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Bellmawr Feature Stories Local Government News Recent News

Significant Upgrades Planned for Bellmawr’s Benigno Blvd. & Anderson Ave., Railroad Crossings

“Significant” upgrades are planned for the railroad crossings at Bellmawr’s Benigno Boulevard and Anderson Avenue, Borough Engineer Steve Bach reported at the monthly caucus meeting of Mayor and Council on April 16.

Bach said that there were two recent meetings with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ-DOT) and Conrail. NJ-DOT is the entity that controls the railroad, and they can compel upgrades, Bach explained. “Gates were lobbied for, but the NJ-DOT did not deem that gates were warranted.” Flashing lights and warning bells will be installed at those locations, but there is no schedule as of yet, he said.

Other updates:

Warren Avenue Water Tower is slated to come down in mid-May. Testing continues in order to satisfy the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ-DEP).

Supervisor of Public Works Joe Ciano said that rubber gloves, wipes, and rags that have been flushed down toilets are “wreaking havoc” on the system. He wanted to reiterate that “only toilet paper” should be flushed down toilets.

Moment of Silence

There was a moment of silence in honor of Rocco Romano, a retired police officer for the Bellmawr Police Department, who passed away on April 16.

Out for Bid

The window project for Borough Hall and the bathroom project for the batting cages went out for bid.

Borough Events Cancelled

Mayor Chuck Sauter said that the National Day of Prayer, the rabies clinic, Miss Bellmawr Pageant, and St. Joachim’s Annual carnival have been postponed due to the coronavirus.

April 23, 2020 Monthly Mayor & Council Meeting

Those wishing to participate in the meeting can do so by phone or online as follows:

Online – https://hello.freeconference.com/conf/call/7377662

Phone – 1-717-275-8940  Enter access code 737 7662 when prompted.

All public participants will be muted until the public portion of the meeting, which will be announced at the appropriate time. If you have a comment or question please start by giving your name and address and you will have a total of 5 minutes for questions or comments.

Post updated/corrected on April 22, 2020 at 1:25 p.m. to add how the public may participate in the monthly meeting.

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Bellmawr Brooklawn Gloucester Mt. Ephraim News Police & Fire Recent News Runnemede Westville

Mt. Ephraim Police Charge Clementon Man With Violating Emergency Orders; Man Fell Asleep While Driving & Overturned His Car

Kevin Benevento*, 35, of Clementon, was charged by the Mt. Ephraim Police with violating the emergency orders after he was involved in an accident on April 15. He also was ticketed for driving without a license, failure to keep right, and failure to wear a seat-belt.

Police responded to a report of an accident at 6:05 a.m. with a car overturned on West Kings Highway. Benevento told police he fell asleep while driving. His vehicle struck a parked car and rolled, ending up in the middle of the road. He was taken to Cooper University Hospital for treatment.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced additional recent enforcement actions related to COVID-19, including those involving individuals in violation of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107.

Theft of Personal Protective Equipment

Kevin R. Brady, 49, of Point Pleasant Beach, was charged today with theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy to commit theft, both third-degree charges, in connection with the theft of up to 1,600 respirator masks from Prudential Financial in Iselin. He was charged in an ongoing investigation by the New Jersey State Police, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Woodbridge Police Department, and Point Pleasant Beach Police Department, based on a referral from the National Hoarding & Price-Gouging Task Force headed by New Jersey U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito. Brady is an on-site electrical contractor who had access to storage areas in the Prudential Financial facility. Between March 27 and April 1, Brady allegedly stole seven to eight cases of N95 respirator masks, each case containing 200 masks. Prudential Financial had intended to donate the masks to a local hospital. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will be issuing a press release.

Bias Incidents

Juvenile Charged. A juvenile female was arrested on April 14 and charged with bias intimidation (3rd degree), riot (4th degree), simple assault (disorderly persons offense), harassment and disorderly conduct (both petty disorderly persons offenses). In addition, the juvenile has been charged with violating the emergency orders. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Edison Police Department are continuing to investigate pursuant to the Attorney General’s Bias Incident Investigation Standards. The investigation determined that on April 4, the juvenile and a group of others surrounded an Asian woman. The juvenile allegedly yelled racial slurs at the victim related to the origins of the coronavirus. The juvenile then allegedly punched the woman in the back of the head. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will be issuing a press release.

Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers

Eric Rock, 35, of Jersey City, was arrested at about 6 a.m. this morning by the Jersey City Police Department and charged with two counts of second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency (2nd degree), two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer (4th degree), two counts of throwing bodily fluid at an officer (4th degree), criminal mischief (disorderly persons offense), and harassment (petty disorderly persons offense). Rock allegedly went to a relative’s home and kicked in a window of the house when she would not let him inside. Rock does not live at the home or have any belongings there. Police were called and found Rock in front of the house. As he was being arrested, he coughed on police officers and claimed he had the coronavirus and would infect them. He allegedly said, “If I’m going to die, you’re going to die.”

Jason Reiner, 44, of Atlantic City, was charged on April 15, by the Atlantic City Police with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer (3rd degree), shoplifting (disorderly persons offense), resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense), obstruction (disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders. Police were called to a CVS store on Atlantic Avenue on a report that Reiner was shoplifting. When officers approached Reiner, he began acting erratically and said he was on drugs. EMS was called but Reiner refused treatment. As officers then attempted to arrest him for shoplifting, Reiner allegedly resisted and intentionally and repeatedly coughed on police officers to spread germs and obstruct his arrest.

Kayla Kraus, 22, of Point Pleasant, was arrested on Tuesday, April 14, by the Point Pleasant Police and charged with two counts of terroristic threats (3rd degree) and aggravated assault on an officer (4th degree). Kraus allegedly punched officers and threatened to infect them with COVID-19 when police responded to the Point Pleasant Inn on a report of an emotionally disturbed woman.

Other Criminal Charges Involving Indictable Offenses

Charles Coward, 49, of Camden, was charged on April 15, with burglary (3rd degree), possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose (4th degree), criminal mischief (disorderly persons offense), trespassing (disorderly persons offense), and possession of burglary tools (petty disorderly person offense). He also was charged with violating the emergency orders. The Pennsauken Police responded at 11:48 a.m. to an alarm at Forman Mills. They found a broken side window with a hammer on the ground nearby. Coward was inside the closed store. Police found two coats on the ground, one of which contained a black airsoft gun.

Patrick McFadden, 44, of Budd Lake – who was charged on April 14 by the Mount Olive Police Department with violating a restraining order (4th degree), trespassing (4th degree), and violation of the emergency orders – faces two new counts of each of those charges for allegedly returning to the victim’s residence twice yesterday, April 15, at mid-day and again last night.

Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order

Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 72 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered one non-essential business closed in enforcement actions on April 15.

Jeffrey Brady, 62, of Cherry Hill, the owner of Corrado’s Pizza in Sicklerville, was charged yesterday, April 15, by the Winslow Township Police with violating the emergency orders because his employees were not wearing facial masks or gloves. Brady advised it was too hot near the ovens for his employees to wear masks and customers could not understand them on the phone with their mouths covered.

Ali Siyam, 59, the owner, and Abdel Siyam, 21, an employee, were charged on April 15, by the Union City Police Department, with violating the emergency orders at the grocery store owned by Ali Siyam on Bergenline Avenue, New Way Supermarket. The employee and several customers were not wearing facial masks. The defendants had been warned by police at least three times on prior days that they needed to comply with the order to wear masks.

Stalin Paulino, 39, and Mark Rombowski, 65, of West New York, were charged by the West New York Police with violating the emergency orders for loitering in a bus stop shelter with no legitimate purpose and failing to maintain social distance. Both had been warned previously about violating the orders.

The defendants who were charged strictly with violating the emergency orders and who do not face more serious charges were charged by summons— they were not arrested. Those cases will be adjudicated in municipal court.

“Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis.  Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law.  Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”

“Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.”

Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses

On April 1, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.  Defendant Eric Rock is similarly charged for his conduct against law enforcement officers.

Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation

The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior.

No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes. 

Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.

Post updated on April 25, 2020 to correct the spelling of Benevanta to Benevento*

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Bellmawr Community Calendar Feature Stories Local Government News Recent News

Due to COVID-19, Bellmawr’s St. Joachim Parish Carnival, Other Events Cancelled

Due to COVID-19, several of Bellmawr’s events have been cancelled, Mayor Chuck Sauter announced at the April 16, 2020 Caucus Meeting.

The events that have been cancelled in accordance with Governor Murphy’s emergency orders include:

National Day of Prayer, which was scheduled for May 7.

The Rabies Clinic postponed, with no new date.

Miss Bellmawr cancelled, with no new date.

St. Joachim Carnival, which is usually held in mid-May as the lead-up to Mother’s Day as the gift that keeps on giving, has also been cancelled. Mayor Sauter said that there are early, preliminary talks to possibly have a three-day carnival maybe at the end of September. (We can only hope.)

National Night Out, which is usually scheduled for the first Tuesday in August has been moved until October 6, 2020.

Since the annual Easter Egg Hunt was cancelled, Councilman Jim D’Angelo hopes an event for the kids can be scheduled one day when stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Once any new event dates are scheduled, we will let everyone know.

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Browns Mills Man Charged With Violating Emergency Orders; Previously Issued Warnings for Driving People Around for Non-Essential Trips

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions against violators of Governor Murphy’s Emergency Orders related to COVID-19:

  • Frank Castillo, 20, of Browns Mills, was charged on April 9 by the Pemberton Township Police with violating the emergency orders after he was stopped for a traffic violation. Police had stopped Castillo twice before and had issued warnings when they learned he was picking up various people in the Pemberton area and driving them around for non-essential trips.
  • Eric Brown, 27, of Salem, was charged on April 14, by the New Jersey State Police with hindering apprehension or prosecution and violating the emergency orders, both disorderly persons offenses, after he was involved in a motor vehicle accident that led to a car fire. He allegedly called 911 and falsely claimed to be a witness, rather than the driver of the vehicle.
  • Newark Enforcement. The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 86 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered five non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions on April 14.
  • Paterson Enforcement. The Paterson Police Department charged 36 people with municipal ordinance violations for violating the COVID-19 related orders in enforcement actions on Monday, April 13.
  • Seaside Heights Enforcement. The Seaside Heights Police Department issued seven summonses for violations of the emergency orders from April 12 through 14.
  • Darrell Rude, 33, of Blossvale, N.Y., was charged with robbery (2nd degree), burglary, (2nd degree), shoplifting (4th degree), criminal mischief (4th degree), throwing bodily fluids at an officer (4th degree), refusal to provide a biological sample (4th degree), refusal to be fingerprinted (disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders. The Hoboken Police responded early this morning to a report of a burglary in progress at Daniel’s Liquor, where a man shattered a glass window to gain entry. Police located Rude nearby with liquor bottles and cigarette cartons sticking out of his backpack. While being processed, Rude allegedly purposely coughed at officers and said he had COVID-19. He allegedly was uncooperative and kept biting and ripping off face masks and spit shields placed on his face.
  • Christopher Ospina, 20, of Haledon, was charged on April 14, by the New Jersey State Police with eluding (2nd degree), obstruction (4th degree), disorderly conduct (creating a hazardous condition during a state of emergency) and violating the emergency orders. A state trooper in a marked car was traveling on I-80 West in the Lodi area when he observed a BMW with tinted windows traveling at speeds in excess of 130 mph. The BMW exited I-80, and Ospina was seen by troopers standing alongside his vehicle at a gas station in Lodi. Once Ospina saw the troopers, he jumped back in the BMW and recklessly drove back on I-80 until troopers lost sight of the vehicle. When Ospina turned himself in at Totowa State Police Station, he told troopers he possibly had COVID-19 symptoms before being taken to the Bergen County Jail.
  • Davide Camilo-Chiolo, 21, and Luis Diaz-Dejsus, 21, both of Perth Amboy, were charged on April 14, with violating the emergency orders for participating in a parade and vehicle caravan through the business district of Perth Amboy. The two defendants were in a group of pedestrians who were wearing masks, but who failed to maintain social distancing and who were obstructing traffic. The defendants were charged after they failed to heed warnings to disperse. There were 17 vehicles in the caravan, and the drivers were issued traffic tickets.
  • Ahmad R. Harrison, 19, of New Brunswick, was charged on April 14, by the New Brunswick Police Department with violating the emergency orders. The suspect had been given multiple warnings about being out in public without an essential purpose.
  • Patrick McFadden, 44, of Budd Lake, was charged on April 14, by the Mount Olive Police Department with violating a restraining order (4th degree), trespassing (4th degree), and violation of the emergency orders. Shortly after he was served with a restraining order and removed from the victim’s property, he took a car service back to the address and entered her home, in violation of the restraining order. He said he was there to retrieve belongings.
  • Guillermo Bonifacio, 18, Gabriel Lopez, 19, and Jovanny Santos, 19, all of Passaic, were charged with violating the emergency orders after the Passaic Police found them walking along Broadway shortly after 3 a.m. without a legitimate purpose.
  • Alshaquan Griffin, 23, Jose Haddock, 18, and a 17-year-old male, all of Elizabeth, were charged on April 14, with violating the emergency orders after the Elizabeth Police responded to a report of a disorderly group on Bond Street, and found the defendants together, failing to observe social distancing. The defendants had been warned before about their conduct.
  • Arnell Green, 19, of Newark, was charged early today by the Hillside Police with violating the emergency orders. Police responded at about 4 a.m. to a report of suspicious persons near Bloy and Leo streets. Three individuals ran away when police arrived. Green was found hiding in some bushes. He had been warned before about being out in violation of the emergency orders.

“Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis. Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law. Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”

“Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.”

Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses. Police have charged a number of persons with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency for claiming to have COVID-19 and threatening to infect law enforcement officers or others by coughing, spitting, or otherwise exposing them. That charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here covid19.nj.gov/violation

The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas. COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes. Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS

Categories
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Shelter and Snap! Bird Photo Contest Encourages Aspiring Bird Photographers to Capture Images While They #StayatHome

While global communities are practicing physical distancing, birds are actively socializing outside our windows, in our trees, bird baths, and feeders. Depending on where you live, birds of all species are migrating, singing, preening, mating, feeding, flying, and building nests.  

KingBirder, the first online contest to combine the skills of birding with photography, wants you to capture photos of the birds you see safely from your homes or yard in its free bird photography competition entitled “Shelter and Snap!” 

From May 1 – 31, photographers of all ages can submit photos to KingBirder for a chance to win prizes such as, gift cards, a Cotton Carrier photographic harness, and KingBirder licensed merchandise. Contributors’ photos will also be featured on the KingBirder website.  But most importantly, the contest is an opportunity to have some fun during a difficult time.

Traditional KingBirder contests involve submitting photos for a fee and competing for cash prizes, with more opportunities to win large awards per year than any other bird photography contest.  KingBirder’s first global contest, “Everybody Duck! just closed on March 31 and winners will be announced in April.

“Shelter and Snap!” is a different sort of contest.  There is no cost to submit entries and the purpose is to serve as a distraction and provide some entertainment to everyone stuck at home.  Contestants will be tasked with finding great shots of birds from their home or surrounding property, from a window, balcony, rooftop, garden, or yard.  Entries are judged on their artistic, technical, and creative qualities.  There are two divisions – one for adults and a junior division for kids under the age of 18. 

“Millions of people are worried and bored as they shelter in their homes, so we searched for a way to make a small contribution to the global community during this terrible pandemic,” said Tom Younkin, KingBirder Founder. “We are funding this photo contest with the goal to provide some entertainment and a distraction from this gloomy situation by inviting people to capture photos of local birds and compete for some prizes. Better yet, everyone is encouraged to look up information about the birds they photograph to learn more about their entries!”

Entries can be submitted at www.kingbirder.com throughout the month of May. For more information, click here.

About KingBirder and Cotton Carrier

KingBirder is the first online photography contest to combine the skills of birding with photographic capabilities. Different bird types will be the subject of quarterly contests with major cash prizes awarded by an esteemed panel of professional judges. Ten percent of all contest revenue will be donated directly to land preservation non-profits such as The Nature Conservancy or American Bird Conservancy.

Kingbirder is on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter.

A special thank you to Cotton Carrier for contributing to this contest as a sponsor.  Cotton Carrier develops best-in-class camera carrying systems. Visit their website here.