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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    Who are state-title contenders in each Group?


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    The winner bought the ticket in Mercerville Watch video

    The $1 million ticket sold in New Jersey for Wednesday's Powerball drawing was purchased at a food store in Mercer County.

    The ticket matched five numbers but not the Powerball. It was bought at Risoldi's Market & Cafe on Quakerbridge Road in the Mercerville section of Hamilton, state lottery officials said Thursday. 

    The winning numbers were  6, 8, 26, 52 and 53. The Powerball drawn was 21 and the multiplier was 2x.

    The New Jersey ticket was the only $1 million ticket sold nationally. No one hit the $40 million jackpot. Saturday's top prize is $50 million with a cash option of $30 million.

    A Powerball ticket costs $2. The odds of hitting the jackpot are 292,201,338 to 1. Players have approximately a 1 in 11,688,053 chance to win the second prize of at least $1 million.

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

     

     


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    A Pennsylvania judge convicted New Jersey resident Christopher D. Kuhn

    Hamilton resident Christopher D. Kuhn just kept running.

    First, he sped off from a Walmart parking lot in Tullytown, Pennsylvania, after shoplifting more than $200 in sound equipment on Oct. 3. His unrestrained 2-year-old son was along for the ride.

    christopher_kuhn.jpgChristopher D. Kuhn 

    Moments later, Kuhn ignored a red light, slammed into other vehicles and rolled his Jeep. The crash sent Kuhn's son, Qadan Trievel, flying from the SUV.

    As Kuhn paced around his child's lifeless body on the roadway, he decided to run again.

    A judge ended his running Wednesday when he found Kuhn guilty of murder in the death of his child, prosecutors announced.

    Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert O. Baldi also found Kuhn, 28, guilty of homicide by vehicle, endangering the welfare of a child, driving under the influence and several other offenses.

    Prosecutors argued that Kuhn's actions -- including the theft, covering his license plate with a sweatshirt, driving recklessly and unlicensed, and not aiding his son after the crash -- were malicious.

    EMTs and police officers found Qadan pale, motionless and not breathing. An autopsy determined that he suffered a skull fracture from ear to ear.

    A witness who was driving one of the vehicles struck in the crash testified that Kuhn never tended to his child or called for help as he stood near the toddler.

    "He paced a couple of times, then he said a couple of curse words, then he took off running," the witness said.

    Officers found Kuhn sitting alone among weeds near the crash scene, where he was hugging his knees with his arms, according to court testimony.

    Qadan Trievel.jpgQadan Trievel (GoFundMe) 

    He didn't want to return to his vehicle and, upon learning that his son was dead, let out a high-pitched scream, officers testified.

    Kuhn's public defender called his client's actions tragic and reckless, but argued that there was no evidence of malice.

    "I am here to speak for 2-year-old Qadan," Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James told the judge. "A 2-year-old boy who is not here to speak for himself due to the malicious acts of his own father."

    Kuhn's prior criminal record includes a shoplifting charge and a terroristic threats conviction. He pleaded guilty to threatening Qadan's mother, Mackenzy Trievel, and was sentenced to three years probation in 2016.

    Trievel told a TV station last year that she had fought for sole custody of her child, but that a court had denied her bid.

    Kuhn faces 20 to 40 years in prison on the third-degree murder charge alone when he is sentenced June 15.

    Matt Gray may be reached at mgray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on Facebook

    Have a tip? Tell us: nj.com/tips.


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    Ewing officials put out an alert on Thursday about a 'large cat-like animal, possibly a mountain lion or bobcat'

    Everyone relax.

    There's no bobcat or mountain lion stalking the wild, untamed suburban office parks of Mercer County. A big cat, maybe, but not a bobcat.

    "The photos are of a house cat," said Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna after reviewing surveillance images that captured an animal on Thursday. "We don't have mountain lions in New Jersey and bobcats have short tails. This animal clearly has a long tail."

    The DEP looked into the concerns after officials in Ewing Township instilled feline fear Thursday with an "important message" from Mayor Bert Steinmann's office warning about the "large cat-like animal, possibly a mountain lion or bobcat."

    The message was posted on the Ewing police Facebook page and promptly shared more than 1,300 times.

    Then local publications and Philadelphia television stations picked up on the story, repeating the alert. Even the Associated Press ran a story about the warning Friday morning.

    On Thursday, before the DEP weighed in with its assessment of the photos, Ewing Township Business Administrator James McManimom said the animal appeared too large to be someone's cat gone astray.

    "It's more than a house cat," McManimom said. "This is not a domestic cat."

    That may be true. It could be a feral cat, but the DEP says there's nothing to fear after reviewing the images.

    The photo was captured by a surveillance camera at a financial services firm off I-95, not far from Trenton-Mercer Airport. Security officers alerted township officials on Thursday.

    NJ Advance Media contacted Ewing Township officials about the DEP assessment. As of Friday morning, they have not responded for comment.

    Alexis Johnson may be reached at ajohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexisjreports. Find her on Facebook.

     

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    The AA Minor League New York Yankees affiliate plan a bunch of celebrations for their celebratory season Watch video

    "I am not nervous at all. I have full faith that we'll be able to have this done."

    Those are the confident words of a man who's been through this before, Trenton Thunder public relations Manager Jon Mozes.

    While walking on the concourse at Arm & Hammer Park, showing the progress of the preparations, he conceded, "Hard to believe we only have a week to get it done, but we're getting there."

    In this, the Thunder's 25th season, the club has more changes than usual.

    Starting last year, Mercer County replaced every seat, changing to blue from the original green. The railings were also replaced.

    New extended protective netting is in place. The material is fine and the color is green, so that it was easiest for fans to see through, whether they're seated in the front rows or further back.

    The netting parts on the sides, though, to allow direct fan contact with players at the ends of the dugouts.

    The county also replaced the HVAC system for the luxury suites.

    The stadium at Riverview Plaza has new graphics, some new flooring, new sponsorships and plenty of old favorites, such as the Family Fun Zone playground area in right field.

    Sadly, there is one unwelcome change.

    This year, there's only one Trenton Thunder bat dog, Rookie. His father, Derby passed last year.

    "It's tough," Mozes said. "We're so used to having both of these guys...circle of life, unfortunately."

    Thunder renaming themselves Trenton Pork Roll this season

    On a happier note, foodies will be happy with new offerings, all of which will be officially announced soon.

    One new food vendor of note is 1911 Smokehouse BBQ, located in downtown Trenton.

    Also, don't be surprised to see something called a Sticky Pig - Pork Roll on a glazed doughnut with pepper jam and cheese. (The team already announced they will become the Trenton Pork Roll on Fridays at home this season.)

    The Thunder's home opener is next Thursday, April 5 vs. the Richmond Flying Squirrels at 7 p.m.

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


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    The 18th annual Stations of the Cross in South Trenton, sponsored by Catholic Charities' El Centro Watch video

    Threatening skies only added to the drama of the reenactment of the last steps and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

    The 18th Good Friday living Stations of the Cross - sponsored by Catholic Charities' El Centro - depicted the 14-step Catholic devotion that traces the path in Jerusalem taken by Jesus leading up to his crucifixion.

    Along the way, the skies opened briefly with light rain, but never enough to disrupt the devotional service.

    The event began on South Broad Street at Sacred Heart Church, the oldest Catholic parish in New Jersey and concluded at Divine Mercy (Saint Stanislaus) on Randall Avenue.

    This year Jesus was portrayed by local Deacon Benny Torres.

    Live Stations of the Cross 2017

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


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    Kathryn A. Foster, raised in Verona and educated at Princeton, will take the reins of The College of New Jersey this summer.

    The College of New Jersey has chosen a daughter of New Jersey to serve as its president.

    Kathryn A. Foster, raised in Verona and educated at Princeton, will take the reins of the Ewing-based college this summer. She will occupy the office now held by R. Barbara Gitenstein, president of TCNJ since 1999.

    The incoming administrator brings with her a wealth of experiences in public planning, public education and public service.

    After receiving a bachelor's degree in geography and environmental planning from Johns Hopkins University, she went on to earn a master's in city in regional planning from the University of California in Berkeley, and later a doctorate in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

    Foster served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland, where she worked with the Ministry of National Resources and Energy training local planners and helped computerize records.

    The College of New Jersey opens $76M STEM complex

    She also helped launch a women's magazine in the Southern African nation - no minor victory in a country which followed a rock-bound tradition of deference to its males and elders.

    After holding several administrative posts during 18 years at the State University of New York at Buffalo, the scholar became president of the University of Maine in 2012.

    Gitenstein, Foster's predecessor, held office when the college opened its doors to its largest freshman class last fall: 1,570 students hailing from New Jersey, of course, but also from lands as far flung as Vietnam, China, Colombia and India.

    The retiring president also played a large role in the opening of TCNJ's 89,000-square foot STEM building, a nod to the role the Garden State plays in producing the nation's next generation of computer whizzes, mathematicians and engineers.

    Now it falls to Foster to build on that momentum.

    Among her greatest challenges will be confronting the state's legendary brain-drain: the phenomenon that sees our highly qualified college graduates migrating to other venues as they pursue their careers.

    Foster also takes office as she and her colleagues around the country grapple with a White House that is openly hostile to science, and as students increasingly find their voices on issues relating to racism, sexism, gun violence and the environment.

    It helps that she's an avid hiker and a biking enthusiast, and that for 35 years she kept a regimen of running every day -- including running a marathon through the California redwoods. Obviously, she has the stamina and the mental discipline to get a job done.

    As the college's first woman president after 14 male predecessors, Gitenstein set a high bar. Foster's stellar credentials and experiences position her well for success as she comes on board July 1.

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

     

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    Wrestlers from 16 states battled it out on the mats in Wildwood.

    More than 1,600 youth wrestlers made their way to Wildwood this weekend to compete in the 15th Annual "War at the Shore" Folkstyle Nationals wrestling tournament.

    The tourney's most popular event is the "Boys War," in which girls can also compete. There is also a girls-only competition on Friday as well as an adult event on Saturday.

    New Jersey was well represented with more than 700 wrestlers competing. Hundreds of wrestlers from nearby Pennsylvania and New York also took to the mats, but the tournament also drew competitors from states as far away as Florida, Texas, Nevada, Ohio and Vermont.

    A record number of girls competed in this year's "War at the Shore," with nearly 100 girls from pre-kindergarten through high school registered.

    Competition continues today at the Wildwoods Convention Center. For a full list of results, visit flowrestling.org.

    Related stories:

    Photos of the 2017 "War at the Shore"

    Photos of the 2016 "War at the Shore"

    Lori M. Nichols may be reached at lnichols@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @photoglori. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips.


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    Rufus Thompson was trying to steal a PlayStation from the victim when the killing occurred, a law enforcement official said.

    A Trenton man has been arrested in the execution-style killing of a 20-year-old man who was found with his hands bound on the bank of a Hamilton creek last week, prosecutors said Saturday. 

    Rufus Thompson, 29, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Danny Diaz-Delgado on March 24 before leaving his body on the bank of Assunpink Creek, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said.

    Rufus Thomphson(1).jpgRufus Thompson (Courtesy of Mercer County Prosecutor's Office)

    Thompson was attempting to steal a PlayStation gaming system from Diaz-Delgado when the killing occurred, according to a law enforcement official who requested anonymity. 

    Diaz-Delgado's hands were tied behind his back and tape was wrapped around his face when police found him face-down, prosecutors said. They said he had been shot in the torso, head and leg multiple times, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Thompson was arrested Saturday morning at a friend's house in Trenton, prosecutors said. He also faces felony murder, robbery and weapons charges. 

    Prosecutors said they will file a motion to request that Thompson be detained pre-trial. 

    Thompson previously pleaded guilty to burglary charges in Mercer County and in 2016 was sentenced to three years in prison, court records show. No further details were immediately available.

    People who identified themselves on social media as Diaz-Delgado's friends said he was a good person who cared for his friends and family, and they were shocked and saddened by his death. 

    Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call prosecutor's office Sgt. Gary Wasko or Detective Michael Castaldo at 609-989-6406. Tips can also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org.

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

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips 


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    Sixty people die in the United States every day from overdosing on opioid pain medication.

    It's easy to be overwhelmed by the figures: Sixty people die in the United States every day from overdosing on opioid pain medication - more than 22,000 souls every year.

    The statistics come from the National Safety Council, which also notes that 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain killers say they got them from a relative or a friend.

    A pair of bills working their way through the state Legislature aims to reduce the human toll to manageable proportions by working via two of our public institutions: our schools and our state prisons.

    Recently, the Assembly Appropriations Committee overwhelming approved a bill that would require all schools to train school nurses and other personnel to administer opioid antidotes - medications such as naloxone or Narcan which have proven to save lives.

    On another front, the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee will consider a bill that requiring prisons to provide an opioid-blocking injection to addicted prisoners who are being released, in hopes of keeping them sober.

    In addition, ex-prisoners would also take with them a shot of naloxone to be used if the addiction proves too powerful, or if someone else close to them overdoses.

    Christie left $100M for opioid programs. What will Murphy do?

    In the Garden State, more than 650 people have overdosed this year alone.

    The school-based bill, which has multiple sponsors, calls for officials at all schools throughout the state - public, private, charter and others - to chart a policy for administering the antidote for anyone overdosing on school grounds.

    It would grant the school nurse, the primary individual responsible for overseeing the program, legal immunity - an important protection. And it would mandate that the lifesaving substance be kept in a place that is both safe and easily accessible.

    If you think this bill would put a lot of pressure on already over-burdened school workers, you're right: It would.

    But the sad reality is that young people are disproportionately hit by this ugly epidemic, which makes teachers and school nurses the first line of defense.

    The second measure under consideration also targets a vulnerable population - people formerly behind bars.

    "Relapse and overdose deaths occur at high rates after release from incarceration," says Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr., a practicing physician and chair of the Assembly Health Committee.

    In addition to saving lives, his bill aims to reduce the high recidivism rates among inmates, a tragedy driven by the same drug issues that may have caused them to wind up in prison in the first place.

    Naltrexone, the opioid-blocker his bill would require for newly released inmates, has proven useful in at least 30 other states, including neighboring New York and Pennsylvania.

    Together, these are modest proposals to contain a massive epidemic. But they hold out the promise of saving lives, one individual at a time.

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

     

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    The 30 women who graduated from the historic all-female police academy class - the country's first - are honored with an exhibit Watch video

    Some followed in family tradition.

    Others did it on dare.

    But all 30 women who graduated from the New Jersey State Police Academy on June 27, 1980 were part of history - the nation's first all-female class of police cadets. 

    And they were back at State Police headquarters in West Trenton last week for the opening of an exhibit the State Police Memorial Museum and Learning Center that commemorates their trailblazing academy class - the 96th.

    The State Police initiated a program in 1979 to recruit, select and train an all-female class to boost the number of women in the agency's ranks./

    About 1,630 women took the written exam, 748 were invited to continue in the selection process and 116 were admitted to the academy after successfully completing a physical test, medical evaluation and interview.

    Just 30 of them made it through the rigorous demands of the academy, in Sea Girt. 

    "I was used to being pushed to my limits and exceeding them," said retired Capt. Rosanne "Roe" Manghisi, who was an athlete at Seton Hall University when she decided to follow in her father's law enforcement footsteps (he was a deputy chief in Newark) and apply to the academy.

    Expo preview

    The residential academy turned the fresh-faced girls, some as young as 18, into tough new troopers.

    "We learned how to spit-shine shoes and shoot weapons, do defensive tactics and things like that," Manghisi said.

    "I think we were looked at, maybe, a little more closely in how we did our job," said Mary Ruane, who graduated college with a degree to become a physical education teacher but couldn't find a teaching job.

    "Overall though, where I was stationed, I found the men very supportive of welcoming women into the State Police," she said.

    Many didn't set out to blaze a trail.

    "We just wanted to be troopers. And we wanted to be the best law enforcement agency we could," said Kathleen Devlin.

    Their bond still exists -- nearly 38 years later.    

    "My classmates come from very divergent backgrounds but we still get together every year," Devlin said. "And I just love being with them and sharing this experience."

    Also at the ceremony was Sharon D. McDonald-Striggles, a retired captain, who was not a member of the 96th class, but the 93rd class. She was one of the first female  troopers ever.

    She always appreciated how the word trooper did not denote gender, she said in her remarks.

    "Trooper doesn't mean male - trooper can be anybody."

    Allison Pries may be reached at apries@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonPries. Find NJ.com on Facebook 


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    RESULTS FOR WEST HAM, NEWCASTLE, MOVE THEM CLOSER TO SAFETY Has there ever been a relegation battle like this? Two teams moved closer to safety with massive victories Saturday, while at the same time moving their defeated foes down the table. West Ham United, with all the strife surrounding the team, rallied behind Marko Arnautovic to crush Southampton 3-0. Arnautovic,...

    RESULTS FOR WEST HAM, NEWCASTLE, MOVE THEM CLOSER TO SAFETY

    Has there ever been a relegation battle like this?

    Two teams moved closer to safety with massive victories Saturday, while at the same time moving their defeated foes down the table.

    West Ham United, with all the strife surrounding the team, rallied behind Marko Arnautovic to crush Southampton 3-0. Arnautovic, who had a brace, helped move the Hammers up to 14th in the table, on 33 points. 

    Southampton, with six of its last seven matches against top half sides, is in massive trouble. The Saints also have to travel to Swansea (15th, 31 points), in what looks like a must-win match.

    Newcastle moved up to 12th, on 35 points, with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town. One more win, which would see the Magpies reach 38 points, should be enough to keep the side in the Premier League.

    For 16th place Huddersfield Town, which has played 32 matches (compared to 31 for all the teams around the Terriers bar Crystal Palace in 17th), the 31 points accumulated so far will not be enough to save the newly-promoted side.

    The Terriers have some games that they will believe can be won. But can they get the results to stay in the Premier League?

    PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS 

    Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool

    Brighton 0-2 Leicester

    Man. United 2-0 Swansea

    Newcastle 1-0 Huddersfield

    Watford 2-2 Bournemouth

    West Brom 1-2 Burnley

    West Ham 3-0 Southampton

    Everton 1-3 Man. City

    Arsenal 3-0 Stoke

    Chelsea vs. Tottenham

    State of the Premier League at 3/4 pole; who will lift awards?

    TWO MANCHESTER SIDES MEET IN MATCH OF THE WEEK

    Manchester City can confirm its Premier League title Saturday, as the Cityzens host their rivals from the red side of town, Manchester United, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (NBC and Fubo.tv).

    Second place Manchester United trails by 16 points with seven games to go, so a loss would hand Pep Guardiola's side a first Premier League title since 2014. 

    The match comes between legs of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, with Manchester City taking on Liverpool Wednesday and next Tuesday. Can Jose Mourinho keep the Cityzens from celebrating for at least one more week?

    AROUND EUROPE: UEFA COMPS ARE BACK, WHILE PSG LIFTS A CUP

    The two UEFA competitions are back this week with a flurry on matches Tuesday-Thursday.

    It kicks off Tuesday with a rematch of the 2017 Champions League final. Juventus will host a Real Madrid side (2:45 p.m. EDT FS1 and Fubo.tv) that looks to be regaining its form at the right time. Zinedine Zidane's squad is looking for a fourth title in five years, and third in a row, and beat Juventus 4-1 in the final last campaign. The other Tuesday tie will see Sevilla host Bayern Munich.

    For fans of the Premier League, Wednesday will bring the tie of the round, as Liverpool will welcome Manchester City (2:45 p.m. EDT FS2 and Fubo.tv) to Anfield. The Reds, led by Mohamed Salah's 35 goals, will have to hold some kind of advantage heading to Manchester for next week's second leg to have a chance to advance past Guardiola's machine.

    Barcelona will host Roma (2:45 p.m. EDT FS1 and Fubo.tv) Wednesday as well.

    Thursday, the Europa League takes center stage, with four quarterfinal ties all kicking off at 3:05 EDT. Arsenal will host CSKA Moscow, before the Gunners make the long trip to Russia one week later in a bid to advance to the semifinals.

    Paris Saint-Germain, which was knocked out of the Champions League last round, won the first leg of a domestic treble Saturday, in the Coupe de la Ligue. The Parisians beat Monaco 3-0, led by Kylian Mbappe. 

    Mbappe, playing against his former team, continued his torrid week. The 19-year-old, who had two goals in a 3-1 win over Russia for France Tuesday, was the Man of the Match for PSG. He scored a goal, and set up the other two, to hand his side its fifth-straight League Cup title.

    PSG is now unbeaten in its last 40 domestic cup matches stretching back to January, 2014.

    Finally, if you get a chance, take a look at this excellent article from Juan Arredondo about the ex-FARC rebels in Colombia using football to help re-integrate back into society. The photographs are absolutely stunning, and help show just how much this sport means to the people of the world.

    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=2


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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    (from gulfnews.com)

    A dog lover in Dubai is supplying fresh home-cooked meals for pets in order to provide them with an alternative to processed foods.

    Egyptian expat Nael Basily, 35, said it was his pet dog's medical condition that led him to launch the initiative 'Just Chew.'.

    Basily said his 6-year old golden retriever, Twixy, was diagnosed with cancer last November, and the vets attributed unhealthy diet and lifestyle to be one of the reasons for the ailment.

    "Back home in Cairo, I used to cook for my pet every day. But ever since I moved to Dubai two years ago, I began feeding her processed food. Although I relied only premium brands that promised the best nutrition, it was not helping her. So I decided to start cooking for her again and it's working wonders on her health and looks," said Basily.

    "There are 40 pet owners ordering food from me. I have a set menu prepared for all days of the week. I cook two days a week - Sunday and Wednesday. Delivery is done on the same days. I pack food boxes with days of the week marked. Initially I used to do the delivery myself, but now I have a delivery boy," he explained.

    The dishes on his menu include: Chunky Chic, a mix of steamed potatoes, carrots and brown rice topped with a boneless chicken leg, eggshell powder and a splash of olive oil; Jerkey Turkey made of sweet potatoes, zucchini and brown rice topped with Turkey eggshell powder and olive oil a meal containing a mix of steamed veggies, brown rice and salmon bites.

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


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    Jones, who just set the all-time CVC single-season record with 104 three-pointers, will be a heavy favorite to bring home another trophy. Watch video

    With the spring sports season up and running, there is just one more event left on the local calendar to celebrate the basketball season.

    Nottingham set all types of records this season, on the way to Mercer County, NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3, and New Jersey Group 3 titles. All three were firsts for the Northstars, who also set a new Colonial Valley Conference record with 30 wins.

    Two of the brightest stars of the Nottingham squad, All-Area player Richie Jones and All-CVC Kostro Montina, will show off their talents one last time locally on Thursday, April 12. The duo will join girls and boys players from the area for the first Slam Dunk and Three-Point Contest, presented by WBCB Sports, to benefit the Sunshine Foundation Mercer County Dreamlift. 

    The event, which will be hosted by Trenton Catholic Academy, is the brainchild of WBCB sports director Sam Goldberg. After he attended the Sunshine Foundation Dreamlift recently, Goldberg knew he wanted to do something special for the group.

    "I wanted to do it because our account executive, Bill Rednor, took me to the Sunshine Dreamlift in Mercer County," Goldberg said. "It was at the crack of dawn, and it changed my life. Seeing that Dreamlift is something I will never forget, as long as I live. From that point on, I thought, what can I do to give back to the Sunshine Foundation?"

    After break, Premier League, European football head into final stretch

    What Goldberg set up is the new event, with some of the top basketball players in Mercer County. There will be both boys and girls three-point contests, while four of the best dunkers in the boys game will showcase their talents.

    All-Area player Cartier Bowman (Notre Dame), Khalif Battle (TCA), Reggie James (Trenton), and All-CVC Shemar Robinson (Ewing) will  entertain the crowd with their best efforts above the rim. 

    "Our video stream numbers were incredibly high this season because of the years Nottingham, Trenton, and TCA had," Goldberg said. "These Mercer County kids had such a good year, and were so incredibly good. 

    "I watched the NBA dunk contest, and I thought to myself, the Mercer County kids can dunk better than this. Cartier Bowman can dunk from the free throw line. Khalif Battle can put it between his legs. Reggie James has some ferocious dunks. These kids are going to put on a show."

    Jones, who just set the all-time CVC single-season record with 104 three-pointers, will be a heavy favorite to bring home another trophy, in a campaign filled with silverware. The senior will be joined by All-Area Jamal Anderson (Hightstown), Mike Kane (Notre Dame), Nasir McMillan (Trenton), Montina, Robinson, and Luke Vista (Hightstown).

    "I am excited to be in the competition, especially since it is rasing money for a good cause," Jones said. "It is going to be fun for us, before we all go on to the next level. But I am definitely plan on winning it. Even though the season ended, I have been shooting, even more intensely now."

    unnamed.jpgRyan Weise, the Renee Keister Balke award winner, and Kostro Montina, the Jack Cryan award winner, will compete in the three-point contest. (L to R, Allentown girls basketball coach Linda Weise, Ryan Weise, Kostro Montina, Nottingham boys head coach Chris Raba.) 

    On the girls side, Fiona Aromando (Robbinsville), Gianna Boulden (TCA), Liz Kerekes (Nottingham), Jaycee Lowe (Ewing), Natalie Mehl (Steinert), Ally Oldfield (Hopewell Valley), and Ryan Weise (Allentown) will vie for the three-point shooting crown. 

    But the biggest thing for Goldberg is the chance to help out a worthwhile organization.

    "The station views this even as a success regardless of how it turns out," Goldberg said. "Whether we raise $10 or $10,000, we feel like any dollar we can donate to the Sunshine Foundation is worth our time, because they are such a noble and standup organization."

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    Danny Diaz-Delgado was active in his church and studying engineering at Mercer County Community College Watch video

    Danny Diaz-Delgado loved playing video games and had his own gaming system.

    His little brother - he had 12 siblings - also liked playing them. So for a gift, he started looking online for a used PlayStation 4, or PS4, so they'd each have a way to play them.

    The 20-year-old found someone selling a PS4 on Facebook's marketplace, and on Friday evening, March 23, he set out from his Trenton home to meet the seller at a location in the city's East Ward.

    He told his family he'd be gone an hour. He never returned.

    The next afternoon, a passerby found Diaz-Delgado faced down in an Assunpink Creek embankment in a Hamilton neighborhood that backs up to Route 1. Someone had tied him up with pink duct tape and a black electrical cord and shot him several times.

    That person was Rufus Thompson, prosecutors alleged in a detailed probable cause affidavit made public Monday.

    Detectives said there never was a PlayStation. 

    They later found an empty PS4 box in Thompson's Ardmore Avenue residence during a search, the affidavit says. Also in the home was a roll of pink duct tape and a TV with a cut power cord.

    Thompson, 29, a convicted burglar, appeared in court Monday for a brief hearing on murder, robbery, kidnapping and related charges. He answered several questions with "Yes."

    Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri's office will argue an upcoming appearance for Thompson to remain jailed pending trial.

    In the affidavit, written by Detective Michael Castaldo, detectives linked Thompson to the crime by examining Diaz-Delgado's online messaging with him. Thompson used the Facebook identity Ru Hunter and later changed it to Ru Real Right.

    Detectives found Diaz-Delgado's car near the suspected meeting point for the sale, South Cook and Culberston avenues, about 150 feet from the rear of Thompson's home in the 300 block of Ardmore Avenue.

    Diaz-Delgado, who also had plans to buy PS4 games from a separate seller, chatted with Thompson for over an hour the night he disappeared and once went to his bank's ATM and withdrew $240.

    Investigators found a picture of about $240 in $20 bills posted on Thompson's Facebook page the night Diaz-Delgado disappeared. Later that night, Diaz-Delgado's bank account was raided at an ATM in Trenton for a combined $700 in cash, the affidavit says.

    Detectives pulled images from the three ATM transactions. Diaz-Delgado made the first, and Thompson made the second two.

    Diaz-Delgado's loved ones buried him this past Saturday, the day before Easter - a day that he would have attended services like the rest of the Christian faithful.

    Friends and parishioners at the Pentecostal Assembly of God Church in Trenton, where he worshipped, have been mourning and praising him as a smart, positive person who was "full of Christ."

    Diaz-Delgado was involved in the youth ministry at the church, while he studied engineering at Mercer County Community College.

    "All of the time, when he wanted something, he worked so hard for it," Luz Rivera, a longtime neighbor and friend of the family, told NJ Advance Media Monday.

    Rivera has always been close with Diaz-Delgado's mother, Olga, and considered Danny one of her own.

    "He was always so strong, even when he was going through a lot growing up, he never gave up," she said. "That's the Danny I knew." 

    The two families celebrated big events, like graduations, together. And on holidays -- like Mother's Day, she remembered -- it was no different. 

    Diaz-Delgado's family was large; he had 12 siblings and lots of aunts, uncles, nephews and cousins. But his church and school families were even larger.

    Expo preview

    On Saturday, family and friends from school and church gathered at Pentecostal Assembly of God Church to remember his life.

    "I found out just how many people really loved Danny, how strong he was," Rivera said. "He was such a good kid. He loved to help people, he was always smiling and thinking about what he could do for other people."

    In a video posted online in his memory, Diaz-Delgado says, "I just pray." 

    He stands with his arms stretched out like a cross.

    "With no thought in mind, with nothing in my mind, I just pray for everybody," he said.

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

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


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    Suspect Howard J. Buckalew could eventually face more serious charges

    A Hamilton man died this past Saturday from injuries he suffered a week earlier in an assault near his Hartman Drive home in the township, officials said.

    Howard Buckalew.jpgHoward Buckalew 

    Now, the man who was arrested and charged with assaulting him is under the eyes of county homicide detectives.

    Jeffrey C. Pageau suffered multiple skull fractures and head trauma when Howard J. Buckalew allegedly tackled him off a porch and onto a cement patio on March 24, authorities said.

    Buckalew, 52, of Ewing, was arrested on an aggravated assault charge shortly after the crime.

    The case is now being handled by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Homicide Task Force following Pageau's death. Autopsy results on Pageau are pending, the prosecutor's office said Monday.

    In a probable cause affidavit, a Hamilton police officer describes arriving at the scene and finding Pageau on the patio with blood coming from his ear, and pooling under his head.

    Several witnesses on the scene identified Buckalew as Pageau's attacker, and said he left the scene in his car before officers arrived.

    Hamilton police on Monday declined to elaborate on the incident or what may have precipitated or motived it.

    Attempts to reach Pageau and Buckalew family members were unsuccessful.

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

     

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    When Woodbury elected officials decided to replace an opening prayer with a moment of reflection at City Council meetings, they were aiming at inclusion, not divisiveness.

    When they decided to replace an opening prayer with a moment of reflection at City Council meetings, Woodbury officials say, they were aiming at inclusion, not divisiveness.

    It sure didn't work out that way.

    The Gloucester County municipality of 10,000 now finds itself engulfed in controversy, as tempers flare over the abandonment of a long-held tradition, and supporters applaud the action as an acknowledgement of Woodbury's diverse population.

    The move came after the city's newly created Human Rights Commission recommended eliminating the customary prayer in order to make all residents comfortable, and to include them in the democratic process.

    "Its intent is to bring the community together," says Tony Doran, president of the commission.

    "The people who've historically felt uncomfortable and excluded because of the invocation can now participate ... without those feelings. And those who would like to pray still have that moment of reflection to do so."

    Smart for N.J. town to embrace the non-devout | Editorial

    While not yet part of a burgeoning trend, the move reflects actions by many of New Jersey's governing bodies to jettison prayer at official meetings.

    They recognize that their officials serve a populace that does not necessarily pray to the same god - or to any god at all.

    "You shouldn't be made to feel like a political outsider because of your faith or lack of faith, especially when it involves gaining access to people in political power," says Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

    While the U.S. Supreme Court has permitted prayers to open public meeting in some cases, the non-profit Freedom From Religion Foundation points out that this doesn't mean legislatures must schedule prayers on their agendas.

    In fact, the Wisconsin-based foundation points out, it's inappropriate for public officials, who are paid by the taxpayers, to do so.

    Appearing before local government bodies on such secular matters as variances, sewers, permits, licensing and other business should not require anyone to bow the head or show religious observance in any way, the organization's website wisely cautions.

    The Pew Research Center found last year that one in five Americans is religiously unaffiliated. Large populations of atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others have inadvertently been made to feel like second-class citizens over the years when forced to sit through prayers designed predominantly for Christians.

    This country offers abundant opportunities for us to pray: in our homes; in our churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship; in our youth fellowship gatherings.

    Count us among the supporters of Woodbury's new policy. Other communities would be smart to follow its lead.

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

     

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    See the first regular-season edition of the girls lacrosse Top 20.


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    Snow slowed the start, but the first full week of high school baseball has some interesting match-ups.


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    Ruta made the jump from Class A Charleston to Double A Trenton, and will start the season as one of four outfielders on the Thunder roster. Watch video

    It has been nearly six years since Ben Ruta last tore up the pitching in Mercer County, as a member of the West Windsor-Plainsboro South baseball team.

    But fans of the talented outfielder will not have to wait much longer to see him in action.

    Ruta made the jump from Class A Charleston to Double A Trenton, and will start the season as one of four outfielders on the Thunder roster. The 23-year-old Wagner University product will get a chance to play often, in the stadium which he grew up attending for many Thunder games.

    "I actually took a walk out there before, and saw the playground in right field," Ruta said at the Thunder media day Tuesday. "I remember going there. I remember being on the field for those camps, which we are going to run now. It is full circle for me, which is pretty cool to be back."

    Ruta hit .273 last year in 53 games for the RiverDogs, and stole 11 bases. His goal was to continue moving up in the organization, which he certainly did, bypassing High A Tampa. 

    "My goal was to move up," Ruta said. "I didn't really have a set place, and I worked hard this offseason. A spot opened up, and they chose me. I am fortunate to have this opportunity.

    "I am going to just go out there and play confidently. I am just let my training and ability take over. Whether there is an adjustment period or not, I can't really tell you, because I haven't been through it. But I am going to go out there and play my hardest.

    "I faced most of the Double and Triple A guys the past two spring trainings. I definitely have the confidence to compete at this level, and I feel like I belong here. I am going to just go out there and play hard."

    Jay Bell named Trenton Thunder manager for 2018 season

    The Thunder have a new manager, one who should be familiar for Yankees' fans. Jay Bell, who managed Tampa and with the Arizona Fall League team in 2017, moved up to take the place of Bobby Mitchell, who went to Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

    Bell, who has 18 years experience as a player in the major leagues (he scored the winning run in for Arizona in the 2001 World Series game seven victory over the Yankees), plus will try to impart his knowledge of the big leagues to his players.

    "I think that I can offer something to them, that I know exactly what they are going through," Bell said. "I haven't forgotten how hard this game is. It is extremely hard. 

    "What I want them to understand is, that because I played, I understand that every day is a grind. You should take genuine pleasure in each other. Put your arm around the guys that are struggling, and empathise with your team mates. 

    "As a matter of fact, that it rule number three for me. It is important to take pleasure in your team mates. I want them to have the idea that they want to do everything possible to do to move forward and advance their careers. But at the same time, the one thing that I learned in my career is that you don't truly enjoy it unless you are taking geniune pleasure in your team mates.

    "I think you can balance the two. You can be self consumed, and you can do everything possible to elevate yourself and advance in your career, but I think you can be a great team guy too. That is what I am going to try to push."

    ***
    Domingo Acevedo will get the ball on opening night Thursday, with Justus Sheffield going Friday night.

    Acevedo, who was 5-1 with a 2.38 ERA last season in Trenton, is excited to get the ball first.

    "I am so happy," Acevedo said. "It is an honor for me to be the starter for opening day."

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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