Posted on

Man Who Robbed Paramus Hotel and 13 Others at Gun Point Sentenced

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 252 months in prison for robbing 14 hotels in New Jersey and New York, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Tremone Burnett, 46, of Orange, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court on Sept. 12, 2018, to two counts of an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and threaten physical violence, and one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence. Judge Hayden imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

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

From April 24, 2014, through June 19, 2014, Burnett robbed 12 New Jersey hotels and two New York hotels at gunpoint. The New Jersey hotels were located in Carteret, Lebanon, Newark, Rockaway, Secaucus, Avenel, Parsippany, Paramus, Weehawken, and Edison; the New York hotels were located in Airmont and Nanuet. In each robbery, Burnett wielded a handgun and, in some instances, tied the victim’s hands and feet. During one of the robberies, Burnett discharged his firearm.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hayden sentenced Burnett to five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II; and the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the Carteret, Edison, Lebanon, Rockaway, Parsippany, Weehawken and Woodbridge Township police departments in New Jersey; the Clarkstown and Ramapo police departments in New York; the N.J. State Police; and the Bergen County, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County, and Morris County prosecutors’ offices for their work on this case.

Posted on

Frank Pallone to Debate Rich Pezzullo, This Sunday At Marlboro Synagogue

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

MARLBORO NJ, the League of Women Voters is holding a candidates’ forum at the Marlboro synagogue this Sunday October 21st . The candidates seeking to represent New Jersey’s sixth congressional district will be there. The incumbent Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat who has long represented the area, and challenger Rich Pezzullo, the conservative Republican who is looking to unseat him.

Rep. Pallone and Pezzullo confirmed they will be there. The candidates will be talking about the issues and fielding questions from the public. Pallone has represented New Jersey’s sixth district for years, which stretches from the Woodbridge area into New Brunswick and Aberdeen Twp. and down into Marlboro. It also hugs the northern New Jersey coast and includes the towns of Long Branch and Asbury Park. It’s a reliably blue district, having voted Democratic for years.

Continue reading Frank Pallone to Debate Rich Pezzullo, This Sunday At Marlboro Synagogue

Posted on

ICE ERO Newark arrests 37 individuals in Middlesex County, NJ enforcement surge

July 17.2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

 

Newark NJ, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Newark Field Office arrested 37 individuals during a five-day operation that concluded Friday, as part of the agency’s ongoing public safety efforts. The operation targeted criminal aliens who were previously incarcerated at the Middlesex County Jail (MCJ), and who were subsequently released to the community by MCJ, without honoring the ICE detainer or advising ICE of their release. The operation also targeted other criminal aliens residing in Middlesex County.

Of those arrested, 16 subjects had been previously released by MCJ without honoring the ICE detainer and 78% had prior criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.

“ERO New Jersey will continue to enforce ICE’s commitment to public safety,” said Ruben Perez, acting Field Office Director of ERO in Newark. “Middlesex county, which aspires to be a ‘sanctuary county’ by protecting criminal aliens, in the process assists criminals in undermining federal law, and creates a dangerous environment in the community. It also overburdens local law enforcement. ICE will continue to execute its mission in such communities.”
The individuals arrested as part of the operation were nationals of Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, and Turkey.
These individuals range from 21 to 68 years old and all were previously arrested or convicted of a variety of offenses. Some of the arrests and convictions included: aggravated criminal sexual contact, aggravated assault, DUI, hindering apprehension, endangering the welfare of a child, battery, theft, burglary, possession of a weapon, forgery, domestic violence assault, disorderly conduct, and illegal entry.

The 16 subjects that were released by MCJ and arrested during this operation include:
A 68-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the Perth Amboy Police Department on January 23, 2009, in Middlesex County for the crimes of murder–purposely and hinder prosecution-false info and was booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On June 14, 2011, he was convicted of aggravated manslaughter and hinder own prosecution-false info and was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in state prison. On May 5, 2015, the subject was transferred from state prison back to the custody of the Middlesex County Jail as he appealed his convictions. On May 5, 2015, ICE issued a detainer to Middlesex County Jail. On May 22, 2018, the original charge was overturned and he was found guilty of a single felony charge of hindering-oneself-give false information and sentenced to time served. Even though an ICE detainer was previously issued he was released.
A 21-year-old citizen of Turkey was arrested by the South Brunswick Police Department on May 10, 2017, in Middlesex County for burglary entering structure and theft by unlawful taking, and was booked into Middlesex County Jail. On May 10, 2017, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and he was released. On July 15, 2017, he was arrested for resisting arrest, obstructing the administration of law, and possession of marijuana. On October 12, 2017, he was arrested by ICE officers in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey and was subsequently released on bond by the Immigration Judge. On April 12, 2018, he was arrested for a third time for simple assault, harassment, and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, and was booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On April 13, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored again and he was released.
A 32-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the New Brunswick Police Department on August 12, 2016, in Middlesex County for Aggravated Sexual Assault- Helpless Victim, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact, Sexual Assault-Force/Coercion, and Criminal Sexual Contact and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On August 16, 2016, ICE issued a detainer. On May 18, 2018, he was convicted of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact and sentenced to 644 days’ time served, parole supervision for life and registration under Megan’s Law. On May 21, 2018, Middlesex County Jail refused to honor the detainer and he was released.
A 26-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the North Brunswick Police Department on February 17, 2017, in Middlesex County for driving while his license was suspended and on his court date of May 23, 2017, he was found guilty and sentenced to ten (10) days of incarceration at the Middlesex County Jail. On May 31, 2017, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and he was released. He also had a prior conviction for DUI.
A 46-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the Carteret Police Department on December 15, 2017, in Middlesex County for domestic violence/simple assault and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On December 25, 2017, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored by Middlesex County Jail and he was released. On June 28, 2018, he was convicted of Domestic Violence Assault.
A 34-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the Edison Police Department on May 29, 2018, in Middlesex County for aggravated assault and possession of a weapon and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On May 30, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and he was released.
A 42-year-old citizen of Honduras was convicted of illegal entry on November 10, 2009, and removed. On June 12, 2017, she was arrested by the Woodbridge Police Department, in Middlesex County for shoplifting, and released. On March 11, 2018, she was again arrested for shoplifting, and released. On April 21, 2018, she was arrested for a third time for shoplifting, and booked into Middlesex County Jail. On April 21, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and she was released.
A 21-year-old citizen of Guatemala was arrested by the Green Brook Police Department on June 20, 2018, in Somerset County for driving under the influence of alcohol and by the Middlesex Police Department (later that same day) in Middlesex County, for burglary-entering structure, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and hindering oneself/ false information and was booked into Middlesex County Jail. On June 21, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored by Middlesex County Jail and he was released.
A 21-year-old citizen of Honduras was arrested by the New Brunswick Police Department on May 29, 2018, in Middlesex County for aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On May 29, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but he was released.
A 37-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the New Brunswick Police Department on November 25, 2017, in Middlesex County for driving without a license, and booked into the Middlesex County Correctional Facility in North Brunswick, NJ. On November 25, 2017, an ICE detainer was issued but he was released.
A 25-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic was arrested by the Perth Amboy Police Department on May 25, 2018, in Middlesex County for harassment, hindering, and obstruction, and was booked into Middlesex County Jail. On May 29, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and he was released. He also has prior arrests for domestic violence and forgery.
A 27-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic was arrested by the Perth Amboy Police Department on January 25, 2018, in Middlesex County for aggravated assault – significant bodily injury to a victim of domestic violence, criminal restraint – hold victim, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On January 30, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and he was released.
A 41-year-old citizen of Honduras was arrested by the New Brunswick Police Department on September 18, 2017, in Middlesex County for driving with a suspended license and was booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On September 18, 2017, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and he was released. Subject has prior arrests for forgery.
A 29-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested by the Perth Amboy Police Department on March 12, 2018, in Middlesex County for aggravated assault on law enforcement and possession of CDS/analog and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On March 13, 2018, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and she was released. She has prior arrests for assault by auto and DUI.
A 28-year-old citizen of Peru was arrested by the Union City Police Department in Union City, New Jersey on May 08, 2018, for simple assault and booked into the Hudson County Jail (HCJ). At the time of his release from HCJ, it was discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for contempt from the Perth Amboy Police Department, in Middlesex County. He was transferred to the Middlesex County Jail on the warrant. On May 15, 2018, ICE issued a detainer to Middlesex County Jail but the detainer was not honored and he was released.
A 29-year-old citizen of El Salvador was arrested by the Carteret Police Department on September 1, 2017, in Middlesex County for Endangering-Abuse/Neglect of a Child and booked into the Middlesex County Jail. On September 5, 2017, ICE issued a detainer, but the detainer was not honored and he was released. After his release, he was arrested for DUI and subsequently convicted on March 15, 2018 for the same offense.
Those arrested will remain in ICE custody pending removal or immigration proceedings.
ICE is focused on removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed, and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.
For the first two quarters of Fiscal Year 2018, ICE arrests comprise over 66 percent convicted criminals. Of the remaining individuals not convicted of a crime, approximately 23 percent have either been charged with a crime, are immigration fugitives, or have been removed from the United States and illegally re-entered, reflecting the agency’s continued prioritization of its limited enforcement resources on aliens who pose threats to national security, public safety and border security.

Posted on

“Operation Summer Octane , ” Statewide Sweep of Gas Stations Finds Most in Compliance with NJ Motor Fuel Act

July 3,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Motorists traveling to New Jersey’s beaches, parks, and other spots to celebrate Fourth of July can fuel up with confidence thanks to a statewide inspection of gas stations to ensure consumers get what they pay for at the pumps during the busy holiday week, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced today.

“Operation Summer Octane,” a two-week campaign of unannounced fuel quality tests led by the Division’s Office of Weights and Measures (“OWM”) tested the quality of gasoline at 371 stations across New Jersey – about 10 percent of the 3,000 licensed stations in the state – and found only two allegedly selling fuel with octane levels lower than advertised.

“With the busiest travel holiday of the summer upon us, we want motorists to have confidence that when they purchase gasoline at New Jersey stations, they’re going to get their money’s worth,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Operation Summer Octane was a proactive sweep to let stations know we’re watching to make sure they’re not charging consumers premium prices for low-grade gasoline.”
According to the Automobile Club of America (“AAA”), this year’s Independence Day holiday gas prices are the highest in four years. In New Jersey, consumers are paying an average of $2.884 a gallon for regular gasoline and $3.358 a gallon for premium, a price gap of 47.4 cents a gallon, according to AAA.

“When stations are charging nearly 50 cents a gallon more for premium gasoline the potential for illegal profit can be a temptation for unscrupulous station owners,” Rodríguez said “The good news is, our unannounced inspections found that 99 percent of the stations were pumping the proper grade of fuel. The small minority that weren’t will be held accountable. “

The unannounced inspections, which ran weekdays from June 11 through June 27, were conducted at stations located in all 21 counties within the state, including those on toll roads. An “Octane Task Force” comprised of inspectors from 17 state, county, and municipal Weights and Measures Offices used portable octane testers to field test unleaded gasoline rated from 87, 89, 91, 92, and 93 at each station.
Any fuel sample that appeared to present a violation, presented unclear results, or could not be tested on site for any reason, was sent to a laboratory for comprehensive testing.

A total of 7 samples were sent to the labs. Samples from two stations – Runway Gas on Greenwood Avenue in Trenton and USA Gas on Landis Avenue in Vineland — allegedly failed to deliver the octane levels advertised by the stations.
Operation Summer Octane also resulted in citations against 20 stations for a variety of other alleged violations of OWM and NJ motor fuel laws and regulations:

In Passaic County:
Rose Fuel, 308 Union Ave., Paterson – Failure to display mid-grade pricing atop fuel dispenser. (6 counts)
Delta, 216 Redwood Ave., Paterson – Failure to display credit card pricing atop fuel dispenser. (4 counts)
In Somerset County:
Exxon/Warren Food Inc., 171 Mt Bethel Rd, Warren –Failure to have inspection certificate available. (1 count)
In Morris County:
Shell/Ellahi Fuel, 411 W Main St., Boonton – Faulty 5-gallon test measure.
In Gloucester County:
Mobile/Creative Management, 102 N Delsea Dr., Glassboro – Water in storage drop around fuel storage tank. (3 counts)
Citgo/Clayton Food and Gas, 435 S Delsea Dr., Clayton – Water in storage drop around fuel storage tank. (1count)
In Atlantic County:
Riggins/Hammonton Fuel Stop, 12th & Chew Rd, Hammonton – Water in storage drop around fuel storage tank. (1 count)

In Union County:
Quick Check #90 1999, Routes 1 & 9, Rahway – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (10 counts)
Delta/Sadana Fuel, LLC 104 Westfield Ave., Clark – Pump meter continuing to run after dispensing stops. (3 counts)
Valero/Khalsa Fuel, LLC, 105 Chestnut St., Roselle, NJ – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on marquee. (1 count)
Delta/A-1 Union Gas, 35 North Ave., Crandford – Unregistered weighing and measuring devices. (18 counts)
Conoco/Jersey Mart Inc., 419-431 Routes 1 & 9, Elizabeth – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (3 counts)
In Middlesex:
Sunoco #7013, Thomas Edison Service Area, NJTP, Woodbridge – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (4 counts)

In Essex County:
Fuel 4/NCK Fuel, 1126 McCarter Hwy., Newark – Failure to display security seal on fuel dispenser meter. (4 counts) Failure to have 5-gallon test measure on premises. (1 count)
Speedway, #3485, 895 Springfield Ave., Irvington – No Price Per Gallon signage atop fuel dispenser. (3 counts)
Delta/G & R Fuel Corporation, 822-828 Clinton Ave., Newark – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (9 counts)
JPG Enterprises, 754 Lyons Rd., Irvington – Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (2 counts)
07205 Management, 242 Elizabeth Ave., Newark – Failure to have 5-gallon test measure on premises. (1 count)
Saveway LLC, 221 Central Ave., East Orange – No security seal on fuel dispenser meter. (13 counts) Faulty or illegible L.E.D. Price Per Gallon signage on fuel dispenser. (4 counts) Failure to have 5-gallon test measure on premises. (1 count)
Mobile/1139-1153 Broad St Petroleum, 1139-1153 Broad St., Newark – Improper numeral size on Price Per Gallon signage atop fuel dispenser. (13 counts)
Stations found to be in violation of OWM and NJ motor fuel laws and regulations face civil penalties from $100 to $1,500 per violation. Fines are assessed on a case by case basis in relation to the business history, and the severity of the infraction in relation to deceptive business practices.

The Division of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Weights and Measures thanks Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union county Offices of Weights and Measures, and the Trenton Office of Weights and Measures, for their participation in this statewide effort.
Octane is a hydrocarbon liquid found in gasoline and other fuels. When octane levels are too low, gasoline can self-ignite during compression, causing much higher pressures than engine components are designed for. This can lead to a persistent knocking sound in the engine and, in severe cases can lead to significant engine damage such as broken connecting rods, melted pistons, or other damaged components. The risk is especially acute with high-performance vehicles for which a higher octane rating is recommended, but can affect any vehicle if the octane level is substandard.

Posted on

Thieves Go On Crime Spree With Stolen Trooper Car

nj state trooper

photo courtesy of NJ state police

December 19,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

North Brunswick NJ, as previously reported on the Ridgewood blog ,  in Weapons and Uniforms Stolen from a State Troopers Car May Have Been Used in an armed robbery in Middlesex County http://theridgewoodblog.net/weapons-and-uniforms-stolen-from-a-state-troopers-car-may-have-been-used-in-an-armed-robbery-in-middlesex-county/

The New Jersey State Police and North Brunswick Police Department are cooperatively investigating the theft of an unmarked troop car, which was stolen from a trooper’s residence in North Brunswick and then used during the commission of two robberies and a theft at a gas station.

On Sunday, December 17, a New Jersey State Trooper reported his troop car stolen at approximately 9:39 a.m. when he discovered it missing from his driveway. The troop car contained several uniforms, two issued weapons, and other issued equipment.

Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives determined that the suspect and troop car were involved with three incidents early Sunday morning. At 6:50 a.m., a truck driver reported a robbery to State Police after he was stopped by the suspect using the stolen troop car on the New Jersey Turnpike southbound at milepost 74.7 in South Brunswick. During the interaction, the suspect stole cash from the driver. At 7:19 a.m., the suspect fueled the troop car at a gas station on St. George Avenue in Colonia, N.J. and left without paying. At 7:30 a.m., the suspect stopped a cab at the Woodbridge Center Mall in Woodbridge, N.J. and stole cash from the driver. No weapons were brandished during any of the incidents.

This is an active investigation, and we continue to work cooperatively with North Brunswick Police Department and local law enforcement. There is no further information available at this time. Anyone concerned or suspicious about the validity of an officer’s identification should call 9-1-1 to report the information and seek confirmation of the officer’s credentials.

Posted on

Attorney General Porrino Announces Arrests of 79 Alleged Child Predators & Child Pornography Offenders in “Operation Safety Net”

Operation_Safety_Net_1[1]

December 5,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino today announced arrests of 79 child predators and child pornography offenders in “Operation Safety Net,” a nine-month, multi-agency child protection initiative led by the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Partnering agencies targeted sex offenders who exploited the internet and social media, making arrests in every New Jersey county and deploying, for the first time, a new van equipped as a mobile cyber forensics lab, as well as a new canine trained to sniff out electronic devices, to assist in execution of search warrants.


Those arrested in Operation Safety Net included 10 “hands-on” offenders, including child predators in California and Indiana who allegedly tried to have children transported interstate from New Jersey by adult traffickers so they could have sex with the children; four men in New Jersey who allegedly sought to lure children for sex; a camp counselor who allegedly sexually assaulted a girl, 14, under his supervision; a youth minister who allegedly sent lewd photos of himself to a young girl; and a man, 24, who allegedly used a phone app to record underage girls performing sex acts on themselves. Those arrested also included numerous defendants, ranging in age from 14 to 75, who allegedly amassed and/or distributed large collections of child pornography, including a Trenton police officer, a swimming coach, a piano teacher, an IT professional from Morris County who allegedly had over 138,000 files of suspected child pornography (possibly over one million), a mechanic from Mercer County who allegedly had over 10,000 files of child porn, and three brothers in Cumberland County who allegedly had nearly 5,000 files of child pornography.

The operation was conducted by the ICAC Task Force, which is led by the New Jersey State Police and includes the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), all 21 County Prosecutors’ Offices, and many other state, county and local law enforcement agencies. Attorney General Porrino made the announcement at the Hamilton Tech Center with DCJ Director Elie Honig, Acting State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan, Supervisory Special Agent Craig Vanderhoff of HSI Human Trafficking/Child Exploitation Group, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner and representatives of other participating agencies. The Division of Criminal Justice exhibited its new cyber forensics van, and the State Police showcased its new electronics detection dog, Mega, both of which contributed greatly to the success of Operation Safety Net.

“The men we arrested lurked in the shadows of the internet and social media, looking for opportunities to sexually assault young children or to view such unspeakable assaults by sharing child pornography,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We set up a wide safety net in this operation to snare these alleged predators and to protect children, which remains our highest priority. With our new mobile forensics lab and electronics-sniffing dog, we’re even better equipped to uncover the evidence that will keep these offenders behind bars, where they cannot threaten or further exploit vulnerable victims.”

“I want to thank all of the many agencies and individuals who participated in this massive, unprecedented and highly collaborative effort to protect our children and communities in New Jersey and elsewhere,” Porrino added.

“We charged 10 men with hands-on predatory conduct against children, including attempted interstate trafficking of children for sex, sexual assault, luring, sending obscene images to a child, or manufacturing child pornography,” said Attorney General Porrino. “These cases highlight the fact that viewing child pornography is part of a continuum of deviant behavior that often leads to or drives other sex crimes.”

“The charges against Castillo reveal a dangerous child predator who went to great lengths in the belief that he was flying two very young girls to California so he could sexually assault them,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Had we not arrested him with our federal and California partners, the allegations indicate he would have continued to seek victims, including children as young as toddlers.”

“We’ve made these proactive child protection investigations a top priority by adding more staff for them at the state level and considerable new resources, including the mobile forensics lab and electronics detection dog,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “There’s no question that by collaborating across all levels of law enforcement and arresting these offenders, we protected innocent children who might otherwise have been sexually abused and exploited. We’ve also ensured that all these men who victimized children – or re-victimized them by viewing child pornography – will face justice.”
“The individuals who share this horrific material will not stop unless they are apprehended and removed from the public,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The nine-month investigation conducted by the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and partnering agencies has ensured that children throughout the country will not fall victim to the actions of these depraved individuals. These arrests should put anyone looking to engage in this behavior on notice that law enforcement will be relentless in our efforts to put them behind bars.”
In addition to investigating numerous cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the ICAC Task Force in Operation Safety Net conducted proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child pornography. Detectives also conducted undercover chat investigations on social media platforms, which led to arrests of alleged hands-on offenders and defendants attempting to lure children.
Two proactive investigations initiated by the New Jersey State Police extended beyond New Jersey’s borders – with assistance from other state and federal authorities – to apprehend defendants charged with allegedly attempting to arrange the interstate trafficking of young children for sex:
George Castillo, 36, of Inglewood, Calif., faces federal charges of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and production of child pornography, as well as New Jersey charges including first-degree conspiracy to commit child trafficking. Castillo allegedly solicited an undercover New Jersey State Police detective – who pretended to be trafficking children – to fly a 4-year-old girl to Los Angeles so he could sexually assault her. He also allegedly solicited an undercover police detective in Washington, D.C., who posed as a father, to bring his “daughter,” 9, to Los Angeles for sex at the same time the undercover from New Jersey was expected to arrive with the other girl. He was arrested on April 4 at Los Angeles International Airport when he arrived to meet the girls and their adult escorts. The charges stem from investigations by the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Metropolitan Police Department/FBI Child Exploitation Task Force in Washington, D.C., and, in Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, LAX Task Force, and Los Angeles Police Department. The undercover investigators identified Castillo in separate investigations targeting pedophiles using the internet and social media.
Joseph Donohew, 26, of Brownsburg, Indiana, is charged in Indiana with attempted child molestation. He allegedly offered money to an undercover New Jersey State Police detective, whom he met on an instant messaging platform, to have sex with a 9-year-old girl. The undercover represented that he had a daughter, 9, and Donohew allegedly sent him $100 as a down payment to bring the girl to Indiana for sex. Donohew was arrested on July 13 at a gas station in Indiana, where he allegedly was to meet the father and girl. He had purchased a nightgown for the girl depicting characters from a Disney movie he believed was her favorite. The New Jersey State Police worked with the FBI, Brownsburg Police Department, Indiana State Police and Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office in Indiana.

Eight other defendants were arrested in New Jersey in Operation Safety Net on charges related to various types of alleged “hands-on” conduct, including sexual assault, luring a child, conveying obscene materials to a child, and manufacturing child pornography:

William Esker, 22, of Bayonne, N.J., was charged on Sept. 7 by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office with aggravated criminal sexual contact for allegedly engaging in sexual conduct with a girl, 14, over whom he had direct supervision as a camp counselor. He also is charged with providing obscene material to a child and endangering the welfare of a child.
Donald Beckwith, 34, of Browns Mills, N.J., is charged in Delaware with sexual solicitation of a minor and attempt to commit unlawful sexual contact with a minor. Beckwith, a captain in the Air Force stationed in New Jersey, met a girl, 14, through an online chat group for children and allegedly engaged her in sexual conversations, ultimately asking her to meet him in person. He allegedly met the girl twice in Delaware. The first time, he allegedly reached under her shirt and tried to touch her breast, and the second time he allegedly hugged her and repeatedly asked her to lie on a bed in the back of his vehicle and watch a movie with him. The New Jersey State Police arrested Beckwith on Aug. 16 in an investigation initiated by the Delaware State Police. Detectives allegedly found over 10 nude images of an underage girl on his phone.
Michael DeBlock, 22, of Hopatcong, N.J., a youth minister, was arrested on Oct. 10 and charged by the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office with possession of child pornography and conveying obscene materials to a child. DeBlock allegedly exchanged sexual photos and texts with a girl, 14, including a photo of his penis.
Brandon Morris, 24, of Hammonton, N.J., was arrested on Oct. 17 and charged by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office with manufacturing child pornography, endangering the welfare of a child by sexual conduct, conveying obscene materials to a child, and possession of child pornography. Morris allegedly engaged multiple underage girls in conversations on FaceTime, instructing them to perform sexual acts on themselves, which he recorded.
A 17-year-old student from Bergen County, whose name is not being released due to his juvenile status, was arrested on Aug. 17 and charged by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with manufacturing, distributing and possessing child pornography, as well as invasion of privacy. The juvenile allegedly had over 1,000 files of suspected child pornography on his electronic devices, including video recordings he allegedly made by hiding his smartphone in a private bathroom in order to record underage boys who were nude, showering or urinating.
Craig Kirschner, 39, of Marlboro, N.J., was arrested on Aug. 21 and charged by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office with luring a child, attempted sexual assault of a minor, and conveying obscene material to a minor. Kirschner allegedly solicited an undercover detective, whom he believed to be a 15-year-old male, to meet for oral sex. The detective was monitoring a mobile app when he encountered Kirschner. After the undercover detective identified himself as a 15-year-old boy, Kirschner allegedly sent him photos of an erect penis, asked him to meet for oral sex, and stated “I can be generous for your trouble.”
Isaac Toney, 40, of Trenton, N.J., was arrested on July 17 by the New Jersey State Police and charged with luring a child. He allegedly used a mobile app to solicit an undercover detective, whom he believed was a 14-year-old male, for oral sex. He was arrested at Veterans Park in Hamilton, Mercer County, where he allegedly was to meet the “boy” for a sexual encounter.
Robert Elmi, 63, of Gillette, N.J., was arrested by the New Jersey State Police on Nov. 9 on a charge of luring a child. Elmi had placed an ad on Craigslist soliciting a relationship with a younger female. An undercover State Police detective responded, posing as a young girl and indicating to Elmi that she was 13. Elmi allegedly communicated with the “13-year-old” for several weeks by text and email, ultimately arranging to meet her at a diner. He allegedly told the “girl” he would take her back to his apartment, where they would drink, watch TV, kiss and perform oral sex on each other. Elmi was arrested by the State Police at the diner.

Forty-one defendants are charged with second-degree distribution of child pornography, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in prison, and 66 defendants are charged with third-degree possession of child pornography, which carries a sentence of three to five years in prison. Out of the 41 charged with distribution, six are charged with distributing 25 items or more, and therefore are subject, if convicted, to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison under the strict child pornography law signed by Governor Christie in August 2013. Out of the 66 defendants charged with possession, 25 are charged with possession of 100 or more items and are subject to a presumption of imprisonment under that law, even if they have no prior criminal record. More of the defendants may face those enhanced charges and penalties once full forensic examinations of their computers and electronic devices are completed.

On July 21, 2017, Governor Christie signed a new law which will take effect Feb. 1, 2018 and will further enhance penalties for possession and distribution of child pornography. The new law expanded the definition of child pornography to include child erotica. In addition, the new law makes it a first-degree crime to distribute 1,000 or more items depicting the sexual exploitation of a child, with a mandatory parole ineligibility period of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed. The new law also makes it a first degree crime to possess 100,000 or more items of child pornography, and a second-degree crime to possess anywhere between 1,000 and 99,999. Under the new law, videos depicting the sexual exploitation of a child will count more heavily than still images, each counting for 10 images.

Eleven defendants arrested in Operation Safety Net would qualify as second-degree “super-possessors” under the new law to go into effect in 2018. Because it was not in effect when they were arrested, they cannot be charged under the tough new law, but these 11 arrests illustrate how offenders routinely amass huge collections of child pornography, which soon will make them subject to the enhanced penalties:

William Camargo, 48, of Millington, N.J., an IT professional , allegedly had more than 138,000 files of suspected child pornography, and possibly more than one million files (determination awaiting full forensic examinations of computer equipment);
Callen Kapschock, 55, of Hamilton, Mercer County, N.J., a mechanic, allegedly had more than 10,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Md F. Uddin, 43, of Elizabeth, N.J., an engineer, allegedly had more than 5,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Kody Knotts, 22, of Millville, N.J., along with his two brothers immediately below, allegedly had a combined total of nearly 5,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Alexander Knotts, 27, of Millville, N.J.;
Kyle Knotts, 23, of Millville, N.J.;
Laurence Duque, 42, of Dayton, N.J., allegedly had over 4,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Gregory Piszczek, 35, of Woodbridge, N.J., an IT professional, allegedly had over 4,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Kevin Groeger, 63, of Cranford, N.J., a postal worker, allegedly had over 2,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Pasquale “Charles” Albano, 75, of Point Pleasant, N.J., allegedly had over 1,000 files of suspected child pornography; and
Juvenile Male, 17, referenced above, allegedly had over 1,000 files of suspected child pornography.
Operation Safety Net made extensive use of two key new tools: an electronics detection canine and a mobile forensics van. Both contributed greatly to the success of the operation. As electronic devices become smaller and easier to hide, the importance of dogs trained to detect them increases. There are thumb drives available that are hidden in or disguised as cuff links, bracelets, LEGO blocks, coins and other everyday items. Throughout the operation, the canine was used at State Police and Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) search warrant scenes. The canine was used for a preliminary walk-through and would identify devices and loose electronic storage media not in plain view. The detectives would then thoroughly search the area where that evidence was found to ensure all digital evidence was recovered.
Rapid triage of computers at search sites – also called forensic previewing – is a critical component of child pornography investigations. Such forensic previewing can result in the immediate arrest of individuals who otherwise might be left to continue direct illicit sexual contact with minors, preventing further abuse of victims. The previewing of computers at search sites has often had to occur in close proximity to the alleged perpetrator and often in potentially dangerous environments. As an example, in the last operation, two DCJ detectives were hospitalized after the suspect at the search warrant scene attempted to gain control of one detective’s handgun, resulting in a dangerous struggle. To maintain the integrity of the evidence gathering process, it is important for the forensic examiner to have the proper equipment to work with and the proper environment to work in. For these reasons, DCJ purchased a customized van, equipped with the appropriate desks and electrical and other equipment, which is used on-site for the forensic previewing of computers and computer-related equipment. This van enabled detectives in Operation Safety Net to safely examine suspected devices within the van and conduct more extensive previews at the scene, increasing the number of charges carrying enhanced penalties.
The following 58 additional men were arrested in Operation Safety Net on charges of possession and/or distribution of child pornography:
Paul Marinelli, 52, of South Brunswick, N.J., a Trenton police officer, charged with possession of child pornography.
James Cutrone, 54, of Hazlet, N.J., a youth swim coach, charged with distribution of child pornography.
Bryan San Andreas, 37, of Toms River, N.J., a piano teacher, charged with possession of child pornography.
John Parsons, 50, of Vineland, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Donald Williams, 39, of Camden, N.J., charged with distribution of child pornography.
Kevin Wenng, 35, of Cliffwood Beach, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Victor Kurynow, 58, of Bedminster, N.J., charged with attempted possession of child pornography and conveying obscene materials to a minor.
Paul Fuhs, 44, of Laurel Springs, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Ryan Stemetzki, 26, of Maple Shade, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Robert Ruff, 56, of Delran, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Robert King, 63, of North Wildwood, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Jason Locke, 42, of Manchester, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Stephen Slawinski, 60, of Morris Plains, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Herbert Ferreira, 43, of Dover, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Joseph Maruca, 26, of Berkeley Township, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
James Gilbertson, 60, of Manchester, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Christopher Todd, 49, of Lyndhurst, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Alexis Gonzalez, 28, of Hackensack, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Raul Rodriguez, 33, of Jersey City, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Dhanendhran Govender, 32, of East Windsor, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Luis Pacheco-Loja, 30, of Belleville, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Robert White, 66, of Morristown, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Jonathan Latiff 40, of Jersey City, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Anthony Gerace, 43, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., charged with distribution of child pornography.
Antonio Baang, 26, of Galloway Township, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Richard Lake, 65, of Trenton, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Federico Flores, 29, of Rahway, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
James Agin, 69, of Westwood, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Fortino Rosales-Rodriguez, 22, of Oaklyn, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Justin Saavedra, 22, of Clifton, N.J., charged with distribution of child pornography.
Daniel Braz, 39, of South River, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Nelson Cintron, Jr., 54, of Collingswood, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Michael Brown, 28, of Pennsauken, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Erik Baez, 38, of Sicklerville, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Larry Gonzalez, 45, of Elizabeth, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Erik Johnson, 49, charged by Union County Prosecutor’s Office with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Marco Biason, 68, of Dover, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Brian Neilson, 55, of Metuchen, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Thomas Smith, 54, of Woodstown, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Zachary Brawer, 31, of Paramus, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Brian J. Gardner, 74, of Nutley, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
John T. Ruffner, 37, of Lumberton, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
John Skubiak, 62, of Deptford, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Nicholas J. Novak, 66, of Ocean Township, Monmouth County, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Eric MacAfee, 41, of Seaside Heights, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Jeison Padilla, 29, of Somerville, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography and conveying obscene materials to a minor.
Justin England, 31, of North Plainfield, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Eric Yourish, 61, of North Plainfield, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Christopher Dunham, 22, of Rockaway, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Justin Piccola, 23, of Randolph, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Nicolas Bencze, 36, of Maywood, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Michael Yosco, 70, of Garfield, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Male Juvenile, age 14, of Bergen County, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Julio Garcia, 29, of Bridgeton, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Joseph Lawitz, 34, of Hamilton, Mercer County, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
James Livas, 22, of Hopatcong, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Robert Fuscarino, 27, of Hopatcong, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Donovan Roots, 19, of Pilesgrove, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

The charges against the defendants in Operation Safety Net are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Posted on

WILL AFFORDABLE-HOUSING DECISION BE DERAILED BY JUDGE’S TIES TO DEVELOPER?

CBD high density housing

file photo

COLLEEN O’DEA | AUGUST 10, 2017

Judge ruled South Brunswick must build 3,000 units of affordable housing, but township wants decision set aside due to ‘appearance of impropriety’

New Jersey’s only municipality to receive its affordable-housing obligation from a judge’s order is continuing to appeal that number, even as construction is underway on the first new developments since the Supreme Court got back in the middle of the Mount Laurel housing controversy. The township is claiming the Superior Court judge was compromised by a relationship with the developer.

It’s been almost two-and-a-half years since the state’s highest court took control of affordable housing matters away from the “moribund” New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing and tossed it back to the courts, which had been the original deciders of low- and moderate-income housing claims following the Supreme Court’s landmark Mount Laurel rulings. In those cases, which date back to 1975, the court ruled that municipalities must zone for their “fair share” of their regional need for affordable housing.

The cases have been slowly winding through the Superior Courts throughout the state. The Fair Share Housing Center, the Cherry Hill-based organization leading the legal efforts to get more homes built, has reached settlements with 120 municipalities to construct more than 36,000 units from Bergen to Camden counties. Construction has even begun on projects in Woodbridge, Cherry Hill, Westfield, and Edison, welcome news to housing advocates after the process had been stalled by lawsuits and lack of action by COAH for about 16 years.

Other municipalities remain in the courts. For instance, a Mercer County judge is expected to rule within the month on the obligations for several communities in Mercer.

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/08/09/will-coah-decision-be-derailed-by-judge-s-ties-to-developer/

Posted on

Governor Christie Rolls Out His Last Budget

Chris_christie_theridgewoodblog

March 1,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Governor Christie unviels his final budget as governor ;

“This is the ninth time I’ve come before a joint session to address our state’s budget. Each time I’ve had specific goals in mind; guiding principles to follow. Government should get smaller. Taxes shall not be increased. Our core commitments must be met. Each time, with varying degrees of struggle, harmony and acrimony, we have reached these goals – I have stuck to those principles. Let me assure you that today will be no different.

– Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey State Budget Address, February 28, 2017

The Fiscal Year 2018 budget will be the eighth and final state budget of Governor Chris Christie’s tenure. When Governor Christie entered office in 2010, New Jersey was enduring an unprecedented fiscal crisis, with an immediate $2.2 billion mid-year fiscal deficit, as well as an unthinkably large $10.7 billion projected budget gap for Fiscal Year 2011 — more than a third of the prior year’s budget. At that time, it was uncertain whether the State would be able to meet its payroll within two months.

The staggering $13 billion two-year gap represented the culmination of years of reckless tax-and-spend policies and shortsighted budgeting practices that ignored economic realities. While state and national economies faltered, spending in Trenton under the previous administration continued unabated at unsustainable levels — increasing 58 percent from 2001 to 2008. The previous governor’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget was propped up with temporary income tax hikes, corporate surtaxes, reliance on one-time federal stimulus funds, temporary employee furloughs and other desperate gimmicks.

Today, Governor Christie is presenting his eighth consecutive balanced budget built on a foundation of fiscal restraint and responsibility. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget will fund $2 billion less in discretionary spending than was spent in Fiscal Year 2008.

The Governor’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget:

•       Calls for $35.5 billion in State appropriations, a 2.6 percent increase, largely due to non-discretionary costs.
•       Contains $2 billion less in discretionary spending than the Fiscal Year 2008 budget.
•       Includes the largest pension payment in New Jersey history with a $2.5 billion contribution to the State’s defined benefit funds.
o   This will bring total pension contributions by the Christie Administration to $8.8 billion.
o   That will be more than two and a half times the total contributions made by all governors combined during the 16-year period from Fiscal Year 1995 through Fiscal Year 2010.
•       Renews the Governor’s commitment to higher education in New Jersey. Overall, higher education funding is maintained at a total of $2.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2018.
•       Proposes a seventh-consecutive year of the highest amount of school aid supporting Pre-K through Grade 12 education in New Jersey history. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposes more than $13.8 billion for education, an increase of $523.2 million.
•       Provides more than $17 billion in direct and indirect property tax relief, nearly half the total budget, including $13.8 billion in school aid and $1.5 billion in municipal aid.
•       Continues more than $1 billion for direct property taxpayer relief programs:
o   423,300 seniors and citizens with disabilities will receive an average Homestead Benefit of $511, while 169,500 other homeowners earning up to $75,000 will receive an average Homestead Benefit of $397.
o   138,200 seniors and citizens with disabilities will continue receiving Property Tax Freeze benefits averaging $1,401, while 25,100 new beneficiaries will receive their first year of benefits averaging $219.

Investing In New Jersey’s Transportation Infrastructure
Today, Governor Christie proposed a $400 million supplemental appropriation in this Fiscal Year. These funds will be invested and spent quickly over the next 100 days to address bridge deficiencies and road conditions in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Further, these funds will be used to expedite technology enhancements and other infrastructure improvements for New Jersey Transit and will allow the New Jersey Department of Transportation to deliver the largest construction program in state history. The results will be smoother roads, safer bridges and a more technologically sound mass transit system.

In October 2016, Governor Christie signed legislation that reauthorized the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority Act. As a result of that legislation, Governor Christie’s fiscal 2018 budget provides a record $2 billion State Transportation Capital Program. The Program includes over $1.3 billion for State and local highway and bridge projects, and another $677 million for mass transportation projects.

Ensuring Access To Care While Keeping Down Costs
The NJ FamilyCare program currently provides comprehensive health care coverage to more than 1.8 million New Jersey residents at a projected $4.2 billion cost to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The program serves individuals eligible for both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and represents a partnership between the State and the federal government. The NJ FamilyCare program, while having some of the highest income limits in the nation, has traditionally provided health coverage exclusively to low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities. On January 1, 2014, Governor Christie expanded the program, using 100 percent federal funding, to provide health coverage to low-income childless adults.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget represents the fourth full fiscal year of the NJ FamilyCare expansion, and while a fraction of the costs associated with this eligibility group have shifted to the State budget, the expansion continues to represent a tremendous value for New Jersey. Since the Governor’s decision to expand NJ FamilyCare in 2014, an additional 487,000 uninsured New Jersey residents have gained coverage under this program. Not only did this expansion provide reliable medical coverage to many formerly uninsured residents, the infusion of federal dollars has generated meaningful savings to the State budget. Through Fiscal Year 2018, the shift of State costs to the federal government combined with the reduction in demand for Charity Care has resulted in a cumulative savings of $2 billion to the State.

Commitment To World-Class Healthcare
With the goal of ensuring a stable and accessible hospital system that provides care of the highest possible quality, the Department of Health’s budget makes significant investments in three hospital subsidy programs: Charity Care, Graduate Medical Education and Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments.

•      Charity Care. Governor Christie’s expansion of NJ FamilyCare has led to a dramatic increase in NJ FamilyCare enrollment, which continues to be funded almost entirely by the federal government. The associated decrease in uninsured residents has reduced by more than half the documented claims for uncompensated care submitted by New Jersey’s hospitals. Since the expansion took effect on January 1, 2014, 487,000 low-income residents have gained health insurance through NJ FamilyCare, a 38-percent increase in program enrollment. This fundamental shift allows for a $25 million reduction in State funding for Charity Care in Fiscal Year 2018.  The Fiscal Year 2018 budget provides $252 million in combined federal and State support to offset the costs hospital facilities incur in treating the uninsured.
•      Graduate Medical Education (GME). The Fiscal Year 2018 budget increases support to New Jersey’s teaching hospitals by $30 million, with the total amount available through the Graduate Medical Education program now totaling $218 million. This marks the third year in a row that funding for this critical program has been increased, with the total amount available now more than triple the funding provided when Governor Christie took office. This enhanced commitment to GME will help to ensure that New Jersey residents have continued access to an adequate number of well-trained doctors.
•      Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP).  Funded at $166.6 million, the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program was launched in Fiscal Year 2014 as a replacement for the Hospital Relief Subsidy Fund. The program continues to reward innovation and quality by distributing funds to hospitals based on measurable improvements in health outcomes.

Continued Emphasis On Community-Based Care And Services
Governor Christie is committed to fundamentally changing the way services and programs support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, by moving away from a system that has historically focused on institutionalization to one that emphasizes home and community-based services and supports. To this end, resources have been refocused to provide people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the ability to live as independently as possible with the proper supports.

The five-year Olmstead settlement agreement, signed February 2013, covered fiscal years 2013 to 2017 and required 600 placements over that time period. By the end of Fiscal Year 2018, the Department expects to have placed a total of 737 individuals, well exceeding the requirements of the Olmstead agreement due in large part to the acceleration of placements from the closure of North Jersey Developmental Center and Woodbridge Developmental Center in Fiscal Year 2015.

In addition to the Olmstead commitment to move individuals with developmental disabilities out of developmental centers, Governor Christie’s determination to provide services in the community includes funds to develop additional community placements and services that divert admissions to developmental centers. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget provides $89.7 million of new State and federal funding to create community placements and services, including Olmstead placements.

As a result of reforms initiated under the Medicaid Comprehensive Waiver, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are living independently or with family are becoming eligible for substantially increased in-home support services for which the State will receive a federal match. When the Supports Program is fully implemented, it is expected to generate approximately $100 million in matching funding on previously State-only costs to create an estimated $200 million program, which will allow for the further expansion of services.

Family Services
The Fiscal Year 2018 budget continues and enhances the Christie Administration’s commitment to providing a wide array of services to children and families throughout New Jersey through Department of Children and Families (DCF) programs.

•       Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P). The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a total of $986.6 million in State and federal funds for the operations and services provided by this DCF Division that is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect
•      Children’s System of Care (CSOC). This program helps more youth remain at home, in school and in their own communities, while still receiving the full scope of services they require, and provides coordinated care for more than 61,000 children and adolescents. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a total of $592.5 million in State and federal funds for the operations and services provided by this Division, an increase of $24.3 million over the fiscal 2017 Appropriations Act.
•      Family Success Centers.  The Governor’s proposed budget protects funding for these centers which are community-based organizations that provide a wide array of services ranging from day care, resume writing and parenting classes to domestic violence prevention and substance use disorder services. The number of Family Success Centers in New Jersey will increase to a total of 58 in Fiscal Year 2018.

Lead Safety
Through continuing and increased appropriations, Governor Christie’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget continues to address lead concerns in New Jersey, ensuring the State remains a national leader on this issue. Governor Christie has added $10 million in additional State funding to effectuate the update in lead regulations to make New Jersey’s standards for identifying elevated blood-lead levels in children consistent with those of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Department of Community Affairs will continue working through nonprofit organizations to remediate lead-based paint hazards affecting low- and moderate-income households in New Jersey.

The Fiscal Year 2017 budget provided $10 million to reimburse school districts for costs related to lead testing between July 13, 2016, and July 13, 2017. School districts that tested their water during that time period can continue to seek reimbursement in Fiscal Year 2018 from unexpended Fiscal Year 2017 balances.

Posted on

2 years later, cameras at intersections still face red light

red_light_cameras_theridgewoodblog

Updated: DECEMBER 25, 2016 — 10:17 AM EST

by LARRY HIGGS, The Associated Press

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (AP) – About two years ago, red light cameras in New Jersey went dark, and opponents and supporters began the wait to see if the state Department of Transportation would scuttle or keep the program.

Two years later, they’re still waiting.

The DOT has yet to render a final report and make recommendations to lawmakers on the ultimate fate of camera enforcement in the state. The cameras, which capture images of vehicles at intersections, were turned off on Dec. 16, 2014.

Last year, NJDOT officials said they were still crunching numbers, but gave no timetable when they planned to release the findings, based on 2014 data and five years of numbers from 73 red light camera monitoring intersections in 25 towns. A spokesman said it would be “several months” before the report was finalized.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20161225_ap_2b136d3e3fd643f8ad09a992b66c7e5f.html?utm_campaign=Observer_NJ_Politics&utm_content=New%20Campaign&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=New%20Jersey%20Politics

Posted on

Newsweek releases its 2016 Rankings of Nation’s Best Public High Schools

traditionofexcellence_theridgewoodblog

August 12,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, in Newsweek’s annual ranking of public high schools 51 in N.J. made the cut. Noticeable absent was Ridgewood High School and Tenafly High School.

Ridgewood’s slip has not gone unnoticed, as many long time residents have commented ,” Years ago it was ranked highly in the nation.  It fell from that to being ranked highly in the state, then down to County level and now basically is ranked no where. ”

Newsweek looked at six measurements and weighted them to come up with a “college readiness index.” The rankings are meant to show how well high schools do at preparing students for college.

Those measurements and their weight are:

Holding power: 10 percent
Ratio of counselor/full-time equivalent to student enrollment: 10 percent
Weighted SAT/ACT: 17.5 percent
Weighted AP/IB/dual enrollment composite: 17.5 percent
Graduation rate: 20 percent
College enrollment rate: 25 percent

Here’s a look at all of the New Jersey high schools that made Newsweek’s list and where they came in on the national list (in parentheses):

(2) Academy for Math, Science and Engineering, Rockaway
(4) Union County Magnet High School, Scotch Plains
(10) Middlesex Cty Acad. for Sci,, Math, & Engineering Tech., Edison
(11) Bergen County Academies, Hackensack
(12) Academy of Allied Health and Science, Neptune
(14) Biotechnology High School, Freehold
(20) High Technology High School, Lincroft
(21) Academy for Allied Health Sciences, Scotch Plains
(23) Academy for Information Technology, Scotch Plains
(27) Communications High School, Wall
(31) Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health & Biomedical Sciences, Woodbridge
(40) Chatham High School, Chatham
(41) Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro, Teterboro
(67) Westfield High School, Westfield
(71) Ridge High School, Basking Ridge
(76) Summit High School, Summit
(84) Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science, Manahawkin
(88) Bernards High School, Bernardsville
(91) Holmdel High School, Holmdel
(108) Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School, Bridgewater
(112) Moorestown High School, Moorestown
(115) Madison High School, Madison
(127) John P Stevens High School, Edison
(131) Watchung Hills Regional High School, Warren
(137) Glen Rock High School, Glen Rock
(144) Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, Rumson
(158) Morris County School of Technology, Denville
(181) Marine Academy of Science and Technology, Highlands
(189) Union County Vocational Technical High School, Scotch Plains
(192) Governor Livingston High School, Berkeley Heights
(198) Montville Township High School, Montville
(203) Academy for Performing Arts, Scotch Plains
(210) Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, Scotch Plains
(217) Hillsborough High School, Hillsborough
(222 Wayne Hills High School, Wayne
(226) Allentown High School, Allentown
(227) Northern Valley Regional High School Old Tappan, Old Tappan
(233) North Hunterdon-Voorhees, Annandale
(234) Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest, Demarest
(237) Pequannock Township High School, Pompton Plains
(365) Hanover Park High School, East Hanover
(366) Mahwah High School, Mahwah
(377) Cranford High School, Cranford
(383) Livingston High School, Livingston
(417) Wayne Valley High School, Wayne
(421) Marlboro High School, Marlboro
(425) Cresskill High School, Cresskill
(429) Whippany Park High School, Whippany
(473) Kinnelon High School, Kinnelon
(482) Mount Olive High School, Flanders
(497) Middletown HS South, Middletown

http://www.newsweek.com/high-schools/americas-top-high-schools-2016