Category: State of NJ

$10 Million in Federal Funds to Support Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs that Reduce the Cycle of Gun Violence in Communities

Murphy Administration Allocates American Recovery Plan Funds to Continue Innovative Programming First Launched in January 2020

August 8, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy and Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced the allocation of $10 million in federal American Recovery Plan (ARP) funds to continue funding for the State’s Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIPs), which directly help gun violence victims and serve to break the cycle of gun violence.

In January 2020, the Murphy Administration and the Attorney General’s Office awarded $20 million in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) dollars to fund nine HVIPs across New Jersey to reach victims of gun violence and others touched by violence at the time of crisis. These programs are considered by experts and practitioners to be one of the crucial strategies for violence intervention and prevention services and established New Jersey as a national leader in stemming gun violence. A primary goal of the HVIP is to link hospitals with community-based organizations that are already working hard to assist victims and prevent the spread of violence.

By partnering with community organizations to provide services to victims and families in hospitals following a shooting, the program has shown an ability to reduce the cycle of gun violence when retaliation is most likely to occur and spread. When the $20 million in competitive federal VOCA funding was announced, selected hospitals received two years of HVIP funding, some of which the hospitals sub-awarded to community-based providers in their areas to help directly deliver services to those impacted by gun violence. At the end of the two-year grant period, the Attorney General’s Office made available a third year of VOCA funding in the amount of $10.3 million.

Building on the success of this program and to further develop and strengthen a community-based approach to public safety, in 2021 Governor Murphy and the Attorney General’s Office announced the creation of an entirely new grant program to meaningfully expand violence intervention work in New Jersey, announcing $10 million in state funding to establish Community-Based Violence Intervention Programs (CBVIs). Currently, CBVI grants directly fund more than 20 community organizations in 15 municipalities covering every region of the State, supporting intervention strategies that help communities reduce homicides and shootings by developing healing relationships among the groups and individuals who are at the center of gun violence.

During this time, the AG’s Office learned of an upcoming decrease in federal VOCA funds that would also support HVIPs and worked with the Murphy Administration to identify alternative sources of funding. The federal ARP funds will provide this alternative funding source for the HVIP program for at least another 12 months after the VOCA funds are expended. Further details on this competitive program will be made available in the upcoming months.

“Earlier this year, I signed my comprehensive Gun Safety 3.0 package, which strengthened gun laws across our state, bringing us one step closer to a stronger, fairer, and safer New Jersey. Today’s continued funding of the Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program is another step toward that reality,” said Governor Murphy. “I am proud of the work that this Administration has done thus far and am committed to continuing to address the gun violence epidemic our State is facing.”

“Make no mistake – this investment in our HVIP initiative will save lives,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, New Jersey will continue its groundbreaking efforts in violence intervention programming by disrupting cycles of violence before they start. I applaud the challenging, but essential, work of our hospital and community partners and will continue to champion these programs as Attorney General.”

“Thank you to the Governor, the Acting Attorney General, and their teams for their fast action and continued support,” said Aqeela Sherrills, Executive Director of the Community-Based Public Safety Collective. “Thanks to the New Jersey Violence Intervention and Prevention Coalition for their lifesaving work. We look forward to continued partnership with the Attorney General’s Office to advance community-based public safety in New Jersey.”

“It is reassuring that the Governor and his team have made the necessary investment to keep existing Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs operable for the rest of the year,” said Will Simpson of the New Jersey Violence Intervention and Prevention Coalition. “The NJVIPC will support any and all efforts to establish more expansive, long-term funding for a community-centered public safety ecosystem. We are looking forward to having more consistent and transparent communication with the Office of the Attorney General and the Murphy Administration to ensure the needs of the community are being heard and met.”

“The Paterson Healing Collective is pleased to learn that the Governor has heard our calls to action so that we can keep doing the life-changing and life-saving work we have been doing for the last two years,” said Dr. Liza Chowdhury, Director of the Paterson Healing Collective. “Our survivors and community members rely on our services and we could not afford to lose the resources that positively impact their lives. We look forward to continued efforts to sustain HVIPs and CVI programs in the future.”

“As a gun violence survivor, I know the importance of the work,” said Pam Johnson, Executive Director of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition. “From a personal standpoint and a professional standpoint, I know that with this investment we can save more lives and do more healing.”

“I am grateful to the Murphy Administration and the Attorney General’s Office for finding the resources to maintain these powerful community led programs,” said Rev. Dr. Charles F. Boyer, Founding Director, Salvation and Social Justice. “I never doubted their commitment to this work. These programs are critical for putting the public back in public safety.”

“We applaud the Attorney General’s Office for addressing the urgent need to support the work of hospital and community-based violence intervention programs in New Jersey,” said Joe Kim, Associate Director, Training and Technical Assistance at The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention. “As the lead technical assistance agency for the HVIPs across NJ, the HAVI is committed to the ongoing work of ensuring that victims of violence are given the resources and supports they need to heal from trauma and break cycles of violence. We are proud to stand with our community and hospital partners to ensure these services are sustainable for years to come.”

“Revive South Jersey understands the importance of providing services to victims of gun violence and then working proactively to prevent future victimizations,” said Jonathan Cummings, Executive Director of Revive South Jersey. “As a South Jersey stakeholder that has been partnering with the Bridgeton Police Athletic league for the last five years, we understand the necessity of this work in our community. The investment in the HVIP will provide critical support to continuing the vital service of working to prevent gun violence in the state.”

“One of our team members has served over 200 victims of violence at University Hospital’s HVIP, preventing retaliation and repeat victimization. We are grateful that she and the rest of the team will continue to serve victims uninterrupted.” –Statement from the Newark Community Street Team.

The initial $20 million VOCA investment along with the additional third year of VOCA funding in HVIP grants were awarded to the following hospitals:

Center for Family Services, City of Camden, Camden County
Trinitas Health Foundation, Elizabeth, Union County
AtlantiCare Atlantic City, Atlantic County
Capital Health, Trenton, Mercer County
Jersey City Medical Center (RWJBarnabas), Jersey City, Hudson County
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick (Serving Middlesex, Somerset and Union Counties)
University Hospital, Newark, Essex County
Jersey Shore University Medical Center/Hackensack Meridian, Monmouth County (Focusing on Asbury Park, Neptune Township and Long Branch City)
St. Joseph’s Health, Paterson, Passaic County



Governor Murphy Requests Independent Investigation into New Jersey City University’s Finances and Operations by State Comptroller

August 5, 2022

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today sent a letter to the Office of the State Comptroller to request an investigation into the financial situation of New Jersey City University (NJCU). This request follows public reports that NJCU has gone from a $108 million surplus in 2014 to a $67 million deficit today, with another $156 million in debt.

“New Jersey prides ourselves on offering a high-quality education to anyone seeking a postsecondary degree in our state,” said Governor Murphy. “A university facing significant financial challenges will struggle to continue providing the high-quality education its students deserve – if it can remain open at all. As a public university, NJCU is accountable to our state government and the residents of New Jersey. In light of serious reports about NJCU’s financial situation, I firmly believe an independent investigation into the school’s finances and operations would be in the best interests of the public at this time.”

NJCU is a public university chartered in 1927 that currently serves over 5,000 undergraduate students and thousands more in graduate school.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic put a financial strain on many institutions of higher education due to a decline in enrollment and shortfalls in tuition revenue, it appears NJCU’s financial issues pre-date the pandemic. A recent news report by the Jersey Journal found that the 2014 surplus of $108 million vanished within one year due to pension liability and the issuance of bonds toward a greater expansion venture.

Under New Jersey law, the Office of the State Comptroller is responsible for conducting assessments of the performance and management of programs of the Executive branch of State government, including public institutions of higher education. The Office exercises its oversight functions independently.


New Jersey City University, Facebook Photo


Acting AG Platkin Co-Leads National Coalition of Attorneys General in Supporting Legal Challenge to Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” Law

August 4, 2022

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin is co-leading a national coalition of  Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief supporting a legal challenge to Florida House Bill 1557 (H.B. 1557) — commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law — that, among other things, expressly prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for children in certain grades.

Earlier this year, a group of plaintiffs led by the non-profit advocacy groups Equality Florida and Family Equality filed a federal lawsuit alleging that H.B. 1557 violates the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, as well as the First Amendment.

Today, a coalition of 16 Attorneys General led by Acting Attorney General Platkin and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine filed an amicus brief in U.S. District Court in Florida supporting this legal challenge to H.B. 1557.

The amicus brief explains that Florida’s new law is a “radical outlier” that lacks a legitimate educational purpose. It calls on the court to reject a pending motion to dismiss the case that was filed by the defendants, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in June 2022.

“In New Jersey, we are deeply committed to protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination and to celebrating the important contributions they make to our communities,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “Sadly, Florida has taken the opposite approach. The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law is plainly unconstitutional, and it will stigmatize and harm countless LGBTQ youth in Florida and beyond. That’s why I am proud to stand alongside 15 other Attorneys General in supporting the legal challenge to this profoundly misguided law.”

The Florida law, which Governor DeSantis signed into law in March 2022, bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. For all other students, the law requires that classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity be provided “in accordance with state standards” that have yet to be promulgated. The new law also subjects schools to liability for any violation of the law by allowing parents to sue schools and educators for damages and attorney’s fees.

The amicus brief filed today asserts that Florida’s law is constitutionally suspect and that the federal court hearing plaintiffs’ legal challenge should deny defendants’ motion to dismiss the case. 

As the amicus brief explains, Florida’s law stands in stark contrast to other states’ educational policies in its censorship of instruction related to LGBTQ issues. No other state educational law sweeps as broadly as Florida’s or targets the LGBTQ community in the same way. That, the brief contends, undermines Florida’s assertion that the law furthers legitimate educational goals.

The amicus brief also notes that Florida’s law exposes Florida’s schools and educators to legal liability “for any violation of its vague provisions banning certain free speech.” The brief explains that New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and other jurisdictions that joined the coalition brief “ordinarily leave educational decisions to schools and teachers,” and have developed targeted, cooperative ways to accommodate parental concerns instead of authorizing parents to sue their children’s schools. 

Florida’s unprecedented approach, by contrast, breaks so dramatically from other reasonable alternatives that it cannot be motivated by a legitimate effort to accommodate parental concerns about limiting inappropriate sexual content in schools, the brief contends.

At the same time, the brief argues, the law encourages anti-LGBTQ bias, and places the mental health and learning outcomes of many students at risk by discouraging – and, at some grade levels, prohibiting altogether – inclusive classroom instruction.

The amicus brief also asserts that harms associated with the new law “will extend beyond Florida’s borders.” For example, the brief explains that Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law will harm children from other states who are placed with families in Florida pursuant to the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. 

Florida and the coalition states are all parties to the ICPC, which provides for the movement and safe placement of children between states – often for adoption or placement in residential treatment facilities. The ICPC population includes children in foster care, and recent surveys of children in foster care have revealed that a high percentage of those children identify as LGBTQ.

As the brief explains, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law also stigmatizes LGBTQ youth by prohibiting or limiting the discussion of LGBTQ people in schools. Evidence suggests that, as with prior laws that victimize particular groups, H.B. 1557 will adversely affect the mental health of LGBTQ youth in other states, as well. As a result, the brief contends, state agencies in other states may need to expend additional resources to address the negative effects H.B. 1557 will have on members of their own LGBTQ communities.

Today’s brief was led by Acting Attorney General Platkin and Attorney General Racine and joined by the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Oregon.


Mega Millions Jackpot Increased To $1.28 Billion

TRENTON (July 29, 2022) – The ten-figure jackpot frenzy keeps pushing the Mega Millions jackpot higher and higher for tonight’s drawing. The clock is ticking, and tickets must be purchased before 10:45 pm! The jackpot has just been increased to $1.28 billion, the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history. The estimated cash value is $747.2 million.

Over one million New Jersey players have already won prizes during this jackpot roll, including three tickets worth $1,000,000 and another worth $3,000,000. Another 34 New Jersey players have won prizes of $10,000 or more by matching four of the five white balls and the Mega Ball drawn.

Players are reminded that Lottery games are for fun and entertainment – it only takes one ticket to get in the game. The Lottery promotes responsible play through its cooperation with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ and by promoting the Council’s helpline phone number, 1-800-GAMBLER, on all Lottery marketing and advertising materials.

In an office lottery pool or friendly jackpot squad? We recommend having important rules in place before any drawing, including an exact list of who is in each drawing. Make sure copies of the ticket are shared with everyone before the drawing, and consider receipts for paying members of any lottery pool. If somebody misses a payment collection day, are they in the drawing or not? Visit our site for a full list of recommendations, have all members of your squad review the guidelines, and remember to keep it fun!

Our website features important information for players, including Mega Millions odds & prizes. If a player believes they have a winning ticket, we recommend signing the back of the ticket and taking a picture of both sides for security before checking the ticket with our app, website, or any New Jersey Lottery retailer. A winner of a large prize may wish to seek financial and legal consultation.



Murphy Administration Encourages New Jersey Residents and Businesses to Conserve Water 

July 26, 2022

TRENTON – The Murphy Administration today asked residents and businesses to conserve water as the state continues to experience a persistent period of hot and dry weather.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for monitoring and protecting the state’s water supply to ensure ample clean, safe water for drinking and other needs. DEP’s Division of Water Supply and Geoscience has been closely monitoring the drier than usual conditions this summer. 

While these conditions have not significantly impacted drinking water supply indicators statewide, persistently hot and dry conditions could adversely affect water supplies. It is important that residents and businesses take proactive steps to help moderate their use of water to help ensure ample supplies throughout the summer.

“Now is the time for New Jersey to be especially mindful of water usage and proactively moderate our consumption,” said Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette. “Although our reservoirs and other indicators are healthy, persistent hot and dry weather coupled with the high water demands of summer can quickly impact water supply. Simple steps, like reducing lawn and landscape watering, go a long way in preserving our water supplies and avoiding the necessity of significant restrictive measures.”  

Current water demands are being met and New Jersey’s water systems are capable of handling periods of low precipitation. Reservoir levels are near long-term averages for this time of year and groundwater supplies are near normal, with the central and southern portions of the state tending to be drier. Local conditions can vary, so it is normal for individual water systems and municipalities to periodically request that their customers reduce water use.

The DEP will continue to monitor water supplies very closely and advise the public, local governments, and water systems as appropriate. For a DEP microsite on water conservation measures visit https://dep.nj.gov/conserve-water/

The most up-to-date information about the status of New Jersey’s water supplies can be found at www.njdrought.org, where you can also find more water conservation tips for your community.

Other government and academic institutions also prepare drought-related indices and maps. One well-known example is the US Drought Monitor, which defines drought more broadly than DEP. These other resources may suggest drought or pre-drought conditions are present before actual water supplies are technically determined to be below normal by DEP’s Division of Water Supply and Geoscience.



Mega Millions Jackpot Has Increased To $830 Million

July 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Due to increasing sales across the nation, the Mega Millions jackpot has been increased again to an $830 million annuity, the third largest in Mega Millions history. The estimated cash value is $487.9 million.

Over one million New Jersey players have already won prizes during this jackpot roll, including one ticket worth $1,000,000 and another worth $3,000,000. Another 27 New Jersey players have won prizes of $10,000 or more by matching four of the five white balls and the Mega Ball drawn.

Our website features important information for players, including Mega Millions odds & prizes and tips and guidelines for group or lottery pool play. If a player believes they have a winning ticket, we recommend signing the back of the ticket and taking a picture of both sides for security before checking the ticket with our app, website, or any New Jersey Lottery retailer. A winner of a large prize may wish to seek financial and legal consultation.

The Lottery promotes responsible play through its cooperation with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ and by promoting the Council’s helpline phone number, 1-800-GAMBLER, on all Lottery marketing and advertising materials.


The top Mega Millions jackpots to date:

AmountDateWinning Tickets
$1.537 billion10/23/20181-SC
$1.050 billion1/22/20211-MI
$830 million (est)7/26/2022?
$656 million                 3/30/2012                 3-IL, KS, MD
$648 million12/17/20132-CA, GA
$543 million7/24/20181-CA
$536 million7/8/20161-IN
$533 million3/30/20181-NJ
$522 million6/7/20191-CA
$516 million5/21//20211-PA



Acting AG Platkin Co-Leads $8 Million Settlement with Wawa Inc. over Data Breach that Compromised Millions of Payment Cards in New Jersey

Wawa Retail Store and Fuel Purchase Transactions Impacted; NJ to Receive $2.5 Million from Overall

$8 Million Multistate Settlement

July 26, 2022

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that New Jersey is co-leading an overall $8 million multistate settlement with Wawa Inc. that resolves the states’ investigation into a data breach that compromised approximately 34 million payment cards used by consumers to buy food and gas and other items at Wawa stores and fueling locations.

The data breach extracted consumer payment card data, including customers’ card numbers, expiration dates and cardholder names, from transactions that took place between April 18, 2019 and December 12, 2019, and affected stores in New Jersey and five other states – Pennsylvania, Florida, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia – as well as Washington, D.C.

Acting Attorney General Platkin is co-leading today’s settlement announcement along with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Under an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed with the Division of Consumer Affairs, New Jersey is to receive approximately $2.5 million of the overall Wawa settlement payout.

In addition to paying New Jersey and the other affected states, the settlement requires that Wawa take multiple steps going forward to strengthen its network protections and better safeguard consumer payment card data.

“This settlement is as important for the strengthened cyber security measures it requires as for the dollars Wawa must pay,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “When businesses fail to maintain solid data security systems or train their employees to recognize suspicious web overtures, criminal hackers can be counted on to move in and exploit the situation. This settlement should serve as a message to the industry that we are serious about holding businesses accountable when they fail to protect consumers’ sensitive personal information.”

“Businesses have a duty under our laws to protect the sensitive personal information consumers are sharing when they pay by card instead of cash,” said Acting Division of Consumer Affairs Director Cari Fais. “Unfortunately, identity theft is a real concern, and criminal hackers are always on the lookout for weaknesses in retailer data systems. Given this reality, retailers must periodically reassess their data protection systems and strengthen them as needed. We will hold accountable any retailers whose failure to do so results in a compromise of consumers’ privacy.”

The Wawa data breach occurred after hackers gained access to Wawa’s computer network in 2019 by deploying malware that may have been opened by a company employee.

A few months later, the hackers deployed malware that allowed them to obtain magnetic stripe data from cards processed at Wawa’s point-of-sale terminals inside the stores, as well as at the outside fuel pumps.

Specifically, the malware harvested Wawa customers’ card numbers, expiration dates, cardholder names and other sensitive payment card data. It did not collect PIN numbers or credit card CVV2 codes (the three- or four-digit security codes printed on the back of the card). Payment cards using chip technology were not compromised.

Acting Attorney General Platkin and Attorney General Shapiro allege that Wawa failed to employ reasonable information security measures to prevent such a data breach, and therefore violated state consumer protection and personal information protection laws. Under the settlement, Wawa makes no admission of wrongdoing or liability.

Wawa was unable to determine with specificity how many payment card transactions were compromised by the breach. However, in documents related to a private class action lawsuit over the breach, Wawa provided a breakdown of all consumer pay card transactions that took place at its stores during the nine-month period at issue.

During that period, approximately 27.2 percent of all Wawa payment card transactions occurred in stores in New Jersey, while another 27 percent occurred at Wawa locations in Pennsylvania. Company stores in Florida had the next highest percentage of overall payment card transactions (22.1 percent), followed by Virginia (11.4 percent), Maryland, (6.4 percent), Delaware (5.6 percent) and Washington, D.C. (0.2 percent.)

Wawa is required under today’s settlement to create a comprehensive information security program within six months.

The program must be overseen by a credentialed expert in the field, include security awareness training for all Wawa personnel with key responsibilities for implementing the program, and incorporate data protection “Best Practices” designed to prevent attackers from obtaining credentials and other sensitive data through malicious downloads and other threats.

The program must also comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards and employ controls to ensure company systems are accessed only by those with appropriate credentials – controls such as multi-factor authentication, one-time passcodes and location-specific requirements, among others.

Within a year, Wawa also must obtain an information security compliance assessment and related report from third-party professional – a certified information systems security professional or certified systems auditor with at least five years’ experience in evaluating the effectiveness of computer systems or information systems security. Under the settlement, the compliance assessment report must be shared with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

Section Chief Kashif Chand and Deputy Attorneys General Thomas Huynh and Mandy Wang of the Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Section within the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group represent the State in the matter. Investigator Aziza Salikhova of the Office of Consumer Protection within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted the investigation.



Governor Murphy Launches Year Three of Charge Up New Jersey Electric Vehicle Incentive Program and Unveils New Residential EV Charger Program

Announces Second Round Grantees and Launches Application Window for Clean Fleet, EV Tourism, and Multi-Unit Dwelling Charger Programs

July 25, 2022

ASBURY PARK – Governor Phil Murphy today announced the launch of Year Three of the State’s popular Charge Up New Jersey electric vehicle (EV) incentive program and also unveiled the State’s new residential EV charger program. Both the Charge-Up New Jersey Program and the Residential Charger Program are key parts of the landmark electric vehicle legislation signed into law by the Governor two years ago. Further, the State released the names of the newest grantees and launched the next application window for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ (NJBPU) three other EV incentive programs.

Today’s announcement represents a major step forward in the growth of the State’s comprehensive and highly successful electric vehicle program. The Charge Up Program is currently the country’s largest cash-on-the-hood incentive program, with a maximum $4,000 incentive. Over the last two years of the program, over 13,000 EVs were purchased or leased with this incentive.

The electrification of the state’s transportation sector, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the State’s greenhouse gas emissions, is a key part of the Energy Master Plan, the State’s roadmap to reaching 100 percent clean energy by 2050. By working to reduce emissions from both light- and heavy-duty vehicles, New Jersey is striving to achieve its bold emissions reductions goals while advancing environmental justice across the state. The Murphy Administration’s efforts to increase access to its incentive program complements the State’s measures to safeguard overburdened communities from the disproportionate impacts of pollution and climate change. Through the New Jersey Zero-Emission Incentive Program (NJ ZIP) funded by Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds, the State is reducing harmful emissions, especially in communities disproportionately impacted by transportation emissions, and promoting economic opportunity.

“With so much at stake amid the mounting climate crisis, it is imperative that we all do our part not just as New Jerseyans, but as global citizens, to help mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Murphy. “That’s why I’m proud that my administration is doing everything in its power to make the transition to electric vehicles more financially feasible and practical for working families across the state. As we enter Year Three of the Charge Up New Jersey EV incentive program, we remain determined to meet our bold clean energy goals and are confident that thousands more New Jerseyans will take advantage of a program that will continue to bear considerable economic and environmental benefits.”

“I would like to thank Governor Murphy for his vision and leadership on electric vehicles. The Governor’s EV program has been a resounding success in helping us advance toward a clean energy future and today’s event is a great example of that,” said NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “Not only do we anticipate a highly successful third year of our Charge Up program but we are equally excited about launching the residential charger program and the next round of our other robust, EV programs. Our goal is not only to encourage New Jerseyans to drive electric, but to ensure they have enough locations all around the state to charge up, regardless of where they live, work or play.”

“New Jersey DEP has awarded nearly $10 million for 1,970 EV charging stations with 3,229 plugs on our corridors, and in our communities,” Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette said. “These charging stations will provide an extensive network of charging opportunities to support cars purchased under the Charge Up NJ program, further enhancing the Murphy Administration’s commitment to electrify our transportation sector, reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change, and put the state even closer to its 100 percent clean energy goals.”

In the first two years of the Charge Up Program the State provided incentives for more than 13,000 vehicles, with a greater concentration in Year Two of providing incentives for more affordable EVs. In Year Three the State will provide incentives of up to $4,000 for vehicles with MSRP’s under $45,000 and incentives of up to $2,000 for vehicles with an MSRP between $45,000 and $50,000.

As of this announcement, all sales and orders made as of 12:01 am on July 25, 2022 at eligible dealerships and showrooms of eligible EVs may apply at the point of sale for their incentive.

Today, the State is also launching the new Residential EV Charger Incentive Program, which offers a $250 rebate for a home charger. This program can be combined with the already existing utility programs, which may cover installation costs.

“Electric vehicles are essential in our transition to a clean economy, which will create local, good-paying jobs while simultaneously combating the growing climate crisis. Electric vehicles are the future, and investments in these vehicles and charging infrastructure will help ensure America leads that future now,” Congressman Frank Pallone said. “Electric vehicles also save Americans tremendous money and are rapidly growing in popularity – by investing in the necessary charging and manufacturing infrastructure, we are making sure that trend can continue and that consumers are able to reliably power their cars across New Jersey and the country. In Congress, I fought to ensure that New Jersey received funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law so we can accelerate our investment in a clean economy and work to reduce carbon pollution.” 

“We have set forth strong goals and incentives to increase the number of electric vehicles on our roads and to make progress toward more accessible charging stations for everyone,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson. “With that comes the need to make it as seamless as possible for homeowners and renters to access charging wherever they live.  As we enter Year Three of the Charge Up New Jersey program, we hope to continue making advancements in accessibility for electric vehicles and charging stations to make the transition to electric cars smooth for the people in our State.”

“New Jersey must do everything possible to reduce and one day eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector,” said Zoe Baldwin, New Jersey Director, Regional Plan Association. “In 2017, RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan called for scaling up incentives for electric vehicles and planning extensive, comprehensive charging networks. Five years later, New Jersey is well on its way toward those shared goals thanks to Governor Murphy’s unwavering commitment to decarbonizing the Garden State. Renewal of the Charge Up New Jersey program along with the suite of incentives for EV charging infrastructure doubles down on those efforts, making it even easier for drivers and businesses to do their part and help our state become cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable.”

The Murphy Administration’s commitment to jump-starting the transition to EVs goes well beyond the Charge Up Program. Over the last two years, NJBPU has approved EV Charging Incentive Programs for Jersey Central Power and Light, Public Service Electric and Gas, and Atlantic City Electric. Additionally, in Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) NJBPU launched three new programs, which collectively provided over $12 million in incentives for the purchase of more than 900 Level Two chargers and over 60 Fast Chargers across the state.

NJBPU released a list (link) of all FY22 EV grant recipients and will also be opening the FY23 applications for those programs—Clean Fleet, EV Tourism Charger and the Multi-Unit Dwelling (MUD) Charger Program.

The Clean Fleet program provides grants for government entities for the purchase of electric vehicles and chargers. The Program supports local and state governments as they transition their fleets to electric vehicles. Eligible entities include local schools, municipal commissions, state agencies or boards, state commissions, state universities, community colleges, county government, and county authorities.

The MUD EV Charger Incentive Program was designed to encourage owners and operators of multi-unit dwellings to provide EV chargers for residents and guests. Eligible multi-unit dwellings are apartments, condominiums, or mixed residential locations that feature a minimum of five units and have dedicated off-street parking. This program helps to encourage equitable access to the benefits of the EV transition.

The EV Tourism program provides funding for chargers at tourist locations across the state, encouraging residents and out-of-state travelers to choose NJ to charge up and unwind at one of our many destinations, whether a downtown, shore, or historic site.

Established in the EV Law, the State will provide at least $30 million in annual incentives for the Charge Up New Jersey program for a period of ten years. In FY23, the Board has budgeted $35 million for the Charge Up Program, $5.5 million for the residential charger program, $10 million for Clean Fleet, $4 million of which is dedicated to local government, $6 million for EV Tourism, and $4 million for MUD. The FY23 Appropriations Act includes additional funds for charging infrastructure and electric vehicles to meet the Electric Vehicle Act’s mandate of a 100 percent State fleet by 2035.  



Acting AG Platkin Launches New Office to Enforce New Jersey’s New Firearm Safety Legislation

July 25, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced the creation of a Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Office – a first-in-the-nation office with the specific mandate of bringing civil enforcement actions against firearm companies to hold them accountable for violations of the law that harm the health and safety of New Jersey residents.

An essential component of SAFE’s civil enforcement toolbox will be the recently enacted firearms public nuisance legislation (P.L.2022, c.56) signed by Governor Murphy on July 5, 2022, which authorizes the Attorney General to bring lawsuits against gun industry members that knowingly or recklessly contribute to a public nuisance in New Jersey through unlawful or unreasonable conduct, or that fail to maintain reasonable controls, relating to their sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing, or marketing of gun-related products.

 “Make no mistake – thanks to Governor Murphy and the Legislature, New Jersey is once again a national leader when it comes to combatting gun violence,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “At a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is undermining states’ efforts to protect their residents from the carnage of gun violence, New Jersey’s Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement Office will use the new public nuisance legislation to hold the gun industry accountable. With the establishment of this office we are sending a clear message to every participant in the firearms industry: if you violate our laws, you will pay.”

New Jersey’s commonsense firearm safety laws have helped the State maintain one of the lowest firearm mortality rates in the country. Nonetheless, New Jersey suffers hundreds of gun-related deaths each year and has not escaped the tragedy of mass shootings. In 2019, two shooters targeted a kosher market in Hudson County in an attack that claimed the lives of six people, including a Jersey City police officer. Last year, three people were killed and 11 others wounded when a shooter opened fire on a crowd gathered for a birthday party at a home in Fairfield Township. And earlier this month, nine people were injured when a gunman in a stolen vehicle opened fire on a street in Newark.

SAFE’s work will accord with the Department’s long history of working closely with law enforcement partners at all levels of government to keep our residents safe, including through smart and evidence-based police work that leads to the arrest and prosecution of individuals, gangs, and gun traffickers who violate New Jersey’s gun laws, and who bring danger and chaos to our communities. Under the leadership of Acting Attorney General Platkin, New Jersey has made it a top priority to apprehend anyone possessing and selling illegal “ghost guns,” which are firearms not imprinted with a serial number registered with a federally licensed manufacturer, and therefore extremely difficult for law enforcement to trace.

One of the tactics being used by Acting Attorney General Platkin to prevent ghost guns from appearing in New Jersey communities is through a strategic law enforcement partnership with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Acting Attorney General Platkin has directed the Division of Criminal Justice in collaboration with the New Jersey State Police, PA and federal authorities, to focus their collective resources on apprehending individuals illegally bringing ghost gun kits across state lines into New Jersey. These cooperative investigations have led to the arrest and prosecution of 19 individuals this year. As a result of these and other ongoing efforts to protect our residents from gun violence, New Jersey law enforcement agencies have criminally seized 2,398 firearms, including 170 illegal ghost guns, so far this year.

SAFE’s work will be distinct from but supplement the Department’s ongoing – and successful – efforts to use the ­state’s Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) to stop out-of-state gun dealers from selling illegal firearm products into New Jersey over the internet.  In March 2022, Acting Attorney General Platkin announced that the State had obtained a $175,000 judgment against Florida gun vendor 22Mods4All for violating the CFA by advertising and selling illegal large-capacity magazines (LCMs) to New Jersey consumers online. The judgment also permanently barred 22Mods4All from future online sales of LCMs here. A second gun vendor named in that suit – Florida-based Elite Aluminum – agreed to pay a $150,000 civil penalty and stop selling LCMs in New Jersey.

But the public nuisance lawsuits will provide even more robust enforcement tools, by allowing the Department to hold firearms manufacturers and retail dealers accountable for endangering the safety and health of New Jersey residents through the sale, manufacture, distribution, or marketing of lethal, but nonetheless legal, firearms. 

The creation of SAFE to enforce the new firearms public nuisance legislation advances the work Governor Murphy is doing to combat the epidemic of gun violence. Among other steps, New Jersey has established a “red flag” law for gun violence protective orders; criminalized firearms trafficking; strengthened background checks; reduced the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines; banned ghost guns; established the Rutgers Gun Violence Research Center to identify evidenced-based solutions to the gun violence crisis; and established a partnership with a coalition of states (New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut) to share crime gun data between law enforcement agencies.  



Assemblyman Ron Dancer Passes At 73

July 23, 2022

Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer (R) Assistant Minority Leader, District 12

PLUMSTED TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN) NEW EGYPT–It is with great regret and profound sadness that we, the staff of the esteemed Assemblyman Ron Dancer, must inform you of his passing. He left this world peacefully with his beloved wife by his side.

Ron often expressed gratitude by saying, “I am blessed.” May God continue to bless Ron Dancer and bless his grieving family. May he rest in eternal peace.

Please direct questions to his legislative office at asmdancer@njleg.org

You may also leave a private message of condolence or a fond memory of the Assemblyman at his website www.AssemblymanDancer.com


Ronald S. Dancer served his local community and state for over 30 years as a volunteer, adviser, leader, and representative. He was known by his friends and neighbors as the man who got things done. As the people’s representative, Ron fought for the interests of the 12th Legislative District and served with compassion for all.

Ron grew up in New Egypt, the beautiful town at the very center of New Jersey. The son of the late Hall of Fame Harness Horse Racing Driver Stanley Dancer, Ron was a horseman, trainer, and driver. He professionally raced and trained horses from 1968 through 1998.

Ron attended the Peddie School in Hightstown and later, the Edward J. Blaustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. In between, Ron served in the United States Army from 1969-1971.

First elected as mayor in 1989, Ron served Plumsted Township through 2011. He continued as the Township’s Honorary Business Administrator from 2012 to 2017.

A tireless volunteer for Ocean County, Ron was a member of the Ocean County Board of Social Services for over 35 years and served as chairman. He was an active member of other civic affiliations, including the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Committee and the Ocean County Senior Citizens Advisory Council.

Ron served on the New Jersey Horse Racing Commission from 1999 to 2002 and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture Sire Stakes Board from 1982 until 2002.

Ron most notably served as a member of the General Assembly from 2002 to 2022. He most recently was the Assistant Republican Leader. Ron’s successful public policy initiatives were furthered by his positions on a number of assembly committees. He served on the Agriculture and Food Security; Military and Veterans’ Affairs; and Tourism, Gaming and the Arts committees.

Ron is survived by his wife, Brenda, two children, and three grandchildren.



“Tammy and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Assemblyman Ron Dancer. True to his roots in one of New Jersey’s storied equestrian racing families, in public service he was a work horse not a show horse. A proud veteran with a quiet demeanor and humble nature, Ron built friendships across the aisle. His focus on New Jersey’s agricultural, horse-racing, and tourist industries, and our honored military veterans, leaves a lasting legacy. Our state flags will be lowered to half-staff in his honor and memory. His wife, Brenda, their children and grandchildren, and the entire Dancer family are in all of our thoughts this weekend.” — Governor Phil Murphy


Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) released the following statement on the death of longtime New Jersey State Assemblyman Ronald Dancer:

             “Ron Dancer was a tireless public servant who served his country in the Army before becoming a highly respected and enormously popular mayor of Plumsted and assemblyman for the 12th Legislative District. A great friend to many and true civic leader, Ron was as gracious and considerate as he was hard working and effective. I cannot think of anyone who loved Plumsted and personified the township more than Ron Dancer.

              “His trade-mark energetic leadership as a state legislator is marked by many issues he took head-on, especially advocating for the equestrian community, protecting veterans’ concerns on the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and defending the unborn on pro-life matters before the Assembly. He was a one-of-a-kind public servant whom I always greatly admired, and I am proud to have known him and called him my good friend.

               “Marie’s and my thoughts and prayers are with his wife Brenda and his loved ones as we celebrate his life of service and mourn his passing.”


Assembly Republicans today are mourning the death of their colleague, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer. He was 73.

A New Egypt native, Dancer was serving as Plumsted Township mayor in 2002 when district Republicans tapped him to fill a vacancy created by Assemblyman Melvin Cottrell’s passing. He most recently served on the Assembly agriculture and food security, military and veterans’ affairs, and tourism, gaming and the arts committees.

“Ron’s 20 years in the Assembly are marked not only by his tireless efforts to serve his constituents, even during his illness, but his willingness to work across party lines to accomplish what he believed was best for all New Jerseyans,” Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio (R-Warren) said. “He was a true patriot, statesman, gentleman, and my good friend. He will be sorely missed. My prayers and those of our conference are with his beloved wife Brenda and their family.”

Dancer served in the United States Army from 1969-1971. At home, he professionally raced and trained horses for 30 years, following in the footsteps of his father Stanley Dancer, the Hall of Fame Harness Horse Racing driver.

Dancer has been a tireless advocate for the farming community, the horse racing industry and taxpayers. Notable legislation enacted into law include: allowing for special occasion events on preserved farms; providing funding to increase horse racing purses; and allowing municipalities to establish programs to encourage local shopping through property tax rewards.

“No service member who ever stepped foot in New Jersey had a greater ally than Ron. His most powerful pieces of legislation honored and protected those who selflessly serve their fellow countrymen.” DiMaio added. “Likewise, his passion for agriculture and horse racing is evident in the bills he sponsored to strengthen and safeguard those industries.”

For nearly 40 years, Dancer volunteered for numerous groups, including the Ocean County Board of Social Services, which he chaired; the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Committee; the Ocean County Senior Citizens Advisory Council; the New Jersey Horse Racing Commission; and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture Sire Stakes Board.

“Ron has left us with a legacy that serves as a beacon for public servants now and New Jersey leaders of the future,’ DiMaio concluded. “Ultimately, it’s not about Republican or Democrat; it’s about the people we serve. Ron served the people well.”


Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement Saturday on the passing of Republican Assemblyman Ronald Dancer from the 12th legislative district: “I am saddened to learn of the loss of a true gentleman in New Jersey politics. In his two decades of public service in the Assembly, Ron Dancer was always someone who strived to work across the aisle. “A veteran himself, he leaves behind a legacy of advocacy on behalf of our military men and women. He was also a champion for New Jersey’s agricultural and horse racing communities, and contributed greatly to innovative expansions of our state’s tourism – most recently being the sponsor of legislation that will widen economic opportunity for our wineries and farms.



New NJ Law Requires All Law Enforcement Officers To Hold A Valid License By Police Training Commission

Officers will be subject to renew their licenses three years after issuance.

July 21, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed S2742/A4194 into law, establishing a police licensing program for all New Jersey law enforcement officers. The new law will require all law enforcement officers to hold a valid, active license issued by the Police Training Commission (PTC) in order to be employed as officers in the State of New Jersey. Governor Murphy first proposed the legislation in May 2022 and the bill quickly moved through both the Senate and Assembly. New Jersey will become the 47th state to establish a police licensing program.

“I thank my legislative partners for acting quickly on passing this bill and sending it to my desk to sign today. This police licensing program will, formally and finally, recognize all who serve in law enforcement in our state as the specially trained and highly skilled professional they are,” said Governor Murphy. “Officers holding these licenses will be proven professionals who fulfill their duties with honesty and integrity, helping law enforcement strengthen and rebuild the bonds of trust between police and residents in the communities they serve, especially in our Black and Brown communities.”

“This landmark legislation will have real and transformative impact on policing in New Jersey, and will serve to significantly improve trust between law enforcement and the public they are sworn to protect,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “One of the strongest commitments of the Murphy Administration has been to ensure the continued excellence and success of New Jersey’s law enforcement officers, while promoting a culture statewide of professionalism, transparency, and accountability.” 

“The licensing of law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey provides an additional layer of professionalism and accountability to the men and women who take an oath to serve and protect the citizens of this great state,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I applaud the efforts of Governor Murphy and Acting Attorney General Platkin who have worked tirelessly with the members of the Police Training Commission to enact a statewide licensing program that strengthens transparency and public trust.”

“NJDOC correctional police are highly trained and dedicated professionals with the significant responsibility of protecting the public and ensuring safe and secure facilities” said NJDOC Commissioner Victoria L. Kuhn. “The statewide licensure of law enforcement will continue to build trust and improve accountability for officers that serve in the NJDOC, and each and every community across the state.”

The PTC, which establishes statewide law enforcement standards, voted unanimously in June 2020 to create a statewide police licensing program, recognizing that over 40 states across the country use a form of decertification or licensing for law enforcement officers. In an effort to help build public trust in law enforcement, the police licensing program will require all law enforcement officers to meet certain uniform professional standards to become, or continue to be, an active law enforcement officer in the state. 

To better protect the health, safety, and welfare of all citizens, the legislation would grant the PTC the ability and responsibility to monitor and take appropriate actions against the licenses of any law enforcement officer who acts outside the bounds of professional standards or engages in illegal or improper conduct. Some of the conduct resulting in the revocation or non-issuance of a license include:

  • Conviction of any crime in NJ, or any other state, territory, country, or of the U.S.;
  • Conviction of an act of domestic violence;
  • Conviction of any offense that would preclude an officer from carrying a firearm;
  • Two or more motor vehicle offenses for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or two of more motor vehicle offenses for reckless driving;
  • Being an active member of a group that advocates for the violent overthrow of the government or for discrimination based on classes protected by the Law Against Discrimination (LAD); and
  • Conduct or behavior in the officer’s personal or professional life such as making statements, posting, sharing, or commenting in support of any posting, on social media, or otherwise, that demonstrates, espouses, advocates or supports discrimination or violence against, or hatred or bias toward individuals or groups based on race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other protected characteristic under the “Law Against Discrimination.”

Officers will be subject to renew their licenses three years after issuance.

Watch video at link below:

https://www.facebook.com/governorphilmurphy/videos/763388991469149/

Photos NJ Govenor’s Office


Primary sponsors of the legislation include:

  • Senator Linda Greenstein
  • Senator Troy Singleton
  • Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson
  • Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly
  • Assemblyman William W. Spearman 

“We have taken major steps over recent years – requiring the use of body-worn cameras, enhancing training, and increasing the diversity of our law enforcement agencies – to fortify the relationships between our communities and the law enforcement agencies that serve them. Police licensure is a commonsense next step,” said Senator Greenstein. “Our communities will be better served – and our law enforcement agencies will be better equipped – with a framework for licensure in place. I’d like to thank my colleagues for supporting this legislation and Governor Murphy for signing it into law.”

“The creation and implementation of a statewide licensure program for law enforcement officers is essential, as it will set requirements and minimum standards for all police at all levels,” said Senator Troy Singleton. “I truly believe that uniform professional standards will help build public trust and ensure that proper policing is occurring across New Jersey.”

“Professional licensure will greatly help ensure law enforcement officers uphold the public trust by maintaining high standards of training and proficiency,” said Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson.  “Many professions require licensure and are held accountable if they are in violation. The job of law enforcement is as critically important to our communities as the work of doctors and lawyers. This law will raise the level of professionalism that is required to serve our communities in any situation.”

“We should always work to enhance transparency and build better relationships between the police and the residents they protect,” said Assemblyman Bill Spearman. “Through this law, we will be able to hold bad actors accountable for their wrongdoings and ensure that the proper disciplinary actions are pursued.”  

“The Police Training Commission will have the ability to better monitor officers and take the appropriate action against those who engage in improper conduct under established licensure standards,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. “This law is a step toward rebuilding trust in our communities.” 

“The State Troopers Fraternal Association has continually been willing to partner with the Governor and members of the legislature in producing common sense police reform legislation. This historic legislation creating a police licensing program here in New Jersey is no exception.  This is yet another piece of legislation that we have all worked on together to enhance transparency and promote public trust and confidence in our troopers and all law-enforcement.  This bill enhances the concepts of producing a more professional and better trained police officer while incapacitating bad actors for which we have no tolerance,” said Wayne Blanchard, President, State Troopers Fraternal Association.

“The New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police which represents over 14,000 of New Jersey’s Finest supports Governor Murphy’s initiatives to further enhance professionalism within the Law Enforcement community in the State of New Jersey,” said Robert Gries, Executive Vice President, NJFOP. “We look forward to supporting and working with the Governor’s Office on this and all matters that affect and improve the ability of Law Enforcement to perform their important work.” 

“The ACLU-NJ and our advocacy partners have been calling for police licensing for years, and we’re proud that we’re finally able to see it come to fruition,” said ACLU-NJ President Amol Sinha. “The bill Governor Murphy signed is strong: both the bill’s sponsors and the administration took a promising draft and improved it by mandating reporting to the National Decertification Index. We intend to continue working with the Attorney General and stakeholders to ensure that this new licensing scheme provides necessary accountability and transparency for all New Jerseyans as well as ensures due process and fairness mechanisms for members of law enforcement. But there is much more that remains to be done. New Jersey belatedly joins the more than 40 other states in having a licensing scheme for police officers. We must now do the hard work of delivering meaningful measures of accountability such as police discipline transparency, civilian complaint review boards with subpoena power, and ending qualified immunity. We cannot – and should not – aspire to merely catch up with states like Alabama and Florida – instead we must lead on issues of police accountability to create a fairer and more just New Jersey for all.” 

“We applaud Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin for their leadership in establishing a police licensure program in New Jersey,” said Reverend Charles Boyer, Pastor, Greater Mount Zion Bethel AME Church and Executive Director, Salvation & Social Justice, United Black Agenda. “Black residents in New Jersey are three times as likely to have force used against them than their white counterparts, and excessive force claims continue to cost New Jersey taxpayers millions each year. This bill is both critical and long overdue, yet we acknowledge that this legislation is not a panacea. We still have much work to do to ensure that this bill lives up to the state’s promise to heighten the standard of police conduct in the state and effectively holding officers who fail to meet that standard accountable. We at Salvation and Social Justice look forward to continuing to work with this Administration to increase transparency, equity, and justice in this state.”

“I know that most New Jersey residents will be proud to join forty-six (46) states in these United States to require Law Enforcement Officers to be licensed like the many professionals in their communities,” said Reva Foster President, NJ Black Issues Convention

Professional licensing is used in various other contexts, and occupations such as teachers, doctors, electricians, and counselors, among others, are subject to licensing requirements that provide the public with appropriate assurance of professionalism, qualification, and accountability.


Photos NJ Govenor’s Office


Round Valley Reservoir Project Seeks Permanent Closure Of CR-629 Due To “Security Concerns”

July 19, 2022

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (HUNTERDON)–According to the Clinton Township website discussions are underway to close County Road 629 permanently in the area of the Round Valley Reservoir by the request of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority due to security concerns of “bad actors”

From the Clinton Township website:

As you probably already know, County Road 629 in Clinton Township, Hunterdon County has been closed since April 8, 2020, from the corner of Cherry Street and Old Mountain Road to just east of the driveway to the NJDEP “fishlabs”. The fish labs are located just east of the parking lot access to the Round Valley Fish and Wildlife Boat Ramp. This was originally proposed as a temporary closure during the construction project on the Round Valley embankments. This temporary closing was allowed by Hunterdon County Engineering at the request of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority.

Recently, the Authority has had informal conversations with the Hunterdon County Engineering Department, the Borough of Lebanon, and Clinton Township about making the existing temporary closure of County Road 629 permanent. Following our informal discussions, a specific request to close the road permanently has been asked of the mayors of Lebanon Borough and Clinton Township in advance of a formal similar request to Hunterdon County. If the closing is allowed, it is our intent, after all construction is complete, to continue to allow public access on the road for pedestrians and bicycles only. Keys to the vehicular access gates would be provided to Lebanon Borough, Clinton Township, and Hunterdon County emergency staff for vehicular access. This is not out of the ordinary as keys have already been provided to the same emergency services groups for to access other Authority-owned secure areas.

The purpose of this change is to improve dam safety. We cannot share specifics, but I can tell you that a very serious threat to earthen dams by bad actors would be facilitated by vehicular access to the structure. County Road 629 is the crest of the Round Valley Dike. Be aware that failure of any of the three Round Valley dams would have catastrophic impacts on downstream residents and water supply to over one million people in central New Jersey.

It is also noted that the Authority has received verbal support of this proposal from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Dam Safety. The Round Valley Dike is the only one of the three embankments (at Round Valley) with unrestricted vehicular access to the crest. To my knowledge, there are no earthen embankments of this size in the state of New Jersey that allows public vehicular access.

I hope this helps you understand the situation. We do plan to add this information along with updates to our website in the future. The link to our project-specific webpage follows.


According to the website:

The Round Valley reservoir was formed in the 1960s in the Township of Clinton, New Jersey after the State constructed three large earthen embankments and flooded a large valley. The reservoir was named after the ring shaped Cushetunk Mountain that surrounds the area.

While the large valley was caused by the erosion of soft sedimentary rock, the surrounding mountain ridges endured due to the dense and durable underlay of volcanic rock.

Reaching depths of 180 feet, this 2,350-acre reservoir is known for its clear blue waters. At full capacity, the reservoir contains 55 billion gallons of water for use in central New Jersey, making it the largest water supply reservoir by volume in the state. Its water is primarily released to the nearby South Branch of the Rockaway Creek, which feeds the North Branch of the Raritan River.

The Round Valley reservoir is an “off-stream pump storage” reservoir, which means that it is filled primarily by pumping water into it. The New Jersey Water Supply Authority operates a pumping station in the Hamden section of Clinton Township to move water from the South Branch of the Raritan River into the reservoir via a large underground pipeline. Round Valley reservoir is part of a larger water supply system supply called the Raritan Basin system, which also includes the Spruce Run Reservoir. Additional information about the Raritan Basin system can be found on the Authority’s website.

Round Valley reservoir was designed for water supply purposes, but is also managed for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, swimming and camping. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife manages the fishery and game resources at Round Valley Reservoir and the NJDEP State Park Service manages the other recreational aspects of the reservoir.


Amazon Prime Day 2022 was the Biggest Prime Day Event Ever

Amazon Prime members worldwide saved over $1.7 billion—more than any other Prime Day event

This year was the biggest Prime Day event for Amazon’s selling partners, most of whom are small and medium-sized businesses, whose sales growth in Amazon’s store outpaced Amazon’s retail business

Amazon Devices had a record-breaking Prime Day, selling more devices than any other Prime Day event


July 14, 2022

Prime members purchased more than 300 million items worldwide during Prime Day 2022, making this year’s event the biggest Prime Day event in Amazon’s history. And, more shopping means more savings—Prime members saved over $1.7 billion, more than any previous Prime Day event.

This year was the biggest Prime Day event for Amazon’s selling partners, most of whom are small and medium-sized businesses, whose sales growth in Amazon’s store outpaced Amazon’s retail business. Customers spent over $3 billion on more than 100 million small business items included in the Support Small Businesses to Win Big sweepstakes.

“Prime Day is a celebration of our Prime members, who look forward to this event every year, and we’re thrilled to have delivered incredible savings to them once again,” said Doug Herrington, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Stores. “This special event is made possible because of the support of our employees, vendors, and sellers, and I want to give a big thank you to all of them for making this a Prime Day to remember.”

“We were ecstatic to partner with Amazon for this year’s Prime Day,” said Rob Jackson, Ujamaa Lighting, a high-quality energy-efficient lightbulb company based in Austin, Texas. “Being a part of Amazon has provided Ujamaa with exposure to so many new customers beyond those in our local community—which has been invaluable to this small father/son business. We applaud Amazon for their efforts in promoting small businesses and look forward to working with them more in the future.”

Worldwide and U.S. shopping trends around Amazon’s Prime Day event include:

Worldwide Prime Day Trends

Shopping

  • Prime members worldwide purchased more than 100,000 items per minute during this year’s Prime Day event.
  • Some of the best-selling categories worldwide this Prime Day were Amazon Devices, Consumer Electronics, and Home.
  • Prime members worldwide did the most shopping from 9 a.m.—10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, July 12 during the entire Prime Day event.
  • Some of the best-selling items worldwide this Prime Day were from premium beauty brands, including LANEIGE and NuFACE; Apple Watch Series 7; diapers and wipes from Pampers and The Honest Company; kitchen essentials from Rachael Ray, Le Creuset, and Hamilton Beach; VTech and LeapFrog toys; Vital Proteins Collagen Whey; Levi’s apparel and accessories; Chemical Guys car wash products; and pet products from NUTRO, TEMPTATIONS, and GREENIES.
  • Since Prime Day shopping began on July 12, select Fire TV, Echo, and Blink devices were some of the best-selling items on Amazon worldwide.

Small Businesses

  • Customers supported small businesses in the three-week lead-up to Prime Day, generating more than $3 billion in sales for small businesses included in the Support Small Businesses to Win Big sweepstakes.
  • Customers purchased more than 100 million small business items in the three weeks leading up to Prime Day.

U.S. Prime Day Trends

Shopping

  • Prime members in the U.S. purchased more than 60,000 items per minute during this year’s Prime Day event.
  • Prime members in the U.S. did the most shopping from 8 p.m.—9 p.m. PT on Wednesday, July 13 during the U.S. Prime Day event.
  • Some of the best-selling categories in the U.S. this Prime Day were Consumer Electronics, Household Essentials, and Home.
  • Some of the best-selling items in the U.S. this Prime Day were premium beauty brands, including LANEIGE and NuFACE; Apple Watch Series 7; Crest Teeth Whitening and Oral-B electric toothbrushes; kids’ and baby clothing from Simple Joys by Carter’s; Bentgo Kids lunch boxes; Levi’s apparel and accessories; Shark vacuums, air purifiers, and steam mops; Beats by Dre headphones and earbuds; Coleman, Marmot, and ExOfficio outdoor gear and apparel; and construction toys including LEGO sets, Magna-Tiles, and PLAYMOBIL.
  • Customers in the U.S. used Prime Day to celebrate summer, purchasing more than 1.2 million pairs of sunglasses and more than 1 million swimsuits.
  • Since Prime Day shopping began on July 12, select Fire TV, Echo, and Blink devices were some of the best-selling items on Amazon in the U.S.

Small Businesses

  • During the three weeks leading up to Prime Day, customers shopped from small businesses included in the Support Small Businesses to Win Big sweepstakes across all 50 U.S. states, with those in Delaware, New York, and Wyoming seeing the biggest sales per capita.

Amazon Live

  • Amazon Live Prime Day streams had more than 100 million views.
  • Thousands of creators streamed throughout Prime Day 2022.

Every Day Made Better With Prime

Prime offers the best of shopping, savings, and entertainment to more than 200 million paid members around the world. In the U.S., that includes unlimited access to award-winning movies and series with Prime Video, ad-free listening of 2 million songs, thousands of stations and playlists, and thousands of podcasts with Amazon Music, free games with Prime Gaming, more than 3,000 books and magazines with Prime Reading, unlimited photo storage with Amazon Photos, and incredible savings with Prime Day. Prime was built on the foundation of unlimited fast, free shipping. Prime members enjoy ultrafast grocery delivery and pickup from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market in more than 5,000 cities and towns, free Same-Day Delivery on hundreds of thousands of items in over 90 major metropolitan areas, and free One-Day Delivery on more than 20 million items coast to coast. Prime members also receive fast, free delivery on prescriptions from Amazon Pharmacy and prescription savings at more than 60,000 participating pharmacies in the U.S. To join Prime or start a 30-day free trial, visit amazon.com/prime.



NJDEP And NJ State Police Investigate Vandalism To Monitoring Buoys

July 14, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is working with the State Police to investigate vandalism to harmful algal bloom monitoring buoys in several northern New Jersey lakes, specifically the detaching of buoys from anchor lines, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.

“These buoys gather water quality data used to warn the public about harmful algal bloom conditions and improve our long-term understanding of these blooms,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “When someone cuts a buoy free, they are jeopardizing this work and placing boaters, personal watercraft users and other recreational users of the lakes at risk of injury.”

“State Police marine and land-based units have stepped up patrols in the areas of these buoys and we will criminally charge anyone caught tampering with them to the full extent of the law,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We are asking for the public’s help in putting a stop to this.”


Anyone with information about these incidents or sees suspicious behavior is urged to contact the State Police at 609-882-2000 or the DEP’s hotline at 877-WARNDEP (877-927-6337).


“I am disappointed to learn of the recent vandalism to the monitoring buoys,” said 25th Legislative District Sen. Anthony M. Bucco. “Preserving the quality of the water in these lakes is critically important for recreation and the businesses that surround our lake communities.  These buoys are an important part of that process.  I encourage anyone with information regarding the intentional destruction of these devices to report it to the local authorities or the State Police.”

 “As Mayors of the Lake Hopatcong communities, we have worked very hard over the last few years and partnered successfully with the NJDEP since the original harmful algal bloom in 2019, said Jefferson Township Mayor Eric F. Wilsusen. “Monitoring the lake and communicating with the public about water quality issues concerning a potential harmful algal bloom is vital to all to best utilize this valuable resource. Whoever intentionally vandalized the harmful algal bloom monitoring buoys does not have our lake’s best interest in mind and is doing a disservice to the community.”

Since June of this year, there have been two incidents at Lake Hopatcong, one at Greenwood Lake, and one, most recently, at Spruce Run Reservoir, around the Fourth of July weekend. There were also two incidents at Lake Hopatcong last summer. In each case, the buoys were recovered.

In addition, there have been three incidents of damage likely resulting from boats hitting the buoys unintentionally. The DEP reminds the boating public to be alert to the presence of the buoys. The perimeter of each buoy is marked by safety buoys.

The DEP maintains a network of high-tech real-time monitoring buoys as part of a comprehensive response to harmful algal blooms to protect public health and tourism. They gather a wide range of water quality data, including phycocyanin pigments that are indicative of harmful algal blooms, turbidity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, chlorophyll and pH.

A growing global problem due to climate change, harmful algal blooms are not caused by true algae but rather by cyanobacteria that in many ways resemble and behave like algae. These cyanobacteria naturally occur in fresh water and can proliferate to unhealthful levels in sunlight and hot weather, forming dense mats resembling pea soup or spilled paint.

Exposure to cyanobacteria cells can cause a range of mild to moderate health effects, including rashes, allergy-like reactions, flu-like symptoms, gastroenteritis, respiratory irritation and eye irritation. Incidental ingestion of water containing the toxins these bacteria can produce, known as cyanotoxins, can result in more serious health effects such as liver toxicity and neurological effects. Children and pets are more vulnerable because they ingest more water in relation to their size.

For more information on harmful algal blooms and the state’s interactive harmful algal bloom mapping tool, visit https://www.nj.gov/dep/hab/



Garden State Outdoor Sports Show, August 11-14, 2022, is Cancelled Due To Industry Supply Chain And Labor Issues

Next show in NJ will be: Garden State Outdoor Sports Show, Winter Show January 12-15, 2023

July 14, 2022

EDISON, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The Outdoor Sports Group (OSG) each January is proud to produce The Garden State Outdoor Sports Show, bringing together the outdoor community to experience a fishing & hunting spectacular.   Due to COVID 19 and health concerns we were unable to produce the 2022 January event and were forced to re-scheduled it to August 11-14,2022.

We had high hopes that an August event on the verge of hunting season would provide a forum for outdoor enthusiast to shop for amazing deals, meet the experts and create enjoyable family memories. While we would prefer to be giving you an update today on joining us at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison, NJ; we unfortunately must cancel the August event.

As events are assembling around the country and we recover from the effects of COVID 19, we find the outdoor industry in a peculiar situation. Our industry has never been so alive with individuals participating in outdoor activities, purchasing hunting & fishing licenses, taking part in conservation awareness, having a desire to travel and much more. The challenge currently is the outdoor industry is still suffering from supply chain and labor shortages making it hard to book a trip, purchase fishing tackle, boats, ATV’s and many of the products that complement the perfect outdoor adventure.

We are passionate about delivering sports shows that showcase the latest products, services, travel destination, ATV’s, RV’s, boats, powersports, fishing tackle, outfitters, wildlife art, hunting supplies, charters, paddle boards, knives and much more. Based on the supply chain and labor issue we would not be able to deliver the quality of show that the outdoor community deserves. As disappointing as it is to cancel an event is in the

best interest of our loyal vendors and attendees Outdoor Sports Group is going to focus its efforts on producing a successful show January 12-15, 2023, that showcases 150-200 + exhibitor booths and delivers 12,500-15,000 + attendees.

The January 2023 show will feature the New Jersey Deer Classic with an impressive display of trophy heads from the previous three hunting seasons, the 9th Annual Garden State 3D Archery Tournament, The Hawg Trough, Fishing & Hunting Seminars and co-located with Safe Con, New Jersey 2nd Amendment Firearms Education Conference. Outdoor enthusiast will have the opportunity to book future fishing trips, buy a boat or RV, and gear up for hunting season, plus much more.

The Outdoor Sports Group staff will be connecting directly with exhibiting companies with more information regarding the postponing of the event, including options to receive a full refund or apply booth deposit to the 2023 events.

Our exhibitor profiles, guest speaker announcements and other information will be available at www.gsoss.com Outdoor Sports Group is schedule to hold these future events:

2023 Show Schedule:

  • Garden State Outdoor Sports Show, Winter Show January 12-15, 2023
  • Northern Illinois Sports Show, January 19-22, 2023
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show, March 9-12, 2023

About Outdoor Sports Group

Outdoor Sports Group (OSG) is the producer of the finest outdoor sports show on the East Coast and in the Midwest dedicated to the consumer sports enthusiast. The Outdoor Sports Group team is dedicated to producing sports shows with quality exhibitors, seminars and attractions that speak to sportsmen and women of all ages with a focus on activities that the whole family will enjoy.



OSHA urging employers to slope, shore, and shield trenches to protect workers in New Jersey

July 7, 2022

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ–Following the June 30 incident that occurred when a worker fell into a trench and it collapsed on him at a house construction site in Howell, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding all New Jersey employers to take the necessary steps to protect workers from trench-related fatalities and accidents. The Howell trench was 40 inches x 40 inches, approximately seven-and-a-half-feet-deep, located in the rear of the basement wall of the house.

“A trench can quickly become an early grave if the proper protection is not utilized.” said OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick in Marlton, New Jersey. “Friday’s rescue should be a strong reminder for employers to take the proper precautions. OSHAs message to employers is simple: Slope it, Shore it, and Shield it.”

In 2020-2021, OSHA documented 20 deaths and injuries related to trenching and excavation. The leading cause for these fatalities was inadequate cave-in protection. These tragic worker deaths have long-lasting impacts on the workers’ families, co-workers, and communities.

Just 7 days prior there was another trench rescue in Hamilton Township Mercer County:





Photos from the Hamilton Township Trench Rescue on June 23, 2022


US Department of Labor reminds New Jersey employers to protect workers from the dangers of heat illness

OSHA offers free app to help calculate worksite heat index, display risks

July 7, 2022

NEW YORK, NY– As temperatures and humidity rise in New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds employers and workers not to ignore the dangers of working in hot weather – indoors and out – and remember, “Water. Rest. Shade.” can be the difference between ending the workday safely or suffering serious conditions or worse.

From 2011-2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 344 worker-related deaths in U.S. were due to environmental heat exposure. Workplace safety experts believe the actual number of heat-related fatalities may be underreported or misreported as another cause, such as heart attack.

To combat the dangers of heat exposure, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched a national emphasis program in April 2022 to protect workers from heat illness and injuries.

“Our goal is to ensure workers are protected in hot indoor and outdoor environments,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Rivera in Philadelphia. “For the past several years, OSHA’s heat safety campaign has  focused intently on raising awareness of the related dangers. A big part of our recent national emphasis program is reaching out to unions, employers, and other organizations in target industries to increase protection for workers most often exposed to heat illness and injuries.”

OSHA’s message is simple: Water. Rest. Shade. Employers should:

  • Encourage workers to drink water every 15 minutes.
  • Ensure workers take frequent rest breaks in the shade to cool down.
  • Have an emergency plan ready to respond when a worker shows signs of heat-related illness.
  • Train workers on the hazards of heat exposure, and how to prevent illness.
  • Allow workers to build a tolerance for working in heat.

The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool is a free, downloadable app that calculates a worksite’s heat index and displays the associated risk levels. Users can receive precautionary recommendations specific to heat index risk levels to help protect employees from heat-related illness. The tool is available in English and Spanish.

OSHA’s Occupational Heat Exposure page explains the symptoms of heat illness, first aid measures to provide while waiting for help, engineering controls and work practices to reduce workers’ exposure to heat, and training.

Read a fact sheet on OSHA’s National Emphasis Program to protect workers across the nation from the increasing threat of heat related illness. Learn more about working in outdoor and indoor heat environments.                                                      

Learn more about OSHA.





NJ State Police Arrest Eight Suspects and Dismantle Human Sex Trafficking Network Operating In Trenton

July 7, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– The New Jersey State Police have arrested eight suspects for allegedly operating a human trafficking network in Central New Jersey. During a four-month investigation, detectives discovered that the suspects smuggled female victims into the country and forced them into prostitution.


On Friday, January 21, 2022 detectives from the State Police Missing Persons & Human Trafficking Unit obtained information that a juvenile was being trafficked out of a residence on Hudson Street, in Trenton, Mercer County. Later in the day, detectives along with members of the State Police T.E.A.M.S. Unit, K-9 Unit, Crime Suppression Central Unit, Trenton Police Department, and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed a search warrant at the residence. As a result, detectives located two female victims inside the residence and arrested Daniel Bonito Camara, 55, of Trenton and Edy Villeda Estrada, 39, of Trenton.

During the investigation, detectives discovered that one of the female victims was smuggled from Mexico to Texas under the belief that she would be working in a restaurant. However, she was involuntarily forced into a human sex trafficking operation. The juvenile was then trafficked into New Jersey where she continued to be forced into prostitution in Asbury Park before being moved to Trenton.

Through various investigative means, detectives identified Paulino Macolas-Aguirre, 43, of Trenton, N.J. as the ringleader of the human trafficking operation and determined that he was operating out of multiple residences in Trenton.


On Wednesday, May 11, 2022 detectives from the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons & Human Trafficking Unit, Trenton Police Department, Asbury Park Police Department, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Fugitive Unit and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice executed search warrants at various residences in Trenton. As a result, nine additional female victims were located. Detectives also obtained evidence that they were smuggled into the United States under the pretense they would be provided legitimate employment.


Due to this investigation the following suspects have been charged:

Paulino Macola- Aguirre, 43, of Trenton, N.J

• Two counts of 1st Degree Human Trafficking

• 1st Degree Promoting Organized Street Crime

• 1st Degree Promoting Child Prostitution

• 2nd Degree Facilitating Human Trafficking

• 2nd Degree Sexual Assault

• 3rd Degree Money Laundering

• 3rd Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child

• 3rd Degree Maintaining a House of Prostitution

• Conspiracy

Daniel Bonito Camara, 55, of Trenton, N.J.

• 1st Degree Human Trafficking

• 1st Degree Promoting Child Prostitution

• 1st Degree Promoting Organized Street Crime

• 2nd Degree Facilitating Human Trafficking

• 2nd Degree Hindering Apprehension

• 2nd Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering

• 2nd Degree Conspiracy to Commit Hindering Apprehension

• 2nd Degree Hindering Apprehension

• 3rd Degree Hindering Apprehension

• 3rd Degree Witness Tampering

• 3rd Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child

• 3rd Degree Maintaining a House of Prostitution

Edy Villeda Estrada, 39, of Trenton, N.J.

• 1st Degree Human Trafficking

• 1st Degree Promoting Child Prostitution

• 1st Degree Promoting Organized Street Crime

• 2nd Degree Facilitating Human Trafficking

• 3rd Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child

• 3rd Degree Maintaining a House of Prostitution

Efran Melocastillo, 30, of Trenton, N.J.

• Conspiracy

• 2nd Degree Promoting Organized Street Crime

• 3rd Degree Money Laundering

• 3rd Degree Maintaining a House of Prostitution

Jose Gabriel Camara Perico, 30 of Trenton, N.J.

• Conspiracy

• 2nd Degree Promoting Organized Street Crime

• 3rd Degree Money Laundering

• 3rd Degree Maintaining a House of Prostitution

Laura Macolas Aguirre, 44 of Asbury Park, N.J.

• Conspiracy

• 1st Degree Human Trafficking

• 2nd Degree Facilitating Human Trafficking

• 2nd Degree Promoting Organized Street Crime

• 3rd Degree Money Laundering

• 3rd Degree Maintaining a House of Prostitution

Daniel Handerson Camara Perico, 31 of Trenton, N.J.

• Conspiracy

• 2nd Degree Promoting Organized Street Crime

• 3rd Degree Money Laundering

• 3rd Degree Maintaining a House of Prostitution

• 2nd Conspiracy to commit Tampering with Witness

Daniela Penco-Camara, 28 of Trenton, N.J.

• Conspiracy

• 2nd Degree Promoting Organized Street Crime

• 3rd Degree Money Laundering

• 3rd Degree Maintaining a House of Prostitution

• 2nd Conspiracy to commit Tampering with Witness


“The trafficking of human beings is horrific, particularly when it involves the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women and girls lured to this country under the promise of a better life,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “We are committed to working with the State Police and our law enforcement partners to arrest human traffickers and rescue their victims from the shadows, where these crimes occur.”

“Human trafficking victims are subjected to irreprehensible physical and emotional abuse because of the manipulation and fear-based tactics used by their perpetrators,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This investigation shows our dedication to use every resource at our disposal to bring these criminals to justice and dismantle operations that create life-long, damage to victims. We remain committed to working with our partners to aggressively target these offenders but remind everyone to remain vigilant and report these heinous crimes to law enforcement.”

Daniel Handerson Camara Perico and Daniela Penco-Camara remain at large. All other suspects were lodged in Mercer County Jail pending detention hearings.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please call 855-END-NJ-HT. All tips remain anonymous.

This case is being prosecuted by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. All victims recovered were provided victim services.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.




New Jersey State Police Begins Accepting Applications 

July 7, 2022

West Trenton – Colonel Patrick J. Callahan announced the opening of the New Jersey State Police application process for the position of State Trooper. Applications will be accepted online starting, July 5, 2022, to Sunday, August 2, 2022. All eligible men and women are encouraged to apply. Those interested should visit www.NJTrooper.com to complete the online application.

Troopers can pursue one of the more than 120 diverse career paths that the State Police offers based on personal interests and specialized skills, while also working to ensure the public’s safety. The New Jersey State Police has embarked on an intensive recruiting campaign with assistance from Governor Phil Murphy, Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin, members of the Governor’s cabinet, and members of the New Jersey legislature.

“The men and women in our State Police force come from many different backgrounds but they all have one thing in common, to protect and serve those in our state,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “I have had the pleasure of working and interacting with many of our State Police officers in my time as Governor and I look forward to welcoming the next class of brave Troopers joining this great organization,”

“Now more than ever, we need individuals with a diversity of skills, backgrounds, and experiences who are committed to public service so that our State Police is reflective of the communities they are sworn to protect,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “We’re calling on talented, dedicated applicants to step up and join us as we rise to meet the challenges of the future.”

“The New Jersey State Police is committed to finding the finest candidates to serve as Troopers who not only reflect the great diversity of our state, but our core values of honor, duty, and fidelity. We want the best men and women out there who will advance our public safety mission for the next one hundred years,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I would like to thank Governor Murphy, his cabinet members, Acting Attorney General Platkin and the New Jersey legislature for greatly assisting the State Police with our recruiting campaign.”


Here are the minimum requirements to apply:

  1. An applicant must have a bachelor’s degree, signifying completion of the undergraduate curriculum and graduation from an accredited college or university. To meet the bachelor’s degree requirement, an applicant must have completed all academic, financial, and administrative obligations to be conferred a bachelor’s degree by June 30, 2022.
     
    OR
     
  2. An applicant must have an associate’s degree or 60 college credits from an accredited college or university AND at least 24 months of satisfactory employment and/or military experience by June 30, 2022. Work experience must equate to 104 weeks of employment, including military experience, with a minimum of 20 hours of work per week. The 104 weeks are not required to be consecutive.
     
    OR
     
  3. An applicant must have 30 college credits from an accredited college or university AND at least 24 months of active duty military service by June 30, 2022.

If an applicant does not meet any of the above minimum qualifications, they may still meet the following:

  1. An applicant must have 80 college credits from an accredited college or university by June 30, 2022, AND to enter the background portion of the Selection Process, with successful completion of all other phases, an applicant must have a bachelor’s degree by June 30, 2023, signifying completion of the undergraduate curriculum and graduation from an accredited college or university.

However, if this option is chosen as the minimum qualification during the online application open enrollment process, the applicant will NOT be considered for the current selection process but moved to the following selection process based on the date their degree will be conferred.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old as of the date of the application and must not reach their 35th birthday prior to the graduation of their State Police class.

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and must have a current driver’s license at the time of application.

For more information visit www.NJTrooper.com.


No More State Sales Tax for New Jersey Medicinal Cannabis Patients

Tax removed by Jake Honig’s Law effective July 1, 2022

July 7, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – As of Saturday, July 1, 2022 New Jersey residents enrolled in the state’s Medicinal Cannabis Program will not pay state sales tax on cannabis and cannabis products purchased at a permitted medicinal dispensary. The three-phase elimination of the sales tax was delineated in the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act signed into law by Governor Murphy in 2019.

“Removing state sales tax on medicinal cannabis is consistent with Governor Murphy and the Legislature’s intent to prioritize patients and improve affordability,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “As the sales tax has been phased out from 4% to 2% and now to 0% patients have been able to spend less on their medicine, further ensuring patients are prioritized over recreational consumers.” 

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission establishes and enforces the rules and regulations governing the licensing, cultivation, testing, selling, and purchasing of cannabis in the state.


Large Scrap Yard Fire In Fairless Hills, PA, Sends Smoke Billowing Into New Jersey

June 30, 2022

FALLS TOWNSHIP/FAIRLESS HILLS, PA (BUCKS)–A large fire at a scrap yard in the Fairless Hills section of Falls Township send smoke billowing into Mercer and Burlington Counties this afternoon. The fire appeared to be coming from behind Mazza Iron & Steel a family owned and operated metal recycling company based in Fairless Hills. A large column of smoke could be seen for miles and 9-1-1 centers fielded calls about the smoke condition. Falls Township Fire Company along with many mutual aid fire departments were on scene combating the fire. Fire departments called it a “rubbish” fire on Solar Drive in Falls Township.


A video from Levittown Fire Company Facebook page here:




Robocallers Admit Receiving Over $1.2M In Global Robocall Scam That Preyed On Elderly

June 28, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – Two Indian nationals admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud by accepting illegally obtained $1.2 million in wire transfers from victims across the country, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Arushobike Mitra, 27, and Garbita Mitra, 24, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an information charging them each with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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

As part of an international fraud scheme, criminal India-based call centers utilized automated robocalls to victims across the country with the intent of defrauding U.S. residents, particularly the elderly. After establishing contact with victims through these automated calls, other members of the conspiracy would coerce or trick the victims into sending large sums of cash through physical shipments or wire transfers to other members of the conspiracy, including the Mitras. These conspirators used a variety of schemes to convince victims to send money, including impersonating government officials from agencies such as the Social Security Administration, or impersonating law enforcement officers from the FBI or DEA, and threatened victims with severe legal or financial consequences if they did not comply. Another method utilized by the callers involved convincing the victim they were speaking with someone from a tech support company and coercing the victim into granting the caller remote access to their personal computers. The caller would then access the victim’s bank accounts and make it appear to the victim that the caller had inadvertently added money to the victim’s bank account, when in fact the caller had simply transferred money from another one of the victim’s own accounts. The caller would then instruct the victim to “return” the money by way of mail or wire transfer to other members of the conspiracy, including the Mitras. Arushobike Mitra and Garbita Mitra are charged with receiving fraudulent transfers of cash from 48 victims across the country totaling more than $1.2 million.

The conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine of twice the amount of the loss, whichever is greater. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for Dec. 13, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, New York Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Sharon MacDermott; special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Cyber Intrusion Group, and El Dorado Task Force Asset Identification & Removal Group, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge, Peter C. Fitzhugh in New York; postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark Division, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Damon Wood, Philadelphia Division, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas. He also thanked the Hoboken Police Department, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the New York City Police Department, and the Brunswick County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Meriah Russell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

22-243 

Defense counsel: William Strazza Esq., Chester, New Jersey, and Rubin Sinins Esq., Springfield, New Jersey




Tractor-Trailer Carrying 110 Kilograms-242 Pounds Of Cocaine Drove Though NJ To NY; Two NY Men Charged

June 28, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – Two New York men were charged today with conspiring to distribute approximately 110 kilograms of cocaine as part of an international drug trafficking organization, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Eddie Velez-Pena, 33, of Yonkers, New York, and Robin Medina-Fabian, 38, of the Bronx, New York, are charged by complaint with conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine. The defendants are scheduled to appear by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor.

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

On or June 25, 2022, law enforcement officers conducted surveillance of a tractor-trailer driven by Velez-Pena and believed to contain narcotics for distribution. They observed the tractor-trailer drive through New Jersey and stop for a period of time in Hampton, New Jersey. Velez-Pena drove through New Jersey to the border of Yonkers and the Bronx, New York, where he met with Medina-Fabian. Velez-Pena transferred multiple duffle bags from his tractor-trailer to Medina-Fabian, who then placed them in the SUV.

Law enforcement officers then conducted a stop of Medina-Fabian’s SUV and observed in plain view several duffel bags matching those provided by Velez-Pena. Subsequent to receiving consent to search the SUV from Medina-Fabian, law enforcement recovered several duffle bags containing approximately 110 kilograms of cocaine and drug ledger sheets.

The count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III, with the investigation leading to the charges.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The New York OCDETF Strike Force is housed at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA; the New York City Police Department; the New York State Police; Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations; the U. S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the U.S. Marshals Service; New York National Guard; U.S. Coast Guard; Port Washington Police Department; and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny Chung of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.

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

22-236

Defense counsel:
Velez-Pena: Saverio Viggiano Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark
Medina-Fabian: Ernesto Cerimele Esq., Newark



NJ Forrest Fire Service Reports 95% Containment Of 13,500-Acre Wildfire In Wharton State Forest

June 22, 2022

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service reports that the Wharton State Forest – Mullica River Fire has reached 95 percent containment of a 13,500-acre wildfire at the Wharton State Forest in Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships.

There is an ongoing investigation into an illegal campfire which has been determined to be the cause of the fire. Anyone with information can contact our Division B office at 609-726-9010.

✅ Road closures have been lifted.

✅ Atsion Recreation Area has reopened.

✅ Batsto Village has reopened.

⚠️ Hiking trails between Atsion and Batsto remain closed due to active fire activity.

⚠️ Kayaking and canoeing along the Mullica and Batsto Rivers remains closed between Atsion and Batsto. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

⚠️ Wharton State Forest’s Mullica River Campground remains closed.

The fire was first spotted at 10:06 a.m. Sunday by a Forest Fire Service observer at the Batsto Fire Tower. The fire was fueled by breezy conditions and low humidity.

Structure protection was provided by local volunteer fire departments from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties, we thank them for their assistance.

The public is advised that smoke may be visible for an extended period while firefighters continue to patrol and mop-up this wildfire. Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke, firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways.

This will be our final update on this fire unless there are significant developments.

———————–

Helpful Wildfire Terminology

🔥 Wildfire – An uncontrolled fire burning the different types of vegetation that cover the land. A wildfire is considered a “major wildfire” after it exceeds 100 acres in size.

🔥 Containment – When reporting on a wildfire a percentage of containment will be given, which will state how much of the fireline has been completed.

🔥 Backfire – A fire intentionally set along the interior edge of a fireline by Forest Fire Service staff to consume fuel in the path of a wildfire and/or to change the direction of force of a fire’s convection column.

🔥 Fireline – The part of a containment or control line that is scraped or dug to mineral soil.

🔥 Threatened – Critical infrastructure, roads, homes and commercial buildings that are in the vicinity of a wildfire.



Wildfire Update: NJ Forrest Fire Service Reports 13,500 Acre Fire Now 85% Contained, Routes 206 and 542 Reopen

June 21, 2022

The New Jersey Forrest Fire Service is reporting that continue to make substantial progress in containing a wildfire in Wharton State Forest – Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships – which has reached 13,500 acres in size and is 85% contained.

ROAD CLOSURE UPDATES

✅ Route 206 – Reopened 11 a.m.

✅ Route 542 – Reopened 10 a.m.

Batsto Village, Atsion Recreation Area and all associated hiking and mountain bike trails remain closed to visitors. The Mullica River Campground and Lower Forge Campground are closed. Kayak and canoe launching along the Mullica River is closed from the Atsion Recreation Area to Batsto Village. These closures will remain in effect until further notice. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

18 structures are threatened. There are no reported injuries.

Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke and watch for firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways. Smoke impacts will remain elevated into the evening hours as winds diminish, and partial cloud cover moves over the area.

Please remember, “No Drones in Fire Zones – If YOU fly, WE can’t!”


Helpful Wildfire Terminology

🔥 Wildfire – An uncontrolled fire burning the different types of vegetation that cover the land. A wildfire is considered a “major wildfire” after it exceeds 100 acres in size.

🔥 Containment – When reporting on a wildfire a percentage of containment will be given, which will state how much of the fireline has been completed.

🔥 Backfire – A fire intentionally set along the interior edge of a fireline by Forest Fire Service staff to consume fuel in the path of a wildfire and/or to change the direction of force of a fire’s convection column.

🔥 Fireline – The part of a containment or control line that is scraped or dug to mineral soil.

🔥 Threatened – Critical infrastructure, roads, homes and commercial buildings that are in the vicinity of a wildfire.




NJ Forest Fire Service Reports 12,000 Acre Wildfire 70% Contained

June 20, 2022

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service reports they are making substantial progress in containing a wildfire in Wharton State Forest – Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships – which has reached 12,000 acres in size and is 70% contained.

Yesterday June 19, 2022 at just after 12:00 p.m. the fire was reported at 100 acres in size and the wildfire has grown to 12,000 acres in a short time.

ROAD CLOSURES
⚠️ Route 206 – from Chew Road to Atsion Road
⚠️ Route 542 – from Green Bank Road to Columbia Road

Batsto Village and all associated hiking and mountain bike trails are closed to visitors. The Atsion Recreation Area is also closed. The Mullica River Campground, Lower Forge Campground, Mullica River Trail and boat launches along the Mullica River are closed from the Atsion Recreation Area to Batsto Village. These closures will remain in effect until further notice. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

18 structures are threatened. Structure protection is in place and provided by local volunteer fire departments from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties, we thank them for their assistance. There are no reported injuries.

Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke and watch for firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways. Smoke impacts will remain elevated into the evening hours as winds diminish, and partial cloud cover moves over the area.

Please remember, “No Drones in Fire Zones – If YOU fly, WE can’t!”



Local volunteer fire companies from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties are protecting 18 structures from the fire. These photos are from the Basto area. Photos by: Michael Kamer



The smoke plume from the Mullica River Fire is visible on National Weather Service Radar.


National Weather Service GOES-16 satellite is designed to aid in fire detection. While wildfires, mostly of small size, are not uncommon in our region, a satellite signature like this is highly unusual around here according to the National Weather Service.


Rail Service Suspended for the Remainder of the Service Day, June 17th Due To “Illegal Job Action”


Important Notice:

Rail service will be temporarily suspended for the rest of the service day. NJ TRANSIT Rail tickets and passes are being cross-honored by NJ TRANSIT bus, light rail, private carrier buses and PATH at Newark Penn Station, Hoboken and 33rd St. Click HERE for complete details on last trains of the service day

June 17, 2022

Rail Service Suspended for the Remainder of the Service Day, June 17th according to New Jersey Transit.

From the New Jersey Transit website:

Due to an illegal job action initiated this morning by the locomotive engineers’ union (BLE&T), rail service will terminate early this evening and will remain temporarily suspended for the remainder of the service day on Friday, June 17th. Please see the information below for the last eastbound and westbound trains departing by rail line.

Last trains of the evening from New York, Newark & Hoboken by rail line:

Northeast Corridor: No. 3881 at 7:44 p.m. from NY

North Jersey Coast Line: No. 3279 at 7:06 p.m. from NY

Raritan Valley Line: No. 5747 at 7:13 p.m. from Newark Penn Station

Montclair-Boonton Line to Hackettstown: No. 1085 at 7:22 p.m. from Hoboken

Gladstone Line: No. 443 at 7:44 p.m. from Hoboken

M&E to Dover: No. 6667 at 8:05 p.m from NY

Montclair-Boonton to Montclair: No. 6291 at 7:37 p.m. from NY

Port Jervis Line: No. 65 at 7:57 p.m. from Hoboken

Main Line: No. 1127 at 7:46 p.m. from Hoboken

Bergen County Line: No. 1177 at 8:13 p.m. from Hoboken

Pascack Valley Line: No. 1641 at 7:28 p.m. from Hoboken

Last eastbound trains by line to New York, Newark and Hoboken by rail line:

Port Jervis Line – from Port Jervis to Hoboken: Train No. 68 at 9:22 p.m.

Main Line – from Suffern to Hoboken: Train No. 1136 at 9:47 p.m.

Bergen County Line – from Suffern to Hoboken: Train No. 1186 at 10:17 p.m.

Pascack Valley Line – from Spring Valley to Hoboken: Train No. 1634 at 9:07 p.m.

Gladstone Line – from Gladstone to Hoboken: Train No. 438 at 9:28 p.m.

Raritan Valley Line: no eastbound service for the remainder of the service day

M&E: Dover to NY: Train No. 6672 at 7:58 p.m.

Montclair-Boonton: Train No. 6270 at 8:05 p.m. Montclair to NY

Northeast Corridor (Trenton to NY): no eastbound service for the remainder of the service day

North Jersey Coast Line: (Bay Head/Long Branch to NY): No eastbound service for the remainder of the service day

To provide customers with as many alternate travel options as possible, NJ TRANSIT will continue to accept rail tickets on NJ TRANSIT and Private Carrier buses, all three NJ TRANSIT light rail lines, PATH from 33rd Street in New York, Hoboken and Newark Penn, and NY Waterway ferries. Rail customers interested in using bus service as an alternate travel option can go to the “Schedules” feature on the mobile app or website to plan your trip.

Please continue to visit njtransit.com for the most up-to-date service information. We also encourage you to follow your individual line account on Twitter (see below), and customize your push notifications for service information on the NJ TRANSIT mobile app. You can also sign-up for text and e-mail alerts by visiting njtransit.com/mytransit.


NEC Line eastbound rail service from Trenton to PSNY will be suspended for the remainder of the service day.

Rail service will be temporarily suspended for the rest of the service day. The final westbound train on the NEC will be train #3881, departing PSNY at 7:43 PM.

NJ TRANSIT Rail tickets and passes are being cross-honored by NJ TRANSIT Bus, Light rail, private carriers and PATH at Newark Penn Station, Hoboken and 33rd St.

Princeton Shuttle (Dinky) service will not operate today. Substitute bus service is being provided. Buses will depart Princeton Station 15 minutes before the scheduled train time.



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Rutgers Professor & Upper Freehold Township Resident, Dr. Peter DeSciscio, Installed As NJDA President 

June 13, 2022

North Brunswick, NJ – Dr. Peter L. DeSciscio, who practices in South Amboy, was installed as the 153rd President of the New Jersey Dental Association on June 8 at the organization’s Semi-Annual House of Delegates Meeting.

Dr. DeSciscio has been in private practice as well as a faculty member at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine since 1987.  

Dr. DeSciscio graduated The College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers) in 1985. Following a General Practice Residency at the Jersey City Medical Center he returned to the New Jersey Dental School in Newark to begin his teaching career. He is currently a professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and has held numerous positions during his 35 years at the school including Assistant Dean, Government Affairs, Dental Director of the school-affiliated Plainfield Health Center, President of the Alumni Association, President of the Academic Assembly, and he currently serves on the Appointments and Promotions Committee. Dr. DeSciscio was the recipient of the 2004 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Foundation of Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. DeSciscio joined the New Jersey Dental Association in 1990 and has held numerous leadership positions within the organization including Trustee, Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President. He also served as President of the Middlesex County Dental Society (an NJDA component society) and was a recipient of the Presidential Recognition Award from NJDA.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Peter DeSciscio for close to 30 years, ” said Dr. Maxine Feinberg, former American Dental Association President. “I am confident that NJDA, its’ members and the public will be well served during his tenure as President. I look forward to our continued collaboration, as I am certain he will continue to lead with passion and integrity.”

Dr. DeSciscio’s leadership experience extends beyond Rutgers and NJDA. He was a Board Member of the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry for 10 years and served as President of that body in 2006-2007.  He was also President of both the Fauchard Dental Society of New Jersey and the New Jersey Academy of General Dentistry. Nationally, he was the President of the American Association of Dental Boards. Dr. DeSciscio has been inducted into both the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists.

In addition to serving as NJDA President for the 2022-23 term he currently holds positions as Vice Chair of the Exam Committee for the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX), Faculty Advisory Board member for Colgate Dental Educators, and Exam Committee member for the American Board of Dental Examiners Restorative Subcommittee.

Dr. DeSciscio was raised in Edison, New Jersey and attended St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen.  He then attended St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 1981.  While there, he was inducted into the Cross Keys Honor Society.

Dr. DeSciscio is the owner of Amboy Dental Arts, located at 210 Augusta Street in South Amboy, NJ. He resides with this wife Pina and their two daughters Gracemary and Sophia in Upper Freehold Township, NJ.


Dr. Peter L. DeSciscio, who practices in South Amboy, was installed as the 153rd President of the New Jersey Dental Association on June 8 at the organization’s Semi-Annual House of Delegates Meeting.


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Send photos into MidJersey.News by using the contact form and we will send you the email address to send them. The photos must be your original work and not taken by someone else or to be used without permission from the artist. Gas is +/- $5.00 a gallon and we can’t get to as many things as we would like to so all the help we can get is appreciated. This is a volunteer news site run by journalists as a public service to cover areas of NJ where traditional news agencies ignored.

Support us by buying us coffee here: https://ko-fi.com/midjerseynews


Pain At The Pump: Gasoline Up 129% Diesel Up 142% In Hamilton Township; AAA Travel Survey 70% Saying To Travel As Much Or More This Summer

June 9, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Yesterday marked one year and seven months since a photo was taken at the Wawa on Route 33 in Hamilton Township, Mercer County showing gasoline prices. On November 8, 2020, a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.17 and now on June 7, 2022, $4.97 with a 129% increase over time. Even worse is Diesel fuel with a with a 142% increase on November 8, 2020, diesel fuel was $2.43 per gallon and now $5.89 per gallon.

There is no end in sight for relief of gasoline or diesel fuel prices as crude oil is trading higher.

Crude Oil is currently trading at $121.51 per barrel compared to $37.14 per barrel in November of 2020. Some experts predict that crude oil will trade between $140 and $150 per barrel soon. Prices trade higher as supply decreases as demand increases.


A new poll by AAA Travel finds travelers making big plans to get away this summer despite the highest gas prices in years. In fact, 70% of residents polled across twelve states and the District of Columbia say they are planning to travel as much – or MORE – this summer than last summer, and many say it will be their first significant summer travel since before the pandemic.

“The results of this new AAA Travel poll indicate that COVID concerns have eased dramatically and the majority residents are making plans to get away despite gas prices,” says AAA Travel spokesperson Amy Short. “While domestic travel will dominate, it is interesting to note the number of people making plans to travel internationally as well. That’s something we have not seen since 2019.”

About 60 percent of those surveyed say they are planning at least one trip – with more than 40 percent saying they are planning multiple trips.

By the Numbers

  • About 60% of those surveyed say they are planning at least one summer trip of 50 miles or more
  • About 35% of those surveyed say they are planning to travel MORE than last summer
  • About 20% of those surveyed say they are planning their first significant summer travel since before the pandemic
  • More than 40% of those surveyed say they are planning multiple trips
  • Of those traveling, more than 20% are planning international travel

Gas Prices

More than 40% of those surveyed say gas prices were not even a consideration in their travel planning but:

  • More than 40% of those surveyed say they are taking fewer or shorter trips because of gas prices
  • More than 15% of those surveyed say they will adjust their budget for lodging or dining out because of gas prices

Of those who say they are staying home or are unsure about their summer travel plans, more than 40 percent cite gas prices as the biggest factor influencing that decision.

COVID Concerns

Of the significant number of residents planning to travel more this summer than last:

  • About 40% say it is because their personal COVID concerns have eased
  • Almost 25% say it is because travel concerns have eased at their destinations

With gas prices increasing to near record highs, AAA is warning motorists that gasoline theft may be on the rise at well – and it could cost vehicle owners far more than the expense of replacing stolen fuel. That’s because, on newer cars, thieves are unable to simply siphon the gas from the fuel tank, so they opt for drilling a hole in the fuel tank instead.

“Newer vehicles have a ‘roll-over’ valve between the fuel tank and filler neck intended to prevent gas from spilling out, to lessen the chance of a fire, in the event of a rollover. But that same valve also makes siphoning gas much more difficult,” says Jim Lardear, Director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA. “So, thieves seeking the path of least resistance now access the fuel by drilling directly into the tank.”

And, a small hole in your fuel tank can mean a much larger hole in your wallet. Fuel tank repairs can cost as much as $1,000 to replace.

Damage to the fuel tank may – or may not – be covered by insurance, depending on your policy.

“For those who have comprehensive coverage, the damage would qualify as vandalism,” says Sonia Medina, spokesperson for AAA Insurance. “But, of course, not everyone has comprehensive coverage.”

AAA encourages vehicle owners to talk to their insurance advisors to ensure they have adequate coverage.

AAA offers the following tips to protect against gasoline theft:

  1. Park in the garage at your home if you have one.
  2. When out in public, park in a well-lit area with high traffic. If possible, park in a secure location like a fenced-in lot or parking garage.
  3. When parking in a garage, find a spot near the exit or elevator as those have the most visibility and foot traffic
  4. If parking on the street, when possible, park with your gas tank on the street side.

AAA recommends looking for the following signs if you suspect gas theft:

  1. The smell of gas as you approach your vehicle.
  2. Puddle underneath your vehicle near the location of the fuel tank.
  3. The vehicle does not start.
  4. The vehicle starts but the fuel gauge shows lower than it was when you last drove.
  5. The check engine light (yellow) is illuminated.


AAA recommends victims of gas theft that may have damaged the vehicle:

  1. Contact the police to file a report.
  2. Reach out to your insurance company to see if your policy covers related repairs.
  3. Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility as soon as possible.

NJ Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service Held

June 6, 2022

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On Saturday June 4, 2022 the “New Jersey Fallen Firefighters & Fire Museum Memorial Service” was held. In 2021 New Jersey had nine Line-of-Duty Deaths.

2021 Line-of-Duty Deaths (LODDs) in New Jersey:

  1. Atlantic City Fire Department, Anthony Carfagno
  2. East Orange Fire Department, Vincent Intiso
  3. Erskine Lakes Fire Company, John Jonker, Sr.
  4. Hillsborough Fire Company, William Shaffer
  5. Irvington Fire Department, Victor Melillo
  6. Jackson Fire Company #1, Nicholas Prioli
  7. Jersey City Fire Department, John Ruddy
  8. Kingston Fire Department, Dennis Shennard
  9. Middlesex County Haz-Mat Unit, Donald Trout

The New Jersey Fire Museum and Fallen Firefighters Memorial is located at 4 Polhemuston Road, Allentown, New Jersey 08501

For more information visit: https://njfiremuseum.org/