Category: Old Bridge

Governor Murphy, Commissioner Persichilli Mark Start of COVID-19 Vaccination Effort for Residents and Staff of Long-Term Facilities

291 LTC Facilities Currently Scheduled for Vaccinations — Covering Over 83,000 New Jerseyans 

OLD BRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)—Governor Phil Murphy, joined by New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and CVS Health Regional Director Kat Kingston, today visited Roosevelt Care Center in Old Bridge to mark the launch of New Jersey’s vaccination effort of residents and staff of long-term care facilities. The vaccinations are being administered pursuant to the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), CVS, and Walgreens to facilitate on-site COVID-19 vaccination services. Through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, New Jersey already has 291 long-term care facilities scheduled and over 83,000 residents and staff slated to receive vaccinations through the beginning of February 2021, with more sites to be added in the coming weeks.

“Long-term care facilities across New Jersey and the entire nation have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “Over the past nine months, we have paid an incredible cost, but today is another positive step forward in our fight against this virus. New Jersey’s comprehensive and inclusive vaccination plan prioritizes individuals living in high-risk, congregate settings, such as nursing homes, Veterans Homes, and assisted living residences. We are incredibly grateful to CVS and Walgreens for their work with the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program to ensure that we have the resources to vaccinate and protect our most vulnerable populations.”

“Throughout this pandemic, the residents and staff of our long-term care facilities have been among the most severely impacted,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “With the start of this large-scale vaccination effort today, we are continuing to strengthen protections for our most vulnerable populations, along with the staff who have been truly courageous in caring for them.”

“Today’s rollout is the culmination of months of internal planning and demonstrates how the private sector can use its expertise to help solve some of our most critical challenges,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and Chief Executive Officer, CVS Health. “I’m grateful for the herculean efforts of everyone involved, including our health care professionals who will be deployed throughout the country to bring peace of mind to long-term care facility residents, staff, and their loved ones.”

“Walgreens is very proud to be a part of this historic milestone to begin administering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to our most vulnerable populations in New Jersey and across the country,” said John Standley, President, Walgreens. “With more than a decade of experience administering various vaccines, we have the deep expertise to support this unprecedented effort to allow our nation to emerge from this pandemic.”

“Today marks an incredibly important day as we work together to protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents and frontline workers at New Jersey’s long-term care facilities,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “I applaud Governor Murphy for helping facilitate this federal Pharmacy Partnership with CVS and Walgreens. These vaccination protocols will help ensure we come through this unprecedented public health emergency together and return to living our lives with our families and friends.”

“Our long-term care facilities have suffered unimaginable heartbreak and loss due to COVID-19. I am hopeful that the start of vaccinations for our most vulnerable seniors will also mark the beginning of the end of the public health emergency,” said Senator Sam Thompson. “The long, torturous pandemic has claimed lives, taken jobs, and interrupted daily life in New Jersey, but today we have cause for optimism as we prepare to close the door on 2020.”

“This marks the beginning of a new, important phase of our battle against the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Joe Vitale. “The distribution of the vaccine is reason for hope and optimism, but the health crisis is far from over. The threat is still very real, especially for the residents and front-line workers in long-term care facilities who are so vulnerable. We have  to make the best use of vaccines as the supply becomes available and we have to continue all the other safety measures as we go through this stage of the Covid crisis.”

  “It is an understatement to say that this has been an incredibly challenging year for all of us in healthcare, on many levels,” said Esther Moodey, Staff Nurse and the first LTC staff recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey. “I am thankful for the COVID-19 vaccine and honored to be the first staff member at our facility receive it, in solidarity with my colleagues in other long term care facilities around New Jersey. The vaccine brings hope and optimism about the future and promise of a return to ‘normal.’”






Lawmaker Wants Restoring Public Utilities In Rural Areas To Be A Top Priority

October 1, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The lengthy process of restoring public utilities after a major storm has been an issue plaguing rural residents for quite some time. Assemblyman Ron Dancer wants to ensure rural areas are given the same level of priority as the rest of the state and has introduced two bills speed up restoration after thunderstorms, snowstorms, and other major events. 

The first bill (A4761) would give public utilities and cable television companies the ability to use drones to survey damaged infrastructure.

“Drones are a powerful tool in assessing damage and assisting with repairs after a major storm,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “Other states have allowed utility companies to use drones with much success. We cannot afford to continue to have slow restoration times, so it makes sense to allow the utility companies to use drones to speed up the process.”

Dancer’s second bill (A4763) would require the Board of Public Utilities to create new regulations to require that electric companies prioritize communities where at least 40 percent of residents rely on private wells for drinking water and septic systems for sanitary disposal of waste. Additionally, watering stations would also be required.

“Many people do not realize when a home in a rural area loses power, they often lose access to drinking water, as well as, flushing and refilling toilets,” said Dancer. “A priority restoration plan must be put into place to avoid leaving rural areas without access to their basic life essential necessities.  When people are without basic necessities for days, it could lead to major public health and safety issues.”

NJ Legislative District 12 covers: Allentown, Chesterfield, Englishtown, Jackson, Manalapan, Matawan, Millstone (Monmouth), New Hanover, North Hanover, Old Bridge, Plumsted, Roosevelt, Upper Freehold, Wrightstown

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.

20-308 

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

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

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

September 1, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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