Category: Jackson

Update: Remote 204 Acre “L-Field” Wildfire Contained In Jackson

July 10, 2020

See yesterday’s MidJersey.news story here: Jackson Brush Fire Creates Smoke Haze And Fallout In Area

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has reached 100% containment of the 204-acre wildfire in a remote area of the Colliers Mill Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township.

As expected, significant rainfall today from Tropical Storm Fay assisted containment efforts.

All crews have been released from the wildfire scene. There were no injuries and no structures were in danger.

A Forest Fire Service pilot flying over the area Thursday afternoon spotted smoke and reported the fire.

Dancer stands with New Jersey Outdoor Alliance On Wildlife Management Area Closings


See related MidJersey.News stories here: Assunpink, Stone Tavern, Rising Sun And Prospertown Lakes Shut Down, Not Just The Boat Ramps As “Restricted” Areas July 6 to 27, 2020

Prospertown And Assunpink Boat Ramps “Restricted” Due To State Employee Furloughs


TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Outdoor Alliance took a major hit this week when Governor Phil Murphy decided to close many of the wildlife management areas due to budgetary constraints. The organization released a statement on Murphy’s actions, saying that it makes no sense to furlough land management staff since they are paid by profits made from the users of the parks and license fees. 

Assemblyman Ron Dancer agrees with the NJOA and called on Governor Murphy to reconsider these latest rounds of closures.

“Our park systems continue to get the short end of the stick,” stated Dancer (R-Ocean). “After fighting for weeks to get the parks to reopen, now Gov. Murphy restricts public access to the outdoor wildlife management areas.  We cannot continue to allow the misuse of fees paid for fishing and hunting licenses that are dedicated to keep open, manage and maintain our wildlife management areas as pointed out by the NJOA.”

This isn’t the first time the group has challenged Murphy on his executive orders.  For weeks, NJOA repeatedly called on Murphy to reopen parks which eventually led to the reopening of state parks.  

Jackson Brush Fire Creates Smoke Haze And Fall Out In Area

SEE UPDATED STORY HERE: Update: Remote 204 Acre “L-Field” Wildfire Contained In Jackson

July 9, 2020

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–The New Jersey Forrest Fire Service unit B-9 requested a helicopter for observation of a forest fire in a remote area of Colliers Mills around 2:45 pm. Additional units from around the area were called to fight the fire that was found deep in a wooded area of Collier’s Mills.

Firefighters set up a staging area on Route 528 in the Cassville section of town at St. Monica Catholic Church and the firefighters entered the wooded area from there.

Smoke from the fire could be observed for miles and debris and ash landed as far as Upper Freehold and Robbinsville. Ash was witnessed falling on I-195 this afternoon. Several residents in the area called local fire departments to report a smoke condition in the area.

It appears that the fire is contained and smoke in the area has dissipated.


Jackson Police Facebook report: The State Forest Fire Service and Jackson Police are working in the area of West Veteran’s Highway between Cassville Road and N. Stump Tavern Road for a woods fire in the state wildlife management area that is just about contained. Please use caution in the area as there are a number of apparatus moving in and out of the wooded areas. In addition, depending on wind conditions, there may be a smoke condition affecting travel through the area.

Assunpink, Stone Tavern, Rising Sun And Prospertown Lakes Shut Down, Not Just The Boat Ramps As “Restricted” Areas July 6 to 27, 2020

These are some of the most popular fishing lakes in the Mid Jersey region that have been shut down. Even Govenor Phil Murphy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe talked about how great of an activity fishing is and being able to practice social distancing during COVID-19 briefings.

July 8, 2020

See earlier MidJersey.News story here: Prospertown And Assunpink Boat Ramps “Restricted” Due To State Employee Furloughs

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, MILLSTONE, (MONMOUTH), JACKSON, (OCEAN), NJ — Earlier today MidJersey.News has e-mailed the Division of Fish & Wildlife asking for a “clarification” on the “restricted areas” e-mail and what it means other than what is indicated on the website.


Late this afternoon MidJersey.News acting on a tip that entire lakes are shut down not just “boat ramps” as indicated on the State of NJ, Division of Fish & Wildlife’s web page. (see screen shots below)

MidJersey.News is perplexed trying to figure out why these particular lakes were targeted as “restricted” and shut down due to furloughs. There are no life guards since swimming is not allowed, no fees, no guard shack like at state parks, wildlife management areas are carry-in carry-out for trash = no trash pick up, emergency services such as EMS and rescue are handled by local fire companies and first aid squads, police matters are handled by NJ State Police. The wildlife management areas are low maintenance and are not labor intensive.

Fishing is a “great social activity” and using that 6 foot fishing pole is a great way to measure social distancing while out fishing. Now NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife has closed some of the most popular fishing lakes in the Mid-Jersey region a great activity that is COVID-19 compliant.

Even Govenor Phil Murphy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe talked about how great of an activity fishing is and being able to practice social distancing, see below transcript from March 31, 2020:

TRANSCRIPT: March 31th, 2020 Coronavirus Briefing Media

Commissioner of Environmental Protection Catherine McCabe:

“If you love to fish, a great social activity, we have good news for you. I shouldn’t say a great social activity – I actually meant to say a great solo, not social. Trout season will open ten days early tomorrow, Wednesday April 1st, for catch and release only. This is to help us to help you maintain safe social distance while fishing. We’ve released the state-raised trout early to disperse them before fishing season opens so that you can disperse, too as you move out to catch them, instead of everyone gathering around the hatchery on day one of Trout Season, which is traditional.

If you find others gathered at your favorite fishing hole, consider trying a new location this year. The fish have moved out and you should, too. And at a minimum, please spread out to at least the required six-foot social distance. Conveniently, this is the typical length of a fishing pole so it should be easy for you to measure. And for better fishing you’ll probably want more distance anyway. If someone gets too close to you, have a friendly conversation about that six-foot distance or find another spot.

So, please do feel free to go out there and get some exercise and enjoy yourselves, whether in a park or a forest or along a fishing stream. But please, please be responsible and remember that social distancing is absolutely essential to keeping you, your families and our communities safe, and to help us all flatten the curve of this serious viral outbreak. Thank you.”

Governor Phil Murphy:

“And the notion also, to be able to go outside and get some fresh air in a responsible way has to be a part of what our plan is about.”

“So, I just want to reiterate, whether it’s fishing on that six-foot pole, which I think is a great way to think about it, or outside walking, hiking, jogging, please, please, please keep your distance. Thank you. Again, it’s great having you and thank you for everything you do. And Sean, nice to have you with us as well.”


According to the NJ DEP, Division of Fish & Wildlife, The Wildlife Management Area System web page as currently posted as of 7/8/2020 it indicates that Assunpink: “Main Lake Boat Ramp” “Rising Sun Boat Ramp” “Stone Tavern Boat Ramp” “Shotgun and Archery Range” Prospertown Lake: “Main Lake Boat Ramp” Collier’s Mills: “Shotgun, Archery and Rifle Ranges”


The website does not indicate that the entire lake system would be shut down but signs and barricades as seen below indicate differently:

Entrances to Assunpink Lake, Stone Tavern Lake, Rising Sun and Prospertown Lake all closed as seen below, all lakes are labeled “Restricted Area” and closed:

Prospertown And Assunpink Boat Ramps “Restricted” Due To State Employee Furloughs

See list of other “restrictions” at Wildlife Management Areas throughout the state including range “restrictions” at Assunpink and Colliers Mills below:

SEE UPDATED STORY HERE: Assunpink, Stone Tavern, Rising Sun And Prospertown Lakes Shut Down, Not Just The Boat Ramps As “Restricted” Areas July 6 to 27, 2020

July 8, 2020

UPPER FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Due to temporary state-mandated employee furloughs, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish & Wildlife is temporarily restricting access to some Wildlife Management Areas throughout the month of July.

New Jersey State Government employee furloughs are underway for the month of July as a result of agreements reached between the State and public employee unions to address the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife manages the state’s Wildlife Management Areas, and is authorized to limit access to these areas in order to protect public health, safety, and the environment during this time pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.26.

For a list of Wildlife Management Areas affected by the temporary access restrictions, visit https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/wmas.htm

Due to state-mandated employee furloughs, access to the following Wildlife Management Areas is restricted through July 27:

WMA Specific Area
AssunpinkMain Lake Boat Ramp
AssunpinkRising Sun Boat Ramp
AssunpinkStone Tavern Boat Ramp
AssunpinkShotgun and Archery Range
Belvidere Boat LaunchBelvidere Boat Launch
Black RiverShotgun Range
Clarks PondBoat Ramp
ClintonShotgun Range
ClintonArchery Range
ClintonRifle Range
Colliers MillsMuzzleloader and Archery Ranges
Flatbrook Shotgun and Archery Ranges
GreenwoodParkers Pit
Ken Lockwood GorgeKen Lockwood Gorge
Higbee BeachThree (3) Primary Parking Areas
Jakes Landing (Dennis Creek)Boat Ramp
Makepeace LakeShooting Range
Malibu BeachMain Parking Lot
Malibu BeachSmall Triangle to North of Main Parking Lot
ManchesterJeffrey’s Branch Area
Menantico PondsBoat Ramp
Millville Shooting Range
Pequest Archery Range
Prospertown LakeMain Lake Boat Ramp
Rainbow LakeBoat Ramp
Rieglesville Boat LaunchRieglesville Boat Launch
Round Valley Boat Ramp
Salem RiverBoat Ramp
Shaws Mill PondBoat Ramp
Spicers CreekBoat Ramp
Stafford ForgeShotgun, Muzzleloader and Archery Ranges
TuckahoeArchery Range
TuckahoeImpoundements, Corbin City and Tuckahoe
Tuckahoe Boat Ramp
Union LakeBoat Ramp
White OakPonds
Wildcat RidgeSplit Rock Reservoir
Winslow EastPonds

NJ Board of Nursing Temporarily Suspends Certification of Homemaker-Home Health Aide Charged with Criminal Sexual Contact Against 84-Year-Old Patient in Jackson Twp Assisted Living Facility

Action Comes as Division Focuses on How Professional Boards Address Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by Licensees

July 7, 2020

Filed Orders:

Edwards https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200622_26NH13812500.pdf

De Gonzalez https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200702_26NH17216200.pdf

De Fernandez  https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200615_26NH16790500.pdf

Llanes  https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200521_26NH10139400.pdf

Dornelus https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200521_26NH10179200.pdf

Protas https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200213_26NH10594800.pdf

Pade https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200213_26NH10164200.pdf

Dungee https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200129_26NH16121200.pdf

NEWARK – Continuing its commitment to protecting the elderly from abuse at the hands of their caretakers, and addressing sexual misconduct and abuse by licensed professionals, the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) today announced the temporary suspension of a certified homemaker-home health aide (“CHHA”) charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact against an 84-year-old patient at an Ocean County long-term care facility where the CHHA worked. 

Michael A. Edwards, a.k.a. Michael A. Donaldson, 32, of Manchester, was arrested on May 21 after his employer, Sunrise Senior Living facility in Jackson, told police that another employee caught Edwards inappropriately touching an elderly woman in her room at the facility. His employment at the facility has been terminated.

Edwards is one of eight CHHAs sanctioned by the State Board of Nursing (“the Board”) this year following arrests for crimes allegedly committed on or off the job. In a Consent Order filed by the Board on June 22, Edwards agreed to the temporary suspension pending the outcome of his criminal case.

His suspension comes as the Division, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, undertakes a sweeping review of how its 51 professional boards  — which oversee approximately 720,000 active licensed professionals, from accountants and doctors to plumbers and veterinarians — address allegations involving the sexual misconduct and abuse of licensees and applicants.

The review, which is currently underway, will include evaluations of whether boards should ask additional questions on license applications, how boards approach investigations and discipline, and how boards engage with complainants alleging sexual misconduct and abuse by a licensee or applicant.

“It’s an egregious abuse of trust when any licensee sexually preys on a patient or client, but it is especially heinous when the victim is an elderly individual under their care,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The actions announced today underscore both the need for our professional boards to remain vigilant in protecting vulnerable patients, as well as the importance of the review they are presently undertaking to better protect victims and hold licensees accountable for their actions.”

 “We take all allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by licensees seriously, especially when they involve patients or clients in positions of vulnerability,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “It is to protect victims in cases like these that we are committed to undertaking this review of how professional and occupational licensing boards handle allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse.”

Since January, the Board has also filed Orders against the following CHHAs charged with crimes:

  • Yolanda A. Penalo De Gonzalez, 40, of Hackensack. De Gonzalez’s certification was temporarily suspended on June 29 pending the outcome of criminal charges filed against her in connection with an alleged knife attack on her husband during a domestic dispute on March 14, 2020.  De Gonzalez is charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, and domestic violence. The incident was unrelated to her employment.
  • Josefina Milagros Brito De Fernandez, 49, of Camden. De Fernandez’s certification was temporarily suspended on June 15 pending the outcome of criminal endangerment charges stemming from her care of an 80-year-old woman during the COVID-19 public health crisis, which the Office of the Attorney General announced on May 15. De Fernandez allegedly defied health officials’ orders to self-isolate over fears she may have contracted the coronavirus, and instead continued caring for her elderly charge without wearing a face mask or other personal protective equipment.  The woman and four other people living in the household later contracted COVID-19. The elderly woman was subsequently hospitalized and died.
  • Emma Llanes, 57, of North Bergen. Llanes’ certification was permanently revoked on May 21 after she pled guilty to endangering another person in connection with her mistreatment of a 90-year-old bedridden patient she cared for in the woman’s Clifton home. Llanes was arrested in May 2019 as a result of incriminating video showing her slapping the elderly woman’s legs, grabbing her by the neck and shoving her head forward, and otherwise mistreating her. The footage was captured by a hidden camera the victim’s family borrowed from Division’s Safe Care Cam program.
  • Myrlande Dornelus, 41, of Elizabeth.  Dornelus’ certification was temporarily suspended on May 21 pending the outcome of murder and related weapons charges in connection with an alleged incident involving an elderly patient. Dornelus is accused of fatally stabbing Anna Pollard, a 62-year old woman she was caring for in the woman’s Elizabeth home on April 13, 2020.
  • Oleg Protas, 53, of Marlton. Protas’ certification was permanently revoked on February 13, after he pled guilty to criminal sexual contact in connection with a 2017 incident involving a female acquaintance. Protas’ certification had been temporarily suspended by the Board pending the outcome of the criminal charges against him. The incident was unrelated to his employment.
  • Adeola S. Pade, 53, of Plainsboro. Pade’s certification was temporarily suspended on February 13 pending the outcome of criminal charges stemming from a hit and run accident that killed a pedestrian in East Windsor in December 2019. Pade was charged with knowingly leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, and other related offenses. The incident was unrelated to her employment.
  • Elizabeth H. Dungee, 33, of Roselle.  Dungee’s certification was temporarily suspended on January 29 pending the outcome of criminal charges in connection with the theft of a patient’s credit card. Dungee was working at Brightview Senior Living in Warren in October 2019 when she allegedly stole a credit card from a resident and used it to make $240 worth of fraudulent charges. Warren Township police arrested Dungee on December 4, 2019 and charged her with credit card fraud and credit card theft in connection with the alleged incident.

Investigators with the Enforcement Bureau within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted investigations in these cases.

Deputy Attorney General Shirley Dickstein of the Consumer Affairs Counseling Section of the Division of Law is representing the State in these matters.

For more information about the Division’s Safe Care Cam, or to learn how to apply for a camera, visit the Consumer Affairs website at https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/SCC.

Patients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed health care professional in an inappropriate manner can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 973-504-6200 to request a complaint form.

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

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/

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.

20-144

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.

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.

Trespassing At Six Flags Great Adventure Safari

April 17, 2020

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Trespassing Complaints

Recently JPD officers have had to respond to multiple reports of people trespassing onto Six Flags Great Adventure property along Reed Road. Some of those incidents have been:

On Sunday April 12, 2020 at approximately 1431 hours, officers responded to Reed Road on a report of people along the fence line. Responding officers located a family on bikes riding along Reed Road, which is an unpaved, township road. Officers did not observe anyone at the fence line trespassing on SFGA property which would fall under the petty disorderly persons offense of defiant trespassing and since the in presence requirement of the officers observing the offense was not met for them to legally issue a summons, the subjects were warned and SFGA representatives were contacted and advised they could sign complaints if they so chose.

The responding officers also considered the Governor’s Executive Order 107 which advises residents to stay at home or at their place of residence unless they are leaving for the following reasons: (exception) “walking, running or engaging in outdoor activities with immediate family, caretakers, household members or romantic partners” and E.O. 108 which states that no county or municipality may adopt or enforce any restrictions going forward related to: “any general restrictions on freedom of movement”. As this was a single family riding bikes on a public roadway, and other passing vehicles observed and not a party or social gathering as prohibited by E.O. 107, the subjects were advised of social distancing and no summonses were issued, which would have to be authorized by the Ocean County Prosecutors Office as related to violations of the Executive Order.

On Thursday April 16, 2020, officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle on Reed Road and trespassing on SFGA property. During this investigation, a 49 year old male was observed trespassing on property and claimed he went there to see the animals. He was issued a summons for defiant trespassing and released at the scene pending a court appearance.

Also on April 16th, the agency received information on 2 male subjects who were captured on SFGA security cameras, climbing over the fence and entering the safari property where they potentially could have risked coming into direct contact with the safari animals. This incident reportedly took place on Tuesday April 14th at approximately 1759 hours and the males were inside the safari for approximately a half hour before leaving. Anyone with any information on helping identify these subjects is asked to contact the Jackson Police Department at 732-928-1111 or through the department’s StopIt app online. Photos of the male subjects involved in this incident are included with the release.

We recommend that residents observe the Governor’s Executive Orders and stay at home, but if you do go outside, please remember to socially distance yourself from others. If going out, please do not trespass onto Six Flags Adventure Property (or any others), as the park is closed at this time. There will be additional patrols in the area and officers will investigate and evaluate each instance independently, keeping in mind the Executive Orders and Constitutional Rights and complaints will be signed when warranted.

A link for information on Executive Orders 107 and 108 is attached in the comments of this release. Thank you to all of our residents for your support and cooperation as we all deal with this current health crisis.

– 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.

Captain Steven Laskiewicz
Investigations Division Commander
Jackson Police Department
April 17, 2020

AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan Urge New Jerseyans to Stay Safe and Healthy This Holiday Weekend by Staying Home and Maintaining Social Distance

Issue Daily Update on Charges Filed Against Violators of Governor’s COVID-19 Orders

April 10, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today urged New Jersey residents to stay home and stay safe this holiday weekend, reminding them that law enforcement will be continuing to strictly enforce Governor Murphy’s emergency orders for social distancing. “It will be hard this holiday weekend to miss loved ones and forego traditional family get-togethers, but it is absolutely critical that we all stay home and maintain social distance,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “There are indications that these measures are indeed flattening the curve of this pandemic in the U.S., but if we let our guard down now by traveling for holiday gatherings, more lives will be put at risk.  The vast majority of New Jerseyans are doing the right thing by following the emergency orders.  As for the few violators, we will continue to hold them accountable with strong enforcement efforts this weekend.  I urge you to support our courageous officers, who are on the frontlines of this battle, by not creating more work and risks for them during the holidays.” “This holiday weekend is traditionally a time for many New Jersey residents to come together for religious services and family gatherings, but we are not currently living a traditional lifestyle,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “It is imperative that we continue to work together to practice social distancing and travel only when necessary. These preventative measures are proving to be effective, but we must stay the course to ensure the safety of everyone as we continue to move in the right direction towards flattening the curve.” Attorney General Grewal and Colonel Callahan announced the following recent enforcement actions against violators of Governor Murphy’s Emergency Orders related to COVID-19: 

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 51 summonses for violations of the emergency orders in enforcement actions yesterday, April 9.
  • Neil Shah, 27, of Edison, Bunnarith Sou, 38 of North Plainfield, Sedrick Dale Holland, 38, of Tunica, Miss., and James J. Ehrig, 25, of Rahway, were each charged with violating the emergency orders by opening Black Diamond Billiards on Route 22 West for business in Union Township yesterday evening, April 9.  Shah is the owner and the other men are employees.  Approximately 10 patrons were on the premises.  They exited when police arrived.
  • Frank Fredricks, 30, of Jackson, was charged by the Howell Police Department on April 6 with shoplifting (3rd degree), reckless endangerment (disorderly persons offense), and violation of the emergency orders.  Police responded to the Lowe’s home improvement store in Howell, where Fredericks and two other individuals were being detained by Lowe’s employees for allegedly stealing more than $2,000 worth of power tools.  During transport to police headquarters, Fredericks told the officers he had tested positive for the coronavirus.  He had been to other Lowe’s stores with his codefendants earlier in the day.
  • Jihad A. Hayes, 32, of Newark, was charged yesterday, April 9, by the Roselle Police with receiving stolen property (3rd degree), disorderly conduct for violating the emergency orders, and possession of marijuana (disorderly persons offense). Police were called to a supermarket after Hayes, while wearing a mask, allegedly told shoppers he had the coronavirus.  There is no indication Hayes spit or coughed at anyone or threatened to do so.  Hayes left the store before officers arrived, but he was stopped in a U-Haul truck that had been stolen out of Newark.
  • Elliot Taylor, 25, of Newark, Regina Anderson, 23, of Newark, and Nygeama J. Lamar, 24, of East Orange, were charged last night by the Union Township Police Department with five counts of burglary (3rd degree), five counts of theft (disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders.  Defendants allegedly entered five different parked, unoccupied motor vehicles on Kenneth Avenue in Union Township and stole various items.
  • Mario Reyes-Ramirez, 34, of Milltown, was charged with violating the emergency orders on April 1 by the Milltown Police Department after he allegedly was involved in a hit and run accident and charged with DWI.  He had driven to a friend’s house, where he had been drinking.
  • Timothy Grant, 38, of Pemberton Township, was charged last night with violation of the emergency orders after he was stopped outside last night, April 9, by the Pemberton Township Police Department.  He had received a prior warning about violating the emergency orders.
  • Aquan Reed, 29, of Trenton, was charged yesterday, April 9, by the Trenton Police with trespassing and violation of the emergency orders, both disorderly persons offenses.  Reed had been warned about loitering on a property posted no trespassing and being outside without a legitimate purpose under the emergency orders.  He was charged after returning to the location.
  • Kai Anderson, 27, of Trenton, was charged on Wednesday evening, April 8, by the Trenton Police with violating the emergency orders.  Police approached three males on Walnut Avenue at about 6:30 p.m. and advised them they should not be outside because of the emergency.  Two of the males dispersed, but Anderson refused to leave, saying it was not curfew time.
  • Eric Amanfo, 35, of Hamilton, was charged by the Trenton Police on Tuesday, April 7, with violating the emergency orders.  He was with a group of persons loitering in the 200 block of Spring Street with open containers of alcoholic beverages. The group dispersed when advised about the emergency orders, with the exception of Amanfo, who refused to leave.

 Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses. Police have charged a number of persons with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency for claiming to have COVID-19 and threatening to infect law enforcement officers or others by coughing, spitting, or otherwise exposing them.  That charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. 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. 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. 

NJ Wildlife Management Areas Open But Practice Social Distancing-Don’t Ruin It For Others

April 9, 2020

Wildlife Management Areas are currently open for hunting and fishing. We want to keep it that way, so we need YOU to observe proper social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to practice safe social distancing at all times!

Be safe. Be smart. Keep your distance and keep our Wildlife Management Areas open!

For more information visit www.njfishandwildlife.com

#newjerseyfishandwildlife

Congressman Smith Working to Bring Home Americans Trapped in Peru

March 24, 2020

In an urgent phone conversation Saturday, March 21st with U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Krishna Urs, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the Ambassador to reach out to U.S. citizens and reassure those spread-out across Peru that they have not been forgotten nor abandoned.

There are reportedly 5,000 Americans trapped in Peru needing the immediate assistance of the U.S. government in order to get home,” said Smith, who has been contacted by more than a dozen travelers with New Jersey roots.

The Administration has been working on some limited options, but we are asking the State Department to raise the bar and expand their efforts to include chartering planes or using military aircraft.”

Seven hundred Americans, including some from my district, are stuck in parts of Peru, such as Cusco, which is 11,000 feet above sea level where air quality is thin and a strict curfew is enforced.  It’s time to let these Americans and their worried families in the U.S. know that their country will employ more resources to bring them home safely,” Smith said.

In addition to speaking with the Ambassador, Smith has been working with State Department officials for several days. A human rights leader in the Congress, Smith has written three letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlining the location and needs of the New Jersey residents and others desperate for assistance to come home.

 “I ask your assistance in prioritizing the evacuation from Peru of these and other Americans by any appropriate, practicable and timely manner, including the chartering of private or commercial aircraft or the utilization of military planes,” Smith said in his March 20th letter in which he named specific Americans needing assistance.

Smith also led a letter cosigned by two additional members of the Foreign Affairs Committee which said in part “Amid the press of so many concerns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, we appreciate the efforts undertaken thus far on behalf of our citizens abroad, but nonetheless ask that you reassure trapped Americans and their families that their needs are being prioritized.”

Americans in Peru and elsewhere around the globe should know that we are doing everything we can to reunite them with their loved ones,” he said.

According to news reports, on March 15 the Peruvian government abruptly announced it would close

all borders, effective March 16, subsequently issuing a 15-day quarantine. It later announced that March 22 would be the final day the country would allow official flights to repatriate foreign visitors before the country closed all borders, effectively trapping many Americans and other international visitors in the South American nation. Further repatriation efforts require diplomatic intervention, something Rep. Smith is urging our Ambassador and State Department to prioritize.

Ocean County Health Department Reports First COVID-19 Death And 48 Cases

March 19, 2020

4:30 pm update: 48 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Ocean County

OCEAN COUNTY, NJ — It is with great sadness and our deepest condolences to the affected family and friends that the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is reporting our first COVID-19-related death in Ocean County. This is the ninth death in New Jersey since the COVID-19 outbreak began in late 2019.
The Ocean County Health Department is not releasing the individuals municipality of residence at this time. The decedent is a person who was high risk based on age with underlying medical conditions.
Please look for daily COVID-19 case counts at www.ochd.org beginning on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 4:30PM. The OCHD website will be updated each evening with updated statistics as we learn them.

Covid-19 Total Cases (48) In Ocean County:

Total as of Thursday 3/19/2020 at 4:30pm

Town NameNumber of Cases
Barnegat2
Barnegat Light0
Bay Head0
Beach Haven0
Beachwood0
Berkeley2
Brick1
Eagleswood0
Harvey Cedars0
Island Heights0
Jackson5
Lacey0
Lakehurst0
Lakewood26
Lavallette0
Little Egg Harbor1
Long Beach Township0
Manchester3
Mantoloking0
Ocean Gate0
Ocean Twp. (Waretown)0
Pine Beach0
Plumsted0
Point Pleasant Beach0
Point Pleasant Borough1
Seaside Heights0
Seaside Park0
Ship Bottom0
South Toms River0
Surf City1
Stafford2
Toms River4
Tuckerton0
 Total Positive Cases: 48 

Ocean County Health Department Reports 10 New Positive Cases Of COVID-19

March 18, 2020


The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is reporting that 10 new positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Ocean County. The additional individuals bring the total number of positive COVID-19 cases to 16 in Ocean County as of March 18, 2020.

Below is a list of towns and the current total number of cases:
Berkeley: 2 Cases
Jackson: 2 Cases
Lakewood: 4 Cases
Little Egg Harbor: 1 Case
Manchester: 3 Cases
Point Pleasant Borough: 1 Case (Earlier reports erroneously identified this case from Point Pleasant Beach)
Toms River: 2 Cases
Surf City: 1 Case

Total Cases in Ocean County: 16 Cases as of March 18, 2020
Please look for daily COVID-19 case counts at www.ochd.org beginning on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 4:30PM.

Governor Murphy, Governor Cuomo, and Governor Lamont Announce Regional Approach to Combatting COVID-19

March 16, 2020

The three States will limit crowd capacity for recreational and social gatherings to 50 people – effective by 8 PM tonight 

Restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery only effective 8 PM tonight

Movie theaters, gyms and casinos will temporarily close effective 8 PM tonight

Uniform approach to social distancing will slow spread of COVID-19 throughout the tri-state area

PRESS RELEASE FROM GOV. MURPHY’S OFFICE: TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Amid a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a regional approach to combatting the novel coronavirus – or COVID-19 – throughout the tri-state area.

These uniform standards will limit crowd capacity for social and recreational gatherings to 50 people, effective 8 PM tonight. This follows updated guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued yesterday recommending the cancellation or postponement of in-person events consisting of 50 people or more.

The three governors also announced restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery services only. These establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. These measures will take effect at 8 PM tonight.

Finally, the three governors said they will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms and casinos, effective at 8 PM tonight. 

This uniform approach to social distancing is meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. 

Governor Murphy said, “With all we are seeing in our state – and across our nation and around the world – the time for us to take our strongest, and most direct, actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now. I’ve said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family. But if we’re all in this together, we must work with our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn’t just up to some of us, it’s up to all of us.”

“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa. I have called on the federal government to implement nationwide protocols but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves.”

Governor Lamont said, “The only way to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19 is by working together as states. We have shared interests, and a patchwork of closures and restrictions is not the best way forward. I know that because of this collaboration, we will save lives.” 

Census 2020 Survey Is Arriving By Mail

March 13, 2020

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—The 2020 Census count is underway and I received my invitation by mail today. As per the instructions I logged onto My2020census.gov and entered my code Census ID Code. There were some very basic questions of who was living in the home and birthdays. It was one of the easiest census forms I have ever completed and took less than two minutes to complete from start to finish, even though it says it could take an average of 10 minutes to complete.

The Census is counted every 10 years and many things from voting districts, financial aid, Federal, State and Local government services and more use this government data. A response is required by law and should be very easy to complete if you have received the invitation from United States Census Bureau.

Frequently asked questions of the Census Bureau:

  1. What is the 2020 Census?The goal of the census is to count every person living in the United States, once, only once and in the right place. Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that this population and housing count occur every 10 years. Census data guide how more than $675 billion of federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year.
  2. Am I required to respond to the 2020 Census?Yes, you are required by law to respond to the 2020 Census (Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 141 and 193). We are conducting the 2020 Census under the authority of Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 141, 193 and 221. This collection of information has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The eight-digit OMB approval number is 0607-1006. If this number were not displayed, we could not conduct the census.
  3. Are my answers confidential and private?Yes. The Census Bureau is required by law to protect your information. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. Per the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015, your data are protected from cybersecurity risks through screening of the systems that transmit your data. All web data submissions are encrypted in order to protect your privacy.Title 13 of the U.S. Code protects the confidentiality of all your information. Violating the confidentiality of a respondent is a federal crime with serious penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Only authorized individuals have access to the stored data, and the information you provide to the Census Bureau may only be used by a restricted number of authorized individuals who are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of your individual responses. Your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.For more information about how we protect your information, please visit our website at census.gov and click on “Data Protection and Privacy Policy” at the bottom of the home page. This page also includes information about the collection, storage, and use of these records. Click on “System of Records Notices (SORN)” and look for Privacy Act System of Records Notice COMMERCE/CENSUS-5, Decennial Census Program.
  4. Who should complete the 2020 Census questionnaire?This 2020 Census questionnaire should be completed by the person who owns or rents the living quarters or any other person who is at least 15 years of age with knowledge of the household.
  5. How do I change my answers?For questions where you must choose a single response from a list, clicking another response will change your answer to that response.If it is a “select all that apply” question, you may click on a selected check box to unselect the box and remove it as one of your answers.
  6. How long will the 2020 Census questionnaire take?The Census Bureau estimates that completing the questionnaire will take 10 minutes on average.
  7. How will the Census Bureau use the information I provide?By law, the Census Bureau can only use your responses to produce statistics.
  8. Is it safe to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire online?Yes. For each online questionnaire, we are required to provide an explanation to respondents about the confidentiality of the data and the laws that protect those data (e.g., Title 13, U.S. Code Section 9 (a)).Per the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015, your data are protected from cybersecurity risks through screening of the systems that transmit your data. All web data submissions are encrypted in order to protect your privacy, even in the remote chance that your responses are intercepted.More information on this topic can be found on the Data Protection and Privacy Policy webpage (http://www.census.gov/privacy/).
  9. Will the results be published?Yes. By law, the Census Bureau can only use your responses to produce statistics. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. The Census Bureau plans to make results of this study available to the general public. Results will be presented in aggregate form and no personally identifiable information will be published.Information quality is an integral part of the pre-dissemination review of the information disseminated by the Census Bureau (fully described in the Census Bureau’s Information Quality Guidelines at https://www.census.gov/about/policies/quality/guidelines.html). Information quality is also integral to the information collection conducted by the Census Bureau and is incorporated into the clearance process by the Paperwork Reduction Act.
  10. Do I have to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire for my household members?Yes, you will be asked to provide information for each household member.

Prescribed Burns Today

March 8, 2020

March 8, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service will be conducting prescribed burning operations in the following areas.

DIVISION B

Monmouth County
– Howell – Allaire State Park
– Millstone – Assunpink Wildlife Management Area
Ocean County
– Eagleswood – Sahara Sands
– Jackson – Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area

DIVISION C

Cape May County
– Upper – Belleplain State Forest
– Upper – Peaslee Wildlife Management Area
Cumberland County
– Vineland – Peaslee Wildlife Management Area
– Maurice River – Peaslee Wildlife Management Area

This schedule is weather dependent and subject to change.

If in doubt about the source of smoke or fire, call 9-1-1 or 877-WARN-DEP (877-927-6337).

More information about prescribed burning can be found here: https://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2019/19_0029.htm

2020 NJ-4th District Congressional Art Competition Open to High School Students

March 3, 2020

HAMILTON, N.J. (MERCER)– It’s not too late for high school students to sign up for the national 2020 Annual Congressional Art Competition hosted locally by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) for Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean students who live in the Fourth Congressional District he represents.

   The deadline for entry is March 13 for current high school student artwork recently completed, or works specifically created just for the competition, that meet the originality, suitability, size and other entry guidelines of the national competition. Click here for 2020 rules of entry, entry forms, a list of towns in the Fourth District and other important information.

   “Every year the artwork submitted by the students is impressive,” Smith said. “It is encouraging and inspiring to see such a high level of artistry being pursued by our students and fostered by art teachers in the Fourth Congressional District. Three professional judges, whose artwork will also be on display, will pick the winners.”

   The artwork entered into the competition this year will be displayed and open to the public at the Lake Front Gallery of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton (RWJ-Hamilton) from March 31, 2020 through May 1, with winners announced at the end of the show. Last year the nearly 70 entries represented a variety of styles and mediums.

  The judges are dedicated, experienced local artists who have roots in the community.

Every year the Congressional Institute sponsors this national high school visual 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.

    Students who place will receive ribbons and all participants are presented with congressional certificates.

Student artwork will on be display during normal hospital visiting hours at the RWJ-Hamilton Lakefront Art Gallery located in the Tower on the first floor mezzanine, directly above the café and gift shop area. RWJ-Hamilton is located at One Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton, NJ, Mercer County.

   To enter a piece of artwork or for more information, call Smith’s Constituent Service Center at (609) 585-7878.

   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.

Municipalities in New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District 2013-2022
Allentown Manasquan Bay Head
Avon-By-The-Sea Middletown (part)* Jackson
Belmar Millstone Lakehurst
Bradley Beach Neptune City Lakewood
Brielle Neptune Township Manchester
Colts Neck Ocean Township Plumsted
Eatontown Red Bank Point Pleasant Borough (part) *
Englishtown Roosevelt Point Pleasant Beach
Fair Haven Rumson
Farmingdale Sea Girt
Freehold Borough Shrewsbury Borough
Freehold Township Shrewsbury Township
Holmdel Spring Lake
Howell Spring Lake Heights Mercer County
Lake Como Tinton Falls Hamilton
Little Silver Upper Freehold Robbinsville
Manalapan Wall

  • Point Pleasant Borough and Middletown are split between Congressional Districts. If students live in
    either of these towns and are unsure of their District, please call 609-585-7878 and provide the
    student’s complete home address. The staff will be able to research in which District the student lives.

Barstool Pizza Review visits Brooklyn Square Pizza, Jackson NJ

February 13, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–“El Presidente” Dave Portnoy who is the founder of Barstool Sports who hosts One Bite pizza reviews on Barstool Sports reviewed Brooklyn Square Pizza in Jackson, NJ

Previous local reviews were Papa’s and Delorenzo’s  in Robbinsville, NJ all with big scores. See MidJersey.news story from November 14, 2009

Maybe the NJ.gov Twitter account is right when they recently claimed NJ is “the pizza capital of the galaxy” and “Pizza Capital Of The World”

Jackson Trio Indicted In Manalapan Shooting Death 2 Men, Woman Facing Charges Related to October Shooting in Manalapan

Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

FREEHOLD – Two men and a woman, all from Ocean County, were indicted Tuesday morning for their respective roles in the October shooting death of a Manalapan man, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Zoey S. Monte, 20, of Jackson, was arrested after she turned herself into authorities at the Manalapan Township Police Department yesterday. Monte was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

Tyler J. Martucci, 22, also of Jackson is currently be held in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River on separate, unrelated charges. Martucci was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

In October, Gerard A. Grimes Jr., 23, of Jackson, was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Narciso Rodriguez-Corona, 43, of Manalapan.  Tuesday, Grimes was indicted on one count of first degree Murder, one count of first degree Felony Murder, two counts of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, two counts of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, two counts of fourth degree Aggravated Assault, one count of second degree Eluding, one count of fourth degree Resisting Arrest, and one count of fourth degree Tampering with Physical Evidence. 

On Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 9:34 p.m., Manalapan police officers responded to a call, reporting a fight at 25 Fawn Run in the township. Several minutes later, police received another call for a confirmed shooting victim. Manalapan police officers arrived on scene and discovered RodriguezCorona suffering from a gunshot wound.  Mr. Rodriguez-Corona was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced deceased.   The investigation revealed Grimes, Monte and Martucci all came to the Manalapan residence armed with a handgun.  Grimes attempted to enter the residence while Monte and Martucci remained outside.  Residents of the home were alerted to Grimes’ presence and attempted to stop him from entering, resulting in a brief confrontation outside the home.  Shortly thereafter, a second encounter occurred nearby, where Grimes ultimately shot the victim.  Grimes, Monte and Martucci all fled the area

Police were quickly dispatched to the area and encountered the victim, who was suffering from lifethreatening injuries.  After receiving initial information regarding the incident, police began to search the area.  A few hours later, police attempted a motor vehicle stop of Grimes’ vehicle, but he failed to stop.  Thereafter, Grimes fled the vehicle.  Monte and Martucci were also onboard the vehicle and were arrested at that time.  A short time later, Grimes was in the backyard of a neighborhood residence.   

If convicted of Murder, Grimes faces a minimum sentence of thirty (30) years in New Jersey state prison without the possibility of parole, and a maximum sentence of Life imprisonment subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of his imposed sentence before becoming eligible for release on parole.  Grimes would also be under parole supervision for five years following his prospective release from state prison.

If convicted of any of the second degree crimes, Grimes, Monte and Martucci each face up to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison on each count.  Any sentence resulting from a conviction for the second degree crime of Burglary is also subject to the provisions of NERA. Grimes, Monte and Martucci would also be under parole supervision for five years following their respective release from state prison. 

Grimes, Monte and Martucci are each being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) in Freehold Township. Grimes has been detained pending trial since his arrest on Oct. 5, 2019. Detention hearings for Monte and Martucci are schedule for Feb. 3, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Joseph Lanzot and Lawrence Nelson. 

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.

Dancer, Clifton district awarded more than $3.25 million in transportation grants

November 29, 2019
TRENTON, N.J. – Thirteen municipalities in the 12th legislative district will receive more than $3.25 million in grants from the Department of Transportation, Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Rob Clifton announced today.
 
“This funding will help get vital roadway projects moving and will make much-needed improvements for the benefit of motorists,” said Dancer (R-Ocean).
 
The towns in Dancer and Clifton’s district will use the money for roadway preservation, one of the seven project categories under the municipal aid program. The others include roadway safety, quality of life, mobility, bikeway, pedestrian safety and bridge preservation.
 
“Local commuters and families deserve safer roads, resurfaced roads and peace of mind when travelling in our district. These funds will provide a better and safer experience,” said Clifton (R-Monmouth).
 
NJDOT provides 75 percent of the grant amount when a town awards a contract and the remaining 25 percent upon completion of the project.
 
The following towns and projects in district 12 have been awarded funding:

Municipality                     Grant Amount         Name of Project
Chesterfield Township $244,000.00 Sykesville Rd Improvements Phase II
New Hanover Township $244,000.00 Cookstown Hockamick Road
North Hanover Township $240,000.00 Schoolhouse Road Phase II
Old Bridge Township $312,338.00 Phillips Drive Improvements
Allentown Borough $180,000.00 Improvements to Waldron Road, Quinn Road, and Hamilton Street
Englishtown Borough $154,000.00 Heritage Drive and Raymond Court Improvements
Manalapan Township $270,000.00 Improvements to Gordons Corner Road
Matawan Borough $200,000.00 Overbrook Lane Improvements
Millstone Township $180,000.00 Nurko Road
Roosevelt Borough $255,000.00 Improvements to School Lane
Upper Freehold Township $330,000.00 Burlington Path Road
Jackson Township $425,000.00 Improvements to Wright DeBow Road, Phase II
Plumsted Township $218,000.00 Tower Road Resurfacing