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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey patiently await adoption.

    This information on dog safety was compiled by members of the Dog Bite Prevention Coalition -- the U.S. Postal Service, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Humane Society, Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance.

    If a carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog into a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Parents should also remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

    People often assume that a dog with a wagging tail is a friendly dog, but this is far from the truth. Dogs wag their tails for numerous reasons, including when they're feeling aggressive. A tail that is held high and moves stiffly is a sign that the dog is feeling dominant, aggressive, or angry.

    Dogs, even ones you know have good days and bad days. You should never pet a dog without asking the owner first and especially if it is through a window or fence. For a dog, this makes them feel like you are intruding on their space and could result in the dog biting you.

    ALL DOGS are capable of biting. There's no one breed or type of dog that's more likely to bite than others. Biting has more to do with circumstances, behavior, and training.

    Dogs have a language that allows them to communicate their emotional state and their intentions to others around them. Although dogs do use sounds and signals, much of the information that they send is through their body language, specifically their facial expressions and body postures. You can tell how a dog is feeling (sad, tired, happy, angry, scared) by looking at the position of a dogs' ears, mouth, eyes, and tail.

    Dogs are social animals who crave human companionship. That's why they thrive and behave better when living indoors with their pack -- their human family members. Dogs that are tied up or chained outside are frustrated and can become aggressive because they are unhappy. They can also become very afraid because when they are tied or chained up, they can't escape from things that scare them.

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

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    Robert Murphy, of Red Bank, lost control of his 3-wheeled motorcycle, officials said

    An 80-year-old New Jersey man was killed in a rollover crash while riding a motorcycle on Friday just outside of Boston. 

    Robert Murphy, of Red Bank, lost control of his 3-wheeled motorcyle while on the ramp from the Massachusetts Turnpike to northbound Interstate 95, according to Massachusetts State Police Trooper Dustin Fitch. 

    Murphy was aboard a 2014 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide when the crash took place around 11:35 a.m. along the border of Newton and Weston. officials said. He was taken to Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center in Newton, where he was pronounced dead. 

    The crash is under investigation. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.



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    The policy allows judges to continue working until their 80th birthday, in some cases.

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    The road is closed between Route 522 and Route 34 after the crash in Colts Neck

    An overturned truck leaking chemicals has closed the southbound side of on Route 18 in Monmouth County.

    The truck flipped over near exit 22 (Route 537) in Colts Neck, according to, the state department of transportation's traffic website. 

    The truck has a chemical leak, according to a tweet from the Robertsville Fire Department in nearby Marlboro. 

    Route 18 is closed between exit 22 and exit 19 (Route 34), Colts Neck police said.

    Colts Neck police couldn't immediately be reached for more information. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.



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    The former Kenilworth superintendent is accused of defecating on or near the Holmdel High School football field and track. Watch video

    More than three months after his arrest, the motive behind the former Kenilworth school superintendent's alleged habit of defecating near the Holmdel High School athletic field is still a mystery. 

    Thomas TramagliniThomas Tramaglini

    And his case is still pending. 

    Escorted by two attorneys and a bodyguard, Thomas Tramaglini, 42, of Aberdeen, appeared in Holmdel municipal court Monday morning. He did not speak but his attorney, Matthew Adams, squabbled with municipal Prosecutor Steven Zabarsky over his concerns about the police department's handling of the evidence against his client. 

    Tramaglini was arrested in May and charged with defecating in public after he was caught in the act while running at the Holmdel High School football field and track, Holmdel police said.

    The school is approximately 3 miles from Tramaglini's condo on Dumbarton Hill Court. 

    Officials had set up surveillance after the athletic director at the school told the district's resource officer that they found human feces on or near the football field and track "on a daily basis," police said. 

    It was revealed in court on Monday that the investigation was launched by the resource officer with a video camera borrowed by the school's janitor. 

    The camera allegedly caught Tramaglini in the act twice in April, Zabarsky said. On May 1, the resource officer spotted Tramaglini on the track and approached him. Shortly after, Tramaglini was taken into custody. 

    Adams told Judge Mary Casey that he has an issue that the memory card with the footage and the camera was given back to the janitor. The janitor then taped over the original footage, according to Zabarsky. 

    Adams compared that to police "taking a hose in a bloody murder scene and washing it down before it is processed." 

    Zabarsky said the officer saved the pertinent video footage depicting the alleged crime. 

    "Does he (Adams) deny it's his client in the video?" Zabarsky asked Casey, rhetorically. 

    Tramaglini took a paid leave of absence from his $147,504 a year job in Kenilworth following the incident. Last month, the Kenilworth School District accepted Tramaglini's resignation

    He now intends on suing the Holmdel Police Department over the mugshot that was taken after his arrest. 

    "Holmdel Township Police Department unlawfully took Dr. Tramaglini's photograph and distributed and disseminated the 'mug shot' to third parties, including the media, with the intent to harm Dr. Tramaglini," states a notice of tort claim. 

    Tramaglini declined to comment after the approximately hourlong hearing. 

    Adams told reporters that his client "has spent 30 years in public education." (He later clarified in an email that it's 20 years.)

    "He wrote his doctoral thesis on helping economically disadvantaged kids," Adams continued. "Three months after this charge and we're still fighting over the basic constitutional evidence he's entitled to. And that's what this is all about. And the rhetorical question is, 'why haven't we gotten it.'"

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find on Facebook.

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    Latest updates on flash flooding, flood warnings and road closures prompted by torrential rain in New Jersey on Monday, Aug. 13

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    More than 100 evacuations were made in a section of Brick due to flash flooding, as Parkway exits are forced closed.

    UPDATE: The state of emergency in Howell was lifted at 5 p.m.

    States of emergency have been declared in Brick and Howell due to heavy rains and flooded roads, officials said Monday afternoon. 

    More than 100 evacuations were made in the Greenbriar I section of Brick Township because of flash flooding, according to the police department's Facebook page

    "Citizens are asked to remain off of the roads and remain home as more severe storms are expected this afternoon and early evening," police said.


    The township is coordinating with the Office of Emergency Management as well as the Red Cross to assist people displaced from their homes, Police Chief James Riccio said.

    Manhole covers were also popping up across town as rainwater backed up in the town's sewers, Brick ShoreBeat reported. 

    Howell Police Department deployed its water rescue truck to Winding Brook development for a medical emergency, police said. 

    The bridge on Lakewood-Allenwood Road between Cascades Blvd and Vienna Road in Howell was deemed "structurally unsafe" due to the torrential rainfall and the road was closed indefinitely, the Howell Police announced shortly after 5:30 p.m.

    Multiple road closures were reported in both towns, including Exit 90 on the Garden State Parkway, multiple northbound lanes on the Parkway and Route 547 in Howell, according to

    Nearly 8 inches of rain have fallen in just a few hours in parts of Ocean County, which is almost two month's worth of rain. The National Weather Service said radar and automated rain gauges showed some sections of Monmouth County -- including Howell, Neptune and Wall -- also were hit hard, with as much as 5 to 8 inches of rain.

    A flash flood watch remains in effect for the majority of the state through midnight on Monday. In addition, a flood warning is in effect until 9:15 p.m. Monday for urban areas and small streams in northeastern Ocean County and southeastern Monmouth County. 

    NJ Advance Media staff writer Len Melisurgo contributed to this report. Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find on Facebook.

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    Some parts of New Jersey got nearly two months' worth of rain Monday morning and afternoon

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    Swimming at five Monmouth County beaches was stopped Monday after the county was battered by rain, which flooded streets and forced a state of emergency in one town.

    Swimming at five Monmouth County beaches was stopped Monday after the county was battered by rain, which flooded streets and forced a state of emergency in one town.

    Four ocean beaches, two in Spring Lake and two in Sea Girt, and one river beach in Belmar were closed to swimming on Monday evening, according to the DEP.

    The beaches at The Terrace and Beacon Boulevard in Sea Girt, and Brown Avenue South and York Avenue in Spring Lake were closed to swimmers because a drain pipe for nearby Wreck Pond was opened to allow water to flow from it into the ocean.

    All four beaches beaches cover a four-block stretch surrounding the pipe.

    A large trench was dug in the sand in Sea Girt to help additional water from Wreck Pond flow into the ocean.

    DEP spokesman Larry Hajna has said the closure associated with emptying the pond is in effect for at least 24 hours so that any bacteria that flows into the ocean can dissipate.

    The L Street beach, a river beach in Belmar, was closed to swimming after sewer runoff flowed into the K Street drain, according to the DEP.

    It is unclear when the river beach will be reopened to swimmers.

    DEP officials did not have additional information on the closures when asked on Monday night.

    The closures are not related to the DEP's weekly round of testing that checks for the level of bacteria in beaches from Monmouth County to Cape May County. The results of this week's test will be released Tuesday.

    There were preliminary reports of nearly six inches of rain in Belmar and a Twitter post from the Sea Girt lifeguards said the borough received about five inches Monday.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find on Facebook.

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    See which New Jersey hospitals ranked highest in this high-profile survey.

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    A settlement agreement also called for both parties not to disclose its terms, but a copy was obtained under the state Open Public Records Act.

    A separation agreement between Kenilworth Public Schools and a former superintendent charged with pooping on a Holmdel athletic field pays his full salary through the end of September plus two months severance pay and $23,827 in unused vacation days.

    Under the terms of the agreement, a copy of which was obtained by NJ Advance Media, the district will end up having paid its former superintendent, Thomas Tramaglini, well over $100,000 some five months after his arrest and suspension in May.

    And, the agreement stipulates, the district will not contest Tramaglini's application for unemployment.

    "From the date of execution of this Separation Agreement by Tramaglini and the Board President, Tramaglini will remain on a paid leave of absence for personal reasons through Sept. 30, 2018," unless he lands a comparable job before then, according to the agreement. "During such time, he shall not report to work, perform any of the duties of, nor have any of the responsibilities of the position of Superintendent of Schools of the Kenilworth School District."

    The agreement also called for the district and Tramaglini not to disclose the terms of their separation. However, a copy of the agreement was obtained by a number of news organizations under the state Open Public Records Act.

    The agreement was signed by Tramaglini on July 24 and by Kenilworth Board of Education President Nancy Zimmerman and Board Secretary/Business Administrator Vincent Gonnella on July 26, the day Tramaglini's submitted his letter of resignation, with an effective date of Sept. 30.

    Tramaglini, 42, was suspended with pay by Kenilworth after he was charged on May 1 by Holmdel Police with defecating in public at the Holmdel High School football field and track. The high school is about 3 miles from Tramaglini's condominium in Aberdeen.

    With a salary of $147,500 under a contract that originally ran from Jan. 11, 2016, to July 1, 2020, keeping Tramaglini on his full salary for the five months following his suspension up through his September resignation date will cost the district $61,458, not including his vacation and severance pay. The full amount owed to him, including both, is $109,868.

    And while the agreement does not specify how much Tramaglini will receive for unused sick days, or the number of days he accrued, it does state that the district will honor the terms of Tramaglni's original contract, which calls for reimbursement of $682 per unused sick day.

    No motive has ever been ascribed to Tramaglini's alleged serial defecation, and a Holmdel Municipal Court hearing on Monday offered few clues.

    A civil case is in the works, after Tramaglini notified the Holmdel police of his intention to sue the department for photographing him and "maliciously" circulating his mug shot for what Tramaglini's lawyer characterized as a minor offense.

    Steve Strunsky may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find on Facebook.

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    Two main roads in the Ramtown section of the Monmouth County town have been closed indefinitely and police warned drivers to expect extensive delays

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    The move by Gov. Phil Murphy allows for state resources and funding to these areas hurt by torrential rain in recent days

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    Some parts of New Jersey got pounded by as much rain as you would get from a tropical storm.

    Those drenching waves of showers and thunderstorms that flooded homes and businesses across New Jersey on Monday produced a staggering amount of rain in some parts of the state.

    One rain gauge in Lakewood collected 8 inches of rain in just one day -- most of it falling in several hours, according to the National Weather Service and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, a group of trained weather observers based at Rutgers University.

    Rain gauges in other towns measured as much as 5 to 7 inches of water during the relentless storms that were triggered by a strong low-pressure system and a moisture-packed atmosphere.

    Which towns got the most rain? Here's a look at the top rainfall totals reported by the National Weather Service and the CoCoRaHS network. (Note: Some towns have weather monitoring stations in different locations, which is why some towns are listed more than once.)

    To add some perspective to these numbers, New Jersey normally gets an average of 4.10 inches of rain during the entire month of August. Most of the numbers in the chart above were recorded during a 24-hour period.  


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

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    The National Weather Service has confirmed reports of two waterspouts off the New Jersey coast during Monday's strong thunderstorms

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    Jenniffer Vaz, who is credited with saving the pooch from drowning, had to surrender him after her other dog had a hard time adjusting

    River, the dog who was saved from certain death after he was left caged in rising water, won't stay with his rescuer as planned, and is still on the search for a home with a new family. 

    The news comes after Jenniffer Vaz, who is credited with saving the pooch from certain drowning late last month, had to surrender him back to the Monmouth County SPCA after her other dog had a hard time adjusting to life with a little brother. 

    "After consulting with my family, the SPCA and my vet for the best interest of Molly's (the other dog) health it would be better if River was fostered by someone else," she wrote in a Facebook post. "As a (dog) mother, dropping River off was the hardest thing that I've ever had to do. Even though I've never been a parent it feels like I'm losing a child."

    Vaz found River last month in Veteran's Memorial Park in Highlands, when Molly stopped on their early morning walk and alerted her to something strange in the bay. The struggling pup, a pit bull estimated to be less than a year old, was trapped inside a black wire cage left on small portion of sand between the bulkhead and the water. As the tides rose, he was increasingly submerged. 

    Vaz contacted animal control, who were able to rescue the dog in the nick of time. 

    In the days after, Vaz said she planned to adopt River, and was fostering him as an investigation into his abandonment was underway. 

    But she dropped him off Saturday, along with a bed, toys, food and treats donated to him. The proceeds of a GoFundMe, which raised more than $1,000, will be given to River's forever family to assist with his care, Vaz said. 

    "We're looking for a foster to adopt, for someone who's going to keep him forever," Ross Licitra, the chief and executive director of the Monmouth County SPCA, said Tuesday. 

    The arrangement has to start as a foster because the criminal case surrounding River is ongoing. As that comes to a close, Licitra said, the foster family could adopt River officially. 

    Because River was an unneutered young male living with a female dog, Licitra said he believes River may have been too aggressive for the setting, leading Molly to become withdrawn. The shelter plans the neuter him and conduct a behavior assessment to see what kind of home he might take to best. 

    In the meantime, the list of names interested in taking River home continues to grow, he said. Other interested adopters can apply with the shelter. 

    The man accused of dumping River, Aaron D. Davis, 36, of Long Branch, was arrested earlier this month. If convicted of the animal cruelty charges against him, he could face prison time. 

    Even though Vaz could not give River a forever home she hoped to, she is still fighting for harsher laws for those who abuse animals. She held a rally last week in the park where she first rescued River, calling on officials to levy stricter penalties for abusers, a movement she calls River's Law. 

    "My family and I will continue to support rivers law," Vaz wrote. "Thank you again for all your kind comments, love and contributions.!!! I am so very grateful to have played such a big party in River life, and to be there in his greatest time of need." 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find on Facebook

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    Accused of leaving a pit bull in a cage along the bay, Aaron Davis was ordered to remain in jail until his trial

    The Long Branch man accused of attempting to drown a caged dog in Highlands last month has been ordered to remain jailed pending his trial, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office announced Monday.

    Aaron Davis, 36, surrendered himself to police last Tuesday on animal cruelty and abandonment, and could face up to five years in prison if he's convicted for the cruelty charge.

    Authorities say he caged a pit bull, put the cage in the water near Veterans Memorial Park on Bay Avenue and left the dog to drown in the rising tide some time between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. on July 30.

    At a rescheduled hearing Monday, Monmouth County Judge James McGann ordered for Davis to remain jailed.

    Dog left to drown in cage is looking for a forever home

    Defense attorney Adamo Ferreira was surprised by the decision, despite his client's most serious charge being a fourth-degree crime, the lowest grade of felony. He plans  to appeal. 

    "He's lived in Monmouth his whole life with strong roots in community and presented no risk of flight," Ferreira said Tuesday. "Those factors should have weighed more heavily."

    Jennifer Vaz, who lives near Highlands and was walking her own dog Molly, found the pit bull when Molly barked at something in the water and they went to investigate.

    Vaz and the Monmouth County SPCA rescued the dog less than an hour before the tide would have drowned him. She fostered the dog and named him "River," but had to return him to SPCA because her dog didn't get along with him. 

    Police encourage anyone looking to help an animal in danger to contact the Monmouth County SPCA's animal cruelty hotline 877-898-7297.

    Gianluca D'Elia may be reached at gdelia@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @gianluca_delia. Find on Facebook.

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    Swimming advisories are in place at 17 New Jersey beaches and five other beaches in Monmouth County remained closed to swimming on Tuesday.

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    Prosecutors allege she was working as a paralegal throughout decade she claimed she was disabled.

    Federal agents on Tuesday arrested a former Middletown resident on allegations she collected almost $160,000 in government benefits by lying about her ability to work, prosecutors said.

    Martha Aguilar, 56, was arrested by special agents from the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Education on a four-count indictment charging her with the theft of government funds, social security fraud, false statements in furtherance of social security fraud and student loan fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

    Prosecutors allege Aguilar submitted forms to the Social Security Administration on which she claimed she was completely disabled, when she was in fact regularly working as a paralegal and collecting temporary disability benefits -- also fraudulently obtained -- from the state of New Jersey.

    As a result, the government has alleged, she fraudulently collected approximately $136,879.24 between November 2004 and January 2015 while failing to report $470,000 in state benefits and income.

    The grand jury's indictment also accuses Aguilar, who now lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, of falsifying her son's student financial aid paperwork to conceal her earned income and state benefits, resulting in his wrongfully receiving $23,195 in aid.

    Aguilar made her first appearance in U.S. District Court on Tuesday afternoon before Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in Trenton, court records show.

    She was released on a $250,000 appearance bond and is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Thursday before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson.

    Her court-appointed attorney from the Federal Public Defender's Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriartyFind on Facebook.

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    Is your college a good investment? Cheaper isn't always better.

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