After 6-Month Lapse in Compliance, Crane Permit Was Issued 12 Days Before Collapse

INTERIM CITY ENGINEER: “I DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT.”

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The construction crane that came crashing down on two homes during a July 21 storm was apparently operated without a proper city permit for over six months, according to records obtained by New Brunswick Today.

The red crane was observed in action on June 6, well before the July 9 permit approval.

Vergona Crane Company, Inc.’s 2019 permit application is dated July 9, just 12 days before the crane failed, and more than six months after a previous permit had expired.

The head of the city’s Department of Public Works and Engineering (DPWE) admitted on August 22 that he signed to approve Vergona’s late permit application, even though a city ordinance regulating construction cranes only authorizes “the city engineer” to issue or deny such a permit.

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“Sunday Morning Quarterback” Soaries to Retire in November 2020

SOMERSET, NJ—On July 28, Reverend Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries, Jr. publicly announced his retirement from First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG), which will take place on November 15, 2020 after 30 years of leadership.

In the game of American Football, a quarterback is defined as the “signal caller” who directs the play on the field and gives executive direction to those on the offensive side of the ball.

To those familiar with the sport, the quarterback is considered to be the most glorified but the most scrutinized position on the field.

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WATCH: Reporter April Ryan Has Her Bodyguard Forcibly Remove NBToday Camera and Reporter

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick Today’s camera equipment was briefly stolen by a bodyguard who proceeded to violently force this reporter out of a hotel lobby.

Newly-released video shows the bodyguard, Joel Morris, getting physical with the author of this article on August 3 shortly after 8:30pm at the Heldrich Hotel.

The video was handed over to the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) two days later, only after this reporter questioned the department about why it had not yet been retrieved.

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White House Journalist to Speak at Annual NJ Parent Summit in New Brunswick

April Ryan

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Project Ready, a non-profit organization, will have author and White House journalist April Ryan as the keynote speaker for their 4th annual New Jersey Parent Summit.

Being held at The Heldrich Hotel in downtown New Brunswick, this sold-out event is expected to have 300 people in attendance.

From August 2 to 4, parents, guardians and the community will join in leadership training, a wide range of workshops as well as networking opportunities.

Ryan’s keynote speech is scheduled for Saturday evening, during the “Parents Gala Awards,” according to the conference agenda.

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New Biergarten Set to Open Next to Train Station This August

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) found a tenant for the space that previously housed Brother Jimmy’s Barbecue at 5 Easton Avenue.

After months of delays, Redd’s Biergarten is tentatively set for a “soft opening” in mid-August, according to the NBPA Executive Director’s report to his Board of Commissioners on July 24.

“I’m 99.9 percent certain the first day we will be open to the general public will be August 19th,” confirmed Frank Pinto, one of the three men behind Redd’s.

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Middlesex County Trial Court Administrator Leaves Position Suddenly For Unknown Reasons

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The top official overseeing the state court system in Middlesex County appears to have been ousted from office abruptly.

Dawn Brevard-Waters first became a Trial Court Administrator (TCA) nearly four years ago, following the retirement of Gregory Edwards, who had served in the role for 45 years.

As TCA, Brevard-Waters was the highest-ranking staff executive in the “vicinage,” which covers all 25 towns in Middlesex County.

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UPDATE: Two Men Injured in Broad Daylight Shooting on Seaman Street

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police were seen investigating an apparent shooting on Seaman Street in the Fourth Ward around noon on July 25.

New Brunswick Today’s Carlos Ramirez broadcast live from the scene the investigation, located between Livingston Avenue and Drift Street, near the headquarters of the city’s Fire Department.

“Around 40 minutes ago, shots were fired,” said Ramirez at 12:52pm. “EMS was soon seen taking a man into their ambulance. It’s unknown his condition at this moment.”

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Radio Host to Take Over as Mayor’s Spokesman

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Bert Baron, an award-winning radio host in the area, will be joining the administration of Mayor James Cahill.

The AM radio host will take over the role of “public information officer” from Jennifer Bradshaw, who joined Cahill’s team in 2014.

“Upon her return, she will assume a new role in the field of Personnel management with the City’s Administration department, reporting to City Administrator Daniel A. Torrisi,” reads the statement released by the city government on July 24.

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Between Baby Powder and Opioid Lawsuits, J&J Says It Will Defend Itself in About 16,000 Cases

JOHNSON & JOHNSON BATTLES LAWSUITS OVER TALC-BASED BABY POWDER AND PROMOTING ADDICTIVE OPIOID DRUGS

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is now the subject of a U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) probe into whether it lied to consumers regarding potential cancer risks of its namesake talc-based baby powder, according to reports. 

Yet the Hub City-based health-care giant has been fighting back quite hard. A recent regulatory filing showed it allotted $190 million for talc-related defense costs during a recent three-month business quarter. 

While civil settlements over talc lawsuits could reportedly cost J&J some $15 billion to defend itself, the consumer giant “says it has no liability because [its] products are safe,” reports Bloomberg News. 

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Crane at Hamilton and Easton Collapses Into Homes During Storm

MASSIVE CRANE BUILDING 9-STORY APARTMENT BUILDING DAMAGES HOMES ON HAMILTON AND CONDICT

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A brief storm appears to have downed a massive construction crane, causing serious damage to at least two structures.

The crane at 78 Easton Avenue came down at approximately 7pm on Sunday, July 21. CBS New York’s reported wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour around that time.

It was the site where Collegiate Development Group, a St. Louis company, had been building a nine-story, 181-unit apartment building, at Easton Avenue’s busy intersection with Hamilton Street.

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