Category: Trenton

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.




Trenton EMS Cares For Baby After Serious Accident In Trenton This Morning, At Least 3 Transported To Hospital

September 26, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Just before 11:00 am there was a serious accident at the intersection Perry and Warren Streets when two vehicles collided. One vehicle crashed into a tree and a building and another knocked down a traffic signal. Trenton EMS responded with at least 2 ambulances and treated the victims of the accident. One baby was comforted by a TEMS EMT prior to transport to the hospital for evaluation. Trenton Fire Department also responded to the accident for exposed wires from the traffic signal. Trenton Police was investigating the crash.

In total at least three were transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.

Usually public information is not available about accidents in the City of Trenton unless a fatal. This is from radio, witness and on scene reporting. If public press information is released the story will be updated and any corrections made.

OnScene News Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Black Lives Matter Protest In Front Of Trenton Police Headquarters

September 25, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A small gathering of about 20 or so protested in front of Trenton Police Headquarters on North Clinton Avenue tonight at 6 pm. The protest was called “Say Their Names”

OnScene News Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Protest Against A4576 And S2907 Requiring Mandatory Flu Vaccinations Held At Statehouse

Assembly 4576 and

September 24, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Over 1,000 attended a rally today at the NJ State House to protest against New Jersey Assembly Bill A4576 and matching NJ Senate S2907 Requires students and certain other children to be annually vaccinated for influenza as condition of enrollment at public and private K-12 schools, preschools, child care centers, and institutions of higher education.


Assembly 4576 Statement below, read entire A4576 bill here

Read identical NJ Senate Bill S2907 here

  This bill requires students who attend a public or private K-12 school, preschool, child care center, or institution of higher education to be annually vaccinated for influenza as a condition of enrollment and continued attendance at the school or center. 

     Commencing with the 2020-2021 school year:

     1)    a principal, director, or other person in charge of a public or private school in this State will be prohibited from knowingly admitting or retaining in grades K through 12 a child whose parent or guardian has not submitted acceptable evidence, by December 31 of the relevant school year, showing that the child has received an annual vaccination for influenza;

     2)    an executive director, administrator, or other person in charge of a preschool or child care center will be prohibited from knowingly admitting or retaining in the preschool or child care center a child whose parent or guardian has not submitted acceptable evidence, by December 31 of the relevant school year, showing that the child has received an annual vaccination for influenza; and

     3)    an administrator or other person in charge of an institution of higher education in this State will be prohibited from knowingly admitting or retaining a student who has not submitted acceptable evidence, by December 31 of the relevant school year, showing that the student has received an annual vaccination for influenza.

     Consistent with existing laws pertaining to the mandatory vaccination of children and students, the bill would provide that a child or student will be exempt from the bill’s vaccination requirements if:

     1)    a written statement is submitted to the K-12 school, preschool, child care center, or institution of higher education by a licensed physician indicating that the vaccine is medically contraindicated for a specific period of time and the reasons for the medical contraindication, which are to be valid medical reasons as determined by regulation of the commissioner.  Such statement will exempt the child or student from the vaccination for the period of time stated therein; or

     2)    a written statement is submitted to the K-12 school, preschool, or child care center by the child’s or student’s parent or guardian, if the child or student is a minor, or by the student, if the student is 18 years of age or older, explaining how the administration of the vaccine conflicts with the bona fide religious tenets or practices of the child or student, or of the parent or guardian, as the case may be, except that a general philosophical or moral objection to the vaccination will not be sufficient for an exemption to be granted on religious grounds. 

     Children attending public or private K-12 schools, child care centers, and preschools in New Jersey are already required by existing law to be vaccinated for various contagious and dangerous diseases, including diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, pneumococcal disease, polio, rubella, tetanus, and varicella, as a condition of attendance at the institution.  Students of higher education are further required to verify their receipt of these vaccinations as a condition of their attendance at an institute of higher education.  Although children in New Jersey who are between six and 59 months of age and who are attending a child-care center or preschool facility are additionally required by the State Sanitary Code to receive an annual vaccination for influenza, this requirement is not codified in the statutory law.

     In March 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 103, which declared a public health emergency and state of emergency in New Jersey in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  COVID-19 is a newly discovered and highly contagious pandemic-level disease that has spread quickly throughout the world, nation, and State, and against which humans have no natural immunity.  It is associated with a wide range of symptoms, including, but not limited to, fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, sudden loss of smell or taste, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, many of which overlap with the symptoms of seasonal influenza.  It is also possible for a person to become simultaneously infected with both COVID-19 and influenza, which may not only cause the person to experience more severe symptoms, but may also cause problems both for health care providers, in relation to their ability to provide the patient with an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and for administrators of schools, preschools, and child care centers, in relation to their ability to identify and appropriately respond to outbreaks occurring at those institutions.

     The vaccination of children and students for influenza will significantly reduce the number of children and students in the State who experience severe flu symptoms or a severe combination of flu and COVID-19 symptoms, will help reduce competition among flu and COVID-19 patients for similar medical resources, and will result in fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations related to influenza, thereby enabling the State to preserve its hospital capacity and emergency and intensive care resources for patients who are infected with COVID-19 or other severe diseases and ailments.

     Preschools, child care centers, and K-12 schools, where children come into close contact with and freely mingle with each other and adult faculty and staff members, and institutions of higher education, where students often live in communal settings and come into close contact with thousands of other students, faculty, and other staff in dormitories, lecture halls, sports arenas, and other large, on-campus venues, are the types of institutions that may facilitate the quick and uncontrollable spread of COVID-19; however, because these institutions operate during flu season, it may be difficult for these institutions and for health care officials to quickly determine, for the purposes of implementing preventative and responsive measures, whether an outbreak of illness at the institution is occurring as a result of the spread of COVID-19 or influenza.  By requiring the vaccination of children and students for influenza, the State can make it easier for these institutions to identify which children or students, if any, are showing signs of COVID-19 infection.

     Because of the severe, unprecedented, and unpredictable nature of COVID-19, the fact that there is currently no vaccine or preventative treatment for COVID-19, the commonalities that exist between COVID-19 and influenza, the fact that a person may simultaneously be infected with both diseases, the fact that patients with influenza will compete with COVID-19 patients and other severely ill patients for hospital space and resources, and the unique characteristics of public and private K-12 schools, preschools, child care centers, and institutions of higher education, it is both reasonable and necessary for the Legislature to require children and students at these institutions to be annually vaccinated for influenza, as a condition of their continued enrollment and attendance at the institution, in each year going forward. 







Black Lives Matter Mural Painted On West State Street Trenton

September 24, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Black Lives Matter mural has been painted in front of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, 379 West State Street yesterday an event was held at 4 pm with members of the AACCNJ, Governor Phil Murphy, Reverend Al Sharpton, and more. See press release below for complete information.


The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) in conjunction with the State of New Jersey and the National Action Network will construct a “Black Lives Matter” mural, on Wednesday, September 23rd, at the headquarters of the AACCNJ, located at 379 West State Street, Trenton, NJ.

The live painting will commence at 10:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day, culminating in an official ceremony, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on the front dais of the AACCNJ headquarters. The ceremony will include remarks from John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM, Founder, President & CEO, AACCNJ, The Honorable, Phil Murphy, Governor, State of NJ, The Honorable Reed Gusciora , Mayor City of Trenton, Reverend Al Sharpton, Founder, National Action Network, Rev. Dr. Steffie Bartley, Sr., Northeast Regional Director of National Action Network, and Rabbi Abe Friedman, Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel (BZBI) in Philadelphia, PA, among others.

“We believe that simulating the Black Lives Matter murals that are happening nationwide demonstrates the support of the AACCNJ with the merits and messaging of the nationwide movement, and will provide a platform for local and state government to show their endorsement of this message – with their presence at this event.”, said John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM.



Attorney General Grewal Announces Results of New Survey Showing 239 Of New Jersey’s Law Enforcement Agencies Now Use Body-Worn Cameras

Attorney General advocates for additional police departments to deploy body-worn cameras as a tool to promote accountability, assist police, and build police-community trust

September 24, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced the results of a statewide survey of New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies that revealed that 239 of the 537 agencies surveyed now equip some or all of their officers with body-worn cameras.

The survey conducted by the Attorney General’s Office includes state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, as well as college campus police, a school district police department, and bridge police.  It does not include federal agencies.  The 239 agencies with body-worn cameras have a total of 12,195 cameras.  The survey represents a snapshot of body-worn cameras owned as of Sept. 23, 2020.  It does not include cameras that are in the process of being acquired by law enforcement agencies.

The New Jersey State Police recently completed the process of outfitting all State Troopers on road patrol with body-worn cameras.  Of the four State Police patrol units, Troop A, Troop B, and Troop C were fully outfitted with body-worn cameras by the start of July 2020.  Troop D was fully outfitted with body-worn cameras by the end of August.

The survey indicates that the number of law enforcement agencies with body-worn cameras is approaching half of the agencies in the state— specifically, approximately 45 percent of the total number of agencies. 

To see the full survey results click here.

Attorney General Grewal supports the use of body-worn cameras, but cannot mandate their statewide use unless the Legislature appropriates sufficient, reliable funding to help local police departments purchase and maintain these systems.  Police departments are welcome—and encouraged—to purchase their own body-worn camera systems if they are in a position to do so, in order to promote accountability and strengthen police-community relations.

A 2017 survey of police officers using body-worn cameras in New Jersey indicated that most were highly satisfied with the devices and viewed them as effective tools for promoting public trust, protecting officers, and gathering evidence.

“I applaud the many police departments that have embraced body-worn cameras as a critical tool for enhancing police-community relations, and I urge more to follow suit,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “The need for accountability and transparency has never been greater, as we strive to build stronger trust between police officers and the communities they serve.  Body cameras not only enhance accountability in policing, they protect the vast majority of officers who do the right thing day-in and day-out, reducing unfounded complaints.  As an objective witness to law enforcement actions, they bolster public confidence and can even help de-escalate volatile situations.”

In 2015, New Jersey implemented the following statewide policy governing the use of body-worn cameras by police departments that elect to deploy them: http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcj/agguide/directives/2015-1_BWC.pdf

Since then, Attorney General Grewal has advocated for greater transparency with respect to video footage of police use-of-force incidents.  Shortly after taking office in 2018, he issued AG Directive 2018-1, which established a policy that body- and dash-camera videos of police deadly force incidents are subject to public release, following a formal request, once the initial investigation of the incident is substantially complete, typically within 20 days of the incident.

Attorney General Grewal enhanced that policy in December 2019, as part of his Excellence in Policing Initiative by issuing the Independent Prosecutor Directive (AG Directive 2019-4,), which lays out a comprehensive process for the independent investigation of police use-of-force and death-in-custody incidents.  New disclosure rules in that directive include release of any third-party footage captured by surveillance cameras or a civilian’s smartphone and later obtained by law enforcement during the investigation.

Working with law enforcement statewide and community stakeholders, Attorney General Grewal has implemented some of the most ambitious and progressive policing reforms in the country:

  • Mandating implicit bias training for all prosecutors, state and county detectives, and state troopers. 
  • Creating a statewide Conviction Review Unit. 
  • Launching a first-in-the-nation statewide officer resiliency program. 
  • Banning chokeholds except in the most limited circumstances. 
  • Holding regular community listening sessions in all 21 counties in New Jersey. 
  • Overhauling the state’s police training programs. 
  • Building a statewide use-of-force database.

Attorney General Grewal is also undertaking a substantial rewrite of the state’s use of force policy – the first rewrite of the policy in 20 years – incorporating feedback from public listening sessions held earlier this summer. The revised policy is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

More information on the Excellence in Policing Initiative is found at this link:

https://www.nj.gov/oag/excellence/

Romanian National Was Sentenced Today To 33 Months In Prison For ATM Skimming In Central And North Jersey

September 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–

A Romanian national was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to steal bank account information from thousands of customers by installing secret card-reading devices and pinhole cameras on ATMs throughout New Jersey and elsewhere, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Lucian Burulea, 34, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan imposed the sentence this afternoon in Trenton federal court.

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

Burulea admitted he was part of an ATM skimming scheme that stole bank account information by installing hidden card-reading devices on ATMs throughout northern and central New Jersey. Burulea previously acknowledged that he and his conspirators created bank cards using the fraudulently obtained account information, which they used to unlawfully withdraw large amounts of cash from various ATMs. The scheme, which involved actual and attempted losses of more than $1.5 million dollars, affected over 1,000 bank customers.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Burulea to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $265,957 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; detectives with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone; and detectives with the Woodbridge Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Robert Hubner, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Barnes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.

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Defense counsel: John Holliday Esq., Trenton

NY Man Travels To Bordentown, NJ Intending To Meet 13 Year Old For Sex

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A New York man was arrested today after travelling from New York to New Jersey to meet an individual, whom he believed was a 13-year old girl, for sex, U.S Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Eduardo Silva, 42, of Bronx, New York, is charged in a three-count complaint with enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity, travelling from New York to New Jersey for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct, and sending obscene materials over the Internet. He appeared today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zahid N. Quraishi and was detained.

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

On Sept. 5, 2020, Silva, while using an online social media application, sent a message to an individual he believed was an underage girl, but who was actually an undercover federal agent. Silva asked whether the minor was “into older guys” and over the course of the next several days sent a series of online communications and text messages, discussing his intent to travel and engage in sexual activity. He also sent sexually explicit images of his genitals to the individual, whom he believed was a minor. On Sept. 23, 2020, Silva was arrested when he travelled to a motel in Bordentown, New Jersey, intending to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex.

The charge of using a facility of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison; the charge of travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and the charge of using the internet to transfer obscene matters to an individual who had not attained the age of 16 carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The charges also each carry a maximum fine of $250,000 per count.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Cherry Hill, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark, with the investigation that led to Silva’s arrest. U.S. Attorney Carpenito also thanked the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bordentown Township Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Mateo of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

If you have information regarding the pending prosecution, or you believe you or someone you know may have been victimized by the defendant, the Department of Homeland Security requests that you contact them at 1-866-347-2423. Identified victims may be eligible for certain services and rights under federal and state law.

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

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Defense counsel: Brian Reilly Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton

NJ State Prison, State Corrections Officer Indicted

September 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging a state corrections officer and his accomplice with accepting bribes to smuggle contraband into New Jersey State Prison, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

The three-count indictment charges Correction Officers Jamaine Russell, 27, of Deptford, and Debra Rayner, 34, of Mullica Hill, with one count each of second-degree official misconduct, second-degree bribery and third-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity.

The indictment alleges that Russell, a NJDOC employee since 2016, used his position to receive cash payments in exchange for bringing narcotics and other contraband into New Jersey State Prison in Trenton from October 2018 through November 2019.  The indictment alleges that Russell, a NJDOC employee since 2016, used his position to receive cash payments in exchange for bringing narcotics and other contraband into New Jersey State Prison in Trenton from October 2018 through November 2019.  Rayner was indicted as an accomplice to Russell’s illegal acts, and while she herself is not an employee of NJDOC, she is legally accountable for Russell’s conduct because she promoted and facilitated the commission of the crimes charged.

Russell and Rayner were charged in November 2019 following an investigation by the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division.  Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Cook, chief of the Economic Crime Unit, presented the case to the grand jury.

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

Continuing Coverage: Trenton 3rd Alarm Now “Fire and Suspicious Death” Investigation


Previous MidJersey.News stories here:

Update: 3rd Alarm In 2 Family Home With “Collyer’s Mansion” Conditions Turns Fatal

3rd Alarm On Southard Street


September 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Fire and Suspicious Death Under Investigation On Tuesday evening, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force was called out to a working fire in the 700 block of Southard Street that began around 8:30 p.m.

When the fire was extinguished, the body of a deceased male was located inside a residence in fire debris.

The Mercer County Homicide Task Force, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Arson Unit and the Trenton Police Department continue to investigate. Anyone with information is asked to call (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org




Update: 3rd Alarm In 2 Family Home With “Collyer’s Mansion” Conditions Turns Fatal


Continuing Coverage: Trenton 3rd Alarm Now “Suspicious Death” Investigation

Updated information from last nights MidJersey.News breaking news story: 3rd Alarm On Southard Street


September 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton officials confirm that one person has perished in a house fire last night on Southard Street. The fire started around 8:30 pm in the 700 Block of Southard Street. First arriving firefighters found heavy fire conditions in a 2 1/2 story, 2 family home and had to fight “Collyer’s Mansion” type conditions, from hording. The fire eventually escalated to 3 alarms. Trenton officials also report one additional person was displaced. No further information is available at this time.

A “Collyer’s Mansion” is a term used by firefighters to describe a home packed with materials, trash and debris that makes for a tough firefight.




BREAKING: 3 Alarm Fire On Southard Street

September 22, 2020


Continuing Coverage: Trenton 3rd Alarm Now “Suspicious Death” Investigation

UPDATED: SEE UPDATED STORY HERE: Update: 3rd Alarm In 2 Family Home With “Collyer’s Mansion” Conditions Turns Fatal


BREAKING NEWS REPORT: Breaking news report from on scene and radio reports, if and when official information becomes available story will be updated and corrections made.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 8:30 pm the Trenton Fire Department was sent to the 700 Block of Southard Street for a house fire. Upon arrival companies struck an “All Hands” sending the full first alarm and additional EMS units were also called to the scene. Fire was in a 2 1/2 story 2 family home with heavy fire conditions throughout. About 20 minutes into the fire a 2nd Alarm was called for and eventually the fire became a 3rd Alarm.

No further information was available about the fire.



Historic Jackson Street Bridge Restoration Groundbreaking In Trenton

September 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton had a groundbreaking event for the Jackson Street Bridge Restoration this morning. The Jackson Street Bridge was listed as a contributing element of the Mill Hill Historic District’s entry into the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.  The $880,000 project is expected to last approximately two to three months.

The New Jersey Steel and Iron Company, which completed the iron fabrication for the Jackson Street Bridge in 1888, based their plant in Trenton, and supplied iron parts for the construction of similar bridges.

Few bridges of this type are still around. The Jackson Street Bridge’s role as a pedestrian bridge has allowed it avoid significant deterioration and stand as a reminder of the Capital City’s history of economic development and innovation. 

The New Jersey Historic Trust provided $324,793 for renovations to be made to the Jackson Street Bridge and the City of Trenton contributed $557,207 to close the gap on funding costs for the program. Included in the costs of the project are repairs to the bridge’s walls, resurfacing the deck of the bridge, and painting the metal beams. 


City of Trenton Breaks Ground on Historic Jackson Street Bridge Rehab Project

Trenton, N.J. –Mayor W. Reed Gusciora today held a groundbreaking event to launch the rehabilitation of the Jackson Street Bridge, which currently connects Mill Hill Park with the Mill Hill neighborhood.

“We are proud to partner with the state on this important rehabilitation project,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Jackson Street Bridge was part of the Mill Hill Historic District’s entry into the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, and our shared investment will keep this iconic Trenton landmark functional for decades to come.”

The N.J. Historic Trust provided $324,793 for renovations made to the Jackson Street Bridge, with the City of Trenton contributing $557,207 to close the funding gap for the program. In total, the project, which is expected to last between two to three months, costs $882,000.

“Trenton residents, but especially those involved with the Old Mill Hill Society and those who live in Mill Hill, see this bridge every day,” said North Ward City Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson. “Promoting the arts and culture, preserving historical sites, and running programming for our residents to enjoy is all part of our commitment to community development.”

The N.J. Historic Trust, housed within the N.J. Department of Community Affairs, provided the Administration with $534,000 in 2018 for the completion of renovations to Douglass House, the headquarters of General George Washington during the Revolutionary War and to the Jackson Street Bridge. In particular, the Trust provided funding through the Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund, which has awarded $137 million in capital grants since 1990 to assist in preserving projects across New Jersey.

“On behalf of the Trust, we are proud to have supported the restoration of the Jackson Street Bridge,” said Dorothy Guzzo, Executive Director of the N.J. Historic Trust. “Maintaining the bridge and protecting the character of the Capital City historic sites can also signal economic development.”

Included in the project costs are repairs to the bridge’s walls, resurfacing the deck of the bridge, and repainting the metal beams. The triangular sloping beams, also referred to as trusses, are a product of the Jackson Street Bridge’s unique Pratt truss design. Around the country, the few Pratt truss bridges that remain are often used by vehicles and freight trains and are slowly being decommissioned due to the cost of maintaining them for non-pedestrian usage.

“Day to day, our focus is on improving residents’ quality of life, expanding employment opportunities, and serving our youth and seniors, all while preserving the culture and the history of the Capital City,” said Sam T. Frisby, Mercer County Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Trenton. “As former Director of Recreation for the City of Trenton, it is intergovernmental collaboration like this that reduces the cost to Trenton residents and allows important restorations to occur.”

As project maintenance continues until November, a large covering will serve to protect the Assunpink Creek and the surrounding area while new concrete is poured, and the deck is surfaced with bituminous concrete.

“The New Jersey Steel and Iron Company fabricated the iron parts for this bridge in 1888. After 132 years of usage, this familiar site to Trentonians will finally be revitalized,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Community leaders and residents have called for this project’s completion since 2013, and we’re happy that the city can finally make it happen.”


Sayreville Man Admits Role In Area Heroin Conspiracy Distribution In Monmouth and Middlesex Counties

September 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man today admitted that he conspired to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin as part of a conspiracy responsible for distributing significant quantities of heroin and cocaine in the Bayshore area of Monmouth and Middlesex counties, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Daniel McHugh, 50, of Sayreville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti via videoconference to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. McHugh also admitted to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine and possessing with intent to distribute a quantity of crack cocaine.

Today’s guilty plea follows a coordinated takedown in November 2018 of 15 defendants charged by complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. To date, 13 defendants have pleaded guilty, including supplier Gregory Gillens and lead defendant Guy Jackson. Gillens was sentenced on Sept. 8, 2020, to 10 years in prison. Jackson is awaiting sentencing.

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

From May 2017 to November 2018, McHugh and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the Raritan Bayshore region of Middlesex and northern Monmouth counties. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin and cocaine, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that McHugh regularly obtained heroin and cocaine for further distribution from Jackson. Some of the heroin distributed by the conspiracy contained fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid.

On the date of his arrest, McHugh gave consent to search his residence. During that search, law enforcement recovered quantities of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine intended for further distribution.

The heroin conspiracy count to which McHugh pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited Special Agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force (including representatives from the Bradley Beach Police Department, Brick Police Department, Howell Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Toms River Police Department, and Union Beach Police Department) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; Special Agents of the FBI, Philadelphia Division, Scranton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent; the Matawan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Thomas J. Falco, Jr.; the Holmdel Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Mioduszewski; the Highlands Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Burton; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni; the Old Bridge Police Department, under the direction of Chief William A. Volkert; the Keansburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief James K. Pigott; the Hazlet Police Department, under the direction of Chief Philip Meehan; and the Aberdeen Police Department, under the direction of Chief Richard A. Derechailo, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

The charges and allegations against the two remaining defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Defense counsel: James R. Murphy Esq., Princeton, New Jersey

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.

AG Grewal, Consumer Affairs Announce Penalties for Consumer Protection Violations Related to COVID-19

Violations Include Price Gouging and False Claims in Advertising and Sale of PPE, COVID-19 Antibody Tests, and Other Items 


Local violators in the story below:

Compare Foods Super Market, 847 Roebling Avenue, Trenton,$1,250 

Bravo Supermarket, Inc., 1567 E. State Street, Trenton,$5,750 

Performance Supply LLC, 3 Westbrook Way, Manalapan,$12,500 

Exxon Gas, 2000 Route 66 East, Neptune 


September 21, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced actions against a dozen merchants for consumer protection violations related to COVID-19, with penalties totaling tens of thousands of dollars. Among those subject to enforcement actions are two North Jersey businesses that allegedly made false or unsubstantiated claims in the sale of COVID-19 antibody tests and a Monmouth County business that was selling face masks at as much as six times the manufacturer’s retail prices. 

These actions are the latest of many taken by the Division to address the unprecedented number of consumer complaints and referrals received during the current public health emergency.   

To date, the Division has sent 1,884 cease and desist letters to retailers suspected of price gouging and other unconscionable business practices during the coronavirus pandemic, and issued 110 subpoenas seeking additional information in its investigations of alleged violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.  

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we made clear that we would take a tough stand on price gouging and other abuses of New Jersey consumers,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Enlisting the help of residents to report unconscionable practices works. Most businesses are following the law. For those that are not, these actions are a reminder that the penalties for violations are significant.” 

The Notices of Violation (NOVs) filed in this latest round of enforcement actions carry individual penalties ranging from $500 to $12,500, depending on the severity and number of violations.   

The single largest civil penalty was assessed against Performance Supply LLC, for allegedly making false and misleading statements in advertising N95 mask respirators for sale to personnel from the New York City Office of Citywide Procurement. The Division alleges that the company’s quote misleadingly suggested the company is an authorized dealer or distributor for 3M Company and offered to sell seven million face masks that retailed between $1.02 and $1.31 for $6.05 and $6.35 each. 

Two businesses were cited for making false or unsubstantiated claims in the sale of COVID-19 antibody tests. Hudson Drug of Cresskill was assessed $3,000 in civil penalties for advertising that the COVID-19 antibody tests it sold were suitable for at-home use, contrary to the manufacturer’s instructions. Retro Fitness of Rockaway was assessed a $2,000 civil penalty for allegedly making unsubstantiated claims related to antibody testing made available to club members via a health and wellness center affiliated with the club. 

“The Division is working tirelessly during this pandemic to protect consumers from threats to their health in the form of unsubstantiated claims and predatory pricing on personal protective equipment,” said Acting Director Paul R. Rodríguez. “We are committed to reviewing and investigating every complaint to ensure that merchants operate responsibly and refrain from unscrupulous behaviors, including violating our price gouging laws, at a time when many New Jerseyans are facing significant financial hardship.”  

New Jersey’s price-gouging law, which took effect on March 9 upon Governor Murphy’s declaration of a state of emergency, prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency and for 30 days after its termination. A price increase is considered excessive if the new price is more than 10 percent higher than the price charged during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency, and the increased price is not attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller’s supplier or additional costs of providing the product or service during the state of emergency. 

Price-gouging and other consumer fraud violations are punishable by civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation and $20,000 for the second and subsequent violations. Violators may also be required to pay consumer restitution, attorney’s fees, and investigative fees, and will be subject to injunctive relief. 

The following merchants received NOVs and were assessed civil penalties for alleged price gouging on essential items such as bottled water, rice, face masks and disinfectant spray: 

The following merchants received NOVs and were each assessed $500 in civil penalties for their alleged failure to post selling prices for merchandise such as bottled water, toilet paper and sanitizers, a violation of the Merchandise Pricing Statute: 

Consumers who suspect consumer fraud violations, or believe that businesses have unfairly increased their prices in response to COVID-19, are encouraged to file complaints online to report specific details related to the increased prices. Photographs of items being sold, their price, and receipts can now be uploaded to our new price gouging complaint form. 

*          *          * 

The mission of the Division of Consumer Affairs, within the Department of Law and Public Safety, is to protect the public from fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and professional misconduct in the sale of goods and services in New Jersey through education, advocacy, regulation and enforcement. The Division pursues its mission through its 51 professional and occupational boards that oversee 720,000 licensees in the state, its Regulated Business section that oversees 60,000 NJ registered businesses, as well as through its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section. 

State Police Arrest Two and Seize Rifle, Hollow Point Ammunition, and Drugs in Trenton

The New Jersey State Police have arrested Tyshiek Shaw, 30, of Trenton, N.J., and Colin Blake, 26, of Hamilton, N.J., for various weapons and drug offenses.

September 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–State Police Arrest Two and Seize Rifle, Hollow Point Ammunition, and Drugs

Trenton, N.J. – The New Jersey State Police have arrested Tyshiek Shaw, 30, of Trenton, N.J., and Colin Blake, 26, of Hamilton, N.J., for various weapons and drug offenses.

During a six-month investigation, troopers from the New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit and the Strategic Investigation Unit determined Shaw and Blake were allegedly selling narcotics in the area of Boudinot Street in Trenton. As a result, detectives obtained arrest warrants for both suspects.

On Thursday, September 17, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit, Fugitive Unit, and the Strategic Investigation Unit along with assistance from the Hamilton Township Police Department and Trenton Police Department, located and arrested Shaw at a residence on Boudinot Street and seized one brick of heroin. A short time later, detectives located and arrested Blake at a residence in Hamilton Township and seized a Riley Defense 7.62 caliber rifle, hollow point ammunition, and five grams of marijuana.

Tyshiek Shaw was charged with possession of heroin, distribution of heroin, distribution with 1000 feet of a school zone, and distribution within 500 feet of a park. Colin Blake was charged with possession of marijuana, distribution of marijuana, possession of a firearm while committing CDS offense, possession of hollow point ammunition, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Tyshiek Shaw and Colin Blake were lodged in Mercer County Jail pending a detention hearing.

This case is being prosecuted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Charges are merely accusations, and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

OnScene News Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Statement from Governor Murphy on the Death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

September 18, 2020

US Supreme Court Press Office and NJ Governor’s Office:

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer. She was 87 years old. Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993. She was the second woman appointed to the Court and served more than 27 years. She is survived by her two children: Jane Carol Ginsburg (George Spera) and James Steven Ginsburg (Patrice Michaels), four grandchildren: Paul Spera (Francesca Toich), Clara Spera (Rory Boyd), Miranda Ginsburg, Abigail Ginsburg, two step-grandchildren: Harjinder Bedi, Satinder Bedi, and one great-grandchild: Lucrezia Spera. Her husband, Martin David Ginsburg, died in 2010.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said of Justice Ginsburg: “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.” 

Justice Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. During her more than 40 years as a Judge and a Justice, she was served by 159 law clerks.

While on the Court, the Justice authored My Own Words (2016), a compilation of her speeches and writings.

A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.


Statement from Governor Murphy on the Death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Justice Ginsburg was a woman whose career became an inspiration to countless young women and girls across our nation, and around the globe.

“Justice Ginsburg dedicated her life and career not only to the premise of equal justice and equity under the law, but also to the most basic premise that, regardless of gender, or race, or religion, or orientation, or identity, or nationality and ethnic heritage, we all must commit to fight for the things that we care about.

“Before she became a national figure, she was a pioneering professor at Rutgers-Newark School of Law, and her time there would correspond with an influx of women into the law school, where, no doubt, she would greatly influence them and their careers. She was a tireless advocate at the ACLU, fighting for gender equality at the Women’s Rights Project. 

“In her final years at Rutgers, she served as the advisor to the Women’s Rights Law Review – and, in the words of a former editor, ‘She went where other people wouldn’t go. She took a leap. Once she came on board, everything fell into place. We felt empowered.’

“For nearly three decades, we have been treated to Justice Ginsburg’s singular expertise. We have been made a better nation, and a better people, through her reasoned approach and sharp-minded opinions.

“Justice Ginsburg summed up her life’s principles the following way: ‘Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.’ For those who study the law, even her dissents have moved the law in the right direction.

“My sincere hope is that her life and work continue to draw good people, with true and honest intentions to move us forward, to careers in the law and the pursuit of justice.

“Last year, I had the distinct honor of presenting Justice Ginsburg with The Golden Pea on behalf of MARCHENLAND Berlin. Tammy and I, and our daughter, Emma, will never forget the time she spent with us. She was an American icon.”


Statement from Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal on the Death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

“We mourn the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a trailblazing jurist and crusader for women’s rights and equal protection for all under the Constitution, whose jurisprudence will impact as well as inform our democracy for generations to come.

Justice Ginsburg’s unflagging pursuit of justice, her incisive opinions and dissents, and her principled progressivism have inspired, and will continue to inspire, all of us who cherish our society as a nation based on the rule of law.  

While we can never repay what she has gifted us, we can honor her legacy by continuing her tireless fight for a more inclusive world. Our nation has come so far in equality and in justice, and we owe so much of this progress to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Rest In Peace, RBG.”



Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice,
was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954, and has a daughter, Jane, and a son, James. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat August 10, 1993.

July Sex Assault in Trenton Remains Under Investigation

Police Implore the Community for Information

September 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A sex assault that occurred in Trenton over the summer remains under investigation and police are once again asking the public for assistance with the case.

On July 23, 2020, a 29-year-old woman was walking to work in the early morning hours in the area of S. Broad Street and Chestnut Avenue when she was approached by her attacker.  Described as a heavyset black male with dark hair, possibly in his 30s, the suspect forced the victim into a nearby alley where he sexually assaulted her.

The Special Victims units of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Trenton Police Department have been working for weeks to solve the case.  They have surveillance photos of the suspect and have identified a person of interest, and they are certain there are individuals out there that have information, but no one is coming forward to assist the police.

“We are getting calls to the tip line telling us there are people who know who did it.  They are giving us drips and drabs and ‘word on the street,’ but we need more,” Mercer County Prosecutor’s SVU Sgt. Joe Paglione said.  “We just need that last piece of information to take a dangerous man off of the street and stop this from happening to the next victim.”

“Law enforcement can perform its job so much more effectively when the public and media help,” Prosecutor Onofri stated.  “Just recently, following the publication of an article and photo on the arrest of Eridson Rodriguez for sexually assaulting women at two separate gatherings at his apartment, more victims came forward.  He now faces charges for assaulting three more victims, and we have information that there are many more out there.  This is what can happen when we all work together for justice.”

The investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect in the photographs or the case is asked to contact Sergeant Joe Paglione of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at (609) 273-0065 or Sergeant Lisette Rios of the Trenton Police Department SVU at (609) 989-4155.

Trenton Health Director to Step Down in October

Former Health Director Appointed in Interim Pending National Search for Replacement

September 17, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today that Director Shakira Abdul-Ali of the Trenton Health and Human Services Department will be stepping down from her role effective Oct. 2, 2020 to pursue other professional opportunities.

James Anthony Brownlee, who previously served as the Trenton Director of Health and Human Services until he retired from the position in July 2018, will reassume that role pending the conclusion of a national search for a permanent replacement.

Director Abdul-Ali has served Trenton since July 2018. During that time, she has led the Gusciora Administration’s efforts to combat youth homelessness, address the need for expanded health services in the Trenton schools, and launch the “Resilient Trenton!” campaign with 22 partner agencies to transform Trenton into a trauma-informed city by 2024.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Director Abdul-Ali worked with the city’s healthcare community to help secure resources for homeless patients, provide information to the public regarding safety practices, and issue warnings for restaurants and public gatherings not complying with social distancing regulations.

“Director Abdul-Ali has been a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable members of our community who struggle with poverty, healthcare, addiction, homelessness, and trauma from violence,” said Mayor Gusciora. “We wish her the very best in her future pursuits. With his depth of experience, I’m confident that Acting Director Brownlee will effectively manage the city’s healthcare efforts while we find a permanent replacement.”

“Serving the City of Trenton and its people as the Director of Health and Human Services has been a tremendous honor,” said Director Abdul-Ali. “I’m proud of what this administration has achieved in the last two years and I’m thankful to have worked with a wonderful staff and countless community groups and advocates who fight for Trenton every day.”

Acting Director Brownlee has more than 30 years in public health management, including serving under both Mayor Tony Mack and Mayor Eric Jackson, and as an Assistant Commissioner at the N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services.

Man Killed In Crash, Police Seek Hit And Run Driver Possibly From Trenton, NJ

September 17, 2020

FALLS TOWNSHIP, PA–Falls Township Police are looking for a hit and run driver possibly from Trenton, NJ see below:

LATEST UPDATE:   The victim may have been riding a bicycle at the time he was struck.  

We ask anyone who may have any information, please submit a tip or contact Det. Dennis O’Connell. On September 17, 2020 at 0111 hours Falls Township Police Department (FTPD) Officers were dispatched to U.S. Route #1 Northbound in the area of the Fairless Hills Exit for a report of a struck pedestrian. Responding officers found a 34 year old man deceased at the scene and determined that the striking vehicle had fled, said Falls Township Police Chief Nelson Whitney. Officers located the striking vehicle further down the highway (on the other side of the Fairless Hills Exit) unoccupied. K9 teams searched the area with no success in locating the driver. It is believed that the driver was picked up by another vehicle.

The highway remained closed for the investigation until approximately 0445 hours. The striking vehicle was a 2006 BMW sedan, black in color with NJ registration R54 EVK.

The vehicle is registered to Tierra Barber from Beakes Street in Trenton, NJ. Officers went to Barber’s home after the crash but were unable to contact anyone there.

The victim is from out of state and efforts are currently underway to locate and notify his family. Chief Whitney thanked the Morrisville Borough Police Department and PENNDOT for their assistance in this incident.

For further updates on this investigation, follow the FTPD Twitter feed @FallsTwpPolice. Anyone wishing to provide information about this case should contact Detective Dennis Oconnell at (215) 949- 9100 X416 or d.oconnell@fallstwp.com, you may also submit a tip below.

Roles Admitted In International Money Laundering Conspiracy

September 16, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A former member of Paraguay’s Congress and her husband have admitted their roles in an international money laundering conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Raimundo Va, 45, pleaded guilty today before Chief Judge Freda L. Wolfson to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. His wife, Cynthia Elizabeth Tarrago Diaz, 41, pleaded guilty on Sept. 15, 2020, before Judge Wolfson to an information charging her with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

On Nov. 21, 2019, Tarrago and Va were arrested by the FBI after they arrived in Newark as part of their unlawful money laundering activities, and were charged in a criminal complaint along with a third individual, Rodrigo Alvarenga Paredes, who remains at large in Paraguay.

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

Until January 2019, Tarrago was a member of Paraguay’s Congress, and in late 2019 had publicly announced her intention to run for mayor of the capital district of Asunción. While in office, Tarrago and her husband, Va, agreed to accept at least $2 million in United States currency from two individuals who represented themselves to be narcotics traffickers, believing the money to be proceeds of unlawful narcotics trafficking, and to launder the funds through an international network of accounts in order to disguise the unlawful source of the proceeds. Tarrago and Va traveled to New Jersey and Florida on multiple occasions and accepted approximately $800,000 in United States currency from the purported drug traffickers, and caused those funds to be laundered through the conspiracy’s network of accounts, and ultimately transferred back to an account maintained by the purported drug traffickers. To disguise the illicit source of the funds, members of the conspiracy generated fraudulent invoices that stated legitimate business reasons for the transfers of laundered funds to the purported drug traffickers’ account. Moreover, on multiple occasions during the purported drug dealers’ meetings with Tarrago and Va, Tarrago indicated that she would be able to assist the purported drug dealers with procuring large quantities of cocaine from Paraguay at an inexpensive price.

Unbeknownst to Tarrago and Va, the currency that they accepted from the purported drug traffickers and caused to be laundered was not actually illicit drug proceeds. Rather, those funds were provided to Tarrago and Va by two undercover FBI agents as part of an extensive investigation of the money laundering network. During the investigation, the undercover agents met with Tarrago and Va in the United States on numerous occasions, and obtained substantial video and audio recordings of their interactions with Tarrago and Va, during which details of the money laundering network were discussed. The evidence obtained during the investigation revealed that Alvarenga Paredes, operating through the auspices of a money-exchange company in Paraguay, coordinated the laundering of the funds that the undercover agents provided to Tarrago and Va.

The money laundering conspiracy counts against Tarrago and Va carry a statutory maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the conspiracy. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2021. The investigation is continuing.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas. He also thanked the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for their assistance in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Joseph Gribko of the Criminal Division in Trenton and J. Brendan Day, Attorney in Charge of the Trenton Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The charges and allegations against Alvarenga Paredes contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

20-298 

Defense counsel:
Tarrago: Andrea Bergman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
Va: David R. Oakley Esq., Princeton, New Jersey

Murphy Administration Announces $3.5 Million Investment in State Navigators to Assist Uninsured and Underserved New Jerseyans With ACA Health Insurance Enrollment

September 16, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride today announced $3.5 million in grant funding for community organizations to serve as state Navigators to provide free outreach, education, and enrollment assistance to residents shopping for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period. Despite drastic federal cuts to the Navigator program in recent years, the Administration has more than doubled its investment since the State began operating the program last year and has taken numerous actions to improve access to health coverage. The increased investment is made possible by the State’s move to its own health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey, for the upcoming year.

The Open Enrollment Period in New Jersey will run from November 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021, which is double the six-week period held last year, a benefit of New Jersey operating a State-Based Exchange.

“Our current public health emergency has underscored the importance of our efforts to ensure that as many residents as possible have access to health coverage,” said Governor Murphy. “We made the decision to establish our own marketplace last year based on the principle that health insurance is a fundamental right. This increased investment is an extension of that belief and could not come at a more important time.”

The investment in outreach and enrollment assistance is part of the state’s transition to a State-Based Exchange, also referred to as the Marketplace, to improve access to health coverage for New Jersey’s residents. Governor Murphy signed legislation last year to establish a State-Based Exchange in New Jersey.

“Navigators are vital to reaching New Jersey’s uninsured and underinsured and connecting them to quality, affordable health coverage and available financial help,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride. “We are thrilled to expand our network of community organizations that provide assistance to New Jerseyans, and ensure that our residents can get the health coverage and care they deserve. I want to thank the organizations that have committed to assisting the residents of their communities at such a critical time. We look forward to working with additional community partners as we work to get New Jersey residents covered this Open Enrollment Period and throughout the year.”

Four current Navigators have been granted a one-year extension of their grants at their current funding levels for the next year; one current Navigator was awarded expansion funding. An additional 11 organizations will be funded to serve as new Navigators to support enrollment assistance in the State-Based Marketplace. All of the organizations serving as Navigators will have the ability to assist residents remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Organizations who receive funding through the grant program must comply with state and federal requirements. Grantee activities will include outreach and education year-round for 2021 coverage, including in advance of and during the Open Enrollment Period.

The following organizations were awarded funding for the 2020-2021 grant year under the New Jersey State Navigator Grant Program:

Navigator Grant AwardeeGrant Amount
AtlantiCare Health Services$196,436
Center for Family Services Inc.**$493,070
Family Resource Network*$165,835
FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties dba Fulfill*$143,527
HOPES Community Action Partnership Incorporated$158,000
HRETNJ (Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey)$431,191
Lakewood Resource and Referral Center$351,662
New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund$280,717
North Hudson Community Action Corporation$150,000
Ocean Health Initiatives$147,385
Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey, Inc.$134,288
Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers Inc$191,501
The Orange’s ACA Navigator Project (OACANP)*$200,000
University Hospital$182,203
Urban League of Hudson County*$150,258
Zufall Health Center, Inc.$170,000
Total$3,546,073
*Current Navigators

** Current Navigator awarded expansion funding

In addition to state-funded Navigators, Certified Application Counselors (CACs) and Brokers will also assist consumers with health insurance enrollment. All Navigators, Certified Application Counselors (CACs), and Brokers are required to complete state training and certification to assist consumers with health insurance enrollment on the state Marketplace. Organizations interested in serving as Certified Application Counselor Designated Organizations (CDOs), which oversee CACs, and agents and brokers interested in assisting consumers with Marketplace coverage may find information on certification at getcovered.nj.gov under For Assisters and Brokers.

More information on health insurance options can found be at GetCovered.NJ.gov.

Governor Murphy Signs Legislative Package to Strengthen the Resiliency and Preparedness of New Jersey’s Long-Term Care Industry

Legislative Package Enacts Key Recommendations from Manatt Health’s Review

September 16, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting on a commitment to reform and build a more resilient long-term care industry, Governor Phil Murphy today signed a legislative package to address systemic challenges, mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and strengthen preparedness for future outbreaks. The legislative package enacts several recommendations made in Manatt Health’s rapid review of the state’s long-term care facilities, including wage enhancements for frontline staff, improved response coordination, and robust data reporting procedures. The legislative package received bipartisan support.

“The residents and staff of our long-term care facilities have borne an outsized burden of this pandemic,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “While we know this has not been a tragedy unique to New Jersey, we will learn from this crisis and emerge as a national model for solving immediate challenges and building future resilience. These measures not only support our ongoing efforts to get things right for our long-term care residents, staff, and families, but also ensure we have strong measures in place to deal with bad actors in the industry who put profit before people.”

The Governor signed the following bills into law: 

A4476/S2790 (Vainieri Huttle, Greenwald, DePhillips/Cryan, Vitale) -Establishes certain requirements concerning State’s preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

A4481/S2787 (Moen, Sumter, Quijano, Gove/Codey, Rice) – Establishes New Jersey Task Force on Long-Term Care Quality and Safety

A4482/S2758 (Tucker, Giblin, Chaparro/Cryan, Lagana) – Establishes minimum wage requirements for certain long-term care facility staff; establishes direct care ratio requirements for nursing homes; requires nursing home care rate study. 

A4547/S2813 (Vainieri Huttle, Benson, Johnson/Vitale) – Authorizes temporary rate adjustment for certain nursing facilities; appropriates $62.3 million.

“This package of bills will improve the resiliency and quality of our long-term care facilities and strengthen their emergency preparedness,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Most importantly, they provide the recognition the Certified Nursing Assistants deserve through wage increases and career ladder opportunities.”

“We thank our partners in the Legislature for working together with us to advance our shared goal of supporting nursing home residents and the staff who work tirelessly to care for them,” Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. “Today’s action will deliver new Medicaid funding of $130 million – a 10 percent increase  – over the remainder of the fiscal year to nursing homes to increase wages for the frontline certified nursing aide workforce and to support facilities’ compliance with health and safety directives, including COVID-19-related infection control, PPE, cleaning, staffing, and other needs.  These are critical steps as we work across the state to continue to fight the virus and prepare for any potential second surge this fall.”

“Long-term care centers were woefully underprepared and under-resourced to respond to a global pandemic. Many nursing and veterans homes in New Jersey have been cited for inadequate infection control policies, and few had consistent direct communication with hospitals and health departments before the pandemic. The system as a whole needs to be reformed,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Chair of the Assembly Aging and Senior Services Committee. “It is also critically important that we support the certified nurse aides in long-term care centers who are on the COVID-19 front lines day in and day out. They dedicate their lives to caring for our most vulnerable, and now they put their health at risk every day they’re on the job. If there’s ever a time to enhance wages for our severely underpaid and overworked nurse aides, it’s now.”

“COVID-19 has taken an immense toll on our long-term care community. This legislation is a combination of Manatt Health’s recommendations and the Senate Health Committee’s extensive discussions with stakeholders and concerned residents,” said Senator Joseph Vitale, Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Long-term care facilities service some of our state’s most vulnerable communities. At the onset of this pandemic our mothers, fathers and grandparents faced a compromised, exposed and impossible situation. These laws will help ensure that New Jersey does not ever let that happen again.”

“Over the past six months, nursing home workers across New Jersey have heroically risen to the challenges of COVID-19 and put their lives on the line to protect their vulnerable patients,” said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1999SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “Critically, this legislative package recognizes the essential nature of their work and the need for our state to have a stable, healthy and growing caregiver workforce.  We applaud Gov. Murphy and our legislative leadership for taking these important steps to reform the nursing home industry.”

“We applaud Governor Murphy and the NJ Legislature for passing this long-term care reform package, which makes significant and necessary improvements to protect residents and staff at New Jersey nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,” said Stephanie Hunsinger, AARP New Jersey State Director. “It is a tragedy that more than 7,100 residents and staff in New Jersey’s long-term care facilities have died due to COVID-19, and we must ensure this never happens again. These bills implement critical measures to save lives.”

“These bills are an important part of refocusing our priorities and, as a society, valuing the care delivered to New Jersey residents as they age,” said NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett. “That requires good policy, sufficient resources and the engagement of all stakeholders including the frail elderly, their loved ones, and the healthcare workers and long term care facilities who help care for them.”

A-4476

The COVID-19 pandemic did not create the problems in long-term care; it merely exacerbated them,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald. “Without adequate staffing, emergency response plans or central channels of communication with health officials, long-term care facilities were unequipped to keep residents and staff safe in the early critical days of the pandemic. Though no one could have predicted the toll COVID-19 would take, long-term care centers could have been more prepared. Going forward, a centralized command center devoted to long-term care will help us make sure these facilities have the resources they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies.”

“This necessary bipartisan legislation acts upon the lessons learned from the Covid-19 response, said Assemblyman Chris DePhillips. “In particular, the new Long Term Care Emergency Operations Center will provide greater preparation and coordination across the state in the event of a future outbreak.  Moreover, the legislation will ensure that long-term care facilities are more closely tied to the system of care in the state and have emergency plans in place to respond to a public health emergency.”

“The fatal consequences of the COVID pandemic fell the hardest on nursing homes, veterans’ homes and other long term care facilities that are home to our most vulnerable population of residents,” said Senator Joe Cryan. “It is tragically obvious that there was an absence of safeguards to prevent and respond to the outbreak. We need to use the hard lessons of this experience to help prevent anything like this from happening again. This includes preventive safeguards, action plans to contain any outbreaks and better pay for the frontline workers who care for the residents.”

A-4481

In a joint statement, Assemblymembers Bill Moen, Shavonda Sumter, and Annette Quijano said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed longstanding problems in our long-term care system. Not only do we need to address staffing shortages, quality of care concerns and emergency preparedness, but we will need to assess how we can modernize an outdated system to best fit the needs of our most vulnerable residents. The work of this task force will help us reform long-term care in New Jersey, including the expansion of home and community-based services, enhancing the use of telemedicine and optimizing resident wellness and infection control.”

“Without question, our state has an obligation to ensure that those living in long-term care facilities are provided with the highest level of care to maintain their quality-of-life, while also allowing for family members to play an active role in their lives,” said Assemblywoman Dianne Gove. “To that end, I’ve supported the establishment of a Task Force on Long-Term Care Quality and Safety so that New Jersey, moving forward, can and will develop and implement more effective policies that benefit our most vulnerable citizens.”

“COVID-19 devastated our long-term care community and it pains me to hear about how helpless the residents and staff members were at the height of this pandemic,” said Senator Richard Codey. “Establishing the New Jersey Task Force on Long-Term Care Quality and Safety would allow us to develop and implement improvements across the board. Our most vulnerable residents and their caretakers deserve better and this legislation would make sure improvements are realized.”

“COVID-19 swept through our long-term care facilities with such devastating speed, nobody knew what to do or how to handle the situation,” said Senator Ronald C. Rice. “The task force will ensure we develop strict procedures and workplace safety to make sure we are adequately prepared the next time an event like this comes around.”

A-4482

“Nurses in long-term care facilities help residents bathe, dress, eat, use the restroom, and manage their medical care. Though they deliver vital care to our most vulnerable, they are often underpaid and overworked,” said Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker. “Now amid a global pandemic, they are putting their own health on the line every day. They deserve to be better compensated for their essential work.” 

“There are often staffing shortages and retention issues in long-term care facilities, in part because staff are poorly paid and may need to work multiple jobs to make ends meet,” said Assemblyman Tom Giblin. “Providing pay increases will undoubtedly attract quality workers to the profession and help facilities retain their staff, which in turn will ensure residents are better cared for.”

“Direct care staff are the unsung heroes of healthcare. Like all frontline workers, they have gone the extra mile to respond to COVID-19,” said Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro. “They dedicate their lives to helping our elderly or disabled loved ones live with dignity. It’s time we paid them a dignified wage in return.”

A-4547

“Nursing homes are not only battling a public health emergency; many are also facing a fiscal emergency,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson. “Without the resources to adequately pay nursing staff or enforce infection control measures, it will become even more difficult to retain nurses and keep residents and staff safe. By increasing Medicaid reimbursements, we can provide financial relief to nursing homes so that they may improve their COVID-19 response and better care for residents.”

“As we look to a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, we must make sure long-term care facilities have the resources needed to mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Assemblyman Gordon Johnson. “This includes, perhaps most importantly, the heroic CNAs who care for elderly and disabled residents in long-term care facilities and often work multiple shifts at several facilities to make ends meet. Increased wages will mean current CNAs won’t have to stretch themselves thin financially, as well as help to attract new staff hires, which in turn will improve quality of care for residents.”

Trenton Drug Trafficker Sentenced To 17 Years For Heroin And Firearms Offences

September 16, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Trenton man was sentenced today to 204 months in prison for his role as a supplier to a significant drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than one kilogram of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

David Antonio, a/k/a “Pop,” a/k/a “Papi,” a/k/a “Santiago Ramirez,” 32, previously pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to Count One of a third superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Judge Wolfson imposed the sentence today by videoconference.

In October 2018, Antonio, and 25 other individuals were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Feb. 27, 2020, a grand jury returned a 10-count third superseding indictment charging Antonio and six other defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and various other drug and firearm offenses. Twenty-three of the 26 defendants charged in the complaint have pleaded guilty.

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

From October 2017 to October 2018, the defendant and others engaged in a large drug trafficking conspiracy that operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, Chambers Street, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, and which sought to profit from the distribution of heroin and numerous other controlled substances. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that conspirators Jakir Taylor and Jerome Roberts obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from Antonio. Intercepted communications among Taylor, Roberts, Antonio, and other conspirators revealed that Taylor and Roberts agreed to obtain from Antonio, and that Antonio agreed to supply, a “motherlode” of as many as 1,400 bricks of heroin in a single delivery – equating to approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin. Taylor told Antonio that he intended to “flood the streets” of Trenton with this large supply, and Antonio agreed to supply a sufficient amount of heroin to Taylor that would allow him to do so. In communications with Taylor, Antonio indicated that he was “filling the bags” up with heroin and fentanyl. During coordinated arrests on Oct. 25, 2018, law enforcement arrested Antonio at a residence in Trenton, and recovered more than 1.4 kilograms of heroin, in addition to a significant amount of paraphernalia used to package heroin for distribution.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wolfson sentenced Antonio to five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Sheilah Coley; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Bruce Painter; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the New Jersey State Board of Parole for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

The government is represented by Attorney-in-Charge J. Brendan Day and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in gang-related activities, violent crime, and drug distribution in and around the greater Trenton area. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

The three remaining defendants charged in this case are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

20-297 ###

Defense counsel: David Schafer Esq., Trenton

NJ Forest Fire Service Sends More Help To The West Coast

September 13, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Forrest Fire Service has been sending equipment and manpower to the west coast to help fight many wildfires. San Francisco Fire Department reports that units from Section B-10 have landed safely at the airport. Three additional engines and ten crew members were sent to California to help.

Section B-10 provides wildland fire suppression for the State of New Jersey covering Middlesex and Monmouth Counties in Central New Jersey primary response areas include: East Brunswick Twp, Englishtown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Twp, Helmetta, Holmdel Twp, Jamesburg, Manalapan Twp, Marlboro Twp, Monroe Twp, Old Bridge Twp, Plainsboro, Sayreville, South Amboy, South Brunswick Twp, South River, Spotswood and surrounding towns as requested.


Trenton Firefighters Run/Ride In Honor Of 9/11

September 11, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Members of the Trenton Fire Department ran together through the city in Remembrance of all the lives lost Sept 11, 2001. The route started at Headquarters, escorting Runners and Bicyclists to each and every fire station. Ending at Station 1 on Calhoun St, all participants accumulated over their goal of 9.11 miles.



OnScene News Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Trenton Fire Director Derrick Sawyer Has Resigned

September 11, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Early this morning news spread that Trenton Fire Director Derrick Sawyer had resigned his post. The resignation came after frustrations with City Council.

Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora told MidJersey.News, “I am deeply grateful to Fire Director Derrick Sawyer for his service to me and the people of Trenton. A professional and class act, Director Sawyer’s leadership, data-driven decision making, COVID-19 emergency response, and his respect for our residents and employees, elevated all of us and made our city stronger. I wish him and his family well in the months and years ahead.”

Prior to coming to Trenton and taking the post of Fire Director, according to Firefighter Nation “Battalion Chief Derrick Sawyer has been a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department for 25 years. He has a degree in fire science and is in his fourth year of the Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP) at the National Fire Academy. Sawyer is a 2009 graduate of the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute, a 2010 graduate of Leadership Philadelphia and has obtained certification in the following areas: Fire Officer, Fire Service Instructor and Fire Inspector. Chief Sawyer was the liaison for the Philadelphia Fire Department to NFPA’s 2009 Urban Fire Safety Project.” 

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.