Category: Holmdel

Mayors Testify At NJ Senate Committee On Law And Public Safety About Utility Company Problems

October 19, 2020 Updated at 7:44 pm with testimony from Holmdel Mayor Gregory Buontempo

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Several New Jersey mayors testified in front of the NJ State Senate, Law and Public Safety Committee today about lack of response of restoring utilities after recent storms and other problems. The mayors expressed most dissatisfaction with Jersey Central Power and Light JCP&L, and Optimum-Altice USA.

The first two mayors called were Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin and Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried regarding the service of local utility companies.

In particular, Mayor Martin focused on the poor quality of service that Optimum/Altice USA has provided to Hamilton Township residents, specifically over the last several months. While understanding that strains have been put on phone, internet and cable services with such a high volume of residents working from home, the quality of customer service that residents have received is unacceptable. Mayor Martin stated that PSE&G, Public Service Electric and Gas is Hamilton’s electric utility.

Mayor Dave Fried expressed dissatisfaction with both JCP&L and Optimum/Altice USA with restoring service after recent storms and other problems. Full transcript from Mayor Dave Fried below.





Transcription of Mayor Dave Fried’s testimony before the NJ Senate Committee on Law and Public Safety. Monday, October 19, 2020.

“I had some prepared remarks, but I am going to be very brief. You will hear from all the mayors about the failures of both JCP&L and Optimum. My town is unique because it is divided between PSE&G and JCP&L, as well as Optimum and Verizon (FiOS). It really is a tale of the haves and have nots. I was Mayor during Hurricane Irene (2011) and it was so bad I filed a lawsuit against JCP&L. I made the mistake of settling that lawsuit. It was so bad during this last storm (Tropical Storm Isaias in August) that I have filed a lawsuit against them again … and this time I have no intention of settling. The idea that (JCP&L has gotten better at communication is false. It’s a false narrative. They are just as bad today as they were during Irene. If they are not giving us misinformation, they are just outright lying to us. I can’t go back to my residents and tell them anything JCP&L has told me because it is more likely to be untrue than true. We have a generator exchange program in Robbinsville because I have to provide them for my residents because I have no idea when the power is going to come back on. Meanwhile, I watch PSE&G and they are incredible. It is like watching the Yankees play a Little League team. They give me great information and they tell me where they are going to be. Bad news doesn’t get any better, but they tell me who will be the last one on so I know where to send my generators. There is a reason why JCP&L is so bad at this, and why they don’t take us, or you (NJ Senate Committee), seriously. A $100 fine is a joke to a CEO who makes millions. He then comes back here and gives us lip service, but the truth is he will go back to his board knowing he is not going to do anything, and the BPU is going to give him a rate increase. They gave them a rate increase after Irene, then another after Sandy, then more after almost every other storm. So, their failures basically allow more money for their shareholders who are out of state (Ohio). They go back to the board room and laugh. Why wouldn’t they?

“It’s embarrassing. JCP&L sets up meetings with us and they never tell us the truth. Oftentimes, when they send out communications to our residents it is the wrong information. My office is flooded with calls every time there is a storm. If I am going to take those calls and be in the customer service business, fine (JCP&L and Optimum) and give us the money so we can be in that business as that customer service front arm. I open my firehouse every week so Optimum customers without service can get online to go to school and so parents can work remotely. It is impossible for us to keep up with their failures. If we don’t hold both of them accountable, they are going to leave these proceedings and nothing is ever going to get better. JCP&L couldn’t even set up a water and ice station. If I was their CEO, I would be doing an apology tour all across to New Jersey. But, instead, they are going to ask BPU for another rate increase and they are probably going to get it. Thus, their failures will be rewarded again. When you look at Optimum, they are just as bad since they send their profits out of the country (France). The failures continue year after year. We don’t hold them accountable and we don’t give them serious fines. For mayors like myself, give us the ability to switch if we have another option.

I’m begging you. Please help us. We can’t continue to be their complaint department. We need effective change.”   


Full transcript from Holmdel Mayor Gregory Buontempo from today’s hearing.

Thank you Chairwoman Greenstein and distinguished members of the Committee for this opportunity to come here, on behalf of the Township of Holmdel, and  share with you our significant concerns regarding service delivery and emergency response of JCP&L as it relates to Tropical Storm Isaias and power outages in general.

I come here today on behalf of Holmdel’s angry and frustrated residents who are outraged by the absence of communication, the slow response and the general lack of customer service received from JCP&L.  Following Tropical Storm Isaias, our community was severely impacted by service disruptions that lasted upwards of one week. These power outages not only interrupted our residents’ lives, but it also placed a strain on the Township’s first responders who had to respond to emergencies that resulted from the prolonged period without electricity. I can personally attest to numerous instances in which residents reached out to me directly for help with dire medical needs.  While this frustration was exacerbated by Tropical Storm Isaias, the problems with response have gone on for far longer.  Holmdel repeatedly faces long power outages, even when the weather is not as severe as the storm on August 3rd


I want to give you some specific examples from this last incident.

Holmdel is home to Bayshore Medical Center one of only five hospitals in all of Monmouth County.  In the midst of a pandemic their ability to provide services to patients is critical to managing the outbreak and reducing the spread of the disease.  Unfortunately, it took 8 hours to get the hospital’s power up and running.  The hospital was within two degrees of having a mandatory evacuation which would have been catastrophic!  Such a critical care facility should be a top priority of any restoration plan.

A second critical issue involved a cul-de-sac community in Holmdel, Allocco Drive.  This is a community with many elderly residents.  As a result of the storm a tree came down across the street completely blocking vehicular access in an out of the neighborhood.  If an emergency were to occur it would have been impossible for response vehicles to reach these residents.  In situations such as sudden cardiac arrest, two minutes can actually be the difference between life and death!   Despite numerous attempts for information, JCP&L was unable to tell us if the tree blocking access was entangled in live wires.  This left our residents stuck in their homes for days with no power, no air conditioning and no access to emergency medical services.  As the Township, we would have removed the tree ourselves, even though it is not our responsibility, in order to protect our residents.  However, we were unable to do so because of a lack of information.  As a last resort, our Police Department had to station an ATV on location in case anyone needed to be evacuated on an emergency basis.  This is simply unacceptable. 

My last example is a matter of common sense coordination.  On Sunday, August 9th, almost a full week after the storm, there were two trucks parked in the Southern portion of town.  One was a Verizon truck and one was from JCP&L.  They were not working on anything.  When approached, both parties said they were waiting for direction.  Eventually the Verizon truck left because no one from JCP&L was providing information.  I personally had to step in and manage the coordination, calling my personal Verizon connections to have them come back to the site.  Eventually services were restored to the residents in the area – almost a week after the storm.  The problem is that in this instance the crews were ready willing and able to work but did not get the direction that they need.  This shows that the issues are coming from JCP&L’s lack of a clear strategy.  While our government relations contact, Frank Luna, is always very responsive and available, it was apparent that even he was not provided the information that could have improved the situation.


This is by no means an exhaustive list of the public safety concerns that we have with the response from JCP&, but in the interest of time, I am giving you these as examples of some of the issues we face. 

After the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy, the Township believed that JCP&L was embarking upon infrastructure improvements to prevent prolonged power outages. Two years ago, in July 2018, the Reliability Plus Initiative was announced aimed at enhancing the reliability and resiliency of the JCP&L distribution system.  Yet Holmdel Township has not seen improvement in service. 

The Township is respectfully requesting that JCP&L provide a detailed action plan for how it can better prepare and respond to power outages.  Specific items that need to be addressed include:

  • Status of the Reliability Plus Initiative
  • Strategy to be implemented in order to prevent future outages
  • Pre-weather event deployment procedures
  • Details of the company’s deforestation plan
  • Improved communication plan to advise residents in a timely manner of the length of outages and where crews will be working
  • Rebates to our residents for lost food, similar to those offered to customers of other power companies
  • Rebates to residents for the installation of generators given the continued loss of power 

I want to stress that we are willing to work with JCP&L in order to ensure the safety and health of our residents.  As Mayor, I am pleased that the company moved its corporate headquarters to Bell Works in Holmdel.  I know that an effective plan is possible, and we are willing to do our part to make this happen.

On behalf of the residents of Holmdel and I thank you for your time and attention to this important matter. 

Monmouth County Voting Information And Video Tutorial

October 8, 2020

Visit: https://www.monmouthcountyvotes.com/ for the latest voting information in Monmouth County

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–As you may be aware, this year’s November General Election in New Jersey is being conducted primarily by mail-in ballots, per State mandate. On November 3, 2020, Election Day, limited polling locations will be open for voting on paper provisional ballots only, except for disabled voters. 

Voters across Monmouth County are receiving their mail-in ballots this week and are encouraged to contact the County Clerk’s Election Office at 732-431-7790, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with any questions about the delivery of their ballots. 

Due to this unprecedented change in our election process, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon has provided a comprehensive webpage on MonmouthCountyVotes.com, explaining this year’s election process.

In addition, our office has provided video tutorials, including an animated step-by-step video informing Monmouth County voters of how to properly complete and return their mail-in ballots. The tutorial also explains how the paper ballots are reviewed and verified by the Monmouth County Board of Elections.

The video can be viewed on our Facebook and YouTube pages. We encourage you to share this important information with your friends and neighbors.







Election Hotline Established to Secure Election Integrity

To help ensure free and fair elections in Monmouth County, the County Election Offices and Prosecutor’s Office have established an election hotline. To report any issues of voter fraud or misconduct in Monmouth County, residents can call the County Prosecutor’s Office hotline at 855-786-5878.

“Our democratic system of government depends on free and fair elections and, as such, election integrity and security is important to all of us,” said County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni and County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon. “For these reasons, our offices are working together to further safeguard the electoral process.”


Upcoming Dates and Voter Deadlines

  • Monday, October 12th: All County Offices closed in observance of Columbus Day
  • Tuesday, October 13th: Voter Registration Deadline for the November General Election
  • Friday, October 30th: Application Deadline for General Election Mail-In Ballots by Electronic Means for Qualified Overseas Civilian and Military Voters 
  • Tuesday, November 3rd: General Election Day!
  • Tuesday, November 3rd at 8 p.m.: Close of the polls; Deadline to deliver mail-in ballot by U.S. Postal Service mail, Drop Box, or in-person to the County Board of Elections at 300 Halls Mill Road in Freehold or at assigned Polling Place.

Monmouth County Secure Ballot Dropbox Locations:

LocationAddressEntry
1Aberdeen Municipal Building1 Aberdeen Square
Aberdeen, NJ 07747
2Allentown Borough Hall8 North Main Street
Allentown, NJ 08501
3Asbury Park City Hall1 Municipal Plaza
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
City Council Chambers (Bangs Avenue Entrance)
4Borough of Belmar Municipal Building601 Main Street
Belmar, NJ 07719
5Eatontown Borough Municipal Building47 Broad Street
Eatontown, NJ 07724
Rear Entrance
6Board of Elections Office300 Halls Mill Road
Freehold, NJ 07728
Side Entrance
7Hazlet Agency – NJ Motor Vehicle Commission1374 Highway 36
Hazlet, NJ 07730
Airport Plaza
8Howell Township Municipal Building4567 Route 9 North
Howell, NJ 07731
Rear Entrance
9Long Branch City Hall344 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740
10Manalapan Township Municipal Building120 County Road 522
Manalapan, NJ 07726
11Middletown Municipal Building1 Kings Highway
Middletown Township, NJ 07748
12Croydon Hall900 Leonardville Road
Leonardo, NJ 07737
13Neptune Township Municipal Building25 Neptune Boulevard
Neptune, NJ 07753
Library Entrance
14Ocean Township Town Hall399 Monmouth Road
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
15Red Bank Borough Municipal Building90 Monmouth Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701
16Rumson Borough Hall80 East River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
17Wall Township Municipal Building2700 Allaire Road
Wall, NJ 07719

Vote-By-Mail Drop Box Arrives In Allentown

September 22, 2020

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Allentown resident told MidJersey.News that around 11 pm last night a delivery crew installed a Vote-By-Mail Drop Box in front of Allentown at Borough Hall on Main Street. There are currently 17 Vote-By-Mail Drop Box locations for Monmouth County, this is the furthest west serving Western Monmouth County.

A current list of Vote-By-Mail Drop Box locations for Monmouth County can be found here.

Vote-By-Mail Drop Box Locations

Pursuant to State law, the November 3, 2020 General Election will be conducted primarily by Mail-In Ballot in New Jersey.

If you wish to place your Mail-In Ballot in a secure drop box, below are the locations throughout the County which will be available starting the week of September 15. Addresses in the list below are clickable and will bring up Google Maps.

Voters can drop their voted Mail-In Ballot into these Board of Elections Drop Boxes anywhere in the County up until 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. You do not have to be a resident of the town where the drop box is located. Be advised that these drop boxes are under video surveillance and are monitored by the Monmouth County Board of Elections, which can be reached at 732-431-7802.

For more information about the General Election process, click here.

LocationAddressEntry
1Aberdeen Municipal Building1 Aberdeen Square
Aberdeen, NJ 07747
2Allentown Borough Hall8 North Main Street
Allentown, NJ 08501
3Asbury Park City Hall1 Municipal Plaza
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
City Council Chambers (Bangs Avenue Entrance)
4Borough of Belmar Municipal Building601 Main Street
Belmar, NJ 07719
5Eatontown Borough Municipal Building47 Broad Street
Eatontown, NJ 07724
Rear Entrance
6Board of Elections Office300 Halls Mill Road
Freehold, NJ 07728
Side Entrance
7Hazlet Agency – NJ Motor Vehicle Commission1374 Highway 36
Hazlet, NJ 07730
Airport Plaza
8Howell Township Municipal Building4567 Route 9 North
Howell, NJ 07731
Rear Entrance
9Long Branch City Hall344 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740
10Manalapan Township Municipal Building120 County Road 522
Manalapan, NJ 07726
11Middletown Municipal Building1 Kings Highway
Middletown Township, NJ 07748
12Croydon Hall900 Leonardville Road
Leonardo, NJ 07737
13Neptune Township Municipal Building25 Neptune Boulevard
Neptune, NJ 07753
Library Entrance
14Ocean Township Town Hall399 Monmouth Road
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
15Red Bank Borough Municipal Building90 Monmouth Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701
16Rumson Borough Hall80 East River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
17Wall Township Municipal Building2700 Allaire Road
Wall, NJ 07719

Fatal Accident On Garden State Parkway In Holmdel

September 20, 2020

HOLMDEL, NJ (MONMOUTH)— NJSP Spokesperson, Trooper Charles Marchan told MidJersey.News that NJ State Police responded to a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian at 9:48 p.m. last night on the Garden State Parkway southbound local lanes M.P 115.9, Holmdel Township, Monmouth County.

Based on a preliminary investigation, a Cadillac was stopped and unoccupied on the right shoulder. Pedestrian John Carroll was outside of the vehicle. A Jeep entered the right shoulder striking pedestrian Carroll and the Cadillac. As a result of the accident Carroll suffered fatal injuries.

Deceased- John Carroll, 60 year old male of Belmar, New Jersey.

Driver of the Jeep suffered no injuries- Pedro A. Carlo, 41 year old male of Hopelawn, New Jersey.

The accident is currently still under investigation and there is no further information available at the moment.

31 Arrests in Santander ATM Scams In Monmouth County

August 21, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Investigations into regional criminal scams across the state involving the fraudulent use of debit cards to make unauthorized cash withdrawals at Santander Bank ATMs led to the arrest of more than two dozen people in Monmouth County on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

The thieves were able to exploit a glitch in Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) belonging to Santander Banks, allowing them to use prepaid debit cards to make continuous withdrawals of cash from the ATMs. The prepaid debit cards, like the Green Dot cards used by other scammers involved in telephone schemes, can be purchased at most retail stores. The bank was alerted to higher-than-usual ATM withdrawals and eventually closed down its ATM locations.

Santander Bank has subsequently corrected the glitch in their ATM machines.

“This is a great example of inter-agency cooperation and how it works to everyone’s benefit. These local police departments received the information about this growing scam from state and federal authorities and they kept a watchful eye that resulted in arrests. Everyone involved did an outstanding job,” said Prosecutor Gramiccioni.

The following arrests were made:

By Englishtown Police Department:

  • Cesar Armando Ortiz, Jr., 25, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt – Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Asaun Stone, 24, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • David Gorin Redding, 23, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Noel Machado, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Denzel I. Gravenhise, 26, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Teru J. Pratt, 26, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Gregory M. Harrington, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

By Freehold Township Police Department:

  • Damon C Joseph, 23, of The Bronx, New York, is charged with third degree Theft, fourth degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and fourth degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute.
  • Quran E Martin, 25, of East Harlem, New York, is charged with third degree Theft, fourth degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and fourth degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute.

By Holmdel Township Police Department:

  • Derrick Jackson, 23, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Criminal Attempt – Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card.

By Little Silver Police Department:

  • Robert F. Aiello, 55, of Mountain Lakes, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Conspiracy – Theft by Unlawful Taking, third degree Receiving Stolen Property, Theft of United States Currency, and a disorderly persons offense of Possession of Less than 50 mg of Marijuana.
  • Raim A Duplessis, 23, of  Newark, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft and fourth degree Conspiracy to Commit Credit Card Theft.
  • Zamir Zhaire Knox, 21, of Union, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, two counts of third degree Receiving Stolen Property; and fourth degree Obstruction.
  • Giovanni Neville Tyrell, 24, of Teaneck, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Credit Card Theft, and a disorderly persons offense of Possession of Less than 50 mg of Marijuana.
  • Martin J. Rosendary, 24, of Union, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, and fourth degree Obstruction.
  • Briana Aviles, 22, of Newark, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Receiving Stolen Property; and a disorderly persons offense of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana.
  • Markeem Louise Jackson, 36, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Receiving Stolen Property; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Wayne Hill, 22, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, and third degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking.

By Marlboro Township Police Department:

Marlboro police officers observed individuals loitering in a lobby of the ATM at Santander. The suspects were subsequently detained during a traffic stop by Old Bridge Police Department, who charged the following individuals:

  • Ishmil Q. Harmon, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Computer Crime to Access with the Purpose to Defraud.
  • Devaim K. Fulmore, 23, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Computer Crime to Access with the Purpose to Defraud.
  • Shyiem L. McLean, 22, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Computer Crime to Access with the Purpose to Defraud.
  • Charles E. Sprowal Jr., 22, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Computer Crime to Access with the Purpose to Defraud.

By Wall Township Police Department:

  • Anthony J. Kelly, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking and possession of marijuana under 50 grams, a disorderly persons offense.
  • Clifton Davis, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking, one count of third degree possession of oxycodone and possession of marijuana under 50 grams, a disorderly persons offense. 
  • Barrington L. Wright, 25, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking and possession of marijuana under 50 grams, a disorderly persons offense.
  • Sean Bennett, 22, of Chester, New York, is charged with one count of fourth degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Robert J. Glisson Jr., 24, of The Bronx, New York, is charged with possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Timothy Gonzalez, 26, of The Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of fourth degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Quenton L. Price, 24, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is charged with one count of fourth degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Tyrell T. Mingo, 24, of Teaneck, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.  Mingo is being held the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and pending a future court date.
  • Leroy C. Woods-Williams, 24, of Hackensack, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.  Woods-Williams is being held the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and pending a future court date.

If convicted of a third degree crime, each defendant faces a sentence of three to five years in a New Jersey State Prison. 

If convicted of a fourth degree offense, each defendant faces up to 18 months in a New Jersey State Prison.

A disorderly persons offense carries a sentence of up to six (6) months.

Authorities are aware of multiple attempts that were made in municipalities across Monmouth County but have not resulted in any arrests. If anyone has additional information about this statewide scam, please call your local police department or contact Detective Elethia Baldwin of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 and ask to speak to a detective in the Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau.

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

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Barbara Suppa, Director of the Office’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau, and Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Nelsen.

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

Rep. Chris Smith’s Annual High School Art Competition Opens ‘Virtually’

April 24, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER) – For the first time ever, the annual Congressional Art Competition held by Rep. Chris Smith as part of a national competition for his district’s high school students, will be a “virtual” online show to ensure the safety of students, parents, teachers and the interested public.

    In response to the coronavirus national emergency, the artwork, which is normally displayed for a month at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton’s Lakefront Gallery, will be posted on Smith’s congressional website ensuring that the students who have worked for many months can still take part in the national competition.

    “For these young student artists whose school year has been turned upside down by coronavirus, I am happy we found a way forward and I am grateful to the parents, judges and teachers for making needed adjustments,” Smith said.

    “We received strong support for a virtual art competition rather than cancel the show outright due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Smith said. “Safety is paramount, and a virtual gallery enables us to proceed safely not only for the students and parents, but for the patients and workers at RWJ-Hamilton, which has in the past, graciously hosted the show,” he said.

“I am delighted that this year’s show wasn’t canceled, but continued as an online competition,” said Wall High School art teacher, Jill Alexander, who has been preparing her students to enter the show every year for the past six years. “Students in the 4th district are thankful for the great show that Congressman Chris Smith puts on each year, but especially this year because of the challenges everyone is facing.”

“We love going to Robert Wood Johnson’s impressive gallery, and unfortunately that just wasn’t possible this year. My students start working in September preparing their best artwork to submit, and this show is the highlight of the year for us. 

“High school students across the country will miss the opportunity to participate in many events this year, including proms, sporting events and even graduation,” Alexander said. “We are really pleased the art competition survives.” 

             The 2020 show will be exhibited in a virtual art gallery, will use online judging, with winners to be announced in May. Smith’s three-member team of professional judges, whose works are also normally displayed at the show, will also have artwork posted in an online gallery.

     This year, students who place in the competition—as best-of-show, and first, second and third runners-up and honorable mentions—will receive ribbons and all participants will be mailed Congressional Certificates, instead of being presented them in person.

   The best-in-show winner will be displayed in the Capitol Building in Washington along the busy public corridor/tunnel between the Cannon House Office Building and the Capitol Building for one year with other winners from across the nation. All the artwork entered into Smith’s competition this year will be displayed in his online gallery for one year.

   Every year the Congressional Institute sponsors this national high school art competition to recognize and foster artistic talent in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Participation in the contest is at the discretion of each Member office. Currently, the Institute plans to accept the top winning artwork from every congressional show in America by June 18 and hold a reception in Washington on July 22.

     For information about the 2020 NJ-04 show or to view the 2019 and prior year winners visit Congressman Smith’s Congressional Art Competition web page.

County Freeholders: About Park Closings, COVID-19 and TakeoutInMonmouth.com

April 9, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ – On behalf of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone and Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley held a press conference today to provide updates on the COVID-19 situation and additional support that the County will supply the business community.

“Since the start of the Take Out in Monmouth initiative last week, we have complied well over 750 businesses, which can be found at www.takeoutinmonmouth.com,” said Freeholder Director Arnone, liaison to the Divisions of Economic Development and Tourism. “Today, we are now adding breweries and wineries to this online list to further boost the local economy. These business owners are our friends, neighbors and community leaders and we owe our support to these individuals and their employees during this difficult time.”


Visit http://takeoutinmounmouth.com https://co.monmouth.nj.us/page.aspx?ID=5029 for further local listings.

Visit the Screaming Hill Brewery page for barnside pickup. Orders placed the day before will be ready the next day for pickup. Try the “Blood Orange” a midjersey.news favorite.

Visit Screamin Hill our local farm fresh brewery for barn side pickup. Remember to place order the day before for pickup the next day.

Heavenly Havens Has Ice Cream Takeout Window:

LaPiazza Delivers now, you might be lucky enough to have DJ Nebbs deliver for you:


Together, Monmouth County municipalities, local chambers as well as the County Divisions of Economic Development and Tourism continue to research and identify all food grocers, breweries, wineries and restaurants open. While the County works to maintain an updated list, email TakeOutInMonmouth@visitmonmouth.com to be listed or request a change in listing.


“As a result of mounting cases and more and more residents becoming increasingly frightened to leave their own home, the Monmouth County Aging Disability Resource Center has prepared the COVID-19 Resource Guide to assist seniors and residents with disabilities who may be struggling to acquire basic needs during this health pandemic,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Kiley, liaison to the Department of Human Services. “The County has been extensively collaborating with local officials and the guide will be frequently updated to reflect the most current services and resources offered by municipality.”

In addition to Monmouth County ADRC (Aging Disability Resource Center), Monmouth ACTS (Assisting Communities Through Services) has been directing residents to Monmouth Resource Net, an online directory of community and health resources and services, information about residential mortgage relief as well as mental health support.

The Freeholders also discussed the Executive Order signed on Thursday, April 7 by the Governor, closing all Monmouth County parks indefinitely.

“I would like to publicly state that I do not support the indefinite closure of all county parks in New Jersey. I also find it unacceptable that we have no input as to when they will reopen. There are a number of options that could have been considered as an alternative to completely closing county parks, including limiting hours, days, et cetera,” said Freeholder Director Arnone. “The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has felt, throughout this entire pandemic, that our County parks are essential for our residents’ mental health and a great choice for passive recreation. I promise that we will open our parks immediately as soon as the Executive Order is lifted.”

All public is restricted from parks and golf courses. Park and golf course entrances and parking lots are gated or barricaded and visitors who gain park access by foot or bike will be directed to leave, as the parks will still be patrolled. Marina services are suspended but owners will have access to their boats.

Monmouth County news updates and information regarding the COVID-19 situation are posted at www.visitmonmouth.com.

AG Grewal: Police Are Cracking Down on Violators of COVID-19 Orders

April 3, 2020

Police Throughout New Jersey Are Filing Criminal Charges Against Violators of Orders to Stay at Home, Close Non-Essential Businesses, and Stop Gatherings

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that law enforcement officers across New Jersey have ramped up enforcement efforts over the past week by filing criminal charges against violators of the Governor’s Executive Orders (or “emergency orders”), including hundreds of offenders in Newark, where the Newark Police Department deployed a large COVID-19 task force. “Last week, I said we were done with warnings and would take strong law enforcement action against anyone who failed to heed the Governor’s COVID-19 related emergency orders,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “This crackdown will continue until everyone gets the message that they need to stop these violations, which are putting lives at risk, including the lives of the law enforcement officers who are striving courageously each day to protect us during this emergency. I especially want to commend Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and Chief Darnell Henry, as well as the men and women of the Newark Police Department, for their extraordinary efforts to protect the residents of Newark and this state. Their work and the work of all our dedicated officers is saving lives.” “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” During the past nine days, law enforcement agencies across New Jersey took the following actions to enforce the Governor’s COVID-19 related Executive Orders: 

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 416 summonses for violation of the emergency orders and ordered 24 non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions by their between March 30 and April 1.
  • Joseph Figueroa, 18, Hailey Leavens, 19, Alejandra Aguirre-Lopez, 22, Itayezci Pena-Noyola, 22, and Isais Pena, 20, all residents of Atlantic City, except Leavens, who lives in Mays Landing, were arrested on April 2 on second-degree weapons charges and violations of the executive orders after a loaded .38-caliber revolver was found in their vehicle during an investigation and motor vehicle stop by the Atlantic City Police Department.
  • Craig O’Neill, 42, of Gloucester City, was charged on March 28 in Gloucester City with violating the emergency orders and trespassing at a business, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Edward Montero, 33, of Bridgeton, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for holding a health supplement sales presentation at a gym with over 10 people.
  • Rama Igbarra, 36, of Clifton, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for opening the business he manages, Bobby’s Discount Home Furnishings store in Orange, N.J., after police warned him that the store had to be closed.
  • Matthew Shrewsbury, 34, of Milford, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, risking widespread injury, and endangering another person.  He allegedly became combative with staff at Hunterdon Medical Center, where he was taken following a motor vehicle accident.  Shrewsbury allegedly removed a protective surgical mask from his face, yelled and coughed at nurses and other staff, and threatened to spit on nurses and patients.  He allegedly said he had COVID-19 and did not care if he gave it to others.
  • Wade Jackson, 54, of Ewing, was charged on March 28 with obstruction of administration of law and violation of the emergency orders for holding a party with a DJ and nearly 50 guests inside his one-bedroom apartment in Ewing.
  • Willi Rojas, 42, of Woodbridge, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for opening his barbershop in Woodbridge to customers.
  • Joseph H. Benigno, 56, of Holmdel, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders for holding an auction with 15 to 20 people at a warehouse in Edison.
  • Steven P. Cato, 20, of Edison, was charged on April 1 with terroristic threats during an emergency, obstruction, resisting arrest, three counts of aggravated assault on an officer, and criminal mischief.  When police were called to his house for a domestic incident, he allegedly coughed at officers and claimed to have COVID-19.
  • Juan Ocampo-Quiceno, 29, of Wharton, was charged on April 1 with violating the executive orders for opening his business, Mine Hill Sports Complex in Wharton, after he was warned to close it.  Police found youths playing soccer and men lifting weights at the facility.
  • Christian Enriquez, 29, of North Plainfield, was charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders.
  • Anekia Dawkins, 35, of Morristown, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders.
  • Anthony J. Lodespoto, 43, of Matawan, allegedly sent messages through social media threatening to attack Jewish residents in Lakewood with a baseball bat.  He was charged on March 26 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency.
  • William J. Katzenstein, 39, of Lakewood, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for holding a wedding with 20 to 30 people in his backyard.
  • Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, of Lakewood, were charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders and five counts of child neglect for holding a bat mitzvah with 40 to 50 adults and children outside their home.
  • David Gluck, 48, and Abraham Haberfield, 32, of Lakewood, were charged on March 30 with maintaining a nuisance for holding a gathering of approximately 35 males in a school facility that Gluck owns and Haberfield manages.
  • Yaakov Kaufman, 47, and Eti Kaufman, 45, of Lakewood, were charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders and six counts of child neglect for holding an engagement party at their home with a large number of adults and children.  Thirteen adult guests also were charged with violating the emergency orders.
  • Samuel Manheim, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and 16 other individuals were charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders for attending an outdoor funeral in Lakewood.  Manheim was also charged with hindering apprehension for initially refusing to identify himself to police.  Approximately 60 to 70 people were present for the funeral.
  • Ephraim Adler, 42, and Sarah Adler, 18, of Lakewood, were charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for opening the Brooklyn Southwest clothing store in Lakewood to customers.  A sign on the door stated “Maximum of 50 People.”
  • Nathan Kline, 66, of Lakewood, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for illegally selling alcohol out of a rental truck in a residential neighborhood where more than 10 people were present.
  • Rafael Medina, 21, Robert Feliz, 18, Edwin Valera, 25, Miguel Lopez, 22, and Angel Gonzalez, 18, were charged on March 31 with disorderly conduct for violating the emergency orders after police stopped the vehicle in which they were riding in Passaic.
  • Joyce Billings, 59, of Columbia, was charged twice by police for opening her business, Post Time Pub in Blairstown, in violation of the emergency orders.  She was charged with obstruction on March 27 and violation of a law intended to protect public health on April 2.
     
  • Jacqueline Maltese, 48 of Hackettstown, was charged on April 2 with simple assault and filing a false police report.  During a domestic violence incident, Maltese repeatedly yelled at officers that she had tested positive for COVID-19.  That was not true.
  • Louis A. Nunez, 52, of Manalapan, was charged on April 2 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency and throwing bodily fluid at an officer.  As he was being booked at the Monmouth County Jail on an unrelated matter he became belligerent and allegedly threated to spit on a corrections officer, stating he had the coronavirus.

 While a number of defendants identified above were also charged with indictable offenses that carry greater penalties, violations of the Governor’s emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense that carries a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  In addition, earlier this week, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendants Cato and Nunez are similarly charged for their conduct against law enforcement officers.  If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.