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Archive for the ‘Middlesex County’ Category

NEWARK – Last week, a former advisor to state Assemblyman Joseph Vas pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of illegally funneling money into Vas’ 2006 congressional campaign.

Ray Geneske, a longtime friend of Vas, admitted accepting $30,0000 from a developer and giving most of it to “straw donors” who wrote checks to the campaign. The move circumvented campaign finance regulations that cap the maximum donation at $2,100 per individual.

The former Democratic committee chairman in Perth Amboy agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. Geneske faces a maximum of two years in prison, but he may only receive probation when he is sentenced on Sept. 21.

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Evening Of Elegance 061209

The courtyard at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison was filled with seniors and juniors dressed in exquisite gowns and tuxedos having their pictures taken before boarding a bus to attend Prom at The Farrington Manor in East Brunswick on June 2. Pictured above, Roland Marionni of Scotch Plains, Upper School chemistry teacher, poses with juniors Ayna Agarwal of Colonia, Devi Mody of Edison, Katie Lee of Edison, Lotus Cannon of Edison and Garima Kapoor of Edison before boarding the bus. (Photo by Bill Jenkins)

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TRENTON –  A man who served as a leader of the 2006 congressional campaign of state Assemblyman Joseph Vas pleaded guilty today to soliciting fraudulent campaign contributions, Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced.

According to Gramiccioni, Raymond Geneske, 73, of Perth Amboy, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa in Middlesex County to a third-degree charge of financial facilitation of criminal activity, commonly known as money laundering.

In pleading guilty, Geneske admitted that he solicited employees of the City of Perth Amboy and others to make fraudulent contributions to Vas’ 2006 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 13th Congressional District.  At the time, Geneske was chairman of the Perth Amboy Democratic Committee and was a key advisor to the Vas campaign.  Geneske admitted that he paid cash to the people he solicited to reimburse them for writing personal checks payable to “Vas for Congress.”

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EDISON – Councilwoman Antonia Ricigliano is one step closer to becoming Edison’s first female mayor after defeating incumbent Jun Choi in Tuesday’s primary.

The two-term councilwoman had the backing of the township’s Democratic Committee as well as the local police union, but still trailed Choi by 18 points in a poll taken two weeks before election day.

“Does it get any better?” Ricigliano asked at her campaign headquarters on Tuesday night. “I couldn’t believe it. When the phone call came in, I didn’t know who it was—it was Mayor Choi conceding. We didn’t even have all the numbers on our board yet.”

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY—Four cases of H1N1 flu have been confirmed in Middlesex County, according to the Middlesex County Public Health Department.

Three of the cases, two from Highland Park and one from Edison, are from an influenza cluster in students from a private parochial school in Piscataway. A cluster is defined as two or more individuals with symptom onset within seven days of each other who have common exposure, i.e. school.

The private school was closed for a week, and reopened on Monday, June 1.

County health officer David A. Papi said, “We have been working closely with the school, local physicians, parents, and all local health departments in the county, particularly Piscataway and Edison health departments.”

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Award-Winning Artist 060509

Athena Gerasoulis of Edison, a fourth grader at the Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, captured first place in the nationwide 2009 Creative Student Art Contest for her “vivid color usage and imaginative interpretation of the theme, ‘Outside World.’” She received a $250 check and $250 art supply gift certificate. She is pictured with her plaque and artwork at right. Athena is the daughter of Dr. Apostolos Gerasoulis and Xiaolan Zhang. (Photo Courtesy of Xiaolan Zhang)

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY—Three cases of H1N1 flu have been confirmed in Middlesex County, according to the Middlesex County Public Health Department.

Two of the cases, one from Highland Park and one from Edison, are from an influenza cluster in students from a private parochial school in Piscataway.  A cluster is defined as two or more individuals with symptom onset within seven days of each other who have common exposure, i.e. school.

The private school has been closed since Friday, May 22, and will remain closed until Monday, June 1.  County health officer David A. Papi said, “We have been working closely with the school, local physicians, parents, and all local health departments in the county, particularly Piscataway and Edison health departments.”

A third confirmed case involves  an adult male from North Brunswick and is not related to the cases from the Piscataway school, officials 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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Joseph Vas (file photo)

Joseph Vas (file photo)

TRENTON – State Assemblyman Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) was indicted again today on state corruption charges, Attorney General Anne Millgram announced.

Vas is charged with conspiring to obtain illicit gifts and payments from city vendors, and laundering money into his congressional campaign through straw donors while he was mayor of Perth Amboy.  The Attorney General’s Office previously indicted Vas in March for allegedly stealing city funds as mayor.

According to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Vas, 54, was charged in an 19-count state grand jury indictment along with his longtime aide Melvin Ramos, 53, two corporations that were city vendors, and two owners of one of the corporations.  Vas faces multiple second-degree counts of conspiracy and official misconduct, among other charges.  The charges stem from an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.

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EDISON—The Middlesex County College Class of 2009 formally graduated on Thursday, May 21, at the 42nd annual commencement exercises. A total of 1,118 degrees and certificates were awarded in ceremonies witnessed by more than 3,500 guests under sunny skies on the college green.

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Valedictorian Saarth Shah of Edison delivered the class welcome, sharing his experiences and aspirations since emigrating from India two years ago. Shah earned a 4.0 grade point average as a computer science student and served as an officer of Phi Theta Kappa, the undergraduate honor society. He will continue his education at Rutgers University.

“In India, I had a great education in mathematics and other sciences, which helped me a lot here,” he said in his address. “However, having studied at a school that did not teach in English, learning to work in a new language was a hurdle. Having learned all the subjects in my traditional language, I was quite intimidated when I attended my first class at MCC. A wise man once said, ‘Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.’

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pastby Diane Norek Harrison

SOUTH AMBOY-This is from my own research. The cemetery for Sacred Heart Parish in South Amboy is located on Johnsons Lane in the Parlin section of Sayreville. The Sacred Heart Catholic War Veterans Post 578 erected large monuments with the names of the men who died from the parish. The one stone reads: “IN MEMORY OF ALL WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES WHILE SERVING THEIR COUNTRY IN THE TIME OF WAR.” The monuments were dedicated Nov. 11, 2001.

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report_from_woodbridgeBy Mayor John McCormac

The “Summer of ‘09” looks to be the best ever in Woodbridge… which is why I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone about the great events and happenings coming to Woodbridge this summer.

Let’s start with Saturdays in downtown Woodbridge with the kick-off of the “bigger and better” open-air Farmer’s Market on Saturday, June 20, in the Town Hall parking lot on Main Street.  This season, the Farmer’s Market will feature more farm stands and vendors… cooking demonstrations by the chef’s at Wegmans… and dozens of special events for kids of all ages.  So, shop the Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and find out what “Woodbridge Fresh” is all about.

Wednesdays come alive with “Music on Main Street.”  Enjoy an assortment of free music on Main Street every Wednesday all summer long… from the Jack Goodman “Swing” Band… to the Tim Gillis Band… to the Woodbridge Community Choir… there’s a show for everyone.  And, return to the days of “classic cars” and “hot rods” when car enthusiasts from across the state start “Cruisin’ on Main Street” on Wednesdays in June, July and August.

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report_from_trentonBy Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski

The Obama administration deserves a lot of credit for the Federal Stimulus Program. This program not only gave a boost to the economy overall, but helped put many New Jerseyans to work making much needed improvements to our transportation infrastructure.  Unfortunately though, the bulk of that money has been designated for projects that do not satisfy local county and municipal needs.

Recently the Assembly Budget Committee considered the year’s proposed spending for the Department of Transportation and NJ Transit.  The good news is that the budget will now contain an additional $50 million to help counties and municipalities in the state pay for transportation improvements.

This much-needed infusion is a result of an effort I spearheaded with Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. and state Transportation Commissioner Stephen Dilts – talks spurred by my discussions with mayors and freeholders afraid that federal stimulus money was not going to filter down to key infrastructure projects in local communities.

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Joseph Vas (file photo)

Joseph Vas (file photo)

NEWARK – Assemblyman and former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas was indicted yesterday along with his longtime aide Melvin Ramos on federal corruption charges, officials announced.

Vas and Ramos surrendered to Special Agents with the FBI in Newark this morning, Acting United States Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr. announced.

The indictment, which was unsealed today, charges Vas and Ramos with, among other things, committing mail fraud in connection with a scheme to misuse Vas’s position as mayor to misappropriate state affordable housing funds in connection with Vas’s sale of a multi-unit apartment building to a contractor in 2006.

Vas, 54, and Ramos, 53, both of Perth Amboy, made their initial appearances in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark this morning. Vas secured his $200,000 bail through a bond on his Perth Amboy home. Ramos also secured his $100,000 bail through a bond on his residence.

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COLONIA – A Colonia High School sophomore was killed in a single-car crash on Route 9 in Woodbridge last Thursday night.

Jennifer Metzger, 16, was pronounced dead at 9:17 p.m. at the accident scene, authorities said. She was a passenger in a 1997 Ford Explorer driven by Allen McGovern, 18, of Rahway, police said.

Another 16-year-old girl who was a passenger in the car was also seriously injured and was flown to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

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