Local Beat: Kids Rule, Criminals Drool


Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

West Orange PharmacyWe’ll start with the sad stuff, but I promise it’ll get better toward the end. In West Orange, head pharmacist Leonard “Lenny” Stefanelli and his twin counterparts Robert and William Carlucci were arrested and sentenced to 37 months in prison for illegally selling oxycodone painkillers out of the longstanding West Orange Pharmacy, reports Cynthia Cumming of TAP into West Orange. The team of pharmacists had also been filing fraudulent bills to healthcare providers like Medicare and Medicaid in an attempt to cover up their illegal activities.

In South Plainfield, Jane Dornick, a journalist and the “Busy Busy Mom” columnist for the South Plainfield Observerplead guilty to one out of three counts of sexual exploitation of a child, according to Darlene Tedesco Cullen of TAP into South Plainfield. In 2010, Dornick coerced a female minor to perform sexually explicit acts in front of a webcam and broadcasted them live over the Internet to former South Plainfield Police Captain Michael Grennier. Grennier would then view the images on his laptop in his home in South Plainfield.

Dr. GeronDr. Philip Geron, an oral surgeon and former private detective in Westfield, is helping to “take a bite out of crime” by serving as the only forensic dentist in New Jersey. According to Jill D’Ambrosio of TAP into Westfield, Dr. Geron’s expertise has been used to solve a landmark NJ rape-homicide case in 1983, where he identified the perpetrator by using the bite marks from the victim, as well as helping to identify over 500 9/11 victims in the aftermath of the attacks. He is currently working with nursing homes to uncover inappropriate billing charges and cases of potential insurance fraud.

The West Orange school system must be doing something right. On the one hand, West Orange middle schoolers have been going around town, leaving “scratch-to-win” book tickets for people to discover, each containing 15 winning tickets that are redeemable for a free book for the child of their choice, reports TAP into West Orange. The tickets are part of an innovated new method that hopes to encourage young children to read.

On the other hand, five juniors from West Orange High School were chosen to participate in a mock state government event called the American Legion Jersey Boys’ State, which aims to teach high school students the value of democracy, reports Andrew Cumming. The program has been held every year for the last seven decades in every state except Hawaii, and students who attain the position of lieutenant governor, governor, and senator each recieve scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 depending on their position.American Legion Kid State

But West Orange isn’t the only school district with reason to brag about their students. In Edison, J. P. Stevens High School senior Jeff Xie has been selected to appear as a contestant on season 30 of “Jepoardy! Teen Tournament” on Tuesday, July 22nd. According to Marc Krauss of TAP into Edison, Jeff is one of 15 students that will be competing for the $75,000 grand prize in the two-week Jeopardy special. You can watch Jeff’s promotional video here.

If you thought I was done, guess again. More awesome kids doing awesome stuff. Instead of driving their parents crazy at the house all summer, the kindergarden and first grade students of South Plainfield’s “Safety Town” have been learning important fire, poison, street, traffic, and water safety skills. The two-week, two-session program is hosted by the South Plainfield Recreation Department, reports Kenny Crilley of TAP into South Plainfield.


Our full roundup:

Jessica Marrone Parkes and Jackie Schatell Franchise TAP into West Essex TAP into West Essex

The Jews Keep on Running TAP into Livingston

Shoppers Are Discovering and Buying Things They Didn’t Even Know They Were Looking For At Livingston’s Cost Plus World Market TAP into Livingston
County Fair FLOP: Rides Closed on Camp Day Until 6 p.m. Riverside Signal
Dornick Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation TAP into South Plainfield
Jeff Xie of Edison to Compete on “Jeopardy! Teen Tournament” TAP into Edison
The New Whole Foods in Cherry Hill has a bike rack, but will anyone use it? South Jerseyist
Morris Schools superintendent Thomas Ficarra calling it a career Morristown Green
60th Annual Choir Festival in the Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove Blogfinger
Heavy thunderstorms race through the Grove. 6 homes hit by lightning. Blogfinger
Photographing an Ocean Grove wedding house——at dawn. Blogfinger
Honing in on Abandoned Homes NJ Pen
South Plainfield Senior Center works with County to start a Garden. TAP into South Plainfield
Safety Town Graduates Master Safety Town TAP into South Plainfield
Jeffrey’s of Westfield Sells Liquor License, Mobile Command Center’s Use Questioned, at Town Council Meeting TAP into Westfield
Westfield Oral Surgeon Helps Authorities Take a Bite Out of Crime TAP into Westfield
Volunteers with Westfield Rescue Squad Say ‘It’s the Experience of a Lifetime’ TAP into Westfield
Watching the suburbs become more unwalkable before your very eyes South Jerseyist
West Orange High School Juniors Create Government at American Legion Jersey Boys’ State TAP into West Orange
Ginny Duenkel Comes Home to West Orange; Spray Pad Dedicated TAP into West Orange
Former West Orange Pharmacist Sentenced to Thirty Seven Months In Prison for Oxycodone Sales and More TAP into West Orange
Gov. Christie Makes Appearance at Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange TAP into Livingston
West Orange Middle School Promotes Reading Around The World TAP into West Orange
Westfield’s ‘Coach Judy’ Nurtures Swimmers for 41st Summer TAP into Westfield
Summer Drama presents “All Shook Up” TAP into South Plainfield


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