RED BANK: DRUG OVERDOSE CASES SOARING

A “heat map” showing the concentration of drug-overdose deaths in Monmouth County last year. (Map by Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One-hundred-sixty-five people died of drug overdoses in Monmouth County last year, almost double the number just four years ago, the prosecutor’s office reported Tuesday.

Despite the widespread, often successful use of a fast-acting opiate antidote, the number of overdose victims continued to soar last year, rising 35 percent, the agency reported.

Red Bank police Chief Darren McConnell said the number of overdose cases in the borough over the last two years is “ridiculously higher” than he’d seen in the first three decades in law enforcement.

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RED BANK: GUN REPORT LEADS TO ARREST

AUTHORITIES_RB3

A Red Bank man faces gun- and drug possession charges after a family dispute at the Montgomery Terrace apartments Tuesday morning, police Chief Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

Officers responding to the West Side complex on a disturbance call at 8:35 a.m. were told by witnesses that one of the men involved in the dispute had a handgun in the waist of his pants, McConnell said.

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RUMSON: MAN INDICTED IN OVERDOSE DEATH

oxford rumson 2 011214.JPGRumson officials said they learned that Oxford House had created the recovery home at 61 South Ward Avenue only after a resident’s death there. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03An Avon-by-the-Sea man has been indicted for the overdose death of a resident of Rumson’s Oxford House addiction recovery facility, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced Monday.

Michael Renna, 26 of Sylvania Avenue,  faces two counts arising from the October 2013 death of 25-year-old Christopher L. Pesce, according to Gramiccioni.

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FAIR HAVEN: $8,000 WATCH REPORTED STOLEN

Crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Fair Haven Police Department for the period of January 1 to January 31, 2015.

AUTHORITIES_FH21/1/15 A resident of Oxford Ave., reported an Identity Theft, the theft totaled $800. Det. Schneider is investigating.

1/2/15 William A. Crawford Jr, 22, Long Branch, was placed under arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia following a traffic stop by S/O Brooks Robinson.

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RUMSON: MAN CHARGED IN OXFORD O.D.

oxford rumson 2 011214.JPGThe overdose death of an Oxford House resident has resulted in charges against a man described by authorities as an acquaintance.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An Avon-by-the-Sea man has been charged for allegedly supplying the heroin that led to the overdose death of a resident of Rumson’s Oxford House rehab facility last October, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced Tuesday.

Michael Renna, 25, was charged with one count of first degree strict liability for a drug-induced death and one count of third-degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement.

News about the death of 25-year-old Christopher Pesce was the first that word that nearby residents had that the recovery residence had opened two months earlier in their residential corner of Rumson, and ignited a firestorm of objections.

It also led to a pair of countervailing lawsuits by the borough and Oxford House, litigation that now appears to be close to settlement.

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RBR SPOTLIGHTS HEROIN EPIDEMIC

rbr drug forum 022014 rb drug forum 022014 2Recovering drug addict Dave Dolan, right, spoke of his rapid descent from model student to heroin user during a forum on teen substance abuse that attracted dozens of parents and kids to Red Bank Regional Thursday night. Now a graduate student at Monmouth University, Dolan was part of a panel of health professionals, parents of addicts and ex-users assembled to discuss the warning signs and responses to drug use.

“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” said Charlie Webster, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office, which regards an increase in heroin deaths in the Shore region over the past two years an epidemic.   (Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: OXFORD HOUSE FILES FEDERAL SUIT

oxford rumson 1 011214Oxford House says in a court filing that the group home at 61 South Ward Avenue is getting new residents. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Oxford House has gone on the legal offensive against Rumson.

The parent organization of the embattled group home for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts filed a federal lawsuit against the borough on Friday, alleging discrimination in violation of fair housing and Americans with Disabilities laws.

The suit claims the town and borough Administrator Tom Rogers “have interfered with operation and occupancy” of the residence in the aftermath of two drug overdoses at the house since it opened in August – one resulting of the death of a 25-year-old Holmdel man in October, and the second in December, in which a resident required emergency treatment.

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RUMSON: ALL QUIET AT OXFORD HOUSE

oxford rumson 2 011214.JPGThe manager of Oxford Houses for New Jersey says the Rumson group home is still occupied, but declines to say if there’s a proctor on site. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rumson officials failed in their attempt to get a court order forcing a group home for recovering addicts to be vacated. But they appear to have effectively gotten what they wanted:
an empty Oxford House.

Or have they?

Contrary to the impressions of town officials and some neighbors, “it’s not vacant,” according to George Kent, who manages the house, at 61 South Ward Avenue, for the nonprofit Oxford House.

If it’s not vacant, tid Oxford follow through on a purported plan to change the facility from all-male to one for women and children?

“All I can say is nothing’s changed,” Kent told redbankgreen last week. “There’s people living there.”

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RUMSON: OXFORD WAS TO GO FEMALE

61 so ward rumson 101413The house at 61 South Ward Avenue has been occupied by Oxford House since August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Officials overseeing Rumson’s Oxford House were planning to turn the four-month-old addiction recovery facility for men into one serving addicted women and their children by the end of the year, redbankgreen has learned.

What will become of that plan is unclear, however, in the aftermath of a purported second drug overdose at the house in nine weeks and the filing of a borough lawsuit that slams Oxford House as a failure on its own terms and a danger to the neighborhood.

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RUMSON: APPARENT OD SPARKS LEGAL ACTION

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Rumson officials have launched an effort to evict the residents of an addiction-recovery house following what Mayor John Ekdahl called an apparent drug overdose there early Tuesday morning.

Ekdahl said the town filed suit in Superior Court in Freehold Tuesday afternoon asking for an order that Oxford House residents, at 61 South Ward Avenue, clear out immediately, and that Oxford be barred from using it as a home for drug addicts and alcoholics.

The action follows the overdose death of an Oxford House resident on October 13 and a medical emergency involving another resident shortly before dawn on Tuesday.

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RUMSON: EMERGENCY REPORTED AT OXFORD

oxford house 121713Oxford House on South Ward Avenue at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A medical emergency at Oxford House, the controversial addiction recovery residence that opened in Rumson without public notice in August, had neighbors buzzing about a possible second overdose there Tuesday.

Police Chief Scot Patterson tells redbankgreen that paramedics were called to the house on South Ward Avenue sometime after 5:30 a.m. on a report of an unresponsive person inside. Paterson said he did not know the nature of the emergency.

“All I know is that when the person left, he was alive and being treated by paramedics,” Paterson said.

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RUMSON: OXFORD HOUSE REACHES OUT

61 so ward rumson 101413“Not the best mix” of residents formed the initial population at the Oxford House when it opened in Rumson in August, a facility official told neighbors Tuesday night. One of the residents died of a drug overdose. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02The addiction-recovery residence that popped up unannounced in a quiet Rumson neighborhood this summer “did not get off to a good start,” an official with the organization that sponsors the facility told residents Tuesday night.

“We haven’t been good neighbors,” said George Kent, a regional manager with Oxford House, “and I take full responsibility for that.”

Standing at a lectern in the nave of St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church just a block from the Oxford House on South Ward Avenue, Kent fielded sometimes hostile questions from about 40 residents of the West Park neighborhood, hoping to establish a dialogue in the aftermath of a drug overdose death at the house.

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RUMSON: WRITE-IN DRIVE HEATS UP ELECTION

rumson writein 110313A write-in campaign for two candidates billing themselves as the Rumson Family ticket emerged in the wake of the Oxford House controversy last month. Below, Tim McCooey at the October 22 borough council meeting, the night before he became a candidate. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tim mccooey 102213If the trend over the past century holds on Election Day, Rumson will seat an all-Republican borough council in January.

Ah, but which Republicans?

In a development that may add drama to Rumson’s usual election-night snoozer, two political newcomers have mounted an eleventh-hour write-in campaign, hoping to harness what they say is frustration with their party’s incumbents.

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RUMSON: OXFORD REHAB HOUSE SPARKS IRE

rumson council 102213An overflow crowd jammed Rumson’s council chambers to air concerns about an addiction recovery house in town. Below, Barbara Russell returns to her seat after speaking with borough Attorney Marty Barger. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

barger russell 102213Rumson residents packed a borough meeting Tuesday night to demand action regarding Oxford House, an addiction-recovery residence where a tenant died of a suspected drug overdose 10 days ago.

Seated on the floor and standing in the hallway outside the bimonthly meeting of the town’s governing body, neighbors teed up Oxford House for setting up a residence at 61 South Ward Avenue without notice and for a self-governance model they say isn’t working.

“They’re sitting on the porch and they are drinking,” in violation of Oxford’s own bylaws governing locally chartered houses, Washington Avenue resident Barbara Russell said of the house’s nine residents.

Having recently completed alcohol and drug treatment programs and then allowed to live together without supervision, Oxford’s young clients are naturally “going to come out and have a party,” said Russell, who described herself as a recovering alcoholic for 26 years.

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RUMSON: REHAB HOUSE FOCUS OF COMPLAINTS

61 so ward rumson 101413The Rumson house where a man was found dead of a suspected drug overdose Sunday quietly became an addiction recovery residence in August, neighbors say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Nestled in a quiet Rumson neighborhood still recovering from floodwaters that tore through a year ago, the grey house at the corner of South Ward and Washington avenues stands out, towering over its neighbors.

It also stands out as the subject of complaints to the police.

“They party all the time,” a neighbor who asked not to be identified said of the home’s occupants. “They are up all night. Partying on the front porch. Running through the neighborhood.”

Sunday evening, though, the police were at the house for another reason: looking into the death of one of its residents from a purported drug overdose.

To the surprise of many in this affluent community, the house turns be a drug- and alcohol-rehab residence.

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RUMSON: REHAB HOUSE DEATH INVESTIGATED

just_in1The death of a person found at a Rumson residence Sunday is under investigation, police Chief Scott Paterson tells redbankgreen.

Kin of the deceased haven’t been notified, so he’s unable to release any information about the matter, including the name or age of the victim, Paterson says.

Oxford House, a nonprofit drug rehab provider, lists the house, at 61 South Ward Avenue, as a residence for up to nine males in rehab. Drug or alcohol use by residents is cause for eviction.

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SHREWSBURY POLICE ARREST THREE

Crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of August 24 to August 30, 2013.

call-in-the-authorities•Arrests

Timothy Telymonde, male age 47 of Cliffwood Beach was arrested on 8/24/13 for Contempt of Court in the area of Shrewsbury Avenue by Ptl. Mary Ellen Jennings.

Anthony M. Pepe, male age 26 of Brooklyn, NY was arrested on 8/25/13 for Contempt of Court in the area of Broad Street by Ptl. Tracy Polk.

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MIDDLETOWN: CONTEMPT AND POSSESSION

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• James Rice, age 22, from Creek Road in Hazlet, NJ, arrested on April 1, 2012 by Patrolman Michael Reuter on Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $1,000.00 bail.

• John Lytle Jr., age 29, from Fourth Street in Highlands, NJ, arrested on April 1, 2012 by Corporal Ronald Chesek on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Atlantic City Municipal Court. He was released after posting $500.00 bail.

• Michael Defalco, age 21, from Third Street in West Keansburg, NJ, arrested on April 1, 2012 by Patrolman James Beirne for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was released pending a court date.

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MAN ARRESTED FOR AGGRAVATED ASSAULT

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• Keith Johnson, age 19, from Chapel Hill Road in Middletown, NJ, arrested on December 2, 2011 by Patrolman Donald Coates for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was released pending a court date.

• James Keelen, age 46, from Pineview Avenue in Keansburg, NJ, arrested on December 2, 2011 by Patrolman Nicholas Fenezia for Driving While Intoxicated. He was released pending a court date.

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M’TOWN: ALLEGED COP-WHACKER BUSTED

The crime reports below were provided by the Middletown Township Police Department. The information appears here unedited.

pujols• On April 22, 2011 Detective Daniel Sullivan received information from Detective Jason Lopez of the Keansburg Police Department that he had arrested two juveniles for committing car burglaries in the Keansburg area and had recovered items that had been stolen in similar type burglaries in Middletown. Detective Lopez also identified the suspects in the Middletown incidents.

Detective Sullivan and Detective Lopez conducted a joint investigation which resulted in the arrests of three subjects for the Middletown burglaries. Middletown police arrested Raymond Pujols [above, right], age 19, and Jonathan Pujols [above, left], age 18, both from Raritan Avenue in Keansburg and a seventeen year old juvenile from Main Street in Keansburg.

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