Category: Lawrence

Around 1,600 Pounds Of Frozen Turkey Distributed This Afternoon At Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church

November 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Willing Workers of Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church and members of Mercer County’s PBAs (Police Benevolent Associations) distributed frozen turkeys and food baskets late this afternoon at the church on North Clinton Avenue.

There were at least thirty boxes of frozen turkeys distributed with an average weight of around 55 pounds per box for a total of about 1,600 pounds. There were numerous baskets of food and turkey baking supplies provided to go along with the frozen birds.

There were several locations today for turkey distribution see this morning’s MidJersey.News story here: Mercer County PBA Assists With Turkey Distribution



Mercer County PBA Assists With Turkey Distribution

November 23, 2020

By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–All chapters of the Mercer County PBA are assisting with turkey distribution in Mercer County today. This morning at Saint Phillips Baptist Church, members unloaded over 600 pounds of turkey for distribution at that location.

There were two other locations with many more pounds donated this morning including the Hamilton YMCA.

The distribution will continue this evening at the Willing Workers of Jerusalem Baptist Church in Trenton at 4:00 pm.



Mercer County Offering Free COVID-19 Testing November 24 & December 1 at Cure Arena

Mercer County is also proud to offer free at-home COVID-19 testing. These tests are available to all residents of Mercer County, free of charge.

November 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today announced that the County, in partnership with Vault Health Services, will offer free COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CURE Insurance Arena, 81 Hamilton Ave. The saliva test is available to County residents 14 years or older and anyone employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer County.

Those going to the arena for testing should use Parking Lot 2 off South Broad Street to access Gate A. Testing will be conducted in the arena concourse. Bring identification showing Mercer County residency and a smartphone or tablet if you have one. No prescription is necessary. Please avoid eating, drinking, chewing gum or smoking 30 minutes prior to taking the test.

Testing will be limited to 300 people on each of the two days but additional pop-up testing sites will be scheduled around the County in the near future.

If you want to avoid the lines, Mercer County also offers an at-home saliva test for COVID-19, which can be requested by visiting www.mercercares.org. If you need help with the online registration process, assistance will be available Tuesday at the arena. 



Covid-19 Test at Home Program

Mercer County is proud to offer free at-home COVID-19 testing. These tests are available to all residents of Mercer County, free of charge.

The saliva collection test for COVID-19 has the same effectiveness as the nasal swab test. This test is performed under the supervision of our healthcare provider, Vault, through a video telehealth visit eliminating the risk of person-to-person exposure to the virus.

To register for your at-home testing kit, you must first fill out the form below to verify your Mercer County residency. Within 24-48 hours following your submission, you will receive a link to order your free kit on the Vault Health website. This is FREE to all Mercer County residents, and health insurance is not required but a claim will be submitted if are covered.

Please note the following:

  1. There is no out of pocket cost for this test.
  2. You must be a resident of Mercer County or employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer County.
  3. Only persons over the age of 14 are eligible for this test. Persons under the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian complete the registration for them.
  4. You will receive your code within 48 hours.
  5. This is not an antibody test. This test is designed to determine if you currently are infected with COVID-19 and have the potential to infect others.

If your test is positive, or if you have symptoms, call your health care professional.

Stark & Stark’s Denise Mariani Honored as Professional Lawyer of the Year

Firm’s Shareholder Recognized by the Mercer County Bar Association

November 16, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–TheMercer County Bar Association(MCBA) has named Stark & Stark Shareholder Denise Mariani, Esq., its 2020 Professional Lawyer of the Year Award recipient. Ms. Mariani, a resident of Lawrenceville, accepted the award at the MCBA’s virtual meeting on Nov. 10.

As the Chair of the Stark & Stark Nursing Home Negligence Litigation group, Ms. Mariani specializes in representing the families of residents and patients who, through negligence or abuse, have died or been seriously injured in a long-term care facility. She has been a member of the Mercer County Bar Association for more than 25 years, serving as president in 2009 after many years as a Trustee, Officer and Chair of the Community Projects Committee. Her early activity in the MCBA earned her the Young Lawyer of the Year Award in 2003. She has also served on the Mercer County Bar Foundation board.

“The Mercer County Bar Association has been near and dear to my heart since my very first membership meeting as a law clerk in 1992,” said Ms. Mariani. “It was always clear to me that professionalism defines the members of this organization so to receive this award is an enormous honor to me. I am proud to be a part of this association and couldn’t be more grateful to accept this award.”

The Professional Lawyer of the Year Awards are presented in cooperation with county bar associations throughout the state to attorneys who are respected by colleagues for their character, competence and exemplary professional behavior.

Stark & Stark Managing Shareholder Michael G. Donahue, Esq., commented, “Denise’s consummate professionalism and dedication to defending the rights of those who experience neglect or abuse in nursing homes are tremendous assets to her clients and Stark & Stark. Our entire firm congratulates Denise on this well-deserved honor!”

About Stark & Stark:

Since 1933, Stark & Stark has developed innovative legal solutions to meet our clients’ needs. More than 100 attorneys, 30 practice areas, and a philosophy of putting the law to work for our clients is the basis from which we build and maintain our practice. Boasting one of the oldest law practices in New Jersey, Stark & Stark offers a full range of legal services for businesses and individuals. After more than 85 years, our attorneys continue to deliver practical, efficient solutions to clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and throughout the United States. Our attorneys are supported by a staff in excess of 200, all of whom are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to each client. Visit www.stark-stark.com for more information.

Update: Ohio Man Charged With Robbing NJ Banks Including East Windsor, Lawrence Twp., and Mt. Holly

November 16, 2020

NEWARK, NJ –An Ohio man who was out on bail for allegedly committing a bank robbery in the Chicago area and who is charged in New Jersey with seven bank robberies or attempted bank robberies will make his initial court appearance by videoconference today, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Tyler O’Toole, 23, of Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested in Queens, New York, on November 14, 2020. He is charged by complaint sworn out in the District of New Jersey on Nov. 4, 2020, with five counts of bank robbery and two counts of attempted bank robbery and is scheduled to have his initial appearance by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

O’Toole was arrested in Glenview, Illinois, on Aug. 20, 2020, and charged in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois with bank robbery. O’Toole was released on bail and placed on home detention with electronic location monitoring.

On Sept. 24, 2020, O’Toole removed his monitoring device, stole his mother’s blue 2018 Hyundai Elantra, and drove away. He later robbed, or attempted to rob, the following New Jersey banks:


Date Bank Location:

DateBankLocation
Oct. 8, 2020PNC BankMorris Plains, New Jersey
Oct. 8, 2020PNC Bank*Pompton Plains, New Jersey
Oct. 22, 2020Chase BankAberdeen, New Jersey
Oct. 22, 2020Bank of AmericaEast Windsor, New Jersey
Oct. 27, 2020Chase BankLawrence Township, New Jersey
Oct. 27, 2020Citizens BankMount Holly, New Jersey
Oct. 30, 2020Citizens Bank*Runnemede, New Jersey

*attempted bank robbery

At each bank, O’Toole presented a note demanding cash from bank tellers. For example, during the Oct. 27, 2020, robbery of the Chase Bank in Lawrence Township, O’Toole handed the teller a manila envelope which stated:

• This is a robbery. Comply and Nobody gets hurt.
• Give me 20’s 50’s 100’s
• NO Trackers or Ink Packs
• Put Money in THIS Envelope
• Be fast, Act Normal

Each bank robbery or attempted bank robbery charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI’s Violent Crimes/Interstate Theft Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the FBI’s Westchester, County, New York Safe Streets Task Force; the Camden County, Monmouth County and Morris County prosecutor’s offices; and the Morris Plains Boro, Pompton Plains, Aberdeen Township, East Windsor Township, Lawrence Township, Mount Holly Township, Runnemede Borough, Medford, and Gloucester Township police departments for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

20-419


Related MidJersey.News stories:

Hold Up Man Strikes Chase Bank In Lawrence Township Today

Another Bank Robbery Reported, This Time In East Windsor

WANTED BY THE FBI Tyler James O’Toole For Bank Robberies

Update: FBI Reports Bank Robber Captured That Held Up Area Banks

Update: Ohio Man Charged With Robbing NJ Banks Including East Windsor, Lawrence Twp., and Mt. Holly


Update: FBI Reports Bank Robber Captured That Held Up Area Banks

November 15, 2020

NEWARK, NJ — The FBI Tweeted a few moments ago that bank robber James Tyler O’Toole. He was arrested in Queens yesterday.

A subject matching a similar description held up area banks including East Windsor and Lawrence Township. The FBI does not always comment on active investigations. Once in the hands of the US Attorney we should have more information on exact locations, expect another update soon.

Related MidJersey.News stories:

Hold Up Man Strikes Chase Bank In Lawrence Township Today

Another Bank Robbery Reported, This Time In East Windsor

WANTED BY THE FBI Tyler James O’Toole For Bank Robberies

Update: FBI Reports Bank Robber Captured That Held Up Area Banks

Update: Ohio Man Charged With Robbing NJ Banks Including East Windsor, Lawrence Twp., and Mt. Holly



Mayors And Local Government Officials Warn New COVID-19 Cases On Rise And To Take Precautions

November 14, 2020

MERCER COUNTY, NJ–Mayors and local officials warn of increased COVID-19 transmission as cases rise in Mercer County. Officials are reminding residents to continue to take precautions by limiting gatherings, wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and other general COVID-19 precautions.

In the City of Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora has announced new restrictions as COVID-19 transmission rates have doubled in each of the last three weeks.

Trenton’s transmission rate is currently 44.2 cases per 100,000 people, which exceeds both the state and county rates at 29.3 and 28.9, respectively. Trenton has had a total of 4,598 COVID-19 cases with 80 related deaths.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes stated, Mercer County surpassed 10,000 cumulative positive test results since the start of the pandemic, and the United States surpassed a staggering 10 million positive cases. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Health has reported more than 13,000 positive cases statewide since Monday.

It was anticipated that colder weather in the fall and winter would drive people indoors and trigger a second wave of virus transmissions. We’re only in mid-November and the second wave is here. New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise and everyone needs to take that seriously, County Executive Hughes stated.

Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said in a Facebook post, “I always like to start with good news, but a second wave of COVID-19 is upon us and it is making that increasingly difficult. I am going to give this to you straight. Since October 30, Robbinsville Township reports 29 new cases that is by far the highest number of new cases we have encountered since this started.”

Mayor Fried also stated in a message that My personal feeling is this second wave will get worse before it gets better, so I am asking people to be increasingly diligent.

Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin shared the weekly update from Hamilton Township that includes a weekly COVID-19 update and that urges the following precautions:

•Keep Your Distance — stay at least six feet away from others — and Wear a Face Covering.

•Wash Your Hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after being in a public place, as well as after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

.•If soap and water are not accessible, Use a Hand Sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

•Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose and Mouth with unwashed hands.•Avoid Close Contact with people who are sick.

•Stay Home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

•Cover Your Mouth and Nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.


Full text of statements below:


TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora yesterday announced new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 as transmission rates in Trenton have doubled each of the last three weeks.

Mayor Gusciora’s amended State of Emergency declaration now includes the following instructions, which will remain in effect from Nov. 16, 2020 through Dec. 5, 2020:

  • All Trenton businesses, including restaurants, bars and grocery stores must close at 10:00 p.m. daily. Gas stations may stay open only to dispense gas.
  • Restaurants and drive-through businesses may be open for pickup or delivery until 11:00 p.m., provided that no parties are allowed to congregate inside or outside of the establishment.
  • All city residents are encouraged to remain indoors after 10:00 p.m.
  • All city residents should wear masks and practice social distancing techniques as recommended by the CDC by avoiding large crowds, and, whenever possible, keeping a distance of six feet from other people.
  • All city residents are strongly encouraged not to have large family gatherings on Thanksgiving and to avoid hosting visitors from states that are on the Governor’s travel advisory list.

Trenton’s transmission rate is currently 44.2 cases per 100,000 people, which exceeds both the state and county rates at 29.3 and 28.9, respectively. Trenton has had a total of 4,598 COVID-19 cases with 80 related deaths.

“It’s clear the second wave is here and has hit the Capital City especially hard,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Our transmission rates may even be higher now than they were in the spring. While we believe these new restrictions will help, we won’t get past this crisis unless our residents wear their masks and practice social distancing. No more excuses about COVID-19 fatigue: the virus never gets tired, and neither should our residents and businesses when it comes to keeping this city safe.”

“It is critically important that when we see cases rise throughout our city, county and state that we are extremely cautious and we social distance, wear masks and limit indoor gatherings as much as possible,” said Dr. Kemi Alli, Chief Executive Officer of the Henry J. Austin Health Center. “If not, our path will follow sister states such as North and South Dakota, and Montana which are currently in dire straits.”

While transmission rates have risen across all age groups, a quarter of all hospitalizations over the past month are comprised of individuals age 30 and below. The greatest source of transmission has been indoor contact, and residents are advised to wear masks even around friends or relatives who are visiting.


Mercer County, NJ:

A letter from County Executive Brian M. Hughes

Mercer County and the nation both reached sobering COVID-19 milestones this week: Mercer County surpassed 10,000 cumulative positive test results since the start of the pandemic, and the United States surpassed a staggering 10 million positive cases. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Health has reported more than 13,000 positive cases statewide since Monday. It was anticipated that colder weather in the fall and winter would drive people indoors and trigger a second wave of virus transmissions. We’re only in mid-November and the second wave is here. New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise and everyone needs to take that seriously.

When you’re around people outside your own household, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth and practice social distancing. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Avoid crowds and stay home if you are sick. Public health officials are advising that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to keep your gathering small with just immediate family. Please bear that in mind when planning for the holiday. We know what we need to do to reduce the spread of the virus – now it’s up to us. Let’s continue to support each other and keep each other safe. Let’s continue to work together.

One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been job loss. State officials reported this week that more than 1.7 million New Jersey workers have filed an unemployment claim since March, with about 1.46 million workers meeting the monetary requirements to receive benefits. Jobseekers need all the help they can get, and with that in mind I’d like to call attention to the work being done by the staff at the Mercer County One-Stop Career Center.

As part of Mercer County’s ongoing effort to connect jobseekers with employers, and do it safely during the public health crisis, our One-Stop recently held a drive-through job fair at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton that had the participation of 45 employers and was attended by about 525 individuals. Attendees were required to wear face masks but did not have to leave their vehicles. When they pulled up, they were handed a bag filled with information provided by employers on the jobs they had available, along with information about One-Stop services and community resources. This was a successful effort to help people in our community find work.

The inventive job fair came on the heels of the One-Stop’s equally successful Summer Youth Jobs Connection program. After receiving grant funding from the state in early June, One-Stop Director Virgen Velez and her staff set about making the summer job program a reality, despite a small time window and challenges presented by the pandemic. The program, which served Mercer County residents between the ages of 16 and 24, provided a paid six-week work experience and paid virtual job readiness workshops, along with transportation assistance.

I join the One-Stop and the County’s Workforce Development Board in thanking the employers who brought interns into their facilities this summer. The young adults learned not only traditional work skills but the virtual communication skills that have become essential in the COVID-19 work and school environment. And I applaud the One-Stop team, whose passionate commitment enabled it to deliver a summer employment program and job fair amid a pandemic.

Brian M. Hughes
Mercer County Executive


Robbinsville, NJ:

Mayor Dave Fried:

I always like to start with good news, but a second wave of COVID-19 is upon us and it is making that increasingly difficult. I am going to give this to you straight. Since October 30, Robbinsville Township reports 29 new cases that is by far the highest number of new cases we have encountered since this started.

Thankfully, we have not seen significant spread or sickness in our three schools. We are seeing an uptick in cases throughout Mercer County, including increased positives reported by our first responders and front line workers resulting in staffing shortages. We have seen an uptick in hospitalizations across Mercer County.

My personal feeling is this second wave will get worse before it gets better, so I am asking people to be increasingly diligent. We have kids coming home from college for Thanksgiving, and while I am not going to tell you how to host or visit your families, I am asking you to be smart.

There are some things you can do to minimize the spread, such as not sharing glassware or silverware. Try to be more aware when eating in groups. Wash your hands regularly and wear a mask when you can. While many of our cases have been asymptotic, our fear as flu season approaches is we may see people with multiple symptoms for both COVID-19 and the flu, or family members suffering from both in the same household. We are on stand-by to help and volunteer when and where we are needed. We hope you will join us as that need increases.

Additionally, our kids still need to socialize in the face of the virus. That said our Recreation Department, in conjunction with the school district, will be coming up with programs to help keep our children safely engaged. This is a difficult and complex decision … and it will not be for everyone. There will be no right or wrong. It really comes down to what is best for your family, while not judging others.

I am very proud of our community for all it has done to flatten this curve. You all have been rock stars, and it is a pleasure to be Mayor of this incredible town. Keep your chins up. Pfizer has announced they have a vaccine and early reports indicate it is 90 percent effective, so help should be on the way.

We will get through this together. Thank you all for all you do, and God bless you all. —Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried


Mercer County Firemen’s Association 2020 Memorial Service

November 5, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Firemen’s Association 2020 Memorial Service that was originally scheduled for May 6, 2020 was postponed several times due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This year’s Memorial Service was held at Colonial Fire Company Hamilton Township Station 18 and was hosted by Union Fire Company Hopewell Township Station 53. Hamilton Township Station 18 has a large hall and is big enough to hold the service while complying with COVID-19 guidelines.

The annual Memorial Service is held to honor members of Mercer County Firemen’s Ladies Auxiliary and Firefighters in Mercer County. All fire departments in Mercer County are represented and Hope Fire Company of Allentown, Monmouth County is also a member.

This year’s Memorial Roll was read honored 14 Ladies Auxiliary members and 36 firefighters. As each name is read a white carnation is placed in a Maltese cross and firefighters salute and family members stand as the name of their loved one is read.


2020 Mercer County Firemen’s Association Memorial Service. Video by Dick Cunningham, Broadcast Productions-East Windsor Station 46


BREAKING: Flash Mob Of +/- 2,000 Dispersed In Robbinsville, Similar Flash Mob Now In Hamilton

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Around 10:30 pm a crowd between 1,000 and 2,000 gathered in the MATRIX Northeast Business Park off Applegate Drive. Witnesses in the area stated cars could be heard over a mile away burning out, racing, and exhaust backfiring. Calls were also coming into Robbinsville Township Police reporting the same noises coming from the back of the industrial park.

When Robbinsville Township Police arrived they reported a crowd of between 1,000 and 2,000 and requested assistance to disperse the crowd from Allentown and New Jersey State Police.

The crowd did disperse and roads were blocked to they could leave the area using I-195.

About an hour later another crowd formed this time in Hamilton Township on Sloan Avenue near I-295 and the NJ Transit Train Station and the movie theater. Part of the crowd was dispersed again and left towards Lawrence Township. A County wide alert went out to alert neighboring police departments of the group.




Hold Up Man Strikes Chase Bank In Lawrence Township Today

October 27, 2020 Updated at 5:23 pm (Ewing removed not confirmed through additional sources)

Related MidJersey.News stories:

Hold Up Man Strikes Chase Bank In Lawrence Township Today

Another Bank Robbery Reported, This Time In East Windsor

WANTED BY THE FBI Tyler James O’Toole For Bank Robberies

Update: FBI Reports Bank Robber Captured That Held Up Area Banks

Update: Ohio Man Charged With Robbing NJ Banks Including East Windsor, Lawrence Twp., and Mt. Holly

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, (MERCER)–According a source close to the investigation a bank robbery occurred at the Mercer Mall, Chase Bank inside Shop Ride on Route 1. The source also stated that there were possibly related robberies in Mount Holly, Burlington County. It was said that the perpetrator was driving a blue car with Texas temporary plates. The source also stated it is believed that this is the 5th robbery by the same suspect recently.

No other information is available at this time.

Lawrence Township Police Officer Indicted for Official Misconduct


Related MidJersey.News story here: Lawrence Township Police Officer Charged in Internal Affairs Investigation


October 22, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County grand jury returned an indictment this week charging a Lawrence Township police officer with two counts of second-degree official misconduct, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

Andres Mejia, 42, was charged in September 2020 with unsworn falsification and tampering with records, both disorderly persons offenses, following an internal affairs investigation conducted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.  The prosecutor’s office and the Lawrence Township police discovered the falsification of records during an unrelated criminal investigation in August 2020.

The internal affairs investigation revealed that Mejia submitted an official arrest report to his superior officers at the Lawrence Township Police Department on August 16, knowing that it contained false and misleading information regarding a fictitious witness in an incident that he had responded to in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer. 

The two-count indictment, returned on October 20, alleges Mejia failed to investigate a claim of domestic violence assault and made a false statement in a police report.

Mejia has been suspended indefinitely from the police department without pay pending the outcome of his criminal case.

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

Lawrence Township Fire Departments Respond To 2 Different Accidents Tonight

October 19, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 11:00 pm The Lawrence Township Fire Department, Lawrence Township EMS and Mercer County Paramedics were called to 3231 for an serious accident with a person trapped. It appears a person lost control on Route 1 south bound and drove up an embankment and hit a parked van in the parking lot of the location.

When firefighters arrived it was reported that one person was trapped and rescue tools would be needed to free the victim from the wreckage. Firefighters had the victim out within 20 minutes. EMS transported the victim to Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

Lawrence Township Police are investigating.



Another accident was reported at 11:36 pm on Interstate 295 South Bound near Route 1 a vehicle lost control and hit a guard rail. NJ State Police was on location and Lawrence Township Fire Department and EMS was also responding to that incident. No details were available about the accident.

2nd Alarm Fire In Lawrence Township

October 12, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 1:00 am all Lawrence Township Fire Companies were sent to the 100 Block of Carter Road. Upon arrival the fire was though the roof and a 2nd alarm was called for sending additional apparatus and water tankers to the scene. The fire was placed under control in about 40 minutes.

Mutual aid fire departments were called include Ewing Township, Plainsboro, Hopewell, Pennington, Princeton, and others.

Sources tell MidJersey.News that the home was unoccupied and for sale. The 2nd floor was well involved on arrival.

Lawrence Township Police with assistance of the Mercer County Prosecutors Office are investigating the fire according to Lt. Joseph Lech, IV. of the Lawrence Township Police Department. The Lawrence Township Fire Marshals Office and State Fire Marshal’s Office has also responded.




Long Lines Continue To Plague NJ MVC Offices, And My MVC Experience Today

October 9, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The alarm sounded at 4:00 am and after only a few hours of sleep it was time to make the trek to the Bakers Basin, NJ Motor Vehicle Commission Office to renew a CDL. Those with Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) have to renew in person at a MVC office. There are also many others than need to do an in person transaction at MVC offices to receive their drivers license depending on specific situations.

Pulling into the parking lot a little after 5:00 am there were already a good amount of cars in parking spaces. I removed my camping chair from my vehicle and placed it in a line of about 100 or more already waiting that had already wrapped around the building. I took a seat and waited in line until I started to feel cold and took a walk around to warm up.

There is a portable restroom or “porta potty” but that is locked until about 7:30 am and there is no where for people to go until that time. Many go in the bushes behind the line near Route 1 since the porta potty is locked. So if you happen to make this adventure go easy on the coffee and liquids until you give your number for text messages.

Around 7:30 a security guard came out and explained what would happen. New Drivers got a ticket right away and go to the front of the line to be processed while the rest of us have to wait. A little after 8:00 am the line started to move as they handed out tickets to get inside to put your name in a computer that will text you when they are ready to bring you inside to process your paperwork.

I was number 87 in line (after all the new drivers already went) and I was checked in by 8:55 am. At 10:10 am I received my first text that they were almost ready for me and about 10 minutes later I had to wait in another line to start the process of 6 points of ID and other processing. At 11:05 I was finished processing and walking out of the MVC with a new Commercial Driver License that was Real ID compliant.

After my experience today comparing it to years past, all MVC employees were very friendly and helpful. The employees have to deal with this never ending back log during a pandemic and have to wear masks, and take other precautions. Even with all that, employees were seen busy at desks and handling paperwork inside. MVC employees should be commended for all they are doing during the pandemic to process all these licenses.

The problem is that if you don’t go early enough in the morning and get a good spot in line you may not make the cut off of how many licenses one MVC location can process that day. There is currently no reservation system other than waking up in the early morning hours and waiting it out trying to get a decent spot in line.

It is no secret that winter is coming and it was already cold this morning during the wait that will only get worse as winter approaches.

Here are some ideas maybe the Governor and MVC Commissioner can think about implementing:

  1. More portable restrooms that are unlocked so you don’t have to use the bushes.
  2. Cold, wind, ice and snow will be here soon. Plan on having multiple large tents in the parking lot or grassy areas for shelter.
  3. Create an online reservation system with the similar text messaging feature that is similar to the one that is in place now. Just that you can register online the day before to reserve a space in line and the system can give you notice before processing. How hard can it be to have 3/4 of the technology already in place and add an online reservation system?
  4. Hire more employees, add additional processing stations, new equipment and portable MVC units, extend hours until the backlog is worked though. This will still take months there is no end in site for the pandemic.
  5. There are special considerations for new drivers. There should be a special line and reservation system for Commercial Drivers who drive for a living.
  6. Paper forms, why should we have to use paper forms? Everything should be computerized and digitized because that is what you are doing anyway. Users should be able to go online and start the process of forms, capture a digital signature the night before while making an appointment the day before. The only reason to show up to the MVC is to scan and verify documents, make any final corrections to the already filled out online document, capture a real signature on a pad, and take a photo ID. This old system of paper forms is broken, time to modernize and streamline the operation. This technology does exist, the Federal Government uses it all the time, why can’t the State?

If the MVC implemented those simple 6 things the MVC experience and wait could be more palatable. Yes, we are in a pandemic but MVC was already having issues with Real ID for years and previous administrations, way before the pandemic. The pandemic just made this situation a lot worse and being used as an excuse for an already broken neglected system. It is time to step up, invest in MVC and make MVC great.









MidJersey.News Related stories on the NJ MVC here:

NJ MVC FAILURE: 1,000s Wait In Extreme Long Lines At NJ Motor Vehicle Commission Buildings, Complete Chaos as Fights Reported In Trenton and Edison

NJ Motor Vehicle Commission Disaster Day 2 After Reopening

NJ MVC Failure Day 3: South Brunswick Line Shut Down Before Even Opening Doors Today

Continuing Coverage: NJ MVC Failure Day 4, Hundreds Brave Tropical Storm Fay At MVC Agencies Around The State

Busy Morning For Lawrence Township Fire Department

October 5, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–This morning the Lawrence Township Fire Department responded to a couple of potentially serious calls that were mitigated.

The first call at 9:45 am was on Gainsboro Road where an excavator hit a gas line. Firefighters evacuated houses on Gainsboro and Marlboro for about a half hour. Lawrence was backed up by Ewing Township Station 31 until the gas was shut down by PSE&G.

Then around 10:54 am the Lawrence Township Fire Department was dispatched to 4140 Quakerbridge Road at PSE&G at the Lawrence Electric Delivery station for something smoking with a chemical smell behind one of the trucks in the yard. Hamilton Township Fire Department was also called in to standby for water supply in case it was needed.

It was determined that a power inverter hooked to batteries was the cause of the fumes. Firefighters used CO2 and ABC dry chemical extinguishers on the batteries and equipment before using a 1 3/4 line for final extinguishment. There was no hazard to anyone at the plant.

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)

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.

2020 Police Unity Tour Bike Ride Held In NJ


See related MidJersey.News coverage here: Police Unity Tour Memorial Service And Blessing Of Riders


September 27, 2020

Check back for more photos, still having photos sent into MidJersey.News and will be updated again tomorrow or later tonight.

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–The Police Unity Tour held a one day bike ride today starting in Asbury Park and proceeding on shore routes towards Stafford Township ending at the Stafford Township Police Memorial.

This year’s spring four day ride that is usually held in May was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic that ends at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

This year’s ride was shortened to one day and two hundred sixty police officers participated from fourteen states including California and Missouri.


History of the Police Unity Tour:

In 1997, Florham Park (NJ) Police Officer Patrick Montuore had a simple idea: organize a four-day bicycle ride from New Jersey to Washington, DC to raise public awareness about law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, and to ensure that their sacrifice is never forgotten. With that, the Police Unity Tour was formed. 

What started with 18 riders on a four day fund-raising bicycle ride from Florham Park, NJ to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. has grown into 9 chapters consisting of nearly 2,600 members nationwide who make the trip annually. Participants include riders, motorcycles, and support personnel.

The journey is long and challending but for the Police Unity Tour participants it is what they prepare for throughout the year. Through fundraising and physical training, they know that their efforts raise awareness of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many law enforcement officers. 

The last leg of the jouney ends at the Memorial, where the participants are greeted by friends, family, and survirors. Once there, many Police Unity Tour members present remembrance braclets worn on their wrists throughout the journey to the families of the fallen. 

May 2020, the Police Unity Tour was proud to donate more than $2.0 million to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing our total donations to more than $30 million since their inception. 

The Police Unity Tour is the sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Museum’s Hall of Remembrance, the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award, and Recently Fallen Alert programs. 








Video provided by: Bucky For Sherriff










Police Unity Tour Memorial Service And Blessing Of Riders

Police Unity Tour “We Ride For Those Who Died”


See related MidJersey.News coverage of the event here: 2020 Police Unity Tour Bike Ride Held In NJ


September 26, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–This evening the Hamilton Township Police Department hosted a memorial service and blessing of riders that are in tomorrow’s Police Unity Tour ride from Asbury Park to Stafford Twp., NJ.

The primary purpose of the Police Unity Tour is to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty. The secondary purpose is to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial.

Normally the ride would be held in May when several Chapters of the Police Unity Tour leave New Jersey on bicycles and ride to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The over 250 mile journey on bicycles takes 4 days to complete riding at least 62 miles per day.

This year’s spring ride was canceled due to COVID-19 but the Police Unity Tour was able to schedule a one day ride on Sunday.

Some history on the Police Unity Tour:

In 1997, Florham Park (NJ) Police Officer Patrick Montuore had a simple idea: organize a four-day bicycle ride from New Jersey to Washington, DC to raise public awareness about law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, and to ensure that their sacrifice is never forgotten. With that, the Police Unity Tour was formed.

What started with 18 riders on a four day fund-raising bicycle ride from Florham Park, NJ to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. has grown into 9 chapters consisting of nearly 2,600 members nationwide who make the trip annually. Participants include riders, motorcycles, and support personnel.

The journey is long and challending but for the Police Unity Tour participants it is what they prepare for throughout the year. Through fundraising and physical training, they know that their efforts raise awareness of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many law enforcement officers.

The last leg of the jouney ends at the Memorial, where the participants are greeted by friends, family, and survirors. Once there, many Police Unity Tour members present remembrance braclets worn on their wrists throughout the journey to the families of the fallen.

May 2020, the Police Unity Tour was proud to donate more than $2.0 million to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing our total donations to more than $30 million since their inception.

The Police Unity Tour is the sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Museum’s Hall of Remembrance, the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award, and Recently Fallen Alert programs.




TWW Launches Two-Year Project to Paint Fire Hydrants, Color Coding Them to Indicate Flow Rate for Fire Suppression

September 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Water Works will be painting 3,501 fire hydrants in its five-municipality service area over the next 24 months, weather permitting.

“We are improving the quality of TWW’s fire hydrants for effective fire suppression,” said Michael Walker, Chief of Communications and Community Relations. “We’ve been inspecting fire hydrants for operability and flow rate over the last few months, and we now plan to vary their color to indicate how quickly water flows from them to fire personnel and emergency responders.”

TWW personnel will strip hydrants of old layers of paint, and then apply primer and two fresh coats. Color codes to indicate flow volume in gallons per minute are as follows: Light Blue: 1,500 gallons per minute; Green: 1,000-1,499 gallons per minute; Orange: 500-999 gallons per minute; Red: less than 500 gallons per minute. 

TWW personnel must have direct access to the hydrants. We are therefore asking residents to please remove any plantings or decorations that might be obscuring local hydrants. Hydrants should never be blocked, hidden, or decorated, as this interferes with emergency access.

“We ask that residents not paint or decorate fire hydrants, which prevents fire personnel from knowing a hydrant’s flow rate during an emergency,” added Walker.

If you have questions about TWW’s hydrant paint project, including reporting hydrants that have been knocked over or are not functioning properly, please call TWW’s Construction and Maintenance at (609) 989-3222.

Lawrence Township Police Officer Charged in Internal Affairs Investigation


Updated MidJersey.News story here: Lawrence Township Police Officer Indicted for Official Misconduct


September 17, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported today that a Lawrence Township police officer has been charged with disorderly persons offenses as a result of an internal affairs investigation.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Lawrence Township police discovered the falsification of records during an unrelated criminal investigation in August 2020. 

The internal affairs investigation revealed that Officer Andres Mejia submitted an official arrest report to his superior officers at the Lawrence Township Police Department on August 16, knowing that it contained false and misleading information regarding a fictitious witness in an incident that he had responded to in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer. 

As a result of the investigation, Mejia, 42, was charged with unsworn falsification and tampering with records, both disorderly persons offenses.  He was served with the summons complaint this morning.

Mejia has been suspended from the police department without pay.

Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Extending MVC Deadlines and Streamlining Processes During Pandemic

September 10, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Murphy today signed legislation (A4486) which authorizes the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to use stored driver’s license or identification card photos for longer than eight years and limits certain appointment times at MVC locations to senior citizens and persons with certain medical conditions during COVID-19 pandemic.  The Governor also signed A4520, which temporarily extends deadlines to register vehicles and obtain driver’s licenses for new State residents during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“The temporary, but necessary closure of our MVC facilities earlier this year has resulted in an undeniable burden on many residents,” said Governor Murphy. “Under the leadership of Chief Administrator Sue Fulton, the MVC has made great progress in providing residents with the services that they need, under unprecedented circumstances. This legislation will reduce wait times and allow our vulnerable populations to have the access they need to obtain critical services.”

“Over the past year we’ve more than doubled our online transactions; A4486 will allow even more New Jerseyans to ‘Skip the Trip’ to Motor Vehicle Centers,” said MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton. We continue to work collaboratively with our legislative partners and the Governor’s office to overcome the obstacles posed by COVID-19, reduce wait times, and keep New Jerseyans on the road.” 

Primary Sponsors of A4486 include Assemblymembers Daniel R. Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Aura K. Dunn, and Senators Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., and Nicholas P. Scutari.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, businesses across the nation have designated seniors-only hours for elderly residents. I am pleased the MVC will now do the same,” said Assemblyman Benson. “With designated appointment times, seniors will be able to access MVC services while largely avoiding crowds. Additionally, extending the time the MVC can use stored photos to update driver’s licenses will limit the number of times seniors need to visit the MVC amid this public health crisis.”

“Seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing complications from COVID-19. As a result, many are exercising an abundance of caution when it comes to going out in public,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle. “Allowing seniors to use stored photos to update their licenses will reduce the amount of trips they need to make to the MVC, and designating specific ‘senior hours’ at agencies will limit their exposure to the public during the pandemic.”

“As we work through these unprecedented times it is important that we mitigate the need to be physically present at MVC locations,” said Senator Diegnan. “These laws will help MVC locations function more efficiently, reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and accommodate our seniors and immunocompromised so they are not forced to risk their health over a visit to the MVC.”

“As we continue to work through this public health crisis, it is imperative we take an agency-wide look at the MVC’s operations to ensure all possible steps are being taken to protect the public, especially our most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Scutari. “It is vital that we provide relief by loosening regulations in order to achieve maximum efficiency during these tough times, extending deadlines is a simple way to aid our residents and cut down lines.”

A4486 extends the validity of all driver’s license and identification card photographs from a maximum of eight years to a maximum of 12 years. The bill further allows residents 65 years of age or older to be eligible to use a stored photograph for each standard driver’s license or standard identification card renewal. The legislation also requires the chief administrator, during the COVID-19 public health emergency, to reserve one day per week or a certain time each day or each week, to be determined by the chief administrator, at certain commission agency locations to offer appointments exclusively to the following individuals to register a newly purchased, newly acquired, or transferred motor vehicle: (1) senior citizens, and (2) customers who, due to a medical condition diagnosed by a licensed medical doctor or osteopathic physician and evidenced by proof, in a form prescribed by the chief administrator, cannot wear masks or face coverings.

Primary sponsors of A4520 include Assemblymembers Daniel R. Benson, Anthony S. Verelli, and Ralph R. Caputo, and Senators Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., and Shirley K. Turner.

“While the pandemic put many things on hold, we still need the ability to get new driver’s licenses or register vehicles during this crisis,” said Assemblyman Benson. “We have to do whatever it takes to fix the MVC, so you don’t have to camp out overnight or wait all day at an agency just to get these simple tasks done. This law will give many drivers relief, while helping the MVC eliminate its backlog.”

“New residents who’ve just moved to New Jersey cannot update their documentation online,” said Assemblyman Verrelli. “With only two months to register vehicles and get new licenses, new residents are rushing to MVC agencies to get their new information squared away. By doubling the amount of time they’ll have to visit the MVC, we’ll make the process easier on the agency and residents alike during these difficult times.”

“The MVC won’t be able to clear its backlog overnight,” said Assemblyman Caputo. “One way we can help alleviate this burden is by staggering when new residents need to visit the MVC. This law will grant this flexibility to new residents, which in turn will give the MVC some much-needed relief.”

“It has been two months since the MVC offices reopened and they are still struggling to overcome the backlog that accumulated during their closure,” said Senator Turner. “This extension will provide greater leeway for new residents of the state, allowing them to avoid the long lines and postpone registering their vehicle and obtaining a New Jersey license.”

A4520 provides that a person who is allowed to operate a motor vehicle as a non-resident has 120 days (up from 60 days) to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license and to register a motor vehicle upon becoming a resident of the State, if that person becomes a resident during the Coronavirus 2019 public health emergency, which is defined as the period of time during which Executive Order No. 103 of 2020, and any subsequent executive order extending the public health emergency, is in effect. 

The legislation will take effect immediately.




NJ’s Two Largest Wine & Spirits Wholesalers and 20 of Their Biggest Retail Customers to Pay a Total of $10.3 Million for Engaging in Discriminatory Trade Practices

Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Imposes Record-High $4 Million Penalties on Wholesalers Allied Beverage Group & Fedway Associates Following Two-Year Investigation into Their Misuse of Rebate Programs.

September 1, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) today announced that New Jersey’s two largest wine and spirits wholesalers will pay $4 million each to resolve findings that they engaged in discriminatory trade practices that unfairly favored their largest retail customers. In addition, twenty retailers statewide will pay a total of $2.3 million for their part in the unlawful scheme.

In separate Consent Orders with ABC, wholesalers Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates agreed to pay record-high monetary penalties and change their business practices to resolve trade violations uncovered during a sweeping two-year investigation by ABC’s Enforcement and Investigations Bureaus.

The investigation found that the wholesalers – which together account for approximately 70% of all wine and 80% of all spirits sold at wholesale in the State – unfairly favored 20 of the State’s largest wine and spirits retailers and put smaller retailers at a competitive disadvantage by manipulating the retailer incentive program (RIP), granting credit extensions and interest-free loans, and engaging in other discriminatory practices.

 “Simply put, Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates rigged the market in favor of a handpicked group of powerful retailers, leaving smaller businesses struggling to compete.  The unprecedented monetary penalties imposed reflect the egregiousness of this conduct and the widespread negative impact it had on New Jersey consumers and retailers,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “This settlement sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this manipulative and anticompetitive behavior.” 

The RIPs provide cash rebates payed to retailers by wholesalers for purchasing certain quantities of alcoholic beverages.  ABC regulations control the program by making RIPs available to all retailers on a non-discriminatory basis, by keeping the RIP payments to retailers relatively small, and by not allowing wholesalers to substitute RIPs for interest-free loans.

The investigation found that Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates were giving chosen retailers a financial advantage by issuing rebates more often and in greater amounts than allowed. They also failed to wait the required 30 days before issuing rebates, thus allowing those retailers to use that money to pay for the orders for which the rebates  were issued, which is against ABC regulations. Retailers who do not pay for orders within 30 days are put on an industry-wide cash-only delivery status, so the early rebates ensured that the larger retailers would have a ready cash flow to pay for their orders on time, giving them an unfair edge over smaller retailers who had to use their own money to pay for their wine and spirits orders within the required 30-day window. The investigation also found that Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates falsified records related to RIPs and/or used undocumented gift cards to make cash payments to chosen retailers that were not accounted for.

“Retail incentives are a legitimate marketing tool as long they are above board and available equally to all retailers. Discriminatory practices like these foster instability in the market by harming smaller retailers,” said James Graziano, Acting Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “If left unchecked, the ability of small retailers to remain in business may have been jeopardized and consumers would have less access to retail stores and the specialized product selections that they offer. We will continue to monitor industry practices to ensure an equal playing field in New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage retail industry and hold violators accountable for noncompliance.”   

The monetary payments from Allied and Fedway are the largest in ABC’s history, and in addition, both entities each agreed to adopt a corrective action plan; employ a compliance monitor for two years; make upgrades to their computer systems; and facilitate the retirement, resignation and/or termination of certain employees.

The following retailers were charged with ABC violations that included accepting the delivery of alcoholic beverages from Allied and/or Fenway upon terms that violated ABC regulations; accepting a loan from a wholesaler to pay a wholesaler and/or avoid being placed on cash-on-delivery status; receiving a RIP before paying the invoice, receiving a RIP in excess of allowed maximum on a product. Each retailer entered a Consent Order with ABC to resolve the charges, with the following settlement terms:  

  •        Leiham Corp., t/a Bayway World of Liquors: $375,000 monetary offer in compromise in lieu of suspension plus phased-in               retirement of manager and other corrective action. (ELIZABETH)
  •        SVGS Inc., t/a Vingo Wine and Spirits: $90,000 (including $62,500 unaccounted for cash seized from the store) monetary offer in compromise in lieu of suspension plus corrective action. (EATONTOWN)

NJ Task Force 1 Returns Home From Hurricane Laura

See Previous MidJersey.News story here: New Jersey Task Force 1 Deploys to Louisiana in Response to Hurricane Laura

August 29, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Just after 3 pm NJ Office Of Emergency Management, Urban Search and Rescue, New Jersey Task Force 1 returned to the area as the passed through the NJ Turnpike toll booths on their way back to their headquarters.

The team was activated for response to Hurricane Laura in the early morning hours of August 27, 2020. The team traveled south to stage near Atlanta, Georgia until needed. Early this morning the Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA adjusted the Federal response to local needs and NJ-TF1 received demobilization orders and begun the process of heading home.

NJ-TF1 deployed as a Type 1 Team consisting of 80 team members, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five F-450 utility vehicles, two crew carriers, an F-250 towing vehicle, two passenger vans, two utility terrain vehicles, and a fleet service truck. A water rescue component of six boats with trailers and a water support trailer were also deployed.

Local members known to MidJersey.News are:

Hamilton Township Fire Department:

Jarred Pierson, Jason Ryan, Kinte Holt, Brad Ladislaw, Jeff Barlow and Joe Flynn.

West Windsor Emergency Service, and West Windsor Police Department:

Joe Gribbins, Scott Cook, Michael McMahon

Ewing Township Fire Department:

Eric Rowlands

Bristol Myers Squibb:

John Welling

Civilian: (K-9, NJ Rescue & Recovery K-9)

Jennifer Michelson

58 Arrested and Charged in Mercer County in Multi-Jurisdictional ATM Theft Scam


During the investigation, bank cards, debit cards, credit cards, cash, marijuana, and a handgun were recovered.  Additionally, more than a dozen vehicles were seized throughout the county.  Robbinsville K-9 Quori sniffed out cocaine totaling 150 grams in the trunk of one of the suspect vehicles in Robbinsville.


See previous MidJersey.News stories here:

UPDATE: 20 Arrested And Charged In Hamilton In Multi-Jurisdiction ATM Scam

UPDATE: Additional Santander Bank ATMs Hit In Mercer County

BREAKING: Police and FBI Investigating Multi-State ATM Robberies, Many Subjects Are In Custody More Actively Being Arrested


August 19, 2020

MERCER COUNTY, NJ—Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that 58 individuals were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit theft by deception in an organized scheme that used prepaid debit cards to steal from ATMs across the county.

On August 18, 2020, at approximately 8 a.m., Robbinsville Township police officers responded to the Santander Bank on Route 33 after receiving information that multiple individuals were gathering around the ATM using stacks of cards to withdraw money and attempting to avoid the camera on the ATM.   As officers approached, the group took notice and began to hurriedly move away from the ATM.  Ultimately, 20 individuals were taken into custody by police, each with multiple debit/credit cards and money in their possession.

Robbinsville police reached out to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for assistance and investigators from both agencies quickly began collaborating with authorities in nearby towns like Hamilton, Hopewell, Lawrence, Princeton and West Windsor, as well as Santander Bank.

During the course of the investigation, officers learned that Camden County Prosecutor’s Office reported that multiple thefts occurred at Santander ATMs in its jurisdiction by individuals to fraudulently obtained money.  Camden County Prosecutor’s Office advised that the suspects in those thefts came from New York to commit the fraud in New Jersey.  Officers also received information from multiple law enforcement sources that instructions were being shared on social media on how to defraud Santander ATM machines.

Prosecutor Onofri praised the teamwork of local law enforcement and said the open lines of communication and sharing of resources allowed law enforcement to get ahead of these scammers in some instances. 

At about 9:40 a.m., West Windsor dispatch relayed the information that Robbinsville had a number of individuals in custody.  Dispatch also advised that Princeton reported a large sum of money fraudulently obtained from a Santander ATM in its jurisdiction.  Information also came in relating that the FBI and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office were actively investigating these cases.

“As a result, heightened awareness was given to the activity at Santander locations in West Windsor,” Prosecutor Onofri said.  “West Windsor officers and detectives from my office were able to detain and investigate five separate crews of suspects at different times throughout the day at the Santander Bank on Princeton-Hightstown Road, resulting in many arrests.”

In Lawrence Township, police were also alerted to the ATM scam perpetrated against the Princeton Santander, and a description was provided of the suspects and the vehicles used in commission of that crime.  Lawrence was further made aware of the countywide scam that was occurring and heightened attention was given to the Santander banks in their town.  Shortly thereafter, at about 9:45 a.m., a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle used in the Princeton scam was spotted in the area of the Santander bank at on Franklin Corner Road.  The occupants from the suspect vehicle were stopped and investigated, and ultimately charged with the conspiracy.  The bank reported abnormally high ATM usage and a shortage of approximately $40,000.

In Hamilton Township, at approximately 10 a.m., Hamilton police were detailed to the Santander Bank located on South Broad Street on the report of two suspicious vehicles in the parking lot of the bank.  It was reported that other Santander Banks in neighboring jurisdictions were reporting suspicious activities at the ATMs so units were detailed to Santander Bank ATM locations throughout Hamilton.  Additional vehicles and suspects were located throughout the day at the ATMs found at 1700 Nottingham Way, 1700 Kuser Road and 2730 Nottingham Way.  During the investigations bank cards, cash, marijuana, and a handgun were recovered.

Hopewell Township had three separate incidents involving separate crews that started around 11:30 a.m. at the Santander Bank on Pennington Road.  Several foot chases ensued and all subjects were apprehended.  In addition to the conspiracy charge, Sekou Touray, of East Orange, NJ, was charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault of a prosecutor’s detective.

Similar incidents were reported in multiple other jurisdictions throughout the state.  The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be pending.  Authorities are still executing search warrants and working with Santander Bank to determine exactly how much money was stolen.  At this time, the total across municipalities in Mercer County is more than $250,000.

During the investigation, bank cards, debit cards, credit cards, cash, marijuana, and a handgun were recovered.  Additionally, more than a dozen vehicles were seized throughout the county.  Robbinsville K-9 Quori sniffed out cocaine totaling 150 grams in the trunk of one of the suspect vehicles in Robbinsville.

The following individuals were arrested and charged in Mercer County on Tuesday, August 18, 2020:

Hamilton Township

  1. Tyler Holness, 21, of Yonkers, NY
  2. Rasheem Lee Jr., 18, of Bronx, NY
  3. Kymani Hinds, 18, of Bronx, NY
  4. Michael Santiago, 26, of Bronx, NY
  5. Saquan Vaines, 21, of Arverne, NY
  6. Kareema Hall, 20, of Bronx, NY
  7. Justin Brown, 22, of Arverne, NY
  8. Michael Manroop, 24, of Cambridge Heights, NY
  9. Nayvon Patten, 18, of Linderhurst, NY
  10. Jerry Trujillo, 24, of Maplewood, NJ
  11. Zaire Lewis, 18, of Maplewood, NJ
  12. Frankie Jerome, 21, of Maplewood, NJ
  13. Ahmad Muhammad, 18, of Maplewood, NJ
  14. Jordan Saquan, 24, of Brooklyn, NY
  15. Arian Rasul, 22, of Brooklyn, NY
  16. Starsheen Jones, 24, of Brooklyn, NY
  17. Jordan Amador, 27, of Brooklyn, NY
  18. Steven Wilson, 23, of New York, NY
  19. Nikye Bee, 25, of New York, NY
  20. Kevin Jones, 23, of New York, NY

Hopewell Township

  1. Ebrama Touray, 23, of East Orange, NJ
  2. Mbemba Kaba, 23, of East Orange, NJ
  3. Yacouba Sanogo, 24, of Newark, NJ
  4. Sekou Touray, 22, of East Orange, NJ
  5. Kingsley Nicolas, 22, of East Orange, NJ
  6. Orlando C. Chambers Jr., 21, of Lindenhurst, NY
  7. Emmanuel Edoise Oyakhilome, 22, of Lindenhurst, NY

Lawrence Township

  1. Elijah N. Oliver, 22, of Brooklyn, NY
  2. Dandrea Taylor Dey, 22, of Brooklyn, NY
  3. Quentin A. Hosten, 22, of Brooklyn, NY
  4. Zachary B. Johnson, 21, of Brooklyn, NY

Robbinsville Township

  1. Amoire Dupree, 26, of Brooklyn, NY
  2. Brittany Gittens, 20, of Brooklyn, NY
  3. Hurshum Gittens, 26, of Brooklyn, NY
  4. Charles Gordon, 30, of Brooklyn, NY
  5. Veronica Gregory, 22, of Brooklyn, NY
  6. Oswin Philander, 21, of Brooklyn, NY
  7. Jeffrey Debrosse, 31, of Brooklyn, NY
  8. Bolade Akingboy, 29, of West Hempstead, NY
  9. Jeffrey Desir, 34, of Brooklyn, NY
  10. Julio Ramos, 33, of Jamaica, NY
  11. Kevin Philander, 26, of Newark, DE
  12. Jishawn Lee, 19, of Brooklyn, NY
  13. Marlon Owens, 28, of Bronx, NY
  14. Alex Burnett, 30, of Jersey City, NJ
  15. D.T., 16, of Brooklyn, NY
  16. J.F., 16, of Brooklyn, NY
  17. Ackeem Samuel, 25, of Brooklyn, NY
  18. Brandon Esperance, 20, of Brooklyn, NY
  19. Kevin Owusu, 19, of Brooklyn, NY
  20. Kareem Courtney, 23, of Brooklyn, NY

West Windsor

  1. Philek Barington, 25, of Queens, NY
  2. LaTonya S. Stevens, 26, of Bronx, NY
  3. Qwashan D. Mack, 19, of North Brunswick, NJ
  4. Hymeen S. Reynolds, 19, of East Orange, NJ
  5. Brajae U. Jones, 23, of Englewood, NJ
  6. Bryon K Jones Jr., 28, of Garfield, NJ
  7. Carla E. Donayre-Solano, 28, of Garfield, NJ

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