N.J. Newjerseynewsroom.com News for New Jersey http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/n.j/ Sun, 29 Mar 2015 10:38:13 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Tale of the Unscrupulous N.J. Bounty Hunter http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/tale-of-the-unscrupulous-nj-bounty-hunter attorneygenlogo_opt.png_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copyBY PETER ASELTINE

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a bounty hunter who formerly lived in Jersey City was sentenced to prison for conspiring in a scheme to have sheriff’s officers sign false documents so he could collect additional fees by claiming to capture fugitives who already had been apprehended by police. He paid the sheriff’s officers for their aid. Two sheriff’s officers previously pleaded guilty to official misconduct and are awaiting sentencing.

Adel Mikhaeil, 50, of Stroudsburg, Pa., was sentenced to six years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto in Morris County. Mikhaeil pleaded guilty on Jan. 7 to charges of conspiracy, official misconduct, offering an unlawful benefit to a public servant for official behavior, commercial bribery, theft by deception and witness tampering, all of which were contained in a Sept. 30, 2008 indictment obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Mikhaeil admitted that, in addition to the scheme in which he bribed the sheriff’s officers, he paid bribes to an insurance company executive and an employee of a company that locates fugitives for bail bond insurers in return for giving him more business.

State Sat, 28 Mar 2015 03:14:24 +0000
The Time has Come to Allow Local N.J. Cities and Towns to Set a Fair Minimum Wage http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/the-time-has-come-to-allow-local-nj-cities-and-towns-to-set-a-fair-minimum-wage dollars_opt_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copyBY ERIC GUNDERSEN

Legislation that would allow New Jersey's cities and towns to set minimum wages higher than the state's has just been released by the Assembly Labor Committee by a 6-3 vote.

"There's no reason New Jersey's cities and towns shouldn't be allowed to set local minimum wages that begin to approach living wages for the hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers across the state," said New Jersey Policy Perspective Deputy Director Jon Whiten. "When the state minimum wage is barely more than half of what it takes just to survive in this high-cost state, it's clearly time to enact policies that would help close that wage gap. If the state won't act to do so, we need to let local governments take the lead."

Below is the Testimony of Brandon McKoy, Policy Analyst for N.J. Policy Perspective, before the N.J. Assembly Labor Committee on March 19, 2015.

Good morning Mr. Chairman and committee members, thank you for the opportunity to speak here today.

It is well known that the minimum wage is an important and successful tool in raising the quality of life for low-income workers. This tool is particularly important in such a state as New Jersey, where the cost of living is higher than elsewhere.

State Sat, 21 Mar 2015 14:18:41 +0000
Flying the Coop! Aggravated Assault Defendant Being Sought after Fleeing During Jury Deliberations http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/flying-the-coop-aggravated-assault-defendant-being-sought-after-fleeing-during-jury-deliberations scales_opt_copy_copy_copy_copyBY MARK SPIVEY

A Bergen County man is being sought by authorities after fleeing while a jury deliberated on his trial for aggravated assault, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday (March 20).

Angel Serpa Rodriguez, 35, of Fort Lee was convicted Wednesday of second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and third- and fourth-degree weapons charges. Rodriguez had been free on $85,000 bail during his five-day trial.

The date was March 3, 2011 when Rodriguez followed a man outside of Freitas Tavern on 2nd Avenue in Elizabeth and waited until the man was alone, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Tomlinson, who prosecuted the case. Rodriguez then broke a glass he had been carrying and slashed the man in the face with a jagged piece of glass, Tomlinson said.

The victim made his way back inside the tavern, at which time Rodriguez pursued him and stabbed him repeatedly in the head before a group of patrons pulled him away. Rodriguez was arrested shortly thereafter and indicted in July 2011.

State Fri, 20 Mar 2015 22:46:45 +0000
Do You Want Your N.J. Lottery Ticket Delivered to Your Door? http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/do-you-want-your-nj-lottery-ticket-delivered-to-your-door LOTTERY_opt.png_copy_copyBY COLLEEN ROACHE

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli to make it easier for New Jersey residents to obtain lottery tickets was advanced Monday (March 16) by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-4018) would require the New Jersey Lottery Commission to authorize the operation of lottery courier services, allowing delivery companies to bring lottery tickets directly to customers. Courier services would be required to register with, and receive authorization from, the State Lottery Commission prior to delivering tickets.

“Ticket delivery will make lottery products more accessible for players who are homebound or find it inconvenient to get to a retailer,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “This bill is aimed at saving players time and broadening a customer base that provides revenue for services that benefit all New Jersey residents.”

State Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:20:45 +0000
NJ PARCC Opt Out or Refusal Number Hits 40,000 Mark … and Growing http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/nj-parcc-opt-out-or-refusal-number-hits-40000-mark-and-growing PARCC_opt_copyBY BOB HOLT

The number of families in New Jersey who are against the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers standardized school tests appears to be increasing every day.

Parents have long been debating the effectiveness of the testing being administered to students in grades 3 to 11, and are choosing to opt out of the assessments.

In fact, website NJ Kids and Families calls the PARCC refusals a major phenomenon in New Jersey. The site says according to New Jersey Education Association information from about 200 districts, PARCC refusals appear to be over 40,000 at this point. As many as 2,500 have turned down the testing in Cherry Hill, according to the site.

Currently school districts handle students who refuse the testing to their own discretion. But legislation is now in the New Jersey Assembly that would allow students to refuse the PARCC tests.

Planet Princeton reports that one bill would allow parents to opt their students out from the tests, while a second bill would organize a task force to examine the effectiveness and administration of PARCC. In the first bill, parents have to notify their school that their student won’t be taking the test 14 days in advance of the testing.

State Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:51:38 +0000
Cheap Wine in New Jersey Could Have Arsenic Health Issue http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/cheap-wine-in-new-jersey-could-have-arsenic-health-issue WINE_optBY BOB HOLT

A number of wine makers in California are being accused of selling wine containing dangerously high levels of inorganic arsenic.

Twenty-eight wineries have been named in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles last week.

Law 360 reports that according to three different laboratories, some of the wines produced by these wineries contain up to 500 percent more than a maximum safe limit of inorganic arsenic. The complaint says inorganic arsenic can increase the chances of an early death when consumed over an extended period.

Among wines included in the complaint are Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. “These wineries have long known about the serious health risks their products pose to customers,” said the plaintiff’s attorney Brian Kabatec, according to Westfield Patch. “Yet instead of reducing the exposure to acceptable levels, the defendants recklessly engage in a pattern and practice of selling arsenic-tainted wine.”

The plaintiff’s names are Doris Charles, Alvin Jones, Jason Peltier and Jennifer Peltier in the class-action complaint.

State Sun, 22 Mar 2015 15:26:32 +0000
Should NJ Journalist Eric Scott Have Accepted Corvette Gift from Chris Christie Donor? http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/should-nj-journalist-eric-scott-have-accepted-corvette-gift-from-chris-christie-donor HotTopics_opt-1_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copyBY BOB HOLT

The Lester Glenn Auto Group from Toms River is the main sponsor of monthly radio call-in program “Ask the Governor” on 101.5 FM in New Jersey.

But the car dealer played a big part in the program of Feb. 25, and brought about some ethics issues for host Eric Scott.

The International Business Times reported that on the February show, Scott mentioned that he didn’t make a lot of money for interviewing Christie. So the governor tried to help Scott out by urging Lester Glenn to give Scott a free car.

It may have just been intended as playful banter. According to the International Business Times, Christie said to Scott, “Maybe you can get something from the Lester Glenn Auto Group. How about a new car from the Lester Glenn Auto Group for Eric Scott? Right, can we do that? Are the Lester Glenn Auto people listening? Eric Scott is getting the shaft here, and what we need is a little love for Eric Scott. So maybe it could be coming from the Lester Glenn Auto Group.”

The auto dealer was paying attention. Lester Glenn president Adam Kraushaar delivered a dark blue Corvette to Scott, according to the International Business Times. But vice president of operations John Perillo said the car was just a loaner for the month.

State Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:13:30 +0000
NJ High School Online Courses Called Suspect http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/nj-high-school-online-courses-called-suspect ONLINE_optBY BOB HOLT

New Jersey high school students are given an opportunity to regain credits they could lose through failing a course by taking online courses.

Many school districts say the programs are beneficial to students who may have been thinking of dropping out of school. Critics say schools only choose the programs that pass the most students.

Columbia University Professor Henry Levin says the standards of the online programs are questionable. “There ought to be public outrage because employers, community colleges and even four-year colleges are getting kids claiming to have credit for courses they shouldn’t have credit for,” Levin said, according to NorthJersey.com.

NorthJersey.com reports that state districts set the policies for their credit recovery programs. Students work at the school after class hours or in study hall at their own pace, and courses last from six weeks to a full academic term. Superintendents make attendance mandatory, and control the toughness of the programs.

State Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:26:10 +0000
The N.J. Police Officer Arrested for Harassing and Stalking Women http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/the-nj-police-officer-arrested-for-harassing-and-stalking-women handcuffs_opt_copyBY KATHERINE CARTER

NEWARK – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today (March 13) that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has arrested former Newark Police Officer Eddie Gonzalez, 37, of Newark for harassing and stalking women he previously dated, impersonating a police officer, illegal possession of weapons, identity theft and other offenses.

He is currently being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility on $100,000 cash bail.

According to Assistant Prosecutor David Feldman, who is handling the case, six different women had filed restraining orders against Gonzalez. It is alleged after the women would file restraining orders against him. In response, Gonzalez would file restraining orders against the women in an attempted to use the criminal process to re-victimize the women.

Yesterday, a search warrant was executed at his home. Detectives discovered two guns, hollow point bullets and a closet full of Newark Police uniforms that Gonzalez allegedly used to impersonate a police officer. In 2008, the Newark Police Department dismissed him.

State Sat, 14 Mar 2015 02:24:00 +0000
N.J. Looks to Integrate Engineering into K-12 Curriculum http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/nj-looks-to-integrate-engineering-into-k-12-curriculum education_opt_copy_copyBY EVA LOAYZA

TRENTON  – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Patrick Diegnan, Pamela Lampitt and Marlene Caride to create a task force that would be charged with recommending how to incorporate engineering into the K-12 science curriculum was recently approved by the full Assembly.

“STEM jobs are on the rise, but our colleges are not graduating enough engineering majors to keep up with the demand. If we want to compete in an increasingly global economy, we have to expand engineering education,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Early introduction can encourage more students, especially women and minorities who are under represented in this field, to consider engineering as a career. The task force created by this bill would rely on the expertise of professionals in education, engineering and science to tell us how to best introduce engineering into the school curriculum.”

The bill (A-1468) would establish a Task Force on Engineering Curriculum and Instruction in the Department of Education. The task force would be charged with making recommendations to the State Board of Education on how to incorporate engineering curriculum into the K-12 science curriculum. Under the bill, the task force must review the Next Generation Science Standards in its efforts to develop innovative ways to teach engineering to public school students. These new K-12 science standards are being developed through a collaborative, state-led process. The standards, which will provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education, will be based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council.

State Fri, 13 Mar 2015 02:35:38 +0000