Police Investigate Thanksgiving Day Shooting In Trenton

November 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2022, Police, TEMS and Trenton Fire Department were dispatched to the are of Oakland Street and Hoffman Avenue for a shooting. It was reported that the person was taken to the Trauma Center at Captial Health Regional Medical Center by private vehicle. EMS was canceled since the patient was already transported and the Trenton Shooting Response Team responded for the investigation.

No further details are available at this time. MidJersey.news did reach out to Trenton officials for official information about the shooting but has not recived a reply as of Saturday afternoon.



Hightstown Engine Company Dedicates Memorial For Fallen Firefighter

November 25, 2022

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Tonight, Hightstown Engine Company # 1 held a dedication for a memorial site in the front of the firehouse for Dave Lidke who passed away in the line of duty on December 23, 2013. The fire company color guard posted the colors, and the dedication was held at the site at 5:30 p.m. The memorial contains a bench, small patio positioned next to a small tree.

See post from Hightstown Engine Company # 1 below:


We’ve all experienced loss in different ways. As we continue to move forward we cannot forget the one’s we’ve loved and lost. This is the purpose of a memorial. It’s a subtle but constant reminder celebrating the heroic lives of ordinary people. When you sit and reflect on the bench that has been added to the front of the firehouse you are paying homage to those who have come before us and paved the way.

The bench and small patio are neatly positioned next to a beautiful small tree. This tree is a memorial to our dear friend Dave Lidke who sadly passed away in the line of duty on December 23rd, 2013. It too is a memorial, albeit a living one, meant to carry forward the spirit of a man for whom that tree represents.

The bench is made of stone, it’s a rock. That’s what the fire department has always been thanks to those who have come before us. The tree is full of life and growth that’s what we will continue to be within this community.

Here’s to what was and what will always be.

It would be a sincere and much appreciated gesture to have many of you with us today at 5:30pm when we dedicate this new memorial space. We want to be surrounded by the community we love to serve as we conduct this brief ceremony.





Tractor Trailer Hauling Municipal Waste Catches Fire On I-195 In Upper Freehold Township

November 25, 2022

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Firefighters from Hope Fire Company of Allentown were dispatched to I-195 west bound near mile post 9.6 for a tractor trailer smoking at 3:57 p.m. Upon arrival firefighters found a trailer on fire that was disconnected from the tractor and the vehicle was full of municipal waste. Firefighters initially started working on the fire using a 1 3/4 hand line then once the cover over the burning materials was removed switched to deck gun operations. Millstone Township Fire Department brought an engine and a tanker to the scene for additional water and manpower.






Million Dollar Mansion Consumed By Fire In Hopewell Township, NJ

November 25, 2022

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hopewell Township firefighters were dispatched to 6 Madison Avenue in Hopewell Township, just outside of Pennington for a structure fire at 1:35 a.m. Upon arrival of police and firefighters the 6,300 square foot mansion was fully engulfed in fire. Firefighters used two LDH – large diameter hose lines to supply a master stream from Tower 51 and at least six handlines to knock the flames down. Several tankers were also called to the scene for precautionary measures in case more water was needed. There were cars in the driveway but it was unclear if anyone was home at the time of the fire.

According to Zillo the mansion was 6,300 square feet and had five bedrooms, and five and a half bathrooms. The “Zestimate®”: $1,463,400.00 in value. According to Hopewell Township tax records the property is Block 72 Lot 1.16, 6 Madison Ave., Owners are Dowdie George & Donna Chance with a yearly tax bill of $32,240.60 on a total Township assessed value of $1,077,200. with the November 1, 2022 payment listed as “open”

Fire Stations 51, 52, 53, 33, 22, 23 responded

Plus, tankers from Upper Markefield, Pa. (71), Griggstown (35), Montgomery (45), Neshanic (48)

There were no reported injuries and the fire is under investigation at this time. No additional details are available at this time.






Trenton Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Apartment Fire Saving Building Containing “Dubai Restaurant And Lounge”

November 25, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–City firefighters spent the final hours of Thanksgiving 2022 (Thursday, Nov. 24) battling a structure fire in the North Ward. It was 10:25 p.m. when firefighters were alerted to a reported commercial building fire on New York Avenue, between Mulberry and Anchor streets. Dispatched were Engines 6, 10, and 1, Ladder 4, Rescue 1 and the North Battalion. Engine 6 quickly arrived on the scene and reported smoke showing from the third-floor apartment located above the Dubai Restaurant and Lounge at 933 New York Avenue. The “All Hands” signal for a working fire was transmitted and additional resources – Engine 7, Ladder 1, Special Services 1 and the South Battalion – were dispatched. Fortunately, the blaze was quickly knocked down and was officially declared under control at 10:57 p.m. The cause of the fire was under investigation.


State Of New Jersey Certifies Trenton’s Municipal Budget Following Unsuccessful Council Vote

Mayor Gusciora grateful for State assistance; cancels emergency meeting

November 24, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Reed Gusciora thanked officials from the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for stepping in to certify Trenton’s 2022 municipal budget last night following Council’s unsuccessful vote.

Three members—Council President Kathy McBride, Councilwoman Robin Vaughn, and Councilwoman Sonya Wilkins—voted against the amended budget last night, prompting DCA Director Jacquelyn A. Suárez to send a letter to the Mercer County Board of Taxation following the meeting to certify the budget. (Link to the letter)

“I’m grateful for the State’s assistance in helping to resolve this budget impasse with our City Council,” Mayor Gusciora said. “While I understand the politics of Council leadership not providing support for the budget, they should not do that to the detriment of City residents who rely on our services. Fortunately, voters sent a very clear message that they want a Council that works for the people in the next four years, and not against them.”

The State’s action prevents the City from experiencing multimillion-dollar consequences in the absence of a budget. Prior to State action and following the failed vote, Gusciora issued an executive order instituting the amended City budget, while at the same time delivering notice to Council members of an emergency meeting on Friday which has since been cancelled.

In April, Council passed a resolution receiving Gusciora’s proposed budget with no municipal tax increase, but they missed a state-mandated deadline for passage. As of October 1, all six City Council members have been accruing fines of $25 per day for not meeting their obligation to pass a municipal budget in a timely manner, per State law.



Visit Keris Tree Farm & Christmas Shop In Allentown, NJ

November 24, 2022

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Keris Tree Farm and Christmas Shop is celebrating over 33 years growing, cutting, and selling trees on a 24-acre farm just outside Allentown at 848 Route 524 also known as New Canton Stone Tavern Road. Keris Tree Farm is family owned and operated since 1977 and the first trees were harvested in 1990. The farm has choose-and-cut trees by the foot, balled trees, fresh pre-cut Canadian Balsam and Fraser Fir, wreaths, roping and seasonal greenery.

The Christmas shop is where the magic happens, a winter wonderland of artisan made crafts, decorations and holiday gifts. Maggie has hand curated merchandise from artisans to antiques for over thirty years… her eye for design and vintage holiday decor makes it such a special holiday shopping experience.

2022 Event List:

The Allentown High School Choir will be singing Christmas carols! December 4th 12:30

Backyard Brews will be set up with hot beverages and snacks for sale on 11/26-11/27, 12/3-12/4, and 12/10-12/11. @backyard_brews_

Hours:

Tuesday-Friday 10-5, Saturday and Sunday 9-5, CLOSED MONDAYS

​Closed Thanksgiving Day

Facebook: Keris Tree Farm & Christmas Shop


On the porch you’ll find bundles of greenery for sale, including winterberry, holly, magnolia, branches and many types of evergreen cuttings stocked fresh.




The Christmas shop is where the magic happens! Maggie has hand curated merchandise from artisans to antiques for over thirty years… her eye for design and vintage holiday decor makes it such a special holiday shopping experience. If you’ve never entered the shop you don’t know what you’re missing! The exterior is unassuming but the inside is glowing with many treasures to find.



Choose and cut a tree, or tag a tree to cut later in the season. Visit the Christmas shop! The farm has a selection of white pine roping, Fraser Fir wreaths, Noble Fir wreaths, greenery, magnolia, winterberry and holly branches. Also live balled Christmas trees!



Photos of the Keris Farm and Christmas Tree Shop showing overall quantity of trees in different stages of growth. As the trees get older and sold room is made to plant new trees for future years.


Commercial Building Fire In The Oakhurst Section Of Ocean Township

November 23, 2022

OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Around 3:28 p.m. on Tuesday November 22, 2022, firefighters were dispatched to 9 Cindy Lane for a commercial building fire. Responding units reported a column of smoke in the area and filled out the full first alarm. The first arriving crews found heavy fire in the roof areas extending through the roof. The fire attack was made with ladder pipe and several 1 3/4″ hose lines. The fire was quickly knocked down and contained to the fire area without spreading further throughout the building. No further details are available about the incident.

Photos and video by: Jersey Shore Fire Response



Mayor Signs Executive Order after Council Votes Down Budget on Deadline

Gusciora Administration calls emergency meeting Friday for last chance passage



November 23, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Facing a November 25 deadline and multimillion dollar consequences, Council leaders voted down the City’s budget in the final scheduled 2022 budget meeting tonight — leaving the City without a spending plan with less than six weeks left in the year.

Without a municipal budget, the City faces bond default, disqualification of future bond applications, among other ramifications.

“Council leadership is intent on hurting taxpayers on their way out the door,” Mayor Reed Gusciora said. “I’m not going to let it happen. Anything I can do to protect our citizens, I’m going to do.”

Following the failed vote, Gusciora issued an executive order instituting the amended City budget, while at the same time he asked Council to supersede his order by meeting once more this week to finalize the budget. The administration is delivering notice to Council members for an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 25.

In April, Council passed a resolution receiving Gusciora’s proposed budget with no municipal tax increase, but they missed a state-mandated deadline for passage. As of October 1, all six City Council members have been accruing fines $25 per day for not meeting their obligation to pass a municipal budget in a timely manner, per State law.

“The budget is a core duty of the legislative branch and that duty has been fully abdicated in Trenton,” Gusciora said. “Even the rebuke they received at the ballot box hasn’t stopped this group from inflicting pain on taxpayers for political payback. It’s absolutely repugnant.”

The City transitioned from a fiscal year budget to a calendar year budget in 2021, so the 2022 budget proposal represented an unprecedented 30-month stretch where the City did not need to raise the municipal portion of tax rates.




Mercer County Clerk Issues Statement On November 8, 2022 General Election Issues And Results Of Prosecutor’s Office Investigation

November 23, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello issued a statement on the November 8 General Election following the conclusion of Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri’s investigation into the recent Election Day scanner failure. The investigation was aimed at determining whether or not there was malicious or criminal intent to disrupt the conduct of the election. The inquiry was launched after County Clerk Covello requested that the County Prosecutor review the circumstances and report findings of the investigation to the State Attorney General, Mercer County Commissioners, County Executive and Mercer County’s other two election offices.

On Monday, November 21, the Mercer County Commissioners held a public meeting wherein Prosecutor Onofri announced his findings, stating that his Office conducted a thorough investigation and determined there was no criminal intent or vote tampering during the election. The investigation further concluded that there was a human error made in the programming of the voting machines by an employee of Dominion Voting Systems, which did not allow the machines to scan. 

Despite this setback, on Election Day, all ballots were securely transferred to the Board of Elections Office, where they were counted by a bipartisan group of commissioners on high-capacity scanners. Every ballot that was cast on Election Day was counted and the integrity of the election remained intact throughout this process. The only difference from last year was that ballots were scanned at a central location instead of on-site at the polling locations.

“I would like to thank the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for their swift and thorough investigation into this matter,” said Sollami Covello. “I am pleased there was no intentional criminal action that created this problem. Election integrity is something I have worked hard to ensure and have taken great pride in over the past 17 years serving as Mercer County Clerk.” Sollami Covello also praised the Board of Elections Commissioners for their handling of the ballot scanning process on Election Day and beyond, which was completed on time and certified to her office within the State timeline of November 21. She also thanked the Office of the Superintendent of Elections for their work on reviewing the provisional ballots in a timely manner. The County Clerk’s certification of the general election has concluded ahead of the State deadline of November 26.

 For additional information regarding the 2022 General Election, please visit the Mercer County Clerk’s website here or call 609-989-6494 or 609-989-6495.

Hopewell Township Man Charged with Murdering His Father

November 23, 2022

HOPEWELL, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri and Hopewell Police Chief James Rosso reported today that a township man has been arrested and charged with the death of his father.

Joelle Jackson, 54, is charged with murder and weapons offenses. He was taken into custody Tuesday evening at the Hopewell Township Police Department.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Jackson pending trial.

At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, Hopewell police responded to an apartment in the 700 block of Denow Road on the report of a man stabbed.  Inside of the apartment, officers located Ishmeal Jackson, 82, on the kitchen floor suffering from multiple stab wounds.  The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Hopewell officers secured the apartment and notified the Mercer County Homicide Task Force.  Investigation revealed that on or about Monday, November 21, Joelle Jackson stabbed his father to death in the apartment they shared on Denow Road.

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


Joelle Jackson, 54, is charged with murder and weapons offenses. He was taken into custody Tuesday evening at the Hopewell Township Police Department.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Jackson pending trial.


Two Trenton, NJ, Men Charged In Sub Marias Sub Shop Armed Robbery In Hamilton

November 23, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton police say that on Monday 11/21/22 at approximately 8:19 a.m., Hamilton Police responded to 1305 Nottingham Way (Sub Marias Sub Shop) for a reported armed robbery.  Employees reported that two black males entered the business, one of the suspects brandished a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded all the cash from the register. The suspects then fled on foot in an unknown direction.

Two suspects were later identified.

Ryan T. Boston and Marshaun T. Bamble both from the City of Trenton were placed under arrest and charged with Robbery and Waeapons Offenses.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Russ Newborn of the Hamilton Police Division’s Criminal Investigations Section at 609-581-4027/ RNewborn@hamiltonpdnj.gov or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.

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


Ryan J. Boston of Trenton, NJ


Marshaun T. Gamble of Trenton, NJ


Fire Department SUV Crashes Into Utility Pole And Overturns; Driver Extricated, Flown To Jersey Shore By Medevac Helicopter

November 23, 2022

Official Update from Manchester Township Police Department below:

MANCHESTER, NJ (OCEAN)–Manchester Police say that on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, at approximately 10:05 p.m., officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to the area of County Route 571 and Richard Road in the Ridgeway Section of town to investigate a motor vehicle crash involving an overturned vehicle with an entrapped driver.

Upon arrival, officers observed an overturned 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe and a utility pole which was severed at its base with downed wires.  The Chevrolet had sustained extensive damage and was partially suspended by low voltage wires.  The investigation revealed that the Chevrolet, a marked Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department vehicle, was travelling westbound on CR 571 after responding to a call for service.  The Chevrolet subsequently drifted off the roadway to the right and struck a utility pole.  Following impact, the Chevrolet became airborne before striking the low voltage wires and overturning on its passenger side, sustaining extensive damage to the entire vehicle.  The impact with the pole pulled a wire from a nearby residence.  The wire ultimately struck the 2017 Sutphen Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department fire truck which was following the Chevrolet, causing minor damage to the front end.

The driver of the Chevrolet, identified as 43-year-old Brian Flanagan of Manchester, was extricated from the vehicle and transported via Medevac helicopter to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for treatment and evaluation of non-life threatening injuries.  The driver of the Sutphen, Michael Trimarchi, 53 of Manchester, and the front seat passenger, Stephen Newnom 31 of Manchester, were uninjured in the crash. 

Assisting at the scene were members of the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department, Manchester Volunteer Fire Department, Whiting Volunteer Fire Department, Pleasant Plains Volunteer Fire Department, Manchester Township Emergency Medical Services, Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics, RWJ Life Flight, and Accurate Towing. The roadway was closed for several hours during the investigation and cleanup. 

Last night’s MidJersey.News breaking story here:


Accurate Towing Service up righted the vehicle and towed away with a heavy duty wrecker Accurate Towing photo.


Monmouth County Correctional Institution Officer Pleads Guilty In Connection With Distribution Of Narcotics

November 23, 2022

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Monmouth County Correctional Institution Officer has pled guilty in connection with the distribution of narcotics to inmates within the jail, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago stated on Wednesday.

Bryant Mack, 54, of Shamong, New Jersey, pled guilty on Friday November 18, 2022, in front of Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Jill G. O’Malley, to second-degree Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS).  At the time of his plea, Judge O’Malley entered an order forfeiting Mack’s job at MCCI and prohibiting him from holding public office again in the State of New Jersey.

A cooperative investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Responsibility and Bias Crime Bureau and the MCCI Special Investigations Divisionrevealed that Mack, who had been a corrections officer for 18 years, would smuggle CDS and other contraband into the facility hidden in potato chip bags.  He would provide the items to an inmate, who would then facilitate the distribution of the items throughout the jail.  Mack’s criminal activity came to light on September 4, 2021, when officers caught two inmates with CDS and other contraband in their cells, and traced the items back to Mack. During his plea, Mack admitted that heentered into an agreement with an inmate to bring CDS and other contraband into the jail, in exchange for payment and that he brought a schedule 1 CDS into the facility on September 4, 2021.

“Mr. Mack violated his sworn duty to protect and serve when he brought contraband into the jail for his own personal gain.  By doing so, he placed his fellow officers and other inmates at the jail in danger and justice requires that he take responsibility for his actions. I commend my staff and our law enforcement partners for their tireless work on this complicated investigation. Mr. Mack’s conduct is not indicative of the honest, hard-working, law enforcement officers who risk their lives daily to protect and serve our county,” Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago stated. 

“All members of the law enforcement profession have a duty to exhibit at all times the highest level of professionalism with honor and integrity. Any conduct that does not meet that expectation will not be tolerated” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden. “I’m proud of the correctional police officers who tirelessly serve this agency. An officer who violates his or her oath of office does a grave disservice to their co-workers, as well as the entire law enforcement profession, and will be held fully accountable with proper disciplinary action taken.”

Mack faces up to 5 years in prison when he issentenced before Judge O’Malley on April 21, 2023.

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crime Bureau and Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Gilhooly.

Mack is represented by Frank Cioffi, Esq., of Clifton.


Overturned Fire Chief’s Vehicle In Manchester NJ

November 22, 2022

Update here:

MANCHESTER, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 10:00 p.m. there was a report of a fire department chief’s vehicle overturned in the 2800 Block of Ridgeway Road, County Road 571 near the Ridgeway Fire Company and Manchester Middle School. There were reports of live electrical lines down with a person trapped in the vehicle. Jersey Central Power & Light JCP&L was called to cut the power so the person could be removed from the vehicle. The medevac helicopter Life Flight was called to land at the Manchester Middle School near the accident scene. At 10:57 p.m. the medical helicopter crew reported that they have not had contact with the patient and that extrication is in progress.

Update at 11:20 p.m. the helicopter crew reports they will be transporting the patient to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

Update: 11:29 the helicopter landed at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

Accurate Towing Service up righted the vehicle and towed away with a heavy duty wrecker

8:30 a.m. update sources say that the he is expected to be released from the hospital this morning.

This is a breaking news report, and the scene is still active. Please check back the story will be updated as information becomes available. Official details will not be available until sometime tomorrow.


Multiple Injuries Reported In Old Trenton Road Crash In West Windsor

November 22, 2022

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–West Windsor Police and West Windsor Emergency Services were dispatched to Old Trenton Road Near Dorchester Drive for a crash. Upon arrival it was determined that there were at least four injuries and extra ambulances were called from East Windsor and Cranbury and a paramedic unit from Captial Health. The injured were transported to local hospitals for treatment. The West Windsor Police Department is investigating the crash. No additional details are available at this time.



Tractor Trailer Crashes Into Tow Truck On Route 1 In West Windsor

November 22, 2022

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 2:00 p.m. a tractor trailer crashed into the rear of a tow truck in the center lane of Route 1 near Carnegie Center. West Windor Police and West Windsor Fire & Emergency Services responded to the scene.

When West Windsor Fire & Emergency Services arrived, it appeared that a Tractor Trailer rear-ended a flatbed tow truck in the middle lane. During the collision, the Tractor Trailer Jack-knifed, and together the vehicles slid toward the shoulder of the roadway.

During the collision, the motor of the tractor-trailer sheered off its mounts. Due to the motor being damaged, a significant amount of motor oil discharged into the highway.

The Incident Commander requested a sand truck from the New Jersey Department of Transportation to the scene to apply sand to the roadway. This response was ideal as there was no immediate risk of rain and the oil spanned a considerable distance.

Recovery operators with Eddie’s towing were able to disentangle the two vehicles. The tractor-trailer was towed due to significant damage to the motor.

Once removed, members assessed the nearby storm drains, water runoffs, debris removal, and documentation.

West Windsor Police closed traffic to one lane of the highway until about 3:30 p.m. West Windsor Police Department is investigating.


WEST WINDSOR PD: TRAFFIC ADVISORY – avoid Route 1 North @ Carnegie Center Blvd due to motor vehicle accident. Traffic flow down to one Northbound lane.

WEST WINDSOR PD: TRAFFIC ADVISORY – All Route 1 Northbound lanes @ Carnegie Center Blvd have been re-opened. Traffic flow is normal. – Dispatcher 766




One Transported From East Windsor Crash

November 22, 2022

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 9:00 a.m. East Windsor and Monroe Township Fire Companies were dispatched to Twin Rivers and Lake Drives for a box truck into a car with reported entrapment. Captial Health EMS and Paramedics responded to the scene. One person was transported to the hospital and the injuries did not seem life-threating. East Windsor Police Department is investigating the crash. No additional details are available.



Trenton, NJ, Man Sentenced To 12 Years In Prision For String Of Armed Robberies In NJ and Pennsylvania

November 22, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 144 months in prison for his role in a string of armed robberies of businesses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in May and June of 2019, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Omar Feliciano-Estremera, 45, of Trenton, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to a five-count information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, three substantive counts of Hobbs Act robbery, and one count of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm which was discharged during a crime of violence. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

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

Feliciano and his conspirator, who is now deceased, committed a string of armed robberies in May and June of 2019 of businesses located in Mercer County, New Jersey, Union County, New Jersey, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The conspirator entered the businesses, brandished a handgun, and demanded money from the store clerks working the register. After stealing the money, the conspirator fled the scene with the assistance of Feliciano, who acted as the getaway driver. While fleeing the scene of one of the robberies, in Union County, New Jersey, the conspirator fired a handgun at passing witnesses, shortly before being picked up by Feliciano. Feliciano admitted to conspiring to commit eight robberies and aiding and abetting three robberies, including the Union County robbery at which a firearm was discharged.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Feliciano to five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked officers of the Hamilton Township, Trenton, Rahway, Morrisville, Bristol Township, and Lawrence Township Police Departments for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

22-438 

Defense counsel: Santos A. Perez Esq., Rochelle Park, New Jersey


Fiscal Cliff Looms For Trenton As Council Slated for Budget Vote

Mayor ready to take action if Council misses multimillion-dollar deadline

November 22, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Reed Gusciora said today that taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars if the outgoing City Council fails to pass a budget at their meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, November 23, at 5:30 p.m.

“They’ve created a fiscal cliff and they’re staring out over the ledge,” Mayor Gusciora said. “Hopefully, Council members have by now received the message from Trentonians that this sort of cavalier approach to the budget process is entirely counterproductive.”

City Council members were notified in three joint letters from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in July, August, and October this year regarding the severe consequences of operating without a budget.

Without a budget in place by Friday, November 25, 2022, the City would default on several agreements with the I-Bank and consequentially would:

  • Terminate access to current short-term loan accounts;
  • Forgo the opportunity to convert those loans into long-term loans;
  • Forfeit all principal forgiveness on those loans;
  • Immediately owe $35 million drawn to-date from those loans;
  • Invalidate submitted loan applications totaling $131 million; and
  • Force the City to seek higher interest rate loans elsewhere to continue ongoing projects.

City Council President Kathy McBride was reminded of those letters this week by the director of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Local Government Services, who warned again about exceeding the November 25 extended budget deadline. (Link to letter)

“Therefore, in order for Trenton to avoid defaulting on its existing obligations and maintain its ability to realize the financial benefits associated with the Water Bank, the City must adopt its budget by November 25, 2022,” Director Jacquelyn A. Suárez wrote. “Failure to do so will negatively impact the City’s residents and ratepayers and put the City in an untenable financial position by losing the significant principal forgiveness funds and special interest rates made available through the I-Bank and NJDEP’s Program.”

Gusciora said that he is prepared to sign an executive order to pass a City budget in the event the Council fails to do so, but he also intends to call a special meeting this Friday to give Council a final opportunity to fulfill their official duty and pass a budget for the year ending in December.

“I don’t think they want a legacy of driving the taxpayers off a cliff,” Gusciora said. “I certainly cannot think of a worse ending to this Council’s tenure. This would scar taxpayers for years.”

 

CITY OF TRENTON
2022 BUDGET TIMELINE

MARCH

APPROPRIATIONS PASSED: 22-095 Transfers made by Finance of the TY 2021 Appropriations for $2,073,000. (Pass 5-2; Vaughn and Rodriguez vote no)

APPROPRIATIONS PASSED: 22-096 Emergency Appropriations to the CY 2022 Temporary Budget for $64,655,101.28. (Pass 5-1; Vaughn votes no)

APRIL

PROPOSED BUDGET: Council passes resolution to receive Mayor Gusciora’s proposed budget with no municipal tax increase. 

BUDGET HEARINGS CANCELLED: Council President Kathy McBride refused to hold budget meetings until the City hires a “budget officer” to “explain” the proposed budget.

APPROPRIATIONS PASSED: 22-102 Emergency Appropriations to the CY 2022 Temporary Parking Utility Budget for $200,000. (Pass 7-0)

DEPARTMENT REVIEW CANCELLED: City Council leadership cancels departmental budget hearings for Law, Administration, and Public Works.

DEPARTMENT REVIEW CANCELLED: City Council leadership cancels departmental budget hearings for Finance, Municipal Court, Housing & Economic Development, and Inspections.

BUDGET DEADLINE: State law requires City Council adopt a fiscal year municipal budget by the end of April.

MAY

REQUEST FOR HEARINGS: Gusciora writes to McBride refuting her requirement for a budget officer and advising that specific questions about the budget should be communicated and the Administration will provide detailed responses. 

JUNE

APPROPRIATIONS REJECTED: 22-229 Emergency Appropriations to the CY 2022 Temporary Budget in Current Fund including Debt Service for $ $28,184,505.54. (Fail 4-3; McBride, Rodriguez, Vaughn, Wilkins vote no)

APPROPRIATIONS REJECTED: 22-245 Emergency Appropriations to the CY 2022 Temporary Utility Budgets CY 2022 in Current Fund for $19,011462.64. (Fail 4-3; McBride, Rodriguez, Vaughn, Wilkins vote no)

APPROPRIATIONS REJECTED: 22-246 Emergency resolution authorizing emergency appropriations to the CY 2022 Temporary Budgets of the City of Trenton Current Fund including Debt Service for $46,970,773.32. (Fail 4-3; McBride, Rodriguez, Vaughn, Wilkins vote no)  

EXECUTIVE ORDER: Mayor Gusciora issues Executive Order 22-04 permitting payment of City debts and continuation of uninterrupted services to residents and businesses. 

JULY

DEPARTMENT REVIEW: Council holds budget hearings for Municipal Court and Finance.

DEPARTMENT REVIEW: Council holds budget hearings for Housing & Economic Development and Inspections.

DEPARTMENT REVIEW: Council holds budget hearings for Mayor’s Office and Health & Human Services.

DEPARTMENT REVIEW: Council holds budget hearings for Water.

DEPARTMENT REVIEW: Council holds budget hearings for Clerk’s Office and Recreation.

DEPARTMENT REVIEW: Council holds budget hearings for Police and Fire.

TAX DEADLINE EXTENSION: Municipal tax deadline extended for third quarter bills. 

AUGUST

CREDIT DOWNGRADE: Moody’s downgrades City of Trenton’s bond grading following City Council refusal to pay debt service. 

SEPTEMBER

STATE INTERVENES: To allow the City to issue fourth quarter tax bills, the NJ Department of Community Affairs sends the City a letter confirming use of the tax rate from the April proposed budget to generate tax bills.

OCTOBER

BUDGET HEARING: City Council leadership scheduled, cancelled, rescheduled, and again cancelled hearings to adopt, or adopt with amendment(s), the 2022 municipal budget.



13th Annual Motorcycle Toy Run Benefits Patients of The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center

November 22, 2022

LONG BRANCH, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Nearly 100 motorcycle riders from the Blue Knights NJ XV and Jersey Shore HOGs braved the cold and wind on November 20th to travel to Monmouth Medical Center (MMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, to deliver hundreds of toys to brighten the holiday season for Unterberg Children’s Hospital patients.

The Sunday morning ride began at the Shore Casino in Atlantic Highlands. When the motorcyclists arrived at the hospital, they gathered in the parking lot and unloaded a trailer full of toys that had been collected over the last months at locations that include Simply Southern restaurant in Belmar, Sissy’s at the Harbor restaurant in Atlantic Highlands, Shoreline Harley-Davidson, West Long Branch, and Creative Performance motorcycle repair shop in Wall. Additionally, the Freehold Regional High School Football and Cheer Club worked with the two groups on a toy drive, and members of the club were on hand for the event.

“It’s always tough to be sick in the hospital when you’re a child,” said Jonathan Teitelbaum, Chair of Pediatrics at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital. “This type of event means the world to them – they get extra toys, and they know that the community really cares about them and wants them to get better.”

Each rider’s $10 donation benefits The Comprehensive Cystic Fibrosis Center at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital, the oldest and largest of the centers in New Jersey, offering patient care, teaching and research. Members of area police and fire departments, as well as the Freehold Regional High School Football and Cheer Club, also contributed to the cash donation. The Cystic Fibrosis Center — which includes both pediatric and adult programs — is accredited by the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is designated by the State of New Jersey as a referral center for Cystic Fibrosis Newborn Screening and has been designated as a Therapeutic Development Center by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Therapeutic Development Network.


From left, Robert Zanni, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology, and Jonathan Teitelbaum, Chair of Pediatrics, help unload toys with the assistance of the Freehold Regional High School Football and Cheer Club.


Dr. Zanni and Dr. Teitelbaum gather with riders from the Blue Knights NJ XV and Jersey Shore HOGs and local police departments.


New Jersey Man Sentenced To 57 Months In Prison For Threating To Assault And Murder Federal Law Enforcement Officers

November 22, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – A New Jersey man was sentenced to 57 months in prison for threatening to assault and murder federal law enforcement officers, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Frank Monte, 51, of New Jersey, was previously convicted following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez of three counts of threatening a federal law enforcement officer, and of two counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence on Nov. 21, 2022, in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and the evidence at trial:

On July 21, 2019, Monte repeatedly called the emergency line of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Police at the VA Lyons hospital campus. During one of those calls, Monte threatened to “shoot up” a VA Police officer. On Oct. 15, 2019, Monte called the office of a U.S. Congressman and spoke with a staff member. During that call, Monte threatened that if he ever saw a particular special agent of the U.S. Secret Service in New Jersey, Monte would assault him. On Oct. 18, 2019, Monte called a special agent of the U.S. Capitol Police. During that call, Monte once again threatened to assault the same special agent of the U.S. Secret Service.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Monte to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jose Riera, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Police, VA New Jersey Health Care System, under the direction of Acting Chief Minelli Torres-Sukola; members of the U.S. Capitol Police, Threat Assessment Section, under the direction of Assistant Special Agent in Charge Chad Beckett; members of the U.S. Marshals Service, under the direction of Marshal Juan Mattos Jr.; and members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Torntore and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Trombly of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

22-435 

Defense counsel: Saverio A. Viggiano Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark


Trenton Police Department Holds Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, Helping 230 Families During The Holiday Season

November 22, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today, Mayor Reed Gusciora joined the Trenton Police Department (TPD) for their annual Thanksgiving food drive at 225 N. Clinton Ave.

Every year, for the last twelve years, TPD has organized a Thanksgiving food drive. Each year, the number of meals donated to feed food-insecure Trenton families has increased. Twelve years ago, TPD donated 50 meals to families and this holiday season TPD is donating 230 meals to food-insecure Trenton families.

Det. Tamika Veal, Det. Tomika Sommer, Det. Angel Turner, and Det. Glendy Peña, as members of the Trenton Police Community Affairs Unit, planned the food drive, collected donations from other officers, and managed the food drive operations.

TPD Director Steve Wilson said, “I’m proud of our police force for making this year’s food drive such as a success. We’re thankful to the many local businesses and other organizations for supporting our shared vision.”

Cash and in-kind gifts for the food drive come from businesses, law enforcement organizations, and non-profits/higher education institutions. The TPD Thanksgiving food drive is supported by the following business entities, all located in the Capital City:

  • Campare Foods Supermarket (847 Roebling Ave)
  • Fernandez Supermarket (634 Whittaker Ave)
  • The Hibbert Group (400 Pennington Ave)
  • Central Jersey Paint Company (121 S. Olden Ave)

The following law enforcement organizations made significant contributions: Superior Officer Association (Lt. Jason Woodhead), Police Benevolent Association (Ofc. Mike Schiaretti), Director Wilson, and Trenton Police Department officers.

Support also came from the non-profit, ONEProjectNJ, students at The College of New Jersey who filled grocery bags, and the City of Trenton Department of Recreation, Natural Resources & Culture.

The objective of the TPD Thanksgiving food drive is to identify Trentonians facing food disparities and to provide them with a full meal. Through collaboration with the Trenton Board of Education, city senior centers, and city day cares, families in need are identified and fed.

Mayor Gusciora said, “TPD’s Thanksgiving food drive is part-and-parcel of the Department’s strategy to improve officer-community relations. This is an example of TPD actively searching for ways to support their families that they are sworn to protect.”


Allentown FFA Earns Top Spots at New Jersey FFA Fall Competitions

November 22, 2022

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On Thursday, November 17th, 2022, the Allentown FFA participated in Fall Career Development Events, hosted by the New Jersey FFA Association at Rutgers University, School of Environmental & Biological Sciences (SEBS). The Allentown FFA earned top spots in Land Judging, Fruit & Vegetable Identification, Turf Management, and Forestry.


Allentown FFA Members won 1st in the State for the Land Judging & Homesite Evaluation Event. During this event, members evaluate soil texture, determine slope, erosion, and other factors that will determine land use. Team members included (and their rank):

  • Sean Cary- First Place
  • Derek Voorhees- Second Place
  • Gavin Byrne- Fifth Place
  • Brayden Jany- Ninth Place

Land Judging has qualified to represent New Jersey at the National Land & Range Judging Contest in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma this May.


Fruit & Vegetable Identification also placed 1st in the State. In this contest, members must identify 50 different types of fruits and vegetables, judge fruits and vegetables based on appearance and other quality standards, and complete a written exam on the produce industry. Team Members included (and their rank):

  • Sophia Jones- First Place
  • Maddin Emmons- Eighth Place
  • Adam Ugi
  • Paige Conroy

Forestry placed 2nd in the State. Members in this contest measured and identified trees, completed a forestry business plan, evaluated common tree disorders, and completed a written exam on the forestry industry. Team Members included (and their rank):

  • Matthew McCormick- Second Place
  • Anna Holman- Eighth Place
  • Cody Ponzio
  • Rafferty Burden


Turf Management earned 3rd in the State. In this contest, students identified common turf and weed species, identified common turfgrass equipment, evaluated a turf site, and completed a written exam on turfgrass. Team members included (and their rank):

  • Kathryn Giovanelli- Fifth Place
  • Allison Josielewski-Tenth Place
  • Lilly Haines
  • Kaci Byrne

The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 735,000 student members as part of 8,817 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To learn more about the Allentown FFA, please visit FFA.ufrsd.net.



Agway Grain Storage Silos Torn Down For Redevelopment; Makes Way For Team North Housing In Zoned Affordable Housing District

November 22, 2022

BORDENTOWN, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Demolition has started on the old grain silos along Route 130 South in Bordentown Township. The silos were used years ago by Agway where grain was processed and stored then shipped out on the historic Camden Amboy Railroad.

According to documents available from the Township website the area will be part of an Affordable Housing District of the Team Campus. The project is part of the Agway (Growmark)/Yates Redevelopment Plan.

Visit the Team Campus website here

The plan for Team Campus contains 351 apartments, 40,000 square feet of apartment amenities, 170,000 square feet of office and retail space and a 140,000 square foot health club in a mixed-use planned development.

According to the Team Campus Website project is Wellness Community Living and states “If home is where the heart is, it stands to reason that it should be healthy and happy. Welcome Home! Team Campus offers luxurious living through thoughtfully appointed apartments centered in a carefully constructed community comprised of everything needed to Live Work Play and Thrive.”


Bordentown Agway back in its heyday. © Bruzek, Wayne


Agway grain silos being torn down on 11/22/2022







Trenton Police Arrest Man For Criminal Attempt Homicide And Weapons Offenses

November 21, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) Trenton Police say that on Thursday, October 27, 2022, at approximately 7:43 p.m., Police responded to the area of 351 Centre Street on a report of shots fired. A victim was found with a gunshot wound about his left leg area and taken to the hospital for treatment. Detectives from the Mercer County Shooting Response Team (SRT) arrived on scene and took charge of the investigation. After weeks of combing through evidence and extensive investigative work, Detectives were able to identify the suspect Steven Harper 37 of Trenton. On Thursday, November 17, 2022, in the early morning hours, SRT Detectives and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Unit conducted a Fugitive Operation in the area of the Centre Street. Detectives successfully executed an arrest warrant and placed Steven S. Harper under arrest for Criminal Attempt Homicide and related weapons offenses.

For Any Further Information Please Contact: Detective Lieutenant Nathan B. Bolognini, Special Operations Bureau – Violent Crimes Unit Executive Officer / Public Information Officer 609-989-4055



NJ State Senate Confirms Raymond S. Santiago As Monmouth County Prosecutor

November 21, 2022

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH) – The New Jersey State Senate interviewed Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago today, and thereafter unanimously voted to confirm his nomination by Governor Phil Murphy to assume the role in full capacity for a five-year term.

Santiago will become the 30th fully confirmed County Prosecutor to serve Monmouth County since the first took office nearly 200 years ago, in 1823.

“Today’s confirmation is as much a collective achievement as a personal one – and I cannot thank enough the innumerable individuals who steadfastly supported the fulfillment of a dream I have nurtured for the better part of my career,” he said. “I assume this role with a genuine sense of deep awe and respect, both for the long and storied history of this Office, and for the dedication and tenacity exhibited by the several hundred individuals who every day continue to support its overarching goal of serving the interests of justice.”

A swearing-in ceremony for the start of Santiago’s full term will be forthcoming.

On October 7, 2022, Santiago, 48, assumed the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County’s largest law firm. He is also responsible for the coordination of the law-enforcement efforts of nearly four dozen municipal police departments and two college police departments, which collectively patrol jurisdictions of approximately 650,000 residents.  

Raymond S. Santiago was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1996 and received his law degree from the City University of New York School of Law at Queens College. In 1999, he was sworn in as an Assistant District Attorney at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, and upon leaving that office, he entered private practice. He is admitted to the bar associations in New Jersey, New York, the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, and the U.S. District Courts of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Santiago most recently headed the Law Offices of Santiago & Associates, P.C., based in Freehold, a law firm that focused on the litigation of criminal and immigration law. He has also served as a public defender for municipalities in Monmouth County and as a Pool Attorney for the State of New Jersey Public Defender’s Office, Monmouth Vicinage, since 2002, where he has assisted indigent defendants faced with various crimes or offenses.

Santiago has lived and worked in Monmouth County for over 20 years.

Santiago is only the second Prosecutor of Hispanic descent in the history of the Office, following Luis A. Valentin, who served from 2005 to 2011. He succeeds Lori Linskey, who served as Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor since June 2021.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago


The Arc Mercer Celebrates Achievements With Gala Event At The Stone Terrace In Hamilton

November 21, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Arc Mercer, Mercer County’s premier agency providing resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over seventy years, held its annual gala on Friday, November 18th at 5:30 p.m., at The Stone Terrace in Hamilton.

Every fall at the annual gala The Arc Mercer seeks to raise awareness and support for the mission and to show appreciation for those who work on the front lines every day.

The Arc Mercer honored three Mercer County Mayors with the Mayoral Champion Award during the event.  Mayors Jeff Martin of HamiltonBert Steinmann of Ewing, and Reed Gusciora of Trenton were recognized for their enduring partnership and support of The Arc Mercer and its programs throughout the county. 

Mayors Steinmann and Gusciora are long-serving members of Arc Mercer’s board of Directors.  Through contributions by their administrations and the mayors themselves, the three have helped The Arc Mercer to expand their community-based homes, offer employment to hundreds of individuals, and provide cultural and recreational experiences to the special needs community.  Twelve of Arc Mercer’s nineteen homes are located within these communities.

Annual awards presented during the gala include: The Employee of the Year – John Strycharz, The Rising Star of the Year – Andrew Kesten, and The Dawn Carmosino Team Impact Award winner – Diana Parker.  These three individuals have gone above and beyond expectations, and were selected from over 250 nominations submitted during the year by Arc Mercer employees.

“The Gala is our chance to publicly recognize those who support our mission and exemplify why Arc Mercer is the premier agency serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Executive Director Steve Cook.  “This year, we are excited to announce that all proceeds raised in connection with this event will go towards LiberiArc, our project to open the first international chapter of The Arc of the US in Liberia.”

This year’s record-breaking fundraiser, which was simulcast to a sister-gala in Liberia, brought in over $200,000 which Mr. Cook has pledged to invest in the research, infrastructure, and staffing of The Arc’s most ambitious project to date.  Announced to much fanfare in July of this year, “LiberiArc will bring our standard of excellence to the special needs population in Liberia” according to Mr. Cook.

The Arc Mercer is a non-profit organization that has provided support and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Greater Mercer County region for more than seven decades. The Arc Mercer provides over 1,000 individuals with special needs, access to their community, specialized pre-vocational training, readily available job opportunities, specialized medical care, friendships and oftentimes, love. 

To learn more, or to support The Arc Mercer, visit www.arcmercer.org


Driver Under The Influence Crashes Into Toms River Home

November 21, 2022

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Toms River Police reported that on Monday, November 20, 2022, at approximately 11:35 p.m., police and fire units were dispatched to Frann Road for a reported motor vehicle accident involving a vehicle into a house. The initial investigation revealed that Kevin E. Cannon, 24 of Toms River, was traveling north on Frann Road when he drove off the roadway and through the front door of a residence, ultimately coming to rest in the living room. He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

Multiple fire companies responded, along with Freedom Towing, to remove the vehicle from the residence. The Building Department also responded and deemed the home unsafe. Mr. Cannon was issued citations for driving under the influence, reckless driving, and failure to maintain lane. His vehicle was impounded as per John’s Law. The homeowners were home at the time of the incident, but were not injured. The incident remains under investigation by Officer Nicholas Lugo.


New Jersey LGBTQ+ Leaders Comment on Club Q Shooting

November 21, 2022

ASBURY PARK, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On Saturday night, at least five people were killed and at least 25 injured at a mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub, in Colorado Springs. The shooting came the night before Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance dedicated to honoring the memories of people who were killed due to anti-transgender violence in the previous year.

The Governor and Attorney General held a conference call with LGBTQ+ leaders this morning providing clear communication on the state’s response. They emphasized that there are no similar active threats in New Jersey based on their intelligence but will provide law enforcement resources to be extremely vigilant. They confirmed law enforcement resources were deployed yesterday to Transgender Day of Remembrance events throughout the state and LGBTQ+ bars and nightclubs. The Governor ended his remarks by affirming that “New Jersey will continue to celebrate and protect the LGBTQ community and we will never ever ever relent.”

LGBTQ+ leaders from across the state of New Jersey shared their reactions and calls to action in response to this act of violence.

“It is time for us to get past the sad and shocking emojis and telling the LGBTQI+ community how horrific these hate crimes are and they’re with us,” said Jeannine Frisby LaRue, Garden State Equality Action Fund Board Chair. “It is way overdue for everyone who believes in civil rights and social justice to call out this despicable acts from their pulpits, boardrooms, social media platforms and the like. These heinous acts are not LGBTQI+ issues; they’re humanitarian issues. We need everyone to step up.”

“We are heartbroken to learn of another senseless attack against our community—on the eve of a day we remember all those in our trans community who have lost their lives to violence, no less,” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “It is a stark reminder that despite the progress the LGBTQ+ community has made, the threat of discrimination and violence against us just for being who we are is still very real. Garden State Equality will continue to work towards a world where people can live authentically without fear.”

“We at Out Montclair are disgusted and sad to hear about yet another attack on an LGBTQ+ establishment, where innocent lives have been lost,” said Peter Yacobellis of Out Montclair. “Because we believe that being ourselves and being heard is the only way we’ll ever truly be understood, we’ll never stop gathering and finding the community we desperately need. Thank you to all of our allies for supporting us.”

“Like everyone, we at Hudson Pride Center are devastated to learn about the horrific attack that has taken place at Club Q,” said Elizabeth Schedl, Executive Director of Hudson Pride Center. “We deserve to feel safe, we deserve to feel loved, we deserve to feel accepted, and we deserve to live our lives fully without fear of being attacked for being our authentic selves. Hudson Pride stands with and mourns together with our LGBTQ+ community and all those affected by this tragedy.”

“Hyacinth is devastated by the loss of lives in Colorado Springs last evening, particularly as the LGBTQ communities come together today for our annual Transgender Day of Remembrance,” said Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien, Executive Director of Hyacinth AIDS Foundation. “Today is a day of mourning and we hold in our hearts all those affected by this tragedy. We cannot allow hate to win; we will continue to fight for our right to live our lives openly, honestly and safely.”

“We at the LGBT RAIN Foundation send our prayers and support to the LGBTQ community, the families of the hurt and massacred at Club Q,” said Elaine Helms, Founder & Executive Director of the LGBT RAIN Foundation. “May God bless the State of Colorado.”

“We at GAAMC are shocked and devastated by the vicious attack in Colorado Springs,” said Gordon Sauer, President of GAAMC. “Our hearts go out to those who were affected by this hideous violence. As LGBTQ + people we have a right to be who we are and  to not live in fear. And we will fight for that right with all our hearts. Hate will not win.”

“The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice condemns this act of hate and violence directed towards our LGBTQ+ community members and our precious and increasingly endangered safe spaces,” said Alia Shinbrough, Minister for Queer Liberation at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice. “As intersectional social justice workers we hold responsible anyone capitalizing on this politics of hatred and stoking political violence in our collective public life— including those who scapegoat and target our neighbors over differences in race, religion, sexuality, and gender to propel their own ambitions. Tragedies like these remind us of the vitality of our Center’s work for collective liberation—we extend our solidarity and uplift our care to all those in our beautifully diverse communities who are in need of recognition, respect, and indeed love—in this difficult moment and beyond.”

“As we increase our visibility & representation and deepen our equality, the assaults against our very existence intensify centered on our trangender and non-binary community,” said Dean Dafis, Mayor of Maplewood, NJ. “The LGBTQ mass casualties in Colorado Springs were caused by unfettered access to guns and by hate stoked by right wing white supremacists who remain our nation’s greatest threat. While we mourn our losses yet again on this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we stand up against gun violence and transphobia and commit to fighting back with resilience, love, and faith in building empathy and acceptance. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families.”

“We at HiTOPS are brokenhearted, both for the victims of these crimes, and for the youth who witness this deadly violence against LGBTQ+ folks with shocking regularity,” said Lisa Shelby, Executive Director of HiTOPS. “We call upon elected representatives at every level to denounce the hate that underlies these horrific actions.”

“NJ AIDS WALK, Inc. stands with our sisters and brothers in Colorado, said Ray Welsh, President of NJ AIDS WALK, Inc. “Acts of violence can only win if we stop loving one another, everyone, even in our own communities.”