Lakewood Briefs

Strong Thunderstorms Hit Area

Lakewood and the surrounding area were hit by heavy thunderstorms last Wednesday, causing flash flooding, power outages, and a home struck by lightning.

Torrential rain began late in the day causing several major roads to be temporarily covered by rivers of rainwater and leaving some homes, particularly basements, with flooding.

The National Weather Service had issued a Tornado warning for the county, but despite the fast and furious storm, no twisters were spotted.

Firefighters responded when a home on Noam Lane off of East County Line Road was hit by lightning. According to reports the private residence filled with smoke, but there were no injuries.

Power outages largely affected surrounding towns, with some 1,500 in central Toms River, and a smattering in Brick and Howell experiencing temporary blackouts.

LPD Investigating Two Shootings

Police are investigating two shootings that left no injuries but few clues.

The early morning hours of Shabbos, May 25, six shots were fired in the back of the El Oaxaqueno grocery on Clifton Avenue between First and Second Street. According to police, the shots were fired after an altercation ensued in a banquet hall above the store at about 1:00 a.m. Several bullets pierced cars in the area.

Last Monday, 13 discharged shell casings were recovered by police at Pine Acres Estates on Erica Road near Leisure Village. According to police a group of five or six Hispanic men were seen fleeing the scene after shots rang out, but their role in the incident is unknown.

Reward Offered for Information of Jackson Anti-Semitic Vandalism

A $500 reward has been posted by the Jewish War Veterans of America for information on perpetrators who vandalized a Jackson home with anti-Semitic slurs.

The home, owned by a Jew, was abandoned and slated for demolition when the incident occurred in mid-April.

An investigation is on-going, but no culprits have been identified. The incident was condemned in a joint statement by the town’s Mayor Michael Reina and Council President Robert Nixon.

TR Mayor Bans Unvaccinated Children from Township Summer Programs

Toms River’s mayor has announced that unvaccinated children will be barred from participation in town sponsored summer programs, amid an ongoing measles outbreak.

The move, announced last Tuesday by Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher, follows declarations by several counties in and camp associations in the tristate area that will also block any unvaccinated children from attending regardless of whether they have been granted an exemption.

The Mayor’s decision will only affect summer programs under the town’s auspices which enroll some 800 children in total.

The outbreak has produced 900 confirmed cases nation-wide since last October. A relatively minor breakout occurred in Lakewood over the early winter that produced 33 cases and was then declared over.

TR Councilman Rebuked

The Toms River Town Council voted to rebuke one its own members, Daniel Roderick, over confrontational comments and behavior towards a fellow councilman and the town’s mayor at a recent meeting.

According to a report by local media reports, Mr. Roderick’s outburst was over an alleged development plan that he claimed would bring 6,400 new homes to a site off of Route 37. Mayor Thomas Kelaher responded that the accusation was an “outright lie,” and an acrimonious exchange ensued.

Mr. Roderick, 43 year old school teacher, was elected in 2017 as one of a team of Democrats who won seats in the heavily Republican town in a campaign that focused heavily on fighting additional real estate development in the North Dover section. The area borders Lakewood and has seen a sizable influx of Orthodox Jews in recent years.

Shortly after winning the position, Mr. Roderick re-registered as a Republican.

He is one of three candidates in a GOP primary to replace Mr. Kelaher as Toms River’s mayor. The heavy favorite for the candidacy is former Ocean County prosecutor, Joseph Coronato.

During the standoff, Mr. Roderick angrily told the mayor, “North Dover is your legacy.”

The six other council members voted unanimously to rebuke him for his statements.

Rep. Smith Calls for Stronger Action to Fight Lyme Disease

Congressman Chris Smith called for a stronger federal response to rising levels of tick-born Lyme disease at a recent town hall meeting in Wall Township, according to a report by the Asbury Park Press.

Rep. Smith (R-NJ) is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus, and is the sponsor of a bill to create a new national strategy to treat and fight the potentially debilitating illness. Yet he said that what should be a popular cause has not been an easy fight in Congress.

“Massive numbers of people are getting seriously ill from ticks and the federal response to date has been woefully inadequate,” he said at the meeting, “Never in my 39 years in Congress have I seen such push-back.”

Rep. Smith blamed undue influence of insurance companies for blocking stronger action in Washington.

Some 300,000 cases of Lyme are reported yearly across the country and New Jersey is one of the main concentrations. The Congressman’s own daughter suffers from chronic Lyme.

At the gathering, Rep. Smith discussed the findings of a newly released book that alleges the rise in tick-borne illnesses is the result of biological weapons testing by the US military. He has penned a letter to several members of the Trump administration asking them to investigate the matter.

“We owe it to the overwhelming number of patients currently suffering from Lyme disease,” reads the letter in part. “These individuals — and the American public — deserve to know the truth.”