Santa to visit needy kids

Needy children from area organizations will gather Friday in the Laborers' Local 332 Union Hall, 1310 Wallace St., to visit Santa and receive donated gifts.

The giveaway is called the Richard Legree Toys for Tots Event, in honor of the man who ran the Toys for Tots event for the Laborers Union for many years. Children from the Prodigy Day Care Center, the Cunningham Center, the Woodstock Women's Shelter & Big Brothers/Big Sisters will receive the toys.

Deal saves some pharm jobs

Employees of a mail-order pharmacy firm have approved a deal that will stave off closure of one of two plants in Bensalem and save 400 jobs, but will result in the closure of another facility and leave more than 500 people out of work.

Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 1199P approved the deal with Express Scripts, of St. Louis, that will keep one plant open, although union officials say 100 or more workers there will be laid off next year. They also approved severance packages for workers at another plant that will close Thursday, which employs 425 people, including 365 union members.

He's released from jail

Federal immigration officials have lifted a detainer placed on Erick Uzcategui, 31, a native of Venezuela, who was charged with drunken driving and vehicular homicide in the death of an off-duty police officer.

The Venezuelan-born Uzcategui had remained in the Ocean County Jail despite posting $250,000 bail on Friday. He was freed Saturday afternoon, shortly after the detainer was lifted.

Prosecutors say Uzcategui's SUV slammed into the back of Ocean Gate Officer Jason Marles' Jeep early on Thanksgiving Day, killing him. Marles had just finished working a drunken driving checkpoint and was headed home. There was no explanation of why the detainer was lifted.

'Sara's Law' advances

A state Senate panel has approved a proposed voluntary registry that would be used to notify family members when someone is involved in a serious auto accident.

The measure, known as "Sara's Law," would allow those with New Jersey driver's licenses or state-issued identification cards to electronically submit the name and telephone number of an emergency contact to the Motor Vehicle Commission.

If the person is killed, incapacitated or seriously injured in an accident, law enforcement personnel would use the registry to notify the emergency contact.

Proponents say that besides providing a vital service, the program would be inexpensive to launch and the cost of maintaining the registry would be minimal.

The bill was unanimously approved by the Assembly in June, and the Senate's Transportation Committee passed it in September. It was then sent to the senate's Budget and Appropriations Committee, which recently gave its approval.

- Staff and wire reports