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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    Animals throughout New Jersey await adoption at shelters and rescues.

    There's summer heat, and then there's oppressive summer heat.

    We've experienced some of the latter recently, and while we do everything we can to keep ourselves cool, it's important to remember our pets as well.

    "If it's hot to you it's just as hot for your dog or cat, and probably even worse," said John Gickling, a board certified veterinarian in emergency and critical care. "We're better equipped to handle the heat because we perspire."

    Some tips on making sure your pets can deal with excessive heat:

    * If you walk your dog, pick the coolest time of the day, follow a shady route and bring water for your pet.

    * Older pets, overweight animals and dogs with short snouts suffer more in high heat.

    * If your pet is outdoors, make sure it has a cool place to lay and that water is always available. Avoid taking your pets anywhere that has concrete or blacktop until temperatures normalize.

    * Dogs may be overheating if they can't get up, aren't alert or can't stop panting. If you suspect overheating, hose your dog off but never use ice water, which worsens the situation. If this doesn't work, a visit to a veterinarian is important.

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


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    Brian Foley is an alternate member of the Atlantic Highlands Environmental Commission

    An Atlantic Highlands man who serves on the borough's environmental commission was arrested last week and accused of possessing and distributing child pornography, authorities said.

    Brian Foley, 60, of Asbury Avenue, was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly possessing and distributing pictures and videos, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

    "The state's investigation and initial forensic examination of (Foley's) devices revealed evidence that the defendant has possessed and distributed images and videos which depict the sexual exploitation and abuse of a child," Gramiccioni said in a statement.

    Foley is an alternate member of the Atlantic Highlands Environmental Commission, borough officials confirmed.

    Borough Administrator Adam Hubeney said Foley "is not a regular member" of the commission and does not serve on any other boards.

    "We are discussing the issue with our borough attorney and will take proper steps to make sure he is removed or resigns" from the environmental commission, Hubeney said.

    If convicted, Foley faces five-to-10 years in prison for each charge, parole supervision for life and registration as a sex offender, the prosecutor said.

    at-high.jpg 

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

     

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    New Jersey has great beaches and great bars. So of course we have great beach bars.

    To plenty of New Jerseyans, the summer season means sipping a drink down by the ocean. And considering how great the Garden State's beaches are, it's no surprise that two New Jersey beach bars were just named among the best in the country.

    Donovan's Reef in Sea Bright and The Rusty Nail in Cape May both made the cut for Thrillist's list of the 21 best beach bars in America.

    Thrillist noted praised Donovan's Reef, which reopened last summer afraid taking heavy damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, for striking the perfect balance of grease and grime and for having seven different bars in the venue. "Simply put: There's no better place to sip an Orange Crush on the Jersey Shore than Donovan's Reef," Thrillist notes. "If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Boss, working on his tan." 

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    The Rusty Nail in Cape May, meanwhile, made the list for being "charming as s**t" for it's ivy-covered brick entrance and expansive patio with iconic blue and orange beach umbrellas along with a central fire pit. "You'll feel like you're attending the most idyllic beachside BBQ this side of an OC episode," Thrillist said. "Get a frozen daiquiri, pair with a cone of fried shrimp, and never be scared to bring the kiddos with you. Don't worry, you don't need a sitter -- or a tetanus shot -- for this one."

    New Jersey's two entries on the list tied it for first along with the likes of Hawaii and California, while bars in Wisconsin, Alaska and Oregon made the list as well. The closest non-New Jersey bar was the Rockaway Beach Surf Club in Queens, New York.

    Jeremy Schneider may be reached at jschneider@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @J_Schneider. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Here are the ten finalists in our epic search for N.J.'s best hot dog joint.


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    Liam McAtasney is accused of strangling his 19-year-old former classmate and then dumping her body off a Jersey Shore bridge in 2016.

    The attorney for the man accused of killing of Sarah Stern, his 19-year-old childhood friend, and dumping her body off a Jersey Shore bridge in 2016 plans to challenge the findings of the state's expert on water tides.

    Neither the prosecutor nor murder suspect Liam McAtasney's defense attorney would say what the expert has said or plans to say during his testimony. However, Stern's body was never recovered, despite a massive search effort on land and in the Shark River inlet in the days following her disappearance.

    Monmouth Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said during a press conference early last year that Stern's body may have been carried out to sea by swift tides in the Shark River inlet.

    McAtasney, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Stern. He's accused of strangling her, then throwing her body off the Route 35 bridge in early December 2016 to make it appear as if she had committed suicide, authorities have said.

    McAtasney's attorney, Carlos Diaz-Cobo of New Brunswick, said in a brief status conference in court on Monday that he plans to file a motion to dispute the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office's witness on water tides, Hugh Roarty, a research project manager for the Rutgers University Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

    Diaz-Cobo's motion is due on Friday. He declined to comment after the court hearing as to what he plans to argue.

    It was also revealed in the status conference that Diaz-Cobo has retained experts of his own for his defense. But, again, Diaz-Cobo declined to elaborate on what those experts could potentially testify about.

    McAtasney's trial was originally scheduled to start in September, but it's unlikely that will occur.

    The case was delayed after McAtasney fired his first attorney, Charles Moriarty, and retained new defense counsel, essentially restarting the case after months of pre-trial motions filed by Moriarty.

    Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Decker said the state is ready to proceed with the trial.

    The next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 30.

    Authorities say McAtasney strangled Stern during a robbery at her home on Dec. 2, 2016. McAtasney then enlisted the help of his roommate, Preston Taylor, to help him remove Stern's body from the home and toss it over a nearby bridge, according to authorities.

    Stern's car was abandoned on the side of the bridge.

    In April 2017, Taylor, 20, pleaded guilty for his role in the killing and agreed to testify against McAtasney. 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Here is the schedule for the finalist visits in our N.J.'s best hot dog joint showdown.

    The 10 finalists have been named in our search for N.J.'s best hot dog joint, and we will visit all 10 this week with a crew of assistant judges. 

    Don't forget you can vote for your favorite hot dog joint in our Readers' Choice poll. The voting deadline is noon Sunday, Aug. 5.

    I will pick the overall winner. On Tuesday, Aug. 7, we will walk, unannounced, through the door of the winning hot dog joint. You'll be able to watch it live on NJ.com. Watch for details next week.

    Here's the schedule for the finalist visits. If you're in the area, stop by and say hello to the crew!

    TUESDAY, JULY 31

    11 a.m.-noon: The Hot Grill, Clifton

    12:15-1:15 p.m.: Rutt's Hut, Clifton

    WEDNESDAY, AUG. 1

    11 a.m.-noon: Hiram's Roadstand, Fort Lee

    12:45-1:45 p.m.: Tommy's Italian Sausages & Hot Dogs, Elizabeth

    THURSDAY, AUG. 2

    11 a.m. - noon: Andys' Roadside Dive, Mt. Arlington

    1-2 p.m.: Randy the Hot Dog Guy, Hillside 

    FRIDAY, AUG. 3

    11 a.m.-noon: Maui's Dog House, North Wildwood

    1:30-2:30 p.m.: Hot Diggidy Dog, Chatsworth

    SATURDAY, AUG. 4

    noon-1 p.m.: Destination Dogs, New Brunswick

    2-3 p.m.: Relish, Belmar

    Peter Genovese may be reached at pgenovese@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PeteGenovese or via The Munchmobile @NJ_Munchmobile. Find the Munchmobile on Facebook and Instagram.


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    A dog walker saved another pooch from likely death Monday morning after he spotted it cowering inside a cage that was being swallowed by the rising tide at a bayfront park in Highlands.

    A dog walker saved another pooch from likely death Monday morning after he spotted it cowering inside a cage that was being swallowed by the rising tide at a bayfront park in Highlands.

    The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office began an investigation into the incident  and is looking for the person who left the dog or anybody who may have witnessed the dog being placed near the water line.

    A Highlands resident was walking their dog in Veterans Memorial Park, located along the borough's bayfront, at 6:15 a.m. when their canine noticed the caged animal on the water side of the rock bulkhead, according to a Facebook post from the prosecutor's office

    The dog, a 1-year-old male gray and white pit bull, was inside a black wire cage on a small portion of sand between the bulkhead and the water, which had reached the cage as the tide began rising.

    "When Animal Control arrived on the scene, the cage almost covered by the rising tide," the post states. "If not for the heroic rescue act of the good Samaritan, the dog could have potentially drowned."

    The dog was taken to the Highlands Police Department, which contacted the prosecutor's office. There was no update on the dog's condition Monday night.

    Investigators said that based on the tide schedule, the caged dog was likely placed near the water between 4 and 6 a.m.

    Anyone with information about the incident may contact the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office Animal Cruelty Hot Line 877-898-7297 or the Highlands Police at (732) 872-1224.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Kader Mustafa, 34, of Hightstown, will remain behind bars pending the outcome of this case

    A 34-year-old Hightstown man was indicted Monday on charges he fatally shot a 24-year-old woman as she drove with her boyfriend and 1-year-old child in May.

    kader-mustafa.jpgKader Mustafa

    The indictment, handed up by a grand jury in Monmouth County, charges Kader Mustafa with murder and weapons offenses in the killing of Sciasia Calhoun. 

    Calhoun was shot inside her vehicle as she drove on Route 33 at the exit ramp for Halls Mills Road in Freehold Township just before midnight on May 3. 

    Mustafa was driving a beat-up Chevrolet Impala at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

    NJ Advance Media reported shortly after the incident that Mustafa likely chose Calhoun at random

    Authorities were also looking into the possibility that Mustafa was responsible for two non-fatal shootings in April in Neptune Township and Holmdel. 

    The indictment does not charge him with those incidents, however. 

    Mustafa faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will remain behind bars pending the outcome of this case. 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    A family celebrating a milestone birthday got a side of parasitic worm along with their dinner at a popular Asbury Park restaurant over the weekend. Watch video

    A family celebrating a milestone birthday got a side of parasitic worm along with their dinner at a popular Asbury Park restaurant over the weekend. 

    The next day, they got an unwanted second helping from the restaurant, when staff criticized the diners for posting a now viral video of the worm on Facebook. 

    Jim Guinee, of Middletown, was out to dinner at Stella Marina Bar & Restaurant Saturday evening with his 80-year-old aunt, girlfriend Jennifer Morzano and several other family members. As Morzano, who had already eaten about half of her cod dinner, went to cut around the skin that wasn't quite cooked to her taste, she saw the worm, slender and pale, wiggling out of the mix of rice and fish. 

    "She saw this worm squirming out of the codfish on the plate," Guinee said in a phone call with NJ Advance Media Monday afternoon. "I just videotaped it because, one, I thought it looked pretty gross, and we weren't sure what it was. We weren't sure if she was going to get sick." 

    He posted the video to Facebook Saturday night, and it's since caught the eye of more than 100,000 people who have likely now lost their appetites. 

    But it's also drawn ire from the restaurant, which addressed the incident in a Facebook post, decrying Guinee's video as a "callousness and irresponsible reaction of an attorney of law to attempt to destroy our reputation & possible livelihoods due to something that could have happened to anyone, whether cooking at home or in a restaurant." 

    Guinee is a practicing attorney, but said he hasn't taken any legal action against the restaurant. He posted the video to Facebook and tagged it the Stella Marina's page, but said he doesn't see how his career has anything to do with the video. 

    "If I had been a plumber, would they have said I'm a callous plumber?" he said. "It wasn't meant with any ill-intent. I definitely didn't think that many people would view it, and I just didn't want them to keep serving the cod."

    Guinee said the restaurant cut the bill down by about one third, and that the staff was extremely apologetic, telling the family that nothing of the sort had happened there before. But he also said another patron came up to the family's table, saying he had found a worm in his dish as well. 

    In the post Sunday afternoon, the restaurant defended its practices while acknowledging the unfortunate addition to the meal. The post noted that worms in codfish are common, and can slip past inspectors and cooks regularly to be found both in restaurants and by those preparing fish at home. 

    The Monmouth County Health Department did not immediately return an inquiry regarding the restaurant's inspection history late Monday afternoon. 

    Nearly 400 Yelp reviews of the restaurant have left Stella Marina with a mixed ranking of three out of five stars. Some describe delicious meals with exceptional service, while others note the presence of dirty plates and silverware. 

    Management at Stella Marina did not return multiple calls seeking further information about its response and the incident. 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook

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    Large fevers of rays have been reported by visitors to the Shore, but there is no need to worry about the harmless fish.

    They are big creatures, and they travel together in big numbers.

    Now they're making their annual visit to the Jersey Shore, both annoying and entertaining swimmers.

    "They're here to stay right now," said Jeff Normant, a biologist for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

    Cownose rays appear off the Jersey Shore as they migrate to northern waters, according to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna, who described the rays as "very skittish."

    Named for their characteristic square snouts, the rays are considered harmless to people even if their looks can be intimidating. Normant's advice for swimmers who see cownose rays in the water nearby: Just leave them alone.

    "They do have a barb but it's very uncommon for anyone to get stuck by one," Hajna said.

    That poisonous barb serves as the ray's self-defense. Various shark species hunt the cownose rays. The St. Louis Zoo says that many sharks have been found with barbs from cownose rays embedded in their heads, evidence of a meal that fought back.

    Portuguese Man O'War and Clinging Jellyfish aren't the only dangers when you swim. We dive in

    The kite-shaped creatures can be seven feet across from tip-to-tip, and their wing-like pectoral fins are sometimes mistaken by people as shark fins in shallow water.

    The rays feed on crustaceans like clams, crabs and oysters according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Normant said that this diet makes the rays a nuisance to New Jersey's aquaculture.

    Cownose rays are widespread, ranging from waters in Southern New England to Florida, and throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico, according to NJDFW. The rays prefer coastal waters but will sometimes enter estuaries.

    The migration of cownose rays from warmer waters in the winter to cooler waters in the summer is believed to be driven by seasonal changes, according to the St. Louis Zoo. Normant said that the rays will likely be off of the Shore until the fall.

    The presence of the cownose rays has been so noticeable this season because they are swimming in large numbers close to the Shore.

    Ask Alexa

    Normant said that each year's migration is different: sometimes the rays are near the beach and other times the rays stay in deeper water, sometimes they travel in small fevers and sometimes they swim in the thousands. Despite this year's large numbers, cownose rays are generally far from the most common rays in Garden State waters.

    From 2004 to 2015, NJDFW found 745 cownose rays during regular ocean trawl surveys. By comparison, same surveys pulled up more than 6,000 Bullnose stingrays and more than 132,000 Little Skates in the same timespan.

    Of course you don't have to go to the Shore to see cownose rays; they are on display year round at Adventure Aquarium in Camden.

    Michael Sol Warren may be reached at mwarren@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MSolDub. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The new Panera Bread opens Wednesday at the Tricorne Center, a shopping mall at the corner of Route 35 and Warren Avenue in Wall Township

    When the latest Panera Bread location in New Jersey opens this week in Monmouth County, the restaurant will sport a new look and offer customers the options of a drive-thru lane.

    The new restaurant opens Wednesday in the Tricorne Center at 2007 Route 35 in Wall Township, according to Isaac D. Massry of the Wharton Realty Group, which manages the shopping center.

    American Bread Company is hiring for several positions at the location from night baker to assistant manager. Once hiring is complete, the restaurant will have about 60 full and part-time employees.

    The building is 4,700 square-feet and room for 100 customers. The hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Massry said.

    The drive-thru feature is fairly new for Panera. There are more than 70 Panera locations around New Jersey and at least 10 of them have drive-thrus.

    Massry said the restaurant will look different from other Panera restaurants in Monmouth County.

    Aside from the drive-thru, the eatery will have a patio for outdoor seating. Inside, there is an open ceiling and contemporary artwork for a more up-to-date design, he said.

    Tricorne Center is a 79,000-square foot strip mall at the corner of Route 35 and Warren Avenue that is anchored by an ACME Supermarket. The mall currently hosts an Applebee's restaurant, Simonetti Sports and Mizuki Bistro.

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

     

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    Meanwhile, Spruce Run in Hunterdon County is closed to swimmers

    Two popular recreation areas in New Jersey are off limits due to unsafe water, officials said.

    The Monmouth County Department of Health is urging people not to canoe or kayak in the Deal Lake -- Monmouth County's largest lake.

    Signs have been posted at the 158-acre Deal Lake advising people not to touch the water due to concerns about cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, according to public health coordinator Christopher P. Merkel.

    Who will have to enforce N.J.'s beach smoking ban? Almost nobody, towns say

    Cyanobacteria -- which forms due to a combination of hot temperatures and stormwater runoff -- can cause rashes, eye irritation and headaches, according to health experts.

    "It looks like algae but it can produce toxins that are harmful to pets or humans," Merkel said. 

    The water at the 158-acre lake will be tested again Thursday to see if it is bacteria levels are low enough to remove the advisory signs. Results are usually available the following day. 

    Swimming is never allowed in Deal Lake though it's not a guarded area so no one will stop you from going in the water.  The lake has 12.5 miles of shoreline and borders seven municipalities --  Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Deal, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Neptune Township and Ocean.

    Meanwhile, Spruce Run Recreation Area in Hunterdon County was closed Monday and will remain shut on Tuesday due to poor water quality, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The National Parks Service has banned tents and other enlosures, as well as umbrellas more than 8 feet across, which can block views can hide illegal activity

    Ever been on the beach, gazing contentedly at the breaking waves against the deep blue sea and cobalt sky, only to have somebody pitch a tent right in front of you and then crawl inside and start puffing on something that smells kinda like a skunk?

    Well, that's not likely to happen anymore on the federal beach at Sandy Hook, where the National Park Service has banned beach tents and even oversized umbrellas, labeling them obstructions of other beach goers' views, and as potential hiding places for illegal activity. Though violators will receive a warning, teh could be subject to a summons issued by a park service ranger, with a $40 fine.

    "We did update the compendium this year, and no longer allow tents on the beach," Daphne Yun, a National Parks spokesperson, said in an email, referring to beach rules. "You can have an umbrella that's no larger than 8 feet. This change was to make sure that visitors were not blocking each others views."

    As for the Park Service's wanting to discourage law breakers on the beach, Yun added, "That also went into the decision making."

    The new ban has actually been in effect since June 1, when the Parks Service posted it on its Facebook page for Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes the beach at Sandy Hook as well as neighboring Fort Hancock, plus waterfront attractions on State Island and in Brooklyn and Queens.

    "Please note that we have some NEW regulations for our beach areas," the Park Service posted.

    "Umbrellas, no larger than 8' in diameter may be used on beach areas, however, no other shade structures are allowed on beaches. Note: These structures cannot be enclosed or modified or combined with any other structure, additional umbrellas or material to construct an enclosure or expand the size of a shade structure. The use of driftwood to construct an enclosure is prohibited."

      

    And as annoying as grains of sand can be in a tuna sub, picnics will have to be confined to beach towels and uncooked foods, with additional prohibitions against, "tables, or stands or boards, or other products/materials positioned to function as a table," as well as "warming trays or other devices utilized for the preparation and service of food for consumption for more than one person."

    At this point no summons have been issued, said Yun, and visitors have been compliant when advised of the restrictions.

    That said, the beach at Sandy Hook is still less regulated in some respects than other beaches in New Jersey.

    While Gov. Phil Murphy just signed a law banning smoking on all public beaches under the state's jurisdiction, Yun confirmed that lighting up a cigarette or cigar is  still allowed at Sandy Hook.

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


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    After a viral video showing a worm crawling in the fish dinner at a restaurant in Asbury Park, it begs the question -- how common is this?


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    The 54-year-old from Fair Haven was a passenger when the car left the road and hit a tree stump

    A 54-year-old New Jersey man was killed in a single-car crash in Wisconsin over the weekend. 

    Joseph G. Gallagher, of Fair Haven, was a passenger in the car when the driver veered off Klatt Road in Underhill, Wisconsin and struck a tree stump around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, the Oconto County Sheriff's Office said. Gallagher was wearing his seat belt. 

    NYC man charged in death of woman, 18, in I-80 crash

    The driver, an Illinois man, was flown to an area hospital with injuries.

    The vehicle was speeding, officials said.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     


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    The "Next Step" program seeks to help drug offenders released from prison under the state's new bail reform guidelines. Watch video

    Drug addicts seeking recovery in certain areas of New Jersey can turn themselves into a local police department and receive help. Overdose victims brought back to life with the overdose reversal antidote naloxone have options for recovery when they're still in a hospital bed.

    Several programs supported by law enforcement exist to to help people suffering from substance abuse get help, officials said.

    But now, for the first time in New Jersey, residents in Monmouth County charged with low-level, non-violent drug offenses can get help once they are released from jail pending trial, officials announced Tuesday.  

    "Addiction is a disease ... you cannot arrest your way out of addiction," Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said at a press event announcing his new "Next Step" program. "It is a disease, and while we're intent on holding people accountable for their actions and their violations and their law-breaking, we are just as determined to secure a path for a healthier living for those individuals."

    Next Step will target offenders, mostly with drug possession charges and DWI, once they are released from jail under the state's new bail reform guidelines. Recovery specialists will meet with these offenders within 72 hours and work with them to get them treatment for substance abuse.

    The program will not be available for suspects charged with first-degree or second-degree felony crimes, like some drug distribution offenses. 

    Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said he will work with the Sheriff's Office to reach these offenders when they're at their lowest point and "help break the cycle of addiction."

    "We can further fulfill our number one sworn mandate, and that is to protect and save lives," Gramiccioni said. "... So when people ask me what's really causing our citizen here in Monmouth to die, it's opioid-related abuse."

    Expo preview

    In 2017, there were 151 overdose-related deaths in Monmouth County, compared to 43 fatal crashes and 13 homicides.

    In New Jersey, 10,000 residents have died from drug overdoses since 2014, said former Gov. James McGreevey, who was also in attendance.

    "What the sheriff has done, with the leadership of John (Brogan, CEO of Lifeline Recovery Support Services) and the prosecutor, is to understand that we need to address gaps in the system," McGreevey said.

    "And the purpose of bail reform was so critically important to be able to expedite people through the jail process, but one of the gaps was the inability to provide for adequate treatment and assessing a person in the midst of addiction, and that's what the Next Step program will do," the former governor said.

    These programs are working, said Brogan, who has partnered with Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato for his "Blue Hart" program. That program allows Ocean County residents who want help for their substance abuse problems to turn themselves into more than a half-dozen police departments in the county and get help, not drug charges.

    Brogan said 389 individuals in Ocean County took advantage of the program in 2017.

    "Think about that for a second," he said. "Individuals suffering from substance abuse disorder that traditionally have issues with the legal system turn themselves into a local police station in Ocean County."

    He said officials in Monmouth and Ocean counties were tracking individuals suffering from substance abuse issues that went through the system. And what emerged was a disturbing trend, he said: Overdose victims were often released from the hospital, landing back in jail, getting released and then winding up dead.

    This was occurring at "staggering rates," Brogan said.

    The early returns for the Next Step program are promising, according to Brogan.

    Three weeks ago, he said, a pilot program for Next Step showed that about 60 percent of the 122 individuals identified accepted help.

    Golden said the key to prolonged success is bringing together different law enforcement agencies and healthcare professionals.

    "Corrections and rehabilitation is our business," Golden said of the jail, "not imprisonment." 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Vogel, a chef who appeared on 'Hell's Kitchen' in 2014, was reportedly being treated for colitis when she died. Watch video

    Jessica Vogel, a New Jersey chef who was a contestant on the Fox competition series "Hell's Kitchen" with Gordon Ramsay, has died, NorthJersey.com reports. 

    Vogel, 34, who grew up in Spring Lake and was a resident of Westwood, died on Monday, the report says. Vogel's fiance, John Michael Keyser, said she was being treating for colitis at a hospital in southern New Jersey when "her heart gave out." 

    When Vogel was a contestant on the show's 12th season in 2014, she was working as a sous chef for a catering company and a bistro. She impressed the notoriously unforgiving Ramsay with her rosemary-crusted venison loin with roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts. 

    "Venison is one of the most difficult proteins to cook and you absolutely nailed it," he told Vogel. 

    Vogel attended Johnson & Wales in Denver for culinary school and had worked for chef Christine Nunn as a pastry chef at Grange in Westwood and at Nunn's Picnic on the Square in Ridgewood.

    Starting in 2016, Vogel served as executive chef at Black Rebel Burger in Hackensack, which closed last year. Vogel's Facebook page also lists the chef as having worked at the Committed Pig in Manasquan, the Speakeatery in Asbury Park and The Buttered Biscuit in Bradley Beach. 

    Vogel, who also appeared on the Food Network show "Cutthroat Kitchen" with Alton Brown in 2016, appears to have written about her experience with alcoholism in a now-deleted 2017 Medium post (cached here).

    "I'm weeks away from 34 years old and got told I drink too much and have cirrhosis," she wrote. "Did it stop me from pouring shots of alcohol? Nope. Did my lifestyle of sex, drugs and foie gras come to a born again Christian revelation? F*** that noise. Life is a blaze of glory. I don't know if you want an adventure tale, but I'm here and ready to tell. My name is Jess and I've lived to tell about it. To be continued..."

     

     

    Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at akuperinsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmyKup or on Facebook.

     


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    New Jersey got drenched with rain during the month of July. Here's exactly how much rain fell in each of the state's 21 counties.


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    Jennifer Vaz was walking her dog in Highlands when it alerted her to the partially-submerged cage with another dog inside


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    The indie-folk songstress took on Springsteen a list of sad but wonderful songs in Asbury Park Tuesday night


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