West Caldwell Police Officers Corporal Bill Styskal and Patrolman Pat Cooper Honor Fallen NYPD Officers Wenjain Liu and Rafael Ramos with T-Shirt Sales Donations
WEST CALDWELL, NJ - Members of the West Caldwell Police Department recently honored the memories of two New York City Police Officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were killed in December. After traveling into the city to attend both funeral proceedings, Corporal William Styskal and Patrolman Patrick Cooper then participated in a t-shirt sale which was part of a fundraiser for the officers' families.
On the evening of Saturday, Dec. 20, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton held a press conference stating that, at about 2:47pm that afternoon, NYPD officers Liu and Ramos were killed while on duty. He said that they were guarding a housing unit in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn which had seen an increase in violence this past year and were shot in the front seat of their police car.
The suspect was identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, of Atlanta. Witnesses recounted that they saw him shoot several times through the passenger side of the window striking both officers in the head. He was chased by nearby officers to a subway station where police believe he shot himself and died.
"Two of the city's finest were shot and killed with no warning,
Both Officers Ramos and Liu had served in the 84th Precinct; Ramos for two years and Liu for seven and a half. After their deaths, both officers were posthumously promoted to the rank of detective. Ramos left behind a wife and two young sons and Liu was survived by his wife of two months.
In an effort to honor their memories, as well as solicit donations on behalf of the family members, officers from the 84th coordinated with a local t-shirt producer who manufactured the shirts for free so that 100 percent of their money raised would go to the officer's families.
Styskal first became aware of the fundraising project through the non-profit website, LEO Only, which was created for law enforcement professionals, both active and retired, to help provide for the families of fallen officers. The web group promoted the t-shirt sales to its members and the 84th Precinct itself placed fliers announcing the fundraiser throughout all of the city police districts. Styskal, who is nearing retirement in July after 25 years of service, explained that he felt a close connection to the NYPD. He had attended both memorials for the officers and wanted to do something for the families; he decided to help with the fundraising project.
"I felt it was important to get involved in a bigger way
Styskal enlisted Cooper, a West Caldwell officer for 9 years, to help him spread the word and work with him to collect, sell and distribute the t-shirts.
"Officer Cooper was great, he was very willing to help me," Styskal commented.
Styskal comes from a line that has law enforcement family members going as far back as 1895 and 1920. Their willingness to make a difference may be genetic; Styskal's son Joey, 9, accompanied him to the 84th Precinct and wanted to do whatever he could to show his respect and sympathy for the Liu and Ramos families. The officers of the NYPD 84th were touched by his concern and his presence.
According to Styskal, as of Monday the 84th Precinct had produced and sold over 10,000 shirts at $20 each. Every part of that $200,000 went to Officers Liu and Ramos' families and the Precinct had another batch set for production on Friday.
The Liu and Ramos families have received an enormous amount of community support and have also been gifted with financial contributions designated to help with their mortgages, college funds and daily expenses. The West Caldwell officers presented the 84th Precinct with a check for $3,100; they were told that of all the groups who participated in selling t-shirts, they were second only to the Manhattan South Precinct in highest donations by a single group.
The 84th presented the Department with an NYPD patch from their department and in turn, the West Caldwell officers presented them with one of their own. The West Caldwell Police Department patch will be displayed at the front desk of the 84th, along with patches from officers around the country who came to support the NYPD and the Ramos and Liu family.
"They were overwhelming thankful for all our support and
The 84th has a special memorial area set up in commemoration of all those who have died from their Precinct in the line of duty.
"Being a cop is a humbling experience and
Daniel Metz, 34, of Fairfield, Sentenced to Nine Months for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Thursday
FAIRFIELD, NJ - In Trenton today, Daniel Metz, 34, of Fairfield, was sentenced to prison for his role in a scheme to defraud hospitals of more than $800,000, according to US Attorney Paul J. Fishman. In August, Metz had pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, a count which carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He was sentenced today to nine months in prison and nine months of home confinement. Charles B. Carey Jr., 35, of Clark, whose cooperation led to Metz’ conviction, was sentenced to three years of probation.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Metz and Carey both worked for Integra LifeSciences Corporation of Plainsboro, a provider of orthopedic products such as devices and implants for the spine, foot and ankle, hand and wrist, and shoulder and elbow.
Integra initially employed Metz as a Product Specialist in July, 2005. Apparently, surgeons routinely allow product specialists to be present during surgeries and, should they need any of the items which the sales person has with them, they use the items and the hospital is later billed for the items used. Integra Product Specialists bring with them consignment trays with pre-packaged products and they, and their supervisors, are compensated based on salary, sales target-based commission and bonuses.
Metz eventually became Northeast Regional Manager, supervising 16 Product Specialists and Assistant Sales Representatives in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. While working in his managerial role, Metz oversaw Carey, who was a Product Specialist from January, 2009, until he resigned in April, 2011.
During court proceedings, Metz admitted that he used various fraudulent methods to overcharge hospitals and surgery centers, including sometimes charging for a greater quantity or a more expensive product than was actually used. He also admitted in court that he taught his fraudulent schemes to those he supervised, including Carey, who admitted to also employing the methods.
Together, Metz and Carey admitted to fraudulently causing medical facilities to pay more than $800,000 in inflated bills. When the fraud was brought to the company's attention, Metz was fired from Integra in April, 2013.
In addition to the prison term and home confinement, US District Judge Joel A. Pisano sentenced Metz to three years of supervised release. As part of their plea agreements, Metz will pay $100,000 and Carey, $77,000, which represents the amounts of money they personally made through the fraud scheme. The defrauded hospitals have already been reimbursed by Integra for the fraudulent charges.
Assisting Fishman with the investigation were special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford and Morris County Prosecutor’s Office detectives, under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp.
The US Attorney's stand-alone Health Care and Government Fraud Unit handles both criminal and civil investigations and prosecutes health care fraud offenses. Since 2010, the office has recovered more than $635 million in health care fraud and government fraud settlements, judgments, fines, restitution and forfeiture under the False Claims Act, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and other statutes.
The government was represented by Jacob T. Elberg, Chief of the US Attorney’s Office’s Health Care and Government Fraud Unit, in Newark.
The defense counsel for Metz was Lawrence Lustberg Esq., Newark, and for Carey, Timothy Donohue Esq., of West Orange.
NEWARK, NJ - New Jersey's Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced Wednesday that 19 motor oils are now banned in the state. The New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures lab revealed in December that each of the now-banned products failed to conform to the viscosity promised on the product label which may result in the risk of engine failure and excess engine wear. The banned products may no longer be sold in New Jersey and any business that continues to sell them will be subject to a civil penalty of at least $100 per container.
Viscosity is a measure of a liquid's tendency to flow and motor oils are labeled by their viscosity fluid rates. The "W" stands for Winter and the lower the "W" number the better the oil will perform in cold temperatures, ie, a 30 oil is thinner than a 40 oil. Hoffman explained that the use of a motor oil with viscosity levels that are either too high or too low for a vehicle's engine specifications may result in the risk of engine failure, excess engine wear, and/or decreased fuel efficiency. As an example, he cited motor oils which were labeled 10W-40 and which the NJ lab found to have viscosity measures that widely varied from the universally defined characteristics of 10W-40 motor oil.
Banned Motor Oils
The products listed below typically sell for about $3 to $4 per quart bottle:
"Many of these allegedly mislabeled motor oils are sold at cheap prices,
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.
“We continue to monitor the marketplace for motor oils that are mislabeled
WEST ESSEX, NJ - Late Saturday night, the National Weather Service issued a Freezing Rain Advisory for northeast New Jersey warning of hazardous travel conditions through Sunday morning. The Advisory was expected to be in effect from 3am until 8am Sunday morning, but it was gradually extended until 1pm Sunday afternoon.
"Light freezing rain and drizzle will make
Reports began to come into West Essex Now by early morning saying the roads were extremely hazardous.
"Black ice everywhere from Bloomfield to West Caldwell.
By 8:30am, about 10 vehicles were already disabled along Mountain Avenue and there were numerous accidents occurring throughout the area. Area police and surrounding towns used their emergency alert systems within the next ten minutes to warn their residents to remain at home and they would continue to do so throughout the morning.
Over the next hour, Eagle Rock Avenue, Bloomfield Avenue, Passaic Avenue, Eisenhower Parkway and Route 280 were all closed completely or intermittently as accidents arose. Vehicles were reported to have collided into each other, hit poles, gone onto lawns and spun around onto oncoming traffic. There were countless injuries and multiple airbags deployed; in general, drivers were proving it was unsafe for any but emergency vehicles to be out on the road.
Pedestrians were equally affected; falls with injuries from icy stairs, sidewalks, parking lots and driveways were reported all over the area.
So many accidents happened in such a short period of time that First Responders resorted to the rare practice of "triaging" - which usually happens during extreme emergencies when large amounts of wounded or ill patients are assigned degrees of urgency. By 9am, Roseland and West Essex First Aid EMTs were responding to emergencies all over the area, while at the same time their emergency vehicles were attempting to circumvent the dangerous roads to transport patients to local hospitals and trauma centers in Newark. All available EMTs were asked to report for duty and mutual aid from Wayne was also requested.
This is only a sampling of accidents which occurred throughout the region:
Reports of abandoned cars left where they had crashed came in from all over. By 11:30am, there were so many accidents and disabled vehicles along Eagle Rock Avenue that residents were opening their homes to shelter people as they waited for assistance.
Local religious organizations including St. Peter's Church in Essex Fells, LifeSource Church in West Caldwell and Our Lady of the Lake in Verona canceled morning prayer services or afternoon gatherings.
The ice storm affected everyone in the Metropolitan Area. Governor Chris Christie announced that speed restrictions of 35-45mph were in effect on the NJ Turnpike by 9:15am. NJ Transit and DeCamp buses were all cancelled until the afternoon due to the icy road conditions. At 1:30pm, the mutual aid agreement between New York City and NJ was activated and those EMT teams, which were available, waited at the Hudson Tunnel to assist with the City's backlog of 911 calls.
At 1pm, the Freezing Rain Advisory was cancelled while NOAA then issued a Flood Warning which was in effect until 6pm Sunday afternoon. Briefly, thundershowers came into the area adding to the day's weather challenges.
All the roads in the area were open by 1:45pm. The roads remain wet and temperatures will continue below freezing tonight. At 5:50pm, there was an accident, with injuries, on Grandview Avenue, in North Caldwell.
Christina Prestianni, Caldwell Pupcake Grooming and Bakery Owner, Killed in Apparent Murder-Suicide Thursday
NUTLEY, NJ - Christina Prestianni, 37, was reportedly killed Thursday by Christopher Minichini, 38, with whom she was in a relationship. Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo
announced that the pair were found at their Hillside Avenue, Nutley home, dead from gunshot wounds.
Prestianni was the owner of Pupcake Dog Grooming and Bakery on Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell, which she opened in 2008.
The Prosecutor's Office stated that their initial investigation points to Minichini, a state corrections officer for the past seven years, having shot Prestianni, then shot himself.
Fairfield Officer Frank Tracey Arrests East Orange Teen for Car Theft After Crash and Foot Chase through Roseland Wooded Areas Early Monday Morning
ROSELAND, NJ - Early Monday morning, West Essex area police participated in a combined effort to catch a suspect wanted for stealing a car in Parsippany. It began around 1:15am when the NJ State Police announced that two cars had been stolen out of Parsippany; a car matching one of the descriptions was found crashed and abandoned in Roseland near the Route 280 / Eisenhower Parkway ramp.
Roseland officers alerted the State Police that the car had been found and began a foot pursuit of a suspect who was believed to be dressed in dark clothing. As officers canvassed the wooded area, mutual aid was requested from police of the area towns including East Hanover, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell and West Caldwell.
Officers from West Caldwell were searching the streets and wooded areas of Passaic Avenue while the other towns centered on the backyards and woods near Cooper Avenue, Glen Avenue and all around Pitcairn Drive. By 1:52am, an Essex County Sheriff's Office canine unit had arrived to assist with the search.
During this time period, Fairfield Police Officer Frank Tracey was patrolling the streets along Passaic Avenue. According to Fairfield Officer in Charge Anthony Manna, Tracey came across a gold colored Ford Explorer, coming out of the Stonegate condos.
"Officer Tracey observed that the vehicle was occupied
After Tracey located the suspects at about 2:20am, officers from West Caldwell arrived to assist. The occupant of the backseat was arrested and turned out to be a teen, 17-years old, out of East Orange. The Parsippany Police responded to the scene to investigate further and by 2:50am, all units had cleared the scene.
Fairfield Police and West Essex First Aid Squad Avert Near Tragedy, Thursday, on Pier Lane; Public Reminded of the Need for Carbon Monoxide Detectors
by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.com
FAIRFIELD, NJ - Early Thursday morning at 4am, the Fairfield Police Department responded to a Pier Lane residence to provide medical assistance to a 47-years old woman who was experiencing convulsions. While she was being cared for, three other members of the household reported to the officers that they were light-headed, having difficulty breathing and suffering from headaches. The West Essex First Aid Squad soon after arrived.
"Members of the West Essex First Aid Squad arrived on scene
After the EMTs expressed to police that Carbon Monoxide Poisoning was likely the cause of the emergencies, the house was immediately evacuated. Eventually, four individuals were transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson for treatment; no emergency responders required any treatment.
Manna stated that the source of the carbon monoxide was traced to a faulty hot water heater in the basement; there were no working carbon monoxide detectors in the home.
“This situation emphasizes all too clearly the importance
Carbon Monoxide Sources
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas which is produced by appliances that give off combustion fumes, particularly those that burn fuels including:
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms
The Fairfield Police Departments wants to alert the public that Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when an individual inhales too much carbon monoxide and not enough oxygen and at that point serious tissue damage can occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
These symptoms can be particularly dangerous for anyone who is asleep or intoxicated.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to: