Monmouth County News Briefs, Jan. 26


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Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a bill into law that allows municipalities to hold owners responsible for maintaining vacant or abandoned residential and commercial properties.

The news was reported by Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Burlington), who said the goal of the law is to prevent derelict buildings from becoming a neighborhood nuisance.

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The law (A-2877/S-1149) creates a new process for owners of vacant and abandoned buildings to register with the municipality. Responsible parties would then be required to undertake protective measures such as securing the property against unauthorized entry and maintaining the upkeep of the building, according to Dancer.

Currently, a municipality is authorized to adopt an ordinance to regulate the care, maintenance and security of vacant and abandoned residential properties on which a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose has been filed.

This new law establishes a timelier process for the identification and registration of abandoned residential and commercial properties prior to, or at the same time as, the foreclosure process, according to Dancer.


A bill sponsored by state Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Burlington) that is aimed at attracting new troopers to the New Jersey State Police has been signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The new law (A-5074/S-3265) permits members of the State Police Retirement System to purchase service credit for prior law enforcement service in another state or the federal government, allowing them to retire up to five years sooner. The measure incentivizes and makes room for younger recruits, according to a press release.

“Recruiting has become more difficult for the state police,” Dancer said. “This law recognizes cops who have honorably protected and served before becoming a member of our distinguished state police, while addressing the recent alarming decline in qualified applicants.”

The 2021 recruiting deadline was met with an unusually low number of qualified applicants – below 3,000. In a typical year, the state police would receive between 15,000 and 20,000 applications, according to the press release.

“Potential recruits see how difficult the job is becoming due to negative portrayals of police and increasing violence and disrespect for law enforcement in too many communities. This important job is becoming less enticing and this measure is an effort to counteract that,” Dancer said.


Center Players will hold auditions for an upcoming production of “Crimes of the Heart” at Center Playhouse, 35 South St., Freehold Borough. The play was written by Beth Henley and will be directed by Anthony Marinelli.

Audition dates are Feb. 5 from noon to 2 p.m. and Feb. 9 from 7-9 p.m., with callbacks on Feb. 12 from noon to 2 p.m. and Feb 16 from 7-9 p.m., according to a press release.

A complete character list is available at

Sides from the play will be provided. Bring a resume and headshot if available, and proof of COVID vaccination. A mask will be required when not on stage, and all cast, crew and patrons must be vaccinated. This is a non-union, no pay production.

Performance dates are May 6-22, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

“Crimes of the Heart” is a Pulitzer Prize winning tragicomedy that centers on the three Magrath sisters (Lenny, Meg and Babe) who are reunited in Hazelhurst, Miss., circa 1974,
as they await the news of their ailing grandfather while also dealing with the
attempted murder committed by Babe against her brutish husband.

Over the next two days, the family’s skeletons will be revealed, deep-seated resentments
return to the surface, and tears will mix with laughter as the sisters work their way
through the pains of life and love in the best way they can: with each other, according to the press release.


Brookdale Community College has announced that more than 1,600 students received debt relief due to the American Rescue Plan’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).

As part of the HEERF plan, Brookdale gave more than $2 million to assist students with any unpaid balances accrued during the coronavirus pandemic from Spring 2020 through Fall 2021. As a result, those students now have a zero account balance, according to a press release.

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is authorized by the American Rescue Plan, providing $39.6 billion in support to institutions of higher education to serve students and ensure learning continues during the pandemic, according to the press release.

Throughout the pandemic, Brookdale has allocated more than $12 million in HEERF funds directly to students to support their education, according to the press release.

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