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A Union Beach firefighter dies fighting a blaze and more in today’s Monmouth and Ocean County News from Townsquare Media.

A 54-year old Union Beach firefighter died battling a blaze in a hydraulic plant in the borough near Union and Central Avenues last night. A sign outside the firehouse identifies the victim as Bob Meyer. Four other firefighters were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Officials in the predominantly Orthodox Jewish community of Lakewood are working to avert a school bus protest which could clog the streets with hundreds of cars. A rabbi is calling on the parents of private school students to drive their children to classes tomorrow and Wednesday to protest Lakewood’s decision to end a nearly $4 million courtesy busing program for an estimated 8.100 students. Courtesy busing is provided as a convenience for students who live within 2-and-a-half miles of their schools. Meanwhile, the schools superintendent says school buses will operate tomorrow and Wednesday.

Seaside Heights police are investigating after an apparent argument ended with 2 men in the hospital early Saturday morning. A 31-year old Toms River man sustained a stab wound to the upper abdomen and a 24-year old Lacey man was stabbed in the arm. Officers say it’s not yet clear whether the men stabbed each other or if other people were involved.

Two people were seriously injured after a 2-vehicle crash in Brick Saturday night. Police say the jeep driven by a Florida man turned into the path of an oncoming car at the intersection of Rt. 70 and Olden Street just after 6 pm. He was airlifted to the hospital with head injuries. The driver of the car, 48-year old Susan C. Palumbo of Toms River, was also taken to the hospital.

Two Red Bank residents are displaced after a fire damaged a 2nd floor apartment on Monmouth Street yesterday afternoon. Police say one person who was home was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. A downstairs fur shop sustained water and smoke damage. No word yet on the cause.

Shots fired in Fair Haven early Saturday led to the arrests of 2 Rumson men. Matthew and Michael Robertson reportedly were seen fleeing the area of Tyson Drive and Haddon Park. They’re charged with aggravated assault and weapons counts.

Snapping turtles, which can cause severe bodily harm, recently have been spotted in Lakewood on roads near Ocean County Park. Parents are being urged to warn children not to approach the dangerous turtles.

You are in the minority if you plan to stay in NJ after you retire. According to a new poll of non-retirees in our state, most plan to leave the state once they no longer have to work here. The top answer when asked why was high taxes. 57% say NJ is just too expensive for retirees.

Looking to prevent the unsafe abandonment of infants in our state, NJ now has a public awareness campaign about its Safe Haven program. Individuals can give up their baby at any NJ emergency room or police department, safely and legally, no questions asked, as long as the infant is unharmed and less than 30 days old. The Department of Children and Families Commissioner says the next step is getting these children placed in forever families. The public awareness campaign features labels for hospital doors, as well as ads on NJ Transit buses. 62 infants have been surrendered through this program since 2000.

Gangs continue to operate in all parts of our state, including rural areas. The state Attorney General says gang activity remains a major challenge because gang members systematically engage in threats, beatings, and even murders. He says a combination of a strong law enforcement presence and stepped up education and job training efforts in gang strongholds are slowly making a difference.

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