Category: Hightstown

15 Arrested In Monmouth And Mercer County For Possessing and/or Trafficking Child Sexual Abuse Materials

October 19, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Separate investigations have netted fifteen Monmouth County individuals for possessing and or trafficking child sexual abuse materials, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Between July 21, 2020 and October 15, 2020, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested individuals. Assisting in this Operation were members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU), the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office, The Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes members from the following police departments: Eatontown, Howell Township, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Neptune Twp., Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, and Holmdel; and support from the following Monmouth County Police Departments: Asbury Park, Aberdeen, Middletown, Highlands, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.

            These arrests were designed to reduce online threats to Monmouth County to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornographic-materials.

The following individuals were arrested:

Antonio Mejia, 38, of 806 5th Avenue, Asbury Park. Mejia was arrested on July 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he transmitted numerous images of child sexual abuse materials and engaged in sexual conversations with 3 males under the age of 16. Mejia was charged with one count second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual abuse materials, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Manufacturing an Image of Child Exploitation Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)iii, three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, N.J.S.A 2C:24-4a(1) and three counts of Attempted Obscenity to Minors, 2C:34-3. On July 30, 2020, defendant appeared for a detention hearing before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. was released on the condition that he have no contact with the victims, no access to social media and no contact with anyone under 18. Mejia is represented by Joy Anderson, Esq. of Eatontown.

Brody Sullivan, 20, of 2 Ithaca Court, Aberdeen was arrested on July 22, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Sullivan was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexaul Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)ii and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Sullivan is represented by Anthony Palumbo, Esq. of Cranford.

Anthony Lichtenau, 36, of 72 Brentwood Road, Eatontown was arrested on July 24, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Lichtenau was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Lichtenau is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Matthew Fahmie, 33, of 30 Northover Place, Middletown, was arrested on September 10, 2020 following an investigation which revealed that he possessed over 1,000 images of child sexual exploitation material. Fahmie was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii) and was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and restricted internet access. Fahmie is represented by Richard Incremona, Esq. of Freehold Township.

Valentin Valdetano, 20, of 359 North Bath Avenue, Long Branch, was arrested on July 31, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed and traded images of child sexual abuse materials using a chat platform. Valdetano was charged with second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i) and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Valdetano was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that he not use the internet. Valdetano is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq. of Long Branch.

Zachary Barnett, 24, 984 Twilight Way, Aberdeen, was arrested on August 7, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Barnett was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Barnett was released on a summons. Barnett is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq. of Freehold.

Brian Wioncek, 62 of 317 Shore Drive, Apartment C, Highlands, was arrested on September 9, 2020 following an investigation that he possessed child sexual abuse materials. Wioncek was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Wioncek was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that his internet usage is restricted.

John Hynes, 21, of 90 Bannard Street, Freehold, was arrested on August 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Hynes was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). Hynes was released on a summons. Hynes is represented by Charles Clark, Esq. of Freehold.

Michael Townend, 19, 203 Colts Neck Road, Howell, was arrested on August 25, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Townend was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Townend was released on a summons. Townend is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq. of Neptune.

Robert Sherman, 62, of 112 Route 36, Highlands, was arrested on September 1, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Sherman was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(b(iii). Sherman was released on a summons. Sherman is represented by Michael Polloway, Esq. of Red Bank.

Michael Pipitone, 38, of 157 Rutledge Drive, Middletown, was arrested on September 2, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Pipitone was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Pipitone was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by John Hogan, Esq. of Woodbridge.

George Ichkitidze, 39, of 27-08 Whistler Drive, Freehold Township, was arrested on September 25, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Ichkitidze was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Ichkitidze was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by Kevin Clark, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Juvenile, of Freehold Borough, was arrested on September 11, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. The juvenile was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii).

Thomas Vilanova, 49, of 133 Newbury Road, Howell, was charged on October 13, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he possessed images of child sexual abuse material. Vilanova was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is currently on probation for a 2017 conviction for third Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is scheduled to appear in court before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. for a detention hearing on October 22, 2020. Vilanova is represented by Michael Wenning, Esq. of Bradley Beach.

Jamie Khan, 43 of 19 Oxford Drive, East Windsor, was charged on October 15, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was viewing and sending child sexual abuse material while working for his employer in Freehold Township. The investigation further revealed that he was also in possession of child sexual abuse material at his home in East Windsor. Khan was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of  Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i). Khan was released on the condition of no internet usage and no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.

If convicted of the first degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, Megan’s Law, and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the second degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of ten years in New Jersey State Prison Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the third degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of five years in New Jersey State Prison and Parole Supervision for Life. A conviction for disorderly persons Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana exposes a defendant to a maximum sentence of six months incarceration.

Ichkitidze’s case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit; the remaining cases are assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan, Computer Crimes Unit.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

UPDATE: 6 Charged In East Windsor Fight, Includes Assault On Police Officers

October 19, 2020


Read Saturday’s MidJersey.News breaking news story here: BREAKING: Large Fight Involving Around 25 People Requires Mutual Aid Response, One Transported To Local Hospital


EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–On Saturday, October 17, 2020, at approximately 11:11 pm, East Windsor Police responded to the area of Bennington Drive for a noise complaint. When officers arrived, they observed a large group of approximately 20 people physically fighting. Officers attempted to calm and control the situation but some of the active participants failed to comply with orders. Officers from the Robbinsville and Monroe police departments also responded to assist with controlling the situation. While affecting multiple arrests, two East Windsor officers were assaulted resulting in minor injuries. Ultimately, six individuals were arrested, charged and released pending court action.


Defendant: Essence Bolden
East Windsor, NJ
18 Years of Age
Charges: Assault on Police Officer
Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Dana Flowers
East Windsor, NJ
36 Years of Age
Charges: Obstructing Justice
Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Juvenile
East Windsor, NJ
17 Years of Age
Charges: Resisting Arrest
Obstructing Justice
Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Juvenile
East Windsor, NJ
16 Years of Age
Charges: Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Juvenile
Trenton, NJ
17 Years of Age
Charges: Simple Assault (2 Counts)
Resisting Arrest
Disorderly Conduct


Defendant: Juvenile
Hamilton, NJ 17 Years of Age
Charges: Simple Assault (2 Counts)
Disorderly Conduct


 


As with every arrest we report on: Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

Overturned Vehicle On NJTP At Exit 8 Injures 4

October 17, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 8:30 pm a car traveling north bound in the inner lanes of the NJ Turnpike overturned just prior to Exit 8 that left 4 injured. At least 2 were transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, others reported minor injuries but refused medical advice and transport.

Hightstown Fire Company, Cranbury Fire Company, Hightstown First Aid Squad, East Windsor First Aid Squad and Mercer County Paramedics responded to the scene. A light pole was reported to be knocked down partly blocking the Exit 8 Ramp. NJ State Police is investigating the crash.

Robbinsville Over Hightstown 35-32, Hightstown Senior Night

October 9, 2020

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–It was Hightstown High School’s football, band and cheerleading senior night tonight. Senior nights this season have been moved from the usual last game of the season to the 1st home game of the season due to COVID-19. The visiting Robbinsville Ravens defeated the Hightstown Rams 35-32.

Senior Night Photo Gallery:


Football gallery:

Mercer County: General Election Vote By Mail Secured Drop Box Locations

All Drop Boxes will be open by October 5, 2020 until General Election Night of November 3, 2020 at 8:00 pm.

October 4, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Recently a secured election ballot drop box has been installed at the Robbinsville Township Municipal Building. The box is to the left of the rear parking lot entrance to the building. Just look for the flag pole and the box is in that location. There are also signs located in the parking lot to show the way to the secure drop box.


Robbinsville Township Municipal Clerk Michele Seigfried explains the 2020 General Election process on November 3 in the wake of COVID-19 in this informative video.


For the most up to date information on the 2020 elections and drop box locations visit the Mercer County Board of Elections website here and here: Mercer County Board Of Elections

All Active Registered Voters will receive a Mail-In-Ballot that can be placed in a drop box at any one of the fifteen (15) locations (see below), mailed, or hand delivered at the polling location on November 3 from 5:15 am-8:00 pm.

Drop boxes will be open beginning in October 2020 until General Election Night of November 3, 2020 at 8:00 pm.



Secured Drop Box Locations

Please Note: We anticipate more drop boxes, however, at this time do not know how many and in what locations they will be placed. Any and all changes will be updated on the website.

** All Drop Boxes will be open by October 5, 2020

EAST WINDSOR:

  • East Windsor Police Station – 80 One Mile Road, East Windsor, NJ, 08520 (Courthouse)

EWING:

  • Ewing Municipal Building – 2 Jake Garzio Drive, Ewing, NJ, 08628 (In Front)

HAMILTON:

  • Hamilton Golf/Call Center – 5 Justice Samuel A. Alito Way, Hamilton, NJ, 08619
  • Hamilton Municipal Building – 2090 Greenwood Avenue, Hamilton, NJ, 08609 (Right side of Bldg.)
  • Nottingham Firehouse – 200 Mercer Street, Hamilton Square, NJ, 08690 (Right side of Bldg.)

HIGHTSTOWN:

  • Hightstown Firehouse #1 – 140 N. Main Street, Hightstown, NJ, 08520 (Front of Bldg.)

HOPEWELL TWP:

  • Hopewell Township Administration Building – 201 Washington Crossing-Pennington Rd, Titusville, NJ 08560 (at the intersection of Scotch Road)

LAWRENCE:

  • Lawrence Municipal Building – 2207 Lawrenceville Rd, (Rt 206) Lawrence, NJ 08648 (North Side-Right Side of the Municipal Bldg.)

PRINCETON:

  • Princeton Municipal Building – 400 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ, 08540(Front of Bldg. facing  Witherspoon)

ROBBINSVILLE:

  • Robbinsville Municipal Building, 2298 NJ-33, Robbinsville, NJ 08691 (In back parking lot of Municipal Bldg.)

TRENTON:

  • County Clerk’s Office- Courthouse Annex- 209 S. Broad Street, Trenton, NJ, 08608 (in front)
  • Trenton City Hall – 319 E. State Street, Trenton, NJ, 08608 (In back/ near Municipal Clerks Office)
  • Henry J. Austin Center – 321 N. Warren St, Trenton, NJ, 08618(Corner of Tucker)
  • Trenton Central High School – 400 Chambers Street, Trenton, NJ, 08609(across from McDonald’s)

WEST WINDSOR:

  • West Windsor Municipal Complex, 271 Clarksville Rd, West Windsor, NJ,08550 (Between the Municipal building and the Senior Center)

Hightstown Over Steinert Football 24-20

October 3, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hightstown defeated Steinert this afternoon with a final score of 24-20. According to the Hightstown RAMS this is the first time since 2009 that Hightstown has beat Steinert in a game.




Home Energy Assistance Available To Eligible Mercer County Residents, LIHEAP Application Period Opens Today

October 1, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is reminding residents that assistance is available for energy costs for those who qualify beginning Oct. 1, but that applicants must adhere to certain COVID-19 restrictions. The County’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), offered in coordination with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, is designed to help low-income families and individuals meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs.This year, the LIHEAP application period is Oct. 1, 2020, to July 31, 2021. Mercer County will continue accepting applications for the Universal Service Fund (USF) Program throughout the year. Residents who pay their own heating costs, and meet the income guidelines, may be eligible to receive financial assistance with their winter heating bill. Residents with medical conditions also may be eligible to receive cooling assistance. An eligibility chart can be found on the Mercer County website.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have created financial hardships for many households that now have to worry about the cost of heating and other energy bills,” Mr. Hughes said. “I urge our low-income residents to visit our website or contact the County housing office to determine their eligibility to apply for energy assistance.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the public may visit the Mercer County Office of Housing and Community Development, located at 640 South Broad St., Trenton, by appointment only. If an in-person visit is necessary, clients can call 609-337-0933 or email heatingappt@mercercounty.org to schedule an appointment.

Beginning Oct. 1, the County will temporarily begin operating an outdoor informational center adjacent to the 640 South Broad St. building. Clients will be able to drop off applications and access information from LIHEAP staff. 

The County will continue to accept applications by regular mail, fax and email until July 31, 2021. Applications, forms and information are available on the Mercer County website.

Man Found Deceased In Peddie Lake

September 1, 2020

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)—At approximately 8:30 pm tonight Hightstown Police officers were dispatched to Peddie Lake, adjacent to Tavern on the Lake for an unresponsive person in the water. The Hightstown Fire Department’s Dive Team along with Robbinsville Township EMS initially responded to the scene for a recovery. Additionally, Robbinsville Township Fire Department and Cranbury Fire Company also responded to the scene for extra assistance in the recovery. The subject was removed from the water by the fire department and pronounced dead.

Hightstown Police identified the subject as Mr. Dana “Mike” Fields, a 60-year-old resident of Hightstown.  

The incident is currently under investigation, but the incident does not appear to be suspicious at this time.  Any witnesses or persons with information surrounding this incident is asked to contact Det. Mecca, Hightstown Police Department, at 609-448-1234 x 540.


This is at least the second known person to be recovered from Peddie Lake this year. A missing East Windsor man was recovered on Sunday February 2, 2020 you can read that MidJersey.News story at the following link:

Missing Person From East Windsor Recovered from Peddie Lake (2/2/2020)


“The Art of Remembrance” Teens Use Creative Arts to Support Alzheimer’s While School Is Closed

September 1, 2020

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–During this time where school, work and life events are put on pause, free time has become an opportunity for community support to shine. Richard Zhu, a sophomore at the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ, could not resist to continue his passion for art. Zhu saw the potential for something beautiful resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic – he founded The Art of Remembrance organization, using fine art, poetry, illustrations, and creative writing to support Alzheimer’s disease.

Zhu, along with his talented peers, Carol Ge, Tianran Song, Vincent Zhang, Yuchi Zhang, and Lily Wang, designed a creative arts magazine to raise money to support the Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia (LIAD) Center, a social adult day program in Westbury, NY that has pivoted its hands-on programs to virtual platforms to continue support for families living with the challenges brought on by cognitive impairment.

“In a span of less than eight years, my grandmother, Hu Weide, went from a caring and joyous woman to a shadow of herself,” says Richard Zhu. “In her honor, we curated a collection of our art, which explores human emotion during times of crisis…through our art, we hope to rejuvenate people during this time and support those most vulnerable.”

“We are so touched by the Art of Remembrance’s generosity and inspired by their creativity,” says Tori Cohen, Executive Director of the Long Island Alzheimer’s & Dementia Center. “Their unique fundraiser will help the LIAD Center continue to provide families critically needed resources, such as support groups and stimulating virtual activities, as well as a safe place to return to when our doors reopen. I’m sure Richard’s grandmother is so proud of the direct impact he and his partners will have on so many of our families, providing a sense of hope and comfort during this overwhelming time.”

To support The Art of Remembrance and learn more about the LI Alzheimer’s & Dementia Center’s COVID-19 programs and services, visit www.lidementia.org or call (516) 767-6856.

About the Long Island Alzheimer’s & Dementia (LIAD) Center
For over 30 years, the LIAD Center has been providing supportive community-based services to Long Island families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The LIAD Center offers hands-on and stage-specific programs and services to diagnosed individuals and caregivers. The 501 (c)(3) takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in cutting-edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being, and safety of individuals with dementia. Its state-of-the-art center is located at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury. Until there is a cure, the LIAD Center is the best place for families to find support, guidance, and hope.


Ecology

to love her

is to link dendritic arms

in an electrifying jazz dance of blushing Oxytocin

leaping and rolling along the fatty floors till it bursts

through the calcified studio doors

and into Dopamine’s arms–they dash in dizzying circles

through basal ganglia and gray matter cortices

and the brain is a sizzling city of people spraying the blush in sprawling graffiti

singing the systolic songs of every palpitation

till the beats thud down every street and they

are the set crew constructing your dazzling dance

of infatuation this

is Amsterdam

a dance of constructed aluminum frames

glossy bicycle bells tinkling down every street

whispering songs of whirring chains–

the world scrawls gaseous graffiti with gray exhaust pipes,

dashing poison upon the seas till the polyps collapse in dizzy circles

within bleached calcium cages and acidic arms pry open oyster shells

till they burst–yet the Dutch are rolling

forth in neighborhoods

of bikers tying wire struts together

into a gift of unblemished oxygen and nitrogen

each citizen plugging into the city till it is electrified and Humanity

dances with the Nereids



Airborne Day Celebrated

August 16, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE-EAST WINDSOR-HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)—Today is Airborne Day and it is a special day to honor the US Airborne Forces and the first parachute jump of 48 members of the US Army Parachute Test Platoon on August 16, 1940 during World War II.

A roadside monument sits along Route 130 in the Windsor section of Robbinsville Township honoring the US Army Parachute Test Platoon that worked there during World War II. Two towers left over from the World’s Fair were brought to the location and used for the tests located at Route 130 and Voelbel Road formerly known on maps then as parachute road.

Active members of current Airborne and Special Forces Airborne units, Airborne Association of NJ and Special Forces Association New Jersey Chapter held a ceremony to commemorate the day. Since the weather was not cooperating at the test site the ceremony was move from the outdoor location to the American Legion about half mile up the road.

According to the 82nd Airborne Association North Jersey Chapter Chairman Vic Balint the day is to honor the Airborne soldier and the original parachute test platoon. In 1918 Brigadier General William Lendrum ”Billy” Mitchell or the US Army Air Corps suggested to General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing was air service advisor and should employee airborne troops in World War 1, and like the idea but the war ended in November 1918 and the idea never happened.

In 1939 General Gorge C. Marshall US Army Chief of Staff directed U.S. Army General George A. Lynch to “Make a study for the purpose of determining the desirability of organizing, training, and conducting tests of a the small detachment of air infantry with a view to determine whether or not our army should contain a unit or units of this nature”

Many in the military disagreed with this philosophy and argued that the airborne force was not needed for America during World War II.

Despite this thinking General Marshall gave his approval on July 25, 1940 to immediately establish a parachute test platoon to test the development of airborne troops.

The original test platoon was 48 paratroopers 2 officers and 46 enlisted. The platoon started training and developing equipment and policies that would be used by future airborne forces. Many of the techniques developed then are in use today.

During the original testing during the test platoon’s third week they were sent to Safe Parachute Company, Hightstown, NJ (Robbinsville former Washington Township) because there were two 150-foot towers left over from the 1939 World’s Fair. The original test platoon spent 10 days in New Jersey before returning to Georgia.

After additional testing and successful demonstrations by the test platoon the war department activated the 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion, on October 1, 1940 and located at Fort Benning Georgia.

Lawrence Taylor, Sr. President of the Special Forces Association, Chapter 19 for the State of New Jersey continued and stated that Amelia Earhart was the first one to jump off of a 115 foot tower in Jackson, NJ on June 2, 1935.

In 1934, Stanley Switlik and Amelia’s husband, George P. Putnam formed a partnership and created the first parachute jump tower in the US. The tower was located where Great Adventure is today. Switlik Parachute Company formed in 1920 and is still operating in Trenton and Hamilton Township, NJ



Salute To The Great Cities Of The American Revolution As Seen In Transit Though Mercer County

July 4, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, EAST WINDSOR, HAMILTON, NJ (MERCER)–If you were lucky enough to be outside this afternoon around 5:15 you would have seen a military fly over called “Salute To The Great Cities Of The American Revolution” en route from New York City to Philadelphia.

Trenton, NJ the home of the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area where just north of there General George Washington crossed the Delaware on December 25, 1776 was not on the official list of the “Great Cities”

Still the region from the Monmouth Battlefield, extending though Cranbury, Hightstown, Robbinsville, Hamilton and turning at Trenton towards Philadelphia was still able to see the fly over even though it was not officially on the program.

Spectators were able to see a variety of aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps including: U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, followed by B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-22 fighters and U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighters in transit from New York City to Philadelphia.


Secretary Esper approved a Department of the Interior request for DOD support to the 2020 Salute to America. DOD will provide aerial, musical and ceremonial support to this year’s celebration in Washington, D.C. This year’s support will also include a flyover of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, as well an aerial salute to several cities that played roles in the American Revolution.
 
The highlight of this year’s celebration will be our salute to the Great Cities of the American Revolution. The flyovers will begin in Boston and proceed to New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore. From there they will join other Department of Defense and heritage aircraft in the Salute to America over our nation’s capital. In all, roughly 1,700 service members will support the celebrations.

The aircraft are scheduled to overfly each of the cities, beginning at approximately 4:00 pm, then fly on to the next city. U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps jets will fly over in five waves. The flyovers will be led by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, followed by B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-22 fighters and U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighters.  

BOSTON:  The aircraft are scheduled to overfly the center of the city at approximately 4:00 pm approaching from the northeast at 1,000 feet above the ground.  Multiple aircraft will overfly the U.S.S. Constitution and then proceed over Fenway Park before departing the city. 

NEW YORK:  The aircraft are scheduled to fly down the Hudson River at approximately 5:00 pm and pass just east of the Statue of Liberty.  

PHILADELPHIA:  The aircraft are scheduled to overfly the center of the city at approximately 5:15 pm approaching from the northeast at 1,000 feet above the ground.  Multiple aircraft will fly over Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell and then proceed southwest out of the city.

BALTIMORE: The aircraft are scheduled to overfly Fort McHenry at approximately 5:30 pm approaching from the northeast at 1,000 feet above the ground.  Multiple aircraft will overfly Fort McHenry before turning south out of the city.

The flyovers provide an opportunity for DOD to demonstrate the capabilities and professionalism of the United States Armed Forces. Flying hours are a sunk cost for the Department of Defense, and these aircraft and crews would be using these hours for proficiency and training at other locations if they were not conducting these flyovers.
 
DOD is proud to help celebrate the nation’s 244th birthday. We are grateful for our nation’s support as we defend our country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Photos below by: Dennis Symons from East Windsor looking towards Hightstown and Robbinsville


Photos below by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News from the Scenic Overlook on I-295 in Hamilton Township

Another Busy Night With Accidents On The NJ Turnpike

June 28, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Several accidents have occurred on the NJ Turnpike this evening at 9:52 pm at Exit 8 in Hightstown a tractor trailer overturned with injures at the north bound on ramp to the NJTP. Hightstown Fire Department and Hightstown First Aid Squad were at the scene. Robbinsville Township Fire Department responded but was not needed.

At 3:07 am the Robbinsville Township Fire Department responded to the NJ Turnpike at mile marker 59 for a single car accident with heavy front end damage. It appears one person was injured in this accident. The person was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton.

Around 3:30 am in Cranbury at mile marker 70 Cranbury First Aid Squad responded to a motor vehicle accident with three injures. Patients from that accident were transported to Princeton Medical Center Plainsboro.

The night before a one year old child lost their life and 4 others were injured in a major accident in Cranbury.

UPDATE: NJ State Police Report A 1 Year Old Child Has Died In Last Nights Accident 4 Others With Severe To Moderate Injuries On NJ Turnpike

June 27, 2020 at 11:18 am

See this morning’s early morning breaking news report for more information: BREAKING: Serious Accident On NJ Turnpike With Possible Fatality About One Mile From Exit 8

CRANBURY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)—New Jersey State Police report that a motor vehicle accident occurred  Friday, June 26 at 10:52 pm on the southbound outer roadway at mile marker 69.

Preliminary reports by NJSP are that a Toyota Camry and Volvo tractor trailer were traveling southbound on the New Jersey Turnpike in the area of mile marker 69 when the Volvo struck the rear of the Toyota.

As a result of the collision the driver of the Volvo, Euclides R. Santos , 53 year old male of New York, NY suffered moderate injuries. Driver of the Toyota, Kazara P. Leacock, 24 year old female of Randallstown, MD suffered moderate injuries. Passenger of the Toyota, Messiah Gray, 1 year old male juvenile of Randallstown, MD suffered fatal injuries. Passenger of the Toyota, Hilkiah Leacock-Small, 3 year old juvenile male Randallstown, MD suffered serious injuries. Passenger of the Toyota, Cheryl Leacock, 61 year old female of Randallstown, MD suffered moderate injuries.



BREAKING: Serious Accident On NJ Turnpike With Fatality About One Mile From Exit 8

SEE UPDATED STORY HERE: UPDATE: NJ State Police Report A 1 Year Old Child Has Died In Last Nights Accident 4 Others With Severe To Moderate Injuries On NJ Turnpike

BREAKING NEWS REPORT: Information from radio traffic and what was observed on scene at a distance. Once official information is avaiable story will be updated and corrections made if needed.

June 26, 2020 date of accident 11 pm, published June 27, 2020 1:39 am. minor updates at 10 am. Still waiting for official news release from NJ State Police. Updated at 11:30 with some corrections see the new story link posted above for latest information about the accident.

CRANBURY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–At 10:52 pm tonight a serious accident occurred on the NJ Turnpike in the area of the 69 mile marker south bound lanes. The accident appears to have occurred in a “Z-Cut” area marked “NO TURNS” that are used for emergency equipment. The area is approximately one mile north of Exit 8 Hightstown. A tractor trailer with Amazon Prime markings collided with a car in the area of the emergency access cut though.

The Hightstown Fire Company, Cranbury Fire Company, Robbinsville Township Fire Department EMS, Hightstown First Aid Squad, Mercer County Paramedics and others responded to the scene.

Two were heavily entrapped in the back seat of the car and firefighters with the assistance of a crane from George’s Garage lifted the front of the tractor trailer off the trapped occupants and free them.

A medical helicopter from Cooper University Healthcare “Cooper-2” flew one of the occupants that were heavily entrapped to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center Trauma Unit in New Brunswick. The center roadway was shut down for the accident and the helicopter landed on the highway nearby.

Two occupants from the front of the vehicle were transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center Trama Unit in Trenton.

It is reported that one person from the back seat has died.

New Jersey State Police have shut down the inner roadway for the accident investigation. The Middlesex County Medical Examiner was en route to the scene at the time of this report.

The accident investigation on the Turnpike is active at this time and the inner roadway is expected to be shut down for hours.

Once official information becomes available this story will be updated, information obtained is from radio reports and observations. See updated story here: SEE UPDATED STORY HERE: UPDATE: NJ State Police Report A 1 Year Old Child Has Died In Last Nights Accident 4 Others With Severe To Moderate Injuries On NJ Turnpike



BREAKING: Firefighters Rescue And Revive 2 Cats From Motel Fire In East Windsor

BREAKING NEWS: This is from on scene reports and radio traffic. Once official information is made available story will be updated and any corrections/additions made if necessary.

June 20, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Firefighters responded to a fire at the Town House Motel on Franklin Street this afternoon around 12:30 pm. Upon arrival firefighters found heavy smoke coming from Room 216 and the adjacent rooms. Firefighters forced the door and extinguished the fire in the room and found two cats suffering smoke inhalation during their search. Firefighters removed the two cats and brought them outside near the command post and with assistance of EMS were able to revive the cats.

Firefighters and EMS used special oxygen masks designed for animals and were able to revive them. After about 20 minutes of oxygen treatment and stimulation the cats were able to come around and appear that they will survive. The two cats were later transported to the NorthStar Vets in Robbinsville a 24 hour animal hospital. They should be ok after treatment.

The fire was under investigation at the time of this report. Once official information is available it will be posted.


ADVERTISEMENT: Washington Wellness Center, Robbinsville NJ https://washingtonwellnesscenter.com/


BREAKING: NJ State Police Vehicle Struck On NJ Turnpike Sending 1 To Hospital

SLOW DOWN MOVE OVER!!!

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE SCENE AND RADIO REPORTS WILL BE UPDATED WHEN INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE

June 7, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–A New Jersey State Police vehicle was struck in the rear tonight at mile marker 65.3 south bound inner roadway (car lanes) just south of Exit 8 around 10:41 pm tonight. From photos it can be seen that multiple vehicles including a NJ Trooper vehicle were damaged. One person was transported to the hospital by the Hightstown First Aid Squad. No further information was available about the accident. Once released the story will be updated. Robbinsville Township Fire Department was dispatched to the scene but not needed.

This accident comes 10 years + 1 day since Trooper Marc Castellano was killed on I-195 when he was struck by a vehicle on I-195. See MidJersey.News story on that here: NJSP Troop “C” Hamilton, 10th Anniversary Of When Trooper Was Struck By Passing Motorist On I-195

NJSP, Robbinsville Fire Department and Bordentown Township Firefighters also had a close call on June 4 when rubber neckers caused an accident at a fire scene on the NJ Turnpike in Bordentown Township see MidJersey.News story here: SLOW DOWN MOVE OVER: NJTP Car Fire And Rubberneck 3 Car Accident


BREAKING: Turnpike Horror, 10 Horses Died In Horse Trailer Fire, 1 Person Inhalation Burns, 1 Other Injured

Breaking News, some reports from official sources and some reports from on scene and radio traffic, reported as accurately as possible

Updated at 9:40 am. with what we know

Updated at 1:00 pm with some details from social media

June 7, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey State Police confirmed that 10 horses died in a horse transport truck accident with fire early this morning on the New Jersey Turnpike. The truck was a very large tractor trailer style horse transport.

One Facebook witness said they were passing the area at the time and saw flames 20 feet in the air coming from the wreckage.

The transport vehicle traveling north lost control and struck a concrete divider in the area of the bridge support for an emergency U-Turn on the highway then caught fire.

NJSP did not confirm that two persons were injured including one with inhalation burns to the lungs. The injured people were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick trauma center.

The accident and fire occurred around 3:00 am this morning on the New Jersey Turnpike “truck lanes” outer roadway near mile marker 68.6 north bound which is between Wycoff Mills Road and Brick Yard Road, approximately 1 mile north of Exit 8 Hightstown

Multiple fire departments and ambulance crews responded to the scene including units from Hightstown, East Windsor 1 & 2, Cranbury, Plainsboro and Monroe. Hightstown First Aid Squad transported 2 to RWJ, New Brunswick.

It was reported the horse transport was coming from Florida.

No further information is available at this time. NJSP would not give name of carrier or farm that horses belonged to.

One unconfirmed source stated that the horse trailer may have been en route from Ocala, Florida to Sarasota, NY carrying race horses for a race today and training at Saratoga Springs.


ADVERTISEMENT: Washington Wellness Center, Robbinsville NJ https://washingtonwellnesscenter.com/


Black Lives Matter Protest In Hightstown

June 2, 2020

Photos and story by: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)—A Black Lives Matter protest was held in Highstown, NJ this afternoon. The march started at the Hightstown High School proceeded up Main Street to the center of town. Traffic was shut down for about ½ hour during the protest. Protesters voiced their concerns and talked with police.

One of the protesters said, “We are not here to hate, we are here to gather in love, we love you guys (the police) and want you to love us back. The color of our skin should not threaten anybody, we are all the same, we bleed the same, we are all humans, we are all the same. God made us all equal, it should not take this long for us to have equality. We are tired of being tired.”

Officers of the Hightstown Police Department were asked by protesters to “take a knee” in support and they did, shook hands, and hugged. The protesters then marched up Mercer Street back towards to the high school.

This was a peaceful protest and were no known reported incidents.

Ed note: I know a lot of the protesters from high school sports programs and also the police both sides great people.

YouTube video with an HD camera:

From Facebook Live Video:

Photo gallery:


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Hightstown Memorial Day Services

May 25, 2020

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Members of the Hightstown Fire Company, Mayor Larry Quattrone, and others gathered this morning for a Memorial Day Service and wreath laying at three memorials in town.

A short memorial service was held at three locations starting at 9:00 am. Cedar Hill Cemetery, Civil War Monument on Stockton Street and the memorial by the Hightstown Library where the services concluded at 9:30 am.

Update: South Brunswick Route 1 Crash Under Investigation, Hightstown Woman Injured

Read earlier story here

May 5, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet and Chief Raymond Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announce that authorities are investigating a crash that occurred earlier today in the Township.

The crash occurred at approximately 8:38 am on Route 1 Northbound in the vicinity of Northumberland Way.

Patrolman Michael Leung of the South Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that at approximately 8:38 am, a 2005 Kenworth T80 dump truck loaded with gravel was traveling on Route 1 when it struck a 2016 Nissan Rogue.

The driver of the Nissan Rogue, a 48-year-old female, of Hightstown was injured and transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

 The truck driver, a 24-year-old male from Staten Island, in an attempt to avoid the collision, swerved, overturned, and lost its load on the roadway; the truck then caught on fire. The truck driver did not suffer significant injuries.

No charges have been filed, but the investigation is active and is continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Patrolman Leung at (732) 329-4646, or Detective Berman at (732) 745- 4328.

Flight Plan For Operation “America Strong” For April 28, 2020 Released

April 27, 2020

NAS PENSACOLA, Fla. – The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, and the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, will honor frontline COVID-19 responders and essential workers with formation flights over New York City, Newark, Trenton and Philadelphia April 28. The flight plans have been released to the public this morning and can be viewed below.

See previous Stories on the event here:

Thunderbirds, Blue Angels to Salute New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania COVID-19 Responders Tuesday April 28, 2020

President Donald J. Trump Announces “Operation America Strong” Thunderbirds and Blue Angels Fly Over Airshows Coming To A City Near You

Blue Angels and Thunderbird Combined Fly-By Event Is In “Planning Stage” – Will Not Be Today

“Echoing Our Appreciation” to Healthcare Workers & The Front Porch Project

April 23, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township Police, Robbinsville Township Police, Hamilton Township Fire Dept., Robbinsville Township Fire Dept., Hope Fire Company, Mercer County Sheriff Officers, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, along with Mayor Jeff Martin, Mayor David Fried and many others came together tonight to honor and show thanks to healthcare workers at RWJ University Hospital at Hamilton.

A large American Flag hung from Hamilton Township Fire Department’s Truck 17 and police cars surrounded the truck with their lights on. At one point during the event sirens from the emergency vehicles were activated to show appreciation. Almost everyone in attendance cheered, clapped, held a variety of thank you signs for health care workers and many signs read “Heroes work here” The event was held at the evening shift change near the employee entrance. All in attendance were required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing as much as possible.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton’s President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Freeman said at the event, “I am here representing Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton and all our heroes. On behalf of our heroes who are working every single day taking care of our community, I am so proud of them and this effort that the mayors have put on just shows how much you are appreciated. It is really important to understand that the work you do will always, always be appreciated and well beyond this crisis. You are making a statement that this hospital is here for our families, our friends and our community. So bless you all and you are all heroes.”


As the event was happening at RWJ Hamilton Hospital the surrounding communities took part in the Front Porch Project to honor health care workers. Even the Robbinsville Township Council got involved prior to their meeting tonight. More on Front Porch Project tomorrow since several photographs and videos were sent to the Hamilton Mayor’s Office and will be shared in another story.



Front Porch Project To Honor Healthcare Workers Thursday Evening

ROBBINSVILLE-EAST WINDSOR-HAMILTON-NJ (MERCER)–On Thursday April 23 from 7-7:30 p.m., Hamilton, Robbinsville and East Windsor residents can show appreciation to our healthcare workers on the front lines by participating in the “Front Porch Project,” hosted by Hamilton Township and RWJ-Hamilton.

Ways residents could show appreciation is by hanging a banner, taking photos, making some noise, chalk your walk, or other creative projects. Do these at home, not at a public place, or by going to a hospital by please practice proper “social distancing.”

When you are finished send photos and videos to mayor@hamiltonnj.com and tag photos and videos on social media at @HamiltonTwpNJ and @RWJHamilton also use hashtags #HamiltonProud #EchoingAppreciation #HopeIsInHamilton and #HeroesWorkHeretag

Careless Smoking; Porch Fire Quickly Extinguished

April 19, 2020

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–A small fire on a porch was quickly contained in the 400 Block of Stockton Street tonight. Around 8:50 pm a passerby reported smoke from a building and called 9-1-1 alerting the police and fire departments.

Upon arrival it was found that a wicker type chair was on fire on the porch and was able to be quickly extinguished. The Hightstown Fire Marshal has ruled the cause “Careless Smoking”

Hightstown Fire Company, East Windsor Fire Company and Cranbury Fire Company and Hightstown Police Department responded.

NJ Semifinalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

April 17, 2020

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

Local coverage area semifinalists:

Vineeth Duggirala, East Windsor – Mercer County Technical Schools – Health Science Academy

Jonathan Li Lin, Cranbury – Princeton High School

Lucy Zou, East Brunswick – East Brunswick High School

Laura Futamura, Middletown – High Technology High School


New Jersey Full List:
NJ – Rohan Amin, Denville – Delbarton School
**NJ – Grace Elizabeth Brokenshire, Woodbury Heights – Gateway Regional High School
**NJ – Alicia Caichen, Paramus – Bergen County Technical Hs
NJ – Elizabeth Angelina Caso, High Bridge – North Hunterdon High School
*NJ – Elli Choi, Tenafly – Tenafly High School
NJ – Eunice Y. Chong, Demarest – Northern Valley Regional High School
NJ – Shawnak Deb, New Providence – Union County Magnet High School
NJ – Vineeth Duggirala, East Windsor – Mercer County Technical Schools – Health Science Academy
*NJ – Laura Futamura, Middletown – High Technology High School
*NJ – Felicia He, Saddle River – The Brearley School
NJ – Kevin Huang, Bellmawr – Triton Regional High School
NJ – Jonathan Koa, Mahwah – Mahwah High School
**NJ – Dong Jun Lee, Fort Lee – Bergen County Technical High School
NJ – YoungEun Lee, Demarest – Northern Valley Regional High School
*NJ – Jeffrey Xiang Liao, Livingston – Livingston High School
NJ – Jonathan Li Lin, Cranbury – Princeton High School
NJ – Shreya Nuli, Bridgewater – Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School
NJ – Ojas Parmar, Edison – Rutgers Preparatory School
NJ – Jason Ping, Fort Lee – Academy for the Advancement of Science & Technology
NJ – Katie Volpert, Highland Park – Highland Park High School
**NJ – Alan Yeung, Sparta – Sparta High School
NJ – Ethan Zhang, Short Hills – Millburn High School
NJ – Kathryn Shao Zheng, Tenafly – Tenafly High School
NJ – Lucy Zou, East Brunswick – East Brunswick High School