MONTGOMERY, NJ (SOMERSET)–This September, Patrick Liu, a long-term resident of Montgomery, NJ and graduate of Montgomery High School (class of 2008), will be cycling in Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer (C2C4C), a cross-country ride to raise money for cancer research. Liu will be riding in honor of his mother who was diagnosed and beat olfactory neuroblastoma, a cancer of her nose nerves, three times.
“My mom’s sheer-force of will and positive attitude in the face of cancer has been a huge inspiration for me,” says Liu. “I am inspired to never give up as I train for this ride just as my mom persevered while fighting this disease in 2012, 2015 and 2017. Despite facing several complications from her diagnosis, she continues to live every day like it’s the best day ever.”
He remembers all the extended family, friends and colleagues who supported his family throughout his mom’s cancer journey. For Liu, this sense of community is something he feels the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride also helps foster connecting him even more with his family, as well as cancer patients and their loved ones.
Liu will be joining more than 126 fellow Bristol Myers Squibb employees who will set out to ride up to 80 miles per day for three days, contributing to nearly 3,000 miles from Cannon Beach, OR to Long Branch, NJ, as part of the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride.
“As I prepare for the incredible feat, I am reminded of what my mom went through in her cancer journey, which has kept me going through five months of rigorous training and as I anticipate all the climbs that I will face in my ~225 mile segment from Boise, ID to Salt Lake City, UT from September 12-15.”
Since 2014, more than 760 Bristol Myers Squibb employees have raised more than $9.83 million for cancer research through the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride. This year, the epic cycling event will once again raise funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, a charitable organization dedicated to achieving Victory Over Cancer® through research.
For Patrick, the ride represents the challenges cancer patients face daily and just like the patients, he hopes to come out the other side stronger.
For more information and to donate to the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride, visit the website here.
This September, Patrick Liu, a long-term resident of Montgomery, NJ and graduate of Montgomery High School (class of 2008), will be cycling in Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer (C2C4C), a cross-country ride to raise money for cancer research. Liu will be riding in honor of his mother who was diagnosed and beat olfactory neuroblastoma, a cancer of her nose nerves, three times.
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ (SOMERSET)–Detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office along with Franklin Township Police are actively investigating a child fatality which occurred within the jurisdiction of Franklin Township (Somerset County) New Jersey. Authorities have notified the New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office who will be responding to conduct the investigation. No further details will be released at this time while investigators conduct their investigation.” Deputy Chief Frank Roman
Sources tell MidJersey.News that a baby was left in a hot car this afternoon and died. Details are still sketchy check back for further details.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Somerset County, New Jersey, man was sentenced to 46 months in prison for orchestrating a $2 million COVID-19 fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Guaravjit “Raj” Singh, 27, of Montgomery, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence on July 20, 2022, in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From May 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singh engaged in a scheme to defraud and to enrich himself by fraudulently inducing 10 victims to send him over $2 million to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) and then stealing the money and not providing the PPE to the victims as promised.
Singh induced victims to enter into an agreement pursuant to which Singh would be paid approximately $7.1 million for approximately 1.5 million medical gowns, which ultimately were to be sourced to the city of New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The victims wired Singh, though his company GJS Solutions LLC, $712,500, representing a 10 percent initial deposit for the medical gowns. After receiving these funds from the victims, Singh made additional misrepresentations and excuses to the victims, ensuring them that they would receive the medical gowns. Instead of purchasing and delivering medical gowns, Singh used the funds for personal expenses.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Singh to three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and intelligence analysts of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren E. Repole, Chief of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.
Governor Phil Murphy has declared a State of Emergency:
A blizzard warning has been issued for Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties in NJ and coastal Sussex County DE.
...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 7 PM EST
* WHAT...Blizzard conditions expected. Total snow accumulations of
8 to 15 inches. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph.
* WHERE...The coastal counties of New Jersey, and coastal sections
of Sussex County in Delaware.
* WHEN...From 7 PM this evening to 7 PM EST Saturday.
* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Areas
of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. Gusty
winds could bring down tree branches.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Snow is expected to begin on Friday
evening, with snow becoming heavy after midnight. The most
likely time for blizzard conditions is late Friday night through
midday Saturday. Blizzard conditions are primarily expected at
or within a few miles from the coast. Snow will wind down
HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a police-involved shooting that occurred last evening, Jan. 9, in Hillsborough, N.J. One male civilian sustained fatal injuries. His identity is not being released at this time. No one else was injured.
According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred at approximately 6:26 p.m. inside an apartment on Corporal Langon Way in Hillsborough. Officers of the Hillsborough Police Department were dispatched to the residence in response to a 911 call. After officers arrived, they encountered a male resident inside the apartment. During the encounter, one officer discharged his service weapon, fatally wounding the man. Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to the man, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene at 6:51 p.m.
This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.
RWJBarnabas Health Makes Call for Blood Donations This Holiday Season; Urges Donors to Return to Address Emergency Shortages
RWJBarnabas Health urges everyone to donate blood and platelets to help overcome a national blood shortage this winter. Blood collection in New Jersey is down more than 25 percent since late summer, compounding the effect that the COVID-19 lock downs had on reduced donations in 2020. Life-saving blood donations are given to patients in a wide range of circumstances including cancer care, trauma events such as car accidents and home accidents, childbirth, and mass casualty events.
“We need New Jersey residents to give the gift of blood this holiday season as blood supplies have yet to catch up since the height of the pandemic,” said Sally Wells, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Blood Services Business Development Liaison. “There are less blood drives being organized at workplaces, schools, houses of worship and community organizations. Our hospitals rely on the support of individuals to provide much of the blood we use, and we need your help now to address this blood shortage and prevent potential delays in lifesaving medical care for patients in New Jersey.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on people’s habits and daily lives and as a result, a profound impact on blood donations and collection nationwide. Prior to the pandemic, high school and college blood drives supplied about 40 percent of donations across the country. Many drives have not returned to these settings, challenging the industry to keep up with demand, which has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
RWJBarnabas Health is calling for blood donors of all types, especially type O, the universal blood type, and platelet donors.
Here’s how you can donate:
Schedule an appointment at one of our fixed site Donor Rooms.
RWJBarnabas Health has two fixed locations, one at RWJUH in New Brunswick, located on the 4th floor of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Clinical Academic Building (CAB) at 125 Paterson Street in New Brunswick, and one at RWJUH Somerset, located at 110 Rehill Avenue in Somerville. Both Donor Centers are open Monday -Friday and select Saturdays.
To make an appointment at a fixed RWJBH Donor Room or to find a blood drive location near you, please visit: https://www.rwjuhdonorclub.org. or call 732-235-8100 ext. 221.
Attend a local blood drive.
RWJBarnabas Health is hosting several blood drives across the state this holiday season including the following:
The Community Medical Center “Gift of Life” Blood Drive
Monday, December 20th from 10am-6pm
Community Medical Center Auditorium A & B
99 Hwy. 37 West
Toms River, NJ 08755
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset Blood Drives
Friday, December 24th and Friday, December 31st from 8am-2pm
110 Rehill Ave, Somerville, NJ 08875
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital “Holiday Blood Drives”
Tuesday, December 28th and Thursday, December 30th from 10am to 4pm
Arline & Henry Schwartzman Courtyard
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Free parking is available for all blood donors. Donors must be at least 16-years old (16 -year-olds require written parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds (120 pounds if 16-years old). Donors must also present photo identification at the time of donation.
Donor Centers and all RWJBarnabas Health Blood Drives have rigorous safety protocols in place to protect all donors. These include temperature checks of staff and donors, required face coverings, social distancing requirements in waiting areas and donation spaces, as well as strict sanitary protocols including disinfection of donor areas. Donors must also wear masks or face covering.
To organize a blood drive in your community, please call Sally Wells at 732-558-4983 or email email@example.com.
State Police Arrest Man Who Brandished Handgun at Motorist After Road Rage Incident
Suspect Led Troopers on Multi-County Motor Vehicle Pursuit
Bridgewater Twp., N.J. – The New Jersey State Police have arrested Russell T. Brown, 62, of Shallotte, N.C., after he allegedly pointed a handgun at another motorist and led troopers on a motor vehicle pursuit that spanned multiple counties.
On Friday, November 12, at approximately 4:18 p.m., Operational Dispatch Unit North advised troopers that they were on the phone with a caller who stated a man driving a white Chrysler Town and Country exited his vehicle and pointed a handgun at him after a road rage incident. The victim stated that the incident occurred on Interstate 287 southbound at milepost 35 in Morris Township, Morris County. Troopers responded to the area and observed the Chrysler traveling southbound on I-287 at milepost 23 and continued to follow the minivan onto Interstate 78 eastbound.
In the area of milepost 32.2, in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, troopers attempted to conduct a high-risk motor vehicle stop on the Chrysler. With emergency lights activated, troopers stopped the Chrysler and provided verbal commands to the driver to exit the vehicle via the State Police vehicle public address (PA) system. The driver exited his vehicle, but after several minutes of refusing the trooper’s commands, he got back into the minivan and fled the scene.
Troopers continued to pursue the Chrysler with emergency lights and sirens activated as it traveled through multiple jurisdictions on various roadways including I-78, I-287, County Route 622, State Highway 18, and ultimately the New Jersey Turnpike. During the pursuit, the suspect intentionally struck a State Police marked vehicle on State Highway 18.
At approximately 5:52 p.m., troopers successfully stopped the Chrysler on the New Jersey Turnpike southbound at milepost 52 in Mansfield Township, Burlington County. Once stopped, troopers ordered the driver out of the vehicle, but he refused to exit. Troopers then physically removed the driver from the vehicle and arrested him. A female passenger in the vehicle was arrested without incident. During the investigation, troopers discovered a 9mm handgun in the Chrysler. The driver and passenger were relayed to State Police Somerville Station for processing. Troopers later determined that the female passenger was an unwilling participant during the pursuit and was not charged.
Russell T. Brown was charged with possession of a firearm without a permit, possession of a firearm for unlawful purpose, aggravated assault (pointing a firearm), aggravated assault against a trooper, resisting arrest, eluding arrest, and obstruction of justice. He was lodged at the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.
This case is being prosecuted by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.
Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.
BRIDGEWATER, NJ (SOMERSET)–According to SFC Lawrence Peele at the New Jersey State Police, Public Information Unit, at approximately 4:19 p.m., troopers responded to Interstate 78 in Bridgewater for the report of a driver pointing a handgun at another motorist. The driver of a Dodge Ram Pickup advised that the driver of a Chrysler Town and Country pointed a gun at him during an alleged road rage incident.
In the area of milepost 32.2, troopers observed the Chrysler and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver refused to stop and continued traveling eastbound on I-78. Troopers continued to pursue the vehicle with emergency lights and sirens activated as it traveled through multiple jurisdictions on various roadways including I-78, I-287, County Route 622, State Highway 18, and ultimately the New Jersey Turnpike.
At approximately 5:52 p.m., troopers stopped the Chrysler on the New Jersey Turnpike southbound prior to Interchange 6 in Burlington County. The male driver and female passenger were both placed under arrest and are currently facing multiple charges. There were no injuries reported and both suspects were relayed to State Police Somerville Station for processing.
PLAINSBORO-SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone, Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department, and Chief Raymond Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announce authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying an individual believed to be involved in an aggravated sexual assault that occurred in the area of Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park on the border of Plainsboro and South Brunswick Townships.
A joint investigation has determined that on September 28, 2021 between 4:30 P.M. and 5:00 P.M., an adult woman was walking on a path adjacent to the canal where she was approached by a male armed with a weapon and moved to a secondary location on the Plainsboro-South Brunswick border where she was sexually assaulted.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, age range of 40’s-50’s, approximately 5’5” – 5’6” tall, wearing dark colored clothing and a dark baseball cap. The individual is believed to have been riding a bike.
This incident has similarities to a sexual assault that occurred in Duke Island Park in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County on Sunday evening, July 18, 2021.
HILLSBOROUGH, NJ (SOMERSET)–The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a police-involved shooting that occurred yesterday, Sept. 28, in Hillsborough, N.J. One male civilian sustained fatal injuries. His identity is not being released at this time. No one else was injured.
According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred at approximately 4:16 p.m. yesterday inside a residence on Piedmont Path in Hillsborough. Officers of the Hillsborough Police Department responded shortly after 4 p.m. to a 911 call reporting an emergency at the residence. After officers arrived, they encountered a male resident inside the house. During the encounter, one officer discharged his service weapon, fatally wounding the resident. Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to the resident and he was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced deceased at 5:28 p.m.
This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.
MANVILLE, NJ (SOMERSET)–Earlier today, President Biden visited Manville and other areas devastated by Hurricane Ida. The President met with Governor Phil Murphy and other officials about the severe flooding and damage. See full remarks from President Biden below.
Remarks by President Biden in Briefing on the Impact of Hurricane Ida in Hillsborough Township, NJ
Somerset County Emergency Management Training Center Hillsborough Township, New Jersey
12:23 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks, Gov. Thank you. Wish I were here under different circumstances, but you really took a hit and New Jersey took a hit; parts of my state as well, but New Jersey and New York in particular.
And I want to begin by thanking Senator Booker for all the work he’s doing in the Senate trying to get this infrastructure and other — the things we have to do to not just build back, but build back better than it was before.
And I want to thank Representative Watson and — now, am I in your district or am I in — I’m in Tommy’s district —
REPRESENTATIVE WATSON COLEMAN: You’ll be in my district in a moment.
THE PRESIDENT: In a moment. Okay. We’re right on the line.
REPRESENTATIVE MALINOWSKI: We’re all one district.
THE PRESIDENT: I — I think that’s true. And you also have one of the best state police forces in the nation. I’m a big statey guy, and so is Delaware.
But thank you very much for all you do.
Look, to the local officials, the mayors, and the county commissioner: You really get hit first. They come to you first. They want to know what’s going on, what you can do to help them. And, in some cases, even with search and rescue, you can have some of the least reach in terms of availability of resources.
And the one thing I will say — and I really want to thank my FEMA director. She’s done one thing that — and we had a great FEMA director in the past as well — that makes it work. When you get local, state, and federal working together, it is more than three times — it’s — it’s like 10 times what it would be if just having one moving.
And the losses that we witnessed today are profound: dozens of lost lives; homes destroyed in Manville, including by gas leaks triggered by the flooding; damaged infrastructure, including the rail system. And my thoughts are with all those families affected by the storms and all those families who lost someone they love.
I understand there are still two — is it two people missing? Or —
GOVERNOR MURPHY: Four.
THE PRESIDENT: Four people still missing. And I especially want to thank — and it’s an overused phrase, but the brave first responders. I — you know, we have — you have exemplified the courage, both in New Jersey and next door in New York. They’ve done an incredible job.
And we’re working closely with Governor Murphy, and we’re going to continue to do so. I’m here to see firsthand what the damage is and find out directly from you all what — what is most needed.
Now, look, FEMA has been, I hope, as responsive as we’ve intended them to be, and I’m sure they have. A hundred and thirty-two personnel from FEMA, so far, including federal search and rescue teams, including 60 individuals; Incident Management Assistant Teams of 20 people to support these response operations; and Mobile Emergency Response Support teams — six of them — to provide communications and logistics support.
And on Sunday, when — when the governor — and we spoke to the governor and he asked for the major disaster declaration, we made it available immediately so that we could speed federal assistance as quickly as we could to hard-hit communities.
The FEMA Administrator was on the ground here in New Jersey yesterday, I believe, to assess the damage. She’s visited two communities, Mullica Hills and Wenonah, hit by the tornado, as — that was on the ground just — what? — for over 13 miles that was on the ground, that tornado — those tornados.
The HHS Secretary has worked with the state to make sure folks on Medicare and Medicaid get the emergency care they need now. And we’re going to make sure the relief is equitable so that those hardest hit get what they need. And they — and we know there’s a lot more to do, and that’s why we’re here.
For decades, scientists have warned of extreme — weather would be more extreme and climate change was here, and we’re living through it now. We don’t have any more time.
I hope no one — I’ve been on the telephone or on the road an awful lot between California, Idaho, New Orleans — excuse me, not New Orleans — Louisiana, but in New Orleans — Mississippi and, you know, here. I mean, every part of the country — every part of the country is getting hit by extreme weather. And we’re now living in real time what the country is going to look like. And if we don’t do something — we can’t turn it back very much, but we can prevent it from getting worse.
And so, we’re all in this together, and we’ve got to — we’ve got to make sure that we don’t leave any community behind. And it’s all across the country.
You know, the members of Congress know from their colleagues in Congress that, you know, the — what looks like a tornado — they don’t call them that anymore — that hit the crops and wetlands in the middle of the country, in Iowa, in Nevada, and — I mean, it’s just across the board.
And, you know, as I said, we’re in this together. And so, one of the things that, today, I’m going to ask you about when we get into this — some question and answers here, is about how we’re going to build back realizing what the status of the climate is now, what the trajectory of it is going to be.
And we can no longer — we all know — we can’t just build back to what it was before. Whatever damage done in New Jersey, you can’t build back and restore it — what it was before, because another tornado, another 10 inches of rain is going to produce the same kind of results.
So, I want to talk a little bit about the specifics about the things you think you would need not just to get back to normal, but to get back to a place where, if it happened again, the damage would be considerably less. That’s what this is all about, in my view. This is an opportunity.
I think the country has finally acknowledged the fact that global warming is real and it’s moving at an incredible pace, and we’ve got to do something about it.
I’m going to be going from here to what — COP29 [COP26] in Glasgow for the world meeting together and how we’re going to deal with climate change. And it is — it’s — I think we’re at one of those inflection points where we either act or we’re going to be — we’re going to be in real, real trouble. Our kids are going to be in real trouble.
So I want to thank you, and I yield back to you, Gov.
GOVERNOR MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. President. Amen to all. And again, we can’t thank you enough for being here, for all your support.
Another person who we’re going to hear from next has been there for us. And Deanne Criswell, who’s the Administrator for FEMA — we’ve had a lot of conversations over the past several weeks, harking back to Henri, which also wreaked some havoc in New Jersey but nothing like Ida.
Madam Administrator, it’s an honor to have you here.
ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Governor. And thank you to all the elected officials, commissioners, and mayors that are here today.
I’d actually like to start by giving a big shout-out to all of the first responders that have been supporting the lifesaving efforts over the last few days, many of them in your own communities, many of them who have had damages to their own homes. And I just want everybody to know: The hard work that you do is really appreciated at — you know, in your communities, but also at the federal level as well. We couldn’t do it without you. You’re the ones on the ground. I always say it, and you’ve heard from others as well: Disasters always start and end local, and so we want to make sure that we’re here to support the first responders.
I did spend yesterday visiting some of the damaged areas and meeting with local officials. I toured Mullica Hill and Wenonah, and witnessed firsthand the destruction that these tornadoes did bring.
But because of the President’s swift action in declaring a major disaster declaration, we’ve been able to now provide aid to some of the families who have been impacted, specifically those individuals that live in Bergen, Gloucester — excuse me if I get these wrong — pronounce them wrong — Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset. And —
THE PRESIDENT: It’s okay as long as you send the money.
ADMINISTRATOR CRISWELL: I’m sending money. I bring a checkbook, Mr. President, that you gave me.
And we’re continuing to do damage assessments today. So I have staff on the ground today that are doing assessments in Essex, Hudson, Union, and Mercer. And, you know, we wanted to be able to get this disaster declaration in place quickly, knowing that we still needed to do additional damage assessments, to really get a better understanding of the scope of the impact that the communities are experiencing across New Jersey.
So far, we actually already have over 7,000 families that have registered for assistance, and that number will continue to grow. But if they haven’t registered yet, individuals can go to DisasterAssistance.gov, they can go to our FEMA app, or they can call 1-800-621-FEMA. That’s 1-800-621-3362.
Additionally, we’re going to have teams that are going in the neighborhoods. They will also be in the recovery centers when they’re established. If you haven’t registered, they can assist you with registering. If you have and you have questions about your case, just find somebody with a FEMA shirt and they’ll help you understand where it’s at and if you — if you need to provide any more information.
I mean, I think — you know, the thing that’s been remarkable over the last few weeks in watching the track of Hurricane Ida that really caused damage across nine states is that the weather events such as these are just becoming more normal. They’re becoming more common, but they’re more severe and they’re more intense. And the effects of climate change that are causing these storms is here, and it’s our job to make sure that we are all ready to respond, as well as prepared.
And FEMA is really committed to helping with making communities more resilient. We recently authorized, on behalf of the President, close to $5 billion in hazard mitigation funding to help give communities that extra resource to build that resiliency. It’s just the first step. But FEMA wants to be an active participant in this role of making sure that we’re preparing to reduce the impacts from the future risks that we’re going to continue to see as a result of climate change.
And then, lastly, I’d just like to say: This is September, and it is National Preparedness Month, and our theme this year is “Prepare to Protect.” And I think what we saw over the last week is that nobody is immune from the threats that we’re facing from these disasters.
I read recently that it said one in three Americans have already experienced a major disaster this year. I can’t, you know, verify that number, but it’s there. People are experiencing these events. We need to invest in reducing the risk that these communities are facing, but we also need to make sure that we’re helping individuals be prepared.
And so, if you don’t have an emergency plan, please go to Ready.gov, and there’s some great information there to help you prepare for what you may be experiencing in the future.
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Governor.
GOVERNOR MURPHY: Thank you. Thank you, Deanne. Thank you for the major disaster declaration for those six counties, including this one, and for your work to hopefully add to that list. I know your team is — is on that.
Again, it’s DisasterAssistance.gov if you’re in those six counties. If you’re not in the six counties, we have a website set up — NJ.gov/Ida — and, hopefully, that’s a landing place for now for folks to go until — please, God — they get designated as a disaster county. So, thank you for everything. You all have been extraordinary.
We’re in Somerset County and we’re honored to have the Commissioner Director with us, an outstanding leader. Hear a few words from Shanel Robinson. Shanel.
COMMISSIONER DIRECTOR ROBINSON: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Governor. And welcome, to all of you, to Somerset County’s Emergency Operations Center. And thank you for visiting to see the catastrophic damage that Ida brought firsthand.
We all greatly appreciate your commitment to our recovery and especially for our inclusion in FEMA’s disas- — major disaster declaration. So, again, thank you for that.
Now, as you tour Manville today, you will see the heart and spirit and the resilience of the people of Somerset County. You will see the devastation that Ida brought, but nevertheless, we will continue to do and build a better and stronger community.
Hurricane Ida is our fourth — understand, our fourth storm of the 100-year storm in just over two decades. And as you mentioned, Mr. President, it’s only going to get worse.
But this historic storm has hit us particularly hard. You know, in Somerset County, the result was not just a deluge of waters, but a deluge of emergencies.
In our own, Somerset County 911 Communications Center fielded over 13,000 calls that night, 5,000 of them being 911; 520 air and water rescues, where people were rescued from their vehicles or from their homes; 170 fire alarms; 8 explosions; and there are countless of automobile accidents and injuries.
But as we all can attest to and can agree to is that our first responders — state, local rescue teams — risked their own safety to save the lives of the residents of not only Somerset County, but of the state of New Jersey.
And I would be remiss if I did not thank our Somerset County Department of Public Works who were, with their front loaders, rescuing people who were out there cleaning the debris, making sure the roadways were safe and blocked from those that entered into dangerous paths.
But also, during the worst of the raging waters in our Millstone and Raritan rivers — they raged over our 750 bridges here in Somerset County alone, but yet our workers were there to make sure that they were doing all that they could to make sure that our residents were safe.
And sadly, six Somerset County residents lost their lives to the floodwaters. We must continue to hold their families and loved ones in our prayers and in our hearts.
But again, because of Ida’s devastation, we know that we cannot forget that we must endure, as we have thousands of people that are continuing to seek shelter.
Our collective mission now — as you see around the room, you have local, county, state, and federal officials coming together to making sure that we get our families back into our homes, make sure that our businesses are operating again, and to repair and restore our public infrastructure.
Here in New Jersey, there is a strong connection — again, the leadership who are in the room — there’s a strong connection to make sure that we’re doing all that we can for the residents of New Jersey, not just Somerset County. And we must do all that we can to make sure that the residents know that we have their back. And as you said, Commissioner — Administrator, we’re here to prepare to protect. And if the residents do not feel that we have their backs, then we failed them.
So, over the weekend, we’ve transitioned from emergency response to disaster recovery. This will not only take weeks, but months or even longer. We will never be back to close to normal, but all we can do is do better.
We will need FEMA, the Red Cross, state and local OEM, and nonprofits to come together to ensure that the recovery is not just for some, but for all.
So, again, thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Governor. And thank you to all of you for your resiliency and for your deep concern for not only Som- — not only Somerset County, but the state of New Jersey, and your commitment to our recovery.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Shanel.
GOVERNOR MURPHY: Thank you, Shanel. Great leadership by you and your team, as you said, at the county and local level, and heroism all over the state by first responders.
With your blessing, Mr. President, I think we have one more speaker before our friends in the press leave, and that is the superintendent of our state police, Colonel Pat Callahan, who has been there every single day during this pandemic and certainly through Ida and all the other weather challenges we’ve had.
Pat, over to you.
COLONEL CALLAHAN: Thank you, Governor, for that introduction and certainly for your continued leadership through probably some of the most challenging times in New Jersey’s history.
And thank you, Mr. President, especially for your kind words about the state police. Delaware State Police is pretty good too, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: The best.
COLONEL CALLAHAN: (Laughs.) But your presence here sends a strong message to all of us and to our residents that that support — from not only response, to recovery, mitigation — that the federal government is here, and that we saw that yesterday when the Administrator and I walked around and spoke to those homeowners. So, thank you.
And I also want to take this opportunity to thank and offer my gratitude for the swift offers of assistance that we got from the White House, from FEMA, Department of Defense, HHS. It’s an honor to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all of you and show the rest of the country what it means to be a true collaborative effort here. So, thank you.
And just a little bit about the day of the storm, Mr. President: That morning of, at 10:00 a.m., we hosted a call with the National Weather Service, all of our county OEM coordinators, our state emergency management partners. We activated our SEOC two hours later. And then, in short order, that unprecedented amount of rainfall just stagger- — staggering rate fell and ravaged our state, upending families and causing a horrible loss of life, as you’ve heard.
To give a broad picture, very few areas were unscathed. Flooding occurred in 10 of our 21 counties that were normally not flood prone. And as we witnessed yesterday, that EF-3 that hit down on that 13-mile path, starting with — over in Harrison Township, all the way up through Wenonah and out.
So it — that all happened in a period of about 9 or 10 hours.
GOVERNOR MURPHY: Yep.
COLONEL CALLAHAN: Almost three months of rain in about five hours. Just unprecedented. The rivers exceeded their levels even today. The Passaic rifer [sic] is — Passaic River is not expected to fall below flood stage until tomorrow. We might even be expecting some rain tomorrow, which we’re keeping an eye on, as you could well know.
And, Mr. President, while we prepared our roadways, we cleared storm drains and debris, the amount of rainfall was overwhelming. Whole roadways were actually swept completely away. Motorists were stranded for hours. And, as you know, sadly, some of them never made it home.
Our search and rescue personnel, just at the state level alone, had 543 rescues. And collectively, our local first responders — to your point — more than 3,500 rescues in that time, leaving their own families, leaving their own homes. And our missing persons operations are still ongoing for those four.
The preliminary damage assessments have been happening at a rapid rate. And as we know, that those four additional counties — that we’re hopefully going to get there. So, thank you for that.
The debris removal costs alone for this one are going to be staggering, as everybody in the room knows. And some of our most economically vulnerable populations have been hit the hardest, with many individuals who lost their homes, they lost their vehicles, and they lost their jobs all in that 10-hour period.
Shelter is going to be a need, temporary housing, the debris removal, and sadly, unemployment and funeral assistance for several of those families.
But I would like to point out that the damage that we witnessed probably would have been significantly worse if it wasn’t for the mitigation efforts that New Jersey had in place for the past several years, thanks to our partnership with FEMA.
In New Jersey, we have a return of six dollars in savings for every dollar spent from our mitigation. I think that puts us in the top five of the 50 states, which is pretty phenomenal. So that’s under Governor Murphy’s leadership.
Our Climate and Flood Resilience Program and Interagency Council on Climate Resilience is undertaking bold and comprehensive actions to ensure that our communities and infrastructure are more resilient for future storms. And I know that’s what you spoke of in your remarks: that resiliency can’t mean bouncing back; resiliency has to be bouncing forward because these storms are going to keep coming.
So investing that federal funding in our state will certainly ensure that we’re building a better nation together, and I know that that’s a priority for you and your administration.
So, in closing, I echo the Governor’s remarks and welcome you here to New Jersey, while I certainly wish it were under different circumstances.
But having lived your life in our neighborhood, you know that we’re a strong, resilient people and a tough state, and I — together, I know that we’re going to get our families and our citizens back and forward from where we need to be.
So, thank you, sir. It was an honor.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank all your troopers for us too. We — for real.
GOVERNOR MURPHY: Thank you. And it has to be said, Mr. President — and I think the mayors you will hear from in a minute — the press, I think, with your blessing, are going to depart if I’m not — if I’ve got that right.
Every loss of life is a tragedy, never mind 27 — and four missing. But, literally, thousands of rescues —
MANVILLE, NJ (SOMERSET)–Around 3:00 p.m. there was a reported house explosion 4th Avenue & Knopf Street in the Lost Valley section of Manville. Due to severe flooding from Tropical Storm Ida the fire department has not been able to make access to the fire to combat the flames. Mercer County, Ewing Township, West Trenton Station 33 was on their way with a fire boat with a pump to help assist Manville combat the house fire.
There were reports of the initial house explosion with fire spreading to nearby exposures.
HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP, NJ – The Hillsborough Township Fire District announced a line of duty death of Assistant Chief William Shaffer a 35 year veteran and volunteer at Hillsborough Fire Company #2, Station 37.
The press release reads:
On July 14, 2021, at 1:18 p.m., Hillsborough Fire Company # 1 and # 2 and district career staff responded to Copart Salvage Auctions located at 2124 Camplain Road for a motor vehicle fire, upon arrival units found a well-involved car fire and began extinguishment. Shortly after extinguishment was under way Hillsborough Fire Company # 2 Assistant Chief William Shaffer suffered a medical emergency on scene. He was evaluated and treated by members on scene and transported to RWJ Somerset Hospital by RWJ BLS ambulance. Upon arrival at the hospital, RWJ hospital staff were unable to revive Assistant Chief Shaffer and he passed away.
Assistant Chief Shaffer was a very active member of the Hillsborough Fire Company #2 (Station 37) faithfully serving the citizens of Hillsborough Township for over 35 years, he is survived by his wife Marian and three children. The Hillsborough Board of Fire Commissioners wish to convey their sincere condolences to his family and Hillsborough Fire Company # 2 and thank him for many years of service, may he rest in peace.
Hillsborough Mayor Sean Lipani said, “Hillsborough experienced great sadness today with the untimely passing of one of our dedicated volunteer Fireman Billy Shaffer. Weather you knew him from 37 or from seeing him work at ShopRite, Billy always had a smile and a good word. Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Marian and his entire family. He will be sorely missed. Rest easy Billy.”
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the near future.
BUCKS COUNTY, PA–District Attorney Matt Weintraub announced yesterday Thursday, June 17, 2021, that two New Jersey brothers will be charged with killing a man found dead in Richland Township.
Anthony Joel Gamble, 19, and Joshua David Gamble, 17, both of Somerset, N.J., are charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy, possession of an instrument of crime and tampering with evidence. The younger Gamble is being charged as an adult.
The Gambles were arraigned Thursday by Magisterial District Judge Lisa J. Gaier and were sent to Bucks County Correctional Facility without bail.
The brothers are accused of killing a man found stabbed to death early Thursday in a wooded area in the 500 block of East Pumping Station Road. The victim has not yet been positively identified and an autopsy is scheduled for Friday, June 18, 2021.
The investigation began at 12:03 a.m., Thursday, when a Pennsylvania State Trooper spotted what appeared to be disabled vehicle with its blinkers activated in the area of East Pumping Station Road, north of Heller Road, in Richland Township.
The vehicle was described as silver Subaru with New Jersey registration plates. A second vehicle, an Audi A5 with Florida plates, was parked 100 feet from the Subaru.
Walking toward the Audi, the state trooper saw a male lying on the ground in a nearby wooded area. The trooper identified himself but got no response from the male.
The male was detained and later identified as Joshua Gamble.
Joshua Gamble had blood on the top part of his shoes and was wearing a plastic-coated work glove on his left hand. A similar right-handed glove was found where he had been lying on ground. Joshua Gamble was also in possession of a Subaru key fob, which was stained with what appeared to be blood.
As troopers detained Joshua Gamble, they heard what sounded like a man running through the woods near them. A male subject then emerged and ran toward the Subaru and troopers ordered him to stop.
The male was detained and identified as Anthony Gamble. He also had blood on his shoes, as well as his shirtsleeve. Two work-type, coated gloves were found in his pants pockets.
As the investigation continued, police located a substantial amount of blood inside the Audi and requested backup.
Police entered the woods and found the body of deceased male, a short distance away from where Joshua Gamble had been lying and where the Audi was parked.
The initial investigation indicates the unidentified male appeared to have stab wounds about his head, neck, upper chest, and arm.
A large knife was found on the passenger floor of the Audi. The knife had blood on the blade and its wooden handle.
Police found a cellphone and sanitizing wipes on the roof of the Audi, and a second cellphone was found inside.
The investigation found that Joshua Gamble purchased the wipes and two sets of coated work gloves from a nearby 7-Eleven in Richlandtown, about 20 minutes before state police showed up.
“The Gamble brothers have no apparent connection to this area, being Richland,” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said at an afternoon news conference. “Obviously this case is ongoing, I can’t predict the future, I don’t know what other facts will be revealed to us, but as of right now, we are unable to discern any reason for them to be in Bucks County, in Richland Township.”
Weintraub also added that there is a presumption that this homicide occurred in Bucks County because there is a presumption in the law that a homicide is deemed to have occurred in the jurisdiction where the victim is found deceased unless there is evidence to the contrary.
“For that reason, we will presume that Bucks County has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute this murder,” he said.
This case is being investigated by Bucks County Detectives, Pennsylvania State Police and Richland Township Police and is assigned for prosecution to Deputy District Attorney Monica W. Furber and Deputy District Attorney Kristi Hoover.
Criminal charges are allegations subject to proof in court. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that a Somerset man has been charged for his involvement in a shooting that left two dead and seven injured.
Jeron Pitt, 19, of Somerset, was arrested and charged today with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, seven counts of first-degree attempted murder, one count of second-degree conspiracy to possess a firearm for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, and one count of fourth-degree tampering with evidence.
On September 13, 2020, at approximately 1:18 A.M., the New Brunswick Police responded to the area of 32 Delafield Street following multiple reports of gunfire. Lionel Macauley, 28, of Somerset, and Anthony Robinson 23, of New Brunswick. were later pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
An investigation by Detective Erika DiMarcello of the New Brunswick Police Department as well as Sergeant Julissa Alvarado and Sergeant David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office revealed Pitt and other individuals drove to a party on Delafield Street where they shot into a crowd of people, killing Macauley and Robinson. The car used in the shooting was later recovered.
At present, the shooting does not appear to be a random act. The investigation has determined there is no affiliation with Rutgers University or its students.
Pitt is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.
The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective DiMarcello at (732) 745-5200 or Sergeant Abromaitis at (732) 745-4436.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Pitt are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police is urging New Jersey residents to prepare for a nor’easter that will affect the entire state. From late Sunday night through Tuesday morning, most of New Jersey will be under a Winter Storm Warning.
The storm is expected to create hazardous travel conditions statewide, so if you do not need to travel, please stay home to allow crews to safely treat our roadways. If you must travel, here are some safety tips to follow:
• Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on slick or snow-covered surfaces
• Increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, which will help prevent rear-end crashes on slick roads
• Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave for your trip
• Pack bottled water, blankets, and dry food goods in the event you get stranded
• Leave a friend or family member a travel itinerary so that they can alert police should you get stranded and/or lose cell service
• Make sure your gas tank is full before you leave in case you get stuck in traffic
• Top off your windshield washer fluid to clear salt from your windshield
• Pack a few bags of sand or cat litter, which can create traction for vehicles stuck on slippery road grades
If your vehicle becomes disabled during the storm, follow these safety rules:
• Call 9-1-1
• Stay inside your car. You are safer inside your car than outside
• Turn on your hazard lights
• To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows fully up. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm
The best way to avoid storm-related travel hazards is to stay off of the roads, but if you must travel, please take the time to prepare. Before you leave, make sure you check for the latest weather updates.
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ (SOMERSET)–Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Franklin Township Public Safety Director Quovella M. Spruill announce an ongoing investigation into a fatal motor vehicle crash. On January 29, 2021 at 9:22 PM the Franklin Township Police Department received a 9-1-1 call reporting that a motor vehicle had left the roadway and went into the canal near Suydam Road.
Police Officers, Firefighters, EMS Personnel and divers from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Emergency Response Team responded to the scene. After searching for approximately an hour, the vehicle was located with the assistance of the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit. Divers entered the water and found the 17 year-old female driver from Kendall Park within the vehicle. She was transported to a local area trauma center where she was pronounced deceased.
The Franklin Township Police Department’s Traffic Safety Bureau and Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department are conducting an investigation into the factors that contributed to this incident. The initial investigation revealed that the female driver was travelling southbound on Canal Road in a 2006 Jeep Commander when she left the roadway and entered the canal.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Sgt. James Raics at 732-873-5533 extension 3177 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Trenton, N.J. – The day before Thanksgiving is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year, but this holiday season has proven to be anything but typical. Although we expect fewer motorists on the road this year, the message of the New Jersey State Police remains the same. If you must travel during the holiday, we encourage you to take the time to prepare for unexpected emergencies by following a few safety tips that will surely come in handy if you find yourself in a jam. Before you head out, please consider the following:
•Fill up your gas tank •Check fluids (including windshield washer fluid and antifreeze) •Check tire pressure •Bring a mobile phone charger •Carry a flashlight with new batteries •Bring bottles of water and nonperishable snacks •Do not drive drowsy. Symptoms of driving tired are similar to those of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Use service areas to rest, stretch your legs, or grab a cup a coffee •Let someone know your travel plans •Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly
The easiest tip to follow to ensure not only your safety, but the safety of fellow motorists and pedestrians this holiday is to not get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. During the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period, there were six fatal crashes that resulted in six deaths on New Jersey roadways. Drug and/or alcohol impairment was found to be a contributing factor in two of the crashes. These types of tragedies can be easily avoided by making responsible decisions and staying at home if you plan to drink alcohol.
The New Jersey State Police will have more than 90 additional troopers statewide during the holiday period in addition to normal patrols. Troopers will focus their efforts on speeding, aggressive driving, seatbelt usage, cell phone violations, distracted driving, and DWI.
“Although we will be celebrating the holiday differently this year, DWI education and enforcement remain a top priority for the New Jersey State Police,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Safety starts with sober driving, so we ask that you do your part by making responsible choices this holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and please do not drink and drive.”
The 2020 Thanksgiving holiday period begins on Wednesday, November 25, at 6:00 p.m. and ends on Monday, November 30, at 6:00 a.m.
“Thank a Police Officer Day” is a national observance honoring law enforcement on the third Saturday in September. If you happen to see a police officer in your travels today, thank them for their service.
HILLSBOROUGH, NJ (SOMMERSET)–Late yesterday afternoon around 5 pm small planed crashed near Central Jersey Airport into a nearby cemetery. The pilot was able to escape the aircraft on their own, no reports of an injury. Firefighters were on scene until around 10 pm so fuel could be unloaded from the plane’s fuel tanks.
At 5:00pm Stations 37 and 38 were dispatched to the Central Jersey Airport for the airplane crash. Station 37 responded with Deputy Chief 37, Asst. Chief 37, Rescue 37, Engine 37 and Tanker 37. Also responding were: Chief 38, Deputy Chief 38, Ladder 38, Rescue 38, the Fire Marshals units and County HAZMAT. Once on location Deputy 37 established command and confirmed a private passenger aircraft that had crashed in the neighboring cemetery property. Upon arrival the pilot had self extricated the aircraft. District firefighters mitigated fuel loss from the aircraft’s fully loaded tanks and prepared for fire suppression. Members cleared at approximately 10:00pm.