Other NJ News

Two Somerville Police Officers Will Lead Long Line of Blue Cyclists Down Main Street May 9th; Police Unity Tour Heads to Nation’s Capital to Honor Fallen Officers

738a9841a15de0c86242_sompixpoliceunitytour.jpg
Police from across the country will converge on Washington, DC May 12th to honor fallen police officers.
b7487657c8b356c8f0ec_sompixpoliceunitytour2.jpg
Somerville Police officers Tim Franks, left and Vitorio Spadea will lead a pack of police cyclists into Somerville Monday, May 9th.
8e7191ab722d59480cb2_sompixpoliceunitytour6__1_.JPG
Memorial outside Somerville Police headquarters honors two police officers killed in the line of duty. Credits: Rod Hirsch
17720d862b5f6115b88d_sompixpoliceunitytour3__1_.jpg
Unity Tour cyclists stretch out to the horizon on their trek to Washington, DC last year.
738a9841a15de0c86242_sompixpoliceunitytour.jpg

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Borough police officers Vitorio Spadea and Tim Franks will be at the head of the bicycle pack when hundreds of police officers from central New Jersey ride into town Monday, May 9th on their way to Washington, DC where they will join with police from across the country to honor their brothers killed in the line of duty.

The four-day Police Unity Tour is commemorating its 20th anniversary May 9-12, with police from around the country converging on the nation’s capital to pay tribute to the slain officers and the families left behind.

The fifth day, May 13th, will be filled by a candlelight vigil and ceremonies at the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.

Sign Up for E-News

“It’s all about honoring those whose families are now suffering from the loss of their loved ones,” Spadea said.

The 2,000 riders nationwide will help to heighten awareness of the dangers and hazards faced by law enforcement officers, honor those who have died in the line of duty and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.

Both Spadea and Franks have participated in the Unity Tour in past years.

Spadea credits Franks for getting him involved with the race, as well as Bridgewater police officer Arthur Akins, a resident of Somerville described by Spadea as a good friend.

Franks said fellow mountain bike instructors at the county police academy urged him to participate for several years, but there was always an excuse.

“I’m too busy, I don’t have time, you know,” Franks said.

That changed when Claude Racine, one of his fellow Somerville police officers died just before the race four years ago. Racine had ridden in the Unity Tour and had planned to ride that year.

Franks knew he had to ride to honor the memory of Racine.

“That’s all the motivation I needed,” Franks said.

Spadea watched as Franks rode through town that year.

“I saw him coming through town and it got real emotional watching him and those guys ride through town; I said to myself ‘I’ve got to do this next year.’ ‘’

Franks added, “It’s a real rush, you appreciate the people being out there, it shows there is still a lot of support for police officers.”

In keeping with tradition, Spadea and Franks will dedicate their 300-mile trek to fallen police officers, including two from Somerville that were killed in the line of duty 100 years ago.

A memorial erected by Somerville PBA #147 alongside the doorway into police headquarters memorializes Officer Manning T. Crow, shot after confronting three burglars in a butcher shop on South Street in 1899 and Officer Julius Sauer who was shot by a man threatening suicide in 1917. After shooting Sauer, the man killed himself.

Spadea will also dedicate his ride to two other fallen officers, each of whom he knew.

Spadea will be riding to honor his friend and fallen Watchung police officer Matthew Melchionda, killed in a North Plainfield collision in 2006 when responding to back up undercover officers at a traffic stop, as well as state Trooper Scott Gonzalez, killed in Warren County when responding to a domestic dispute in 1997. Spadea said he knew the trooper when he was growing up.

Finally, Spadea will quietly honor Racine.

Spadea will be riding the same bicycle Racine had ridden on the Unity Tour. His widow gifted the bike to Spadea.

She told me ‘I still have Claude’s bicycle he rode to DC I think maybe someone would want it.’

“I told her ‘I would love to have the bike,’ ’’ he said.

“It’s in honor of him because he rode the bike and he worked for us,” Spadea said.

“Riding his bicycle down, for me, I consider that he is riding with me; we’re riding down together.”

Franks will also dedicate his ride to the fallen Somerville police officers.

“It’s great camaraderie riding with cops from other towns and other states,” Franks said. “You hear stories from cops you’re riding with about their partners, some of them were with them when they died on duty, there are a lot of real intense stories and it makes you realize that you owe it to yourself as a cop to remember the guys that didn’t get to go home that night,” he added.

Franks describes himself as an avid cyclist, body builder and martial arts enthusiast. He started riding and lifting weights when he was younger and continues today. At 6’5” and weighing nearly 300 pounds, he’ll stand out from the crowd when the police pedal through Somerville.

The group will head south from Florham Park that morning, head south and connect with Routes 202/206, through to Bridgewater and expect to arrive in Somerville sometime between 1-2 p.m., according to Spadea.

Students at Immaculata High School and Immaculate Conception Schools will come outdoors and cheer on the cyclists as they ride down Mountain Avenue before heading east on Main Street. They will stop briefly in the vicinity of the historic County Courthouse office complex at the intersection of East Main Street and Bridge Street.

A huge American flag will hang over Main Street attached to fire trucks’ extension ladders.

Spadea’s wife, Kimberly and six-month-old daughter Amelia will be waiting for him.

The riders will then head east down Route 28 past VanderVeer School,  onto Finderne Avenue into Manville and on to Weston Canal Road to connect with Davidson Avenue in Franklin, where they will spend the night at area hotels before heading out the next day.

By the end of Day Two, the cyclists will reach Philadelphia; Day 3 destination is Baltimore.  They will arrive in Washington on Day 4 and converge at RFK Stadium before riding to the police memorial.

“Riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with the US Capitol in front of you, with 2,000 other bicyclists, police car and motorcycle escorts, everybody stopping, watching and waving, it’s incredible,” Franks said.

“I’m not a svelte guy; it takes a lot to finish those 300 miles,” Franks added. “Towards the end a lot of the guys are running out of steam but there’s hundreds of other behind them cheering them on reminding them why they’re riding.

“The guys suck it up; they might not be able to walk for a week afterwards, but it’s all in good humor and for a good reason,” he added.

The ceremony at the law enforcement memorial is a moving tribute to the families of officers killed in the line of duty, according to Spadea and Franks.

They are escorted to their seats one-by-one as the officers salute them. The name of each fallen officer is read off.

“Some guys just can’t handle it, it’s rough, real emotional,” Franks said.

The Police Unity Tour was organized by Officer Patrick P. Montuore of the Florham Park Police Department in May, 1997.

Since then, the annual event has raised nearly $18 million.

-         In late 2005, the Police Unity Tour pledged $5 million in support of the National Law Enforcement Museum.

-         Having completed the $5 million commitment to the Museum in 2009 the Police Unity Tour dedicated the 2010 ride to the restoration of the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The $1.1 million restoration project included the re-engraving, coating and sealing of the 18,983 names on the memorial as well as the cleaning of the walls and other memorial improvements.

-         In 2011 the Police Unity Tour became the official sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s “Officer of the Month Program.” Officers of the Month are honored at a special awards luncheon each May in Washington, DC during National Police Week, and they are featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar. The Police Unity Tour is also proud to sponsor the NLEOMF’s “Recently Fallen Alerts.”

Each cyclist must raise $1,850 to participate in the Unity Tour, according to Spadea, who has raised over $2,000. Some of that money pays for each cyclist’s hotel, food and other related expenses. What’s not spent is donated to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.

“The idea is to spread awareness,” Spadea explained. “It would be easy to ask my PBA to sponsor me for the ride, but by me asking for single contributions it helps get people to know about the ride, what it is about and have them help out.

“They’re doing their part to honor a fallen police officer,” Spadea said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Found: Green Brook and Warren, Do You Know this Dog?

April 18, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Do you know me? I'm a young, male German Shepherd who appears to be around a year old. Found near Warrenville Road near the Green Brook, Bound Brook border and now at Somerset Regional Animal Shelter. Call  908-725-0308.

Regional Travel Update - Gov. Murphy Announces Proposed NJTransit funding increase

April 25, 2018

Newark, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday spread a message of hope regarding future improvements to NJTransit services and infrastructure due to a proposed $242 million increase in funding for NJTransit for the 2019 fiscal year. 

At a press conference held at NJTransit’s Central Maintenance Facility on Doremus Avenue in Newark, Murphy, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, and other ...

Down the Shore: Registration Now Open for NJ State Police Basic Boating Safety Course at the St. Francis Community Center May 1 and 3

BRANT BEACH, NJ - Are you ready for sun and warmth?  Spring and summer fun is not that far away even though the weather has been so cold recently.

The St. Francis Community Center is offering a Basic Boating Safety Course in May.  Registration is open for the course that is being held on Tuesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 3 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the St. Francis Community Center, 4700 ...

TAPintoTravels Area Teens Invited to the First Meeting of Aviation Explorer Post 523

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Exploring helps young people make more informed decisions about future careers and learn about different jobs within a particular field. 

In that vein, Aviation Explorer Post 523 will hold its first meeting for young men and women, ages 14-20, on Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m., at DM Airports, 8 Airport Road in Morristown. Future meetings will ...

Nightmare Commute for Raritan Valley Line Commuters Monday

UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Raritan Valley Line commuters spent more than three hours trying to make their way home from New York City on Monday following the breakdown of a train near Union Station during rush hour.

At 9:47 p.m., NJT tweeted:

Raritan Valley Line westbound train service is operating on or close to schedule following an earlier disabled NJ Transit train near Union ...

Travels Update - Long Beach Island Summer Shuttle No Longer A Free Ride

BRANT BEACH - The Long Beach Island Shuttle, an extremely popular service for visitors and residents of Long Beach Island, will have a fee for the first time beginning Memorial Day weekend. 

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners made the announcement at their meeting on Monday, April 9. 

Here is the overview on the fees:

One-way shuttle rides from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Down the Shore: Registration Now Open for NJ State Police Basic Boating Safety Course at the St. Francis Community Center May 1 and 3

April 18, 2018

BRANT BEACH, NJ - Are you ready for sun and warmth?  Spring and summer fun is not that far away even though the weather has been so cold recently.

The St. Francis Community Center is offering a Basic Boating Safety Course in May.  Registration is open for the course that is being held on Tuesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 3 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the St. Francis Community Center, 4700 ...

Travels Update - Long Beach Island Summer Shuttle No Longer A Free Ride

BRANT BEACH - The Long Beach Island Shuttle, an extremely popular service for visitors and residents of Long Beach Island, will have a fee for the first time beginning Memorial Day weekend. 

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners made the announcement at their meeting on Monday, April 9. 

Here is the overview on the fees:

One-way shuttle rides from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Baby Seal Waddles Its Way onto Belmar Beach

BELMAR, NJ — A baby seal waddled its way onto the Fifth Avenue beach earlier today to enjoy one of the warmest days of spring so far.

Around noon on April 12, photographer Nancy Orlowski took these snapshots, which have also been posted on the Belmar Facebook page where it states that the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been notified.

This is the second known instance ...

Bateman Bill, “ Bijou’s Law”, to Require Training, Licensing for Pet Groomers

April 12, 2018

 

TRENTON, NJ - State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) will introduce legislation to increase protections for family pets by requiring pet groomers to be properly trained and licensed following the deaths of three dogs in five months at different New Jersey pet salons. .

“It is sadly far too common for us to read of dog grooming deaths in the news,” said ...

Op-Ed: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a huge blow to the middle-class

April 17, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

Holy Savior Academy Excels in the Arts - Annual Spring Musical, Art Show to Take Place in May

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The students and staff at Holy Savior Academy, a pre-K3 through eighth grade AdvancedED accredited Middlebrook Deanery Catholic School located in South Plainfield, have been busy gearing up for two widely anticipated spring events. In May, the drama club will present its 4th annual Spring Spectacular Musical and a school wide art show will also take ...

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Watchung Borough Council Recognizes Watchung Hills Senior Julia Cunningham, Proclaims April 19 Julia Cunningham Day

April 21, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ - Watchung resident and Watchung Hills Regional High School graduating senior, Julia Cunningham was recognized at a special meeting of the Watchung Borough council Thursday. 

Councilman Bill Nehls praised Cunningham, “ as probably one of the best basketball players in the state,” and “an inspiration for girls in the seventh and eighth grades, ...

WHRHS Softball: Watchung Hills Rolls Over Ridge, 10-1

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Robin McCabe struck out 13 and allowed just one run on five hits to lead the Watchung Hills softball team over Ridge on Wednesday, 10-1. 

“It was a huge win today,” said WHRHS assistant coach Jeff Dealaman. “Our girls were fired up coming into the game as it was our last game before the county seeding meeting tonight and it was against a ...

North Plainfield Baseball: Weyand Shuts Out South Hunterdon, 4-0

LAMBERTVILLE, NJ -Bruce Weyand went 3-for-3 with a solo home run, two RBI, and two runs scored, and he pitched a complete game shutout, to lead North Plainfield over South Hunterdon on Tuesday, 4-0.

Weyand allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out 11. Antwan Barbour went 2-for-3 for North Plainfield. The Canucks improve to 3-2 and next play at Manville on Thursday.

North Plainfield Baseball and Softball: Canucks Shut Out Rutgers Prep, Fall to Gill St. Bernard’s in Eight

SOMERSET, NJ - Ann Joseph went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs and Ayah Elsais went 4-for-4 with an RBI to lead the North Plainfield softball team over Rutgers Prep on Thursday, 10-0. 

The North Plainfield softball team is now 1-2 and next plays Edison on Saturday.

In baseball, AJ Donofrio won the game for Gill St. Bernard's in the bottom of the eighth with a ...

WHRHS Baseball: Watchung Hills Tops Morristown, 6-3

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Senior Joe Blajsa picked up his first win of the season and Kevin Badger went 4-for-4 with a run scored, a stolen base and one RBI to lead Watchung Hills over Morristown on Wednesday, 6-3.

Blajsa pitched six and 2/3 innings allowing only six hits, striking out five and walking one. Junior Ben Ant came in for the strikeout save to pick up his ...

Warren Township Superintendent Addresses Walkout Incidents at Warren Middle School, Police Called

April 25, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Social media and in person discussions over the weekend regarding incidents during a walkout at Warren Middle School on Friday stirred up the Warren community. Warren Township Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Matt Mingle read the following statement at Tuesday’s meeting of the Warren Township Board of Education:

There are allegations being discussed in the ...

New DMV Facility Should Ease Crunch in Somerville

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - B. Sue Fulton is just beginning to find her away around her new office in Trenton , but the newly-sworn director of the Department of Motor Vehicles found her way to Somerville Saturday at the invitation of state Sen. Christopher Kip Bateman for a visit to the local DMV office on Roosevelt Place which has been causing headaches for neighborhood residents.

She ...