Washington Twp. Man Pleads Guilty, Westwood Hiring Police, Anti-Fracking Rally Top This Week's News

Here's a look at the past week in Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township.

Washington Township Chiropractor Pleads Guilty to Financial Crimes

Two chiropractors, including one from Washington Township, pleaded guilty Wednesday to receiving kickbacks for referrals and failing to report income with a combined total of more than $1 million, according to a release from New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa.

Fernando Barrese, 40, of Washington Township and Christopher J. Montana, 40, of Chester, each pleaded guilty to the crimes relating to their business as chiropractors. They together own Chiropractic Centre of Elizabeth, Chiropractic Centre of Newark and Chiropractic Centre of Jersey City. Barrese also owns Wallington Chiropractic Center.

According to Chiesa, the men referred about 100 patients who had been in car accidents for additional services in exchange for illegal kickbacks of $500 cash for each patient.

The Westwood Council voted in favor of hiring new police officers, but declined to make changes to the requirements for promotion during their last meeting.

Two new officers will be hired to fill existing vacancies in the Westwood Police Department, which have been open for months, Councilman Robert Miller told Patch. The department was also authorized to hire a third new officer if another vacancy opens in the next few months.

The committee and Police Chief Frank Regino had also proposed that the education requirements for promotions be changed. Officers currently need a degree to be eligible for promotion, but that rule has been in place for only one promotion to date. Miller said they had wanted to change it so that a degree plus a certain amount of experience or a greater amount of experience, with no degree, would make officers eligible for promotion.

The council voted 3-2 with one abstention against the change, but voted unanimously to authorize the promotion of a sergeant, lieutenant or deputy chief. 

Environmental Advocates Rally in Westwood

About two dozen environmental advocates held a rally outside of Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi's Westwood office Wednesday.

The rally was part of a statewide effort to persuade lawmakers to support a ban of waste from hydraulic fracturing. Schepisi (R-Bergen and Passaic) and other legislators already approved the bill banning the waste earlier this year, but Gov. Chris Christie .

The bill would have banned all solid and liquid waste from hydraulic fracturing —commonly called "fracking" — from New Jersey.

Residents at the rally, and others like it across the state, hoped to convince the lawmakers to override the governor's veto. Two-thirds of the state senate and state assembly must vote to override in order for the bill to pass again. The bill is not currently on the schedule for voting.

A statement from Schepisi's office after the rally indicated she would likely not vote to override the veto.

B.J. Raji Plays on Home Turf Against N.Y. Giants

Washington Township native and Green Bay Packer B.J. Raji came home to Bergen County for a game against the New York Giants Sunday.

The Packers ended up losing 38-10, but Raji said he was hopeful about the rest of the season and already looking toward their game against the Vikings next week.

"We can still go ahead and win our division, but we're not going to do that playing the way we were playing tonight," Raji said.

Raji, 26, grew up in Washington Township and played football at Westwood Regional High School, where he earned All-State, All-North Jersey and All-County honors. He went on to play for Boston College before being drafted by the Packers in 2009. He played on the team when they won their most recent Super Bowl victory in 2011.

Westwood Baseball Association Plans Facility Upgrade

The Westwood Baseball Association wants to improve the facilities at Meadowbrook Park, the main field used by the borough's little league teams.

The association plans to replace the old snack stand and a shipping container used for storage at the field with a new, larger two-story field house. The new field house would still include a snack stand, storage room and bathroom, and would also include a meeting room and announcing/press area on the second floor.

Jackson Avenue Work to Last a Month

Contractors are scheduled to being installing a new water main on Jackson Avenue in Washington Township Friday, according to township police.

The work is expected to last about a month. Crews will not be working on Christmas Eve or Christmas.

Westwood Cardinals Fundraise For Breast Cancer Awareness

The Westwood Cardinals cheerleaders and football team have completed a joint fundraising drive in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pink tee shirts and caps were sold for the entire month of October by team members and their families. Combined with corporate matching, the ‘Cheers For A Cure’ and ‘Tackling For A Cure’ themed fundraiser generated $9,300, which will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.


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