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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    "There are already too many guns in our street," Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday. Watch video

    Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday he's reversing a regulation his predecessor, Chris Christie, put in place making it easier for New Jerseyans to obtain a permit to carry a handgun.

    "New Jersey cannot and must not become part of the race to the bottom that we're seeing across the country," Murphy, a Democrat, said during a news conference at the YMCA in Trenton. "There are already too many guns in our streets, and simply adding more to the equation will not make us or our communities any safer."

    Christie, a Republican, moved in 2016 to loosen the rules determining who can carry a concealed handgun in New Jersey, a state with some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

    The original regulation said residents must show a "justifiable need" to carry a firearm because they had been the target of "specific threats" or attacks.

    But Christie's administration lowered the bar to allow a chief of police or the State Police superintendent to consider permits for residents who can show evidence of "serious threats" against them. 

    Republican lawmaker says someone with a gun should protect N.J. churches

    Christie -- who was then running for the Republican nomination for president -- made the move based on recommendations from a panel he commissioned to examine the rules after  Berlin resident Carol Bowne was stabbed to death by an ex-boyfriend during the period she was waiting for her firearm application to be approved. 

    The Democratic-controlled state Legislature sued in state appellate court to stop Christie's new regulation. 

    But on Friday, Murphy's state attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, said the state has filed a motion to halt the case and will simply revert back to the original rule. 

    Murphy's office said the rollback could take between three and six months to go into effect.

    State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, welcomed the decision.

    "This is New Jersey," Sweeney said, standing next to Murphy and Grewal at the news conference. "It's not some state that thinks everyone should be carrying a gun and we're gonna be safer if we do that." 

    But Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, denounced Murphy's move -- and evoked Bowne's name.

    "The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that police owe no duty to protect individual citizens, which means you're on your own in an emergency," Bach said. "It is an outrage that the same government that abandons its duty to keep us safe is also working to prevent us from protecting ourselves."

    "Gov. Murphy will have the blood of more innocents like Carol Bowne on his hands," Bach added.

    Murphy, who was sworn in Jan. 16 to succeed Christie, has repeatedly vowed to make the Garden State's gun laws stricter. 

    Joining Murphy on Friday was Glenda Torres, the mother of a man who was shot to death in Trenton in 2012.

    Brent Johnson may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find Politics on Facebook. 


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    Now, he will have a big part in helping build what the Yankees organization hopes is the next Major League Baseball period of dominance

    TRENTON-Jay Bell once broke New York Yankees' fans hearts, and helped bring about an end to a dynasty.

    Now, he will have a big part building what the Yankees organization hopes is the next Major League Baseball period of dominance.

    Bell was named the new Thunder manager Thursday, replacing Bobby Mitchell, who took over for Al Pedrique at Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

    In Mitchell's two seasons with the Thunder, the team went to consecutive Eastern League Championship Series, losing three straight Akron in 2016 and Altoona in 2017. Mitchell was named the 2017 EL Manager of the Year.

    "With the organization, and the quality of players there are, it should be a seamless transition," Thunder General Manager Jeff Hurley said. "Jay will have a lot of the guys he had down in Tampa last year, when the team had so much success, so that should make it even easier to transition.

    "We will miss Bobby, and we wish him luck with Scranton. He will do a great job there. 

    "Jay should be able to come in and continue the success that the Thunder has had over the past few years."

    The new skipper comes to Trenton after one season in Tampa, where his team went 85-50, and won both halves of the North Division for the first time in team history. Bell was named the Florida State League Manager of the Year, and then went on to manage the Arizona Fall League Scottsdale Scorpions team, which saw 2017 Thunder players Thairo Estrada, Estevan Florial, Kyle Holder, Billy McKinney, Justus Sheffield, and Dillon Tate in the squad.

    Trenton Thunder renaming themselves the Trenton Pork Roll this summer

    After a 2017 season when Trenton tied the all-time win record for a season (92), and broke the winning percentage mark (92-48, .657), there is much optimism surrounding the 2018 team. Baseball America recently named six Yankees' prospects in its top 100 list, while ESPN's Keith Law named five. This list, compiled by Josh Norris of Baseball America, has the top 10 prospects in the Yankees' system. Bell should get a chance to manage at least four of the players to start the season.

    While he has been coaching for years, including stints in the majors as a bench coach (Diamondbacks, 2005-06, and Cincinnati Reds, 2014-15) and hitting coach (Pirates, 2013), last year was Bell's first at the helm. He comes to Trenton very highly regarded within the game, as someone who should eventually get a shot as a big league manager.

    Bell played 18 seasons in the major leagues as a shortstop and a second baseman, with five teams: Cleveland (1986-88), Pittsburgh (89-96), Kansas City (97), Arizona (98-02), and the New York Mets (03). He was a career .265 hitter, a two-time All-Star, and won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in 1993.

    He scored the winning run in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, as the Diamondbacks won their only title in team history four games to three over the Yankees. 

    Bell's coaching staff with the Thunder will include pitching coach Tim Norton, hitting coach Ty Hawkins, bullpen coach Luis Dorante, and defensive coach Raul Dominguez. They come into Trenton from different teams in the Yankees' organization.

    Athletic trainer Jimmy Downam and strength and conditioning coach Anthony Velazquez will both return for their second seasons with the Thunder.

    Contact Sean Miller at Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean

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

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    New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora announced Friday he would seek the office

    Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson said Friday afternoon he will not seek a second term, saying his work as mayor of the state's capital is done.

    He announced no firm plans for his post-mayoral life, but said he would like to remain engaged in Trenton's "rebirth."

    After his announcement, outside his City Hall office, he told NJ Advance Media he has "not accepted" a role in Gov. Phil Murphy's administration, as some were speculating in private as a possible reason for not running for a second term.

    "I must stress that this is very much a personal, not a political decision," Jackson said.

    "I still believe I have much to contribute to Trenton's rebirth, but I believe my contributions will be greater outside the halls of City Hall and the mayor's office," he said. "I am grateful eternally grateful to every resident for entrusting me with the responsibility of being mayor."

    Jackson was elected in June 2014, and succeeded Tony Mack, who was convicted of federal corruption charges earlier that year, and went to prison before his term ended.

    Before announcing he would not run, Jackson briefly summarized his term, saying he believed his administration had repaired a broken - and in places corrupt - government they inherited, restored faith in city services and created an environment of growth and positivity.

    Jackson's had some bruising headlines lately, though, with the state Department of Environmental Protection turning up the pressure for the city to fix what the agency says are major mismanagement and water quality issues at Trenton Water Works.

    And last summer, he publicly defended his police director appointee, Ernest Parrey Jr., in two incidents in which his actions and language were questioned, and last fall, the city came close to laying off 64 firefighters when they did not get a federal grant.

    Jackson said it was not one issue, politically or personally, that led to his decision. He described is as a personal, "quality of life" issue.

    He started thinking of not running last year, after reflecting the work his administration has done, as well as his, "health and quality of life."

    "I am in the final chapters on my working career," he said.

    To a reporter's question, he said: "Truthfully, I thought I would do two terms, but decisions change and now my wife and our family, we have decided we're going to take another course of action."

    To a direct question about his future, working career, Jackson was noncommittal: "We're going to look at opportunities in the future."

    The mayor's absence in the upcoming May elections is likely to change what some speculated might be a rematch with him and Paul Perez, who Jackson beat in a runoff in 2014.

    Perez announced his candidacy in December, and is officially joined by Councilman Alex Bethea, Michael Silvestri, and state Assemblyman Reed Gucsiora - who officially announced his candidacy about a half hour after Jackson's Friday announcement.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find on Facebook.


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    Check out where N.J.'s top college wrestlers are ranked nationally

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    The man was charged with killing his ex-wife with the help of their daughter. Watch video

    The New York man accused of killing his ex-wife with the help of their 20-year-old daughter was about to jump off the roof of a parking garage before he was tackled and subdued by a New Jersey State Police detective, video made public Friday shows.

    Lloyd Neurauter, 46, was arrested Wednesday night in connection with the strangling death of Michele Neurauter, also 46. She was found dead in her home in Corning, N.Y. on Aug. 28, 2017, in what at first appeared to be a suicide by strangulation, reported.

    But authorities later determined the circumstances were suspicious, and Lloyd Neurauter and his daughter Karrie, 20, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, were charged and arrest warrants issued.

    Karrie Neurauter was arrested at her apartment in Syracuse, N.Y. and Lloyd Neurauter, who was living in North Brunswick, was tracked to the five-story Spring Street Parking Garage in Princeton. 

    Members of the Princeton police, New Jersey State Police (NJSP) and New York State Police were at the scene.

    "As the officers approached, Neurauter immediately ran from his car and perched himself on the ledge of the building," the NJSP said in a Friday statement about the footage.

    The video shows Neurauter away from the ledge but beginning to take some steps. That's when the NJSP detective makes his move: sprinting toward him and taking him to the ground.

    Other officers closed in to hold him down.

    No law enforcement were injured in the incident, the NJSP said in a news release.

    Lloyd Neurauter was later taken to a local hospital for evaluation and was later taken to the Mercer County jail as a fugitive from justice to await extradition to New York.

    Expo preview

    Joe Brandt can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find on Facebook.

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    Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson announced Friday he was not running for a second term

    New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora announced Friday he's running for mayor of Trenton, saying he's fought for the city repeatedly while a state legislator.

    "I believe I have a lot to offer Trenton as a leader and that my experience will help me create better outcomes for our citizens," the 15th district legislator said in a statement.

    Gusciora, a Democrat who has been in the state assembly since 1996, issued a statement declaring his candidacy about an hour after Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson publicly announced he would not seek a second term.

    Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson won't seek 2nd term, mum on future plans

    In his statement, Gusciora said: 

    "As a legislator, I've come to understand the big-picture issues that affect our urban areas, and how their deeply interconnected nature can compound existing problems. The only way to address one issue is by addressing multiple issues simultaneously."

    The now-candidate's statement mentioned:

    - increasing reliance on community policing and police resources, "so people feel safe walking down the street to local businesses any time, day or night."

    - investing in communities, promoting homeownership, and holding predatory landlords accountable for their actions, "so that lifelong Trenton residents, as well as newcomers, feel comfortable living, working, and playing in the City.

    - improving educational outcomes, "so that graduates have jobs that pay well enough to support them and their families."

    Gusciora, who lives in Trenton's Hiltonia neighborhood, said he'll work with new Gov. Phil Murphy, in order to promote Trenton's "revitalization."

    "For the past eight years, we've all watched as Governor Christie ignored the City of Trenton, much to its detriment," he said.

    Trenton needs a mayor with strong relationships with state and county officials to make sure it benefits from the progressive policies Murphy has promised, Gusciora believes.

    "I've built those critical connections, and am ready to put them to work in a new role," he said.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find on Facebook.

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    Last September, President Donald Trump moved to kill DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allowed Patel and his fellow 800,000 Dreamers to remain - and work - in their adopted country, renewing their status every two years. Watch video

    Parthiv Patel was sworn in as a member of the New Jersey Bar this week as friends and family members applauded, fulfilling a long-held dream for the 27-year-old graduate of the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

    A little over a month from now, Patel could face deportation.

    Brought from India to the United States by his parents when he was 5 years old, the long-time Mount Laurel resident is one of the state's 22,000 Dreamers - children who through no fault of their own find themselves pawns in the nasty partisan war that closed down the federal government last weekend.

    Last September, President Donald Trump moved to kill DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allowed Patel and his fellow 800,000 Dreamers to remain - and work - in their adopted country, renewing their status every two years.

    The looming demise of the policy prompted cries of outrage and dismay, with advocates pointing out that most of these young people have created strong ties to their adopted country and have become productive members of their society.

    Gov. Murphy races to sanctuary church after ICE detains 2

    Immediately after Trump's announcement, 15 states and the District of Columbia, led by New York, filed suit to reverse the decision, charging that the program's demise would not only harm hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents, but would also injure state-run colleges and damage local economies.

    New Jersey, then under a Republican governor, opted out - even though we are the state with the ninth-highest number of young people affected by the ruling.

    On Wednesday, in a move he called long overdue, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the Garden State will join that lawsuit, fulfilling a pledge he made often on the campaign trail.

    "Starting today," Murphy said at the same ceremony in which Patel was admitted to the Bar, "New Jersey will have the backs of our 22,000 dreamers."

    In a political atmosphere marked by bitter and intense partisanship, a ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that an incredible 86 percent of Americans agree that keeping DACA in place for undocumented immigrants is a wise policy.

    Among them are many members of the newly sworn-in state Legislature who expressed support for the lawsuit and for Murphy's pro-active decision.

    "We as a state must stand up to Trump's vicious immigration policies," said Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Camden). "Protecting Dreams from deportation is what this country and New Jersey must do."

    The three-day government shut-down last week ended with a majority vote for a three-week funding bill to keep the federal government operating, based largely on a promise from the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that he would consider entertaining a bill later on to vote on DACA's future.

    For Parthiv Patel and his peers, the agony of indecision continues. But at least these dreamers now know their state stands behind them as the hours tick by.

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.

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    An investigation determined that the fire began in the bedroom of one of the victims, police said

    No foul play or electrical issues were involved in the fire that killed a woman and displaced 35 residents from their apartment complex in Princeton late last month, Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter said.

    An investigation determined that the fire at the Griggs Farm community began in the bedroom of one of the victims, most likely by candles that were burning, Sutter said.

    Larisa Bartone, 73, was found dead in her apartment on an upper floor of the building after the fire was extinguished 

    Police were called to the the complex just after 9 p.m. on Dec. 27 following reports that a fire on the third floor had spread through the roof of the building.

    The fire burned for over two hours and has left many homeless. Princeton Community Housing, the company that owns and operates the low-income housing units,  has been working to assist those who have been displaced as a result of the blaze. 

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find on Facebook 

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    Dardar Paye a Liberian immigrant living in Maplewood, was kidnapped, robbed and shot to death in a Trenton basement in 2011

    Three Trenton men involved in the murder of a U.S. Army veteran seven years ago were sentenced to prison on Friday during a hearing which saw the mother of a one of the suspects hug the mother of the victim.

    Dardar Paye, 33, a Liberian immigrant living in Maplewood, was kidnapped, robbed and shot to death in the basement of a Monmouth Street home in Trenton in 2011.

    Danuweli Keller was convicted of murder, possession of firearm for an unlawful purpose, eluding, tampering with evidence and tampering with a witness in June 2017 and later sentenced to 61 years in state prison.

    trunk murder.jpgFrom top left, Phobus E. Sullivan, Abdutawab Kiazolu, Danuweli Keller, and Mack W. Edwards 

    His co-defendants - Mack Edwards, 31; Adbtawab Kiazolu, 29; and Phobus Sullivan, 34, all pleaded guilty to lesser, related charges in December.

    Edwards was tried alongside Keller, but the jury was hung on all accounts in his case. He then pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping.

    He was sentenced in accordance with his plea agreement, to 11 years in state prison, subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), meaning he must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he's eligible for parole.

    During his opportunity to address the court, Edwards addressed Paye's mother and apologized for what happened, saying he considered Paye a friend. "I want him to take this as a lesson and come out a better man," Mack Edwards mother Katherine Edwards said when addressing the court.

    Katherine Edward then turned to Paye's mother and tearfully commended her for being able to sit through everyday of the trial. And she told her to pray to God in order to help her move on - and the two women briefly hugged.

    Man who killed Army vet gets 61 years, victim's sister forgives him

    Sullivan also pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping. It was his home where the killing took place and he admitted to restraining Paye and driving his body across state line into Pennsylvania.

    He was sentenced to 11 years in prison, also subject to NERA. This sentence is to be served consecutively to the 20 years he is currently serving for an unrelated second-degree manslaughter charge.

    Kiazolu pleaded guilty to second-degree desecrating human remains. He was a passenger in the car where Paye's body was found and was sentenced to a full 10 years years in state prison.

    Paye's mother told all three of the defendants to use their time in prision to repent and ask God for forgiveness.

    The last remaining co-defendant William Brown, 32, will be tried separately because of statements he gave to police implicating himself and his co-defendants.

    He is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence for the September 2008 slaying of Tracy Lamont Crews.

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find on Facebook 


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    Last year, 629 people died in crashes, 30 more than 2016, according to the New Jersey State Police.

    There's no question that seat belts save lives. So why would anyone get in a car and not buckle up?

    Unfortunately, it happens all too often, particularly for passengers sitting in the back of a vehicle. And those most at risk tend to be children and senior citizens who often take a back seat.

    This situation was highlighted by a report issued recently by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a coalition of consumer groups and insurance companies. The report pointed out that New Jersey has passed 12 of 16 laws the group said are needed to fully protect drivers and passengers.

    One glaring shortcoming the Washington-based group faulted New Jersey for was that the state does not allow police to pull over vehicles if rear-seat occupants are not buckled up. Only if a car is stopped for another reason, such as speeding, can an officer issue a ticket to a driver for unbuckled back-seat passengers.

    That's a loophole the legislature should plug as soon as possible, particularly in light of the jump in traffic fatalities New Jersey has experienced.

    N.J. auto safety laws fall short in protecting you

    Last year, 629 people died in crashes, 30 more than 2016, according to State Police. It was the worst year for vehicle deaths since 2007, when 724 people died.

    The report estimated these accidents cost the state $12.8 billion a year. Only California, New York and Texas racked up higher damages.

    One thing the report could not quantify is the enormous grief fatal traffic accidents can inflict on the families and friends of the victims.

    Would allowing police to stop a car for unbelted back-seat passengers help cut down on fatalities?

    Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said more people buckle up if the law requires it.

    So, it's a no-brainer that New Jersey should pay more attention to buckling up people sitting in the back seat of a car or truck.

    Signs saying "Click It or Ticket" are posted on many roads in New Jersey, reminding drivers and passenger to buckle up or pay up. This roadside ad campaign has been credited by the state Department of Law and Public Safety with playing a critical role in the effort to keep people safe on our roads and highways.  

    New Jersey needs to toughen its law to allow police to enforce seat-belt use for back-seat passengers.

    And while they're at it, state officials should also heed two other suggestions the report made.

    One calls for additional restrictions on newly licensed drivers under age 18 and the other recommends enactment of an ignition interlock law for everyone convicted of drunken driving.

    Keeping our roads and travelers as safe as possible always makes good sense.

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.


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    Identity of wrestler couldn't be confirmed

    After an apparent non-wrestling incident at the Mercer County wrestling championships Saturday, a Hopewell Valley wrestler was treated and then transported to the hospital.

    According to Robbinsville police, "A wrestler was bandaged at the scene after an injury and taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton’s crisis center." A district official, who was not authorized to discuss the health of a student, confirmed the wrestler was from Hopewell Valley. Robbinsville High School hosted the championships Friday and Saturday.

    Reached by phone Saturday evening, Hopewell Valley superintendent Thomas Smith had no comment. Neither the identity of the wrestler or his condition could be confirmed with school officials.

    In the middle of the championship round, unusual commotion developed around the gymnasium doors. Later, police prevented reporters and others from entering the locker room area. Ambulance lights were visible outside the building.

    Hopewell Valley won its eighth straight Mercer County team title Saturday. Coach Mario Harpel would only comment on wrestling after the championship round.

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    The New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry includes dozens of offenders listed as "non-compliant."

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    Without these programs, each year thousands of teen get a criminal record for non-serious offenses.

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    But in between, there were some upsets, and some interesting draws that set up some big paydays for a few smaller clubs.


    Ah, the magic of the F.A. Cup.

    The F.A. Cup fourth round kicked off Friday night with a one-sided battle between teams 87 places apart in the English football battle, and ended Sunday afternoon with the team that sits a top the pyramid.

    But in between, there were some upsets, and some interesting draws that set up some big paydays for a few smaller clubs.

    Manchester United, which sits second in the Premier League, took on Yeovil Town, a club that is currently 21st in League Two, and in a battle to stay in the Football League. The Red Devils cruised to a 4-0 win, with two late goals sealing the victory. 

    The match was the first in the iconic number seven shirt for Alexis Sanchez, who joined Manchester United from Arsenal earlier in the week.

    Sunday saw third place Chelsea batter Newcastle 3-0, and first place Manchester CitY roll past Cardiff City 2-0, to each move into the fifth round draw Monday (2:20 p.m. EST BBC One Show).

    But Saturday brought some upsets, as three Premier League clubs exited the competition, and three more were forced into replays.

    Wigan, which sits on top of League One, defeated West Ham United 2-0. After the Yeovil Town exit, fellow League Two side Newport County was expected to follow, with a home tie against Tottenham. But the team that sits ninth (77th in the English pyramid) in the Football League's lowest division pulled off a shock 1-1 draw against the mighty Hotspurs, to set up a massive replay at Wembley Stadium Wednesday, February 7.

    West Bromwich Albion beat Liverpool 3-2, in a match that was an advert for VAR. The match was stopped three times in the first half to use the Video Assistant Referee system, and has polarized the factions in the debate on the new technology.

    A full list of results can be found here, on the official website for the competition.

    The fifth round will take place over the weekend of February 16-19.


    All times 2:45 p.m. EST unless noted


    Swansea vs. Arsenal

    West Ham vs. Crystal Palace

    Huddersfield vs. Liverpool, 3 p.m.


    Chelsea vs. Bournemouth

    Everton vs. Leicester

    Newcastle vs. Burnley 

    Southampton vs. Brighton

    Man. City vs. West Brom, 3 p.m.

    Stoke vs. Watford, 3 p.m

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

    Alex-is United, as Sanchez joins Red Devils' trophy chase from Arsenal


    Take one look at the Premier League table, and fixtures for the week, and two ties stick out as monumental in the battle for the top four this season.

    Wednesday, Manchester United travel to Wembley Stadium, for a battle with Tottenham (3 p.m. NBC Sports and The Red Devils are eight points ahead of the London club in the table, sitting in second place on 53 points. A win over the Hotspurs would increase that gap to 11 points, with 13 matches left in the campaign.

    Then Sunday, Tottenham makes the trip to Anfield (11:30 a.m. NBC Sports and, to take on a Liverpool team that sits two points ahead of the Spurs in fourth place. 

    Two wins for Tottenham blows the top four race wide open, with 12 games left in the season. But if the Spurs find themselves on the end of two losses, they could be cut adrift from the pack, with only a UEFA Champions League title a lifeline back into the showpiece competition. 

    Will we have clarity after next weekend, or will the picture be more muddled?

    Contact Sean Miller at Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His weekly podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here

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    The final NJSIAA wrestling power points were released Tuesday with the sectionals being seeded Tuesday in Robbinsville.

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    The women running for local offices across N.J. rise from various unorthodox backgrounds.

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    Pets throughout New Jersey patiently await someone to bring them home from rescues and shelters.

    It hasn't been declared an official national holiday yet, but 'Super Sunday' sure tries to be one. And as with any holiday -- and the celebrations that go along with a holiday - the festivities and pets may not necessarily mix.

    Here are some reminders to help keep your pet from becoming a medical emergency:

    --It's not unusual for emergency veterinarians to treat dogs for a chicken or rib bone they have swallowed. Ribs and wings are popular football foods; dogs geting a hold of some can lead to major problems. Make sure to keep them and finished plates where pets can't reach them.

    --Dogs are naturally going to want to participate in the vittles at a gathering and some folks give them as treats, but be aware of things a pet can't eat. Foods that can sicken dogs include: avocados, apple seeds, caffeinated beverages or alcohol, onions, potatoes, grapes, tomatoes and chocolate.

    --Comings and goings are a natural part of parties, whether its guests arriving or perhaps people stepping outside for a smoke. Pets that live indoors may be excited by all the company ... and bolt out an open door. If your pet isn't supposed to go out, make sure you and your guests don't leave doors open for very long.

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    See the biggest girls basketball games in the week ahead.

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    Both blazes went to 2 alarms, and one displaced 17 residents

    Morning and afternoon fires in Saturday badly damaged a house-turned-apartment building and a duplex, both in Hamilton's Duetzville neighborhood.

    A passerby on foot reported the first fire, at about 7:20 a.m., in the 500 block of Lalor Street, Hamilton fire spokesman Capt. Ferdinand Mather said.

    Hamilton's Truck 13 arrived to find heavy fire in the front of the house and struck a full first alarm. Chief Richard Kraemer took the response to a second alarm before numerous township fire companies got the blaze under control, Mather said.

    Firefighters kept the flames from spreading, but the structure was divided into four apartments, but the fire displaced a total of 17 people. The American Red Cross assisted them with lodging and other emergency aid.

    Reeger Avenue video prior to the fire department arrival

    Posted by Hamilton Township Professional Firefighters on Saturday, January 27, 2018

    Reeger Avenue video after fire department arrival

    Posted by Hamilton Township Professional Firefighters on Saturday, January 27, 2018

    At about 2 p.m., several blocks east on Reeger Avenue, a resident in the duplex in the 100 block smelled smoke and went outside to find flames coming from the other side, Mather said.

    The resident made sure the house was evacuated; nobody was home on the other side, Mather said.

    Truck 13 was again first on scene and again ordered a first alarm. Chief Steven Kraemer ordered a second alarm, bringing all eight township fire companies to the blaze.

    One resident suffered a minor injury when overcome at the scene from a medical issue, Mather said.

    The cause of both fires remained under investigation Monday by township fire marshals. The Hamilton Office of Emergency Management assisted at the scene.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find on Facebook.

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