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Crime & Safety Local News

Wanted Paterson Man Nabbed in Connection with January Shooting

PATERSON, NJ – A 19-year-old Paterson man faces decades in prison following his arrest in connection with a January 11 shooting.

According to Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes Paterson Police Chief Ibrahim Baycora, Leighmeir Singletary, was arrested Thursday following a joint investigation by the two agencies.

As previously reported, members of the Paterson Police Department responded to a call of shots fired at approximately 2:45 a.m. on the days of the incident. Upon arrival police located a crime scene, including ballistics evidence and a blood trail. The victim was located a short time later at St. Joseph’s Hospital suffering from non-life threatening injuries. Based on an ensuing investigation, Singletary was identified as the gunman and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The arrest came at approximately 6:30 p.m. when Paterson Police Detectives are said to have observed Singletary in the area of 51 Godwin Street. After a brief foot chase the suspect was apprehended while in the possession of 42 envelopes of heroin.

In addition to the weapons and guns charges, Singletary was also charged with Second Degree Eluding for an incident that occurred on March 16, at approximately 4:51 p.m. in the area of Summer Street. Signletary was not apprehended at that time and an arrest warrant was issued.

The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office asks anyone with additional information about this incident to contact them on their tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO or tips@passaiccountynj.org or to contact the Paterson Police Ceasefire Unit at 973-321-1342.

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Local News

Sayegh, FastMed Urgent Care Announce Additional Testing for Paterson Residents

PATERSON, NJ – Testing opportunities to screen for COVID-19 continue to expand for Paterson residents.

On Thursday, Mayor Andre Sayegh was at Barnert Medical Arts Complex to announce that starting Monday the city’s “diagnostic capacity” will expand when a drive-through testing site opens in the parking lot adjacent to the former Barnert Hospital. The announcement comes just two days after city officials announced a partnership with the Paterson Housing Authority to open testing sites for local senior citizens.

According to Dr. Richard Afanonja of FastMed Urgent Care who will be overseeing the testing, they will be prepared to serve up to 250 residents per day, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., seven days a week. Those being tested will require a prescription which can be obtained via telemedicine by visiting www.dokita.io.

“We have been talking about scaling up testing,” Sayegh said, offering a reminder that when testing increases so will the number of positive cases, something that is not a cause for panic.

On Saturday the Paterson City Council held an emergency meeting focused on bringing testing locations to Paterson, an initiative Sayegh said his Administration has been working on for a month, including during his time “in the basement” while he was himself in self-isolation following his own positive test for coronavirus.

Earlier this month St. Joseph’s Health announced that they would expand their services to contend with the growing Coronavirus pandemic and projected surge of patients in Northern New Jersey by opening 110 acute care beds at the former Barnert Hospital.

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Covid-19 State News

Latest coronavirus updates in New Jersey: Friday, August 28, 2020

NEW JERSEY — Below you will find the most up-to-date information on coronavirus news impacting New Jersey. You can find additional resources and coverage on our coronavirus page.

10 a.m.
Gov. Phil Murphy made an announcement regarding child care funding in NJ. Watch in video below.

COVID-19 in NJ

  • 372 new cases (190,971 state total)
  • Positivity rate: 1.52%
  • Rate of transmission: 0.77
  • 9 new fatalities (Death toll: 14,150)
  • Public health emergency was extended

Child care in NJ

  • Nearly 4,000 child care centers remain closed
  • Many schools continue distant learning, there will be new and increased need for child care during school hours.
  • This has caused tens of thousands of parents to be concerned about child care and finances.
  • Murphy announces $250 million COVID-19 Child Care Initiative. (Come in four buckets)
    • Restart grant funds for child care providers that open by Oct. 1 ($50 million)
    • Child care providers ($30 million)
    • Full-time subsidies for working families that require child care. ($20 million)
    • Establishes tuition assistance for families not eligible for subsidy, but make under $75,000 per year ($150 million)
  • We are one step closer to recovery from this crisis
Recent numbers

As of Friday morning, there were 190,971 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Jersey with 14,150 coronavirus fatalities.

Categories
Crime & Safety State News

South Jersey Tax Preparer Admits Filing False Income Tax Returns

CAMDEN, N.J. – A South Jersey woman who owns a tax preparation business admitted today to helping her clients file falsified tax returns, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Gloria Valentin, 48, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by teleconference before U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in Camden federal court to an information charging her with one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Valentin owned, operated and approved all of the income tax returns filed by GNG Business Solutions in Cinnaminson. She admitted that she prepared approximately 60 income tax returns for 27 tax clients during tax years 2013 through 2016. Those tax returns contained similar patterns of false and fictitious Schedule A itemized deductions and unreimbursed employee business expenses. Valentin and her employees fabricated Schedule A, unreimbursed employee business expenses when none were incurred. Those false expenses resulted in substantially reduced income tax liabilities and resulted in larger refunds for her clients and caused a tax loss of $201,896 to the government.

The charges to which Valentin pleaded guilty carry a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 8, 2020.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Laura J. Perry, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

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Covid-19 Local News

Is COVID-19 Testing Coming to Paterson?

PATERSON, NJ – Acting in place of a Board of Health, the Paterson City Council met in an emergency meeting Saturday to discuss the possibility of opening local testing sites for the COVID-19 virus.

While city officials had said they hoped to open one as part of initial efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus, they say that county officials suggested that it should be located on the campus of William Paterson University in Wayne. The distance, many have argued, combined with the prevalence of households with no private vehicles, as well as the danger of transporting potentially sick individuals on public transit, has made it difficult for Paterson residents to get tested.

According to the Paterson’s Health Official Paul Persaud local officials had taken initial steps to establish a location but “when we reached a certain point, the county decided to set up their site at William Paterson College,” he said. “We were supposed to partner with St. Joes.”

“We’re two months into this and I’m hearing that we are back where we were on March 16,” said Councilman Luiz Velez. “Do we have a company under contract? When will they open? I want this to be right now and today.”

First Ward Councilman Michael Jackson said he is concerned about senior citizens, noting that with the  buildings in his ward there are as many as 3,000 in his jurisdiction, and added that he has arranged for an Irvington-based testing firm to make a presentation to the city about a plan it could implement quickly.

“They already have experience in doing testing,” Jackson said.

While Persaud acknowledged that he had passed Jackson’s recommendation to the Mayor’s office the point was raised regarding the legality of bringing in just one firm to present, a potential violation of state bidding laws.

To ensure compliance with state law, as well as to develop a successful model, according to Business Administrator Kathleen Long, city officials are continuing to “look at all options,” including buying test kits directly and expanding St. Joe’s capabilities, or, similar to the manner in which local first responders were tested earlier this month, partnering with a healthcare provider that would conduct the testing independently but in partnership with local agencies.

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Local News

Saturday Emergency Meeting of Paterson City Council Called for 5:00 P.M.

PATERSON, NJ – The Paterson City Council will hold a special meeting today at 5:00 p.m.

According to a notice sent by Paterson City Clerk Sonia Gordon, the meeting is being held “in lieu of a Board of Health to Discuss the Worldwide Coronavirus (COVID01) pandemic and health emergency that exists in the City of Paterson.”

In complying with social distancing norms and stay at home orders the meeting will be held via Webex and will also be accessible to viewers through Paterson’s public access channels, 77 for Optimum and 32 for Verizon. The meeting will also be streamed on the City of Paterson’s YouTube channel.

A call in number will be provided by the Municipal Clerk for members of the public that would like to comment during the public portion.

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Crime & Safety State News

Illinois Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Role in $1.4 Million Bank Fraud Scheme

CAMDEN, N.J. – An Illinois man was sentenced today to 36 months in prison for his role in a bank fraud scheme resulting in $1.4 million in losses, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig announced.

Dwayne Modeliste, 41, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Judge Hillman imposed the sentence today by videoconference.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From 2016 to 2018, Modeliste conspired with Larry McGee and Adam D. Arena to defraud Synchrony Bank. Modeliste and his conspirators used the personally identifiable information of others, most of whom were incarcerated, to obtain credit cards from Synchrony Bank. Modeliste and his conspirators submitted to Synchrony Bank merchant applications so those enrolled merchants could accept Synchrony credit cards as a form of payment. After the merchants were enrolled with Synchrony Bank, the conspirators used the fraudulently obtained credit cards to conduct transactions at the merchants. The proceeds from the fraudulent transactions were deposited into bank accounts controlled by Modeliste and his conspirators.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hillman sentenced Modeliste to three years of supervised release. He also ordered Modeliste to make restitution to Synchrony Bank in the amount of $1.43 million and ordered forfeiture in the amount of $133,330.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine R. Murphy of the

U.S. Attorney’s Office’s National Security Unit in Newark.

Categories
Local News

Firefighters Again Respond to Fire at Former Mill

PATERSON, NJ – A former mill at 29 McBride Avenue was once again the scene of a fire as members of the Paterson Fire Department responded to the building shortly before 10:00 a.m. Thursday.

According to responders the fire started in the rear of the two-story building, and, even with an unstable water tank forcing firefighters to fight the flames from outside, the incident was brought under control in just over an hour. No injuries were reported and firefighters, despite the proximity of nearby structures, contained the flames to just one building.

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Sports

New Jersey Devils Interviewed Gerard Gallant & Others for Head Coaching Job

For the first time since the National Hockey League has been on pause, there has been significant news reported regarding the New Jersey Devils. Pierre LeBrun reported on TSN’s Insider Trading that the Devils have already begun their search for a head coach. They have talked to a few people, including ex-Florida and ex-Las Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant. Here is what LeBrun said about the Devils:

Pierre LeBrun: The only team [The Devils] to do so at this point during the season pause, kind of intriguing. Gerard Gallant, according to our sources, interviewed last week by virtual manner, not face-to-face, by Tom Fitzgerald. Now, Tom Fitzgerald himself also has an interim tag, he’s still the interim GM for the Devils, Alain Nasreddine is the interim head coach and he is a legitimate candidate, he’ll be part of this process. Tom Fitzgerald has spoken to a few candidates, not just Gerard Gallant, over the last little while and why not? Use this time during the pause to start looking at next season.

I firmly agree with LeBrun that this is a great time for the Devils to prepare for the 2020-21 season. You may have seen other teams sign their prospects and free agents from major junior, college, and European leagues. The Devils have done none of that. Presumably with an interim general manager and an interim head coach, determining those roles take precedence. Now we have confirmation that the team is at least working to address them.

I am not huge fan of Alain Nasreddine being a legitimate candidate. I’ve written that the Devils were different but still quite bad during Nasreddine’s first 26 games as interim head coach compared with John Hynes’ 26 games as head coach in 2019-20. Those of you who read the month in review posts from January and February know that the team has been cratering in the run of play in 5-on-5 and the defense is, somehow, much worse than before. Gerard is not a fan either. Others have grown sour upon realizing that Mackenzie Blackwood was lifting the team on his massive back. I can understand interviewing him out of respect since he was the interim head coach after Hynes was fired. I think the Devils should look elsewhere.

To that end, I am very pleased that they reached out to Gallant. On a surface level, hiring Gallant would be a great move. Here is his record at Hockey-Reference. Gallant was behind the bench for Florida’s most recent playoff appearance in 2015-16, whereupon they also won the Atlantic Division. Gallant was the boss for Las Vegas improbable and magical Cup run in their first season of existence, following that up with another playoff appearance, and was well on their way to a third before getting dumped earlier this season. With his teams reaching the playoffs in three of the last six seasons, he brings a level of success not seen in the Devils staff.

He is also familiar with how today’s game is played and has demonstrated that he can put a successful team together. I have to do more research as to whether his teams were particularly good in 5-on-5 and/or on defense. However, the team’s 5-on-5 stats when Gallant was fired from the Golden Knights on January 15, 2020 were very, very good. Enough to make one wonder why exactly he was fired. Then, Las Vegas had the league’s second best expected goals for percentage of 54.84%, the league’s third best Corsi for percentage of 53.59%, and the fifth best high-danger chance for percentage of 53.73% per the 5-on-5 team stats at Natural Stat Trick. That is a very positive sign that Gallant knows what he is doing in 5-on-5, which is an area where the Devils desparately need help in. Sure, that was just from this past season and the Golden Knights are arguably more talented than, say, the Devils. It is still a mark in the man’s favor. It is also validation for those who really want him behind the bench at The Rock.

I am curious who the others are. Maybe that will be revealed in the future?

LeBrun also noted something that strikes my curiosity. He reported that Tom Fitzgerald, who is still the interim general manager of the team, was involved in the interviewing process. Is this a sign that Fitzgerald is going to be the full-time GM of the Devils? I want to say it is. Typically, a GM is at least involved in the decision of who will coach the team they put together. They will be directly working with each other on day-to-day roster decisions, analysis, and other hockey operation-related tasks. It is irregular that the team hires the coach first and then the GM. Just like it is irregular that an interim GM makes significant trades such as moving the captain Andy Greene and winger Blake Coleman ahead of the trade deadline. Based on my understanding of the situation, Fitzgerald’s involvement in coaching interviews and the trades made prior to the deadline would make much more sense if Fitzgerald ends up being the team’s general manager. On the one hand, this shows that ownership may be comfortable enough with Fitzgerald making significant decisions such that interim tag is just a tag at this point. On the other hand, if they really want him for the job, then they could have removed the interim tag and announced it by now. That he it has not been removed still shows a lack of commitment.

On the other, other hand (the first hand revisited?), there has not been any recent news on the front of the Devils looking at someone else as general manager either. Mike Gilles was interviewed back at the end of February. Unless I am missing something, that has been it in terms of public news about the GM search. If the Devils wanted Gilles, then they could have hired him, announced him, now and have him be involved in the current coaching search. I am not confident Gilles will be chosen given that it is nearly two months later and he has not been named.

All the same, I am pleased that the Devils organization is not entirely quiet with respect to management decisions. Whom they select for the general manager and head coach positions will be crucial to the team’s success in the short term. Perhaps even long term as well. They need to do their due diligence and make decisions that they are comfortable with while also offering a different path forward. The path that Ray Shero and John Hynes put the organization on was determined to be the wrong one by the powers that be. So they were fired. Now is the time for something different. We shall see what comes of these interviews and who the Devils decide to hire.

What is your take on this news? Would you want Gallant to be the head coach of the Devils? If not, who do you want the Devils to hire as head coach instead? Does this news make you feel more or less confident that Fitzgerald will be the GM? Do you want Fitzgerald to be the team’s general manager going forward? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about this report by LeBrun in the comments. Thank you for reading.

Categories
Lifestyle

Paterson Public School’s Annual Art Exhibit Moves to Online Gallery

PATERSON – Social distancing may be keeping people from gathering together, but it isn’t stifling the artistic spirit of Paterson Public Schools students and faculty.

The artworks they created comprise the district’s “Art In Our Hearts” exhibition, which was originally planned to be shown this month at the Paterson Museum. However, when social distancing requirements pulled the curtain down on that plan, district educators found a way for the exhibition to take place online on a gallery created on padlet.com.

“This is a great example of one of the silver linings of this time of social distancing,” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. “I commend the students and educators who worked together to make sure this annual artistic event moved forward and kept the artistic spirit of our schools alive. I encourage everyone to take some time and visit this wonderful online exhibition. We have many creative artists in our community of schools, and their works are inspirational and imaginative.”

The “Art In Our Hearts” exhibit found an online home through the efforts of Acting Associate Chief Academic Officer Nicole Brown, who created the space and helped curate the work. The exhibition features portraits, murals, pop art, masks and sculpture.