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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    A new report commissioned by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association confirmed what many insiders have long believed and feared: that members of the millennium generation are leaving the state more rapidly than they're pouring in.

    New Jersey is missing out on a rich lode of energy, talent and creativity, yet we've been doing little to stem the loss.

    A new report commissioned by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association confirmed last week what many insiders have long believed and feared: that members of the millennium generation are leaving the state more rapidly than they're pouring in.

    The grim truth revealed in the study is that our state ranks as the worst in the country in terms of losing high-school graduates to other locales.

    Millennials are defined as people born between the early 1980s and 2000 - a group estimated at about 70 million strong nationwide.

    According to the task force, more than 1 million of their peers said "goodbye" to the Garden State and "hello" to greener employment pastures between 2007 and 2016 - a substantially greater number than the 866,506 who came here to find (or take) jobs.

    Recent college grads are leaving N.J. Here's why.

    This outmigration means we're taking a hefty loss on the $20,000 the state taxpayers shell out every year per public-school pupil.

    And because college graduates traditionally find positions near their alma maters, N.J. employers are also being denied some of the finest minds of a generation to fill vital jobs.

    Fortunately, members of the task force went beyond merely reciting these statistics. They also took a stab at recommending ways to address New Jersey's pitiful record.

    Some of their suggestions are fairly easy to implement, including more robustly promoting the lucrative job opportunities available here, and encouraging teachers and guidance counselors to help students beef up their resume-writing and other job-hunting skills (which they should be doing anyway).

    Others, such as proposing a bond designed to raise funds for expanding vocational-technical facilities, will entail an act of the state Legislature. And still others, including bringing down the soaring price tag of a college education in New Jersey, demand a commitment by the state that it has not yet been willing to make.

    "Millennials are facing unprecedented college debt as tuition rates continue to rise while state funding for public colleges and universities has decreased significantly over the past 25 years," the report said.

    The report concludes that we simply aren't doing enough to promote New Jersey as a desirable place for people in their 20s and 30s to go to college, raise a family and pursue a challenging career.

    We agree that it's going to be tough for us to shed our reputation as the punch line for every late-night comedian and two-bit stand-up comic.

    But the business leaders have just given us a well-designed map for getting there. Now let's hope their colleagues and our lawmakers have the wisdom to head down some of those roads.

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


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    A North Brunswick man wanted for allegedly strangling his ex-wife with the help of their daughter will soon face charges in N.Y. after waiving extradition proceedings in N.J. Watch video

    A North Brunswick man wanted for allegedly strangling his ex-wife with the help of their college student daughter will soon face those charges in upstate New York after waiving extradition proceedings in Mercer County, the Star Gazette newspaper reported Wednesday.

    Lloyd Neurauter, 46, was located on the roof of a parking garage in Princeton last week by police officers from Princeton as well as New York and New Jersey state police.

    As officers close in, Neurater is seen in video footage approaching the ledge when a New Jersey State Police detective tackles him. Neurater was taken to the Mercer County jail following a medical evaluation.

    Nuerater's ex-wife, 46-year-old Michele Neurater, was found strangled in her Corning, N.Y., home on Aug. 28. Authorities say Michele Neurater's death was made to look like a suicide, but Lloyd Neurater was quickly identified as a suspect.

    Also charged in the woman's murder is the couple's daughter, Karrie, a 20-year-old student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She was taken into custody by authorities in New York last week.

    Paul Milo may be reached at Follow him on Twitter@PaulMilo2. Find on Facebook.  



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    New Jersey was the site of the first true American football game of any kind, anywhere

    In 2014, when Super Bowl XLVIII was held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, the weather could have been an issue. After all, the stadium has no roof and temperatures in New Jersey can be brutal in February. But, the weather was a non-issue; it was a mild 49 degrees in East Rutherford on that Sunday. 

    According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (, that wasn't the lowest game-time temperature for an outdoor Super Bowl; Super Bowl XLVI - the Giants played in that one - was held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and started at a temperature of 44 degrees. And Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans kicked off in balmy 39 degrees.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    The Super Bowl held in New Jersey added to the state's rich tradition in the sport. Of course, football, began in New Jersey with Rutgers and Princeton in 1869; often referred to as "The Birthplace of College Football," the Rutgers-Princeton game in New Brunswick is seen by the Professional Football Researchers Association as the first true American football game of any kind, anywhere.

    New Jersey high school football has an equally lengthy tradition. The Lawrenceville School began an annual tradition of playing the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., in 1887; Vineland and Millville high schools began their Thanksgiving Day game tradition in 1893.

    And, notwithstanding their names, New Jersey has been home to two professional football teams since the 1970s.

    Here's a gallery of vintage football teams, players and venues from all around New Jersey. And here are links to other galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage photos of fun and games in N.J.

    Vintage photos of amusement parks, circuses and fairs in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. Americana

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

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    Walmart, the owner of Sam's Club, closed the stores earlier this month with little notice

    The abrupt closure of three Sam's Club stores in New Jersey earlier this month resulted in lay offs for more than 500 employees, according to a filing with the state Department of Labor. 

    The three stores closed by Sam's Club parent company Walmart are in Mount Olive, Linden and West Windsor.

    The layoff notices filed listed the number employees affected at 187 for the Linden store, 196 for the West Windsor store and 144 in Mount Olive, for a total of 527 employees.

    This N.J. mall is 1 of most lucrative in country, study says

    The numbers were revealed in a WARN (The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) notice published by the state department of labor this week. State law requires a WARN notice when a company plans a large-scale layoff. 

    Company officials didn't immediately respond to a message from NJ Advance Media if any of the workers were transferred to other stores. There are seven Sam's Club stores left in the state.

    The pharmacy in the Mount Olive store stayed open until Friday. 

    Sam's Club owner Walmart shut down 63 stores across the country. 

    "After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we've decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy," Walmart said in a statement earlier this month. Closing clubs is never easy and we're committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition."

    The store closings were disclosed at nearly the same time Walmart announced that it would boost its starting wage for U.S. workers to $11 an hour, provide bonuses to certain associates and expand maternity and parental leave.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.


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    The latest updates on New Jersey's weather pattern show the state will have several shots of snow during the first two weeks of February after colder air settles in.

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    Rider, in legal papers, painted a bleak financial picture of itself

    Rider University's decision to sell its Westminster Choir College has its professors' union headed to federal court Friday seeking an injunction against any deal so the instructors can fight their possible termination.

    The Lawrence-headquartered university announced early last year they planned to sell the nearly century-old choir college in Princeton due to ongoing financial woes.

    In legal papers filed recently, Rider paints a bleak financial picture of itself in bolstering its case that it needs to sell Westminster. 

    In August, Rider said they had a potential buyer, and while not naming the entity, said the interested party wants to keep the music school at its 23-acre campus in Princeton, operate it as a non-profit music school and keep the current faculty and staff.

    While trying to consummate the deal, though, the university issued layoff notices to Westminster professors, saying it was a precaution, and the university hoped to close the deal, and the layoffs would not actually occur until August of 2018.

    The union - the college's chapter of the American Association of University Professors - responded by filing for arbitration, which is scheduled for the end of March. At stake are about 70 full- and part-time professors and librarians at the music school's campus.

    Westminster Choir College professors issued layoff notices

    In legal papers filed ahead of the Friday hearing, in which a judge will hear oral arguments about an injunction, the union says Rider agreed to maintain "the status quo" through January 31, and not enter into any binding agreements to sell Westminster.

    Rider, the union argues, extended that until February 9, but will not budge past that date, which does not cover the arbitration hearings.

    "Although talks with the proposed buyer have apparently stalled, an injunction would prevent any final agreement of sale before the arbitration is resolved," the union said in a public statement this week.

    Rider said Wednesday the deal is alive.

    "Claims that talks with the proposed buyer have apparently stalled are absolutely false," Rider spokeswoman Kristine Brown said. 

    "In fact, we continue to work diligently with our partner on a daily basis to finalize the term sheet... We are pleased with the tremendous progress we have made on a very complex process, and any information to the contrary is simply not true," Brown said.

    Brown said Friday's hearing is "one step" in a longer process of the "goal of securing a strong future for both Westminster and Rider University."

    Meanwhile, Rider's lawyers, in voluminous legal papers filed in opposing an injunction, said the financial straits they face are real. (The union publicly doubted the university's financial claims last year.)

    "Rider has experienced rapidly declining enrollments and has had to increasingly discount tuition in response. This has caused Rider's total unrestricted operating revenues to decline in each of the last four years," the legal papers say.

    The university even disclosed that in 2016, their "prior commercial bank refused to renew Rider's direct line of credit on commercially reasonable terms based on concern over its financial situation."

    "(Westminster Choir College) has been a key contributor to these financial difficulties," the papers say.

    Rider argues Westminster's separate campus requires significant expense and it's one-on-one instructional model and low student-to-faculty ratio, "is significantly more expensive to operate than most other types of academic programs and peer colleges."

    As a result, Westminster has tallied deficits of $4.8 million, $3.3 million and $2.6 million in 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively.

    Rider's lawyers say the university has tried a sustained cost-saving effort in the past few years, "including multiple, successive years of flat staff and faculty salaries; deep cuts in employer contributions to staff and faculty pension funds; and staff layoffs and reductions in force by attrition."

    "Despite these efforts, in August 2017, Forbes Magazine ranked Rider's financial strength and operational soundness 819th of 879 private, nonprofit colleges and universities," a lawyer wrote.

    And the union should know that, the filings say, because last summer, the union agreed to "significant economic concessions" in their contract renegotiations.

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

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    Three major teams fell in surprising upsets this week, which caused a strong shakeup in February's first edition of the Top 20.

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    One was an aspiring rap artist, while the other recently graduated from high school

    The two men who were shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Trenton last month were both Philadelphia residents.

    But investigators have not said much about the crime, other than to make public their names and where they lived.

    Jerard Perdomo Santana, 25, and Ivan Rodriguez, 19, were gunned down in a car on the 300 block of Ashmore Avenue on Jan. 22, police said. A third person was shot and treated for their injuries, but survived the incident. 

    No arrests or charges have been made public by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, whose Homicide Task Force is investigating.

    The office wouldn't comment on circumstances of the shooting or why they believe Rodriguez and Santana were in Trenton the day they died in a hail of bullets.

    The third person's identity and reason for being on the block are unknown.

    Ten days before being shot to death, Santana recorded a Facebook live video while driving and listening to music with Rodriguez. 

    While Santana was known to have lived in Philadelphia, he also had ties to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

    His obituary, from a Wilkes-Barre funeral home, said he was from the Dominican Republic and attended school there until his family relocated to Philadelphia, and later Wilkes-Barre. 

    Santana, who made music under the name Elmii Problema, released a Spanish rap album in late 2017, called Maxima Seguridad.

    The obituary said Santana had worked as an administrative assistant and model and is survived by his "beloved" girlfriend and three sons. 

    Rodriguez's Facebook page said he was a 2016 graduate of Frankford High School in Philadelphia. 

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.comFollow her on Twitter @By_paigegross. Find on Facebook.

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    "It was a moment of confusion for me," Robert McFadden said in court

    A Trenton man who tried to strangle and disarm a Bucks County, Pa. police officer last summer has been sentenced to three to eight years in prison. 

    Robert McFadden, 25, said he didn't know how to explain his behavior the morning of July 29, 2017, according to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.

    mcfadden.jpgRobert McFadden 

    "It was a moment of confusion for me," he said of the assault on Bensalem police officer David Marshall, according to the district attorney's office.

    "It was something not in my character. I was surprised by my own behavior." 

    McFadden previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, possession with intent to deliver heroin, disarming a law enforcement officer and theft from a motor vehicle.

    McFadden had been stealing items from vehicles in the 1300 block of Neshaminy Avenue when Marshall arrived around 9 a.m. The officer found McFadden and a female accomplice sitting in an SUV parked in a no-parking zone.

    When Marshall ordered McFadden out of the vehicle and tried to handcuff him, McFadden attacked, throwing Marshall to the ground.

    As the men struggled, McFadden struck the officer several times, choked him until he began to lose consciousness and tried to grab his gun.

    Marshall finally freed himself and arrested the suspects as backup officers arrived. He suffered cuts on his hands, legs, knees, neck and face, and had strangulation marks on his neck, according to Assistant District Attorney Rose E. McHugh.

    In addition to his prision sentence, McFadden also was ordered to pay $5,009.36 in restitution for Marshall's medical expenses.

    "I have much respect for people who put their lives on the line to serve and protect because I have parents and other family members in law enforcement," McFadden said in a letter that was read aloud in court, "I don't know how I would feel if something were to happen to one of them if they got put in a bad situation."

    McFadden's parents work in law enforcement in New Jersey, but the district attorney's statement did not identify them, or their agency.

    McFadden was also charged with vehicular homicide in 2015, after allegedly striking a pedestrian pushing a shopping cart a Trenton city street. 

    That case is still pending, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office. 

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

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    In 2016, only about 6 percent of New Jersey youth that were arrested were offered statehouse adjustments that kept them out of jail.

    Law-enforcement agencies throughout the state have the power to offer young offenders a second chance, but way too few of them are using it.

    Instead, thousands of our teenagers wind up facing serious criminal charges for fairly minor offenses such as loitering, disturbing the peace, committing a petty theft at a convenience store - charges that will haunt them well into their adult lives.

    That's the finding of a new study commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union, which looked into diversionary programs, known as "statehouse adjustments," giving cops the option of issuing a verbal warning or imposing an alternate punishment when warranted.

    The Attorney General's office launched the program in 2005, offering a welcome path to keeping young, first-time offenders from becoming lost in the dungeons of the juvenile-justice system.

    There are multiple safeguards built in to the policy.

    According to the AG's strict guidelines, police cannot use these diversionary programs when the crime under review involved the use or possession of a controlled dangerous substance, for example, or when the crime resulted in serious bodily injury to another party.

    N.J. law enforcement underuses this program for kids

    Nor can they use them when other charges are pending.

    But even when these factors are not present, the ACLU-sponsored study found, too many police departments are choosing to press charges for non-serious crimes, rather than opting for the less-punitive path.

    In 2014, when more than 24,000 juveniles were arrested, only about 10 percent of them were offered statehouse adjustments. By 2016, the number had dropped to a woeful 6 percent.

    Sadly, but not surprisingly, race and ethnic background play a role in how the program is administered. The study found that a smaller proportion of African-American youths were routinely offered diversionary programs than their Caucasian counterparts.

    A more humane New Jersey could do better, should do better.

    The study's authors are calling on the Attorney General to issue a new directive, making alternative programs the default option in cases involving young people and minor crimes.

    In addition, they recommend that law-enforcement agencies be required to submit data electronically detailing when juveniles are arrested and what happens subsequently, so the state has a broader and more transparent look at how the programs are functioning.

    We also think the criminal-justice system needs to do a better job of letting parents and young people know that such alternatives exist - and that they have right to speak up and ask for them.

    Study after credible study shows that the teenage mind, still a work in progress, cannot always grasp the seriousness of a crime, or understand its consequences.

    Giving a young offender a strong verbal warning, or ordering community service in lieu of time served behind bars, helps assure that a youthful indiscretion does not automatically lead to a lifetime stigma.

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


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    The nation, and much of the world, one year later knows that Timothy J. Piazza was the victim of violent, organized fraternity hazing and brutal neglect.

    One year after our son's hazing death

    One year ago today, on Feb. 2, 2017, our son Tim was excited and anxious to begin his initiation into the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Penn State University.

    Of the three fraternity bids he received, he accepted Beta Theta Pi.

    They were self-described as an alcohol-free, hazing-free fraternity and allegedly placed a high emphasis on academics. He felt like they shared his values.

    Two days later, on February 4, 2017, we watched as our son was taken off life support at Hershey Medical Center, where he had been admitted as a result of the injuries he sustained in connection with the egregious hazing he experienced on that night of initiation and the self-preservation on the part of numerous fraternity members.

    The cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries, including a fractured skull, lacerated spleen and a severe brain bleed. He just wanted to join an organization. How could this happen?

    The nation, and much of the world, one year later knows that Timothy J. Piazza, our amazing, caring, good-hearted 19-year-old son - the strapping red head from western New Jersey known for his love of life and desire to help those in need - was the victim of violent, organized fraternity hazing and brutal neglect. That's not on his death certificate, but that's what we get to live with every day.

    Courts need to be tough on hazing, family says

    Tim's death was a slow, painful passing that was graphically captured on videotape by the fraternity's unmonitored security system.

    To this day we have not watched the videotapes when they have been played in the preliminary hearing court proceedings, but we have urged Penn State officials, including the President Eric J. Barron and his board of trustees, to do so (that has yet to happen).

    Eventually, it is our hope that a jury will have the opportunity to watch the videos (including the recovered basement video) and hear all of the evidence in the criminal case brought by prosecutors after an extensive Centre County Grand Jury investigation. Despite our never-ending sorrow and pain, we have faith in the justice system and hope for the day when all those responsible for Tim's death will be held accountable.

    We also continue to hope and pray that once and for all - working with other advocate-parents - we can help bring an end to senseless, preventable hazing deaths in America.

    Tragically, Tim's death was the first hazing fatality in 2017, but by no means was it the last. We now belong to a national club no parent should ever aspire to join. On Feb. 23 and 24 we, along with other parents who have lost children to hazing, will come together for our inaugural conference in Greenville, South Carolina.

    The media and other parents repeatedly ask us what to tell their children that are thinking of joining a fraternity or a sorority. First, we urge them to have the conversation. We discussed pledging with Tim and he assured us that if he joined a fraternity, he would pick the right one. Tim and the other pledges were deceived and a darker side of that fraternity was revealed, as forced alcohol-fueled hazing intensified in the 'dry' house run by 'Men of Principle'.

    Never would Tim think his soon to be "brothers" would abuse him and then leave him to die. It is important to talk openly about what has transpired this past year, and over many years, and to remind your children that they are important to you. Tell them to take nothing at face value, be cautious, guard against peer pressure.

    And should they decide to pledge, pledge as a group. Make sure somebody your son or daughter trusts always has their back. If at any time they are concerned for their safety or the safety of others, they need to follow their instincts and leave before it's too late and call for help.

    It is too late for Tim, but it is not too late for your son or daughter.

    Written by Jim and Evelyn Piazza

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    Key info and a prediction for every sectional bracket

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    What happened on the boys hoops front in the last week

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    This suspect knew there was going to be a robbery but he wasn't present when it happened Watch video

    A fourth person has pleaded guilty to their role in a robbery that turned into a shooting in Trenton that took the life a Camden County woman in 2016.

    Douglas Mathis, 53, of Trenton pleaded guilty to second degree robbery Friday. 

    In Mercer County Superior Court, Mathis admitted to being at suspect Andrew Alston's home the night of the robbery and being asked to drive gunman Ronderrick Manuel to the robbery location in East Trenton.

    Alston, 40, and Manuel, 44, pleaded guilty earlier this week.

    Amber Dudley, 27, was a passenger in a vehicle operating under the rideshare service Lyft that prosecutors have said was lured to the area of East Trenton and Mechanics avenues on Nov. 30, 2016.

    Mathis said he knew there was going to be a robbery but he wasn't present when Manuel began to rob the victims.

    amberAmber Dudley

    He later found out that Dudley had been killed when Manuel and the robbery target - a man who authorities have never named publicly- got into an altercation as Manuel tried to rob them.

    Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Grillo recommended that Mathis be sentenced to seven years in state prison subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA), which would require Mathis to serve at least five years in prison before being eligible for parole.

    Once released Mathis will be required to complete three years of probation.

    Mathis is one of five accused of being part of the crime. In addition to him, and Alston and Manuel, are Dominique Richter, 31, of Hamilton; and Kasey DeZolt, 32, of Morrisville, Pa.

    Richter pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by unlawful taking in September.

    If DeZolt's case goes to trial, her co-defendants are expected to testify against her, as outlined in their plea agreements. 

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

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

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    The city's decorations show its support for Philadelphia Eagles.

    It's a town with a strong patriotic history, but as Super Bowl LII approaches, there's no doubt that Bordentown is a green city.

    Eagles green.

    The welcome signs coming into Bordentown, which happen to be green already, are now adorned with Philadelphia Eagles paraphernalia - a pennant, a football, a water bottle.

    City Hall is decorated in a like manner, as is the public works garage. Even the town's water tower has a greenish hue.

    The best signs in N.J. supporting the Super Bowl-bound Eagles

    But the most conspicuous show of support  is that the clock faces on the clock tower of Old City Hall now glow green at night.

    According to Mayor Jim Lynch, the idea for that started a couple of years ago when the clock faces were turned green for St. Partick's Day. After that, it was red for Valentine's Day.

    Then, when the Eagles earned a spot in the Super Bowl, it seemed like a natural thing to go green again.

    Bordentown's government is nonpartisan and perhaps it is that patriotic spirit that prompted Lynch to declare: "I have some Giants fans in my family. If they were in the Super Bowl we would go blue. We're very fair in how we support our teams."

    Lynch added, "Everything doesn't have to be negative in government. We're just trying to have a little fun with it and we've been getting a lot of good feedback."

    Michael Mancuso may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @michaelmancuso Find on Facebook.

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

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    Three men were struck by vehicles while on foot in separate incidents on one day last month

    On one calendar day last month - Jan. 11 - three pedestrians were stuck by cars in separate crashes on Trenton streets.

    All three have since died, Trenton police said Friday.

    In one, the first of the day, police detectives are trying to locate the red car that may have struck the pedestrian, Elvin Rivera, 37.

    Police on Friday made public a picture of the vehicle, believed to be a red Ford Focus hatchback, somewhere in the 2000 to 2005 year range.

    A car struck Rivera at about 3:30 am, in the first block of Morris Avenue in Chambersburg. Police officers arrived and found him unconscious in the street. No vehicle had stopped, police spokesman Lt. Stephen Varn said.

    Officers performed CPR on Rivera and am ambulance took him to nearby St. Francis Medical Center, where he died shortly after 5 a.m.

    Rivera lived in the Trenton area for most of his years, and pent some time in Puerto Rico, his obituary said. He had a passion for art and drawing and worked as a tattoo artist.

    elvin.pngThe vehicle that may have struck Elvin Rivera on Jan. 11, 2018 on Morris Avenue in Trenton. 

    At 11:30 p.m., a vehicle hit Shawn Hurley on Route 29 north at South Warren Street and kept driving, Varn said.

    An ambulance took the 47-year-old to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in the city, and he passed away from those injuries this past Sunday, Jan. 28. Hurley's death is under active investigation by police, Varn said.

    Hurley was born in Rahway and lived in Keansburg, in Monmouth County, before moving to Trenton, his obituary said. He liked to fish and help people, and "loved to look good before he went out."

    "Once you were his friend, you were a friend for life," Hurley's obit said. A family member set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his funeral expenses, saying he was not married and did not have life insurance.

    hurley.jpgShawn Hurley, Facebook photo 

    The other man who was killed Jan. 11 was Mark Zachary, a 59-year-old city man who was struck crossing Southard Street at Escher Street at about 5:30 p.m. He died a few hours later at a city hospital.

    Zachary's funeral was held last week in Burlington City.

    Police had already publicized the Zachary crash, saying that driver stopped, but was later issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian. Police did not identify the driver.

    Detective Craig Kirk is investigating the Rivera and Hurley crashes. 

    Anyone with information about them, or the red car that may have struck Rivera, is asked to call Kirk at 609-989-4167 or any Trenton detective at 609-989-4155. Information can also be left on the Trenton police confidential tip line at 609-989-3663.

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

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    The team is 10th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 54.9 points per game

    Gym rats. On a basketball team, there's nothing better. The Princeton University women's basketball team is proof of that.

    The Tigers resume play this weekend after a three-week semester break, on the road against Yale and Brown. They're on a seven-game winning streak, are 13-3, and, if recent workouts are any indication, are only getting better.

    "We're really talented defensively. I love it,'' veteran coach Courtney Banghart said the other day. "They just want to be good, and they feel like they can be. I love our senior leadership and I love our youthful energy. These are kids who are in the gym before and after every practice. I can't keep them out of the gym.''

    A trio of seniors - Leslie Robinson, Kenya Holland and Tia Weledji - provide the leadership. Sophomore Bella Alarie provides star power. Freshmen like Carlie Littlefield and Abby Meyers provide youthful energy.

    And with experienced players like juniors Gabrielle Rush and Sydney Jordan, and sophomore Taylor Bauer, this team, "Sort of has a lot of pieces,'' Banghart said. "The team chemistry is great. And they battle. They've really bought into the defensive expectations, and with that they gain confidence to play on the offensive end.

    PU WBB vs. NovaLeslie Robinson in action this season against Villanova. (Princeton U. photo) 

    "That's partly what makes us good,'' Banghart added. "We're not relying on the same four guys every night.''

    The Tigers are tenth in the country in scoring defense (54.9) and 40th in three-point percentage defense (28.4 percent). Opponents average 37 percent shooting. During the seven-game winning streak Princeton outscored teams by an average of 19 points.

    Alarie was Ivy League Freshmen of the Year and has only gotten better. She is scoring 15.8 per game, averaging 9.2 rebounds, shooting 52 percent, and against Penn she put up 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked eight shots.

    "She's so good,'' Banghart said. "It's a special talent. She's legitimately 6-5 and plays both ends. She's much more comfortable around the rim this year and is much more versatile (leading the team in threes). She's gained about 15 pounds and she's just stronger.

    "We don't need her to be a leader. We need Bella to be a star. And she's starting to be more and more comfortable with that. It's not a natural feeling for her. She's just happy winning and could care less about her numbers. But she's maturing to realize that for us to be great she needs to be great."

    PU WBB vs. ColumbiaBella Allaira against Columbia this season. (Princeton U. photo) 

    Littlefield isn't yet at that level, but by averaging 38 minutes per game she is seeing more time than anyone Banghart can remember coaching.

    "She's tough. She can score; she's a true point guard. She can set others up, sets her tone defensively; she's a total stud,'' Banghart said.

    Princeton won its first three league games, including nemesis Penn by 15 points, and Banghart considers her Tigers the team to beat. Penn appears the most dangerous threat, with Yale, Brown, Harvard and Dartmouth having the possibility of upsetting the front-runners. The second annual Ivy League Tournament will be held on the Penn campus next month.

    Until then, Princeton has its sights on finishing the regular season on an 18-game winning streak.

    "I really enjoy this team,'' said Banghart, who's had numerous teams who fit that description. "They have a unique blend of a really, really accountable quality senior class. What they don't necessarily consistently produce on the court they produce in every other way.

    "Leslie is our most consistent contributor out of that. She's an all-league performer. The other two are just as accountable and steady and really set the tone.''

    They have done so against a formidable schedule, including games against Rutgers, Villanova and Quinnipiac, as well as Georgia Tech, Seton Hall and Chattanooga. Princeton's RPI remains among the top 40.

    "It's looking better as we go. We're not just waiting for next year,'' Banghart said. "It's more like, 'We want to be good right now.' I think they're just getting a sense of how good they can be, and they're empowered by it. Not burdened by it.''

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    The consortium of natural gas companies behind the $1.1B proposal plan to reapply for state approval.

    New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection says an application for a $1.1 billion pipeline to bring natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to the state is missing information and is rejected, for now.

    The DEP said Thursday in a letter to PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC the company had not resubmitted documents for a freshwater wetlands permit and the application was denied. In June the DEP told PennEast it was closing the application because of missing information.

    The letter says PennEast may reapply. PennEast spokeswoman Pat Kornick says the company plans to but did not say when.

    Phil Murphy sets the stage for a fracking ban in the region

    Federal regulators recently approved the project over protests from environmental groups, who say it could scar the landscape.

    The pipeline is designed to deliver natural gas for nearly 5 million homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

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