Charlie Kratovil

Charlie is a community organizer in New Brunswick, and a Rutgers journalism graduate. He can be reached at (732) 993-9697 or editor@NewBrunswickToday.com.

  • Photo Credit: North Brunswick PD

    NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—A New Brunswick man and a Princeton woman were arrested on outstanding warrants before police say they found two guns, inclduing a sawed-off shotgun in their vehicle.

    "During the early morning hours of November 8th, a Patrol Sergeant rolled up upon a suspicious vehicle on Livingston Avenue near Route One," reads a Facebook post by the North Brunswick Police Department.

    The Facebook post identified the suspects as 26-year-old Wendell Pittman, of New Brunswick, and 38-year-old Menga Ramos, of Princeton.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: South Plainfield

    SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ—A retired chief of the South Plainfield Police Department (SPPD) has been placed on probation for four years after admitting to injuring a 58-year-old woman and harassing her 8-year-old grandson.

    John Muller, the 73-year-old former police chief, was sentenced to a probationary term in New Brunswick on November 9 by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto.

  • Photo Credit: Kevin Palomo

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—With only four its seven seats physically filled, the embattled New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) struggled along at their September 23 board meeting, the first in two full months.

    Yirgu Wolde, an employee of the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, took over as Board Chairman, and Dale Caldwell was named Vice Chair, despite his absence.

  • Photo Credit: Richard A. Rabinowitz

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—It was drizzly and rainy on the afternoon and evening of November 10, but that didn't faze celebrants from attending the kickoff of Rutgers' 250th anniversary year.

    Technically, November 10, 2015, was Rutgers 249th birthday, not the 250th.  The date marks the anniversary of the day that the University charter was signed back in 1766.

    Students, faculty, administrators, alums, and others gathered for a variety of activities and enjoyed free food and beverages

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    Arts and culture have been critical to the city's continued success over the years, and have been a major part of the reason why New Brunswick remains the "Hub City" of Central New Jersey.

    A thriving music scene, three state-of-the-art theatres, a free art museum at Rutgers, two downtown art galleries, and the most popular comedy club in the state are just a few of the attractions of New Brunswick's rich culture.

    Music Scene

  • Photo Credit:

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Boraie Development never registered their 25-story, 121-unit condominium building so that it could be inspected by the NJ Bureau of Housing Inspection, according to the state government.

    In 1967, the New Jersey legislature adopted the "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law," which it deemed "necessary for the protection of the health and welfare" of New Jersey residents.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—More than a week after several people were stabbed in the Hub City, local police still have not answered basic questions about crimes that occurred during the chaotic Halloween weekend.

    Among the crimes that went unpublicized were an incident where shots were fired and another where a masked man assaulted someone with "a rusty metal rod," according to police radio transmisions.

    As we reported, the Rutgers University Police Department responded to a gruesome knife-fight in Mettler Hall on October 30.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Middlesex County's government plans to spend $18 million in the next five years on three arts projects, including one that could drastically transform the New Brunswick's theatre district.

    The plan calls for the demolition and replacement of two of city's three major theatres, the Crossroads Theatre and the George Street Playhouse.

    Both are located on Livingston Avenue, and owned by the non-profit New Brunswick Cultural Center, Inc.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE (11/18): New Brunswick Today has learned that Michael Bacorn no longer works for the City of New Brunswick, having resigned for a third time.

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—One of two ex-cops who the city re-hired just a few weeks into their retirement is back on the job, after sitting on the sidelines for nine months after questions were raised about the arrangement.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: MCPO

    EDISON, NJ—Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey and Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan announced on November 5 that a retired police captain has been charged with theft for "illegally" using sick days while he was working a private security job.

    According to press release form the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO), 55-year-old Natale Fresco used paid sick days from Edison Township in July, August, and September, while simultaneously working as security director at the Menlo Park Mall.

  • Photo Credit: DEVCO

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's most notorious redevelopment firm has announced seven of the nine tenants that will occupy retail storefronts in a transformative and controversial privatized dormitory project at Rutgers University.

    The tenants include six different food establishments, including one with roots in New Brunswick, and a Starbuck's Coffee, the third to open within a three-block radius.

    (DEVCO)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE: City spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw confirmed that Joe Catanese was hired almost six months ago, on May 11, at a salary of $25,000.

    "He works approximately seven hours a week strictly on OPRA documents. He was appointed by TK Shamy."

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Joseph J. Catanese, an attorney who led the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) from 2000 to 2008, has joined the city's Law Department as an Assistant City Attorney.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Daniel Munoz

    UPDATE (10/31): Police identified the suspect as 18-year-old Daniel Leandry, a Rutgers University student from Garfield.  Leandry is currently jailed at the Middlesex County Workhouse on $735,000 bail.

    One of Leandry's alleged victims was a Rutgers student, the other was not.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE: MyCentralJersey.com's Suzanne Russell has reported that Rabbi Abraham Mykoff ran into the burning house of worship and rescued the synagogue's Sefer Torah, a handwritten copy of the Torah, the Jewish holy book. 

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Helicopters and fire engines began pouring into the Hub City on October 23 after one of the few remaining historic structures in dowtown caught fire.

    (Fire)
  • Photo Credit: NBPD

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City police are rolling out a new vehicle that once served as a "radio/communications vehicle" for the US military, adding a second mobile precinct to the department's fleet.

    In photographs taken in Buccleuch Park, the six-wheeled truck appears to be larger than any other in the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) vehicle, including its police boat and existing mobile precinct.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—An unidentified woman died on Sunday, October 18 at approximately 1:30pm, after jumping off of the Paterson Street parking garage in an "apparent suicide," according to authorities.

    New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) spokesperson Captain JT Miller said the agency investigated "an apparent suicide when an individual jumped from the Paterson Street deck yesterday afternoon."

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A resident of the city's Sixth Ward is leaving her position with the Paterson school system for a higher-paying position in New Brunswick's schools.

    Marnie McKoy becomes the first major Paterson school official to follow Aubrey Johnson from the Silk City to the Hub City.  Johnson was named New Brunswick's first new Superintendent in a decade, and took office in July.

    McKoy will earn $157,000 as the district's new Director of Human Resources starting November 2.  

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE (10/21): This story has been updated to reflect new information provided by the City of New Brunswick. 

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A woman was hospitalized after suffering second-degree burns in her condominium on the sixth floor of the city's second-tallest skyscraper after a steam pipe ruptured causing flooding.

  • Photo Credit: Somerset Co. Prosecutor's Office

    FRANKLIN, NJ—Two New Brunswick men and a woman from Franklin Township have been arrested and charged with cocaine possession after a wild series of events that included a narcotics-detecting dog sniffing packages, police surveillance of a home, and a high-speed chase that ended in a crash.

    Authorities say the operation, which resulted in the siezure of five kilograms of cocaine, all started with a tip passed along to Somerset County authorities by the New Brunswick Police Department.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit:

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--’The offices of Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey were without electricity for two hours in the county-owned, but privately-managed "Civic Square" building at 25 Kirkpatrick Street.

    The power outage occurred on Tuesday, October 6, but no authorities publicized the problem, or any contingency plans implemented.

    On October 8, Middlesex County Freeholder H. James Polos confirmed that the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) had been affected by the sudden outage two days earlier.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's rank-and-file police and superior officers will be getting annual raises  through the year 2021 under a four-year contract extension approved 5-0 by the City Council on October 7.

    Mayor James Cahill is expected to sign off on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the New Brunswick Police Benevolent Association (PBA) 23 and 23A, which will continue the existing pattern of annual raises.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Officials confirmed that the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) was evacuated for over an hour on October 7, due to a "suspicious package" sent to the Sheriff. 

    "Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred S. Scott received today a suspicious package," reads a statement from county spokesperson Stacey Bersani.

    The Sheriff's Office is headquartered at 701 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, in a building rented by the county from the Boraie real estate company. 

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—At least one person was injured in a shooting at the New Brunswick Apartments and quickly taken to a hospital in a private vehicle, while police began investigating the incident.

    The complex has been a crime hotspot in recent years, and October 5 was no different, as three or four shots reportedly rang out at around 9:30pm, according to police radio transmissions.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE (5:40PM): New Brunswick's school district announced it won't be sending kids to the warehouse school after all, crediting "impressive, around-the-clock coordination" between New Brunswick Public Schools maintenance teams, the office of New Brunswick Mayor James M. Cahill, city personnel, the Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management, and school district administrators and teachers.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's longtime Recreation Director has left his city job, sparking a fierce but quiet competition to replace him.

    Michael Blackwell served as Cahill's Recreation Director for most of his 24 years in office, and worked for the city for over 29 years and boasted of building multiple New Brunswick teen centers.

    "Mike Blackwell's final day of work with the City was August 31. His salary was $84,467," said city spokesperon Jennifer Bradshaw.

  • Photo Credit: Nathaniel Williams

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Moses Williams, a longtime champion for Black Americans, and people all over the world seeking a more peaceful society, passed away on September 21 at the age of 74.

    For four decades, Williams worked with the United Nations (UN) on countless projects, serving as a member of Athletes United for Peace (AUP) and as the Vice Chair of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

  • Photo Credit:

    MILLTOWN, NJ—Neil Raciti, a local government official who also serves in law enforcement, was charged with owning an illegal AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    The weapons charges came just four days after Raciti was charged with aggravated assault after an incident where he allegedly fractured someone's elbow.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers University's computer networks have once again been attacked and forced offline, apparently by the same anonymous person who crippled the university's systems several times last semester.

    The attacks come after officials reassured the campus community that the school had poured upwards of $3 million into improving its cybersecurity following a slew of attacks during the spring semester.

  • Photo Credit: ESPN

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—At the same time he recruited many of the players infamously arrested earlier this September, former Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano served on the board of a 501(c)3 non-profit "Crime Stoppers" group spearheaded by New Brunswick's Police Director.

    Of the ten current and former Rutgers football athletes arrested and accused of violent crimes this season, Schiano had recruited five of them: Tejay Johnson, Ruhann Peele, Daryl Stephenson, Jamil Pollard, and Leonte Carroo.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE (9/28): NBPA Executive Director Mitch Karon told NBToday, "I spoke to [store operator Kevin] Kim regarding the storing of perishable items at Ferren. He advised me that he will be removing and destroying any product that were in open containers."

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A long-awaited redevelopment project on a prime piece of real estate is being held up due to environmental contamination, according to several sources.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police and school officials confirmed there was a fire at the Fourth Ward's McKinley Community School on September 22.

    New Brunswick Today learned about the incident through the grapevine, as neither the school district nor the police department issued any public statements about the incident until we asked them to confirm the blaze.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—After 15 months under private control, the city's embattled Water Utility will soon end its relationship with NJ American Water, officials announced on September 16.

    New Brunswick Water Utility provides drinking water to residents and businesses in New Brunswick, Milltown, and parts of Franklin Township.

    The decision marks a big win for water rights activists and local community organizations that opposed any renewal of the privatization deal, which is set to expire on September 30.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A city police officer with a bad habit of not wearing his department-issued nameplate has been discplined for violating the New Brunswick Police Department's (NBPD) uniform policy on multiple occasions.

    An Internal Affairs investigation sparked by this reporter found that Officer Jeffrey Monticello had failed to wear his name badge, a mandatory part of the standard uniform.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Milltown Boro

    MILLTOWN, NJ—Even though he is a sworn law enforcement officer, the President of Milltown's Borough Council was arrested and eventually charged with third-degree aggravated assault after an incident on September 20.

    Neil Raciti, a resident of Albert Avenue, has been suspended without pay from his $86,000/year dayjob, but his future in politics is unclear.

  • Photo Credit:

    WATER PRIVATIZATION IN NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ

  • Photo Credit: Jad Kaado

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—One day after a magician nearly drowned during a high-profile magic trick in downtown New Brunswick, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a road closure for the event.

    That's right.  The Council had not signed off on the failed water stunt that involved a colleague of the famous Criss Angel, and had to approve it after the fact, or "nunc pro tunc."

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers President Robert Barchi announced on September 16 that head football coach Kyle Flood has been "suspended" for three games and fined $50,000 after an investigation found Flood was in violation of the university’s compliance policies, and possibly its Code of Ethics.

    But Flood will still be paid his seven-figure annual salary without interruption.  As we reported, Flood became the highest-paid state employee after signing a lucrative contract extension last fall.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE (9/18): The New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) announced the arrests of two men in connection with the "shooting incident," and that a handgun was recovered at the scene.

    Charges of Aggravated Assault, Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose were filed against 18-year-old Ashaan Wroten, of North Brunswick, and 19-year-old Allen Kareem, of New Brunswick.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Several violent crimes, including at least two allegedly committed by members of the Rutgers University football team were never publicized by the school, contrary to a pledge made by their Chancellor.

    Richard Edwards, the school's New Brunswick Chancellor, brushed off questions about an armed robbery and assault where a Rutgers student was victimized by seven attackers on September 7.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In an exclusive interview with Mayor James Cahill on August 25, New Brunswick Today learned that another employee in the city's embattled Water Utility has been suspended without pay.

    However, the identity of the suspended employee remains a mystery to the public, despite repeated attempts to obtain that information.

    The utility is still reeling from a scandal involving its longtime treatment plant operator, Edward O'Rourke, who remains suspended after being accused of falsifying official reports in 2013.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Amid a growing list of scandals including football players being charged with robbing marijuana dealers and their coach allegedly running afoul of academic integrity rules, the Rutgers University football team lost on September 12.

    After a decisive victory in their first game of the season, the football team dropped their second game, falling 37-34 to Washington State despite having homefield advantage.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers University officials confirmed that seven people were arrested and charged in connection with the armed robbery of a student near the intersection of Sicard and Morrell Streets.

    The incident occurred at approximately 12:43 a.m. on September 7, according to a Rutgers spokesperson who defended the school's decision not to publicize the incident.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Rutgers University Board of Governors (BOG) will meet behind closed doors for a secret meeting on September 11, presumably to discuss the brewing scandals related to the football team.

    The board has broad powers to set tuition rates, negotiate with unions, buy land and build new buildings, as well as hire and fire the University's President.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The second-highest-ranking elected official in city government admitted he will have no decision-making authority when it comes to renewing the city's controversial water privatization deal with NJ American Water.

    Even though Council President Kevin Egan voted for the existing deal, and is one of five Council members who will presumably get to vote on any renewal contract, Egan said he considers himself to have "zero responsibility" for the decision.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE (11:30AM): The New Brunswick Police Department issued a statement identifying the victim in this incident as 29-year-old Frederick Foat of New Brunswick, and confirming he was shot in the face.

    "He was treated at the hospital and at listed in stable condition," reads the press release.  "At this time there is no suspect identity or description, however the detectives believe the shooter may have fled in a black vehicle with tinted windows."

  • Photo Credit: City of New Brunswick

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A City Councilman criticized this reporter for not owning property in New Brunswick, and then tried to prematurely end the Council's September 2 meeting after he was asked a question about his own real estate holdings.

    The undemocratic move came after Egan repeatedly ordered this reporter to "move on," during a series of questions about the city's Water Utility.

    But Egan raised the stakes by attacking this reporter and then snapping after being asked how many homes he owns.

  • Photo Credit: Google

    NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—Township fire official Craig Snediker has resigned his public position after pleading guilty to embezzling at least $89,000 from the volunteer fire company where he served as Treasuerer. 

    Because Snediker used ATM's to embezzle from the North Brunswick Volunteer Fire Company #3, he faced federal felony charges, and could face 20 years in jail.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Children in Lincoln Elementary School were subjected to a lockdown for at least 25 minutes on the first day of school, after a student ended up in the wrong classroom.

    According to police radio transmissions, dispatchers told any available police units to respond to the school shortly after 11am, almost two hours after the search began for the missing child.

    According to Superintendent Aubrey Johnson, the young student had been identified as missing from class after a "headcount" ended up short at about 9:30 am.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Authorities arrested five current members of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team just two days before the first game of the season.

    In total, nine people were arrested and a tenth suspect remains at large, according to a statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    However, the MCPO statement said that only four of the suspects were "Rutgers students" and did not mention that any were student-athletes.

  • Photo Credit: NBVFD

    NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—Just six days before the largest fire in the town's history, North Brunswick fire official Craig Snediker was sent a proposed plea deal by federal investigators looking into his embezzlement of funds.

    In addition to serving as the township's fire official, Snediker was also the treasurer of North Brunswick Volunteer Fire Company #3, an agency that he stole at least $89,000 from since March 2014.

  • Photo Credit: New Brunswick Board of Education

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Superintendent Aubrey Johnson confirmed that the city school district is backing off its plan to use a warehouse building on Van Dyke Avenue as an elementary school this year.

    The "warehouse school" had previously hosted students while a new elementary school and new high school were constructed, sparking opposition from parents and community leaders.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE (8/31): New Brunswick police confirmed that there was a second victim who was "struck near the armpit area." 

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A young woman was shot near the intersection of Hamilton and Hartwell Streets, at approximately 12:40am on August 30, according to police radio transmissions.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's Housing Authority has lost another member of its powerful Board of Commissioners due to an issue with her eligibility to serve in the position.

    Ida Brangman had lived in the newer of two senior buildings known as Providence Square, located at 55 Harvey Street and was the only "resident" commissioner on the NBHA board.

    Brangman served on the NBHA board since January 2011, but had not attended a board meeting in over a year.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—An event that brought Governor Chris Christie to the Hub City appears to have been responsible for the unauthorized takeover of several public parking meters on August 25.

    Christie's campaign for President organized the event at the Chabad House on College Avenue, but never asked permission to take over the metered spaces on Senior Street.

    At least a half-dozen meters were closed to the general public and identified as "Press parking ONLY."

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On August 10, the Middlesex County Board of Elections offices moved to 11 Kennedy Boulevard in East Brunswick, leaving behind its location in the Hub City.

    The office had been based in New Brunswick, the seat of government for Middlesex County, for longer than officials can remember.

    The Board office has been the place to submit voter registration forms or request voter records, tasks that are critical to local, county, state, and national political campaigns.

  • Photo Credit:

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The first step towards becoming one of "New Brunswick's bravest" is applying to take a civil service test for the position of entry level firefighter.

    The state's Civil Service Commission (CSC) is currently planning to offer the test in the fall of 2015, but the deadline to apply is Monday, August 31.

    (Fire)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On August 19, the City Council voted 4-0 to increase the rates at parking meters throughout the City of New Brunswick for the second time in two years.

    Mayor James Cahill signed the ordinance into law shortly thereafter, and the new rates will take effect on Saturday, August 29.

    A quarter will now buy just 10 minutes of parking, and after two hours, and the rates will increase exponentially to discourage long-term parking at the meters.  The city will also charge for meter parking on Saturdays now.

  • Photo Credit: NewBrunswickHousing.org

    UPDATE (3:15PM): The NBHA website appears to be back to normal for the first time in five days.

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The website for the city's housing authority has been offline for at least four days.

    At times, the site was replaced with a version from more than a decade ago, including inaccurate phone numbers, addresses, and an outdated list of board members.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATES (8/24): NBPD Captain JT Miller identified the pedestrian as 32-year-old Lakia Torres of Newark, and the driver as 26-year-old Ugonna Nworu of Piscataway.

    "No summons were issued at the time of this report. Ms. Torres received a minor abrasion to her arm and complained of pain," said Miller, who confirmed she was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.

    Sheriff Millie Scott confirmed Torres was released from the hospital but has not returned to work.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A captain with the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) defended a detective who has once again been accused of falsely arresting and imprisoning a young man for more than four months.

    Captain William Milligan did not hesitate to admit that there a number of "aggressive officers" on the force, and argued that those officers naturally get more complaints and lawsuits.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A Rutgers employee who was behaving as if he were a bodyguard for University President Robert Barchi was identified as the suspect in an assault investigation, launched by university police after a formal complaint from this reporter.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Questions from an activist about the city's controversial water privatization deal prompted a City Councilwoman to lose her cool during an August 5 public meeting in City Hall.

    Councilwoman Elizabeth Garlatti lashed out at Food & Water Watch's Rita Yelda, calling her "part of the problem."

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers officials finally confirmed on August 14 that Christopher Murray, an employee of the school's Emergency Services division who posted videos of himself speeding on public roadways, had been terminated two weeks earlier.

    A letter emailed to this reporter by Rutgers officials following a public records request says that Murray was terminated on July 31, listing "End of Assignment" as the reason.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) is requesting that the City Council increase the rates at most of the city's 1,000 parking meters, a move that would bring in $300,000 to the NBPA.

    Though they are already among the highest in New Jersey, the increased rates would make it more expensive to park at New Brunswick's meters than at those in the state's largest cities.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Drivers and privacy advocates won a huge victory in December, when New Jersey ended its 5-year pilot program that brought red light cameras to many communities in the area.

    Since then, the Hub City may be the first to actually take down one of the cameras, which have eerily remained standing across the state despite being turned off.

    One of the two cameras at the intersection of Easton Avenue and Park Boulevard has been uprooted and left on the side of the road near Buccleuch Park.

  • Photo Credit: NJ Department of Corrections

    TRENTON, NJ—Former Middlesex County Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo spent his 70th birthday in state prison on July 29, after the NJ State Parole Board denied his request to leave the facility he was first admitted to on September 20, 2013.

    In their July 7 decision, the parole board said Spicuzzo "does not take responsibility for his crime" and "continues to blame others who were subordinate to him."

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In response to concerns about his residency, Luis Gonzalez resigned from his volunteer position as the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners at the New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) on August 5.

    "He resigned this afternoon," said City Council President Kevin Egan at the City Council meeting, just four days after this newspaper reported Gonzalez was living outside New Brunswick in violation of city law.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's school board voted on July 21 to switch from one of the state's joint insurance funds (JIF's) to another, although the change had already taken effect weeks earlier.

    JIF's are groups of government agencies that agree to "pool" their risk and pay the costs incurred from lawsuits or other claims made against their members.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—During the early morning hours of August 2, at least four people were stabbed in New Brunswick as multiple fights broke out during a hot summer night.

    Three people were stabbed on Redmond Street in the Fourth Ward, and at least one more person was stabbed just three hours later on Louis Street in the Sixth Ward, according to police radio transmissions.

    But more than a day later, city officials have not responded to multiple phone and email messages about the stabbings.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: NB Housing Authority

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Princeton resident Luis Gonzalez was named Chairman of the powerful New Brunswick Housing Authority Board of Commissioners on July 22.

    The agency operates and manages a handful of public housing complexes in the city, but also plays a key role in real estate and construction, doubling as the city's "redevelopment agency."

    Gonzalez, a senior financial aid officer for Rutgers University, does not meet a residency requirement to serve on the agency's board.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's parking authority is looking to use license plate readers (LPR's), the same technology that local police departments have been using to quickly look up registration information on vehicles.

    Mitch Karon, the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA), told his board on July 22 that it will soon be debuting the technology for a 90-day trial period and using it to enforce permit parking on city streets.

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's new downtown supermarket, Key Food Marketplace, is set to open on August 21, at the site of the former FreshGrocer.

    New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) Executive Director Mitch Karon told his Board of Commissioners about the positive news at the July 22 NBPA meeting.

    Karon also announced plans to create 19 short-term, off-street parking spaces along Kirkpatrick Street, a requirement of the lease with the limited liability company that will officially run the supermarket.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—As the district's first new Superintendent in more than a decade took his seat on the dais for the first time, the Board of Education's President praised him, saying he had "re-invigorated" the district.

    Aubrey Johnson took over as Superintendent on July 1, but the July 21 meeting was his first on the stage with the board members and the district's professionals.

  • Photo Credit: New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO)

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers University hosted an elaborate party on June 10 at the construction site of the Rutgers Honors College, according to several sources. 

    The hosts of the event estimate that the total cost was approximately $280,000, a figure that has not yet been made public.

    "The event’s costs were covered by the Rutgers University Foundation, Inc., a separate 501(c)3 organization, using only private money," said Nevin Kessler, President of the private foundation closely tied to the university.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On July 22, the city's Housing Authority Board of Commissioners approved an interlocal services agreement to provide inspection services to their counterpart in Wilmington, Delaware.

    The Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA) operates more than 17 public housing complexes with over 2,000 units, making them by far the largest of the four housing authorities in Delaware.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's school district is once again preparing to use a warehouse on Van Dyke Avenue as a temporary school facility, while a new school is being built at the former St. Peter's campus on Somerset Street.

    District officials shy away from using the word "warehouse," and instead referred to the industrial building as "the swing space" or "building 40" during the July 21 Board of Education meeting.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) is investigating an "aggravated assault" incident on Saturday, July 18 near a fraternity that lost recognition from its national chapter and Rutgers University.

    Police first learned of the incident after a "stabbing" victim had already checked in to nearby Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.  The crime occured at approximately 1:45 a.m, according to a Rutgers crime alert.

  • Photo Credit: City of New Brunswick

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Mayor Jim Cahill has appointed of Mark Lavenberg as the city's next Director of the New Brunswick Water Utility, a move approved unanimously by the City Council on July 1.

    The appointment makes Lavenberg the fourth person to hold the job in one year, and the fifth since former Water Director Shawn Maloney took his own life in 2007.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE (7/6): The Middlex County Prosecutor's has identified the victim and suspect in this tragic stabbing.

    Authorities announced that 32-year-old Edgar Martinez was being held on $2 million bail, charged with murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon in the death on July 4, 2015 of 20-year-old Jovanni Garcia-Elvira.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Two intoxicated men from Princeton were robbed and assaulted while sitting on a porch on Seaman Street in the city's Fourth Ward at approximately 3:30am on June 30, according to a police press release.

    But what was not mentioned in the release was that, according to police radio transmissions, one of the victims was found at least two blocks away from the scene of the crime.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick's City Council is slowly coming around to support the concept of paid sick leave for private-sector workers, but the city's longtime Mayor is "still researching" it, according to his spokesperson.

    A June 15 meeting between advocates campaigning for the adoption of the policy, two Council members, and Mayor James Cahill lasted two hours according to participants, who said all three agreed to support the reform.

  • Photo Credit: Construction Management Associates

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In an unprecedented defeat for a controversial developer and their attorney, the New Brunswick Planning Board narrowly voted down a proposal to build a 52-unit apartment building on Mine Street on March 10.

    The board deadlocked, denying Construction Management Associates' (CMA) variance application by a vote of 4-4, the first time in recent memory that a development did not garner unquestioned support from a city agency.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Andrea Eato-White, a longtime manager at the city's Housing Authority, was appointed to the powerful New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) Board of Commissioners.

    Eato-White is the first woman to serve on the NBPA board since Anne Marie Bonnane left her seat in 2000, according to NBPA Executive Director Mitch Karon.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE (7/1): This article has been updated to include information from Captain JT Miller about the second incident: "A 42 year old Hispanic male reported that while near the intersection of Livingston Avenue and Comstock Street three African American males approached in his direction," said Miller.  "One of the males had a knife in his hand."

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Niagara Bottling, LLC.

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–Several popular chain stores in New Jersey were forced to recall their house-label brands of bottled water due to possible E. Coli contamination.

    Niagara Bottling, a national private-label  spring water service, issued a voluntary recall on June 22, asking the public to either boil or not use products manufactured two of its Pennsylvania plants:  Hamburg and Allentown.

    Water bottled there on June 10 through June 18 may be tainted and is unsafe to drink. 

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A limited liability company connected to Boraie Development has purchased a unique maze of connected buildings on Elm Row and Bayard Street for $1.5 million.

    According to property records, the prime piece of downtwon real estate includes two mixed-use buildings and 7-bedroom house are assessed at a value of $575,000.

    The plot of land also includes some greenspace, and takes up a total of just .296 acres.  For years, the property had been owned by several trusts associated with the Mindel family.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police requested backup for "crowd control" after they began looking into an incident where multiple gunshots were heard inside the Robeson Village public housing neighborhood, according to police radio transmissions.

    According to NBPD Captain JT Miller, city police responded to the area of Gatling Court at about 1:15am on June 21.  But when they did, "a crowd formed and began to taunt the officers."

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—According to a posting on a legal advice website, the Rutgers student worker who posted videos of himself driving at speeds faster than 140mph on a highway has been suspended.

    Rutgers had originally refused to confirm whether or not Christopher Murray worked for the school, and still won't say whether he has been fired, suspended with pay, suspended without pay, or remains on the job. 

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE (3:41pm): This article has been updated to include comments from the NBPD spokesperson Captain JT Miller.

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Several people called the police shortly after midnight on June 19 to report hearing four or five gunshots and witnessing people running from a house party on Hamilton Street.

    "We're just getting calls of shots heard in the area," said a dispatcher, according to police radio transmissions.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City Council President Kevin Egan said that no one told him about the hiring of a politically-connected former police officer to a new, unadvertised job within the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD).

    And Egan has no problem with it.

    As we reported, Anthony Barber, a close ally of Mayor James Cahill, left the Board of Commissioners at the New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) last month to take a job at the police department.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—"Someone had one too many and fell in the hole," was how a city official described the accident on April 2 where the Fire Department had to rescue a Rutgers student trapped deep inside a construction site.

    But two months later, officials admit nothing has been to improve safety at a non-union construction site on College Avenue, where the Rutgers Hillel plans to open the largest facility of its type in the country.

  • Photo Credit: Twitter

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A fatal stabbing on the ninth floor of a luxury highrise in downtown has resulted in charges against 16-year-old Jason Molina, who will be tried as an adult.

    Jason Molina's father Bryant Molina is the building superintendent at Skyline Tower, according to sources in the apartment building located at 60 Paterson Street.

    The highrise is operated and managed by Pennrose Properties and was the scene of the crime that claimed the life of a 23-year-old woman on May 11.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    JERSEY CITY, NJ—A notorious developer's yacht set sail from a Hudson County marina as part of a fundraiser for a non-profit organization known as "Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County" on the night of June 10.

    On board were Police Directors from the City of New Brunswick, both past and present, as well as other city police officers and executives at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH).

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Amid an emotional farewell to graduating students, retiring teachers, and the district's top administrator, the New Brunswick Board of Education confirmed Aubrey Johnson to be the district's next Supeintendent at their meeting on June 16.

    Johnson, an administrator in the Paterson school district, will start his new job on July 1, where he will be paid a $177,500 annual salary.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City police responded to the Schwartz-Robeson public housing neighborhood in the Fourth Ward after a report of at least three shots fired on June 17.

    The incident occurred following a fight in the neighborhood, located between Van Dyke and Quentin Avenues, according to New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) radio transmissions.

    "About an hour ago, there was a [disturbance] there," said a dispatcher, who noted there were five to ten people who called police when the shots were fired at approximately 6:10pm.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: YouTube

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) is investigating whether or not an officer may have helped shut down a public roadway to enable an off-duty EMT to drive his private vehicle at speeds in excess of 140mph.

    Christopher Murray, a recent hire at Rutgers Emergency Services, posted a video of himself driving a car on a public road at what appears to be well over 100mph.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    There are ten public schools in the City of New Brunswick, which are operated by the New Brunswick Board of Education and serve the vast majority of children in the city.

    Until 2012, New Brunswick was the only municipality in Middlesex County that did not directly elect its Board of Education.  In November of that year, voters narrowly decided to change to an elected board.

    Now, each year, elections are held in April for the three of the nine seats on the board.  Board meetings are still not recorded or televised, unlike many other school districts.

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    New Brunswick is one of 25 total municipalities in Middlesex County, the second-most populous county of the 21 counties in New Jersey, USA. New Brunswick was incorporated as a town in 1736 and chartered as a city in 1784.

    The city is located along the southern bank of the Raritan River, bordered by Franklin Township (Somerset County), North Brunswick and East Brunswick (Middlesex).  It is located across the Raritan River from Piscataway, Edison, and Highland Park (Middlesex).

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    The primary campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey has been in New Brunswick since its founding in 1766.

    What began as a small religious school has since grown into a one of the largest research and liberal arts insitutions in the United States, and the official state school of New Jersey.

    It is the eighth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and consistently ranks among the top public universities nationwide.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    Like in many New Jersey communities, gun violence, alcohol and drug-related incidents, and motor vehicle crashes are serious problems that affect the city on an almost daily basis in New Brunswick.

    One murder has been reported so far in 2015.  The year before saw four murders reported, down from a high of eight murders in 2012.

    Numerous other crimes continue to plague the city.  Robberies, burglaries, assaults, rapes, and car thefts are among the crimes that are tracked by the NJ State Police on a city-by-city basis.