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.

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    UPDATE (2/6):  Funeral services for Judge Wright will be held on Thursday, February 12, at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, 771 Somerset Street in Somerset.

    The wake will be from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., with the funeral to follow immediately thereafter.

    In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the New Brunswick Education Association, 83 Morris Street, New Brunswick, NJ.

  • Photo Credit: RUOFFCAMPUSAPTS.com

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--City police are investigating another dangerous crime in the city's Sixth Ward, home to Rutgers University.

    According to a crime alert issued by the school, a group of students were robbed by two men they had allowed into their home for a "prearranged meeting," shortly after 11pm on February 2.

  • Photo Credit: Nicholas West

    UPDATE (2/3, 9PM): A source has indicated that an additional seven residents from one of the neighboring properties were displaced because of the fire, bringing the total displaced to fourteen.

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Just after a dramatic Super Bowl came to an end on a cold Sunday evening, a 122-year-old home on Hamilton Street caught fire, injuring one person and leaving seven city residents out of a home.

  • Photo Credit: Middlesex Co. Utilties Authority

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Margaret Brennan was scheduled to be sentenced on February 2 after admitting to stealing $57,000 towards the end of her 29-year tenure at the Middlesex County Utilities Authority (MCUA), where she served as Treasurer and Comptroller.

    The admission, and a plea deal for a 364-day sentence in county jail came in December.  But Brennan, who is 68 years old and worked for the authority for 28 years, still has not spent a night in jail.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--City police are investigating at least one incident on January 31 where a man was robbed at knifepoint by three other men on Harvey Street in the Fifth Ward, according to a Rutgers University crime alert.

    But what the crime alert does not mention is that a similar incident was reported just twenty minutes earlier one block away, according to police radio transmissions.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A lot of attention is paid to New Brunswick's sometimes-heated City Council meetings, where protesters and other critics often descend producing tension and conflict.

    But some of the city's biggest decisions are quietly made with little public discussion at meetings of the five unelected men who make up the New Brunswick Parking Authority's (NBPA) Board of Commissioners

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick police are investigating an assault and robbery that occurred Thursday, January 22, at approximately 7:45 PM on Brookside Avenue, according to a Rutgers crime alert.

    According to the alert, the victim is a resident of Brookside Avenue, who was assaulted by two men in an alley adjacent to his home, located between Freeman Street and Louis Street.

    "He was approached by two male perpetrators who physically assaulted him and removed an item of value," reads the crime alert.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE (4PM): The city plans to tow all vehicles parked on major routes, and the Parking Authority has opened five of its decks (Wolfson, Wellness, Plum Street, Morris Street, and New Street), offerring free parking for city residents until the end of the emergency.

    Rutgers University has also decided to cancel all classes tomorrow, Tuesday Januart 27, and plans to resume a regular schedule on Wednesday.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City police are likely investigating the case of a woman who fell from the top floor of the Gateway parking garage, located near the New Brunswick train station.

    Police arrived to find a "jumper" dead on arrival in the vicinity of Brother Jimmy's BBQ restaurant.

    All signs point to suicide in the case, according to police radio transmissions.  The woman supposedly leaped to her death from the tenth floor of the parking garage, where her car was found. 

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ— Aggravated assaults, and those involving dangerous weapons, were up 47% during the first eleven months of 2014 in New Brunswick, compared to the same period in 2013, according to New Jersey State Police crime statistics.

    From January through November 2014, the New Brunswick Police Department investigated at least 160 assaults that either involved a dangerous weapon or were categorized as "aggravated assaults," including a 65% increase in assaults involving a gun over the previous year's stats.

  • Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Gray

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On January 20, a real estate developer demolished a structure at 29 Mine Street and its accompanying carriage house, in the latest powerplay in the ongoing struggle over the future of the block.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--One of New Brunswick's little-known government bodies can bring together a lot of political forces in one place.

    The nine-member Citizens' Recreation Committee includes three members of the city's Board of Education, the Vice Chair of the New Brunswick Democratic Organization, and a City Council member who serves as a liason.

    All nine members are city residents, who have been appointed by Mayor James Cahill.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—At New Brunswick Today, we believe that the news should be free and accessible to anyone and everyone who wants it.

    That's why, with the help of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Beacon Reader, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000 to expand the city's only bilingual news operation.

    We need your help to make this happen.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's Environmental Commission is one of several volunteer boards and commissions that have a very specific purpose in the New Brunswick government.

    Made up of seven city residents, and some leaders in the city government who usually do not attend, the board meets in the Council Chambers of City Hall at 7pm on the third Tuesday of each month (except December).

  • Photo Credit: YouTube user MrLegolize

    EXIT 9, NJ—A remarkably calm driver pulled over on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike was videotaping one crash involving a tractor trailer, and ended up capturing an even more frightening wreck behind him.

    "I was blocked by two trucks on south bound I-95 at exit 9 in NJ (New Brunswick exit). I only wanted to take a picture while i was awaiting for them to clear up," writes YouTube user MrLegolize.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE: NJ.com has reported that Linden Police located the woman and the van, and that NBPD arrived and ordered the woman be taken to a medical facility.

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--The owner of Park Deli Too convenience store says a regular customer came in on January 18, naked from the waist down, and stole a cargo van left idling outside, before crashing into another vehicle and leaving the scene.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's school board typically meets in public just once each month, in the auditorium of the New Brunswick High School.

    But this year will be a year of change for the district, as the last of its appointed members are faced with a decision to run for election or not, and the district seeks a new Superintendent, just their third in 35 years.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Being a cab driver can be a dangerous job, especially in New Brunswick.

    A driver behind the wheel of All Brunswick Taxi #38 found himself in a frightening situation on Wednesday night after two men he was driving led him to a relatively secluded Second Ward neighborhood and assaulted him in his own vehicle.

    Rutgers University Police did not issue a "crime alert" despite the severity of the crime and its proximity to campus.  Conger Avenue runs parallel to the Cook campus, just 100 feet to the Northwest.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Unlike the area of New Brunswick fortunate enough to be located near Rutgers University campuses, dangerous and serious crimes that occur outside of those areas do not typically result in official notifications to the public.

    As we reported, authorities at the Rutgers University Police Department claim to issue campuswide alerts for all serious crimes in some parts of the city, but other neighborhoods don't get the same treatment from the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD).

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In a meeting that is open to the public, one of New Brunswick's little-known boards will hold its first official hearing in over two decades, perhaps the first in history.

    Tonight's Board of Ethics meeting will be held on the top floor of City Hall, 78 Bayard Street, at 7pm.  The hearing will end at 8:30pm, according to the board.

    New Brunswick has had an Ethics Board since at least 1991, when the state enacted the Local Government Ethics Law, though other information suggests it pre-dates it.

  • Photo Credit: News12 NJ

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Shareef Holder, a 29-year-old city resident, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and heroin possession, with intent to distribute it.

    Holder took a bad situation and made it worse when he crashed into a car on Van Dyke Avenue and then tried to drive away from the scene.

    The initial crash happened between 9pm an 10pm on September 28, 2013.  What happened next ended up taking an innocent person's life and damaging several more vehicles.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ—The Middlesex County government is made up of numerous and sometimes nebulous agencies that manage the various sectors of the county government responsibilities.

    Of them, the Board of Chosen Freeholders, or "Freeholders," for short, is only board that is directly elected by the people of the county.

    The seven-member board host three or four public meetings each month, making for a total of 45 such gatherings in 2015. All but one of the meetings are held in downtown New Brunswick.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—TK Shamy, a lawyer who has worked for the city for more than 25 years, and has run the city's Democratic Party organization for the past eight years, has assumed the top attorney position in city government.

    A press release came shortly after the City Council approved the promotion, putting Shamy in charge of the city's Law Department at the request of Mayor James Cahill, a 24-year incumbent and practicing attorney.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police announced they apprehended two individuals in a December 27 streetfight involving guns, knives, and bats on French Street, and days later charged them with a shooting that injured one man on Livingston Avenue on December 24.

    Meanwhile, a man who escaped injury in that shooting, has been charged with another shooting incident from four months ago, that left a man shot in the abdomen outside a city motel.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police in the Hub City announced they are investigating yet another shooting incident, the second in as many days.  Both cases are unsolved and police are seeking the public's help.

    This time no one was hit, but a parked 2004 silver Mercedes was hit with two gunshots, according to authorities.

    According to a NBPD press release touting recent arrests in unrelated incidents, police said they are looking into a reported "shots fired" incident around 9pm on January 6.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The houses at 17 and 29 Mine Street, and a garage between them, are slated to be demolished this month, according to activist Jennifer O' Neill, who has been fighting plans for a 52-unit apartment complex in the same location.

    On August 8, the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office deemed the three-block street eligible for a historic district designation.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE (1/7): Police confirmed the incident and identified the victim as 26-year-old German Flores-Peres, of New Brunswick.  Flores-Peres was shot in the shoulder and in stable condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, police said.

    "Video surveillance shows the victim being chased by a suspect who then flees the area in a dark colored vehicle. The preliminary investigation suggests the assault stems from an ongoing domestic issue amongst family members," reads the police statement.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's five-member City Council will meet just twice per month for most of 2015, and three times in December.

    Years earlier, the Council downsized from four meetings per month, over the objections of residents.

    The meetings are usually on Wednesdays and items to be voted on at each meeting are listed on the agenda, which is typically posted to the city website by the Friday before the meeting.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rumor has it that Kevin Egan, a union official with the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers Local 456, will serve as the City Council President in 2015.

    Though Egan made repeated references to his becoming President of the five-member City Council in December, both he and the woman he would replace, his running mate Rebecca Escobar, would not confirm this after they were both sworn into a second term on January 2.

    "We haven't even talked about that yet," said Escobar.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police are investigating an armed robbery reported at a plastic supply company on Seaman Street on the evening of January 3.

    According to police radio transmissions, dispatchers received a call at about 6:40pm reporting the robbery, which involved a gun being displayed, at a business called General Plastic Supply.

    Police said the robbery call had something in common with another recent incident.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City police are investigating a robbery and stabbing that occurred underneath the railroad overpass at Suydam Street shortly after 5pm on January 1.

    The New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) first responded to the reports of a "man down" at the corner of Suydam Street and Joyce Kilmer Avenue, where a passerby spotted the fallen man bleeding and called authorities.

    Police on the scene said the victim sufferred "very large wounds" from a stabbing in the lower back.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—As the city's Water Utility works to restore its reputation after a costly coverup, changes being implemented are also proving to be costly, and that cost is now being passed on to businesses and residents in the city, as well as Milltown and Franklin.

    After being charged with filing falsified reports to cover up situations where people should have been alerted to boil their tap water on seven occasions, the city borrowed more than $6 million, and put the Water Utility under a controversial privatization agreement.

  • Photo Credit: City of New Brunswick

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Christmas morning is often spent with loved ones enjoying fun surprises, but the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) says it was quite the opposite for many car-owners in the areas of Hiram Square, Riverside, and 33 Commercial  Avenue.

    There, about 25 residents or visitors were in for a nasty surprise when they went to their cars for the first time on the holiday, according to the city.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The county is buying an aging parking deck for $4.75 million from the New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA), in an attempt to turn it into a downtown park.

    NBPA officials said that the county was eager to close the deal on the 525-car parking garage by January 1, and other sources confirm the deck will close for good on February 1.

    "Work to build a new County Park will commence in the latter half of 2015 and extend through 2016," said county spokeswoman Stacey Bersani.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE (3:40PM): A statement "from the Desk of Freeholder Charles Tomaro" confirms that the Freeholder "broke his left femur on Dec. 26 when he made a misstep while carrying chairs down the basement stairs at relative’s home and tumbled onto a concrete floor.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—For the first time in four years, New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill intends to give a speech detailing the "State of the City," an act that was once an annual tradition but faded away during his sixth term in office.

    The speech will follow Cahill's "swearing in" ceremony, currently scheduled for 11:30am on the top floor of City Hall at 78 Bayard Street. The ceremony is open to the public.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Middlesex County Superior Court Judge  Bradley Ferencz is preparing to retire from his powerful position, having served as Presiding Judge of Criminal Division since 2011.

    One of Ferencz's clerks confirmed to New Brunswick Today that the judge's last "work day" will be January 16, and he will be officially retiring at the end of January.

    Ferencz, an East Brunswick resident, earns a $165,000 annual salary as a judge, and has been enrolled in the state pension system since 1997.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's police department has opted to pay $75,000 to a man who sued them after the department wrongly arrrested and imprisoned him for nearly a year.

    Jose Granados-Joya alleged in a lawsuit that officers arrested twice as many people as they should have after a fight in February 2011, and gave false testimony to a grand jury later that year, keeping him in prison for eleven months.

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A Superior Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the City of New Brunswick, forcing the city's cops to stop enforcing two ordinances against panhandling.

    The decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by John Fleming, a 50-year-old man who often holds up a sign asking for money on George Street.

    "John Fleming may be homeless, but he's not hopeless or helpless in his battle against the begging ban in New Brunswick," said NJTV reporter Michael Hill.

  • Photo Credit: New Brunswick Today

    EDISON, NJ—Located just a quarter-mile south of the county's much-touted "greenway," a new natural gas pipeline built by Houston-based U.S. Pipeline (USPL), Inc. is disturbing sixteen acres of land in Edison and Woodbridge.

    But it appears the project's supporters may have forgotten the lessons of an infamous and devastating gas explosion that struck Edison twenty years ago, and ignored the spirit of a township ordinance meant to keep pipelines from running near homes and other buildings.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UDPATE (12/30): New Brunswick Today's free print edition is now available at two additional locations in the city, Feaster Park (Throop Avenue & Handy Street), and Joyce Kilmer Park (Joyce Kilmer Avenue & Comstock Street).

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick Today, the city's only bilingual newspaper, is now available 24 h0urs a day, seven days a week at several locations throughout the city.

  • Photo Credit: DEVCO

    ATLANTIC CITY, NJ—A committee created by Governor Chris Christie to explore ways to revitalize the struggling economy of this city has recommended the creation of a private non-profit development corporation similar to the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO).

    (DEVCO)
  • Photo Credit: NBPD

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick Police video of the November 21 traffic stop and DWI arrest of McKinley Community School Vice Principal Lester Voorhees shows that he repeatedly mentioned his position to officers who had pulled him over.

    "I work at a school.  I'm the Vice Principal," Voorhees told Officers Matt Ganzer and Rodney Tillery two minutes into the stop.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    DETROIT, MI--Rutgers University's football team is bowl-bound for the fourth consecutive year, as the Scarlet Knights will face the University of North Carolina in the first-ever Quick Lane Bowl on December 26.

    In their first year since making the switch to the Big Ten athletic conference, Rutgers will once again be playing in a postseason bowl game.

    While the stakes are not particularly high in this year's final matchup, the game does provide the team's graduating seniors one more chance to play football on national television.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City police responded to reports of a shooting outside of a bar at the corner of High Street and Hamilton Street, shortly after 2am this morning.

    "We got [shell] casings in the roadway here," said an NBPD officer who arrived quickly on scene.

    Because the incident occurred along the border between the Fifth and Sixth Wards of the city, just blocks away from the Rutgers campus in a student-dominated neighborhood, Rutgers Police issued a "crime alert," the sixteenth such alert of the semester.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: New Brunswick Today

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—It has been our pleasure to cover the news in the Hub City city for the past three years.

    What started as a humble e-mail newsletter called "The Message" morphed into a robust and trusted source of news in our community.

    In the past three years, we have grown from a small website with two volunteers to a full-fledged print and online community news operation, publishing articles in both English and Spanish and employing nearly 30 reporters.

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    PISCATAWAY, NJ—Rutgers Chancellor Richard Edwards announced the death of a Rutgers student, Neha Musipatla, who graduated from Piscataway High School just six months ago.

    Musipatla passed away Monday evening, according to a campuswide email sent by Edwards at 3:16pm today,

    Musipatla was a first-year student in the School of Arts and Sciences and a resident of Piscataway Township.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Middlesex County Freeholders were not aware of the salary of their top attorney Thomas Kelso, but the board was still ready to grant him another three years as the county government's top attorney  at their December 4 meeting.

    Kelso, a close political ally of former New Brunswick Mayor John Lynch Jr., was re-appointed to another three-year term in the powerful position of "County Counsel."

  • Photo Credit: Victor Gatica

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Tensions ran high on Friday as protest organizers steered a crowd of well over 100 people onto Route 18, the city's main artery, taking a historic stand against racism and the lack of accountability for police killings across the country.

    The protest had the same beginning and ending points as one held two weeks earlier, but took a more circuitous route through much more of the city, including several stoppages of traffic.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In September and October, the city's police department received more than $243,000 worth of equipment from the US Department of Defense, according to records made public by NJ.com.

    Captain JT Miller, the spokesperson for the New Brunswick Police Department, confirmed that the city received a six-wheel-drive "utility truck/van."  According to the records, the turck is valued at $111,395.

  • Photo Credit: Township of Edison

    EDISON, NJ—In a bizarre proceeding held largely in secret, a majority of the Township's Ethics Board came to the conclusion that Mayor Thomas Lankey had violated the state's ethics law.

    The board met privately for over an hour before taking a surprising 4-0 vote that Lankey had violated the law by accepting free legal representation from the town's official attorney in a personal matter.

    But by a 5-1 vote, the board also opted not to fine Lankey, a part-time mayor who also works at JFK Hospital.

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    NEW BRUNSWICK—A 35-year-old man from Ward Street died  on November 21 after being physically restrained by his family and city police officers, while going through what authorities described as “emotional distress.”

    Just over seventeen hours after Saiseram Somwar's death, the office of Middlesex Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey released a statement saying their investigation "determined police acted properly during their response to the family emergency."

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A woman from Trenton was shot on Seaman Street in the city's Fourth Ward around 4:15pm on Monday, November 24, making her the second victim of a shooting on that block this year.

    Today, a full week after the shooting, police announced the details of the incident, and a subsequent raid, for the first time.

    Police identified 24-year-old Brittney Holt as the sole victim of the shooting.  Holt was shot in the head but remains in stable condition, according to a New Brunswick Police Department statement.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Mike Mahony, the city's former Chief Housing Inspector, pleaded guilty to possession "with intent to distribute" less than a half an ounce of cocaine on November 17.

    According to the Attorney General's Office, Mahony agreed to plead guilty to a charge of "third-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute."

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—One week ago, county officials said, "The County OEM received a request from Rutgers Fire Department on Nov. 1 for use of the medical bus."

    Rutgers' response to that statement was simple: "There is no Rutgers University Fire Department."

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Less than 24 hours after New Brunswick Police Department promoted five officers, the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office was not to be outdone.

    Sheriff Mildred Scott promoted six officers in total during a ceremony in courtroom #201 of the Middlesex County Courthouse on November 26.

    Unlike New Brunswick Police Department's promotion ceremony, this one was open to the press and the public.

  • Photo Credit: Jonathan Gulo

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Hundreds of students, faculty, and community members rallied and marched across the city on November 25, in response to the decision of a St. Louis County, Missouri grand jury investigating the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

    City officials estimate there were some 400 protestors, while organizers said there were more than 500 present for the march down George Street.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather advisory for Middlesex County until 10pm after a winter storm struck the area this morning.

    "A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow... sleet... or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties," reads the advisory.  "Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities.... And use caution while driving."

  • Photo Credit: City of New Brunswick

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's 126-member police department is a little more top-heavy after five promotions made today in a closed ceremony at City Hall.

    As we reported earlier this year, the New Brunswick Police Department already had six lieutenants and sixteen seargents, all of whom make salaries in excess of $111,000.

    Above them are three captains and the department's Civilian Director, Anthony Caputo.

    (Police)
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    UPDATE (7:00PM): "Vanessa Perez-Bautista has been located," said NBPD Captain JT Miller.  "The New Brunswick Police Department would like to thank everyone for their help and support."

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Brunswick Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing 12-year-old girl, Vanessa Perez-Bautista, of Townsend Street in the Second Ward.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On November 17, under questionable circumstances, Middlesex County's Freeholder Board took an $8 million vote to close down a historic healthcare facility that the county has run for 78 years.

    Typically, the seven-member Freeholder board holds agenda sessions on Mondays and then regular, televised meetings on Thursdays.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—For the eight time this year, New Brunswick's Planning Board is scheduled to hear plans to build a large new apartment building on Mine Street.

    Initially, plans were delayed due to a developer's miscalculation computing the number of parking spaces required, greatly downplaying the significance of a required parking variance.

    The plans call for the demolition of two homes that were once the Rutgers Catholic Center, and to replace them with a four-story apartment building with 66 bedrooms.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On November 5, an activist known for his sharp criticisms at City Council meetings directed a derogatory ethnic slur at the Council President, a Latina woman, just after boasting about an award he received from a city-based Latino organization.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--A Rutgers student reported he was restrained with a baseball bat while laptops were stolen from his residence on Stone Street near College Avenue.

    The call came into police at 7:20pm on Friday night, about fifteen minutes after the robbery allegedly occurred.

    It sparked the eleventh university crime alert since October 7, though New Brunswick Today has shown many seemingly serious crimes are not reported through the system.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A new policy set to be implemented by the Rutgers-New Brunswick library system would require library users to present a Rutgers ID card beginning at 10pm each night, effective November 16.

    But the policy has some saying it will leave the city's homeless community out in the cold, at a time when shelters are not available.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On Wednesday, November 5, the city's Latino community came out in full force to attend a City Council hearing on a resolution calling on New Jersey's government to issue "driving privilege cards" to undocumented residents.

    The massive turnout, which rivaled the largest crowds ever to attend a New Brunswick City Council meeting, was organized by Faith in New Jersey, a multi-racial and multi-faith network working to advance a "social justice agenda."

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    UPDATE (11:34PM): Rutgers Police announced that 19-year-old Danwitt D. Jean-Baptiste, of Roselle, has been arrested and charged with one count of criminal sexual contact in this case.

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—According to a Rutgers crime alert, a female student reported being approached by an unknown man while walking on College Avenue between Hamilton Street and Seminary Place at approximately 2pm on November 10 .

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City officials confirmed an assault and attempted robbery took place at approximately 7:22pm on Sunday, November 9, in the city's Second Ward.

    Sources in the community said the incident occurred where a streetlight is out on Lee Avenue between Baldwin and Hale Streets.

  • Photo Credit: RUPD/NBPD

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick City Hall announced the arrest of a juvenile for a robbery in downtown on Friday, saying it was connected to previous incidents.

    "During the investigation, the suspect was found by police to be in possession of property taken from victims in two separate robbery incidents reported over the past month," read a press release issued by city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw, rather than the city's police department.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—From June through August, there were only five crimes that the Rutgers University Police Department reported to students through their recently overhauled campuswide notification program.

    But the crime alerts are coming in much more frequently now.  In the past week alone, students and other community members have been alerted to three different armed robbery attempts in the same general area. And it's not clear how many other similar situations have not generated crime alerts.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Not much is known about the man who was scheduled to take over as New Brunswick's Water Utility Director this week.

    All five of the City Council's members admitted they had never met or spoken with Alexei Walus, who previously worked at the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority.

    But that did not stop the Council from approving him as the city's next Water Director at their October 15 public meeting.

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    UPDATE (11/5): Herbert Gross did better than expected in yesterday's election, coming in second place, but Gayle Brill Mittler dominated with 71.5% of votes cast on Election Day.

    HIGHLAND PARK, NJ—While New Brunswickers are looking at ballots with only one candidate for Mayor in today's election, Highland Park residents have three choices to pick from.

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    NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ--North Brunswick police confirmed that they investigated "numerous shots being fired" in a "road rage incident" in the area of How Lane and Route 27 shortly after 2am on Saturday November 1.

    No one was injured, but two men from out of state were arrested in the case.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Halloween night fell on a Friday this year, casting a spell that negatively impacted public safety as large crowds roamed the streets of New Brunswick, and a number of  alcohol overdoses overwhelmed hospitals and ambulance services near the main campus of Rutgers University.

    It was not uncommon to hear reports of unconscious, and sometimes bleeding individuals, lying somewhere in New Brunswick or Piscataway, where Rutgers hosts five different campuses, waiting for an ambulance.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On October 2, Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald Rios gave the annual "State of the County" address.

    Among the highlights are two plans for housing in Edison, the county's largest municipality.

    The first is a plan for 30 units of veteran's housing in a project that is already under construction in Edison, known as the Kilmer Homes.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    UPDATE (11/5): All four ballot questions passed in their respective areas (county and statewide).  New Brunswick voters also overwhelmingly approved all of the questions.  State Question Number 1 was the closest, but that won 1,101-785 in the Hub City.

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Middlesex County voters will be presented with four ballot questions in the November 4 general election that pose possible policy changes to pretrial detention, environmental preservation, cultural arts support, and women's health programs.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Another one of the top leaders in the city's non-profit community is leaving their position, as Jeffrey Vega announced his departure as President of New Brunswick Tomorrow, a post he has held for fourteen years.

    Vega, a 47-year-old resident of Monroe Township has run the non-profit since 2000, having worked there since 1993.

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Two victims of a recent shooting, and their family members, are taking issue with public statements made by New Brunswick Police that indicated they were involved in an "ongoing dispute" with their shooter, who remains unidentified.

    Brothers Ryan Howard and Ricky Drake say they were surprised to see that the police released their names, but still have not identified the shooter publicly.

    "There's no suspects," said Howard.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City officials say they are close to a deal that would bring another supermarket to the downtown space that was once occupied by the short-lived FreshGrocer.

    New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) Executive Director Mitch Karon confirmed his agency was "in negotiations" with a supermarket operator to replace the FreshGrocer, which closed down in May.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE (10/27): City police identified the victims of the shooting as Ricky Drake (30 years of age from Piscataway) and Ryan Howard (24 years of age from New Brunswick).  Both were taken to a hospital and treated for gunshot wounds to the leg.

    "The initial police investigation suggests this shooting stems from an ongoing dispute between the victims, an acquaintance and the shooter," reads the official police statement.

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Authorities identified a  body found in the Hudson River, and determined that it belonged to a 20-year-old Rutgers student named Paul J. Kim.

    On the morning on Tuesday, October 21, passersby reported Kim's bicycle had been abandoned along the George Washington Bridge, connecting Fort Lee and Manhattan.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Longtime Congressman Frank Pallone had cancelled a "town hall" planned for Thursday, October 23, at the regularly scheduled Rutgers student government meeting.

    The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) announced the cancellation in the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 22nd.

  • Photo Credit: City of New Brunswick

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—An investigation sparked by this newspaper's discovery of official New Brunswick police ticket books in a public garbage can has led to punishment for two city police officers, officials confirmed.

    "The tickets that Mr. Kratovil brought in were disposed in a garbage can and that was wrong, and those officers were disciplined for their actions," said New Brunswick Police Captain J.T. Miller, at the October 15 City Council meeting.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Wikipedia

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Just days after a man committed suicide by jumping off the Morris Goodkind Bridge, another man attempted to do the same from the parallel Donald Goodkind Bridge at approximately 10am this morning.

    But this man had a different fate.  He ended up surviving the jump and swimming to the shores of Edison Township.

    "We got a guy that just jumped off the bridge on Route 1," reported a dispatcher this morning on the police radio.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers officials have not responded to questions about a donation made to the school's women's tennis team earlier this year, at the same time hearings were scheduled on the plans for a controversial 57-unit apartment building on Mine Street.

    The donation came from by New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) President Chris Paladino, whose non-profit development firm owns the land in question.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police responded to a shooting in a home at the corner of Lee Avenue and Sandford Street, at approximately 7:52 pm this evening.

    A caller had reported one man was shot, but police could immediately locate the victim, who may have been in a pickup truck en route to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

    "We got a lot ofpeople screaming here.  There's a lot of blood, and we can't find the guy," said one of the first officers to arrive to the scene, inside the home at 143 Lee Avenue.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The police pursuit of a stolen car ended in a wreck and one man being arrested at the corner of George and Albany Streets at approximately 12:30pm.

    According to a police press release, 22-year-old Robert White Jr. was charged with eluding, assault by auto, receiving stolen property, and numerous motor vehicle violations.

    According to police radio transmissions, police were dispatched to respond to a report of a 2008 Kia Rondo being, "taken without consent by a male that goes by the name 'Tension.'"

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—And then there were seven.

    In the latest twist in the ongoing saga of a controversial plan for a new building on Mine Street, Planning Board member Andy Kaplan became the second board member to voluntarily recuse himself from involvement.

    Kaplan, who works for Rutgers University as a traffic safety engineer and lives in downtown New Brunswick, told the crowd at Tuesday's meeting he would "rather be safe than have folks argue about me in court."

  • Photo Credit: City of New Brunswick

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On October 3, the city's longtime Chief Housing Inspector resigned, after being suspended without pay for more than nine months following his arrest in a city vehicle that cops say contained a "distribution quantity" of cocaine.

    It was one of the most bizarre "only in New Brunswick" stories when it all went down, and it continues to be today.

    Just days before Christmas, Michael Mahony was allegedly caught using his city vehicle to transport as much as eleven ounces of cocaine, sources said.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—With Superintendent of Schools Richard Kaplan in his final year, the city's school board has hired a former appointee of ex-Governor James McGreevey to lead the district's search for a new superintendent.

    Tonight will be the second opportunity for residents, parents, students, or other concerned citizens to make their voices heard on what they want to see in the next leader in the auditorium at the Lord Stirling Community School on George Street, starting at 6:30pm tonight.

  • Photo Credit: Somerset County Prosecutor's Office

    FRANKLIN, NJ—Authorities have connected two crimes that occurred in quick succession, charging the 19-year-old victim of a stabbing with fatally shooting 17-year-old Joell Burton in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, on Route 27.

    Dequan S. Rogers, age 19, of Alcorne Street in Franklin Township, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, as well as possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a handgun, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—University officials confirmed they will move forward with plans for a parking deck near the nexus of Mine and Union Streets in the Hub City, and that at least one building will be torn down to accomodate the facility.

    Coincidentally, that building is home to the main offices of the official Rutgers student newspaper, The Daily Targum, which has the largest ciruculation of any newspaper based in New Brunswick.

    Last summer, Daily Targum leadership said they expected their building would be knocked down within a year.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—It all began more than five years ago when the Rutgers Catholic Center re-located from its Mine Street location to a brand-new building on Somerset Street.

    That move left two houses and a smaller building on Mine Street vacant.  Rutgers University purchased the properties, 17 and 29 Mine Street, for $1.85 million in 2008.

  • Photo Credit:

    FRANKLIN, NJ—Authorities have not released any information on the shooting of a 17-year-old man near the border between Franklin Township and New Brunswick.

    News 12 New Jersey reported that the family of Joell Burton says the 17-year-old teenager was the victim of the incident, which occurred in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, located on Somerset Street.

  • Photo Credit: Construction Management Associates

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Gregg Mast, the President of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, has not responded to multiple inquiries about a controversial proposed housing development scheduled for a hearing at tonight's New Brunswick Planning Board meeting.

    The meeting is scheduled for 7:30pm in the Middlesex County Administration Building, and renderings for the application are titled "New Brunswick Theological Seminary Housing."

  • Photo Credit: Beg 'n Bark Pet Sitting

    PISCATAWAY, NJ—A memorial for Caitlyn Kovacs, a Rutgers student who passed away last month, has been scheduled for Saturday, October 11, from 2-5pm at the Busch Campus Center on Bartholemew Road.

    Kovacs was a popular sophomore at Rutgers, pursuing a major in Animal Science, and also had many friends from her hometown of South Brunswick, where her parents reside in the Monmouth Junction section.

    Kovacs graduated from South Brunswick High School, where she was a journalist with the school newspaper, "The Viking Vibe."

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--In a victory for citizens fighting against a controversial new building proposed for Mine Street, more than 130 people came to the August 12 Planning Board meeting, forcing officials to re-schedule it because the room was not large enough.

    It was second time in as many tries that the Planning Board hearing had to be cancelled by officials due to overcrowding.

    The meeting has since been re-scheduled for 7:30pm on October 14 in a larger venue: the Middlesex County Administration Building, at 75 Bayard Street.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A physical altercation in the city's Second Ward took a turn for the worst yesterday at approximately 7:45pm, leaving a 16-year-old child shot in the shoulder.

    Police responded to a home on Hale Street where they found the male victim, who had been shot nearly two blocks away near the intersection of Remsen Avenue and Baldwin Street.

    The victim lives in New Brunswick, and attends an an alternative school outside of the city, according to police.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police and emergency medical personnel responded to reports of a shooting at the Quentin Gardens Apartments at approximately 9pm on the evening of October 5.

    A male victim was found lying in the street, according to police radio transmissions.

    But officers on the scene weren't immediately sure if the victim was shot in the incident.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On the heels of an ethics complaint filed by the author of this article, the city's longtime Planning Board attorney has agreed to sit out an upcoming hearing on a controversial development application.

    Filed on August 20, the complaint alleges that Benjamin Bucca has improperly used his position as the Planning Board's attorney to favor his other employer, Rutgers University, where he serves as the womens' tennis coach.