Category: Middlesex County

TRAFFIC ALERT: Serious Truck Crashes With Serious Injuries And Entrapment Prior To Exit 8A On NJ Turnpike

July 26, 2021

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Two separate serious crashes on the NJ Turnpike in the area of Exit 8A left the North Bound outer “truck” lanes of the NJ Turnpike closed and traffic backed almost 10 miles to Exit 7A in Robbinsville.

Monroe Township Fire Rescue 23, Ladder 23, Engine 23, Tanker 23, Chief 23, Squad 57 and Monroe Twp EMS responded to the the NJTP for 2 separate calls. 1st call was for an overturned Commercial Vehicle in the NB Car Lanes. While responding, a 2nd call for a 2nd Commercial MVC with heavy entrapment just south of the first call was received. Crews worked quickly to free the driver from the vehicle.

MidJersey.news has reached out to NJ State Police for official information and when that becomes available the story will be updated.





Cold Front Brings Severe Thunderstorms, Relief From Smokey Haze On The Way

NJ DEP Issues “CODE ORANGE” Air Quality Alert For Mercer and Burlington Counties

July 21, 2021

MOUNT HOLLY, NJ (BURLINGTON)– The National Weather Service Mount Holly has issued a severe thunderstorm watch and now several warnings throughout the area as a cold front moves though the area. The good news is that this should provide relief from the hazy skies created by wildfire smoke in our area that was picked up by the jet stream. Once the thunderstorms move through the area the weather should improve.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued a code orange air quality alert Wednesday for Mercer and Burlington Counties.

A code orange air quality alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include children…people suffering from asthma… heart disease or other lung diseases…and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.

Related MidJersey.News story here:

Smoke From Western Wildfires Picked Up By Jet Stream And Brought To Our Area






Air Quality Alert

NJZ015-019-027-220400-
Mercer-Northwestern Burlington-Southeastern Burlington-
850 AM EDT Wed Jul 21 2021

...AIR QUALITY ALERT IS IN EFFECT FOR WEDNESDAY JULY 21...

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has
issued a code orange air quality alert Wednesday for Mercer
and Burlington Counties.

A code orange air quality alert means that air pollution
concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for
sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include children...people
suffering from asthma... heart disease or other lung
diseases...and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can
be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.

For more information on ground-level ozone and fine
particles...visit http://www.state.nj.us/dep/

$$



Spotswood Man Charged With Aggravated Sexual Assault Of A Teenage Girl

July 20, 2021

SPOTSWOOD, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Michael S. Zarro, Jr. of the Spotswood Police Department announced that a borough man has been charged and arrested for the aggravated sexual assault of a teenage girl.

An investigation by Detective Sergeant Edward Schapley of the Spotswood Police Department and Detective Ivis Coghan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that, on July 13, 2021, Abdul Louis, 38, of Spotswood approached the teenage girl as she was walking near the railroad tracks off of Summerhill Road where he threatened and sexually assaulted the victim.

On July 20, 2021, Louis was arrested in Trenton by members of the Spotswood Police Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Louis was charged with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault, one count of third-degree terroristic threats, one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of third-degree hindering apprehension.

Louis is presently in custody pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to contact D/Sgt. Schapley at (732)251-2121 or Detective Coghan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732)745-3600.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Louis are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Princeton Woman Killed In South Brunswick Pedestrian Accident On Route 1

July 20, 2021

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 12:40 p.m. South Brunswick Police and EMS responded to US Route 1 near Ridge Road for a pedestrian struck. The victim, a woman in her 30’s reportedly from Princeton was rushed to the Trauma Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. She succumbed to her injuries at the hospital a short time later.

The South Brunswick Police Department issued a traffic alert for a partial road closure due to the accident investigation.

The investigation is still active and if anyone has any information they area asked to call South Brunswick Police at (732) 329-4646

No further information is available at this time.



2nd Alarm In Monroe Township, One Victim Transported To Burn Center

July 19, 2021

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 2:00 a.m. Monroe Police, Fire Department and EMS were dispatched to Rutherford Hayes Drive for a well involved house fire. Upon arrival firefighters were met with a fully involved structure and a 2nd Alarm was struck sending mutual aid from Jamesburg, Millstone and Hightstown Fire Departments. Firefighters battled the flames for approximately an hour before bringing the fire fully under control.

Monroe Township EMS units provided medical support, rehabilitation services and transported one burn victim to the burn center at St. Barnabas Medical Center. 

Fire departments from all three Monroe Township fire districts responded, as well as companies from Middlesex, Mercer, and Monmouth Counties.

No further information available at this time.



Monroe Township Man Charged With Aggravated Manslaughter

July 19, 2021

OLD BRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Acting Chief Peter LoPresti of the Old Bridge Police Department announce that a man has been charged for a fatal motor vehicle collision, which resulted in the death of a woman in another motor vehicle.

On July 18, 2021, authorities responded to Route 9 South near Texas Road following the report of a serious motor vehicle collision. Upon their arrival, officers located a Toyota Echo containing four occupants with varying injuries. One of the occupants, Ciara Gee, 20, of Raleigh, North Carolina was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers also located Sergio Seixeiro, 40, of Monroe in his damaged Ford Expedition.

An initial investigation by Officer Steve Connolly of the Old Bridge Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Seixiero’s truck impacted the rear of the Toyota Echo. At this time, speed, reckless driving and intoxication are believed to be contributing factors.

Seixeiro has been charged with one count of Aggravated Manslaughter, one count of Vehicular Homicide, and three counts of Assault by Auto. Seixeiro was also issued a motor vehicle summons for Driving While Intoxicated.

Seixeiro is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Connolly at (732)721-5600 ext. 3821 or Detective Berman at (732) 745-4328.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Seixeiro are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Linden Men Charged In Connection With Woodbridge Hotel Shooting

July 14, 2021

WOODBRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Robert Hubner of the Woodbridge Police Department announced today that four men have been charged for their involvement in a non-fatal shooting of four victims.

On July 12, 2021, at approximately 2:37 A.M., authorities responded to the Delta Suites hotel in the Iselin section of Woodbridge following the report of a shooting. At nearby hospitals, officers located four males– ages 20, 22, 23, and 25 – who were seeking treatment for apparent gunshot wounds.

An investigation by Detective Thomas Ratajczak of the Woodbridge Police Department and Detective Ryan Tighe of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Antoine Morgan, 25; Gasim Kromah, 26; Khalil Burns, 27; and Isaiah Gregory, 22, all of Linden, attended a party at a hotel room where the non-fatal shooting of the four males took place.

Although the investigation is continuing and other charges are expected, Morgan, Kromah, Burns, and Gregory were each charged with: Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Hindering, Obstruction, and Tampering with Evidence.

Morgan and Gregory have been arrested and are presently in custody pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

Kromah and Burns have been charged but have not been arrested. Kromah and Burns should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who see these individuals should not approach them and should immediately call the police.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Ratajczak at (732) 634-7700 or Detective Tighe at (732) 745- 4335.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Morgan, Kromah, Burns, and Gregory are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


South Brunswick Man Rescued In Near Drowning

July 14, 2021

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On Saturday, July 10th, at 1:00 p.m., South Brunswick Police received a 911 call from a Green Shadow Lane resident reporting  that she found her husband face down and unconscious in their swimming pool. Family members said the 49 year old man went into the backyard to clean their inground pool around 12:15 p.m.  At 12:55 pm his wife  noticed her husband unresponsive and floating in the deep end of the pool. The wife said both she and her husband were not swimmers. She ran out to the pool and used a pool skimmer to pull her husband to the edge of the pool where she was able to hold his head above water.  She yelled for help and a second family member arrived and pulled the victim out of the pool.
 
Family members called 9-1-1, and the dispatcher was able to provide instructions on performing CPR. Officer Ryan Bartunek and Lieutenant Roger Tuohy arrived at the home within minutes and found the victim on his back outside the pool near a diving board. Both officers began life saving efforts as large amounts of water were coming from the victim’s stomach and lungs. South Brunswick EMS and paramedics arrived minutes later and continued efforts. EMS transported the victim to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. At the hospital the victim began breathing on his own and had regained consciousness.
 
Police later learned that the victim had been cleaning the swimming pool when he accidentally stepped into a corner of the pool’s deep end and fell in. He was not a swimmer and took on water as he yelled for help, eventually going under water.
 
The victim is recovering at the hospital and hopes to be released today.
 
Chief Raymond J. Hayducka  praised the response by all involved with avoiding a tragedy. “It is clear that the response by family members, officers and EMS prevented a tragedy. Every second counts in near drowning incidents and their efforts made a difference.” The Consumer Product Safety Commission that tracks pool safety estimated 6,700 pool-or-spa-related, hospital emergency department-treated, nonfatal drowning injuries each year for 2017 through 2019. This is the equivalent of about 18 every day, 365 days a year.


Truck Fire On NJ Turnpike In Cranbury Township

July 14, 2021

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 8:14 a.m. firefighters from Hightstown, Cranbury and Monroe Township were dispatched to the NJ Turnpike in the area of mile post 71 south bound for a truck fire. Smoke could be seen for miles and additional tankers were called to the scene.

The south bound outer roadway was down to the left shoulder during the firefight. Delays were also on the inner roadway mostly from rubbernecking.

No further information is available at this time.




Woodbridge Shooting Under Investigation

July 12, 2021

WOODBRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Robert Hubner of the Woodbridge Police Department announced today that a shooting in Iselin is under investigation.


On July 12, 2021, at approximately 2:45 A.M., authorities responded to the Delta Suites located at 515 Route 1 South following the report of a shooting. An initial investigation resulted in officers locating four individuals who sustained apparent gunshot wounds. The individuals were transported from the scene for medical attention.


Anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to call Detective Thomas Ratajczak of the Woodbridge Police Department at (732) 643-7700 or Detective Ryan Tighe of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745- 4060.


Car vs Motorcycle On NJ Turnpike In Cranbury Township; Motorcyclist Taken To Trauma Center In New Brunswick

July 10, 2021

10:00 p.m. UPDATE: NJ State Police Sgt. Alejandro Goez told MidJersey.news that the accident was reported at 4:49 p.m. south in the outer roadway at MP 70 in Cranbury Township. A Acura TLX collided with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The motorcycle overturned and the rider was ejected.

The rider, 33 year-old male of Passaic, NJ sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to RWJ New Brunswick. No injuries reported to the driver of the Acura. The scene was clear by 6pm.

The accident remains under investigation.


CRANBURY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Just prior to 5:00 p.m., Hightstown, Cranbury, and East Windsor first aid squads along with Capital Health Paramedics were sent to the NJ Turnpike near mile marker 70 south bound outer lanes for a car vs motorcycle. A helicopter was placed on standby but the decision was made to transport to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick a near by trauma center. During transport a “trauma alert” was called en route to the hospital.

The New Jersey State Police is investigating the crash.


Driver Extricated On NJ Turnpike In East Windsor

July 9, 2021

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 7:20 a.m. an accident was reported on the NJ Turnpike south bound inner roadway at mile post 70 with reported entrapment. The Hightstown Fire Company, Monroe Township Fire Department, Cranbury First Aid Squad, Hightstown First Aid Squad and Capital Paramedics were sent to the scene.

Monroe Township Fire reported “going in service with the tools” to cut the driver of one of the vehicles out of the car.

The injured were transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threating injuries.

NJ State Police is investigating the crash. No further information is available at this time.

Just south of this accident Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS and East Windsor Rescue Squad were sent to mile marker 67 north bound inner roadway for another crash. It was unclear if anyone in that accident was transported to the hospital.

Heavy rains were moving though the area at the time of the crashes from Tropical Storm Elsa.


29 Year Old Middlesex County Man Killed By Drunk Driver In New Hampshire

July 7, 2021

SEABROOK, NH –WOODBRIDGE TWP/COLONIA, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Yesterday, a Woodbridge Township man from the Colonia section of town was killed in a serious motor vehicle crash in Seabrook, New Hampshire according to NH State Police.

On Tuesday, July 06, 2021 at approximately 12:09 p.m., troopers from New Hampshire State Police-Troop-A responded to a report of a serious motor vehicle collision on Interstate 95 South in the Town of Seabrook. Once on scene, troopers were able to determine that a 2020 Subaru Outback, driven by Sue Sargent, age 66 of Eliot Maine was traveling northbound in lane 3 when her vehicle started to drift to the left, departing its lane of travel. The Subaru crossed into lane 4, which was occupied by a 2019 Toyota Sienna, resulting in a sideswipe impact between the two vehicles.  The Toyota Sienna was driven by Shannon Geoghegan, age 50 of Franklin, Massachusetts, who had two passengers with her at the time, Lawrence Geoghegan, age 58, and a juvenile male, all of whom were uninjured.   After this impact, the Subaru continued drifting to its left and through the center median, crossing over into the southbound lanes of travel.  Upon doing so, the Subaru collided with a 2016 Jeep Wrangler, which was driven by Joseph Hoffman, age 29 of Colonia, New Jersey.  Hoffman had three passengers with him who are identified as Matthew Santangelo, age 29, of Colonia, NJ, Jamerson Tisch age 27, of Keyport, NJ, and Michael Hoffman, age 27, of Colonia, NJ.  The force of this impact caused the Jeep to rollover and come to a position of rest off the western edge of the roadway on its roof. The Subaru was disabled due to the impact and came to a position of rest in the southbound travel lanes.   During this post-impact sequence, Michael Hoffman was ejected from the Jeep, resulting in serious, life-threatening injuries.  He was transported to the Seabrook Emergency Room of the Portsmouth Regional Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.  Joseph Hoffman, Santangelo, and Tisch were also transported to the Seabrook Emergency Room for treatment of minor injuries.

Due to the nature of the crash and at the request of Troop A, the New Hampshire State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction (C.A.R.) Unit responded to the scene and assumed control of the investigation.

Sue Sargent was transported to the Portsmouth Regional Hospital for treatment of serious injuries sustained in the collision.   As a result of the investigation, Sargent was placed under arrest for Aggravated Driving While Under the Influence.  She was released on personal recognizance bail and left in the care of the hospital for medical treatment. An arraignment date in the Rockingham Superior Court will be determined pending her medical release.

Due to the collision, three lanes of I-95 South were closed for approximately 5 hours while the scene was documented and the vehicles were recovered.  The New Hampshire State Police were assisted on scene by the Seabrook Police Department, Seabrook Fire Department, and the NH Department of Transportation.

Although physical impairment appears to be a contributing factor, all aspects of this crash remain under investigation.  Anyone that may have further information related to this crash, please contact Trooper Eric Torrens at 603-223-4381 or email at Eric.M.Torrens@dos.nh.gov.


Solar Panel Salesman Charged with Theft

July 2, 2021

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that a former solar panel salesman has been arrested and charged with theft from his employer.


On April 6, 2021, Brett Cooper, 44, of Moorestown was arrested and charged with second-degree Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition.


A four-month investigation by Detective Christopher VanEerde of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office – Special Investigations Unit determined that Cooper had accepted over $75,000 in payments from solar panel customers, which then he withheld from his South Amboy-based employer, Solar Me USA. The investigation further determined Cooper deposited those payments into a business account that he opened in the name of Renewing Energy, LLC.


The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective VanEerde at (732) 745-8479.


As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Cooper are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


LODD: Firefighter Succumbs To Cardiac Arrest During Fire Training at Middlesex Fire Academy

June 26, 2021

SOUTH BRUNSWICK – KINGSTON, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–It is with deep sadness that we report that Dennis B. Shennard a firefighter of the Kingston Volunteer Fire Company # 1 has succumbed to cardiac arrest during live fire training at the Middlesex County Fire Academy this morning.

South Brunswick OEM Director and Police Chief Raymond Hayducka extends the Township’s deepest sympathy to Kingston Volunteer Fire Company #1 Firefighter Dennis B. Shennard family and friends. Shennard died in the line of duty during a drill today.

This evening firefighters and apparatus lined the streets around the hospital as they brought their “brother” home.

Shennard joined the department in 1969 and had given 52 years of dedicated service to the community.

Further details to follow.

See message below from the Kingston Volunteer Fire Company #1:

It is with deep sorrow the Officers and Members of Kingston Volunteer Fire Company #1 mourn the Line Of Duty Death of Firefighter Dennis B. Shennard. FF Shennard succumbed to cardiac arrest during a Live Burn at the Fire Academy while training with fellow Kingston firefighters. FF Shennard joined the fire company in 1969 and during his years of active membership he served as a line officer, executive officer, and was currently serving as a Trustee. As details of services become available, updates will be provided.




Edison Man Charged With Conspiracy To Defraud NJ Banks With $1+Million Stolen And Counterfeited Checks

June 25, 2021

A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man was indicted today for his role in a scheme to defraud banks of more than $1 million using stolen and counterfeited checks and stolen identities, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Benjamin Rich, 37, of Edison, New Jersey, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Rich and two other men, Felix Alamo and Frank Ambrosio, both of Brooklyn, New York, were previously charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

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

Rich, Alamo, and certain conspirators agreed to defraud banks across New Jersey by using the stolen personal identification information of other individuals to open fraudulent bank accounts and deposit stolen and counterfeited checks. Rich used stolen identities, which included Social Security numbers belonging to minors, to create sham businesses. Rich, Alamo, and others opened bank accounts for the sham businesses and deposited stolen or counterfeited checks into the accounts and attempted to withdraw or transfer the funds before the banks could detect the fraud. Rich and his conspirators deposited approximately $1 million in fraudulently obtained checks into the fraudulent business bank accounts, resulting in at least $250,000 in losses to the various banks.

The charge of bank fraud carries a maximum of 30 years in prison and a statutory maximum fine $1 million, or twice the gain derived or loss loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.

The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a statutory minimum term of two years in prison, which must run consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed on the bank fraud charge, and a statutory maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gain derived or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.
Alamo previously pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on July 21, 2021.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Rodney Hopkins, and special agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McKay, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Farhat of the Government Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

The charges and allegations against Rich and Ambrosio are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

21-285 

Defense counsel: Mitchell Elman Esq., Garden City, New York


East Brunswick Man Charged With Murder; Beat Victim With Baseball Bat

June 20, 2021

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Frank LoSacco of the East Brunswick Police Department announced yesterday that a man has been arrested and charged with the murder of a male who was known to him.

Curtis Wright, 57, of East Brunswick has been charged with murder and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

On June 19, 2021, at approximately 6:49 A.M., authorities responded to a residence on Main Avenue following the report of an unconscious male. Upon their arrival, authorities located Howard Smith, 53, of East Brunswick who showed signs of blunt force trauma. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation by Detective Alex Danese of the East Brunswick Police Department and Detective Ryan Tighe of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Wright attacked the victim with a baseball bat.

Wright is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Danese at (732) 390-6900 or Detective Tighe at (732) 745-3287.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Wright are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Central and South Jersey Girl Scouts wrap up successful cookie season

Monroe Township, Middlesex County, NJ resident among the Council’s Top 10 Elite Cookie Entrepreneurs selling over 2,200 packages of cookies.

June 17, 2021

The Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey (GSCSNJ) knew it would be challenging in the midst of a global pandemic when the 2021 Girl Scout cookie season began in January. Due to social distancing restrictions, they were not able to knock on doors and use their traditional cookie selling methods. In true Girl Scout fashion, the resourceful girls were up for the challenge and put their innovation and leadership skills to the test by implementing creative ways to keep themselves and customers safe while striving to have a successful cookie season.

With the help of local businesses, the community, and innovative thinking of the girls, GSCSNJ succeeded in having a strong cookie season. One Girl Scout, Josephina Corona of Monroe Township, was among the Council’s top 10 elite cookie entrepreneurs this year. Corona sold over 2,200 packages of cookies.

This year, the Girl Scouts offered virtual, hybrid, and socially responsible in-person options to sell cookies including unique partnerships with Walmart and Grubhub. Walmart allowed local troops to set up cookie booths at stores and Grubhub offered contact-free cookie deliveries. The girls gained hands-on e-commerce experience as they fulfilled orders.

The Girl Scouts also started the Cookie Angel program this year, which provided an opportunity for businesses and donors to connect with local troops and support their cookie sales. Businesses purchased cookies virtually and gifted the cookies to their customers, employees, or local organizations. This year’s Cookie Angels included Advantage Outfitters, Bordentown Home for Funerals, Brown & Brown Insurance, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, and the Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company. Local organizations received the cookie donations from the program.

To recognize the top cookie sellers this year, the Juliette’s Pearls Club was created to honor Elite Entrepreneurs. The club is named after Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts who sold a beloved string of pearls to fund the operating expenses of the first Girl Scout Council. The top sellers received a necklace with a single pearl or their membership in the club. Each year they are among the Elite Entrepreneurs, they will receive an additional pearl to recognize their accomplishments. Corona received a necklace and her first pearl.

“We are so very proud of our Girl Scouts and all they accomplished for their cookie sales in spite of the pandemic,” said Ginny Hill, GSCSNJ CEO. “The girls used essential skills they learn in our program such as innovation, goal setting, and money management, and pivoted their approach to help them achieve their goals. Girl Scout cookies are known and loved by so many. We were glad to have provided something familiar during this time of uncertainty, while supporting programs to benefit girls for years to come.”

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest female-led entrepreneurship and financial literacy program in the country. Proceeds from sales are critical because they benefit local troops and GSCSNJ and assist in developing innovative programs that build girls of confidence, courage, and character who make a difference in their communities.

For more information about the Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ, visit gscsnj.org.

About Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ, Inc.

Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ (GSCSNJ) is the premier organization serving 12,000 girls ages K-12, and 9,000 adult members and volunteers in over nine counties. GSCSNJ shapes leaders for tomorrow by empowering girls to take on bold challenges, discover their own passions and strengths, act with character, and engage fully in fun, relevant experiences that encourage friendships and build life-long skills.


Firefighters Extricate One From NJ Turnpike Crash In Front Of Molly Pitcher Rest Area In Cranbury

June 12, 2021

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 11:08 a.m. a vehicle traveling south on the NJ Turnpike in front of the Molly Pitcher Service Area near the 71.8 mile marker lost control and crashed into a guard rail and the driver was reported trapped. Firefighters from Hightstown Fire Company and Cranbury Fire Company responded to the scene for he extrication. Capital Health Paramedics and Cranbury First Aid Squad responded to the scene to treat the patient.

It was reported that the person had to be extricated from the vehicle. Firefighters used rescue equipment to open the door of the vehicle. The victim was transported to the hospital, destination was unclear.

The NJ State Police are investigating the crash.

No further information is available at this time.


NJ Turnpike Crash Results In Fully Involved Vehicle Fire; Non-Life-Threating Injuries Reported

June 8, 2021

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 8:46 p.m. the Hightstown Fire Company, Cranbury Fire Company, and EMS were dispatched to the NJ Turnpike for a vehicle fire on the inner roadway at mile marker 69. When the fire chief arrived he found a vehicle well involved in fire as the result of an accident. Hightstown and Cranbury firefighters extinguished the fire. It was reported that the injures were non-life-threating and a second ambulance was called to the scene. It was unclear if anyone was transported from the scene to the hospital.

The NJ State Police is investigating the crash.


Dump Truck Crash Closes Route 1 In South Brunswick

June 4, 2021

Update: 9:02 a.m. all lanes of Route 1 have reopened, it may take some time for traffic to clear.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–A dump truck crash on Route 1 is causing major delays on the highway and surrounding roads. The crash at 6:10 a.m. on Route 1 at New Road has caused all lanes northbound to be closed and southbound lanes are limited to one lane getting by the crash scene. The crash involves a dump truck that crashed into the concrete center divider. Crews are working to clear the crash and anticipate opening the highway by 9 am.

There is a two-mile delay in both directions on Route 1. There are also delays on Route 522, New Road, and Ridge Road. Drivers should use Route 130 as an alternate.

Photos by: South Brunswick Township

Stage 3 Fire Restrictions In Effect Tomorrow Morning For B & C NJ Forrest Fire Service Areas

May 18, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Forrest Fire Service will be implementing Stage 3 Fire Restrictions in the Division B & C Coverage Areas starting at 8:00 a.m. May 19, 2021. All open fires in wooded areas are prohibited unless in an elevated stove using only propane,, natural gas, gas or electricity. No charcoal fires area allowed in wooded areas. No agricultural burning at this time.

The area included is from the Raritan River South and Mercer County except for Hopewell Township. Cape May County is not included in the restrictions. See notes below from the New Jersey Forrest Fire Service for additional information.


The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has implemented stage 3 fire restrictions for our Division B & C coverage areas beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 19.

Stage 3 Fire Restrictions:
🚫🔥All fires in wooded areas will be prohibited unless contained in an elevated stove using only propane, natural gas, gas, or electricity.
🚫🔥No charcoal fires are allowed.
🚫🔥No agricultural burning.

Division B is – Burlington County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County (south of the Raritan River), Mercer County except Hopewell Township

Division C is – Atlantic County, Cape May County, Camden County, Cumberland County, Gloucester County, Salem County (NOTE: Cape May County is EXCLUDED from Stage 3 restrictions)

🔗 Current New Jersey Fire Danger: https://www.nj.gov/…/infot…/conditions-restrictions.html



Monroe Township Man Charged with Murder

May 17, 2021

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Michael J. Biennas of the Monroe Township Police Department announced today that a Township man has been arrested and charged for the fatal assault of a female victim who was known to him.

Deymis Jimenez, 32, of Monroe has been charged with murder and unlawful possession of a weapon following an investigation by Detective Joseph Gentile of the Monroe Township Police Department and Detective Mark Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

On May 17, 2021, at approximately 12:36 A.M., authorities responded to a residential building on Spotswood-Gravel Hill Road where they found the deceased adult female in a common area of the building. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation determined Jimenez had assaulted the victim in a common area in the building. The official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy.

Jimenez is currently being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Gentile of the Monroe Township Police Department at (732) 521-0222 ext. 120 or Detective Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3927.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Jimenez are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Eight arrests made by Internet Crimes Against Children Unit

May 14, 2021

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that six County residents have been arrested for their possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.

          On May 13, 2021, officers of the East Brunswick, Edison, Highland Park, Monroe, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Perth Amboy, and Sayreville Police Departments along with detectives of the New Jersey State Police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office executed search warrants at six residences across the County. 

          The investigation resulted in the following arrests:

  • Edison was arrested and charged for  second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children, second-degree Possession with the Intent to Distribute Child Pornography, and first-degree Possession of Child Pornography after having been found to be in possession of 100,000 items of material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.
  • Hongpeng Zheng, 24, of New Brunswick was arrested and charged for  second-degree Distribution of Child Pornography, third-degree Possession of Child Pornography, and second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children. 
  • Ali Armas-Iriarte, 58, of Highland Park was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography, second-degree Possession with the Intent to Distribute Child Pornography, and second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children. 
  • Jeff Caramella, 21, of the Parlin section of Sayreville was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography.
  • James Walden, 50, of North Brunswick was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 
  • A juvenile, 17, of Monroe was charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 

          Additionally, on May 6, 2021, Kenneth Godfrey, 41, of Woodbridge Township was also arrested and charged with third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 

          On May 10, 2021, a juvenile, 14, of Edison was also charged for second-degree Possession of Child Pornography.     

          All of the aforementioned individuals were arrested and charged following separate investigations by Detective Daniel Lojek and Detective Stephanie Redline of the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which revealed the individuals possessed material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.  Presently, the investigations appear to be unconnected and the individuals are unknown to one another.

          Nie is presently lodged at the Middlesex Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.  The remaining defendants individuals are likewise lodged at the Middlesex Adult Correction Center pending their initial appearances in Superior Court this afternoon. 

The investigations are active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Lojek at (732) 745-5924 or Detective Redline at (732) 867-1496 .

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Zheng, Nie, Armas-Iriarte, Caramella, Walden, Godfrey, and the juveniles are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty or, as in the case of the juveniles, adjudicated delinquent.

Update: Colonial Pipeline Back Online

May 13, 2021 –Updated again at 4:40 p.m.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–As we reported Saturday on the Colonial Pipeline that runs though New Jersey and supplies gasoline, diesel fuel and aircraft fuel to the eastern part of the country has announced that the entire pipeline should be operational by noon today. There is no need to hoard gasoline or other fuel and disrupt the local supply chain as seen and reported in other parts of the country.

Locally the pipeline runs though Burlington, Mercer County, Middlesex County on its way to Linden, New Jersey and was shut down to a ransomware cyber attack.

System Restart and Operational Update #2
Update: Thursday, May 13, 4:40 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline has continued to make substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system. We can now report that we have restarted our entire pipeline system and that product delivery has commenced to all markets we serve.

Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during this start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal.

This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members across the pipeline who worked safely and tirelessly through the night to get our lines up and running. We are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times.

See update below from the Colonial Pipeline:

Update: Thursday, May 13, 9 a.m.

Colonial Pipeline has made substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system and can report that product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service. By mid-day today, we project that each market we service will be receiving product from our system. The green segments on this map are operational, meaning product delivery has commenced. Blue lines will be operational later today.

This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members across the pipeline who worked safely and tirelessly safely through the night to get our lines up and running. We are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times.


Colonial Pipeline Company, founded in 1962, connects refineries – primarily located in the Gulf Coast – with customers and markets throughout the Southern and Eastern United States through a pipeline system that spans more than 5,500 miles. The company delivers refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, and fuel for the U.S. Military. Colonial is committed to safety and environmental stewardship across its operations.

Colonial Pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, transporting more than 100 million gallons or 2.5 million barrels per day. Colonial transports approximately 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, providing refined products to more than 50 million Americans. 

Specifically, Colonial transports various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, jet fuel, and fuels for the U.S. military through a pipeline system. The system is connected refineries in the Gulf Coast and in the Northeast. The majority of the system is underground, with tankage and other facilities at key receipt, storage and delivery points.


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today; Several days to return to normal

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline



Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today; Several days to return to normal

May 12, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MECER)–As reports were coming in of gas stations running out of gas in the south east United States from the hoarding of gasoline and other fuel products the Colonial Pipeline announced the restart of of the pipeline after a ransomware cyber attack. The company states that it may take several days for the delivery supply chain to return to normal. See press releases from Colonial Pipeline below for the latest updates.

Wednesday, May 12, 5:10 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today at approximately 5 p.m. ET. 

Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal.

As we initiate our return to service, our primary focus remains safety. As part of this startup process, Colonial will conduct a comprehensive series of pipeline safety assessments in compliance with all Federal pipeline safety requirements. 

This is the first step in the restart process and would not have been possible without the around-the-clock support of Colonial Pipeline’s dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this milestone. We would also like to thank the White House for their leadership and collaboration, as well as the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, FBI, PHMSA, FERC and other federal, state and local agencies for their ongoing support.

We will continue to provide updates as restart efforts progress.

###

Tuesday, May 11, 5:15 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline continues to make forward progress in our around-the-clock efforts to return our system to service, with additional laterals operating manually to deliver existing inventories to markets along the pipeline. Markets experiencing supply constraints and/​or not serviced by other fuel delivery systems are being prioritized. We are collaborating with the Department of Energy (DOE) to evaluate market conditions to support this prioritization. 

Since our pipeline system was taken offline, working with our shippers, Colonial has delivered approximately 967,000 barrels (~41 million gallons) to various delivery points along our system. This includes delivery into the following markets: Atlanta, Ga., Belton and Spartanburg, S.C., Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C., Baltimore, Md., and Woodbury and Linden N.J.

Additionally, in preparation for our system restart, we have taken delivery of an additional 2 million barrels (~84 million gallons) from refineries for deployment upon restart. 

Consistent with our safety policies and regulatory requirements, Colonial has increased aerial patrols of our pipeline right of way and deployed more than 50 personnel to walk and drive ~ 5,000 miles of pipeline each day. 

Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint and actions taken by several Governors to lift weight restrictions on tanker trucks should help alleviate local supply disruptions. This is in addition to the Reid Vapor Pressure wavier issued today by the U.S. EPA that will also help alleviate supply constraints in several states serviced by our system. We would like to thank the White House for their leadership and collaboration in resolving this matter as well as the DOE, PHMSA, FERC and other federal agencies for their ongoing support. 

Our primary focus remains the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We will continue to provide updates as restoration efforts progress.


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline


BAPS Mandir: Class Action Lawsuit Filed On Behalf Of Workers Lured From India Paid As Little As $1.20 hr., Stop Work Issued By NJDOL, As Federal FBI Probe Continues

May 11, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–This morning FBI Spokesperson Doreen A. Holder, told MidJersey.news in a statement: “The FBI is there on court authorized law enforcement activity.  No further comment.” when asked about the FBI and other law enforcement activity at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir located at 112 N Main St. in the township.

At the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir FBI agents in unmarked vehicles could be seen leaving and entering the compound. Four large tour busses with what appeared to be workers were leaving the Mandir along with an Monmouth County EMS Taskforce Bus. Up to five of ambulances were also seen at the gate according to witnesses.

Law enforcement sources would not say what they were looking for in the activities at the property.

About the same time as the law enforcement activity at BAPS a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court District of New Jersey with several allegations against the the religious organization over labor practices.

According to the complaint, after being trafficked to the U.S. under false pretenses, the workers’ passports were confiscated, and they were forced to live and work in a fenced, guarded compound. They were not allowed to leave the grounds unaccompanied, and they were under constant monitoring, threats of being fined for infractions, and arrest.

Plaintiffs allege that the trafficked workers were forced to work 12-13 hours a day with only rare days off, performing arduous and sometimes dangerous work for approximately 31,000 – 35,000 rupees (approximately $425 – $450 USD) per month, or less than $1.20 per hour.

See full lawsuit below for details.

On April 30, 2021 New Jersey Department of Labor issued a Stop Work Order for Newark-based Cunha’s Construction Inc. was ordered to halt work at current and future projects for the duration of the order, which will remain in effect until the contractor complies with state wage and hour laws and all outstanding back wages and penalties have been paid.  

The NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance conducted site visits at two of the company’s current worksites, BAPS Temple in Robbinsville and BAPS Temple in Edison, after learning of the projects from workers. These inspections found the contractor was paying workers in cash off the books and did not have workers’ compensation insurance.  

Other violations involve the misclassification of construction workers by paying them in cash off the books, failure to pay overtime, failure to keep records, hindrance of the investigation, and unpaid or late paid wages.  See press release below for full details.

A BAPS representative Matthew Frankel of MDF Strategies told MidJersey.news “We were first made aware of the accusations early Tuesday morning, we are taking them very seriously and are thoroughly reviewing the issues raised.”

This is sill a developing story follow MidJersey.news for the latest.


A emailed statement John Nalbone from Robbinsville Township Office of Communications & Public Information said, “Based upon media reports, the Township was made aware of federal law enforcement activity this morning on the BAPS property located in Robbinsville.  The Township’s jurisdiction over the property is limited to land use and Uniform Construction Code (UCC) matters.  At no time in approving BAPS’s land use applications, or in conducting UCC inspections on the property, did Robbinsville Township officials witness, or become aware of any labor issues that may have been present.  The Township was aware of temporary housing on the site and conducted inspections of that housing in April and June of 2020, until in-person inspections were suspended due to COVID-19.  As to not interfere with this ongoing federal investigation, the Township will have no further comment.” 




Press release provided from the law firms of the class action lawsuit:

Class Action Lawsuit filed in NJ again Major Hindu Temple

Today, workers’ rights attorneys filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Indian workers who were trafficked and faced rampant wage theft and shocking abuses by Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Inc. (“BAPS”), reportedly the largest Hindu temple in the United States.    

In addition to the six named plaintiffs – Mukesh Kumar, Keshav Kumar, Devi Laal, Niranjan, Pappu, Brajendra – the case, Kumar v.  Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Inc., is brought on behalf of approximately 200 other Indian nationals who have worked at the temple. According to the complaint, after being trafficked to the U.S. under false pretenses, the workers’ passports were confiscated, and they were forced to live and work in a fenced, guarded compound. They were not allowed to leave the grounds unaccompanied, and they were under constant monitoring, threats of being fined for infractions, and arrest.

Plaintiffs allege that the trafficked workers were forced to work 12-13 hours a day with only rare days off, performing arduous and sometimes dangerous work for approximately 31,000 – 35,000 rupees (approximately $425 – $450 USD) per month, or less than $1.20 per hour.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by attorneys Patricia Kakalec of Kakalec Law PLLC, Daniel Werner of Radford & Keebaugh, LLC, and Andrew Glenn of Jaffe Glenn Law Group, P.A., outlines the defendants’ violations of federal and state laws including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (“TVPA”), the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and New Jersey wage and hour laws.  Besides BAPS, defendants in the case are BAPS Mercer LLC, BAPS Robbinsville LLC., BAPS Fellowship Services, Inc., Bharat Doe a/k/a Bharat Bhai, Pankaj Patel, Kanu Patel, and Swami Prasanand.  

“This is a horrific case of worker exploitation and it is even more disturbing that it has gone on for years in New Jersey behind the temple’s walls,” said Werner. “These workers were coerced through lies to come to the United States to work and then suffered tremendously – they were basically forced into servitude.” 

The plaintiffs were brought to the United States under R-1 or religious visas, which are available to those who minister or who work in a religious vocation or occupation, but the workers solely performed manual labor.

“These workers came to work in New Jersey to earn wages and help their families,” says Kakalec. “They were taken advantage of and cheated out of millions of dollars in wages. They deserve justice.”

Swati Sawant, an attorney for individuals who worked in the temple, says: “These individuals have suffered greatly – financially as a result of the wage theft, physically as a result of the grueling work they were forced to undertake, and mentally as a result of being forced for stay within the temple compound for months, and for many, years.  They are brave for standing up for their rights.”

The lawsuit seeks the workers’ unpaid wages, an award of money for other damages, and a court order preventing the defendants from continuing to violate the law.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed HERE.


Radford & Keebaugh, LLC. is a Georgia based law firm focused on civil rights and employment litigation specializing in areas such as employment discrimination, wage and hour violations, constitutional claims including false arrest and malicious prosecution, sexual harassment, Americans with Disabilities Act, and whistleblower retaliation. 
For more information, visit: 
https://decaturlegal.com.

Kakalec Law PLLC is a New York based law firm which represents employees in wage and hour, discrimination, and other employment matters, and also represents individuals with disabilities in civil rights and access matters. For more information, visit: https://kakaleclaw.com

Jaffe Glenn Law Group PA is a New Jersey and New York based law firm which represents employees specializing in overtime claims, minimum wage violation cases, as well as other employment related cases.   For more information visit https://jaffeglenn.com.


NJDOL Issues Stop-Work Order Against Construction Contractor, Halting All Current and Future Work

April 30, 2021

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has issued a company-wide stop-work order to Cunha’s Construction Inc. and owner Nuno Cunha based on repeated and ongoing violations of state wage and hour laws. This is the first time the NJDOL has used its authority to pause all work by a single entity rather than on a per project basis.   

Newark-based Cunha’s Construction Inc. was ordered to halt work at current and future projects for the duration of the order, which will remain in effect until the contractor complies with state wage and hour laws and all outstanding back wages and penalties have been paid.  

The NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance conducted site visits at two of the company’s current worksites, BAPS Temple in Robbinsville and BAPS Temple in Edison, after learning of the projects from workers. These inspections found the contractor was paying workers in cash off the books and did not have workers’ compensation insurance.  

Other violations involve the misclassification of construction workers by paying them in cash off the books, failure to pay overtime, failure to keep records, hindrance of the investigation, and unpaid or late paid wages.  

The company has eight unpaid judgments for back wages and penalties dating back to 2007 that have not been resolved by way of compliance or restitution to workers. In addition,  NJDOL concluded the company was not paying its workers on numerous job sites and was not maintaining proper payroll for any projects across the state. 

“With the authority to issue stop-work notices, we can better protect workers from bad actors who repeatedly skirt the law,” said Assistant Commissioner Joseph Petrecca of the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance. “Now more than ever, it is important to keep our workers safe, and ensure they are treated fairly.”   

The NJDOL first served the company-wide stop-work order to Cunha’s Construction Inc. on April 1, upon which owner Nuno Cunha appealed the decision to the director of NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance  through his attorney. The NJDOL was represented during the appeal process by Section Chief and Deputy Attorney General Peter A. Basso and Deputy Attorney General Micauri Vargas of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s Division of Law, Affirmative Civil Rights & Labor Section. After the presentation of evidence and witness testimony, the appeal determination upheld the actions of the NJDOL.   

“This stop-work order from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is the first of its kind under a law signed by Governor Murphy to strengthen our ability to enforce the state’s labor laws,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “The message to employers should be clear: We are committed to using all of the tools at our disposal to protect New Jersey’s workers.” 

As of July 2019, the NJDOL has the authority to require any employer to cease business operations when significant pay, benefits, or other workers’ rights violations are documented. As Cunha’s Construction Inc. is not a registered public works contractor, the department previously had few options to ensure compliance and payment of restitution.  

For more information on New Jersey’s wage and hour laws, please visit myworkrights.nj.gov


Photos by Brian McCarthy, OnScene News



It was reported that on August 17, 2017 a fatal accident occurred where a 15 year old “volunteer” at the temple was killed in a 45 foot fall. Rescue personnel from Robbinsville Township arrived and performed CPR on the 15 year old and was later pronounced dead at RWJ University Hospital in Hamilton. OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened and investigation and closed the investigation on August 23, 2017 with no notes listed available from the OSHA website. You can access that information at the link below:

https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=1255956.015

Inspection: 1255956.015 – Baps Northeast Development, Inc
Inspection Information – Office: Marlton
Nr: 1255956.015Report ID: 0213900Open Date: 08/17/2017
Baps Northeast Development, Inc
112 N Main Street
Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Union Status: NonUnion
SIC:
NAICS: 236220/Commercial and Institutional Building Construction
Mailing: 112 N Main Street, Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Inspection Type:Referral
Scope:No Insp/OtherAdvanced Notice:N
Ownership:Private
Safety/Health:SafetyClose Conference:08/23/2017
Emphasis:L:FallClose Case:08/23/2017
Related Activity:TypeIDSafetyHealth
 Accident1254250  
 Referral1254231Yes 
Case Status: CLOSED


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AG Grewal And NJ DEP File 9 New Environmental Enforcement Actions Across NJ, Including KAARS, Inc., In Trenton

Locally, the State’s lawsuit against Trenton auto recycling facility KAARS, Inc., and its owner Isam Abuhumoud alleges violations of the Water Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Spill Compensation and Control Act. 

May 10, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Acting Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today the filing of nine new environmental enforcement actions across the State, including seven to hold polluters accountable for contamination in environmentally overburdened communities.

The seven lawsuits focused on overburdened communities address pollution in Camden, Trenton, Kearny, Secaucus, Edison, Bridgeton and Egg Harbor City. The two additional cases are based in Butler and Vineland.

Collectively, the Complaints involve a broad range of alleged environmental abuses by the defendant property owners and other responsible parties, including:

  • Illegal dumping that allowed massive quantities of contaminated soil, construction and demolition debris — along with contaminated old tires and other refuse — to accumulate in near residences;
  • The release of gasoline and other toxic chemicals from underground storage tanks, contaminating soil and groundwater; and
  • Releases of chemical and food waste contaminants into stormwater drains and, ultimately, surface bodies of water.

These cases represent yet another component of the Murphy Administration’s comprehensive effort to address harms disproportionately affecting the health and well-being of the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Including the lawsuits announced today, Attorney General Grewal and the Department of Environmental Protection have filed 39 environmental justice cases since 2018. The lawsuits have yielded nearly $20 million in judgments.  More important, many of these cases also have resulted in court orders requiring responsible parties perform cleanup activities to protect human health and the environment. These orders also achieve cost savings to the taxpayers by holding polluters and other responsible parties financially accountable.

“From Day One of the Murphy Administration, we’ve been committed to ensuring that all New Jersey residents can enjoy clean air, clean drinking water and a safe environment,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “That’s environmental justice, and everyone deserves it.  The cases we’re announcing today are only the latest actions we’ve taken to deliver on our commitment to environmental justice, and the latest reminder to polluters that they will be held accountable – whether they’re illegally dumping waste in our cities or polluting our fields and rivers.”

“To further the promise of environmental justice, we must aggressively enforce our laws in communities disproportionately burdened by pollution,” said Acting DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “Enforcement actions like these embody our commitment to protecting vulnerable communities and make clear the consequences for creating or contributing to environmental injustice. My DEP colleagues and I are grateful to Attorney General Grewal and his team for their passion for equity and their partnership in action.”

The contaminants at issue in all of today’s lawsuits are linked to serious health problems including respiratory distress and certain lung illnesses, cancer, neurological disorders, kidney disease, liver disease and eye damage.

Today’s nine Complaints seek a variety of remedies, including clean-up of the contaminated properties, compliance with DEP Administrative Orders and other outstanding DEP requirements, payment of civil penalties, and reimbursement to the State for the cost of site investigation, remediation, monitoring and other related work.



Today’s lawsuits include seven cases located in environmental justice communities and two located outside environmental justice communities:

Yaffa & Sons Property, Camden (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint alleges that S. Yaffa and Sons, Inc. and its owner, William Yocco, unlawfully imported and stockpiled solid waste — including contaminated soil, construction and demolition debris, and waste tires — at its property in the City of Camden for years before selling the site to Weyhill Realty Holdings in July 2019.  Weyhill Realty Holdings allegedly failed to remove the waste, and continued to allow illegal dumping on site, receiving more construction and demolition debris and comingling it with contaminated soil. In addition, the State’s Complaint alleges that a 500-gallon underground fuel storage tank potentially remains on the property, which, because of its potential to leak gasoline, would pose a danger.

The Complaint alleges violations of New Jersey’s Solid Waste Management Act and the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act, and seeks to enforce a prior DEP order and collect penalties for non-compliance.


Delta Service Station, Edison (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint stems from the operations of a former gas station at 1065 Amboy Avenue – and specifically from issues related to underground tanks used to store gasoline. On multiple occasions over the years, DEP has detected gasoline contamination on the property and confirmed the presence of such harmful chemicals as benzene, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), and xylenes in soil and groundwater. The Complaint alleges violations of the Spill Act, the Water Pollution Control Act, and the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act.

Named defendants in the suit include former property owner James Mezey; Cherokee Equities, LLC; 1065 Amboy Avenue, LLC; ERC7, LLC; 19 Petroleum Distributors, Inc.; G&V Fuel Corporation, Inc., and NJ Petroleum Distributors, Inc. The site currently operates as an auto repair garage and auto body shop, and those business are not defendants.


Thomas Dailey, 885 N. Pearl Street, Bridgeton (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint alleges that defendant Thomas Dailey purchased the property at issue in 1992 and subsequently had two underground fuel storage tanks removed without a required tank decommissioning plan and site investigation. In 2015, DEP inspectors found a third underground fuel storage tank still on the property. The Complaint alleges violations of the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act in connection with all three tanks by Dailey and/or 330 Angle Sea LLC, a company which Dailey owns and to which he sold the property in 2017. Among other things, the Complaint seeks to compel the removal of the remaining underground storage tank, the hiring of a Licensed Site Remediation Professional to investigate and remediate any hazardous discharges, payment of a civil penalty, and compensation to DEP for any costs it has or will incur in connection with the property.

Wilenta Feed, Inc., Secaucus (Environmental Justice) 

The State’s Complaint against defendant Wilenta Feed, Inc., alleges violation of the State’s Water Pollution Control Act. Wilenta operates a food waste recycling business at 46 Henry Street in Secaucus that involves converting food waste — largely bakery products — into animal feed or animal feed ingredients. According to the Complaint, Wilenta has been unlawfully storing its food waste in open-air piles, thereby exposing the waste to stormwater, which enters the sewer system and, ultimately, into such surface water bodies as Penhorn Creek, a tributary of the Hackensack River. In addition to seeking a court order directing Wilenta to halt its open-air storage of food waste, today’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties against Wilenta and reimbursement to the State for costs it has incurred, or will incur, to investigate, inspect and monitor the property.


KAARS, Inc., Trenton (Environmental Justice)

The State’s lawsuit against Trenton auto recycling facility KAARS, Inc., and its owner Isam Abuhumoud alleges violations of the Water Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Spill Compensation and Control Act. 

According to the Complaint, activity at KAARS involves dismantling cars and trucks to salvage certain parts for sale, which among other things yields solvents, greases and such fluids as brake fluid, anti-freeze and motor oil. Under DEP permitting requirements, KAARS must manage its stormwater run-off so that pollutants generated by its operations do not end up in the sewer system serving the property, which carries stormwater to Assunpink Creek and, eventually, to the Delaware River. The State’s lawsuit alleges that KAARS’ poor management of auto scrap, chemicals and other wastes has resulted in uncontrolled pollutant discharges that threaten water quality in the area, which includes a city park, residences, and an elementary school.


Arlington Diner, Kearny (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint against Isaac Moradi centers on a former gas station at 941 Passaic Avenue in Kearny that backs up to an embankment of the Passaic River and that was contaminated with petroleum products including gasoline prior to Moradi’s acquisition of the property in 2016. According to the State’s Complaint, an investigation of the property in 2007 revealed significant contamination of groundwater and soil, much of it ultimately traced to an out of service, 12,000-gallon underground fuel storage tank. The State’s lawsuit alleges violation of the Spill Compensation and Control Act and the common law of public nuisance.

Gulf Gas Stop, Egg Harbor City (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint centers on a “gas-and-go” service station property at 501 White Horse Pike in Egg Harbor City, and names property owner Arjun Goyal, of West Deptford, as the sole defendant. Five fuel storage tanks containing unleaded gasoline once existed on the property, and although they have been removed, DEP has found evidence that the tanks leaked into the soil. Groundwater sampling has detected excessive levels of such petroleum-related chemical toxins as benzene, ethyl benzene, xylenes, methyl tertiary butyl ether, tertiary-butyl alcohol, toluene and lead. The Complaint seeks enforcement of, and penalties for non-compliance with, a prior DEP order to remediate the site, among other relief.

Main Road Citgo, Vineland

The State’s Complaint against Avalon-based Sasdelli Oil Company, Inc.; its owner, Terry Sasdelli of Asheville, NC; and corporate entities Vineland 820 Main Road, LLC and Vineland Chestnut Avenue, LLC centers on a contaminated gas station property at 820 N. Main Road in Vineland. According to the Complaint, excessive levels of petroleum-product-related contaminants have been found in soil and groundwater on the property, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, lead, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) and naphthalene.

The State’s Complaint alleges violations of the Spill Compensation and Control Act and Water Pollution Control Act, and also claims each defendant was unjustly enriched through their failure to perform or fund required remediation work on the property. The Complaint seeks a court order directing the defendants to remediate the property, pay civil penalties and reimburse DEP for related costs incurred by the State.

The Car House, Butler

The State’s Complaints alleges that The Car House, a Morris County used auto dealership, sold a Nissan 350-Z coup in August 2019 that had been tampered with through removal of the catalytic converters that were part of the vehicle’s original emissions control system. The purchaser only learned of the unlawful modification when the car failed an inspection, according to the Complaint.

New Jersey law prohibits the sale of a gasoline-fueled motor vehicle in which an emissions control device installed by the original vehicle manufacturer has been disconnected, detached, deactivated, or in any other way altered or modified from the original design. According to the State’s Complaint, tailpipe emissions from such vehicles cause increased levels of harmful pollutants like hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon monoxide — pollutants known to trigger or aggravate human respiratory diseases.

Today’s lawsuit alleges that dealership violated New Jersey’s Air Pollution Control Act by selling an unlawfully tampered vehicle, and that it has failed to pay a civil penalty imposed two years ago. The suit seeks payment of that civil penalty, as well as restitution to the buyer of the tampered Nissan.

Today’s enforcement actions are being handled by the Environmental Enforcement and Environmental Justice (EEEJ) Section within the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, including Assistant Attorney General Aaron Kleinbaum, Section Chief Gary Wolf, Assistant Section Chief Paul Stofa, and Deputy Attorneys General Bethanne Prugh, Willis Doerr, Robert Kinney, Thomas Lihan, Daniel Resler, Matthew Novak, Andrew Verdone, Mark Fisher, Matthew Knoblauch and Pragya Singh.

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages


Move slider to 3:41 for President Joe Biden’s remarks on the Colonial Pipeline.


May 10, 2021

Update — Monday, May 10, 12:25 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline continues to dedicate vast resources to restoring pipeline operations quickly and safely. Segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion, in compliance with relevant federal regulations and in close consultation with the Department of Energy, which is leading and coordinating the Federal Government’s response.

Restoring our network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of our systems, and this takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on our system, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. To restore service, we must work to ensure that each of these systems can be brought back online safely.

While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week. The Company will provide updates as restoration efforts progress.

We continue to evaluate product inventory in storage tanks at our facilities and others along our system and are working with our shippers to move this product to terminals for local delivery. Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint should help alleviate local supply disruptions and we thank our government partners for their assistance in resolving this matter.

Our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience of the traveling public and the support we have received from the Federal Government and our peers throughout the industry.


The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks. We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation. 



REGIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION
UNDER 49 CFR § 390.23 

No. 2021-002

ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DELAWARE, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, LOUISIANA, MARYLAND, MISSISSIPPI, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVANIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, TEXAS, AND VIRGINIA

In accordance with the provisions of 49 CFR § 390.23, the Regional Field Administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Eastern, Southern, and Western Service Centers hereby declares that an emergency exists that warrants issuance of a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSRs), except as otherwise restricted in this Emergency Declaration.  Such emergency is in response to the unanticipated shutdown of the Colonial pipeline system due to network issues that affect the supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products throughout the Affected States.  This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief.  Affected States and jurisdictions included in this Emergency Declaration (“Affected States”) are:  Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the Affected States in direct support of relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein.   

This Emergency Declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products into the Affected States during the emergency from shortages due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system.  Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.  (49 CFR § 390.23(b)).  Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399.  When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equals 14 hours.  

All other applicable safety requirements remain in place and will be enforced by the FMCSA.  Specifically, nothing contained in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically authorized pursuant to 49 CFR § 390.23. 

Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA. 

In accordance with 49 CFR § 390.23, this declaration is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until the end of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11:59 P.M. (ET), June 8, 2021, whichever is earlier.  FMCSA intends to continually review the status of this Emergency Declaration and may take action to modify or terminate the Emergency Declaration sooner if conditions warrant.


Taft Kelly, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Eastern Service Center


Darrell L. Ruban, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Southern Service Center


Scott G. Hernandez, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Western Service Center


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline


Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Update — Sunday, May 9, 2021

On May 7, 2021 Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack and has since determined that the incident involved ransomware. Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring.

Leading, third-party cybersecurity experts were also immediately engaged after discovering the issue and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. We have remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response. 

Maintaining the operational security of our pipeline, in addition to safely bringing our systems back online, remain our highest priorities. Over the past 48 hours, Colonial Pipeline personnel have taken additional precautionary measures to help further monitor and protect the safety and security of its pipeline.

The Colonial Pipeline operations team is developing a system restart plan. While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.

At this time, our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience and outpouring of support we have received from others throughout the industry. 


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline