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Archive for April 29th, 2009

STATE—The Department of Health and Senior Services opened a toll-free, 24-hour hotline today to answer questions about swine flu from the general public and New Jersey health care providers.

The hotline number is 1-866-321-9571 and is open as of today.

“We understand that New Jersey residents are concerned about the outbreak of swine flu and will have many questions on how they can protect themselves and their family,” said Commissioner Heather Howard. “The situation will continue to evolve and the department is offering the call center for the general public and health care providers.”

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PERTH AMBOY – FBI agents raided the homes of former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas and his former aide Melvin Ramos on April 23 last week.  The agents carried out several boxes from both homes at the end of the multi-hour search.

The scene attracted a small crowd of onlookers who lined the sidewalk across the street.

“It’s a sad day. It’s a very sad day,” said City Councilman Fernando Gonzalez, who lives across the street from the former mayor.

Vas and Ramos were indicted earlier this year on state corruption charges. They pleaded not guilty during their arraignments.

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UNION COUNTY – Crime in Union County climbed 10 percent last year, according to State Police statistics released last week by the Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow.

Elizabeth, which is home to nearly a quarter of the county’s population, accounted for more than 40 percent of the overall crime last year. Thirteen of the 19 homicides in Union County happened in Elizabeth, and more than half of the 1,233 robberies.

Romankow blamed the recession, noting that similar trends occurred nationwide and on the state level during the previous five recession periods.

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UNION COUNTY – Two reputed high-ranking members of a drug distribution ring remained at large Monday after authorities arrested 15 people allegedly connected to the ring over the weekend, according to Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow.

Authorities arrested 15 people, recovered more than 3 kilograms of cocaine, $80,577 in cash and several guns, including an AK-47 assault rifle, during a series of raids that began last Thursday and continued through Sunday, officials said. Each kilogram of cocaine has a street value of about $350,000.

As of Monday, six suspects were still at large. They included high-ranking members Luqman Abdullah of Elizabeth and  Darrell Brignolle of Linden,  Romankow said. 

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Linden Business Sponsors Boxing Tournament—Conoco Phillips Bayway Refinery has agreed to be the main corporate sponsor of the New Jersey State Finals of the Diamond Glove Boxing Tournament.  Tournament finals will be held at Linden High School on Friday, Nov. 13.  Presenting a check on behalf of Conoco Phillips is J. Michael Kenney, Bayway Refinery Manager for Conoco Phillips.  Accepting the check is Alfred A. Volpe, President of the Linden Boxing Association.  Pictured (left to right): Gary Luciano, Secretary/Treasurer of the LBA, Michael Karlovich, Strategic Communications Manager for Conoco Phillips, J. Michael Kenney, Alfred A. Volpe, Al MacDonald, Acting Director of the Linden Department of Public Property and Community Services and Tony Orlando, Founder of the Linden Boxing Association. (Photo courtesy of Linden Department of Public Property and Community Services)

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A Sticky Fundraiser

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A Sticky Fundraiser—On Thursday, April 9, the Rahway High School Class of 2009 held a fundraiser to benefit upcoming senior activities by providing an opportunity for a sticky situation.  The fundraiser, led by Class of 2009 student officers with the help faculty advisers Pelligrina Perrone and Rachel Munuz, was also made possible by several administrative, faculty and staff members volunteers who allowed students to duct tape them to the wall outside the school cafeteria. Pictured above, history teacher David Rosa is all smiles as he is suspended on the wall. (Photo courtesy of Rahway High School) 

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