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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    A look at which high school programs have the most alumni playing D1 college lacrosse.


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    Mercer County authorities say the accused would move into homes that were vacant or being foreclosed, change the locks, turn on utilities and live rent-free.

    Brazenness is the hallmark of con artists and nowhere is that more evident than with shameless real estate scammers who rip off unsuspecting renters and property owners.

    A case in point was the recent arrest of a dozen people by Mercer County authorities on charges of running a complex rental scam.

    Authorities say the accused would move into homes that were vacant or being foreclosed, change the locks, turn on utilities and live rent-free. Sometimes they would create leases and rent the properties to others, causing a lot of confusion for real estate agents and police who are called in to sort out the situation.

    Often, the scam goes unnoticed until a bank inspector or property manager stops by to check on the home or to show it. That's when they discover someone living in the house that should be empty.

    "These are brazen criminals who educated themselves on squatters' rights and took advantage of the civil court process," Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri said when he announced the arrests and charges on April 6.

    Elaborate rental scam lands 12 in handcuffs

    In one of the more egregious cases, a woman lived rent-free in a foreclosed home in Ewing for months, authorities said. After she was arrested, she had someone take over the "lease" and later tried to move back into the foreclosed house a second time.

    The same woman apparently knew how to game the system by creating false leases and other documents.

    These same bogus leases are used to con victims into believing they are dealing with legitimate landlords.

    It's amazing how prevalent this type of illegal activity is. Hamilton police investigated about 50 incidents in a 14-month period and authorities say real estate scams have been reported in Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence and Princeton.

    To the credit of law enforcement officials, Trenton and Mercer County joined forces to create the Fraudulent Housing Occupancy Task Force to develop a uniform approach to finding and prosecuting real estate scammers.

    In Mercer County, where there are a lot of student rentals and a high number of foreclosures, there is a greater risk for falling prey to property con artists.

    The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs cautions prospective renters or property buyers to do their homework before putting their hard-earned money down. The consumer agency recommends tenants and landlords should consider working with a reputable real estate agent.

    And, above all, consumers are warned that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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


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    Check out the top senior talent and cast your ballot for who is the best.


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    The top prom song of the 1980s was "Every Breath You Take" by the Police; apparently, no one realized the lyrics were about a stalker ....

    The theme for my 1977 senior prom was "Harbor Lights." And, for decades I've thought how great it would have been if Boz Scaggs had performed. Well, before you scoff, it's not so farfetched. After all, famous rock bands have played at high schools.

    During a short period in the late 1960s, classic groups that performed in Union Catholic High School's gym in Scotch Plains included The Who, Black Sabbath and Cream.

    And UCHS appears to have had a counterpart in Staples High School in Westport, Conn., around the same time, hosting bands like the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone and the Animals.

    And in the 1960s and '70s, Cherry Hill East High School would regularly hold its proms at the Latin Casino in Cherry hill, a venue played by just about every major musical solo act of the time. Thus, the Class of 1963 got to see Andy Williams perform.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Our gallery shows a photo of the Tokens, who had a #1 hit with 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' in 1961, playing at an East Brunswick prom in 1969; no information is available on how and why that came about. The Yardbirds played the St. Xavier High School prom in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1968, though it should be noted that the school was large enough that the event was held at the Cincinnati Convention Center; the band was paid $2,000.

    little cypruss-mauriceville high school prom 1971.jpg 

    But this photo is my favorite. A band known as "Zee Zee Top" played the Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School prom in 1970. The band released its first album, removing four 'e's' in the interim, in 1971 and had their first chart single ("Francine") in 1972. ZZTop played a high school prom.

    Enjoy this collection of prom photos from the past in New Jersey, as well as these links to previous prom galleries.

    Vintage photos of proms in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. proms

    Vintage photos of high school proms in NJ

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


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    The note also used a racial slur and said she should "go home" because she was "not wanted here." Watch video

    Kenya Robinson said she already felt like an outsider when she moved to Mount Holly recently, from Penns Grove in Salem County where she knew everyone.

    But the 24-year-old was shocked when just two weeks after moving to the apartment in Burlington County with her two young sons, she found her car's tire flattened.

    Next to the wheel was a note that called her a terrorist, used a racial slur and said she should "go home" because she was "not wanted here."

    "I thought it was just trash and then I saw that my tire was flat," she said of the note she found April 11. "It was a 'go home' letter -- I'm from New Jersey."

    photo-note-redacted.jpgThe note left on Kenya Robinson's tire April 11, redacted to remove profanities. (Provided photo)

    Robinson said that although the note included the n-word, she believes she was targeted mostly because she wears a hijab and other clothing that makes it obvious that she is Muslim.

    She said she never had anything like this happen before, and now she feels that people in the area are looking at her differently because of her attire.

    "In Salem County everyone knows me, but here I feel uncomfortable. I feel like they don't know me because I'm an an outsider, plus the way I dress," she said.

    Still, she said she can't believe that in 2018, some people still call any Muslim person a terrorist.

    "I tell people all the time: Just talk to me, I'll tell you about my religion," she said.

    Mount Holly Police Capt. Rich Spitler said officers determined that someone had let the air out of the tire, and they refilled it for Robinson. He said the department is taking the bias incident very seriously but he could not say much more without compromising the investigation.

    "It's ongoing. We're not anywhere near done with it," he said.

    kenya-w-kids.jpgKenya Robinson, 24, poses for a selfie with her daughter, Suhaylah, 4, left, and her son, Ibn'Anthony, 5, right. (Kenya Robinson photo) 

    Robinson said she moved to the second-floor apartment on Cherry Street March 28. While she didn't know anyone and felt kind of isolated, she had heard the public schools in Mount Holly were good. She has a daughter, Suhaylah, 4, and a son, Ibn'Anthony, 5.

    She was heading to the grocery store on the afternoon of April 11 when she noticed her car's front driver's side tire was flat and saw the note. She called police, who asked her who she thought could have done it.

    In a Facebook Live video she posted of her talking with police, she told them that she kept to herself and doesn't know anyone.

    Police took the note, she said, and assured her they'd do extra patrols in the area.

    But later that night, around midnight, someone started banging on a door at the apartment complex. Robinson said she believed it was her door, but Spitler said it was a communal, external door to the apartment building.

    Robinson said the banging had her children "screaming and hollering" in fear. It stopped after about 10 minutes, when she yelled that she had called the cops.

    Robinson said she hasn't had any trouble since then, but she's still shaken by everything.

    "Every night I'm pacing. I feel paranoid," she said, suspicious that anyone who looks at her could be the one who left the note. "I put a chair under my doorknob so nobody can open my door."

    She said she doesn't want to "let anyone run me from my home," but the experience does make her want to leave Mount Holly, especially if she continues to worry about her kids' safety.

    In the Facebook Live video, her son Ibn'Anthony is seen scooting around the driveway on a plastic car and Suhaylah on a Thomas the Tank Engine. Now, Robinson said, she doesn't feel comfortable going outside.

    "I don't walk outside, I don't do anything," she said.

    Anyone with information about the incident can call the Mount Holly Police Department at (609) 267-0170.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    Which teams made it into the latest ranking? And which teams fell out?


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    NJ Advance Media has put together a list of the top girls lacrosse seniors. Vote for the No. 1 player at the bottom.


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    A player was killed in a crash and the owners - a former state trooper and current firefighter - were arrested

    It's been a tragic and rough start off the field for the Jersey Flight arena football team.

    A day after the team's April 6 home opener in Trenton, defensive back John R. Williams was killed in a motor-vehicle collision in Burlington County. The Ewing native and Hamilton resident was 30.

    Jersey-Flight-owners.jpgJersey Flight's owners Samuel Davis Jr. and Kyna Ruiz 

    And on April 13, team owners Samuel Davis Jr. and Kyna Felder-Ruiz were arrested by federal authorities after being indicted on charges they filed fraudulent tax returns at Davis' company, where both were tax preparers.

    They are each free on $50,000 bond. 

    Both remain in control of the franchise, which is 1-1 on the field, team spokesman Darryl Jeffries said

    Jeffries said it's indeed been tough start for the team and their owners. "But not insurmountable."

    In a statement Jeffries issued, the team said it remains a sound and proud member of the American Arena League.

    "Jersey Flight Football remains committed to providing high quality sports entertainment and goodwill for families, fans and stakeholders. Our team and franchise is fiscally solvent and remains on an upward trajectory toward continued growth and success," it said.

    Davis, a retired New Jersey State Police trooper, and Felder-Ruiz, a Plainfield firefighter, issued statements Thursday proclaiming their innocence in the federal case and both said they will eventually be exonerated.

    The 53-year-old Davis said he's a lifelong public servant who has always followed the law and now is an entrepreneur doing good works in the community.

    "Last Friday, I was arrested on charges of tax fraud, which I believe to be retribution for pursuing my dream to own a professional sports team and do the right thing without playing politics," he said.

    Felder-Ruiz, 35, said she too is a public servant, and a businesswoman, wife and mother with personal integrity, heart and values.

    "The allegations against me are false, misleading and distract from my service, impact and empowerment in the community," Felder-Ruiz said. "Unfortunately, there are people who see someone like me and think there is no way she could have accomplished so much honestly and with sheer hard work and dedication."

    She is Plainfield's second-ever female firefighter.

    Authorities allege the two filed over 70 fraudulent tax returns that inflated their clients refunds, to the tune of $232,009, dating to 2012. They did so by making up deductions for clients, like charitable contributions and residential energy credits.

    Federal authorities allege they wanted to enrich themselves by growing Davis' business, Get Organized Tax & Accounting, of Plainfield, where Felder-Ruiz works for him as a tax preparer.

    Meanwhile, the Jersey Flight will honor Williams at their Friday night April 20 game against the Richmond Rough Riders at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. The team plans a uniform insignia for the rest of the season.

    john1.jpegJohn Williams (Provided photo) 

    Williams died at the scene of the April 7 crash on Juliustown Road in Pemberton Township when his eastbound car swerved into the oncoming lane, striking another vehicle.

    Williams played well in the Flight's 71-12 victory over the Western Maryland Warriors the night before, the team said.

    "The entire Jersey Flight organization wishes to express our collective, heartfelt, sympathy and sorrow to the Williams family at the loss of a highly-respected, outstanding, individual and dedicated professional athlete," the team said in a statement.

    He'd played at Ewing High School, Tabor College in Kansas and for several indoor football teams.

    By day, Williams worked at Rago Arts & Auction Center in Lambertville. 

    "John was a valued member of the Operations and Rago team. Master of the lighting and keeper of the light bulbs. He brought light into all of our lives... We'll miss you John," Rago COO Michael Ingham said in a Facebook post.

    GoFundMe page has been created to help his mother pay for his funeral expenses.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on TwitterNJ.com on Facebook.


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    20 police dogs spent the day searching for hidden narcotics and explosives in the empty arena Watch video

    It's all a big game for the dogs, but it can be deadly serious business for humans.

    Twenty police K-9 dogs from various departments throughout the state spent Thursday searching for hidden narcotics and explosives at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton.

    For the dogs and their officers, it is week six of 14 in Scent Class #33.

    "It's very important that we get the dogs exposed to different environments," New Jersey State Police Canine Unit Sgt. Timothy Neville said. "The dogs are learning new explosive odors."

    P1360203.00_00_21_39.Still002.jpgA police dog is led on a search of the luxury suite level at the Cure Insurance Arena. (Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media) 

    He continued, "We all know the importance of having an explosive dog in today's society. (These teams) are going to be responsible for clearing many different events and venues throughout the state."

    They worked the concourse, upstairs luxury suites and general seating areas.

    Every area has different breezes, going in different directions," Ron Braen of the Ocean County Sheriff's Department said.

    For the dog, the "game" is to recognize an odor of explosives or narcotics.

    P1360203.00_00_40_10.Still005.jpgFrom left, Ron Braen, Ocean County Sheriff's Department and Sgt. Gordon Schaeffer Camden County Sheriff's Department, hide material with the scent of explosives in the concourse area. (Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media) 

    Once something has been detected and recognized, a rolled up towel is thrown near the animal as a reward. 

    It is important that the dog not see the officer introduce the towel or else the dog would ignore its work and simply wait for the "treat" from the officer. 

    As it is, the dog believes that the treat simply pops into existence when the mission is accomplished.

    After that, it's playtime, mixed with lavish praise from the officer for a job well done.

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


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    N.J. is winning the fight against soot, but the state's ozone levels are still concerning according to 2018 "State of the Air" report

    There's good and bad news about the quality of New Jersey's air.

    Fewer areas in the Garden State are suffering from pollution caused by air particles, like soot and fine dust. Ozone pollution, on the other hand, is worsening.

    That assessment comes from the American Lung Association's newly released 2018 "State of the Air" report, which details air pollution around the nation from 2014 to 2016 and found that more than four in 10 Americans live with unhealthy air.

    According to the report, both ozone and soot pollution can contribute to lung cancer and other health problems.

    Ozone, the main ingredient in smog, that is found in air near the Earth's surface can be extremely harmful to people. It's effects can be described as "sunburn for the lungs," said to Kevin Stewart, a spokesman for the American Lung Association.

    "Someone could have an asthma attack as a result of this," Stewart said of ozone pollution. "Someone could go to the emergency room, and we know that asthma can kill people."

    Stewart said that ozone isn't typically emitted directly into the air, but rather forms when other pollutants combine. The chemical reaction that causes ozone to form happens more frequently in hot weather.

    Out of 227 metro areas, the greater New York area (which includes Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties) was listed as the 10th worst city for ozone pollution. The greater Philadelphia area (which includes Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties) was listed as the 24th worst city for ozone pollution.

    The report grades individual counties on an A through F scale based on the number of high pollution days they registered during the study. In New Jersey, 15 of the state's 21 counties monitor ozone pollution. Of those, 11 scored F's; Morris County scored a D; and Atlantic, Cumberland and Warren counties scored C's. New Jersey's ozone pollution grades are worse compared to last year's report.

    Because air pollution is not confined by state borders, the report measures metro areas rather than individual states. New Jersey is split between the New York and Philadelphia metro areas. However, Stewart said that if New Jersey was measured as a whole it would still rank as one of the worst ozone pollution areas.

    OzoneGrades.jpgOzone pollution grades for New Jersey counties, according to the American Lung Association's 2018 "State of the Air" report. Map courtesy of the American Lung Association. 

    As for soot pollution, New Jersey showed improvement from last year's report.

    The greater Philadelphia area was also listed as the 12th worst city for year round air particle pollution, out of 187 metro areas. The greater New York area was ranked 26th.

    But areas in Delaware and Connecticut, also included in those metro areas, were more polluted than New Jersey, Stewart said. Overall, the Garden State is in pretty good shape when it comes to particle pollution. Of the 13 counties that monitor particle pollution in the state, all but one were graded A or B. Union County, the worst offender, received a C.

    DailyParticleGrades.jpgDaily air particle pollution grades for New Jersey counties, according to the American Lung Association's 2018 "State of the Air" report. Map courtesy of the American Lung Association. 

    Part of the reason New Jersey may have less soot pollution is because the state has focused on putting cleaner engines on the road and expanding renewable energy in the state, said Larry Hajna, spokesman for theNew Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Also, the closure of New Jersey coal power plants and the phasing out of old diesel engines have been important in cutting back the Garden State's air particle pollution, he added.

    Cutting back vehicle emissions is also a way to combat ozone pollution, Hajna said. He noted that New Jersey has some of the strictest vehicle emissions regulations in the nation, but that the state can do little to address emissions blowing into the Garden State from elsewhere. Specifically, Hajna said it is common for ozone pollution from Pennsylvania and points south to blow northward into New Jersey.

    Hajna also noted the state's renewed push for wind energy and electric vehicles.

    "All administrations in New Jersey, going back decades, have taken air quality seriously," Hajna said. "This administration is no different."

    Michael Sol Warren may be reached at mwarren@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MSolDub. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    From Anthony Ashnault to Sydney McLaughlin, New Jersey's high school sports legends are well represented in the national record books.


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    Bill Dockery is the region 20 JUCO Coach of the Year

    Perhaps the sign became symbolically indelible. Growing up in Trenton, Bill Dockery had countless times seen the sign that connects the city to Morrisville, Pa.

    "TRENTON MAKES THE WORLD TAKES."

    Dockery continues to make a difference, whether through coaching basketball or serving as a minister. He makes people better, whether through teaching, inspiring, shaping or simply by giving.

    Last month he was named Region XX Coach of the Year in the Division II National Junior College Athletic Association tournament. Named interim coach at Cecil College (Maryland) in early January, his team took a 23-5 record into the nationals before losing their first game by three points; the next being eliminated in overtime.

    BillDockery.jpgBill Dockery 

    Residing in Maryland, Dockery tries to get back to Trenton at least once a month. He visits his parents, his sister Trudy, and enjoys preaching at either West Side Bible Baptist Church or Wayne Avenue Baptist Church.

    For more than seven years he's been a licensed minister in Maryland.

    "I believe I've always had a calling,'' the 55-year-old says. He meant religiously. If that was a whisper, then basketball was a holler.

    His love of the game really came into focus at the Pennington School, when upperclassman Bobby Potts became an inspiration as a player and a friend while each played for the legendary Bill Long. Potts was third in Mercer County in career scoring when he graduated (1,455) in 1977.

    Dockery became good enough to play ball in college, graduating from Houghton, a Christian college in New York State. Prior to enrolling up there he had spent a semester at Mercer County Community College, informally being coached by the legendary Howie Landa and his assistant Bob Wolinski. Landa remains a mentor to this day.

    "I had a marvelous basketball career,'' he says. "It was an enlightenment moment there. What I learned was how to establish a deeper relationship, a deeper faith with God. I am always reminded to always give back.''

    He went on to receive a business administration degree at Rider, and between high school coaching jobs in Maryland and Delaware (and one season at Trenton under Randy Morrison and Leon Jones) earned a masters in administration from Bowie State and then a Masters in Special Education from Coppin State.

    Dockery tried the corporate world with DuPont and IBM, but the 9-to-5 world was unfulfilling and not for him.

    "I was hooked by then,'' he said about coaching, "but what really took it home for me was when I landed a job with the Hoop Group in Neptune.'' The Hoop Group runs camps, clinics and sponsors AAU travel teams. He is still with them.

    While his career choices bounced from coaching to corporate and back to coaching, Dockery did have a shot at the big-time. Playing semi-pro ball one summer in Philadelphia in the early 90's, a scout with the Charlotte Hornets was in the stands and liked what he saw.

    Dockery was invited to play in the summer NBA Pro League, and despite playing in some pickup games against the likes of Magic Johnson, the NBA dream died in Los Angeles. What resumed was his mission.

    He continues as Program Director for Heroes Helping Heroes, a non-profit in Baltimore that helps at-risk youth, and continues his connection with basketball.

    "One thing I'll never forget is where I came from,'' Dockery says. "It all begins at home. I learned from two excellent parents. Most of my friends weren't as fortunate. My parents were always involved, always instilling great values in me. They showed me the love and taught me the benefit of being a good person.''

    His character was tested this season when he coached young women for the first time.

    "They were a tough bunch to coach,'' he says. "I felt like there were a million emotions going on at the same time. One minute they were laughing, the next minute crying, and then from there the next minute they're mad.''

    But they were talented. They won 17 games by more than 20 points.

    Conversely, while coaching Northern High School in Baltimore City, his girls' team trailed in one game 105-0 when a kid tossed a shot through the net before the buzzer.

    "That was one of the toughest things in my career and was also the greatest thing in my coaching career. The kids learned to never give up under any circumstances, no matter how bad it looks. And I learned,'' he says, "what it's like not to win and to have a good attitude even when we weren't winning.''

    Meanwhile, Cecil College has yet to name its full-time women's coach for next season.

    "If it's meant for me to get that job, so be it,'' he says. "If it's meant for me to move on, so be it. I'll still be involved coaching basketball, training young players. And ministry is in my heart. It's a big world. Trenton put something in me, and I have to be sure to do exactly as the bridge says; that's to take it to the world. There's no limit. All things are possible.''


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    The leading goal scorer for U.S. Sled Hockey team attends Princeton University

    Declan Farmer still can't believe it.

    It's been a couple of months since his moments of fire and ice, but no amount of time will ever dim the experience.

    Back on the Princeton University campus, where he's had to catch up on school work and make up mid-terms, the sophomore has also been enjoying some down time.

    Most of the country likely missed the NBC and NBCSN-TV Paralympic Winter Games coverage in PyeongChang.

    A member of the U.S. Sled Hockey team, Farmer was the hero in the gold medal game against Canada. Not only did he send the game into overtime with a goal in the final minute, he also scored the winning goal.

    The 20-year-old was also a member of the 2014 gold medal team in the previous Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. With 11 goals this winter and three he scored '14, Farmer has the most career goals for the U.S. (The inaugural Games were held in 1994).

    2018 Paralympic Winter Games - Day 2Declan Farmer in action against Japan in the Ice Hockey Preliminary Round at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games on March 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images) 

    In this year's final game, the U.S. trailed 1-0 for most of the game and pulled its goalie in the final minute. The game would have ended on an empty-net shot by Canada, but its attempt hit the bar. With the clock under 40 seconds to play, Farmer got to a loose puck and let if fly.

    "Honestly,'' he said, "I don't really remember it too well.

    "Into overtime I was really tired, but there was so much Adrenaline. I got a loose puck in the corner, went to the top of the circle, waited for things to open up, took my shot and was able to make it. It was pretty awesome, and I was obviously excited to get it done on such a big stage and in such dramatic fashion.''

    The tying goal was arguably the most dramatic. "It was pretty crazy,'' Farmer said. "Really emotional. I was excited, but kind of in shock in a way. It's incredible.''

    Farmer, born a bilateral amputee, has played the sport since childhood growing up in Tampa. He discovered the game after being frustrated with sports like baseball, soccer and wrestling. He's been playing sled hockey 15 years.

    "It evens the playing field,'' he said. "It was a game I could actually play and be good at it. Rather than struggling to keep up in the other sports, this was something with the potential to reach the top if you worked hard enough. That appealed to me.''

    Farmer is one of three Paralympic athletes sponsored by Comcast, an official partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee through the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. Sled skating is one of six Paralympic winter sports, including alpine skiing, snowboarding, wheelchair curling, cross country skiing and biathlon.

    He was one of three athletes sponsored by Comcast, the others being alpine skier Danelle Umsted and sled hockey teammate Rico Roman. Comcast does not disclose sponsorship details except for acknowledging compensation.

    "His personality and talent are definitely the reasons we wanted to work with Declan,'' said Comcast Public Relations Manager Alexandra Wachman. "Those (chosen) were selected very carefully.''

    2018 Paralympic Winter Games - Day 2Farmer in action again against Japan on March 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images) 

    The Princeton University athletic department and hockey department have, in Farmer's words, "Really promoted me a lot and let people know what I was doing. The hockey department let me skate in the rink to train the past couple of years. It's really cool to see. It means a lot to get support from people. Athletes are nothing without community support.''

    That includes professors and advisors, allowing him to reschedule tests. And not just for the Winter Games, but to attend monthly workouts in various parts of the country.

    An economics major, Farmer describes himself as, "Just a normal guy. I don't try and take myself too seriously. I try and have as much fun as I can; always messing around. I love watching sports. Hockey and football. I love to play fantasy football. I'm big into that with friends from high school.''

    As for sled hockey, the game is essentially the same as all levels, its website noting modifications of, "Instead of skates, players use double-blade sledges that allow the puck to pass beneath. Players use two sticks, which have a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for shooting.''

    Players are required to wear a helmet with a full cage or mask. They are "encouraged'' to wear padding. Like their brethren, especially the NHL, gloves are sometimes dropped.

    "Nothing too crazy,'' Farmer said about tempers flaring. "But punches are thrown.''

    By him?

    "Oh yeah,'' he said with a laugh. "But I'm not an instigator.''

    Just a gold medal winner.

    "I want to thank everyone who worked and made sacrifices to give me the opportunity to go to the Paralympics and to play for my country,'' he said, "and with the best teammates in the world.''


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    Hottest baseball stories of the week.


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    New Jersey will be well-represented in two of the most prestigious high school events at the Penn Relays, the 4x800m and distance medley relays. Take an N.J. deep dive on the past, present and possible future of these two events.


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    The plane landed near among the oil silos at a gas refinery around 9 a.m.

    A helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing next to oil silos at storage facility in Linden on Friday morning, though neither of the two people on board were injured, authorities said. 

    No property was damaged when the 4-passenger helicopter touched down near Marshes Dock Road around 9 a.m, Linden police said. 

    The 2001 Robinson R44 helicopter is registered to a Milford address. The tail number corresponds to an aircraft listed among the fleet for Platinum Helicopters, a tour and charter service based at Princeton Airport.

    The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified and will investigate.

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

     


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    Who's undefeated run will go the longest? Who faces a tough test soon?


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    Take a look at the top talent in the Class of 2019.


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    The grim details of a 20-year-old Trenton man's final moments emerged Friday Watch video

    Danny Diaz-Delgado was lured into an alley, ambushed by two men, tied up with tape and forced into the trunk of a car before being executed on the bank of a creek outside Trenton - all while begging for his life.

    The grim details of the 20-year-old Trenton man's final moments emerged Friday in court and in arrest documents, detailed by a witness in the case again his alleged killers.

    During the detention hearing of the second suspect arrested - 29-year-old Akmal "AK" Alvaranga - Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Heather Hadley told the court Alvaranga was brought into the robbery planned by co-defendant Rufus Thompson.

    Police found Diaz-Delgado on the bank of Assunpink Creek in Hamilton on March 24, still bound and riddled with bullets. He vanished the night before while trying to buy a PlayStation console off Facebook Marketplace for his little brother.

    The seller was Thompson, and there was no PlayStation, only a plan to rob the unsuspecting Diaz-Delgado, authorities have said.

    danny-diaz.jpgDanny Diaz-Delgado, 20, of Trenton (Facebook photo) 

    In court Friday, Hadley said a witness, who has known Thompson for a year, said she heard Thompson talking to Alvaranga on the phone and asking him to help with the robbery.

    Thompson also told her he that he was planning on robbing someone "by acting like he was going to sell him a PlayStation gaming console," Hadley said.

    The witness said she had seen messages between Thompson and Diaz-Delgado discussing the PlayStation for sale. She also knows Alvaranga and said he has "an awkward walk," according to court documents. 

    Alvaranga goes by the street name "Ak."

    ak-court copy.jpgAkmal Alvaranga appears in court in Mercer County on April 20, 2018. At right is his lawyer Melissa Karabulut. (Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media) 

    After Diaz-Delgado was found murdered, Thompson met with the witness several hours later and told her he had lured Diaz-Delgado to the alley behind Alvaranga's home on South Cook Avenue.

    Alvaranga pointed a gun at the victim and ordered him inside the garage, Hadley told the court. 

    Once inside, Diaz-Delgado was tied up with pink duct tape and an extension cord, and they took $200 from him - which he'd had just withdrawn from an ATM near his home before heading to the meet-up location.

    Thompson wanted more money, so he took Diaz-Delgado's bank card and made another transaction, while Alvaranga stayed with Diaz-Delgado, the prosecutor said. 

    "When Thompson returned they put 'Danny' in the trunk of 'Ak's' car and drove him somewhere in Hamilton, near a river where 'Ak' shot 'Danny,' "court documents say.

    He begged for his life the entire time, the witness told a detective.

    After his arrest, Alvaranga told police during an interview that he knew of the robbery plan, and that when Thompson returned from getting more cash that Danny would be killed, but said Thompson was the shooter, Hadley said. 

    Alvaranga's defense attorney Melissa Karabulut, told the court her client was forced to help with the robbery under duress, and wasn't the main actor. 

    Mercer County Superior Court Judge Ronald Susswein found that the seriousness of the charges, and the risk of Alvaranga skipping court apperanced and the danger to the community were too high to allow his release. 

    Alvaranga was ordered detained to the Mercer County jail pending the resolution of his case. He is next scheduled to appear in court in early May.

    Diaz-Delgado's family and friends have described him as a young man who loved video games, was "full of Christ" and was active in the youth ministry at the church. He was studying engineering at Mercer County Community College.

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


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    Police believe the mother might need immediate medical attention

    Trenton police on Friday made public a photo from a surveillance system they say is the mother of a newborn baby boy found on the porch of a Beechwood Avenue home.

    baby22.jpgTrenton police photo 

    Police say the mother might need immediate medical attention, they're concerned for her well-being and want to ensure she is getting the help she might need.

    The infant boy, found by a resident around noon inside a duffel bag, was less than 48 hours old. Detectives said the baby is of black or Hispanic descent. An ambulance crew took the baby to a city hospital, where police later said he was in good health.

    The state Division of Child Protection and Permanency has since taken custody and placed the baby in foster car while authorities investigate.

    The mother in the photo wears a black winter coat with a fur-lined hood, gray pants and black boots.

    The newborn's discovery was the first of two in successive days in New Jersey. 

    Anyone with information about the woman in Trenton is asked to call Detective Thomas Brophy at 609-989-4148 or Trenton's dispatch center at 609-989-4170 or the department's anonymous tip line at 609-989-3663.

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

     

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