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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    10 of N.J. hockey's top players over the past week.


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    See the biggest stories in N.J. girls basketball this week.


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    One of the robbers wore a True Religion-brand sweatshirt with a gold "U" on the front and a gold Buddha on the back

    Gunpoint robberies at two 7-Eleven stores in Hamilton since the new year were committed by two men with similar descriptions, police said Friday.

    The men wore masks, gloves and hooded sweatshirts, and each carried a handgun. 

    The store on Lalor Street near the Trenton border was held up at about 4:45 a.m. on Jan. 4 and the store in the 900 block of Arena Drive was hit at 2:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

    The men are both described as about 6-feet tall with medium builds.

    In the first crime, the first robber's hooded sweatshirt was gray with white rings on the sleeves.

    And in the second robbery, the same robber wore a black hooded coat with fur around the neck, and the second robber's sweatshirt had a True Religion-brand sweatshirt with a gold "U" on the front left breast and had a gold Buddha on the back - which also says "True Religion" in gold letters.

    No injuries were reported, and police did not say how much money was stolen in either crime.

    Hamilton Detective Frank Burger is investigating and can be reached at 609-581-4010 or through the Hamilton police crime tipline at 609-581-4008.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Maurquice Jones is accused of possessing a black, .45-caliber Glock handgun and a revolver, in a taxi cab.

    Jury selection began Wednesday for a man accused of unlawful weapons possession. 

    Maurquice Jones, 23, of Trenton is accused of possessing a black, .45-caliber Glock handgun and a revolver, in a taxi cab. 

    mJones.jpgMaurquice Jones
     

    Police had received a tip the night of March 27, 2017 that two armed men had gone into a cab in the Wilbur neighborhood. 

    Officers pulled the taxi over on the 700 block of East State Street, and found Jones and his co-defendant Dashaun Brown, 23, making suspicious movements near the front seat.

    The officers saw a revolver near Browns foot, and after a search of the car found the handgun. 

    Brown has since pleaded guilty and is currently serving a five year prison sentence, with three years of parole ineligibility. 

    Opening statements of the trial are expected to take place next week.

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at orizzo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find NJ.com on Facebook


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    The suspect flew to Serbia, and told friends he was headed to Turkey

    Authorities say they found the hit-and-run driver who struck a Bucks County, Pa. bicyclist just before Christmas, and he confessed to the crime twice after he left country.

    Ali Hakan Cifter, 35, was indeed racing another car, as police suspected, when he struck Kevin M. Williams Sr., 52, in Bristol Borough on Dec. 19, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office said Friday.

    boroughdeath.jpgAli Hakan Cifter 

    Police charged Cifter with vehicular homicide and related charges, and will try to extradite him. The district attorney's office said he flew from New York to Serbia on Dec. 21.

    His exact location on Friday, though, was unclear.

    Cifter is an American citizen originally from Turkey, and the district attorney's office said Cifter has since told investigators here he's getting a lawyer in Turkey - where he told friends he was headed.

    The district attorney's office gave this account of their investigation:

    After striking Williams on Route 13 near Corson Street - Williams lived in the 700 block of Corson - Cifter drove his damaged Mercedes home in Bristol Township and parked it in the garage. He told his roommate he'd struck a deer.

    Cifter's roommate called police on Dec. 23, tipping officers to the vehicle's location.

    Cifter, though, was already gone. having boarded the plane to Serbia two days prior.

    Before he left, Cifter removed a Florida license plate from the rear of the Mercedes, which police found inside a small refrigerator in a bedroom of his home. He told his roommate he planned to tow the vehicle to Florida for repairs, and asked his roommate to drive him to New Jersey so that he could get another car he owned.

    Co-workers at the truck terminal where both men worked later told the roommate that Cifter had left the country.

    On Dec. 23, Cifter contacted the lead police investigator by phone and confessed his role in the fatal crash. He said the victim had jumped out in front of him and he drove away because he was scared.

    He admitted racing another vehicle at speeds exceeding 70 mph. The next day, Cifter emailed the police, again acknowledging his involvement in the crash, the district attorney's office said.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The letter follows another round of water quality failures and violations at Trenton Water Works

    The state Department of Environmental Protection on Friday slammed the city of Trenton's reaction to ongoing issues and water quality violations at their water utility, calling it a "continued failure."

    In a letter from DEP Commissioner Bob Martin to Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson, Martin wrote: "The City's inability or unwillingness to act with the urgency the current situation requires potentially puts at risk the health of the 225,000 people (the utility serves)."

    The utility, Trenton Water Works (TWW), provides water to the city and customers in portions of Hamilton, Ewing, Lawrence and Hopewell townships.

    City spokesman Michael Walker said city and TWW officials continue to work on a "comprehensive plan to bolster operations at the Trenton Water Works" and are doing so with the DEP.

    Martin's Friday letter follows another round of water quality failures at the utility recently that culminated in DEP violations, and an official notification to customers.

    Among the recent troubles were a filter that wasn't working properly between Sept. 25 to Nov. 2, 2017 and samples that contain excessive levels of haloacetic acids, by-products of drinking water filtration systems using the chemical compound potassium permanganate.

    The city's Jan. 5 letter to customers said the haloacetic acid levels are not an emergency and there is nothing customers need to do as a corrective action.

    However, some who are exposed to high haloacetic acids over a long period of time may have an increased risk of getting cancer, the advisory said, and the city encouraged those with compromised immune systems, the elderly and those who are pregnant or have young children to contact their doctors about if it is safe for them to drink the water.

    Martin's Friday letter said the DEP has been "exceedingly patient" with the city, but that Trenton officials are not following the steps he outlined in a Oct. 30, 2017 letter, nor in "several telephone conversations" as recently as last week.

    State to Trenton: City's water utility needs help and you must act

    In the Oct. 30 letter, and another letter, first reported by city resident Kevin Moriarty, who posted about them on his blog, Martin detailed DEP officials' concerns about gross under-staffing and a lack of leadership at Trenton Water Works.

    The commissioner urged Jackson to bring in an outside agency to run the utility on a short and long-term basis, and provided deadlines. Martin wanted an emergency contract in place Nov. 30.

    That hasn't happened, which Martin's Friday letter reminds the city.

    Jackson told NJ Advance Media in early December the deadlines for an emergency contract were impossible, saying, government procurement processes, "Cannot move that fast."

    Martin's latest letter also ripped the city for giving the DEP an "unacceptably incomplete" draft for a contract for one outside firm, and says another firm the city itself chose disappointingly fell through.

    And he wrote that the DEP has every intention of enforcing the time penalties on the latest violations, which were hand delivered to the city Jan. 5.

    In yet another reminder, Martin said the city is far behind and failed to make progress on a January 2014 administrative order to cover the utility's open-air reservoir in North Trenton.

    The DEP said it has chosen not to file a Superior Court compliant, due to the few days left in the Gov. Christie administration, but Martin said he's already informed the new DEP commissioner nominee, Catherine McCabe, of the TWW situation, and the options she has for the "much needed corrective actions needed at TWW."

    Said Walker, the city spokesman, "Transforming any complex operation such to maintain continuity of excellence in human resources, organizational performance and product is never an easy lift, but it is a goal that (Jackson) continues to strive for as we modernize all aspects of Trenton municipal government for the benefit our residents, our business community and our visitors."

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Mark Zachary was crossing at the intersection of Southard and Esther streets.

    A 59-year-old Trenton man hit by a car Thursday night later died as a result of his injuries, authorities said. 

    Mark Zachary was crossing at the intersection of Southard and Esther streets around 5:30 p.m. when the driver coming down the hill on Southard Street struck Zachary, Lt. Steve Varn of the Trenton police department said Friday. 

    Zachary was taken to Capital Health Medical Center where he died a few hours later as a result of his injuries, officials said. 

    The driver of the car was issued a summons for failing to yield to a pedestrian, Varn said.

    Detectives from the Trenton Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office are continuing to investigate the incident. 

     

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    A New Jersey measure called Bijou's Law, requiring groomers to pass an exam prepared by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in order to be licensed, failed to gain traction in the state Legislature.

    The death of a beloved dog or cat is a blow any pet lover understands.

    Losing that animal companion one hour after you dropped it off for a routine grooming is incomprehensible.

    But that's what happened at least twice in eight days during the Christmas season just past, according to an investigation by NJ Advance Media - and both times the same chain store was involved.

    "You expect to see your dog happy and healthy and groomed, and I got a dead dog," says Daniele DiNapoli, who said Scruffles the 8-year-old bulldog was in good health when she left the dog at the PetSmart in Flemington over the holidays.

    That was at 9:45 on an otherwise ordinary Friday morning. By 11 a.m. the dog was declared dead on arrival at the Flemington Veterinary Hospital.

    DiNapoli's subsequent post about her experience on Facebook, under the title Justice for Scruffles, attracted more than 16,000 shares and 10,000 likes.

    12 tips to help avoid tragedy at the pet groomer

    It turns out others had horror tales to relate. They included Tara Fiet, whose dog Ranger died two days after being groomed at the same Hunterdon County branch, and David Bolduc, whose shih tzu George was diagnosed with a debilitating back injury under similar circumstances.

    The dog's condition is only getting worse, Bolduc says.

    You don't have to be an animal-rights advocate to understand the field of pet grooming - that is, bathing, brushing, clipping or styling a pet for compensation - cries out for rigorous oversight.

    We're sure the vast majority of these service providers are ethical and compassionate. But without a licensing procedure in place, consumers have no way of knowing what to expect if they leave Abby the golden retriever or Eliza the Siamese kitten to have her nails clipped or her tresses tamed.

    In 2014, a measure called Bijou's Law, requiring groomers to pass an exam prepared by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in order to be licensed, failed to gain traction in the state Legislature.

    Named in memory of the 6-year-old shih tzu of Rosemary Marchetto of Northvale, the law stipulated that any business offering grooming services must provide proper sanitary conditions, sufficient lighting, an adequate water supply, and structurally sound and clean cages for pets being groomed.

    Bijou's Law also would have required any pet-grooming service to maintain an incident file to be submitted annually to the state board, listing such matters as injuries sustained at the facility that required veterinary contact, pet escapes and pet deaths.

    Would such a bill bring back Scruffles, Ranger and George? Sadly, no. But it would force facilities to take proper measures to keep other pets alive and healthy. And it would give legions of New Jersey pet owners the peace of mind they deserve as they care for their four-legged family members.

    With a new crop of lawmakers in place, now would be a good time to reconsider the fate of future Bijous, and to move ahead on this needed measure.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Glagys Barrara was killed in Trenton. Former boyfriend Frederico Terrible was found dead in Clark

    A man found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Union County home the night of Jan. 3 previously dated a woman who was shot dead on New Year's Eve in Trenton, officials said.

    Police and firefighters went to Frederico Terrible's home on Terhune Road in Clark when his daughter went to check on him and found smoke and a burning smell, Clark police Chief Pedro Matos said.

    couple1.jpgGladys Barrera and Frederico Terrible, Facebook photo 

    In the basement, the firefighters found a small fire and the 58-year-old Terrible, dead. The investigation into Terrible's death is ongoing in Clark, Matos said.

    Terrible previously dated Gladys Barrera, the 45-year-old woman shot dead on Brown Street in Trenton on Dec. 31, Mercer County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Casey DeBlasio confirmed Friday.

    DeBlasio declined to discuss the investigation of Barrera's death, or anything else about Terrible, only saying the two had a "prior dating relationship."

    The investigation into Barrera's killing and the wounding of a 37-year-old man who was with her continued Friday, DeBlasio said. They were both shot about 30 minutes before the new year.

    The 37-year-old man, whom authorities did not identify, was released from a Trenton hospital the day after the shooting.

    No arrests or charges have been made in the case.

    Barrera's obituary, in which she was identified as Gladys Barrera Sandoval, said she would be laid to rest in Guatemala.

    Terrible's obituary said he was born in Italy, lived in Plainfield, and settled in Clark. He was a general contractor for many years, enjoyed hunting and fishing, and was a member of the NRA. He is survived by two daughters.

    On Jan. 1, Terrible posted a picture of himself with Barrera on his Facebook page saying he'd received the news of her death and was thankful for all their moments together. "Rest in peace, I love you," it said.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Marisa Iati may be reached at miati@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    Bill Crain is serving a 15-day jail sentence following his 8th civil disobedience conviction Watch video

    Bill Crain's 15-day sentence is almost up.

    Crain, an anti-hunt activist jailed for an act of civil disobedience, is doing his time reading Henry David Thoreau, trying to maintain his vegan diet and chatting with other inmates who know about his widely-publicized advocacy against the bear hunt.

    "They don't agree, all of them, but they say they respect what I'm doing," Crain said in a 10-minute telephone interview Friday from the Sussex County jail in Newton.

    The 74-year-old City College of New York psychology professor has been convicted eight times since 2005 for engaging in civil disobedience during the hunt. 

    He pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to obstructing the administration of law, two months after exiting the designated protest area in Fredon and walking across the street to a hunters' check station, and reported to the jail Jan. 2.

    Crain spent just over a week in the same jail in January 2017. His attorney said Crain is scheduled to be released on Sunday after serving 12 days.

    He will be getting out two days before Phil Murphy, who has said he will halt the hunt pending additional research, is sworn in as governor.

    Asked about a report, released Thursday, from state wildlife officials asserting that the bear population will double by 2022 without a hunt, Crain said that argument is irrelevant to his contention that the hunt simply is wrong.

    "I think each bear's life is precious," Crain said.

    "If the human population would increase dramatically in that time, nobody would think of thinning the human population, killing humans. Fundamentally, the bears want to live as much as we do," Crain said.

    Crain said he has a cell to himself. He was unable to see or hear a rally held by his supporters outside the jail on Sunday but was allowed three visitors.

    He said he is being treated well in jail, complaining only that it is a little cold.

    "They try their best to do a vegan diet," Crain said.

    Crain, as he did during his first jail stint, has been doing a lot of reading.

    His wife of 50 years, Ellen Crain, sent him a book, "Thoreau's Animals," in which the 19th century essayist and philosopher detailed his encounters with animals by his Massachusetts home.

    "I've been working on a book on the value of retaining our childhood outlook -- our first outlook as as child, sensitivity to nature," said Crain, explaining that he is using Thoreau's work as inspiration.

    On Sunday, Ellen Crain will again be making the two-hour drive to the jail from their animal sanctuary farm in Dutchess County, N.Y. She joined him in court Dec. 20 for his guilty plea.

    In addition to his 15-day jail sentence, Crain was fined $2,500. His first six convictions were resolved with fines.

    If the hunt stops, as Murphy has said, so too will the recurring arrests that have brought Crain so much attention -- and also resulted in him spending time in jail, a long way from home.

    In court, Crain alluded to Murphy's opposition to the hunt, telling the judge -- the same judge who sent him to jail last winter -- that he probably wouldn't see him next year.

    The judge quipped in response that Crain should just send a postcard.

    "I don't have any regrets," Crain said of getting arrested so many times.

    "I wanted to emphasize how deeply I feel and how necessary it is to protect other living things," Crain said.

    Rob Jennings may be reached at rjennings@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobJenningsNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook


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    City firefighters rescued a woman who later died at a city hospital

    A woman died and three family members remained hospitalized Saturday after flames burned through a South Trenton row home during the early morning hours, the city fire department said.

    The Trenton Fire Department received the call at 2:25 a.m. that four people were trapped inside the two-story home on the 200 block of Cass Street.

    Fire Battalion Chief Gus Tackacs said police officers got to the house first and were treating three people outside with critical injuries who'd gotten themselves out when the fire department arrived.

    Firefighters battled through "intense flames" on the first floor and made their way to a burning second floor, where they found the woman and brought her out, Tackacs said. 

    Three of the residents were taken to St. Francis Medical Center, where they remain in unknown condition Saturday, according to the fire department. The fourth woman died at another city hospital.

    The chief described the residents as a family, but their ages and identities were not immediately available.

    "We were faced with a lot of chaos when we got there and everyone worked well together, police, fire and (Trenton EMS), to care for these victims and get into the fire to find the other victim," Tackacs said.

    "We did everything we could, but sometimes it doesn't work out," he said.

    The fire was under control by 3:45 a.m. and its cause of the fire is still under investigation.

    The Red Cross responded to assist the displaced family.

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at orizzo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find NJ.com on Facebook

    - Reporter Kevin Shea contributed to this story.

     

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    Walter Roberts Jr. used a plastic knife and his own bare hands to create a work that made people stop and stare

    The secret is out.

    Earlier in the week, an enigmatic snow sculpture appeared in Mill Hill Park, causing people to stop and stare.

    The face on the stylized human figure was captivating.

    The quality of workmanship gave the appearance of a marble statue, even as rising temperatures began to muddy the surrounding ground.

    We ran a story and photos asking for help in identifying the artist.

    A passing company of city firefighters provided us with the name, and confirmation came from emails from several people in The Orchid Group, a cooperative of eco-artists, of which he, Walter Roberts Jr., is a member.

    Snow sculpture has people stopping in their tracks

    A young man, Roberts has been involved with art since he can remember. "I go way back in the city," he said.

    He recalls receiving an art award when he was a child from then Mayor Douglas Palmer.

    He was, later in life, awarded an scholarship to attend Artworks and was affiliated for a time with A-TEAM an art cooperative based at TASK, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.

    An accomplished artist in many mediums, Roberts draws, paints, sculpts and also creates intricate tattoos.

    Even so, it's not common for one of his individual works to cause such a public stir.

    It's because he doesn't usually work in such a high-traffic area as Mill Hill Park, he said. As dazzling as this frozen work was, we have something even more to look out for whenever sufficient snow falls again downtown.

    "I can't wait until it snows again... I'm gonna go all the way out!"

    Michael Mancuso may be reached at mmancuso@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @michaelmancuso Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Trusted Links, a mentoring project in Camden, Trenton, and Newark, seeks to educate women about the risk factors that lead to infant mortality.

    When LaVonia Abavana was pregnant with the last of her three children, she was stressed and depressed, losing and gaining weight rapidly as she tried to balance parenting, a split from her partner and running a household. 

    Her son, who's now 9, was born with a birth defect: a heart murmur. He continues to suffer from Tourettes Syndrome.

    Abavana said she didn't understand how letting herself go could affect the health of her baby, after already carrying two healthy kids. That's why the 46-year-old woman was drawn to Trusted Links, a mentoring program in Camden under the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative (SNJPC) that seeks to educate women about infant mortality and the behaviors that contribute to it. 

    "I learned so much I didn't know about infant mortality," she said of her training. "I think it's a great program because in a poor environment, people don't always know how to stay healthy." 

    So she's spent the past two months out at a bus stop near H.B. Wilson Elementary School, talking to young parents as they drop their kids off or wait for a bus to get to work. As a Trusted Link, it's her job to quiz them on knowledge surrounding prenatal health and early parenting, and then teach them the importance of avoiding alcohol or drug use while pregnant, maintaining a healthy diet, seeking regular prenatal and having a support system to help them. 

    The project is one of three in the state, with the others in Trenton and Newark, cities where pregnant women and their babies are considered to be at high-risk for low birth rates and other complications that can lead to elevated rates infant mortality.  

    The state's infant mortality rate is among the lowest in the nation, at 4.8 deaths per 1,000 births, according to the New Jersey State Health Assessment Data. But that number is higher in the black community and triples in Camden alone, reaching 15 deaths for every 1,000 births between 2013 and 2015, according to the data.

    SNJPC has long noted the undue risk minority and low-income mothers face, and had attempted a similar program a few years ago, sending workers to nail salons, beauty parlors and other places women often go to educate the staff, hoping that staff would pass along the information to the women who frequent the businesses. 

    But last year, they had a new idea: cut out the middle man -- or in this case, woman. 

    "We decided to go directly to women themselves," said Barbara May, SNJPC's director of policy and program planning. "What we know is that, often, and this is true for all of us, when there's something we don't know about, we often go to people that we know and trust before we go to a physician or a nurse." 

    So far, that's worked. In three different training sessions in Camden, the organization ran through the facts with 50 women, and 50 more women were trained in programs in Trenton and Newark. Each women then had a duty to mentor 10 peers, friends, family and community members. 

    Bed-Sharing: 'The Last Goodnight' | An NJ.com Special Investigation

    That means the knowledge has reached at least 1,500 women in less than a year -- a number that will likely continue to grow. The Horizon Foundation, which granted the Trusted Links program $150,000 to operate in 2017, has recommitted to the same amount in 2018. 

    And some, like Abavana, have done even more. She estimates that she's spoken to 70 women, and has plans to continue this year as the program moves forward, coming to the Ferry Avenue Library in Camden or scoping out other spots to speak with new women. 

    Because for Abavana, the program is about more than just statistics. She thinks of her own son and of Facebook posts she sees mourning lost babies. And she thinks of a woman she shared a hospital room with while giving birth to her first child -- a woman whose baby died of complications with a sexually transmitted disease the mother didn't know she had. 

    "Some women are stuck in their culture, in what they were raised on," she said. "I just want to plant seeds, so they can plant seeds in their home." 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    It took 23 matches, but the Cityzens are no longer unbeaten. Liverpool held on for a 4-3 victory

    HAS MANCHESTER CITY LOST YET IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

    Yes. 

    It took 23 matches (and 30 matches overall stretching back to last season), but the Cityzens are no longer unbeaten. Liverpool held on for a 4-3 victory, after it took a 4-1 lead after 68 minutes. Despite the loss of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, the Reds attack got goals from the rest of the former 'Fab Four". Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah scored goals nine minutes apart at the hour mark to lead Liverpool to the huge win.

    The loss ends talk of an invincible season for City, to match the 2003-04 Arsenal team. But even with a Manchester United win Monday, the Cityzens would still have a 12-point lead over their Manchester rivals.

    PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS

    Chelsea 0-0 Leicester

    Crystal Palace 1-0 Burnley

    Huddersfield 1-4 West Ham 

    Newcastle 1-1 Swansea

    Watford 2-2 Southampton

    West Brom 2-0 Brighton

    Tottenham 4-0 Everton

    Bournemouth 2-1 Arsenal

    Liverpool 4-1 Man. City

    Monday

    Man. United vs. Stoke, 3 p.m.

    Cup competitions arrive, as Premier League pauses after long festive period

    BATTLE FOR TOP FOUR HEATS UP 

    Heading into Monday's match, which will see second place Manchester United host 18th place Stoke City (3.p.m. NBC Sports), there was just three points separating the Red Devils from fifth place Tottenham.

    United, Liverpool, and Chelsea were even on 47 points after Sunday, with the Spurs on 44. Arsenal has now started to be cut adrift in sixth on 39 points, and with Alexis Sanchez likely to be sold (more on that later), the Gunners might have to win the Europa League to save their season.

    ARSENAL SEASON QUICKLY TURNING INTO A DISASTER

    It looks likely that Alexis Sanchez will make the move to Manchester (which team is yet to be determined), and Mesut Ozil could possibly join him out the door and up the table.

    Without the duo in the squad Sunday, the Gunners traveled to Bournemouth and collapsed late on, losing 2-1. Arsenal gave up two goals in four minutes to the Cherries, who beat the London team for the first time in club history to move up to 14th in the table.

    The meltdown on Arsenal Fan TV has been must watch entertainment over the last few weeks, but for fans of the Gunners, this slide backwards over the last few years has alarm bells ringing. Can Arsenal make a run in the Europa League, a la Manchester United last season, to get back in the Champions League next season?

    If not, it could be a long time in the wilderness for the Gunners.

    At least they could celebrate something Sunday, with Manchester City's first loss of the season reaffirming the Invincibles as the only Premier League team to go unbeaten for a full season.

    BOTTOM OF THE TABLE MATCHES BECOMING MUST WATCH TV

    From week to week, the race to stay in the Premier League for another season becomes more interesting.

    West Ham (11th) and Crystal Palace (12th), who were firmly in the relegation zone for much of the first few months, now sit just two points out of ninth place on 25 points. But even in those lofty posititons, the two clubs sit just five points outside the relegation zone.

    This weekend, West Ham, Palace, and Bournemouth (13th) all won, rocketed up the table. Next week, it could be Brighton and Huddersfield.

    WEST BROM WIN IN PREMIER LEAGUE FOR FIRST TIME SINCE AUGUST

    The Baggies started their Premier League campaign on a high, with 1-0 wins over Bournemouth and Burnley. But after August 19, West Brom went 20 games, and almost five months, without another victory. 

    Until Saturday.

    The Baggies knocked off Brighton 2-0, buoyed by a fourth minute goal from Jonny Evans. 

    Under Alan Pardew, WBA is 1-4-4 in the league, but seem to be moving in the right direction. The Baggies are also in the F.A. Cup fourth round, with a tricky trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Saturday, January 27 (2:45 p.m.)

    F.A. CUP REPLAYS ON TAP MIDWEEK

    Eight replays (five Tuesday, three Wednesday) will take to pitches up and down England in the third round of the F.A. Cup.

    Five Premier League teams will be on display, all against lower league opposition. Check the schedule here.

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His weekly podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/box-to-box-football/id1208561351?mt=


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    NJ.com looks at the can't-miss dual meets, quads and county and conference tournaments for the week of Jan 15-20, 2018


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    Dogs and cats throughout the state await adoption.

    Here is this week's collection of some of the dogs and cats in need of adoption in New Jersey.

    We accept dogs and cats to appear in the gallery from nonprofit shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey.

    If a group wishes to participate in this weekly gallery on nj.com, please contact Greg Hatala at ghatala@starledger.com or call 973-836-4922.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    Traffic isn't as bad as normal though because most state offices are closed

    Flooding caused by an ice jam on the Delaware River has closed a portion of Route 29 in Trenton on Monday morning, officials said. 

    Route 29 south is closed at Calhoun Street in Trenton and detours are in place, according to 511nj.com, the state department of transportation's traffic website.

    While Route 29 would normally be jammed on a Monday morning, most state offices are closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

    As a result, delays are only 5 to 10 minutes as of 8:15 a.m. 

    Water levels are expected to peak at 20 feet, 6 inches at 7 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service said. Flood stage is 20 feet. 

    Parts of N.J. could get a few inches of snow. Here's the latest forecast

    An ice jam is stationary accumulation of fragmented ice that restricts water flow.

    The Bucks County, Pennsylvania side of the river is also being affected in Yardley. 

    The ice chunks could remain in the river this week as temperatures aren't expected to climb higher than than the mid 30s. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     


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    See what the biggest girls basketball games across N.J. are this week.


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    Gov. Chris Christie decided not to act on the potential bill that would allow any pubic school in New Jersey to co-op any varsity program without oversight or review from the NJSIAA.

    On Monday, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association received a big win courtesy of Gov. Chris Christie on his final day in office.

    Christie took no action, a "pocket veto," on the proposed controversial legislation that would give public school districts in New Jersey the ability to merge any varsity sports team, without oversight or review from the NJSIAA, regardless of sport or enrollment size.

    The bill has been placed on the Governor's "action not taken" list and, assuming Christie does not change his mind and sign the bill before Tuesday at noon, the legislation would have to be completely reintroduced if it were to ever be made into law under incoming Gov. Phil Murphy, who will be sworn into office Tuesday.

    "I think common sense prevailed," said Paul Anzano, legal counsel for the NJSIAA. "These bills could have had so many unintended consequences that the Legislature didn't think about the impact it would have when putting this together. Is it a win? A little bit, but more so common sense just prevailed."

    The attempt by state legislation was believed to be the first by state lawmakers to create a law that would directly impact high school sports in New Jersey, an "unprecedented" move, NJSIAA assistant director Kim DeGraw-Cole said.

    For weeks, the NJSIAA -- the state's high school athletic governing body -- has publicly campaigned against the proposed bill, which passed both the state's full Senate and Assembly last week by 24-10 and 52-14 margins, respectively.

    Though passing comfortably through both houses last week, support among state lawmakers wavered after several amendments were made regarding the details of home schooled, charter schooled and non-public students' participation in high school sports.

    The pair of companion bills -- S3447 and A5254 -- initially passing both houses by a 41-0 margin in December.

    "If we sat back and did nothing, these bill would have gotten 40 and 80 votes," Anzano said.

    The NJSIAA believed the potential bill would give 28 school districts in New Jersey featuring multiple high schools an unfair advantage over single-district school districts. NJSIAA officials feared that districts would eventually take advantage of the potential law and merge sports programs to form "super teams" and create potential competitive imbalance.

    Last week, Sen. Paul Sarlo expressed displeasure with the legislation on Twitter and attempted to lead a charge to defeat it, hours before it passed both the Senate and Assembly. Sarlo said it "would create havoc for public high school athletic programs in NJ."

    "We don't need public all star teams, we already have the parochial schools recruiting," Sarlo tweeted.

    JJ Conrad may be reached at jconrad@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jj_conrad. Like NJ.com High School Sports on Facebook.


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    The state is advising residents in parts of three towns to boil their tap water before using it due to a treatment plant malfunction early Monday.

    The state is advising residents of Trenton and parts of two neighboring towns to boil their tap water before using it due to a treatment plant malfunction early Monday. 

    Trenton Water Works issued a boil order to customers on Monday morning due to "inadequate treatment according to a report from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection's Water Resource Management," DEP spokesman Robert Geist said.

    The plant shut down operations at roughly 5 a.m. on Jan. 15 due to elevated turbidites (haze due to particles) and inadequate disinfection of delivered water, Geist said.

    State to Trenton: City's water utility needs help and you must act

    The advisory includes downtown Trenton, Ewing and Hamilton townships, impacting about 35,000 residents, he said.

    The DEP estimates normal service to be restored by Tuesday evening.

    Water quality samples will be collected and tested for chlorine and coliform on Monday, and will be analyzed by the end of the day on Tuesday, according to a Water Supply Emergency Situation Report.

    An advisory was posted on the city's website Monday afternoon. No phone alerts or notifications were issued to city residents, Trenton Police  said.

    The Deutzville neighborhood of Hamilton, serviced by Trenton Water Works, was notified of the advisory online

    Trenton Water Works has come under fire recently by the state for failing to provide reliable and safe water to Mercer County residents, after DEP Commissioner Bob Martin sent two letters to Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson's office in October and November.

    The DEP did not have any updates as of 1 p.m., and referred further questions to the city.

    The city of Trenton did not immediately respond to questions, as the office is closed for the federal holiday.

    Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at snietomunoz@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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