Board to determine cause of 2012 train derailment
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board is set to determine the cause of a train derailment that leaked a hazardous gas in a southern New Jersey community almost two years ago.
Tanker cars derailed on Nov. 30, 2012 on a bridge in Paulsboro, releasing vinyl chloride into the air. Much of the community was later evacuated.
Several residents and workers have reported health problems and have sued over the leak.
The NTSB is planning to hear its staff's final report and then vote on findings at a meeting Tuesday in Washington.
Since the accident occurred, some members of Congress have said there should be tighter regulation of the freight rail system.
HOUSE FIRE-WOMAN KILLED
Authorities ID woman killed in house fire
ESSEX FELLS, N.J. (AP) - Authorities have released the name of the woman killed when a fast-moving fire roared through her northern New Jersey home.
Essex County prosecutors say the fire that killed 60-year-old Michelle Meoli does not appear to be suspicious, but noted that the investigation is ongoing.
Emergency responders found Meoli in the rear of the Essex Fells home early Sunday and took her to a hospital, where she died about two hours later.
Authorities say it appears that Meoli was alone in the house when the fire broke out. No other injuries were reported.
A cause of death has not been determined.
TEACHER-SEX ASSAULT CHARGES
Ex-teacher sentenced for student sex assaults
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - A former New Jersey high school teacher who sexually assaulted two 16-year-old male students is now headed to prison.
Middlesex County prosecutors say 25-year-old Jaclyn Melillo of Sayreville received a four-year state prison term when she was sentenced Monday. She also has forfeited her teaching certificate, will have to register as a sex offender and will be on lifetime parole supervision once she's freed from prison.
Melillo had pleaded guilty in March to two counts of sex assault. Prosecutors say the assaults occurred between May and August 2013 at various locations in Sayreville.
She was an English teacher at Sayreville War Memorial High School for about two years. She was arrested last October after school authorities heard about the sex assaults and contacted police.
CHILD SEX ASSAULT
Authorities: Man sexually assaults girl in park
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say a 61-year-old man sexually assaulted a young girl in a central New Jersey park, shortly after he had encountered her at a nearby store.
Middlesex County prosecutors say Carlos Ocon of New Brunswick was being held Monday on $750,000 bail. He faces two counts of aggravated sexual assault and single counts of kidnapping, child endangerment and making terroristic threats.
Authorities say the assault occurred Friday at Boyd Park in New Brunswick.
Ocon, who did not know the 6-year-old girl, allegedly approached her outside a store and took her to the park. After assaulting her there, authorities say he threatened the child before releasing her in an area near the store.
Ocon was arrested the next day.
It was not known Monday if he's retained a lawyer.
WATER TOWER FIRE
Lightning sparks fire in wooden water tower
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - Lightning apparently sparked a fire in a wooden water tower that stands on top of an abandoned building in Camden.
Authorities say no injuries were reported in the fire, which broke out around 2:30 a.m. Monday.
Firefighters initially had to wait to get access to the area where the fire occurred, but were soon able to douse the flames.
The lightning was sparked by a series of severe storms that passed through the region early Monday.
WEDDING RECEPTION BRAWL
Wedding reception shut down when brawl breaks out
MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Two people were arrested when a brawl involving dozens of guests broke out at a wedding reception in central New Jersey.
Middletown Township police say the party had been going on for several hours when the fight started Sunday night. It apparently began inside the hall and spilled out on to the street.
Officers arriving on scene found several guests who were mostly shoving each other and shouting, so assistance was sought from several nearby police departments.
Order was eventually restored, but authorities shut down the reception and told the guests to leave. It took about 45 minutes to clear out the facility.
It's not clear what sparked the brawl, but an iunvestigation is ongoing.
No injuries were reported, but a man and a woman were charged with disorderly conduct.
Jersey City festival ends as organizer is arrested
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - A Jersey City festival ended with a fight between the crowd and police officers and the arrest of a main organizer.
Saturday's West Indian Caribbean festival featured music, food and dancing before the dispute that ended it.
Organizers tell The Jersey Journal that police wanted the carnival to end at 7 p.m. But the organizers say the festivities were scheduled to go until 9 p.m.
City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill says all the forms indicated that the event was to end at 8 p.m. but the final permit had a typo that said 9 instead.
Police reports say organizer Gordon Callender yelled and cursed at officers who told him it was time to end the show. He was later charged with assaulting a police officer and other offenses.
NJ CITIES-SAFETY PARTNERSHIP
3 New Jersey mayors announce anti-crime plan
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - The mayors of New Jersey's three largest cities are looking at ways to pool resources to tackle violent crime.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Paterson Mayor Jose Torres spoke to reporters Monday in one of Jersey City's violence-plagued neighborhoods. They discussed expanding their intelligence-sharing because criminals from one city often travel between the other two.
They also will review strategies for prisoner re-entry, the foreclosure crisis and spending on recreation to identify areas in which a joint approach could produce better results.
Paterson recently endured the death of a 12-year-old girl who was shot while riding her scooter to a family get-together. A police officer was fatally shot in Jersey City two weeks ago, and Newark has seen violent crime increase recently.
The Situation agrees to anger management classes
MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (AP) - The Situation will be getting lessons in anger management.
Former "Jersey Shore" star Michael Sorrentino, better known as The Situation, has agreed to take the classes as part of a deal to resolve simple assault charges he faced following a July 15 fight with his brother at their family's tanning salon in Middletown Township.
A municipal court judge Monday accepted the deal. If Sorrentino successfully completes the counseling program, the charge against him could be downgraded.
Sorrentino's family - including his brother - attended the hearing. The family-owned Boca Tanning Club is the setting for a new reality show about them.
The cast members of the MTV reality show "Jersey Shore," filmed in Seaside Heights, were known for their love of tanning and the motto GTL, or gym, tan, laundry.
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