Month: July 2019

Off-Duty Cop Kills Estranged NJ Wife, Prosecutor Says: Patch PM

Share-worthy stories from the New Jersey Patch network to talk about tonight:

Off-Duty Cop Kills Estranged NJ Wife, Prosecutor Says

UPDATE: The officer, who has been identified, shot and killed his estranged wife and critically injured her boyfriend, prosecutors say.>>>Read more.

Somebody Came Knocking On NJ Teen’s Door At Night. Was It ICE?

No one really knows if ICE, as President Trump had threatened, fully followed through on its planned raids. But one New Jersey teen reportedly thought she was targeted.

Train Collides With Police Car, Causes Delays

The police vehicle was stopped on the tracks when the train struck it, an NJ Transit spokesperson said.

NJ Town Worker Who Lost Leg Gets $4.35M Settlement

A worker whose left leg was amputated after he was struck by a commercial vehicle has settled, according to a report.

Old Bridge Man Dies While Handcuffed In Police Custody, AG Says

An Old Bridge man who police say was high on drugs died early Monday morning after police handcuffed him and he became unresponsive.

Also Worth a Look Today

Across America

Patch PM shares a few of the day’s must-read items from our New Jersey network. Thank you for reading.

Why aren’t more doctors being trained in N.J.? Start with 1996 rule congressional leaders are trying to change

There was the incredible number: The country is expected to have a shortage of 120,000 doctors by the year 2030.

And the incredible local number: New Jersey is expected to be short 2,500 doctors next year.

And then there was the even-harder-to-believe number: Holy Name Medical Center is only allowed to train six medical residents a year, thanks to a regulation based on 1996 statistics.

In that year, Holy Name had just six residents — thus, that is its limit today.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) is looking to change that, proposing what is called the Graduate Medical Education Bill that would allow hospitals to get reimbursement to train as many doctors as they are able.

It’s a way, he said, of tackling the coming physician shortage head-on — improving health care for state residents and the state economy at the same time.

“Our legislation corrects the arbitrary cap, which will help us recruit and retain more talented physicians to help our New Jersey medical community grow,” he said. “It will make graduate medical school slots available to hospitals that have been locked out for decades now and allow hospitals to invest in teaching programs to attract medical students to Jersey and keep our health care workforce competitive.”

Gottheimer, flanked by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) at an event at Holy Name in Teaneck, is confident the GME bill can get through. Menendez and Pascrell said they will use their status in their legislative houses to see that it does.

“It’s just common sense to have more hospitals to have our new doctors train here in New Jersey,” Gottheimer said.

Holy Name CEO Mike Maron agrees. But, he does so knowing that nothing about the current regulations make sense.

Maron, the well-respected health care thought leader, has been stymied by this ruling for years. He points to nearby hospitals to show just how arbitrary the cap is. Simply put, every hospital is capped at the number of residents it had in 1996 — unless the hospital in question didn’t have a program. Those medical centers can add residents at will.

“Palisades General had none in 1996, now they have over 100 residents — and they are getting fully reimbursed, because the rule says if you had zero in ’96, you’re free to go,” he told ROI-NJ. “(Valley Hospital CEO) Audrey Meyers could do this unencumbered tomorrow. She wouldn’t have to do anything special. She could just start it and get paid for it. I can’t.”

All because of something that happened more than two decades ago.

“What happened in 1996 was a (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) regulation,” Maron said. “And, in order to change the regulation, you need new legislation. So, 1996, believe it or not, is the base year for how Medicare reimburses hospitals today across all services.

“The (system) Medicare uses to pay us is based on 1996 practice. Graduate medical education is a component of that system. And, so, what they did is, they just froze it.”

Despite this, most hospitals are not impacted today. Many did not have programs in 1996. Others have since joined greater health care organizations.

“There aren’t many of us left,” Maron said, refereeing to standalone hospitals.

This confusion, he said, caused a previous version of this bill to be presented poorly.

“The (Congressional Budget Office) marked up the bill all wrong,” he said. “I remember the headline: It said this bill would cost more than building a wall. How are you going to get that passed?”

Menendez said he is hopeful the new bill can be attached to upcoming legislation on Medicare.

Maron said it can’t happen soon enough.

He said no one in the state would object, saying more than 300 graduates last year did not have residency programs available. Holy Name, he said, would gladly take them.

And Holy Name already has a bigger partner ready to help provide students and assistance: Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Mount Sinai Chief Medical Officer Ben Kornitzer said the hospital is ready to partner.

“We understand the resources and investment that are needed to be made for this to be a successful program,” he said. “We are 100% committed to working with the excellent leadership here and identifying what those resources are, what those strategies are, so we can be partners and help support further growth of this residency program.”

Maron said new rules — and a new partnership with Mount Sinai — could help change another number: The small percentage of medical graduates who actually want to become the doctors that are needed most: general practitioners.

“Many of the major academic centers want to train specialists because the general perception out there is that there’s more money to be made being a specialist and better work hours,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is dispel that myth.

“We’re going to show doctors that you can have a balanced lifestyle and have a very rewarding career as a primary care physician. We think we can move that needle significantly by exposing them to how we do things here.”

Read more from ROI-NJ

More By Tom Bergeron

Ridgewood Hospital Bringing Back At-Home Medical Visits To Bergen

RIDGEWOOD, NJ — At-home medical visits are back in Bergen County due to a new partnership between Valley Health System and DispatchHealth.

DispatchHealth offers on-demand healthcare through its mobile app by partnering with local medical care providers.

Medical teams consist of a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner and a medical technician. Teams have medical kits containing most of the tools and technologies found in hospital emergency rooms, including echo cardiogram testers and intravenous fluids.

Teams are able to treat a variety of common illnesses and injuries, including urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, injuries from falls, and the flu. Prescriptions can be sent directly to a patient’s pharmacy.

The service accepts most insurance providers, including UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, and Cigna.

DispatchHealth’s North Jersey service area stretches from the Bergen County-New York state border to much of southern and western Bergen County.

“DispatchHealth offers our community the convenience of an urgent care visit in the comfort of their homes,” said Dr. John McGreal, an emergency room doctor and co-medical director of the DispatchHealth service at Valley.

Reports are provided to a patient’s primary doctor, living community, or home health agency.

Users can request a team to their home from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, including holidays.

“A convenient option to cost-effective, high-acuity medical care isn’t always easy to come by,” said Daniel Medina, director of DispatchHealth’s Ridgewood market area. “This collaboration will help increase access to affordable care for northern New Jersey seniors or busy working parents, both of whom can benefit from staying home for treatment.”


Murphy announces weeklong September trade mission to India

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced a seven-day trade mission to India in September, aimed at strengthening ties with the state’s second-largest foreign direct investor.

Murphy will visit six cities as part of the trip, including Delhi, Agra, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. The visit will make him the first governor of New Jersey to visit India on official business, the Governor’s Office said.

The focus of the economic mission is to strengthen business ties with India, cultivate international investment opportunities here and deepen cultural and economic ties between the state and nation. Murphy noted in his remarks that New Jersey has the nation’s fourth-largest Indian community, at an estimated 420,000-plus residents — a number that also makes the Indian community the state’s largest ethnic minority group.

“As India’s role as one of our key partners continues to expand, we want to make sure we maximize the potential of our economic relationship,” Murphy said at the event. “I am excited to make the case for New Jersey as a leading investment choice for Indian companies, creating lasting partnerships and good jobs for our residents. We are proud to be home of one of America’s most deeply-rooted Indian American communities, and growing our economic partnership will only strengthen those ties.”

The news of the trip was first reported in April by ROI-NJ, when state Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan described plans during an Indian Business Association event.

Plans for the trip include meeting with key government and industry leaders, as well as visits to companies and official announcements.

The trade delegation will include Murphy, first lady Tammy Murphy, Choose New Jersey CEO and President Jose Lozano, Sullivan and other officials.

“We are thrilled to be part of Gov. Murphy’s economic mission to India in September,” Lozano said. “New Jersey is a leader in the life sciences, medical technology, clean energy and manufacturing, and we are the best place for international companies to do business. We look forward to strengthening our close cultural and economic ties with our partners in India during this trip, and attracting more businesses to invest in the Garden State.”

Added Sullivan: “In our increasingly interconnected world, driving international trade and investment is critical to making New Jersey a global competitor and building a foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth. As the country with the third-largest (gross domestic product) in terms of purchasing power, India is already a formidable player in the international economy, and the country’s influence is only continuing to grow. Gov. Murphy’s trip is an important step forward that will pave the way for new business partnerships between New Jersey and India and bring more investment and jobs to the Garden State.”

Murphy announced the trip at an event presented by the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce held at the Spice Culture restaurant in South Plainfield.

Officials from the Somerset-based chamber — celebrating its 25th anniversary this year — presented Murphy with a “good luck shawl” and plaque at the start of the remarks.

“We are so honored that Gov. Phil Murphy has chosen the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce to announce his trade mission to India in September of this year,” chamber President Priti Pandya-Patel said in her introduction. “As a community leader, business owner and longtime resident of New Jersey, it is so remarkable that this administration has made extra effort to embrace the value of our Asian Indian Americans for their contributions in New Jersey as well as recognizing the strengths of the companies based in India. On behalf of the board of directors and members of the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, we would like to wish Gov. Murphy and his team a safe and successful journey to India.”

Read more from ROI-NJ:

Read more from ROI-NJ

More By Eric Strauss

River Edge’s Christian Arabas Remembered As ‘Amazing,’ ‘Special’

RIVER EDGE, NJ — Christian Arabas is being remembered with kind words following the 14-year-old’s tragic death recently.

Arabas, a River Dell Middle School alumnus, was killed in a boating accident in Florida just days after moving there.

Arabas, his mother Meredith, and brother, Tim, are originally from River Edge. They moved to Florida recently after Meredith got a new job, said Tracey Schoenberg, a friend of the family who set up a GoFundMe page to help the family. Arabas died a few days after they moved, she said.

Related: River Edge Native, 14, Dies In Florida Boat Accident

More than 240 people donated $31,000 since the page went live Sunday. Some remembered Arabas in the page’s comments section.

“My heart just breaks about the sudden loss of an amazing boy. Christian will always hold a special place in my heart. To know him was to love him,” said Lisa Salvatore.

“My son Jack, was a friend of Christian’s, Jack said he was a ‘great kid and so nice,” said Anne Gerne Wodenshek on the GoFundMe page. “Jack and I send our condolences and are praying for Christian and his family.”

“Christian was a special kid and our thoughts and prayers are with your family,” the Gilmour family said.

River Dell Regional School District Superintendent Patrick Fletcher said the district was”deeply saddened” to learn of Arabas’ death.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Arabas family at this difficult time,” Fletcher said.

The family is moving back to the area and Tim Arabas will attend River Dell Regional High School, Schoenberg said on the GoFundMe page.

“River Dell remains steadfast in our support and will do everything we can to help,” Fletcher said.


JLL inks sale of 373K sq. ft. office building in Paramus

JLL announced Monday it has closed on the sale of a 373,420-square-foot office building in Paramus.

JLL marketed 650 From Road on behalf of the seller, Mack-Cali Realty Corp. A joint venture between Onyx Equities and Garrison Investment Group purchased the asset.

The five-story property, situated on a 20-acre site, offers tenants a cafeteria, on-site daycare and an atrium lobby. It is located within close access to the Garden State Parkway, routes 17 and 4, and Interstate 80. It is also adjacent to the future development of the 365-bed, 910,000-square-foot Valley Hospital.

The sale also included a one-story, free-standing, 10,000-square-foot building recently leased to a medical tenant.

The JLL Capital Markets team representing the seller included Jose Cruz, Kevin O’Hearn and Andrew Scandalios, senior managing directors; Stephen Simonelli and Michael Oliver, senior directors; and Mark Mahasky, director.

“We are excited to complete the transaction on behalf of Mack-Cali” Cruz said.  “The property location, accessibility and tenant base made this a desirable asset for the investment community.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Read more from ROI-NJ

More By Emily Bader

Alyson Lupinetti Takes On the Male-Dominated World of Barbecue

Alyson Lupinetti “mans” the grill, tending to her award-winning ribs as part of ‘Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ’. Photo courtesy of Alyson Lupinetti

Alyson Lupinetti is proving that “like father, like daughter” definitely applies to barbecue. Not only does the 27 year-old Mount Laurel pitmaster follow in her late father Butch’s footsteps all over the country, she wins awards like him, too. On the road for seasonal competitions with the Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ  team, Lupinetti already has 100-plus awards to add to her father’s lifetime of over 600.

The family talent isn’t a surprise: Butch grew up Jersey Italian on a farm in Pemberton. “There was always cooking going on,” says Lupinetti. “He grew up cooking pigs underground.” For her part, Lupinetti grew up assisting her dad in low-and-slow school night cook-outs and—occasionally—sharing the backseat of the family car with a whole pig (see below).

We caught up with Lupinetti a couple days before she left for the New Jersey State Barbecue Championship in Wildwood to ask what it was like to learn from her dad, how she came into her own as both a legacy and a woman in the male-dominated world of barbecue, and what could possibly be next when you’re already a proven pitmaster under 30 (it’s not what you think).

Alyson with her dad Butch in Trenton in 1996. Photo courtesy of Alyson Lupinetti

Table Hopping: Tell us about your journey into barbecue.
Alyson Lupinetti: My parents used to do pig roasts for catering, around 45 a summer. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in the backseat next to this whole pig wrapped in plastic. I used to fall asleep on it! I would name it and make it my friend. It never really freaked me out. Then my dad started doing these events on weekends. He was traveling a lot, and my mom let me go to the ones closer to home. I had a blast. My dad would set me on the counter. He called me his “Little Mascot.”

TH: When did you really start to get hands-on with the barbecue in a serious way?
AL: I definitely started being way more involved when I turned 16. My mom was letting me travel with my dad during the summertime, so I went to a lot more events. I was 18 when my dad passed away. I took the whole business over. I won my first award at the first event I did without him—got second place, “Best Sauce.” It was actually an award they named after my dad because he’d won “Best Sauce” something like 20 out of 22 times there!

TH: You do award-winning St. Louis style ribs, among other things. And the barbecue team does “North Carolina” style. What does that mean?
AL: It means we cook with dry rub only. We let you add your own sauce. A lot of times, people don’t want to cover their meat in sauce—they want to taste the flavor of the actual meat and seasoning and process. We find a lot of people try to hide their mistakes with sauce. If things dry out, you put sauce on it. If it’s too smoky, you add sauce.

TH: I read you sometimes use New Jersey hickory. Why? Besides Jersey pride, anyway.
AL: We always use New Jersey hickory! As long as it’s available to us, anyway. It has a nice, light, smoky flavor that adds to the meat and doesn’t overtake it. A lot of people love cherry and apple; they’re not my favorite, I’m not keen to the way it makes the meat taste.

TH: You’ve probably been asked a lot about being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Do you think it would have been harder for you to be accepted as a woman if you weren’t Butch Lupinetti’s daughter?
AL: Absolutely, unfortunately. It’s starting to change now, obviously there’s a lot going on in the world. But it’s been hard for people to branch into a situation where they’re not the norm. When you think of “barbecue,” you think of an older man, not a younger girl. I faced a little bit of trouble even though I had all these connections! Some people were still giving me a bit of a hard time.

It was difficult. It sort of felt like they were waiting for me to crash and burn. But a lot of people were offering to help me any way they could. I sort of felt like I needed to prove myself. I wished I was proving myself for myself, and not for other people. Now I think I’ve proven myself. I think they know to take me seriously. I’m not going anywhere!

Alyson sharing some of her award-winning ‘cue expertise. Photo courtesy of Alyson Lupinetti

TH: In addition to seasonal competing, you guys also have a truck for catering and events?
AL: Yeah, we built a food truck a couple of years ago. “Butch’s ‘Smack Your Lips’ BBQ.” It’s a year-round thing. My husband and I really enjoy doing barbecue, but I don’t want to be gone that long. We can do food truck events an hour or so away from home, get out, do what we love, and come home to be in our own bed!

TH: What about products? There’s a line of “Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ” sauces. Any chance you’ll come out with your own?
AL: We’re actually working on a sauce right now! We really enjoy it on steak—it’s a heavier molasses base, pretty different from the rest of the sauces in our lineup. I started to develop sauces with my dad. On the label, it’s going to have him and me. I never want to not have him associated with it! I’m so proud to be his daughter.

TH: So you have this weekend in Wildwood coming up, a busy summer, and a year-long food truck. I’m afraid to ask if anything else is on the horizon.
AL: My husband and I actually also flip houses. He’s a general contractor. We own apartment complexes. And we’re getting ready to open a brewery towards the end of the year. We definitely like to stay busy!

TH: No kidding. Can you tell us anything about the brewery? Will you be brewing?
AL: I think I’m gonna leave that to the professionals. We hired a really great brewmaster—Ingrid Epoch. She’s very innovative. A lot of people in the South Jersey area know who she is. But the idea wasn’t ours. We have two partners, who came to myself and my husband wanting my husband to do contract work for the brewery. We believed in the business plan so much, we decided to invest. What goes better with barbecue than beer?

You can order any of Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ sauces, “Magic Dust” dry rubs and even some T-shirt swag here. They also offer a catering menu for larger events. If you’re feeling ambitious, here’s the recipe for “Butch’s Whole Hog” (no kiddin’).

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Sears Closing Wayne Willowbrook Mall Store

WAYNE, NJ — The Sears store at the Willowbrook Mall will close in September.

Sears Holdings’ go-forward company, Transform Holdco LLC, was unable to reach an agreement with the mall and decided not to acquire the store’s current lease, a Sears spokesperson said.

The store will close in mid-September. The number of employees affected was not available. A liquidation sale began at the store Saturday, the spokesperson said.

Sears has been an anchor store at Willowbrook for decades. Part of the store was renovated and a Dave & Buster’s took over that space in February 2018.

Sears struggled in recent years and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. After the Wayne location closes, there will be eight Sears locations in New Jersey.


Teens Led Police On High-Speed Rt. 287 Chase After Car Thefts: PD

HANOVER, NJ — A group of teenagers from Connecticut accused of leading a car-theft ring took police on a multi-town high-speed chase across Morris County this weekend, only ending after they hit a cop car and broke down near a local mall, Hanover police said.

The chase happened on Sunday, and began in East Hanover, police said. A car stolen out of New York was flagged speeding west on Route 10, and onto Route 287 north. The speeding car led police onto Route 80, and eventually onto Route 46 in Wayne.

At the tail end of the chase, the car “rammed” a North Caldwell Police vehicle in Little Falls, before the car broke down near the Willowbrook Mall, Hanover police said.

Some of the teens tried to run away, police said, but after a brief foot chance all seven teens were apprehended.

All the suspects are between 13 and 17, police said, and are from the New Haven, Connecticut, area. The group was charged with eluding, receiving stolen property, possession of under 50 grams of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.

There are also “numerous” motor vehicle charges pending from each of the towns they traveled through, and an aggravated assault charge for ramming into the cop car, Hanover police said.

Police say the teens are linked to a number of car burglaries across the area: 17 in Hanover, 2 in Florham Park, 15 in Livingston, and “numerous others” in New York.

The group was taken to the Morris County Juvenile Detention Center pending an upcoming court date and the filing of the additional charges.

Flight From Newark Airport Diverted After Passengers Get Sick

A JetBlue flight heading toward the Dominican Republic from Newark Liberty International Airport was diverted Sunday after passengers and crew members got sick, according to reports

JetBlue flight 1203 which was flying from Newark to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic when it was diverted to JFK Airport in New York City, according to the airline.

The plane was diverted “out of an abundance of caution after the crew reported a handful of customers and crew members feeling unwell,” the airline told Patch in a statement.

JetBlue told Patch there was no odor that sickened passengers – despite what earlier reports have said.

The diversion came a day after a JetBlue plane at Newark Liberty International Airport was evacuated because of a suspicious package, according to the Port Authority. Read more: Newark Airport Plane Evacuated After Suspicious Item Found

The aircraft will be inspected before returning to service, and flight 1203 was sent to Santo Domingo on a different aircraft, the airline said.

The Port Authority confirmed the Dominican-bound flight was diverted to JFK and landed safely, saying the incident is still under investigation, according to PIX11.

This is a developing story. We’ll have more information as it comes in.