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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    A few teams are making a late push to be included among the state's elite.


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    Long Branch Mayor-elect John Pallone, Rep. Frank Pallone's brother, was recovering from bypass surgery he had on Friday when he was elected mayor on Tuesday

    Pallone John B of LB.jpgLong Branch Mayor-elect John Pallone was elected while hospitalized for heart surgery Tuesday. 

    Long Branch Mayor-elect John Pallone was recovering from heart bypass surgery Tuesday when he won by a big margin over the city's 28-year incumbent, said his brother, constituent and congressman, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone.

    "He basically had bypass surgery," last Friday, the Democratic congressman told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday. "He's fine."

    "He may be coming out of the hospital today," added Pallone, a resident of Long Branch, in New Jersey's 6th Congressional District, who laughed at the suggestion that the landslide victory may have sped his 62-year-old brother's recovery. "He was just thrilled, obviously. He's been a councilman for a number of years, and he loves the city and feels like he can make a difference in the city."

    In one of a handful of non-partisan municipal elections around the state on Tuesday, John Pallone ousted Long Branch's nine-term incumbent, Mayor Adam Schneider. With 4,719 votes cast, Pallone pulled 2,908 votes, or 61.2 percent of the turnout, to Schneider's 1,549 votes, or 32.8%, according to the Monmouth County clerk's office. 

    Pallone's council slate, including one incumbent, Councilwoman Mary Jane Celli, also won by decisive margins, the clerk's office reported.

    "I think the people wanted a change," said Celli, who made up half of a 2-3 minority faction on the council with Pallone.

    Celli and Pallone first ran together in 1994, when she won her initial bid for council but Pallone lost a challenge to Schneider for mayor. 

    Celli and her council running mates Bill Dangler, Rose Widdis, Mario Vieira and Anita Voogt swept a Schneider-backed slate composed of incumbents Joy Bastelli, Kate Billings and Michael Sirianni, plus Diana Dos Santos and Adam Ponsi.

    The new mayor and council are scheduled to be sworn in July 1.

    Schneider blamed his loss in part on "money," asserting he was outspent 4-1 by the Pallone camp, which he said spent $400,000, largely on ads attacking him. But he also agreed with Celli, that after nearly three decades of his tenure, "I think the people wanted a change."  

    Schenider, 63, was not New Jersey's only long-serving mayor to be turned out of office on Tuesday. Belleville Mayor Raymond Kimble lost his bid for a fourth straight four-year term to challenger Michael Melham, who won by just 110 votes among more than 4,000 votes cast, the Essex County Clerk's office reported. 

    Bypass surgery repairs damage to arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, essentially making sure the heart keeps beating.

    The congressman said his brother scheduled the surgery in a hurry after learning the results of what he had assumed would be a routine cardiac stress test. He said the doctors advised having the operation as quickly as possible, leaving little time to consider announcing his condition to voters. 

    "He didn't think that he was going to have to have the operation initially," the congressman said of his brother.   

    The mayor-elect's campaign manager, Mitch Seim, said Pallone was looking forward to finishing out his second four-year term on the council and then taking over as mayor. 

    "He's ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work," Seim said.

    Pallone and Religious Leaders to Speak Out Against Hate and RacismU.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., seen here in August, said his brother was "thrilled" by his victory. 

    Seim said that work will include trying to fulfill Pallone's campaign pledge to extend the benefits of Long Branch's post-recession, post-Hurricane Sandy recovery to areas of the city beyond "a few square blocks along the waterfront," where developers have received tax breaks or other benefits not available to residents. 

    "Developers in general are getting special treatment and the people who live there aren't getting the attention and the resources they deserve," Seim said. 

    Seim was referring to the Pier Village redevelopment zone, where Extell Development is a partner of the Kushner Company, owned by the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner.

    The redevelopment of Pier Village, along Ocean Avenue between Melrose Terrace and Morris Avenue, will create 269 luxury condominiums, priced from $510,000 to $2 million, along with a 72-room hotel, retail space and a parking garage. 

    Celli acknowledged that she and Pallone had voted to designate Extell and Kushner as the site's developer and had approved a tax abatement for the project.

    Reflecting on Tuesday's landslide loss, Schneider said the one thing that surprised him about it was "the sense of relief" he felt afterward. Schneider said he had no regrets, and that after years of working at what he said were "two full-time jobs" -- as a lawyer and a mayor -- the sexagenarian triathlete and boogie boarder said he looked forward to spending more time on his bike and in the ocean.

    "It's time for me to sit back and relax," Schneider said, "to go to the beach and enjoy myself." 

    Steve Strunsky may be reached at sstrunsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Which teams have the best chance to take home a title in 2018?


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    The 3-year-old girl suffered second and third-degree burns when the water for hot tea spilled on her Watch video

    An attorney for a couple who claim a Wawa clerk spilled boiling hot tea water on their 3-year-old daughter - severely burning the girl - has store video of the incident and plans to use it to bolster their case.

    The video captured on April 25 at a Neptune Wawa shows the clerk bagging items for the mother and her cousin when the mishap occurred.

    The store clerk knocks over a water bottle, which in turn knocks over one of the cups of hot water, the video shows.

    "The cup immediately burst, causing its top to come off and hot water to splash all over (the child's) upper body, arms and torso," David Mazie, an attorney for the family, wrote in a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

    The girl was taken with second and third-degree burns to Saint Barnabas Medical Center, the lawyer said.

    The child's injuries were so severe it looked like "she had been napalmed," Mazie told NJ Advance Media.

    Attorneys plan to use video taken from a store security camera as proof the chain and its employee were negligent should the case head to trial.

    The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the girl's parents, Carl and Roya Konzman of Neptune. They claim Roya and her cousin were buying food and two cups of hot water for tea, which they poured from a hot-water dispensing machine.

    Mazie alleges Wawa keeps its water "too hot" at 180 to 190 degrees.

    Wawa spokeswoman Lori Bruce said she cannot comment on the lawsuit, but said the company is "devastated by this unfortunate incident, and our hearts go out to the child and her family."

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Superintendent Thomas Tramaglini is looking forward to dispelling untruths portrayed about him in the media, according to his new laywer, Michael S. Adams of Morristown Watch video

    Not everything you've heard about Thomas Tramaglini - the Kenilworth superintendent of schools accused of pooping on a high school track and field near his home - has been fair or true, according to his new attorney.

    PooperSuper.jpgThomas Tramaglini  

    "My client looks forward to his day in court when he can rebut some of the falsehoods that have been portrayed about him in the media," Tramaglini's lawyer Michael S. Adams said Thursday.

    Asked to elaborate about what the media was getting wrong, Adams said he would save his comments for the courtroom. That municipal court date is currently scheduled for May 30.

    Tramaglini, who is on paid leave from his $147,504 a year job as superintendent of Kenilworth schools, made international headlines last week after he was arrested at Holmdel High School on charges he was caught defecating at the school's track.

    Police had set up surveillance at the field, which is about 3 miles from Tramaglini's Aberdeen home, after the Holmdel track team reported finding feces "on a daily basis."

    N.J. mystery pooper scandal: We have so many unanswered questions

    Tramaglini was caught in the act around 5:45 a.m. and taken into custody, police said. He faces charges of accused of lewdness, public urination or defecation and dumping or disposal of litter.

    Tramaglini had initially retained a local attorney, according to municipal court records. But he has since hired Adams, a white-collar defense attorney for Morristown-based Fox Rothschild.

    The charges against Tramaglini are considered disorderly persons offenses.

    Tramaglini declined to comment to a reporter last week and has not returned multiple messages. His social media accounts have since gone dark. Tramaglini, a marathon runner, has been spotted during the day around his Aberdeen townhouse in running shoes and gym shorts.

    On Saturday, the Kenilworth school board approved paid leave for Tramaglini through June 30.

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Thousands of water customers are being asked to follow an odd/even schedule for watering their lawns and gardens.

    One of New Jersey's largest water companies is asking its customers in Monmouth County to restrict their outdoor water use, starting this week, to avoid potential mandatory restrictions if drought conditions develop in the summer.

    On Wednesday, New Jersey American Water asked all of its customers in Monmouth to follow an odd/even schedule for watering their lawns and gardens. Houses with odd-numbered addresses should use their hoses only on odd-numbers days of the month, and those with even numbers should do their outdoor watering only on even-numbered days.     

    "Practicing odd/even watering now will help us manage a finite supply of water, yet our customers will still be able to maintain their lawns and gardens," Kevin Keane, the company's senior director of coastal operations, said in a press release.

    The company also asks its customers to water early or late in the day to minimize evaporation, saying the ideal times are from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    These are among the exceptions to the voluntary restrictions:

    • If daily watering is required for sod or newly seeded lawns, it is permitted. However, the water company recommends that "any planting of new sod or seed that has not already taken place be delayed until the fall."
    • Private wells can be used for lawn irrigation.
    • "Commercial uses of outdoor water, such as for nurseries, farm stands, power washing, plumbing, and commercial car washes" is allowed.
    • Watering of athletic fields is allowed.
    nj-water-restrictions-manasquan-reservoir.jpgThe Manasquan Reservoir in Monmouth County is currently at about 98 percent of its capacity, as indicated by the green line on this chart. (New Jersey Water Supply Authority) 

    There currently are no drought concerns in any of New Jersey's 21 counties, thanks to higher-than-average amounts of rain and snow during the winter and early spring. Most reservoirs in North Jersey are at full capacity, but two large reservoirs in Central Jersey are at about 85 percent capacity, which is 10 percent below average for May, according to data from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

    The Manasquan Reservoir in Monmouth County, owned and operated by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, is currently at 98 percent capacity, holding about 4.6 billion gallons of water.

    A spokeswoman from New Jersey American Water could not be reached for comment on Thursday. But it appears the voluntary water restrictions were implemented as a precautionary measure. 

    The company provides water to about 2.7 million people in the Garden State.

    Len Melisurgo may be reached at LMelisurgo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @LensReality or like him on Facebook. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
     


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    Director Kevin Smith was between shows in California on Feb. 25 when he suffered the consequences of a 100-percent blockage of his left anterior descending artery. 'Silent But Deadly,' his Showtime special, revisits the room where the heart attack happened, but also gives an intimate look at Smith's home life.


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    Rumson native Charlie Puth's second album 'Voicenotes' is full of potential, but lacks the edge of his pop-star competitors


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    Monmouth Park officials are cautiously optimistic that Kentucky Derby winner Justify could be headed to the Jersey Shore this summer thanks to Bob Baffert and his affinity for the historic Oceanport venue.


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    N.J.'s track & field world is in the final stretch as we approach postseason meets.


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    What's hot on the diamond from the past week.


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    What teams are gaining steam at the right time?


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    Who is standing out in boys lacrosse midway through the season?


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    Saint John Vianney High School held its 2018 prom on May 11th at the Jumping Brook County Club in Neptune with the students dancing to the music played by Partners In Sound NJ.  St. John Vianney 2017 prom (PHOTOS) St. John Vianney 2016 prom (PHOTOS) SHARE YOUR PROM PHOTOS ON SOCIAL MEDIA Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @njdotcom and on Instagram @njdotcom. Then tag your...

    Saint John Vianney High School held its 2018 prom on May 11th at the Jumping Brook County Club in Neptune with the students dancing to the music played by Partners In Sound NJ. 

    St. John Vianney 2017 prom (PHOTOS)

    St. John Vianney 2016 prom (PHOTOS)

    SHARE YOUR PROM PHOTOS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

    Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @njdotcom and on Instagram @njdotcom. Then tag your photos #njprom. We'll retweet and repost the best pics! 

    Check back at nj.com/monmouth for other local high school prom coverage. And be sure to check out our complete  prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    BUY THESE PHOTOS

    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.

    Aristide Economopoulos can be reached at aeconomopoulos@njadvancemedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @AristideNJAM and Instagram at @aeconomopoulos  Find NJ.com on Facebook


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    Clean Ocean Action counted 59 percent more straws and stirrers in 2017 than in 2015, consistent with a global increase. McDonalds, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts say they're trying to do something about it

    Would you sip from the lid of your cup, or switch from plastic to paper straws if it meant saving wildlife? That's exactly what beach cleaners and environmental activists are asking New Jerseyans -- and major fast food and coffee shop chains -- to do.

    Bob and Caroline Kanner, retired grandparents who live in Manalapan, were among hundreds of pairs volunteering at Sandy Hook for this Spring's Beach Sweep by Clean Ocean Action, a cleanup and count of debris washed up or left on beaches along New Jersey's Atlantic coast.

    "We must have found over 100 straws, and we didn't even take the bus to one of the other beaches," Caroline said.

    "It was probably one-third more, or 50 percent more," than the year before, Bob added. 

    The Kanners aren't the only ones noticing more straws on the beach.

    In Clean Ocean Action's annual tally of Spring and Fall beach sweeps in 2017, the number of "plastic straws/stirrers" was up 58.75 percent from the 2015 count. The increase is alarming, say environmentalists, animal lovers and others, because it indicates an increase in the number of plastic straws being released into waterways and ending up in the ocean, which can then harm or kill marine life.

    One likely explanation for the increase in the number of straws and stirrers littering beaches, environmentalists say, is the proliferation of coffee shops and convenience stores that dispense them.

    "There's absolutely a correlation between the increased use of these items and what's being found on the beach," said Nicholas Mallos, director of the Trash Free Seas program of the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C.,

    The Kanners and Clean Ocean Action's Executive Director Cindy Zipf said the sources of the straws on New Jersey's beaches were readily identifiable.

    "The green from Starbucks is a standout," Zipf said. "The orange of Dunkin' Donuts is certainly a standout. McDonalds, with its red and yellow stripes."    

    All three companies issued statements to NJ Advance Media in response to being identified as a source of ocean straws and beach debris. 

    Starbucks pointed to its current NextGen Cup Challenge initiative to develop a "fully recyclable and compostable" coffee cup. "Just like with our cups," McDonald's added, "finding a straw alternative that meets our quality standards is also a continued area of focus."    

    Dunkin' Donuts said, "We are constantly evaluating our packaging, including plastic straws and stirrers, and continue to explore ways to provide more sustainable products that meet our customers' expectations of performance."

    And McDonalds said it would "continue to work to find a more sustainable solution for plastic straws globally."

    Even beyond the coffee and fast food market, at least some straw makers are responding.

    Tetra Pak, a Sweedish maker of straws and containers, announced last week that it would roll out a paper straw by 2019 for its "portion-size" cartons commonly used for children's drinks.

    "There are a number of significant challenges to producing a paper straw with the required properties," Charles Brand, a Tetra Pak vice president, said in a statement. "That said, our development team is confident they can find a solution, and that we'll have a paper straw alternative ready to launch by the end of the year."

    The increase in straws washing up on beaches is not confined to the Jersey shore, or even the U.S. East Coast.

    Mallos said there was a 45 percent increase in the number of straws collected per volunteer in 2016 from the year before, according to data submitted by more than 100 environmental groups from around world that participated in the group's International Coastal Cleanup.

    In response to the increases, the Ocean Conservancy and affiliates including Clean Ocean Action have launched a "Skip the Straw" campaign to curb single-use plastic straw demand, by urging coffee and soft drink vendors to ask customers if they want a straw with their order rather than providing one automatically.

    Though straws are far from the only plastic polluting oceans, they have become a focus of environmentalists and even celebrities, who say they are a convenience item for which demand can be reduced by consumer awareness of the environmental damage they cause.

    A spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, Larry Hajna, said he was unaware of any proposals to ban plastic straws in New Jersey. Hajna noted that most areas of the state require the recycling of plastic, including straws, and that making sure they don't end up in waterways and on beaches was a responsibility of local government and the public.  

    "It's up to people to recycle or properly throw away plastics as appropriate," he said.

    Steve Strunsky may be reached at sstrunsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption in shelters and rescues.

    Pet facts:

    * Dalmatians are born without spots. They are born with plain white coats with their first spots appearing after they are 1 week old.

    * Cats spend approximately 30% of their waking hours grooming themselves.

    * Greyhounds are the world's fastest dogs with the ability to reach up to 45 mph.

    * Cat whiskers are so sensitive they can detect the slightest change in air current.

    * Nine percent of dog owners will have a birthday party for their pet.

    * "American Shorthair" is the designation reserved for pedigreed cats, while similar-looking cats of mixed or unknown origin are called "domestic shorthairs."

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    The new governor finds a modus vivendi. Watch video

    Gov. Phil Murphy is a political novice whose close relationship to the public worker unions has worried both Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature.

    But on Thursday, he found a way to tread some treacherous political ground by retooling a terrible bill that could have allowed unions to increase pension benefits on their own and impose more costs on taxpayers.

    The revised bill, which is certain to win approval, offers much stronger protections for taxpayers and is the first sign that Murphy is willing to tame the unions that helped put him in office.

    He did it without any of the caustic melodrama that defined Chris Christie's tenure. This was the product of patient negotiation over the course of several months, not the result of chest-pounding and demonizing public workers.

    The flawed bill that landed on Murphy's desk would have handed control of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS) to a board dominated by unions. There's nothing inherently wrong with unions managing their own fund, and it's understandable that the cops and firemen wanted to break away from the state's other pensions funds - especially since PFRS is in much healthier shape, with a total funded ratio of nearly 70 percent.

    But Murphy saw that some of the technical details in the bill would put taxpayers at risk, so he wielded his scalpel judiciously.

    Murphy has a chance to tell the unions no. He should take it. | Editorial

    For starters, the governor set higher standards for benefits enhancements, such as the reinstatement of the cost of living adjustment (COLA). The new 12-member board - which includes 6 active cops and firefighters and 1 retiree chosen by the union - was originally given the authority to increase benefits and lower employee contributions with an 8-4 supermajority. Murphy, however, insisted that this can be executed only after consultation with actuaries.

    He also insisted that PFRS use the same assumed rate of return for investments as the other public pension systems rather than setting its own rate.

    And Murphy recommended that PFRS keep $26 billion in assets in the Department of the Treasury, because such a massive transfer would risk destabilizing the fund.

    Another gift to the unions, another pummeling for taxpayers | Editorial

    Most alterations in his conditional veto were technical, and some smart people steeped in such technicalities will point out that Murphy still left too much on the table. Assemblyman Ned Thomson, R-Monmouth, an actuary who has administered more than 500 pension plans, suggests the governor's revisions were mere "window dressing."

    "If the unions are such responsible stewards, why did they fight so hard to make sure an 80-percent funding mandate (for benefit increases) isn't there?" Thomson said. "This has the potential to be a train wreck."

    Thomson, however, is a minority voice in this debate. Legislative leaders gave Murphy's recommendation their enthusiastic support. Union leaders were jubilant.

    Even the state League of Municipalities - which represents the taxpayers whose contributions account for 73 percent of the fund, and was vehemently opposed to the original bill - praised the additional taxpayer protections included in Murphy's version.

    And the Legislature's most voluble budget hawk, Sen. Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, who believed the original plan was "toxic" and "destined to screw the taxpayers," now wants to "commend" the governor and his policy staff for their "complete reassessment" of the original bill.

    That's an extraordinary coalition for such a complicated, contentious issue. They all agree that it was time for the unions to take control of their fund, as long as they were not dumping further obligations on taxpayers. In the end, the governor took steps toward assuring that won't happen. It's a victory for the process.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.

     

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    See the favorites, contenders and more from each section of the girls lacrosse state tournament.


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    Monmouth and Ocean were New Jersey's only two counties where the use of anti-overdose medication Narcan declined in 2017, when fatal overdoses were also down

    Monmouth and Ocean counties are two Jersey Shore neighbors that are part of what has been called the "epicenter" of the state's opioid epidemic.

    But law enforcement officials, addiction experts and other observers say there are reasons for cautious optimism that opioid abuse in the area could be on the wane.  

    According to recent state figures, Monmouth and Ocean were the only counties in New Jersey where first responders administered the anti-overdose mediation Narcan less often in 2017 than the year before. The figures are from NJ Cares, a program in the state Attorney General's office created in February that compiles figures related to opioid abuse and its treatment.

    Opioid use on the decline

    Last year, Ocean County saw a 36.4-percent reduction in the number of cases in which Narcan was administered by ether police or emergency medical technicians in 2017, down to 621 from 977 in 2016, NJ Cares reported. Over that same two-year period in Monmouth County, Narcan was used in 6 percent fewer cases, from 714 to 671.

    The figures were welcomed by Monmouth and Ocean prosecutors as possible indicators of an overall decline in opioid use in the two counties. 

    "That certainly is good news," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in statement. "Lower Narcan deployments means less overdoses, lower first-responder costs by law enforcement, and could signal that greater awareness about the epidemic in our communities is taking hold."

    Fewer fatal overdoses

    The number of fatal overdoses were also down in the two counties in 2017.

    In Ocean, the number declined by 24.5 percent, from 216 in 2016 to 163 last year, according to Prosecutor Joseph Coronato's office.

    In Monmouth, the decline was more modest, falling from 42 fatal overdoses in 2016 to 36 last year, a decrease of 14.2 percent, according to Gramiccioni's office. 

    New Jersey's total number of overdose deaths last year was not yet available, according to NJ Cares. But statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control also suggest Monmouth and Ocean may also be ahead of the state in terms of reducing overdose fatalities. The agency reported that New Jersey's statewide total of 2,284 fatal overdoses was up 34.7 percent for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2017 compared to the previous fiscal year.

    Narcan is the commercial name for naloxone, a medication that blocks the often fatal effects of heroin and its far more potent synthetic substitute, fentanyl.

    Triggered in part by a devastating seven-day period in April 2013 when there were eight fatal overdoses in Ocean County alone, Coronato, who had been sworn in that March, acknowledged the problem and began taking steps to combat it.

    The measures included encouraging local police departments and rescue squads to arm their officers and EMTs with Narcan, then coming to an agreement with local hospitals to provide the drug to police and EMTs. Coronato also sought to stem the flow of opioids into the region though his use of a state law allowing prosecution of drug traffickers in overdose deaths.  

    Gramiccioni, who was named Monmouth's acting prosecutor in 2012, took similar steps.

    Praise for their efforts

    Both prosecutors were praised by Former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who now runs the non-profit New Jersey Reentry Corporation for former inmates, and has worked with addicts in Monmouth and Ocean.

    McGreevey said the two had worked effectively with hospitals, non-profit agencies and local police to provide the treatment and support services, while maintaining the "leverage" that the threat of incarceration can exert to help keep recovering addicts clean. 

    Gramiccioni and Coronato were appointed by former Gov. Chris Christie, who made combating opioid abuse a priority during his last year in office. Christie's Democratic successor, Gov. Phil Murphy, has pledged to spend $100 million this year to combat the problem.

    A welcome trend

    Al Della Fave, spokesman for Coronato's office, said the declines in Narcan deployments, combined with the declining number of overdose fatalities in the two counties, was a likely indicator of a decline in opioid abuse.

    "We're hoping it is," Della Fave said.

    Narcan has become synonymous with overdose revival, and in New Jersey alone some 16,000 people who overdosed on opioids have been literally brought back to life with the inhaled version of the drug since 2015, according to NJ Cares.

    About two thirds of those cases involve police officers, and the rest EMTs. 

    It's a bitter-sweet figure that illustrates both the stunning effectiveness of naloxone and the magnitude of the opioid epidemic in the Garden State.

    Narcan use still on the rise in N.J.

    Apart from Monmouth and Ocean, every other county in New Jersey had an increase in Narcan use, with a statewide increase of 28 percent, according to NJ Cares.

    Camden County experienced a 127 percent increase in the use of Narcan in 2017, when the medication was administered 2,493 times, up from 1,098 cases in 2016.

    Della Fave and others cautioned against making too much of the increases in Narcan use statewide relative to the declines in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

    He noted other counties began arming first responders with the medication later than Monmouth and Ocean, and therefore its increased use throughout the state may simply reflect the fact that it is now in the hands of more police and EMTs to administer.   

    Della Fave also cautioned against overemphasizing the extent of the opioid problem in Ocean and Monmouth, suggesting that disproportionate media attention might have been focused on the region as a result of aggressive efforts by Coronato and Gramiccioni to address the problem.

    But McGreevey said the severity of the two counties' opioid problem was more than mere perception. 

    "This was the epicenter," he said. 

    Steve Strunsky may be reached at sstrunsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Another week of upsets twists up the Top 20 again.


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