Category: Ocean County

2020 BlueClaws, Minor League Baseball Seasons Cancelled

July 1, 2020

LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–The BlueClaws shared the unfortunate news today that the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, and with it the 2020 BlueClaws season, has been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is news that we had hoped we wouldn’t have to share, but unfortunately we will not be playing baseball at the Jersey Shore this summer,” said BlueClaws Team President Joe Ricciutti.

This decision was made with the interests of fan, player, coach, and staff safety at the forefront.

“We understand and cherish our place as a much-needed outlet for fun and entertainment across our communities, but we also understand and support the need to prioritize the public health crisis,” said Art Matin, the managing partner of BlueClaws ownership group Shore Town Baseball.

BlueClaws ticket package holders will be contacted by staff members to go over their options. Additionally, BlueClaws ticket staff members will coordinate with group leaders that have booked 2020 outings as well. Those that have tickets as part of a group outing should wait to hear from their group leader directly.

Communication from BlueClaws staff members will begin on Wednesday morning, and the team asks that ticket holders be patient as the BlueClaws work through outreach on an individual basis.

“We thank each of our ticket package holders and group leaders for their patience while we waited for a resolution,” said Ricciutti. “This has been a trying time for us all and we want to make sure that each ticket holder hears directly from the BlueClaws.”

2020 was to be the 20th season in BlueClaws history with much planned to celebrate. The team will shift many of these 20th season promotions into 2021.

“We are already working on making 2021 the biggest and most exciting season in team history,” said Ricciutti. “We’ll just celebrate our 20th season and our 20th anniversary all together!”

Matin added: “The BlueClaws have many amazing fans and partners and we appreciate each and every one of them. We had lots of plans to celebrate our 20th season this year. Our message is simple – we want everyone to stay healthy and we can’t wait to open the gates and welcome people from across the Jersey Shore for some family entertainment and great baseball.”

A 2021 BlueClaws schedule has not yet been released. The team will announce their 2021 schedule, complete with the 2021 Opening Night, when available.

FirstEnergy Park executive offices remain closed to the general public as of today, though staff is working remotely. Please check BlueClaws.com and the team’s social media channels for additional information.

The BlueClaws are the Jersey Shore’s top stop for affordable, family entertainment and have drawn 7.7 million fans to FirstEnergy Park since their 2001 inception.

BREAKING: Joe Pop’s Shore Bar And Restaurant Closes For Summer 2020 Will Return 2021

June 30, 2020

SHIP BOTTOM, NJ (OCEAN)–A summer favorite Joe Pop’s Shore Bar and Restaurant announced via Facebook they are going to close for the rest of 2020 and will return for the 2021 season. Where will we see The Nerds play the rest of the summer and summer closing party Labor Day Weekend?

WANTED: Ricardo Cruickshank, 26 of Jackson For Narcotics And Other Charges

Narcotics Investigation

June 25, 2020

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–On the morning of Thursday June 25, 2020, detectives assigned to the department’s Special Enforcement Unit concluded an investigation into the allegation of narcotics sales.

At approximately 5:00 am, a search warrant was executed at a Westlake Court residence and during the subsequent search, cocaine, marijuana, a marijuana plant and hydroponic growing materials; paraphernalia along with a .25 caliber handgun were seized. The subject of the investigation was not home at the time of the search.

Ricardo Cruickshank (pictured), age 26 of Jackson was charged on complaint warrants which were signed by the investigating detectives. He was charged with: possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm while involved in controlled dangerous substance sales, certain persons not to possess a firearm and possession of a defaced firearm. He is currently entered as a New Jersey wanted person.

Anyone with information about Mr. Cruickshank’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Jackson Police Department at 732-928-1111 or through the department’s Stop It app.

– The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

Tilton Fitness Powered by Hackensack Meridian Health Closes Doors For Good

June 24, 2020

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Tilton Fitness Powered by Hackensack Meridian Health will be permanently closing due to the COVID-19 restrictions on gyms.

Locations were: Jackson, Manahawkin, Northfield-Egg Harbor, Hazlet, Edgewater, Galloway, Brick and prior to COVID-19 was scheduled to also open in Atlantic City.

Below is a letter to members of the clubs:

https://www.tiltonfitness.com/

Dear Tilton Fitness Members,

I am writing to share some difficult news. Tilton Fitness Powered by Hackensack Meridian Health will be permanently closing its doors on July 1, 2020.

Unfortunately, like other fitness centers across the country, our facilities have been hit hard by the mandatory closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing us to make this difficult decision. I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you for your loyalty to the Tilton Fitness organization over the years and to our hard-working staff who worked tirelessly to support you on your health and wellness journey.

At Tilton Fitness, we have always prioritized our members and guests. We were committed to changing people’s lives by promoting total health and wellness and providing the best customer experience possible. Our seven fitness centers serving roughly 20,000 members represent a lifetime of effort and devotion. As you might imagine, this announcement is heartbreaking. You are as much of a part of our life as Tilton Fitness was part of yours. You have our deep and sincere appreciation.

Some of you may have questions regarding your membership. Please understand that it will take some time for us to respond to all inquiries. To the extent that you have any questions or concerns, we will be providing you the contact information of the individual who will be assigned to oversee the orderly dissolution in the next few days.

I have always believed we are more than a gym — we are a community. A community I deeply care for. A community I will sadly miss.

Sincerely,

Sam Young
President and CEO
Hackensack Meridian Fitness & Wellness

Jackson Township Man Charged With Murder

June 20, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Jackson Township Police Chief Matthew Kunz announced that Jshawn Cutler, 23, of Jackson, has been charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), in connection with the death of Isaiah Renouf, also 23, of Jackson. Additionally, Cutler was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d, and Burglary in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2a(1).

On June 19, 2020, Jackson Township Police responded to a 911 call from a residence on Connor Boulevard in reference to an individual with a stab wound. Responding Officers found Isaiah Renouf on the floor of the residence with a large wound to his chest. Lifesaving measures were attempted at the scene; Mr. Renouf was then transported to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus, where he succumbed to his injuries. A post-mortem examination by the Ocean County Medical Examiner determined the cause of Mr. Renouf’s death to be a stab wound to the chest, and the manner of death to be a homicide. A subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Jackson Township Police Department and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that Mr. Renouf and Jshawn Cutler had an altercation at the Connor Boulevard residence, where Cutler stabbed Mr. Renouf – causing his death. Cutler was later apprehended during a motor vehicle stop by the Lakewood Township Police Department. He is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Kunz would like to acknowledge the cooperative assistance of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Jackson Township Police Department, Lakewood Township Police Department, Pemberton Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this very thorough investigation. “Outstanding teamwork was exhibited today by all the law enforcement officers and agencies involved in this investigation,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “This horrendous crime was solved so swiftly thanks to the hard work and determination of these fine men and women in blue. Through their efforts, a very dangerous person has been removed from the streets of Ocean County. Now, our focus is to ensure that justice is done for Mr. Renouf,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

The press and the public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Jackson Police Identify Homicide Victim

June 19, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Jackson Township Police Chief Matthew Kunz announced that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Jackson Township Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit are currently investigating a homicide that occurred overnight in Jackson Township. Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Kunz want to emphasize that there is no immediate danger to the public.

The victim has been identified as Isaiah Renouf, 23, of Jackson Township. This investigation is ongoing and more information will be released as it becomes available

Trooper Rescues Occupants from Sinking Vessel in Point Pleasant Canal

June 16, 2020

POINT PLEASANT, NJ (OCEAN)–Sergeant Michael Krauchuck, of the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau, rescued three occupants from a sinking vessel in the Point Pleasant Canal.

On Sunday, June 14, at approximately 5:08 p.m., troopers from the Marine Services Bureau Point Pleasant Station were dispatched to the report of a 26-foot boat sinking in the Point Pleasant Canal in Point Pleasant Boro, Ocean County.

Based on the preliminary investigation, the boat began to take on water while traveling in the canal. A good samaritan who was nearby helped transfer five occupants from the boat to land, while the operator and two other occupants stayed on board in an attempt to get the boat to a nearby dock. Due to the rough conditions, they were unable to prevent the boat from taking on more water.

Within minutes of the initial call, Sergeant Michael Krauchuck responded to the scene and secured the sinking boat to his State Police vessel. While attempting to pull the boat to the nearby dock, Sgt. Krauchuck realized that they would not make it, because the boat was taking on water too rapidly. As a result, Sgt. Krauchuck helped pull the three occupants onto his vessel and cut the lines before the boat sank.

All of the occupants were transported back to Point Pleasant Station for a medical evaluation by EMS. There were no reported injuries.

Sgt. Krauchuck’s quick and decisive actions may have helped prevent a tragedy.

Rep. Smith: Passenger restrictions on NJ Shore for-hire fishing boats lifted

Six-foot social distancing must be maintained

June 15, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Congressman Chris Smith, whose Fourth Congressional District includes several popular Jersey Shore fishing basins including Belmar, Brielle and Point Pleasant, welcomed the decision, effective today, to lift the COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number of anglers permitted on charter and head boats, as long as all anglers adhere to 6’ social distancing protocols.

    “This could not have come a moment too soon.  While overdue, this is still great news,” said Rep. Smith, who has been pushing hard for healthy, safe and economically-sound reopening of the Jersey Shore fishing boat industry.

     “Unfortunately, anglers have missed the beginning of fluke season, but the original relief of 25 passengers and now the unlimited access, gives this critical industry, as well as the related businesses such as bait & tackle shops, a fighting chance to recover more quickly and fully. I want to thank Governor Murphy for lifting these restrictions and re-opening this vital part of the Shore economy.”  

The COVID-19 quarantine has been especially hard for the for-hire fishing boats, many of which operate for only eight to ten months a year. Losing the months of March, April, May and half of June has been financially devastating.

      On May 16, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 146 allowing up to 10 total passengers on party boats.  However, sailing with less than a dozen paying passengers was not economically viable for the party boats, some of which can hold over 100 passengers.  On May 22—the opening day of fluke season—the number of passengers was raised from 10 to 25. 

 “This decision does not allow the boats to run at full capacity due to social distancing requirements, but it will allow those in the fishing industry to earn a living and feed their families,” Smith added.

     According to Smith, in addition to the party boat fleets in Belmar, Brielle and Point Pleasant in his congressional district, there are also party fishing boats in Atlantic Highlands, Barnegat, Sea Isle City, Ocean City, Cape May and Fortesque.

     In addition to advocating for the safe and economically-sound re-opening of the for-hire fishing industry, Smith has also supported federal emergency programs—such as the Paycheck Protection Program—to help the fishing industry, as well as tens of thousands of other small businesses in New Jersey, sustain operations while battling the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Black Lives Matter: New Egypt Warriors Against Racism

June 14, 2020

PLUMSTED TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–New Egypt Warriors Against Racism, Black Lives Matter protested today in town. The event started at 11:30 am on Front Street and moved to Main Street at 1 pm.

Protesters could be seen and heard on Main street from the traffic light at Jackobstown Road to Church Street as they moved though town.



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BREAKING: Body Found Floating In Barnegat Bay Below The Rt. 37 Mathis Bridge

TOMS RIVER (OCEAN)–At approximately 11:28 AM police units were dispatched to the south side of the Mathis Bridge for reports of a body floating in the water. The female victim was found to be deceased upon police arrival. The Ocean County Sheriff Department CSI Unit, NJ State Police Marine Unit, and Ocean County Medical Examiner also responded to the scene. The investigation is ongoing at this time.


Whale Off Seaside Park Breached Surface And Lands On Boat, Boat Now Beached

June 8, 2020

SEASIDE PARK, NJ (0CEAN)–From Friends Of Seaside Park:

Happening now: a whale breached the surface and landed on a boat only a few dozen yards off D Street. The boat is now beached on the shores. We saw the whole thing unfold.

Update:
For those asking, both occupants are okay they were both thrown from the boat. The 🐋 whale kept swimming and breaching. From our view, the whale is totally fine. Appeared to be a humpback.

For those asking for a time frame, it happened around 11:50 am and it was on the trailer at around 3:30pm.

Also it’s World Oceans Day!!!

Traffic Advisory For Saturday: Possible Protest On LBI Bridge Could Cause Traffic Issues

Follow Stafford Township Police Social Media Including Facebook Here

June 4, 2020

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–See official police information about a possible protest over the LBI bridge on Saturday. Follow their Facebook page and plan your traffic route accordingly.

The Stafford Township Police Department is well aware of the upcoming protest march scheduled for this Saturday over the LBI Bridge. We appreciate everyone reaching out to us, and all of your concerns. Our number one priority is everyone’s safety and well being. As a department, we fully support the first amendment rights of the protesters, and we are taking every precautionary measure to ensure this is a peaceful protest march. Please follow our social media sites for accurate information. Thank you in advance for everyone’s cooperation. #staffordpolice

FBI Seeking Information on Individuals Inciting Violence During First Amendment-Protected Peaceful Demonstrations

June 2, 2020

The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution is dual and simultaneous, not contradictory.
 
Accordingly, we are committed to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law. The continued violence, potential threat to life, and destruction of property across the United States interferes with the rights and safety of First Amendment-protected peaceful demonstrators, as well as all other citizens.
 
To help us identify actors who are actively instigating violence in the wake of Mr. George Floyd’s death, the FBI is accepting tips and digital media depicting violent encounters surrounding the civil unrest that is happening throughout the country.
 
If you witness or have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant to the case at fbi.gov/violence.
 
You may also call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) to verbally report tips and/or information related to this investigation.

Lakewood, NJ Man And Utah Man Indicted For $8 Million Credit Card Fraud

May 29, 2020

NEWARK, NJ—A grand jury today indicted two men, one from Ocean County, New Jersey, and the other from Utah, with carrying out a fraudulent scheme to obtain credit cards in the names of third parties, make purchases on the cards to generate rewards points, monetize the points, and cancel the purchases.

Aharon Lev, a/k/a “Aaron Lev,” a/k/a “Aron Lev,” a/k/a “David Gold,” a/k/a “David Monroe,” 33, of Lakewood, New Jersey, and Timothy Gibson, 43, of Lehi, Utah, are charged by indictment with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Lev is also charged by indictment with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Lev was previously charged by complaint and released on bond to Israel; he is required to return to New Jersey by June 9, 2020, to be arraigned on the indictment. Gibson will make his initial appearance at a date to be determined.

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

From August 2014 through May 2016, Lev recruited individuals to give him their personally identifiable information, such as names and Social Security numbers, which Lev used to open numerous small-business accounts in their names with the victim credit card company. With Gibson’s assistance, Lev then used those accounts to make purchases that generated rewards points, which could be redeemed for frequent-flyer miles with various airlines. Once the points were issued, Lev cancelled the purchases and sold the points to Gibson, who resold them to third parties for use as miles to purchase airfare. Over two years, the scheme cost the credit card company more than $8 million in fees paid to the airlines for acceptance of points for miles.

Each charge of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, restitution, and forfeiture. Each charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, to be served consecutive to any sentence on the wire-fraud and conspiracy charges.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and postal inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James Buthorn, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Point Pleasant Beach Set For Reopening

May 27, 20202

POINT PLEASANT, NJ (OCEAN)–Point Pleasant Beach is set for reopening, see message from the mayor below:

A message from the Mayor of Point Pleasant Beach:

Following the success of a very safe Memorial Day weekend, the Borough of Point Pleasant Beach is now ready to move forward with a broader reopening.

This morning, the Mayor, Chief of Police, Borough Administrator and Head of Public Works toured the boardwalk with business owners and their security personnel to make final decisions on the logistics needed for social distancing. At this meeting, it was determined that the proper pieces were in place for an opening of our boardwalk and northern beaches on Friday May 29th.

Opening up corridors on the boardwalk was ultimately deemed to be counterproductive to public safety and therefore all barriers will be removed accordingly.

Our Police Department has taken steps to ensure additional resources in order to handle this in a safe and orderly fashion. They have increased their numbers and will be at full seasonal strength within a few weeks.

Private businesses will be doing their part by providing social distancing ambassadors along the portions where they service customers. Hand sanitizing stations have been set up at every beach access point and signage will be going up shortly.

Rides, games and amusements remain closed by order of the Governor. Restaurants will be open for takeout only.

To accommodate this opening, on Friday May 29th parking restrictions will be partially scaled back to allow for private and public lots to be opened. The following Friday, June 5th, they will be repealed completely.

The inlet parking lot will be returned to normal operations effective Wednesday, May 27th. Guests must maintain a proper 6 foot distance at all times while fishing or conducting other activities.

Like every decision we make, these measures are subject to change if the COVID-19 situation does. We encourage all guests to take social distancing very seriously and help us create the safest environment on the Jersey Shore.

Paul M. Kanitra
Mayor

Lawrenceville Man Charged with CDS Distribution

May 26, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (0CEAN)–On Friday May 22nd at 1926 hours, detectives were concluding an investigation into suspected narcotics activity and conducted a stop with a 1997 Nissan and the 53 year old male driver at the WaWa located on North County Line Road. The investigation resulted in the search of the vehicle and recovery of 2 bricks of heroin, several grams of crack cocaine and a quantity of marijuana.

The driver, who was identified as Eric Veale of Lawrenceville, NJ was charged with: possession of heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled dangerous substance while operating a motor vehicle. He was processed and released on summons pending a court appearance. The vehicle was seized and is pending forfeiture.

The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

Jackson Township Police Press Release https://www.facebook.com/Jackson-Police-Department-259431950745755/

1,000+ Turn Out To Open NJ Rally In Point Pleasant

May 25, 2020

POINT PLEASANT, NJ (OCEAN)–Organizers reported that a crowd of over 1,000 showed up today for the Open NJ’s “Freedom March of NJ” rally held in the Pt. Pleasant Beach Municipal Parking Lot next to Little Silver Lake. Residents, business owners, veterans, and politicians talked about the importance of reopening New Jersey and protested against Phil Murphy’s executive orders closing most state businesses.


Murder Suspect Apprehended In Houston Texas

May 21, 2020

See previous story here: WANTED: Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, Charged With Murder

BRICK, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Brick Township Police Chief James Riccio announced that on May 20, 2020, Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, 48, of Brick Township, a fugitive from justice charged earlier this week with the Murder of Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus, was apprehended in Houston, Texas by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshals Service, and Houston Police Department. “It is our understanding that Gavilanez-Alectus traveled to Houston, from New York City by bus,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

On May 18, 2020, a warrant for Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus’ arrest was issued after an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit determined that she was responsible for the death of Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus, 32, also of Brick, on May 17, 2020. Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus was ultimately tracked down and taken into custody by law enforcement in Houston Texas, and is presently lodged in the Harris County Jail pending extradition to Ocean County.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Riccio would like to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department, Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, New York Police Department, United States Marshals Service, and Houston Police Department for their collective assistance in taking Gavilanez-Alectus into custody. “I am extremely grateful for the support of our Federal law enforcement partners, as well as our law enforcement partners in in Houston Texas,” stated Prosecutor Billhimer. “It is extremely satisfying when law enforcement works together and we are able to get a dangerous person like Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus into custody. We will immediately begin extradition proceedings to bring Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus back to Ocean County to answer for these charges. Justice for Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus weighs heavy on all of our minds,” the Prosecutor concluded.

The public and media are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law

Justice Department Sues Jackson Township Over Restrictions On Religous Schools And Housing That Target Orthodox Jewish Community

May 20, 2020

JACKSON TOWNSHIP (OCEAN) AND NEWARK, NJ – The Justice Department today announced that it filed a lawsuit against Jackson Township, New Jersey, and the township planning board alleging they implemented zoning ordinances that intentionally restrict the operation of religious schools and housing associated with such schools, including religious boarding schools known as yeshivas, required by the Orthodox Jewish community.

The complaint alleges that the township passed two ordinances, and the planning board applied those ordinances in a manner that discriminated against the Orthodox Jewish community, in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Both ordinances expressly prohibit dormitories throughout Jackson, making it impossible for religious boarding schools such as Orthodox Jewish yeshivas to establish there. Although Jackson passed these ordinances to prevent dormitories anywhere in Jackson, the planning board has since approved, without requiring a variance, the plans for two nonreligious projects with dormitory-type housing.

“Religious discrimination has no place in our society and runs counter to the founding principles of our nation,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. “No religious community should ever face unlawful barriers or be singled out for inferior treatment. This complaint reflects our continued commitment to combat discrimination and unequal treatment.”

“Using zoning laws to target Orthodox Jewish individuals for intentional discrimination and exclude them from a community is illegal and utterly incompatible with this Nation’s values,” Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said. “Let me be clear. The Department of Justice will use the full force of its authority to stop such anti-Semitic conduct and prevent its recurrence.”

The complaint also alleges that the township and planning board enacted the ordinances with respect to religious dormitories against a backdrop of extreme animus by Jackson residents and township decision makers toward the Orthodox Jewish community and a movement by residents to keep Orthodox Jewish community members from settling in Jackson. The complaint alleges that the township and planning board’s actions towards the Orthodox Jewish community violate RLUIPA’s non-discrimination and equal terms provisions, as well as the FHA.

RLUIPA is a federal law that protects religious institutions from unduly burdensome or discriminatory land use regulations. In June 2018, the Justice Department announced its Place to Worship Initiative, which focuses on RLUIPA’s provisions that protect the rights of houses of worship and other religious institutions to worship on their land. More information is available at www.justice.gov/crt/placetoworship

In July 2018, the Department of Justice announced the formation of the Religious Liberty Task Force. The Task Force brings together department components to coordinate their work on religious liberty litigation and policy, and to implement the Attorney General’s 2017 Religious Liberty Guidance.

Individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination in land use or zoning decisions may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339 or the Civil Rights Division Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at (800) 896-7743, or through the U.S. Attorney’s civil rights complaint portal or the complaint portal on the Place to Worship Initiative website. Information about RLUIPA, including questions and answers about the law and other documents, may be found at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/rluipaexplain.php

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Horan Florio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Unit, and Trial Attorney Beth Frank, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section.

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Six Flags Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure to Open May 30, 2020

Park Will Implement Advance Reservations and New Safety Procedures

May 20, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (0CEAN)–Six Flags Great Adventure announced today that its Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure will open May 30 and operate daily from 9 am to 4 pm, weather permitting. Advance tickets and reservations are required, and the experience will incorporate new safety procedures for both guests and team members. Active Members, Season Pass holders and employees can catch a special preview May 29.

Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure will take guests on a self-guided journey through 1,200 exotic animals from six continents. From the safety and privacy of their own vehicles, guests will slowly wind through 11 simulated natural habitats seeing animals such as giraffes, elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, bears and baboons. While most animals roam freely in the safari, predators are safely kept behind fences. All animals are clearly visible from car windows. Guests can learn all about the animals and their habitats on the park’s website at www.sixflags.com/safari

The safety of guests, team members and animals is Six Flags’ top priority. The new safari journey will offer a contact-free experience. All safari tickets must be purchased online and in advance. Ticket sales will not be available at the gate. To prevent overcrowding and provide proper social distancing, the safari will require all guests to make advance reservations using Six Flags’ new online reservation system. Active Members, Season Pass Holders, and single-day ticket holders can make reservations beginning May 27 at 10 am EST at www.sixflags.com/reserve. Guests without advance reservations will not be allowed to enter.

A new list of safety requirements is available on the park’s website at www.sixflags.com/greatadventure and include keeping all windows, doors, and convertible tops closed; not feeding or touching the animals; no smoking, littering, or stopping; cars, SUVs and consumer pickup trucks with empty beds only – no buses, campers, RVs, commercial vehicles or trucks larger than a consumer pickup truck; maximum speed of 5 mph and maintaining safe distance between other cars and animals. All vehicles will be inspected prior to entering the safari, rules will be enforced throughout the journey by park staff, and anyone who violates the rules will be ejected from the park without a refund and possibly prosecuted.

As a safety precaution, all Six Flags employees will be temperature and health screened each day, and wear masks and gloves where appropriate. Per current state regulations, no additional services will be available. Six Flags encourages guests to plan accordingly for restroom breaks, gasoline, and food. Only portable toilets will be available upon entrance and exit. 

Six Flags Great Adventure’s safari operated as a self-drive-through experience from 1974 through 2012 and entertained more than 10 million guests. Since 2013, Great Adventure has offered guided truck tours of the safari. Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure will operate until the theme park is able to reopen. Per state, local, and federal guidelines regarding COVID-19, the theme park and waterpark will remain closed until further notice.

Lakewood Man Charged With Terroristic Threats And Other Charges At Dollar General In Jackson

May 20, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Monday May 18, 2020 at 6:22 pm, Police Officers Matthew Jamison, Ryan Gladysz and Jody Benecke responded to the Dollar General located in Manhattan Street Plaza on the report of a disorderly person. It was reported that there was a male inside the store who had removed a face mask he had been wearing and then was refusing store employee’s requests to put it back on while he was also purposely touching other customers inside the store.

Officers located the male inside the store and had him go outside to speak with him. As they attempted to obtain his name, he refused multiple times to provide them with the information, claiming he did not have to and was from another state and did not have identification on him. When advised he was detained and needed to provide identification, he turned around and placed his hands behind his back and told the officers to arrest him. He was told he was under arrest and as the officers went to handcuff him, he pulled away and ran from the officers. He was caught after a short foot pursuit and then a struggle ensued as he refused to allow the officers to place handcuffs on him. After gaining control of his hands, the officers were able to handcuff him and a search then revealed his New Jersey driver’s license which identified the male.

The male then refused to cooperate with officers to be seated inside the patrol vehicle for transport to headquarters as he struggled with their attempts to seat him inside the vehicle and seatbelt him. He was then able to maneuver his hands from behind his body and get them to the front while seated.

While being processed at headquarters, the male continued to yell profanities at the officers while also threatening to assault them. During this time, he then spit directly into Officer Jamison’s face and claimed that he had the Coronavirus. The male was secured in a holding cell and it was soon observed that he placed the mattress from the cot over the camera to obstruct the view, and then began to use the toilet to flood the cell as water was observed coming from under the door. He was then secured in another room where he continued to yell obscenities at the officers, spit all over the room and cough at officers as they attempted to continue to process him while claiming to have the Coronavirus. For unknown reasons, he then disrobed and took his clothes off and sat in the room naked.

Arrested:

Marquise Cadet, age 26 of Lakewood, NJ. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted and approved the following charges: obstruction, resisting arrest, hindering apprehension, 4th degree aggravated assault (throwing bodily fluids at law enforcement officers while in performance of their duties) and 2nd degree terroristic threats (made during a state of emergency).

As officers from the oncoming patrol shift prepared to transport Mr. Cadet to the Ocean County Jail, it was discovered that he was able to free himself from the transport belt in the rear of the patrol vehicle. This required the officers to have to remove him from the vehicle, where he again refused to comply and struggled with them, and re-secure him for the transport to the jail, where he was eventually lodged. Mr. Cadet’s actions also required an immediate cleaning and disinfecting of the cell block area where he was processed.

– The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

Ewing Man Charged With CDS With Intent To Distribute In Jackson

May 20, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday May 19, 2020, Police Officer Stephen Cilento was on patrol on Cassville Road when he observed motor vehicle violations regarding a 2011 Hyundai being operated on the roadway. As he followed the vehicle, a lookup of the vehicle license plate indicated that the vehicle registration and registered owner’s driver’s license were both suspended. He then conducted a motor vehicle stop with the vehicle.

As the officer approached the vehicle, he detected the odor of marijuana coming from the interior and observed two small children in the rear seat, one of which was not properly secured in a child’s car seat. While speaking with the occupants, it was determined that the male owner of the vehicle was in the passenger seat and a female was operating the vehicle.

Other officers arrived on scene and a search was conducted of the vehicle which resulted in the seizure of paraphernalia and several baggies of marijuana. A bag which had been in the male passenger’s possession was found to contain a large quantity of small bags of marijuana which appeared to be packaged for sale along with a quantity of baggies of cocaine which were also packaged for sale.

The male passenger was placed under arrest at this time and the female driver was issued motor vehicle summonses for: obstructed view, failure to wear a seatbelt, driving with a suspended registration, failure to use proper child restraint, possession of a controlled dangerous substance while operating a motor vehicle and failure to exhibit a valid driver’s license. The vehicle was impounded and she was released at the scene with the children after she was able to arrange for someone to pick her up. DCPP was later contacted to follow up with this incident.

The male was transported to police headquarters where he was processed.

Arrested: Andrew Angus, age 35 of Ewing, NJ. He was charged on a summons complaint with: possession of marijuana (greater than 50 grams), possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was then released pending a court appearance.

– The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

WANTED: Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, Charged With Murder–Update: Apprehended in Texas

UPDATE APPREHENDED IN HOUSTON TEXAS!!!

May 19, 2020

BRICK, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Brick Township Police Chief James Riccio announced that Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, 48, of Brick Township has been charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1) in connection with the death of Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus, 32, of Brick Township. Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus was also charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d, and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d. Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus is not currently in custody and is currently a fugitive.

On May 17, 2020, Brick Township Police were summoned to a residence on Creek Road for a report of an unresponsive female. Upon arrival, Officers found the lifeless body of Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus in an upstairs bedroom of the residence. On May 18, 2020, the Ocean County Medical Examiner performed a post-mortem examination of Ms. Gavilanez-Alectus’ body, and determined the manner of her death to be a homicide. A subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that both the victim and the defendant resided at the Creek Road address. The investigation further revealed that a cylindrical container used for the purpose of chilling wine was utilized in the commission of the murder. The injuries sustained by Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus were consistent with the implementation of this item. Further investigation ultimately determined that Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus did, in fact, cause the victim’s death. A warrant for the arrest of Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus has been issued.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Riccio would like to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department, Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Marshals Service, for their cooperative assistance in this investigation. “Great teamwork by all of the respective law enforcement agencies and officers involved in this investigation. Our focus now is to find Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus and bring her into custody. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus should contact Detective Ken Steinberg of the Brick Township Police Department at 732-262-1113 or Detective John Carroll of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit at 732-929-4760, ext. 3964,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
The public and media are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law

Lakewood Woman Missing

LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–The New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit and the Hillsdale Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with locating Dale Murberg, 66, of Lakewood Township, N.J., Ocean County. Ms. Murberg was last seen, April 18

Suspicious Death Investigation In Brick

May 17, 2020

BRICK, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Brick Township Police Chief James Riccio announced that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office are currently investigating a suspicious death in Brick Township. At approximately 12:00 p.m. today, Brick Township Police were summoned to 28 Creek Road. Upon arrival, Brick Township Police Officers discovered a deceased female. This is an active and ongoing investigation. There is no immediate danger to the public at this time.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

Charter Fishing And Watercraft Rentals Reopen Today

May 17, 2020

BELMAR, NJ (MONMOUTH)– Yesterday Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 146 to reopen charter boat fishing and watercraft rentals. You can view details in yesterday’s story here.

This morning at 7:30 am, one and a half hours after the covid-19 chartered fishing ban was lifted the Golden Eagle heads out of the Shark River Inlet fishing for striped bass and blues. It appears that most everyone had masks on and well spaced on the boat.

Chartered Fishing And Watercraft Rentals To Resume Tomorrow

May 16, 2020 UPDATED AT 7:20 PM to include executive order and additional information provided by the Governor’s Office

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Murphy is expected to sign an executive order today to allow reopening of fishing charters and other chartered boating serviced, this will also include watercraft rentals. The executive order will take effect May 17, 2020 at 6 am. Once we receive the executive order will will post it here.


Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order to Reopen Charter Fishing and Watercraft Rental Businesses

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 146, which allows charter fishing services and for-hire vessel activities, as well as watercraft rental businesses, to open with required social distancing measures. These businesses can open on Sunday, May 17 at 6 am.“Reopening charter fishing services and watercraft rental businesses restores an extremely important component of our Shore economy.” said Governor Murphy. “The social distancing measures that we are putting in place will ensure that these businesses can sustain themselves while still adhering to public health guidance.”Charter fishing services and for-hire vessels will be allowed to reopen to the public so long as they adopt policies that include:

  • reduced capacity to no more than 10 people on a vessel at any one time;
  • electronic or telephone reservation and payment systems;
  • no make-up or open boat trips;
  • social distancing measures on the vessels and in waiting and boarding areas, including demarcation and signage;
  • prohibiting sharing of fishing equipment, bait, and gear;
  • limiting the use of nets or gaffs to the crew;
  • infection control and hygiene practices;
  • providing sanitization materials to passengers and crew;
  • frequent sanitization of vessel and high-touch areas;
  • The crew and passengers must wear a mask while aboard the vessel;
  • prohibiting food and beverage service; and
  • briefing all passengers prior to embarking on social distancing, capacity limits, and hygiene requirements.

Watercraft rental businesses will be allowed to reopen so long as they adopt policies consistent with the “curb-side pickup” restrictions that apply to retail establishments pursuant to Executive Order No. 142.
Copy of Executive Order No. 146


” I will sign an EO allowing for the resumption of:
🎣Fishing charters and other chartered-boat services
🛶Watercraft rentals

This Order will take effect tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM.

We will require specific social distancing and sanitation measures to be followed.”

Lakewood and Burlington Among List of COVID-19 Stay At Home Orders This Week

May 16, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced enforcement actions from the past week, including coughing and spitting assaults and noteworthy violations of Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders.  The Attorney General also announced enforcement actions targeting price-gouging, consumer fraud violations, and alcoholic beverage control violations. “We’re cracking down on those who jeopardize public health and undermine public safety,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We have zero patience for those who spit on cops, gouge prices, or try to exploit this pandemic for their personal gain.” “Although law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, we are ultimately winning the war because of the extraordinary resolve and fortitude of New Jersey citizens who are doing their part day in and day out, abiding by the executive orders and sacrificing for the greater good,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action.” 

Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order, and Ordinance:

  • Antwan Strickland, 20, of Roebling, Jemir Jones, 21, of Mount Laurel, and Rashaun Turner, 33, of Burlington Township were charged May 14 with violating the emergency orders after Burlington Police responded to a report of a dozen people gathered in the back yard of an abandoned home in Burlington city. Strickland, Jones and Turner were previously warned by police in connection with several similar incidents involving large gatherings. In addition, Strickland and Jones were among four people charged with violating the emergency orders and other disorderly persons offenses in Burlington city on May 10.
  • Chan Kwon, 49, of Perth Amboy, N.J., was charged on May 13 with violating the emergency orders by operating a non-essential business. Kwon owns a beauty supply store in Perth Amboy. The May 13 incident was the second time Kwon has been charged with violating the emergency orders. He received a summons on May 5 under similar circumstances.
  • Yisrael Knopfler, 44, of Lakewood, N.J. was charged with violating the emergency orders and other disorderly persons offenses on May 11 in connection with an incident that began when police found him hosting a gathering of more than 10 people in his back yard, where a tent was set up. Upon the officers’ arrival, a group of approximately 20 men approached and began yelling at them. Host Knopfler allegedly became verbally aggressive and uncooperative with the police and, at one point, made physical contact with an officer.
  • Chaim Oestreicher, 52 and Sarah Oestreicher, 49, of Lakewood, were cited on May 11 after police arrived at their home to find approximately 15-to-20 people gathered in the back yard next to an uncontained fire.
  • Chaim Gutman, 37, was cited on May 11 with violating the emergency orders after police responded to a report of loud music and found a band playing on the deck at his home before a crowd of between 50 and 100 people.
  • Miran Lee, 45, of Passaic, N.J., was charged on May 12 with violating the emergency orders and risking/causing widespread injury (4th degree) after police found her massage business – New Asian Massage – open and serving customers. On two prior occasions, Lee was issued summonses for violating the emergency orders by operating the same non-essential business and failing to practice social distancing. 
  • Mohammad Bahar, 42of Cliffside Park, N.J., was charged on May 12 with violating the emergency orders by operating a non-essential retail business — S&S Furniture Gallery in Irvington. Bahar, the store manager, was cited after police observed the store open and operating with customers inside.
  • Diana Ron, 38, of Union, N.J. and Dunia Mora, 59, of Irvington, N.J. were both cited for violating the orders on May 11. Ron owns Antojito’s Restaurant in Irvington, while Mora is the restaurant’s manager. Both received a summons after police observed that the bar/restaurant was open for business on May 11 and serving alcoholic drinks to customers inside the establishment.
  • James Robyn, 69, of Chester, N.J., was charged with violating the orders on May 11 after police found his retail pool and hot tub store open for business, with multiple customers shopping inside. Robyn was reportedly warned two weeks ago that the store could not be open. He was charged with violating the emergency orders by operating a non-essential business
  • Rami Jabara, 45, of Little Ferry,  N.J., was charged by the Paterson Police Department on May 10 with violating the emergency orders for opening the jewelry store he owns, Jerusalem Jewelry on Main Street.  Officers found the store open with customers inside shopping, despite the fact that Jabara was warned by police the day before for opening the non-essential business.
  • Sergio J. Moya Jr., 27, of Jersey City, was charged by the Port Authority Police Department on the night of May 8 with resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense), disorderly conduct (petty disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders. Moya allegedly harassed ticket agents at Newark Airport and refused to leave. 

Jersey Shore Beaches Will Be Open For Memorial Day Weekend With Restrictions

May 14, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy has announced: “The Jersey Shore will be open in time for Memorial Day Weekend, with social distancing guidelines in place. The Shore is central to our Jersey identity and we want to ensure that families can safely enjoy it this summer.”

Restrictions include:

  1. Capacity and admission limitations.
  2. Six feet demarcations in certain areas.
  3. Public outreach campaign on social distancing restrictions.
  4. No special events.
  5. Sanitization requirements.
  6. Playgrounds, rides, arcades, games, water fountains, picnic areas, and water play equipment will remain closed.

NJ Salutes Fly Over Honoring Frontline Workers Today

May 12, 2020

See previous MidJersey.news story: New Jersey Air National Guard To Conduct “NJ Salutes” Flyover To Honor COVID-19 Frontline Workers Tuesday

MILLSTONE-UPPER FREEHOLD-EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER/MONMOUTH)–As seen from the East Windsor Cemetery, three F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 177th Fighter Wing and a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 108th Wing fly over Millstone, East Windsor and Upper Freehold Townships as part of the NJ Salutes Fly Over honoring frontline workers in the COVID-19 battle.

The first to be seen at 11:40 am was the large KC135R Stratotanker as it made its way from the Freehold direction and turned over the “Robbinsville” FAA beacon on the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area then proceeded north towards Cranbury to continue the mission. Three F-16 Fighting Falcons were following the tanker.

Photo gallery below: