton NJ. The juvenile was taken into custody, released to a guardian and criminal charges are pending. Multiple unlocked parked vehicles in the area were then determined to have been burglarized and were processed for evidence by Det. Moloney.
A few hours later our department received a report of a vehicle stolen from a Maple Avenue home. This stolen vehicle was then located in Trenton NJ by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department being operated by Stacey. When Stacey was taken into custody, proceeds from the motor vehicle burglaries were located on his person and in the vehicle. Additional evidence was located linking Stacey to the vehicle burglaries in the Tree Street Development. Stacy was then charged with three counts of burglary, three counts of theft, and theft of a motor vehicle before being transported to Burlington County Jail.
The vehicle burglary investigation was conducted by Ptl. Alexander and Det. Moloney and the vehicle theft investigation was undertaken by Ptl. Sanchez and Sgt. Stahl.
Anyone from the Tree Street Development with relevant security footage is asked to forward it to Det. Moloney at email@example.com