Category: Other Towns

NJ FMBA Reports, Passaic, NJ Firefighter Passed Away From COVID-19

Passaic Firefighter Local 13 member Israel Tolentino lost his life to COVID-19, coronavirus.

An e-mail from the NJ FMBA also available at the NJ FMBA website:

March 31, 2020

Israel Tolentino, rest easy brother.

Earlier today we received the devastating news that Passaic Firefighter Local 13 member Israel Tolentino lost his life to COVID-19, coronavirus.

We can’t provide him with a true firefighter’s funeral. We can’t have hundreds of firefighters at his house playing with his children and consoling his wife and family. We can’t have food sent to a grieving family and friends because no one can gather. We couldn’t spend time with him in the hospital when he took his final breaths because no visitors are allowed.

This is hardest for our members because this is so out of character for us.  We take care of our own, and while it may not be today, we will give our brother the tribute he deserves. 

This is the true impact of the devastating coronavirus, and a reminder of the added danger firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers, as well as other first responders and health care providers, face every shift we report for.

The increased risk of exposure is exactly why the NJ FMBA has been fighting every single day to make sure that our members are equipped with the knowledge, and equipment, needed to keep us as safe as possible during this extraordinary time.

While washing hands and practicing social distancing is good advice for the general public, it is not enough for the men and women of the fire service.This was why it was imperative that we got access to information sharing related to positive COVID-19 cases, recognizing that no firefighter or EMT should have to respond to a call before being made aware of the additional hazards. 

Now, more than ever, we must look out for ourselves, and each other. That means both physically and mentally. 

While we continue to protect the front lines of our communities, your Union will forge forward on the front lines of State and Federal policymaking by bringing forth legislation and new initiatives that will provide the protections we greatly need and richly deserve.  

As we look towards a brighter and more certain future, today we pray for our brother Israel, his family and our brothers and sisters in Local 13/213

As more information becomes available, we will share it. 

Be Well,

Eddie Donnelly

President

NJFMBA

Most Beaches/Boardwalks, Some Parks, And Great Adventure Closed Due To COVID-19 Concerns, Even Plastic Bag Ban Suspended In Long Beach Twp

March 31, 2020

Ocean County Park System is closing all their parks starting 6 pm March 31, 2020 according to a NIXLE notice here:

Most public parks in NJ that have running trails, hiking trails are open. Check with each individual town or park system for updates on closures or modifications.

Almost all towns have closed places where people could congregate such as pavilions, shelters, certain athletic fields, skate parks, playgrounds, etc. Most parks have left running and hiking trails open so people can get out and get exercise while still be able to maintain a 6 foot physical/social distance from each others. Check with your specific park system or town for specific closures prior to heading to any parks.

As of right now State of NJ Parks and Wildlife Management Areas are open. Restrooms, pavilions, buildings, etc. are closed. Open areas and hiking trails are open, please maintain social distancing while out and about.

Island Beach State Park information here

List of all NJ State Parks


Great Adventure:

Six Flags, Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ has postponed opening day for both parks Hurricane Harbor and Great Adventure & Safari. Please follow the official Facebook and Twitter pages for Six Flags listed below concerning park updates.

Most public beaches, boardwalks and promenades are closed or have some kind of modified restrictive access:

You should stay home but if you are at the shore check with your individual town for specifics and updates on closures. Some towns beaches and boardwalks are closed. Some have boardwalks closed but beaches open.

Long Beach Township—Due to this Local/State/Federal Emergency, we have suspended the ordinance that doesn’t allow the use of single use plastic bags.
We are also not allowing dogs to access bay beach beaches at this time due to the size and limited space and over use of these areas.
Thank you for your cooperation during this State of Emergency.

Seaside Heights beach, boardwalk and bay areas closed see website here.

Seaside Park, boardwalk closed beach open.

Seaside Park Boardwalk to be closed
Effective immediately, by order of the Seaside Park Office of Emergency Management the boardwalk
will be closed to the public until further notice. The Beach entrances will remain accessible to
the public while the boardwalk is closed. This closure is to further protect borough employees and
the public during Governor Murphy’s executive order to limit non-essential travel. We appreciate
everyone’s cooperation as we try to limit exposure during the Covid-19 pandemic so we can flatten
the curve and
get through this situation together as a community.

March 27, 2020 8:32 AM

Asbury Park Boardwalk Closed to the Public to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19 Effective 3/27/20

Effective immediately, Asbury Park Boardwalk will be closed to the public until further notice to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Asbury Park Beaches will remain open for now, but are subject to closure should social distancing guidelines not be followed. Access across the boardwalk to the beach will be available at First, Third and Sunset Avenues. Access to the beach will also be available at Deal Lake Drive.

March 26, 2020

Lavallette website
Lavallette The Beach and Boardwalk are Closed to the Public.
The entire length of the municipal boardwalk from Ortley Ave south to Dover Ave and the entire length of the municipal beach (from northern border of Ocean Beach, Toms River, south to the border of Ortley Beach, Toms River) shall be closed to any public use until the Governor of New Jersey lifts the State of Emergency in the State of New Jersey.

USNS Comfort, Arrives In New York City

March 30, 2020

Story by: US Navy 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

Photos by: Dennis Symons, Jr. – MidJersey.news from Liberty State Park

NORFOLK, Virginia (NNS) — The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in New York March 30, 2020 in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.

While in New York, the ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.  This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for those patients.

Comfort is a seagoing medical treatment facility that currently has more than 1,200 personnel embarked for the New York mission including Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over 70 civil service mariners.

“The USNS Comfort arrives in New York City this morning with more than 1,100 medical personnel who are ready to provide safe, high-quality health care to non-COVID patients,” said Capt. Patrick Amersbach, commanding officer of the USNS Comfort Military Treatment Facility. “We are ready and grateful to serve the needs of our nation.”

Comfort’s primary mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the U.S. military that is flexible, capable and uniquely adaptable to support expeditionary warfare. Comfort’s secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

“Like her sister ship, USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), which recently moored in Los Angeles, this great ship will support civil authorities by increasing medical capacity and collaboration for medical assistance,” said Rear Adm. John Mustin, vice commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. “Not treating COVID-19 patients… but by acting as a relief valve for other urgent needs, freeing New York’s hospitals and medical professionals to focus on the pandemic.”

“This USNS Comfort team of Sailors, Marines and Civilian Mariners came together during the transit to New York City  and our medical professionals are ready to begin receiving patients from local hospitals tomorrow,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, mission commander of Task Force New York City. “Our personnel are our strength—the men and women of our military services accomplish incredible things every day, and I am confident in their abilities as we start the next phase of this mission.”

The ship expects to begin receiving patients 24 hours after arriving in New York City. All patient transfers will be coordinated with local hospitals, thus ensuring a consistent handoff of care between medical providers. Patients will not be accepted on a walk-on basis, and should not come to the pier with any expectation that they can receive care.

“The last time that this great hospital ship was here was in the wake of 9-11, where she served as respite and comfort for our first responders working around the clock,” said Mustin. “Our message to New Yorkers – now your Navy has returned, and we are with you, committed in this fight.”

The U.S. Coast Guard is providing a security escort of USNS Comfort into New York Harbor, comprised of crews and assets from around the region to include the Coast Guard Cutter Shrike, Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak, Maritime Safety and Security Team New York, Coast Guard Station New York, and Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod.

U.S. 2nd Fleet exercises operational authorities over assigned ships, aircraft, and landing forces on the East Coast and the Atlantic.

Coverage of USNS Comfort in New York and USNS Mercy in Los Angeles continues at http://www.dvidshub.net/feature/NavyHospitalShipsCOVID19

For more news from U.S. 2nd Fleet, visit https://www.c2f.navy.mil/ and for more information visit http://www.facebook.com/US2ndFleet/ or http://twitter.com/US2ndFleet.

In Letter to President Trump, Governor Murphy Requests Support of U.S. Military and Army Corps of Engineers to Assist New Jersey’s Efforts to Expand Hospital and Intensive Care Unit Capacity

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today requested the support of the United States military and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assist New Jersey’s efforts to expand hospital and intensive care unit capacity in preparation for the continued spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s request was made in a letter sent to President Trump in response to the President’s comments this morning that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is “ready, willing, and able” to pursue such efforts. “This public health crisis is a direct threat to our national security and the safety of our people, and the Northeast region, which is the densest region by population in America, is the most susceptible to a virus that rapidly transmits among individuals,” said Governor Murphy. “By working together to identify buildings that can serve as facilities to provide emergency and intensive care, we can save many thousands of lives.”At the direction of the Governor, the New Jersey National Guard and the Department of Health Commissioner, Judith Persichilli, are currently working on efforts to expand New Jersey’s hospital capacity. Commissioner Persichilli is working closely with hospitals in the State to examine the feasibility of reopening shuttered hospital wings and hospitals. The letter cites estimates from the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers-Camden that New Jersey could be facing a peak shortfall of anywhere from 123,000 to 313,000 hospital beds, sometime between May and October. It also notes that New Jersey may need an additional 2,000 critical care beds in the next two weeks.Governor Murphy’s letter, which notes the extensive social distancing efforts he ordered yesterday to slow the spread of COVID-19, also reiterated his call for additional supplies to support health care workers on the front lines of statewide response efforts.“Additionally, even as we identify and secure additional facilities, those efforts will be futile unless we have the personal protective equipment needed to allow health care workers to operate and the ventilators that are needed to treat patients,” added Governor Murphy. “I urge you to assist us as we seek to rapidly expand these critical supplies.”A copy of the Governor’s letter can be found here.

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.

$7,500 in LSD Seized by the Mercer County Narcotics Task Force

February 27, 2020

The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force (MCNTF) concluded a three-month investigation last week with one arrest and the seizure of almost $8,000 in drugs, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

Onofri stated that, on Friday evening, February 21, 2020, detectives with the MCNTF initiated surveillance of the investigation’s target, Viktor Drobyshevskiy, as well as his Monroe Township residence on Fernhead Avenue.  A motor vehicle stop of Drobyshevskiy was conducted at Meadow Road and the Route 1 bypass in West Windsor, NJ, and he was taken into custody without incident.  Mercer County Prosecutor’s Sergeant Joe Angarone utilized his K9 partner Bela to conduct a narcotics search of Drobyshevskiy’s 2011 Mazda and Bela indicated positive to locating narcotics within the vehicle.  A search warrant for the vehicle was obtained and detectives located liquid LSD in a clear jar, five tabs of LSD and eight grams of marijuana.  The investigation revealed that Drobyshevskiy was transporting the LSD to sell at a party in West Windsor.

Detectives with the MCNTF, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Unit and the Monroe Township Police Department executed a search warrant for Drobyshevskiy’s residence after he was taken into custody.  During the search, detectives located liquid LSD in a clear jar, approximately 10 grams of psilocybin, 232 grams of marijuana, a .22 caliber rifle, a 9mm handgun and $505 in cash.

Onofri stated that the total amount of LSD seized was about one and a half ounces with an approximate street value of $7,500.  The psilocybin and marijuana have approximate street values of $200 and $250, respectively.

Drobyshevskiy, 28, was arrested and charged with first-degree narcotics offenses.  He is being held at the Mercer County Correction Center pending a detention hearing.

Officers with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Monroe Township Police Department, and the Hamilton and Princeton police, under the command of the prosecutor’s Special Investigations Unit, assisted with the investigation.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Viktor Drobyshevskiy, 28, was arrested and charged with first-degree narcotics offenses.  He is being held at the Mercer County Correction Center pending a detention hearing.

Update: NJ Man Dies From Asphyxia At Chair 37 in Vail Mountain’s Blue Sky Basin By Hanging From Ski Coat

February 14, 2020

Updated to include town in NJ and additional information.

Special thanks to Vail Daily for contributing to this report.

VAIL COLORADO (EAGLE)–According to reports a New Jersey man has died by Chair 37 Skyline Express Lift in the Blue Sky Basin area of Vail’s legendary back bowls. Jason Varnish, 46, of Short Hills, New Jersey, died Thursday on Vail Mountain, coroner Kara Bettis has confirmed.

Update from Vail Daily:

Coroner Kara Bettis said the death has been ruled an accident.

Bettis, in a text, wrote: “We are still investigating how this whole situation happened. According to our initial investigation, the deceased slipped through the seat of the chair lift and his ski coat got caught up in the chair. The coat ended up going up around his head and neck area putting his neck in a position that compromised his airway.”

See Vail Daily for further updates on the investigation

Blue Sky Basin was closed after the incident:

Please also follow this breaking story at Vail Daily for the latest information.

Softball Coach Charged With Stealing Team Money

February 12, 2020

FREEHOLD – A Neptune Township man who coached a competitive youth softball team is facing charges of theft after he misused about $14,000 of the team’s funds earmarked for traveling expenses and tournament costs, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Michael Lane, 54, of Neptune Township, was charged Monday with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Misapplication of Entrusted Property by detectives from the Tinton Falls Police Department with assistance from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

Lane, in his capacity as the coach for the Monmouth Surf softball team (a youth sports travel team) since 2013, received money from players to cover traveling expenses and tournament costs. But last July 2019, parents for the players were informed by Lane he misused the funds given to him for personal use and the money was no longer available. He then informed parents he would pay back the funds but the player’s participation would have to be cancelled. When money was not paid back, parents reported the crime to law enforcement and an investigation by the Tinton Falls Police Department, with assistance from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, revealed the defendant did not utilize the funds for the softball team and instead deposited approximately $14,000 of the stolen money into his personal account.


If convicted of the third degree crimes, Lane faces up to five years in a New Jersey state prison on each count.The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer. Lane is represented by Jacqueline E. Cistaro, Esq. of New York.


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.

New Jersey EMS System Has Needed Life Support For A Long Time!

January 26, 2020

Editorial by: PFANJ, Professional Firefighters of NJ

The Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system in New Jersey has long been in need of revamping and overhauling. Since 2010, the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) has been working with the New Jersey State Legislature to enact critical changes to our EMS system that will help keep our communities safe. In fact, a law to rebuild the system was passed by the Legislature in 2012, but was vetoed by Governor Christie.

State Senator Declan J. O’Scanlon Jr. (R-13) is taking advantage of the union-busting shut-down of MONOC – New Jersey’s Hospital Service Corporation on April 1 to advocate for swift passage of a bill he is sponsoring (S-617) that would fundamentally change EMS delivery in New Jersey. Make no mistake, this bill will impact the method in which emergency medical help is provided to every neighborhood and family in our great state. The O’Scanlon bill is not the lifeline the NJ EMS system needs.

Instead of strengthening New Jersey’s EMS system, O’Scanlon’s bill lowers standards. It takes highly trained paramedics out of advanced life support units and replaces them with lower-paid EMTs with significantly less training and life-saving capabilities. While O’Scanlon’s bill claims to allow more staffing flexibility, it merely gives hospital systems shortcuts to higher profits. Some of these same hospital systems are the very ones responsible for the dismantling of MONOC.

MONOC, which provided ALS service in New Jersey for 40 years, is being dismantled and shutting its doors on April 1, 2020. MONOC was run by a board of directors that included management from RWJBarnabas HealthHackensack Meridian Health and CentraState Healthcare System. These hospitals systems now will absorb MONOC’s service area. MONOC’s International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) union EMS professionals will all lose their jobs and are offered no guarantee of employment in these takeover areas.

Senator O’Scanlon has stated that MONOC’s business model was no longer sustainable. One must ask, if these hospital systems were responsible for MONOC when MONOC collapsed, how will they effectively run this new EMS service?

The needed overhaul of our EMS system should be about giving the citizens of New Jersey the best possible emergency medical services available. The PFANJ and Professional Emergency Medical Service Association PEMSA – IAFF Local 4610 (PEMSA) have worked constructively in the past with Senator O’Scanlon on this overhaul, but more work needs to be done before this current and flawed legislation moves forward.

Paramedics know that hurrying through an emergency scene can lead to unintended mistakes. Deliberative care is always best for the patient and results in a better long-term prognosis. The same can be said for legislation. Instead of rushing to pass legislation like O’Scanlon’s bill that front-line EMS professionals are uncertain will help our communities, it is far more prudent to work with all stakeholders to create sustainable solutions that will have a proven positive impact on how EMS is delivered.

The citizens of New Jersey deserve the best emergency medical system the world has to offer. The PFANJ looks forward to continuing to modernize and increase professionalism of our state’s EMS system. We fear that the forced closure of MONOC and the rushing of O’Scanlon’s bill takes us in the wrong direction and makes us all less safe.

Don Marino
President
Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey

West Windsor Man Under Indictment for 40 Burglaries

December 18, 2019

TRENTON — A Mercer County grand jury returned a nine-count indictment this week charging Billy M. Woodard, 54, in connection with five residential burglaries in Mercer and Middlesex counties, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced.  The charges include three counts of burglary in West Windsor Township and two counts of burglary in Plainsboro Township.

In September 2019, a Mercer County grand jury returned a 55-count indictment charging Woodard with 19 burglaries in West Windsor, four in Robbinsville, six in Princeton, four in Lawrence and two in Hopewell.  He was also indicted on many third- and fourth-degree theft charges related to the burglaries.

Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen M. Petrucci presented both cases to the grand jury.

Prosecutor Onofri stated that, between June 2018 and May 2019, West Windsor Township and surrounding jurisdictions were inundated with a rash of residential burglaries.  A comprehensive and massive investigation was conducted by the West Windsor Police Department’s Detective Bureau, under the leadership of Chief Robert Garofalo, to determine if they were the acts of the same person or persons, and to identify those responsible and apprehend the culprits.  The exhaustive efforts led to identifying Woodard as the lone actor in more than 20 residential burglaries during the aforementioned time frame. In almost every single case, the burglaries took place while the residents were at home and asleep.

During the extensive investigation, lead West Windsor Detectives Eric Woodrow and Jason Jones sought assistance from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit (SIU).  Ultimately, Woodard was apprehended during the commission of a residential burglary in Lower Makefield Township, Pennsylvania, on May 30, 2019. He remains in custody in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and is charged with numerous burglaries in that jurisdiction.

“Although Woodard has been linked to 22 residential burglaries in West Windsor Township, the investigation is ongoing,” Chief Garofalo said.  “The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the WWPD ask residents to continue your vigilance and be observant and considerate to your neighbors.  If you feel something is abnormal in your community, please don’t hesitate to contact your local police department immediately.”

Prosecutor Onofri and Chief Garofalo thanked the following agencies for the support and resources provided during the investigation:

  • West Windsor Police Department
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Hopewell Township Police Department
  • Lawrence Township Police Department
  • Princeton Police Department
  • Robbinsville Township Police Department
  • Plainsboro Township Police Department
  • Lower Makefield Township (PA) Police Department

Despite having been indicted, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

A Mercer County grand jury returned a nine-count indictment this week charging Billy M. Woodard, 54, in connection with five residential burglaries in Mercer and Middlesex counties, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced. Photo provided by: Mercer County Prosecutors Office

Updated: Serious Bus Accident on NJ Turnpike, One Fatality Reported, Several Injured

November 29, 2019 (updated 11/30/2019 to include official information from NJSP)

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP–One person has died in a bus accident on the NJ Turnpike and several others had moderate to minor injuries. A bus traveling south on the NJ Turnpike was en route from New York City to Philadelphia, PA., NJ State Police said.

The south bound bus was in the area of mile marker 56.9 lost control and ran off the roadway by the Crosswicks Creek Bridge. It appears the guardrail and barrier had kept the bus from falling off the embankment of the bridge and into the creek below.

The Robbinsville Township Fire Department, IAFF Local #3786, Bordentown Township Fire Department IAFF Local #3091 were dispatched at 8:49 pm, also numerous first aid squads were requested and responded to the scene.

New Jersey State Police said that there were at least 20 passengers on board the bus at the time of crash and some passengers left the scene on their own.

There were seven injuries reported, six were minor and one moderate. The one “moderately” injured person had to be extricated and was transported to Capital Health in Hopewell. One injury was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton and five refused treatment.

The NJ State Police did not release the name of the deceased, pending notification of family members.

The bus was operated by Skyliner Travel and Tours Bus Corp from Astoria, NY

A Hyundai traveling behind the bus was damaged by debris of the crash but did not impact the bus. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the NJ State Police.

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