A weekly update of stories previously reported

Four years ago: Galloway Township worker dies in Garden State Parkway accident

On June 3, 2009, Burrell Oughton, 59, of Galloway Township, was working in a water truck in a closed lane at about 4 a.m. near milepost 78.4 southbound in Berkeley Township, Ocean County, when he was struck in the side by a car. He died later that month from his injuries, which included rib fractures, a grade one spleen laceration, lumbar spine fracture, radial head fracture and other fractures.

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State Police arrested the driver, John Silvestri, now 24, of Lacey Township, and charged him with leaving the scene of an accident with serious injuries. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and has since been paroled, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Last Friday, an attorney for Oughton's family settled a civil lawsuit with Silvestri and contractor Midlantic Construction Inc. for $1.53 million. The amount includes $100,000 from Silvestri.

James A. Maggs, of Maggs & McDermott LLC in Brielle, Monmouth County, said there should have been a "crash truck" in front of the closed lane that Oughton was working on to provide a cushion to protect him. He said Midlantic failed to properly set up the lane closure, failed to follow the contract documents, and failed to follow New Jersey guidelines for a lane closure set forth in "The Manual for Traffic Control in Work Areas."

An attorney for Midlantic did not return a call seeking comment.

Four months ago: Jitneys serve Stone Harbor and Avalon

This summer, residents and visitors to Seven Mile Island had a new option for traveling around.

The Chamber of Commerce for Stone Harbor and Avalon coordinated an effort to bring jitneys to the area from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Riders paid a fare to ride a route that went through both towns daily between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m., said John O'Dea, president of the Avalon Chamber of Commerce.

"It was a rousing success," he said of the initiative. "I personally rode on many trips, and there were very few empty seats."

The island towns adopted the program after it was a success in Sea Isle City the summer before. O'Dea said he thinks they will continue to have jitneys on the island in future years.

Officials also credited the jitneys for creating a safer environment this summer, as it cut down on traffic, incidents of drunken driving and gave people a way to get home late at night.

Seven months ago: Vineland school district adopts uniform policy

The first day of school last week featured a different look for the Vineland School District.

In February, the Board of Education adopted a new dress code policy for its roughly 9,500 students. Among the requirements are khaki or black bottoms and solid red, black or white tops.

Flip-flops, hats, bandanas, sweat bands and other types of headgear were prohibited.

Superintendent Mary Gruccio said the response from students so far has been wonderful and all the district's schools are reporting close to 100 percent compliance. The district will monitor the effectiveness of the new dress code throughout the year.

Contact Joel Landau:


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