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IN CONCERT — Bryan Jenner, a music teacher at Linwood Middle School and conductor and musical director of the Greater Middlesex County Band, addresses the audience at a band performance on Friday at the school.

Help, get rid of those Linwood Place potholes

Woman’s plea has gone unheeded, but help may soon be on the way

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Potholes line the street on Linwood Place between Hermann and Cranbury Cross roads in North Brunswick.

NORTH BRUNSWICK — Potholes are an annoyance to everyone, but for one Linwood Place resident, they have become a frustrating problem.

According to Linwood Place resident Helene Handaly, the pothole situation on her road is downright awful, "like riding on a washboard."

The worst areas are between Linwood Place and Cranbury Cross Road and near Schirra Road and Ridgewood Avenue, she said, and she should know.

Handaly has been trying to get the problem corrected for three years now.

Two years ago she spoke with a township official who told her that the township had the money and would work on the area in the spring.

When that did not happen, she called again last year and was told that the township was waiting for matching funds.

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A close-up look at the potholes on Linwood Place between Hermann and Cranbury Cross roads in North Brunswick.

This year, the Township Council has approved a long-range study to assess roads throughout the township, which she is aware of.

Still, "it’s frustrating," she said, and the patchwork that is being done does not solve the problem.

Handaly stated Monday that when she called for potholes to be patched near Ridgewood Avenue, the workers only fixed the ones on their work order.

She explained that usually, only dirt is put down to patch the hole, which only provides temporary relief.

There may be help on the way, though.

Dick Fowler, acting director of the Public Works Department, said that during the winter, the department uses cold, instead of hot, patches to fill the potholes, which don’t work as well, since the cold patches cannot compress as well as the hot ones.

On or about April 1, depending on weather conditions, Fowler said they will switch to hot patches, which not only patch better, but last longer.

Fowler said that DPW workers have been on Linwood Place several times this winter, in fact, almost every day recently.

Linwood is just one of several streets

Holiday displays will remain banned in S.B.

A majority of residents speaking during the public session asked the council to vote the resolution down.

Human Relations Commission member Martin Abschutz reported that the panel is still opposed to allowing the displays.

"We don’t want South Brunswick to be another case to come before the courts," Abschutz said.

Abschutz said the commission feels that individuals should be the ones to erect any displays and that the churches should be open for people to become educated in different religious cultures.

"Government does not have to do it for us," he said.

Gwen Southgate said that any kind of display would create a crack in the separation of church and state.

"It is a slippery slope," Southgate said, adding that she found the discussion "really scary" on how the wall representing the separation between church and state is eroding.

"We are sliding very rapidly toward a de facto religion," she said.

Speaking for the resolution, resident Paul Kessler said that the seniors who initially signed a petition to request that the council allow holiday decorations at the Senior Center did so because it was the first time they were prohibited from having a display.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Kessler presented a second petition with 128 names in support of allowing a decorated tree at the center.

"We request that our annual holiday tree and trimmings be returned," he said.

Kessler said that the petition had signatures from a diverse group of people and that the center was decorated during many different holidays representing a diverse population.

"There was no culture cut out," he said.

S.B. officers cleared

in Dec. fatal shooting

Family of victim

is ‘outraged’ over

grand jury finding


Middlesex County grand jury has determined that the officers involved in a fatal December shooting in Kendall Park were legally justified.

According to a report released by the County Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday, the grand jury found that Sgt. Raymond Hayducka "was legally justified" when he fired the shot that eventually took the life of 30-year-old Kyung Ho La during a tense confrontation Dec. 20.

The grand jury reviewed the testimony of 18 witnesses as well as 30 items of evidence during their deliberations.

While the report cleared the officers of criminal wrongdoing, it did question the training of the officers involved in handling the incident.

Some of the jurors questioned if the officers were prepared to deal with someone with a mental deficiency, and if other measures could have been used to prevent the loss of life.

According to the report, Hayducka, and Patrolman Scott Williams, joined three other officers in escorting two mental health workers to the 27 Raleigh Road home La shared with his parents, Bak and Myung Ok La, to evaluate him.

According to police, the evaluation was to determine if La was a danger to himself or others after they received reports of bizarre behavior by La over a period of time.

The report states that police called the home prior to the visit to announce the purpose of the visit, and their intentions.

Upon arriving at the home at approximately 3:40 p.m., La’s father suggested that the visitors meet with his son in the garage of the home.

According to the report, La became agitated when being interviewed by one of the mental health workers and re-entered the house and immediately picked up a sword blade measuring between 18-20 inches long.

La refused the repeated commands by the officers to drop the weapon, retreating further inside the home.

Weapons drawn, Hayducka and Williams followed La at close range fearing for the safety of La’s mother inside the home.

According to the report, the three other officers waited outside the home as back-up.

La then lunged at Hayducka with the sword blade.

Hayducka stepped back to avoid the blade, firing a shot at La.

Additional officers were called to the house after the shot was fired.

La then retreated further into the home, still grasping the blade, according to the report.

After about 10 minutes, La laid down on the living room floor and surrendered the blade and was arrested.

It was then that the officers first knew definitely that La had been injured, the report said.

La was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick where he underwent two surgeries for his wounds.

La died at about 1:50 a.m. the following morning.

An autopsy by Acting Medical Examiner Frederick DiCarlo determined that La died from hemorrhagic shock (blood loss) as the result of a single gun shot wound which entered the right hip area, and damaged a number of organs and severed the left femoral artery.

Livingston Attorney Bruce Nagel, who represents the La family, took issue with the version of events, saying that it would be "virtually impossible" for La to sustain such injury and run into another room.

"The entire story is preposterous," Nagel said in a prepared statement, calling for the state attorney general to review the case.

South Brunswick Police Chief Michael Paquette said that while the grand jury questioned the training of the officers in the situation, simply following their commands could have averted the incident

"Although tragic, the incident could have been prevented by Mr. La complying with the officers requests," Paquette said in a news release.

Paquette said that his agency is one of the most highly and professionally trained in the state and that officers logged some 4,000 hours of training last year alone.

Paquette said that Williams and Hayducka received cultural and diversity training at the New Jersey Community Policing Institute, and Williams had additional sensitivity training during his tenure at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

"This was a situation brought on by Mr. La himself, which put the officers, mental health screeners, his family, and neighbors at risk of serious bodily harm," Paquette said.

Rumors cause some SBHS parents to panic

Early reports about gun, misinformation fuel fear

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South Brunswick High School Principal Thomas Kietrys speaks at a news conference at the municipal building on Route 522 about a lockdown at the high school last week. Chief of Police Michael D. Paquette stands in the background.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Early reports and rumors fed the fires of fear during an incident at South Brunswick High School last week.

The school was locked down for about two and a half hours as police and school officials investigated a false report of a gun being brought to school last Thursday.

Although the report turned out to be a hoax, about 150 anxious parents, reacting to rumors and early media reports, flocked to the Crossroads Middle School on Major Road to demand answers from police and Board of Education officials.

"Some of the reports were saying that shots were fired at the school," South Brunswick Police Lt. Ron Schmalz, the department’s public information officer, said.

Schmalz said that the parents were calmed once they were updated on what was really going on at the high school.

Police ended the lockdown at 10:45 a.m. when they determined the threat to be a hoax, and the school returned to its normal full day schedule.

According to Schmalz, sketchy news reports early on during the incident, and word-of-mouth rumors, gave parents several different pictures of the incident, many of them inaccurate.

Reporters from several news organizations arrived on the scene shortly after the lockdown started at 8:15 a.m., and one radio station provided live updates on the situation, Schmalz said.

Reporters used information provided by students calling out of the building on cellular phones, or their parents, for their reports.

"It is like the game of telephone," Schmalz said during a news conference at the municipal building following the incident.

In the game, one person in a line tells the next person a story and each person relays it in turn. By the time you get to the last person, the story has changed, sometimes dramatically.

By the time the news conference was called, between 11 a.m. and noon, about 25 reporters from around the region had filled the main meeting room for the official briefing.

"Word does get out," high school Principal Thomas Kietrys said following the conference.

Kietrys said that school policy does not allow cellular phones or pagers to be used by students in the building, but that consequences are not severe for those students who continue to use them during school.

"We certainly won’t frisk anybody," he said, adding that the devices should be kept in students’ lockers.

Kietrys said that he hoped that the events of the day would show students the dangers of giving out misinformation.

"They need to be accurate in their communications," Kietrys said.