Category: Jackson

.22 Caliber Handgun And Ammunition Recovered At Jackson Liberty High School Football Game; Teen Charged With Possession Of Firearm On School Property

October 9, 2021

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–On Friday October 8, 2021, Jackson Police Officers who were assigned to the football game at Jackson Liberty High School received information that a teenaged male at the game was reportedly in possession of a firearm.

The officers and school security located the male and took him into custody without incident. A search of the male’s backpack led to the discovery of a .22 caliber handgun and ammunition. The male was transported to police headquarters for further investigation while other officers stayed on scene at the football game until the game was over and spectators cleared the event.

Detectives assisted with the continuing investigation which resulted in the teenaged male being charged with the unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of a firearm on school property. He was later transported and lodged in Ocean County Juvenile Intake.

The investigation did not reveal any specific threats made against any persons and as the investigation has continued into today, there have been no threats or additional safety concerns identified in relation to this incident.

– 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.


Motor Vehicle Pursuit Arrests In Jackson Township

October 5, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Monday October 4, 2021 at 8:44 p.m., Police Officers Christopher Brown and Michael DeBlasi were on patrol on Monmouth Road (Rt. 537) when they observed two vehicles parked at the entrance ramp to go into Six Flags Great Adventure. The park was not open and the gates to the entrance were closed preventing the cars from entering the ramp and they were observed parked but facing toward oncoming traffic.

As the officers turned around to check on the vehicles, they observed them pull away from the entrance and drive against the flow of traffic, going east in the westbound lanes of Monmouth Road to do a u-turn to turn around to head west. As Officer Brown pulled in behind the vehicles he observed that the first car that was directly in front of him was traveling approximately 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit in what appeared to be an attempt to block him as the second vehicle began pulling away at a high rate of speed. He was able to get around the first vehicle and as he began closing the gap on the second, he observed it appeared to increase its speed and pass other vehicles on the roadway. He activated the patrol unit’s emergency lights and as he reached speeds nearing 90 miles per hour, the vehicle continued to pull away from him. As he approached the intersection of Hawkin Road, he observed that the vehicle had crashed into a pole as it had attempted to make a left turn from Monmouth Road onto Hawkin Road. At this time he observed subjects standing outside of the vehicle, one of which began running into a wooded area at the corner.

The officer began to pursue the subject into the woods while calling him to stop running which after encountering dense brush he complied and began walking back to the officer. As this male subject exited the woods and got close to the officer, he lunged at the officer’s holstered firearm which resulted in a brief struggle until he was handcuffed and placed under arrest.

Officer DeBlasi along with Officers Robert Reiff, James Reynolds and Sgt. Michael Kelly had arrived on scene to assist and two other occupants of the vehicle were taken into custody at the scene.

As the incident was ongoing, the other vehicle which had been at the park entrance with the suspect vehicle and which appeared to attempt to block the officer arrived on scene briefly and the occupants were advised that they would need to be interviewed about the incident. Before they could be identified, this vehicle left the scene. Efforts are ongoing to attempt to identify this vehicle further.

Officers from the Plumsted Police Department arrived on scene to investigate the single vehicle motor vehicle crash and the involved 2014 Mercedes was impounded.

The three occupants of the vehicle were identified as residents of Philadelphia, PA. The investigation resulted in the 17 year old male driver being charged with eluding and multiple motor vehicle summonses including speeding, careless driving, reckless driving and being an unlicensed driver. He was transported and lodged in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center. The 16 year old male who had run from the scene was charged with resisting arrest and attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer. He was also transported and lodged in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center. An 18 year old male passenger was charged with eluding and released on summons pending a court appearance. A summons was also being issued to the owner of the Mercedes for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate the vehicle.

– 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.


Accident With Reported Injuries In Front Of Glory’s In Jackson Township

October 4, 2021

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Just before 9:00 p.m. Jackson Police and Jackson First Aid Squad were dispatched to CR526 E. Commodore Boulevard and CR 527 Cedar Swamp Road in front of Glory’s for an accident. It was unclear how many were injured and/or transported but appeared to be a two vehicle accident. Jackson Township Police is investigating the crash. No further information is available.

Ewing Township Man Pleads Guilty To Eluding, Terroristic Threats, Aggravated Assault and DWI

September 29, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 29, 2021, Michael Mahan, 38, of Ewing Township, pled guilty to Eluding in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b, Terroristic Threats in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3b, Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(2), and Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, before the Honorable Michael T. Collins, J.S.C., in connection with a series of events that transpired in Jackson Township on May 8, 2021.  At the time of his sentencing on November 19, 2021, the State will recommend a term of eight years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) as to the Eluding charge, and five years NJSP as to the Terroristic Threats and Aggravated Assault charges.  The sentences are to run concurrently.

On May 8, 2021, Jackson Township Police Officers responded to a 911 call for a report of a stabbing incident on Maria Street.  Responding Officers discovered a female with a large slash across her face.  An investigation conducted by the Jackson Township Police revealed that the female victim had been followed to her residence by Mahan.  Mahan held a knife to the victim’s neck, threatened to kill her, and then punched her in the face while holding the knife, thereby causing a laceration to her face.  As a neighbor intervened and called 911, Mahan fled the area.  Mahan’s vehicle was observed by Officers traveling on Toms River Road.  A pursuit was initiated, and Mahan fled at a high rate of speed.  As Mahan was attempting to navigate a turn onto West Veterans Highway, he struck another vehicle.  As he continued travelling at a high rate of speed on West Veterans Highway, Mahan’s vehicle collided with yet another vehicle – forcing it off the road.  Mahan’s vehicle traveled approximately 500 more feet before it became disabled; he was subsequently taken into custody without incident. 

Mahan was initially transported to Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus in Lakewood for the purpose of securing a blood sample to determine whether he was operating the motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs; laboratory results from the blood draw later confirmed that Mahan’s blood alcohol level was .14 – nearly twice the legal limit under New Jersey law.  Mahan was transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he has been lodged since May 8, 2021.

The female victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.  The occupants of the two vehicles struck by Mahan were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Victoria Veni who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as Jackson Township Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation leading to Mahan’s apprehension, guilty plea, and soon his state prison sentence.


Guest Injured At Great Adventure After Entering Restricted Area

August 29, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Sometime around 7:30 p.m. a guest was reported injured from a fall at Six Flags Great Adventure. A helicopter was called but canceled due to weather and the patient was transported by ground to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune for treatment. Park officials said in a statement that a guest climbed over a fence into a clearly marked restricted area. See full statement below:

Statement by Six Flags Great Adventure: A guest climbed over a fence into a clearly marked restricted area. While climbing onto the roof of a building in the restricted area, the guest slipped and injured her leg. We are proud of our public safety team, who risked their own safety to serve our guest. The guest has been transported to a local hospital.


Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash Investigation In Jackson Township

August 13, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Thursday August 12, 2021 at 4:49 pm, officers responded to Toms River Road near the Ocean County Vo-Tech School on the report of a head on motor vehicle crash with injuries.

Upon arrival responding officers discovered a 2 car motor vehicle crash in the roadway which required a road closure and detour. Initial investigation revealed that a 2011 Nissan which was operated by a 51 year old male and travelling southbound, swerved abruptly into the oncoming lane of traffic for unknown reasons and collided with a 2021 Audi travelling northbound which was operated by a 45 year old male.

The 51 year old male operator of the Nissan was pronounced at the scene and officers also discovered that a dog which had been in his vehicle was fatally injured in the crash. The driver of the Audi was treated for minor injuries.

The investigation is currently ongoing and is being led by Police Officer Tristan Bennett. Anyone who may have more information about this incident is asked to contact him at 732-928-1111.


Jackson Man Indicted In Leaving The Scene Of Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash

August 11, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 11, 2021, Roberto Alcazar-Sanchez, 27, of Jackson, was indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on charges of Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1, as well as Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended Driver’s License while being involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-22a, relative to a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Jackson Township on December 24, 2020. Alcazar-Sanchez was also indicted for Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1).

On December 24, 2020, at approximately 6:00 p.m., Officers of the Jackson Township Police Department were summoned to the area of Cedar Swap Road and I-195 for a report of a motor vehicle crash with serious injuries. An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Jackson Township Police Department revealed that a 2010 Mercedes Benz, driven by Norman Shtab, 83, of Howell Township, was exiting I-195 at Exit 21. His wife, Phyllis Shtab, 81, also of Howell, was a passenger in the vehicle. As Mr. Shtab was attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Cedar Swap Road, his vehicle collided with a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado.

Mr. and Mrs. Shtab were transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune Township following the crash. Mr. Shtab was treated for his injuries and later released. On December 26, 2020, Mrs. Shtab succumbed to the injuries she sustained as a result of the crash, and was pronounced deceased at Jersey Shore Medical Center on that date.

On December 30, 2020, a warrant was issued for the arrest of the driver of the Chevrolet Silverado – identified through continuing investigation to be Alcazar-Sanchez – who fled the scene of the December 24th crash on foot. A search of the Silverado revealed a bag of white powder which tested positive for cocaine. Further investigation revealed that Alcazar-Sanchez then fled the United States and traveled to Mexico. On March 3, 2021, Alcazar-Sanchez surrendered himself to United States Customs and Border Patrol Protection Agents in Laredo, Texas. He was ultimately extradited back to Ocean County, and has remained lodged in the Ocean County Jail since his return on March 31, 2021.

Additionally, during the course of this investigation, Alcazar-Sanchez’s girlfriend, Reyna Mendez, 27, of Jackson, was questioned by law enforcement in connection with this matter. It was determined that Mendez provided false information to Detectives during the course of her questioning; as a consequence, Mendez has been indicted for Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3a(7).

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara who is handling the case on behalf of the State, and commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Jackson Township Police Department, Jackson Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Jackson Township Police Department Special Emergency Response Team, Brick Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Field Services Unit/Warrants, United States Customs and Border Protection, Laredo Texas Police Department, and the United States Marshals Service, for their collaborative efforts and assistance relative to this investigation ultimately leading to Alcazar-Sanchez’s arrest and indictment.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).



Previous MidJersey.news coverage here:

Driver Fled On Foot After Fatal Jackson Crash And Still On The Run

WANTED: Roberto Alcazar-Sanchez, 27, Of Jackson For Charges In Involving Fatal Crash

Fugitive in Jackson Township fatal crash arrested in Texas

Defendant Charged With Leaving The Scene Of Jackson Township Fatal Crash To Remain Detained Pending Trial


Update: Jackson Woman Charged With Murder

August 2, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Jackson Township Police Chief Matthew Kunz announced that on August 2, 2021, Antonia Ashford, 44, of Jackson, was charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), relative to the shooting death of her husband, Roderick Ashford, at their home in Jackson Township.  Antonia Ashford was also charged with Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a(1).

On August 2, 2021, at approximately 2:15 a.m., Officers of the Jackson Township Police Department responded to a residence in reference to a 911 call indicating that a male victim had been shot.  Responding Officers found the body of Roderick Ashford, 47, lying unresponsive on the floor with a gunshot wound to the face. Attempts were made to revive Mr. Ashford, but he ultimately succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Jackson Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, determined that Antonia Ashford pointed a handgun at Mr. Ashford and discharged the weapon, thereby causing his death.  Antonia Ashford was arrested and transported to the Ocean County Jail, where she is presently lodged pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Kunz acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Jackson Township Police Department Detective Bureau and Patrol Division, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation.

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

 R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).



Developing: Shooting Investigation In Jackson Township

August 2, 2021

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, 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 Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, are currently investigating a shooting incident that occurred at a residence in Jackson Township on August 2, 2021, at approximately 2:15 a.m.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Kunz wish to stress that there is no danger to the public at this time.  More information will be released as it becomes available.




Jackson Police Report More Motor Vehicle Burglaries, This Time Hawkin Road Area

July 22, 2021

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–On Wednesday July 21, 2021, patrol officers responded to a neighborhood located off of Hawkin Road on the report of multiple burglaries to motor vehicles which had taken place between 4:50 am to 5:30 am.

A resident of Bane Lane reported that unknown suspect(s) entered 4 unlocked vehicles which were parked in the driveway and stole property valued in excess of $200.00. The property included loose change, a duffle bag and a purse which contained cash, a NJ driver’s license, credit cards and other personal identification.

A second resident of Bane Lane reported that his and a family member’s unlocked vehicles which were parked in the driveway were burglarized and property valued in excess of $800.00 was stolen. This included a pair of designer sunglasses and Apple air pods. Upon reviewing Ring doorbell video, it was observed that the suspect attempted to enter a third vehicle parked in the driveway but was unable to because it was locked. The video showed an unknown suspect wearing a blue sweatshirt with a hood, brown pants and white sneakers make entry to the vehicles. He possibly left in a white or gray colored passenger vehicle that was observed in the area.

A resident of Veronica Court reported that security video indicated that 2 unknown suspects had entered 2 vehicles which were parked in the driveway. It was reported that the only thing stolen from the vehicles was the key fob for one of them which had been left in the vehicle. The suspects were described as being a male with a stocky build wearing a blue sweatsuit and a skinny male wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a mask. A white 4 door vehicle, possibly a Honda Accord was observed in the area at the time.

The Jackson Police Department is once again asking residents to remove valuables from their vehicles and lock them. Do not leave the key fobs inside of the vehicle and call 732-928-1111 to report suspicious activity.


False Alarm At Six Flags Great Adventure

July 19, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Witnesses told MidJersey.news that this afternoon Ocean County Sherriff Officers and Jackson Township Police had the entrances to Great Adventure closed for a short period of time not letting anyone in or out. Unofficial sources stated what ever the incident was it appeared to be a false alarm and the park was reopened.

MidJersey.news reached out to Six Flags Great Adventure representatives and they told MidJersey.News in a statement that “Out of an abundance of caution, the main entrance to Hurricane Harbor was temporarily closed following a routine safety check by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit. Hurricane Harbor’s entrance reopened following a thorough review by the Jackson Police and New Jersey State Police.”

Statement from Jackson Police Department: “Six Flags Great Adventure Hurricane Harbor – Update The main entrance to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor was closed for several hours today. Following a routine safety check a safety concern was brought to the attention to park management and local Law Enforcement on site. After a more thorough check was conducted everything was found to be in order and the park entrance was reopened.”

Officials did not specify exactly what the incident was.


Great Adventure Entrance Ramp Accident Causes Traffic Backups

July 10, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 1:00 p.m. a vehicle crash was reported on the Six Flags Great Adventure ramp from Route 537 to the park. Upon EMS and police arrival an accident was found at the top of the bridge. It was reported one person was hurt in the accident and transported to a local hospital.

The accident caused a traffic backup from I-195 to the park entrance on Route 537 in the west bound direction. In the east bound direction Route 537 was backed up about two miles past Hawkin Road. It took about an hour and a half for the traffic to completely subside according to Google Maps. Traffic is currently flowing normal for a weekend at this time.

Ewing Township, NJ Man Indicted For Attempted Murder In 15 Count Indictment

July 7, 2021

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)—Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on that on July 7, 2021, Michael Mahan, age 38, of Ewing Township, was indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on charges of Attempted Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1); Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1); Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(6); Eluding in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b; Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A.12-1b(2); two counts of Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d; Terroristic Threats in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3b; four counts of Assault by Automobile in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(3); two counts of Assault by Automobile in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(2); and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d, in connection with a series of events that transpired in Jackson Township on May 8, 2021.

On May 8, 2021, Jackson Township Police Officers responded to a 911 call for a report of a stabbing incident on Maria Street.  Responding Officers discovered a female with a large slash across her face.  An investigation conducted by the Jackson Township Police revealed that the female victim had been followed to her residence by Mahan.  Mahan held a knife to the victim’s neck, threatened to kill her, and then proceeded to slash her face.  As a neighbor intervened and called 911, Mahan fled the area.  Mahan’s vehicle was observed by Officers traveling on Toms River Road.  A pursuit was initiated, and Mahan fled at a high rate of speed.  As Mahan was attempting to navigate a turn onto West Veterans Highway, he struck another vehicle.  As he continued travelling at a high rate of speed on West Veterans Highway, Mahan’s vehicle collided with yet another vehicle – forcing it off the road.  Mahan’s vehicle traveled approximately 500 more feet before it became disabled; Mahan was subsequently taken into custody without incident.  The female victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, and the occupants of the two vehicles were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Further investigation revealed that Mahan had, earlier that day, approached a female homeowner in her driveway brandishing a knife.  Mahan retreated after being confronted by the female victim’s husband and their pet dog.  Mahan has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since his apprehension. 

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Victoria Veni who is handling the case on behalf of the State, as well as Jackson Township Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation leading to Mahan’s indictment.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  R.P.C.3.6(b)(6).


Previous MidJersey.News stories here:

Ewing Township Man Charged With Attempted Murder And Other Charges After Road Rage Incident In Jackson

Ewing Township Man To Remain In Jail Pending Trial For Attempted Murder During Road Rage Incident In Jackson Township



Jackson Police Seek To Identify Hit And Run Suspects Who Damaged The One Stop Shop

July 4, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–The Jackson Police Department is requesting your assistance with helping us to identify this female and male in these surveillance photos that were involved in a hit and run motor vehicle accident on 7/3/2021 at the One Stop Shop located on Toms River Road.

The suspect vehicle, which was operated by a female at the time, backed up into the building and then exited the vehicle and went out of camera sight. Shortly thereafter a male is seen entering the vehicle as the driver and both parties drive off in the same vehicle. It appears as if they were having an argument which may have been a contributing circumstance. As a result of the accident, the One Stop Shop had to be closed for service until structural repairs were done to the establishment.

The female driver suspect can be seen wearing a gray long sleeve top and jeans as the male can be seen wearing what appears to be a gray hooded style top shirt and shorts. The vehicle in question appears to be a gray possibly Toyota Corolla or similar vehicle. If anyone recognizes either of these two subjects, please contact Officer Stephen Purtell #309 who is investigating the incident. If you wish to remain anonymous you can also utilize our “Stop It” app. See the attached to see how to utilize that.

-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 PD Busts Farmingdale Man With 100 Bags Of Heroin Packaged For Sale

June 30, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday June 29, 2021 detectives assigned to the department’s Special Enforcement Unit concluded an investigation into a report of narcotics distribution with the arrest of a male suspect.

At approximately 10:45 pm, detectives conducted a motor vehicle stop on South New Prospect Road with a male who was operating a 2009 Mercedes Benz.  During the investigation 100 bags of heroin packaged for sale were recovered and detectives placed Matthew Vandenberg, age 36 of Farmingdale NJ under arrest.  Cash in excess of $250.00 was also seized and the vehicle was impounded pending forfeiture proceedings.

Mr. Vandenberg was processed and later lodged in the Ocean County Jail.  He was charged with possession of heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of a controlled dangerous substance while operating a motor vehicle and other motor vehicle violations.

Residents wishing to report suspected narcotics activity or suspicious activity are asked to contact police headquarters at 732-928-1111 or though the department’s StopIt app online.

– 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. 


NJPGA & NJGF Names Decorated U.S. Air Force Veteran Jared Forest of Jackson, NJ as PGA WORKS Fellow

June 25, 2021

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (June 22, 2021) — The New Jersey PGA Section (NJPGA) and its charitable arm, the New Jersey Golf Foundation (NJGF)—in conjunction with PGA REACH, the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America—has named U.S. Air Force Veteran Jared Forest (Jackson, NJ) as a PGA WORKS Fellow.

Forest, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 2010-16 is part of the 2021 PGA WORKS Fellow class. Established in 2017, the PGA WORKS Fellowship is a grant program facilitating nine-12-month paid positions for recent college graduates. Focused on engaging an inclusive demographic of participants—with consideration to gender, age, race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability and Veteran status—the PGA WORKS Fellowship is designed to establish a strong bench of talent prepared to ascend into key employment positions within the business of golf.

As a PGA WORKS Fellow, Forest’s primary responsibilities will be to support the Foundation’s full lineup of programs headlined by PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) the flagship military program of the NJGF, which introduces golf to Veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Forest will also provide operations support for NJPGA tournaments and events.

After graduating from Jackson Memorial High School, Forest joined the Air Force in 2010 where he was primarily stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, CA as a member of the 412th Security Forces Squadron. During his service, he graduated from the Community College of the Air Force with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. After serving 2 deployments and 13 months in deployed locations, Forest received the Air Force Achievement Medal for his action in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

In 2016, after 6 years of service, Forest decided it was time to pursue his love for sports and continued his education at Temple University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management. His passion for sports led him to serve as a General Analyst in the Temple University Sports Industry Research Center, Player Personnel Manager for the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League and the Communications Coordinator for the New York Guardians of the XFL. Today, he is currently enrolled at the University of Florida as he pursues a Master of Science in Sport Management with a concentration in Athlete Development.

“I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to work with the New Jersey Section of the PGA and the New Jersey Golf Foundation,” said Forest. “It has always been my goal to translate my experiences and background in sports in a way that will help my brothers and sisters in the Veteran sector. I am looking forward to aiding in whatever way I can to continue to expand the mission of the New Jersey Golf Foundation as it positively impacts lives and communities through the game of golf.” 

“As a military Veteran and a passionate sports enthusiast, Forest will be instrumental in leading the continued growth of our successful PGA HOPE program, while supporting core programs and special events for the NJ Section and NJ Golf Foundation,” said New Jersey Golf Foundation Executive Director Chris Hunt. 

The PGA WORKS Fellowship is a nine-12-month paid position, funded by PGA REACH, which currently hosts Fellows in the following PGA Sections: Carolinas, Connecticut, Gateway, Metropolitan, Michigan, Middle Atlantic, New Jersey, Northern Ohio, Southern Ohio, Western New York and South Florida. Forest is the fourth PGA WORKS Fellow for the New Jersey Section. 

For more information on PGA REACH, visit pgareach.org


Lacey Township And Jackson Men Charged With Theft

June 25, 2021

LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Lacey Township Police Chief Michael DiBella announced that on June 23, 2021 and June 24, 2021, Ross Miserendino, 55, of Lacey Township, and Enrique Roldan, 42, of Jackson, were charged with Theft in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3. Miserendino was also charged with one count of Theft in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3; Uttering a Forged Instrument in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1a(3); Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6h; and Making a False Statement in Procuring Issuance of a Credit Card in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6h.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Lacey Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad. The investigation revealed that beginning in 2019, the victim of these offenses had medical issues arise which caused her to be temporarily unable to manage her finances. Miserendino, whom was in a romantic relationship with the victim at the time, agreed to assist her by paying her bills for her, and was given access to her checks and bank account information for that purpose. Between 2019 and 2020, Miserendino signed the victim’s name without her authorization on 146 checks totaling $171,000. The majority of those checks were written out to Enrique Roldan, while others were written directly to Miserendino. Both Roldan and Miserendino shared in the proceeds of the theft. Additionally, during that time period Miserendino stole approximately $11,000 worth of personal property located at the victim’s residence in Lacey Township. Miserendino also obtained an American Express credit card in the victim’s name without her authorization, and subsequently made approximately $34,000 worth of charges on that card for his benefit.

Miserendino and Roldan were processed and released on a summons pending a future court date.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief DiBella would like to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad and the Lacey Township Police Department for their collaborative efforts in this investigation.

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

R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).


Faulty Camera Equipment To Blame In Smoke Condition At Justice League, Great Adventure Indoor Ride

June 18, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Six Flags Fire Department along with Jackson and Millstone Township Fire Departments were dispatched to Six Flags Great Adventure for a smoke condition inside the JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis “Hall of Justice” ride. Upon arrival of the fire department, the incident commander reported a light smoke condition inside the building and that they were trying to locate the source. About 15 minutes into the call firefighters found the source of the smoke and returned incoming units.

Six Flags Great Adventure spokesperson, Kristin Fitzgerald told MidJersey.news in statement, “The Six Flags Fire Department and local fire companies responded to one of our indoor rides shortly after 7:00 p.m. The safety of our guests and team members is our highest priority. All guests and team members safely exited the ride building within minutes. No one was injured. The source was a faulty camera component.”



Six Flags Great Adventure Video

Two Transported To Local Hospital After Great Adventure Log Flume Accident

June 13, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 6:45 p.m. there was a reported incident at the Six Flags Great Adventure log flume and Jackson EMS was sent to the scene and several injures were reported, but only two required transport to a hospital for evaluation.

Kristin Fitzgerald Six Flags Great Adventure spokesperson told MidJersey.News in a statement: Our First Aid staff assisted several guests who were in a Log Flume boat that did not complete its cycle. The safety of our guests and employees is our highest priority. Two guests were transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. The ride will remain closed for a full inspection. One log boat was tipped up on its side at an angle, but not overturned.

The Log Flume at Six Flags Great Adventure was built in 1974 according to Great Adventure History website and has been in continuous service for 47 years. Even today the Log Flume is a favorite ride on a hot day.

1975 Great Adventure Log Flume Video

Man Burglarizes Jackson Township Home, Teenage Female Home Alone Hides, Calls 9-1-1; Man Flees Scene On Motorcycle

June 11, 2021

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–The Jackson Police Department is seeking assistance from the public to identify and locate a suspect involved in a daytime burglary and vehicle pursuit on Thursday June 10, 2021.

At 12:51 pm, officers responded to a residence located on Leesville Road on the report of an unknown suspect who was inside the residence. A teenaged female was home alone when she heard someone knocking at the front door and ringing the doorbell repeatedly. She called a parent to see if it was known who this might be when she heard a loud bang which was later determined to be from the suspect kicking the front door in to force entry to the residence. She then hung up with her family member and called 911 while hiding in a room in the residence. The suspect entered the residence and went directly to her parent’s bedroom and then walked down the hall to the room she was in. When the suspect discovered the teenager in the room, he ran out of the house and was observed leaving on a motorcycle.

The suspect was described as a white male wearing a long sleeve black shirt, tan pants, gray gloves and a helmet with multiple stickers on it. The motorcycle was determined to be a gray or silver Harley Davidson Road Glide (photo included as sample).

While enroute to the location, Police Officer Daniel Scharff observed the suspect on the motorcycle traveling on Leesville Road approaching him from the opposite direction at a high rate of speed. The officer turned and attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop but the suspect refused to stop and fled at a high rate of speed initiating a vehicle pursuit. The suspect continued on Leesville Road where he encountered and avoided other officers and crossed West Veterans Highway onto Don Connor Boulevard. The suspect continued to Bowman Road and then toward East Veterans Highway and then into a residential area on Reagan Drive. As multiple officers followed and the suspect discovered that he had traveled into a cul de sac, he turned and drove across several yards to avoid the officers and then around the patrol vehicles as they were turning to follow him. He then fled back to Bowman Road where he reached speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour. The suspect was last observed turning onto Toms River Road (571) northbound as the officers began to lose sight of him. At that time the pursuit was terminated for safety reasons.

Photos of the suspect and motorcycle are attached with this release. We are asking that anyone who may know the identity of this suspect to contact the Jackson Police Department at 732-928-1111 or through the department’s StopIt app online.

– 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.

Traffic Alert: Avoid 537 In Area Of Great Adventure Due To Traffic Jam; Jackson Police Issue Statement On Traffic

June 6, 2021

JACKSON, PLUMSTED (OCEAN)-MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP AND UPPER FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Jackson Township Police Department has issued a statement on the traffic backup on Route 537 in Jackson Township, entering and exiting Six Flags Great Adventure.

Currently Google Maps Traffic has the backup on Rt. 537 from Six Flags entrance to I-195 (1 Mile)

In the opposite direction on Rt. 537 backup starts in Plumsted Township, near Loveman Road to the main entrance of Great Adventure. (2.75 Miles)

In Upper Freehold Township traffic is backed up on Millers Mill Road all the way to Red Valley Road near the curve according to Google Maps. (1 mile on Millers Mill and an additional 1 Mile on Rt. 537 for a total of at least 2 miles in backup)

Jackson Township Police:

We are WELL aware of the heavy traffic in Rt. 537/Monmouth Road leading to Six Flags Great Adventure. It’s that time of that year. Security and the authorities working there have all been advised. Please be patient and refrain from calling us to further advise us of the traffic situations unless you have a police emergency and need our assistance. Dispatch is being overloaded with calls for the traffic situation. Everyone is doing the best they can to accommodate everyone and get everyone in and out safely. Thank you all and stay cool today!!!!


Jackson Man Sentenced For Distribution Of Child Pornography

June 1, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (MERCER)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 28, 2021, Matthew Wolny, 43, of Jackson, was sentenced by the Honorable Michael T. Collins, J.S.C., to five years New Jersey State Prison with a five-year period of parole ineligibility relative to a previously entered guilty plea to Distribution of Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a). Wolny will also be required to register as a Megan’s Law offender upon his release from prison. Wolny pled guilty to the charge on November 26, 2018, before Judge Collins; sentencing in Ocean County was delayed pending Wolny being sentenced on related federal charges involving child pornography.

An investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit and Jackson Township Police Department in 2013 determined that Wolny had been distributing child pornography through a file sharing application on his computer. On September 26, 2013, Detectives executed a search warrant on Wolny’s residence; as a result, Detectives seized computer equipment belonging to Wolny that contained evidence of child pornography distribution.

During the course of the investigation, Detectives located multiple videos from the YMCA in Toms River wherein Wolny hid a camera in a bathroom area and videotaped multiple individuals changing and showering. In addition, further investigation revealed that Wolny had videotaped students in Maryland during a class trip; at the time, Wolny was a youth band leader and IT director for the Howell Township school system. Wolny was charged by the United States Attorney’s Office in 2018 relative to these offenses. On August 20, 2019, Wolny was sentenced to eight years in federal prison on the charge of Receiving Child Pornography. He is currently serving that sentence in a federal correctional facility in Mississippi. Wolny’s sentence for Distribution of Child Pornography out of Ocean County will run concurrent with his federal sentence.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Kristin Pressman who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Jackson Township Police Department, and United States Department of Homeland Security, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation, ultimately resulting in Wolny’s prison sentence. 


Veteran’s Memorial Garden in Jackson Partners With HELPSY To Raise Funds

May 28, 2021

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Partnering with HELPSY, the Board of Directors for Veteran’s Memorial Garden in Jackson, New Jersey recently added a valuable source of revenue to help with the next main phase of construction and maintenance of the memorial park.  Three clothing recycling bins have been placed strategically in the park’s main parking lot…which is located at the intersection of Jackson Mills Road and Commadore Blvd.  The purpose is not only to prevent unwanted clothes from filling local landfills, but also to provide funds to help support the park.  Placed a little over a month ago, the bins are on track to recycle hundreds of pounds of textiles each month.     

“We were in the final stretch of construction’s main phase when the pandemic hit and we lost 80% of our funding,” Board President Charles Garofano explains.  Because opportunities for fundraising all but dried up, the Park’s Board of Directors looked to new ways to support the park and found HELPSY.  HELPSY partners with organizations across ten states to collect unwanted clothing and has helped to raise more than $10 million for non-profits and organizations while also helping the environment.  Through a combination of clothing drives, collection bins, thrift store partners and curbside pickups, HELPSY diverts 30 million pounds of textiles from landfills every year. 

“HELPSY is dedicated to changing the way people think about clothing recycling while adhering to the highest level of social and environmental performance,” said HELPSY’S CEO and Co-Founder Dan Green.  The Company’s efforts have earned it a Certified B Corporation designation…using business as a force of good ™.

Army Vietnam Veteran Charles Garofano and Marine Corp Vietnam Veteran Kenneth Bressi had the idea for the Memorial Park in 2007.  They wanted to honor men and women of all five branches of the armed forces… Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force.  They created a 501C(3) corporation and with the support of the surrounding communities, Veterans organizations and countless individuals, groundbreaking on the 4-acre park began in earnest in 2008.  According to Garofano, the memorial garden is truly a grassroots operation… completely staffed by volunteers and 100% of all funds raised go directly to construction and maintenance of the park.

The next phase of park construction is planned for this summer with the proposed erection of several monuments.  Each monument will be a replica of the Washington Monument with a 17” diameter and three-dimensional bronze plaque with insignia of each of the five military branches.  Residents who are interested in supporting the memorial garden, can bring unwanted clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, bedding, towels, table linens and curtains…all bagged clean and dry to put into the HELPSY Recycling bins.   To purchase a granite bench or an engraved paving stone…go to www. JacksonVetsMemorial.org or contact Charles Gasfano at 732-492-3601 or Ken Bressi at 908-692-8817 for more information. Monetary donations are also accepted.


Ewing Township Man Charged With Attempted Murder And Other Charges After Road Rage Incident In Jackson

May 10, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Saturday May 8, 2021 at approximately 4:50 pm, officers were dispatched to respond to a report of a stabbing incident which had occurred on Maria Street.

Police Officer Robert Reiff arrived on scene to discover a female who was suffering from a large slash across her face and bleeding heavily. The investigation would reveal that the female had been followed to her residence by an unknown male who initiated a confrontation with her over an alleged road rage incident. It was reported that the male punched the victim and threatened to kill her as he held a knife to her throat and then slashed her face. As a neighbor intervened and called 911, the suspect fled the area.

A description of the suspect and suspect vehicle was obtained and a short time later as Sgt. Michael Kelly was responding to the scene, he observed the vehicle on Toms River Road. Sgt. Kelly activated the patrol unit’s emergency lights and conducted a motor vehicle stop with the suspect. As the sergeant exited his vehicle, the suspect vehicle pulled away from him. A pursuit was then initiated as the suspect fled at a high rate of speed. As the suspect attempted to make a turn from Toms River Road onto West Veterans Highway, he swerved into the opposite lane of travel and struck a vehicle near the intersection. Other officers responding to the scene stopped to render aid to the occupants of that vehicle. The suspect then continued to operate the 2018 Kia he was driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed at which time the sergeant terminated the pursuit.

As the suspect continued at a high rate of speed, he struck another vehicle in the rear on West Veterans Highway and forced it off the road into the woods across from the Switlik School. The suspect vehicle travelled for approximately another 500 feet before it became disabled on West Veterans Highway and the suspect was taken into custody by P.O. Andy Falzarano who had been responding to the scene. The vehicle was later impounded and the knife used in the incident was recovered as detectives responded to assist with the investigation. Officers from the Ocean County Sheriff’s CSI unit and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutors Office also responded to process the scenes and collect evidence.

The stabbing victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment and the occupants of the two vehicles struck by the suspect were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Arrested:

Michael Mahan, age 38 of Ewing Township, NJ. He was charged with: attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, terroristic threats, eluding, aggravated assault (causing bodily injury during a pursuit: 6 counts), driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to breath testing and multiple other motor vehicle offenses. He was processed and transported to the Ocean County Jail.

As the investigation proceeded during the evening, it was also discovered that Mr. Mahan had been involved with a separate incident with a Lakehurst Avenue resident just before the stabbing where he reportedly threatened the victim after parking in front of his residence. Complaints are pending with that incident.

– 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.

Charges from Ocean County Jail Website:

Case #Offense DateCodeDescriptionGradeDegree
W202100012915112C:5-1A(1)CRIM ATTEMPT-CONDUCT PURPOSFUL
W202100012915112C:11-3A(1)MURDER – PURPOSELYA
W202100012915112C:12-1B(1)AGG ASSLT SBIB
W202100012915112C:39-4DWEAPON POSS UNLAW PURPOSE-OTHERC
W202100012915112C:12-3BTHREAT TO KILLC
W202100012915112C:39-5DUNLAW POSS WEAP-OTHERD
W202100013015112C:29-2BELUDING LEO-FAIL TO STOPC
W202100013015112C:12-1B(3)AGG ASSLT W/DW-BI-RECKLESSB

AG Grewal Announces 14 Grants Totaling $233,000 to Expand Summer Programs for At-Risk Youth


Those in the MidJersey.news coverage area to receive grants:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth, Monmouth County ($19,650) will expand an eight-week summer program that provides activities and services, including mentoring, sports and recreation programs; access to computer knowledge; service and leadership clubs to an additional 25 students in Asbury Park, Neptune, and Long Branch.
  • Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) of Mercer County ($8,588) will expand its program to serve an additional 150 participants and provide additional recreational and educational summer camp experiences to young people. Collaborating with La’Keisha Sutton & Her Fan Favorite, LLC, the program will provide a six-week basketball clinic including skills, drills, and games, as well as discussions on healthy nutrition, education, faith, character, decision making, and leadership.
  • Community Action Services (Rise), Mercer County ($20,000) will develop a five-day Teen Youth Conference to take place at a university or virtually, as required by CDC guidelines. Rise will serve an additional 12 young people in a variety of workshops to facilitate positive behavior, to deliver information on post high school options and alternatives, and to provide information on peer voluntarism.
  • Jackson Township School District, Ocean County ($18,204) will expand its summer learning to approximately 50 additional students for 15 half-days to recover core math and literacy skills through a STEM initiative that integrates social-emotional wellness activities. The expansion funds will also be used to purchase additional LEGO Mindstorms robots needed to successfully implement the program.
  • Prevention Education, Inc. (PEI), Mercer County ($19,993) will increase the number of participants served through its Summer Initiative/Juvenile Intense Supervision (JIS) programming for first-time youthful offenders, young people on probation, and at-risk youth in Mercer County. An additional 19 new young people will participate in the summer program which will include a new program module, “Connecting with Community,” that focuses on promoting understanding and building community.
  • Trenton Circus Squad, Mercer County ($20,000) will expand its summer traveling residences to provide additional services to Trenton youth including overnight accommodations at a university, as allowed under COVID-19 guidelines, college/career exploration, and access to a life/career coach.
  • Trenton Music Makers, Mercer County ($19,907) will expand its program by engaging an additional 50 students. In addition, working with the Capital Area YMCA, Trenton Music Makers will use the grant funding to add an outdoor tented area where students can engage in their music study, and to add a hip-hop production and a choir to augment the existing conducting and percussion classes.\
  • Trenton Police Department (TPD), Mercer County ($7,446) will expand its current Summer Camp Program to an additional 15 participants and integrate a police exploration, communication, and relations component. In addition, TPD will expand its programming into schools and enhance partnerships with parent/teacher programs.


April 29, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that the Juvenile Justice Commission (“JJC”), in conjunction with the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (“JJDP”) Committee, has awarded 14 grants totaling $233,000 to police departments, schools, and non-profit organizations across the State to expand summer programs for at-risk youth.

The grants provide organizations already running successful summer programs for at-risk youth with up to $20,000 in additional funding each to enhance their programs and/or increase the number of young people they serve. An additional 600 at-risk youth throughout New Jersey will be able to participate in an array of recreational, educational, and character-building activities being offered in their communities this summer as a result of these grants.

“New Jersey is committed to making a difference in the lives of at-risk youth and preventing their involvement in the youth justice system,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The JJC and JJDP Committee have worked together to expand access to programs in communities to provide youth with activities and learning experiences that foster important life skills, and help them retain vital educational progress and connections to services while school is not in session.”

Funding for the grants comes from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention’s Formula Grants Program, which supports state and local delinquency prevention and intervention efforts and juvenile justice system improvements. The funds can be used to provide job training, mental health and substance abuse treatment, community-based programs and services, reentry/aftercare services, and school programs to prevent truancy.

“At the foundation of New Jersey’s youth justice reform efforts is the understanding that youth can succeed in their communities with appropriate resources. Through these grants, the Juvenile Justice Commission, in partnership with the JJDP Committee, is enhancing a system that provides the tools and skills necessary for young people to navigate challenges, recognize their potential, and successfully prevent their involvement in the juvenile justice system,” said Jennifer LeBaron, Ph.D, Acting Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission. “Our partners in the community are delivering thoughtful, exciting, and valuable summer experiences for youth that not only provide benefits during the summer months, but will provide young people with skills and experiences that will have lifelong significance.”

Based on the philosophy that communities have a unique understanding of their local youth populations, the JJC administers millions of dollars in state and federal grants that encourage the development and enhancement of a continuum of community-based services for at-risk, court-involved, and delinquent youth. The JJDP Committee is responsible for setting funding priorities for the federal funds awarded through the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency prevention that support state- and local-level initiatives, community-based programs, and system reform efforts.

“The JJDP Committee is proud to provide resources to help existing successful programs expand their reach, both in terms of the number of youth who can participate, and the services and opportunities available to them,” said the Honorable F. Lee Forrester, Chairman of the JJDP Committee and a retired New Jersey Superior Court judge. “These efforts support community-based programs and system reforms that prevent or reduce delinquency and improve the lives of youth and families in New Jersey.”

In addition to meeting other requirements for funding, grant recipients have demonstrated the capacity to host summer programs virtually, if necessary, or to provide programming to account for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
 

The following programs will receive funding:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth, Monmouth County ($19,650) will expand an eight-week summer program that provides activities and services, including mentoring, sports and recreation programs; access to computer knowledge; service and leadership clubs to an additional 25 students in Asbury Park, Neptune, and Long Branch.
  • The Camp Horizon Summer Learning Program, Gloucester County ($20,000) will allow 25 additional school-aged children to participate in a summer-long program that provides enrichment and physical activities. The program, in partnership with the Bullock Garden Project, will include an outdoor education and walking classroom to deliver a curriculum focusing on gardening, birding, botany, and climate.
  • Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) of Mercer County ($8,588) will expand its program to serve an additional 150 participants and provide additional recreational and educational summer camp experiences to young people. Collaborating with La’Keisha Sutton & Her Fan Favorite, LLC, the program will provide a six-week basketball clinic including skills, drills, and games, as well as discussions on healthy nutrition, education, faith, character, decision making, and leadership.
  • The Center for Prevention & Education, Sussex County ($20,000) will increase the total number of 7th graders participating in its summer program from 40 to 50 participants. The program will also be enhanced by creating a Youth Task Force that will design, create, and deliver a local leadership conference.
  • Community Action Services (Rise), Mercer County ($20,000) will develop a five-day Teen Youth Conference to take place at a university or virtually, as required by CDC guidelines. Rise will serve an additional 12 young people in a variety of workshops to facilitate positive behavior, to deliver information on post high school options and alternatives, and to provide information on peer voluntarism.
  • The Hackensack Police Department, Bergen County ($19,501) will expand its annual Police Youth Academy (PYA) to include 35 additional participants. The program fosters a positive relationship between local youth and police. Instructors include local police officers, firefighters, and volunteers from Hackensack and the surrounding towns.
  • Jackson Township School District, Ocean County ($18,204) will expand its summer learning to approximately 50 additional students for 15 half-days to recover core math and literacy skills through a STEM initiative that integrates social-emotional wellness activities. The expansion funds will also be used to purchase additional LEGO Mindstorms robots needed to successfully implement the program.
  • The Joseph Firth Youth Center, Warren County ($7,483) will serve an additional 40 participants, with a focus on middle school youth (grades 6th-8th), and include four additional programming hours per week during the 10-week summer program. The Center collaborates with youth sports organizations to deliver the SPORT-Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) curriculum, combining physical activity and sports with healthy-living components, including diet, sleep, and stress control. It also incorporates content on the negative impacts of alcohol and drugs.
  • New Community Corporation, Essex County ($20,000) will expand its summer program that delivers hands-on STEM experiments, photography, music appreciation, Zumba, and art and crafts to allow 25 additional young people to participate. The length of the program will also be increased from six weeks to eight weeks, and three new components will be offered including digital music recording, robotics with emphasis on computer coding, and drama.
  • Prevention Education, Inc. (PEI), Mercer County ($19,993) will increase the number of participants served through its Summer Initiative/Juvenile Intense Supervision (JIS) programming for first-time youthful offenders, young people on probation, and at-risk youth in Mercer County. An additional 19 new young people will participate in the summer program which will include a new program module, “Connecting with Community,” that focuses on promoting understanding and building community.
  • Roselle Board of Education, Union County ($12,815) will use the funds to add two guidance counselors to its summer program staff, enabling the program to serve an additional 150 participants, bringing the total served to 500. The counselors will work with students through a combination of classroom, small groups, and one-on-one activities.
  • Trenton Circus Squad, Mercer County ($20,000) will expand its summer traveling residences to provide additional services to Trenton youth including overnight accommodations at a university, as allowed under COVID-19 guidelines, college/career exploration, and access to a life/career coach.
  • Trenton Music Makers, Mercer County ($19,907) will expand its program by engaging an additional 50 students. In addition, working with the Capital Area YMCA, Trenton Music Makers will use the grant funding to add an outdoor tented area where students can engage in their music study, and to add a hip-hop production and a choir to augment the existing conducting and percussion classes.\
  • Trenton Police Department (TPD), Mercer County ($7,446) will expand its current Summer Camp Program to an additional 15 participants and integrate a police exploration, communication, and relations component. In addition, TPD will expand its programming into schools and enhance partnerships with parent/teacher programs.

***

The JJC was established in 1995 to serve as the single agency of the State government with centralized authority for planning, policy development, and provision of services in the juvenile justice system. The JJC is committed to implementing and promoting policies and practices that improve outcomes for young people involved with the juvenile justice system, their families, and their communities.

The JJC’s three primary responsibilities are providing care, custody, and rehabilitative services to youth committed to the agency by the courts, supervising and coordinating services for youth released from custody on parole, and supporting local efforts to provide prevention and early intervention services to at-risk and court-involved youth.


AG Grewal Announces Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Jackson Township for Using Zoning Powers to Exclude and Discriminate Against Orthodox Jews

April 27, 2021

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that the State has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Jackson Township alleging that Township authorities violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by using their zoning powers to make it harder for Orthodox Jews to practice their religion and to deter them from moving there.

The State’s complaint alleges the Jackson’s adoption of discriminatory zoning ordinances and enforcement practices was motivated in part by officials’ desire to appease Township residents who reacted to the Township’s growing Orthodox Jewish population by expressing hate and fear on social media, in complaints to Township officials, and in public meetings.

“We’ve filed this lawsuit because bias and hate have no home in New Jersey, and we will not allow some vocal residents’ intolerance to drive local government decisions,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Like all public servants, municipal officials have a duty to uphold the law, not weaponize it against specific groups because of what they believe or how they worship. Today’s lawsuit should send that message to anyone in New Jersey who needs to hear it.”   

Filed on behalf of Attorney General Grewal and the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) in state Superior Court in Ocean County, the four-count complaint names as defendants Jackson Township, the Jackson Township Council, the Jackson Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Jackson Township Planning Board, and Mayor Michael Reina in his official capacity.

Jackson Township borders Lakewood, a municipality that has more than 50,000 Orthodox Jewish residents and that is home to the second largest yeshiva—a type of Orthodox Jewish religious school—in the world. 

According to the State’s complaint, starting around 2015, a vocal group of Jackson residents began complaining to local officials about an influx of Orthodox Jews into Jackson Township. Some residents have amplified their views in hateful social media posts, which have included statements like “we need to get rid of them like Hitler did” and “filthy f’ing cockroaches.”

The complaint alleges that some Jackson officials sympathized with residents’ anger and fear that Jackson was “becoming a subdivision of Lakewood.”

In response, officials devised plans to create and enforce rules that would stymie the religious observances of Orthodox Jews in Jackson and, as one former Zoning Board member said in a Facebook post, quell “the tsunami of orthodoxy that is mounting at the border.”

Through ordinances and enforcement actions, the complaint alleges, Jackson Township exploited its power to regulate land use and housing to disrupt vital aspects of Orthodox Jewish life in Jackson and to interfere with the ability of observant Orthodox Jews to live there.

“This lawsuit shows that the Attorney General and the Division on Civil Rights stand ready to address discrimination in all its forms, whenever and wherever it occurs throughout the state,” said Aaron Scherzer, Chief of Strategic Initiatives and Enforcement at the Division on Civil Rights. “We will not allow municipalities to discriminate against residents because of their religious beliefs or to take actions based on residents’ intolerance. Instead, as we confront a rising tide of bias across the state and around the country, we need our local leaders to set an example for how to address intolerance and persistent othering.”

The State’s complaint highlights four strategies deployed by Jackson Township to target aspects of Orthodox Jewish religious practice.

First, Township officials allegedly engaged in targeted and discriminatory surveillance of the homes of Orthodox Jews suspected of hosting communal prayer gatherings. Jackson’s zoning code requires permits for places of worship, but there are constitutional limits on municipalities’ ability to use their zoning authority to restrict the free exercise of religion, and government officials cannot discriminate on the basis of religion.

The State’s complaint alleges that Jackson Township dedicated significant resources to monitoring the homes of Orthodox Jews, at the direction of Mayor Reina and others, even after officials warned that taxpayer funds and government resources were being wasted and that officials were not finding significant code violations. Mayor Reina allegedly has stated that, if these were churches instead of Orthodox Jewish places of worship, he would “absolutely not” be fighting them in the same manner.

Second, the complaint alleges that Jackson Township officials engaged in discriminatory application of land use laws to inhibit the erection of sukkahs by the Township’s Jewish residents, particularly in their front yards. Sukkahs are temporary open-air structures constructed to mark Sukkot, a weeklong Jewish holiday celebrating the fall harvest.

According to the complaint, after residents began to question and complain about the appearance of sukkahs, Jackson Township officials modified their interpretation of a local ordinance to effectively prohibit sukkahs in front yards. The complaint alleges that the Township’s new enforcement policy discriminated against Jewish residents.

Third, Jackson officials allegedly discriminated against Orthodox Jews by enacting zoning ordinances in 2017 that essentially banned the establishment of yeshivas and dormitories, where yeshiva students typically reside so as to avoid the distractions of secular life. According to the complaint, as Jackson officials were considering whether to effectively prohibit religious schools, a former member of the Zoning Board warned Mayor Reina that “Jackson will be sued and it will cost the taxpayers dearly to defend the ordinance, potentially millions.”

Fourth, the complaint alleges that Jackson discriminated against Orthodox Jews by enacting a 2017 zoning ordinance that targeted and effectively banned the creation of eruvim – symbolic, boundary-defined areas in which observant Orthodox Jews are permitted to engage in certain activities otherwise prohibited on the Sabbath (Friday evening to Saturday evening) and during the holiday of Yom Kippur. The boundaries of an eruv are often marked by affixing plastic strips known as “lechis” to utility poles.

The State’s complaint alleges that each of these policies and enforcement actions reflects Jackson Township officials’ acquiescence to – and often solidarity with – anti-Orthodox-Jewish bias voiced by certain residents about Orthodox Jews including that they “refuse to assimilate” and that they will “destroy our neighborhoods.”

Among the places where residents have voiced such animus is the Facebook page for a group called Rise Up Ocean County. DCR called on Facebook to monitor the page in April 2019 after receiving reports of its antisemitic content. Facebook eventually removed the page from its platform in early 2020 for violating the company’s community standards for hate speech.

One of the State’s four claims—involving the allegedly discriminatory enactment of ordinances barring yeshivas and their dormitories—overlaps with allegations in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against Jackson Township in May 2020. The federal lawsuit alleges that the Township passed the ordinances, and the planning board has 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 and the Fair Housing Act.

The State’s complaint asks the court to find that each of the challenged zoning practices violates the Law Against Discrimination, to issue an order prohibiting Jackson Township’s discrimination against the Orthodox Jewish community, and to impose civil penalties, among other relief.

The Jackson Township lawsuit is the second lawsuit filed against a New Jersey municipality by the State in recent years to stop discriminatory zoning practices targeting Orthodox Jews. In 2017, the State sued Mahwah Township after it adopted two allegedly discriminatory ordinances  one banning non-residents from using Mahwah’s public parks, the other banning the posting of “lechis” on utility poles located within the municipality. The Mahwah lawsuit was resolved through a settlement agreement in 2018.

Assistant Attorney General Mayur P. Saxena, and Deputy Attorneys General Renee Greenberg, Joanna R. Loomis, Micauri Vargas, and Eve Weissman, of the Affirmative Civil Rights & Labor Enforcement Section of the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, are handling the Jackson Township lawsuit on behalf of the State.

To file a discrimination complaint with DCR visit https://bias.njcivilrights.gov/ or call 1-833-NJDCR4U (833-653-2748).

Click to access Jackson-Complaint-Final-4.27.21.pdf


OUT OF GAS: Trenton Man In Custody After Armed Carjacking In Morrisville, PA, Ends In Robbinsville, NJ

April 23, 2021 — Updated

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department Detective Captain Peter Weremijenko told MidJersey.news that on Thursday April 22, 2021 around 10:08 pm Trenton Police Offices Olix Heredia and Marvin Hebert were on patrol in the area of West End Avenue when they saw a 2019 Jeep Compass, bearing a Pennsylvania license plate, driving in the area.  The officers were aware that the vehicle was reported as carjacked at gunpoint earlier in the evening in Morrisville PA.  The officers attempted to stop the vehicle when the driver of the Jeep accelerated and drove away.  Officers Heredia and Hebert continued to pursue the carjacked Jeep through the City of Trenton, onto Rt 195, then onto Rt 130.  The pursuit ended when the Jeep ran out of gas on Rt 130 south in Robbinsville.  The New Jersey State Police and Robbinsville Police Department assisted the Trenton Police Department to bring this incident to a peaceful conclusion. 

 Taken into custody and charged was:

Christopher R. Hersey, 30-year-old male from General Greene Ave. in Trenton

  • Eluding (2nd degree) 2C:29-2b
  • Several motor vehicle violations

New Jersey State Police Sgt. Philip Curry of the Public Information Unit told MidJersey.news that, on Thursday, April 22, at 10:15 p.m. Trenton Police Department notified the New Jersey State Police that they were engaged in a pursuit with a stolen vehicle that was heading out of Trenton. 

Troopers joined the pursuit as it continued on I-195 before the suspect vehicle exited the highway and traveled through multiple jurisdictions.  During the pursuit, the suspect vehicle struck two marked pursuing NJSP vehicles.

The pursuit concluded on US-130 south MP 65 in Robbinsville Township where the suspect, Christopher Hersey, 30, of Trenton, N.J.  was arrested.

Hersey was charged with aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, criminal mischief and was lodged at the Mercer County Jail.




Video of pursuit in Trenton by Waterfront Park-Arm and Hammer Stadium on Route 29 Video by MidJersey.news reader Jacqueline Leslie

See last night’s breaking news story here: Armed suspect leads multiple police agencies on high speed pursuit after carjacking in Trenton, ends in Robbinsville



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Armed suspect leads multiple police agencies on high speed pursuit after carjacking in Trenton, ends in Robbinsville


UPDATE HERE: OUT OF GAS: Trenton Man In Custody After Armed Carjacking In Morrisville, PA, Ends In Robbinsville, NJ


April 23, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This is a breaking news report from radio reports, on scene information, and sources. Once official information is available, the post will be updated.

TRENTON (MERCER)– A police pursuit involving multiple jurisdictions occurred late Thursday night following a carjacking of a Jeep Compass in Trenton.

Trenton Police called the pursuit around 10:00 pm, after a reported carjacking in the city. State Police joined the chase once the suspect vehicle got onto I-195. The vehicle continued to flee Eastbound on I-195 to Route 537 in Jackson, where he turned back around and went Westbound. The suspect exited I-195 into Hamilton, where he fled down Klockner Road and got onto Route 130. The pursuit continued on Route 130 Northbound to South Brunswick, where the suspect then turned around again, going South on Route 130. The suspect was reported to be armed with a gun. The vehicle reached speeds of 130 miles per hour while running red lights, and reportedly crashed into a few State Police troop cars during the pursuit.

The chase finally came to an end at about 11:03 pm in front of the A&M Market on Route 130 in Robbinsville. One male was taken into custody and transported to the hospital.

Vehicle drove though several towns including, Trenton, Hamilton Township, Robbinsville Township, Upper Freehold Township, Millstone Township, Jackson Township, East Windsor, Cranbury, South Brunswick, North Brunswick.

This is a developing story. Check back for more info.






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Hazmat Units Determine Suspicious Package Was Non Hazardous In Jackson

April 21, 2021

shop.advanceautoparts.com

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday April 20, 2021 a township resident responded to police headquarters with what was reported to be a suspicious package containing a white powder substance. 

After the resident made contact with the watch commander and produced the package and powder, which was contained in a plastic grocery bag, the bag was immediately relocated outside headquarters and notification was made to the Cassville Fire Department, Berkeley and Joint Base MDL Hazmat Units to respond.  The headquarters lobby was closed off as a precaution until the substance could be identified.  After the package was inspected and tested, the substance was determined to be baking soda and not hazardous.  The area was opened again at that time.

The investigation into the origin of the package and why it is was sent to the resident is ongoing at this time.  Any residents who receive or come into contact with any packages or substances which they consider to be suspicious are asked to leave the package in place and contact the department at 732-928-1111.  As a safety precaution, they should not attempt to handle or transport the package.