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Archive for May 27th, 2009

Christie Named In Federal Lawsuit

STATE—Christopher Christie has been named in a federal tort claims lawsuit notice that asserts the GOP gubernatorial candidate “utilized his office as a collection agency for his relatives and extorted money from the claimant for the benefit of his family in violation of the Hobbs Act.”

Belleville attorney Frank Cozzarelli filed a civil claim with the U.S. Department of Justice on May 4, alleging that Christie threatened his livelihood because of an alleged vendetta.

According to the documents, Cozzarelli was the court-appointed overseer of the liquidation of Printon Kane. Christie represented one of the firm’s principals, Joseph Manello, during the liquidation proceeding. According to the documents, Manello was unhappy with the final settlement and over time became increasingly unhappy with Chirstie’s representation.

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STATE—The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services had confirmed 56 cases of H1N1 influenza that have been identified in 11 counties and cover all regions of the state on Tuesday.
New Jersey confirmed 31 new cases of H1N1 influenza since late Thursday.

“The recent increase of confirmed H1N1 cases reflects the ability of the Department’s Public Health and Environmental Laboratory  to confirm H1N1 influenza and allows us to investigate outbreaks of influenza-like illness without sending samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing,’’ said Commissioner Heather Howard.

“As confirmed cases continue to rise, it is important to note that H1N1 now exists in every region of the state. Families must remain vigilant by monitoring their health, observing good hygiene habits and most importantly, staying home if they are sick,” Howard said

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ELIZABETH – Last week, a Union County Superior Court judge ruled that the defendant in last December’s fatal shooing outside a Union skating rink could be tried as an adult.

Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow released the name of the suspect, Jaquan Bell, after the ruling. Bell’s name had been withheld from the press because he was just 16 at the time of the shooting.

Nearly 700 people gathered at Skate 22 in Union for a Christmas night party that was heavily promoted on websites like Myspace, Romankow said. The party, which drew people between the ages of 13 and 25, was scheduled to go from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. but ended early due to numerous fights that broke out inside the rink, the prosecutor said.

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CARTERET – The Borough Council ordered a $1.65 million reduction in the rejected 2009-2010 school budget last week. The council’s plan would save the average taxpayer nearly $200 from the school board’s proposed budget and $115 from what they paid this year, Mayor Daniel Reiman said.

Reiman said the defeated proposed school budget totaled $57,394,624, which called for a general tax levy of $23,840,278. The general fund tax levy will now be set at $22,190,278.

“We have enacted cuts without reducing any instructional positions or programs,” Reiman said. “We not only eliminated the increase, we cut into the budget,” he added. “We actually reduced taxes. This takes into account the economic times facing taxpayers and homeowners.”

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STATE – Last week, a state appeals court ruled that government bodies cannot require citizens to fill out a standardized form to view public records under the state’s Open Public Records Act.

Standardized forms go against the legislative intent behind the act to give the public “unfettered access to government records,” the appeals panel said. Letters, faxes and even e-mails containing a specific request are sufficient to meet the law’s requirement of a written records request.

The case marks the end of a legal battle between the Democrat-controlled government of Union County and a political watchdog group, the Union County Watchdog Association, its leader Tina Renna and the New Jersey Press Association.

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